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The politics of hair - Neal Boortz edition

Friday, March 31, 2006

[Welcome Buzzflash readers!]

I haven't blogged on this topic in ages, but every once in a while, something crops up that brings it front and center, though the deeper issues involved aren't usually addressed -- and so that's when I post about it again.

Let nationally syndicated radio bigot Neal Boortz show you how hair politics bullsh*t is done. He's talking about Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and what is and isn't an acceptable assimilationist black hair style in his mind. (Media Matters):

BOORTZ: For instance, or for goodness sakes, jump in and I'm gonna say -- I'm gonna start out with something controversial. I saw Cynthia McKinney's new hair-do. Have you seen it, Belinda?
SKELTON: No.

BOORTZ: She looks like a ghetto slut.
SKELTON: Well, how is it?

BOORTZ: It's just -- it's hideous.
SKELTON: Is it braided? Or --


BOORTZ: No, it's not braided. It just flies away from her head in every conceivable direction. It looks like an explosion in a Brillo pad factory. It's just hideous. To me, that hairstyle just shows contempt for -- no, it's not an Afro. I mean, no, it just shows contempt for the position that she holds and the body that she serves in. And, I'm sorry, there's just no other way to -- it's just a hideous and horrible looking --

...MARSHALL: It looks better than the braids she was wearing.
BOORTZ: No, the braids had some dignity. They had some class.


MARSHALL: The braids had dignity?
BOORTZ: They had more class than this thing.

MARSHALL: This says, you know, kinda 2000s, you know, stepping up to the plate. Contemporary look, you know?
BOORTZ: She looks like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence.
This bastard is a racist prick, and you know what? I bet he doesn't have a clue how or why he feels the way he does about her hair -- this sh*t is deep and internalized by Americans. It's a topic no one likes to talk about.


Just so you know, that new hairstyle McKinney is wearing is called a twist-out. I used to wear it that way on occasion before I decided to loc my hair. You can do a twist-out this with unaltered, kinky hair, or, if it's not too damaged, with relaxed hair. I can't really tell in her case. You can wrap it wet or damp around rods or in two-strand twists. Once dried you can take it out and shape it; no hair spray needed if your hair is in a natural state.

It's a fierce style - I don't think it's inappropriate for a member of Congress, though it might be non-conformist, which I think is one of the surface objections Boortz has to the style. McKinney's braids might have received the same scorn as this new 'do had she worn them out and loose, as opposed to pulled back, as women with straight hair do when they wear their hair in a bun. It's clear that the Hill has its unofficial, drab "dress code."

I would venture a guess that Boortz would have had serious problems with her conservative braid style a decade ago; braids were not considered conservative or acceptable on the job in many places, women of color (or to be more specific, women with kinky hair), if they wanted to succeed professionally (or often even keep their jobs), had to torture their hair and scalp with lye-laden relaxers to "tame" it to assume European styles -- the old good hair/bad hair beast rises again. It's as bad as the whole brown paper bag test of the black upper class.

The Freepers, I might add, show their racial moxie and affinity with Boortz with some choice quotes.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Listen to Sha-Nay-Nay....keep your cracker hands to your damn self."

I ain't birthin no babies!

She looks like she stuck her finger in an electrical socket.


OH TAY!

Did they use a Taser on her?

"Mrs.C don't take no jibba-jabba from no security guard fools!"

Don King's long lost daughter?

Good Lord. I'm surprised she doesn't get tackled every time she goes into a store.

Buchwheat LIVES!! When I saw the presser today, I had NO idea of who that crazy woman was....really....she looks so damn different!!....and NOT for the better!!

ONET, TRITE, TREE TIME A WADY.
Yes. Racism is dead.

From one of my earlier posts on this topic, a reason why McKinney's "hair defiance" is not about disrespect of her position, but a simple acknowledgment of "difference" and personal acceptance of her hair. That's threatening in ways that Boortz isn't conscious of, but it brings that visceral reaction you read right out there into the open.
The bottom line is that many black people are turning away from the chemical processes used to straighten kinky hair. Permanent chemical treatments, like perms, texturizers, alter the hair from its natural state. Sadly, the majority of black women don't even know what the texture of their hair actually is, because they have undergone the lye (and the lie) from the time they were young -- when they were told that kinky hair = bad hair. If they didn't get that relaxer as a young child, then they underwent the torture of the hot comb.



I was old enough to experience the "pleasure" of the thermal hot comb --you rested it over the gas flame of the stove to heat it up. Then the grease was carefully applied to your hair and that comb sizzled through the kinks till it was bone straight, hissing as you prayed the comb didn't touch your scalp -- inevitably you got scalp burns because the "stylist" f*cked up. [By the way, the "stylist" for most folks was usually a relative, but in my case, everyone in my family had straight hair, so my mom had to take me to a salon till she figured out what to do.]

Once the chemical relaxer came into vogue it was the same problem with a different twist, it became a watch-the-clock endeavor to see how long you could leave the vile-smelling chemicals on to achieve maximum straightness before your scalp started to peel, burn and get open sores. Anything for that damn straight hair.

Why would anyone do this? It can't be because it's fun or easy to maintain. Black women who wear their hair in straight styles obsess about it all the time. Don't let it get wet, humid or exercise too hard because if you do, it will "go back" at the least opportune moment. At this point and time, the problem is two-fold:

1) an internalized self-loathing passed down through the generations of being told your natural hair is a "problem" and "fixing" it by using such extreme measures is a means to assimilate into the dominant culture ... and

2) the dominant culture still has bigoted ideas about blacks and kinky hair that can profoundly affect the employment of, and treatment of people. This of course, means #1 will continue to occur.
So to Neal Boortz, this "ghetto queen" says "Vaffanculo."

NOTE: You can file an FCC complaint against Boortz; reference the original audio of his diatribe, which is posted at Media Matters.

***

UPDATE: I've not posted here about the police/McKinney incident because we don't have all the facts yet (there's apparently a videotape of the incident, which I haven't seen). Quite frankly, in the end, it's probably going to look like both sides are in the wrong to some extent. Yes, race probably is a factor, also on both sides (McKinney's post-incident posturing undermines cases of blatant and extreme racism that is still rampant in society).

Whatever the facts of the incident end up telling us, the fact that, Neal Boortz took the focus back squarely on her hair to denigrate her is both racist and sexist. Debating her behavior in the incident is one matter, but it's telling where the RepubliKKKan thinking goes.

Does this make McKinney's press conference race card bloviating justifiable? No. Does it mean the way she was treated has nothing to do with race? No. Is she being punished for deigning to think she should have been recognized? Maybe yes, maybe no. Was it presumptuous to think she should be recognized? I don't know.

I do know personally of a few high-minded folks (not of color), in one case a well-known academic who plays the "don't you know who I am?" card. I hate when someone uses that crap to get rules bent or to get off the hook for boorish behavior, particularly abusive acts toward people of a lower social standing than themselves (service workers, administrative staff).

It was a beautiful thing to hear that, on one occasion, the academic pulled that crap on a service worker and was told "No, I don't know who the f*ck you are and I don't care."

There is a controversial post by John @ Americablog on the McKinney incident with the cop, as well as a very hot thread of comments pro and con.

All I know is that it's too complicated an issue for easy answers or finger-pointing.

UPDATE post with a busy comment thread: Filing an FCC complaint against Neal Boortz

* My own hair journey is here.

Click here for more fresh Blend.


Another flip flopper on fed marriage amendment - Ohio's Mike DeWine

"Marriage is the issue today. Anyone who opposes the marriage amendment is starting to understand that it is a death knell to the family movement. You cannot oppose it and expect the pro-family movement to support you."
-- former porn addict Phil Burress, head of Cincinnati's Citizens for Community Values, letting DeWine know he's on notice to fall in line -- or else.
Like John McCain cozying up to Falwell on marriage for his '08 bid, Ohio Senator Mike DeWine is worried about his re-election race and rounding up the wingnut vote and -- gasp -- flip-flopped -- on his opposing position on both the Ohio and federal marriage amendments in 2004.

Was he for it before he was against it? Just wondering. I smell the flopsweat of desperation here; DeWine must feel the campaign of Dem Sherrod Brown breathing down his back. (The Columbus Dispatch):

Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine said yesterday that he will take a lead role in pushing for a U.S. constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, at least in part to regain support from unhappy conservatives in his state.

...[T]he amendment is symbolically important to social conservatives across Ohio, many of whom were disappointed in 2004 when DeWine did not support an Ohio constitutional amendment to define marriage as solely a union of one man and one woman. That issue sparked a huge turnout of conservative voters who helped President Bush win re-election.

Although DeWine is expected to easily win the May Republican primary, he faces a stern challenge in November from Rep. Sherrod Brown, of Avon, the likely Democratic nominee for the Senate race. To prevail, DeWine will need a heavy turnout from conservatives, many of whom are unhappy with him on issues of same-sex marriage and curbing immigration.
Two years ago it was a completely different story coming out of DeWine's pie hole. He had reservations about the amendment and said the time to discuss it was not "in the heat of a presidential campaign." The big kahuna is that he actually said that he preferred to have the courts -- whoops, woudn't that be the activist judges -- rule on state bans of same-sex marriage.

How's he going to reconcile that little bit of business?

Hat tip, PageOneQ


Transgeneration is out on DVD

The eight-part Sundance Channel verite-documentary TransGeneration, which captures a year in the life of four transgender college students, has been released on DVD this week.


Lucas and Gabbie


Raci and TJ.

If you haven'y had a chance to catch it on Sundance, I highly recommend seeing it. Kate and I saw a 2 hour cut of it at last year's NC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and T.J. was there for the Q&A.

Hat tip, Hothouse.


Ex-death row inmate tells tale of exoneration by DNA

Jay Lassiter has an interview with Kirk Bloodsworth, who is the first person sentenced to death who was exonerated through DNA evidence, up at his pad as a Podcast.

Bloodworth was charged with the killing and sexual assault of a nine year old girl and served on death row for eight years before his case was taken up by the Innocence Project.

Check it out.


Chevy Tahoe commercials to remember

Apparently there's some sort of promotional tie-in with Chevy and The Apprentice TV show, where they are asking for folks to make their own online customized commercials for the gas-guzzling Chevy Tahoe. Blender Paul emailed me links to two that you better catch before they get yanked. The ads are probably not what GM had in mind.





Ad 1 and Ad 2


Another closet case serving Dear Leader?

Andy Card stepped down this week, and Josh Bolten was named as his successor as chief of staff to the Preznit. Josh sounds like an interesting guy...Mike Rogers over at BlogActive seems to have caught on to something: Josh Bolton dated David Dreier's 'beard'.
So, the new White House Chief of staff is unmarried and brings his mom to official events. It's not that fact that has many in DC raising eyebrows this morning.... It's that apparently The President of the United States thinks his new Chief of Staff is worthy of the same treatment as that closet case David Dreier.


White House Chief of Staff with Official GOP beard, er, um, I mean Bo Derek.

Josh, I don't know if you're hiding something.... Trust me, if you are, Bo Derek is not very good at hiding some things.
Click over for more.


The Army bans privately purchased body armor

tax-cuts.jpg
Support the troops! Support the troops! Support the troops!

But don't let them try to protect themselves when the REMFs in the Pentagon can't get them the body armor they need:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Soldiers will no longer be allowed to wear body armor other than the protective gear issued by the military, Army officials said Thursday, the latest twist in a running battle over the equipment the Pentagon gives its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We're very concerned that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that doesn't provide the level of protection that the Army requires people to wear. So they're, frankly, wasting their money on substandard stuff," said Col. Thomas Spoehr, director of materiel for the Army.
Sorry, son, we've got no body armor to give you, but we can't let you go buying any body armor that might be weaker than the body armor we're not giving you.

Are there any Republicans out there who are willing to take a stand for the troops?
"Outrageously we've seen that (soldiers) haven't been getting what they need in terms of equipment and body armor," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who wrote legislation to have troops reimbursed for equipment purchases. "That's totally unacceptable, and why this directive by the Pentagon needs to be scrutinized in much greater detail."
Didn't think so. Holding our government to account for the shameful lack of support for the troops, especially when Halliburton is raking in profit hand over fist even when they don't fulfill their no-bid contract obligations, why, that's so much harder than slapping a magnetic yellow ribbon on the back of the Town Car, ain't it?

Still, it isn't unimportant for the military to have safety standards:
"I don't think the Army is wrong by doing this, because the Army has to ensure some level of quality," said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "They don't want soldiers relying on equipment that is weak or substandard."

But, Rieckhoff said, the military is partially to blame for the problem because it took too long to get soldiers the armor they needed. "This is the monster they made," he said.
Indeed. You don't want your soldiers going out and buying substandard armor and fighting as if they are fully protected when they are not. But tell me how substandard armor is worse than no armor at all? If someone is shooting at me and I don't have a helmet, I'll gladly throw a deep saucepan on my head and call it good enough for now.

This wouldn't be a problem if not for the incredible incompetence and lack of planning by this administration hell bent on going to war.
Military officials have acknowledged that some troops — often National Guard or Reservists — went to war with lesser-quality protective gear than other soldiers were issued.

"We'll be upfront and recognize that at the start of the conflict there were some soldiers that didn't have the levels of protection that we wanted," Spoehr said. Now, he added, "we can categorically say that whatever you're going to buy isn't as good as what you're going to get" from the military.
And that shipment should be coming any day now, Private. Now get yer ass back out on patrol!

By the time this Iraquagmire is over, the Republican Party will have lost the military vote like the Democrats lost the South after the Civil Rights Act. And when they push that national debt to $10 trillion, they'll lose the fiscal conservatives, too. It's too bad it is going to take over five thousand dead soldiers (just you wait), over half a trillion dollars (mark my words), a domestic attack that makes 9/11 look like toilet-papering someone's house (I imagine sometime around October 2008), and a major economic depression (try to avoid the sidewalks near Wall St.) before enough Americans can get past stopping the gays from doing whatever it is they're upset at gays for doing and finally vote in their own self-interest and for the good of America (c'mon, America, vote for the lesser-evil of the two corporate whore parties in these next two elections, will ya?)

Sorry for the rant, but as a former National Guard troop with a National Guard brother-in-law spending his fourth year on active duty after signing up for two years as a part-timer, I get just a wee bit emotional about soldiers, especially Guardsmen, getting the shaft from their government... a shaft with Halliburton's logo on it, thrust in forcefully without lube by oilmen in business with the House of Saud. I fantasize about having the power to snap my fingers and magically transport Pretzeldunce and Cheneyburton straight to Tal-Afar or Fallujah or Kirkuk with no body armor and an impossible mission. I monitor the casualty reports from Afghanistan and feel relief when my brother-in-law's name is not on the list and guilt when I realize I felt relief at the fact that some other mother's son just died.

I am sick of this war and sick of the incompetent criminal capitalist war profiteers who are running it.

[Post, cross, khaki, 1 ea. for Writ, Radical, FRU# 69-420]


Archdiocese paper fires photographer over Scalia photo



Just when you thought Ratzi's army couldn't find another way to be more damnable, they pull a satanic monkey out of their morally bankrupt asses. (BostonHerald.com):
A freelance photographer has been fired by the Archdiocese of Boston’s newspaper for releasing a picture of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia making a controversial gesture in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday.

Peter Smith, who had freelanced for The Pilot newspaper for a decade, lost the job yesterday after the Herald ran his photo on its front page. Smith said he has no regrets about releasing it.

“I did the right thing. I did the ethical thing,” said Smith, 51, an assistant photojournalism professor at Boston University.

...Smith wouldn’t give up the photo earlier this week but chose to release it when he learned Scalia said his gesture had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald. Smith, who was standing in front of the judge, said the Herald “got the story right.”
An archdiocese spokesman said it was a "journalistic decision" to can Smith, that it was a breach of ethics for the photographer to release the photo.

Yes, ethics...morality...from the very folks responsible for the rape and molestation of thousands. The ass-monkeys fly skyward.


Funny or bigoted?

Queer Beacon has a Dodge/Daimler Chrysler ad up that recently ran during Desperate Housewives.




In the ad, a fairy is flying around NYC, using her fairy dust to brighten up, "prettify" an elevated subway, then a building (above).


She sees the new Dodge vehicle and makes several attempts to, I don't know, make it more "cute", but her fairy dust is repelled by the manly, butch Dodge, including one blast that bounces the fairy onto the pavement (below).


An "average het Joe" is walking his "all-American" black Labrador, and sees what happens to the fairy, points at her and laughs, saying"You silly little fairy!"


So what does the fairy do as revenge for being teased? She turns him into Dodge's vision of a queer boy, complete with what looks like either foo-foo French poodles or Pomeranians (below).



In case you're wondering, since I ran the post on the anti-gay, hypocritical practices going on at BMW North America (it markets to gays, but doesn't have a same-sex spousal equivalent benefits policy for its employees), Dodge is actually noted by Gaywheels.com as a gay-friendly auto company.

My guess that the ad actually tries to play it both ways -- gay folks could find it an amusing jab at stereotypes, but it plays to the homo-bigoted stereotypes held by the red-meat Dodge het crowd at the same time.


The homo-hating Busta Rhymes

A reaction like this really calls attention to someone's inner turmoil. Not that Busta Rhymes's attitude is all that surprising.
Busta Rhymes has lashed out at a gay fan who tapped him on the shoulder. The incident happened as the rapper-turned-actor was leaving the 11th Street Diner in Miami's trendy South Beach district in the early hours Sunday.

Eyewitness Thomas Barker told America's New York Post newspaper: "The restaurant was packed with transvestites, gay men and drag queens, which obviously made him a little edgy...When a young gay guy came up behind Busta and tapped him on the shoulder to congratulate the rapper on his recent comeback."

He added: "Before the guy could even mutter a word, Busta turned around and repeatedly screamed, 'Why the f**k you touchin' me, man? Get the f**k away from me.'..It's claimed the 'Break Ya Neck' rapper then whispered to one of his bodyguards: "I hate f*****g faggots, man.'"
My question: if the ratio of homos to hets in the diner was so threatening, why didn't he and his boyz leave? I doubt there was a lack of places to nosh in the area, though since it was South Beach, didn't he understand that he was smack dab in the middle of a very gay locale?

The All Headline News article also tosses in a bit in the last graph about Busta still smarting from the murder of "one of his minders,and long-term friend, Israel Ramirez." Gee, last time I was in grief over the death of someone, I don't recall thinking about slagging fags as a soothing device or coping mechanism.

BTW, none of the news reports I've Googled on the murder implicates a "transvestite, gay man or drag queen" in the slaying, so even the lame excuse of taking it out on all the homos flies out the window. Perhaps the reporter on the piece, William J. Brown, didn't mean to imply that as a excuse for the behavior with the juxtaposition, but it sure reads that way.

Jasmyne Cannick has more on Busta's fun penchant for homo-baiting on his new album.
The new promotional remix of rapper Busta Rhymes’ hit single “Touch It” features Lloyd Banks, DMX, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, Papoose, and Rah Digga.

It also features a new line from Busta saying “Fuck you faggot, I shot at you!”

...Earlier this year in Byron Hurt’s documentary 'Beyond Beats & Rhymes,' which challenged rap's portrayals of masculinity, women and violence, the Smithtown-born filmmaker asked Busta Rhymes to explain the link between machismo and homoeroticism in hip-hop. Busta was so unwilling to go there he got up and walked out of the room. Perhaps he’s lashing out now.
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


At least he wasn't streaking

Jail escapee caught in underwear. The thing is that he managed to scoot over a mile away, on the loose for 20 minutes before he was caught. The report didn't indicate boxers or briefs.
A Shelby County jail inmate briefly escaped from the Shelby County Courthouse this afternoon, taking off his orange jumpsuit and running around downtown Columbiana in his underwear, according to Columbiana Police Chief Johnny Brown.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry personally helped recapture the escapee, according to the Sheriff's Dept. The inmate, identified as Rex McGovern Edmonds, was being escorted to the restroom when he slipped out of his restraints about 1 p.m.
Hat tip, Kathy, who said that "Columbiana is a thriving metropolis of less than 4,000 -- not a great place to disappear"


Merde

Oh shit. Oops. Oh sh*t. This was on the front page yesterday:

Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, has filed an official complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, saying NASCAR has a problem with foul language.

"It seems that every now and then, a participant in a nationally televised race will violate the FCC's clear rules against uttering vulgar terms on daytime television and 'let one slip' on the air," he said. "On one hand, leaders of the sport want families to think they're against it. On the other hand, they don't seem to want it to stop. ... At some point, you have to wonder if NASCAR is really serious about establishing a family-friendly environment for their radio and television audiences."

In addition to Glover's group, the American Family Association is urging people to file a complaint with the FCC against the Fox network.
To hear the sh*tty audio, click here.


West Sacramento mayor comes out

Thursday, March 30, 2006



Christopher Cabaldon came out during a during the State of the City dinner, but I hate to break it to sister -- how on earth did folks ever think he was straight?

Seriously, though, one cool thing is Mr. Cabaldon did it with the cameras of gay cable channel Logo there, filming it as a part of a documentary. Now that's coming out. (KCRA):
Cabaldon came out to his family just last year and said he's struggled with how to do the same with his West Sacramento constituents.

He said he chose the State of the City Address because it's one of the rare times when he's directly in front of the people who voted him into office. "This is something I needed to say in a direct way, not in a private meeting with a reporter or at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, but to really say it at a time when I knew the community will hear my voice in a direct way," Cabaldon said.

The mayor said he cherishes his privacy and did not want to make the announcement, fearing it could get in the way of what he is trying to accomplish while in office. But he said the timing was right and he's just recently become comfortable with who he is.

"If I'm ever going to have a personal life, I wanted to be open and direct about who I was with my constituents before that happened," Cabaldon said.
The hardest part for many is coming out to yourself, let alone to a room full of people with cameras rolling. High-five to Cabaldon for doing it so publicly. As we've said many times before, the single most important thing any of us can do in this struggle for civil equality is to come out -- gay folks and our straight allies. Coming out is what threatens the religious right most.

For more about the importance of taking that big step to kick the closet door open and step out, see my post from National Coming Out Day.


Brokeback - too extreme for the Bahamas

"The board chose to ban it because it shows extreme homosexuality, nudity and profanity, and we feel that it has no value for the Bahamian public."
-- Chavasse Turnquest-Liriano, liaison officer for the Plays and Films Control Board of the Bahamas, on Brokeback
My god, what on earth was extreme about that movie? You'd think it was a porno with cum shots or some such BS. The island fundies came out and bleated until they got a ban. (365gay):
A Bahamian government board's decision to ban the movie "Brokeback Mountain" has prompted charges of discrimination and censorship in the island chain.

..."You have a group of people who are telling grown men and women what they can and cannot watch," said Philip Burrows, a theater director in the island chain. "I cannot understand denying people the right to make their own choices."

Theaters in Nassau, the capital, had already begun to advertise the movie Friday when the board announced its ban at the request of the Bahamas Christian Council.

The Rainbow Alliance, a gay rights group, called the ban a "farce," and said most Bahamians reject the idea that a "small group of appointed individuals ... can provide the moral compass for the entire country."

"...This is not a movie to be banned. This is not a subject to be censored," said Bahamas resident Liz Roberts, who has worked in film production. "It is a subject to be aired, a subject to be confronted openly."
While the Bahamas cannot hold a candle to the violent, virulent homophobia in Jamaica, it has its own flavor of wingnut batsh*t fools who have made the Blend:


* Bahamas school official: Lesbianism=bad grades. Stephen Plakaris, deputy director of government school security for the Northern Bahamas was certain that an epidemic of lesbianism had taken over the school system, saying there is a "network of lesbians operating in private and government high schools in Grand Bahama," and that the numbers "are alarming, disturbing and growing." He also noted that it's kind of hard to detect them in his investigations, because "gay women do not physically exhibit the characteristics which make it easy to determine that a man is homosexual." Clearly a Willie Wilson wannabe.

*
On the heels of the above editorial, the Grand Bahama Christian Council President Bishop Ricardo Grant called for called for a probe into the rampant lesbianism infesting the schools.


* Miss Teen Bahamas comes out -- and gets dumped. Gari McDonald decided to come out, and got the boot. A pageant committee member told her that "we cannot have a lesbian Miss Teen Bahamas representing the country."


American Slave Labor Camps... coming soon!

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The House Republicans are going nutzoid (moreso) over the illegal immigration issue and the Pretzeldunce's plan to create temporary worker programs for illegals, otherwise known as "let's keep exploiting cheap Mexican labor, but we'll just make it legal."
"I say let the prisoners pick the fruits," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, one of more than a dozen Republicans who took turns condemning a Senate bill that offers an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants an opportunity for citizenship.
Yeah, prison labor camps, that's the ticket! Why, we already have more than 2 million Americans in prison, a figure greatly exacerbated by the War On (Some Taxpaying American Citizens Using Non-Alcoholic, Non-Pharmaceutical, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, so let's put them to work in the fields already!

It's not enough that we have already turned our prison populations into de facto slave labor camps. Many American companies do telemarketing, ticket booking, and other odd jobs through prison labor that is paid less than 50¢ per hour. Think of it as "insourcing" -- the legal way to get around paying Chinese or Indonesian women and children only pennies an hour by paying incarcerated American men and women pennies an hour.

With prison labor, you get hundreds of thousands of prisoners, many in prison for simple drug possession, most of whom are non-violent, and you get them cheap, and you don't have to pay their health care costs, retirement costs, or anything related to housing or transportation. Plus, they are easy to control, have virtually no absenteeism, and are so bored to death that any menial labor task seems refreshing.

Now if you send those prisoners off to the fields, even better. Especially if you make a law that declares all illegal immigrants to be felons. Then you can round them up, send 'em to prison, and they'll be back out in those fields, working for even less money in worse conditions and have no freedom at all. That's what the American Dream is all about, isn't it?

America was built on the backs of slave labor. It made us the richest country in the world. Now those rich men in power are doing everything they can to get back to the good ol' days. It started long ago with "Right to Work (Cheaply and Without Union Protection)" laws in a handful of states, it was empowered by Reagan busting the air traffic controllers' union in 1982, and it continues today with the outsourcing of American manufacturing and telecommunications jobs to cheap third world labor, the insourcing of cheap American prison labor, and the "wink wink nudge nudge" policies that declare "an immigration invasion" and how these illegals are destroying our country, wage base, and taxpayer monies spent on social services, yet do virtually nothing to punish the big business rich white dudes employing these illegals.

And don't think for a second that this has nothing to do with race. I don't think a call for creating a new underclass of 11 million white-faced felons would gather a whole lot of support. Those bitching loudest about the illegal immigrants, how they take away American jobs, how they cost so much in Medicare and schools and emergency rooms, why, they are the same people who never met an American job they wouldn't outsource, downsize, or sub-contract; they are the same people who never met a social program's budget they could just trim down until 45 million people have no health insurance and kids learn on thirty-year-old textbooks in classes of 45 in buildings that leak. And they'll say it all without a hint of irony as they move in to their inexpensive and newly-constructed home while drinking a $1.50 glass of orange juice and sitting on their freshly-landscaped lawn calling for Juanita the nanny to put their Wal-Mart-purchased shirt in the dryer before heading out to the drive-thru to pick up a $10 bag of cheeseburgers.

I've worked in the fields of Idaho... not long, but long enough to know it was the shittiest job I ever had. If someone risks life and limb to swim across the Rio Grande, lives hand-to-mouth in lousy accommodations, struggles with not knowing the native language, faces racism and anti-immigrant prejudice every day, and endures backbreaking work without a whisper of complaint due to fears of La Migra, then by golly, they've proved to me they want to be a hardworking contributing member of American society. It's a shame that people who truly want to live the American dream are shunned, but teenage couch potatoes lucky enough to have had parents who screwed here and stuck around are instantly citizens, free to loaf on the couch and not put in as much work in a week than a migrant worker puts in before sunrise every day.

I don't have the answers to all the immigration questions, but I know the answers do not lie in making migrant workers instant felons, erecting walls along the border, or turning our prisoners into slave labor. I think the answers lie somewhere in the spirit of "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door." (and not just the pale-faced ones, either...)

[También publicado en la "Escritura Radical"]


Why pray against God's will, anyway?

chimps-pray.gif

Here's an interesting story just off the MSNBC headlines:
NEW YORK - In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School and other scientists tested the effect of having three Christian groups pray for particular patients, starting the night before surgery and continuing for two weeks. The volunteers prayed for "a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications" for specific patients, for whom they were given the first name and first initial of the last name.

The patients, meanwhile, were split into three groups of about 600 apiece: those who knew they were being prayed for, those who were prayed for but only knew it was a possibility, and those who weren't prayed for but were told it was a possibility.

The study looked for any complications within 30 days of the surgery. Results showed no effect of prayer on complication-free recovery. But 59 percent of the patients who knew they were being prayed for developed a complication, versus 52 percent of those who were told it was just a possibility.
I've always agreed with George Carlin that praying to an omnicient omnipotent God is just about the most illogical thing you can do, even from a Christian perspective.

After all, don't the religious folks always say things like "it's God's will" or "If it is to be in God's Plan"? The idea being that God has a plan for all of us, and He's all-knowing, so He's imminently more qualified to determine your fate than you are. I mean, if it was God's plan to knock you down for heart bypass surgery, and it is God's will that you die on the table, then who are you, pathetic human, to question God's Plan? Who are you to think your requests in prayer will be answered if it contradicts The Plan?

So, if God wants you to die, and you pray to live, you're suggesting that God was wrong. If God heeds your prayer and lets you live, He's admitting His own fallability, which is nonsense. If God ignores your prayer and lets you die, then what was the point of praying? If God wanted you to live after all, your prayer was also a wasted effort.

It's interesting that the prayed-for subjects had higher complications. Could it be that a true believer who's anticipating everything will be all right through prayer is somehow letting his guard down and weakening his immune system? Could it be that when people are unsure they are being prayed for, they fight harder to live and pay more attention to their doctors? Or could it be that God is pissed about puny humans questioning his plan so he snuffs out the sick relative they prayed for? (Don't put it past Him; He once sent bears to maul to death 42 children who teased a bald man.)

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ in Dr. Zaius' name, amen.]


Gay-unfriendly BMW wants your homo dollars

Here's a new corporate tactic -- place ads for your product in gay publications, but hope you can slip under the gaydar since you don't provide partner benefits to your employees. Sweet.

That's just what BMW is doing, according to Gaywheels.com and industry pub Ad Age. Both The Advocate and Out Magazine accepted ads for the Z4 M Roadster.



Joe LaMuraglia, in his Gaywheels.com article, "What is the German Word for Hypocrisy?", notes that BMW North America does not offer domestic partnership benefits -- but the company wants your buxxx.
In the ads, the Z4 makes us yearn for some hard-driving, top-down motoring. But look beyond the gloss and you realize that the ads' placement in GLBT-media outlets is hypocritical. We are not talking about the fact that the ad—which lacks both GLBT-specific text and photography—does not speak loudly and proudly to its target audience. The issue is that BMW advertises its products in the gay press, yet it is not a gay-friendly company. In other words, the executives at BMW North America do not spend money to offer domestic-partner benefits to their GLBT employees, yet, at the same time, they buy ads to target the deep pockets of GLBT consumers.

This hypocrisy is apparent not only to the editors of Gaywheels.com. 87% of respondents to a recent Gaywheels.com survey felt the same when asked how they would feel if a non-gay-friendly company advertised to them in the GLBT media. Among the many comments we received about this issue, ones like this were representative: “I’ve boycotted companies for this sort of thing".

Our goal is not to incite a boycott of BMW’s cars, but rather to arm you, our readers, with awareness of the company’s actions as well as of those of the media outlets that published the ad. Speaking of which, one would hope that the publishers of GLBT-owned magazines and web sites would have higher standards than to accept advertising from a major, multinational corporation whose policies discriminate against the very audience that those publications were created to serve. Advertising dollars are scarce these days, but there is plenty of business from other car companies to go after—Gaywheels.com lists no less than 30 brands that qualify as gay-friendly.
He contacted the PR reps at BMW, who confirmed that DP benefits are not offered to U.S. employees -- and that BMW is specifically targeting gay customers by purchasing ads in Out and the Advocate.

That's moxie.

The list of gay-positive companies is quite long. It's easier just to put up Gaywheel's list of nine companies that do not have gay-supportive employee policies: Acura, Hyundai, Mini, BMW, Infiniti, Nissan, Honda, Kia, Suzuki.

Hat tip to Trish of The Pensito Review.

Flashback: Subaru drop-kicks Concerned Women for America


Birds of a feather...


Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes a word is worth everything in describing a picture. Today, that word is "vaffanculo".

You've no doubt heard by now about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia flipping off a reporter shortly after communion while still in a cathedral and getting caught on camera doing it. So forgive me for repeating a thread that Pam's already blogged, but I just can't help myself.
(Boston Herald) Minutes after receiving the Eucharist at a special Mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had a special blessing of his own for those who question his impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state.

“You know what I say to those people?” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture, flicking his hand under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.

“That’s Sicilian,” the Italian jurist said, interpreting for the “Sopranos” challenged.

Although one of his sworn duties is to uphold the freedom of the press, a jocular Scalia told the shutterbug, “Don’t publish that.”
Now you know and I know that the flick of the hand under the chin, erroneously reported earlier as "flipping the bird", is not the most obscene gesture one could present in a church (that would be reserved for George W. Bush showing up to a funeral of a beloved civil rights icon just months after vacationing while black New Orleaneans drown). But it is certainly not a gesture that someone would use in a church.

Scalia, being the good hunting buddy of Dick "Go f*ck Yourself" Cheneyburton, attempted to spin his way out of it by, of course, blaming the media and claiming he'd been misinterpreted.
(Boston Herald) In a letter to the editor, an almost unheard-of step for a Supreme Court justice, Scalia said a reporter misinterpreted the gesture he made when she asked whether his participation in Sunday’s special Mass for lawyers might cause some people to question his impartiality in matters of church and state.

“Your reporter, an up-and-coming ‘gotcha’ star named Laurel J. Sweet, asked me (o-so-sweetly) what I said to those people. . .,” Scalia wrote to Executive Editor Kenneth A. Chandler. “I responded, jocularly, with a gesture that consisted of fanning the fingers of my right hand under my chin. Seeing that she did not understand, I said, ‘That’s Sicilian,’ and explained its meaning.”

In his letter, Scalia goes on to cite Luigi Barzini’s book, “The Italians”: “ ‘The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means: “I couldn’t care less. It’s no business of mine. Count me out.” ’ ”

“From watching too many episodes of the Sopranos, your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene - especially when made by an ‘Italian jurist.’ (I am, by the way, an American jurist.)”
See, it was all just a mistake. Scalia's gesture was twisted in a "gotcha" game by female cub reporter who doesn't understand Sicilian hand gestures.

Well, except for the whole "vaffanculo" thing:
(Boston Herald) “It’s inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment,” said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.

Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper “got the story right.”

Smith said the jurist “immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ ”

“The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’ ” punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.

The Italian phrase means “(expletive) you.”
Well, not quite. According to the Urban Dictionary, it means, "go f*ck an ass" in Italian, or "go f*ck yourself in the ass". Dick Cheneyburton should be so creative; he only told Senator Leahy to "go f*ck yourself", but never suggested exactly where.

But since Scalia brought up The Sopranos, it was only natural for the Boston Herald to ask some of the Italian-American actors on the show to give their opinions:
You know that I'm not that offended by his gesture in a church. In fact, it is one of the more entertaining ways a member of the Cheney maladministration (a subsidiary of Halliburton, part of the Carlyle Group Family of Companies) has proven their hypocrisy and blasphemed their own sanctimonious celebration of their silly mythology.

The offensive part is not the gesture or the words, but the meaning which they convey. Flipping someone off, giving them the Bronx bird, gesturing a Sicilian salute, or just saying "go f*ck yourself" is the antithesis of reasoned debate among respectful equals. It says not only do I disagree with you, but your point and your standing are so insignificant as to earn total dismissal.

It's the underlying theme behind everything this maladministration does. We'll do what we want, and if you don't like it, "go f*ck yourself". Flipping someone off in a church is the least of the offense produced by these people.

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ, with a special finger-salute for Scalia. Don't worry, Tony, it's an Idahoan gesture that means "you're number one."]


Ratzi's got to pass the plate around



Catholic Church Gets 783 New Abuse Claims. And the hit parade of misery continues, as more and more sexual abuse victims come forward. The numbers are mind-boggling:

* Since 1950, the church has racked 12,000 clergy abuse allegations

* The total cost of abuse just in 2005 was nearly $467 million. This figure includes settlements, therapy for victims, support for offenders and attorneys' fees, and more.

* Adding up that figure to all the payouts since 1950, this nightmare has cost dioceses more than $1 billion.

And you know it will keep on rising.


A touch of class

Just as we were musing about Big Tony's views on homosex and masturbation, comes the revelation of the class-act jurist outside a church the other day, showing everyone the Sicilian "f-you" outside of a church.

Amid a growing national controversy about the gesture U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the freelance photographer who captured the moment has come forward with the picture.
"It’s inaccurate and deceptive of him to say there was no vulgarity in the moment," said Peter Smith, the Boston University assistant photojournalism professor who made the shot.

Despite Scalia’s insistence that the Sicilian gesture was not offensive and had been incorrectly characterized by the Herald as obscene, the photographer said the newspaper "got the story right."

Smith said the jurist "immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ "

As John over at AmericaBlog noted , Vaffanculo means "go get fucked up your ass," which is what he said to the reporter. He gets sextra credit for that bit of business, huh? I think Tony's got some 'splaining to do...
"The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’" punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said.
Hat tip, Paul. A DKos diary is up on it.


Breaking news from Massachusetts

The ban preventing out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts has been upheld. If you cannot marry in your own state, then it's not legal for you to do so in the Commonwealth. It's a blow to civil equality for now. (365gay):
Gay and lesbian couples from outside Massachusetts were dealt a blow Thursday when the state's highest court - the Supreme Judicial Court - let stand, at least for now, a 1913 law that prevents clerks from issuing marriage licenses to people from states where that marriage would be illegal.

The law was written when most states did not recognize interracial marriage. After the US Supreme Court ruled that laws barring interracial couples from marrying was illegal the Massachusetts statute fell into disuse.

After the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that it was unconstitutional for the state to deny same-sex couples the right to marry Gov. Mitt Romney began using the old law to deny marriage licenses to couples from outside the Commonwealth.
The ruling today cited the fact that same-sex marriage is banned in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, so this allows Massachusetts to keep its ban in place regarding gay residents traveling to the Commonwealth to marry.

The next step, the court indicated, is to sent the case back to the MA Superior Court to review whether gay civil marriage is legal in Rhode Island and NY, where the matter is winding its way through the courts in those states.


More folks on the Hill sign on to repeal DADT

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act has just received a boost, with four more Congressional lawmakers coming on board to repeal the unfair treatment of gay servicemen and women under the Clinton-launched travesty known as Don't Ask Don't Tell. (SLDN):
Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Democratic lawmakers Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Julia Carson (D-IN), and Michael Doyle (D-PA) join 110 other Members of Congress in calling for repeal of the gay ban. Boehlert is the fifth Republican co-sponsor and McKinney joins nine other members of the House Armed Services Committee who are also co-sponsors of the bill (H.R. 1059). In all, 114 Members of Congress now support the legislation, introduced in March 2005 by Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA).
There has been something of a political soap opera going on regarding McKinney's endorsement of the bill, with McKinney’s chief of staff, Warren Miller, and her pop, Billy McKinney tussling with gay activists over whether she would sign on. There were a lot of bruised egos over Cynthia McKinney's loss in 2002, and she wanted assurance that she would receive endorsements from the gay community in her current race against Hank Johnson in the Democratic primary, which is in July. Sigh, politics. (SoVo):
At the March 18 meeting, Billy McKinney chastised gay voters for allegedly not supporting his daughter in 2002 when she lost her congressional seat to Denise Majette. McKinney regained her seat in 2004 and, until this week, had not signed on to co-sponsor any of the pro-gay measures tracked by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay political group that endorsed her in 2002, but not in her comeback bid.

During the meeting, Billy McKinney suggested that gay groups needed to endorse his daughter to ensure her support for repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "I want your names saying you support her campaign right now and I’ll make it public,” he told attendees.
In the end, as you see, she finally came around.


Kanab, UT businesses: 'we need gay money'

The tourism industry in the small southern Utah town of Kanab is roiling over the non-binding measure passed by the city council that declared marriage is between a man and woman "ordained of God" and that families should produce a "full quiver of children" (see my earlier post on this story).

Some wingnut organization, The Sutherland Institute, sent out this measure to towns all over the state. Only Kanab's government chose to adopt it. And now they are faced with a gay boycott and the loss of the almighty gay dollar. Some businesses are rushing to put symbols of welcome to gay travelers, hoping to mitigate the short-sighted bigotry of its government. (365gay.com):
Signs began popping up in store windows this week in Kanab, Utah proclaiming ''Everyone welcome here!'' in a desperate move to avoid a threatened gay boycott. Some businesses went so far as putting small rainbow flag stickers on their front doors.

...Tourism is Kanab's biggest industry and business owners say they need gay money. "We're a tourist destination with people coming here to sleep and eat, and we [business owners] have worked hard to have something to show," pharmacist Kort Stirland told the Salt Lake Tribune.

His Zion Pharmacy has one of the welcome signs, which features a string of rainbow-colored human figures, in the window.

...The signs and stickers are being distributed by the Kanab Boosters, a business owners group. The Boosters are selling the signs and small stickers for cars for between $2.50 and $4.50. The group hopes to raise enough money to take out newspaper ads throughout the state to promote the town as a diverse place to vacation.

Ted Hallisey, the executive director of the county Travel Association says that his office has received hundreds of e-mails and letters from people threatening to scrap their travel plans over the council's resolution. But, he said, it was too early to tell what the economic impact might be.
It doesn't help the cause of Kanab business owners when they have members of the religious community like the Rev. Doug Hounshell, pastor of Cliffview Chapel Baptist Church bleating that he:

"thanks God for a community that doesn't think it has to be 'gay-friendly
.' We don't mean to be mean-spirited, but the message to a homosexual might be that this is probably not the friendliest town for that type of thing."


Nancy Goldstein's dinner with Napoli


South Dakota State Senator Bill Napoli's a stand-up guy, a man of outstanding wisdom. He knows exactly what's good for all women. After all, he's the one who articulated just what circumstances would be sufficiently moral for an abortion to be obtained:
A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.
So when Raw Story columnist Nancy Goldstein was in a dilemma over which ingredients to add to a dish she was preparing, she decided to ring up font-of-wisdom Bill to relieve her female brain of this strain of decision-making:
I wasn't sure whether to use chorizo or bacon in my paella last weekend, so I called South Dakota state senator Bill Napoli and asked him to make my decision for me.

Stephanie Millman inspired me to contact Bill -- one of the most vocal supporters of the new state ban on virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Millman's brilliant cartoon, which has been making the rounds of the blogosphere, lampoons Napoli's conviction that women can't be trusted to make decisions about our own bodies -- and conveniently provides his work and home numbers.

Even if you don't recognize Bill Napoli's name, you've probably heard of him. He's the South Dakota state senator who created a big splash on the PBS NewsHour earlier this month with his detailed -- some might say prurient -- description of an "acceptable rape" that would merit an exemption from the state's abortion ban.

I'll say this for the senator: he returned the message I left on his home machine promptly, which would have been very useful except that he said he'd never heard of paella (or Google, when I suggested that he look up some recipes online). Even my description of the dish's primary ingredients didn't seem to help him with my chorizo/bacon quandry. So we shelved the paella dilemma and moved on to the abortion ban.
Read her column to find out what Nancy told Bill -- and what Napoli had to say, including the unbelievable claim that Nancy was the first woman ever to tell him that contraception fails on occasion.


We only want Stepford Kids in the classroom

Straight-A Student Pulled From Class Over Hair Color. Before clicking over to this story and seeing the picture, I couldn't imagine what this young woman's hair was going to look like -- what does it take these days to be "distracting" to others in the classroom?

Based on the picture below, these school administrators at Bueker Middle School in Marshall, Missouri must be living under a rock somewhere to think this is outrageous:


Kristen McCorkle's hair looks like simple, cute, colorful highlights; how does this impede learning? Are the students of Bueker that easily distracted?
School officials said there is a rule at Bueker that hairstyles that are distracting to the educational process are not allowed.

"Doing this is taking away from people's individuality," student Kristen McCorkle said. The 14-year-old, who is a straight-A student, said the school's assistant principal told her she had to go to in-school suspension and that she would be there until her hair is fixed.

..."I don't feel that her hair is out of control," said Tim McCorkle, the girl's father. "It's definitely not outside of the boundaries that we have established here in the home."

The district's superintendent, Dr. Robert Gordon, said he was alerted to the situation Tuesday afternoon.

"This, as I understand it, is a matter of interpretation. I believe the assistant principal was doing what he felt was in the best interest of the kids," Gordon said.


True conservatives will be the ones to end the Drug War

In fighting the War On (Some Taxpaying American Citizens Using Non-Alcoholic, Non-Pharmaceutical, Tobacco-Free) Drugs, I often find myself allied with many left-leaning progressive types. Many times, they'll launch into anti-conservative, anti-Republican tirades, and I've been guilty of the same more often than not.

So it always surprises them when I say that it will be the conservatives (true conservatives, not these Bushites in power now) that stop the ridiculous prohibition of drugs. Why? It's about the money and that invisible hand of the marketplace.

The latest example of conservative / libertarian newsman John Stossel - certainly no friend of liberals - writing in Townhall.com:
I was once among the majority who believe that drug use must be illegal. But then I noticed that when vice laws conflict with the law of supply and demand, the conflict is ugly, and the law of supply and demand generally wins.

The drug war costs taxpayers about $40 billion. "Up to three quarters of our budget can somehow be traced back to fighting this war on drugs," said Jerry Oliver, then chief of police in Detroit, told me. Yet the drugs are as available as ever.

... Richer criminal gangs. Alcohol prohibition created Al Capone. The gangs drug prohibition is creating are even richer, probably rich enough to buy nuclear weapons. Osama bin Laden was funded partly by drug money.

Government's declaring drugs illegal doesn't mean people can't get them. It just creates a black market, where even nastier things happen. That's why I have come to think that although drug addiction is bad, the drug war is worse.
Many conservatives have been against the drug war, notably William F. Buckley, Jr. and economist Milton Friedman, who has long warned us that we're wasting our money in a futile attempt to eliminate a market through prohibition, and told us that we're missing out on $14 billion a year on potential tax revenues and law enforcement savings.

But what would your average red state denizen of Freepersborough think about such heresy?
The WOD can't be won. Even if you make drugs illegal doesn't mean people can't get them; it just makes things worse. As John Stossel notes, even if you think drug addiction is bad, the cure has has resulted in more crime, more terrorism and the existence of powerful criminal cartels that can do all kinds of things we don't want with illicit money. And our resources could better be spent on prevention and treatment programs than to lock people up for pursuing recreational fantasies with a couple of pills. Its called common sense.

I think the WOD was Reagan's biggest mistake. The price has been high in both blood and treasure with little if anything to show for it. One only has to look back at a little history to know what the result would be. Oh well...

Milton Friedman and others who think like him, called exactly how the drug war would turn out. More crime, more prisons, bigger government, less rights for individuals, and drugs as available as ever. The drug warriors remind of communists. They both imagine a utopian world, if just the state can intervene, with the ends justifying the means.. and oh yes they won't screw up like the last communists did.

Nixon was more successful than any president after him in battling illegal narcotics. In Turkey he created a model program to persuade poppy farmers to grow alternative crops. He developed a massive anti-drug education program aimed at elementary school age children. He founded the DEA. He funded drug and alcohol treatment facilities. The difference between the Nixon era drug war and today's drug war is that the Nixon Administration spent 25 cents of each WOD dollar on enforcement/interdiction and 75 cents on education and treatment. Today 75 cents goes to enforcement/interdiction and 25 cents goes to treatment/education.

Here's what I don't get: everyone I know- liberal or conservative- thinks the War on Drugs is a disaster, a waste of time, and a horrible idea that must be put to an end. It's probably the one issue everyone agrees on. My question is this: who are the people that are actually supporting this nonsense? There has to be a pretty sizable group out there somewhere, or else this money wouldn't be wasted every year. From what I can see, most people want this fake war ended.

:If we did not have this drug war going on, we could spend more time going after robbers and rapists and burglars and murderers. This has always been my take. In London we had a operation called Operation Bumble Bee targeting career burglars withing a few months we had cut break ins by 10% and the figure was going down. Then a newspaper the Evening Standard ran a series of stories about dealers in Soho. The offshoot was that resources were diverted from BumbleBee and put to use tackling the dealers. After a man hour intensive five month operation they busted a gang of dealers many were arrested an jailed, withing a week new dealers had taken over. As a by-product house break-ins rose again.

I think most people are still brainwashed by the government on this matter. Second, there are hundreds of thousands of government workers whose career depends on the War on Drugs. Notwithstanding the utter moral imperative to end the war, the government is "addicted" to the War to keep their parasite class employed. Remember, it came out after 911 that many FBI staffs around the country were mostly dedicated to the WOD, not terrorism. It would take a strong visionary leader to end this insane drug war.

The shame is that most people who have drug problems have serious emotional problems that need compassion, not incarceration, to help solve. The Drug Warriors like to imply the drugs cause the problem these people have, when it is their sad state that causes them to fall into the drug dependency. We would have a much more civil society if we treated them with compassion instead of police state actions.
... and just paging through the many many comments, it seemed about 2-to-1 against the drug war. There were a few crazed Freepers out there, though:
When this country enforced draconian drug laws ON USERS there wasn't a problem. When middle class parents wailed about junior's 20 year sentence for a joint, those laws changed. They don't have a problem in Singapore. Guess why?

But legalistic and economic reasons aside, one of the reasons I was drawn to conservatism as a political philosophy is because of its clarity of moral purpose. Legalizing drugs is another step on the road to cultural acceptance and affirmation. Look at gambling: the same murderous rats who ran the casinos in Vegas are running the casinos now, only nationwide. Gambling is accepted, even celebrated, with its grubby, loathsome philosophy permeating everything from the Internet to the local 7-11, teaching children that the one thing infinitely better than hard work and study is the luck of the draw. After drugs, I suppose prostitution is next. After all, we're talking 'victimless' crimes, right? And prostitutes aren't really prostitutes: they're 'sex workers', and their johns are 'participants in the sex industry', consumers. That is the logic, correct?

And all those drug buyers and sellers would be model citizens if only the evil government wouldn't ruin their fun by banning drugs. Anybody who would steal to get mind- and body-destroying drugs, and anybody who would buy a gun and form a gang to sell them, is either evil or stupid. Chances are they'd end up criminals anyway.

Stossel is wrong on this issue. People who are intent on destroying themselves need to be locked up. Treatment only for those who want it and show a commitment to it. We aren't responsible for making sure everyone makes the right choices in life, but we are responsible for removing those people from civilized society. The public health problems created by "recreational" users is incredibly damaging.
Most of the anti-Stossel responses on Free Republic followed that general theme, i.e., all drug use is abuse destined to wreck society, and all drug users are immoral cretins with no impulse control and criminal tendencies.

Still, I think the conservatives will end the drug war and I'd love to have liberals prove me wrong and do it first. But I don't get my hopes up, after decades of spending and an entrenched economy of prisons, crime, gangs, pharmaceuticals, drug testing, politics, and so much more that depends on the continued prohibition of drugs, it's hard to see an end in sight. I can't really believe Democrats will do anything about it; they're willing to just ignore stolen elections, torture, gay rights, outright fraud and lying, war on false pretenses, and a lawbreaking president. They're really not likely to jump up and say, "let's decriminalize drugs!" The hope I hold for the Republicans is their natural greed, belief in individual liberty, and dislike of government intrusion.

One potential end: we continue to be wrapped up in wars in the Middle East and our economy takes a dump when foreign governments start calling in their debts. As our country goes broke trying to fight wars in Asia (just like we taught Osama bin Laden to use against the Soviets), we'll be desperately trying to raise funds, and the temptation to tax drugs and save law enforcement money and manpower will be too great to ignore.

On the other hand, maybe in order to continue feeding these wars in Asia, we scapegoat the drug users even more, and enact mandatory minimums that send drug users to the military. That'll be an easy sell, won't it? Punish the druggies and make 'em go through boot camp to learn discipline -- oh, and we get to shave their hippie heads! -- and make 'em go shoot an insurgent to help spread democracy. Damn, that's almost a GOP campaign commercial!

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Dan Curtis, TV producer, dies at 78

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

He wasn't a household name, but if you watched TV in the 70s and 80s, you saw Dan Curtis's work:

* Dark Shadows (soap)
* The Night Stalker/The Night Strangler (the movies, not the TV series)
* The Winds of War and War and Remembrance (miniseries)

As Blender Donica noted in the comments of another thread, "if you are of a certain age, you would certainly remember the frightening 1975 made for TV movie Trilogy of Terror, featuring a campy Karen Black and that horrifying devil doll."



Oh yes I did. That was one of my favorites, with the "Zuni fetish" devil doll segment of the film the most memorable, lololol. I need to get that movie on my Amazon wish list...


Thanks for sharing the love, Scalia


He's ready to roll back Lawrence v. Texas and doesn't mind saying it. (365gay):
A tape of a speech given earlier this month by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has drawn the ire of LGBT civil rights activists who worry the landmark high court ruling on sodomy could be revisited.

Scalia rarely speaks to the media and seldom allows the press into speeches he gives but a recording of a March 8 address at the University of Freiberg in Switzerland was obtained by CNN.

..."Question comes up: is there a constitutional right to homosexual conduct? Not a hard question for me. It's absolutely clear that nobody ever thought when the Bill of Rights was adopted that it gave a right to homosexual conduct. Homosexual conduct was criminal for 200 years in every state. Easy question."

"The court has taken sides in the culture war," Scalia said, adding that he has "nothing against homosexuals."
Do you think he sodomizes his wife? Just asking.

Actually, he let us know that muffin' buffin/yankee-ing the doodle makes the hit list as well (and certainly he doesn't engage in that activity, right?). On the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court ruling, the master of his domain said:
"State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers' validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today's decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding."


Peter LaBarbera's trolling for scat talk



[Welcome Crooks & Liars readers, you're about to enter a zone of fundie obsession with sex acts...]

Man, oh man...after he wrote me a letter to chastise me for making fun of his excursions to leather clubs to do undercover work for Jeezus, Illinois Family Institute's Peter LaBarbera just lets it all hang out in an article on Salon (registration required) by Michelle Goldberg, "Sinners in the hands of an angry GOP." It's an inside look at the goings-on at the War on Christians and the Values Voters conference.

Because Petey's efforts to demonize the entire gay community are failing miserably (the Gay Games are going on in Chicago with Walgreen's sponsorship; his marriage amendment initiative can't get the signatures it needs) he must now escalate the homo-hate wars with a little spice -- by trolling on gay boards for research on how to scare youth away from the gay agenda.
Perhaps worrying that anti-gay rhetoric hasn't been sufficiently inflammatory lately, some speakers urged listeners to start using more scatological and stigmatizing language. Peter LaBarbera, who heads the Illinois Family Institute and is known for his obsession with gay men's most outré sexual practices, told the audience, "My greatest frustration has been our side's inability to make homosexual behavior an issue in the public's mind." In order to inspire the kind of revulsion he wants to see more of, he read from a posting on a gay message board: "Hey guys, I know this is kind of gross and all, but I was wondering if I'm the only one. I'm usually the bottom in my relationship with my boyfriend. After having been the receptive partner in anal sex it's only a few hours before I start to experience diarrhea ... it really stinks, because I really like sex, duh, but it takes the fun out of it when I know I'll be tied to the bathroom for the next day."

"I don't think so-called GLBT teens are told anything like this" by their school counselors, LaBarbera said. "We need to find ways to bring shame back to those who are practicing and advocating homosexual behavior."
Now, I'm a homo and I don't spend days and nights thinking about someone else's sexual proclivities and activities. Peter LaBarbera makes a career out doing this, and asks his "Christian" following to give him money so he can continue to do his research. How sick is that?

***

Rod Parsley strokes his pole on stage at the same conference

The rest of the Salon article is full of the bullsh*t from that "Values Voter/War on Christians" conference that Petey attended, and there's a section containing what can only be described as an unhinged orgasmic experience for Talibangelist Rod Parsley (pastor of the World Harvest Church, and head of Reformation Ohio) as he addressed the crowd of bible beaters.
When he speaks and shouts, his words building to alliterative climaxes as his arms wave in the air, sparks seem to fly off him.


"A spiritual invasion is taking place," Parsley roared to the packed banquet hall on Tuesday morning, drawing out the "a" in invasion. "The secular media never likes it when I say this, so let me say it twice. Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons!" He paused to take a preemptive jab at his critics, his voice going soft and scolding: "They say, 'his rhetoric is so inciting.'" Then he nearly screamed, "I came to incite a riot! Man your battle stations! Ready your weapons! Lock and load!"

Parsley preached for a half hour, dabbing at his sweating face with a navy blue handkerchief as his excitement grew. Near the end, he promised, "A great and noble and righteous nation can resurrect itself out of the smoldering ash heap of moral decline that we find ourselves in today."
Read the rest of this article. It really captures the desperation of these religious extremists as they suddenly realize their influence with the public is in a death spiral, and they are desperate to cling on to their Washington bed buddies.

Hat tip to Blender Scott of Reality Cubed, who said "I know you have a soft spot for good old Pete, apparently he's cruising gay message boards now."

More fresh Blend here.

Here are more Blend posts about Peter LaBarbera and his "investigations" on gay sex, leather conferences and the like.


Back to the drawing board, Ken

Editor and Publisher: Gallup: In Shift, More Americans Now Call Themselves Democrats.

All that GOP outreach...do you hear a giant flushing sound?

"Hetero" dancin' man and RNC head Ken Mehlman's got to be crying into his embroidered hanky right about now.

After Dear Leader's incompetence during Katrina washed away the black votes you were trying to shave off, and Congress is working hard to decimate your master plan to build a permanent Republican Latino base, maybe you should just chill, go on a bender, cut loose, and dance under the disco ball for a while to forget your troubles...maybe you'll even "get lucky" one night.



Iraq's so f*cked up that you're losing the independent vote at this point, so party hard, dude.


It's comical at this point

Read this headline and just shake your head: Bush blames Iraq's instability on Hussein.

Yeah, the guy in custody, sitting in that sham of a trial, is the one fomenting violence out there, and has the country all FUBAR. He did it.

At this point it's like juvenile Dear Leader, caught with his hand in the cookie jar, pointing to Jeb sitting over at the table and saying "he did it, mom."


Ah, leadership. Thank you sheeple.

Ah, I see Waveflux at Shakes Sis bites on this one, The "It's Clinton's fault" defense.


Newsflash: fundies are f*cking before marriage

"The young people are receiving the data, but they're not translating it into values that result in a lifestyle of purity and holiness."
-- Byron Weathersbee, interim chaplain at Baylor University, on the abundant sexual behavior of young Christians before marriage
Gee, did you think that any light bulbs came on in the cobweb-laden brains of the Dobsons, Falwells and Wildmons of the movement?

Abstinence education and purity pledges aren't doing jacksh*t for many of these fundies -- Baptist couples are boinking before tying the knot according to a Baylor study.

Any bets on how many of these couples actually used contraception when they did the nasty? (AgapePress):
Byron Weathersbee, interim chaplain at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, conducted a study on the effects of sexual-purity pledges and sex education on abstinence before marriage in a Christian context. Baylor is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

As part of his research, Weathersbee surveyed young married couples of less than five years in Texas Baptist churches to determine the impact churches made on their sexual behavior. The majority of the couples surveyed admitted to having sexual intercourse prior to marriage. However, the study was consistent with previous findings in its suggestion that Baptist couples were more likely to save sex for their wedding night if they took a formal abstinence pledge.
Here are some of the findings:
* 100 percent professed faith in Christ
* 99 percent attended church
* 84 percent grew up in church
* 87 percent grew up in a two-parent home
* 62 percent of males had premarital sex
* 65 percent of females had premarital sex

And to put the cherry on top, so to speak, only 27 percent of fundies surveyed managed to stay completely chaste, not engaging in intercourse or Clintonian "non-sex" acts.


Lunchtime laff-riot



I'm sure the Freepi will claim that the header "How alcohol works" was intentionally put up there by a CNN smartass, but it's too good to be true.

Blend flashback: You may have to remove the 'dry' from dry drunk

Hilarious hat tip, AmericaBlog.


Log Cabin DADT lawsuit gets booted by judge over anonymity

This is what happens when you support the closet.

PageOneQ reports that a lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell was tossed out by a judge, not because the case has no merit, but because no plaintiff was named as a member of the LCR -- ostensibly because they haven't the cojones to be out of the closet, or perhaps, affiliated with the LCR. Who knows?
The United States District Court in the Ninth Circuit of central California has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) against the US Military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy PageOneQ has learned. The decision by LCR to not include the names of plaintiffs in the original suit resulted in the court ruling that the organization "lacks associational standing" to pursue the case. The Log Cabin organization has told PageOneQ they will re-file the case, meeting the decision’s requirements.

The court ordered the LCR to reveal the name of at least one of the plaintiffs if they want the case to proceed, and requires that the named plaintiff(s) be active members of the national Republican political organization. The ruling also requires the plaintiff to be a current or past member of the US Armed Forces who has been injured by the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. The court-imposed deadline for re-filing of the case is April 28.
Gee, those sound like reasonable requirements, don't they? The reason that LCR gives for withholding the names of its members who are the plaintiffs in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America and Donald Rumsfeld is because they fear it "subjects them to investigation and discharge."

Now you all know that the Servicemember's Legal Defense Network has been at the forefront of action to repeal DADT for years. In fact, the judges cited SLDN cases to refute LCR claims that anonymity is necessary for the case. Plantiffs in SLDN legal challenges to DADT have been named for a decade.

LCR, if you can't play with the big boys on this one, step aside for those who are willing to be out in this fight.

You can read the ruling here.

Wayne Besen also comments on this.


Tom DeLay's problem: he loved Christ too much

In my post on the goings-on at the unhinged "Values Voter/War on Christians" conference put on by Rick Scarborough of Vision America, I somehow missed this gem about ace-crapmaster of corruption, Tom DeLay.

Apparently Jack Abramoff's bed buddy's real sin was his faith in Christ in service to this great country simply turned everyone against him, not the rank corruption and power-play politicking. Can you believe this came out of a sane person's mouth? Scarborough on the sins of Bug Man:
"I believe the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ," Scarborough said, introducing DeLay on Tuesday. When DeLay finished, the host reminded the politician: "God always does his best work right after a crucifixion."
Spindentist at All Spin Zone:
I'm unable to write more just now, as I've got this image of Tom DeLay, “loving Christ too much,” in my head. And I can't shake the image. No, it's not a porn thing, and I'm not imagining DeLay fellating Jesus or anything, but more imagining him sitting at a bar and drowning his sorrows, slurring his words at the bartender and crying in his Shirley Temple. Yes, Jesus would have rejected Tom DeLay's advances.
***

UPDATE: It looks like Jack will have plenty of time to think about his own misdeeds, as he makes friends and influences big burly cellbuddies in the Big House.
Jack Abramoff, a disgraced lobbyist at the heart of a Washington influence-peddling scandal that has rattled top Republicans, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison on Wednesday for fraud in the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line.

