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John Danforth: fed marriage amendment is silly

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The former Missouri senator (and Episcopalian minister) recently spoke to the Log Cabin Republicans and said that the religious extremists in the GOP are hurting the party with their incessant push for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. (365gay.com):
Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, made the comments in a speech Saturday night to the Log Cabin Republicans, which support gay rights. He said history has shown that attempts to regulate human behavior with constitutional amendments are misguided.

"Once before, the Constitution was amended to try to deal with matters of human behavior; that was prohibition. That was such a flop that that was repealed 13 years later,'' Danforth said.

Referring to the marriage amendment, he added that perhaps at some point in history there was a constitutional amendment proposed that was "sillier than this one, but I don't know of one.''
This set of a firestorm over in Freeperville, with the usual claims that Danforth is a Republican in Name Only, going to hell, or perhaps in favor of bestiality.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Anyways, Danforth is a RINO, he was a RINO in the senate, and he hasn't worked a day in his life, he is spoiled, he comes from a rich family, and was rarely a practicing pastor, he was in elected office almost all of his life. I resent everyone like him.

Ah yes. Christians who support traditional marriage are hurting the GOP, but butt-packers disguised as Republicans aren't.

I have to agree here, this is a state issue and should not be molested by the federal government like abortion was.

Hello...rouge judges have legislated from the bench and miraculously discovered a clause that gays and lesbians can be married. That is why a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages is being discussed in the first place.

[Sanity alert!] I have to agree here, this is a state issue and should not be molested by the federal government. I also agree that it's dangerous to tamper with the constitution over an issue like this. This "protect marriage" movement isn't protecting anything. I can tell you that my marriage isn't threatened at all by what two people of the same sex do or don't do. Those who see this as a constitutional issue need to get a life. I can tell you what it does do and that is that rather than vote entirely GOP as I used to do, I now pick and choose and think long and hard before voting for anyone who considers this a federal issue.

Oh sure! It's political suicide for the GOP to back a proposal that has won every time it's been placed on a referendum ballot, always by at least a comfortable margin and usually by a huge margin. GOP support for traditional marriage must be the cause of the current low polling numbers for President Bush and the Republican congress. It surely has nothing to do with their embrace of amnesty for illegal aliens, an idea Danforth would not doubt endorse.

Danforth will get to be among the first in line explaining himself according to IIPeter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God???

Danforth is why I left Missouri

I've never heard of them, but is there a list of members of the Log Cabin Republicans?

[Attention LCRs, the Freepi don't want you in the party...] They're not Republicans, they're a bunch of liberal infiltrators trying to water down the GOP, just like the Soros-funded Main Street Republicans and Republicans for Choice are doing.

I bet I know which mountain the log cabin is on.

John Danforth is practicing heresy when he says that. He must be pandering to the homosexuals because he has got to know better. Why would he want to mock marriage? Or does he not know what is going on here in this attempt to dissolve traditional marriage? He is playing into the Marxist playbook and our country slips into socialism.

It wasn't easy building that log cabin. They forced the logs into the wrong openings.

Danforth also supports embryonic stem cell research. His is an odd theology.

Danforth you nitwit...this is fundamental to who we are as a people.

I take it that those who eat pork will be included in God's wrath as will those who wear cloth made of multiple thread. Maybe a constitutional amendment is in order to combat those sins also.

What was the consequence for eating pork when the Heavenly Father said He did not make it fit to be consumed? Mocking the Heavenly Father is Written to be a far greater sin than wearing mixed threads.

Wonder if he thinks laws against having sex with animals are silly.

[And the winner of this thread...] Homosexuality is an aberrant stain upon society that must be addressed NOW. I am sympathetic towards states' rights, but sometimes such rights have to be set aside for the needs of the greater good. Just like certain liberties need to be curtailed by the Patriot Act so we can properly fight the new global war on terrorism.

Your right, lets give the feds the right to legislate away all "Stains" and abominations to society. Government knows best right? What happens when the democrats regain control in which will happen someday whether this year or decades from now it WILL happen, they decide that guns are a stain on society, as are profits, and incomes above $100,000, property rights, and religion and they decide to cleanse society of there evil because decades earlier a republican congress gave the federal government the power to right all wrongs that "society" i.e. those in power at the time deem wrong.


Poor Don Wildmon



The American Family Association's homo-hating head honcho is feeling the pain at the pump, so he's put out one of his Action Alerts, in a call to "Christians" to reduce their gas consumption by 3%.

This move is ostensibly to encourage conservation, but I kinda think this has a little more to do with the fact that their man in the White House is hurting on this issue and that, friends, is always the bottom line with these creatures. They want to save Dear Leader from sliding into below 30% approval ratings and putting the fall elections at risk for their fundamentalist party.

What I want to know, is what kind of car is Don driving?
I recently filled up my car with gas. The price? Nearly $50. This $3 a gallon gas (some say it will soon hit $4 a gallon) is having a very negative effect on our family pocketbooks.

Individually, we can't do much about this situation, but if enough of us stick together and work together, we can help bring down the price of gas.

We urge you to join our "3% Solution" project. We are asking each person to reduce their consumption of gas by at least 3%. If demand goes down, so does the price of gas. Simply reducing our use of gasoline by 3% will be a major step in bringing down those gas prices! The law of supply and demand will kick in.

Find a complete guide to gas saving tips by clicking here.

I realize this is a complicated issue and there is no single or simple answer. However, I do feel that if enough people join together we can make a difference. If we fail to make our voices heard, then the price will simply keep going up!
Don't worry, he also tosses in a fundraising plea at the end of the message.

I'm all for conserving gas; we all know the AFA isn't doing this for the right reasons. Their man in the Oval Office is who got us in this mess.

To illustrate Don's hypocrisy regarding the environment, conservation and the effect of our oil addiction (as Dear Leader says) on the planet, take a look at the list of evangelicals who opposed National Association of Evangelicals leadership on a proposal to declare that mankind has "a sacred responsibility to steward the Earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part."
...More than 20 evangelical leaders urged the NAE not to adopt "any official position" on global climate change because "Bible-believing evangelicals . . . disagree about the cause, severity and solutions to the global warming issue."

The letter's signers amounted to a Who's Who of politically powerful evangelicals, including Charles W. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; James C. Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; the Rev. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries; the Rev. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention; Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University; Donald E. Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association; and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.
'Nuff said.


And now, a message from the completely unhinged

Homosexuals headed for Jerusalem: 200,000 from the nations to flaunt perversions in God's holy city.

That is the screeching headline from Stan Goodenough of the Jerusalem Newswire. He's talking about the WorldPride 2006 festival, to be held in the city in August. The theme of the festival is "Love without Borders."

As I read this, I imagine the man drooling over his keyboard, wiping away the spittle as he pounded away, thinking of the wickedness that he desperately wants to see for himself.
In August this year, hundreds of thousands of men and women who practice perverse sexual lifestyles plan to descend on Jerusalem for a week of wickedness.

Not content with morally polluting cities “from San Francisco to Montreal to Sydney to Berlin,” the movement whose members insist they have the right to flaunt their behavior in the face of the rest of the world want to notch up a victory in the capital of Israel.

Having successfully conquered Jerusalem, these people clearly hope to ensure that no other city on earth will be able to withstand their assault. The aim of these homosexuals – who in 2000 purposely held their first international event in Rome in order, according to them, to have it on “the Pope’s doorstep” – is to confront and defy the teachings and followers of Judeo-Christian faith.

Their destination this year is the city of King David, a man after God’s own heart; who’s son Solomon built a temple here for the LORD. It is Israel’s God Who says that for a man to lie with another man is “an abomination” (Leviticus 18:23) that is “against nature” (Romans 1:26-28).

...They are coming to what they even dare call “the holy city” in “a massive demonstration of dignity [sic], pride and boundary-crossing celebration,” – homo-speak for public displays of lewd and lustful behavior.

As they do on their marches elsewhere, they plan to parade through Jerusalem on August 10, men openly fondling and kissing men, women groping and kissing women, while bodies will be bared for all passers by to see.

The left-wing Israeli government that will be sworn in next week will almost certainly not oppose an event that promises millions of homosexual dollars in revenue.
Good god, this is completely off the charts, isn't it? The homos are going to destroy the Holy Land.

Hat tip, Holly.


Monday will tell the tale

Below is one of many businesses that will have to shut down -- in both large cities and small towns -- when undocumented workers and supporters walk out in the Day Without Immigrants on Monday. From the Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier in Iowa:
A day without immigrants at the Tyson Foods plant means a day without meat.

...Tyson announced nine of its plants will close temporarily Monday, and while company officials declined to name which plants would close, several sources, including Tyson employees, said the plant would be closed Monday.
Chris Kromm over at Facing South asks a pertinent question -- where is the progressive blogosphere on this massive upcoming event? The prospect of so many workers not showing up has so shaken corporate America that companies are actually endorsing shut downs and are sympathetic to the worker action. The California legislature has actually endorsed the boycott.

There seems to be no problem finding right-wing blogs chattering about the issue. Chris:
Most of the country -- especially power brokers who know how critical the immigration debate is to the country -- are standing up and taking notice.

But where is the progressive blogosphere? A quick Technorati search shows that lots of blogs are commenting on May 1 -- but by my quick estimate, over 90% of them are conservatives in a frenzy of anger over the looming activities (some even declaring May 1 is Conservative Shopping Day).

...What's going on? Why is the progressive blogosphere so completely out of touch? Is it because most of them closely identify with partisan politics, and the Democratic Party doesn't have a very clear position on the immigration issue? Is it due to a racial blindspot in the blogosphere, connected to its demographic make-up (and yes, I know Markos at DKos hails from El Salvador; I'm talking about the larger reality)? Do they not understand the historic nature of this movement?
And Chris is right. The hand-wringing about the impact of this boycott is hitting home and, as I've said before, both the left and the right really don't know what to do about the immigration issue. It's a no-win situation politically, because both sides know some large group of people will pissed off no matter what compromises are made to try to address a situation that everyone has chosen to ignore.

A surf over to Freeperland illustrates the reality. One, located in California posted a situation he's dealing with at his business. You can smell the fear...
Phone call I recieved a few minutes ago. Our Plaza Housekeepers are not coming in on Monday. (It begins)

I just recieved a phone call from one of our employee's Daughter. She called to tell me that Maria and Jose will not be coming in to work on Monday.

I asked why, of course, and she said they would be joining the protests. My response was "This is the wrong way, I like your family, and we've been as much freinds as co-workers, but this is going to change all that. It's the wrong way, and I don't think you know some of the really bad players involved in the planning of this. They have no interest in helping legal, or for that matter, illegal Mexicans"

I like and treat with respect all of our employees, but I told her, "I've just lost some of that respect" they've had all week to tell us, in fact we've been asking them if anyone planned to do this thing or not. I am personnally offended. For what they do, and the fact that they've been so reliable over the past two years, I have seen to it that they get an average pay of $11.00 and hour. (The highest rate on the Monterey Penninsula)

His daugher said that they HAD to do this protest, (I'm wondering about this statement, perhaps they're being threatened?)to show that they "matter". My response was, if you "didn't matter, We would be paying you $7.75 instead, but we've always taken care of each other, and this is our thanks"

She then implied that they wouldn't be able to get to work anyway due to "Rte 1 being blocked."

I am calling the Highway patrol to let them know.

Before you say "Fire them" Know that everyone involved has already given two weeks notice over this past week. We're already looking for replacements. Furthermore, don't misunderstand. These are not (supposedly)illegal alliens. They have I551 cards and verified SSA cards.

I'm beginning to think something is not above boards.

They had both already given notice in the past week, and will be leaving for Mexico by mid-month.

I sometimes read here that the Emplouyers should be punsihed for hiring these folks, but I really wonder. How many fake documents are there floating around. And, how many employers only "think" they have legal employees?

Anyway, I called her back to say, we'll get by just fine without them. (It will be quite a chore, but we can do it)

Is anyone else getting these calls?
And the responses:

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Jose can you seeeeee ...A pink slip?

Speaking as a Canadian, if you don't fire them you are just a gutless piece of wormdust.

They've already quit. And they've called and given a two day notice of taking the day off. According to our company policy I CANNOT fire them, unless we'd like to hand over our company to them, with the blessing of the court. This is California. If there are any CA,NV,AZ,TX folks on here, I would have to say, they may understand this a little better. We are literally at the pointy end of the spear, and we live it every day.

Well, if an employer can produce a paper trail of a bona fide effort made to check their legal status, then it would be difficult to find a convicting jury.

2 weeks notice, my rear-end. Tell them not to bother coming back on the 2nd, and that you're informing the INS.

Interesting post. This invasion is better organized than people know. It even has tentacles in rural towns. Wonder who the Godfather is? He and those like him will be cracking a lot of whips over our heads in years to come.

if they are like law enforcement here don't bother calling they wont do anything. We have been given notice our city streets will be blocked by students marching to protest in front of our republican congressman's office.

I called the police to ask if they will enforce the truant and loitering laws which are meant to keep the kids and gangs off the street when if they ditch school, , but was told that the kids in our city will be in school on Monday, which is really a joke if i was supposed to believe that,

i mentioned that the city has been failing on investigating vandalism and graffiti, and that we know the gangs doing it are the children of illegal immigrants. After mentioning the term illegal immigrant , the police dispatcher said the call was over and hung up!

however i called my congressman and was told the city had alerted him, so law enforcement knows whats going on, but they ain't going to alert the public , or do anything, even if illegal acts are being committed.

Not sure if this is a state or Federal policy for the police to remain hush, but it wouldn't surprise us here.

I think that these shenanigans will backfire. Like the old saying goes, "this ain't gonna play well in Peoria".

I think he posted this because of the evidence of coordination (Rte 1 will be closed) and the air of intimidation (they HAD to go.)

Any employer who claims to be honest, knows damned well they can go to the SS Web Site and confirm any Employee's legal status to be using their SS number.

Well, many commie groups have claimed to be in support of or involved in the organisation of this action. Folks forget that the commies remain a threat to the Federal Republic.

Commies and mafia-esque organizers and coordinators. Chiefly what I suspect and fear is more fascistic than Marxist--little dictators dealing in power swaps and corruption.

My concern is that this seems much more coordinated than one would expect. One of these people/protesters is about 60 yrs old, and in no way an activist of any kind. I'm a little shocked that they would even bother with such things.

Fear and intimidation are in the air and the California State Senate is walking out in sympathy...with the illegals. Meantime the US Senate is lurking in the shadows trying to run the clock out. Funny how they were just grandstanding on the Dubai deal, showing how "tough" they were on national security. It's going to be a long hot summere folks.

It is going to be real hard to get a clean hotel/motel room in the West come Monday.

Fire them and hire Americans...of any race.

I've given up on the Senate doing anything but granting amnesty. We have to let the House know we loved HR4437 and for them to stand firm. They are our only hope and they are the ones being blamed by the WH, the Senate, and the 3rd world mobs in the streets. They are our only hope.


Our President

A snapshot of a portion of Raw Story's front page right now. Love the pic selection.



The headline "Bush ignores hundreds of laws" points to a powerful Boston Globe article that is stomach-churning but completely unsurprising. Since he took office, Dear Leader, according the Globe, has issued signing statements on hundreds of laws, declaring that he has the power to set aside them when they inconveniently conflict with his legal interpretation of the Constitution -- and any master plans he has in the works, or any enemies he wishes to punish. We all know his vision of what is contitutional is to be charitable, limited.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

Former administration officials contend that just because Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential power.

But with the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes he has the constitutional authority to override.

Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.

Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush's theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.
Glenn Greenwald rightly points out the dangerous nature of the flagrant lawlessness of this President that is pointed out in the Boston Globe piece..
The entire article -- which I highly recommending reading -- details the numerous instances in which Congress has passed laws banning certain conduct, the President has signed those bills into law, only for the President not only to reserve the right to violate those laws but to then order that those laws by violated, systematically and repeatedly. As the Globe article reports with startling clarity, to describe the state of affairs we have in our country is to describe, by definition, a state of authoritarian lawlessness. We literally have a President who has been saying for years, right out in the open, that he can act without regard to the law whenever he wants, and we need to repeat that fact - and prove it - over and over until that debate is finally had. The Globe article advances that objective significantly.

It is not uncommon for a President to refrain from executing a law which he believes, and states, is unconstitutional. Other Presidents have invoked that doctrine, although Bush has done so far more aggressively and frequently. But what is uncommon - what is entirely unprecedented - is that the administration's theories of its own power arrogate unto itself not just the right to refrain from enforcing such laws, but to act in violation of those laws, to engage in the very conduct which those laws criminalize, and they do so secretly and deceitfully, after signing the law and pretending that they are engaged in the democratic process. That is why the President has never bothered to veto a law -- why bother to veto laws when you have the power to violate them at will?
Among the laws Bush feels fine running roughshod over:
March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

Aug. 8: The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its contractors may not fire or otherwise punish an employee whistle-blower who tells Congress about possible wrongdoing.

Bush's signing statement: The president or his appointees will determine whether employees of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can give information to Congress.

Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."

Dec. 17: The new national intelligence director shall recruit and train women and minorities to be spies, analysts, and translators in order to ensure diversity in the intelligence community.

Bush's signing statement: The executive branch shall construe the law in a manner consistent with a constitutional clause guaranteeing ''equal protection" for all. (In 2003, the Bush administration argued against race-conscious affirmative-action programs in a Supreme Court case. The court rejected Bush's view.)

Aug. 5: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.
That's just a sampling. Can you imagine the reaction from Republicans if Clinton had been this aggressive about asserting "presidential authority"?


It's all about the customer service at strip clubs for this guy and his posse

One of our fave newshounds, Paul of Paul's Rants, sent me an email and a photo about this outlandish story. His note:
Here's the story of a "man of God" who unhappy with the service he was getting at a San Francisco strip club, wasn't satisfied with just getting his money refunded but had to run down one bouncer with his BMW and attempted to hit another.


(Photo: Paul Barwick)

This is the same self-rightious jerk who had his followers storm into corner stores owned by Middle Eastern immigrants and trash the establishments because they were selling liquor.
From SFGate:
A young Black Muslim leader already charged with vandalizing a West Oakland liquor store was jailed Friday for allegedly using his BMW to run down a bouncer after being thrown out of a San Francisco strip club, police said.

Yusuf Bey IV, 20, son of the late Black Muslim leader Yusuf Bey, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and aggravated assault after he allegedly ran over one bouncer and tried to hit a second with his car outside the New Century Theater on Larkin Street, authorities said. He was being held without bail.

Bey went to the club with four other men Thursday night, authorities said.

"They basically were being entertained by the women and they sort of become a little rambunctious and the management tells them to tone it down,'' said Lt. Leroy Lindo of the police general work detail.

After another dispute involving the group in one of the club's upstairs private rooms, Bey and his friends asked for their room admission fee back and management agreed, Lindo said.

Back downstairs, Lindo said, one of Bey's friends tried to grope one of the dancers. "That's when the management said, 'It's time for you to go,' " he said.

"As they are leaving, one of the people in the group hauls off and hits a bouncer," Lindo said.

The ensuing fight spilled out onto the street, police said. Bey allegedly got into his car and hit one bouncer, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and barely missed a second.


Florida's 'Dr. Phil of prayer' coming to cable

Bible beater Bill Keller has a big following, on local TV in St. Petersburg, Florida and on the Internet. Look at the popularity of this man, who was convicted of insider trading and lived the high life.

Now the "Dr. Phil of prayer," according to WingNutDaily, will be able to reach millions more nationwide on the PAX television network. You will be able to see him take calls from the sheeple, like this unhinged woman from Palatka, FL, who was battling with what WND calls the "forces of darkness."
Trudy: I need you to pray for me. I've been in the occult and I'm trying to change my life, and I want to do that, and the spirits are really strong.

Bill Keller: You ready to turn your back on Satan and accept Jesus?

Trudy: Yes, but they won't let me.

Keller: Who won't let you?

Trudy: The spirits.

Keller: Well, let me tell you something. The Spirit of the Living God says to turn from Satan right now and get on your knees and accept Jesus. ... Are you ready to cast Satan out of your life and accept Jesus? ... Pray with me right now, will you?

Trudy: I can't.
Trudy's phone line mysteriously went dead, and Keller prayed for God to help the woman in turmoil. Jeebus. Houston, we have a mental problem. When I read crap like this, I really wonder about the future of our country. It seems like the stories about delusional, easily manipulated people like this are endless.

The Weekly Planet article by Eric Snider notes that Keller's no friend of the homos -- big surprise, huh?
"That's the biggest hot-button issue, the one that causes the most outrage," Keller says. "Listen, sin is sin. There's no way you can justify homosexuality from a biblical perspective. No sin is greater than others. When someone commits adultery, they're ashamed of what they've done. The person who commits an act of homosexuality, there's pride there. They put the sin of homosexuality in parades."
It's nice that Bill can teach us about morality and family values with a background that sounds like your average scam artist when you read about his personal story of booze, coke, power suits, full-length mink coats, weekends in Vegas losing 50 grand at the crap table, according to the Weekly Planet. And his questionable dealings got him in a heap of trouble.
Then came a fateful dinner with a couple of old acquaintances from the brokerage world. They were investment bankers with knowledge of pending corporate takeovers. They set up a deal: The brokers would give Keller information about companies that were about to be bought up; he would buy gobs of their stock via an off-shore account. When news got out about the acquisition, the stock would skyrocket, Keller would cash out and the insider trio would split up the spoils.
This is the bit of business that eventually caught the attention of the SEC. The guy is a piece of work. He also has the deadly combination of arrogance and stupidity.
After a few months of legal scrums, the SEC referred the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for criminal charges. Keller remembers the scene well: It was chilly in Chicago on Oct. 12, 1989. His lawyer had told him to be at the U.S. Attorney's office for a meeting. Keller was running late, so he had his limo driver pull up on the sidewalk in front of the federal building. He emerged from the back seat, draped in a mink coat, 45 minutes late.

...Ten days later, Keller left for a Florida vacation. He insists he did not go on the lam. Brazenly, he failed to leave a contact number with his lawyer, so he was not aware he'd been indicted. On Dec. 17, 1989, Keller was lounging around a friend's Pensacola Beach condo, sipping a snifter of Louis the 13th cognac, waiting for the pizza delivery man and Monday Night Football to come on, when he answered a knock at the door. A bevy of U.S. Marshals, with a helicopter hovering overhead, pushed Keller to the floor, handcuffed him and tossed him in the Escambia County Jail. On the day after Christmas, he was shipped back to Chicago, where a judge pegged him a flight risk, denied him bail and remanded him to the city's Metropolitan Correction Center.
Yes, the bible beating sheeple really do deserve a guy like Bill.


Stephen Colbert scorches the admin at dinner



[Welcome, good folks from Firedoglake and Glenn Greenwald's pad, Unclaimed Territory -- we're not worthy, buddies!]

OMG. If you didn't catch Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert last night at the White House Correspondent Dinner, catch the video at Crooks and Liars. He smoked this administration, completely scorched it to an ash. And Dear Leader and Laura weren't laughing. From E&P:
A blistering comedy “tribute” to President Bush by Comedy Central’s faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.

...Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, “and reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg.”

Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” movies, always getting punched in the face—“and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world.”

Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

...Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."

...E&P's Joe Strupp, in the crowd, observed that quite a few sitting near him looked a little uncomfortable at times, perhaps feeling the material was a little too biting--or too much speaking "truthiness" to power.
There was a visual reference to cub "reporter" Jeff Gannon illustrating how to handle things when the press corps action gets too hot for a Bush press secretary -- Eject, Gannon, or Volume. Priceless. Atrios has a screen shot of it.

UPDATE: Here's a much clearer screenshot of it, via 2 Political Junkies:



A complete transcript is at this DKos diary (it includes text of the Colbert-Thomas video presentation).

I agree with my bloggrrrl Shakes Sis, and Paul the Spud (who have commentary at her pad). Colbert deserves the Brass Balls Award for fearlessness:



Also: check out Joe's take over at The Moderate Voice.

***

I had to go over to the dark side to see what the thugs at 101st Fighting Keyboarder Jonah Goldberg's mommy's site, Lucianne.com, had to say about the dinner. The knuckle-draggers there channel the Freepi very well.

Actual Lucianne Lunatic Quotes™
"Steve Colbert was utterly disgusting. Even the libs didn't laugh most of the time. He was rude, snarky and unpatriotic toward the President and First Lady. Who was the yahoo that booked him for the gig? BTW, Valerie Plame was covertly sitting where everyone could see her, along with her sleazy manhandler. Steve Bridges [a Bush impersonator at the dinner] and the Pres. did okay."


President Bush, left, and Steve Bridges, a comedian and President Bush impersonator, speak during the White House Correspondent's Association's 92nd annual awards dinner, Saturday, April 29, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

"So Valerie Plame Wilson and her liar husband and erstwhile investigator for the CIA (he was looking for the best stocked bar in Niger) were seated at the AP's table. Gee, how does this show lack of bias?"

"I see Willie Wonka Nagin was invited too. Did he drive one of his Floating Busses to the gig and bring his Oompa Loompa's with him?"

"No wonder old Mark looked uneasy around the President - nasty of AP to have those wilson beasts there at all. Colbert did get off a rather snotty remark at them also, otherwise, he was rotten and that long, endless video tape with helen thomas was a real snorer. I had never seen him before and don't think I will bother looking his show up. The President looked jovial enough, but bored and Laura looked worse than bored. I am sure the doggies and kitties would have been better company. It was good to see the President anyway. One terrific guy!"

"Captain's Quarters said that Bridges & Bush were funny and that Colbert fell flat, the audience not enjoying him. You gotta think when scheduling a comic whose target will be there. Is it a roast? Or will people feel uncomfortable laughing at snarkery against the live human beings instead of the vaguely imagined figures?"

"And there were some in the audience who just sat there stoned faced during the speech (or speeches, since there were two George W's). Is their hatred so overwhelming that they can't ease up even for this event?"

"I hope Fox has a video of this, I want to see it, both for the humor and to see just how nasty some were."

"God bless our President for having the fortitude to put up with this waste of time and these tacky, talentless, hollow little people."

"Oh. My. God. I cannot believe the vile string of invective cloaked as comedy delivered by that simpering fool Colbert. It was a serious lecture. He picked up confidence and conviction with every worn out accusation he learned on Daily Kos. Unlike Imus, who had enough of a conscience to pour flop sweat on his filthy self, this guy actually developed a glow by the end of his diatribe. He was proud. I cannot believe our president was forced to endure this disgusting insult. I am beyond ashamed."

"If you have the stomach to watch, be sure to pay attention to the psychopath's exit. GWB shook his hand curtly. Laura pointedly refused to stand or extend her hand. She gave him a look. Then the filthy coward moved on to kiss and warmly embrace the fossil Helen Thomas... great minds and all."

"Stephen Colbert's long presentation could not have been more awful. I did not laugh once. I broke a smile maybe once (the Mayor Nagin joke). Colbert even managed to ridicule the President's standing-on-the-rubble 9/11 moment as a "staged photo-op". His blinding hatred for all-things-Bush could not have come across more clearly. Ugh."

"Watching Stephen Colbert was an exercise in agony. It went on and on and on forever, generating few laughs with everyone checking their watches. Whoever said he was funny, besides Don Imus, should have watched Colbert's non-performance tonight. It's like he didn't have a clue that he had bombed! Bush and his look-alike stole the show. Bush is a master of self-deprecating humor which makes him endear himself more to the American people. Gosh, I love this guy and am so proud of him."