Abramoff, who is cooperating in a federal investigation into whether Washington politicians gave his clients favorable treatment in exchange for campaign contributions, Super Bowl tickets and other illegal gifts, was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison.

Abramoff, along with co-defendant Adam Kidan, was ordered to pay $21.7 million in restitution. Kidan was also sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in a Miami federal court in January to conspiracy and wire fraud charges, acknowledging he faked documents to get a $60 million loan to buy the SunCruz fleet of gambling ships in 2000.


Washington state county adds gender identity to rights law

Progress, yet again, in King County. (Seattle Times):
Transgender individuals will now enjoy the same civil-rights protections as other minorities under legislation passed by the Metropolitan King County Council Monday.

The council added gender identity to laws already prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, sex, race and religion.

The legislation will protect transsexuals, transvestites and any other individuals with a gender identity that differs from their sex assigned at birth.

"It's going to make employers aware of discrimination," said supporter Smitty Petersen. "People generally don't do things if there are consequences."


Deliver us from this 'freedom'

The "ex-gay" fest Exodus Freedom Conference, is going to be held June 27-July 1 at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion. The meeting features a cavalcade of movement "stars" and guests. This year's theme is "Live Out Loud" -- and this is the message from conference honcho David Fountain, who's setting up Exodus as the victims of persecution that need to speak out. This is really getting tired.
It has also been eye-opening and disturbing to see regularly how Exodus is portrayed and attacked. It brings to reality Matthew 5:10 – 12, when Jesus preached, “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that, count yourself blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close to comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens, give cheer even, for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.”

... The bigger picture became more clear to me -- Christians and the Church at large are under attack. Even within the church there is confusion and compromise when it comes to homosexuality. Satan will stop at nothing to silence us from sharing God’s truth. We all carry redemptive stories that is proof of God’s existence; stories that prove that Jesus is alive and through His Holy Spirit still saving and healing people. But we believe a message that is unpopular, even hated. He allows us to share in His own suffering.
Slated to appear...


Alan Chambers will share his journey out of homosexuality with attendees; Membership Director for Exodus International, Randy Thomas, "who communicates the hope of transformation to those struggling with unwanted same sex attractions"; and "award-winning talk show host, recording artist and pastor" on "sexual brokenness" Sy Rogers who will help folks out with inspiring speeches of praying the gay away.
Join us at the Exodus Freedom Conference as we impact lives through biblical training and education, and LIVE OUT LOUD, by proclaiming freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ.

For this life-changing week, more than 1000 men and women will come together for worship, celebration, and encouragement. The conference provides help to those who personally struggle with homosexuality, and those who have a loved one who identifies as gay. We also provide training to those ministering in the area of homosexuality, and education for all who wish to learn more about this important topic.
A new feature this time around for Exodus is a special interest group just for ministering to men. Get out the disco ball, guys, it's time to party.
This year, we will be adding an Oasis group for Men. These groups meet every night after the Evening General Session in various locations on campus. The only exception is the Parent’s Oasis Group that will meet from 4:00pm to 5:30pm. This is a time to relax, reflect, be ministered to, and connect with other delegates for some fun and fellowship.
Yes, my friends, I'm sure there will be plenty of fellowship and freedom from homosexuality at Oasis.

The icing on the cake is that Exodus has invited loudmouth homobigot and the subject of numerous posts on the Blend, Ken Hutcherson.


Hutcherson photo art via Mike Tidmus.

This dunce tried to orchestrate a boycott of Microsoft to punish it for backing the addition of "sexual orientation" to Washington state's anti-discrimination law, even proposing a silly stock buy and dump scheme to do so.

Paston Ken's also the author of a scintillating piece of work, The Safety of Natural Order, Same-Sex "Marriage" is an Injustice to Children and founder of MayDay for Marriage. Here's that organization's statement of belief:
We believe God, not man, created marriage.

We believe marriage was the first institution designed by God. We believe the Bible teaches that the covenant of marriage is sacred and life long.

The Bible makes it clear that marriage is a legally binding public declaration of commitment and a private consummation between one man and one woman, never between the same sex.

Therefore, we believe God gives a wife to a husband and a husband to a wife, and they are to receive one another as God's unique and personal provision to help meet their mutual needs.


Pandagon is up



Pandagon is up on the new host, but it seems to be loading slowly for me. Drop by and show Amanda some love.


Call him Sir Tom



Singer Tom Jones Is Knighted. But did the Queen throw her knickers at him?


Memo to Ken: Congress better not buck Bush

RNC memo to our dancin' man Ken, via Hotline, putting out the word that members of Congress up for election better not slam Dear Leader to gain needed votes. Oh, what a feeling!

To: Ken Mehlman
From: Jan van Lohuizen
Date: March 3, 2006
Re: Bush -- Congressional Republicans

...Most members will be elected with between 80% and 100% of their support coming from Republicans. I don't see that Republicans driving a wedge between themselves and the President is a good election strategy.

...The President is seen universally as the face of the Republican Party. We are now brand W. Republicans. The following chart shows the extremely close correlation between the President’s image and overall ratings of the party.

President Bush drives our image and will do so until we have real national front-runners for the '08 nomination. Attacking the President is counter productive for all Republicans, not just the candidates launching the attacks. If he drops, we all drop.
Folks, brand W is going down like a mafia squealer with cement shoes on in the Hudson River. If you want to join Dear Leader and don a pair to sink with him, please, go right ahead. You've hitched a ride with the War President on the way up in the polls, and now you can endure the downward spiral of broken "conservative" promises, lying, criminal behavior and power-grabbing of the executive branch along with your man. What's not to love?


The national debt clock will break under Dear Leader



The national debt clock in New York, shows the total US government debt (top) and the calculated amount per family. The clock does not have enough digits to show the debt when it reaches the ten trillion dollar mark, which is expected in the next couple of years. Mon Mar 27, 8:58 AM ET. (AFP/File/Stan Honda)


Debt clock pic taken around 4:30 PM on Thursday, June 30, 2005 -- when Kate and I were last in NYC.

By the way, Kate and I will be up in NY next week (Wed-Sun).


Cross Sharon Stone off my list

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"I think Hillary Clinton is fantastic, but I think it is too soon for her to run (for president)...Hillary still has sexual power, and I don't think people will accept that. It's too threatening."
-- actress Sharon Stone, clearly in some altered mind-state, on sHillary.
One adjective I would not use to describe the former first lady and faux-Dem Senator from NY is sexy. Not that there's anything wrong a politician projecting with a healthy dose of sex appeal. It's just not there in this case.

No, sHillary's problem, Sharon, is that she is a craven politician who is willing to abandon any and all core values if it will garner a few precious winger votes and acquire some fantasy "values voters" cred. She's the poster child for Dems interested in their own political ascendancy, pols who have every intention of tossing gays under the bus each and every time because they don't have a spine to discuss and reframe the issue -- and take it away from the Rethugs. She isn't fooling anyone and she can't win.

Compare and contrast with...

"I find Hillary to be a great disappointment. She's lost her progressive following because of her caution and centrist approach. It bothered me when she voted for the war. There were brave people who didn't. She's not worse than other politicians, but I hoped she would be better. What America is looking for is authentic people who want to go into public service because they strongly believe in something, not people who are [just] trying to get elected."
-- Susan Sarandon
Also:
* Fallout from leaked Empire State Pride Agenda memo
* What is wrong with Americans?
* The sHillary backlash continues
* Molly Ivins has had enough of the D.C. Dems too


The War on Christians and the Values Voters conference

The looniest of the fringe right met yesterday and today in D.C. to obsess about fetuses and homos in preparation for the 2006 elections.

Vision America's The War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006 conference featured an all-star cast of the bible-beating, religious right-fawning set. My earlier post on this, Extreme fringe winger intel, has more on the organizer, Rick Scarborough.

Some of the folks attending:

Senator Sam Brownback, Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Tom DeLay, Gary Bauer, Alan Keyes, Phyllis Schlafly, Janet Parshall, Janet Folger, William Greene, Ron Luce and Rod Parsley. Here are some choice quotes from folks you may recognize who bleated away at the conference.
Defending the family is a key goal of the so-called "values voters." The traditional or natural family is one of the targets of the political Left, said Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute. He said he was proud to share the stage with "heroes in the fight for normalcy."


Peter Sprigg, the Family Research Council's vice president for policy, noted that the family "is not merely a social construct subject to infinite redefinition. "We believe what makes a family is one man and one woman uniting in marriage for a lifetime and bearing children from that union," Sprigg stated. "We are against anything that threatens the traditional family or undermines that idea," including pre-marital sex, pornography, adultery and prostitution. "And yes, we are also against the practice of homosexuality," he added.

Sprigg said Christians do not hate homosexuals. "On the contrary, we desire the best for them. However, we believe engaging in behavior that is unnatural, immoral and dangerous to the public health and their own health is not the best thing for people with same-sex attractions." He noted that the FRC and similar organizations also oppose the "gay agenda," which "demands full acceptance of the practice of homosexuality -- morally, socially, legally, religiously, politically and financially. "Indeed, it calls for not only acceptance, but affirmation and celebration of this behavior as normal and even desirable," Sprigg said.


The Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman and founder of Traditional Values Coalition, stated that the "gay agenda" would come to a quick end if Americans rose up in numbers against it. However, "Christians are nice guys, and nice guys finish last," he added.


LaBarbera agreed with Sheldon's analysis. "By simply saying we oppose the sin and not the sinner, we leave the playing field to homosexual activists and their euphemistic talking points, which are 'discrimination,' 'equality' and that poor euphemism, 'sexual orientation,'" he said.

...While most speakers said they prefer using the word "homosexual" instead of "gay," Sheldon said he usually sticks with the term's original meaning: "sodomite."
One of the interesting things unveiled at the conference is the Values Voters' Contract with Congress, an unhinged document that I am presenting to you here (and this is the SHORT version) for commentary, jaw-dropping and all-around ripping up. It's an amazing piece of batsh*ttery.
We are citizens of the United States of America and subjects of the sovereign Creator, acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence as the Supreme Ruler and Judge of the World. We strongly affirm our allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and are moved by our faith in God to join together now to defend government of, by, and for the people against the greatest assault it has ever faced: the destruction of our Constitutionally-mandated republican form of government by judges who legislate from the bench and, thereby, subvert our liberty and our entire way of life.

In defense of our national principles, our Constitution of self-government, our decent character, and our shared national identity, we the undersigned citizens of the United States come together in support of actions we hereby agree to be right and necessary for the common good of all.

We therefore seek the following:
1. TO AFFIRM the national relationship with God in our places of worship, schools, mottos, and public spaces, we call for the passage of -

* The Pledge Protection Act to prohibit activist judges from taking "under God" out of the Pledge (H.R. 2389, S.1046);
* The Constitution Restoration Act to prohibit activist judges from ruling against acknowledgments of God (H.R. 1070, S.520);
* The Public Expression of Religion Act to prohibit activist judges from ordering taxpayers to pay lawyers who seek to erode our national relationship with God (H.R. 2679); and
* The Workplace Religious Freedom Act to promote religious accommodation in employment (H.R. 1445, S. 677).

2. TO SECURE our national interest in the institutions of marriage and family, we call for the passage of -

* A constitutional amendment to completely protect the institution of marriage; and
* The Marriage Protection Act to prohibit activist judges from forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage (H.R. 1100).

3. TO SECURE our fundamental right as parents to the care, custody, and control of our children, we call for the passage of -

* Legislation to codify the principles set forth on Nov. 16, 2005, in House Resolution 547 which would protect parental rights;
* The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act to prohibit the transportation of minors against parental rights (H.R.748);
* The Parental Consent Act to prohibit the use of federal funds for any universal or mandatory mental health screening (H.R. 181);
* The Child Medication Safety Act, to protect children from being coerced into taking drugs in order to attend school (H.R. 1790);
* Legislation that empowers parents to choose schools for their families that share their value choices, as well as ensures families are not forced to pay twice for their educational choices; and
* We call for enforcement of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), which prohibits schools from using privacy invading surveys or evaluations without prior written parental consent (20 U.S.C. 1232h).

4. TO SECURE our God-bestowed right to life, we call for the passage of -

* Legislation to affirm the right to life of our children before birth;
* The Human Cloning Protection Act to prohibit human cloning (S.658, H.R. 1357);
* Legislation that protects life by prohibiting the use of human embryos for research;
* The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act to raise awareness of the pain experienced by children before birth (S.51, H.R. 356); and
* Legislation to prohibit any taxpayers' money for organizations that perform, promote, and/or fund abortions.

5. TO SECURE our God-granted liberties, we call for the passage of -

* Legislation to reverse the loss of religious liberty for churches concerning their involvement in moral and social issues;
* Legislation to ensure that speech and lawful religious expression are never punished as a "hate crime";
* An amendment to the Higher Education Act to guarantee First Amendment rights of worship, speech, and association to students and employees as a condition of federal grants and student assistance;
* Legislation to complete the incarceration process through prisoner re-entry training and child mentoring; and
* Legislation or policies that call for continued rejection of the anti-family and deceptively-named "U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)."

6. TO SECURE our God-given stewardship of property, we call for the passage of -

* Legislation affirming that government may not redefine "public use" to take the private property of one person to give to another.

7. TO SECURE an environment of decency that is free from pornography and obscenity, we call for the passage of -

* Legislation to restrict obscenity and pornography, and guard against its mis-stated protection under the First Amendment.

8. TO SECURE just taxes, and end immorally destructive taxation, we call for the passage of -

* Legislation to fundamentally reform the national tax system and reduce the tax burden on Americans; and
* Legislation to make permanent Marriage Penalty Relief and the Child Tax Credit.

9. TO SECURE our national borders and identity, we call for the passage of -

* True Enforcement and Border Security; and
* Legislation to prohibit, in cases of constitutional interpretation, the use of foreign law as authority.

10. Judges who legislate from the bench subvert our republican form of government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and threaten all these legislative aims.

THEREFORE, WE URGENTLY CALL FOR Judicial Restraint, and an end to Judicial Activism.

* We call for the passage of the Judicial Conduct Act to hold federal judges accountable to the Constitution.

Above every consideration of selfish passion, ambition, or interest, we hold to the ultimate intention of our Constitution: to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. For this purpose, and in support of the beliefs and actions we have herein declared, we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our faithfulness, so help us God.
Man, these folks are overreaching. If they think this is going to go over like the Contract With America, they are sorely mistaken. This document reeks of extremism and a tenuous grasp on reality.

And remember. these are the kinds of people folks like tools John McCain and Mitt Romney are trying to suck up to for '08. Please, let them have to answer questions about whether they endorse the Values Voters' Contract with Congress.


AP lifts reporting from Raw Story

This should piss you off. The AP doesn't consider Raw Story, a great news source which does original reporting and investigative journalism a news outlet.

It's a blog, the AP powers that be say, and the AP feels it's ethical to lift all the work, in this case reporting by John Byrne and Larisa Alexandrovna, and republish it without crediting Raw.

The Raw article in question is U.S. quietly tightens access to classified information.

Katherine Shrader's AP article is entitled Security Clearance Rules May Impede Gays.

Go read the piece and the bullsh*t excuses AP gives for not crediting Raw Story.


'Bushit' bumper sticker gets woman $100 fine in GA



Sigh. This is nuts. Is it the "Bush" or the "it" that's the problem, or the "Bu" and the "shit", officer? Round up the bumf*ck beat cops/highway police who don't have anything better to do. (Atlanta Journal Constitution, via Raw Story):
[Denise Grier] pulled over on Chamblee-Tucker Road, unaware of her infraction.

"The officer asked if I knew I had a lewd decal on my car and I thought, 'Oh gosh, what did my kids put on my car?' "

As it turns out, the decal was an anti-Bush bumper sticker Grier slapped on her 2001 Chrysler Sebring last summer. The bumper sticker — "I'm Tired Of All The BUSH—" — contains an expletive.

The officer "said DeKalb had an ordinance about lewd decals and wrote me a ticket" for $100, said Grier, an oncology nurse at Emory University Hospital who lives in Athens.

"This is all about free speech," Grier said in a telephone interview Monday. "The officer pulled me over because he didn't agree with my politics. That's what this is about, not whether I support Bush, not because of the war in Iraq, but about my right to free speech."


Grow the damn corn for fuel



With gas prices heading skyward again and troops dying to protect access to a steady supply of oil for our SUV-driving nation, where is the real plan to reduce our consumption of it?

The other day I was watching CNN, and saw a clip from a segment of Powering the planet by Frank Sesno, a look at the dependency of the U.S. on a resource that guides our economic and foreign policy in ways the average consumer who tanks up never thinks about.
This was, to be honest, simply a different kind of journalism. I've never done anything quite like it. It was time travel, globe-trekking and fact-checking all rolled into one. It was about oil and our addiction to it, how we keep it flowing and what happens if the supply is interrupted. At every turn, I discovered something new and saw the complexity and the global nature of it all.

...Are there alternatives? Yes, and I saw one of them in the most surprising place I visited: Brazil, where sugar cane covers millions of acres. "A green ocean" was how my Brazilian host described it. About half of it becomes sugar. The other half becomes ethanol for cars and trucks. "Alcool" was sold at every gas station I saw. It is cheaper than gasoline and when you fill the tank, it smells like molasses.

The real eye-opener: The car I drove, a made-in-Brazil Chevrolet, was a 'flex fuel' vehicle that can run on either gasoline or ethanol. Three quarters of the cars sold in Brazil are now flex fuel vehicles.

And an astounding 40 percent of the transportation fuel used in Brazil is ethanol. Brazilians say within the next year, they won't need to import a drop of oil. Independence. One official who was in on the ethanol program in its earliest days 30 years ago smiled impishly and told me, "We won."

In the U.S., ethanol represents only 3 percent of the fuel we burn.
Someone who knows more about this please explain to me -- why can't we do this? We have millions of acres of land that could be used to grow corn, which can also be used to produce ethanol. What is the problem, aside from the obvious one -- Big Oil has the most to lose, and thus any change in the current source of fuel will happen at a glacier's pace -- if at all -- because of the political power that lobby has.

Talk about an easy way to support farming, reduce time, money and the lives of troops worrying about power plays, terrorism and creating political chaos in the oil states of the Middle East.

It's another example of our elected leadership continuing to fail us over and over as they whore themselves out to the lobbyists instead of acting in the best interests of the country. Crap, it's the sheeple's fault as well, putting oil men in the damn White House.

Some facts about ethanol:
* Ethanol is a renewable, environment-friendly oxygenate prepared from corn that biodegrades quickly in water.

* The Southwest Research Institute determined that a new blend of ethanol and diesel fuel can reduce particulate matter emissions by as much as 41%, nitrogen oxides by as much as 5% and carbon monoxide by 27%.

* Ethanol reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 22% more than any other transportation fuel.

* Ethanol fuels reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming by approximately 40%.

* Ethanol enhances engine performance by increasing octane and raising oxygen levels, cleaning and preventing engine deposits, and acting as a gas-line antifreeze.
Hat tip, Susan.


A dilemma for the 'pro-life' crowd...

Since every human life is precious to the bible-beaters -- no exceptions allowed -- how do they weigh in on a case like this? From the South African news site IOL:
In a rare operation, Pakistani doctors on Tuesday removed two foetuses, one of them fully grown, from the abdomen of a 45-day-old baby.

The infant, Nazia, was brought to Pakistan's Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad with a swollen abdomen four days ago by her parents who are poor labourers from the Swat district in the North-Western Frontier Province (NWFP).

"Such cases in medical history are very rare," Dr Muqqadar Shah, one of the surgeons who performed the surgery, told Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa).

The doctors carried out the surgery after X-ray and ultrasound tests showed abnormal growth in the abdomen.
***

Almost as if on cue, Jan LaRue of Concerned Women of America makes her case that every life is precious...

A spokesperson for Concerned Women for America says more and more pro-lifers are rejecting the past ideas of "abortion exceptions" when it comes to incest and rape. CWA's Jan LaRue says she is glad to see this new attitude among defenders of the unborn. LaRue says pregnancies resulting from incest and rape always produce two victims -- the mother and her unborn child -- because in the past, pro-lifers have been willing to go along with an abortion in those instances. "But when you think long and hard about it, you recognize that we can never, never allow killing under the pretext of curing," says the organization's chief counsel.

The change in attitude is important, she says, because "this is a human being. It's just a matter of age, development, and ability," says LaRue. "We would [never] think of allowing a rape victim who gave birth, and then had a flashback to the rape, to consider killing a three-year-old child." Likewise, she says, "we shouldn't think of allowing her to kill a child of three months gestation either." LaRue is excited about the change in attitude among pro-lifers. She believes it is part of a turnaround in the nation that may on day set the stage to bring an end to Roe v. Wade.



Hat tip, Paul.


McCain to Rev. Tinkywinky: I support a federal marriage amendment


Enough of this f*cking tool. He voted against a marriage amendment in 2004, saying this:
"The constitutional amendment [banning same-sex marriage] we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans. It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them."


Guess that core was rotten. Now he's not only humping Dear Leader, he's rubbing hard on the leg of Rev. Falwell and the AmTaliban as well, telling him that he's ready to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment, which is coming up in June. (News and Advance):
Falwell said McCain’s appearance at LU’s graduation is another sign that McCain is wooing evangelical Christians.

He is in the process of healing the breech with evangelical groups,” Falwell said. Falwell said McCain has expressed a willingness to support a Federal Marriage Amendment, an issue dear to conservative Christians.

The amendment would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Christian conservatives, including Falwell, are concerned about efforts by homosexual groups to have civil unions between same-sex partners recognized as marriages. McCain previously has said the matter of defining marriage should be handled by state legislatures, but now concedes that a federal statute may be necessary, Falwell said.
I'm just sick of people talking about how moderate McCain is. He's the sHillary of the Republicans, willing to do anything to achieve and maintain power. Actually, he's worse. The man's a war hero and he's sh*t all that political capital away as a tool of GWB, the man who kicked him in the balls in SC in 2000, and keeps coming back for more.

As Michael Jensen at The Big Gay Picture notes:
So what changed between McCain's statement in 2004 and today? Why is there a sudden urgent need to amend the constitution to take away rights? Why is McCain outing himself as an utter hypocrite? It's because he believes he stands a real chance of being the next Republican presidential nominee. And as anyone who follows presidential politics knows by now, you don't get that nomination without first selling your soul to the religious right. McCain just sold his--and all he had to do was sacrifice our rights.
* McCain slips between the sheets with Falwell


Where's Pandagon?


I'm moving this back up, in case Pandagonians are surfing by...

UPDATE 3 (3/28, 4PM): We have a new host, but the server is not up yet. The link takes you to the new home, where there's a kick-ass message:
Your web host sucks. They all do. Site after site tried to shut us down, but they pissed off the wrong crackers. Pandagon and Hyperbolic Films have teamed up to smack the geeks of the world upside the head with punkasshost.com, a hosting service fueled by panda-like lazy insolence and obnoxiously embellished narratives. Feel the ground shaking? That's the host-tatorship trembling in fear. They know we're coming and no bandwidth restrictions in the world can stop us now.
UPDATE 2: "Pandagon's taking control of its own destiny and firing up a dedicated server for the panda nation. We expect to be up and running by Thursday morning. So take this week to reflect on how much you miss us and we'll be back in less than 48 hours."

UPDATE (3/28): Amanda's found a host -- HostGator -- and someone to go in on a dedicated server. She says that HG has been really helpful. A server will probably be set up this morning, an account in place and then the WordPress site will be migrated. No ETA yet, but we should be back up soon, with a Paypal button up for folks to send a little love for the mondo increased costs.


***

The back story...

Where is Pandagon? The answer is, I don't know. If you go over there, you'll see a message about the account being suspended (a more explanatory index page is now up). Amanda, the site admin, switched hosts over the weekend and all seemed well, but this AM, I went to post, and well, you can't get in.

11:45: Amanda emailed me that she's working on it; hopefully we'll get news on alternative plans or a fix soon.

2:45: Amanda -- "What I'm probably looking like doing now is redirect to the PowWeb site for now. That means the weekend stuff will be temporarily gone, but there will be a site for people to see."

She also said that the site may need to move to a dedicated server, since it sounds like use of bandwidth is a major problem.

Late this afternoon: Amanda's got a temp index page up to say the site is down.
Pandagon is temporarily down, due to the broken promises of our new (soon to be old) server host. After the Crack Pandagon Geek Squad sleeps off the despair-driven bender we went on, we'll be moving the site yet again. Please bear with us.


Bush may have started WWIII

haneye.gif
You know, I spout off a lot about the Iraquagmire and my critics will often point out "you've never been there" and "the media doesn't report the good news" and "you were a tuba player in a National Guard band; what do you really know about the military?" (Aside from the fact that, unlike our president, I fulfilled my National Guard enlistment, and unlike our vice president, I didn't avoid serving my country when I could.)

So let's get a look from someone with far more military and terrorism experience than I. From an interview with retired Command Sergeant Major Eric Haney, one of the founders of the US Army's Delta Force, the military's elite counter-terrorism unit:
Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?

A: Utter debacle. But it had to be from the very first. The reasons were wrong. The reasons of this administration for taking this nation to war were not what they stated. (Army Gen.) Tommy Franks was brow-beaten and ... pursued warfare that he knew strategically was wrong in the long term. That's why he retired immediately afterward. His own staff could tell him what was going to happen afterward.

We have fomented civil war in Iraq. We have probably fomented internecine war in the Muslim world between the Shias and the Sunnis, and I think Bush may well have started the third world war, all for their own personal policies.
Utter debacle? World War III? Gee, Sergeant Major, that's awfully harsh. Why don't you support the troops?
Q: What do you make of the torture debate? Cheney ...

A: (Interrupting) That's Cheney's pursuit. The only reason anyone tortures is because they like to do it. It's about vengeance, it's about revenge, or it's about cover-up. You don't gain intelligence that way. Everyone in the world knows that. It's worse than small-minded, and look what it does.

... It's an act of cowardice. I hear apologists for torture say, "Well, they do it to us." Which is a ludicrous argument. ... The Saddam Husseins of the world are not our teachers. Christ almighty, we wrote a Constitution saying what's legal and what we believed in. Now we're going to throw it away.
Sergeant Major, don't you realize that what you're saying gives aid and comfort to our enemies? Why do you support the terrorists, Sergeant Major? Why do you hate America?

[Traitorously cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Andy Card steps down



Dear Leader's chief of staff couldn't take it anymore.
White House chief of staff Andy Card has resigned and will be replaced by budget director Josh Bolten, an administration official said Tuesday.

President Bush was expected to announce the shake up during a meeting with reporters with reporters Tuesday morning in the Oval Office of the White House.

The move comes amid a sharp decline in Bush's approval ratings and calls from Republicans for the president to bring in new aides with fresh ideas and new energy.
Card will be immortalized in pictures like the one above as the man who, on 9/11, whispered in the President's ear that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. Card then had the pleasure of watching the leader of the free world sit there looking like a deer in the headlights, reaching over in his stupor to pick up and read The Pet Goat.


Anti-gay MN state senator bleats away at convention

Eva at Dump Michele Bachmann passed on the latest from Minnesota's answer to Colorado's Marilyn Musgrave. Bachmann has a homo-fixation so intense that it comes at the expense of adequately serving her district.

Recently, Michele was bleating her profound thoughts on homos (her speech: "The Effect of Same Sex Marriage on Education") at a Republican District Convention, put on by Edwatch. A partial transcript:
One of the reasons why I felt I was called to take up this issue, of bringing a constitutional amendment to the state of Minnesota before our people - I was the chief author in the senate - is because of the profound impact this would have on every man, every woman, every child in the state of Minnesota. Because everyone thought this would only impact the 1.3 percent of our population that is a same-sex individual.

And again, don't misunderstand. I am not here bashing people who are homosexuals, who are lesbians, who are bisexual, who are transgendered. We need to have profound compassion for the people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life, and sexual identity disorders. This is a very real issue. It's not funny, it's sad.

...Any of you who have members of your family that are in the lifestyle - we have a member of our family that is. This is not funny. It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay.


...It's profoundly sad to recognize that almost all, if not all, individuals who have gone into the lifestyle have been abused at one time in their life, either by a male or by a female. There's been profound hurt and profound things that have happened in almost all of their lives. And this gives us great compassion. So this is not about gay bashing. Do we understand that? This is not what this is about.

This new legal enforcement of a new status - homosexuality, lesbianism, bringing it into the mainstream, if you will, giving it a legitimacy if you will, that will impact not only the gay community, but every man, woman and child, particularly the schools. Because the first thing that will occur, once the legalization occurs, is that if this curriculum is not being taught already, it will be mandated, it must be taught in the schools. You cannot get out of it. Why? If you would not teach this, it would be considered discriminatory.
You can see Michele on video here. Eva also has coverage of a Minnesota Public Radio debate between Bachmann and openly gay state Senator Scott Dibble on the state's proposed marriage amendment. A transcript is over at Eleventh Avenue South.

***

Andy of Eleventh Avenue South also noted that infamous ex-gay sidekick of Michele Bachmann, Janet Boynes, had a booth at the recent bible beaters rally for a marriage amendment. The Minnesota Family Council featured a booth, as Andy aptly said, "promoting God's power to turn Janet Boynes from butch to breeder."



Also at the rally was a really witty winger with a new spin on "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."



Also:
* 'Ex-gay' Janet Boynes and Michele Bachmann
* Minnesota Poll Shows Marriage Amendment Would Fail (365gay.com)


Asheville minister resigns ordination over church's position on same-sex unions

Monday, March 27, 2006

Blender Ann in Asheville, NC keeps me up to date on the goings-on there, and today she emailed me some awesome news about another area minister who is standing up for same-sex unions. Rev. Howard Hanger was pastor at Jubilee! Community, a nondenominational church of about 500 people, and he chose to take a firm stand on principle. Ann:
Jubilee is a all welcoming and affirming church here in Asheville. Very large congregation. Even though the church is not technically "Methodist," the minister, Howard Hanger, is ordained under the United Methodist faith. And as a United Methodist minister, he is officially prohibited from performing homosexual union ceremonies. Howard is currently under investigation by the United Methodist Church for disobeying that prohibition. He officiated at the union blessing of Laurey Masterton and Christine Keff. The result of this violation could mean that the United Methodist Church will disavow Howard's ordination. He would no longer be a United Methodist minister.
This was covered in the Asheville Citizen-Times; Hanger joins Revs. Joe Hoffman and Mark Ward, who stopped performing all marriages to protest the state's prohibition of same-sex marriages, as ministers who are publicly putting themselves out there on the side of equality.

Let every bible-beating moralist take a look at Rev. Hanger's letter:


March 17, 2006

Committed Love

Dear Randy,

As a Minister of the Gospel you are well aware that ministers do not marry anyone. Can not marry anyone. Cannot "perform" a union blessing. What we do is to witness the marriage. Witness the love. We witness and are there as symbols of God's grace. When we officiate at a wedding ceremony, we walk the couple through their marriage. We do not marry them. They marry each other.

I did indeed witness that union as listed in the NY Times. I officiated, I walked them through it. I was gladly there as a representative of Christ's love. I was very clear to that couple (as I am very clear to every heterosexual couple) that I will not... cannot... marry them. Every couple I meet with - or have ever met with - know this up front.

That said, I must declare to you and to Bishop Kiesey and to anyone who cares to listen that I TRULY BELIEVE in committed love. I truly believe that as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (a man who said NOTHING about homosexuality and everything about love) we are called to affirm love WHEREVER we find it. And to offer love where it is not.

And, if given the choice of obeying my conscience and my call to God or obeying a blatantly biased and judgmental policy against the rights of God's children, then I will wholeheartedly choose the first.

Please forward this to the Bishop, if you will, and let me know if you still want me in your ranks. I will not participate in any church trial. We had enough of those in the Middle Ages.

In God's redeeming and forgiving love,
Howard Hanger

What a missive that was. The personal web site for Howard Hanger is here. And here's his email.


United Church of Christ's newest TV commercial rocks

The one thing you can say about the United Church of Christ is that it doesn't avoid controversy. The latest commercial, to launch on April 3, is just as challenging to the closed-minded bigoted houses of worship as the "bouncer" ads that ran in 2004. That ad was rejected by CBS and NBC, whose reps said said the ads were "controversial" and, therefore, amounted to "issue advocacy," something the networks have said they do not allow.

The spot, by the way, said nothing about gay marriage, and nothing specifically about gays at all -- it was about the UCC's tolerance and extravagant welcome to anyone that wishes to worship.

This time around, the ad pulls no punches, and it's managed to be rejected by CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and WB, claiming -- again -- it's a controversial, issue-advocacy ad. From UCC's release:
The 30-second commercial begins with a shot of an African- American mother trying to calm a crying baby. Sitting in a church pew, the mother fidgets anxiously, as she endures disapproving looks from fellow worshippers. Eventually, someone in the wings pushes an "ejector" button to rid the church of her - and her noisy baby. Into the air they go flying.


In similar fashion, a gay couple, an Arab-American, a person using a walker, among others, get "ejected." Finally, when a homeless person wanders in and takes a seat, nervous parishioners - expecting she'll get the boot for sure - scoot away from her.

The commercial ends with a mood shift, where shots of diverse, friendly people set the stage for the announcer's invitation: "The United Church of Christ - no matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here."


You can view the commercial here.

Hat tip on the screen shots, Good As You.


Some bloggers can cook too...



A gaggle of bloggers, including your Blend blogmistress, came together in the virtual world to contribute to the cookbook pictured above, And They Can Cook Too, which is now available at Lulu Press.

As you can see, it is a fundraising effort for Doctors Without Borders, put together and edited by the talented Ginger Mayerson and Kathy Flake.

I just received my copy and it's in a nice spiral binding for ease-of-use when you're blowing up the kitchen trying out recipes submitted by your favorite bloggers. including Guacamole Deviled Eggs from Elayne Riggs, Jalapeño Cornbread by Kathy of Birmingham Blues, Mors Grov Brod from the kitchen of Lindsay Beyerstein and Bolognese Sauce by Blogenfreude just to name a few.

What did I submit? House Blend Tarragon Chicken Salad, which tastes really good on a warm whole wheat pita.

You can purchase it at Lulu for $15.


Hostage's homosexuality kept under wraps


Freed Canadian hostage James Loney (front) rushes to greet friends as he is followed by his partner Dan Hunt (back), brother Matt, wearing glasses and sister-in-law Donna as he arrives at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada on Sunday March 26, 2006. (AP Photo/CP, Frank Gunn)

With the homo fatwa in place, why on earth would recently freed Christian peace activist James Loney have told his captors that he was queer? The sad truth is that his partner back in Canada was left out of the media pleas for his release, as he and Loney's family knew that if this bit of business got out, none of them would likely see James again.
he co-director of the Christian Peacemakers Teams says the family of freed Christian peace activist James Loney kept his sexual orientation quiet out of fear for his safety.

Doug Pritchard says the family feared Loney might come to harm at the hands of his Iraqi captors had they known he was gay. Pritchard says it likely wouldn't have helped if Loney's partner, Dan Hunt, had come forward with public pleas for his release.

Hunt made his first public appearance since Loney's ordeal began last November when he greeted his partner Sunday at the airport. Loney arrived in Toronto after he and two other peace activists were rescued by coalition soldiers in Iraq.

The 41-year-old Loney was kidnapped in Baghdad along with fellow Canadian Harmeet Sooden, Briton Norm Kember and American Tom Fox, whose bullet-ridden body was found earlier this month.


Mr. Bush, your pants are on fire.


George W. Bush answering Helen Thomas at a press conference last Tuesday (emphasis mine):
Q I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect -- Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true.
New York Times, today, reporting on a confidential leaked memo that the British press reported on months ago (emphasis mine):
In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.

But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.
And no one could've anticipated terrorists flying planes into buildings. And we'll rebuild New Orleans. And we'll get Osama bin Laden dead or alive. And Mission Accomplished. And we'll bring accountability and decorum back to the Oval Office. And we'll shrink the size of government. And when we're talking about wiretaps, why, that requires a court order.

Ladies, please, somebody, give this man a blowjob so we can impeach him already!

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ, or else the terrorists win]


AFA fire sale

Wayne Besen reports that failed "ex-gay" Michael Johnston's video "It's Not Gay" has reached the fire-sale price of $10 at the American Family Association web site. For some reason, it's not flying out of Don Wildmon's stockroom. From the video description:

It's Not Gay presents a story that few have heard, allowing former homosexuals the opportunity to tell their own story in their own words.

Along with medical and mental health experts, these individuals express a clear warning that the sanitized version of homosexuality being presented to students is not the whole truth.
BTW, the reason Johnston's a failed "ex-gay" is because after claiming in commercials that he "walked away from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ" he experienced a "moral fall" and had to fold his Newport News, Virginia-based Kerusso Ministries.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Class on the bench



Justice Scalia flips the finger in church. Nice touch of class -- he did it after attending a special mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Can't wait to see if the photo surfaces. (via Raw Story):
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by flipping a middle finger to his critics.

A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.

"You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."

The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper.

"Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said.
Bird boy also made a speech in which he dismissed the notion that detainees had any rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions.

Hat tip to Paul, who said "You wouldn't understand, it's a Republican thang... Must be their "message to America", so far we have Cheney, Bush and now Scalia."


Wingers gloat over "killing" Charlotte's Pride fest



The bigoted mayor of Charlotte, Patrick McCrory, was against last year's Pride, saying that it belonged in a hotel, and not where the public could see the festivities. McCrory also made headlines that year for snubbing a major HRC convention's request for a letter of welcome from the Queen City.

I know that Charlotte Pride has had financial and political difficulties to deal with, aside from the pressure from area bible beaters like Flip Benham, who has had his group Operation Save America picket Pride there in the past. Now Flip seems to be crowing that he's killed Charlotte Pride altogether for 2006.
"Charlotte Pride," that horrific abomination where homosexual perversion is paraded publicly in Marshall Park in Downtown Charlotte every spring, is finished! Thank God! - Rev Flip Benham, Operation Save America, formerly known as Operation Rescue.

No more open displays of obscenity with photos of males in full frontal nudity. No more vendor booths selling S&M merchandise. No more sound stage with transvestite dancers simulating sodomy with children. No more vile and threatening comments made toward children by homosexual comedians. Marshall Park will be free this year from the vile assaults of the homosexual community.


Operation Save America Director Rev. Philip L. (Flip) Benham baptizing Norma (Jane Roe) McCorvey.

We pray that God will push the radical homosexual agenda – not just back into the closet – but all the way into its lying, murderous grave, and leave no marker for it. We pray that what happened here will provide a bright ray of hope for gentle Christians who are battling the radical homosexual agenda and "Gay Pride Events," in their own cities. We pray that many who are lost in the bondage of homosexual lust and sin will be set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

How did this happen? Gentle Christians took the battle to the streets. For the past four years we have been bringing King Jesus to "Charlotte Pride," the very gates of hell! We have found that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ!

As the Church has come out of the closet, the homosexual community has returned to the closet. Light and darkness cannot coexist. Life and death are not compatible – the beginning of one is the end of the other. Christianity and homosexuality are sworn enemies – one brings life, the other brings death.
Flip and his stooges are planning a press conference the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth Street in the main chamber tonight at 6:30 PM bleating for "victory is claimed in the name of Jesus Christ!"

I hope there is a counter protest out there, gay Charlotte.

Remember, this is the same county with a district that keep sending wild-eyed, anally fixated bigot Bill James back to his county commission seat unopposed.

***

Now, the facts: there will not be a Pride celebration in Marshall Park, but there will be visibility and a celebration in Charlotte, and local gay publication QNotes has details on the tactics being used by OSA to try to get information on the event.

These wingers are sick people. Here's David Moore, QNotes editor:
After organizers of last year’s event bowed out on continuing production of the festival, Q-Notes came together with the Charlotte Gay and Lesbian Community Center to form a new event: PrideCharlotte.

Now under the direction of an organized task force run by co-chair and Center Director Laura Witkowski and Q-Notes Publisher and interim co-chair Jim Yarbrough, PrideCharlotte is putting together plans for a new and even better event.

And you better believe we’re already under the microscope from OSA founder Flip Benham and his minions.

Michael Brown, the director of an organization known as the “Coalition of Conscience” — the red shirts that invaded last year’s Pride — has been in direct contact with me, requesting “dialogue” on Charlotte Pride and wanting to know info about the upcoming event. Benham recently called Center Director and Pride Charlotte Co-Chair Laura Witkowski to see what details he could glean from her.

Do we look like we were born yesterday guys?

OSA landed on our previously peaceful turf a little over four years ago and immediately set their sights on Charlotte’s gay and lesbian community. They haven’t let up since. If recent developments are any indication — they’re still chomping at the bit to bring their warped interpretation of Christianity to Charlotte’s LGBT community.

Here at the Q-Notes office we’ve been deluged by callers insisting on anonymity, but requesting any and all information we have on the year’s Pride festival. Where will it be held? What’s the date? Where can we go to find out more details?

Fact of the matter is, none of those details have been confirmed as of yet. That information will be released as soon as all plans are in place.

Right now — there are a few things I can tell you.

Coming up at Charlotte’s Gay and Lesbian Center on May 6 — the originally scheduled date for this year’s Charlotte Pride — will be a Pride Block Party. A fundraiser for the upcoming PrideCharlotte festival, the day-long event will include speakers, musical performances, food vendors, a bazaar and a car and dog wash. For more details contact the Lesbian and Gay Center at 704-333-0144.

On May 26 the Wyndham Garden Hotel is hosting a formal cocktail reception, dinner and fashion show fundraiser — also for PrideCharlotte. Details about that event can be found at www.pridecharlotte.com.

As you can see — the spirit of LGBT Pride is alive and well in Charlotte. Word to OSA — and we know you’re reading — your actions have backfired. You woke up the wrong sleeping bear.
Hat tip, Adrian


Hypocrite


(AFP/File/Paul J. Richardson)

The man and his minions have spent years demonizing the "other" (gays, ethnic minorities, women who think their wombs actually belong to them) to roll in the votes of The Base, and now that it's blowing back them with this immigration "reform" effort, all of a sudden he calls for calm, reasoned thinking. Bullsh*t - it's all yours, Dear Leader. Substitute "marriage" for immigration in his quote. (AP):
"The immigration debate should be conducted in a civil and dignified way," the president said as the Senate prepared to tackle the hot-button election issue of what to do with the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants this week.

Bush used a naturalization ceremony for swearing in 30 new citizens from 20 countries and five continents to press his call for a "guest worker" program. The Senate Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, faced a midnight deadline for completing a bill.

"No one should play on people's fears or try to pit neighbors against each other," Bush said. "No one should pretend that immigrants are threats to America's identity because immigrants have shaped America's identity.


25K teen bible-beaters flock to San Francisco

Do you think anyone "inadvertently" got laid, or whether the sale of Jesus-head rings was brisk, to counter all of those teens that had the hormones flowing. (SFGate):
More than 25,000 evangelical Christian youth landed Friday in San Francisco for a two-day rally at AT&T Park against "the virtue terrorism" of popular culture, and they were greeted by an official city condemnation and a clutch of protesters who said their event amounted to a "fascist mega-pep rally."

"Battle Cry for a Generation" is led by a 44-year-old Concord native, Ron Luce, who wants "God's instruction book" to guide young people away from the corrupting influence of popular culture.

Luce, whose Teen Mania organization is based in Texas, kicked off a three-city "reverse rebellion" tour Friday night intended to counter a popular culture that he says glamorizes violence and sex. The $55 advance tickets for two days of musical performances and speeches were sold out, but walk-up admission was available for $199.
Shakes Sis has more.


More on the lesbian-baiting Penn State coach


Coach Portland must have been worried that Sapphic desires might be catching.

Penn State's basketball coach Rene Portland, who has an infamous "no lesbians" policy on her team is the focus of a good piece on homophobia and college sports in the Boston Globe today. Check it out.
Their legacy of pain began in 1982, when, Cindy Davies says, Penn State coach Maureen T. ''Rene" Portland threatened to expose her as a lesbian. The legacy endured as Portland in 1986 publicly espoused her opposition to coaching homosexuals and reaffirmed her stance in 1991, all the while allegedly engaging in a pattern of bias based on sexual orientation. And the legacy grows as Jennifer Harris pursues a federal discrimination claim that Portland cut her from the Penn State team last year in part because the coach considered her a lesbian.

As the women's basketball community converges on Boston this week for the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, the Portland case looms as a watershed chapter in a decades-long struggle to eradicate prejudice that has long festered in the sport against homosexual players and coaches. Numerous athletes and coaches said in interviews that nearly every facet of women's college basketball, from recruiting to hiring practices, has been affected by discrimination based on sexual orientation.


Tancredo, keep on flapping your gums


Beautiful. Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Republican congressman from Colorado, is on a death wish to destroy the GOP on the immigration issue. I hope he gets on all the chat shows and continues spewing crap like this, especially after the sight of 500,000 people marching in protest of the current "immigration reform" legislation the Rethugs are threatening to put in place. (MSNBC):
Tancredo may not be a household name yet, but he's doing everything he can to change that. As the House and Senate debate the nation's immigration and border-security laws, the four-term Coloradan has positioned himself as the loudest, angriest voice against the estimated 11 million illegal aliens now living in the United States. They are "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation," he says. He laments "the cult of multiculturalism," and worries about America's becoming a "Tower of Babel."

...Tancredo's anti-immigration campaign is also brazenly, almost gleefully, taking aim at George W. Bush and Karl Rove. The president had once hoped the immigration debate would center on his proposed guest-worker program, which would allow illegals—who fill millions of unskilled, low-wage jobs—to stay in the country for a set period of time...Rove pushed the pure political benefits of the plan: immigrant-friendly policies would help the party reach out to the fast-growing Latino vote.

Instead, the immigration debate has split the GOP, with many Republicans in the House and Senate, worried about alienating voters, openly opposing the president. In December, the House tossed aside the worker program and passed a bill that features tougher security at the Mexican border—including Tancredo's cherished fence—and crackdowns on illegals who are already here. "You can't ignore him," says a GOP leadership aide who wouldn't be named because he wanted to keep his job. "The administration doesn't want to hear this, but a lot of Americans think he's right."
Tancredo is so brazen about the support from The Base on the immigration issue that he intimates that if Congress doesn't address it to his liking that he will run for president in 2008 to force others in the race just to keep the issue in the forefront.

That's got to make Karl and Kenny Mehlman feel queasy.

Also:
* 500,000 march in L.A. over Fed immigration legislation
* Immigration vs. Invasion
* There's dumb, dumber, and then there's Tom Tancredo


Welker was warned by GOP about his email duncery

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I posted last week about loose-screw Colorado State Representative Jim Welker, whose e-moronic behavior got him in hot water. He forwarded racist messages to friends and constituents on several occasions, blaming black Katrina victims for their own fate, smeared Muslims, Mexicans, and homos, of course. He was oblivious to the fact that someone might be offended.

Why, I don't know, because in an article in the Rocky Mountain News, Welker was told to stop sending out and forwarding bigoted messages -- by his own party -- back in 2003. Read the unhinged homo BS (right from the Bill James playbook):
A Loveland lawmaker under fire for sending a racially charged e-mail about black Hurricane Katrina victims was warned in 2003 by his own party about forwarding offensive material.

The admonition from the House speaker came after Rep. Jim Welker, R-Loveland, sent an e-mail quoting a conservative study that discussed lifestyles of gays and lesbians. The article Welker forwarded claimed that gay men regularly ingest the urine and feces of their partners, leading to massive outbreaks of various diseases. It questioned why gays and lesbians were allowed to work with children, the elderly and in the food industry.


"The homosexual and lesbian behavior is not a healthy lifestyle and can even result in early death," Welker wrote after quoting the study. "Our society worries about people wearing seat belts, losing weight, smoking, taking drugs and abusing alcohol. Where is our consistency?"

Welker said Friday that the e-mail the public received in November 2003 was not the one he wrote.

"Somebody changed it," he said, but added he could provide no details as it happened nearly three years ago.

However, the e-mail is nearly identical to a column Welker published in the Northern Colorado Courier two weeks later.
And look at this pathetic defense. These wingnuts aren't very quick on their feet, are they?
Several Republican lawmakers say they have warned Welker on a number of occasions to stop sending controversial essays.

"Just because I send something doesn't mean I agree with it," Welker said Friday. "It's like letters to the editors. It can be a very powerful tool for discussion."


Ohio's domestic abuse laws deep-sixed by marriage amendment

The Buckeye State's heinous marriage amendment, gay activists warned, would jeopardize the ability of prosecutors to effectively enforce the domestic violence laws on the books.

On Friday, the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that state amendment leaves all unmarried people, straight or gay, ineligible for protection under the law in domestic abuse cases.

Each and every state that has passed one of these anti-gay amendments is, in fact, penalizing anyone in a partnered relationship who is a victim of domestic violence that isn't legally married. (Ohio News Network):
Friday's decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals is the first from Ohio's 12 appellate courts to rule that the Defense of Marriage amendment, passed by voters in 2004, means that the domestic violence law does not apply to unmarried people.

The appeals court upheld the dismissal of a domestic violence charge against Karen Ward of Fairborn, charged with assaulting her live-in boyfriend in Greene County.

Ohio's amendment defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman and barred the state from granting legal status to unmarried couples.

..."Until the high court decides, unmarried defendants, who would have faced felony domestic violence charges, will be charged with misdemeanor assault charges in Greene County," Schmidt said.
And up on deck: amendment battles are going to be on the ballot in Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Folks in these states need to be prepared to discuss their respective amendments and what the unintended consequences will be if bigotry rules over common sense.

***

On the marriage recognition front, cases are making their way through the state courts that may pave the way for legal same sex marriage, using the strategy of comparing these cases to the challenge of state bans on interracial marriage.
David Buckel of Lambda Legal says the lawsuits are focused on states where public attitudes toward same-sex unions seem particularly friendly and where amending the state constitution to counter any ruling for same-sex marriage would be difficult.

Such lawsuits are awaiting rulings by the top state courts in Washington state and New Jersey. Similar lawsuits are making their way through state courts in California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland and New York. The lawsuits generally claim that the states' constitutions allow gay couples to marry on the same terms as heterosexuals.
Obviously , the big question is, are these cases, if they are decided in favor of same-sex marriage, going to be fuel for the Republican fire, energizing the base once more with the "gay boogeyman" as motivation to get sheeple to the polls. Only time will tell.


The 'satanic art' made them do it

"These images, unrecognized by the untrained eye, can be a ticking time-bomb to an individual who is unaware of their presence, especially someone who is already predisposed to deviant sexual behavior."
-- author and "pornography expert" Judith Reisman, featured in a documentary that suggests art is responsible for deviant priests.
Is this going to be proposed to Papa Ratzi as the excuse for all the pedophile priests he allowed to run wild, raping and molesting innocent children? From the "breaking news" section at WingNutDaily, another "I'm not sh*tting you" item.
Could the Roman Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis be tied to embedded Satanic and occultic imagery in its artwork – some of it hundreds of years old? That is the seemingly incredible thesis of a new documentary, "Rape of the Soul," made not by anti-Catholic bigots, but by devout followers of the Church.

The documentary explores the prevalent use of satanic, sexual, occult and anti-Catholic images in historical and contemporary religious artwork. The film also discusses the mysterious acceptance of the artwork at the highest and most trusted levels of the Catholic Church.

"Rape of the Soul" is rated R because of the disturbing content involving demonic, violent and sexual imagery. The film, which is being released by Silver Sword International, contends a major cause of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church could be due to prolonged exposure to sexual and satanic images being incorporated into the religious art.

...Experts are featured in the film to offer detailed accounts of the subconscious programming effects of the sex and occult images on the human brain and how it promotes sex, Satanism and the occult. Religious education materials, songbooks, children's story books, devotionals and the Sunday Missals all have been found to contain embedded imagery.
This is batsh*t crazy.


Now she won't blow her daddy's buxx


"Let me tell you what the truth is. I’m staying. I’m in this race. I’m going to win. And let me tell you how. I’m going to put EVERYTHING on the line. Everything, not just my future and my reputation, my father’s name. I’m gonna take his legacy… Everything that I have and I’m gonna put it in this race. I’m going to commit my legacy from my father, $10 million… This is everything that I have.”
-- Katherine Harris to Sean Hannity on 3/15 -- declaring how she's going to spend it all to win.
What a difference a few days make. The musty scent of Florida Republican flopsweat is in the air. (Orlando Sentinel):
In an effort to jump-start her sputtering Senate campaign, Rep. Katherine Harris went on national television invoking the memory of her late father and saying the money he left her will form the financial foundation of her challenge to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

Now the Harris campaign says that's not the case.

Campaign spokeswoman Morgan Dobbs said Thursday that Harris will sell her existing assets rather than rely on money from her father, a bank executive who died in January. "It is my understanding from her statements that she does not plan to use inherited money on the campaign -- rather, money from liquidating her personal assets, which she says total $10 million," Dobbs wrote in an e-mail to the Orlando Sentinel. "I think I am being pretty clear."

...On Friday, a day after being asked about the apparent discrepancy between what Harris said last week and what Dobbs said Thursday, Dobbs sent an e-mail to the Sentinel saying she would provide no additional information.

"I do not have an official comment from the campaign on this issue," she wrote.


Department of Defense acknowledges lesbian-baiting in article



Rebecca Sawyer over at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which has been leading the fight to repeal DADT, passed along an interesting profile of a woman who had served in the Women’s Army Corps, Kasha Zilka, in recognition of Women's History Month.

The article, by Elaine Wilson of the American Forces Press Service, chronicles Zilka's career and the difficulties of service and promotion in the ranks for women in the late 60s. She joined the Army at the age of 17.
"Today, the military is probably one of the best equal opportunity employers in the United States," said Zilka, who would eventually achieve the rank of sergeant major. "But it hasn't always been that way."

...The requirements to join were a bit more challenging for Zilka than for the men in her family. Along with being a high school graduate, women could not be married or pregnant, and mental health and police checks were conducted in every state the applicant had resided in for the past 10 years. Two moving traffic violations disqualified an applicant. Additionally, women had to pass testing with a minimum score 32 points higher than the male minimum.

...The stringent enlistment standards were designed by leadership to ensure the Army "accepted as few risks as possible in mental, physical and moral qualifications," according to "The Women's Army Corps, 1945-1978" by Bettie J. Morden.
It's no surprise to read about the stunning sexism that Zilka encountered, but it was very eye-opening to see that this military publication actually acknowledges the lesbian-baiting that was part of the military culture.
Zilka found positive female role models within her unit and was praised for her work but still found it difficult to be accepted as a "contributing, effective member," she said. "Women were often labeled as a nymphomaniac, lesbian, husband hunter, or someone's ugly sister. We were judged by our looks rather than our capabilities."

Dating was nearly impossible, Zilka said. "If you turned down a man, you would be labeled a lesbian. The problem was being choosy without getting labeled."

Zilka told of a male brigadier general who wrote a WAC colonel in 1964 to ask for a female officer and NCO who could organize a Women's Army Corps in the Republic of Vietnam. He spelled out his prerequisites in detail, requesting a WAC officer who was "extremely intelligent, an extrovert and beautiful. The NCO should have the same qualities, plus be able to type."
Fast forward to today. According to the SLDN, women in the service are disproportionally affected by Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- female service members comprise about 15% of the total military force, yet they are 30% of those discharged for being gay.
“Lesbian baiting goes back to the early days of World War II, when women began volunteering for service in what was traditionally a man’s world,” said Brigadier General Evelyn “Pat” Foote, USA (Ret.), an honorary board member of SLDN. “Women have never been deterred, however, from raising their hands, volunteering and putting their lives on the line. In Iraq today, women represent approximately 15% of the forces reporting for duty and have made sacrifices equal to men. They should be valued for their service and in no way held back because of gender or sexual orientation. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ doesn’t pass the common sense rule and continues to deprive our nation of talented Americans who have important contributions to make.”

...An October 2004 study by the Urban Institute indicates lesbians comprise 5% of all female service members and that nearly 10% of all coupled lesbians between the ages of 63 and 67 served during the Korean War. In the ten years from 1990 to 2000, service rates among coupled lesbians aged 18-27 were more than three times higher than rates among other women. Lesbians also tend to serve longer than other women, the report said, noting that nearly 82 percent of coupled lesbians report serving more than two years, compared with 74 percent of other women.
You can read more at SLDN's blog, The Front Lines.


500,000 march in L.A. over Fed immigration legislation

Saturday, March 25, 2006


This may be the straw that breaks the Rethug camel's back. The 30% or so clinging to the delusion that Dear Leader is god will turn on him on this issue.

The freeper set is so virulently hateful towards undocumented workers (who are here mowing their lawns, working in restaurants they nosh in and picking the fresh produce they buy, of course) that this is the issue that will eat the GOP alive -- and the pols know it.
Immigration rights advocates more than 500,000 strong marched in downtown Los Angeles, demanding that Congress abandon attempts to make illegal immigration a felony and to build more walls along the border.

The massive demonstration, by far the biggest of several around the nation in recent days, came as President Bush prodded Republican congressional leaders to give some illegal immigrants a chance to work legally in the U.S. under certain conditions.

...The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would make it a felony to be in the U.S. illegally, impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, require churches to check the legal status of people they help, and erect fences along one-third of the U.S.-Mexican border.
As I've discussed in prior posts, this is a complicated issue, fraught with political landmines for both parties, but as the party in charge of things, Bush and the the Rethugs on the Hill will be the ones to take the fall if they accommodate the xenophobic cretins or the business bed buddies who love the cheap, exploitable labor pool. Play that tiny violin and watch the racist Freepi explode...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Encircle the rally. Move the herd back to Mexico.

One thing about being packed in like that in a crowd, ya never know what kind of communicable diseases you are exposing yourself too.

Boy that's alot of American jobs, food stamps, welfare, housing, while their pay goes to mexico.

It's officially an invasion now. They're getting snippy.

If Americans can't see that we are being invaded, they're either blind or don't care anymore.

They weren't rallying for immigrant rights. They were rallying in favor of anarchy.

HELLO? Immigration and Customs? Hello?............. (sound of crickets chirping)

those who want illegal immigration want it more than those who are against it want to stop it.

It doesn't matter. What our senators must remember is most of those 500,000 do not vote (legally that is) So if our Senators want to keep their jobs they better worry about the silent majority that is fed up with illegal immigration.

"voices must be heard and that they are contributing to the country's economy."

So does the drug trade, prostitution, and organized crime, by those standards.

Never mind Harry Reid. Can Republicans impeach one of their own?... :)

They don't vote. It doesn't matter if 100 million showed up they don't vote. they are not citizens they don't vote. It doesn't matter. And there are a lot more than those that want reform.

dont be so confident they dont vote

Today we walked out of a restaurant after a non-speaking illegal came to our table before we did we all told the manager we will NOT be back till all illegals are GONE out of this restaurant!

We called our lawn service and told them they better not dare send any illegals to work on our lawn.

We called a foundation company and told them we better not see any illegals working on our foundation or they are so out of here.

Americans need to take a stand and if you go to a hotel and you see a non english speaking person cleaning your room callthe manager and front desk and have them remove the person immediately.

Take a stand, boycott all mexican destinations like cozymel.

If our politicians wont help lets show them where they can work in another country since they decided to insult every American today by waving their flag .

Sexual deviants would love for us to become part of Mexico. That way they can watch donkey sex shows and sleep with 12 year old prostitutes.

..I think you can declare it official--California is lost...


Seeing this just makes me REAL mad.... and disgusted with our Government for not doing anything a long time ago! Close the borders!!!!

you realize that one of the problems is that there are lots and lots of legal immigrants here, even from Mexico...also Ireland is one of the largest sources of illegal labor in Boston...but they speak english

No I am VERY serious about this and we all know what a non-speaking illegal looks like by now.

that isnt true...sounds like you have never met a non-english speaking legal immigrant

Let's see....in 1984, there were 70,000 illegal protestors and in 2006, there are 500,000. I'd say that we've been invaded and taken over in the intervening 12 years..

Invasion? Yup. We gonna do anything about it? Nope.

the people who favor illegal immigration are more intense about their position than those who oppose illegal immigration...when a few hundred thousand people show up to protest illegal immigration, Ill change my view.

I have already called mine and said basically the same thing. I think it is a disgrace that our leaders have allowed this. To see the Mexican flag in the streets of America being waved instead of the stars and stripes. I will be voting in the primary and the general election this year. My school district is talking about floating a 5 BILLION dollar bond to pay for new schools so we can teach the illegals enough is enough.
Related:
* Slave wage, er, slavery, in the Gulf
* Immigration vs. Invasion


Fun with pictures

Why is Little Ricky smiling, and what is Dear Leader saying to him?



Actual caption: President Bush, right, puts his hand on the back of Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., upon his arrival at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station Friday, March 24, 2006. Bush is attending a re-election campaign fundraising event for Santorum in Sewickley Heights, Pa., before returning to Washington. Looking on center is Sgt. Jim Malloy, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 1. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

And look below -- do you have any idea what Ben Franklin, one of the founding fathers, would say to W? I think the real Ben might want to use his cane on the guy.


Actual caption: President Bush speaks to the invited crowd in the East Room at the White House, after a performance by Ralph Archbold, left, portraying Benjamin Franklin, to honor the 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin, Thursday, March 23, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

And I laughed out loud at this one: 666 -- the puppet of the beast.


Actual caption: Protesters dressed as U.S. President George Bush (R) and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, carry banners and shout slogans against the war in Iraq on the way to a protest in New York's Times Square March 18, 2006. Anti-war protesters marched through cities across the world, three years after the invasion of Iraq, calling for U.S. and British troops to pull out. REUTERS/Chip East


The NY GOP is in sad shape

"Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures."
-- Kathleen "KT" McFarland, a Republican who hopes to challenge sHillary in U.S. Senate race
sHillary's massive war chest is enough to squash her opponents; I don't think she needs psyOps to decimate Ms. McFarland. She's doing a good job of self-destruction on her own.

It sounds like the GOP is truly in a sad state of affairs in the Empire State. (NYPost, via Raw Story):
A Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is bizarrely claiming that the former first lady has been spying in her bedroom window and flying helicopters over her house in the Hamptons, witnesses told The Post yesterday.

...McFarland's Republican primary opponent, former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, was present at the event, and said he came away bewildered. "I'm standing there, and I kind of put my head down and said, 'I can't believe I'm hearing this,' " Spencer said.

McFarland, a Park Avenue matron who has never run for public office, has had a string of problems since announcing her candidacy earlier this month. The Post reported last week that she had failed to vote in numerous New York elections and had even missed voting for President Ronald Reagan in 1984, when she claimed to be an important Reagan administration official.


The Easter (fashion) wars



Shakes Sis has a post at her pad that picks up on my earlier blogging about the claim by the wingnuts at WorldNetDaily that Easter, like Christmas, is under attack. No, not by folks raking in the dough menacing us to worship at the altar of Peeps and pastel M&Ms, but the war over the right to call the rabbit bearing candy the Easter Bunny versus Spring Bunny. It's insane.

Also in her post, Shakes Sis offered up the real war -- the fashion wars, and shares a pic that you don't want to miss. Those of us who grew up having to suffer through Easter services in uncomfortable clothing chosen by parents (sorely mistaken that the outfits looked cute) suffered the additional indignity of having the fashion mistake committed to film.

My sacrifice...


I'm sure that this outfit involved unnatural fibers, argh.


NC's precious homobigot Bill James rises again


A lot of Blenders are fairly new to the pad, so you may not be familiar with North Carolina's version of Rick Santorum when it comes to homo-sex obsession, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James.