"I just watched the clip with Steve Bridges, it was great! I've seen him doing his Bush impersonation on The Tonight Show, he was exactly the same tonight. He has the style and mannerisms down and their timing was excellent. Missed Colbert and it sounds like a good thing. He is a smarmy little guy. I've watched his show a few times to see what it's about. Whoever invited him failed to realize that he is MOCKING conservatives and Fox News types (especially O'Reilly), not in a nice way either. [Give this moron a cookie!a] Too bad he couldn't be decent tonight. "


Dear Leader's prep plan for the upcoming hurricane season

Hat tip to Ms. Julien, who passed along our preznit's readiness plan as the storm season approaches. After being told that FEMA needs to be abolished because it's too broken to fix, this was his reaction:
President Bush on Friday rejected the idea of killing FEMA.

"The lessons of Katrina are important,'' Bush said. "We've learned a lot here at the federal level. We're much more ready this time than we were the last time.''

"Let's, first of all, pray there's no hurricanes,'' Bush said. "That would be, like, step one.''
This man is mentally ill. The hurricane season is barreling down upon us and everyone knows the federal government is not ready.
Only a few of the 211 suggested improvements from three federal reports will be ready when the hurricane season starts June 1, and limited dollars and political squabbling already are complicating the progress.

"Nature doesn't care about reports,'' said Kathleen Tierney, director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. "Nor does it care about the fact there are people still suffering, and we're not ready.
My suggestion -- in support of Dear Leader's Plan -- is tha he better get Falwell, Dobson, Bauer and all his other peeps on the heaven hotline in action pronto. And he must marshall all his flunkies on the payroll over at the newly established Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.



Ken-bot addresses National Conference of Black Mayors

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"As Chairman of the Republican Party, I'm honored by the opportunity to speak to the National Conference of Black Mayors," Chairman Mehlman said. "By working together toward our shared goals of ending discrimination, closing the wealth and educational achievement gaps, and making the American Dream accessible to all Americans, the party of Lincoln and the African American community can restore our historic ties."
Can you believe the National Conference of Black Mayors actually asked Ken Mehlman to speak? Oh, never mind. Actually, this is the first time an RNC chair has addressed the group and it's part of the GOP outreach to shave off votes here and there from the community.

The sad truth is that the GOP can always count on finding some support in the community, even after Katrina. Look at the Delusional Bush/Mehlman Self-Loathing NegroTM, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, the fools at Project 21, or folks like the discredited, former columnist-on-the-govt-payroll Armstrong Williams, and of course, many of the black pastors you've read about here on the Blend, who fixate on homosexuality and find common ground with the fundies that make up the GOP Base.


Indiana bishop gets the vapors over 'The Vagina Monologues' at Notre Dame

Ever since Notre Dame announced it would host the performance of The Vagina Monologues on campus (as it has for the last five years) as well as a gay and lesbian film festival, the knickers have been twisting in the pants of pious bible beaters, including the unhinged folks at AgapePress. Now an Indiana bishop is moaning about it. (AP):
Bishop John D'Arcy, in a nine-page "pastoral response" issued Thursday, faulted the Rev. John I. Jenkins' choice and his reasoning for allowing the play.

...Jenkins announced April 5 that the school will allow the play and other events that may go against Roman Catholic teachings on campus because universities should be places where debate is promoted. The play has been staged at the school in February in recent years.

The announcement came 10 weeks after Jenkins, who took over as president on July 1, said he wanted a campuswide discussion on whether the play, an annual gay film festival and other events some might view as objectionable should be allowed.

...When Jenkins announced he would allow the events, D'Arcy said he was "deeply saddened." In Thursday's retort, which also appears in the April 30 issue of Today's Catholic, D'Arcy said he could not fully respond at the time because he was preparing for Holy Week.

D'Arcy said Jenkins' decision fails to give room to the "great truths of the faith."

"The teaching of the church on sexuality, on academic freedom, on the relationship between a man and a woman and on the human body is hardly mentioned, except to admit that the play stands apart from, and is even opposed to, Catholic teaching," he wrote.
My question -- what happened the last five times this event occurred? Has the level of wingnuttery in the culture reached a level that church officials feel more comfortable bleating away, or has Bishop John D'Arcy always felt a need to be concerned about the sexuality of women on each time this event rolls around?

Interestingly, this one paragraph in the AP article would never pass muster over at Wildmon's screeching "news" organ, AgapePress, where they cannot peck out v-a-g-i-n-a on their keyboards:
"The Vagina Monologues," written by Eve Ensler, is based on discussions with 200 girls and women and includes graphic descriptions of women's anatomy, homosexuality and orgasms.
After the pious editors scanned the copy, it would probably read more like this:
"The V_ Monologues," written by Eve Ensler, is based on discussions with 200 girls and women and includes graphic descriptions of women's a_, h_ and o_.
Related:
* V is for Vagina

Hat tip, Holly.


Bifocals

Friday, April 28, 2006

I am officially old. I just picked up my new glasses today, they are my first pair of bifocals.

The strange thing is that I am terribly nearsighted (i.e., I cannot see for distance), wearing glasses since I was six. I'm talking really bad -- like -8.00 in both eyes, thick lenses. I had no idea that eventually I wouldn't be able to see things close up either. Sigh.

The moment of truth occurred during my last trip to NYC. I was sitting around the table after dinner with a bunch of my relatives, and my cousin handed my a box of something, I think medicine, and I went to read the label and I couldn't focus enough to read the tiny type on the package. One of my other cousins handed me his reading glasses, you know, the cheapees you pick up at the drug store. I put them on and eureka -- I could read it. I was bummed.

When I returned to NC, I had my eyes examined and yes, it was time. So here I am, with stylish progressive lenses. Will I ever get used to seeing out of these things?

I'm still blind as a bat without my glasses, but at least I'm not crippled by the fine print on a bottle when I have them on.

Anyone else out there traumatized when you learned you needed bifocals? How old were you when it you got the news that you needed them? :)


Rethug sleaze surfaces yet again

You have to wonder how much worse the culture of corruption can get before people wake up and bounce all of these sleazy politicians out. I was over at Think Progress, and I saw that this lobbyist prostitution scandal story has taken off, with "as many as a half a dozen" members of Congress caught up in it.

I recall blogging about this back in December, when now-former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham was first tied to shady "co-conspirator No. 1,"lobbyist and military contractor Brent Wilkes in Pulitzer Prize winning coverage by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The 63-year-old Rethug Cunningham, you might recall, recently plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, tax evasion and wire fraud for receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.

The level of greed was beyond the pale -- he had a freaking bribe "price list" for his ability to steer business to defense contractors.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison in March.

In December, the rumblings about Brent Wilkes providing "hospitality suites" for congressman began. From my Dec. 6 post:
The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a lengthy piece that dug into all the connections, but The Hotline pulled out a most interesting snippet that sounds mighty randy to me...
According to the U-T, Wilkes also "ran a hospitality suite, with several bedrooms, in" DC -- "first in the Watergate Hotel and then" in a Capitol Hill hotel.

Come again? A "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

Talk about raising more questions, including:

-- Why does a lobbyist need a "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?

-- Who uses those bedrooms and for what?

These lobbying scandals involving Cunningham and Wilkes and Abramoff are looking more and more like a bad movie script every day.
Fast forward to the present and the WSJ:
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.

Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn't clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.

In recent weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have fanned out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses and others who may have been involved in the arrangement. In an interview, the assistant general manager of the Watergate Hotel confirmed that federal investigators had requested, and been given, records relating to the investigation and rooms in the hotel.

...Mr. Wade told investigators that all the arrangements for these services had been made by Mr. Wilkes and two employees of Mr. Wilkes's company, according to people with knowledge of his debriefing. He said Mr. Wilkes had rented the hotel suites and found the limousine driver, who had "relationships" with several escort services. Mr. Wade told prosecutors that sometimes Mr. Cunningham would contact him to request these services, and he would pass on the request to Mr. Wilkes or his employees, who then made the actual arrangement. Mr. Wade said that other times Mr. Cunningham called Mr. Wilkes directly to make the requests.
Oy. The sleaze factor is on red alert.

If you surf over to Think Progress, you can see video of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, featuring Dean Calbreath of the San Diego Union Tribune, who talks about the "half a dozen" members of Congress who are probably not sleeping well at night, knowing their names are in the "black book" for hooker service and may be made public.

Q: Was Gannon on the menu of "services"?


Rush cops a plea



The doctor shopping for Oxy came home to roost for the "Hillbilly heroin" consumer and radio show host and hypocrite. Sweet. (Raw Story):
Rush Limbaugh has entered into a settlement agreement with the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office to end their probe of allegations that the conservative talk show host went "doctor shopping" to obtain prescription pain-killing medicine, RAW STORY has found.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Limbaugh turned himself over to Florida authorities late Friday afternoon after a warrant had been issued.

"The conservative radio commentator came into the jail at about 4 p.m. with his attorney Roy Black and bonded out an hour later on a $3,000 bail," said a spokesman for the State Attorney's office, according to the Palm Beach Post.

According to attorney Roy Black, a single charge of doctor shopping will be filed in court by the state attorney, and as long as Limbaugh "completes an additional 18 months of treatment" by his physician, and pays $30,000 "to the State of Florida to defray the public cost of the investigation," the charge will then be dropped.
Look at the list of drugs America's Conservative was popping like candy:
Limbaugh was accused of "doctor shopping" in order to obtain an "inordinate abundance of painkillers," which included "OxyContin, Lorcet, Norco, Hydrocodone and Kadian, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the cholesterol-lowering drug Niacin, and Clonodine.
Considering the amount of painkillers this man was consuming, I have to ask this somewhat tasteless question -- how on earth did he not self-destruct from the constipation alone?

UPDATE: The mug shot (via AmericaBlog)...



Rosie to take Meredith Vieira's chair on The View



What this could do for queer culture, beaming into the living rooms of the heartland. I never watch The View, but I may have to record the show just to see how long it takes for Rosie to take on Star Jones, spouse of the questionably heterosexual Al Reynolds. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), welcomes Rosie O'Donnell's return to daytime.
"Rosie's unique blend of wit, wisdom and passionate family advocacy will be a perfect addition to 'The View,'" said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. "We're thrilled at the possibility of Rosie's return to daytime television where she'll be able to bring stories about her life and family to millions across America."

As host of the syndicated "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," O'Donnell won six Daytime Emmy Awards as best talk-show host during the show's 1996-2002 run. She left the grind of daily television to raise four children with her partner, Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell. The couple operate the cruise line R. Family Vacations for LGBT families, which was featured in the recent HBO documentary "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise."
Rosie announced earlier this month that she would be exec-producing a program for the cable channel called "The Big Gay Show."

I found her first daytime show heavy sledding, particularly her overbearing fetish for the insane Tom Cruise. The one thing she's been in that I can watch over and over is A League of Their Own. What a fun movie. From the IMDb, a fun fact.
Goofs: Miscellaneous: After they bring out the Peaches for their first game, and announce all of them, they run out on the field. In the background, you can see Rosie O'Donnell trip over a wire and fall down.
Anyway, according to TMZ, Rosie was up against Connie Chung (good lord), Patricia Heaton and Soledad O'Brien for the job.

Let's see, how long before the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America or Focus on the Anus weigh in on this development courtesy of The Homosexual AgendaTM? Well we can see what they have to say in the swamp...nothing very bright, as usual.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Laura Ingraham is going to have material for years to come with her liberal rants!

Thats a pretty big ego jumping into that pond of egos, don't you think?

Ewwwwwwwwww - just - ewwwwwwwww.

Watched it once....won't again, now they have ALL libs on the show.

Will the behemoth be packing heat while on the set?

Star Jones and that redhead comedienne with the mullet are two of the biggest lefties you'll find on TV. Now with Rosie it's just going to be a Bush-Bashfest.

This ought to be good--everything O'Donut touches goes down in flames.

Rosie is going to drive this ship into the ground!!

Recipe for the mother of all migraine headaches: Turn on "The View" and listen to Rosie and Joy Behar shriek obnoxiously for an hour. The levels of brain deadness and decibels for this show just went through the roof. Why don't they add Sandra Bernhard as a host, and increase those levels by yet another order of magnitude?

What's the over/under on Star Jones quitting and going back to NBC News & the Duke Rape case, 3 weeks?

I guess the View needed more ballast, er I mean balance.

Hey Rosie, Make sure you ask Connie how her hubby's girlfiend is doing.

I thought you had to be a woman to be on that panel.

She is there to give the dyke point of View. She may even go after Star Jones's carpet. That would bring out the barf bags. The Moose isnt a lesbian because she wants to be , she is just too repulsive to attract a man.

Are they changing the title to "The View from the Buffet Table"?

When you see a announcement like this things immediately come to mind. If you ever saw the movie Blazing Saddles the have one scene where these guys are all sitting around a camp fire farting. That's the first thing I thought of when I read this because during the one and only time I saw The View for all of 60 seconds that's what it reminded me of. Now, with Rosie it's even more smelly.


More support for the repeal of DADT

"I questioned high-ranking members of the armed forces, active duty military personnel, veterans, military families, members of the LGBT community, my congressional colleagues and other interested groups."
-- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), the 115th member of Congress to sign on to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act
The significance of Davis's statement is that there are high-ranking officers ready to deep-six this bigoted, idiotic policy, as the casualties continue unabated in Iraq, and gay and lesbian service members are being discharged. (365gay.com):
Davis is a member of the House Armed Services Committee which is considering the bill introduced in March 2005 by Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA).

Her San Diego district is home to a large naval base, a marine corps station and recruiting depot, an Air national Guard installation. In all there are some 317,000 military personnel and more than 21,000 lesbian and gay veterans in the area.

Congresswoman Davis carries enormous respect with military leaders in her district, said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network .

"Her sponsorship of this legislation sends a clear message that repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is in the best interest of our armed forces,.” said Osburn.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network National Dinner is coming up on May 13. It features a keynote by Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the highest ranking female officer in Army history, former Marine Corps Sergeant and Iraq veteran Brian Robert Fricke. The event honors Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), with the Randy Shilts Visibility Award. I'll be there live-blogging it.