Last year, James went on an e-rampage in opposition to the board's effort to add sexual orientation to the county's anti-discrimination ordinance. It eventually passed, but not without some extremely entertaining and outrageously embarrassing emails that Mr. James sent out in his capacity as Commissioner (representing district 6). Here's just a sampling of the kind of language he used to make his point.


From: Commissioner Bill James
To: =emails deleted=
Sent: Friday, April 29, 2005 8:56 AM
Subject: Perversity is not diversity

You really think that a pool of people (homosexuals) where 45% of them eat feces from the rear end of another male is "normal"? If you do, you are frankly nuts.

A lifestyle where one of their past times is buying gerbils and hamsters from the pet store and cramming them up their rears in an activity called feltching? A group of people who like to urinate on their partners and call them "golden showers"? Where one of the honored members of the Gay Alliance is an organization called the "Man-Boy Love Association" that promotes sex with underage boys?

That behavior is worthy of protection? That behavior is worthy to be taught in our schools? to our children? You are one sick "Independent, white, married-heterosexual, presbyterian" if you do...

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina
http://billjames.org
Wjames@carolina.rr.com

***

Or this gem:


From: "Commissioner Bill James"
Subject: RE: doing god's work
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 16:30:59 -0400

All the GOP are opposing it. Perversity is not diversity. You can try and re-define the Bible all you want. Fake Christians are good that way.

The Bible condemns it and clearly says that unrepentant homo's are going to Hell.

That is the kind of Christian I am. One that understands the Bible, knows what it says and believes it. I will not support or endorse Sodomy. Period.

Bottom line (a term homo's seem to "understand"). The Democrats promotion of sodomy and other perverse activities including "gay marriage" will be used against them in the next elections.
This homobigot psycho is a sex-act-obsessed publicity whore, and he has appeared, as you can see in the picture up top, on Hannity and Colmes, spewing his nonsense. It's hard to believe that this man ran unopposed in his district.

When I ran that first post, the comments and responses to it were fabulously entertaining. Take a look.

But back to the present day. I received an email this week from one of my inside sources on the goings-on in Mecklenburg County, and he's at it again; this time Bill James is getting his knickers in a twist over the prospect of a diversity summit sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Heaven forbid they teach young people that gay-bashing is bad. All the emphasis is mine.

From: Commissioner Bill James
wjames@carolina.rr.com
To: = deleted=
Importance: High

March 14, 2006

Dear Dr. Haithcock, Ms. Clark, Mr. Green, Ms. McGarry, Mr. Gauvreau and Mr. Gjertzen:

In a follow up to the request for clarity regarding "diversity days" or "days of silence" I received on my desk at the County Commission this week the following letter from NCCJ (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews). The letter is attached for your review.

In that letter, dated March 9th the NCCJ indicates that it intends to put on a "diversity summit" at Providence High School and E.E. Waddell High School using CMS [Charlotte-Mecklenburg System] taxpayer resources during the school day with students present and participating. It references that its focus is to "empower students". Perhaps the event doesn't involve students but if it was just a seminar for adults it could be held at the Marriott not a two high schools. The letter is signed by Macey Williams, Youth Program coordinator of the NCCJ, Caroline Choe, Student Planning Team Providence High and Nikeeta Pal, Student Planning team at Waddell High. I do not know if the last two are CMS employees or students.

In the second paragraph is a statement that the Summit (which will be held on a School day during school hours) "will address diversity in ALL of its aspects - race, religion, socio-economic status, gender, age, ability/disability, sexual orientation......"

It also states they will have "workshops" that include "building and managing a diversity club". Thankfully, the Principal of Butler has rejected announcements involving the promotion of such seedy behavior for this year however it seems clear that this push to promote this behavior goes beyond a few schools but to a broad push by the NCCJ and others to get students to accept through the back door what their parents have said is wrong and the State says should not be taught or promoted.

This is wholly inappropriate on school property, during the school day with students in attendance. Whether this program is directly related to the previous "day of silence" that I have complained to you about (and await an answer) I can't say. Ann Clark's e-mail dated April 13th of last year mentions that the reason that these were organized was in part as a result of a national campaign to raise awareness of "discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LBGT) individuals."

Clearly, the assumption made by the NCCJ and the principals at the two High Schools and other CMS management is that LBGT individuals are unlawfully discriminated against. As you know (and Mo will tell you) that is not the case because LBGT identified individuals do not qualify as a "protected class". "Diversity clubs" that include "sexual orientation" as a goal are unacceptable as taxpayer funded school day events because State law does not recognize sexual orientation as a valid or approved class and State law related to public education discourages such behavior (see 11-3-2005 decision of the State Board of Education).

It is frankly distressing that CMS appears to insist on both flaunting the law and public opinion by using taxpayer resources (two high schools and assorted staff) as well as CMS students. Both the process by which the event is planned and its location appears to be nothing more than an attempt to force children to accept that which their parents teach them is wrong. Most parents teach their children that homosexuality is wrong, a sin, illegal or immoral).This summit undermines that parental authority and State law.

Until such time as the NC Board of Public Instruction approves of "Sexual Orientation" as a valid protected class, and NCGS 115c-81 and NCGS 14-177 are changed you should not allow CMS students to be involved in such a mis-guided event on School Property, subsidized by Federal, State and County resources during the School day where students will naturally assume that the positions presented are the law.

Were this just an "activity" club that was done after school that would raise limited issues. Having it on school property DURING THE SCHOOL DAY and involving students throughout both schools who will see the banners, discussions and other promotion of pro-homosexual positions is to clearly send the message that CMS considers "perversity" to be "diversity".

If such a "diversity event" is to be held on taxpayer property and involve CMS school children during the regular school day it should be limited to diversity as defined by state law and exclude any discussion of homosexuality.

What the State condemns you can not sanction during the school day. I urge you to require modifications to this function or cancel it.

Regards,
Bill James
Related:
* CharMeck homo-bigot will not STFU
* CharMeck County Board meets tonight; wingnuts are coming out


Yucking it up with Mike Huckabee, the Base and 2008 GOP clowns

“We’ve seen our country go from ‘Leave It to Beaver’ to ‘Beavis and Butt-head,’ from Barney Fife to Barney Frank.”
– Governor of Arkansas (and Baptist minister) Mike Huckabee, cruising for The GOP Base votes for '08
Jon over at The Pensito Review gives us the heads up on the latest nonsense coming from the like Rethug 2008 prez candidates. This time it's the holy rolling governor of Arkansas, who yucked it up with the above knee-slapper about openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) during a stump speech addressing a crowd of Iowa bible beaters. Jon:
It’s interesting that Republicans feel free to say nasty things in about gay people today just as they openly made racist slurs back in the day. Equating Rep. Frank to Beavis and Butthead is beyond the pale — and, frankly, I don’t think Jesus would approve.
***

So-called "values voters" are auditioning prospective GOP presidential candidates. These bigoted moralists need their egos to be stroked as hard as their well-worn bibles -- and there is a helluva lot of stroking going on by those that want the GOP nom. None of the names that come to mind have a lock on the winger vote yet, and it's also clear that the clowns in the GOP are still scared of being blackballed by the AmTaliban if they don't stroke hard or often enough. (LA Times):
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has disavowed past statements supporting abortion rights. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) dropped his support for covering homosexuals in hate crimes legislation. Even Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, whose liberal record on social issues is anathema to many conservatives, recently spoke to a meeting of evangelical leaders in the South.

But social and religious conservatives' influence may be limited by the fact that they have not rallied around one candidate. The potential candidates with the best showings in early polls — Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — are viewed with suspicion by many conservatives. Yet those whom many regard as soul mates of religious conservatives, such as Huckabee and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), are among the least-known, which suggests they would have the highest hurdles to cross to win the nomination.

So some activists are urging social conservatives to close ranks behind a like-minded candidate to maximize their impact.

"If we get together and get behind a single candidate, we can be formidable," said Paul M. Weyrich, a conservative leader. "But if we are split up into eight different camps … it's going to destroy any chance of being effective."

It is not clear when or whether that agreement will happen. But it is clear that this faction is still a force, as potential candidates move to curry its favor — or at least stay off its enemies list.
Who do you think is going to be the official American Taliban GOP candidate in the primaries?


La Peter is unhappy with Illinois Republicans



Bring out the tiny violin for our friend...
An Illinois pro-family activist is urging conservative voters in his state not to vote for the Republican nominee for governor because of her enthusiastic support of the homosexual agenda. Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute is launching a private campaign to derail the candidacy of State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich for his position.

LaBarbera notes that Topinka failed to receive a majority of the GOP vote in Tuesday's Republican primary, securing the nomination by only 38 percent after two other conservative candidates split the vote. "She'll be running against Gov. Blagojevich, liberal Democratic governor from Illinois," LaBarbera says, "so we're going to have basically a liberal Democrat running against a liberal Republican."

But the Illinois Family Institute spokesman believes Topinka's primary victory goes far beyond just the governor's race. "The problem is that this will establish the liberal control of the Republican Party for four more years," he says. "Illinois' Republican Party has been struggling because liberal, corrupt Republicans run it. It's time for a conservative revolution in the Republican Party so the voters have a choice." In the upcoming election, LaBarbera says he may vote for the Constitution Party candidate or simply not vote for governor at all.
* LaBarbera goes after Illinois gubernatorial candidate


David Englin thanks you



Virginia Delegate David Englin (D-45) had the courage -- and that rare Dem spine -- to speak up for civil equality on the floor of a homophobic legislature that voted in favor of a marriage amendment on the ballot (see my post, Taking a positive stand, one state officeholder at a time).

You might recall that Delegate Englin's wife Shayna wrote me a couple of weeks ago, noting that there are already challengers prepping to unseat him.
Now that the session is over, the next campaign cycle is beginning. David’s already got challengers for his seat – one, a Democrat, who says that David’s stand on the floor wasn’t “good strategy”, and a Republican who’s convinced that David’s strong progressive voice for equal rights for all Virginians makes him vulnerable – and $30K in campaign debt that makes fighting back very hard.
It wasn't "good strategy" to give a speech to call out bigotry? You know what? Delegate Englin's speech wasn't about strategy or jockeying for political gain, it was about taking a principled stand against the majority that he saw was making a terrible mistake -- voting to discriminate because of fear and ignorance.

You know, if we want to talk about strategy, fine. Here's the DNC's framing of civil equality issues, right there in its self-labeled "bold new direction" door hanger -- a big fat goose egg. There's no plan to counter the unhinged GOP legislators as they gleefully vote rights and freedoms away. Well, maybe there is a plan, but they can't talk about it publicly -- they just whisper it into the ears of selected activists in private conversations to pacify them and keep the cash flowing in.

Delegate Englin is well-aware of our desire to support those politicians who choose to do the right thing, even at some political risk, rather than to constantly follow the brain-dead, butt-covering, triangulating advice we see in politicians following at the national level (hello, sHillary?). They run from the gay community, holding out the hat as they run by, asking for us to toss the dollars in.

I received an email from Shayna Englin yesterday:
I just wanted to loop back to you and say, again, THANK YOU, for spreading the word about David. The GLBT community backed David up in a big way in the last few weeks - we raised over $7K online alone. He and I both really appreciate your long-distance support.
Based on what is happening at the national level, we have to continue to encourage the fearless people out there willing to put themselves at political risk. They want to be on the right side of history, but there is intense pressure from the deluded political machinery (that wants to court the winger vote) to de-spine themselves. Civil equality-affirming pols, particularly those in Red states, need to be held up as the example of what good, responsible (and responsive) politicians can be -- in either party -- and that they can still win races.

Those days of wasting hard-earned money, time and votes on the bloviating triangulators in the Democratic party are over. Our dollars and support are going to go to candidates who don't pander to the bible-beating, womb-controlling, privacy-invading, power-mad homobigots -- the real enemies of the principles of freedom upon which this country was founded.

The tired, focus group-blinded, poll-driven career politicians who have little interest in anything other than separating you from your cash with no return on the investment should continue to receive our scorn, as well as the Liberal Failure Support Organizations that enable these spineless individuals time and again.

We need more allies like David Englin in office -- people who don't have to wait for the polls to shift in our direction before they feel safe enough to come out from behind their mother's apron.

Related:
* David Englin's web site.
* From the DNC spambot


AFA: Wal-mart's on a downward spiral with 'Brokeback' DVD

Friday, March 24, 2006

"It's quite obvious to anyone who shops at Wal-Mart that they're no longer the family-friendly company that they used to project in their image. We've seen a downward spiral trend by the Wal-Mart Corporation in which they are more and more becoming like the world rather than the family-friendly company we grew up with."
-- Randy Sharp, director of special [homo-obsession] projects, American Family Association
Brokeback Mountain's DVD will be sold on the shelves of Wal-mart, and Don Wildmon's band of bigots are incensed. Whiny babies. The movie, AFA contends is not "family-friendly," and has no busines being stocked on the shelves where the tender eyes of Middle America might be burned at the site of Jake and Heath on the DVD cover as if they trained their eyes on the burning light of the sun.

An official with a pro-family advocacy group is encouraging concerned Christians to contact Wal-Mart regarding the upcoming home video and DVD release of the movie Brokeback Mountain. He claims the retailer's plan to distribute the pro-homosexual film is evidence Wal-Mart has strayed from its family-friendly roots.

Wal-Mart stores nationwide will carry the controversial movie when it is released on DVD. In-store posters and billboards are already advertising the upcoming release, scheduled for April 4. The movie, which opened in a limited number of theaters in early December, tells the story of two cowboys who carry on a homosexual relationship while maintaining traditional marriages.

...The pro-family activist contends the giant retailer is abandoning its core principles and moving "further and further away" from its historical family-friendly image. "It's becoming now more important for Wal-Mart to make money than to serve consumers," Sharp observes.
And don't you know it, the old hoary threat card gets tossed out. Does the AFA realize how stupid it looks, bleating and crying wolf every five minutes on anything remotely related to gays?
Believing that turnabout is fair play, Sharp encourages concerned Christians to let their local Wal-Mart managers know how they feel and that they are not pleased over the chain's decision to promote and carry the pro-homosexual movie.


Woman's hair bursts into flames, house burns

Strange story of the day. You have to see the damage to believe it (there's video). One can only hope it wasn't flammable hair products that set it all ablaze. The young Port St. John, FL woman went to blow out a candle, her hair caught fire, and then the fire quickly spread and engulfing the whole room and then much of the house.


Peeling Away The Base


The Neo-cons "base" of traditional small-gubmint conservatives, freedom-loving libertarians, Jeebus-loving Evangelicals, and your average racist jingoist 'murkins is fracturing, and it does my leftie heart good to see the GOP starting to sound like a bunch of bickering identity-politik liberals.

First up, John Cole, writing in Balloon-Juice, about the recent Roberts dissent in the recent "cops can't come in if two homeowners disagree" case:
In the new Republican era, only fetuses , tax shelters, and 'traditional' marriage deserve protection. According to the actions of the current Republican party, the rest of us need to be wiretapped, monitored, have our homes inspected for whatever reason without warrants, and are incapable of making decisions on our own. My 20 year affair with the Republican party is coming to an end. I am not voting for any Republican in 2006 at any level, and I will be hard pressed to vote for this party in 2008- unless, of course, Cindy Sheehan is the Democratic candidate. These 'conservatives' need abut 10-15 years in the wilderness.
Next up, Tony "Yeah, I've never heard that before" Perkins rails on Bush in the case of the Christian Afghan who faces death under Sharia law:
"That there should even be such a trial is an outrage. How can we congratulate ourselves for liberating Afghanistan from the rule of jihadists only to be ruled by radical Islamists who kill Christians? Such a 'trial' is a flagrant violation of Article 18 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights--which the current Afghan government even incorporated into its constitution.

"Democracy is more than purple thumbs. Americans will not give their blood and treasure to prop up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes. Religious freedom is not just 'an important element' of democracy; it is its cornerstone. Religious persecution leads inevitably to political tyranny. Five hundred years of history confirm this. Americans have not given their lives so that Christians can be put to death."
Now cue the Republican moderates like Sen. Chuck Hagel who don't think an unchecked executive spying on Americans and violating the law with impunity is a good thing:
HAGEL: I don't believe, from what I've heard, but I'm going to give the administration an opportunity to explain it, that he has the authority now to do what he's doing. Now, maybe he can convince me otherwise, but that's OK.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not yet.

HAGEL: Not yet. But that's OK. If he needs more authority, he [Bush] just can't unilaterally decide that that 1978 law is out of date and he will be the guardian of America and he will violate that law. He needs to come back, work with us, work with the courts if he has to, and we will do what we need to do to protect the civil liberties of this country and the national security of this country.
Enter the border state Republicans fearing the influx of damn Mexicans:
Growing frustration over President Bush's immigration plan and lack of fiscal discipline came to a head behind closed doors at last weekend's Republican retreat in Philadelphia.

House lawmakers, stunned by the intensity of their constituents' displeasure at some of Mr. Bush's key domestic policies, gave his political strategist Karl Rove an earful behind closed doors.

"It was intense, but I was not surprised at the tone of questioning during Rove's session," said Rep. Tom Feeney, Florida Republican. "But then this was supposed to be a no-holds-barred discussion, and our constituents are upset."

"They were all over Karl on immigration and spending," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican and a leading House proponent of controlling the nation's borders and curbing illegal immigration. "This is the first time I didn't even have to raise the immigration issue myself. Everyone else did."
And though it's about a month old, let's not forget the Republican outrage over giving over control of our ports to the United Arab Emirates:
"Dear Mr President: In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO but HELL NO!" Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) wrote to Bush in a one-sentence letter.
Ah, I love the smell of Republican Bush-bashing in the morning. It smells like... victory! And it looks like... a bluer America.


Here's a real welcome wagon statement in Utah

Your gay and gay-ally dollars don't need to be spent in Kanab, Utah. The county has a quarter-million visitors a year, so tourism is the bread-and-butter of the region. (Salt Lake Tribune):
The nonbinding resolution - drafted by the conservative Sutherland Institute - calls marriage between a man and woman "ordained of God" and urges homes to be open to a "full quiver of children." It also encourages young women to become "wives, homemakers and mothers" and young men to grow into "husbands, home builders and fathers."
I take it that the quiver of children means a mother is required to shoot an infant out of her womb every year or so, with accuracy.
Ever since Kanab's City Council unanimously adopted the nonbinding document last month, the topic has been issue No. 1 in this scenic southern Utah city. Letters filled four pages of the Feb. 1 Southern Utah News.

"How mean-spirited, how sad," writes Kanab resident Vicky Cooper. "We are not all the same. Some of us don't have a quiver of children because we see problems from overpopulation and choose not to add to them." Says Greg Metcalf of Kanab: "I would showcase my heroic, widowed, working mother's 'unnatural' family with the council's natural family anytime."


The Rev. Doug Hounshell says he "thanks God for a community that doesn't think it has to be 'gay-friendly.'"

"We don't mean to be mean-spirited," says Hounshell, pastor of Cliffview Chapel Baptist Church in Kanab. "But the message to a homosexual might be that this is probably not the friendliest town for that type of thing."
Let's see...yes, you do mean to be mean-spirited you cretin.


RedState blogger is g-o-n-e

I updated the original post with the letter from WaPo editor Jim Brady and Red State reaction.

Here's the latest RedState thread on his resignation.
The left has their blood today. Ben resigned from the WashingtonPost.com. He did not resign from RedState - and even if he tried to do so, we would have refused to accept it. The four Directors of this site, including Ben, had a call earlier today shortly after he spoke with the Post and we're happy that Ben's staying right here.

We are disappointed in the turn of events, yes. We are also disappointed in some of our allies in their rush to judgement. But, alas, we live and die by the speed of the Internet. As I said yesterday, the conservative movement is larger than me, you, Ben, Redstate, or any individual or group.
Back to quality original blogging, eh Ben? Cya...


It's all in tatters

He's above the law. No more questions from the peanut gallery called Congress. He signed the Patriot Act reauthorization, but he has no intention of being held accountable. Trust your Dear Leader.
The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a "signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.


In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."
Well, what doesn't that cover in the mind of this megalomaniac?


Sucking the Right off feels so good to Mitt

Can he work any harder to give the Right an orgasm? Just asking.

In an apparent pitch to the crucial evangelical base of the Republican Party, Governor Mitt Romney says he has been ''at the forefront" of the nation's toughest cultural battles and that his values are ''on the same page" with the Christian right.

Romney, a possible presidential candidate, says in an upcoming interview on C-SPAN that conservative values that ''lead to our success as a nation" are ''under attack." He also says that evangelical Christians in Massachusetts have been among his key supporters.

Some political analysts have suggested that evangelical Christians will not support Romney because of theological differences with his Mormonism. Romney tried to dispel that notion during a taping of the C-SPAN program ''Q&A," to air Sunday night. ''I know a number of great evangelicals that I speak with and that are very interested in me and what I stand for," he told host Brian Lamb, according to a transcript of the interview released yesterday. ''We worked together in Massachusetts. They had no difficulty supporting me there."
Hat tip Holly.


Hospital patient-dumping caught on video

Downtown Los Angeles is now the official dumping ground for homeless patients in the greater L.A. area. For months, city officials have been told about hospitals in the outlying areas putting discharged patients into cabs and having them dropped off on Skid Row downtown.

NPR has video and screen shots of one incident, which was captured by the cameras at the Union Rescue Mission

Security cameras outside the Union Rescue Mission, the city's largest homeless shelter, show a taxi pulling a U-turn in front of the building. Several seconds later, an elderly woman in a hospital gown shuffles into view. She appears to have only hospital socks on her feet, and walks in the street for a while before turning back to the mission entrance.

...It was later determined that Reyes was released from the Kaiser Permanente hospital in the city of Bellflower, 16 miles southeast of the mission.

..."We have a very high concentration of services in a small geographic area," [City Council member Jan] Perry says. "And for municipalities who don't want to... extend themselves to the homeless, it's an easy excuse to just bring them over here and leave them here."
Hat tip, Paul, who said: "Well here is the result of Bush's "Faith Based" social services - pray like hell that nothing happens to you."


Plagiarist WaPo blogger - how long can he hang on?

[UPDATE: He resigned; the WaPo letter is at the bottom. Also see the Red State reaction.]

I haven't blogged on the travails of wingnut blogger Ben Domenech, who was hired by the WaPo as "balance" to counter the alleged liberal bias of Dan Froomkin, an actual journalist. Surf over to Eschaton, Americablog or DKos for what seem to be endless examples of Domenech's plagiarist past and present. It's going to be the death of a thousand cuts for this loser. Cue the tiny violin...

Aside from the liberal - ha - lifting of content from other people, one of the most ridiculous instances of bloviating was Domenech's assertion, posted during the day Coretta Scott King was buried, that she was a Communist. Nice. He posted a lame apology once his behind was ripped raw across the blogosphere.

Chris Kromm at Facing South has a good takedown of this moron, posting the history of red-baiting and the Kings by disturbed closet Queen J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.
The idea that King and the movement had Moscow on speed-dial is, of course, total bunk and laughable to any informed observer (I don't include Domenech in this category). There were surely members of the left, including communists, who were deeply involved in civil rights, including King's close friend Stanley Levinson.

But most weren't communists intent on helping the Soviets: for example, the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee that trained Rosa Parks and other civil rights figures -- and which the right wing still uses as "proof" of King's nefarious red ties -- was led by home-grown Christian socialists and pacifists. The Kings themselves were never members of any group.

That leads to another key part of this story that most bloggers are missing. If Martin and Coretta King "associated" with communists, it was for the simple reason that leftists were often the first and most dedicated defenders of civil rights. For example, the communist International Defense League was the first group to step forward to defend the "Scottsboro Boys," the nine black teens sentenced to death in trumped-up charges of raping a white woman (even the NAACP wouldn't take the case).
UPDATE (2:15 PM): Finally, the folks at the WaPo couldn't deny the sheer volume of plagiarism going on in Ben's World, he's g-o-n-e...
Ben Domenech Resigns

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.

Jim Brady
Executive Editor, washingtonpost.com
***

And they are in full mourning mode over at RedState.org. First Charles Bird, and then Commenter Esoteric:
By: Charles Bird · Section: Other Politics

When blogospheric swarms gain critical mass, they can be extremely fast-moving and overwhelming. It looks like we're in one right now, but it's not about Darfur or the War Against Militant Islamism, but about a conservative blogger newly hired by a mainstream media outlet. The charges of plagiarism are serious business, especially the one in NRO. It may be happening at this very writing, but a complete and timely response is needed by the co-founder of this site, answering fully every charge made. I count myself a supporter of Ben Domenech, but the credibility of this site and the Redstate project is at risk. I await Ben's response, but if the answers are insufficient, we must all strive to do what's right.

***

Esoteric: I've looked at the evidence, and though I don't like what it tells me, I won't close my eyes to it: Domenech is guilty, and the worst part of it all is the fact that he has demonstrated serial tendencies - this isn't an isolated deal.

The only honorable response in this situation is to remove Domenech from the masthead/editorship of RedState. Can any other conceivable option be entertained for a plagiarist? Obviously he should still be allowed to post or write diaries like any other member, but I would be deeply hesitant to promote to the front page, given that it would inevitably appear to be a tacit endorsement.
The Freeper reaction is just plain lame. Yawn.


WingNutDaily: Easter is under assault

Please, someone, help -- I can't take this garbage anymore, on either side of the fence:

FAITH UNDER FIRE
Is Easter latest holiday hijack?

Already, many stores and malls across the U.S. are preparing for seasonal events, with some refraining from usage of terms like "the Easter Bunny," opting instead for more generic terms like "Spring Bunny," or other names avoiding the name "Easter."

One such location is the Somerset Collection, an upscale mall in Troy, Mich., serving 14 million shoppers per year. It's now publicizing an event with its "Spring Bunny" and Walt Disney's Winnie the Pooh.

The event caught the attention of WorldNetDaily reader Tim Edwards, who says, "It appears that this very important Christian holiday is under assault just like Christmas is."



I feel safer now

First we found out about the vegan threat to homeland security that required government surveillance.

Now we learn that federal agents and Seattle police have been monitoring an even more insidious threat to public safety, and agents of the War on Terror -- Quakers and the peace-marching Raging Grannies.


Grant M. Haller / P-I

The safety helmet tip goes to SpinDentist.


Send this to the adoption bigots

This is why the efforts to prevent LGBT citizens from adopting have to stop now. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonpartisan adoption advocacy organization, released a report yesterday that shows discrimination hurts the tens of thousands of children who need loving homes -- and gay families can provide them.

Some folks who need to receive a copy of the report, just off the top of my head: that witch from yesterday's post, Tennessee State Rep. Debra Young Maggart ("homosexual couples have numerous emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues"), as well as Ratzi's goons forcing Catholic Charities to discriminate or pull out of the adoption arena rather than let gays adopt.
The principal findings of the report, which is entitled "Expanding Resources for Children," are:

* Against a backdrop of increasing public acceptance, social science research concludes that children reared by gay and lesbian parents fare comparably to those of children raised by heterosexuals on a range of measures of social and psychological adjustment.
* Studies are growing in number and rigor, but the body of research on gay/lesbian parenting is relatively small and has methodological limitations. Still, virtually every valid study reaches the same conclusion: The children of gays and lesbians adjust positively and their families function well. The limited research on gay/lesbian adoption points in the same direction.
* Though few states have laws or policies explicitly barring homosexuals from adopting, some individual agencies and workers outside those states discriminate against gay and lesbian applicants based on their own biases or on mistaken beliefs that such prohibitions exist.
* Laws and policies that preclude adoption by gay or lesbian parents disadvantage the tens of thousands of children mired in the foster care system who need permanent, loving homes.

"The bottom line for those of us who advocate for children is clear," said Adam Pertman, the Executive Director of the Adoption Institute. "There's simply no credible research to indicate that children are harmed in any way when they're adopted by gay and lesbian parents, but there's lots of evidence to indicate that they do well in those homes. So, if we as a society believe that kids should be our primary concern, we have to put aside our prejudices and preconceived notions, and do the best we can for them."


What this Dick needs in his hotel suite



The Smoking Gun tells you what Darth Cheney needs in his "downtime suite" when he's traveling.

One item: Faux News has to be pre-set on the TV so he can flip on that filth when he arrives. I didn't see a shotgun listed.

Hat tip, AmericaBlog.


Rhode Island retro abstinence program deep-sixed

Your tax dollars at work. The public schools in Rhode Island had in place a Bush-funded abstinence program that, based on this description, was a real winner. It has been yanked.

The article makes me want to call in Justin Wankadoodle from yesterday's post ('Motivational speaker' at school compares girls to meat) to help them out over at winger org Heritage of Rhode Island.
Lawyers at the Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union first complained last year that a now-abandoned textbook used by Heritage of Rhode Island taught students that girls should wear clothing that doesn't invite "lustful thoughts" from boys. The book described men as "strong" and "courageous" while women were called "caring."

A speaker on an accompanying videotape said abstinence helped him "honor my relationship with Jesus," although Heritage officials said the tape wasn't used in public schools.

"The curriculum had these incredible sexist viewpoints about men and women and boys and girls that seemed to come out of the nineteenth century," said Steven Brown, executive director of the state's ACLU.

...Heritage of Rhode Island has a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides $400,200 annually, a department spokesman said. The group has presented its curriculum to more than 600 public school students in Providence, Pawtucket and Woonsocket.

Pawtucket's top school official complained that he was duped by Heritage officials and halted the program even before a parent complained to the ACLU.

"We really don't promulgate any religious opinion in this school system. I think basically that's what they were trying to do here," Pawtucket Schools Superintendent Hans Dellith said.
Hat tip, Raw Story.


Nigeria's government goes after the homos


Dear Leader with his old bud, homobigot Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. The U.S. State Dept., however, opposes a third Obasanjo term.

The president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, is about to make a trip to the U.S. while his elected officials are hell-bent on passing anti-gay legislation. The “Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act” has been approved by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria and is heading to the national assembly for a vote. It's is a cornucopia of hate, according to Human Rights Watch. (UKGayNews):
The bill calls for five years imprisonment for any person who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex,” “performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage,” or “is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations.”

It also prohibits any public display of a “same-sex amorous relationship,” as well as adoption by lesbian or gay people.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is clearly no friend of the homos. In fact, he has heaped praise on the Anglican bishops who have been steadfast in their intolerance of gays. (BBC):
Mr Obasanjo told the bishops he had followed "with keen interest your principled stand against the totally unacceptable tendency towards same-sex marriages and homosexual practice."

"Such a tendency is clearly un-Biblical, unnatural and definitely un-African," Mr Obasanjo, a born-again Christian, added in his speech to the conference in the commercial capital Lagos.
But back to this bill and its supporters. Look at this unhinged BS from Dr. Lateef Adegbite, secretary-general of Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), from a publication called Vanguard. The article is entitled WAR AGAINST GAYS, LESBIANS: We must use all we have to chase ‘em away, say clerics.
It sounds strange to the ears that a man and another man can get hooked up in a sexual relationship or that a woman and another woman can get to do the same. It is anti-Islam. It is an evil practice and Islamic religion is against it in all entirety. Islam is against homosexualism, lesbianism and sodomy. We are delighted with the quick way government rose to arrest the situation. It is a good thing that the world is kicking against it and Nigerians are opposed to the practice gaining grounds in our country. We Muslims are delighted with the legislation that has made it an illegal practice and a punishable offence in Nigeria. We support the action of government.

It is a commendable thing to do. But I want to add that passing a legislation is not just good enough. We should be vigilant in monitoring the lifestyles of our people and their relationships to ensure that such practices are exposed in Nigeria and that offenders get their due punishment. [And how are these folks different from our own AmTaliban?]

The practice is dirty. It’s incredible. It’s sinful and a crime against humanity and against God. It depicts the height of animalism in man and such should be tackled immediately so that the practice does not gain ground here in Nigeria.
And let me share one more bit of sad ignorance from the pulpit, the words of Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie. God help LGBT people in Nigeria, who have to deal with thinking like this.
All these stories are geared towards destroying the marriage institution. It’s very strange, indeed very absurd. How could a man and a man or woman and woman be in a sexual relationship? It’s crazy. This is a curse. All they (gays and lesbians) want to do is destroy the human race.

It is the same thing that made them to start using the condom. They call it family planning. People now want to have less children. So, they brought in the condom. Actually, there is a company that produces condom that wants to be located in Nigeria. They want to start producing condoms in Nigeria! That is besides the abortions they commit on daily basis.

Haven’t you also heard about people doing sex exchange? Men transform into women and women can become men! These are all targeted at destroying human life.
This makes you sick to your stomach to read such garbage.


The kind of campaign site that works for me


Fellow Tar Heel blogger Scrutiny Hooligans pointed me to a fitting Charles Taylor for Congress (a.k.a. taylorsucks.org) parody web site. It's put up by "concerned citizens of western North Carolina" who want his Rethug ass out of there.

An eight-term Congressman from NC-11 and House Appropriations subcommittee Chairman, Taylor is one of Jack Abramoff's boyz, and he's not apologizing for it, even as other pols are scurrying away from Abramoff to give back or give their dirty money to charity.
Congressman Charles Taylor of Brevard said he will not give back contributions he received from former Washington lobbyist and now convicted felon Jack Abramoff and his wife.

...About returning the money, he said, "I think members are giving back $150,000 and $95,000. I didn't have that kind of contribution from Mr. Abramoff. I didn't ever have any real contact with him. But the $2,750 that he and his wife contributed over a period of six years has been spent, so I won't be giving it back."
Taylor's record is rife with corruption, cronyism and wingnuttery. Some of his key positions:
* Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
* Voted YES on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance.
* Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration.
* Voted YES on Constitutional amendment prohibiting Flag Desecration.
* Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC.
* Voted YES on bankruptcy bill
* Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror.
* Voted YES on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species.
* Voted YES on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay
* Voted YES on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages.

Rated 0% by NARAL
Rated 7% by the ACLU
Rated 0% by the LCV

It goes on and on...

***

In my recent post, Fundamentalist hatefest held in Asheville, fringe loon Dr. J. Wendell Runion, organizer of the homo-hate rally, touted that he is "an advisor on church and religious matters since 1990" to Taylor.

You HAVE to visit the "For the Kids" section of the "Charles Taylor for Congress" site, where it has a Find the Sodomite game.
Boys, I've often said that I support Christian businessmen trying to be Christian in their work lives as well as in their personal lives, and I meant it. If I win the election, there is a good chance that you will grow up to be Christian businessmen.

When you are running your very own Christian lobbying firm, you should ask yourself one question: what would Jesus do? The answer to that question is an easy one. Jesus would fire all of the Sodomites.

To help you prepare for your futures as good Christian soldiers, I've prepared a little puzzle to help you on your way.

Girls, since you might be working as Christian secretaries while waiting to snare good husbands, you should learn to spot Sodomites as well, to save your bosses the time and energy of interviewing inappropriate job applicants. It will also come in handy in your real lives by helping you choose the right hairdressers or interior designers.

Take a look at the picture below and prayerfully pick out the Sodomites to whom you would appropriately give pink slips.

Go to the site to see the answer.

By the way, in order to maximize the Googlebombing of Taylor, the organizers of the "Charles Taylor for Congress" site have announced that whoever links it the most between Friday, March 24 and Friday, March 31 will get a free pizza or $20, lol.

The folks hoping to take Taylor's seat:
John Armor (R)
Clyde Michael Morgan (D)
(former NFL quarterback) Heath Shuler (D)

Big h/t, Blue NC


Religious freedom? Women's rights? What's that?

I was waiting to see how long it would take before this business came back and bit the Bushies in the ass.

The case of Abdul Rahman, the man who converted to Christianity and is now facing execution in Afghanistan (under Sharia law, that's a big no-no), puts the issue of human rights and freedoms and the Iraqi constitution right back in the spotlight.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, one of the holy rollers on the White House speed dial, makes a direct comparison to Iraq in relation to religious freedom, and the Bushies have to be wringing their hands (Crooks and Liars has video).

"Their constitution and the wording of giving deference to Sharia law is very similar to what is in the Iraqi constitution....The resolve of the American people will not long stand if they know that they are giving their sons and daughters to die for just changing the names of regimes."
Back when there was debate about the fate of women's rights in the Iraqi constitution, I was incensed, but not surprised, that the Bush admin did not defend language for full equality for women. Islam is "a main source" for legislation and bans laws that contradict religious teachings in the Constitution of Iraq. From Asra Nomani's article, The Sharia Problem, in The American Prospect:
In seemingly innocuous language, the constitution is in fact a nightmare for women. Article 2, for example, is a self-fulfilling prophecy for disaster: “First: Islam is the official religion of the State, and it is a fundamental source of legislation.” The notion of Islamic law in legislation wouldn’t be so frightening if the new leaders of Iraq could be trusted to rise to the highest principles of social justice and women’s rights in Islam, but they can’t--particularly considering the pressures exerted on them by militant and extremist political forces both on the Sunni and Shiite sides who seek to make Iraq a model Islamic state in the vision of Saudi Arabia, Taliban Afghanistan, and Iran.

...The constitution rhetorically provides for gender equality and women’s rights. Article 2 (Section B) says: “No law that contradicts the principles of democracy may be established.” And, in another place in Article 2 (Section C), it offers: “No law that contradicts the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution may be established.”

But, ultimately, Article 2 leaves room for Islamically mandated inequality to trump women’s rights. The prevailing schools of Islamic sharia, for instance, have as one of their “established provisions” the notion that daughters receive less inheritance than sons, theologically justifying such a system. In a logic that denies women independence and self-determination, women are “maintained” by men. Article 29, stipulates, “All forms of violence and abuse in the family, school and society shall be prohibited,” but what about “established provisions” of sharia that interpret a verse of the Qur’an (Chapter 4, Verse 34) to allow men to “beat” disobedient wives? A growing movement called Islamic feminism challenges many of these interpretations but it hasn’t yet taken root in the mainstream Islamic establishment.
Why, then, should anyone be surprised to see in Afghanistan, the full-flowering of intolerance by religious extremists when the very law of the land permits the execution of someone who dares to follow another faith? If the clerics are in control, it's not just going to be women who are under the thumb of the oppressor.

So, Dear Leader sent the young men and women of our country to fight and die to "liberate" Iraq and now who knows what women or those who choose another faith will be subject to in Iraq -- the clerics in the end will decide.

The human rights horrors of a religious state like Afghanistan are not beyond possibility in the "democracy" we've created in Iraq. It's not the bright, shiny model of freedom Bushies were fantasizing about while in their fugue state over the bungling of Iraq -- and now the fundie base has finally been awakened to the ramifications of Dear Leader's amoral international warplay and is speaking out.

Of course when it's only homos that are being killed because of a fatwa issued by an Iraqi Muslim cleric, no one gives a damn.


Ministry grants for ventures offering to 'rescue' victims from homosexuality

Thursday, March 23, 2006

This is just plain brain-dead. From WingNutDaily.
Pro-abortion, anti-war, "gay-rights" and other liberal-left groups seem to have no problem obtaining funding from everyone from George Soros and MoveOn.org to hundreds of nonprofits, PACs and trusts. But where do you turn if you're a pro-family organization?

Enter the Pro-Family Charitable Trust, part of the California-based Abiding Truth Ministries.

The organization is seeking worthy ventures to consider for grants. Specifically, PFCT is currently focused on projects that:

1. Help individuals recover from homosexuality,
2. Oppose the recruitment of young people into the "gay" lifestyle or its defense, or
3. Counter the effect of pro-"gay" propaganda in media and culture.

One of the recipients of PFCT's largesse is "former homosexual" activist James Hartline's Hillcrest Mission, which landed a grant to set up shop in what it deems the "gay- and porn-dominated" Hillcrest District of San Diego.


Jesus on the drywall

Blender Joseph Rainmound points (via Pharyngula) the latest Jeezus miracle cure-all appearance, this time in the drywall of an Alabama church. You have to see the WLTX video to get an idea of how unhinged these people are, believing in the healing properties of rubbing a wall crack.

Do you see Jesus on the cross?
Members of the Triumph Learning and Worship Center for Life in Saraland, Alabama, want to share what they're calling a miracle. The church was flooded by Hurricane Katrina; causing some drywall in the building to buckle into an image that church members believe is an image of Jesus on the cross.

..."Many have been healed," said Pastor Ella Roberts. "One young man that belonged here was scheduled to go on dialysis. "The next week, he laid his hand there on the wall on the image, went to the doctor and they said they can't see where, why, how."

Church members say miracles occur when you touch the wall. "From touching that, my eyesight began to clear up completely," said Benita Bogan.

Skeptics like James Broughton are not sure what to make of it. He suffers from diabetes and is hoping for a better life. "I heard about it a couple of hours ago," said Broughton. When he was asked why he came, his response was "I don't know."


Holy Joe on-air meltdown

The man who humps Bush only slightly less vigorously than John McCain must be feeling a little challenged by the "love" coming from the blogosphere. Holy Joe flipped out on the air. Jane @ firedoglake has the goods.



Dem opponent Ned Lamont must be smiling at Joe's meltdown.


The Right Was Wrong and The Left Was Right


SusanG over at DailyKos wins the "Radical" Russ Nail on the Head award for March. Please go read it all, but here's the gist:
What I need from the conservatives who were wrong is this:

A statement, a simple statement, that they were wrong and we were right. Period. Not that Bush incompetently executed a terrific idea, but that the idea itself was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. As wrong as you can get. You simply cannot force democracy on another nation at gunpoint. Period.

And you were wrong because - it pains me to say this - you lost your minds in the aftermath of 9/11.

War critics who did not, in fact, shut off their higher cortex and retreat to the reptilian brain during this period can make it easier for conservatives to admit they wrong - and we need to do this to move this country forward, like it or not - by quit rubbing their faces in it. A horrible thing happened on 9/11. We were shocked as a nation, horrified, terrified, wounded and grieving. It is understandable - completely understandable - that a large portion of this country suddenly was willing to kill people - any people - for any trumped-up reason whatsoever to assuage the bleeding of this national wound. But ... being understandable doesn't make it right. I can understand how a parent reaches a point of slapping a child out of frustration for asking one too many times for a Mr. Goodbar in the check-out line; that doesn't mean I approve the action or want to see it repeated in the future.

But it was then - right then in the fresh, raw, losing-our-minds stage after 9/11 - that the few outspoken critics should have been most honored, that critical speech should have been most strenuously preserved: saying whoa whoa whoa whoa now here, let's slow down. Let's look at the facts. Let's see if a military solution is going to prevent this kind of thing again - or whether it's going to further enrage an already clearly enraged group. That was when it was most vital to hear "slow down the juggernaut and let's examine our options" counsel.

And that's when we were labeled traitors. Fifth columnists. America haters.
[Patriotically cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Mommy earmarks Katrina donation to Neil's biz

Look at this shite; I want to hurl. Please god, tell me someone in the MSM is going to pick this up. (Houston Chronicle):
Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.


Neil Bush has a colorful history, including failed S&Ls, insider stock trading scandals, and well, general Bush family corruption.

Since then, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight area schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

"Mrs. Bush wanted to do something specifically for education and specifically for the thousands of students flooding into the Houston schools," said Jean Becker, former President Bush's chief of staff. "She knew that HISD was using this software program, and she's very excited about this program, so she wanted to make it possible for them to expand the use of this program."

Related:
* No Child Left Behind: the Bush family cashes in too
* No Bush left behind: Investors from the United Arab Emirates helped fund the $23 million Neil Bush raised for Ignite!


Example #5,671 why you can't reason with the Pro-Life Anti-Woman Lobby

davisc.gif
If there were any doubt that the anti-abortion people have very little to with preserving the lives of the womb babies, and a whole lot to do with punishing the sluts for being irresponsible man-teasing jezebels with wicked, wicked naughty bits, one needs only cast one's gaze over to the state of Misery, er, Missouri, which is contemplating changing its motto to "The Don't Show Me State". The Repugnican legislators there are falling all over themselves, giddy with the annointing of Alito to the Roberts/Scalia/Thomas court, and are no longer able to hide their true intentions.

From Fired Up! Missouri comes this e-mail from Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-Victorian Era). Surf over and read the whole thing... but here's a tasty tidbit:
I appreciate your dedication to your legislative duties while on Spring Break. Your letter seemed to indicate that if we create chemical and pharmaceutical ways to tamper with mother nature, then we will solve the problem. Even if you solve a physical problem you still have not solved the moral, emotional and spiritual problems that come with a promiscuous lifestyle.

When I was listening to the debate last week I wondered what kind of man would want to enjoy free sex and then expect her to provide for her own contraceptives? These are the kind of men who want free whores. Any man who would be so low life as that does not deserve to have any woman love him. Smart women will stay away from men who use them and abuse them.
Yeah, that's it, Cindy. It's us men who are using and abusing women by sticking our pee-pees in their hoo-hoos without the expectation of love, marriage, and the potentiality of procreation. We men want the free sex and we want the irresponsible promiscuous women as our free whores.

Notice how this is always about how the women are these evil temptresses, denying any possibility that the women themselves might actually have an interest in enjoying sex for pleasure free from worrying about pregnancy? Of course, that fits in with their view of women as subservient brood mares for the state, now, doesn't it?

My fellow Oregonian at Alas, a Blog takes a look at the conundrum that is the alleged "pro-life" position, which claims that human life begins at conception and deserves the same constitutional protections as a living, breathing child, by masterfully comparing how "pro-life" positions, when applied to an actual living, breathing, four-year-old child, are absolutely ludicrous (click to the site for a handy comparison chart):
A lot of people who favor forced childbirth for pregnant women say that they believe that an abortion, even early in pregnancy, is identical to child murder. Have an abortion, shoot a four-year-old in the head; morally, it's the same. Or, anyhow, that's what they claim to believe.

In contrast, pro-choicers tend to think that the abortion criminalization movement is motivated by a desire - perhaps an unconscious desire - to punish women for having sex.
A few of the examples include:

* Abortion bans which explicitly protect the mother from legal consequences... well, you wouldn't extend that protection to a mother who murders her four-year-old child, would you?

* Abortion bans that make exceptions in the case of rape or incest... well, you wouldn't extend that protection to a mother who murders her four-year-old child conceived by rape or incest, would you?

* Opposing contraception and sex education for teenage girls... well, that's how Belgium achieved the lowest abortion rates in the world, and if your goal is fewer abortions... you get the picture.

Molly over at Molly Saves The Day takes a similar tack by posing Twenty Questions - Baby Killing Edition, asking questions that you'd easily say "yes" to if they were asked regarding the murder of a four-year-old child:
  1. Should women who abort get life sentences in prison and/or the death penalty?
  2. If a woman's husband knows she is aborting, should he be charged as an accessory to murder?
  3. Should abortion doctors receive life sentences in prison and/or the death penalty?
  4. If a woman smokes during her pregnancy and the fetus dies as a result, should she be charged with murder?
  5. If a woman eats unhealthily during pregnancy and the fetus dies, should she be charged with negligent homicide?
  6. If a woman has a serious medical condition that would almost always lead to the death of a fetus, but gets pregnant anyway, should she be criminally liable if the fetus dies?
  7. If a company manufactures a product which lights a fire in a fertility clinic, destroying 1500 frozen embryos, should they be liable for mass murder?
  8. If a pregnant woman reports to her doctor that she is smoking during her pregnancy, should her doctor be mandated to report it to the appropriate agency for dealing with child abuse?
  9. If a woman has cancer and her chemotherapy kills a fetus, should she be given a life sentence and/or sentenced to die?
  10. Should children who are disabled be allowed to sue a parent for any negligent conduct during pregnancy that may have caused their disability -- for instance, smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages?
  11. If a government agency determined that a woman was being neglectful to her fetus during her pregnancy, should she be forced by the Department of Children and Families to care for the child and/or have it forcefully removed?
Molly continues on another couple of posts, More questions for people who want to make abortion illegal and Which is it?, as she gets many responses from the anti-woman crowd about how "abortion stops a beating heart" and how we need to do all we can to preserve the "sanctity of life":
If the government wanted to force you to donate blood monthly, would you be okay with this as legislation?

What if the government passed a law mandating that all children who are able to donate blood without dying should donate blood as well as all adults?

If someone living is a tissue match for someone else who needs a kidney, should the government be able to force them to give the kidney to the other person?

If it is okay to commandeer a woman's uterus in the name of preserving a life, why wouldn't it be okay to mandate the use of blood, bone marrow, or kidneys from living people in order to preserve lives?

---

If it was really about life, forced organ donation would be mandatory for living people who had organ matches with other living people. If it was really about life, every single anti-abortion person would have said that 1/3 of American women (that's the number who've had abortions, folks -- and it's worth noting that in the early 20th century this proportion was higher, not lower) are murderers who should be given the penalty for premeditated murder.

But what I did see, over and over, were people saying that there should be "responsibility." That when you have sex, you know there is a finite chance it will result in pregnancy. That was the difference most people complained about in the forced organ donation questions -- that in one case, you are responsible for a life.

Guess what that means? It means it's NOT ABOUT LIFE. If abortions should be illegal but there should not be forced marrow donations from living donors, the distinction isn't one of life, it's one of responsibility.

See, another place where this sort of "sexual responsibility" doctrine comes into play is with the new HPV vaccine, which could prevent cervical cancer almost entirely. You'll note that cervical cancer, by definition, can only happen to women. Well, government officials have been steadfastly opposed to allowing this vaccine or making it part of the rest of the vaccinations we give young people. Why? Because giving them the vaccine would "encourage promiscuous sex." Apparently, people who have sex just need to "take responsibility" for their actions -- which could mean, among other things, getting cervical cancer.

Yes, people do realize that sex can result in disease or pregnancy, in much the same way that a bungee jumper knows the cord could snap. But in the same way we don't deny medical treatment to a bungee jumper and say "hey, look, you knew the consequences, now you can die to take responsibility," we shouldn't deny it for sexual consequences.
It's all about the sex, people, and it always has been. Ever since the birth control pill came out, ever since the SCOTUS decisions that allowed women access to that pill, ever since the women began burning their bras and demanding equality and - gasp! - having sex for pleasure, the ideological descendents of our Puritan ancestors have been hell-bent on returning us to an age of prudishness and covered ankles and fruitfully multiplied families where women who like sex have no choice but to birth a litter. It's hard coded into their religious dogma from the very first book of the Bible and that slut Eve who ruined Eden for all of us by discovering she had a clitoris and it felt good to touch it.

They just can't stand the idea that anyone out there, especially lowly not-men, is having any of the fun they deny to themselves.

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ, which makes the Baby Jesus weep]


From the DNC spambot

The ironies of life...within moments of posting the Dem senators take heat in closed-door session with gay leaders entry, "Howard Dean" spammed my inbox with this today:
Dear Pam,

Never before has our party been more organized in advance of an election. With new staff hitting the ground everywhere from Alaska to Arkansas, we are going to fight for every vote in every corner of every state in 2006.
I almost had to pick myself up off of the floor after reading that sentence I highlighted. Anyway, there is going to be a door-hanger campaign, where you do a little Neighbor-to-Neighbor chit chat to build up the base as part of the Dem "50-state strategy." I didn't have to read too far before I was hit up for the buxxxx.
We estimate that we need to print 500,000 pieces of literature to cover these events. With the cost of printing, plus the cost of shipping, staff time and logistics to make these events happen, we need an investment of $107,000 by Monday in order to kick-start this program.

Can you contribute something right now to help make this unprecedented program a reality?
Here's the bold new direction, the strategy that he wants our money for -- what folks will be hanging on doorknobs at a cul-de-sac near you.



The floor is now open for comments.


Dem senators take heat in closed-door session with gay leaders

"One of our concerns as a group is that they don't necessarily hear enough back from the community on how we hear and perceive the sometimes tortured and hair-splitting positions they try to take. We are tired of being seen as the embarrassment to the party."
-- Lambda Legal's Kevin Cathcart, summing up the whole problem with these clueless, butt-covering, spineless Dems at the national level.
Amen, brother. The meeting wasn't open to the public, but information is trickling out about what went on when the following senators met with gay leaders, according to an article in the Washington Blade:

Harry Reid (D-Nev.) (Majority Leader)

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Tom Carper (D-Del.)
Mark Dayton (D-Minn.)
Barack Obama (D-Ill.)
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

Gay activists got to air out some of the frustrations that we've all expressed here about the spineless, gutless, pandering positions that Democrats at the national level have been taking on gay issues.

It's apparent to everyone, particularly Republicans, that the party does not want to take a firm stand on civil equality, choosing to weave and bob or just plain put their heads in the stand rather than make a case for why discrimination is wrong. It sounds like these Dems got an earful.

The question is, what are they going to do about what they've heard?
Eight Democratic senators listened to complaints last week from gay activists that they and their party colleagues have hindered progress on gay rights, according to several participants in the meeting.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was among Democratic senators who met with gay activists last week and heard criticism that their party's positions on gay issues were often 'tortured' and 'hair-splitting.'

The activists say that by remaining passive or by taking ambiguous and "tortured" positions on same-sex marriage and other hot-button gay issues, the senators and other Democrats are hurting the gay rights movement.

The sometimes-blunt remarks by the activists came at a March 16 meeting on Capitol Hill organized by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her role as chair of the Senate Democrats' Steering & Outreach Committee. The meeting was closed to the media and public.
Exec. Director of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Kevin Cathcart was there and laid it out on the line, saying that the standard fig leaf of "we're against gay marriage but for civil unions" that the Dems (Kerry, Clinton, Dean leading the charge) have been hiding behind actually weakens the case for civil equality because it affirms separate and unequal treatment of gay citizens.
"We talked about the way [senators] appear to be largely passive, doing nothing affirmative on LGBT issues … in ways that actually are problematic for us and harmful to the work that we do...Particularly the rhetoric they use around the things like marriage, where instead of advocating for fairness and inclusion, they actually advocate discrimination," Cathcart said.
Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry also made the salient point we've been making here that pandering to the winger voters by abandoning public support of a historically loyal voting bloc is not going to pay off in any more votes from the bigot crowd anyway. It's about framing the issue of same-sex marriage in a way that will move the issue forward as a fairness issue.
"The Democrats are viewed as the party of gay rights because that's part of their historic tradition of supporting civil rights for all Americans," Wolfson said.

"They will never be anti-gay enough to satisfy their opponents" who strongly oppose same-sex marriage, he said.
The meeting was the third time in four years that the Steering & Outreach Committee has met with gay and AIDS group representatives, and this was also an opportunity to discuss the upcoming vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment and Don't Ask Don't Tell.

***

These Dems need to wake up -- the wind is at their backs -- polls released this week indicate acceptance of gay relationships at levels that anyone with a spine should interpret as an opportunity to open the public discussion and make the Republicans look like the bigots they are.

From the March 12 Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll, these are stunning gains in support:
* 51% oppose legalizing gay marriage, a significant decline from 63% in in February 2004 (after the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision leading to the legalization of marriage).

* A 60% majority now favors allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, up from 52% in 1994.

* In the South, the only region in which a majority of residents (55%) opposed allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, the opposition is at an incredible 35%, with 58% supporting open service.

* Even when you look at Republicans bigotry is losing traction -- 46% favor allowing gays to serve openly and 46% are opposed.

* 46% support gay adoption, up from 38% in 1999.

And look at this -- Pew finds "strong" opposition to gay marriage has ebbed to a new low in almost every demographic group except the bible-beating, Dobson-approved, whining evangelicals (56% of them still strongly oppose legalizing gay marriage, down from 65% two years ago):



What do the numbers have to look like before the Dems grow a spine and begin to do the right thing? They are supposed to LEAD, not follow.

Hat tip, PageOneQ


Who's dysfunctional?


"I am not convinced that just because our foster children desperately need loving homes that we should just place them in homes that are available when research also shows that most homosexual couples have numerous emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues that may not be healthy for children."
-- Tennessee State Rep. Debra Young Maggart (R-Hendersonville)
[Welcome Crooks & Liars readers, sit down and have a cup of fresh Blend...]

Blender James of At Thirty Three sent this heinous one in, saying...
Here we go again with the foolishness. I'm going to write my State Representative today and ask that he put forward a bill to make psychological and emotional testing a prerequisite to conceiving a child in the State of TN. Maybe I'll also ask him to enact a minimum income, education, and age level for all Tennesseans who want to be parents.
The above statement by Maggart was an email response to Sara Dykstra, a master's student in special education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. Dykstra had written members of the Tennessee House Committee on Children and Family Affairs to ask them not to pursue legislation to ban gays and lesbians from adopting or fostering children.

Tennessee gay news site Out and About has more about the story, Unfit to parent.
Dykstra said she was shocked by the response received from the elected official.

"My initial reaction when I read that was both shock and anger. I was surprised to hear such one-sided, ignorant and false logic coming from someone who is elected for the common good," said explained. "I do believe that Rep. Maggart honestly believes she's doing the right thing by taking this position. She really believes that there is something deviant about being homosexual."

Rep. Maggart went on to write to Dykstra that she had seen "evidence" that homosexuals could not maintain a stable relationship, and that gay couples often sought young men to adopt for, apparently, "unfretted access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse."

"We also have seen evidence that homosexual couples prey on young males and have in some instances adopted them in order to have unfretted access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse," She wrote to Dykstra. "Some of the evidence we were presented showed that lesbian and gay couples have a higher rate of breaking up than heterosexual coupes as well as higher rates of promiscuity outside of their relationships."
What was the "evidence"? Lo and behold, it looks like one of Daddy Dobson's people stepped up to the plate with "facts."
ARep. Maggart said "the State Director, Hedy Weinburg of the ACLU and a representative from Focus on the Family," presented information at that study committee.

While Rep. Maggart doesn’t say who "State Director" is, she could have been referring to Linda O'Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.
According to her House bio, Ms. Maggart is a single mother, and a Goodpasture Christian School Graduate. More power to her, raising a child by herself. I hope she knows that some on her side of the moralist fence might say that it's better for a child to be raised in a two-parent family, according to their belief system.

Out and About has the email exchanges between Dykstra and Maggart.

***

Speaking of Focus on the Family, Blender Rob Thurman did a little research on the FoF site to see if Dobson's flock has its biblical priorities in order.

***

Related:
* Dem senators take heat in closed-door session with gay leaders: the new Pew poll on gay adoption and marriage leaves the party without any excuses for its spineless behavior as these tired, bigoted arguments of folks like Maggart lose steam.


'Motivational speaker' at school compares girls to meat


Who is Justin Lookadoo? I've never heard of this low-rent "Christian author" and abstinence "educator". Blender Lisa sent me a link to this article and his web site and clearly Justin is scoping out the bottom-feeder territory. He's marketing himself as hip and cool and down with today's students as he explains to them how to control those horny desires by insulting them.

Well, he managed to make the news at Merritt Island High School in Florida when he shared his wisdom with juniors and seniors about the dangers of teen relationships and sex. WFTV has the story and the video.
Students and parents were shocked and outraged when, they said, female students were compared to pieces of meat by a Christian author at a Brevard County high school lecture. A group of students said the speech was biased and made them feel uncomfortable.

Tuesday, the controversy over Monday's assembly at Merritt Island High School made its way all the way to school district offices. Meanwhile, students were split over the message some said insulted female students with statements like "you can kick my woman...but you can't kick my dog."

"[The Christian author said,] 'Women shouldn't be surprised, if they dress like a piece of meat, if men want to put them on the barbeque .,'" said student Dana Tarasabage. [He said,] 'Go out and shop a little longer, there's more fashions coming out that cover your entire body,'" said student Shivani Patel.
He also suggested that girls are to blame for boys' adolescent attractions. Are you getting the feeling that Justin has issues? Just wondering.

Guess what? The folks who paid Lookadoo to speak were shocked, shocked that the speech didn't go over well with the young women in the audience.
"Our intention in this foundation is always to affect the lives of young people in a positive way, to equip them to make wise choices," said event organizer Janet Shaffer.

Shaffer heads KLD Foundation, the organization that paid for Lookadoo to speak at Merritt Island High School. She admits he's a bit over the top, but the Foundation believes that drives home the message.
KLD, incidentally, is some sort of religious claptrap org. The Flash-laden web site is so irritating that I couldn't waste more than 30 seconds on it.

Justin is the author of Extreme Encounters ("Devotionals Dare You To Be Extreme"), and this excerpt will give you more of the "flava" that he brings to his school talks on abstinence.
The night has been perfect. Your guy has been a dream. You are sitting in his car. He kisses you good night, then all of a sudden…he's all over you.

You are trying to block all the shots. But, is it OK?

You think that maybe you are being too old-fashioned. No way. This guy just doesn't get it. He is not respecting you, and he for-real isn't following the Bible.

So guys and girls, remember: Don't touch it if it ain't yours, and keep your hands to yourself.

Concerning the things of which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1 Corinthians 7:1
Shakes Sis weighs in on this turd, as does The Green Knight.


The tragedy of the 9th Ward


Scout Prime, a blogger who has been covering the devastation in NOLA in depth, has a short music video up on First Draft from her recent trip there, which she put together to show her family. Months later, there isn't evidence that anything significant has changed -- aside from the fact that the water was pumped out -- and there are still bodies yet to recover.


Slip of the tongue

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


“She’s just got a patent resume, of somebody that’s got such serious skill. She loves football, she’s African-American, which would kind of be a big coon, a big coon – oh my God, I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that, OK? I didn’t mean that. That was just a slip of the tongue.”
St. Louis radio personality Dave Lenihan later said he meant to use the word "coup." Even Condi doesn't deserve this one. How does that word just slip out?
A radio personality at 550 KTRS was fired on the spot this morning after using the word “coon” on the air in a conversation about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Dave Lenihan was dismissed after what he called an inadvertent slip of the tongue. Within 20 minutes, station CEO Tim Dorsey apologized on the air to listeners and announced that Lenihan, who had been with the station for less than two weeks, had been let go.

“I don’t know what was in Mr. Lenihan’s mind,” Dorsey said in an interview. “I know what I heard. I know it was reprehensible.”
Flashback to Las Vegas weatherman Rob Blair, who claimed his own "slip of the tongue" when he gave the extended forecast and said, "For tomorrow, 60 degrees, Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day, gonna see some temperatures in the mid-60s." What made that situation mind-blowing is that Blair's segment was pre-recorded and it STILL went on the air.

Is it just a coincidence that these losers had black folks on their minds when "the slip" occurred? By the way, Lenihan says that he's a big fan of Condi...


Winger bill: no lap dances in Kentucky

The moralists are now entering the strip clubs, attempting to legislate pasties, g-strings and lap dances with SB 250. Really, if you enter one of these establishments, aren't you paying to see the naughty bits?
Pro-family leaders in Kentucky would like to see this final full week of the state's legislative session, accomplish the passage of a measure to restrict indecent activity inside strip clubs. Kent Ostrander, president of the Family Foundation of Kentucky, says his and other pro-family groups are encouraging voters to contact legislators this week about pushing SB 250, a bill dubbed the "Public Decency Act," through the House to become law. The bill has already passed through the state's Senate.

The legislation does two things, Ostrander explains. "It simply makes sure that every performer in a strip bar must have something on," he says. "There cannot be total nudity, which is quite common. And number two, that same performer must remain six feet away from the patrons." Ostrander says supporters have been trying to get such a decency act passed for as many as seven years. The Family Foundation of Kentucky is urging members of the voting public to call 800-372-7181 and leave a message for their state legislators expressing support for this pro-family measure.
I ask you, is there any chance that some of these wingers voting on this bill have patronized these very same titty bars?


Roy Moore's tiny little brain

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues passes on the latest BS coming out of Mr. Ten Commandments himself, Alabama gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore.