Homobigot of the day - Don Feder

It gets wearying at times, wading around and reading the filth put out by the homophobes. It makes you sick to see such ignorance, hate and flat out lying to justify their bigotry in the name of family, God and country.

Here's yet another example, a piece by extreme assclown Don Feder, author of A Jewish Conservative looks At Pagan America and Who’s Afraid of the Religious Right? in a column for ChronWatch:
A family is a man and a woman joined by marriage, with or without children. Two male homosexuals, or two lesbians, who are roommates, engaging in mutual acts of sodomy, aren't a family. Two homosexuals who have children are just that--two homosexuals who have children. They're no more a family than a fish with a machine gun is an army.

Homosexuals acquire children--through adoption, artificial insemination, or from a previous marriage. And now they're using our natural sympathy for children as a weapon to normalize the abnormal--to put the healthy and life-giving on the same plane as the sick and life-negating.

While families sometimes adopt children, most men and women are capable of reproduction, and--even with widespread divorce--most children live with their natural parents.

When was the last time you went to a homosexual baby shower? (But, I thought they were just like any other family.) In most cases, homosexuals can "have" children only if heterosexuals reproduce first.

Homosexuals generate not life but death. Forget AIDS. Every venereal disease imaginable is rampant among homosexuals. For homosexual "partners," monogamy doesn't mean quite the same thing it does for George and Laura. (In a 1978 study by gay researchers Jay and Young, 23% of homosexuals admitted to having had more than 100 sexual partners, while 18% said they'd had three or more in the previous week!) Family values, anyone?
In bleating such hateful crap, I'd hope Don doesn't have any gay or lesbian family members or close friends, though that hasn't stopped the likes of Alan Keyes from his own homophobia, kicking his daughter out of the house when she came out to him.

Feder's proud of his bigotry. Take a look at this from his bio:
I’m to the right of Sharon on Zionism, to the right of Pat Buchanan on immigration and Americanism, to the right of Mother Angelica on abortion, to the right of Chuck Heston on Second-Amendment rights, and generally make the legendary Atilla look like a limousine liberal.
These people are sick. They have no idea what family values are.

Hat tip to Blender StephenPNJ


More barnyard animal abuse

"What I saw on the tape, I still can't believe...Always [going] to the same animal. On the tape, he was [going] to the same animal performing sexual acts.""
-- St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau, after reviewing the activities going on in a St. Gabriel barn
Paul emailed me this with the subject line: Attention Sen. Santorium - We need you here! Tony Soprano's favorite senator, Little Ricky, needs to be aware of this bestiality case of the week, which occurred in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.

A seventeen-year-old was caught on tape assaulting a horse; the owner of the barn set up two cameras after "sexual paraphernalia" was found in the stall. It didn't take long before the crime against nature were captured on video, with this sick guy going to the same stable each time, in sexual acts with the same horse. Argh, thank goodness I haven't eaten lunch. (WAFB-TV):

WAFB 9NEWS: Image from Surveillance Tape; Suspect's Face Blurred

The juvenile, who is under age 17, is being held in the Iberville Parish Juvenile Detention Center. Authorities said Thursday they were trying to get psychiatric help for the juvenile suspect. Detectives say they received a tip from someone who saw a WAFB 9NEWS report in which still frames from a surveillance tape were broadcast Wednesday night. The tipster said they believed they recognized the young man shown on the tape, detectives said.

St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau says in all his 20 years in law enforcement, he’s never come across a case like the one. "We gotta catch this guy, he needs help," Ambeau said Wednesday, when he first released the tape to the media.
Paul: "This just goes to show you that us guys will stick it into anything that moves, and some things that don't."

By the way, the TV station felt the need to add a note to the piece:
WAFB 9NEWS carefully reviewed the circumstances regarding this case before deciding which course of action to take in our reporting. The St. Gabriel Police Department requested that we air the video, or portions of it, in hopes of identifying a suspect in its on-going investigation into an alleged case of bestiality involving a man and a horse. WAFB 9NEWS decided not to broadcast moving video clips that appear to show the man and horse together. Instead, we included only still frames from the videotape in hopes that someone would be able to recognize the man shown in the videotape. The still frames we selected for our report do not show any situations in which the male appears to be in direct contact with the animal. We realize the very sensitive nature of this story, and because of that, we chose to air this report only in our late evening newscast, at 10pm Wednesday.
Other recent stories of our fellow citizens with a BIG problem:
* Man in Bainbridge, GA jumps a fence at a stockyard and has sex with a hog
* Mesa, AZ fire battalion chief caught with his pants down in a barn assaulting a lamb
* Gig Harbor, Washington State: man dies while having sex with a horse on a farm


Setting up tent in 'Jesus Camp'

House Blender Joel, a Texas native currently living in Brooklyn (shout out to my peeps there!), went to see the documentary Jesus Camp (by by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady) while at the Tribeca film festival.

The film sounds awesome. From Nancy Schafer's description on the film festival site:

In Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, directors of the acclaimed film The Boys of Baraka, introduce us to children who are growing up as evangelical Christians. Twelve-year-old Levi, who was "saved" when he was five, is a shy boy except when he is filled with the Holy Spirit. Nine-year-old Rachael is outspoken in her love for the Lord. They are home-schooled by their Christian parents and interact with their peers at church and church events.

In the summer they travel to Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire" summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, to intensify their devotion to the Lord. Fischer is a children's pastor, who specializes in tapping into the hearts and minds of kids on their level. She recognizes that this generation accesses information through video, images, and music.

Intercut with scenes of the kids is the radio commentary of Mike Papantonio, a Christian who believes that the Evangelical movement has strayed from the original teachings of love that Jesus died for. He worries that the movement's position on the environment, creationism, and other fundamental tenets are short-sighted and will hurt the conservative movement in the end.
Joel says it's a must-see look into extreme wingnuttery. It really sounds like a cult to me -- yes, it's Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman's Base of the GOP. Joel passes on his thoughts about it below.
My partner and I, along with an old friend, went to see the premier of Jesus Camp last night. It was a part of the fab Tribeca Film festival.

Seeing as all three of us are from Texas, and each of us having been to such a camp in our youth, we could really relate. As an adult, I squirmed in horrid recollection more than once. It is a good movie, more telling especially to those who are completely unaware of the indoctrination (yes, that IS the word, even one of the lead characters admits as much at the end) in which these adults engage. Fear, hatred, and guilt dripped from the screen. The scary part was the fact that these were real people, real children, who participated.

All through it, the lead nutcase running this camp, Pastor Becky, prayed over everything from the PowerPoint software to the electrical panels to the church pews. I found myself wondering, ‘How did the producers of this film ever get access and free reign to film this inside gaggle of god freaks?’ Well, near the end of it, Pastor Becky explains that she just knows this film will scare the liberals out there, once they see how strong and smart the evangelicals are. Huh? No, pastor, what we liberals saw was a freak show and a group of crazies preying on the most innocent and good citizens we have. What we saw was abusive and denial of scientific education. What we saw was the same, tired fearful adults hell bent on instilling their same rabid fear, same denial of youth, and a preaching of superiority over their neighbors.

And they speak of gays preying and indoctrinating the young!

Upon leaving, I told my companions, "Well, one good thing I see of it. When those poor, tortured kids grow up, get out and get a lawyer and sue, at least they’ll have video evidence against these crazy people who screwed up their lives."

I suggest everyone go see it.


To the point

The Malcontent has this howler up as the quote of the day, from "DC's Funniest Celebrity" contest, over at The Hotline (subscription. req.):

"Poor bastard took it better than a gay porn star. ... Wait, he did take it from a gay porn star."
-— Rep. Linda Sanchez, (D-CA) on Scotty McClellan in his former gig for Dear Leader (and, oh my, as "catcher" of softballs from JG).


Anti-gay bogus scientist touting latest published 'research'

As expected, junk scientist Paul Cameron, of the Colorado Springs-based think-tank Family Research Institute, is sending out press releases on his latest garbage about gays, touting the publication of his latest "study," Children of homosexuals and transsexuals more apt to be homosexual, which is in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of Biosocial Science.
A third of homosexuals’ children become homosexual. That’s the major finding from the largest study of adult children of homosexuals. Children of transsexuals were also more apt to become homosexual or transsexual. At least 23 (30%) of 77 adult children of homosexuals were homosexual and 25 (32%) heterosexual. Of 10 adults with transsexual parents, at least one became transsexual and another homosexual.

“Our society has been told by gays and professional associations that children were not more apt to become homosexual if their parents were. We’ve been told that genital mutilations by parents who pretend to be the opposite sex wouldn’t have any effect on their children,” said investigator Paul Cameron. “Too much bogus information about homosexual parents has been sold to the public. Most people think homosexual parents create an environment that stimulates homosexual desires in their children. We expect children to be confused when a father decides to pretend he’s a woman and demand that his family participate in his charade. The American Psychological Association and National Association of Social Workers have told court after court that common sense is wrong. They say foster care and adoption by homosexuals is absolutely harmless -- there is no correlation between children adopting homosexual tastes and the sexual proclivities of their parents. Examination of three published reports by pro-gay investigators shows the falsity of these claims. These professional associations seem more interested in pushing for social acceptance of homosexuality than what’s good for children.”
Yes, this is a man of science. A couple of weeks ago, Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway destroyed this article in a must-read post that exposes Cameron's shoddy work and blatant propaganda.
His article for JBS suffers from many of the same egregious flaws found in almost everything else he writes: a hostile premise, a weak methodology, deliberate mischaracterization of the works of others, unproven conclusions, and a flagrant bias. These glaring weaknesses, which I will discuss one by one, have made him a pariah among legitimate social scientists.
Go read it all.

On his web site, Cameron says this:
Family Research Institute is a non-profit scientific and educational corporation that believes the strength of our society depends on preserving America's historic moral framework and the traditional family. FRI is working to produce sound, scientific data on pressing social issues — especially homosexuality — in an effort to promote traditional policies.
That doesn't sound like an agenda, does it? Does this opining by Cameron sound like he's interested in objective research? From a Feb 6 press release, bleating that same-sex marriage, even partner benefits, are dangerous to society
Currently there is one voluntary relationship that immediately confers these benefits and more — that relationship is marriage between a man and a woman. Society gets tremendous value out of marriage, because married individuals are more economically productive, provide the best place to raise children, and are the least criminal. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are less economically productive, have few children, do not raise them well, are more criminal, and tend to spread disease. Society should not reward homosexual relationships with marriage-like benefits.
To put Cameron's "research" into perspective, take a look at his reputation as a scientist.
On December 2, 1983, the American Psychological Association sent Paul Cameron a letter informing him that he had been dropped from membership. Early in 1984, all members of the American Psychological Association received official written notice that "Paul Cameron (Nebraska) was dropped from membership for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists" by the APA Board of Directors.



Cameron has posted an elaborate argument about his expulsion from APA on his website, claiming that he resigned from APA before he was dropped from membership. Like most organizations, however, APA does not allow a member to resign when they are being investigated. And even if Cameron's claims were accepted as true, it would be remarkable that the largest professional organization of psychologists in the United States (and other professional associations, as noted below) went to such lengths to disassociate itself from one individual. 
  • At its membership meeting on October 19, 1984, the Nebraska Psychological Association adopted a resolution stating that it "formally disassociates itself from the representations and interpretations of scientific literature offered by Dr. Paul Cameron in his writings and public statements on sexuality."
     
  • In 1985, the American Sociological Association (ASA) adopted a resolution which asserted that "Dr. Paul Cameron has consistently misinterpreted and misrepresented sociological research on sexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism" and noted that "Dr. Paul Cameron has repeatedly campaigned for the abrogation of the civil rights of lesbians and gay men, substantiating his call on the basis of his distorted interpretation of this research."The resolution formally charged an ASA committee with the task of "critically evaluating and publicly responding to the work of Dr. Paul Cameron."
    At its August, 1986 meeting, the ASA officially accepted the committee's report and passed the following resolution:
    The American Sociological Association officially and publicly states that Paul Cameron is not a sociologist, and condemns his consistent misrepresentation of sociological research. Information on this action and a copy of the report by the Committee on the Status of Homosexuals in Sociology, "The Paul Cameron Case," is to be published in Footnotes, and be sent to the officers of all regional and state sociological associations and to the Canadian Sociological Association with a request that they alert their members to Cameron's frequent lecture and media appearances."
  • Cameron's credibility was also questioned outside of academia. In his written opinion in Baker v. Wade (1985),

    Judge Buchmeyer of the U.S. District Court of Dallas referred to "Cameron's sworn statement that 'homosexuals abuse children at a proportionately greater incident than do heterosexuals,'" and concluded that "Dr. Paul Cameron...has himself made misrepresentations to this Court" and that "There has been no fraud or misrepresentations except by Dr. Cameron" (p.536).
  • How he managed to get published in a peer-reviewed academic journal is amazing and frightening, since Cameron's other work was pay-for-play, he can now tout that this study has ostensibly passed rigorous professional scrutiny. Jim of Box Turtle Bulletin:
    So now, and against that backdrop, his JBS article arrives as the latest in a long litany describing the supposed harms that gay parents pose to children.16 Almost all of his work has been self-published, either on his own web site or in the pay-to-publish journal Psychological Reports. Occasionally, he manages to get published in a few other journals, but they tend to have a very low impact factor, often ranking near the bottom among social science journals.17 While the Journal of Biosocial Science is not so near the bottom, its impact factor nevertheless places it in the lower half among social science journals for 2003.18 This article isn’t likely to improve to their standings.


    The Homo Risk Audit Project

    "The overwhelming majority of Christian parents who even have gone out of their way to become involved and to try to determine what's going on in their local schools will be surprised at how extensive the pro-homosexual agenda is in every government school in the nation."
    -- Steve Crampton, chief counsel at the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, on what the Risk Audit will uncover
    A cornucopia of the usual Christofascist suspects have banded together to root The Homosexual AgendaTM out of the school system with a new effort, the Risk Audit Project, developed by our friend Linda Harvey of Mission[ary Position] America.