Roy gave a speech at the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, and he proved during the Q&A that he doesn't think much about Alabamians and their ability to understand constitutional reform. In fact, he was pretty damn blunt.
A Blount County resident (a senior aged female) asked Mr. Moore about his thoughts on constitutional reform and a people’s convention. Mr. Moore replied by asking the woman if she had read the constitution and all of its amendments. She stated that she had read some, but not all. Mr. Moore then said that he had read the entire document, that it was a good document and the only changes he would support would be to compile the inactive portions into another document.


He then stated that he was opposed to a constitutional convention because special interests controlled Montgomery and would inevitably control a convention. The lady then asked did he not think that Alabamians were smart enough to see through the rhetoric of special interests groups and decide for themselves about a convention and its product. Former Chief Justice Moore quickly, and emphatically shot back, “No. (emphasis added)

As you can imagine, there was a collective gasp in the room and many were left looking at their neighbor trying to figure out if he had just said what everyone had heard him say.
I think Kathy nicely sums it up:
I’m not surprised that Roy thinks the people of Alabama are stupid. After all, a majority of voters elected him Chief Justice, and many of them still send him money to support his crusade to force his version of Christianity on the rest of us. I just hope his statement is widely circulated so those who might consider voting for him will know what he really thinks of them.


Iraq religious death squads targeting gays

Following up on Iraqi Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's call to kill gays, Doug Ireland reports in tomorrow's Gay City News that religious death squads are out in force now, and the horror is unimaginable. (PageOneQ):
"The Badr Corps is committed to the 'sexual cleansing' of Iraq," a 33 year old gay Iraqi exile in London told Ireland. Since the SCIRI's spiritual leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistni -- the highest Shia religious authority -- issued a fatwa ordering gays assassinated in "the worst, most severe way of killing," the Badr Corps in Iraq has begun to use the Internet to hunt down and kill Iraqi gays.

The murdered Iraqi gays "are usually discovered with their hands bound behind their back, blindfolds over their eyes, and bullet wounds to the back of the head," Iraqi exile Ali Hili, coordinator for the London-based Abu Nawas Group, an organization of gay Iraqis in exile -- tells Ireland. In one case, the article explains, a transsexual was beaten and burned to death in an area of Baghdad.

Hili explains that, "intimidation, beatings, kidnappings and murders of gays have become an almost daily occurrence.”
Sadly, none of this is surprising, -- do we want to take bets that no stories on this will appear in the MSM? And what about our military presence there -- will the violence of this sort be addressed? Don't hold your breath.

More of the article will be available on Doug Ireland's blog, DIRELAND.


Spared from the death chamber

Kirk Bloodsworth was charged with the killing and sexual assault of a nine year old girl and served on death row for eight years before he was cleared by DNA evidence as part of the Innocence Project. He was the first person on death row to be exonerated through postconviction DNA testing. His story:
The victim was found dead in July of 1984. She had been strangled, raped, and beaten with a rock. Bloodsworth was arrested based on an anonymous call telling police that he was seen with the victim that day and an identification made by a witness from a police sketch that was based on the recollections of five eyewitnesses. At trial, all five witnesses testified that they had seen Bloodsworth with the victim. Also presented at trial was testimony that Bloodsworth had said that he had done something terrible that day that would affect his relationship with his wife. Additionally, he mentioned a bloody rock during the investigation. A shoe impression found near the victim matched his size.

This evidence was challenged in Bloodsworth's appeals, which asserted that the bloody rock was mentioned because the police showed him a rock during the interrogation. The incident he mentioned regarding his wife amounted to his failure to buy the food she had requested. Moreover, the police failed to inform the defense that there may have been another suspect. Bloodsworth's conviction was overturned by the appellate court and he was retried. This time, he was convicted and sentenced to two life terms, to run consecutively.

In 1992, the prosecution agreed to DNA testing to be performed by Forensic Science Associates. The victim's shorts and underwear, a stick found at the scene, and an autopsy slide were compared against the blood standards of the victim and Bloodsworth. Using PCR based DNA testing, FSA determined that the amount of spermatozoa on the slide was insufficient for testing. Testing on the panties excluded Bloodsworth. Replicate testing performed by the FBI yielded the same results.
Blogger Jay Lassiter of Lassiter's Space and BlueJersey.net has an opportunity to sit down with Bloodworth, and and make the case why the death penalty moratorium is necessary, and that working to its abolishment is equally essential. He plans to post the interview as a podcast on the Bluejersey.net to rally public support against the death penalty.

There is a request Jay has for Blenders and it's a question of the day:

What would you ask Kirk Bloodsworth about his experience?

You can post your questions here or over at Jay's place.


"There is no leadership in the Democratic Party"


...and the Pope is still Catholic and bears still sh*t in the woods.

A must-read from Chris Lehmann in the New York Observer in an article about Sen. Russ Feingold and his censure resolution:
“There is no leadership in the Democratic Party,” said Terry Michael by phone on March 20. He’s a former Democratic National Committee press secretary who now heads the Washington Center for Politics and Journalism. “If only the Democratic Party leaders were alive, they could accept a debate on this. But instead, their strategy is focused on how best to muddle through.”

This goes double, in Mr. Michael’s view, for the party’s funereal flight from debate on the war in Iraq. Indeed, he said, the cower-duck-and-run maneuvers that party eminences conducted in the wake of Mr. Feingold’s announcement was almost identical to the drear chorus of prim disapproval when Pennsylvania Congressman John P. Murtha disavowed his early support of the Iraq war and called, last November, for rapid draw-downs of the U.S. troop presence.

Heavyweight aspirants to the ’08 Presidential nomination—people like Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware—clucked their disapproval and stressed how Mr. Murtha only spoke for himself. For her part, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi mewled that she didn’t cotton to Mr. Murtha’s resolution but respected him as a veteran and part of the Democratic Party’s grand mosaic of opinion.

Then, when Republican attacks on Mr. Murtha went haywire and addled freshman Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R.-Ohio) called the decorated Vietnam vet a coward on the House floor, Ms. Pelosi managed to stir herself to an endorsement—when all was assuredly safe and the Murtha resolution was good and doomed anyway.

“A voice like a Jack Murtha or a Russ Feingold literally cannot be heard,” Mr. Michael said, “when you have a so-called opposition party colluding with the party in power.

“The fear factor inside the Democratic Party is appalling,” he added. “You’ve got these small-minded Democratic-consultant-driven political leaders, and then you’ve got real neocons who refuse to listen to the base of the party …. You have these voices of unbridled ambition—Hillary Clinton first among them—who are asking the base to nominate them, when they’re not even listening to the base when it comes to the most important issue in American politics today.” Look at the 2004 convention in Boston, Mr. Michael said: “Ninety percent of the people in that nominating hall wanted to end this war, and they wound up voting in a ticket where both candidates voted for it—and said they still supported it.”
In a related development, evolutionary scientists researching today's Democrats are confused, as there is no evidence in the fossil record of a vertebrate species ever de-evolving into an invertebrate.

[Retroactively cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Gay 16-year old mops the floor with Sen. George Allen

I would have loved to be in the room when this went down.

Rethug Virginia Senator (with presidential ambitions) George Allen was at a public event and young gay man stood up and politely asked questions that showed Allen his ass. Remember, Allen supported FMA. He also at first backed the addition of sexual orientation to federal hate crimes legislation, then famously retracted his support, his spokesman citing the Senator's concern about "a chilling effect on First Amendment rights" and the "elevation of sexual orientation to civil rights status.

Yes, that lunacy would confirm that he's running in '08. Anyway, here is part of the brave, brilliant takedown by Tullysatre:
"I wanted to speak with you in regards to a Hate Crimes bill that was introduced in Congress not too long ago." He nodded at me as I continued, "This bill sought to add 'sexual orientation' to the country's list of types of people that are victims of hate crimes. I myself have been victim to threats and assaults of hate crime based on the fact that I am gay, and I am a Virginian. Only two weeks ago my friend was in Richmond when he walked out of a restraint with his partner another person called him a 'faggot', drew a knife, and attacked my friend. Luckily, my friend lived - others are not so lucky. Last year, you supported legislation which sought to add 'sexual orientation' to the nation's hate crime list, and for that I thank you - but later this year you said that you regret your support for this bill and would not support this bill in the future, why is that?"


Allen got caught with his pants down, defending that slavery was OK because the majority of the public was in favor of it at the time - majority rule, civil rights be damned.

Senator Allen kept his smile, kept his poise, and prepared one of those typical political responses. He told me a story, that once he was at a Gay Pride Festival in Philadelphia, and there was a peaceful group reciting verses from the Bible across the street. They were arrested for assault. He believes in religious freedom, and believes religious freedom of expression is ideal in this country. I agree. Senator Allen continued to say that he believes sexual orientation is not a civil right Everyone broke into thunderous applause. I doubt the crowd understood - Senator Allen seemed to turn the table making my statement appear as if I was advocating for "special" rights, which of course is far from the truth.

"Well Senator," I began. "I too believe religious freedom of expression is part of what this country was founded upon - it is a beautiful thing to be able to express your views, however sexual orientation is not a civil right, it is a part of someone, and gay citizens are being denied basic civil liberty, very basic rights that most citizens are granted." The Senator said something along the lines of disagreement. "If you believe that this is how gay citizens should be treated," I continued, "I am assuming that is why you supported the Federal Marriage Amendment."

Senator Allen seemed a bit tense. He continued to say that his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment was merely the passing of legislation that the people of this country wanted - to protect the values that this country upholds. Senator Allen was consistent with repeating this message at least five times in about ten different ways, including citation of statistics and specific references. Senator Allen even began to speak of what was and what was not constitutional - including actions from activist judges, as well as a separate case where Massachusetts became the first and only state to approve same-sex marriage...which according to him was in contrast of what the people believed.

"Senator Allen," I began, leaving a bit of a pause, "I think we both can agree that what the majority may think, is not necessarily always constitutional. Take a look at history - slavery for example, that was supported by a majority of our citizens at one time, but it by far was not constitutional, and it by far was invading the basic freedom of citizens in this country. We can not say that majority rule is necessarily constitutional when it comes to issues of human rights and basic civil liberty.
You have to go read the rest.

Allen continued trying to defend his position, and then got spooked when he saw a NYT reporter in the room. Tullysatre was swamped with reporters after stepping down from the podium.

Bravo.

Hat tip, AmericaBlog


Turning against the war

Check out a insightful essay by Michael Stickings (of The Reaction), Fantasy and reality after three years in Iraq. It's a great piece on his personal political journey from reluctant supporter of the war to the realization that the lies and deception of this administration led him and most of America astray.
Remember those fast-paced days, the days of the embedded reporters capturing the rapid and relatively easy march into Baghdad?

But it didn't take long for things to change. I celebrated the removal of Saddam -- and, even today, whatever our negativity, whatever the easy allure of relativism, we ought not underestimate the significance of removing him from power; even Task Force 6-26's Black Room prisoner abuse is minimal compared to what Saddam did -- but I had obviously had far too much confidence that the war's architects knew what they were doing, that they were prepared for the occupation, that they would do whatever it took to guide Iraq, now their ward, towards democratic self-government, preferably towards liberal democracy. That was very much my defence when challenged by my students: America will make this work. Sure, it won't be easy to reconstruct Iraq, but failure simply isn't an option. I vehemently opposed Bush in 2000, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After 9/11, we were all together, weren't we?

I turned against it when it became abundantly clear that it was being grossly mismanaged. I had high hopes for the removal of Saddam, regime change, and the possible democratization of Iraq and, beyond that, the Middle East. And that may still happen -- whatever our skepticism, let's at least acknowledge it as a possibility, however remote. But it's clear that the Bush Administration is very much to blame for what has gone wrong -- and that includes well over 2,000 American deaths. Yet, upon this third anniversary of the start of his war, a war of choice, President Bush won't even use the word "war" to describe what's going on in Iraq. There's no civil war. Apparently, there's no war at all. The war must have ended with the conclusion of major combat operations.

Americans are being led by a cadre of the delusional.
Another note: congrats to Michael, who is a featured blogger on John Edwards's OneAmericaBlog, where this essay is cross-posted.


Freepers take Myers-Briggs, weigh in on End Times

Some enterprising Freepi have been polling the knuckle-draggers, trying to figure out who trolls around in the swamp of Freeperland.

One thread has the results of those who took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator/Personality Test. A landslide of the participating Freepi fell into type RT (rational), subgroup "Coordinators," and specifically iNTj, which is labeled "The Masterminds."

iNTj, by the way, is Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging, you can read the description here.

I think I will just leave this one out there for you all to comment on.

***

Another entertaining bit of research is the Survey of Freeper Views of "How it all Ends" thread. I had to pull a couple of selections here...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Cvengr - Pre-trib, pre-mil ... I don't see anything in Scripture that would preempt God in His grace, disciplining a wayward Christian nation to the point of total destruction by fire, if it repeatedly displays it will not return to Him and in so failing is considered in divine perspective as simply being good for nothingness.… the US isn't shown directly in Prophecy as critical to things to come. We have an opportunity to provide a pivot for other believers and nations to return to Him and play important roles as He has planned. Those roles aren't as dependent upon a brotherhood as much as they are upon our remaining faithful in Him. The demise of the west doesn't mean the failure of His plan, merely our rejection of Him and consequence of evil."

"hope - Christ will withdraw His Church (Those who have accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus) prior to the judgment that will come upon the earth which will end the age of grace. After a period of judgment Christ will return with His bride, the church and set up His Kingdom as promised to David that his seed will rule forever and ever, sun up to sun down. After a thousand year reign Satan is released for a final judgment on the earth and then Satan and his minions are cast into the lake of fire forever and ever. Those who have accepted the promise of Gods covenant with His Son, will remain with Him forever and ever with the establishment of a new heaven and earth..."


Bush's faith-based cash keeps flowing


One of the infamous black pastors on the faith-based tip: President Bush with Sedgwick Daniels, whose church got $1.4 million from the government. Photo: Morry Gash/AP

The WaPo has a lengthy article on the administration shell-out of cash grants to socially conservative religious organizations and non-profits. The hungry fundie hogs have slopped up $157 million in grants.
Among other new beneficiaries of federal funding during the Bush years are groups run by Christian conservatives, including those in the African American and Hispanic communities. Many of the leaders have been active Republicans and influential supporters of Bush's presidential campaigns.

Programs such as the Compassion Capital Fund, under the Health and Human Services, are designed to support religion-based social services, a goal that inevitably funnels money to organizations run by people who share Bush's conservative cultural agenda.
One wishes that Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Wade F. Horn and other Bushies had Pinnochio's noses when the notion that that the allocation of grants by the administration might be political is raised.
Horn and other officials said politics has not played a role in making grants. "Whoever got these grants wrote the best applications, and the panels in rating these grants rated them objectively, based on the criteria we published in the Federal Register," he said. "Whether they support the president or not is not a test in any of my grant programs."

...H. James Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said politics plays no role in grant-making decisions. "We don't have that kind of calculation," he said.

Jamie-Andrea Yanak/Associated Press
The article also notes that Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing took in $23.5 million, and five organizations run by black and Hispanic leaders who endorsed Bush have received more than $2 million each from the administration's "compassion fund." The abstinence-ed and anti-choice folks get to belly up to the bar as well.
The Door of Hope Pregnancy Care Center in Madisonville, Ky., a small outfit of four part-time employees committed "to the belief in the sanctity of human life, primarily as it relates to the protection of the unborn," operated on an annual budget of $75,000 to $79,000, most of it raised from an annual banquet and a "walk for life." Last year, Door of Hope got an abstinence education grant of $317,017, allowing it to hire staff and expand.

In Dyersburg, Tenn., the Life Choices Pregnancy Support Center, where the staff believes "without reservation or qualification that the Scriptures teach that human life begins at conception," had revenue of $81,621 and could pay Executive Director Natalie Wilson $12,247 in 2001. Two years later, the center got a $534,339 grant for abstinence education. By 2004, annual revenue totaled $617,355.
Bishop Sedgwick, pictured at the top of the post (and ready to tap dance for The Man), of Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ in Milwaukee, was awarded $626,598 in 2003 and $824,471 in 2004 from the Compassion Capital Fund. Daniels is a strong supporter of Dear Leader -- he was a 2004 Republican National Convention delegate. A little more on how Sedgwick was turned on by Bu$$$h.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for example, Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, one of the “city’s most prominent black pastors,” who supported both Bill Clinton and Al Gore in past presidential elections, switched to Bush. His “face appeared on Republican Party fliers in the battleground state of Wisconsin,” and he endorsed President Bush “as the candidate who ‘shares our views.’” Two weeks before the election Bishop Daniels “turned over the pulpit to Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, one of Bush’s most prominent African American advocates.”

“We know what faith-based can do every single day,” Steele told the congregation, drawing head nodding and remarks of “yes” and “Amen” from more than 1,000 in the vast sanctuary.

The Times also reported that Bishop Daniels met “with top administration officials” and also met with “the president himself.” Later, his church received $1.5 million in federal funds through Bush’s faith-based initiative.
This gravy train won't end any time soon. What kind of oversight is there in these programs? Is the money actually going to help people in need or to line pious pastor pockets, build churches and organize partisan politicking from the pulpit and "get-out-the-GOP-vote" campaigns?

Also:
* posts on black pastors and faith-based buyouts
* Securing the homeland on a wing and a prayer: Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security


Tidmus on the homo fatwa

Last week, news came out that Iraqi Shia leader Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for a fatwa on the homos, urges followers to kill gay folks in the "worst, most severe way".

Mike gives him the appropriate P'shop tribute...


Unpretentious at heart, Ayatollah Al, as his close friends call him, likes nothing better than to relax at home with a good book while savouring the simple pleasures his exalted position affords. It's said that Ali has a real weakness for a warm Danish and a special fondness for delectable girl drinks!
(View the source photo at Wikipedia).


School discipline begins with a noose

Out of Newark, NJ, the story of a substitute teacher, Albert Coleman Jr., whose interesting disciplinary techniques ran afoul of the law. The lynching symbolism is a nice touch.
Coleman, 61, of East Orange, had been charged with aggravated assault for the March 29, 2004 incident during an after-school program. When a grand jury declined to indict him on that charge, prosecutors tried him on reduced charges of assault and disorderly conduct.

...Prosecutors said Coleman wanted to punish Reyes for not following instructions to do his homework. Ali said the substitute asked the boy if he knew what "strangulation" was and made him stand on a chair.

Coleman took the looped end of a decorative string that was hanging from a light fixture, put it around the boy's neck and pulled it tight by kicking the chair on which the child was standing. In his testimony to a grand jury, Coleman said he was only playing with Reyes and that the string was never around his neck.
He was convicted of disorderly conduct and assault, and given a year probation. Since he had no priors, Coleman avoided jail time, but this conviction ensures that he can no longer work as a teacher.

Hat tip, King Cranky


Koufax finalists are up

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Go vote, friends. The Blend didn't make it to the finals in any of the six categories it was up in, but many great blogs made the cut.

Pandagon is up for Best Blog and Best Group Blog.

Shakespeare's Sister, co-bloggrrrl on B3, is also up in the Group category; I'm voting for that slamming blog.

***

One of the Best New Blog entries is Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald. He gets my thumbs up simply because he's brilliant, persuasive and it shows in the meteoric rise and exposure of his work on the NSA scandal. And he has stiff competition in this category, including the excellent DKos spinoffs, Street Prophets and My Left Wing, and the always on top of breaking political news, Think Progress.

Glenn is also up in the Best Writing category, and Best single Post category for Bush's Unchecked Executive Power v. the Founding Principles of the U.S..

Quite appropriately, he's publishing his first book on that topic, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. Glenn says he's 80% done, and it will be on Amazon pre-order soon -- then I have to figure out how to get Glenn to autograph it for me, lol. :)



Marriage bigots lose in NH

Not even close. The House vote defeating a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was 207-125.
The vote ends this year's campaign for a constitutional ban of same sex unions; it takes a 60 percent majority in the House and Senate for any proposed amendment to reach a public vote, where it needs approval from two-thirds of voters.

Sen. Jack Barnes, R-Raymond, a ban sponsor, said the House had spoken and he would not pursue a similar amendment in the Senate. He said the result was neither surprising nor disappointing.

"We knew that right off, I mean it was a done deal," he said. "The people is the third rail in politics and obviously the people that voted against it didn't want to hit the third rail."


Shreveport man accused of molesting dog

Yes, it's the bestiality post of the week. Louisiana gets the honor this time.

After covering lambs, hogs and horses on the run from members of The Base here, it comes down to Little Ricky's worst nightmare -- man on dog. (KTSB has video):

Shreveport Police have arrested a man and charged him with an unusual form of animal cruelty. 56-year old David Powell was taken into custody Friday afternoon at his apartment in downtown Shreveport. Animal control officer Rick Quillen says witnesses say they saw Powell being "unusually affectionate" with a neighbor's dog and saw pictures on Powell's computer of him having sex with the animal. Powell was taken to Caddo Correctional Center and booked on one charge of simple animal cruelty. A misdemeanor.


Kaballah guru: gays brought on bird flu

The whack jobs just keep on coming. I thought we homos expended all our natural disaster capital on the tsunami and Katrina. We apparently had enough left over to squeeze out a little plague upon the Holy Land.
A prominent Kabbalah leader says that gays have brought a plague of bird flu on Israel.

...Rabbi David Basri, head of the Magen David Yeshiva in Jerusalem, on Tuesday lashed out at the left of center Meretz Party for running election ads supporting same-sex marriage. Israelis elect a new government this month and Meretz is the only party supporting gay marriage.

With at least two cases of deadly bird flu reported in Israel, Basri said the outbreak was God's punishment for the promotion of same-sex marriage.

"The Bible says that God punishes depravity first through plagues against animals and then in people," Basri said in a religious edict. In an interview with the Reuters news agency Basri's son quoted the rabbi as saying the bird flu outbreak stemmed from the leftist pary "strengthening and encouraging homosexuality."
Gee, What Would Madonna Do?


Unmet winger needs and September bed buddies

They have the White House, the Hill and two new conservative justices on the high court, but it doesn't matter. The bible-thumpers are not getting their values needs met. And they are pissed according to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.


He is holding a September summit (the "Washington Briefing") for all the sheeple who can't seem to find a way to control enough wombs, create enough chastity promise rings, and chase enough homos back into the closet.
As we began preparing for this fall's Washington Briefing: Values Voter Summit, we asked the question: how do the values voters feel about Congress two years after the election of 2004? As we head into the midterm elections this year, what are the values voters' thinking about politics and public policy?

To find out, we put a poll in the field and the answer came back: Values voters remain interested in politics, but their expectations remain unmet.


The National Omnibus Riehle-Tarrance Poll surveyed over 1,000 adults last weekend, March 9-12. A sizable percentage -- 41 percent of poll respondents -- were self described evangelical Christians. These are a major bloc of the values voters.
All meals for the Washington Briefing, in case you feel like attending, are sponsored by Americans United to Preserve Marriage, Focus on the Family Action, American Family Association Action and Alliance Defense Fund.

Preliminary topics include:

* Does Religion have a Prayer in Public Schools
* Larger than Life: How the Abortion Debate Continues to Shape American Politics
* The Preservation of Marriage: Why Children Need It
* Liberal Sisters of Doom: Are They a Thing of the Past?
* Courts Gone Wild: The Rightful Place of Judges in Our Republic
* Left Out: Exposing Liberal Groups
* Hollywood in the Heartland: The Passion v. The Da Vinci Code
* Why Can't Hollywood 'Get It'?
* The New Media's Impact on America's Political Climate Democracy in Action: Voting at the Polling Booth and With Your Pocketbook
* The Role of the Church in Political Issues

***

In our continuing effort to show you that these social control freaks are bed buddies with the GOP with a hotline to Dear Leader and his minions, here's just a sampling of the speakers and politicians that Tony's invited to speak and mingle with the Christofascists...


President George W. Bush; Rev. Don Wildmon, Chairman, American Family Association


Senator George Allen, U.S. Senate (R-VA); Gary Bauer, President, American Values; Congressman John Boehner, House Majority Leader (R-OH)


Brent Bozell, Founder and President, Media Research Center; Senator Sam Brownback, U.S. Senate (R-KS); Pat Buchanan, Author and Syndicated Columnist


Dr. James Dobson, Founder and Chairman, Focus on the Family; Senator Bill Frist; Senate Majority Leader (R-TN); Sean Hannity, Author and Radio Talk Show Host


Senator (Holy F*cking) Joe Lieberman, U.S. Senate, (D-CT); Michelle Malkin, Syndicated Columnist; Author


Senator John McCain, U.S. Senate (R-AZ); Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA); Michael Steele, Lt. Governor, Maryland; Congressman Tom Tancredo, U.S. House of Representatives (R-CO)


War in Iraq through 2009... at least

bush-signal.jpg
Chimpy ain't'a gonna let nobody tell him he was wrong to invade Iraq. Cleanin' up that mess is gonna be some other president's problem. You know, like the deficit, global warming, port security, and so forth. Why should he worry? BushCo Int'l (a division of The Carlyle Group) will have siphoned off enough of the treasury by then to be livin' large, and the rest of the Administration rats will have cushy K Street lobbying jobs.
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.

Acknowledging the public's growing unease with the war — and election-year skittishness among fellow Republicans — the president nonetheless vowed to keep U.S. soldiers in the fight.

"If I didn't believe we could succeed, I wouldn't be there. I wouldn't put those kids there," Bush declared.

He also stood by embattled Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"I don't believe he should resign. He's done a fine job. Every war plan looks good on paper until you meet the enemy," he said.
Well, every war plan looks good when it is devised by chickenhawks who never went to war in the first place and ignored all of the analysis by the generals who said we'd need 300,000 troops and many, many years.
...the president defiantly defended his warrantless eavesdropping program, and baited Democrats who suggest that he broke the law.

Calling a censure resolution "needless partisanship," Bush challenged Democrats to go into the November midterm elections in opposition to eavesdropping on suspected terrorists. "They ought to stand up and say, `The tools we're using to protect the American people should not be used,'" Bush said.
Yeah, and then the Democrats ought to stand up and say, "We love Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush is a doo-doo head who loves to torture puppies!" Seriously, where does this guy get time to rest with all the strawmen he's constantly setting up and knocking down?

Here's a question: if this is supposedly a program to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists, and then it's shown that you've monitored Quakers and anti-war protesters for potential terrorist sympathies, and it's shown that you've rounded up hundreds of innocent people in Gitmo and Abu Ghraib simply because you call them "terrorists", despite any evidence to back that up, then by golly, who ISN'T a potential eavesdropping target?

And the gall to talk about protecting the American people when the two biggest failures of intelligence in American history (9/11 and WMDs) happened on YOUR WATCH and New Orleans is still wiped off the map on YOUR WATCH and our ports are still woefully unprotected on YOUR WATCH... man, how do you walk with balls that big?

But Bush is sticking with his Magic Tiger Rock theory that breaking the law by spying on Americans is what's going to protect us. For Bush, admitting a mistake is more horrendous than losing American civil liberties and American lives.
The president said he did not agree with former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who told the British Broadcasting Corporation Sunday, "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

Bush said others inside and outside Iraq think the nation has stopped short of civil war. "There are other voices coming out of Iraq, by the way, other than Mr. Allawi, who I know by the way — like. A good fellow."

"We all recognized that there is violence, that there is sectarian violence. But the way I look at the situation is, the Iraqis looked and decided not to go into civil war."
"Hey, Ahmed, ya wanna go into civil war?" "Nah, Ali, let's just go blow up a few Sunnis." "Yeah, good point. Starting a civil war would take away from all the time we need to kill the rest of our countrymen who a different from us."

Where is this magical fantasyland that Bush lives in? Apparently not the same place as a vast majority of Americans:
Nearly four out of five Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans, believe civil war will break out in Iraq, according to a recent AP-Ipsos poll.

Bush said he's confident of victory in Iraq. "I'm optimistic we'll succeed. If not, I'd pull our troops out," he said, warning that abandoning the nation would be a dangerous mistake.

"So failure in Iraq, which isn't going to happen, would send all kinds of terrible signals to an enemy that wants to hurt us and people who are desperate to change the condition in the broader Middle East," Bush said.
And that terrible signal is... once we make a decision to illegally invade a sovereign nation, if we don't stick to it, no matter how many people die, no matter how much money we spend, then we'll never be able to bomb the Middle East into a stable democracy that likes to sell us oil.

War in Iraq through 2009. At the current rate, that will be 4,655 dead American soldiers, 31,918 seriously injured American soldiers, and maybe up to half to a three-quarters of a trillion dollars spent. Do you think Iraq will be a shining beacon of democracy by then? Well, sure, because Bush & Cheney & Rummy say so! why, they've been so spot on with all their previous prognostications!

[Stubbornly cross-posted at Radical Writ, because to do otherwise would send a terrible signal to our enemies.]


'A sexual-agenda bomb dressed up as a child-caring Easter egg'


That headline, my friends, is the overheated rhetoric that came out of the mouth of California apesh*t Dobson wannabe Randy Thomasson of Sacramento-based Campaign for Children and Families.

What was he losing his cookies over? Two anti-discrimination bills targeting schools in the state legislature. AFA "news" site AgapePress call them Twin Bills of Destruction that threaten family values. Read the hilarious hellfire...
A California pro-family activists is warning against two education bills in the state legislature that advance a radical pro-homosexual agenda. One of the bills would make school textbooks gender-neutral, while the other threatens schools financially if they choose not to promote homosexuality.

Assembly Bill 606 would allow the state schools chief to defund schools that do not support the homosexual agenda in textbooks, presentations, and instructional materials. The measure also calls for school districts to "establish and publicize an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy" that prohibits discrimination and harassment based on specified characteristics, "including, but not limited to, actual or perceived gender identify and sexual orientation." Introduced by State Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, AB 606 has already passed the California Assembly.


Senate Bill 1437, sponsored by lesbian activist Senator Sheila Kuehl, declares that public school curriculum could not "reflect adversely" on homosexuality, trans-sexuality, or bisexuality. This measure would amend three sections of existing state education code to prohibit instruction, textbooks, or material that reflect "adversely upon persons because of their race or ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion." The bill has yet to receive a hearing.
Thomasson is asking Golden State residents to get on the horn to the Governator to veto both bills if they manage to get to his desk.


San Francisco Archdiocese halts same-sex adoptions


Newsom on the church's position: "Somehow inherently that two people of the same sex can't be loving parents to me is patently offensive because it belies fact and it belies any sense of sensitivity or capacity of understanding."

You'll recall that last week, S.F. Mayor (and official Blender hottie) Gavin Newsom stuck it to the Vatican by deciding to take a pass on a trip to the installation of Archbishop William Levada as Cardinal as a protest on the church's anti-gay adoption position.

The Prada Pope said in 2003 that allowing children to be adopted by same-sex couples "would actually mean doing violence to these children" and was "gravely immoral."

What was that? And what about the morality of the men raping and molesting innocent children and covering it all up? The mind boggles.

Anyway, as expected, Papa Ratzi's stooges at the Archdiocese of San Francisco brought the hammer down on the homos who wished to adopt through its Catholic Charities agency.

Catholic Charities has placed five children with same-sex couples since 2000, but a statement from Archbishop George Niederauer makes clear there will be no more, said Maurice Healy, spokesman for the archdiocese.

"These kinds of adoptions are not in sync with church teaching, and we've committed ourselves to being in sync with church teaching," Healy said.

The issue now is whether Catholic Charities can continue providing adoptions without losing its public funding. Catholic Charities received $800,000 from the state and $5 million from local governments, including the city of San Francisco, last year. Diocesan officials are reviewing that matter.

The archbishop released a statement last week that read, in part, "We fully accept and faithfully teach what the Catholic Church teaches on marriage and family life. In light of these convictions, we currently are reviewing our adoption programs to determine concretely how we can continue to best serve children who are so much in need of a home."
Then it gets weird. There is a major break in the anti-gay communication chain because the head of Catholic Charities isn't taking no as the final answer from
Brian Cahill, executive director of Catholic Charities for San Francisco, said Niederauer did not explicitly ban same-sex adoption.

"This is an outright statement that is false," Cahill said of Healy's assertion. "Mr. Healy is, A, mistaken, B, doesn't speak for Catholic Charities and, frankly, it's clear to me that he's not speaking for the archbishop these days."

...Cahill said Niederauer's statement, instead of indicating a ban, shows that the archdiocese and Catholic Charities are reviewing the program to determine how to serve the best interests of needy children, Cahill said.

"We are trying for a different solution than Boston," Cahill said.
He's referring, of course, to Boston's Archdiocese pulling out of adoption services. The church there is awaiting Gov. Mitt the Sh*t to come through with a religious exemption to allow them to keep operating -- and discriminate against gays.

Sounds like there's about to be a rumble between the church heads and Catholic Charities over this.

In case you're curious, NY Catholic Charities has been stalling regarding a response to the Pope's new initiative.
“We don’t discriminate and agencies that contract with us have to comply,” Kali Holloway, a spokeswoman for the City’s Administration for Children’s Services, said. She cited state adoption regulations that read, “Applicants shall not be rejected solely on the basis of homosexuality,” even though the wording is hardly a ringing affirmation of nondiscrimination.

Jacqueline Lo Faro, spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, refused to say whether Catholic adoption agencies here allow gay people to adopt. The only thing she was authorized to say was, “We’re aware of the Boston situation and we’re reviewing it.”

...In New York, informed that Catholic Charities refused to certify that it does not discriminate against gay people in adoptions, Sheila Stainback of the Administration for Children’s Services said that state regulations and case law are clear that discrimination against gay parents in adoption is illegal. “If they are contracting with us, they understand that is the policy,” she said. “We’ve seen no evidence that any religious organization is discriminating,” but that the agency would take action if that comes to their attention.
Other states where the church may have to take a position include Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and the District of Columbia -- all allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt children. (As commenter shirky noted, if the states don't subcontract adoption services out to CC, or don't have non-discrimination policies, it's moot.)

Hat tips to Fritz and Paul.


North Carolina not keen on religious right

Chris Kromm over at Facing South points to a good article by political reporter Rob Christensen in the Raleigh N&O about NC's strange mix of politics that has made it difficult for the wingers to make legislative headway on the hot-button social issues roiling many states.
The South Dakota legislature recently banned abortions, and lawmakers in many other states are considering abortion-related bills. School boards in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa have made headlines debating whether to teach intelligent design along with evolution. Florida was divided over the Terri Schiavo case last year involving right-to-die questions.

But so far the contentious social issues have largely remained off North Carolina's legislative agenda.

...Part of the explanation is in which party controls Raleigh. The agenda of the religious right has been pushed largely by Republicans. But North Carolina is one of the few Southern states where Democrats have controlled both the state legislature and the governor's mansion throughout this decade.

Most North Carolinians go to church and believe in the Bible, polls show. But North Carolina has always been a more nuanced state on social issues than many imagine. Take abortion.

In 1968, North Carolina became the second state to legalize abortions. Until the mid-'90s, North Carolina was the only state in the South -- and one of just 13 in the country -- to fund abortions for poor women.
Christensen notes that Jesse Helms had great difficulty getting his constituents to understand his anti-choice position. Chris tosses out a theory:
This is an interesting update on V.O Key's thesis about North Carolina in his legendary 1949 book "Southern Politics," where he argued the state was a "progressive plutocracy" -- tolerant on social issues like race relations, and conservative and subservient to business interests when it came to economics.
It's why we've been able to dodge the marriage amendment bullet so far, with the bills dying in committee. It will take work to keep it that way, because the wingers will keep submitting that f*cker. Much of the Tar Heel state is still quite Red, and the AmTaliban keeps trying to make headway in the past by importing wingers to stir up trouble.


A work in progress

Harris tells Christian group she believes God wants her in public service.
Finding inspiration from God, The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of Rings, Katherine Harris told hundreds of conservative Christians Saturday that she is "a work in progress."

Harris, who told a national television audience Wednesday that she would be spending $10 million to win Florida's U.S. Senate race, said she never would have entered politics if she did not believe that God wanted her to make public service part of her life.
And this quote for the ages, when she announced to Hannity that she wasn't dropping out of the race for the Florida U.S. Senate seat.

"Let me tell you what the truth is. I’m staying. I’m in this race. I’m going to win. And let me tell you how. I’m going to put EVERYTHING on the line. Everything, not just my future and my reputation, my father’s name. I’m gonna take his legacy… Everything that I have and I’m gonna put it in this race. I’m going to commit my legacy from my father, $10 million… This is everything that I have.”
Fun stuff: Make her spend it all.

Hat tip, Adrian.


Unitarian pastor protests NC's stance on gay marriage

An Asheville pastor won't perform any civil marriage ceremonies until NC allows same-sex marriage. (Citizen-Times):
The Rev. Mark Ward, pastor of the 540-member Unitarian Universalist Church in Asheville, announced his decision in a sermon Sunday. Ward said he still will perform religious ceremonies for heterosexual couples but will direct them to public officials for civil ceremonies and marriage licenses.

“As ministers, we are sort of de facto agents of the state in that we have the ability to legalize marriage of couples we deal with,” he said. “I will choose not to perform that function as long as the state’s laws are unjust.”

Ward said he already has been performing what are essentially marriages for same-sex couples.

“I accept the responsibility and believe that it is a good thing for people in a committed relationship to come together and join in an intentional joining of their lives,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing religiously. I think it’s a good thing civilly. I think we as a society benefit by having people who are in committed relationships. I think it’s a more stable society.”
Ward is the second pastor to take this stand. Rev. Joe Hoffman last month announced that he would no longer perform civil marriage ceremonies to his congregation.

I wonder what the unhinged bible beaters who staged that anti-gay "gospel rally" in Asheville the other weekend feel about this (see my post, Fundamentalist hatefest held in Asheville).


Pennsylvania pastors' get-out-the-vote 'training' testing IRS rules

The IRS rules prohibit direct support or endorsement of a political party or candidate and a number of churches were cited with violating these rules in the 2004 presidential election. Jeopardizing a church's tax-exempt status can occur in several ways, including singling out a particular candidate's pet issues, or only inviting one candidate to speak at a forum (look at what's happening in Ohio).

In Pennsylvania, a group of pastors have banded together, forming the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, and started up an extremely fishy get-out-the-vote training program that was recorded by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, clearly intended to help out poll-sagging Little Ricky Santorum and to push the marriage amendment effort in the state. (NYT):
The first training session, on March 6 in Valley Forge, included a videotaped message from a single candidate, Senator Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican who faces a difficult re-election fight.

"I encourage you to let your voices be heard from the pulpit" on vital issues, Mr. Santorum said, urging the pastors to champion a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to a recording made by a person at the session.

...After the tape, organizers offered participating pastors copies of the senator's book "It Takes a Family."


Colin A. Hanna, founder of the conservative advocacy group Let Freedom Ring and master of ceremonies, called the book "thoroughly and soundly grounded in Christian doctrine and Scripture as the revealed word of God," according to the recording.

...The Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, invoked the prophet Ezekiel, whose voice brought a field of bones to life. "You and I are standing before a field of dry bones, aren't we?" Father Pavone told the training session. "Dead consciences. Destroyed life."

Without mentioning Mr. Santorum or Mr. Casey, Father Pavone emphasized how important control of the Senate would be if another Supreme Court vacancy opened soon, potentially tipping the court against abortion rights.
This year, the IRS says it plans to scrutinize church political activity even more closely. Note that Bush's IRS has been investigating the NAACP and a California church whose pastor gave a generic anti-war sermon as well, so it remains to be seen what will actually come of this -- will the unfettered politicking by the wingers continue? They certainly seem bold and confident in that training session.

Jeebus, this is out of control. But wait, it gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective).
Mr. Santorum spoke on the tape for about seven minutes. A spokesman for the senator, Robert Traynham, said his statement was "generic video greetings about a public policy initiative that will be pending before the United States Senate," referring to the debate over the proposed ban on same-sex marriage.

"You are the leaders of the flock," Mr. Santorum told the pastors. "You have a responsibility to be informed and to inform" and "to help guide those who seek your counsel," especially about the importance of banning same-sex marriage.

Whoa...whoa...do you all remember Robert Traynham? The out gay spokesperson for Santorum? How can this man continue to stand up there are support Man-on-Dog? Is the paycheck that good, man? If you don't want to marry, fine, but don't work on behalf of one of the most anti-gay politicians on the planet who wants to make you and the rest of gay folks second-class citizens. I can't wrap my mind around the pathological level of self-loathing we're talking about here. It treads into Vernon Robinson territory of delusion.

Rick's clearly not your friend -- he's just a paycheck -- and you can sleep like a baby at night? Damn.

Hat tip Holly.

Related:
* Man-on-dog Santorum has an out communications director
* Little Ricky's bobbing and weaving about his gay communications director


Update on the Soulforce Equality Ride

Monday, March 20, 2006

"These wonderful students have done a great service by wiping away the stain of homophobia from our bus. Let's hope they can go back to their school and wipe away the stain anti-gay discrimination that still goes on every day at Lee."
-- Jacob Reitan, Equality Ride co-director, on the removal of the "Fags-Mobile" paint job from the Soulforce bus by Lee University students
Even the bigots can't stop good people who are willing to come forward and start a dialogue about LGBT rights at the conservative religious schools on the 51-day Soulforvce Equality Ride. (Soulforce):
On Friday evening several Lee students gathered to clean the Equality Ride bus, vandalized with spray paint the night before. When they were finished, the words "Fags-Mobile" were erased, leaving the original message "Learn from history. End religion based discrimination".



...The Riders formed close relationships with several students who were closeted, had been expelled from Lee because of their sexual orientation, or who came out after graduation. Among them was Matthew, a student who was expelled from Lee after administrators found a posting on MySpace.com that indicated his sexual orientation as gay. "I was planning to stay in the background during the Equality Ride visit," said Matthew, who preferred that his last name not be used because he has not yet come out to his family. "But I have told my story to so many people in the last two days - students, professors, administrators. I never would have done that if it wasn't for the Equality Ride." Matthew added, "I woke up this morning, and it just felt like a new day."

The Hands of Jesus, welcoming visitors to Oral Roberts U.

Also in the Equality Ride news, today's stop at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, resulted in more arrests, as the riders were barred from campus. (365gay):
The university created by televangelist Oral Roberts will not enroll openly gay students and students already enrolled that are found to be gay can be expelled.

All students are required to sign an honor code that says, "I will not engage in or attempt to engage in any illicit, unscriptural Sexual Acts, which shall include ... any homosexual activity."

One by one members of the Soulforce crossed the street. As they reached the gate to the school they were warned by ORU public safety director Gerald Isaacs that if they tried to enter the campus they would be arrested for trespassing.

About seven of the riders kept on walking were arrested by Tulsa police.
The riders will be at ORU tomorrow, and then will head over to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. This school not only used to ban LGBT students, but also straight allies of queer folks. That policy was lifted last year, and now only the out homos get kicked out.

Related:
* The Equality Ride Route
* Falwell's legal bootlicker: Equality Riders are 'militant gay activists'
* Soulforce gets the 'Christian' welcome in Tennessee
* AFA's Don Wildmon on the Equality RIde
* Update on Soulforce Equality Ride - Liberty and Regent stops
* Crazy Pat wants Soulforce Equality Riders arrested
* Falwell calls the fuzz on Soulforce


Body slam for Jeebus

My, the faith is weak if this is what they call Christian outreach these days.
Small bands of masked evangelists, clad in tights and armed with biblical names, argue it is. The violence and intensity of wrestling, they claim, can be the perfect way to attract the alternative, younger crowd.

At the beginning of some "Wrestling for Jesus" shows, wrestler Chase "Darkness" Cliett is strapped to a massive wooden cross on stage as piercing music is played. A group of evil wrestlers beats and bloodies him before the good guys dramatically come to his rescue. Later, after a horned fellow in a red suit is knocked out, the preaching begins.

But it's not for everyone; many churches won't even consider letting them perform. One performance ended with real fighting, real cursing and a repentant participant stretched-out face-down in the ring weeping.
Just so you know, you can catch the WFJ show at the Johnston J.C.'s Peach Blossom Festival in Johnston, S.C. on April 1 -- and that's no April Fool's joke.


Darkness
From: The Hills of Golgotha
Weight: 178lbs
Height: 6'9"
Finishing Move: Lights Out
Quote: "Whatever your mind can conceive and believe your body can achieve"
Entrance Music: "Metal is Forever" (Primal Fear)
Titles Held: Current Tag Team Champions, United States Champion, Cruiserweight Champion


Zion
From: Nagasaki, Japan
Weight: 185lbs
Height: 6'2"
Finish Move: Fall of Zion
Entrance Music: "Your Powerful" (Skillet)
Titles Held: Cruiserweight Champion

Hat tip, to Blender Pam, big Blonde.


Afghan faces death penalty for converting to Christianity

How's that "bringing democracy to the Middle East" thing going, anyway?
KABUL, Afghanistan, March 20, 2006 — Despite the overthrow of the fundamentalist Taliban government and the presence of 22,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a man who converted to Christianity is being prosecuted in Kabul, and a judge said Sunday that if convicted, he faces the death penalty.
On the bright side, at least he'll get to meet Jesus earlier.
A number of Christian nonprofit groups do humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Dominic Nutt of Christian Aid calls the Rahman case a step backward for the country, especially if Rahman is executed.

Nutt, who has spent time in Afghanistan, tells ABC News "few practitioners are used to the concept of democracy and toleration … [many] are educated only in Islamic law."
Hell, few Americans are familiar with democracy and toleration! I wonder how Dominic feels about gay marriage or women's reproductive freedom?
The post-Taliban constitution recognizes Islam as Afghanistan's religion, and decrees that Islam's Sharia law applies when a case is not covered by specific legislation. The prosecutor says under Sharia law, Abdul Rahman must die.

The judge, however, holds hopes for a solution.

"We will ask him if he has changed his mind about being a Christian," Mawlazezadah says. "If he has, we will forgive him, because Islam is a religion of tolerance."
...and if he has not, then off with his head! There's your Islamic tolerance for ya!
Rahman's case contradicts Article 7 of Afghanistan's constitution, which assures that "the state shall abide by … the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." That declaration states that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought … to change his religion or belief."
Would that be that horrible document of secular humanism, the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as Adam is always referring to in his Ten Commandments arguements?
However, the constitution also states that Islamic law takes precedence over secular law and international treaties. Furthermore, the supreme court of that country has the right to veto certain provisions and interpret compliance with such treaties.

One expert in Islamic law explains that Afghanistan's penal code divides into two parts: the religious "huduud" dictated by the Koran and secular "ta'zir," which is regulated by the state. Conversion to another religion is a crime under religious law, which takes precedence over the secular and more tolerant policy.
Well, there you have it, Christians. Live by the Crusade, die by the Crusade.

[Hat tip: AMERICAblog] and crossposted at Radical Writ by the will of Allah


Another Dem spine confirmed


Senator Russ Feingold plans to speak at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leadership Awards. (Out for Democracy):
Likely 2008 Presidential Candidate Senator Russ Feingold will be speaking at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leadership Awards on May 6th. Feingold has been a consistent voice in Congress for LGBT equality, and for the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans. Feingold was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.

Feingold is also the most likely of the potential 2008 candidates to come out in full support of marriage equality for same-sex couples, but his recent appearance at the Stonewall Democrats Capitol Champions Fundraiser and his participation in this event show that he is definitely reaching out to our community for support.
Let's hope Russ finds the language and framing of fairness to teach some of his fellow party weasels that they don't have to hide and cower from a public discussion of civil equality. We'll be paying attention.

***

Meanwhile, Shakes Sis has a few questions for the spineless Dems and Feingold's move to censure Bush.
Is it too much to ask, at this point, not why Feingold has introduced a censure resolution without getting permission from his party, but instead why his party didn’t introduce it a long time ago? Is it too much to ask, rather than castigating Feingold for making a bold move without his party’s support, that instead we look at his party and demand to know why their support wasn’t assured?

If saying, “I’m bloody grateful that someone is trying to do something” makes me unsophisticated, shows my simple mind for what it is, that’s fine with me. Call me crude; call me a dullard; call me a radical; call me anything you like. I don’t really give a flying shit. Because if after spending my days immersed in news and politics, my vacant, irrational mind can’t wrap itself around the intricate processes of politics that makes doing nothing the smart thing, and my woefully inadequate powers of perception can’t help me translate what appears to be slack-jawed passivity into the brilliant political strategy it actually is, then the Dems have a real problem on their hands.
Earlier Blend on spineless, triangulating, Repug-lite Dems:
* Dems -- there's nobody home
* Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006
* Images of the Dems and Repugs, courtesy of Democracy Corps
* Dem lobbyist to left blogosphere: generate money and shut your piehole
* My god...why didn't I think of Joe Biden?
* Tim Kaine tapped for response to SOTU
* Bye Blue, hello Green? / Bloggrrrl: Bye, Blue? (redux)
* I am sick of the Dems having no balls, afraid of the Religious Right


The 'abortion of marriage'

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has the knickers of David R. Usher of Men's News Daily in a big knotted twist.

Usher's tag says he is "Legislative Analyst for the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, Missouri Coalition," a state that voted to not resume funding birth control and wants to prevent access to abortion.

Given that, this essay is not surprising in the least.

VAWA is predicated on the notion that domestic violence is a sex-related problem. Yet, no major study proves that men cause domestic violence more than women do.

VAWA drives the majority of serious family violence

VAWA pretends that men are dangerous in the intact family and should be immediately removed for nothing more than a statement of “fear” or “emotional distress”. If most serious family violence actually occurred in intact families, this would be useful policy.

Here is the truth about domestic violence in married families: Only 4% of serious domestic violence occurs in the intact family. ”[i] The other 96% occurs after the date of separation.

Why would we see nearly all serious domestic violence occur after the date of separation? Liberals often pretend that divorce is a minor surgical procedure. It is not. Abortion of marriage is often a very serious and messy procedure. When one is faced with complete loss of life savings and children in the combative and expensive divorce system, serious spousal conflict can be easily predicted.

If we would not stop forest fires by dumping gasoline on them, we must not pretend we can reduce domestic violence by destroying families as a matter of presumed public policy.
I love that use of "abortion of marriage." Please. I sense a really unhappy guy here -- perhaps you all have some suggestions about how he might feel better about himself.

Ironically, Usher inadvertently makes the case for same-sex marriage, if the stability of the institution itself, as he cites, is key to lowering domestic violence.
If we would not stop forest fires by dumping gasoline on them, we must not pretend we can reduce domestic violence by destroying families as a matter of presumed public policy.

Marriage is the key predicator of low domestic violence rates. Domestic violence rates are higher in cohabiting relationships and non-intact families than in married families.
He later tries to catch himself on this point:
An abundance of evidence proves that women’s centers and radical advocacy groups cover up women’s violence, drive “divorce for the hell of it”, and break up many more families than they actually help. They recommend policies that line their own pockets with billions federal dollars, some of which are misused to lobby for anti-family feminist initiatives such as same-sex marriage, gay. For this reason, no politician who truly cares about the family and the future of marriage could possibly support the Violence Against Women Act.
Is it time for the tiny violin?


Unhinged homobigot Lou Sheldon's off to Atlanta



[Welcome, Raw Story readers. You can read more fresh Blend after reading about Ken, Karl and Lou sittin' in a tree...]

Blender Lee H emailed me this bit of news and said "I've never been in a protest in my entire life, but I may have to park myself outside this office park with a "God = Love, Sheldon = hate" sort of sign next weekend."

The Atlanta area will be polluted with the presence of hate-monger Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, who will be appearing at Kingdom Builders Christian Center in Norcross, at the invitation of Apostle Jamie T. Pleasant and his flock. From the KBCC calendar:
Kingdom Builders welcomes Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Rev. Sheldon will speak on Biblical and Family Values Forum: Protecting the Biblical Institution of Marriage and Family Values on Saturday, March 25 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Sunday, March 26 at the 9 a.m. service.

Apostle Jamie T. Pleasant, Ph.D. Senior Pastor, Kingdom Builders Christian Center. Blender Lee took the picture of the sign in an office park announcing Lou's event next weekend .

Rev. Lou, remember, is part of the spiritual leadership of the Republican Base, who also has Congress, Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove on his speed-dial. From an LA Times article on a February 2005 meeting Sheldon organized with the GOP to court black churches:
["Black Contract With America" honcho Bishop Harry] Jackson's enthusiasm for working with Washington's Republican power structure is shared by the party's leading strategists. Today's Los Angeles meeting is sponsored in part by the Traditional Values Coalition, headed by the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, a white evangelical Christian with close ties to White House political strategist Karl Rove, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and other senior Bush administration officials.



Mehlman said Monday that he was in close contact with the organizers of each group and was coordinating with Gingrich and other party leaders.
Sheldon is an advocate of "ex-gay" therapy, spouts junk discredited science, and it's no surprise that he ties gays to pedophilia whenever possible. Lou also teamed up with equally homo-infatuated Tim Wildmon, of the American Family Association on a radio show where Lou advocated exorcism as "reparative therapy." What on earth can you make of this deliciously insane statement, from the broadcast:
I've talked to many psychotherapists who are Christian, and they say once you enter into that lifestyle -- Now, you may have gender identity conflict -- that's the medical-scientific name for homosexuality -- where you're attracted to the same-sex person, but once you enter into the culture, into the music, into the gay bars, into the gay literature, into the gay theater, and all of that kind of -- and gay travel -- once you immerse yourself into that, you have really put yourself into a groove that only a sort of an exorcism can release you from.
Hatecrime.org pulled a few gems from Rev. Lou's archive:
Gays are like Hitler and Gestapo
"The Rev. Lou Sheldon, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, said the 'hate crime' designation is increasingly going to be applied against those who believe homosexuality is wrong. 'What Hitler began to build against the Jews is now being built against people of faith who believe the Scriptures are valid for today and their injunctions against certain sexual behaviors is correct,' he said. Several years ago, homosexual activists disrupted a similar conference of his in Sacramento, he said, 'but I didn't have the finances to get a lawyer. For a long time we were the target of their wrath. Now other people are surfacing against them, thank God. If you don't agree with [homosexual activists], they use Gestapo tactics to stop you.' - Washington Times, Tuesday, October 27, 1998, Page A2

"Reverend Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition has come out in favor of quarantining AIDS patients in what he calls 'cities of refuge.' " - Mark E. Pietrzyk, News-Telegraph,  March 10, 1995.
And here's a refresher on some of Lou's scare tactics on his site, look at the green-tinted pedophile in the banner...:




Homosexual activists deny that they target children for seduction into the homosexual lifestyle, but the evidence is overwhelming that this is a lie.

There is an ever-increasing effort among homosexual organizations to target public school children, to abolish age of consent laws, and to publish “studies” that purportedly show that adult/child sex is not harmful.


This is Lou's depiction of your average homo behavior.

The following reports provide clear and convincing proof that homosexual pedophiles (called pederasts) want children. Homosexuals should not be given special federal protections under “hate crime” laws; they should not be free to promote homosexuality in public schools; nor should they be allowed to marry or adopt children. Many homosexuals are sexual predators who prey on children.

* Exposed: Homosexual Child Molesters
* Exposed: Homosexual Urban Legend: NAMBLA And Homosexual Activism
* Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse
* Child Molestation And The Homosexual Movement
* Homosexuals Recruit Public School Children
* Pedophiles/Sex Torturers Seek Normalization
* Exposed: The Next Phase Of The Homosexual Movement...
It goes on, each article worse than the one before it. You have to be worried about this father of four children and the grandfather of nine, and for those who support him.

Mike Tidmus gave Lou the ace P'Shop treatment last year...



Maybe some of the Mighty Men Of Valor and Women Of Purpose serving Kingdom Builders might want to share how they feel about Lou's efforts in this arena and his appearance at their house of worship.

Email: info@kingdombuilders.org


Protect Marriage Illinois launches amendment petition drive Tuesday


Peter LaBarbera and his homo-obsession continues, pushing for a Marriage Protection Referendum in Illinois through his Protect Marriage Illinois organization.

On Tuesday -- primary day in the state, he's putting the call out for volunteers to collect 100K signatures of known registered voters. Read the tired-ass rhetoric in the plea (if you go to the site, there are also multiple requests for the open wallet, of course).
...We must act now to permanently protect marriage in Illinois! Since the forced legalization of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts in 2004, fifteen states have adopted constitutional amendments preserving traditional marriage through ballot initiatives, averaging a winning percentage of over 70 percent. That brings the total to 19 states that have added marriage amendments to their state constitutions. Another 11 states are currently pursuing similar measures.

Illinois does not want to become another Massachusetts. We simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines while other states move quickly to defend marriage.

Illinois citizens who want to permanently protect marriage have until April 20, 2006 to gather 283,111 valid signatures in order to put an Advisory Referendum on the ballot calling on political leaders in Springfield to pass a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage as one man and one woman.

If we do not push for an Amendment to the Illinois State Constitution, liberal activist judges will redefine marriage forever. If we allow that to happen, what would prevent further redefinition of marriage to include polygamy, group marriages, etc.? If marriage is redefined it loses all meaning.
Take a look at the endorsements in favor of the amendment. The usual suspects are on there, like Peter LaBarbera's hub, the Illinois Family Institute, Concerned Women of America, Eagle Forum, etc. Sorry to say yet again, a number of black organizations and pastors are right there in the bigot fold.


Bill Beutel passes away

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I lived in NYC from 1976-1989, and we tuned in to the 6PM news every night - and that meant watching Bill Beutel and Roger Grimsby on WABC's Eyewitness News. (Newsday):
Bill Beutel, the longtime face of Channel 7's "Eyewitness News" who was the personification of distinguished anchorman for generations of New Yorkers, has died, ABC announced Sunday. He was 75.

Beutel, who retired from Channel 7 in 2003, died Saturday at his home in Pinehurst, N.C., the network said. The cause was not immediately disclosed.


Grimsby (l) and Beutel.

...His iconic pairing with Grimsby on the program, with its reporters reflecting the city's diversity and its dramatic Lalo Shifrin-penned music theme, was an immediate hit with viewers. Grimsby and Beutel anchored during some of New York's darkest, crime-filled days. Their banter was possibly the groundbreaking version of TV news "happy talk."

"Grimsby and I never set out to be funny. I was kind of the censor," Beutel said in a 2003 interview. In 1975, he briefly hosted "AM America," ABC's national morning news show, which morphed into "Good Morning America".

Beutel retired as a Channel 7 anchor in January 2001 but continued reporting, covering the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as well as heading overseas again.


Tribute to two Reuters political photographers

I don't know Reuters photographers Larry Downing or Jason Reed, but I'm a big fan of both of them. They have provided some of the most entertaining images of our favorite politicians. Keep them coming. We need all the comic relief that we can get these days.




U.S. President George W. Bush points to his head after meeting with wounded U.S. military personnel at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas January 1, 2006. Bush is returning to Washington after spending the New Year's holiday at his Central Texas ranch in Crawford.


U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis "Sexy" Hastert (R-IL) (R) while answering questions from the media about developing a plan for comprehensive lobbying reform on Capitol Hill while standing next to (politically closeted) Rep. David Dreier (R-CA). REUTERS/Larry Downing


U.S. President George W. Bush waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House towards Marine One before departing for Camp David, in Washington March 17, 2006. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Jason Reed has produced some real gems. Take this infamous collage:


Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush is pictured in various states pushing his plan for restructuring Social Security at an event in Falls Church, Virginia April 29, 2005. President Bush attempted to break a political deadlock on overhauling Social Security with a proposal to limit the growth in future benefits for wealthier Americans and protect the benefits of low-income workers. REUTERS/Jason Reed


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


REUTERS/Jason Reed


REUTERS/Jason Reed


A telling juxtaposition. REUTERS/Jason Reed

***

And one classic on the Dem side:


REUTERS/Jason Reed


sHillary's campaign coffers: $20 mil



Do not enable this faux-Dem's ambitions. (News Telegraph):
She has yet to declare that she will run, but in the race for the White House in 2008, Hillary Clinton is already gazing down at her nearest challengers from the peak of a mountain of money.

The former First Lady and senator for New York has so far raised more than any other potential Democratic presidential candidate, with a war chest stuffed with almost $20 million (£11.4 million).

Her fund-raising skills seem certain to guarantee that Mrs Clinton will have at least $100 million in the bank by the end of next year.

That figure is crucial, with the head of the Federal Election Commission, Michael Toner, saying that the sum was the minimum "entry fee" for any serious election campaign. Officially, Mrs Clinton has her eyes on just one election, the defence of her senate seat in New York State this autumn. But few doubt she will attempt to become the second Clinton to capture the White House when President Bush steps down in two years' time.
Her pandering to the Right is matched only by her ambition to crush the ability of 2008 nom opponents early on.
Mrs Clinton is copying the tactics used by President Bush to secure the Republican nomination in 2001. As governor of Texas, Mr Bush effectively wiped out the opposition by amassing a war chest of $70 million before serious campaigning begun. Like Mr Bush, Mrs Clinton's team is being put together well in advance of any other Democrats, cutting off both their cash flow and supply of leading party figures.
I am still looking for someone to explain to me how they think sHillary represents the party's best hope for 2008. There's no candidate the Rovian thugs want to run against more than sHillary, and you're going to see the Rethugs and the MSM prop her up, as the Chimperor did recently, calling her "formidable", over and over.

I think one should view the following "endorsement" of her potential as yet another example of this kind of head fake. This time it's from self-serving political hack and TV windbag Dick Morris.
Mr Morris said that the Republican front-runners, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, could not capture the party's nomination because of Right-wing opposition to their liberal stances on abortion, gay rights and gun control.

He called on the party to turn instead to the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, saying: "Her ability to handle herself on the international stage is increasingly obvious, and her more authentic claim to the title of self-made woman than the phony Bill-dependent resumé of Mrs Clinton, are making her more attractive nationally." Unless the Republicans went for Rice, he warned: "Hillary will be the next president."
What is he smoking? Oh yes, he's still trying to sell his book...



Related:
* Sleazy Dick Morris pumps Condi for '08

* You go, girls: Molly Ivins and Susan Sarandon flip sHillary the bird
* sHillary running from her Wal-Mart ties
* On Hackett, Hillary, & So-Called Moderates - COWABUNGA!
* NY gay rights group blasts sHillary
* The sHillary backlash continues
* Fallout from leaked Empire State Pride Agenda memo
* Another reality check for sHillary
* Rove in 'Strategery': sHillary will lose
* Bag Hillary; this is ridiculous
* We had to destroy this party in order to save it
* What is wrong with Americans?
* Hillary continues image building with more wingnut bootlicking


GOP primary race of the titans: clown vs. 'white racialist'

The 3rd Congressional district in Illinois has a couple of interesting candidates vying for the Rethug nomination....
The two candidates are Art Jones, an insurance broker with past ties white supremacist organizations and Ray Wardingley, who used to perform as Spanky the Clown.

...Jones also denies that he is a neo-Nazi. Jones admitted that he appeared in a Nazi get up, complete with a swastika, at a rally against integration on the southwest side of Chicago in 1979. A photograph of Jones, in the Nazi garb, appears in the book "Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party," but Jones says that is ancient history.
OK. Let's give Jones the benefit of the doubt. Here's what he is saying in 2006 -- you decide.

"I say they're talking about ancient history. [The year] 1979 was the last time I had anything to do with any white supremacist organization. I consider myself a white racialist, and I define it this way. A white racialist is someone who believes in the greatness of his people's past and the destiny of his people's future."
-- Art Jones, splitting hairs on his "background." His campaign brochure, however, lists his past membership in the National Socialist White Peoples Party

"Do you want a Third World slum made out of the United States? Do you want the American land built by the sweat and blood of our European ancestors desecrated? "

"If America is to survive and prosper, Bush and Cheney must go and take with them their corrupt Neo-Conservative Kosher-approved cohorts."
-- statements on the Jones campaign web site.
It goes without saying that Jones doesn't like the homos. On his site he says "so-called 'Gay Marriage,' is a moral outrage that should be banned."

And poor Wardingley. He's upset that his clown persona is still following him around. Hey -- it beats having a photo of you floating about in neo-Nazi gear.

"I am a regular guy," said Wardingley who worked as taxi and limousine driver in a long and varied career that included acting in commercials. He developed his Spanky the Clown act and used it to raise money for St. Jude Hospital and in some of his past political campaigns, but now is tired of being called a clown.

"That was long time ago," said Wardingley who says he hasn’t used the clown outfit since about 1995. "After a while you say enough is enough. I just put away that little red wig."
Wardingley actually skewers Jones at length on his site, if you want a fun read.

Boy, the GOP is in a sad state up there if this tepid statement is all you can say to voters:
"We do not have any endorsed candidate in the 3rd Congressional District," wrote [Riverside Republican chair Judy] Baar Topinka in an e-mail. "No one, including Wardingley made any approach to the Riverside GOP for an endorsement. He, nor any other candidate, appeared at our candidates night. And so, we have no endorsed candidate."
You might recall that Baar Topinka is running for governor; she has been the target of a campaign tying her to The Homo Agendatm by our friend Peter LaBarbera, which we covered on the Blend.

Hat tip, Spindentist at All Spin Zone


Email moron

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Colorado State Representative Jim Welker really should re-think his use of email. One dumbass faux pas by an elected official is pretty bad, but this guy has a serial email bonehead problem. From CBS4 Denver:
A legislator who apologized for an e-mail suggesting black hurricane victims were lazy sent an earlier e-mail that said devout Muslims could not be patriotic Americans, a minister said Friday.

Pastor Jeff Wright of Heart of the Rockies Christian Church in Fort Collins said he received the e-mail about Muslims from Rep. Jim Welker in May 2004. He said he was so offended that he called Welker and then met with him at the lawmaker's request.
Welker says now that he doesn't remember shooting off that email or even meeting the pastor, but he isn't commenting to the AP, who called him.

As I said above, it doesn't end there. He decided to forward the outrageous essay by black self-loathing pastor Jesse Lee Peterson on Katrina victims (see my post, Bush-loving black pastor: it's the poor darkies' fault).
On March 10, Welker apologized for forwarding an essay to friends and constituents that claimed blacks waited for the government to bail them out from problems caused by Katrina.

Welker said he had exercised "very poor judgment" and had not carefully read the essay, by the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, before forwarding it. A public-relations adviser to Welker, Erin Bergstrom of Mountain Stream Communications in Loveland, resigned over the e-mail.
But wait, there's more. Welker couldn't keep his mouse off of the "Send" button once again, emailing this:
The subject line of the May 2004 e-mail read "Beware Of Islam In America." The text, which Wright provided to the newspaper, said in part, "Can a devout Muslim be an American patriot and loyal citizen? ... Politically, no. Because he must submit to the mullah, who teaches annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan."
Nope, not finished yet...he did it again.
One sent on June 6 quoted a claim that "gay obituaries suggest that engaging in homosexuality costs participants between 15 to 25 years of life, suggesting that homosexuality is more dangerous than smoking or being fat."

Another set in August said "drug bust -- guess what nationality was involved?" in the subject line and included a link to a news story about a drug ring allegedly involving Mexican and Colombian organizations, the newspaper said.
Hat tip, Adrian.


'Kotter' remake coming to the big screen



Kate's probably going to lose it. Welcome Back Kotter is one of her favorite TV shows from the 70s. Apparently this pitch got Gabe Kaplan's blessing, with Ice Cube (!) to take the Kotter role.

Question of the day: what favorite classic TV show have you bought or want to have on DVD, and would you want it revived on the big screen?


Unhinged winger conferences

The Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Fort Lauderdale Friday and today is billed as "a high-energy, two-day Christian boot camp experience that will enrich you with ideas, information, and enthusiasm. Learn from and interact with speakers who are engaging the culture for Christ." About 800 people are registered, coming from 30 states.


The annual event, put on by the Center for Reclaiming America, is an effort of President of Coral Ridge Ministries (and televangelist) D. James Kennedy. It is drawing more attention than expected because of two speakers on the bill -- Alan Chambers and Katherine Harris. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel):
A national gay-rights group has criticized the conference, set for Friday and Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, for planning a speech by a leader of a ministry to gays, Exodus International in Orlando. "Giving a speaking opportunity to anyone from the ex-gay movement is wrong," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "It needs to be repudiated at every step, not given a pulpit."

Gary Cass, executive director of the Center for Reclaiming America, shrugged off the complaint: "We believe God can transform people, and the results speak for themselves."

Yes, they do.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, will be among 17 speakers at the 10th annual conference, which deals with conservative issues and trains participants for grassroots action in their communities.

If that isn't enough controversy, embattled U. S. Rep. Katherine Harris is also on the speaker list. The Longboat Key representative, who also appeared at last year's conference, will speak at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The appearance is unrelated to her troubled U.S. Senate campaign, Cass said. "She is appearing as an elected representative, not as a candidate."
Other speakers include Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, David Gibbs III (the attorney who represented the Schindlers in the Terri Schiavo case) and an editor of the Christian newsmagazine World who will tout intelligent design theory.

***

Shakes Sis reminds me that another conference is certain to be even more over the top than the above -- Vision America's The War on Christians shindig will take place this month as well. They have a bit more wingnut power in the speaker lineup...

The conference will hear from such nationally acclaimed speakers as Senator Sam Brownback, Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Tom DeLay, Gary Bauer, Alan Keyes, Phyllis Schlafly, Janet Parshall, Janet Folger, William Greene, Ron Luce and Rod Parsley.

Panels Include:
The Gay Agenda: America Won’t Be Happy
The ACLU And Radical Secularism: Driving God From The Public Square
Hollywood: Christians Through A Distorted Lens
Jews Confront The War On Christians
The Judiciary: Overruling God
The Media: Megaphone For Anti-Faith Values
Taking Our Faith To The Ballot Box


The organizer behind Lufkin, Texas-based Vision America is Rick Scarborough.

What exactly is the war against Christians? Some examples from my earlier post on this conference, taken from a Scarborough email sent out to supporters:

* Christmas symbols and greetings are purged
* A federal judge bans "One Nation Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance recited by school children
* A Navy chaplain is told he can't publicly pray in Jesus' name
* Removal of Ten Commandments monuments
* Move to stifle religious expression at the Air Force Academy
* Christians arrested for peacefully praying at a "gay pride" rally in Philadelphia
* Federal appeals court says parental rights stop at the schoolhouse door
* Homosexual "marriage" established by judicial decree in Massachusetts
* Blasphemous "Da Vinci Code" movie comes out in May
* Churches are burned down in Alabama


Falwell's legal bootlicker: Equality Riders are 'militant gay activists'


Since these winger schools are looking really petty and unconfident of the ability of their students to think for themselves, it's time to make the passive, peaceful Soulforce Equality Riders look like radical, angry activists.

It's the only card that losers like Falwell's drone have left to play as the schools arrest the riders for merely wanting to speak to students about LGBT rights and faith, and block the students from speaking to the Soulforce folks as well.
Mat Staver, president of the Florida-based group Liberty Counsel, says Christian schools like Liberty University are willing to share the gospel message of Christ with homosexuals who are not acting confrontationally. However, he contends, Christian schools have no obligation to welcome militant homosexuals on campus.

"When people like Mel White and his group Soulforce decide to make a very political, highly publicized event -- and not simply to come on campus but to make a political statement as they are doing with this so-called tour across the country -- I believe it's the right of private universities and colleges to exclude their entry into the university or college area," Staver says.

Last year, the Liberty Counsel spokesman notes, students at Liberty University greeted peaceful Soulforce members amiably with cookies. But now that the group has initiated its "Equality Ride" to protest Christian schools' enrollment policies barring homosexuals, he says the militant gay activists should not be allowed to disrupt these campuses or turn them into a platform to promote their radical agenda.

This year, Soulforce appears to be "trying to hijack the civil rights movement by suggesting that they are somehow aligned with civil rights by taking this nationwide tour and then making a very political, very confrontational attack on Christian schools and universities," Staver asserts.
Well. I'll agree with Mat that it certainly looks like someone's interested in a confrontational attack, and it isn't the Soulforce Riders.


Police overkill at Pat Robertson-affiliated Regent University.




Bye bye Fourth Amendment?

Continuing the wish-it-were-laughable criminal behavior of the man sitting in the Big Chair, Jon at The Pensito Review passes on this news:
Keith Olbermann had breaking news on Countdown tonight: US News & World Report is reporting that the White House may have authorized warrantless physical searches of homes of United States residents in the months after the 9/11 attacks.
There's a DKos diary up with an unofficial transcript of Olbermann reading the USN&WR release. A prime snippet, from Keith's conversation with George Washington Law School prof Jonathan Turley:
Olbermann: (reading from a U.S. News & World Report press release) "Soon after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, lawyers in the White House and the Justice Department argued that the same legal authority that the same legal authority that allowed warrentless electronic surveillance inside the US, could also be used to justify physical searches of terror suspects homes & businesses without court approval."

Olbermann: Doesn't that send chills down your spine?

Turley: Well it does. It's horrific, because what that would constitute is to effectively remove the 4th Amendment from the U.S. Constitution and the fact that it was so quick as a suggestion shows the inclinations, unfortunately, of this administration. It treats the Constitution as some legal technicality instead of the thing were trying to fight to protect. Notably, the U.S. News & World Report story says the FBI officals, or some of them apparently, objected... [W]e're seeing a lot of people in the administration with the courage to say "Hold it, this is not what we're supposed to be about. If we're fighting a war, it's a war of self definition and if we start to take whole amendments out of the Constitution in the name of the war on terror-we have to wonder what's left at the end, except victory."

Olbermann: (reading from the press release) "According to 2 two current and former government officals . . . the Bush administration lawyers presented the arguments to senior FBI officals who expressed strong reservations about their proposal. . . . It could not be determined whether any warrentless physical searches had been carried out under the legal authority cited by the administration, but at least one defense attorney representing a terrorism suspect has alleged that his law office and home may have been searched without a court warrant."
Also, in the DKos thread comments, Chapel Hill Guy noted that Alberto Gonzales was asked by Chuck Schumer about physical searches during the February Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrantless eavesdropping, and Mr. Torture-is-AOK was tap dancing on this, clearly he knows Dear Leader has a "no warrant, no problem" attitude:
Now, here's the next question I have: Has the government done this? Has the government searched someone's home, an American citizen, or office, without a warrant since 9/11, let's say?

GONZALES: To my knowledge, that has not happened under the terrorist surveillance program, and I'm not going to go beyond that. (emphasis mine)

SCHUMER: I don't know what that -- what does that mean, under the terrorist surveillance program? The terrorist surveillance program is about wiretaps. This is about searching someone's home. It's different.

So it wouldn't be done under the surveillance program. I'm asking you if it has been done, period.

GONZALES: But now you're asking me questions about operations or possible operations, and I'm not going to get into that, Senator.


Operation Swarmer a goose egg PR stunt

John at AmericaBlog says exactly what I was going to post about this:
Psyche! Who could have ever imagined that the Bush administration would lie to the mainstream media?
It's nice to see that the Rove PR machine can still gear up and makes the MSM suck him and the Chimp off once again to try for a poll bump. At least the media only gave a 48-hour bj this time before waking up and finding out no pay was forthcoming.
But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.
The scary thing is that this president has no problem, time and again, using our troops (and now Iraqi soldiers) as media manipulation devices, placing them in harm's way to save his own ass or forward his agenda.

The main message of the "operation" at this point, seems to be to "prove" the Iraqis are "in control" and therefore, prepare the sheeple for a pullout so Dear Leader has some cover as the war has descended into chaos.

Tell me, how can even 30% support this evil, incompetent flaming pile of crap occupying the Oval Office?


Porn star Mary Carey and drunk GOP pols

Friday, March 17, 2006

She attended the NRCC fete and there had to be at least a few hetero DC Repugs present to make their smooth moves on the XXX star and former candidate for Calfornia Governor. WingNutDaily puts its original spin on the goings-on. It's too bad that she didn't name names.

Triple-X porn star Mary Carey, who last night dined for the second year in a row with Republican bigwigs at a fund-raiser featuring President Bush, says some drunken GOP activists "hit on her" at such events.

While the National Republican Congressional Committee had no problem taking money from Carey and her pornographer escort, the hard-core starlet complained that other members of the GOP wouldn't allow her to attend a luncheon last week in the capital.

She told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto yesterday she thinks some in the party are "afraid of me because, you know, they think that they might lose a lot of their voters because I know that a lot of the Republican voters were, you know, really strong Christians."

Asked how the Republicans treat her personally, she replied: "Well, the women were kind of snobby with me on the phone. They were like, 'I understand that Mary Carey wants to attend the dinner.' But, the guys in the NRCC are very, very nice. I signed autographs for the Secret Service last time I was there. I've gotten hit on by lots of drunk Republicans."
At least Strom Thurmond is dead (plus he was in the Senate), so I don't have to visualize that horror.


Then again, think about someone like House Speaker Denny Hastert and his thick fingers grubbing Ms. Carey...


More f*cking whiny AmTaliban babies



Family Research Council Prez Tony Perkins whines that the vile Repug Congress already in his pocket just isn't doing enough for the Christofascist movement.

Now the wingers are issuing vague threats, saying that pols must keep their campaign promises to what they call their "core values voters" if they want turnout in the midterm elections. There was a press conference today to bleat away, and to announce plans for a "values summit" to put Congress in its place. (The Christian Post):
"Our polling shows that many values voters are disappointed that the issues that brought them to the voting booth remain unaddressed by Congress," said Tony Perkins, head of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. "They are ready for action."

...At a press briefing in Washington Thursday, prominent evangelical leaders told republican politicians that they "must do more" to address values-voters concerns or risk losing their greatest constituency.

According to a National Omnibus Riehle-Tarrance Poll released at the briefing yesterday, about 63 percent of evangelical respondents said they felt "Congress has not kept their promises to act on a pro-family agenda." Furthermore, 75 percent of evangelical respondents said they will likely vote for a candidate who pushes for values issues relating to marriage, abortion and gambling. The poll of 1,000 adults was taken last weekend, and about 41 percent of respondents were self-described evangelical Christians.

Thursday's press conference was the first of a series of events that will lead up to a "values voter summit" in Washington this September. Top conservative Christian groups, such as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association, are sponsoring the summit and are planning to rally thousands of their grass-roots supporters to action.
More whining, from Mark Creech of the Christian Action League; his flock is about to blow its stack, as are the followers of Tony Perkins, Tom Minnery and Don Wildmon. All of these clowns will be attending this fall summit to put pressure on the GOP.

Mark Creech with the Christian Action League of NC is frustrated that values voters are not seeing their issues being addressed by Congress. One absence has them particularly irked.

"I can't think of another issue more important, or that Congress would be more able to pass, perhaps, then a Federal Marriage Amendment. They need to get cracking."

He says voters are losing patience, that's why the Washington briefing is imperative. "Such a meeting would raise awareness of these issues to, once again, put them on the front burner and it would be something that would tell Congress, "Look we want you to get working on this." These are issues that are so very important to the nation right now."


You go, girl



First Molly Ivins flipped sHillary the bird, and now La Sarandon...
Susan Sarandon doesn't think Sen. Hillary Clinton belongs in the White House. "I find Hillary to be a great disappointment," the lefty actress tells More magazine. "She's lost her progressive following because of her caution and centrist approach. It bothered me when she voted for the war. There were brave people who didn't. She's not worse than other politicians, but I hoped she would be better. What America is looking for is authentic people who want to go into public service because they strongly believe in something, not people who are [just] trying to get elected."
Yeah, baby.

Hat tip to bloggrrl Ms. Julien.


Soulforce gets the 'Christian' welcome in Tennessee


The Soulforce bus, with its "Fags-Mobile" decoration from the coward wingers.

The 51-day Equality Ride continues, and the welcome mat was definitely not rolled out in Cleveland, TN. (Soulforce):
The Equality Ride bus was defaced Thursday evening outside the hotel where Riders were in a planning meeting for their action on Friday at Lee University. As the meeting dispersed, Riders found pink letters scrawled across the side of the bus reading “Fags Mobile.”

The bus driver reported that he witnessed a middle-aged woman and a teenager drive away from the scene, possibly a mother and son. The vandalism and suspect description were reported to Cleveland police, who are investigating the crime.

“The attack on the bus is hate speech, plain and simple, spelled out for everyone to read,” said Jacob Reitan, Equality Ride co-director. “But a more subtle form of hate speech happens when students at the schools we are visiting are told they are sick and sinful just for being the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people God made them to be.”

The attack on the bus came after Equality Riders met with students on the campus of Lee University on Thursday, the first time Riders have been allowed onto the campus of a school since the Ride began on March 5th. Lee University administration allowed only the slightest contact through informal conversation with students on campus. Equality Riders were not allowed to address students in classroom forums, formally present letters from closeted Lee students or pass out literature.
After Lee University, the tour moves on to Jackson, Tennessee to the campus of Union University. One of the Equality Riders, Dawn Davridge, was kicked out of this school for being a lesbian.

Also:
* Update on Soulforce Equality Ride


More frightened farm animals

Last week, I posted about the Mesa, AZ fire battalion chief caught with his pants down in a barn assaulting a lamb. Now, out of Georgia, the hogs need to be on the run. (WALB):
Sixty-two year-old James Reynolds is charged with animal cruelty and bestiality. Police say Reynolds jumped a fence at a stockyard and had sex with a hog.

"I've never heard of anything like this, this is actually the first case I've ever personally had to prosecute of this nature, but I guess in the same sense, it's not necessarily that unusual for his case, because he's been arrested for the same conduct with animals before," said Joe Mulholland, Decatur Co. District Attorney.
Again, I ask: any bets that this is a god-fearing, member of The Base? At the least, we're talking about a Neal "Mule Whisperer" Horsley Fan Club president.

In Washington State, Gov. Christine Gregoire is about to sign a bill banning bestiality, spurred by the death of a Gig Harbor landowner who died while having sex with a horse on a farm.


This and that - open thread



Stuff in the Blend mailbag that you might want to click over to. Feel free to blogwhore and provide links in the comments!

* Why is Bill Napoli is spelled A-S-S-H-A-T? Janine @ Smart Bitches... tells us why, and proposes Googlebombing this turd. Napoli's a Republican state senator in South Dakota who said that an acceptable reason for an exception to his state's odious abortion ban is if the woman was:

...a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.
* Michael Jensen of AfterElton has a nice interview up with film critic Roger Ebert on the Brokeback Mountain Oscar dustup he has been embroiled in when he predicted Crash would win over Brokeback. His reason for Crash winning is interesting, and it makes sense, given Hollywood's a company town.
AE: So you don't think Hollywood is terribly homophobic?
RE: The membership of the Academy, and the working population of the Hollywood branch of the industry, is less homophobic than almost any other group you could name. But they are xenophobic. And given the choice of a movie that has dozens of actors in it and was shot in Los Angeles with union crews, and what is perceived as a runaway production [Brokeback Mountain], [that] didn't even shoot in Wyoming, but Canada, there are people who might have voted for the local picture because they are thinking of their own paychecks and [wondering] why should all that money go in Canadian pockets?
* Facing South has several great posts to check out...
Bush support plummeting in the South. The much-discussed Pew poll released today had this nugget: Bush’s approval has fallen 20% in just over a year in the South.

Contracts going to tax cheats. Add this to your list of reasons why government contracting is one of the biggest cesspools of scandal in Washington: a GAO study reveals that many contractors being shoveled tax-payer money don’t pay taxes.

You thought the 2005 hurricanes were bad? The experts predicted a “69% chance” of one major (Category 3-4-5) hurricane in 2005, and we got four. This year the forecast is an “81% chance” – and numerous factors threaten to make the storms even more destructive, heightening the threat to the growing coastal population. And what is the administration doing about it?
* Blender David points to this interesting article in the University of Buffalo's paper, Setting the gay athlete image straight. It discusses a tennis player on campus who came out.

Log onto the Web site for UB Athletics and on any day you'll find scores, highlights and game stories, all the usual fare for college sports. Last December, though, the casual fan surfing through a Q&A feature with the tennis team's Mike Rockman would have read a rare athletic confession: "I came out of the closet," Rockman said when asked about his favorite moment as a UB athlete. "I'm gay."

The fact that such a declaration from an active athlete could be so surprising is something Rockman sees as a problem.

"The image of what an athlete is needs to be changed," says Rockman, the team's co-captain.
The interview that Rockman came out in is here.

* Paul Hackett, Wesley Clark and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Political Action Committee have announced seven endorsements for the 2006 Congressional elections, including Tim Dunn in NC-8.
Tim Dunn attained the rank of Lt. Colonel serving with the Marines in Kosovo, Desert Storm, Desert Shield and the Iraq War. His district, North Carolina’s 8th, ranks 5th out of 13 Congressional Districts in NC in terms of Democratic registration, with over half of registered voters identified as Democrats. Though in the past, the district tended to elect Republicans to national office, it has repeatedly sent Democrats to state office, signaling that party label isn’t as important as issues. The incumbent, Rep. Robin Hayes, has had relatively tight races in prior cycles. He won with 56% of the vote in 2004, but only by outspending his opponent by a factor of 7 to 1.
Other "fighting Dems" with the thumbs up include: Andrew Horne, (KY-3rd), Andrew Duck, (MD-6th), Joe Sestak, (PA-7th), Patrick Murphy, (PA-8th), and avid Harris, (TX-6th).

* Surf over and check out Justin Fielding's Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.

* Jill @ Brilliant at Breakfast pointed me to this heinous voter access development in Chatham County, NC. The Board of Elections eliminated four polling sites in the most heavily populated areas of the county. As a result, in the region, half of the county's African-American voters are now concentrated in two precincts, and 60 percent of voters in the county will face longer lines because of the reduction in the number of precincts.


Boo-freaking-hoo in Maine



Get out the tiny violin for these bible-beaters...
A group that has spent years battling LGBT civil rights in Maine is out of money and says it will likely have to lay off staff.

The Christian Civic League of Maine is pleading with supporters for cash, but it appears after a series of high profile defeats the plea is falling on deaf ears. The organization spent all of the money it had for the first quarter of 2006 on last year's effort to repeal the state's LGBT civil rights protections. It was signed by Governor John Baldacci in March of 2005

..."Our income for this year thus far, is far below our expenses," the group says in a message appealing for emergency funds on its Web site. "That is putting us at a severe disadvantage. If this does not turn around very soon, we will be forced to make some disastrous cuts in the services.


Don Wildmon, stand-up comedian


I think the American Family Association's Don Wildmon should do a night gig in stand up comedy when he's not on the day job as a culture warrior. He recently shot off some real knee-slappers on his American Family Radio's AFA Report, which you can hear over at Media Matters.

First, he weighs in on the Soulforce Equality Ride, the 51-day bus tour to conservative Christian campuses to open up a dialogue between students and riders on LGBT rights. Don has some nifty ideas about starting up his own tour.
WILDMON: What does -- what does [Equality Ride co-director] Jacob Reitan say? He's one of the spokesmen. "We must cut off the suffering at its source. The source is religion-based opposition -- the religion-based oppression -- and it's taken place for centuries." In other words, we must get rid of the Christian faith. Let's go to these Christian schools. What if we had organized a tour and said, "We're going to the bathhouses in -- in 24 cities -- the homosexual bathhouses -- and we're going to confront these people, you know, for what they're doing," etc. -- etc. -- how would the media play that?

JACKSON: And demand that these bathhouses give us a forum to have our say.
I have some advice for Don -- when the AFA makes its way up to Chicago, ring up Peter LaBarbera -- he'll show you the ins and outs about bathhouses

The next bit of fun is the oh-so-funny anti-Semitism that the AFA is well-known for. Wildmon doesn't miss a beat.
BENSON: Yeah, I mean, this is -- this is what you call -- what? -- chutzpah. This is -- this is --

WILDMON: That's a Jewish word, right? Be careful.
Whoa. He's a real card, huh? This is the same man whose American Family Association Journal linked Judaism to criminality, hostility toward Christianity and said "Jews favor homosexual rights more than other Americans" --- and have control over popular culture through Hollywood.

And the last bit of entertainment, all in the same radio show, is his assertion that average gay incomes are so high that we're rolling in more dough than he is -- four times as much, he moans.
WILDMON: The spokesman [Equality Ride spokesman] says, the source for our -- "We must cut off the suffering." That is, the homosexual suffering. You know, I saw yesterday how much -- how much money the homosexual community has. I mean, good gracious, the average homosexual makes four times more than I do, Ed. Goodness gracious!

VITAGLIANO: Right.

WILDMON: I mean, we could take a professional homosexual salary all four of us --

VITAGLIANO: We could live pretty well on it.

WILDMON: -- and split it up four ways and all of us would get pretty good raises. I mean, they're not -- these people are not in poverty or hurting or denied or anything else.
This is completely bogus, as the Media Matters article points out. A 1998 NGLTF study showed that gay men earn as much as 25 percent less than their straight counterparts, and gay and lesbian households earn only 4 percent more than heterosexual households.
According to the AFA's 2004 990 filing -- the Internal Revenue Service's return for organizations exempt from income tax -- Wildmon paid himself $58,010 plus $13,787 in benefits and a housing allowance of $39,200. He paid his son, Tim, who is president of AFA, $79,000.
Not to mention that AFA is based in Tupelo, MS, where the dollar goes a long way compared to most US metro areas, so Don's doing a whole lot better than most gay folks I know. Where's my housing allowance?

Hat tip, AmericaBlog.


No homos in NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade

Thursday, March 16, 2006

“If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you allow neo-Nazis into their parade?...“If African Americans are marching in Harlem, do they have to allow the Ku Klux Klan into their parade? People have rights. If we let the ILGO [the defunct Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization] in, is it the Irish Prostitute Association next?”
--John Dunleavy, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who run the annual Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade
And a top o' the morning to you, f*cktard.

Dunleavy also said there would be “absolutely no way” he would permit the Irish-American gay org Lavender and Green Alliance to march tomorrow. (Gay City News):
Despite several weeks of discussions between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, who run the annual Fifth Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade, aimed at breaking a 15-year deadlock over participation of openly gay and lesbian marchers, the efforts have faltered as the result of AOH intransigence, the speaker told Gay City News in a March 15 telephone interview.

As a result, Quinn, who in years past has been arrested for protesting the parade policy, will once again refuse to participate this Friday, March 17, in the city’s oldest parade, which dates to 1762.

Asked whether her office would continue to negotiate with the Hibernians up until Friday morning’s step-off, the speaker told Gay City News, “Unfortunately, the time has passed.”

“I am disappointed to say that we were unable to come to any compromise with AOH this year,” Quinn explained. “I do think that there were allies at AOH that we uncovered and although we did not get to a compromise this year, I am incredibly optimistic about the prospects for the future.”

...Quinn had told The New York Times earlier this week that she was willing to march if gay and lesbian participants, wearing sashes and buttons identifying themselves as queer—though not carrying any banner as other groups are permitted to do—were invited to join her and the remainder of the City Council delegation. That position—falling short of the long-standing demand by activists that unfettered participation be allowed—was similar to what occurred when gay marchers joined Mayor David Dinkins in 1991, though that approach was not met with approval by the parade organizers. The mayor’s contingent was met with boos and even some beer bottles thrown at them.

But guess what? sHillary will be marching in the parade -- no surprise.


Red state women speak out on state-sanctioned womb control

Melissa McEwan has another great piece up on Raw Story today, covering the impact on of the efforts to restrict access to abortion on them and their families. South Dakota and ten other states are weighing legislation that would to ban abortion or severely limit access.
While some feel secure in the notion that Roe will be upheld, others worry that abortion rights will be slowly chipped away by state restrictions until Roe is rendered effectively impotent.

At least one feminist blogger has already made available information on performing abortions in anticipation of the procedure being criminalized.
Women in Indiana, Florida, South Dakota and Alabama are interviewed for the article.
Kathy finds herself concerned on behalf of her three daughters, "who have to live in Bush's America."

"I see the impetus for most of these laws as either political payback to religious conservatives or deep-seated contempt for women—or both," Kathy said. "Banning abortion certainly won't stop it, but girls and women will start dying again. The inherent lack of concern and lack of respect for women does not bode well for the future of my three daughters."

Kathy's frustration with the current attack on abortion rights is coupled with what she sees as a selective interest in protecting life.

"I also have big problems with the hypocrisy of those who oppose abortion under any circumstances but also oppose comprehensive sex education, use of contraceptives, and provision of funding to ensure that all pregnant women have access to good prenatal care and that all children have food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care. They seem more interested in punishing women for having sex than they are in 'saving the unborn.'


Missouri votes to not resume funding birth control


Message to Missouri women: Don't want kids? Don't screw, you promiscuous jezebels!
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - An attempt to resume state spending on birth control got shot down Wednesday by House members who argued it would have amounted to an endorsement of promiscuous lifestyles.

Missouri stopped providing money for family planning and certain women's health services when Republicans gained control of both chambers of the Legislature in 2003.

The House voted 96-59 to delete the funding for contraception and infertility treatments after Rep. Susan Phillips told lawmakers that anti-abortion groups such as Missouri Right to Life were opposed to the spending.
Because, of course, if you are opposed to abortion, you should do everything in your power to make sure that the pregnancies women do have are the ones that are planned and wanted. And the best way to see that happen is to scold those slutty harlots who so foolishly think they have a right to have sex without pregnancy.
"If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that," Phillips, R-Kansas City, said in an interview.

Missouri Right to Life said it was concerned with the contraception language because it was loosely written and could have included emergency contraception - often referred to as the morning-after pill.

The Missouri Catholic Conference also opposed the birth control funding.

"State taxpayers should not be required to subsidize activities they believe are immoral or unethical, relating to contraceptives or abortions," said Larry Weber, executive director of the state Catholic Conference.
I like that theory, Larry. You know, I'm pro-life myself. Well, let me clarify, I'm pro-already-living-and-breathing-life. My tax money should not subsidize activities I believe are immoral or unethical, activities that would violate my pro-ALAB-life stance like dropping daisy cutters and cluster bombs on Iraqi cities. Think of it as mass post-birth abortions.
Others, including some lawmakers who described themselves as "pro-life," said it was illogical for anti-abortion lawmakers to deny money for contraception to low-income people who use public health clinics.

"It's going to have the opposite effect of what the intention is, which will be more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions," said Rep. Kate Meiners, D-Kansas City.
Well, that's what poor women deserve for screwing; the blessing of even more hungry mouths they can't feed. But, hey, someone's got to be the brood mares for the next generation of Wal-Mart clerks.
The other alternative is for low-income women to give birth to more children, which is only likely to drive up the state's costs to provide services to them, said Democratic Rep. Melba Curls, also of Kansas City.
Oh, don't worry, Melba. We'll just spend the same amount of money on an ever-increasing number of poor children. If they're lucky.
"The average Missourian believes that as part of women's health, they should be offered in a medical clinic a voluntary choice of contraception," Donnelly said.
Yeah, but the average Missourian is a hell-bound fornicatin' sinner who can't keep her legs crossed. Let's make her breed; that'll show her!

I also notice they're not floating any bills to restrict birth control for people who can afford it; just for state-funded birth control. Apparently, poor people are so morally bankrupt that access to birth control will turn them promiscuous, but people who are better off seem to handle the pressure just fine. Or is it that we don't mind if better off folks are promiscuous?

Hmm, I wonder if Rep. Susan Phillips uses birth control herself?


Marriage amendments

"New Dem" Virginia Governor Tim Kaine signed off on the language of the proposed marriage amendment, its cleared the legislature and it's now headed to the voters. Here's the final language that will go to the voters:
"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

"This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."
Kaine, remember, is opposed to same-sex marriage and civil unions, so his tap dance about tinkering with the accuracy of the language was supposed to mitigate his overall support for bigotry against the tax-paying gay citizens of his state. (SoVo):
It's a "done deal," agreed Josh Israel, president of the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club. "Even though the state legislature has not yet accepted equality for all Virginians, they have embraced proper grammar," joked Israel. "I guess that's a start."

Kaine opposes gay marriage and civil unions and has backed amending the state's constitution to ban both, but he expressed disagreement with the amendment as worded because it may go even further banning legal recognition for gay couples. The governor’s office was not available for comment.
WTF is that supposed to mean? Exactly what legal recognition is left based on that amendment's language? All this is going to lead to, when it passes, is endless litigation because of the extreme nature of it. Josh Israel and other anti-amendment organizations have their hands full trying to educate the public at how dangerous and negative this amendment is before the fall.


Tim Kaine -- the future of the Democratic party. As I've said before, Kaine decided long ago that the severe and permanent impact that the amendment 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 for him to publicly oppose the amendment before the referendum. The political tap dance for Kaine is not an abstraction to the gays and lesbians who will officially have second-class citizenship in Virginia if this passes.

* Anti-gay Dem Tim Kaine tapped for response to SOTU
* Battling Virginia's marriage amendment

***

Update on Pennsylvania and its marriage amendment, which cleared a House state government committee vote 15 to 3. It now moves on the the full House for a vote, which could occur as soon as next month.

The language reads: "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this Commonwealth, and neither the Commonwealth nor any of its political subdivisions shall create or recognize a legal status identical or substantially equivalent to that of marriage for unmarried individuals." (Lancaster Online):
If the House approves the amendment in April, it would remain on pace for a voter referendum in 2007.

"We're one step closer," said state Rep. Scott Boyd, a Lampeter Republican and the amendment's prime sponsor in the House. "But we still have a long way to go."

Opponents said they felt disappointed, but not surprised, by the committee's decision. "It goes out of its way to be discriminatory," state Rep. Mike Sturla, a Lancaster city Democrat, said about the amendment. "Why would we emblazon that in our constitution?"
Gary at American Agenda, who's fighting the battle in PA, has an great post up, Marriage: The Facts, And Why it Matters. It's a must-read.

***

And in Wisconsin, as the amendment opposition group FairWisconsin notes, "it's 236 days until Wisconsin votes no on the civil unions and marriage ban." This group is working hard to prevent passage of this amendment, which bans same-sex marriage and civil unions. The text:
"Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state."
FairWisconsin believes that there is a good chance to defeat this, because 60% of voters in the state support civil unions at minimum, they have the upper hand.
The number one factor is time. The 11 states that passed constitutional bans in November 2004 had only a handful of months to do the hard work of educating and mobilizing hundreds of thousands of voters around this issue.

We have already been having a major public conversation about the ban since January 2004, when state lawmakers first introduced it.

...In 1982, we were the first state in the nation to pass a nondiscrimination law that includes sexual orientation. We have elected some of the first openly lesbian and gay officials, including the first openly gay newcomer to Congress, Rep. Tammy Baldwin. And thanks to Governor Jim Doyle, we are the only state with a veto still standing against a so-called defense of marriage act.
Good luck Wisconsin, the wingers have deep pockets and loud mouths.

There was a great letter to the editor that appeared in the Appleton Post-Crescent that must give FairWisconsin hope about the fairness of average people:
Gay marriage no threat to traditional unions

Oh, I'll sleep better tonight! Wisconsin lawmakers have made safe the sanctity of marriage — the sanctity that only heterosexuals are capable of, the sanctity that has resulted in a divorce rate nearing 60 percent, extramarital affairs and an explosion of Internet porn sites by "happily married" men. By all means, let's preserve that!

Exactly how does allowing same-sex unions threaten your happy home? I'm appalled by pornography and strip clubs because they're destructive and degrading. So guess what? I don't look at it or go there. I don't need an amendment to the state constitution to validate my views.

This isn't about preserving anything. The motives aren't that pure. This is about sex. Upstanding, morally superior heterosexuals can't stand the thought of two people of the same gender engaging in sexual activity. It's disturbing. It's threatening.

OK, fine. I suggest you never have relations with anyone whose genitalia resembles your own. But you, and most particularly the government, need to keep your noses out of people's bedrooms.

I'm sure I wouldn't approve of what goes on behind a lot of closed doors, especially those of politicians, but I'm not going to demand that my preferences be legislated. What colossal arrogance. Gay unions don't endanger my family or anyone else's.

Leave the moral judgments to the church. If the Christian right or the Catholic church want to ban gay marriage, let them, but the government has no right to an opinion on the matter. It's flat-out none of their business and sets a dangerous precedent. Don't let them get away with it, Wisconsin.

I'd also ask that all of you "sanctity preservers" refrain from nasty messages on my answering machine and hate-filled anonymous letters. They disturb me. They threaten my family. Maybe I should propose an amendment against mean-spiritedness and stupidity. Sanctity — hmmph — try sanctimonious.

Laurie Friedman Fannin,
Hortonville


Last time was just practice?

Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."
-- Dear Leader, in his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003
Was it all just a dream? Not exactly, Pretzeldunce Chimpy McFlightsuit -- U.S. launches largest Iraqi air assault since invasion. Yes, it's all under control.
U.S. and Iraqi forces on Thursday launched the largest air assault operation since the invasion of Iraq nearly three years ago, the U.S. military said.


More than 50 aircraft are involved in Operation Swarmer, supporting more than 1,500 Iraqi and U.S. troops near Samarra, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

...The death toll from apparent reprisal killings rose in Baghdad when Iraqi Emergency Police said they had found 31 bodies across the capital, 25 on Wednesday and another 6 on Thursday.

Since a string of car bombings in a poor Shiite neighborhood killed at least 46 people Sunday, police have reported finding the results of grisly execution-style slayings every day. The latest discoveries came during a vehicle curfew in the capital.

More than 160 bodies have been recovered since Sunday, many found shot to death and some of which have shown signs of torture.

Left: A minibus packed with explosives blew up yesterday in Baghdad. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim). Right: Eleven people, most of them women and children were killed when a house was bombed during a U.S. raid north of Baghdad early Wednesday. AP Photo/Bassim Daham

I'm sure the Bushies are clicking back longingly to see the glory days of the White House aircraft carrier photo op fantasy. Here it is, right from the source, with transcript and video.

***

UPDATE: Scott McClellan is fumbling away at the podium at today's briefing talking about Iraq and Iran. He look like he's ready to go fetal position again. I had to leave the room when he uttered:


"Are we supposed to wait until a full threat materializes? Do we have to wait until there's another 9/11?"


Jess says no to Dear Leader, XXX Mary Carey says yes

I love the spin WingNutDaily gives this one. Feel the repulsion and need to reach for...the bible.
One PG-13 star turned down a meeting with President Bush at a major Republican fund-raiser today, but a XXX-rated star is still hoping to dazzle the leader of the free world.


Singer-actress Jessica Simpson, the star of "Dukes of Hazzard," spurned an offer to attend the National Republican Congressional Committee gala fund-raiser tonight because she didn't want to politicize her favorite charity. But Mary Carey, the XXX porn diva who caused an uproar last year for dining with President Bush and her pornography-promoting escort is looking forward to an encore engagement.

Simpson will be in town today to lobby members of Congress on behalf of Operation Smile, a non-profit venture offering free plastic surgery for disadvantaged children overseas with facial deformities. According to Reuters, those close to Simpson said she declined a request to appear that same evening at the fund-raiser for the NRCC -- even after she was offered a face-to-face, private meeting with Bush.

"It just feels wrong," said one unnamed Simpson associate. "She would love to meet the president and talk about Operation Smile ... but she can't do it at a fund-raiser for the Republican Party."

..."I'm really excited to be going back to Washington, D.C., to see the president again," said Carey. "Everyone thinks that politicians are stuffy, but we all had a great time last year, and I had fun signing a lot of autographs. Wait till they see that I have lost 20 pounds since the last time they saw me. Watch out Mr. President!"

The NRCC is the same group that accepted $5,000 from Carey and her pornographer, Mark Kulkis of Kick A-- Pictures, and allowed the pair to take part at the 2005 Flag Day Dinner.

...With a Lutheran grandmother, Carey says she attended church regularly until the age of 12. Despite having numerous sexual partners, she remains proud of her occupation.
Poor House Majority Leader John Boehner. He was probably looking forward to drooling over Jess's decolletage and chatting about "Chicken of the Sea" at the head table that the NRCC had arranged for them to sit at before she shot them down.

I'm sure there are plenty of jokes to be made that the room was so full of so many GOP closet cases that the lower visible boobage level wasn't missed by most of the male attendees.

Hat tip, Coturnix.


Justice Ginsburg on receiving death threats from The Base

"Okay commandoes, here is your first patriotic assignment ... an easy one. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor have publicly stated that they use (foreign) laws and rulings to decide how to rule on American cases. This is a huge threat to our Republic and Constitutional freedom. ... If you are what you say you are, and NOT armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week."
-- threat to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a winger message board
Try as they might to divorce themselves from threats like these, mainstream Republican political figures have been leading the way in suggesting violence as a means of intimidating judges around the country, including those sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court.

With issues like gay marriage and reproductive rights pushing the cultural hot buttons of the winger set, an alarming number of threats are causing sitting justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg to publicly speak out. (365gay):

Ginsburg revealed in a speech in South Africa that she and O'Connor were threatened a year ago by someone who called on the Internet for the immediate "patriotic" killing of the justices. Security concerns among judges have been growing.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter joked earlier this year that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned. Over the past few months O'Connor has complained that criticism, mainly by Republicans, has threatened judicial independence to deal with difficult issues like gay marriage.

Worry is not limited to the Supreme Court. Three quarters of the nation's 2,200 federal judges have asked for government-paid home security systems, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said this week.

Ginsburg said the Web threat was apparently prompted by legislation in Congress, filed by Republicans, that would bar judges from relying on foreign laws or court decisions.

"It is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support. And one not-so-small concern - they fuel the irrational fringe," she said in a speech posted online by the court earlier this month and first reported Wednesday by LegalTimes.com.
Again, my friends, this is the Republican base, the folks courted by Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove, who are on speed dial to James Dobson of Focus on the Anus and Don Wildmon of the American Family Association. The suburban home of the Base is located, conveniently, in the filth-drenched environs of Freeperland.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Stay safe...resign today."

"Sounds good to me."

"Sniffle....she's a victim....sob."

"She probably dreamed up the whole thing.....while sleeping...on the bench."

"Perhaps, just perhaps, they should wonder about this. Americans are normally fairly laid back about most things. I'm sure it couldn't be that people see things as getting dangerously out of sync, a court that for some reason can over rule the executive and legislature. A court that seems to just make up law as it goes along. A court that is oblivious and impervious, or worse, to the effects of its decisions. None of this would make people start thinking the court is nothing more than a domestic enemy."

"If she couldn't handle being a SCJ should would resign. If she thinks she has it bad, she should run for President."

"Ginsburg has devoted her life to breaking down the traditional protections of good manners, standards of what is permissible to say and what is not, and now she's shocked! shocked! that she's reaping the consequences of her actions. Not that she's capable of recogizing cause and effect, of course."

"It comes with the job, I'm sure President Bush receives more threats than any other political figure but you don't hear him whining. The courts deserve the criticism they get and in more principled times their lives would indeed be in danger if only from the threat of imprisonment."

"She's brain dead. Disconnect the feeding tube."

"This harpy is not fit to be on any court. She goes to South Africa to spout her paranoid crap. Let them spend the money to protect her and her love of foreign law. Spit on her and her foreign law."

"With the number of nut cases in our country, I'm not surprised there are threats against them. I think it's a stretch to say most come from conservatives."

"I doubt that anyone who would even think about such acts would actually write about it. I will have to conclude that the threats were made by somebody from their own agenda to stifle honest public dissent and dissatisfaction. There must have been a time in this country that the supreme court justices didn't have to worry about these kind of threats in that they didn't render any opinions that remotely deserved that kind of attention. Sounds like fear born of a guilty conscience to me."

"[Over the past few months O'Connor has complained that criticism, mainly by Republicans, has threatened judicial independence to deal with difficult issues like gay marriage.]"

"I'm assuming she is also deeply concerned about the countless threats of violence against Republicans, especially President Bush, and how this Democratic Party encouraged hatred undermines our political process. /sarcasm/"

"In the beginning of the article they actual state that the death threats were "apparently" spurred on by Republicans!!!!! That is truly outrageous."

"I hope nobody here at Free Republic would be involved in any such unseemly threats"

"Such threats are pulled whenever brought to our attention, and those who make a habit of them are evicted."

"Ginsburg is right. Some of the rhetoric used against allegedly "activist judges" has been over the top."

"Turns out they were not directly threatened at all. Typical distortion and exaggeration from the drama queens on the REAL "irrational fringe" which REALLY threatens the court. Ruth Buzzi is a far more dangerous threat to do harm against America than some wacko blogger."
John @ Americablog points out a list of GOP-endorsed hate that inspires violence. It's the usual right-wing, allegedly God-fearing suspects who lay the groundwork for their minions to act out with threats while those in the suits keep their hands clean.

***

Unclaimed Territory's Glenn Greenwald posts on the increasing flailing, wailing and now, defensive threats of the Bushies that are fueling the extremists as Dear Leader's poll numbers go through the floor and the possibility of losing their death grip on power seems near.
There is a palpable increase in the level of extremism and desperation among Bush followers as the Commander in Chief's approval ratings fall lower and lower and as the views which Americans have of both him and his party become more hostile. This is going to be a significant dynamic -- as their power slips further and further away, Bush followers are going to resort to increasingly radical and rage-fueled measures to keep it.

...Impeaching disobedient federal judges is definitely something that is on the minds of Bush followers. At the confirmation hearings of Sam Alito, Sen. Coburn questioned Alito on whether he thought a judge who referenced foreign law in a judicial opinion could be removed from office under the constitutional "good behavior" clause. Coburn said: "I very strongly and adamantly feel that it [citing foreign law in a judicial opinion] violates the good behavior, which is mentioned as part of the qualifications and the maintenance of that position."
If they cannot control this country, then they must destroy it from within before they lose power. Glenn:
...Reporters should be thrown into prison. Citizens should be removed from political events for wearing political t-shirts. The President has the right to break the law for our own good. Politicians who criticize the Administration are traitors and should be imprisoned, or worse. And Supreme Court Justices should be impeached -- or worse. Does any of that sound like America to you?

And, oh - it's vital that we fight The Terrorists so that we don't lose our freedoms. And the principal objective our foreign policy is to run around teaching other countries how to be democratic and free.


Having your dad's baby is precious

South Dakota and Mississippi's legislators aren't really pro-life, according to the womb control experts of the American Family Association. Forced childbirth, for these folks, is the only option for women who become pregnant as a result of being, oh, say gang-raped, or because of repeated sexual assaults by her father or male relative.

Hell, the woman's life doesn't even matter when it comes down to it -- save the fetus.
.A Christian attorney says any law that purports to ban abortion, yet allows exceptions, is not a truly pro-life bill. On the heels of South Dakota's bill to ban almost all abortions, Mississippi has become the latest to propose a ban on the killing of unborn children. However, like the South Dakota measure, Mississippi's ban -- written by State Representative Steve Holland -- contains a provision that allows for children conceived through rape or incest to aborted.


Steve Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy in Tupelo, says to be truly pro-life, one must believe that children produced through rape or incest are just as precious as any other child.

"I find it very difficult to rationalize -- if you believe that this is genuinely a human child, an unborn child -- how you can allow it to be killed simply because of actions of its father," says the attorney. "It makes no sense down the line, and I think our opponents actually take full advantage of those kinds of inconsistencies in decimating our movement. So, no, I don't think it's pro-life to recognize those exceptions." Mississippi's measure also allows exceptions for "cases of medical emergencies, when the mother's life is endangered." Many pro-life advocates says it is never necessary to kill an unborn child to save a mother's life.


West Linn kid's in big trouble now - expulsion is a hoax

The high school student Brandon Flyte is real. The "Brokeback High" film is real. The fact that he had onscreen characters in a same-sex screen "snuggle," that had to be snipped from the class project was real. But he was not expelled by the administrators for the film. He did get in trouble for screening his film for a class that didn't have the scene cut out, and that landed him in the dean's office.

He's in a lot of hot water now. (Oregon Live):
West Linn High School student Brandon Flyte told the world on his Web site that he was expelled for leaving a homosexual "snuggle scene" in a class film project.

It wasn't true, and now the teen is in real trouble with school officials because of the resulting turmoil surrounding his claim.

"He has disrupted the school. This is clearly a behavior we don't find acceptable," said West Linn-Wilsonville Superintendent Roger Woehl.

No kidding. Not only that, he completely obliterates the good will of those who, rightly, applauded him for making the gay-themed film itself, which, as a straight high school student is a couragous feat.
It landed him in the dean's office for insubordination. It was the last of a series of misbehaviors for the teen, Woehl said. He would not elaborate on previous problems.

...But the teen was not expelled as he reported on his Web site. In fact, he was not punished at all, Woehl said. Administrators, instead, offered him a chance to make up lost classes at a community college.

Flyte said Wednesday that he was not expelled or suspended and his being called to the office was "not a homophobic thing."
This is too damn bad -- and it shows how easily the Net can pick up and move a story for an attention-seeker, which of course, is probably the prime motive behind Flyte's actions. Andy at Towleroad adds more.

***

UPDATE: Flyte emailed me and said:
I urge you to read the rebuttal on my website before jumping to conclusions that I'm a fraudulent opportunist, and if you do find belief in my story once again, please edit the matter-of-factness of your latest update.
So, in the interest of fairness, here's what he has up on his site now.
"By now many if not all of you have seen the story in the Oregonian, a story I awoke to with no little amount of surprise. It's expected with a story that gets this kind of momentum and is over such a controversial issue to receive a negative response, and considering the overwhelmingly positive response it's expected that the negative response should be overwhelming.

It's also unsurprising that after such a strong response, the school should try to use every tactic they have to eliminate that support, and the disruption it's caused their school. While I can appreciate their stance in trying to get the school back to normal -- and I do NOT agree with or condone the apparent threats of arson and violence that the school board says they received -- I also do not appreciate their attempt to discredit me. An attempt which has clearly begun to work.

Let me be clear on something. I never expected this level of publicity. I posted this in a few places I thought it might be of interest, but, maybe foolishly, never expected more than a few dozen people to notice or care. The attempts of my opponents to paint me as an attention-monger are lies of their own. I never contacted most of these media outlets. The Oregonian, CNN, MSNBC, the Advocate, and others, all contacted me. My website initially started as a place to inform my friends at school and elsewhere what was happening with my situation. I never sought this out. I linked to them as a point of interest in how far the story was spreading, for those who were reading my site, nothing more.

If I only wanted publicity for my film, I would have posted the film in its entirety immediately. But I did not expect this kind of attention -- in fact, I expected that those who viewed my site would already have seen the film. And I certainly would not have linked to the Oregonian if I had been aware of the underhanded tactics the administration planned to use against me.

To address Superintendent Woehl's claims, why did he refuse to elaborate on my "series of misbehaviors"? Aside from my sketchy attendance -- to which even the Oregonian recognizes I have already admitted -- I have had no prior disciplinary actions taken on me. What misbehaviors is he talking about?

In addition, the superintendent claims that the class assignment forbade sex, nudity, or violence. Yet two boys in each other's arms is not sex, bare chests are not nudity (or else the entire swim team should be suspended for indecent exposure), and my film did have some violence which I was not asked to remove. Likewise, several of the other films had violence in them that was allowed to stand.

If as Woehl claims I was landed in trouble for not following the guidelines of the assignment, and was not a blanket ban on the content of my film, why were the guidelines of the CLASS assignment upheld in a DIFFERENT class?

I have seen PG-13 movies shown at my school, during classes with nothing else going on, that had more explicit sex scenes than what I showed. I saw a film made for the assignment with explicit drug use that was not asked to be removed. Why should I be disciplined for showing a film that violated no rule in the class I showed it?

Additionally, he claims that the transfer was not mandatory. Whether the rest is a misunderstanding or not, this is an absolute lie. I asked specifically when I was called into the office and informed of the transfer if I had a choice in the matter, and I was told that I did not. If I had, I would not have chosen to attend the Community College, as I wanted to spend the remainder of my senior year with my friends.

I have not been a model student throughout high school, but in the past year I've been trying to turn it around, and to have everything thrown away in the home stretch is disheartening and insulting.

As I said, I can understand Woehl's desire to stem the disruption caused by the apparently thousands of unpleasant e-mails he's received. And, now that he's tried to brand me a liar, I know can't convince anyone of my side if they want to believe him. I'm a kid with bad attendance and he's an adult who runs a school district. People will believe him. The Oregonian clearly did, and many of the blogs that have been watching this story have started spreading that version of the story. But I hope that some people out there know a smear campaign when they see one.

I'm just a kid fighting a bunch of adults who are protecting their names by now trying to destroy mine. I plan to hold my head high and continue fighting for the truth. It seems I was premature in saying that my part of the fight had been resolved."


Glutton for punishment



She's staying in the Senate race. U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris, running 20 points behind sitting Senator Bill Nelson in the polls, is -- glory, hallelujah -- not dropping out, providing Nelson with full confidence that he will easily cruise to victory in Florida.


Bush Approval Map: March 2006

bushmap-new.gif


Revel in the newest incarnation of the Bush Approval Map! This map displays the state-by-state job approval polls of Pretzeldunce Chimpy McFlightsuit. His Net Approval is his job approval minus his job disapproval ratings, with positive numbers representing states where more people approve than disapprove, and negative numbers representing the opposite.

I've color-coded the states according to their relative "Bush Love" in red to their relative "Bush Hate" in blue, with those states more toward the center shaded in purple. (I've made a change in the color scheme from the previous versions; I decided that the brighter reds and blues better visually demonstrated the figures. Plus the color shades change in 1% increments for more... uh... subtlety.)

The map begins at the 2004 Election, and every five seconds a new month appears. You can click the map to view a full-size 800x600 version. (Some months aren't represented because no data is available at SurveyUSA.com, where I get these figures.) In the eleven months I've been tracking this, -24% nationwide is the lowest Bush has plummetted. Also, I'm stunned to see my home state of Idaho turning purple, and Utah, which had been hovering in the +30s and high +20s, down to a low of +13%.

Memo to Karl Rove: the Kool-Aid is wearing off. Better get around to bombing Iran soon!

[Colorfully cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Update on Soulforce Equality Ride

Wednesday, March 15, 2006



Blender Bearnaked Joe has been following the travels of the good folks of Soulforce as they continue their 51-day Equality Ride to conservative/religious campuses across the country to discuss LGBT rights issues with students -- as people of faith. Their simple goal is to hold dialogue with people at these hostile places, and it has been tough going so far.

You'll recall that they were first booted from Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, arrested, cuffed and sent to the pokey by Rev. Tinkywinky's goons. A firsthand account by one of those arrested, House Blender Matt Hill Comer, a fellow Tar Heel, is here. Matt is also posting regularly on the Equality Ride's progress.

The next stop on the Ride was Pat Robertson-affiliated Regent University, and things got way out of control on the police front. Apparently a couple dozen peaceful homos present a threat that requires this level of police response:


What it takes to arrest a few gay folks of faith.

One rider, Kayla Bonewell, described the reception at Regent, and the outrageous farce that students were kept from leaving the campus to speak with members of Soulforce.
yesterday we arrived at pat robertson's regent university to face a closed down campus surrounded by more police (via foot, vehicle, horse, and helicopter) than were riders. we stood on the sidewalk beyond campus property in a silent vigil, holding up literature, waiting to welcome dialogue with any students who might venture off campus to speak with us. when students began to come our way, the police stopped them. i am not sure what the police told the students, but it must have been effective because the students did not feel able to continue on their way to speak with us.
She was later able to attend a bible study with some Regent students, found it to be a welcoming environment where there was positive discussion. The riders returned to the Regent campus the next day, and look at what happened.
today we returned with further intention to dialogue with students. students wanted to talk with us and we wanted to talk with students. before we could even cross the steet towards regent university, about 7 or so regent students (the same who had spent time with us at the bible study) walked up and down the line of riders. they embraced each one of us with tears, sometimes bowing on their knees, and asking forgiveness from us on behalf of all christians who have ever contributed to the horrible names, violence, and wounds that we have suffered from the christian community.

...as we continued toward the campus, there were more police on site today than yesterday. a new yellow tape was wrapped around the campus property, a visible line that the police were there to protect. we again stood in singing vigil. when we saw students in the distance, 6 of our riders announced that they were going over to speak with the regent students. on their way over, all were arrested. it was a miserable picture to watch, students being denied access to peacefully speak with other students. after our riders were taken off campus we boarded our bus and left regent university.

i have never seen as many police in my life. how could 32 proven peaceful young adults pose such a threat to regent?
A story in the Virginian-Pilot confirms Kayla's observations about the police presence and the arrests. Bearnaked Joe pretty much sums up the obscenity of the "response" of Regent with the armed police overkill.
Let me tell you, you do not need at least two dozen cops, a helicopter, a "Marine Patrol Dive Team," several vehicles, and a police chaplain to keep the peace. Last fall I witnessed about fifty anti-war protesters - some very hostile - across the street from 200 pro-Bush supporters - many just as hostile - kept at peace with a handful of DC police. Even in this tense situation peaceful people were still allowed to cross the lines to speak with one another. Just what kind of information did Virginia Beach police "get" that would inspire them to all but call out the national guard and prohibit students from peaceful interaction?

The religious Right is calling out all the stops in order to portray Soulforce as some invading violent protest group. Now homosexuals must be kept out by force if necessary. What's next?
Remember, Soulforce has made visits like this in the past to Christian campuses without incident and with great open success. It's one of the reasons Falwell came down so hard this year and had folks arrested -- last year, Liberty students went out of their way to welcome the Soulforce members with refreshments and dialogue. He had to shut it down this time around, claiming "Liberty has an obligation to these parents not to expose their children to a 'media circus' that might present immorality in a positive light."

You can see next stops on The Equality Ride Route. The riders will be going to Lee University, in Cleveland, TN tomorrow and Friday.
Dr. Paul Conn, president of Lee University, has decided not to allow us a sponsored forum to hold a panel discussion on his campus. However we are permitted on campus and allowed to give speeches outside and speak to students who wish to converse with us.
You can read a touching letter sent to Soulforce by a gay former student at Lee.


Ohio Senate candidate: Elton John and Mary Cheney should die


PageOneQ has obtained audio of an interview with self-described "Biblicist", truck driver and Senate candidate Merrill Keiser, Jr. of Fremont, Ohio, who said homosexuality should be a felony, punishable by death.

He lets it all hang out in an interview on Chad Larson's The Edge radio show/podcast, suggesting Elton John and Mary Cheney should be put to death.

Related:
* The ultimate in fringe candidates for 2006


Washington State looks at letting pharmacists discriminate against women

hooters-vegan.gif
(Pam got to it before I did, but I just must weigh in, since I'm in the Pacific Northwest...)

Washington State is now the latest state to look at giving pharmacists the option of not dispensing prescriptions -- specifically emergency contraception, but possibly ANY prescription -- that violates the pharmacist's religious beliefs:
SEATTLE The debate centers around the so-called morning after pill, or Plan B. It's emergency contraception meant to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Pharmacists who object to Plan B want to be able to deny filling a prescription on moral, ethical or religious beliefs.

"Pharmacists have to have a right to exercise their conscience in these morally troubling situations. I believe it's a right we get as being citizens of the United States," says Bellevue pharmacist C.J. Kahler.

"They are really elevating their interests, their personal interests above the needs of the patient," says Nancy Sapiro with the Northwest Women's Law Center. "The regulations that govern pharmacists are very clear that patients' interests come first."

Governor Christine Gregoire sent the board a letter opposing the proposal.

"When an individual goes in, they ought to be allowed to have their prescription filled and a pharmacist should not deny them on personal grounds," says Gregoire. "So if they can't do it, an alternative pharmacist needs to be able to do it at that particular location."

That's not always possible in rural towns where there's only one pharmacist.

"We're not saying, 'don't go anywhere.' We're saying, 'You have a right but we're not willing to fill that prescription. Here's where you can go,' " says Kahler.

The state pharmacy board says it could be a year before rules are in place.

If you would like to share your opinion with the pharmacy board, you can send it via e-mail to doreen.beebe@doh.wa.gov
D'oh dot Washington dot government... how appropriate.

Look, wingnuts, the point is simple: You're a pharmacist. Your job is to fill prescriptions, not make moral judgements. If filling prescriptions offends you, FIND A NEW JOB.

Why does your religion give you any special exemptions from doing your job? Muslims don't get to be bartenders who don't serve alcohol. Quakers don't get to be cops who don't shoot people. Vegans don't get to be waitresses at Hooters who won't serve chicken wings. Jews don't get to be waiters at the rib shack who won't serve pork. Mormons don't get to be baristas at Starbucks who won't serve caffeinated coffee.

And don't give me that "you can find another pharmacist to fill the prescription" crap. A pharmacist's job is to follow the orders of a doctor. We purposefully separated the doctors from the drugs so they couldn't abuse their own stash. You are little more than the security guard who loads the piles of cash into the ATM -- you don't get to decide how the ATM customers spend the money, your job is to simply load the money. Likewise, as a pharmacist, your job is to dispense the pills. You don't get to decide who gets the pills, the doctor and the patient do.

I'm getting mighty sick and tired of "it's my religion" being the trump card against common sense and civil rights. If you think Plan B pills are immoral, then by all means, don't use them. If you think dispensing Plan B pills is immoral, then by all means, don't become a pharmacist.

Seriously, there is no end to how these "conscience clauses" could be interpreted. Could a pharmacist who finds homosexuality "an abomination" refuse to dispense anti-AIDS retrovirals? How about a Catholic pharmacist who refuses to fill any birth control prescription? Sheesh, why not just let the Christian Scientists be the pharmacists who refuse to fill ANY prescription?

This is nothing more than misogynistic anti-sex prudes masquerading as pious victims. They just won't be happy until everyone else feels as much guilt about sex as they do. They don't even care whether the woman seeking the prescription is a rape victim; as far as they're concerned she's as damnable as what they'd consider the libertine nymphomaniac slut (you know, women who enjoy sex without procreation) who slipped up with her birth control (and just wait; they're coming after that, too.) In their caveman minds, sex bad, babies good! Any woman who opens her legs must accept the consequences of government-enforced procreation, nevermind the advances in science and chemistry that make that ancient history.

I'm going to go tell my boss that I've just joined the church of Linux, and I am morally opposed to installing Microsoft operating systems on the computers here at work. Let's see how far that gets me. Then I'll tell the DEA agent who busts me with a pound-and-a-half of marijuana* that I'm Rastafarian. You'll all write to me in federal prison, won't you?

Follow the bouncing ball of wingnuts who refuse to do their job at:
Wingnut pharmacists to rape victim: Sorry, we won't help you.
Boycott Albertsons - Corporate HQ gives OK to deny women's birth control
A Preserver of Life


* Under Oregon's Medical Marijuana Law, as a registered caregiver, I am actually legally entitled to carry around a pound-and-a-half of marijuana, and no Oregon state, county, or local officer could arrest me. biggrin.gif The DEA is another matter entirely... sad.gif

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ, because it didn't offend my moral sensibilities to do so...]


NY sues H&R Block over investment scam

Remember my post from a few days back, IRS wants to allow third parties access to your return? Uncle Sam's proposing that tax preparers can insert, along with all the rest of the forms one signs before filing, a consent form for the preparer to sell your personal information away for the almighty dollar. You don't get to sign off to opt-in -- it's an opt-out proposal.