    On board with Linda are the old stand bys -- the Family Research Council [Tony Perkins!], Concerned Women for America [Bob Knight!], the Illinois Family Institute [Peter LaBarbera!], and the American Family Association [Don and Tim Wildmon!].

    An AgapePress article explains the Project:
    The Risk Audit Project measures the extent to which public school districts are collaborating with homosexual activists by determining, among other things, whether schools have adopted pro-homosexual policies or curricula, and whether the school district is sponsoring pro-homosexual clubs, events, or activities. Crampton feels the risk audit is not a luxury for schools but a necessity.

    "We believe that since schools are called upon and required to protect children while they're at school, by that same token they have an absolute obligation to do no harm to the children that are under their care," the AFA Law Center spokesman says. "And so this risk audit is an effort to first ascertain the extent of the activities in our schools and, second, to let the American public know what's really going on."
    I went over to check out the Homo Risk Audit Project site at Mission[ary Position] America (so you don't have to). This stuff is the height of sleaze, repeating bogus science and tired, outrageous winger talking points. Read and try not to get ill.
    Homosexual behavior presents many serious risks, and those risks are well-documented.

    With homosexual behavior comes a whole host of very significant health and lifestyle risks. Whether high-risk conduct is a result of homosexual desires, or contributes to developing them, or some of both, is anyone's guess. The fact remains that teens engaging in homosexual behavior are participating in a lifestyle that:
    • reduces life expectancy at age twenty by at least 8 to 20 years
    • increases by at least 500% the risk of contracting AIDS
    • increases the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease by nearly 900%
    • increases by 4,000% the risk of developing anal cancer
    • substantially increases the likelihood of smoking, having mental health disorders (other than same-sex attraction), being the victim of "domestic" violence, and being involved in alcohol and drug abuse.
    • substantially increases the likelihood of contracting hepatitis and other gastrointestinal infections
    • substantially increases the risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer
    • has high levels of participation in sadomasochism, coprophilia, sadomasochism, fisting, and other dangerous, deviant sex practices
    • involves extraordinarily high levels of promiscuity

    As it now stands, each child enrolled in a public school is likely to receive numerous direct and implicit messages at school that homosexual behavior should be accepted as normal. The underlying (and erroneous) assumptions of these messages are:

    • That homosexuality is inborn and inevitable for some students and teachers and therefore a matter of "rights". There is no body of scientific research that establishes this proposition.

    • That homosexual behaviors are no higher risk than current trends in heterosexual behavior. This is not supported by public health data or common sense.

    • That homosexuality is a viewpoint and should be protected by "free speech" constitutional protections. Like smoking, it is actually a high risk behavior. Schools should no more permit homosexual behavior to be presented to children as "normal" and "acceptable" than smoking or drug use should be presented to children as "normal" and "acceptable".

    • That objections to homosexuality are a threat to the welfare of students who are assumed to be "born gay." As is so often the case with politically correct "conventional wisdom," exactly the reverse is true. Objections to homosexual behavior actually save lives and improve mental and physical health.
    The effort to uncover and prevent homosexual indoctrination going on in the school systems involves deep questions that get to the core of the deviance. Some examples of the questions in the Risk Audit from the site:
    * Does the district have an anti-harassment or anti-bullying policy specifying sexual orientation? ___ yes __no If yes, is gender identity also included? ___ yes ___no

    * Does the district have a non-discrimination policy that specifies sexual orientation?
    ___ yes __no If yes, is gender identity also included? ___ yes ___no

    * Are there requirements for teacher/ staff training on “diversity,” “tolerance,” “sensitivity”? Please provide as much information as possible, including frequency of such training, when last workshops were conducted, and whether elementary and/or secondary teachers attended?

    * Does the school have an ongoing relationship with a “gay” activist group, such as GLSEN, PFLAG, or a local community group? Is this in the form of a consulting contract, or a referral relationship?

    * Are there lessons/books/programs as part of the school curriculum urging tolerance/acceptance of homosexuality, and implying that objections are unacceptable?

    * Are there classroom lessons on different types of families that include endorsement of homosexual partners as heads of families?

    * Are there pro-homosexual stories/novels featured or suggested in reading and literature classes? Note: This should be only those books required or on classroom lists of recommended reading, not books simply available in the library. Attach a separate sheet if needed.

    * Are there HIV/AIDS and “safe sex” education programs which teach acceptance of homosexual behavior?

    * Are there political science or current issues classes teaching that acceptance of homosexuality, same sex marriage, and “gay rights” is the most desirable position?

    * Is there a homosexual club at any schools in your district?

    * Has the school held an event specifically advocating homosexuality, such as a “Diversity day,” Day of silence,” “gay” pride celebration day (or week), “coming out” day, etc.?

    * Does any school have a “pink triangle” or “rainbow” or similar program designating pro-homosexual classes or zones of the school?
    At the end of the Audit, you get to "score" the level of homosexual infiltration, and then, Linda warns those doing the audits about what needs to be done, based on an assessment of the "findings."

    Photo enhancement by Mike Tidmus.

    Each research group will arrive at its own conclusions regarding the importance of what it finds. Nevertheless, because of the health and life- threatening consequences to children of school district collaboration with homosexual activists, we recommend the following:

    1. Any district with a homosexual club, any program or curriculum that would tend to influence children to regard homosexual behavior as in any sense normal or acceptable, should be identified as a clear and present danger to children and society and should receive a failing grade. Please bear in mind, too, that it does not matter that in some instances school districts are collaborating with homosexual activists because of state or local law. The dangers to children and society are the same whether the collaboration is required or discretionary.

    2. In other cases – as, for example, where a school library might have contain books that attempt to influence children to accept the homosexual lifestyle as normal – it might be more appropriate to identify the school district as one that poses a risk to the welfare of children that requires immediate correction.

    3. In all cases where a Risk Audit finds collaboration with homosexual activists, parents, churches, and state and local family-oriented organizations should be alerted and asked to demand immediate corrective action from the school board. The response of the school board to such demands should be communicated clearly to the public, and if a school board promises corrective action, it is important to determine whether the school district actually follows through in good faith. Even if the school district follows through, continued vigilance is important because there are always pressures from within the education establishment to encourage acceptance of homosexual behavior.


    Nah, can't be racism

    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    I thought White House Press Secretary Tony Snow told us it was all a thing of the past. Here we go, right from today's headlines. Perhaps someone should shoot Tony an email link to this little event in Spring, Texas:
    Two white teenagers severely beat and sodomized a 16-year-old Hispanic boy who they believed had tried to kiss a 12-year-old white girl at a party, authorities said.

    The attackers forced the boy out of the Saturday night house party, beat him and sodomized him with a metal pipe, shouting epithets "associated with being Hispanic," said Lt. John Martin with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

    They then poured bleach over the boy, apparently to destroy DNA evidence and left him for dead, authorities said. He wasn't discovered until Sunday, 12 hours after the attack.

    The victim, who was not identified, suffered severe internal injuries and remained in critical condition Thursday.

    "It's more than likely the boy won't live," Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent said.
    Hat tips to King Cranky and Mike B.

    ***

    UPDATE: Shakes Sis said in the comments that the latest reports say the girl who was kissed was Hispanic; from the DA's statements in this AP story (I saw him live on CNN this AM when he said this), he won't move on it as a hate crime.

    At one point, the teens tried to carve something on the boy's chest with a knife, he told CNN Friday.

    "I don't know that the very beginning of the attack was racial," Trent said, "but there's no question that they were venting quite a bit of hatred in their hearts."

    The victim lay behind the house for more than 10 hours before he was found and someone called an ambulance. Trent said there were witnesses to the beating, though no one else had been charged.

    "You do certainly have to wonder why anyone not report that for as long as they did," he told CNN.

    Investigators said the attack happened at an unsupervised house party in Spring after the 16-year-old tried to kiss a 12-year-old Hispanic girl.
    Shakes Sis has an excellent rant on the culture that produces such monsters. I would love to hear the families of these two lowlifes to come out and say what good boys they were. As she says in her post, this shit doesn’t happen in a void.


    Offline

    I was offline most of the day, only on to post entries I had queued up in Blogger early this AM. The day job is somewhat insane, as it is for most regular Joes and Janes who are about to take a vacation of any length -- so much to get done so that you can hopefully enjoy yourself while away. You try in vain to ensure that you don't return to a desk will be piled mile-high with work as payback for taking a few days off. At best, it's at least a half-mile high, and the emails are out of control.

    All I can say is we look forward to having a decent time in Philly. There's nothing more depressing than scheduling time away from work, getting a petsitter, and doing all the travel rigamarole and it turns out to be more stress-inducing than just staying home.

    ***

    Anyway, my Blend mailbox was overflowing again when I checked in a few minutes ago, with a heap of emails of continued support for dropping off the Campaign for Jeff Gannon's Legitimacy panel. I surfed over to John's pad, to see what other cowdung has hit the fan over this panel, and it appears that the whole thing has reached surreal levels of absurdity that one can only describe -- politely -- as unfortunate.


    The latest twists and turns come from an interview in Philadelphia City Paper with Equality Forum program director Mike LaMonaca, who talks about the panel as if it was supposed to be focused on Gannongate. This is diametrically opposed to the position of the panel moderator, who John and I had numerous exchanges over the weekend, as well as LaMonaca's own press release just yesterday excoriating John for daring to suggest Gannongate should be a major focus (never mind that my concurring role in this has been mysteriously rendered invisible in subsequent discussion, but whatever).

    John:
    Now we find out that LaMonaca apparently intended all along that GannonGate be discussed at the panel. From LaMonaca's interview, it sounds like GannonGate was the only issue that interested him at all from the panel, or at least it was the one most on his mind. And LaMonaca is the guy CREATED the panel in the first place. Bizarrely, he's also the guy who publicly criticized me yesterday for trying to edge the panel back to what he apparently intended it to be.

    Then why did LaMonaca yesterday criticize me for proposing the same thing he advocated in this week's Philly City Paper - discussing GannonGate as one of the panel topics? Not to mention, this is now clear evidence that the direction of this panel very much changed from where it was only a week or so ago when this article was completed. Why was that? Did Gannon put his foot down? Did a board member or a donor or a Republican in the senior ranks of the Equality Forum flip out? Did the moderator in her ivory tower (she teaches at the Annenberg School) refuse to address that icky sex issue? Growing numbers of questions, and fewer and fewer answers from the Equality Forum on just what the heck is going on here.
    As John pointed out in his other post yesterday, we both received emails at points over the weekend from the exec director of EF agreeing with us that Gannongate should be a centerpiece of the panel. The spin cycle is on high, understandably so.

    At this point, one can only speculate about what is really going on behind the scenes, but it seems pretty safe to say that ensuring rentboy-cum-cub "reporter" JG/JG's Campaign for Legitimacy appearance is quite important to someone.


    Christian video duping service is under attack by the homos

    I kid you not.
    Upon being asked to duplicate two pro-homosexual films, Tim Bono of Bono Film & Video politely refused the business, citing his company policy -- do not duplicate material it deems obscene, that may embarrass employees or tarnish the company's reputation, or that is contrary to Christian and ethical values.

    But the customer making the request was long-time lesbian activist Lillian Vincenz, who took her complaint to Arlington County officials, asking them to force Bono to duplicate her materials. The county's Human Rights Commission subsequently began an investigation into the Christian businessman's actions, even conducting a public hearing to discuss the alleged "discrimination."

    Those actions by the Human Rights Commission, says Joe Glover of the Family Policy Network, may warrant a lawsuit for what he sees a violation of the religious liberties of Christian business owners. He sees the response of Vincenz -- a so-called "gay pioneer" in the area who has been promoting homosexual behavior for more than four decades -- as an attempt to quash religious freedom. "With the help of Arlington County, this lesbian activist proves that [homosexual activists are] really out to publicly use the power of the government to destroy the religious liberties of decent people," says Glover.

    The county has reportedly decided that Bono's actions violate Arlington County code that prohibits "discrimination by a public accommodation ... on the basis of sexual orientation or perception thereof." Glover, however, is seeking out business people in the county who would be willing as anonymous plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the county. The county's involvement, he says, is an "anti-Christian, pro-homosexual witch-hunt" against all businesses in the area. "It's a heavy-handed threat to turn government against Christians who want to live their lives according to scripture," Glover adds, offering his thoughts on the potential outcome of the case. "Even if [the homosexual activists] can't win a case like this on the merits, they're out to strike fear in the hearts of Christians who want to live according to their faith," he says.
    I don't know why Vincenz is wasting her time on this small fry. If he turns away all the unholy business out there that violates his pious company policy, his potential customer base will be miniscule.


    He should just hang a sign o' the fish on the door and be done with it.


    Upcoming bible-beater rally against homos: 'Not Ashamed Charlotte'

    We are absolutely not intolerant bigots, and we believe that strong moral convictions must go hand in hand with respectful and gracious treatment of all people. So we reach out to homosexual men and women with compassion, but we resist with courage their agenda to reshape America."
    -- Michael L. Brown, Director of the Coalition of Conscience, on his Charlotte event
    Yes, he's full of compassion, isn't he? Mr. Coalition of Conscience is holding a rally on May 6 to Celebrate the delay of Charlotte Pride, which lost the use of the public park it had held part of the event in the past.

    The wingers, including Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America, have been proclaiming blanket "victory" over the Homosexual AgendaTM over this, and this latest attempt to "prove" the homobigots are surging in numbers and power is incredibly pathetic. From the "Christian" news outlet, LifeSiteNews:
    The first-ever "Not Ashamed Charlotte" rally will unite Christians from different churches to proclaim their faith in the public square, replacing the annual gay pride event usually scheduled for early May in Marshall Park. The Christian rally will be held from 3-4 p.m. May 6 in the park. According to Dr. Michael L. Brown, Director of the Coalition of Conscience and organizer of Not Ashamed Charlotte, the timing of this event is highly significant.