Of course the parties interested in this scam are big machine preparers like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, not the mom-and-pop firms that actually care about their clients and return business.

Here's an example of why H&R Block, in particular, doesn't deserve an opportunity to rip consumers off by scamming a way to acquire tax info -- they're already pickpocketing their customers in an investment fraud scheme. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has slapped the tax giant with a $250 million lawsuit. (AP):
The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, says Block advised clients to buy an "unsuitable, fraudulently marketed, poorly performing, fee-ridden 'retirement vehicle' called the Express IRA," an account that actually shrinks over time.



The court papers, filed by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, say the money in the retirement account decreases because the only investment option offered is a money market account with an interest rate so low that it does not cover the fees — "fees that H&R Block fails to adequately disclose."

The attorney general's lawsuit asks that the company be required to stop engaging in any fraudulent practices, that the company be forced to disgorge profits and pay damages and restitution caused by their scheme, and that it pay civil penalties of no less than $250 million.

H&R Block said in a statement that it will "fight vigorously to defend the Express IRA product and ensure it remains available to our many clients who rely on it as a helpful savings option."

...Spitzer said that H&R Block opened more than half a million Express IRA accounts in the last four years. He said 85 percent of customers who opened the accounts paid H&R Block more in fees than they earned in interest.
Eliot Spitzer, btw, is cruising along as a Dem candidate for governor in NY, leading every poll.


Homo fatwa

Iraqi Shia Leader Calls Fatwa Against Gays. I guess the real question is, when is there not a fatwa against the homos?


Seriously, it's only a few degrees of separation between a sick cleric like Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and our own Christofascists, or for that matter, candidates for public office this year (actually, there's no degrees of separation in Larry Kilgore's case).
As Iraq sinks closer and closer to all-out civil war the country's most influential Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is reportedly calling for death to gays and Sunni Moslems.

...On his Web site, used to communicate with Shiite masses throughout the country, Sistani this week issued a fatwa against Sunnis and gays.

He urges followers to kill homosexuals in the "worst, most severe way".

"Sistani's murderous homophobic incitement has given a green light to Shia Muslims to hunt and kill lesbians and gay men,” says exiled gay Iraqi, Ali Hili, of the London-based gay human rights group OutRage.


SLDN responds to change to security clearances affecting gays

I recently blogged about the outrageous changes by the Bush administration to the guidelines regarding security clearances (NSA: homos are a security risk). The modifications, made by National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, targets gays and lesbians for additional scrutiny as potential "security risks."

What makes this ridiculous is that an AP story now reports, after the sh*t hit the fan, the admin trots out a National Security Council spokesperson to say...
"The minor language change did not and was not intended to alter the way sexual orientation is treated," National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said Tuesday. "The U.S. government policy has not changed in any way."

Jones said government lawyers made the changes for clarity.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) isn't having any of it and called on the Bush administration to stop playing games.
“Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans should not be considered a security risk simply because of their sexual orientation,” said SLDN director of law and policy Sharra E. Greer. “If the National Security Council did not intend to make a consequential change by altering existing language, why did it change the guidelines at all? President Bush renewed the 1995 executive order prohibiting discrimination immediately after taking office, and it was the right thing to do. Gay Americans play important roles in protecting our national security. Their sexual orientation does not impede their ability to keep us all safe. SLDN will closely monitor how the new guidelines are interpreted and work to ensure that sexual orientation is not used as a roadblock for security clearance approval. ”
Shakes Sis puts in her two cents.


Insane bible-beating Missouri bills

Some of these extremist AmTaliban measures are so ridiculous that the mainstream religious community has to come out and say "enough."

Such is the case with the handiwork of Missouri legislators Rep. David Sater (R-Cassville) and House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden (R- St. Charles).
A nonbinding resolution meant to recognize the country's Christian founders appears to have stalled out — which didn't disappoint some Springfield Christian leaders.


Sater, Bearden

It remains to be seen what will happen to a separate bill that would ask Missourians to change the state constitution to "secure a citizen's right to acknowledge Almighty God" in schools and other public places.

...Rep. David Sater, a Cassville Republican, said some people have accused him of trying to establish a state religion by filing the resolution. It states that "our forefathers recognized a Christian God" and that "we the majority also wish to exercise our constitutional right to acknowledge our Creator."

The resolution goes on to say that "voluntary prayer in public schools and religious displays on public property are not a coalition of church and state."
Bearden's bill, House Joint Resolution 39, is a proposed amendment that would state that "a citizen's right to pray or to express his or her religious beliefs on any public property, including schools, shall not be infringed."

As I said at the top, the religious leaders came out and gave these measures the smackdown.
"I think the ability to pray is not governed by the state, period."
-- the Rev. Hosea Bilyeu, speaking only for himself, not his Ridgecrest Baptist Church

"It seems to me to be an attempt on the part of some legislators at recreating the world that they remember, that they grew up in — when the United States was not as diverse in its religious background as it certainly is now."
-- Rev. Roger Ray, senior pastor of National Avenue Christian Church

"Christians are the religious majority in the United States, but that does not give us any license ... to trample the rights of minorities."
-- The Rev. Bill Havens, pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church, calling the proposed legislation "misguided"
Hat tip to Blender Tony.


Washington state wingnut pharmacists have their bibles ready

I just don't understand. Why enter a profession that places you in such a dilemma about your personal faith that you don't have to do your job. You are being PAID to dispense legal prescriptions, not pray over whether your soul might end up on the Hell Express.

The answer is not to restrict the rights of others, the solution is for you to quit your damn job. (Seattle Times):
At the heart of the debate is a proposal put forward by the pharmacy association, a private trade group, that would allow pharmacists to act as "conscientious objectors" when faced with filling prescriptions that go against their moral or religious principles and require them to provide patients with other "options."

The Pharmacy Board plans to hold public hearings around the state in coming months. The seven-member panel, composed of five pharmacists and two from the public, is appointed by the governor. If approved, the proposal would become a state statute.

But the Pharmacy Association said its proposal is also meant to anticipate other issues. For example, some pharmacists worry that if assisted suicide is legalized, they could be forced to dispense drugs used to end someone's life.
What a freaking straw man. First it was womb control, now it's Governor Christine Gregoire sent the board a steaming letter, saying:
"When an individual goes in, they ought to be allowed to have their prescription filled and a pharmacist should not deny them on personal grounds...So if they can't do it, an alternative pharmacist needs to be able to do it at that particular location."
The article also mentions that 17 other states are considering "pharmacist refusal" or "conscience clauses" measures, but pharmacy boards in Wyoming, Nevada, North Carolina and Massachusetts have said that pharmacists cannot refuse to dispense on those grounds.

Hat tip, Paul.
[He said: "Who made the damn drug store employees the judge of what I can or cannot do with my body?]"


I knew you'd want to see this


Actual caption: Figures of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. President George W. Bush are displayed during a Purim parade in the central Israeli town of Holon March 14, 2006. Purim is a celebration of the Jews' salvation from genocide in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

***


Actual caption: President Bush gestures as he leaves the White House, Tuesday, March 14, 2006, for a trip to Canandaigua, N.Y., to speak about the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program before returning to Washington later in the day. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

And I thought he was flashing some sort of gang sign to his White House boyz that his Medicare plan blows chunks.


NC's David Price on this administration



I'm represented by Dem David Price, who serves North Carolina's 4th Congressional district. Price was first elected to the House in 1986. Before that he taught poli-sci and public policy at Duke and holds a divinity degree and a Ph.D. in poli-sci from Yale University.

Durham is a progressive stronghold, so he's a blue dot in a red-turning-purple state. He voted against FMA, stating that he doesn't "believe it is the business of the federal government to legislate a 'definition' of marriage," and supports the expansion of the definition of hate crimes to include crimes related to the victim's gender or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, he also voted for the bankruptcy bill, so it's a mixed bag, but he's right on many of the issues that matter.

BlueNC's Anglico has posted a great interview with the Congressman, and it is up on MyDD, DKos. I want to post some big hunks here to give you a taste of this Tar Heel's dissatisfaction at the leadership in this country.
What's it like being in the minority party with George Bush in the White House?
In all my nine terms in Congress, I've never seen as bitter and punitive a partisan atmosphere. Democrats in Congress have virtually no say in the major legislation that comes before the House. Bills are rammed through to appease the right-wing zealots of the Republican Party, giving the minority no opportunity to amend them or to vote on alternate legislation that would appeal to members on both sides of the aisle. Even more troubling is the utter lack of oversight. Instead of functioning as a co-equal branch of government, Congress is abdicating its constitutional responsibility to hold the Administration accountable - at a time when accountability couldn't be more critical.

You've been in politics a long time. Have you ever seen a more corrupt and incompetent government than we have right now?
The President and his advisors don't appear to understand - or perhaps care about - the legal and constitutional limits on the authority of the executive branch. As a consequence, it is difficult to know where to draw the line between corruption and incompetence, although there is surely a good measure of each.

In only five years, the Bush Administration has undone a decade of progress on bringing federal budget deficits under control. It has used the specter of September 11 to tread on civil liberties beyond what's necessary to protect the country, and to justify a war of choice in Iraq. Yet the Administration has also failed to secure the country, as recently revealed in the debate over control of our ports, or to prepare for natural disasters. This Administration has taken a generally positive image of the United States abroad and turned it into a reputation for unilateralism and the disregard for human rights. The Republican leadership in Congress has been a partner in most of these transgressions, defaulting on its responsibility to fulfill the oversight responsibilities of the Legislative Branch of government and trampling on the rights of the minority party in the process. While excess and abuse in the political realm have always been a threat to democratic government, the heights reached in the last five years are unprecedented in my lifetime.

A recent report shows you're holding down the progressive front in North Carolina, along with Mel Watt.  How do you respond to 4th District voters who want you to be more aggressive?
A few weeks ago National Journal) released its composite vote ratings based on 2005 votes in three areas:  economic issues, social issues, and foreign policy.  I was ranked more progressive than 81.7 percent my colleagues.  I am proud to share with Mel Watt the only 100% ranking among North Carolina's members by the NAACP, as well as a 94% League of Conservation Voters score shared by Mel and Brad Miller.

There should be no misunderstanding of my position on Iraq. I voted against the war, and I have been a persistent critic of the way Bush has conducted it --without reliable intelligence, appreciable support from allies, or a workable postwar plan.  I have also introduced legislation (H. J. Res. 70), directing the President to submit an Iraq exit strategy to Congress.

...What's the most effective way for citizens to support you in pursuing a progressive agenda?

First, they can continue to keep in touch. The people of the Fourth District are engaged, committed, and above all, well-informed. Although we won't always reach the same conclusion about a particular policy question, it's integral to my job to know what's on their mind and to have the benefit of their perspective.

Second, they can help elect other progressive candidates to Congress. None of us on the Democratic side can do our jobs as we and our constituents would like as long as the right-wing Republicans rule the roost.

Third, citizens can band together in organizations supporting public education, housing, environmental protection, civil liberties and other critical issues - encouraging politicians who support them, pressing those who do not, and laying the groundwork for the political change we need.
As I said above, you can read Anglico's full interview on MyDD, DKos and BlueNC. Price also talks about impeachment and gives his take on of some of the election races in North Carolina.

I actually met Price a few years ago when he visited my old neighborhood. Also, if you're curious about what constituents in my area told Price about issues of importance to them, look no further than his 2005 Congressional Survey...

SURVEY RESULTS

Do you favor President Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security?
Yes -- 27 %
No -- 72 %

Looking back, do you think Congress did the right thing when it gave the President open-ended authority to invade Iraq?
Yes -- 28 %
No -- 71 %

Which statement best expresses your present view on military operations in Iraq?
"The US should simply stick to its present course." -- 19 %
"The US needs a more serious plan for moving Iraq to self-defense and self-rule." -- 52 %
"The US should set a fixed timetable for withdrawal." -- 28 %

What is the most pressing moral issue facing our country?
A. abortion -- 6 %
B. health care -- 25 %
C. civil rights -- 5 %
D. gay marriage -- 4 %
E. inequality and poverty -- 16 %
F. sex and violence in our culture -- 9 %
G. war and foreign policy --19 %
H. other -- 14 %

President Bush's tax cuts for people making over $250,000/year are set to expire. What should Congress do?
Make the tax cuts permanent -- 20 %
Use the money to reduce the federal deficit/debt -- 38 %
Use the money to invest in education, transportation, housing, and/or health care -- 41 %

Should the US be doing the same, more, or less to address global warming?
More –- 72 %
Less –- 10 %
Same -- 16 %


Pennsylvania House committee to vote on marriage amendment bill today

"Right before I came here I got an e-mail from someone urging me to protect marriage. And the thought I had was, "From what?' In Massachusetts now for something approaching two years gay people have been allowed to get married. And what has happened? Are heterosexual couples not getting married as often, more often, getting married too quickly, too soon, too many kids, not enough kids? Too tall? What exactly is happening that I need to be protecting my constituents from?"
-- Rep. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, on HB 2381, the proposed state amendment to ban gay marriage
About 300 citizens showed up at Pennsylvania's Capitol yesterday, protesting a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. It has to pass the House State Government Committee today, be affirmed in two consecutive legislative sessions and then make its way to the ballot box. (Philly Inquirer):
"Constitutions are meant to protect citizens, especially the rights of minorities," said State Rep. Dan B. Frankel (D., Allegheny). "The General Assembly needs to do things that would actually strengthen families... . This amendment would be a giant step in the wrong direction."


The measure's sponsor, State Rep. Scott W. Boyd (R., Lancaster), has said a constitutional amendment is needed to protect traditional marriage from "activist judges and special interests who want to permanently redefine it."

Opponents of the Pennsylvania bill (HB 2381) say it would go beyond a 10-year-old state law banning gay marriage and prohibit civil unions and domestic-partner benefits for public employees. It also would likely interfere with publicly funded universities' ability to offer those benefits, they said. Advocates for women and the elderly also spoke at the rally, which drew about 300 people, saying the bill would discriminate against unmarried heterosexual partners and those in common-law marriages.
Gary at American Agenda's call to action cannot be more clear.
It is NOT about anyone's religious beliefs. It is NOT about a so-called "threat to marriage." It is NOT about intellectual discourse.

It is about love. It is about the "pursuit of happiness." It is about the ideal of America. It is about civil rights. It is about me!

I am no threat. My private life has nothing to do with your church, your home, your family or anything that comes in between! I am no threat to you!

Does protecting my property cause you any threat? Does protecting my civil rights cause you some kind of pain? Will your marriage fall apart if I am allowed the same right? The answer to all is NO! Yet I still have to fight this repugnant fight!

...Marriage is not threatened by gays. America is threatened by those who hate gays so much that they are willing to dismantle our proud history of tolerance and equal rights for all based on something they don't understand.

And when I make that claim I am addressing the concepts of America, Marriage, and Christianity, Love, God, and Equality as the issues they don't understand; intellectually or otherwise!
The web site for the Pennsylvania House is here.

All Spin Zone's spindentist has the contact list of the PA reps who are being targeted by the American Family Association; the Wildmon gang is worried this amendment could die in committee.


Molly Ivins has had enough of the D.C. Dems too


All of you Blenders out there sick of the spineless Dems can now bow down and thank Molly Ivins for saying this.
Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I will not be supporting Senator Clinton because: a) she has no clear stand on the war and b) Terri Schiavo and flag-burning are not issues where you reach out to the other side and try to split the difference. You want to talk about lowering abortion rates through cooperation on sex education and contraception, fine, but don’t jack with stuff that is pure rightwing firewater.

I can’t see a damn soul in D.C. except Russ Feingold who is even worth considering for President. The rest of them seem to me so poisonously in hock to this system of legalized bribery they can’t even see straight.
And what about the constant hand-wringing by these same Dems, afraid to buck this sorry-ass preznit for fear of tagged as an agent of Al Qaeda by the unhinged Right? She has no sympathy for those ninnies.
Every Democrat I talk to is appalled at the sheer gutlessness and spinelessness of the Democratic performance. The party is still cringing at the thought of being called, ooh-ooh, “unpatriotic” by a bunch of rightwingers.

Take “unpatriotic” and shove it. How dare they do this to our country? “Unpatriotic”? These people have ruined the American military! Not to mention the economy, the middle class, and our reputation in the world. Everything they touch turns to dirt, including Medicare prescription drugs and hurricane relief.

This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one; it is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass.
I don't need to tell you that she's calling for all progressives to get to work and make sure sHillary -- a sure loser in a prez general election -- never gets the Dem nom. Thank you, thank you, Molly.

Earlier Blend on useless, triangulating, Repug-lite Dems (and this is just a sampling):
* Dems -- there's nobody home
* Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006
* Images of the Dems and Repugs, courtesy of Democracy Corps
* Dem lobbyist to left blogosphere: generate money and shut your piehole
* My god...why didn't I think of Joe Biden?
* Tim Kaine tapped for response to SOTU
* Bye Blue, hello Green? / Bloggrrrl: Bye, Blue? (redux)
* I am sick of the Dems having no balls, afraid of the Religious Right

sHillary gets her own Blend Hall of Shame posts...

* sHillary running from her Wal-Mart ties
* On Hackett, Hillary, & So-Called Moderates - COWABUNGA!
* NY gay rights group blasts sHillary
* The sHillary backlash continues
* Fallout from leaked Empire State Pride Agenda memo
* Another reality check for sHillary
* Rove in 'Strategery': sHillary will lose
* Bag Hillary; this is ridiculous
* We had to destroy this party in order to save it
* What is wrong with Americans?
* Hillary continues image building with more wingnut bootlicking


In every sense of the word

Tuesday, March 14, 2006



Queen Drudge has this item up.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) went to the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon and displayed an enormous sign that read “Dangerously Incompetent” while giving a speech attacking the Bush administration over first responder and Homeland Security funding.

Stabenow was on the Senate floor selling an amendment she has offered to increase funding for first responders by $5 billion. “God forbid that there is another terrorist attack or a natural disaster,” Stabenow warned.


Peter's public health hazard


Queen bible beater and moralist extraordinaire Peter LaBarbera is concerned about the HIV+ folks who will be attending or participating in July's Gay Games in Chicago. To his horror, the feds have given the Games "Designated Event Status." A waiver has been granted to allow non-U.S. citizens with HIV/AIDS to obtain visas.

Just don't have unsafe sex when you go to the festivities, Peter. Tickets are on sale now.
According to Peter LaBarbera with the Illinois Family Institute, the Gay Games' website is already promoting numerous "extracurricular" activities that he says are dangerous.

"On their website, they are already promoting highly dangerous homosexual behavior," says LaBarbera. The IFI leader is definitely concerned about that. "We really believe this waiver of the HIV ban is going to lead to more people being infected with HIV here in the Chicago area and possibly all across the nation and the world."

LaBarbera says the Gay Games claim to be a show of amateur athleticism -- but asserts that it is really about promoting homosexuality.

"There are two 24-7 bathhouses on the website of the Gay Games," he says, explaining that a bathhouse is "a place where men with a homosexual problem go for anonymous sexual activity. [He should know -- Peter's gone undercover multiple times to investigate what goes on in bathhouses and leather clubs. ]

...LaBarbera says the dangerous nature of the homosexual lifestyle and inviting thousands of HIV-infected people to Chicago is simply a public health concern. Among those who pressed the federal government to allow HIV-positive people to enter the country for the event was Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. LaBarbera says President Bush should be concerned because, obviously, Mayor Daley is not.
* AmTaliban Peter LaBarbera investigates the International Mr. Leather conference


Just in case you'd like to contact West Linn (Oregon) High School


(Continuing the theme begun by Pam below about the Oregon high school kid, Brandon Flyte, who was expelled, er, transferred because of his "Brokeback High" video project...)

West Linn is down south in the comfortable burbs of Portland, Oregon. It is in Clackamas County, and just south of the rich white enclave of Lake Oswego (or, as some here mockingly call it, "Lake No-Negro").

Clackamas County (and Washington County, where I live, just ten miles NW) are notoriously conservative (well, for Oregon, anyway - damn near communist compared to my Idaho stomping grounds). For example, in 2004 they voted 60% in favor of the anti-gay marriage amendment. That may not really be significant, since urban Multnomah county also voted 60% in favor. Oddly, my county only went 54% in favor. And, in case you're wondering, no county in Oregon voted against Measure 36, with ultra-liberal hippie, U of Oregon Lane County going 50%, supporting the measure by a mere 59 votes.

UPDATE: A reader e-mailed me a correction. Seems the CNN web page I took the Measure 36 results from fooled me by putting projected YES checkmarks on all the counties, since the measure passed statewide:
Both Multnomah and Benton [Oregon State University's county] went NO on Measure 36. Who would have guessed that the Beavers are bigger hippies than the Ducks?
Well, that's what I get for blogging before breakfast. So, in the interest of accuracy, the numbers from the Oregon Secretary of State:

Benton: Yes = 20,399; NO = 24,757
Multnomah: Yes = 144,151; NO = 213,923

And for reference, West Linn's Clackamas County: YES = 116,484; No = 76,817


However, you can reach West Linn High School at 5464 West "A" Street, West Linn, Oregon 97068 - Phone: (503) 673-7800 Fax: (503) 657-8710.

The School District Offices can be found at 22210 SW Stafford Road, P.O. Box 35, West Linn, Oregon 97068 - Phone 503-673-7000, Fax 503-673-7001.

Dr. Roger Woehl is the Superintendent, and you can reach him by e-mail at woehlr@wlwv.k12.or.us.

West Linn High has this wonderful non-discrimination policy: "It is the policy of the West Linn/Wilsonville Board of Education and School District that there will be no discrimination or harassment on the grounds of race, color, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, age or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment. Persons having questions about equal opportunity and nondiscrimination should contact the Personnel Director at the West Linn/Wilsonville School District, 503-673-7000." I guess you could contact them and ask why "sexual orientation" isn't in that list, or why they think it is OK to pick on the fags.

Well, lookee here... a page just chock full of contact e-mails & phone numbers for West Linn High, including the principal, Kim Noah (noahk@wlwv.k12.or.us 503-673-7806), the assistant principal Kim Carlson (CarlsonK@wlwv.k12.or.us 503-673-7810), assistant principal Tim Fields (FieldsT@wlwv.k12.or.us 503-673-7853), assistant principal Rob Holstrom (HolstroR@wlwv.k12.or.us 503-673-7807), and the teacher in question, Mrs. Jill Houck (HouckJ@wlwv.k12.or.us 503-673-7875)

Have at it!

UPDATE II, Electric Boogaloo: The Brokeback High story ran on the 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00 CBS affiliate news, KOIN News 6 (KOIN runs 90 minutes straight of local news), so it was repeated thrice. Hooray!

Brandon says the school said "it wasn't to be considered an 'expulsion', it was just a transfer that he had no choice but to accept."

After two weeks, the school has relented and on Monday let him back into school. I wonder how many angry e-mails and phone calls they received in that period of time?

The news story reported that the teacher asked him to remove the 20 second sequence where the two gay teems are talking shirtless in bed. Brandon refused, as the scene was vital to the story.

West Linn Vice Principal Tim Fields said, "...The district has policies around appropriate media to be shown in class. It doesn't matter if it's male/male or male/female. There are parameters around appropriateness in school..."

Uh, sure, Tim. Let's take a look at some of the West Linn Wilsonville School District policies, shall we?
ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Academic freedom is essential as teachers seek to educate students in a democratic society, to foster recognition of individual freedom and responsibility, to inspire meaningful awareness of and respect for the Constitution and the Bill of rights, and to instill appreciation of each individual's rights and values. These democratic values can best be taught in an atmosphere free from censorship or artificial restraints on free inquiry and learning.

Teachers in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District will be protected from censorship or artificial restraints which unreasonably interfere with the teacher's obligation to present and discuss controversial issues and to help encourage students to offer their views on such issues and subjects. Such an atmosphere of freedom produces a situation conducive to the study, investigation, presentation, and interpretation of facts. A teacher should show objectivity so that all sides of an issue are presented. The teacher is responsible for exercising good judgment in the selection of issues to be discussed and should be well informed in the areas to be studied.
And how about this...
NONDISCRIMINATION

The district shall promote non-discrimination and an environment free of harassment based on an individual's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, parental or marital status or age or because of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, parental or marital status or age of any other persons with whom the individual associates.
I scoured the page on the school district's policies, but I couldn't find a single thing about the inappropriate nature of shirtless boys in a student film. I'll shoot him an e-mail and see if he can elaborate.


Newsom vs. Romney

Vatican opposition to LGBT adoption prompts Newsom to nix Rome trip. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom rocks.
"If we're supposed to be encouraging adoption, if we're supposed to be discouraging abortion which is principled - I absolutely believe that - then we also have to be encouraging placement in loving households.

"Somehow inherently that two people of the same sex can't be loving parents to me is patently offensive because it belies fact and it belies any sense of sensitivity or capacity of understanding.
Contrast that reaction to Mitt the sh*t Romney's in Massachusetts (Catholic church should be able to nix adoptions by gays). He wants to pass a religious exemption from the state's anti-discrimination laws so that the church can revel in its bigotry on the adoption issue.

The Boston Globe, however, ripped Mitt a new one...
Romney said yesterday he would seek to exempt Catholic Charities from the law because its members ''should be able to follow the practices of their religion." But why, on a matter of public policy, should a religion's practices trump the state's? What if a well-meaning group wanted to discriminate against blacks, or against a religious group such as the Catholic Church? Would Romney file a bill to protect that bias?

Romney is governor, not a Catholic bishop. And he is considering a run for president, not pope. He should be defending the law, not proposing loopholes of discrimination.

A first step would be for Romney to ask Catholic bishops to reconsider whether the Church's own strong position on caring for vulnerable children deserves as much weight as its opposition to homosexuality.


O...M...G

The pony hidden in slavery is the fact that it was the ticket to America for black people. I have long urged blacks to consider their presence here as the work of God, who wanted to bring them to this raw, new country and used slavery to achieve it.
-- Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal columnist Adele Fergusen, opining on God's Upward Mobility PlanTM for darkies in America
Jeebus H. Christ. What the hell is this? Should I put on my sack cloth dress and go fry up some wings for Miss Fergusen up in the Massa's house?

There are a lot of reasons why blacks should be pissed at being taken for granted by the Democratic Party, but when one thinks of the prospect of rubbing elbows with the likes of Ferguson in the GOP fold, it might provide a teensy reason to give pause. The brain firepower of Ferguson continues...
Besides freedom, a job and a roof over their heads, they all sought respect. But even after all these years, too many have yet to realize that to get respect, you have to give it.

The treatment given President Bush at Coretta King’s funeral was shameful. And these weren’t poor, uneducated black people who “dissed” him. They were among the country’s top-drawer blacks, there to bury black royalty. While Bush got the cold shoulder, former President Clinton was welcomed as if he still held the office.
Jesus' General picked up on this, yet another display of the RepubliKKKan base.
I think you answered your own question about why black people aren't flocking to the Republican Party. If, as you point out, slavery was a godsend to them, then surely, they're still angry at Lincoln, the first Republican president, for freeing them. If it wasn't for him, they'd still be enjoying all of the fruits slavery had to offer, things like: hand-me-downs from the big house; forced breeding; free scarification; the joy that comes from seeing your children selected for housework or sold to a master who doesn't beat them during rape; and the comfort that comes from knowing one's place in the world.
***

Ferguson isn't the only one thanking God for slavery's value to the darkies. Don't you remember this "top-drawer" black of the Right, Mychal Massie of Project 21 (the "National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives")?



From an earlier Blend post...
On the October 18 edition of the syndicated radio show Janet Parshall's America, Project 21 national advisory council member and columnist for conservative website WorldNetDaily.com Mychal Massie declared to host Janet Parshall that African-American churches today "have succumbed to hatred" and "disobedience to God." Massie went on to proclaim that "the black people today that curse America are cursing God because if God had not permitted the Ashanti and Dahomey tribes of ancient Africa to trap other Africans and sell them to Muslims, who sold them to Europeans, we would not have what we have today."


HS student expelled for same-sex snuggle scene in video project

Andy at Towleroad has the scoop on this latest bit of winger hysteria in Oregon. Onscreen same-sex snuggling -- that's all it took for school administration tools to get the vapors and give Brandon Flyte the boot. From Brandon's site:
As of last Monday, I’m no longer a student at West Linn High School.

I aired Brokeback High (the video project I was required to make in Ms. Houck’s English 12) to my Marine Biology class on a Friday. The following Monday morning, I was called into a conference with the three vice-principals of West Linn High School. Now before I showed Brokeback High to my English class, I was required by the administration to edit out a scene of the two lead male characters snuggling together shirtless in bed. When I showed my Marine Biology class the film, the snuggle scene --which I might add was very tastefully done-- was left in. Apparently the administration thought that this was a big enough violation to warrant an expulsion. Only, it’s not being called an expulsion. It’s basically a ‘mandatory transfer’ to the local community college. I have no choice in it. West Linn High says they’ll pay for me to finish up my last 2 months of high school at Clackamas Community College, and I'll be able to walk with my high school class at graduation and attend Prom as a guest, "depending on behavior this spring related to West Linn High School."


Daddy Dobson-approved help for horny boys

"Lust has been a battleground for me. I was first introduced to porn when I found some on my dad's computer. To be honest, I knew it was wrong, but I still looked at it. Satan began attacking my purity, but I serve a powerful God!
-- Sixteen-year-old Anthony of Columbia, S.C., who received guidance on controlling his urges by listening to his Inner Warrior
I'm not making this up. It's right there on the Focus on the Family's Breakaway web site, in an article titled Inner Warrior: Suiting Up for Battle. Why the military metaphor? Does it take a nation of warriors to hold their johnsons back?
Lust stalks you like a beast, attacking at every opportunity, attempting to poison your life with its self-centered cravings. We're convinced that it's a teen guy's No. 1 battle. Some Christian boys even feel defeated, abandoned by God and riddled with guilt for their weaknesses. Yet we've met others - countless others - who are winning the war. What's their secret? How are many teens able to stand strong, while others are giving up?

The answer is consistent wait training. Guys who are victorious have learned to face present and future temptations head-on. They've put into practice a purity game plan that works!

... True Christianity is not an empty shell of formal religion: saying the right things, in the right way, at the right time. It’s not about finding the “magic prayer” that will vanquish the Dark Lord of Lust once and for all. Whatever else true Christianity is about, it’s about now. It’s not about “the armor I put on during my quiet time this morning.” That was so five hours ago! That Guess? jeans billboard you’re driving past is right NOW!

...True Christianity is about living truth in the moment. It’s about enjoying Jesus every second. It’s about warding off anything that threatens to take that fellowship away, facing each attack as it comes. If you don’t appreciate the moment-by-moment nature of your relationship with Jesus, you’ll spend a lot of time blaming God for not answering your prayer to take away your sexual desires ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!

Ouch.

Are you really praying for that? Thankfully, it’s a prayer God probably won’t answer affirmatively. What you really want is to learn to fight the battles as each one arises — that’s true manhood, by the way — because as long as you live on this earth (yes, even after you get married), temptations are going to keep coming.
Yes, let's explore the military armor metaphor, as laid out by authors Michael Ross and Manfred Koehler:
The Belt of Truth: ... that belt had to be tight, “girded up,” ready for battle. You need truth. The better your grasp of Scripture, the bigger your belt buckle. Without it you’re naked, easy pickings for the enemy.

The Breastplate of Righteousness: The breastplate covered the chest. Without it, a soldier was open to a thrust in the heart.

The Gospel of Peace, Your Combat Boots: A centurion’s boots were broken in and carefully cared for. They were as much a comfort during long days of travel as they were a protection in battle. A lot of guys don’t enjoy the Christian walk because they think it’s a hard, long, impossible journey, especially when it comes to sexual temptation. To them, the road’s too long, too tiring. But the message of Jesus is the good news of peace, not pain.

...If you’re convinced the Christian life is wearisome, hard and heavy, that’s exactly what you’ll experience. In those moments of navel-gazing discouragement, you don’t have your combat boots on. You’re walking through thorny ground in bare feet. Connect with Jesus. He’s everything you need. Your truth. Your righteousness. Your peace. Your rest. The journey into manhood is not short, and sometimes it’s uphill, but it’s an adventure that’s meant to be enjoyed.
You can click over and read the rest of the hilarity, including The Shield of Faith, The Helmet of Salvation, and The Sword of the Spirit.


The evil twin theory


Can this story get any stranger? Former Bush "domestic policy adviser," Jesse Helms protege and homobigot Claude Allen appears to be floating the mistaken identity theory -- that his wayward twin brother Floyd is the shoplifter.

The Target shopping scam involved Claude/Floyd first legitimately purchasing the items in question, then going back into the store, picking up another of the same item and taking it to returns for a "refund." It seems to me that unless these were all cash transactions (or Floyd stole Claude's credit cards), investigators should be able to figure out if the evil twin theory pans out.


Redefining gay for reporters

The AP style guide references have been updated and this is great news. The changes, via GLAAD:
In the previous edition of the AP Stylebook (2005), the entry for gay read as follows:

gay Acceptable as popular synonym for both male and female homosexuals (n. and adj.), although it is generally associated with males, while lesbian is the more common term for female homosexuals. Avoid references to gay, homosexual or alternative "lifestyle."

The updated 2006 entry reads:

gay Used to describe men and women attracted to the same sex, though lesbian is the more common term for women. Preferred over homosexual except in clinical contexts or references to sexual activity.

Include sexual orientation only when it is pertinent to a story, and avoid references to "sexual preference" or to a gay or alternative "lifestyle."

The 2006 edition also relocates the sex changes entry under the more accurate and inclusive term transgender. The transsexuals entry, which used to direct readers to the entry for sex changes, now also points to transgender:

transgender Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.

Another welcome update for 2006 was the deletion of the term "lesbianism" -- another word that has taken on pejorative connotations. Prior to 2006, the AP Stylebook entry for "lesbian, lesbianism" had read, "Lowercase in references to homosexual women, except in names of organizations." GLAAD applauded the deletion of the term "lesbianism" and the removal of the reference to "homosexual women," though the removal of the entire entry was unexpected (currently, the AP's style guideline for "lesbian" is located in the entry for "gay").
So, most MSM reporting will now reflect the above definitions. Look for the right-wing "news" organizations to continue tossing "homosexual" around.


All alone

The behind-covering Dems leave Russ Feingold twisting in the wind re: censure of Dear Leader.
Feingold's introduction of the five-page censure resolution set off maneuvering among his fellow Democrats to prevent a vote that could alienate swing voters.

Republicans savored the Democrats' discomfort. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., pushed for an immediate floor vote; Democrats protested, saying they hadn't yet read the resolution. Several Democrats offered empathy for Feingold's frustration but no overt support for his resolution.
The spineless pols at the national level have to go. Oh, and guess who's quoted in the AP piece -- Holy Joe:
Asked at a news conference whether he would vote for the censure resolution, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declined to endorse it and said he hadn't read it.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said he had not read it either and wasn't inclined simply to scold the president.

"I'd prefer to see us solve the problem," Lieberman told reporters.
Jeebus.


Isaac Hayes quits South Park gig over "religious insensitivity"

chef-religion.gif
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Soul singer Isaac Hayes said on Monday he was quitting his job as the voice of the lusty character "Chef" on the satiric cable TV cartoon "South Park," citing the show's "inappropriate ridicule" of religion.

In a statement explaining his departure from the show, Hayes, 63, did not mention last fall's episode poking fun at Scientology and some of its celebrity adherents, including actor Tom Cruise.

Rather, Hayes said the show's parody of religion in general was part of what he saw as a "growing insensitivity toward personal spiritual beliefs" in the media, including the recent controversy over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs ... begins," Hayes said.
Yeah, funny how that sudden sensitivity toward personal spiritual beliefs took so long to develop, huh?
"In 10 years and over 150 episodes of 'South Park,' Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of Christians, Muslims, Mormons and Jews," Stone said in a statement in which he agreed to release Hayes from his contract. "He got a sudden case of religious sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show."

Outlandish religious satire has been a mainstay of the show since its debut on the Viacom Inc.-owned network in 1997. The series grew out of two short films by Stone and collaborator Trey Parker -- "Jesus vs. Frosty" and "The Spirit of Christmas," the latter featuring a martial-arts duel between Jesus and Santa Claus over the true meaning of Christmas.

During the ninth season of "Park," an episode titled "Trapped in the Closet" poked fun at Scientology, including depictions of celebrities with known ties to the organization, including Tom Cruise and John Travolta. One of the gang, Stan, scores so high on a Scientology test that church followers think he is the next L. Ron Hubbard, the late science-fiction writer who founded the religion. Hayes did not take part in that episode.
Let's just see how long it took Hayes to build up this revulsion toward the religious insensitivity displayed in South Park:

Episode #108 - Damien: Damien, the son of Satan, shows up as a new student in South Park.
Episode #204 - Ike's Wee Wee: A look at the Jewish practice of circumcision.
Episode #309 - Jewbilee: A Boy Scout-like gathering for Jewish kids.
Episode #316 - Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus: Jesus offers up the miracle of a Rod Stewart Concert and God appears in his form as a hairy duckbilled rhinocerous-faced web-footed creature.
Episode #410 - Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?: The kids ask the Catholic priest about whether the handicapped kid who can't say confession will go to hell.
Episode #411 - Probably: Cartman starts his own church and Satan sleeps with Saddam Hussein.
Episode #504 - Super Best Friends: Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Joseph Smith, Krishna, & Lao Tzu are portrayed as super heroes alongside "Sea Man", an Aquaman rip-off.
Episode #608 - Red Hot Catholic Love: A look at the Catholic Church pedophilia scandal where the Catholic leadership is only concerned about how to get the kids to stop reporting the abuse, not actually ending the abuse.
Episode #612 - A Ladder to Heaven: The boys build a ladder to heaven to rescue the dead Kenny, where they find Saddam Hussein, and discover that the Mormons were the one true religion after all.
Episode #709 - Christian Rock Hard: Cartman starts a Christian Rock band.
Episode #712 - All About Mormons: A Mormon kid moves into South Park and the history of Joseph Smith and the religion are openly mocked in song as "dumb-da-dumb-dumb-dumb".
Episode #804 - The Passion of the Jew: Cartman leads Evangelical Christians, motivated by The Passion of the Christ, in a Nazi-like parade to drive out the Jews from South Park.
Episode #904 - Best Friends Forever: Kenny dies (again) and ascends to heaven where he commands the armies of angels against the hordes of hell by using a special PlayStation Portable.
Episode #914 - Bloody Mary: A bleeding statue of Virgin Mary is discovered in the next town.

And, of course, the episode that Hayes has the problem with:

Episode #912 - Trapped in the Closet: Stan is recognized as the newest reincarnation of prophet L. Ron Hubbard as Scientology is satirized and famous Scientologists like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are mocked.

Hayes' comments about the Mohammaed cartoons is a cop-out. For ten years now, he's contributed to a cartoon just as mocking of Judaism, Protestant Christianity, Catholic Christianity, Mormon Christianity, and religion in general. And in America, we believe that nothing is too sacred to be mocked. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion can and should coexist. I'm mortified that the media in America would go so far as to defend the radical Islamists who are rioting about the Mohammed cartoons rather than defending the free speech rights and free press rights of the newspapers that printed them. Hayes' resignation just shows that even the new-fangled religions are just as nutty as the ancient ones.

[Blasphemously cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Not again

Monday, March 13, 2006

"These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with...the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination."
-- Crazy Pat, on Muslims, during the 700 Club broadcast
What else can you say about this nutbag? I think the best part of the AP article is this one paragraph toward the end.
Robertson recently told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he comments off the cuff after watching news segments. He later told the Christian magazine World that he's being more careful and reviewing news stories before going on the air.
From WingNutDaily, a poll on Crazy Pat:

What do you think of Pat Robertson's statement that radical Muslims are 'satanic'?



36%


(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

I had on CNN's The Situation Room earlier today, and saw that Dear Leader's approval ratings are down to a new record low, 36%, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

With that dismal number you'd think it might be hard to come up with anything positive for a GOP talking head to regurgitate on the air. Wolf Blitzer trotted out professionally closeted anti-gay homo Congressman David Dreier (R-CA) to spin something out of thin air. The Kool-Aid is s-t-r-o-n-g. (CNN):
BLITZER: How is President Bush handling his job as president? Only 36 percent approve of the job he's doing, 60 percent disapprove. That's rock bottom as far as our poll is concerned. What's going on?


DREIER: Well, I will tell you what's going on. Obviously, there is not a high-level support right now for the president. I think that if you look at the policies that he's pursuing of keeping our economy growing, focusing on winning the global war on terror, he should be enjoying broader support.

I think that as we look at the third anniversary of our move against Saddam Hussein, the president made a decision, and he started today. He's going to be focusing on the success that we're enjoying in Iraq, the challenges that we have, and what we need to do to keep things going.

President Bush believes, as I do, and I will tell you, our Republican conference believes, and that is if you focus on good public policy, politics will follow. Obviously, we are not at a high point right now, but I'm convinced that we have a great chance to continue with good public policy and to see those numbers improve, Wolf.

...DREIER: Wolf, as you know, elections are held district by district across the country and state by state for our friends in the Senate. And I believe that if we look at the way things are going in individual districts, we've got challenges. I'm not in any way being dismissive of those challenges, but I believe that we have terrific members who are running for reelection. We have first-rate candidates in open seats. And our challengers across the country.

And I'm convinced that we will do very, very well. I will acknowledge, we all read those polls that you have and other polls that are out there, and we have a lot of work to do. But again, I'm convinced that we represent the mainstream views of the American people in our pursuit of limited government, a strong national defense, and making sure that we pursue personal freedom.
I actually had to get up and look at the TV (it was on in the other room) to see if Dreier might have been flop-sweating as he spewed this garbage, but he must actually believe the BS he's shoveling.

Also:
* A must-read on a stubbornly politically closeted pol


sHillary running from her Wal-Mart ties



The WaPo covers sHillary's dilemma. The Senator from NY has deep ties with the retail giant, having served on Wal-Mart board, having been tapped by Sam Walton himself back in 1986, the first woman to be named.

But it all goes much further than that, and now she knows this shite is hitting the fan, given the reputation of the retailer for a litany of labor law violations, health care dumping on the taxpayer and overall horrid bullying business practices. How is she going to wiggle out from under this load of crap?
Clinton served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas. And the Rose Law Firm, where she was a partner, handled many of the Arkansas-based company's legal affairs.

Hillary Clinton had kind words for Wal-Mart as recently as 2004, when she told an audience at the convention of the National Retail Federation that her time on the board "was a great experience in every respect."

But in recent months, as the company has become a target for Democratic activists, she has largely steered clear of any mention of Wal-Mart. And late last year, Clinton's re-election campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from Wal-Mart, citing "serious differences with current company practices."
Oops. But there's more...
The Clintons also benefited financially from Wal-Mart. Hillary Clinton was paid $18,000 each year she served on the board, plus $1,500 for each meeting she attended. By 1993 she had accumulated at least $100,000 in Wal-Mart stock, according to Bill Clinton's federal financial disclosure that year. The Clintons also flew for free on Wal-Mart corporate planes 14 times in 1990 and 1991 in preparation for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential bid.

Wal-Mart has little to say about Hillary Clinton's board service, and will not release minutes of the company's board meetings during her tenure. Lorraine Voles, Clinton's communications director, turned down a request for an interview with the senator.

..."There's no evidence she did anything to improve the status of women or make it a very different place in ways Mrs. Clinton's Democratic base would care about," said Liza Featherstone, author of "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart."
Hey sHill, no wonder it "was a great experience in every respect."

Hat tip, 'Bean.


Taking a positive stand, one state officeholder at a time



With all the loser, spineless and triangulating Democrats out there, it's nice to be able to say there are elected officials at the state level out there who deserve to succeed and rise in the party.

It's a shame that national Dems don't have the cojones of Virginia Delegate David Englin (D-45). A fighting Dem who was in the Pentagon on September 11 and served in the Balkans while in the Air Force, this ally gave a whale of a speech in support of gay civil equality on the floor of the legislature as his state voted to move forward a marriage amendment (that will now go before voters this fall).

He had nothing to gain and everything to lose politically by getting up and saying this:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this resolution.  I'm not going to talk about same-sex marriage.  I'm no fool -- although others might make a different judgement about a freshman delegate rising in this chamber on the third day of session.  But I understand that on the issue of marriage, I'm in the minority, perhaps even in my own caucus.  I also sleep very well at night knowing that at some point in the future of this great Commonwealth, those of us of my opinion will be judged to have been on the right side of history.  But let's for a moment forget about the question of same-sex marriage, because this amendment addresses much more than that.  We need to be clear and honest:  This amendment also outlaws civil unions and domestic partnerships and other similar private legal arrangements.

We have heard from the other side that this constitutional amendment is necessary to protect conventional marriage.  I am blessed with a beautiful and brilliant wife who is the love of my life.  In June, Shayna and I will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, and I would fight with every ounce of my strength anything that would threaten my marriage.  So I would like to know, how exactly civil unions and domestic partnerships and other similar arrangements threaten my marriage?

We have heard from the other side that this amendment will protect families.  Shayna and I are blessed with a strong and bright six-year-old son, Caleb, and we have a strong family.  My friend the gentleman from Rockingham County, Delegate Lohr,  and I have discussed how we come from different backgrounds and different parts of this great Commonwealth, yet we share a deep and abiding commitment to our families.  I want nothing more than to protect my family.  I spent 12 years wearing the uniform of the United States Air Force to protect my family.  I've been in harm's way to protect my family.  So I would like to know, how exactly do civil unions and domestic partnerships and other similar arrangements threaten my family?  Because if they do, I will be the first one to stand up and fight, because nobody better threaten my family.
There's much more of this speech, which you can read it in my earlier post on his courageous stand, Virginia delegate shows Dems how to support gay rights.

The reason I'm posting is that I received a nice email today from Delegate Englin's wife Shayna, who thanked the Blend for sharing his speech and for highlighting a Dem willing to take political risk for principle. As you might imagine, there's a lot of pressure in Virginia (in both parties) to make sure the progressive freshman delegate doesn't get re-elected.

She noted that there are already challengers prepping to unseat him.
Now that the session is over, the next campaign cycle is beginning. David’s already got challengers for his seat – one, a Democrat, who says that David’s stand on the floor wasn’t “good strategy”, and a Republican who’s convinced that David’s strong progressive voice for equal rights for all Virginians makes him vulnerable – and $30K in campaign debt that makes fighting back very hard.
I had to write her back to ask her who the Dem was who told David Englin that his speech in favor of civil equality for gays wasn't "good strategy". It turns out that it was one of his primary opponents from last year, Jim Lay.

Lay, whose bio states that he was an aide to John Kerry, is actually for same sex unions and civil equality, but it's just too bad that he's already fallen into the play-it-safe game -- and doling out that kind of "advice." I guess the silver lining is that at least the voters of the 45th district, which includes parts of Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria, have a chance to support candidates who aren't salivating at the chance to roll back the rights of the state's gay and lesbian citizens.

David Englin's web site is http://www.davidenglin.org/.





More winger bleating on Gay-Straight alliances


Photo enhancement by Mike Tidmus. See schoolmarm Linda here.

She's back and still all-homo-threat, all-the-time. This time around, the "pro-family advocate" asshat LInda Harvey is on the warpath over Gay Straight Alliance clubs. She thinks the groups are all about recruiting homos by using tactics such as showing Aimee and Jaguar.
Last week a private high school in Santa Monica, California, held a "Free Queer Movie Night" that was sponsored by its Gay Straight Alliance club. At the event, the GSA screened a sexually explicit film about a lesbian relationship involving a German Jew and a Nazi sympathizer during World War II. According to Linda Harvey of the Ohio-based pro-family group Mission America, such events are standard fare for GSA clubs in both private and public schools.

"Movie nights are real popular -- and they are almost always movies about two young people who are homosexual who begin having a homosexual relationship," Harvey shares. "And they're almost all rated R or worse." She adds that the typical homosexual club will network with other homosexual teens in the area, either from other high school clubs or even middle schools.

The pro-family activist contends it is extremely dishonest for GSAs to claim they exist merely to promote tolerance and diversity when, in fact, they are promoting homosexuality immorality to young people. She notes that a brief search of websites like GSANetwork.org or SafeSchoolsCoalition.org supports her contention.

"You can quickly find out that these clubs are about homosexual sex -- about getting kids connected with people who are already involved in sexual activity, about promoting the books, the movies, and all of the contacts that are very sexual in nature," Harvey says. "That is very disingenuous -- and there is a problem here, in that people need to do the research and stand up and say what the truth is."
This chick is over the top. Some of her other work...

* Homosexual Agenda Escalates in Public Schools: "In the Massachusetts town of Newton, home of homosexual congressman Barney Frank, a high school history teacher taught that Alexander the Great was a "gay" man. Other teachers in Massachusetts are building lessons around the Stonewall Inn riots in Greenwich Village in 1969, an event credited by homosexual activists with kicking off the "gay rights" movement.1 In a third grade music class in a Massachusetts town, the male teacher told the children Tchiakovsky was a homosexual, and that society's "homophobia" prompted his suicide."

* The Risk of 'Gay' Activism in Our Schools: "The Girl Scouts have allowed lesbians to be leaders in the organization for a number of years. According to one source, about one third of the staff members at the national Girl Scout office are lesbians.8 The Girl Scouts are evidently not unique among youth organizations, however. Policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation" have been enacted at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Camp Fire Girls, the National 4-H Council and the YMCA Indian Guides.9"

Her source, BTW, on that claim about the lesbian infiltration of the Girl Scouts, is an article at the wingnut site Cybercast News Service.

* What homosexual 'marriage' will mean to America's children: Watch out, if a teacher gets married and a kid finds out, they are going to be damaged for life, because teachers will be able to "wear wedding rings, talk about their homosexual spouses with students and introduce spouses at school functions. Your little Katie will learn in kindergarten that "Mrs." Jones is married to another "Mrs." Jones – and that she can grow up and choose to do the same if she wishes....Expect a whole new crop of young adult novels featuring same-sex romance leading to marriage to appear instantly and be adopted just as magically by middle-school and high-school language departments throughout the U.S. Your 13-year-old Kyle will be required to read and give a book report on a novel where Bruce and Jason meet, date and get married. What won't be covered is how Bruce and Jason split up a year later after cheating on each other dozens of times."


Marriage amendment vote on Wed in Pennsylvania

Gary of American Agenda sent out a call for action on on Pennsylvania's HB 2381, its restrictive marriage amendment bill, which outlaws same-sex marriage, civil unions and bars recognition of any unmarried couples. He said:
As it turns out, the House of Representatives is going to vote on the proposed Amendment to the PA Constitution on March 15th. As the media is paying this very little in the way of attention, I am doing the grassroots thing.
It's time to get into gear, and support this fight on Santorum's home turf.

The good people of Pennsylvania are being bombarded by the bigoted wingers of Pennylvania for Marriage. Get a load of this crap from one of its brochures...





Scurrying like roaches when the light comes on



Shakes Sis has a great post up on the rush of mainline conservatives to flee from any association with Dear Leader now that he's tanking and spent the last six years allegedly representing them. She's not having any of it. They OWN him...
Conservatives love to talk about The Ownership Society, but they refuse to own its spokesman.

...Bush was your Golden Boy—a corporate shill with the demeanor of a country bumpkin, who could hold together the unholy alliance between Big Money and Big Religion, standing at the altar and giving the blessing to the crackpot marriage between the business interests who sought to get rich off the stupid sods who marched in lockstep if only someone would protect the children from radical feminists and kissing boys. He didn’t just give good speech on Neocon dreams and working class nightmares; he believed that shit. And with a GOP-led Congress and a neverending stream of media mouthpieces willing to demonize anyone who dared to dissent, he tumbled headfirst into fulfilling every last one of your wishes, like a demented genie pulled out of a bottle in oil-soaked Texas.

He wrapped himself in the flag and told America to follow him down the Yellow Brick Road. He went to war, and he made you rich. And you cheered him all the way, over every last golden cobblestone. Then America got to Oz, and started getting itchy—and now you want to pretend you never knew what was there. Why, we had no idea there was just some shriveled old man behind the curtain! Please.
I just sensed that the light came on and the thousands of the faithful are like NYC king-sized, saddle-worthy vermin, scurrying for cover. Too f*cking bad, people. He's your giant breeder cockroach -- are you going to do him in or just keep the saddle on the f*cker for the rest of the ride?


NSA: homos are a security risk

How retro of National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. It looks like the Bush administration is now worried about homosexuality as a security threat.

Raw Story reports that Hadley revised guidelines used to determine clearance and access to classified government documents and information, and specific language that prohibited rejection on sexual orientation grounds has been altered without explanation.
In a December 2005 revision of the “Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information,” Hadley made semantic but substantial changes which seem to mirror a broader shift in Bush Administration policy.

...The 2005 guidelines also allow the government greater ability to use sexual orientation against applicants.

Whereas the 1997 revision declared that sexual orientation “may not be used” as a basis for disqualifying applicants, Hadley’s revisions declare that clearances cannot be denied “solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individual.”

The 2005 guidelines also add a curious revision under the “Sexual Behavior” section. While the 1995 version said adverse sexual behavior could be eliminated from consideration if it were “not recent,” the 2005 version expands this, saying “the sexual behavior happened so long ago, so infrequently, and under such unusual circumstances, that it is unlikely to recur.”
Well, I will agree with them on one point -- the closeted, self-loathing fools running around Washington are clearly potential threats, because they believe sexual orientation is something they are ashamed of and need to hide.

The sickness of the closet opens them up to blackmail and places them at risk for some of the legitimate reasons listed for the NSA to reject someone according to the guidelines, such as questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, and lack of candor.

Hadley's 2005 revisions also include discharge from the military under "dishonorable conditions" as another condition that could warrant denial of access to classified info. Anyone discharged from the military for engaging in homosexual conduct falls into this category.

Man, you just can't believe this is all flying under the radar.


Feingold and censure of Dear Leader

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) has a DKos diary up explaining his call for censure.
Serious questions remain about certain provisions in the Patriot Act that threaten the privacy of innocent Americans, and about the basis for the claims the administration made in leading us into the Iraq war. In both of those instances, Congress gave its approval to the President's actions, however mistaken that approval may have been.

That was not the case with the illegal domestic wiretapping program authorized by the President shortly after September 11th. The President violated the law, ignored the Constitution and two branches of government, and disregarded the rights and freedoms upon which our country was founded. No one questions whether the government should wiretap terrorists -- of course we should, and we can under current law. But the President is refusing to follow that law, which includes safeguards to protect innocent Americans, and instead he's making up his own law. It's time that he is held accountable for breaking the law.

Congress may consider a range of other actions, including investigations, an independent counsel, or even impeachment. But at a minimum, and as a first step, Congress should censure a president who has so plainly broken the law.

Today I will introduce a Senate resolution censuring the President.

The facts and the case for censure are clear. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, makes it a crime to wiretap American citizens without a court warrant - which is what the President has admitted doing. Before the program was revealed, he also misled Congress and the American people about the wiretapping that was being done. For example, at a 2004 speech in Buffalo, he said, "Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires, a wiretap requires a court order." And at a 2004 speech in my home state of Wisconsin, he said that "the government can't move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order."

When the domestic spying story first broke, the President went from saying he wouldn't be able to talk about it, to suggesting there was no other way to wiretap terrorists, to implying that the FISA law is out of date. He went on to claim that sweeping inherent powers of the presidency or the authorization of force back in 2001 gave him such authority -- neither of which is legally or factually correct. While the President has cherry-picked information before, he cannot do the same with the laws of our land.

Censuring the President is not something that should be taken lightly. But the President has BROKEN the law and there needs to be action and accountability.
It makes you feel pretty damn useless when you get a call like this from ReddHedd at Firedoglake to canvas your senators to see where they stand on censure.
I have a request: Russ Feingold really stuck his neck out today, and it would be great if he -- and every other Senator -- knew that we had his back. It's a gutsy move, not without risk in the polarized environment that is Washington these days and with the hatchet squad that Rove and his ilk generally deploy when their actions are questioned, so you have to hand it to Sen. Feingold for having the guts to raise the censure issue -- not just in the privacy of his office or at home, but right there on national television for all the world to hear.

So, what am I asking you to do? Something small by comparison, but if enough of us do this, it could start a little snowball rolling down the hill. By the time it reaches bottom, who knows how big it will have gotten -- but I sure like the sound of the word avalanche, so I say we get it going.

Your action steps: call both your Senators first thing in the morning and ask if they support Russ Feingold's censure proposal. If they don't, ask what their position is on the issue -- and why.
Well, for Tar Heels, we're always screwed on these action items. We've got the empty suit Richard Burr, and the Empty Wig, Elizabeth Dole, with the latter so far up the Chimp's rear she can see daylight out of his pie hole.

However, anyone with reasonable representation in the Senate, you can contact them here and get them on the record regarding Feingold's brave initiative.


Koufax

Chris at Facing South reminded me that you have until midnight tonight to vote in this round of the Koufax Awards.

The list of categories is here. The Blend has been nominated in six categories, with the most votes received so far in the "Best Single Issue Blog" category.

Facing South, incidentally, is up for three: Most Deserving of Wider Recognition, Best Series for our coverage of Katrina, and Best State/Local Blog.

Chris is funny...
So go ahead and vote, if not only for the small package of unmarked $10 bills that will be delivered in exchange for supporting Facing South warm feeling you'll get for honoring the best of the progressive blogs.


Fundamentalist hatefest held in Asheville

BlogAsheville, Scrutiny Hooligans, and Brainshrub have excellent coverage of an unhinged hate rally that was held in Asheville over the weekend.

A group of fundies took out an ad in the Asheville Citizen-Times to promote a rally "in SUPPORT of CHRISTIAN and CONSERVATIVE BUSINESSES and their RIGHT TO OPERATE according to FAMILY VALUES SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE (between one man and one woman) WHOLESOME WORK ENVIRONMENT (without oppression from the Sodomites & The Liberal Media)."


Brainshrub has additional scans of the spread.

They spent $6,300 on a two-page spread for this crap (gee, how many homeless, hungry people could that have helped?).



The "they" are groups calling themselves "Christians United" and "IBOM". IBOM is International Baptist Outreach Missions, headed by fringe loon Dr. J. Wendell Runion. The scary thing about Runion is that his bio touts that he "has also served with the Congressman of the 11th Congressional District as an advisor on church and religious matters since 1990."



That would be the repugnant U.S. Representative Charles Taylor. Scrutiny Hooligans contacted Taylor's office and his spokesperson said at first that he "declined to participate in the rally." Then it got interesting.
The phone-answerer at the Taylor office is now saying that no one knows anything about Dr. Runion or the rally. She said that no one is in the office to answer questions. She suggested I contact Dr. Runion for more information.

So I tried. Here's the phone number to his local radio station: 1-828-252-1380 as well as a toll-free number for our farther flung Hooligans, 1-800-809-WKJV. The woman answering phones there said that Dr. Runion and Charles Taylor "talk sometimes" but was unable to confirm or deny anything further.
It sounds like Taylor's running for cover. Well he didn't run far, in fact, he came out four-square against the homos, in Saturday's Asheville Citizen-Times:
"Runion, who also spoke at U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor’s prayer breakfast earlier the same day [Saturday, March 12], said the rally was not meant to debate the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, but to make a declaration solidly against it.

Taylor, R-Brevard, said he was supportive of “Christian businessmen trying to be Christian in their work lives as well as in their personal lives” when asked about the rally. Taylor did not attend the rally.

During the event, a number of pastors spoke in support of marriage between a man and a woman and traditional Christian family values.

“It’s not that we’re mean,” said the Rev. Larry Sprouse of Oak Ridge Baptist Church. “Christian people don’t stand for homosexuality.”"
Scrutiny Hooligans also got a hold of Runion on the phone, and the former pastor explained his reasoning for holding the rally, in true unhinged form.
Regarding his advertisement, I asked how he felt he was being oppressed by homosexuals or the media. Runion recounted the Wolf Laurel Ski Resort controversy. When I asked how this had oppressed anyone, he replied that the Wolf Laurel management was "scrutinized". I asked him how scrutiny amounted to oppression, and Runion declared he wasn't going to debate it.

Screwy Hoolie: "When Christianity is the dominant religion in America, it's hard for me to stomach the idea that you're oppressed."

Dr. Runion: "Christianity is the most loosely used word in the English language." He went on to explain that real Christians are far fewer, "I don't know very many of them."
You can read my post about the Wolf Laurel incident -- a lesbian couple lost their photography assignment at the ski resort when the owner learned that they were gay after their marriage announcement ran in the local paper.

And here some pictures from Saturday's rally, via Scrutiny Hooligans and BlogAsheville (note the good homos of Asheville came out in full force to mock the bible-beaters):


Enraged fundie speaker.


"The warmup band gets the crowd moving with some old-time Gospel."


"The evil homos violently protested by dancing to the strains of that old-time Gospel music."


Blogger Brainshrub sorts out the crowd.

Surf over to the sites for more details on the rally and peaceful counter protest.


Interesting piece on origins of sexual orientation

Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes has a piece up from a segment called The Science Of Sexual Orientation.

There is a lot of discussion of genes vs. environment, but in the end, there is no question that the role of hormones within the womb have a profound effect, based on studies of twins. But then here's a real weird bit of data:
While biologists look at hormones for answers about human sexuality, other scientists are looking for patterns in statistics. And hard as this is to believe, they have found something they call "the older brother effect."

"The more older brothers a man has, the greater that man's chance of being gay," says Bailey.

Asked if that's true, Bailey says, "That is absolutely true."

If this comes as a shock to you, you’re not alone. But it turns out, it’s one of the most solid findings in this field, demonstrated in study after study.

And the numbers are significant: for every older brother a man has, his chances of being gay increase by one third. Older sisters make no difference, and there's no corresponding effect for lesbians. A first-born son has about a 2 percent chance of being gay, and the numbers rise from there. The theory is it happens in the womb.

"Somehow, the mother's body is remembering how many boys she's carried before," says Breedlove. "The favorite hypothesis is that the mother may be making antibodies when she sees a boy the first time, and then affect subsequent boys when she carries them in utero."
It's an an interesting read -- and of course, nothing is definitive. You'll also note, as always, lesbians aren't discussed in much detail.

The more the Right bleats that somehow kids just "turn gay" because of a gay teacher, for instance, the more ludicrous they look.

Hat tip Holly.


Why national Dems are clueless about blogs

Bloggers and politically passionate citizens of the Web who read them are the unwashed, dirty masses to national Dems. You receive email after email asking for money, your volunteer time or both, but when it comes down to it, you're just the rich, uncouth cousin that they'd never invite to a social gathering of their friends, but know they have to rub shoulders with at a family event to hit up for dough.

Glenn Greenwald got it straight from an anonymous Dem horse's, er, donkey's mouth. Via Glenn's gig at Crooks and Liars:
The way in which so many national Democrats run away from the blogosphere and try to pretend that it does not exist -- as though it is some sort of dangerous, poisonous sewer -- is really quite bewildering. Within the last two weeks, I had some extensive communications with a high-ranking staff member in a Democratic Senators' office (whose identity I promised not to reveal before the discussions began) in which I argued that systems should be created to enable Democratic Senators to work cooperatively with the blogosphere in order to prevent the Bush Administration from continuing to suppress investigations into its wrongdoing, including as part of the NSA scandal and other scandals.