    "For the last four years," Brown explains, "on the first Saturday of May, Marshall Park has been will filled with as many as 3,000 gays and lesbians celebrating Charlotte Pride." This gay pride event, marked by public lewdness and obscenity, has drawn protest from various Christian groups. Mayor Pat McCrory has also voiced his displeasure with the Charlotte Pride event being held in a public park. In other cities, similar gay pride events have drawn upwards of 100,000 participants.

    "This year," Brown states, "the Charlotte Pride organizers had to delay their event, and we were able to get the park for our rally. So, instead of transvestite dancers simulating sex in the presence of toddlers and little children, we will be proclaiming the goodness of God and the love of Jesus. And instead of vendors advertising hot nudist camps, we will be standing together with our families proclaiming that we are not ashamed of purity and morality and wholesome living."
    This is heinous. Local gay publication QNotes dispels the myth that Charlotte pride is on the ropes.

    I fully expect that Mecklenburg County Commissioner, the wild-eyed, anally fixated bigot Bill James, to show up at a rally like this of The Base.


    Little Gary is worried

    Going down with the ship, friend?
    President George W. Bush's approval ratings are at an all-time low, even among Republicans -- and a pro-family leader isn't sure that shake-ups on the White House staff will help matters. The president's approval ratings have sunk to 33 percent -- his lowest ratings ever -- and even the ratings of GOP supporters have dipped below 70 percent.


    A series of changes are taking place among the White House staff -- but Gary Bauer of American Values is not sure that will help. "I think it's too early to tell whether we're just rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic or not," he offers. Bauer says it is good to move folks around at times, "but I think at the end of the day it's the policy," he says. Between now and November, he says, the White House needs to get "serious about renewing the tax cuts, getting the budget deficit under control, getting the marriage amendment passed, and doing something serious about border control." Skyrocketing gas prices, adds Bauer, are another issue President Bush must address.


    Tony Snow on the end of racism

    "Here's the unmentionable secret: Racism isn't that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It's rapidly becoming an ugly memory."
    -- newly minted Bush shill Tony Snow, on an October 2003 edition of Fox News Sunday
    Bush's new press secretary is an expert on racism in America. No wonder he fits in so well at the White House.

    I wonder if he's even heard of this bit of business -- Dillard's salon: kinky hair harder to clean

    I dug back in my hair files for fun. How about these nuggets, Tony?

    * Dreadlocks don't cut it at St. Louis bar. The Cheshire Inn denied entry of two men into the bar because of their dreadlocs. Jack Lueders, president of the corporation that operates the Cheshire Inn said:
    "You can't wash that hair, and it stinks, and we're a crowded bar, and we don't want stinky people in the bar," he said, explaining the policy. "If you look nice and you're obviously clean, nobody's going to go up and smell your hair."
    * Judge Upholds Public School Ban on Cornrows. U.S. District Court Judge Scott O. Wright in Kansas City, Missouri upheld a long-standing rule imposed by Boonville High School Coach Richard Smith that prohibits basketball players from wearing braided cornrows during games or practice. No reason is given in the story as to why this particular hairstyle is banned; only that the judge ruled citing federal appeals courts in general have deferred to the authority of the public schools.

    * Dreadlock Lockout: The Dallas Police Department is firing employees based on their hairstyles. Two dozen police officers were stripped of their duties last spring when the Dallas Police Department decided to “crackdown” on dreadlock and other unconventional hairstyles. As the author of the opinion piece, Gjared Robinson, says:
    The department claims that officers must look authoritative and assume a role of power. I don’t know about most people, but if I were pulled over by an officer, the badge he wears on his chest is all I need to see to know they have the power to arrest and charge me.
    * Hair Cuttery Accused of Racial Discrimination. Monica Clark of Capitol Heights and Leslie Mercer of Reston claim in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, that they were mistreated because of their race repeatedly at several Hair Cuttery locations in the Washington area. In visits to separate stores, they tried to charge them $10 more for services because of their race, or were denied service.

    Or let's get down to brass tacks. What about this:


    Burning Cross Left at Home of Interracial Couple on L.I.

    We had one here in Durham last year as well.

    Glad to see Tony's on top of the matter. I clearly must be misinformed on the whole race thing.


    Corporate America: gay dollars and employees are valued

    Let's start off with more good news:

    Bank of America board slaps down shareholder anti-gay proposal
    Another winger proxy issue comes to vote at a corporate shareholder meeting (see earlier post on Kraft blowing off its stockholder fundie).

    This time it's Bank of America, and its board has recommended the rejection of Louisiana shareholder Virginia M. Brown's proposal which would require BoA's management to "amend its written equal opportunity policy to explicitly exclude reference to sexual orientation."

    Look at WingNutDaily's bleating spin.
    A Louisiana shareholder, Virginia M. Brown (owner of 306 shares of Bank of America stock) calls for shareholders to vote in favor of her initiative where the "sexual interests, inclinations and activities (of) employees should be a private matter, not a corporate concern," concluding that sexual orientation provisions are not needed for the bank's human resources guidelines. Calls from WND requesting her comments, were not returned.

    Thomas Strobhar, from the group Citizen Action Now, submitted the proposal on behalf of the Louisiana shareholder. Strobhar, the director of CAN, said by phone he believes the bank's human resources policies do not have to include "sexual orientation" in defending the rights of homosexual employees or applicants. He points out that many Fortune 500 companies already have rules and regulations in place to protect the private interests of its staff. He says that by bringing up sexual issues in the workplace companies like Bank of America open the door in the future to other problems (i.e., cross dressing, sexual harassment and dress code violations).

    Bank of America's board of directors has recommended to its shareholder to avoid adopting the proposal, reasoning that exclusion of the "sexual orientation" terminology would not be in the best interests of the bank. In their statement to shareholders, the directors cautioned them by saying "if the change requested ... is adopted the (company) might face costly lawsuits that could diminish shareholder value."
    This is the trend, you bigots out there. Corporate America is voting to back its LGBT employees and to court gay dollars. You are losing the culture "war" because fairness wins, and fairness is profitable.

    In an article up on Fortune.com, Plugged In: Gay rights are good business, no matter the politics, it presents a bible-beater nightmare of progress for gay rights that should give Don Wildmon of the AFA agita (since his days and nights are consumed with ways to boycott his "values" into the corporate boardrooms of the country).
    More than 80 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 now ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Some 249 of the Fortune 500 offer health and other benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees. That's up from just 28 a decade ago.

    Last year, Wal-Mart, America's biggest employer, agreed to support a network for its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) workers, joining such firms as Citigroup, DuPont and IBM. All these trends are moving in one direction - towards more rights for gay and lesbian people.

    This is remarkable, given the setbacks that gay rights have taken in the political arena, especially around the issue of gay marriage.

    "Corporate America is ahead of government in providing equal treatment for GLBT people because it knows that fairness is good for business," declares Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group.

    ...Shareholder groups that favor gay rights, led by New York City's pension funds and socially responsible investors, filed resolutions this year at more than 20 companies, asking them to expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Most agreed, but some - notably ExxonMobil, the biggest company in America by revenues - oppose the idea. ExxonMobil says the resolution is unnecessary because it has existing "zero-tolerance" policies that ban "discrimination or harassment for any reason, including sexual orientation."

    ...Other companies opposing resolutions that ask them to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation include Leggett & Platt, a diversified manufacturer based in Carthage, Missouri, and Amsouth, a regional bank based in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Meredith Benton of Walden Asset Management, which filed with Leggett & Platt, says, "You want to be sure you have access to the best and brightest employees. That is most sucessfully done when you have an inclusive workplace."
    And the article notes that most of these winger proposal to remove or prevent anti-discrimination language pertaining to gay and lesbian employees go nowhere, and what's even more impressive, the votes in some cases aren't even close.
    Meanwhile, shareholders filed resolutions asking American Express, Bank of America and Ford to consider taking sexual orientation out of their anti-discrimination policies.

    Yes, there's a backlash underway. The Amex resolution, which was defeated Monday, says, among other things, that "domestic partner benefit policies pay people who engage in homosexual sex acts, which were illegal in this country for hundreds of years, and have been proscribed by the major traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Mohammedism for a thousand years or more."

    Interestingly, at Amex, the supporters of the anti-gay resolution could muster only 2 percent of the vote. Backers of gay rights at Exxon last year got 29 percent.
    As if we give a sh*t about vile Exxon. We've already got this poster child to remind us why that company shouldn't get a dime from any Americans, let alone homo dollars:


    Former CEO Lee Raymond's receiving a $400 million platinum retirement parachute, with a fat pension, stock options and perks that include a $1 million consulting deal, home and personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for "professional purposes." When he testified to Congress last year about price gouging after Katrina, he said "we're all in this together." Indeed.

    Also:
    * Jeremy of Good As You blogs about Bank of America.
    * Bank of America's staff survey on sexual orientation


    Southern Baptist faction ready to pull kids from public schools

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    This threat has been floating around by the Southern Baptist Convention for a while. It looks like another push to give up on the homosexualized school system is in the works. See ya. (365gay):
    A group of activists in the Southern Baptist Convention are again calling on the denomination to remove its children from public schools, two years after a similar action was rejected.

    The resolution to urge Baptists to develop an "exit strategy" from public schools is co-sponsored by Texas lawyer Bruce Shortt and Roger Moran, a Missouri businessman and member of the convention's influential executive committee.

    Shortt and Moran said they plan to submit the proposal for a possible vote by the convention at its annual meeting in North Carolina in June. The resolution's release yesterday comes as 56 Baptist pastors and organizational leaders urged denomination members last week in a letter to "speak positively about public education" in response to the movement to pull Baptist children out of public schools.

    They also said that it's wrong for church leaders to urge their congregations to abandon public schools for either home-schooling or private Christian academies. The Shortt-Moran resolution says recent federal court rulings have favored public schools "indoctrinating children with dogmatic Darwinism" and have limited the rights of parents in dictating what schools can teach, including matters on sexuality.

    The resolution also says public schools "continue to adopt and implement curricula and policies teaching that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable" and that Christian alternatives to public schools are "desperately needed immediately by orphans, children of single parents and the disadvantaged."


    Campaign for the $200/hr man

    The mailbag was stuffed with feedback on my decision to drop off the Equality Forum panel featuring Jeff Gannon. Thanks for the overwhelming letters and comments of support.



    John's been keeping up with the latest on the maelstrom of the Campaign for Jeff Gannon's Legitimacy, as I've been out this evening. I really can't add anything to what he says in his latest post, now that EF has a press release out on the matter.

    Sigh. It's all unfortunate. I need a cup of English breakfast tea.



    Daddy Dobson signs up two Tennessee legislators

    In Tennessee, two anti-gay legislators are leaving elected office to join Daddy Dobson as he takes on the homos in the fight to preserve the sanctity of marriage.

    At least you can say these losers are getting off the public payroll and onto the AmTaliban's. (KnoxNews):
    State Sen. David Fowler, R-Signal Mountain, has accepted a job as executive director of the Family Action Council of Tennessee. The group is associated with Colorado-based Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian advocacy group that opposes gay rights.
    Eventually Fowler will become a lobbyist for the group, but he said he will have to wait a year to do that because of the new ethics law.


    Fowler, Clem.

    Rep. Chris Clem, R-Lookout Mountain, is going to serve on the board of the Family Action Group of Tennessee. Both lawmakers announced earlier this year they wouldn't seek re-election. Fowler said he plans to move to Nashville for his new job.

    Fowler, 47, said one of his top priorities in his new job will be promoting passage of the state Marriage Protection Amendment, scheduled for the November ballot. The proposed amendment, which seeks to ban same-sex marriage, was pushed by Fowler in the General Assembly.

    "It will allow me to engage fully in those issues that really brought me to the legislature in the first place without the distractions of all the other things we must do, discuss and debate up here," Fowler said.

    Clem last year sponsored a bill to ban homosexuals from adopting children, which was ultimately defeated in a House committee.


    Kraft blows off fundie pressure on Gay Games

    The shareholder proposal to terminate Kraft Food's backing of the 2006 Gay Games was rejected by the company and investors, despite fundie pressure from groups like the American Family Association and one of Kraft's stockholders, Marcella Meyer, who submitted this particular dumb proposal, which included statements like this:
    • The gay rights movement is not a charitable activity; rather, it is a political movement designed to promote increased acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, and

    ...• The "gay games" event will be appealing to immature young people attracted by the excitement, fun, and even glamour of the event. Some of these young people are likely to experiment with homosexual behavior as a result of this appeal
    Well, she was smacked down.
    It's a rare occasion when a marketing sponsorship can take the stage at a shareholder meeting. But Kraft's decision to support the eight-day event in Chicago this July with a $25,000 donation rankled Kraft stockholder Dr. Marcella Meyer of Chicago, who proposed in a proxy statement that Kraft "disassociate itself" from the Gay Games themselves and any other future activities supporting homosexual activities and lifestyle.

    Dr. Meyer's proposal, rejected by 99% of stockholders, rested largely on the supposition that numerous studies have linked homosexual activity to sexually transmitted diseases that cause sickness and premature death, especially from AIDS, and that Kraft's support of the games could make it legally liable in the event that a young attendee decides to "experiment with homosexual encounters and later develops a serious, even fatal, illness."

    In May of last year, Marc Firestone, Kraft's exec VP-corporate counsel and corporate secretary, sent a memo to Kraft employees reiterating the company's commitment to the event despite protests, voiced most loudly by the American Family Association. In the memo he stated, "Diversity makes us a stronger company and connects us with the diversity that exists among the consumers who buy our products." The company's board and stockholders agreed.
    Hat tip, PageOneQ


    FDA: OTC emergency contraception will lead to sex cults

    OMG. The FDA has been wrangling over the issue of over-the-counter availability of Plan B, the emergency contraceptive for some now, with pressure from the fundies not to approve it.

    In a staff memo, an FDA official indicated that one of the issues that led the agency to balk at approving it (more precisely, a decision was deferred) was that it would lead to rampant teen sex. This is your government. (Newsday via Raw Story):
    Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford, Dr. Janet Woodcock, deputy operations commissioner, and Dr. Steven Galson, director of the FDA's drug evaluation center, are to testify in court-ordered depositions to be taken by attorneys for the Manhattan-based Center for Reproductive Rights on April 26, 27 and 28 in Washington, D.C. and Rockville, Md.

    ...The women's group seeks to force approval of over-the-counter sales of Plan B, which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. Simon Heller, one of the attorneys, plans to quiz Woodcock about a March 23, 2004, staff memo suggesting she was concerned Plan B might lead to teenage promiscuity.

    ...In the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

    Rosebraugh indicated he found no reason to bar nonprescription sales of Plan B.

    "This was the level of scientific discourse, so to speak," Heller said in a phone interview, referring to concerns attributed to Woodcock. "I find it very odd that these people who are supposed to be responsible scientists and doctors are making up wacky reasons."


    Why I won't be on the panel in Philly

    I was scheduled to appear next Wednesday at the National Media Panel on Blogs during Equality Forum. I'm still going to Philly, but I won't be on the panel. John Aravosis of AmericaBlog has declined to participate as well.

    What happened?

    When I received the email from panel moderator about the final agenda of the panel discussion last week, I was surprised to see that the Gannongate dustup was not going to be the centerpiece of the agenda, in fact it wasn't mentioned at all. Quite frankly, a discussion of journalism, ethics, and the intersection of sexuality, politics and impact of blogging puts the Gannon story front and center -- it should be the focus of the panel, not a sideline.

    John's blogging on the White House Press Whore/Talon "News" cub reporter Gannon/Guckert is a landmark in LGBT and mainstream political blogging. No matter what anyone along the political spectrum may think of John's views on some issues, this is the elephant in the room that people are coming to see a discussion about.

    In my response, I made it clear that most regular readers of my blog have zero respect for Gannon as a representative or voice of the LGBT community in the blogosphere, regardless of politics. He's a homophobe and a serial plagiarist. He has little to add to the discussion about LGBT media and blogging, since his blog has no impact or influence in the community in terms of blogger journalism; he's a joke.

    There have been many rounds of correspondence over this, up until last night, when I finally tired of trying to get clarity and resolution on this -- the issue is principle. This panel is planning to give Gannon legitimacy as a blogger/journalist while refusing to focus on his scandal, the only thing he's legitimately able to speak about on this front. It's unfortunate - and a repeat of what happened at the National Press Club when Gannon was given a forum. John elaborates more here.

    If the goal was meant to politically balance the panel in a discussion of the responsibilities of bloggers writing about LGBT issues, there are certainly right-leaning gay bloggers of influence who could have been invited. Gannon can't even represent this; he rarely writes about LGBT matters at all.

    So, unless these organizers have a come-to-Jeebus moment at the 11th hour, I've deep-sixed my first panel appearance. It was something I had looked forward to; since we already bought the plane tickets we'll still be there to attend events, meet up with Philly bloggers, see the city and celebrate Kate's birthday.

    Many thanks to those at Equality Forum for extending the gracious invitation to appear.

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


    'How homosexual school clubs offer sex to students'


    Photo enhancement by Mike Tidmus.

    She's baaaaack.... The above is the title of Linda Harvey's latest column about the Day of Silence (today) for WingNutDaily.

    She works night and day in her organization Mission[ary Position] America to working to stop the Homosexual AgendaTM from taking over the public school system with those evil Gay-Straight Alliances.
    The "Day of Silence" in most schools is organized by the homosexual club or "gay-straight alliance" as it is often called. Both GSAs and the Day of Silence are projects of a group called GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. But GSAs are too often disruptive activism – training groups that prop up the homosexual identities of vulnerable kids by fomenting bias against traditional morality, while concealing the grave risks of homosexuality.

    ...After all, the ACLU usually contends, these clubs don't discuss or encourage "sex," but only talk about prejudice and "homophobia." Officials who might be tempted to eliminate them based on keeping students safe from HIV and the other fruits of high-risk homosexual behaviors are in a bind, because it's hard to prove these clubs do encourage homosexual activity.

    But there's one connection surfacing that schools and communities should watch: the strong link between the school "GSAs" and community-based "GLBT" youth groups. With little accountability except to the adult "gay" community, there's no doubt that these offsite youth groups do offer students opportunities to learn about graphic sex and socialize with peers and adults who are active participants in the homosexual lifestyle. And the target age starts as early as middle school.

    ...The activities at these centers range from help with homework, to games, playing pool, cookouts, parties, proms and lots of "hanging out." More training in "gay" activism may be a focus, infusing impressionable youth with hardcore attitudes. The kids also get recruited for local demonstrations, and are often encouraged to attend the citywide "gay" pride parade, as well as accompanying adult social events.
    There is so much BS in this article; she bleats on and on, each paragraph more ludicrous than the last.

    I had to trot over to Freeperland to see what they had to say about the Day of Silence. I know, it was vile and ignorant as usual.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    It's fine with me if they want to shut up about it for a change. I'm getting pretty sick of their in-your-face militantism. If they'd just shut up about it and not advertise to the whole world what they do in private, they might not feel so discriminated. What a novel idea.

    So, they will spend the whole day with their MOUTHS SHUT?.......I doubt it...............especially if they're GAY.............

    Not only do the socially diseased shut their holes, but the other students get to go a whole day without hearing homosexual advocacy.

    Our kid's HS is doing this today. Perhaps the radical homosexuals should be encouraged to extend the day of silence indefinitely.

    I can't wait until the Republicans control the Presidency, the House and the Senate. [Where has this freak been?] Then they will change the way that the ACLU not only sues to destroy the fabric of our society, but they get paid from the govt coffers for doing it. Just you wait, the things that the libs have done to the system over the years will be returned to balance.

    How about a year of silence from the little perverts? We could make it an annual celebration.

    Just makes me want to shout all day!

    The crazy thing here is that the Gay lobby has successfully gotten the Boys Scouts banned from Gov't facilities. These Gay activities are all being done on the taxpayer's dime!

    Most information about HIV isn't written for us. We're afraid to talk to our family doctor – he may tell our parents. So where can you go for help if you're young and gay? Aha! Here is an unreported problem! The mainstrean media SUPPRESSES any discussion of the dangers of a homosexual lifestyle so these kids never hear that they shortening their lives and putting themselves at risk. Contrast the trumpeting of the problems with smoking and campare how much is said about tne disease ridden gay population.

    If a school observes the day of silence in support of the "homosexual rights" fallacy then one can rightly assume that the children attending are being exposed to homosexual agenda propaganda on all the other days of non silence...

    I would like to point out that the gay activists have been influencing kids in state run counseling groups, rehab groups, and even juvenile detention facilities. Those I know for sure. I suspect the same is true of children's homes, at least I know of one big city that took a ten your old black child who lost both of her parents (they died) and they shipped her off to another city to live with two white lesbians. HOW COULD SUCH A THINK HAPPEN?! It makes me sick. Linda did a great job investigating the school situation. I just wanted to make people aware that it goes even further than that. DO NOT let the government have your kid for any length of time if you can help it. If they are arrested and sent away, WATCH OUT. You had better count on deprograming them. If they weaken, they will likely walk out of the facility with all kinds of contact numbers (and vice versa -- they WILL be getting calls).

    The voice we are not hearing is that of Our Lord
    Other gems from Linda:
    * Homosexual Agenda Escalates in Public Schools

    * The Risk of 'Gay' Activism in Our Schools

    * What homosexual 'marriage' will mean to America's children


    Glenn Greenwald's book is #1 at Amazon



    Snapshot at 6AM. You can pre-order it (I did yesterday). Talk about push from the blogosphere! Congrats, Glenn! Digby reviews it.


    Dillard's salon: kinky hair harder to clean

    Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Un-f*cking-believable. Yes, It's time for yet another hair post, thanks to Blender Fritz passing on this tale of race-based bullsh*t by Dillard's hair salon in Montgomery, Alabama.


    Vaughan Thomas and seven other women are suing the salon, charging racial discrimination because Dillard's policy is that black customers are charged more than white customers because "ethnic" hair is harder to clean and style.

    You have got to be joking. How can a salon make a blanket judgment about hair care pricing by race? Here you go...
    A defense brief submitted in Alabama federal court cites numerous supposed characteristics of black hair that make treating it more "time consuming and technically demanding than fulfilling the minimal (or non-existent) conditioning needs" of the typical white customer.

    "The rendering of professional hair care is a personal service typically tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the individual," Dillard's scientific expert, Mort Westman, said in a deposition. "Numerous factors exist and must be considered during the process of cleansing, conditioning and styling, rendering the resultant treatment somewhat unique."
    OK. What is Mort talking about? Natural kinky hair, pressed hair, chemically straightened hair? Is it all the same to him, because all "ethnic" hair is not the same, any more than hair of a "typical white customer" is not natural, permed, colored, curly or even kinky.

    The "science" goes on...
    The brief, which is based in large part on Westman's declaration and a study published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, highlights the "highly brittle, tightly curled" texture of ethnic hair as a factor that prolongs the cleansing portion of the treatment.

    The brief also refers to "lack of resiliency" and the frequent use of "intricate coiffures" and extensions as other factors that affect the complexity of drying and styling the hair of black customers.

    "These factors would typically indicate that the pricing for the shampooing, conditioning and styling of the African-American client would normally be higher than that of the Caucasian client," Westman claims.
    WTF is this about prolonged cleansing? Gee, it took me about five minutes to lather up and condition my locs just a few minutes ago. It definitely took even less than that when I had a short natural afro. What is this assclown talking about? How can washing my hair take more time that it does to wash straight hair of "typical white customers" that is full of styling products such as gels, sprays, creams, etc.? I don't use any "product" on my hair after washing and conditioning it -- no blow drying, no rollers. Hell, no salon. I don't need to give anyone money to do my hair.

    Perhaps the highly trained professionals at Dillards are prone to ripping "ethnic" hair from "ethnic" scalps because they don't know what they are doing.

    And extensions...let's see, how many white celebrities can I name off the top of my head that are known to wear them -- Britney Spears, the Simpson sisters, Paris Hilton, the list goes on and on, geez, just pick up an US Weekly magazine and they actually tell you who's wearing fake hair now.

    So, if Paris Hilton and Tyra Banks both walked into Dillards, Tyra would get the negro surcharge for the same extensions? Nice.
    Lawyers for the plaintiffs presented their case two weeks ago in support of their argument that Dillard's alleged pricing scheme was part of a systematic effort to charge customers across the country solely on the basis of race.

    ..."It's amazing to me that a Fortune 500 company would use this kind of pseudo-science in court to prove that it takes longer to wash African-American hair," [lead attorney, Patrick] Cooper said.

    "The day they can show me that every black woman in the country has the same hair is the day I'll ask the judge to dismiss the case immediately," he said.
    If the salon wants to make sense of its pricing structure, it should be guided by actual complexity of service. Perms, whether to straighten or curl should cost more than a wash and blow dry. Washing a short hairdo, whether it is straight hair or kinky natural, should take the same amount of time to do, and thus cost the same.


    About the only service I can imagine that might cost more and would apply more often to black (or kinky-haired) customers, is a press-and-curl with a hot comb, which takes skill that those race-based Dillard's stylists are probably not familiar with.


    Back from SF and Bush plunges lower


    "Radical" Russ, Tommy Chong, and Oregon NORML Executive Director Madeline Martinez

    I'm back from San Francisco, so let's see what's happening.

    Hmm, Scott McClellan left his job as White House Spokesman so he could spend more time lying in the private sector.

    The DEA pressured the FDA to issue a statement that marijuana has no medicinal value... on 4/20... while NORML is putting on a conference in a major media market and has every major physician and expert on medical marijuana in one place to easily rebut the nakedly political manipulation of science. The New York Times was quick to point out, on the front page, above the fold, that this FDA statement flatly contradicts the 1999 findings of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as the cases of thousands who've found relief in cannabis over the last ten years in California's Prop 215, Oregon's Measure 67, and the nine other free states with medical marijuana statutes. San Francisco's local CBS and NBC affiliates both convered the story and made use of NORML experts to refute the charge.

    I'm busy writing up the review of the whole conference, which I'll post as soon as it's done. Meanwhile, enjoy the latest iteration of the Bush Approval Map.

    The map finds The Chimperor picking up some ground in his base in the Intermountain West (but nowhere near as high as previous levels). He continues to lose the South and the Midwest, and the New England states are so far from Bush that I ran out of shades of light blue to color them. New York is down to -48%, and Rhode Island broke -50%, meaning 3 out of 4 Rhode Islanders disapprove of Bush.

    [Crossposted at Radical Writ, and read the whole story and see more pictures at Oregon NORML]


    The brain-free White House

    Not that it's a surprise or anything, but how can you take an administration seriously when they can't keep on message.

    Take the situation with the gas prices. BushCo is freaking out, and so today he got up and did a little policy shilling, ordering a temporary halt of deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease the supply, saying "we’re serious" about reducing the cost at the pump.

    The problem is that just last week, Dear Leader's Energy Secretary, Sam Bodman, said that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was not going to be manipulated to lower gas prices.

    Watch the two clips of Bush and Bodman back-to-back at Think Progress.


    Family Research Council: Matthew Shepard story 'fiction'

    More BS from the Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, via PageOneQ. Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered in 1998, and we've got the right wingers already doing revisionist history.
    Washington Update, a publication of the right wing organization, The Family Research Council, has likened a story about the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998 to Brokeback Mountain, a fictional short story written published by The New Yorker, PageOneQ has found.