I explained that there is a bursting and eager energy among the literally millions of people who write and read blogs to take meaningful action against the Bush Administration. The people in the blogosphere are highly motivated, informed, and politically engaged. Activating that energy and having national Democrats work cooperatively with the blogosphere (rather than ignore it or scorn it) could make an enormous difference in how these stories end up being covered and resolved. It is monumentally dumb not to embrace the one mechanism which has the ability to unleash genuinely impassioned, mass citizen action. And there are obvious and easy -- yet quite potent -- ways for national Democrats to work with bloggers and the blogosphere to maximize the force of these efforts.

This was the response I ultimately received:

I think there is an opportunity for us to figure out a better way to work together. But, you have to understand, my ultimate goal is to help [the] Senator [] achieve his objective of real oversight on national security matters by the Intelligence Committee.

Even with the best of intentions, I’m not convinced that bloggers can help us meet that goal. In fact, I worry about it hurting our efforts given the increasingly partisan environment.
This response is not uncommon. Many - if not most - national Democrats really are afraid of working with actual citizens, and are particularly afraid of having any involvement at all with the blogosphere. It's as though they think they need to remain above and separated from the poorly behaved, embarrassing masses. They actually have been scared away from working with the very people who they are supposedly representing and who are on their side.

Bush followers, along with their media allies, recognize the lurking power of the anti-Bush component of the blogosphere and -- for that very reason -- have been expending considerable efforts recently to demonize it as nothing but fringe, extremist lunatics who are political poison. Rather than combat that demonization, national Democrats -- as usual -- have meekly acquiesced to it -- even internalized it -- and are now intimidated to go anywhere near one of the very few vibrant, living and breathing instruments of political activism available to them.

Based on this condescending, frightened behavior, one would think that Democrats are enjoying one success after the next and don't want to do anything to jeopardize the great political machine they have built -- especially not do anything as risky and bizarre as work with the lowly throngs of peoplewho are activated, interested, energized and eager to wage the battles against the Bush Administration. Despite their glaring need for new strategies, so many of these national Democrats are completely closed off to new ways of working because, it seems to me, so many of them are, at bottom, personally satisfied with their chronically defeated, minority status. They prefer to protect the safety of their own individual political positions than to try to find ways to end the string of victories by the Bush Administration.
Could anyone have said it any better than that? Glenn rocks.

These creaking Dem establishment figures are clearly not ready for prime time, and we'll probably see the GOP get out ahead of the game in figuring out how to mobilize the netroots for their side while the Dems continue to wring their hands, worry about "image" and wonder why they can't win, even as the other party fails our country over and over yet manages to succeed at the ballot box.

I have to lift just a little more of Glenn's post, which should be spread far and wide. The state of the party is in such disarray, and it's because of the craven self-interest of too many Dems who care more about holding onto their individual threads of power by triangulating or pandering to the Right.

Nothing seems to hurt these impotent folks more than having to take a stand on anything remotely progressive, heaven knows they get tagged as "outside of the mainstream" by the lazy, bought-off MSM and even worse, the GOP -- why let that morally bankrupt party drive this train?
The fact that so many Democrats are so resistant, even hostile, to one of the only venues which exists where truly impassioned and energized activism can be found illustrates just how dysfunctional and frightened they have become. They care far more about securing the approval of pompous establishment media pundits and even the approval of Bush allies who continuously push them around, than they do about working with the people who are on their side and actually winning.

They don't want to go anywhere near the citizen activism in the blogosphere because Tim Russert and Chris Matthews will no longer think they're a moderate, serious, responsible Democrat, and Republicans might accuse them of being an extremist or a liberal. They'd prefer to avoid that disapproval even it means losing (as it usually does), than be criticized and win. The reason they run away from their own allies in the blogosphere is the same reason they so often run away from taking a real stand against the Bush Administration -- it's because they are petrified that the establishment media and even Republicans will criticize them as being too combative, too liberal, extremist, etc.
Those of us who represent the rich, uncouth cousin known as the blogosphere will just expect to continue to get solicitations to help pay for the party that we won't get invited to.

By and large that's ok in some respect, since many bloggers are flamethrowers -- with every bright idea or two comes unstifled expressions of personal political frustration at how inept the party is. I think they used to call that free speech back in the day. That inherently makes the medium of the blogosphere frightening to focus-tested, endlessly massaged, PR-driven machines like political parties. They get publicly called out early and often, blowing their carefully created "images" away when the hypocrisy is exposed in the blogosphere (hi sHillary) and it spreads like wildfire. That's a PR nightmare for them. However, that doesn't excuse ignoring and dissing the entire blogosphere.

When it comes down to it, the real problem is that today's national Dems have no interest in reframing any issues or reshaping the discourse, it's all about scraping just enough votes to win. Perhaps if they actually read and engaged the netroots they could figure out how to excite the massive number of citizens who are turned off by the current political fakery and don't vote at all -- and stop chasing the Republican sheeple. Listening to handpicked-Dem focus groups and highly paid consultants with years of experience hasn't seemed to do much for the party at the national level, has it?

The party is clueless -- the fact that the dance of continually asking the uncouth cousin to remain silent yet foot the bill for their party of friends is over. There's no going back, unless the dolts in both parties want to try to ignore, or if scared enough of blogs, attempt again to legislatively crush or regulate the netroots. And don't think it couldn't happen, given the established political culture in Washington that has everything to lose when speech is free.


Another gasbag wingnut bible-beating organization

Sunday, March 12, 2006

As unbelievable as the name of this fringe organization is, I don't think I've ever posted on it: the The Michigan-based American Decency Association. The bleating out of this operation is no different from the rest, though equally entertaining. This blurb made American Family Association "news" organ, AgapePress. The folks at Decency are losing their faith in Wal-Mart as the beacon of all things moral (!) because it panders to smut lovers, women wanting to put hits on fetuses and you other deviant folks out there watching TV.
Officials with Wal-Mart have announced the company will stock the emergency contraceptive drug known as the "morning-after pill" in all of its pharmacies throughout the U.S. starting March 20.

Bill Johnson, president of the American Decency Association, feels this decision is only the latest in a series of family-unfriendly moves by the world's largest retailer's officials. "We have seen them in recent months making decisions like advertising on Desperate Housewives," he notes. "Now, with this move as well, this is truly significant. Many of us have desired to be able to look a Wal-Mart as a shopping alternative, a place that is family friendly. One person we talked with recently said that they're lately not family friendly, they're consumer friendly." That is why the decency advocate believes pro-family customers need to let the corporate giant know how they feel, as they have in the past. "A couple of years ago, when people would walk into their Wal-Mart, right in the doorway, there would be the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition facing them," Johnson notes. "We began to urge people to make telephone calls to Wal-Mart, and within a week's period of time, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was at least taken down from the central place and tucked back into the magazine racks, which we considered a very significant victory."

Massachusetts and Illinois had previously ordered Wal-Mart stores in those states to stock the morning-after pill. Now, effective March 20, all of Wal-Mart's more than 3,700 pharmacies nationwide will carry the ethically controversial drug also known as "Plan B."
I had to surf over to the Decency site to see what else boils the blood of the Decent People.

A few highlights...

* On Friday, December 15, our office received a call from a woman in the greater Detroit area who much to her alarm had discovered that the Detroit Piston’s feature a Piston’s Dance Team calendar. The woman related that she had contacted the Detroit Piston’s management and that their response to her was not encouraging. ADA staff checked out the calendar online and determined that the woman’ s concern was sadly legitimate and concerning.

* Though the media hypes "Desperate Housewives" as the next best thing since peanut butter, it is one of last falls trashiest shows. Advertisers beware! You will be targeted if you attach your corporate name with this cultural eroding entity. We have been and will continue to target advertisers, and we will let the world know.

* On Victoria's Secret stores: Victoria's Secret sells lingerie in an inappropriate and immoral manner and therefore contributes to the sexual objectification of women and the desensitization of moral sensibilities. Victoria's Secret distributes a magazine which is essentially soft porn. Their so-called "fashion show" has allowed the broadcast of pornographic imagery on public television...Their sexualized advertisements in wall and window displays in malls across America are seen by millions of American children everyday.

* "Priurient Magazines": We encourage you to check out which magazines your local grocery store is selling and where they are selling them. If you find their practices unacceptable, file a complaint. If that doesn't get you anywhere, speak with the store manager. Finally, if nothing is done, consider supporting a grocery store which has a different policy. Below is a list of some magazines that we believe shouldn't be sold in a family marketplace at all. And, if they are being sold, they should never be sold at the check-out counter or in a high visibility area where they can be easily viewed by children.

1. Cosmopolitan
2. Cosmo Girl
3. Glamour
4. Stuff
5. FHM
6. Maxim
There's also action items against Abercrombie and Fitch and Howard Stern, so the Decency folks are hard at work scrubbing our culture clean for you.


Where there's smoke...?

Commenter Bitsy noted in the original thread on Bush flunkie, Jesse Helms protege and homobigot Claude Allen's arrest for "savvy shoplifting" at Target that blogger Michael Petrelis asks the question "Is Claude Allen Gay?"


Apparently there's a lot of smoke on the possibility that he's another self-loather on the down low, citing a few sources, as well as this interesting comment left at Keith Boykin's blog nearly three years ago, on an unrelated post about Allen being "the next Clarence Thomas."
I happen to have gone to high school with both claude and his brother and upon reading the words he uttered concerning "queers" I find this very odd when in high school he was the "Queen of the Queers" and it is very easy to verify. I'll bet like most republicans, he is a closet homosexual and his family is just for show. Another Clarence Thomas? Good bet he can be used by the republicans for their plans while getting back at all of his detractors.
Bitsy: "Maybe Claude was the person who kept slipping male prostitute Jeff Gannon into the White House over those two years." I don't know Bitsy, the list of possible gatekeepers on Bulldog's overnight stays in this White House is pretty damn long...


Crazy Pat wants Soulforce Equality Riders arrested

Jerry Falwell had members of the peaceful, nondenominational gay civil equality advocacy group Soulforce cuffed and arrested recently when they showed up at Liberty University to engage with students on gay issues.

Crazy Pat Robertson's crew has made it clear that when the Equality Riders come to Regent University that they will be arrested there as well.
The decision to bar the group reverses an invitation made by the school last month when Vice President of Academic Affairs Randall Pannell said the college was "looking forward to the Equality Ride's visit".

"We had remained optimistic that forums for genuine dialogue would emerge with Regent University," said Equality Rider Chad Grandy, the point person for Regent. The college says the decision to "univite" the Soulforce riders was based in part on a statement on the ride's Web site that says Regent has a policy banning GLBT students.

Pannell said the the school has no such policy, something Soulforce continues to dispute, pointing to the Regent University student handbook which states "...homosexual conduct or any other conduct, which violates Biblical standards, is prohibited."


Katherine Harris gets no love from her party



Harris to make 'major announcement'. This week she plans to come up with a way to say she's toast. The GOP is letting Florida U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris twist in the wind. She's too radioactive, with her erupting scandals, and you sense a boot is firmly poised to kick her keister out of the race if she doesn't get the hell out of the picture on her own. She's only got $1 million in the till to Dem Senator Bill Nelson's $8 million, so the GOP fundraising train has left her in the station as well. Tee hee.
The Longboat Key Republican's campaign is barely stumbling along after revelations that she took thousands in illegal contributions from a defense contractor who bribed a California congressman. And while she has had little to say about the matter, many others are talking, including Republicans worried about losing the Senate race and Democrats emboldened by the financial and political woes confronting Harris.

It didn't help when rumors circulated last week that Harris might not stay in the race. In her statement, Harris acknowledged all the speculation, notifying Republican activists at a meeting in Memphis that she was canceling her scheduled appearance there Saturday night "as I prayerfully prepare with my family, friends and advisors to finalize the strategy for a major announcement next week concerning my candidacy for the U.S. Senate."

...While she told The Associated Press last week that she was staying in, the pressure has not eased. Wilson and other Republicans have been worried that Harris will bring down other candidates if she runs.

"I have no happy fairyland vision that she can win," Wilson said.

Republican consultant Geoffrey Becker said the race has gotten out of her control. "It sounds like she's thinking of a way to get out," he said Saturday.
Who will take her place if she drops out? As early as last December, Novakula speculated that semi-closeted homo-hating homo Rep. Mark Foley might get the nod, but a story this week suggested Tom Rooney, a nephew of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney might be tapped to step in and that the president of the Florida Senate, Tom Lee, is being hunted down by the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


Found in the camera

I completely forgot about the picture below, which I took on January 30. It was still on the memory card that I used when I took the pictures of the backyard project earlier today.



I posted that day that the Blend was featured on CNN's The Situation Room (I updated the post so the picture is there now). We have cable DVR and it seems to capture about the prior 15 minutes of any given channel you have on at the time, so I was able to rewind it and take a picture of the screen. I took it and then completely forgot about it!

Anyway, a blast from the recent past, the 1/30 post:
I just happened to be typing along here with CNN's "The Situation Room" (the 4PM hour) on in the background and Wolf was talking about "liberal activists on the warpath" blasting Hillary Clinton and the selection of Tim Kaine by the Dems to deliver the SOTU response tomorrow. I happened to look up just in time to see blog reporter Jackie Schechner punching up some of the sites in question, and up pops the Blend, lol.

It was onscreen for maybe 3 seconds, showing one of my Kaine posts, Spineless leadership. She also brought up The Moderate Voice during the review.


Happy birthday, Mom



Actually, my mom's birthday was yesterday; she would have been 71. she passed away in 1997 of lung cancer.

I held off posting until we had finished our "present" for her, which was a yard project that Kate and I worked on yesterday and completed this AM. Each year, on her birthday and day of her passing (May 4) I like to plant flowers, since Mom enjoyed gardening. Because the weather is unusually nice for this time of year (it's 76, low humidity and a nice breeze), we went for something she really would have enjoyed.

The wood and wrought iron bench that we bought on sale over a year ago for like $20 was finally put together. we hauled in a bunch of cypress and cedar mulch and pine bark nuggets, pansies and some border stones and made a little sitting oasis.



We had two solar lanterns in the garage to put out as well; those represent our recently departed pets -- Red, our Rhodesian Ridgeback and Jade, my mom's cat -- I cared for her after Mom passed away.



The trees don't have leaves yet, but it will look even more beautiful once the green comes in.



Sitting up on the hill, smelling the cedar and hearing the birds out singing is amazing. Mom would have loved it.


Anger management

I posted earlier about the proposed legislation in Alabama ("wild, wild west law") that would allow the use of deadly force against a presumed assailant, basically a shoot-first-ask-questions-later defense.

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues found this item in the Montgomery Advertiser about one of the sponsors of the bill.

Lawmaker deflates tire on car in his parking place. A north Alabama legislator thinks he has found a way to deter someone from taking his reserved parking space outside the Alabama State House -- deflate the culprit's tires.

State Rep. Albert Hall, D-Gurley, let the air out of the left front tire of a car he said blocked him on a recent day of legislative work. Hall later learned the driver was the wife of Rep. Allen Layson, D-Reform, and said he now regrets what he did.
I guess this incident is a window into the kind of thinking that goes into the bill he supports.

***

Over at her pad, Kathy also points to a great column by Leonard Pitts that slams down homobigot Donna Reddick, who is a teacher at Miami Sunset Senior High. A snippet:
It seems that on three successive days, the morning announcements, which are televised throughout the school, featured student-produced segments on the subject of gay rights.

On the first day came comments from students who took the pro position. On the second day came remarks from a counselor who spoke of the need for students to respect one another. On the third day came you.

You and a few students, actually. One told classmates homosexuality was ''unacceptable in the eyesight of God.'' Another said gays were ``unrighteous.''

The coup de grace, though, was you invoking Sodom and Gomorrah and telling students homosexuality was ''wrong according to the Bible'' because God ordered humanity to multiply, which gay couples cannot do.
Go read his take down.


A busy week for the Empty Wig



Eva at Lloydletta passed this great one on, a post from a right-wing blog on The Empty Wig, Senator Elizabeth Dole with an account of her appearance at a St. Pat's fundraiser in St. Paul for Minnesota Congressman Mark Kennedy, who is running for the U.S. Senate. Kennedy was an original co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, btw.

Dole was there as the inept head of the National Repug Senatorial Committee. "Sugar Lips" been very busy lately in that role, doing some whiz-bang work in the last week or so (see NRSC hits Harold Ford with 'Big Pimpin' web site, and The Empty Wig threatens voters with 'mandatory' survey).

The Wind Beneath the Right Wing is keen on some Liddy...
While I did not pay $500 for the Shamrock dinner or $150 for the Leprechaun Reception, I did pay $35 for the St. Patty's Day Bash. The Irish dancers were excellent (especially for their young age).

...Senator Dole had a great speech and looked very nice in her green dress. She looked a little too classy to be at that bar (with all due respect to O'Gara's). She looks great for being 69 years old. If she were 10 years younger, I think she would be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. Her speech, while short, energized the crowd and was well received. She left the room after her speech and shook quite a few hands on the way out. However, Kennedy stayed after Dole left to chat with people still in the bar.
Trust me -- my senator, who has the worst constituent services in the country, is not presidential material.

By the way, dedicated Republicans, if they sold ten $150 tickets to the Shamrock Dinner or the Leprechaun Reception, got an upgrade to the Leprechaun reception and a photo of Mark Kennedy and Liddy.


McCain just can't get enough

Shakes Sis can explain her graphic below. McTool is embarrassingly humping the Preznit again.



Queen Drudge, if you want to click over, exposes more about this nightmare.


Birmingham residents to protest Alabama Shoot First legislation

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I just saw this press release and had to do a double-take. Kathy @ Birmingham Blues, if you are reading this post, please weigh in and explain to me how legislation like this (if it passes) is NOT going to result in some serious chaos in your slice of the country. At least you can say Florida wingnuts got to it ahead of your legislators.
State legislators in Alabama are hoping to pass a bill that will enable the most aggressive and paranoid individuals in the state to use deadly force against a presumed assailant. The bill has already passed the state House and awaits action in the state Senate.

The law, known alternatively as the "shoot first law," "wild, wild west law," or "Stand Your Ground" law, made Florida a virtual laughingstock when it became law there last October, generating news coverage around the world suggesting that visitors might face risk. And the only person to use the law as a defense of deadly force so far is a tow truck driver who shot a man trying to retrieve his car.

"Martin Luther King once said 'nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity,'" said Jim Brady, the former press secretary to President Reagan who was shot in the Reagan assassination attempt. "This bill is a dangerous solution to a non-existent problem. No one's in jail in Alabama for acting in legitimate self-defense. This bill would encourage overly aggressive people to act recklessly, and might well keep people out of jail who deserve to be there."

A group of concerned Alabamans are planning a rally at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 12 at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 716 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North (old 21ST Street North). They will be wearing bright orange t-shirts with "Innocent Bystander" on the front. The local contact is Ronald Jackson of People United, who can be reached at 205-478-7183 or rejacksumc@aol.com.
***

While on Alabama news, let's check in on Roy "The Ten Commandments Judge" Moore (I'm sure he has no problem with the above shoot-first law)...

Moore says nation's laws recognize the sovereignty of God

"Legally, we not only have a right, we have a sworn duty to acknowledge God. … The founders of this country said God gives us rights and secures them for you. That was the principle upon which this country was founded."
-- on the role of his God in the legal system.
Gee, maybe outlandish statements like this is one of the reasons old Roy isn't doing so well with his fundraising efforts for the Alabama governor's race locally. He's taking his bible-beating road show/book tour to Ohio on Tuesday.
The former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama was removed from office in November, 2003, after refusing to obey a federal court order to take a Ten Commandments monument out of the lobby of the state supreme court building.

...Chief Justice Moore said the Ten Commandments are much more than a historical document. "Of course, they are historical. They represent where we come from and the Judeo-Christian values that this country was founded upon. But they also represent where we are going," he said.

Such values provide the constitutional right of freedom of religion, he said. People of different faiths or of no faith "have the right to believe what we want to believe. That right comes from God and not from government. That's why we're pluralistic. You don't find pluralism in Saudi Arabia," Chief Justice Moore said.
Moore also runs the non-profit Foundation for Moral Law. Its mission is to "educate the public about the U.S. Constitution and the Godly foundation of the United States of America" and to "defend America and her citizens' right to acknowledge Almighty God, by participating, directly and indirectly, in litigation involving the acknowledgement of God."

H/t, Holly.


Be glad you weren't on the operating table

The weekend is truly for the unhinged news of the week, though somehow I don't think I can top the Vernon "black Jesse Helms" Robinson Twilight Zone ad from yesterday. This story, does provide a level of insanity that does qualify for weekend nuttery. From the San Francisco Chronicle: Drunken altercation reported in hospital's operating room. The The top neurosurgeon at Highland Hospital was blitzed and going apesh*t.

Deputies believe Dr. Federico Castro-Moure, 45, was intoxicated during the scuffle and prosecutors may charge him with public drunkenness and interfering with a peace officer.

"The deputies felt that he was behaving in an aggressive manner," Alameda County Sheriff's Capt. William Eskridge said. "He was yelling and put a fist in the face of a deputy in a threatening manner."

The incident began about 8:30 p.m. Monday when Castro-Moure argued with nurses recommending that he wait several hours for sterile equipment to arrive before operating on a spinal patient. Although Castro-Moure wanted to operate immediately, other hospital personnel believed the surgery could be delayed because the patient was stable enough to wait, said Dr. David Altman, the hospital's chief medical officer.

In such cases, it is the hospital's policy to wait. But Castro-Moure became angry and physically and verbally abusive, officials said. A nurse summoned deputies to the foyer outside the fifth-floor operating room. When deputies attempted to intervene, Castro-Moure allegedly shouted obscenities and used his arm and clenched fist to keep them at bay, officials said.

Although the deputies arrested Castro-Moure on suspicion of public intoxication -- based upon both his behavior and the smell of alcohol on his breath -- Eskridge said the doctor was so uncooperative that deputies could not adequately test him for intoxication.
He has been suspended without pay and is barred indefinitely from practicing at the hospital while an investigation is performed.

Hat tip, Paul.


Insanity

Man Claims Jesus Appeared In Pasta Dish. What is wrong with people?

Leo Williams said that the image of Christ "appeared before his eyes in the form of a bubbling, burned portion of cheese on his pasta dinner."


Williams said since the lunch, a chronic stomach problem he has had since birth has vanished.


"I looked at the plate and before I started to eat it I thought, I'm not sure about this," Williams said. "So, we called the hostess. She came over and just got chills. The next thing you know you got the cameras coming out. You got people who are eating here coming to our table to see it. They just had chills. There were about 100 people taking pictures."

Hat tip Holly.


Love it: homophobic Bush court nom busted

Remember my post a few weeks ago about darling of the wingnut moralist set, homobigot Claude Allen (Bush's top black staffer, a Jesse Helms protege, steps down)? He was leaving his post as "domestic policy adviser" for Dear Leader (he was the highest-ranking black staffer in the admin), citing "personal reasons" and "to spend more time with his family."

Now we know what the personal reasons are -- Republican values that came back to bite him in the ass. Mug shot and drum roll, please (365gay):

Allen has been under investigation since at least January for the alleged thefts on 25 occasions at Target and Hecht's stores, said police spokesman Lt. Eric Burnett.

Burnett said that Allen would buy items, take them to his car, then return to the store with his receipt. He would select the same items, then take them to the store return desk and show the receipt from the first purchase. Using that method, he would receive credit for the second items on his credit cards, Burnett said.

Allen was allegedly seen Jan. 2 at a Target in Gaithersburg, Md., taking items off the shelf that he then took to the return desk. He had a receipt for the merchandise, was given a refund and left.

The items he allegedly received fraudulent refunds for included clothing, a Bose theater system and stereo equipment. Some purchases were for as little as $2.50.
And about that homobigotry, Claude learned from his master, 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).
More on Atrios.

Hat tip, Blender Nancy.


Sandra Day O'Connor unloads on the wingers


She's not mincing words. NPR's Nina Totenberg covered a talk by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at Georgetown University, and she didn't hold back on the state of politics in this country and its effect on the high court.
In an unusually forceful and forthright speech, O’Connor said that attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. O’Connor began by conceding that courts do have the power to make presidents or the Congress or governors, as she put it “really, really angry.” But, she continued, if we don’t make them mad some of the time we probably aren’t doing our jobs as judges, and our effectiveness, she said, is premised on the notion that we won’t be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts. The nation’s founders wrote repeatedly, she said, that without an independent judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government those rights and privileges would amount to nothing. But, said O’Connor, as the founding fathers knew statutes and constitutions don’t protect judicial independence, people do.

And then she took aim at former House GOP leader Tom DeLay. She didn’t name him, but she quoted his attacks on the courts at a meeting of the conservative Christian group Justice Sunday last year when DeLay took out after the courts for rulings on abortions, prayer and the Terri Schiavo case. This, said O’Connor, was after the federal courts had applied Congress’ onetime only statute about Schiavo as it was written. Not, said O’Connor, as the congressman might have wished it were written. This response to this flagrant display of judicial restraint, said O’Connor, her voice dripping with sarcasm, was that the congressman blasted the courts.

It gets worse, she said, noting that death threats against judges are increasing. It doesn’t help, she said, when a high-profile senator suggests there may be a connection between violence against judges and decisions that the senator disagrees with. She didn’t name him, but it was Texas senator John Cornyn who made that statement, after a Georgia judge was murdered in the courtroom and the family of a federal judge in Illinois murdered in the judge’s home.
What do you think the Freepi had to say?

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Now she can let her liberal colors show."

"I am sure glad that old bitch is off the Court now!"

"Now if only we could get that man Ruth B. Ginsberg to retire."

"If the justices did what they were supposed to do instead of making up law out of thin air, there would be no criticism. Go away, Sandra. You were a big disappointment."

"I think what dear Sandra meant to say is that republican attacks on the Court make it much less likely that liberals will be able to make it up as they go along."

"Hey Sandy! You're useless and forgotten. Go fade away now."

"Before dismissing her opinion altogether, does this mean that she endorses the pracice of "penumbras" and other forms of legislation from the bench? How is this reconciled with the concept of "Constitution Freedoms"?"

"Great, now we're going to have to listen to President Reagan's biggest mistake go around flapping her gums for media attention every other week. Where's John Riggins when you really need him."

"Now it's just a long, drawn out affair waiting to see if Ginsburg or Stevens (or either) can just hold on, somehow keep breathing for THREE - pant pant - THREE more years. Or 2 1/2, so anyone Bush nominates can be dragged out then rejected in the hope that a dimwit gets somehow elected."

"Oh God.. another Jimmy Carter. It would be nice if people understood when to disappear gracefully into the sunset. She had her chance, now let go please :)"

"She's 100% right. A lot of the accusations, rhetoric, and proposals directed against judges have been over-the-top."

"Yes. How dare the people (directly or through their elected representatives) criticize the courts. Freedom can only be preserved through unquestioning deference and obedience to nine ex-lawyers. I hope I don't need to mention the above is sarcasm"

"Stick with the United States Constitution and you won't have anything to worry about Sandra. Dig up some reference to European law and expect to be criticized."

"We can criticize Congress, the IRS, the White House, the bureaucracy... but not the Supreme Court? Does she think she is a god or what?"

"Breyer tried the same song and dance. Criticizing their poor performance somehow destroys all that is America. They can both kiss my free citizen ass."

"There is a lot of class being displayed on this thread."

""Hey, loosen up, Sandy baby!""

"This thread is a perfect illustration of the problem. Disagree with Justice O'Connor, or any other Supreme Court justice, or even all nine if you like. That's not the problem. J. O'Connor's complaint was the rhetoric and the personal attacks, like Tom DeLay's complaint that the Supreme Court was a bunch of judicial activists when they slavishly applied the Schaivo statute as written, or the Senator who said that the judges were opening themselves up for assasination by their rulings. Those kinds of remarks are irresponsible and unjustifiable."

"Go have another gin and tonic Sandra and shut up, you are no longer relevant."

"The "problem" of free speech? O'Connor was one of the worst justices in the history of the SCOTUS. She deserves no respect."

"To libs such as O'Connor, protests by conservatives are hate speech and must not be tolerated. Remember their whining when we used our free speech rights to destroy Dixie Chicks CDs? Why, that was downright EEEEVIL!"

"I just listened to the clip and SDO's criticisms were directed toward Tom DeLay and John Cornyn. What tripe! Thank God that lib lover is retired!"


The Catholic church is beyond sick

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Sadly, we have come to a moment when Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Boston must withdraw from the work of adoptions, in order to exercise the religious freedom that was the prompting for having begun adoptions many years ago."
-- Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, on ceasing adoption services in Massachusetts rather than allowing gays to adopt
What can you say, the decline has been swift and certain, with the pedophile priest scandal displaying the moral bankruptcy of the church. The welfare of children didn't seem to matter when the predators were unleashed into communities, and the trail of damaged lives was dismissed as the payoffs and coverups worthy of a mob family escalated out of control.

This latest development only proves the moral base is permanently damaged. Children in need of loving homes will not receive adoption services in Massachusetts because if gays and lesbians are allowed to adopt, it will "threaten the church's religious freedom." (AP):
The social services arm of the Roman Catholic archdiocese has provided adoption services for the state for about two decades, but said it would discontinue once it completes its current state contract. It said that the state law allowing gays to adopt runs counter to church teachings on homosexuality.

"The world was very different when Charities began this ministry at the threshold of the 20th century," the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities, and trustees chairman Jeffrey Kaneb said in a joint statement. "The world changed often and we adapted the ministry to meet changing times and needs. At all times we sought to place the welfare of children at the heart of our work.

"But now, we have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve," they said.

Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, who had sought an exemption from the law, said the church was faced with a choice between its faith and the state law.
Right after this announcement, Governor (and likely prez candidate) Mitt Romney said he would file a bill that would allow religious organizations an exemption from the state's anti-discrimination laws regarding adoptions and gays.


Falwell calls the fuzz on Soulforce



Tinkywinky bastard. After last year's humiliation, where students welcomed Soulforce on campus despite Falwell's disapproval, this year he called the campus cops to cuff and haul off the Equality Riders.

The Soulforce team is on a 51-day ride to advocate for civil equality and had planned to talk to students at Liberty, the first stop on the tour. (365gay):
Twenty members of the Soulforce the Equality Ride were arrested Friday as they attempted to discuss LGBT civil rights with students at Liberty University.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the university's chancellor warned Wednesday that members of the non-denominational group were not welcome at the school.

Campus police, on instructions from Falwell, were waiting Friday as the bus carrying the Equality riders stopped in front of the campus. As members, mostly young people, one by one read from a prepared statement and then stepped onto the grounds they were arrested and charged with trespassing.

...Invoking the memory of the civil rights movement, Soulforce member Jacob Reitan said: "We want to come to the school today to say, 'learn from history.'"

"We have a right to be here, because this school teaches that being gay is being sick and sinful," Reitan, co-director of Equality Ride told the Associated Press. "We have a right to question and to show how we are children of God."
***

Update from the comments: House Blend reader Matt Hill Comer, a local NC LGBT activist and student at UNCG, was one of the people arrested at the Soulforce event. He has a first-hand account over at his pad.

Matt also had this to say about those who call themselves "Christians," who insist on fearing and demonizing gays and lesbians.
Just as Episcopal Bishop Spong once said… Just as Christ transcended the boundaries of race, gender and status, and saw humans as humans… Christ would have surely included gays and lesbians if ever given the chance.

But why must Jesus be the one to do it? Why can’t we do it, with inspiration from Him? Why must we, as modern day Christians, continually look back at what Jesus said in the Bible? Do we not have the ability to feel what is right, listen to our hearts, our God and the convictions which He sends to us? God is telling us one thing very clearly: “I am a loving God… I am an accepting God… and I am your Father, unconditionally”.

It is time for all people to stand up against discrimination and prejudice propagated by religiously-motived bigotry and hate. It is time for us all to stand hand in hand and say that we shall do what we know Jesus would do if he were here today. Thank God for our hearts and our souls… for it is through those two institutions in which we find the truth and the love of God.


Ralphie makes a cover that he probably won't publicize

Mike Tidmus, as usual, smacks down the Right with another P'shop project...



He notes that this is a big come-down for the former Right Hand of God, who appeared on Time magazine's cover back in the the day...



Mike also said to check out DefCon, which is dogging the moralists who are knee-deep in the Abramoff scandal.
DefCon has been running these ads in Colorado Springs, NYC, and DC for a week now. Max says he has a thousand angry emails from Dobson's christ-bots!
***

James Dobson wasn't happy with Defcon's project either. He decided to call out his Christofascist dogs out in one of his e-blasts to the faithful. One of my bloggrrls, Ms. Julien, got a hold of this bleating email.
Leftwing group uses lies to slander Dr. James Dobson



Dear Jane,

My friend Gary Bauer brought to my attention an ad which ran in Wednesday's New York Times. "These Religious Leaders Have A Serious Gambling Problem." The ad viciously attacks a very good friend of mine who is a leader in the pro-family movement-Dr. James Dobson. The "problem" is Jack Abramoff, and the ad goes to great lengths to connect Dr. Dobson to Abramoff.

Anybody who knows Dr. Dobson knows this is nothing more than a libelous charge of guilt by association. Dr. Dobson has opposed gambling all his life. He served on the congressionally mandated National Gambling Impact Study Commission in the late 1990s, which recommended a moratorium on gambling expansion. To date, no one has even demonstrated, much less proven, any connection between Jack Abramoff and Dr. Dobson - because there isn't one.

While this ad reads like an indictment against Dr. Dobson, it is in reality a declaration of war against the entire pro-family movement. The ad was paid for by the Campaign to Defend the Constitution or DefCon. Its advisory board includes the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, a former director of the ACLU, the former president of the pro-abortion group NARAL, and a number of "religious Left" leaders, including a homosexual pastor.

DefCon is a project of the Tides Center, a clearinghouse for liberal money, which according to its website has distributed "nearly $400 million to thousands of nonprofits" in the last ten years. The Tides Center is funding DefCon to "become the premiere voice of Americans who are disturbed by the growing power of the religious right..."

The goal of DefCon is to depress religious conservatives by smearing good men like Dr. Dobson. They want to bring down the pro-family movement in the fallout of the Abramoff scandal, hoping values voters won't go to the polls in November. If they succeed, liberals will not have to filibuster judges because they will have a majority in the Senate. And the Marriage Protection Amendment will be dead on arrival in a House run by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). This ad is another sign of how low the left wing will stoop.


Laura Bush: gay families A-OK at Easter egg roll

It's an event that has a great tradition and all families are welcome to attend.
-- Peter Watkins, deputy press secretary to first lady Laura Bush, who is the official overseer of the egg roll
How long before Dobson, Falwell, Sheldon, and the rest of the yahoos start lighting up the White House batphone? Perhaps the calls are already coming in...(Scripps-Howard):
On April 17, hundreds of gay and lesbian parents and their children intend to be among the 16,000-or-so others who attend the free event. Organizers say their purpose is not to demonstrate or cause a commotion, but instead to simply make a "positive" statement by their presence, and to celebrate the fact that an estimated 9 million children are being raised in the United States by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered parents.

"We want to give our fellow citizens the opportunity to see us as real families, participating in a great American tradition on the White House lawn, rather than protesting from the sidelines," the Family Pride Coalition, an organizer of this "family visibility action," says on its Web site, www.familypride.org.

So far, about 200 people have signed up via the Family Pride Web site. That is 200 too many for some anti-gay groups like the Traditional Values Coalition.

"For crying out loud, at the Easter Egg roll? This is a family event," said an exasperated executive director Andrea Lafferty, who called it "very distasteful" and inappropriate to politicize the occasion and to use children to do so.



To her and those who share her view, this is just another example of homosexuals trying to force themselves and their agenda on Americans. "They're trying to cloak themselves in normalcy. It's not normal. The American people overwhelmingly believe it's not normal," Lafferty said.
Hat tip, PageOneQ

* White House responds to LGBT families attending the Easter Egg Roll
*


NRSC hits Harold Ford with 'Big Pimpin' web site



Another feather in the cap of my Senator, Elizabeth Dole, who heads up the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Earlier this week, I blogged about the insane, fraudulent, threatening direct mail piece, the Republican National Leadership Survey, that went out under her name to voters. It claimed to "require" a response with payment if you opted not to "participate," and looked suspiciously like a government tax form.

The latest hoo-hah is the creation of a web site by the ass-clowns of the NRSC (again, we have to assume the Empty Wig is on board with this), designed to take out faux-Dem Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee.

The Fancy Ford web site is something to behold and cherish. It tells you all that you need to know about where the great minds of the GOP are when it comes to campaigning -- it's still all about playing on race, racial history and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways of invoking the uppity Negro in Southern politics.

Don't get me wrong, this post isn't a defense of Ford -- he voted yes on same-sex marriage ban and flag burning amendments, he was for the odious bankruptcy bill, and wanted to keep "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, among other things.

The issue is how many pols in either party could you assail with charges of lavish living/spending, particularly in the GOP?! This web site is about something else...it is yet another example of the Republicans wanting to play the race card both ways -- Mehlman's RNC courts the black vote with empty platitudes, and the down-and-dirty political machinery of the party uses the old racial saws and imagery to try and nail the win.

There's nothing like creating visions of the uppity, horny Negro who lusts after white women, living the high life and not knowing his place.

Fancy Ford is no stranger to the celebrity party scene. Ford was seen at the Playboy Super Bowl Party in Florida last year:"Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) was spotted at the Playboy Super Bowl party in Jacksonville, Fla., after the New England Patriots' big win Sunday night. . . . One Web site selling tickets to the event claimed: 'The Playboy Superbowl Party has become famous for being packed with celebrities and Playmates alike . . . Oh, and it is also packed with Playmates in lingerie and body paint.'" (Mary Ann Akers, "Heard On The Hill," Roll Call, February 8, 2005)

If only the folks at home could see him now.

This site is cleverly intimating that Ford is living above his station and doesn't deserve to "move up" to the Senate, where, heaven knows, he may start rapping, flashing a grille and put a ho' dancing pole in his office, with the Cristal flowing non-stop.

What other message could you gather from this lavishly presented web site, which clearly required a lot of thought, planning and design behind it? Steve at Firedoglake nails it:
It's about station, class and race. How can this high toned negro live so well and chase white women. The more you click the links, the worse it gets.

The fact is that Ford is doing the exact same things all the other Congressman do. What? Is he supposed to have a senatorial fundraiser at McDonalds?

There is a clear racial subtext here, because of the use of the word Fancy. There's more than alliteration here. Because there's a tone that Ford doesn't deserve this kind of lifestyle, that's getting above himself. And in the South, that has a racial connotation. Because no one gave a damn about Bill Frist and his hightoned living habits.
And as Steve pointed out, the common definition for "fancy man" is pimp.

Lest you think that race doesn't matter and I'm just making a mountain out of a molehill, Rasmussen Reports polled voters on Ford's Senate run this month, and at least 13% of respondents report that friends or family members plan to vote against Ford because he is black. The GOP wants to solidify its base.

And this is the very same GOP that is backing black homobigot, anti-choice, retro-America candidate for the NC-13 Congressional seat, Vernon Robinson and his Twilight Zone/Leave it to Beaver ad campaign. You just can't make this sh*t up.


The NRSC feedback page.
Senator Dole's feedback page.

Hat tip, Teddy.

Crooks and Liars links over to JesseBerney.com's post on this.

UPDATE: Someone has already parodied this and it's brilliant: FancyFrist (h/t Seeing the Forest)



The NC Twilight Zone



I wasn't around last night, so there was a ton of email sitting in my Inbox to go through. I was curious about the fact that several messages had the subject line "Vernon Robinson." I'm thinking, why on earth would folks write me last night about the self-proclaimed "black Jesse Helms," a Repug who's running for Congress in the 13th District of NC?

It's Vern's new ad that's causing a stir.

I've blogged about this up-and-coming star of the GOP both before and after Vern-o announced his bid to unseat Brad Miller.

He's willing to let his wingnuttery all hang out in all its glory for the public to see, based on this TV ad he's created (via Crooks and Liars; I also downloaded the Quicktime version).

I haven't seen it air yet; this ad, along with radio pieces can be found on his campaign site. [UPDATE: The campaign pulled the ad from the site, ha ha ha ha; it now says "Coming Soon." Got a little too hot for you, Vern?]



The Twilight Zone-theme and music are quite appropriate in this case. This is one of the most offensive -- and amusing -- pieces of political theatre I have ever seen, with a picture of a fetus, then invoking the Homo AlertTM with an image of men kissing. He moves on to "aliens," showing spaceships, then cutting to a pic of Mexicans scaling fences. This ad packs every wingnut, unhinged Freeper cause into this one media piece.

What's amusing is that the spot says a lot about this self-loathing black man -- the fact that he's a Republican is incidental, other than it's the party as it exists today that kowtows to bigots like Robinson. When the announcer in the ad is bleating about not being able to "post the Ten Commandments in public or say God in public.", it cuts the all-American white children in the picture above.

The spot immediately segues to a mug shot of Jesse Jackson and a retro shot of Al Sharpton to talk about black babies born out of wedlock and quotas. There's no logical connection, only the juxtaposition for shock value. It's sad.



Yes, Vern is appealing to the base of the party and its values. He even calls the ad "The Twilight Zone vs. Leave It To Beaver" -- the last shot is of the Cleaver family backing out of their driveway, going out for a car ride. The Real America.



It's Vern's ode to the TV lily white surburban fantasy world. In the real world, he would have been sitting at the back of the bus and chased from the whites-only lunch counter. Nice.

I guess that he's confident that all of these tactics won't scare off the moderate vote. Even in NC, I have to believe this crap isn't going to fly. BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if my father knows and supports Vern Robinson, since he is connected in NC GOP circles, and both have ties to the John Locke Foundation.

I caution you not to dismiss Robinson as a fringe whack job (though he fights mightily for that moniker) -- look at this list of well-known Repugs who Vernon says "at one time or another I have been endorsed by..."

Jesse Helms, Alan Keyes, Bob Barr, Elizabeth Dole, Lauch Faircloth, Richard Burr, Tom Tancredo, U.S. Immigration Reform PAC, English Language PAC, Jack Kemp, Dick Armey, Gary Bauer, the NRA, the Executive Directors of Gun Owners of America and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Right-to-Life, Bill Bennett, Pat Buchanan, Pete du Pont, Police Benevolent Association, Int'l Association of Fire Fighters, Republican Liberty Caucus, The Dixie Daily News, Southern Caucus, Richard Petty, and Jeb Bush.

I wonder if any of the above folks have any comment on the tasteless ad...wait, what am I thinking? This is right up the mainstream GOP alley. The luminaries on the list can always email Vern and compliment him on his ace political savvy.

I take that level of support to mean that Vernon Robinson is the new face of the Republican Party -- and its mainstream views and values. We shall tie candidates like this to them early and often.



Can we get Ken Mehlman to comment as well, since Vern must be the part of his "outreach" plan to black Americans?

I will always fight for what’s right and you will always know where I stand. We cannot redefine marriage as any grouping of adults and children. I will vigorously oppose homosexual marriages, marriage-lite proposals and adoptions, as well as “gay” Scoutmasters. While my opponent believes that those in a drag queen parade and Rosa Parks are both civil rights leaders, I will join the dozens of Congressmen who sponsored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that provides that “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”

“I want your children to be able to say ‘under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance” and see the Ten Commandments on public property.”

“As we have witnessed over 50 million babies killed since Roe v Wade it is important to note that a country that will accept 50 million dead babies will accept anything; obstruction of justice, perjury, suborning perjury, witness tampering, bribery, criminal violations of campaign finance laws, pardons for cash, the criminal misuse of confidential FBI files, violations of the Oath of Office, the desecration of the Oval Office, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, trading missile technology for cash from the Chinese, rape, serial adultery, sexual harassment, even treason. ”

– some of the wit and wisdom of Vernon Robinson
Hat tips to Kathy, txrad, Randy.

Crooks and Liars video (QT)

Read more fresh Blend.


More than half of Americans are ignorant doofuses

Thursday, March 09, 2006

NEW YORK A Gallup report released today reveals that more than half of all Americans, rejecting evolution theory and scientific evidence, agree with the statement, "God created man exactly how Bible describes it."

Another 31% says that man did evolve, but "God guided." Only 12% back evolution and say "God had no part."

Breaking down the numbers, Gallup finds that Republican backing for what it calls "God created human beings in present form" stands at 57% with Democrats at 44%.

Support for this Bible view rises steadily with age: from 43% for those 18 to 29, to 59% for those 65 and older. It declines steadily with education, dropping from 58% for those with high school degrees to a still-substantial 25% with postgraduate degrees.

Newport wraps it up: "Several characteristics correlate with belief in the biblical explanation for the origin of humans. Those with lower levels of education, those who attend church regularly, those who are 65 and older, and those who identify with the Republican Party are more likely to believe that God created humans 'as is,' than are those who do not share these characteristics."
In a related story, archaeologists have just uncovered a six-hundred year old scroll in Italy. Linguists translating the document reveal that it was some sort of ancient opinion survey that showed a strong majority of Italians believe the Earth is the center of the universe with all of the stars, planets, moon, and sun revolving around it. According to the document, the people more likely to believe that sentiment were also older, less-educated, pious ignoramuses, too.


[Faithfully cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Chris Matthews on the conservative payroll

Raw Story has the scoop on the Tweetster's moonlighting gigs with on the wingnuts' dime. Fair and balanced...oops, wrong network.
A new report advanced to RAW STORY Thursday suggests that Chris Matthews, the star of the Sunday talk show circuit's Hardball, has accepted hefty speaking fees from an array of conservative trade associations.

Matthews has given speeches to at least ten major conservative trade associations since 2001. The report's author, Dave Johnson, who blogs at Seeing The Forest and is also a fellow at the progressive Commonweal Institute, could find no records indicating that Matthews has spoken before any Democratic-leaning organizations. The report is not a product of the Commonweal Institute.

"Why is Matthews speaking at so many events with Republican-associated trade organizations?" Johnson asks. "What is NBC policy on speaking engagements and why does NBC keep it hidden? Are these trade associations paying Matthews to purchase influence?"


IRS wants to allow third parties access to your return

Warning: Once your tax return information is disclosed to a third party per your consent, we have no control over what that third party does with your tax return information. If the third party uses or discloses your tax return information for purposes other than the purposes for which you authorized the disclosure, under Federal tax law, we are not responsible for that subsequent use or disclosure, and Federal tax law may not protect you from that disclosure.
-- The consent language of the Internal Revenue Service's proposed rule to open your tax records for a buck.
[Welcome, Americablog readers. You can read more fresh Blend here.]

Damn. Every piece of your life is up for grabs.(SFGate):
The Internal Revenue Service has proposed a new rule that would llet tax preparers sell or share a client's tax-return information with third parties, as long as they got the client's consent.

Three consumer organizations on Wednesday called the proposal shocking and urged the IRS to drop it.

They fear that many taxpayers could be rushed or duped into signing the consent form when they are signing their tax returns and related documents. They could end up losing control over financial data they wouldn't want their closest friends or family to see, much less outside marketing and database firms.
The laughable defense of the IRS's desire to let H&R Block and all of those kinds of outlets collect and sell your personal information is that the current prohibitions against sharing confidential data with third parties "restrict the ability of taxpayers to control and direct the use of their own tax return information as they see fit."

Those current restriction allows tax preparers to share your information only with affiliated companies that provide investment products or advance refund loans. The new consent form opens the world of any third party access to your tax records.

The one other frightening portion of the story, almost a throwaway line, was that some U.S. companies are also currently outsourcing tax prep work without the customer's OK; India was specifically mentioned as one location your financial information could end up. The IRS, in trying to mitigate the proposed third party nonsense, boasts that the new rule prohibit the tax preparers from sending tax returns overseas without the customer's consent. Again, if someone isn't paying attention and signs that consent form, you're SOL.

Needless to say, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt did not return requests for a comment.

Hat tip, Paul.


Editorials call for the repeal of DADT

There have been several newspaper editorials in the past week calling for the repeal of the ludicrous Clinton-era slap in the face of gays and lesbians in the military, "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

The good folks at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network pass on the news, bolstering the belief that the country is ready, and that it's only the bigots in the military and Congress dragging its feet at this point.
Newspapers editorial boards across the country are calling for repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning lesbian, gay, and bisexual personnel. This morning’s USA Today calls the ban “archaic and hurtful” and calls on Congress to “do what it ought to do and repeal the ban.” Editorials calling for repeal have also appeared this week in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Oregonian and smaller publications such as The Republican and The Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts.

...Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA) has introduced The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), a Congressional bill to repeal the law. A bi-partisan coalition of 110 Members of Congress now support the bill.

“When this issue comes up, members who believe that gays shouldn't be in the military are now more hesitant to voice their opinion. Many of us who feel the other way have come out of the closet, so to speak,” Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), a supporter of the bill, told The Washington Post.


Retire



I didn't crop this one. Reuters' Larry Downing has this photo up, taken during Darth's keynote address to the U.S. Labor Department's 2006 National Summit on Retirement Savings last week.


The plot thickens in Savannah

Police in Savannah are now saying that the attack by five soldiers on a gay man at Blaine's Back Door Bar was not a hate crime, despite the bold statement by one of the assailants, Sidney Swift, who admitted proudly: "Yes, I beat that mother-fucking faggot up."

The victim, David Bennett, checked himself out of the hospital and has disappeared -- he has felony warrants on him in three states. (WTOC):
The suspects in a weekend beating case sit in a Chatham County jail cell, but the victim is now missing. The attack happened in front of Blaine's Back Door Bar in Savannah early Saturday morning. Police say witnesses watched five men--all Fort Stewart soldiers--chasing down and beating on a man in the street.

That man, David Bennett, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Now officers say Bennett checked himself out of the hospital and hasn't been seen since.

"He signed himself out of the hospital, yet to be interviewed by investigators, so it's going to be a hard case," said Capt. Bob Merriman with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. "With the preliminary hearing coming up, if he doesn't show up before, I don't know if we'd be able to go forward or not."
In another story, one of the soldiers is saying Bennett stole his wallet, which then led to the five-on-one beat down. (WSAV):
Despite several published reports police say they do not believe the attack was based on the man's sexual orientation.

...Police said the assault ended at a bar on Perry Lane early Sunday morning. They said one of the suspects said the victim had taken his wallet when the fight began. Police said the suspects had been buying the victim drinks at another bar earlier that night.
Dyana Bagby at the Washington Blade adds more detail, giving the story even more twists and turns, with alcohol playing a role on all sides.
The Savannah Morning News reported March 6 that Bennett was leaving Blaine’s Back Door Bar, a gay bar located at 13 East Perry Lane, when the soldiers attacked him.

But Lt. Mike Wilkins, spokesperson for the police department, said the incident started at a nearby bar, McDonough’s Restaurant & Lounge, and Bennett was chased to Blaine’s, where he had been earlier in the evening. McDonough's, located at 21 East McDonough St., is not a gay bar.

Allen Craighead, a bartender at Blaine's, said that Bennett is openly bisexual and frequently visits the gay bar. Bennett was asked to leave Blaine's at about midnight on March 4 because he was becoming a nuisance to other customers by "hitting them up for drinks," said Craighead, who was working that night.

...Joey Holliday, a bartender at McDonough's, was at McDonough's March 4 and said the five soldiers who were arrested were very drunk and disruptive, and they were asked to leave the bar that night. The Savannah police report states all the soldiers were "very intoxicated and had a extreme odor of alcoholic beverages coming from them."
Earlier post on the story is here.


82nd Airborne amateur porn artists arraigned

Paratroopers from the elite 2nd Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment have been charged with "engaging in sex acts" on a military-themed gay web site (ActiveDuty.com). Since they are pleading not guilty, I'm curious about what the defense strategy might be -- it wasn't them on the site, or that they weren't paid? (WRAL):
Both Pfc. Wesley K. Mitten, who was arraigned Monday, and Pvt. Kagen B. Mullen, who was arraigned Tuesday, pleaded not guilty.

The 82nd Airborne referred their cases to special courts-martial, which were scheduled for April, said division spokesman Master Sgt. Christopher J. Fletcher. The third paratrooper, Spc. Richard T. Ashley, is awaiting arraignment, Fletcher said.

All three soldiers are charged with pandering, wrongfully engaging in sexual acts over the Internet for money, and sodomy. Mullen also faces adultery charges.

...Four other soldiers, whose names have not been released, received what the military calls nonjudicial punishments for appearing on the Web site, believed to be based in Fayetteville, and have been discharged from the Army. Army officials have not said what kind of separation they received -- an honorable discharge, or lower.
In February, it was announced that the men in question had to be removed from their barracks -- the Army made sure to say that it wasn't for their safety.

WRAL has video here.

Previously:
* 82nd Airborne paratroopers on gay porn site?
* 82nd 'Airporn' soldiers moved from barracks


Pam's House Blend: Lesbians, Gays, and a Bunch of Tedium

Sometimes it gets a little old preaching to the choir, so occasionally I go ego-surfing on the internets to find out what people who don't like me have to say. I love criticism, especially in the form of poor writing and ad hominem attacks.

I was pleased to find one of a series of posts on "Most Overrated Blogs" [UPDATE: fixed link and author reference] out at a place called "The Conjecturer", where two Josh Foust, a college-aged twenty-somethings (I assume from their his bios and the one picture), dish on Pam's House Blend (overrated, in their opinion, as much as Andrew Sullivan, Instapundit, LaShawn Barber, and Jockohomo).
If I ever need to know how a stereotypically angry black lesbian would think, I have Pam’s House Blend. Effortlessly meshing the worst of all possible worlds, PHB features the combined talents of “Radical Russ,” whose knowledge of opinion polls and statistics would be amusing only in a five-year old, and Pam, an angry harpy who feigns nonchalance at Jesus-themed dildos....

Did you know Radical Russ works at Starbucks? Not to slam my friends who are barristas, but seriously—is there anything more tedious than an ageing, angry, white liberal working at a Starbucks in the Pacific Northwest? The only stereotype missing (one I’m way to lazy to confirm or deny) is an old Volvo. This is “The Best LGBT Weblog?” My God, how boring—it must stand for “Lesbians, Gays, and a Bunch of Tedium.”

Pam is another story, another stereotype. A black lesbian who has chosen to live in the deep south, she is a never ending spout of righteous anger and victimization… when she’s not talking about her hair. Somehow she got it into her head that abstinence didn’t in fact prevent AIDS or pregnancy, a rather curious notion given our current understandings of medical science and the reproductive system....

...Sigh. Getting the picture yet? I certainly am, though it’s not that pretty. Angry Lezbros of America, unite—you have found your Queen Überbitch of the blogosphere. Move on over, Sully.
Well, you know I can't just leave without posting a comment, don't you?
Hey, fellas, thanks for noticing! Though I hope you spend more time fact-checking your college theses than you do fact-checking your ad hominem attacks on blogs that get thirty times the traffic your little cobweb gets.

For instance, not only do I not work at Starbucks, I don't even drink coffee. The "straight white barista" comment is a riff on the theme of Pam's House Blend which is styled as a lesbian coffeehouse where LGBT issues, politics, religion, race, and pop culture are served up like a triple venti mochaccino (or was the big coffee cup logo in the banner a little too subtle for you?) Of course, understanding context might take a little more critical analysis than scanning a few posts to support a predetermined rant against "sterotypical angry black lezbros [sic]" and "ageing [sic] angry white liberals"

Just the slightest bit of clicking would've revealed that I am, in fact, a well-paid network engineer with a successful career in information technology, a political activist, a professional musician, a National Guard veteran, and a thirty-eight-year-old (if that's "ageing" [sic], then technically we're all ageing [sic]) married man who drives a big gas guzzling Jeep Grand Cherokee (I've never even been in a Volvo). I support the 2nd Amendment just as vocally as the 1st, loathe political correctness and idiotic euphemisms like "womyn", "differently-abled", and "flight attendant". I think affirmative action is in severe need of reform, recycling (except for aluminum) is a waste of time that hurts the environment more than it helps, and PETA is a ridiculous, terrorist supporting group. I eat meat (lots of it), support hunting, and, believe it or not, hate Starbucks. My, how stereotypically Pacific Northwest ageing [sic] angry liberal of me!

But again, that would require reading rather than scanning. For example, the post about the chants of "USA! USA!" referenced a meeting of the College Republicans in Irvine, California, where racism, jingoism, and good old-fashioned tent-revival Evangelism coalesced in an orgy of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab extremism. Or Pam's post about the Silver Ring virginity pledges where the large majority of those who pledge virginity until marriage don't live up to the pledge and how the rates of STD infection are not significantly lowered in that population. But who has time for comprehension when one is hell bent on proving a pre-ordained stereotype?

As for the opinion polls, blame SurveyUSA and the reputable polling organizations that compile the state-by-state approval rating polls that show Pretzeldunce Chimpy McFlightsuit to have a lower job approval rating than a poll of Alaskan sea birds' opinion on Capt. Joseph Hazelwood. Oops, did I say "Pretzeldunce Chimpy McFlightsuit"? I meant "Queen Uberbitch, stereotypical angry harpy heterosexical lezbro [sic]".

However, the site looks great. Excellent CSS and WordPress template coding. Nice photography, too. Could use a spell-check, though.
[Feverishly cross-posted at Radical Writ]

[UPDATE: Dan, one of the co-authors of the blog, responds (quite eloquently) in the comments]
I don't recall ever being a participant in the overrated blog series, I don't know why I feel dragged in here.
Because the post did not have an author's byline, so I went to the "Who we are" link and saw two names. I could've assumed it was the undergrad and not the PhD candidate who wrote the piece, but didn't want to assume.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should know that the Conjecturer's authors do not go out of their way to lump gay people together and bash them. One of us is gay...try and guess which one, you might be shocked! Nevertheless, homophobia is never something we've been accused of...insensitivity yes, but we post all sorts of homosexuality-themed stories and essays. It's almost like we're being stereotyped as gay-bashers! Given what I believe is your strongest criticism, being unfairly stereotyped, this is problematic.
Ummm... lemme guess, the author of the post, Josh Foust? I didn't want to assume that, either, but when I saw his picture... well, the gaydar pinging in my ears was loud enough to be heard in the adjoining cubicle.

I am curious, though, about how you made the leap into suggesting I was implying Josh was a gay-basher. Paragraph #1 questions his fact-checking. #2 explains the barista comment, and suggests Josh had a predetermined agenda. #3 refutes the "ageing [sic] white liberal" stereotype. #4 explains a couple of the cited posts. #5 riffs on ad hominem attacks. #6 is a compliment. Maybe #2 is the seed for your suggestion, but one need not be a "gay basher" to have an agenda for deconstructing liberal black lesbians... one need only be a shallow gay undergrad attending school in one of the most conservative areas of Colorado.


Thanks for the Koufax votes so far

Blenders seem to be supporting the coffeehouse in the Best Single Issue Blog category (it's nominated in several) for the Koufax Awards. If you're so inclined and have not voted, that's the likely category the blog will advance in as the Koufax heads to the semis. Merci; pour yourself a free cup of java and take time to surf through the many, many links of great lefty blogs and posts.

My earlier post with all the categories listed is here.


Alan Chambers and the exploding 'ex-gay' phenomenon

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wayne, Wayne, my sides are splitting. Oh, I had to take a break and read Wayne Besen's column, Time For 'Ex-Gay' Hordes To March On Washington, once again and try not lose it, but it is impossible.

His piece is on Exodus International's head queen, "professional former homosexual" Alan Chambers, and Alan's bloviating about the exponential growth of his "ex-gay" organization. Wayne's warning is that if Alan's numbers are what they say they are -- homos are fleeing the lifestyle to pray away the gay -- that we need to mobilize pronto.

In 2003, Chambers claimed that there are "thousands of former homosexuals." By 2004, he announced that he knew "tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed."

Last week, Chambers stunned the world when he boasted to The San Francisco Chronicle that there are "hundreds of thousands" of ex-gays. This must have been shocking news to the masses of gay people in San Francisco's crowded Castro neighborhood, that didn't know they were on the verge of extinction.

Folks, we need to put this mushrooming phenomenon at the top of the gay agenda. Even the success of Brokeback Mountain can't halt the expansion of these free the fairies franchises. If we don't stop Chambers by 2008 - a presidential election year - there will be millions of former homosexuals and most will vote Republican. And by the end of the decade, the number of ex-gays will look like a Bill Gates ATM receipt. Exodus might even have to get a sign, like McDonalds, so we can watch the numbers turn to keep track of the billions of transformed lives.
There's much more fun to read. Wayne is the fabulous author of Anything But Straight, which took the lid off of the "ex-gay" movement.


Adam's Wife: I should have to bear my rapist's baby

pro-choice.jpg
Andrea Graham, my anti-blogger's wife, the one who complained the Wells Fargo "I AM" ad campaign was blasphemous, writes about the South Dakota abortion ban in all cases except when pregnancy threatens the woman's life, even in cases of rape or incest. She's not concerned about that, she's more concerned that SD may be "jumping the gun".
We've gone back and forth on one issue this week, but I believe that something needs to be said. Every legislator sitting in the South Dakota statehouse who voted "no" for the abortion ban is a BIGOT. Yes, a BIGOT. And if you're against it, you're also a bigot. I'd venture to say some of them are also fetusphobes, but BIGOT is a clearer way of putting it. A BIGOT is someone who discriminates because of race, gender or some other trait. By asserting that a group of people has rights that a different group of people will not be allowed, our legislators act discriminately, and I find it rephrehensible. When I look at their pictures, I see people who are just as disgusting as racists, Nazis and fascists. I see people without compassion, who don't believe humans were created equal or that everyone should have the same rights as others. They're BIGOTS, plain and simple. And if you agree with them, you're a BIGOT, too.

Now, before you go off on me, I'm just trying to make a point (which would've been even more paralell if they'd voted down the ban.) I'm not sure the ban was a wise move. They're jumping the gun and not waiting until we have a stronger majority on the Supreme court could end up backfiring. And, while I believe it's immoral to punish a child for their father's crimes, it's not pragmatically wise to try to codify that into law when the majority feels being concieved by rape or incest makes one worthy of death.

And yes, I do feel abortion is a discriminatory practice. In many cases, in addition to saying human beings before certain stage of development do not have the same right to life we enjoy, it also is often carried out in a way that is both racist AND sexist. A true feminist values the rights of females in all stages of life.
And you just know I can't leave something like that without dropping a comment:

Yes, of course. Women are just breeding recepticles. Procreation should be enforced at all costs, even in cases of rape or incest. Women who make the mistake of having sex, or being in places where men may rape them, or just being so darn cute Daddy just can't keep his hands off their nubile teenage bodies, should be required to endanger their health and forced to submit to eighteen years of motherhood. Even rapists' and pedophiles' womb-babies deserve the right to live. If you were raped, hypothetically speaking, you would keep the baby and raise it as your own, looking at its cherubic face, so similar to the face of the evil monster who raped you, reminding you daily of the attack, because the Lord works in mysterious ways, and sometimes He's so pressured to put a little soul in a human body that He just must compel the most heinous of sinners to attack you, hypothetically speaking, holding a knife to your throat to insure that a brand new child in His image be borne from your womb. It's all a part of His plan.

So, Andrea, you consider that regardless of the stage of development, fetuses have the right to live. How far back does that go, anyway? When a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, or when the egg is fertilized? By your logic, you have to go back to fertilization, and if so, you just may have just thrown away a human being during your last menstrual cycle (assuming you don't use birth control and you and Adam are, you know, "doin' it").

Oh, and if you are using birth control (other than condoms), you're potentially aborting fertilized eggs -- human beings -- by making your womb inhospitable to them. And so are millions of other women... so shouldn't you guys be pushing for an end to birth control, too? Or would that not be "pragmatic"? I don't know about you, but if someone were out there murdering infants, I wouldn't give a darn about how "pragmatic" it might be to stop them from doing it.

Plus, I wonder why South Dakota made the crime of abortion only a Class 5 felony. Isn't it premeditated murder, a Class 1 felony? Don't you think it's bigoted to punish murderers of the pre-born less than murderers of the born?

Wow. I don't know which is more perplexing to me: anti-abortion women or Log Cabin Republicans.


Boise's 'Heterosexuals Only' Protest

heterosexuals-only.gif
Idaho's legislature is pushing another one of those discriminatory "one man one woman" anti-gay marriage amendments to their Constitution this next election (because, you know, Idaho is overrun with queers wantin' to get hitched). Nevermind that Idaho already has laws against gay marriage; the Potatahoans are worried that one of them thar "activist judges" will force them kicking and screaming into the 21st century or something.

So it was with great pleasure that I saw an anonymous comment on the Blend reporting from my home town on an ingenious protest waged by the state's gay and lesbian community:
BOISE - Stickers saying "Heterosexuals Only" were placed on bus benches and public drinking fountains in downtown Boise and at the Statehouse Monday morning.

The group says it used the "Heterosexuals Only" stickers to symbolize "Whites Only" and "Colored Only" stickers from past discrimination in the history of the American civil rights movement.

"In the struggle for human rights, an iconic image of that struggle has been signs that exclude classes of people," an activist said. "You know, 'Whites Only' on drinking fountains, or blacks to the back of the bus."

The group also said it selected Monday March 6 because it was the anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march during the civil rights struggle.
That's just plum brilliant! I'm surprised no one has thought of it before. It makes the very illustrative point that forces your average spudnik to address the truly discriminatory nature of this amendment.

Although many Idahoans just won't get it, anyway:
At the Statehouse, some legislative leaders disapproved not only of the way the group chose to express its message, but they also said the message itself is wrong.

"Because I think everybody has the same rights here in Idaho and we're not taking any body's rights away," said Sen. Bob Geddes, (R) Soda Spring, president pro tem of the Idaho Senate.
Well, he has a point, of sorts, since gays can't marry in Idaho, anyway. But he's not going to take a very liberal view of marriage rights, considering he's from LDS Springs. Many of these wingnuts will tell you: "hey, gays, nobody is stopping you from marry someone of the opposite sex just like anyone else!" to justify their idea that they aren't being discriminatory, which is an idea just as valid as putting a polling booth in a strip club and telling the wingnuts, "hey, wingnut, nobody is stopping from voting at the titty bar just like anyone else!"

I wish the protestors luck (I'll bet I know a couple of them), but they haven't a chance in hell of stopping this amendment from passing. I'll be stunned if it doesn't garner 70% of the vote.

[Fabulously cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Schmidt's endorsements are rolling back



Jon at The Pensito Review has this pic up of Schmidt at a much greater size and it is ghastly. Hat tip, Jon, for keeping your lunch down.

Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-OH), the loser who embarrasingly slagged decorated war hero John Murtha (D-PA) on the House floor, is having a hard time with endorsements on her campaign web site.

Both Ohio Republican congressman, Rep. Steve Chabot, and wingnut freak from Colorado, Rep. Tom Tancredo, are "cutting and running" away from her.
Chabot says he didn't endorse Schmidt, who faces a primary challenge May 2 from Republican Bob McEwen, a former congressman from southern Ohio.

"We have not been asked for an endorsement by anyone in that race," Chabot spokesman Gary Lindgren said Tuesday, adding that Chabot backs both Schmidt and McEwen. But Schmidt spokesman Barry Bennett said Schmidt has a different recollection of a Feb. 16 meeting with Chabot, during which she asked for Chabot's support and was told she had it. "She believes she walked out of that meeting with his endorsement," Bennett said. "Now they are saying that his support doesn't mean an endorsement?"

...Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., wasn't as understanding. The chairman of the House caucus on immigration reform asked Schmidt on Monday to take his name off her Web site because he had not endorsed her, either.

"We do not customarily endorse congressional candidates and we did not in this case," Tancredo spokesman Will Adams said.


Rev. Tinkywinky warns Soulforce not to come to Liberty U.


He's afraid someone might catch "the gay" from Soulforce.

Last April, Mel White of the gay rights group Soulforce sent representatives to Liberty University to meet with students there. To Falwell's surprise, 55 students met with the Soulforce folks, greeting them with baked goods, water, and a lot of pleasantries.

This year, he's warning Soulforce to stay away again -- he's protecting the "children." (365gay):
Thirty-five young adults will begin a national journey for gay rights Thursday when they set off from Washington for a national ride that will take them to schools that ban the enrollment of LGBT students.

...“We must cut off the suffering at its source. The source is religion-based oppression, and it has taken place for centuries,” says Jacob Reitan, Founder and Co-Director of the Soulforce.

...Liberty University has told Soulforce to stay away from its Lynchburg campus.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, the university's chancellor, said the Ride is nothing more than a fundraising ploy and media event.

"The parents of our students have entrusted their sons and daughters to our care," he said in a statement. "Liberty has an obligation to these parents not to expose their children to a 'media circus' that might present immorality in a positive light."


Never enough

How much religious indoctrination, er, instruction, does the average winger child need? Is it not taking? Let's see, there are church services a few times a week, plus Sunday school. They can study the bible in the home, anytime after school. AND IT ISN'T ENOUGH for some Oklahoma legislators, who want kids out of school for more.
A bill that would let public school students leave school for one hour each week for religious instruction has been approved by the Oklahoma House. The legislation stirred impassioned debate in which supporters said removing prayer from public schools has driven Christians into the closet.


State Representative Kevin Calvey, a Republican candidate for Congress, said he's offended by what he calls the "religion of secularism that the ACLU has forced down our throats." A Democratic lawmaker responded that a student who wants to pray in school can do so whenever he wants by merely bowing his head and praying by himself. The measure now goes to the Oklahoma Senate, where similar measures have died in recent years.


Alabama church fires set as 'a joke'

A joke, huh?
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Two college students arrested Wednesday in a string of nine rural Alabama church arsons told authorities that the first fires were set as “a joke” and later blazes were intended as a diversion, federal agents said.

A third college student was arrested later Wednesday in the serial arsons, according to WVTM-TV of Birmingham.

Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell Lee Debusk Jr., both students at Birmingham-Southern College, appeared in federal court Wednesday and were ordered held on church arson charges pending a hearing Friday.

Matthew Lee Cloyd, reportedly a student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was arrested midday, the WVTM reported.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the Alabama church arson case a top priority as scores of agents joined state and local law officers in the probe.

Authorities analyzed tire tracks and traced the purchase of the tires to Cloyd.

There was no racial pattern — five of the churches had white congregations and five black. All were Baptist, the dominant faith in the region, and mostly in isolated country settings
Here's a joke for you; it starts like this: "Three dumb-ass fresh meat college kids walk into a prison..."

Thank goodness they were caught and that no one was injured. Can we now put give a scolding wag of the finger to those Freepjects who guessed that it must be atheists or liberals or gays or gay liberal atheists who were setting the fires? Looks like it was just dumb old Southern bumpkins. I wonder who they voted for in the last election?

(I'm also reminded of Bill Maher's New Rule: "If you don't want to pay the taxes that pay for the fire department, you shouldn't get to call the fire department when your church catches fire. Instead, pray for rain." I myself wouldn't go that far; after all, a burning church might injure innocent children or nearby buildings.)


102 Irish priests suspected of abuse

Ka-ching! Papa Ratzi can't do a damn thing to stop the bleeding caused by his ghastly cover-ups of the raping, molesting priests in the church.


Have the payouts topped a billion yet? The Ireland scandal involves more than 2,800 priests who have worked in the Dublin archdiocese. All those personnel records are being combed through in an investigation that involves at least 350 victims. (AP):
The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Dublin said Wednesday that 102 of its priests are suspected of sexually or physically abusing at least 350 children since 1940 - the biggest such admission to date in Ireland. The office of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said it was publishing its findings ahead of this month's expected formation of a government-appointed commission to investigate the history and handling of such abuse in Ireland.

...It found that eight priests in Dublin were convicted of abuse, while 32 priests have been sued for damages by 105 victims at a cost to the archdiocese of $7 million. That figure includes about $2 million in legal bills for both sides.

...But the report said costs were expected to increase significantly because 40 cases remained unsettled, while church authorities had positively identified at least 350 abuse victims and "a possible further 40 persons who may have been abused but who it is not yet possible to identify or trace."

...Martin, a veteran Vatican diplomat appointed here in 2003, said he believed the archdiocese would have to sell off some of its properties to cover the mounting compensation bill. He called that a necessary sacrifice to right past wrongs, as much as was possible.
Thanks to Blender Laura for the pointer.


The Empty Wig threatens voters with 'mandatory' survey


If the Repugs can't raise money the old-fashioned way, they just try to intimidate and scare people into giving them money. This is incredible bullsh*t, coming right from my Senator, the Empty Wig herself, Elizabeth Dole, who is head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The Southern Dem at BlueNC has the scoop on this bottom-feeder, bush-league political quackery.

Elizabeth Dole sent out an NRSC fundraiser intentionally disguised as a "Return" and sent to "U.S. Individual Resident". Upon a quick second look I did see that the return address had the American Eagle and Elizabeth Dole's name at the top of the envelope. Someone else might honestly think that this was an official notification from the government. Especially, an elderly person or a new registrant who hasn't been politically active in the past.

...Enclosed in the envelope was a four page letter and a three page survey. The survey was designed to look like a tax form. The very first sentence of the letter is,
Your immediate attention is required on a confidential and time-sensitive matter.
First, this is unsolicited. Neither my husband nor I requested this solicitation. Imagine my surprise when I continued to read and found these paragraphs:
DO NOT DESTROY YOUR SURVEY! The enclosed Republican Senate Leadership Survey is an OFFICIAL REPUBLICAN PARTY DOCUMENT. Your Survey is REGISTERED IN YOUR NAME ONLY and MUST BE ACCOUNTED FOR upon completion of this project. If you decide not to represent your local voting district in this important Republican Senate Leadership Survey - please RETURN THE SURVEY DOCUMENT - AT ONCE - IN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED.
I find this last part to be completely out-of-the-box batsh*t vile -- if you choose to "opt out" of filling the survey Dole and the GOP make a last-gasp effort to extract money from the voter's wallet!
No. I do not wish to participate in the Survey, nor do I wish to make a donation to help the Republican Party. I am returning my Survey Document, along with a contribution of $11 to help cover the cost of tabulating and redistributing my Survey.
BlueNC has the complete survey and letter online.

It smells like flop-sweat desperation by the GOP if you ask me. They have to use lowest-common-denominator scare tactics, because they are afraid that the sheeple aren't going to come out for the mid-terms.

***

Chris Kromm at the Koufax-nominated Facing South, points out that Bush isn't faring so well here in this region, which may explain some of the above flopsweat by the NRSC.
How's President Bush doing in the "solid South?" Not so well, according to a new poll from Elon University in five Southern states:
A new Elon University Poll shows support for President George W. Bush stands at 43 percent in five Southeastern states, while 52 percent of citizens disapprove or strongly disapprove of the job Bush is doing. Details and other poll results...

The poll, conducted Feb. 20-23 and Feb. 26-March 2 by the Elon University Institute for Politics and Public Affairs, surveyed 1,277 residents in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Note that this is just a hair above the national average, which after plummeting into the mid-30% approval range last November is now hovering around 40% across the country.


Breaking: arrests in Alabama church fires

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues has a post up on this. From the Birmingham News:
Two men arrested in a spate of west and central Alabama church fires are Birmingham-Southern College students, according to federal sources. Ben Moseley and Russell Debusk were brought to the federal courthouse in Birmingham this morning.

"I can confirm the FBI was on our campus last evening conducting an investigation,” school spokeswoman Linda Hallmark said today. “At this time, we know nothing more than that. We’re waiting on information and instruction from the FBI."
There is a third suspect is still out there. A press conference will be held later today.


Securing the homeland on a wing and a prayer

Do you f*cking believe this?! Bush has just created, by executive order, a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.

Our Dear Leader has spoken:
The Center shall begin operations no later than 45 days from the date of this order...The purpose of the Center shall be to coordinate agency efforts to eliminate regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of social and community services.
Comandante Agi at The Defeatists couldn't let this mind-blower go.

I hope the president nominates Talibangelist Pat Robertson to head this thing. He could protect the homeland by issuing fatwas against foreign leaders and asking God to send hurricanes to wipe out countries. They'd have to change the terror alert threat level chart to something more Biblically appropriate.

Faith-based cargo inspection: "Only God knows whether or not a suitcase nuke is one of those container ships, so let's place our trust in Him. Faith-based border patrol: "We'll let you in only if you pledge your devotion to Jesus!". And the prison system? Well, brother Jeb already has that covered.
My question -- how soon before some of the all-too-familiar black pastors step up to the trough with some proposals for Dear Leader so they can cash in on this tip?


DPW

Paul, over at his pad, made the following observation about Dubai Ports World and its incredible bravado.
From an article in the Washington Post:
"DP World officials suggested yesterday that within days, Peninsular & Oriental's operations will belong to them, no matter what Congress does."
With all due respect folks, you might have been wise to consider a different choice of words there. What's the future hold? Lemmee see. (holding hands up to forehead) It's coming to me, yes, it's coming to me, I can see -- I can very clearly see a bunch of really pissed Americans kicking your sorry butts all the way back to Dubai.

And another thing. You DP World folks might just want to consider using a spokesperson named Jim Smith or something. Anything but Sultan Bin Sulayem. Somehow I think that name doesn't do much to reassure us that our ports are going to be in good hands.
DPW is a bully, just like its administration bedmates, and Paul's right, they win no points for smart PR. The sad truth is that this only plays into the hands of the Arab-phobes opposing the deal for that reason alone.

It distracts people from the real issue -- Bush's steadfast commitment to the deal, bucking, seemingly senselessly, Congress and the public. What this deal with the UAE represents is way more than a port management enterprise. It is jockeying for a choice military staging area for future Gulf "activities". That kind of strategery trumps everything for the Bushies.


Video of the gay-bashing soldiers of the Third Infantry Division

Savannah's WTOC has video of these five beasts, who beat the crap out of a gay man on Sunday morning in front of Blaine's Back Door Bar.


One of those charged, Sidney Swift, boasted: "Yes, I beat that mother-fucking faggot up." From the WTOC report, which included an interview with Georgia Equality board member Kevin Clark:
"How dare you, as a human being, violate and harm, savagely beat a fellow human being?" That's what Kevin Clark would like to say to the suspects. "Words can't describe the fear, the anger, the feeling of violation."

He knows that feeling all too well. He says he's been verbally attacked several times just because of his sexual orientation. That's why he's become a gay advocate, aiming to make a difference. "This is not welcome in Savannah, not welcome in Georgia, not welcome in this country," he said.

Clark says, despite a few isolated issues, he's always felt welcome in Savannah. He even flies the rainbow flag proudly over his bed and breakfast downtown. But these men's hate has taken away some of his security, and Clark says, if convicted, they should pay.

"They have to be given the most severe penalty possible to send a signal to any wannabes out there, whether they be military or not, that you can't do this," Clark said.

Because the men don't have any direct ties to the area, the judge felt they were a flight risk. So all five soldiers will be held without bond.
My earlier post is here.


Whiny baby Bauer: Bush is losing touch with his 'base'



Tiny Gary Bauer can't stop wringing his hands; the downtrodden Christofascist is now blaming Dear Leader's bottom-dwelling poll numbers on a drop-off support from his "base." Gary, that's all he has left, otherwise he'd be below 30%, you knobend.
President George W. Bush's approval ratings have reached an all-time low, and one pro-family advocate believes it could be a sign that his administration is losing touch with its base. Gary Bauer, director of the Campaign for Working Families, says the White House has been slow to respond to several incidents lately, and that has contributed to the president's low approval ratings, now near 40 percent.

Bauer says he has heard rumors that fatigue is setting in. "Quite a few of the key people in the White House are, quite frankly, tired," he notes, "and that's understandable .... It's a draining atmosphere -- there is no slow day." If that is the case, the conservative pro-family leader feels the solution is obvious.

"I hope the president will look at his staff and perhaps bring in some people who are better connected to the values of middle America," he says. Critics claim the slow response to the ports deal, Cheney's shooting incident, and immigration issues all point to a tired presidential staff.
A fun flashback to 2000:


Little Gary flips some flapjacks and tumbles off the stage at a campaign stop during his failed presidential run.

More mewling from Bauer:
* More boo-hoos: Gary Bauer and the "persecuted Christians"
* Gary Bauer: it's the media's fault that military recruiting is tanking

***

Anyway, as I said at the top, Tiny Gary's mistaken. The only folks still propping up Dear Leader in the polls are the fringe element. Yesterday, on NPR's All Things Considered, Linda Wertheimer had a report on just that phenomenon. You can listen to it here.

The "social conservatives," according to Pew Research Center, make up about 11 percent of Americans over age 18. They are almost all Republican -- and mostly women. More info from Pew, gathered in the aftermath of the 2004 election:
Political Typologies: Social Conservatives
AT A GLANCE:

11 percent of adult population
13 percent of registered voters

PARTY ID: 82 percent Republican, 18 percent Independent/No Preference, 0 percent Democrat (97 percent are Republican/Lean Republican)

BASIC DESCRIPTION: While supportive of an assertive foreign policy, Social Conservatives are somewhat more religious than Enterprisers. (Enterprisers are defined as an extremely partisan Republican group whose politics are driven by a belief in the free enterprise system, with social values that reflect a conservative agenda). In policy terms, Social Conservatives break from the Enterprisers in their cynical views of business, modest support for environmental and other regulation, and strong anti-immigrant sentiment.

DEFINING VALUES: Conservative on social issues ranging from gay marriage to abortion. Support an assertive foreign policy and oppose government aid for the needy, believing people need to make it on their own. Social Conservatives are strongly worried about the impact of immigrants on American society. They're more middle-of-the-road on economic and domestic policies, expressing some skepticism about business power and profits, and some support for government regulation to protect the environment. While not significantly better-off than the rest of the nation, most Social Conservatives express strong feelings of financial satisfaction and security.

KEY BELIEFS:

* Homosexuality is a way of life that should be discouraged by society:

General Population -- 44 percent
Social Conservatives -- 65 percent

* The growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens traditional American customs and values:

General Population -- 40 percent
Social Conservatives -- 68 percent

* Poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return:

General Population -- 34 percent
Social Conservatives -- 68 percent

* Business corporations make too much profit:

General Population -- 54 percent
Social Conservatives -- 66 percent

WHO THEY ARE: Predominantly white (91 percent), female (58 percent) and the oldest of all groups (average age is 52; 47 percent are 50 or older); nearly half live in the South. Most (53 percent) attend church weekly; 43 percent are white evangelical Protestants (double the national average of 21 percent).

LIFESTYLE NOTES: 56 percent have a gun in their home, and 51 percent attend Bible study groups.

2004 ELECTION: Bush 86 percent, Kerry 4 percent.

MEDIA USE: Half of all Social Conservatives cite newspapers as a main source of news; the Fox News Channel (34 percent) and network evening news (30 percent) are their major TV news sources.
There really aren't any surprises in these figures. It's just depressing to see them again.

A couple of silver linings:
* A lot of them are old, and they are going to die off.

* It's clear that the Republicans don't know how to handle the anti-corporate mentality of this group, which revolves more around self-concern than any commitment to social justice, of course. Big profits and fat cats with golden parachutes as they close American plants and outsource, just isn't popular with folks of any political stripe, save the ruling class that benefits financially from the greed and corruption of a large slice of corporate America. It's the one area you know the fringe element is having a difficult time swallowing the anything-for-cash Bush's ports deal, the Abramoff sleaze, etc. Maybe some will stay home and not vote over this one.

* The "newcomers from other countries". That euphemism won't wash with the freeper crowd. We're talking illegal immigration, specfically those brown people coming over the southern border. This is another thorn in the side of the Republicans. Bush's business masters want the cheap labor to exploit, and he answers to his masters, not the come-to-Jeebus xenophobic crowd. They know this, and they are angry.

***

The big problem with the immigration issue is that neither party has seriously addressed the issue of how to deal with the flood of undocumented workers. When do you ever see this topic on Sunday talk shows? It's another head-in-the-sand, sorry-ass symptom of Dems afraid of appearing to be racist and Republicans afraid of appearing to favor the business class over Main Street America, where jobs are evaporating (well, some don't mind).

I hate to break it to Dems, but it isn't racist to see that undocumented workers (and their families) are overwhelming the emergency rooms because they have no health care, and their children are responsible for the explosive growth in the public schools, stressing state budgets, to name only two issues that should concern everyone.

The problem is that no politician wants to look America (including those social conservatives) in the eye and say -- you want cheap food in your market, affordable new houses, and your lawn mowed on the cheap -- and you're getting it on the backs of undocumented workers picking those vegetables, building those new homes, and cutting your grass. These workers are helping to drive the economy -- and to drain social safety net at the very same time. No one is taking a realistic approach to figure anything out. It's why you have the governors of border states outraged at Washington, no matter the party affiliation.

Meanwhile, people who are trying to immigrate legally continue get the shaft, stuck in a bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork and morass of rules and regulations just to work here long-term, never mind become a U.S. citizen.

Everyone loses because of the inertia -- our government isn't working; it's all about getting by, posturing and getting re-elected, not actual problem-solving.


'I beat that mother-fucking faggot up'

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Let's see...you sign up to serve your country, fight the enemy abroad, to protect the homeland...and when you're on home soil for recreation, you proudly do a little fag bashing -- it's the all-American way for these cretins in Savannah, GA.

What a nice touch that these manly military men liked going five-on-one to prove their mettle. (365gay):
Five soldiers have been charged in the severe beating of a gay man outside a Savannah gay club.

People looked on helpless Sunday as the soldiers beat David Bennett, 37 on the street in front of Blaine's Back Door Bar. The attackers left leaving Bennett barely conscious and lying in a pool of blood. Bennett suffered cuts and abrasions in the beating. He was released from hospital on Monday. Based on witnesses descriptions police picked up five soldiers a short while after the beating and returned them to the scene for the witnesses to identify.

The soldiers, all members of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, have been charged with aggravated battery. According to the police incident report, one of the men, Sidney Swift, boasted: "Yes, I beat that mother-fucking faggot up."

The report said that other soldiers at the scene told Swift to be quiet because they were "one team, and it was one fight."
Georgia's legislature, by the way, is considering hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation.

***

Not to be topped by the above story, look at this bullsh*t...I'm so enraged I don't even know what to say.

US soldier's rape sentence cut due to Iraq stress.
A U.S. soldier who raped a Nigerian woman in Italy was given a lighter sentence because the court deemed his tour of duty in Iraq had made him less sensitive to the suffering of others.

According to an Italian court document obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, James Michael Brown, a 27-year-old paratrooper from Oregon stationed in northern Italy, was sentenced to five years and eight months for rape in February 2004.

Brown beat and handcuffed the woman, a Nigerian resident in the town of Vicenza. He raped her vaginally and anally and left her to wander the streets naked in search of help.

The crime would have earned him an eight-year sentence, but the judges reduced the penalty due to the "extenuating circumstances" of the psychological effects of Brown's year of service in Iraq, the document said.

...In a detailed explanation of the reasons for the sentence, the judges said U.S. soldiers in Iraq faced "a guerrilla war against an invisible enemy, conducted using all means, to which there is still no end in sight, which is extremely wearing for the occupation troops."

..."The prolonged psychological stress to which the accused was subjected and the lowered importance he ended up giving to the life and wellbeing of those around him can only have influenced the committing of the crimes."
Thanks to Blender Mark for the pointer.

An update post is here.


To Be a Mother

Mamasquab, a guest contributor at Shakespeare's Sister, has posted one of the most eleoquent defenses of a woman's right to choose that I have ever read. Go read the whole thing... but here's a taste:
The justification for this vicious piece of misogyny [the SD anti-abortion law] seems to be based on the following notions: (a) a woman is a mother from the moment a fertilized egg begins to grow in her body; (b) mothers are morally obliged to take care of their children at any personal cost to themselves; and (c) it is the state's responsibility to force reluctant mothers to meet their moral duties to their children. I won't waste my breath upbraiding the South Dakota legislators for their apparent indifference to the social context in which women are assigned these duties--a context where there is unrelenting violence against women, much of it perpetrated by husbands or boyfriends; where rape and lesser forms of sexual coercion are widespread; where mothers, not fathers, are almost solely responsible for hands-on childcare; and where social institutions and practices are systemically rigged to favor the interests of men over those of women. These points have been made many times before and I haven't the heart to repeat them. Instead, I'm going to plead for a revised understanding of what pregnancy is. It's when we think of pregnancy as something that happens to a woman rather than something she does - when we think of pregnant bodies as flowerpots, ovens, or incubators - that the awfulness of the particular kind of wrong about to be done to South Dakota women escapes our notice.


Maryland winger trying to boot judge who ruled on gay marriage


What a prick. This is the guy who said that gay marriage "is not within the concept of the laws of nature."
A leading foe of same-sex marriage in the Maryland legislature is calling for the impeachment of the Baltimore judge who overturned a state law banning gay unions.

Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) introduced a resolution in the House Tuesday calling for Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Brooke Murdock to be removed from the bench.

The motion says that Murdock is incompetence and overstepped her legal power in overturning the law. In January Murdock ruled that the ban on gay marriage "cannot withstand constitutional challenge."

...The impeachment motion was referred to a legislative committee. The Maryland legislature has not impeached a judge in more than a century.
More on this bastard:
* Don Dwyer's constituent services
* Bastards out of Maryland


Light reading for the winger child

Shakes Sis has gotten advance notice of winger Katharine DeBrecht's new children's opus, Help! Mom! Hollywood's in my Hamper!, the stunning sequel to Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under my Bed!


Dems -- there's nobody home

It's like a dial tone, white noise, a box with wrapped nicely and you open it and there's nothing in there. The Dems are working hard to do the impossible -- wrest defeat from the jaws of victory in these times. With the corrupt, amoral Republicans on the Hill and a White House constantly off balance, how incompetent and disorganized can the Dems be?

Katrina, Tom DeLay/Abramoff, Iraq, Cheney, the bankruptcy bill, raping the environment, the list of atrocities goes on and on.

Yet the Dems simply cannot latch onto a clear message, an alternative way to pull this country out of the flipping hole it's in, and here it is, a midterm election year well under way and nada. (WaPo):
The Democratic leaders in Congress -- [House Minority Leader, California's Nancy] Pelosi and Sen. Harry M. Reid (Nev.) -- are the party's chief strategists and architects of the agenda, which they view as a way to market party ideas on energy, health care, education and other issues. They have held countless meetings to construct the right list, consulting with governors, mayors and just about every Democratic adviser in town.

"By the time the election rolls around, people are going to know where Democrats stand," Reid said.

But many in the party have their doubts. On Feb. 27, Reid and Pelosi appeared before the Democratic Governors Association. At one point in the conversation, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, noting that the two leaders had talked about a variety of themes and ideas, asked for help. Could they reduce the message to just two or three core ideas that governors could echo in the states?

According to multiple accounts from those in the room, Reid said they had narrowed the list to six and proceeded to talk about them. Pelosi then offered her six -- not all the same as Reid's. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said later: "One of the other governors said 'What do you think?' and I said 'You know what I think? I don't think we have a message.' "
As Blender Henway said in an email, "Like Linus and his blanket, Democrats in a daze, clinging to their focus group. Disaster lurks."


Mitt Romney -- Catholic church should be able to nix adoptions by gays


Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's on the fast track (he thinks) for 2008, and his strategy is to mow down gays all along the way, kowtowing to the bigoted bishops who want to prevent gays from adopting.
Romney said he doesn’t have the power to unilaterally exempt Catholic Charities from the state’s anti-discrimination laws. But he said he wants to let Catholic agencies continue placing children with adoptive parents without violating the teachings of their faith.

"The church through its Catholic Charities provides an extraordinary service to the commonwealth by placing many special needs children every year in homes," Romney told reporters. "That’s a service I hope we will continue to be able to avail ourselves of." Romney did not elaborate on what options he is exploring.

... Seven members of Catholic Charities board stepped down last Wednesday in protest of the bishops’ stance. An eighth board member resigned on Thursday. The 42-member board had voted unanimously in December to continue considering gay households for adoptions.

...House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said he supports the state’s anti-discrimination law, including the part allowing gay parents to adopt.

"The state’s top priority should be placing children in loving and caring homes, regardless of adoptive parents race, ethnicity and sexual orientation," DiMasi said last week.


We're exporting democracy over there so we don't have to have it over here

Wonkette reports on a very disturbing bit of censorship being administered on the web access of our Marines. Yes, this is the kind of free speech and democracy we can point to as an example of the freedom we're attempting to bring to the Middle East:
Just to let you know, the US Marines have blocked access to “Wonkette” along with numerous other sites such as personal email (i.e. Yahoo, AT&T, Hotmail, etc), blogs that don't agree with the government point of view, personal websites, and some news organizatons. This has taken effect as of the beginning of February. I have no problem with them blocking porn sites (after all it is a government network), but cutting off access to our email and possibly-not-toeing-the-government-line websites is a bit much.
So, how far does the web site blocking go? Wonkette digs a little deeper and finds that there's a certain, shall we say, fair and balanced method employed to determine what's OK for our Marines to read:
Unfortunately anonomizers don't work out here (never have). Anyway, I had a few minutes today and thought I'd look and see what else was banned on the Marine web here. I think the results speak for themselves:

Wonkette – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.wonkette.com/) is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”

Bill O’Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) – OK

Air America (www.airamericaradio.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”

Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) – OK

ABC News “The Note” – OK

Website of the Al Franken Show (www.alfrankenshow.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”

G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) – OK

Don & Mike Show (www.donandmikewebsite.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.donandmikewebsite.com/) is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies.”
So, please tell me how Bill O'Loofah, Rush PillPopper, and G. Felon Liddy don't qualify as "Politics/Opinion", but Al Franken and Air America do? Oh, wait, I know, it's because the former three aren't opinion, they're facts.
Kossack Hunter sums it all up:
Gee, I'm sensing a pattern here.
Bill O'Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) - OK
Cost himself a pile of money by making sexually explicit phone calls to a female coworker while masturbating.
Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) - OK
Oxycontin addict, used his maid as unwilling drug mule. Currently not in jail for some reason yet to be explained.
G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) - OK
Felon.

Quite the standards, there. Color me shocked that they're allowing Republicans to use uniformed troops as props at campaign events, in direct and unambiguous violation of military rules.
I don't suppose that Radical Writ or Pam's House Blend makes it through the filters, either.


Break out the tiny violins!

The man who ran the Mr. Hetero contest and the bible-beating, anti-gay freak in Massachusetts are whining because they had to foot the bill for security at their events -- and the homos are to blame.
A pro-family activist says it's outrageous that a pastor was charged thousands of dollars for a police detail to protect those attending a Christian event from homosexual activists who were demonstrating outside.


Last month Tom Crouse, a pastor in Worcester, Massachusetts, held a pro-family, Christian event that focused on God's design of heterosexuality and featured a "Mr. Heterosexual" contest. However, various homosexual groups attempted to force the event to be cancelled. When those efforts failed, about 100 pro-homosexual activists congregated in the streets outside the facility where the event was held.

But prior to allowing the Christian rally to take place in historic Mechanics Hall, local law enforcement authorities demanded that Crouse pay $6,200 up front to cover the costs for a police detail, equipment that would be used to search the attendees, and training for staff to operate the equipment. In contrast, according to a Massachusetts-based pro-family group, on the evening of the rally, police permitted the pro-homosexual demonstrators -- who had announced their intentions days beforehand -- to protest without a permit, blocked traffic to allow the demonstration, and did not charge the demonstrators any money for a police detail.

The group Article 8 Alliance reports that those entering the rally in Mechanics Hall were subjected to "airport-style security searches and other things which no other event at that hall ever requires." Also featured during the event was Jonathan Owens, a 22-year-old former homosexual who shared his testimony how a relationship with Jesus Christ had led out of that lifestyle.


Alliance president Brian Camenker says Christians throughout the nation should be outraged and concerned.

"What happened inside was so harmless that even the gay activist newspaper said they couldn't understand why they considered it such a big deal -- but they did," he says. Camenker explains what he perceives to be those activists' rationale. "They don't want the message that you can leave homosexuality or any discussion that criticizes the homosexual lifestyle to be allowed, and especially from a Christian perspective. This drives them crazy."

The "offensive" billboard that Camenker had removed by pressuring ClearChannel Communications last year. Camenker said: "You have two men embracing, wrapped in the American flag, advertising a porno website. How can you get more offensive than that?"

Related:
* Wingnuttery in Massachusetts


Snippets and blogwhoring

Paste links, items, blogwhore at will...

* Both Doug Ireland and Facing South cover the passing on Monday of activist Anne Braden. Named to the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame, she and her husband, Carl fought for black integration and equality in the South, and in her later years, was committed to labor issues, environmental justice and gay and lesbian equality.

* Gay youth lobby at Capitol for school safety bills. of Fritz passed this news on from California, and said: "The anti-gay protestors mentioned in the article came off looking very bad. They looked like they were of the Fred Phelps ilk --with signs reading "Homosexuality is a sin" etc."

* Catherine points to this awful news in the UK: A woman left infertile after cancer treatment cannot use her frozen embryos to have a baby, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

* The Rotting CryptkeeperTM gets spanked in Indiana. Hoosiers just passed a new law that makes disrupting funerals a felony. Blender Paul noted, "A while back I mentioned to you that the Phelps clan was biting off more than they could chew when the started the new tactic of protesting at the funerals of those military members killed in Iraq. I see that their chickens are coming home to roost."

* The latest from MadKane: Only Bush Can Protect Us Some Say, and George Bush Keeps Demanding Our Trust.

* Conservatives Jews consider lifting gay ban on marriage, rabbis. This is big, and positive, news. The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, a 25-member panel of rabbis and lay leaders, will convene next week in Maryland to revisit its 1992 consensus statement on homosexuality. Hat tip, Holly.

* Predatory payday lenders booted out of NC. The Bushies would call payday lending "providing a service" or an example of the joys of "free market enterprise." Most low-wealth folks living hand-to-mouth would call them vampires, who charge in excess of 500% for a short term loan. These predatory lenders are finally being chased out of the Tar Heel State:
Attorney General Roy Cooper and consumer advocates declared the state's 8 1/2-year-old experiment with payday lending over when three companies decided to stop offering the short-term, low-dollar loans in North Carolina.

...In 1997, the state began allowing payday loans. The law expired in 2001, but the largest lending chains linked up with out-of-state banks to keep offering the loans. But federal regulators frowned on the practice, and Cooper had vowed to fight payday lenders or close them down, in part leading to their withdrawal from the state.

..."It seems like they prey on those folks, on those that don't have the best credit in the world, that don't have the best education in the world," said Lisa Engelkins of Winston-Salem, a single mother who paid $1,254 in fees on a $255 loan she couldn't pay off.
* Blender Joseph Rainmound has a diary up on DKos, Gay Marriage: A Modest Proposal, that you should check out. His proposal?
The other day on another diary I had a short discussion with a man who believed that we should hold off on the "gay marriage issue" until the political climate was more appropriate. Democrats would lose more than they gained by pursuing this issue now.

That's when I had my idea: a modest proposal for politicians to demonstrate support without having to actually say "I support these people."

Get divorced.
That should elicit a few comments!


* Colorado's Marilyn Musgrave Uses Soldiers as Political Props. This FMA broad is sickening. Hat tip, Eva.


There is just no reasoning with these people

swindellb6.gif
In my constant battle against the forces of the American Taliban, I sometimes wonder just what argument I can make to get these people to understand that we are a secular nation (albeit with a Christian majority), and only by remaining a secular nation can we hope to remain a cohesive Union, and also that the erosion of the wall between church and state hurts church much more than it hurts state.

Then I remember: there is no possible way to achieve this understanding. The very definition of "faith" is to accept dogma as truth without a shred of evidence; indeed, sometimes in the face of absolutely contradictory evidence. It took the Catholic church until the 20th century to apologize to Galileo for that "sun revolves around the Earth" controversy, so what hope do I have of changing a wingnut mind with my limited resources and short life span?

Evidence of this futility hit my computer today in the form of a post [UPDATE: a now mysteriously deleted post] from the wife of my anti-blogger, Adam Graham, and an e-mail I received from Princess Barbie Talibania. First, Adam's wife's message for today:

Move over, Yahoo...


Filed under: Andrea's Posts -- Andrea Graham @ 09:01:52

... now banks are wanting in on the blasphemous advertisement campaigns.

From the envelope of a mailer Wells Fargo sent me:

On the front, in a litle box:
I AM...
On the back, in another little box:
I AM
Determined to better manage my finances online.
Don't they know Jesus almost got stoned for his version?

"Before Abraham was--I AM!"

Of course this "blasphemy" (one of the three most ridiculous "crimes" humans have ever dreamed up) is because "I AM" is the name of the Hebrew God (Yahweh), so a bank can't use that first-person singular pronoun in combination with the conjugation of the verb "to be" without offending God.

I couldn't resist leaving a comment:
I AM
what I AM, and that's all that I AM
I'm Popeye the Sailor man.

Blasphemer!
The other bit of wingnuttiness I received was an e-mail from the mailing list of Princess Barbie Talibania. Unfortunately I deleted it before I could copy the actual text, but the gist of it was her giddy celebration of South Dakota's ban on all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. Part of her spiel had something to do with "it's great that the people of South Dakota as a state were rising up to call for an end to Roe v. Wade", which caught me by surprise, because it was the legislature and governor of South Dakota that passed this odious bill, and polls routinely show that by a two-to-one margin, American people do not support overturning Roe. I imagine if you put the matter up for a vote, it would be difficult to get a majority to support the idea of forcing a brutalized rape victim to bear her rapist's baby, or forcing a thirteen-year-old girl to bear her father's / brother's / uncle's baby.

I would never, ever, ever wish for any woman to suffer the horror of a rape. But if such a thing were to happen to Barbie in some post-Roe no-abortions-unless-your-life-is-threatened future, and she were forced to carry her rapist's baby to term and spend the next eighteen years caring for the child whose looks remind her daily of her assailant, the sheer irony might be too much for me to avoid the temptation of schadenfreude. Fortunately, I strive to actually be Christlike, so I'm disgusted that I've even written this paragraph.

I wonder, though, if she would actually go through with it? It's easy to call for an end to Roe when it's an abstract concept that only affects (in Barbie's mind) morally bankrupt party sluts who can't keep their legs closed and "chose" to become pregnant, but it's a different can of wombs, er, worms, when it's you facing that pregnancy and childbirth and eighteen years of motherhood, especially if it happened because of a brutal rape. Who wants to bet that our American Taliban Princess would keep the incident hush-hush and quickly take a trip to Canada for a little "rest and relaxation"?

Princess Talibania ends her screed by cheerleading the upcoming end of Roe and noting that up to nine other states also have Softballs for Scalito teed up in their legislature. She could care less if a few rape victims or childhood incest victims are forced to breed; it's all about a political agenda for her. After all, if some scumbag rapes a woman or daddy rapes his teenage daughter, that's just part of God's Plan. The Lord works in mysterious ways -- sometimes through rapists and pedophiles.

Some people accuse me of hyperbole when I say that our Christian fundamentalists are as dangerous as their Muslim fundamentalists. But al Qaeda only has the power to blow a relatively small number of us up every decade or so, while Princess Barbie Talibania and her ilk have the potential of subverting freedom and civil rights of all Americans for generations to come.


'Bama's hopping on the abortion ban train

Not to be left behind in the all-important culture wars, Kathy @ Birmingham Blues passes along word that her state's elected wingers are moving along their own abortion ban bill.


SB503, submitted by Senator Hank Erwin (R-14), would prohibit abortion except in the case of a threat to the life of the mother. The relevant language (Kathy sent the bill text in an email, I don't see it online yet):
Section 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter 22 of Title 26, except in an extreme case of medical emergency where the life of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy, any person who causes or participates in the abortion of an unborn child shall be guilty of a Class B felony.
You might remember this clown; Erwin made the headlines last year for this nonsense after Katrina:
"America has been moving away from God," continued the former talk-radio host and now a media consultant and senator. "We all need to embrace godliness and churchgoing and good, godly living, and we can get divine protection for that point. The Lord is sending appeals to us," he said. "As harsh as it may sound, those hurricanes do say that God is real, and we have to realize sin has consequences."

Erwin said the catastrophic storms are part of a pattern evident in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claiming God has removed an umbrella of protection from America due to an increase in abortion, pornography and prostitution.

"If you are believer and read the Bible, you know sin has judgment," Erwin said. "New Orleans has always been known for sin. ... The wages of sin is death."
There you go. At least you know where he stands, eh?

***

Interestingly, I came across this story about Alabama, which is actually good, if contradictory news from the Christofascist point of view. How long before action is taken to roll this back by the extreme fringe whack jobs, who aren't happy at the thought of anyone having sex, let alone an abortion: Alabama ranked 4th overall in providing contraceptives.
Alabama, like many of its Southern neighbors, is known for its conservative views on abortion. But the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which compared each state's laws and policies, availability of and funding for contraceptives, ranked Alabama fourth overall in its study released last week _ not far behind top-ranked California and just ahead of New York.

"Of course few people will be surprised to see the Golden State at the top of a set of state rankings," Sharon L. Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute said. "What will be a surprise though are the other winners in the Guttmacher analysis - second-ranked Alaska, third- ranked South Carolina, fourth-ranked Alabama."

Cheryl Sabel, acting president for the Montgomery chapter of the National Organization for Women, needed a moment to think about it.

"It's not often Alabama is near the top for a good thing," she said.

Sabel acknowledged the issue of contraception provides a sort of "middle ground" for pro- and anti- abortion groups, since their use helps avoid unplanned pregnancies, and thus abortions....Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, said the group doesn't condone the distribution of condoms and other contraceptives in schools, but does see contraception as a way to cut down on abortion.
The state, by the way, has the 15th highest teen pregnancy rate, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute.


Lesbian at Maryland college elected 'homecoming king'


And you know that spurred controversy. Openly gay Jennifer Jones received 64 of the 169 votes cast for homecoming king at Hood College. She's a multi-sports athlete, a member of Hood's Student Government Association's executive board, as well as president of a campus support group for homosexual and bisexual students. (WBAL):
Hood College is reviewing its homecoming rules after a lesbian was crowned king, a college official says.

But Jennifer Jones, the 21-year-old senior who beat out three men for the honor, says her victory last month was a plus for the private liberal-arts college. "It is cool that Hood allows people to be themselves," Jones, of Newark, Del., told The Frederick News-Post. "If people didn't want me to be king, they wouldn't have nominated me and voted for me."

Waves of discontent are still rippling through the 2,100-student campus in western Maryland more than two weeks after Jones was crowned at the Feb. 18 homecoming dance, the News-Post reported Monday.

"She is not a man," said Singleton Newman, a 22-year-old senior who was among the queen candidates. "It is a gender issue, and she is a woman." Santo Provenzano, 21, who competed for king, said Jones' selection made the event seem like a joke. "It discourages guys from wanting to take part in the future," he said.
By the way, Jones didn't know she was nominated until she saw her name on the final ballots, so it wasn't a "homosexual conspiracy." But tell that to the Freepers, who are engaging is some of the most tired-ass stereotyping I've seen in a while.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Hey Jenny, If God wanted you to be King at Hood College, you'd have balls."

"Barry Bonds looks like crap since he quit the juice."

"Someone check that chick to make she's wearing his cup!"

"Doesn't say much for these "men". Maybe she was the manliest of the bunch."

"Students will ALWAYS vote for the bizarre to thumb their noses at the authority figures. So the REAL problem here is the rule(s) which allowed her to be in the running for homecoming King."

"I guess that if the students don't want this to happen again more than 169 of them will vote and it will take more than a active minority of 64 people to make a lesbian king. However, I expect that the majority will remain apathetic and won't care who win the positions of king or queen."

"Next time the kids who a real kingm will have to organize and vote like the lesbians on campus did. But most kids could care less about homecomming and did not participate in picking a lesbian for a king."

"The loser should get the ACLU to represent him in a gender discrimination suit."

"Hey there...I was varsity field hockey and all girl...not all chicks with sticks want to be...uh...chicks with...."

"Out of over 2000 students only 169 cast votes? Maybe next time more folks will pay attention."

"Could just be the hetero chicks were split amongst the three and there were enough lesbos to push their candidate to the front."

"All I can say is it's sad if she's the best man at their school."

"In defense of logic, it IS a liberal arts college. I'd be surprised if this DIDN'T happen."

"If the ratio is close to what it was when I was there, it's about 4 straight chicks to 1 lesbo."

"She probably has more balls that most of the folks votin'."

"Through in a bunch of heteros who couldn't give two hoots about Homecoming King and it's easy to see how the lesbos could run away with it. Amusing as hell that the outcome is considered newsworthy by a bunch of Brokeback journalists."

"I dont know who got the Queen job, but if it were me this woman wouldnt get within 15 feet of me. If they have a dance where the King and Queen dance ?? Fuggit about it."

"Oh, I don't know. I think the San Francisco Giants are going to draft her for their team."
Hat tip, Sarah in Chicago (who noted, "You know, you can really count on freepers to trot out the REALLY old stereotypes when they feel their tiny masculinities threatened.")


Suffer not the little lambs

As commenter (and fellow Tar Heel) Coturnix said in another thread: "When all women exit SD, what will men do? Here's one for your collection."

Yes, with Arizona Senator and administration tool John McCain backing South Dakota's abortion ban, which will have women keeping their legs crossed to avoid impregnation and forced childbirth, this may be the new recreation for some guys with an agricultural bent.

A Mesa Fire Department battalion chief was placed on administrative leave on Monday after being arrested in a bestiality case.

Police say Leroy Johnson went to a residence and knocked on the door of a home where a 13-year-old girl was staying home alone this weekend. When she didn't answer, he went into the back yard, police said, and took a lamb into a nearby barn.

"One could certainly ascertain that if you're in a barn and in a secluded area with a lamb and you're behind her and your pants are down by your ankles, then an unnatural sex act is probably occurring," said Lisa Allen of the Maricopa County Sheriff's office.
Any bets that this one is a god-fearing, Bush-voting individual? Just a thought.


The Rotting Cryptkeeper vs. The Patriot Guard Riders

Monday, March 06, 2006

patriot-guard.jpg
If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've read about Fred Phelps (a.k.a. "The Rotting Cryptkeeper") and his odious band of "christians" (they don't deserve the capital "C") who are behind the website GodHatesFags. As the name implies, Fred is pretty sure that God despises His children whom He made with an inborn same-sex attraction.

Fred used to just stick to protesting the funerals of AIDS victims or gay victims of violence like Matthew Shepard. He'd also show up at any place where they'd dare to perform "The Laramie Project" or anything remotely gay.

But now Fred has taken to protesting the funerals of presumably straight fallen American soldiers, using the twisted logic that God helps insurgents kill US soldiers with IEDs because He is so upset with America "mocking" Him with its sinful homo-lovin' ways. This has caused more than a couple of disturbing scenes where grieving soldiers' families have had to witness hateful "christian" protestors displaying signs like "Thank God for IEDs" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".

CNN has taken notice and reports on a grassroots phenomenon that has arisen to combat Phelps - the Patriot Guard Riders:
This is also very much a story about another phenomenon the Phelps protest has created. That's the birth of a group called the "Patriot Guard Riders." They're a volunteer group that came together after hearing that so many military families were being blindsided by the protesters.

More than 400 motorcycles thundered toward this showdown in Dodge City this weekend to make sure Sgt. Jessie Davila's funeral was not overshadowed by the Phelps protest. They converged from small towns all over southwest Kansas to support Sgt. Davila's family. One group leader says, "I knew we would have a crowd, but I didn't know it would be this big."

The procession of rolling thunder escorted Davila's family from memorial services to the grave site on a quiet hill.

In the end, Sgt. Davila's family says they were only able to hear a little bit of the Phelps protest. Davila's mother, Linda Claus, says she's grateful for the Patriot Guard Riders. But she also wants other military families to be aware that this could happen to them.

"When people begin to know what they're (Fred Phelps' family) really doing -- killing the American Dream -- they won't be around very long, because nobody's going to let them. They'll drown them out. They'll be gone," Claus said.

Since CNN started airing reports on these funeral confrontations a few weeks ago, the Patriot Guard Riders say its membership has almost tripled. And more than a dozen states are now considering legislation that would restrict protesting at funerals.

The Phelps family vows to continue these protests. They might be outnumbered, but the way the Patriot Guard Riders see it, it only takes one of them to dishonor the memory of a fallen soldier.
The loud pipes of the Harley Davidsons (and other, lesser bikes) drown out the shouts of the Phelps clan, and then the Riders form a human phalanx to block the Phelps clan from the line of sight of the funeral. Bravo! Like I always say, the only way to fight hate speech is with more speech. I'll defend to the death Phelps' right to spew his hateful garbage, but I won't be surprised (nor disappointed) if one of these protests turn violent.

As for Phelps' hijacking of Christianity for his own hateful ends, well, it's always fun to watch mainstream Christians distance themselves from Phelps' rhetoric. He's not a true Christian, they tell me, while citing the exact same Bible verses to justify why gays shouldn't be able to get married or adopt children or receive federal anti-discrimination protections. Sorry, that dog won't hunt, my Christian friends. Phelps will tell you his point-of-view is just "love the sinner, hate the sin", he's just more vocal and severe in his hatred of the sin.

That's why you may hear some mainstream Christians denounce Phelps' tactics, but never denounce the foundation behind those tactics. The Bible's not wrong on gays (or anything); it's just that Phelps is misinterpreting it, they tell me. They want to keep the "love the sinner, hate the sin" doctrine rolling in order to maintain second-class, closeted status for gays, but they're very uncomfortable with their homobigotry being displayed so blatantly. (Sorta like how the anti-illegal-immigrant type of racist is uncomfortable when he finds the Ku Klux Klan on his side.) They know most people who buy the "protect the sanctity of marriage" argument would be put off by a more blatant "gays are abominations" argument. Most of your "sanctity of marriage" types just don't know any gay people (they think) and have stereotypical negative views of gay people, and like to think of themselves as tolerant, so long as "family values" are emphasized.

Until I start to see Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, of any other mainstream Christian leaders organizing counter-protests against Phelps, then they and all their flock own him. Too bad they don't have the same sense of decency and activism as a grassroots group of bikers.


The ultimate in fringe candidates for 2006

Ohio Senate candidate: death penalty for homosexuals

"In my observation and others, the judges have been moving the country toward increasing ungodliness, and I don't like this."
-- Merrill Keiser, on his desire to return government to its strict religious roots

"If you teach kids that they're here by accident rather than purposely by somebody putting them here, their self-worth won't be more than any other animal."
-- Keiser, on evolution

"I don't claim to know what I'm doing. I'm just doing it and learning as I go."
-- Keiser, on running for the U.S. Senate
Gee, what a sunny, subtle stumping campaign this will be in the Buckeye State! Self-described "Biblicist" Merrill Keiser, Jr. of Fremont, Ohio, will be running the Democratic primary against Sherrod Brown. (WTOL):
Merrill Keiser, Jr., is a trucker by trade, and he's hoping his next journey takes him all the way to Washington. His goal is a seat in the US Senate, but first he has to make it through the primary that will determine which Ohio Democrat will be the November ballot.

The Fremont man is causing some controversy with one of his beliefs. He tells News 11 homosexuality should be a felony, punishable by death. "Just like we have laws against murder, we have laws against stealing, we have laws against taking drugs -- we should have laws against immoral conduct," Keiser says.
Keiser says he is in the mold of former Georgia Sen. Zell[fire] Miller, if that gives you a clue. We learn more about this breathtaking candidate's positions on centralohio.com.
MERRILL KEISER JR.

Supports:
Right to bear arms
Capital punishment
Strong national defense
The war on terror
Secure borders
Choice in education
Israel
Freedom to pray

Opposes:
Theory of Evolution
Homosexuality
United Nations

Other Issues:
Lowering taxes stimulates the economy
Global warming and the Green House Effect by CO2 is a false concern

Source: "Keiser for U.S. Senate" committee pamphlet
Hat tip to Blender Mary.

***

Larry Kilgore: A few bibles short of a stack




Blender Val passed this freakshow on -- Larry Kilgore, a real nutcase who is running for Governor of Texas. He is hoping to unseat Rick "Blow Dry" Perry. His mission?
My first priority as governor will be to submit to Biblical law given to us by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. My job, according to 1st Peter 2:14, will be to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
You can see Larry's nice chart on "The Issues" here, comparing his views on all sorts of matters to those of "Blow Dry" Perry. Take a look what Kilgore outlines as firm contrasts to the sitting Governor:
* 1-40 lashes for crime of maliciousness, like graffiti, porn, strip clubs.
* Execution for crime of murder including abortion. (Exodus 21:12, 21:22-23)
* Execution for crime of adultery. (Leviticus 20:10)
* Execution for crime of homosexual acts. (Leviticus 20:13)
* Execution for crime of deadly negligence, like a DWI fatality. (Exodus 21:29)
* Texans should become independent then stop paying US taxes. $123B
* Texas should secede because the US has sealed its doom.
* Illegal immigrants should receive a minimum punishment of five lashes, $3,000 fine & deportation.

In Larry's FAQ section, he gives us a peek into how he would govern -- and whether he has anything to hide as a candidate...
The US Supreme court has ruled that Texas cannot prosecute adulterers, sexual perverts and murderers of preborn babies. How do you plan to prosecute the perpetrators?
Option #1) The US has a system of checks and balances. If the supreme court makes a ruling contrary to God's law, then the president can choose not to enforce that ruling. I will ask the president not to send in troops when Texas prosecutes these criminals.

Option #2) I will uphold the current Constitution and sovereignty of the Republic of Texas and propose withdrawal from the corporation titled "The United States of America."

What do you think of democracy?
Democracy and Terrorism: Two Faces Of The Same Evil.

What are the skeletons in your closet?
From age 16 to 24 I dated and did not treat these ladies with respect. Physically I was virgin when I married at age 25, but I did not guard my heart. Dating is not wise!

I have watched pornography on the TV and computer. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. Ps101:3
And yes, he has endorsements, including the thumbs up from Flip Benham of Operation Rescue / OSA and Michael Marcavage of Repent America.


NC Celebrates Confederate Flag Day

black-confederates.jpg
(Some images just defy explanation...)
(UPI) North Carolina marks Confederate Flag Day with a salute to the flag and the heritage many defenders of the flag say it represents.

Not everyone wants the heritage to be remembered as something to be proud of, though.

The Charlotte News & Observer reports hundreds crowded the state House chamber Saturday, sang "Dixie" and saluted the flag -- along with a Civil War-era state flag and the current U.S. flag.

The event -- which the newspaper described as all-white -- was sponsored by the N.C. Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Many Americans, black and white, see a link between the confederate flag and a pro-slavery, Jim Crow, white supremacy attitude, the newspaper said, but the flag is still honored in the south.

University of South Carolina history professor Clyde Wilson said the response to the confederate flag is only a mask for a hatred for the South.
I understand (somewhat) the idea of Southerners wanting to celebrate their history and heritage, and pay homage to their ancestors who died in the Civil War. Their attitude seems to be, "hey, Dixie and the Stars & Bars isn't solely about slavery and Jim Crow; we also had swell debutante balls, great cooking, tasty mint juleps, and delightful manners!"

However, they need to understand that the Confederate Flag is the battle symbol of a terrorist organization that sought to overthrow the US government through violence, period. It represents an uprising in support of an economy and a way of life that depended on the enslavement of human beings. The US has got to be the only country that allows provinces to fly the symbol of a vanquished insurgency that was the sworn enemy of its own national symbol, the Stars & Stripes.

It all seems very strange to me that anyone would even want to associate with that symbol. Of course, I'm from the Pacific Northwest and the farthest southeast I've ever been is Brownseville, Texas (no, wait, I did have a layover in Atlanta's airport once), so my understanding of Southern culture is demonstrably ignorant.

However, as I grew up in Idaho, I saw more than a fair share of Confederate flag stickers on the back windows of pickup trucks, and I knew the owners of those pickup trucks, and that symbol was a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the white supremacist attitudes that flourish in the rural underbelly of the Gem State. I grew up with these crimson-necked neaderthals and they were very clear about their love of Idaho and its lack of "mud peoples" ruining the pristine Aryan homeland. They were aware enough to realize that a White Aryan Resistance sticker or a swastika sticker were going to bring them grief, but that Stars & Bars was just socially acceptable enough to proudly display on the pickup -- especially in a state with no visible black population.

Pam, help me understand these people. Especially the tiny few black southerners who see no problem with the Stars & Bars, like the guy pictured above. You'd think that when you lose a war and generations later your cause is looked back upon with near-universal disgust, you'd be ashamed of that symbol, not revelling in it. I mean, Germans aren't very fond of swastikas, or even the old East German flag, are they? (Yeah, I know, I broke Godwin's Law... so I'll apologize to the South in advance... your ancestors were not as bad as Nazis, OK?)

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ, y'all]


South Dakota: All Your Wombs Are Belong To Us


Gov. Mike Rounds signs a bill on Monday, March 6, 2006, in Pierre, S.D., that bans most abortions in South Dakota. Supporters offered the bill in an effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The only exception to the abortion ban in the South Dakota legislation would be to save the life of a woman. (AP Photo/Joe Kafka)

For extra sh*t and giggles, doctors in the state will face up to five years in prison for performing an abortion.

Seems to me that while they are going this far into the womb, why not put the pregnant woman in prison too -- after all, she's the one ordering the hit on the fetus, right? At least all the "criminals" involved should be treated equally if the moralists are taking the purported high road about the sanctity of life.

Needless to say, South Dakota Planned Parenthood will challenge this insanity in court.


And guess what? The Ultimate ToolTM McCain says he would have signed the bill.


***

In Tennessee they are actually willing to punish the female who dares to take advantage of reproductive freedom. How about this proposed legislation that would require a woman obtain signed consent from the man who impregnated her before she can obtain an abortion. From Women's Health News:
House Bill 3199 and its companion Senate Bill 3402 were introduced on 2/16. The text of the bill states: "it is an offense for a physician to knowingly perform an abortion on a woman who is eighteen (18) years of age or older unless the physician has received from the woman a signed statement indicating that the woman has notified the man by whom she is pregnant that she intends to have an abortion."

The bill provides exceptions if the woman signs a statement saying the pregnancy is a result of rape and has been reported to law enforcement, is unable "after diligent effort" to notify or identify the man (in which case she must file written notice with the Department of Children's Services to be placed on the department's putative father registry), and in the case of medical emergencies when the life of the woman is at risk. Penalties are a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine for the physician and a $2,000 fine for the woman.
Hat tip, Feministing.

***

And while on Tennessee, the state came up in a NYT article today on the minimal impact of parental notification laws on abortion rates.
For all the passions they generate, laws that require minors to notify their parents or get permission to have an abortion do not appear to have produced the sharp drop in teenage abortion rates that some advocates hoped for, an analysis by The New York Times shows.

...The analysis, which looked at six states that introduced parental involvement laws in the last decade and is believed to be the first study to include data from years after 1999, found instead a scattering of divergent trends.

For instance, in Tennessee, the abortion rate went down when a federal court suspended a parental consent requirement, then rose when the law went back into effect. In Texas, the rate fell after a notification law went into effect, but not as fast as it did in the years before the law. In Virginia, the rate barely moved when the state introduced a notification law in 1998, but fell after the requirement was changed to parental consent in 2003.

...Supporters of the laws say they promote better decision-making and reduce teenage abortions; opponents say they chip away at abortion rights and endanger young lives by exposing them to potentially violent reaction from some parents.

But some workers and doctors at abortion clinics said that the laws had little connection with the real lives of most teenagers, and that they more often saw parents pressing their daughters to have abortions than trying to stop them. And many teenagers say they never considered hiding their pregnancies or abortion plans from their mothers.
Gee, how's that factoid going to fly with all the womb-control wingers?


SCOTUS rules colleges must allow military recruiters on campus

The Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously in the case of Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights. At issue was the practice of some colleges banning military recruiters from their campuses because the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy regarding gay soldiers violates the colleges' non-discrimination policies. The federal government, of course, wasn't very fond of that notion, since college kids are prime recruitment fodder, so Congress passed a law that withheld federal money to colleges that would not admit recruiters.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that colleges that accept federal money must allow military recruiters on campus, despite university objections to the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays.

Justices rejected a free-speech challenge from law school professors who claimed they should not be forced to associate with military recruiters or promote their campus appearances.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the unanimous decision.

Roberts, writing his third decision since joining the court, said there are other less drastic options to protest the policy.

"A military recruiter's mere presence on campus does not violate a law school's right to associate, regardless of how repugnant the law school considers the recruiter's message," he wrote.

The federal law, known as the Solomon Amendment after its first congressional sponsor, mandates that universities give the military the same access as other recruiters or forfeit federal money.
No school that accepts federal money could possibly do without that money, so the Solomon Amendment is essentially federal blackmail -- "if you want our money, you have to accept our discriminatory military recruiters". It's the same tactic the feds used in the late '80s when they threatened to withhold federal highway funds from states that wouldn't raise their drinking age to 21.
The Solomon Amendment was first passed in 1994, in response to university law schools banning military recruiters because the Defense Department's exclusion of homosexuals violated their non-discrimination policies. FAIR [advocacy website], an association of 36 law schools and law faculties, sued US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prevent enforcement of the federal law.
In 1995, Congress passed the first Solomon Amendment, denying schools that barred military recruiters from campus any funds from the Department of Defense. The next year, Congress extended the law's reach to include funds from the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health & Human Services. In 1999, legislation shepherded by Rep. Barney Frank removed financial aid funds from the federal monies potentially affected by the Solomon Amendment. Defense Department regulations proposed in 2000 and formally adopted in 2002 exponentially toughened the law by interpreting it to require revocation of federal grants to an entire university if only one of the university's subdivisions (its law school, for example) runs afoul of the law. In 2005, Congress amended the law to explicitly state that military recruiters must be given equal access to that provided other recruiters.
So is the Supreme Court telling us that regardless of a school's anti-discrimination policies, it has to allow entities to recruit on campus even if they have discriminatory policies? How would this case have played out if, instead of the subject being the US military, the aggreived party was the Ku Klux Klan suing to have recruitment access to college campuses? Yes, I know, it's a bit of apples and oranges, especially since colleges aren't receiving millions in funds from the Klan.

But the point is the same: this law forces colleges to allow discriminatory institutions to promote and recruit for themselves. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is as repugnant as burning a cross on a black family's lawn. It tells gay soldiers that who they are is unacceptable and they may only serve if they are untrue to their self. It forces gay soldiers to live a lie. It even leads to more gay bashing against suspected gay soldiers because the bashed soldier can't report the incident without "telling".

The Court may be correct on Constitutional grounds, but they are upholding a Constitutional law (Solomon) to enforce a horrendous policy (DADT). Someday, we will look back on that awful policy with the same disdain we reserve today for the segregated military of the pre-Truman era.

[Vigorously cross-posted at Radical Writ]


Frist can't handle the truth



Just to further confirm that the Republican slime in charge have no interest in further examination and disclosure of Bush's warrantless wiretapping/eavesdropping on American citizens, Bill "2008" Frist is throwing his weight around, threatening to restructure the Senate Intelligence Committee to shut the