    Under a headline, "From the 9th Circus," an apparent reference to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, FRC president Tony Perkins condemned the Court for ruling that a shirt with the phrase "Homosexuality is Shameful Romans 1:27," printed on it was inflammatory speech.

    ...In the ruling (available here), Judge Stephen Reinhardt refers to Judge Alex Kozinski's dissenting opinion (available here), recommending that the dissenting Judge turn to the film Brokeback Mountain and the television production The Matthew Shepard Story, "as evidence of the harmful effects of anti-gay harassment..."

    Mr. Perkins, of the Family Research Council, took quotes from the story above and wrote that the Court took pointed to, "Hollywood's Brokeback Mountain and The Matthew Shepard Story - two works of fiction."
    PageOneQ has the ridiculous complete statement by Tony Perkins.

    More revisionism on the Shepard case:

    * NYT details Matthew Shepard 20/20 piece: McKinney is a self-loathing bisexual, so it isn't a hate crime

    * It was a smear -- 20/20 on Matthew Shepard


    This and that - open thread

    I had quite a lot in the mailbag...nosh and add your own links.

    * Amanda posted about this Dear Abby letter over at Pandagon, and it also caught the eye of Blender Karen. Daddy Dobson's handbook didn't prepare mommy for this:
    DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Ron," and I are at odds over parenting our 7-year-old son, “Brett.” My husband is very domestic. He cooks like a world-class chef and does more housework than any man I know of. I have read Dr. James Dobson’s books on family. He clearly states that a father should be the manly role model for the son, to prevent the son from being homosexual. I’m concerned that Brett will learn feminine ways from my husband and turn out to be gay. How can I convince Ron that he needs to teach Brett the more manly things in life?
    — WORRIED MOM IN FLORIDA

    DEAR WORRIED MOM: From my perspective, you don't need to change a thing. With all due respect to Dr. Dobson, your husband is already a manly role model to your son. He is teaching the boy important survival skills that will be invaluable when he is older. With luck, your son will turn out to be every bit the man -- and father -- that your husband is.
    High-five for Abby!

    ***

    Oy! You must catch Gene Stone's Huff Post column, The Gay Republican: Oxymoron, or Just Moron?
    Why would any gay man or woman belong to a party that has stated, over and over, as clearly as can be, without equivocation, that he or she is not welcome?

    It's understandable why someone might not choose to be a Democrat. Those brought up in a family or culture where the traditional Republican party values were celebrated, such as smaller government and less taxes, might feel uncomfortable with the Democratic party (although these days it's the Republican party that seems to stand for pork barrel politics and large government).

    ...Today the bottom line is that there simply is no excuse left for any gay man or woman to embrace a party whose prime agenda is to stop him or her from enjoying the same rights as every other American.

    Read George Bush's lips: The party doesn't want you. Can you hear that? It doesn't want you. You can't pretend any more that you can change it. It doesn't want you. You can't make a difference. It doesn't want you.
    Whew. Go read the rest. Gene, btw is also the author of the just published Duck! The Dick Cheney Survival Bible

    ***

    * Drew found out that Dear Leader likes to harass endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.

    ***

    * Nothing subtle here (hat tip to Blender David) -- Rolling Stone: The Worst President in History?
    George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.
    ***

    * Matt Hill Comer updates us on the LGBT-inclusive proposal debated by UNC Association of Student Governments last Saturday. The General Assembly of the body failed to pass equal opportunity clause proposal. Only six out of approximately fifty delegates voted to add gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and socioeconomic status.

    ***


    * Nancy Goldstein has bright idea on how to handle the problems on the immigration front.
    My modest proposal, if implemented correctly, could resolve the dilemmas raised by both of these critical social phenomenon in one fell swoop. Why don't we swap skanky guys who flout the law for hard-working immigrants who want nothing more than US citizenship and a shot at a better life?
    ***


    * Winger Brian Camenker, of the Parents Rights Coalition in Massachusetts, has his panties in a bunch over the use of the children's book "King & King," fairy tale about gay marriage, by a teacher in class to illustrate the different kinds of weddings. Same-sex marriage is legal in the state, but Brien can't reconcile this in his tiny brain. He thinks this is sex education and thus parents have to be notified. "It's just so heinous and objectionable that they would do this... There is no question in my mind that the law is being abused here." (Hat tip, Frederick)

    ***

    * Ohio Churches' Political Activities Challenged. Blender Holly is keeping tabs on the activities in her state of Ohio, where the wingnut pastors are violating their tax-exempt status by shilling for Ken Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of bible beaters for governor.

    ***

    * Jessica over at Ms. Magazine points to the cover story in the latest issue, an article on sweatshops in Saipan, Paradise Lost: Greed, Sex Slavery, Forced Abortions and Right-Wing Moralists, and how the Abramoff scandal hurts women.
    Anti-sweatshop leaders and some members of Congress have long sought to increase wages and protect the islands’ garment workers, most of whom are women, from what amounts to indentured servitude. But their efforts were repeatedly stalled in Congress. And who was among the biggest opponents of reform? None other than the notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose tentacles reached deep into House Republican leadership. And who was one of the loudest congressional cheerleaders against reform? Tom DeLay, who praised the islands as "a petri dish of capitalism."
    ***

    * And how about those "crisis pregnancy centers"? These are simply bogus clinics run by an womb-control groups waging intimidation campaigns to pressure women not to have an abortion. Our government is funding these "clinics" with $60 million of your tax dollars. (Hat tip, Deborah)


    Nassau County bigots deep-six domestic partnership registry

    Everyone thought it would pass in this NY county on Long Island, but it didn't. The nearby town of Hempstead does have a DP registry, but the 'phobes came out during the debate in the Democrat-held legislature and they prevailed at the last minute. (Newsday):
    "It is a very embarrassing moment," said Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), a major supporter of the bill that would have allowed domestic partners of any sex to register with the county as couples without being married.

    The registry would have facilitated a partner's receiving medical insurance from a private employer or gaining access to the other person during a medical emergency, among other things. Suffolk, New York City and Westchester already have such a registry.

    ...Paul Kosowski, a leader of the Nassau County Civics Association, an activist organization with a Cedarhurst address, said: "A vote for domestic registry is a vote for gay marriage."

    James Barker, pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Elmont, said: "You just did the Pledge of Allegiance and said 'One nation under God.' Well, if you believe that, how can you go against God's law?"


    'GOP Superstar'-- the Empty Wig gets pummeled



    This N&O article is a hoot. My senator, Sugar Lips Dole, also serves as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She has been stumping around the country for various scandal-laden candidates, and as far as I can tell, she isn't doing a damn thing for our state. Actually, she's having a hard time doing her NRSC work as well, with the quality of folks that she's showing up to bleat for at rallies.

    Take Senator Conrad Burns, for example. He recently received the honor of being named one of the nation's five worst senators by Time Magazine, and recently had to return the money he received from bed buddy Jack Abramoff.

    Burns, who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Interior, is also under scrutiny from federal investigators. Whatta guy. But Liddy gives it the old college try in her stump speech:
    The wind chased clouds of brown dust across the endless Montana landscape, a view so different from the rolling green of North Carolina's Piedmont.

    Volunteers tacked up fluttering banners for a campaign rally, and aides to Montana's junior senator prepped for the big event -- a visit by GOP superstar Elizabeth Dole, senator from North Carolina.

    Hours later, she would stand next to Sen. Conrad Burns, a man under attack for his ties to a lobbying scandal, and call him a man of integrity.

    "There's nowhere I'd rather be today," she said into the microphone, a "Conrad Burns" button pinned above her heart. She smiled at her host. "He's doing such a great job."
    Can you just imagine a tumbleweed blowing by what had to be a sad sack rally, given Burns landed at 38% approval in a SurveyUSA poll.

    Dole's getting scorched for her pathetic performance in support of the 33 Senate races that she is responsible for fundraising and recruiting for.
    She failed to persuade top GOP choices to enter races in several key states. And reports filed last week show her committee remains behind its Democratic counterpart in raising money. Dole defends her record, saying that she's been successful at finding dollars and that the party has outstanding candidates.

    "We're doing well in an environment that's. ... " She paused. "You know, it's been a tough environment."

    Despite the demands of the post, Dole insists she is taking care of North Carolina's business.

    "I'm doing everything possible to make sure I'm in the state as much as possible," Dole said. She was in Winston-Salem on Thursday for the opening of a nonprofit senior center.
    She has possibly the worst constituent services on the planet.

    To see the level of effectiveness at the NRSC, check out this effort: donkeyswantyourmoney.com. Yawn. What was that?

    Granted, she's got an impossible job at the NRSC due to the sterling performance of Dear Leader -- who'd want to shovel the flaming pile of horsesh*t in Iraq, or explain away the Katrina response or all the scandal-ridden Senators hoping to be re-elected.


    That said, it's been positively hilarious to see Dole squirming over Katherine Harris, who's running the most ridiculous campaign in Florida against incumbent, Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. The Empty Wig desperately tried to recruit others to run -- even courting MSNBC's Joe Scarborough -- but to no avail. Nelson will easily cruise to victory. But Florida wasn't her only problem...
    Recruiting problems began to surface last year. Dole failed to persuade top choices to enter races in North Dakota and West Virginia. And she couldn't keep a GOP challenger out of the primary race in Rhode Island, hurting incumbent Republican Lincoln Chafee.

    In Florida, she couldn't find any Republicans beyond U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris -- she of the hanging chads in the 2000 presidential election -- to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. Dole shunned Harris and tried repeatedly to find someone else to run.

    ...Dole tries to shake off the party's bad news on the war and approval ratings.

    "I've said, 'Put the blinders on. Stay focused,' " she said, holding both hands by her eyes. "We know what our goal is."
    Again, look at what kind of crap the NRSC is putting out, from Sugar Lips's press release on gas prices:

    Now Democrats have decided to play partisan politics with gas prices in a flailing attempt to distract from the growing economy. These are the same Democrats who accomplished nothing in terms of an energy policy during eight years with President Clinton at the helm and the same Democrats who voted to increase the gas tax and blocked efforts to repeal or suspend it. These are also the same Democrats who obstructed a bi-partisan comprehensive energy bill for four years in Congress.

    We're closing in on six months until the November election and therefore the other side has begun to ratchet up the scare tactics. Like on so many issues, the Democrats have offered nothing but pessimism and posturing when it comes to responsible energy policies.
    Yawn, again. Let's see, the GOP has no business talking about "scare tactics" when they roll out the gay boogeyman, the brown menace coming over the border, or jack up the terror alert to rouse the foaming-at-the-mouth Base. Please.


    Looks like Tony Snow is stepping up to shill for Dear Leader



    CNN says it's almost a done deal. Quite frankly, I don't know why Tony Snow wants the Scotty McClellan job as press punching bag. It's going to be nothing but grief from here on out, with the administration tanking on all fronts (and so many lies to defend); the article mentions Snow's concerns about his health and family. Does he love the Chimpistration that much?


    Vatican's no-condom policy failing in AIDS battle


    By Mike Tidmus

    Papa Ratzi and crew are realizing, way late in the game, that the abstinence-only response to the spread of HIV/AIDS is an abject failure. A document is being prepared that may allow those "with grave diseases" to use condoms. I want to see how they square this with the fact that the church will appear to be saying that the spread of some STDs is AOK under this reversal of church doctrine. (AP):
    "Soon the Vatican will issue a document about the use of condoms by persons who have grave diseases, starting with AIDS," Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, who is in charge of the Vatican's health care ministry, was quoted as saying in Sunday's La Repubblica newspaper.

    "My department is carefully studying it, along with scientists and theologians entrusted with drawing up a document about the subject that will soon be made known," the Mexican cardinal said.

    "It is Benedict XVI who asked us for a study on this particular aspect of using a condom by those afflicted with AIDS and by those with infectious diseases," he said.

    There was no official comment Monday from the Vatican. Lozano Barragan was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts by The Associated Press to reach him.


    Mick Jagger prevents Dear Leader from booking hotel suite

    A ha ha ha ha ha...
    George Bush can’t get no satisfaction — after Mick Jagger grabbed his hotel room.

    The Rolling Stone splashed out £3,600 a night for the suite days before the US leader tried to book it.

    Now Mick, 62, who has been a fierce critic of the Bush-led war in Iraq, is refusing to give it up. The veteran rocker hired the luxury Royal Suite at the five-star Imperial Hotel in Vienna, Austria, for June when the Stones are due to play a gig in the city.

    Bush’s aides then tried to book it to tie in with a summit meeting. But Mick put his foot down and insisted he was keeping the booking.

    A source close to the millionaire singer said last night: “White House officials had wanted to reserve the suite and all the other rooms on the first floor. “But Mick and the Stones had already booked every one of them.

    “Bush’s people seemed to be under the impression that they would just hand over the suites but there was no way Mick was going to do that.”


    Please don't laugh too hard -- 'Conservative Coming Out Day'

    'Conservative Pride' Celebrated in Sun Devil Country. Arizona State University's young college Rethugs are so pathetic. Is our culture not already drenched in conservative thought (rolling back as fast as the sheeples' wallets empty at the gas pump)? How many of these Operation Yellow Elephant prospects have enlisted to serve for Dear Leader yet -- any guesses?
    The College Republicans (CRs) at ASU have just wrapped up their second annual "Conservative Pride Week." Last Monday (April 17) the group observed "Conservative Coming-Out Day," which featured members of the College Republicans and other conservatives coming out of an actual closet to happily proclaim their beliefs without fear of liberals on campus. On Tuesday the CRs held an "Anti-United Nations Day" in which students tossed water balloons at a picture of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    On Wednesday, conservatives celebrated "Border Security Si Se Puede" day in protest of illegal immigration. Thursday was "Academic Diversity and Political Incorrectness Day," which was highlighted by a speech from conservative author David Horowitz on the topics of academic freedom and his new book, Professors.

    Hieu Tran, director of public relations for the CRs, says there is a need for more conservative professors on campus -- especially in the political science department.

    ...Reaction to the Conservative Pride Week has generally been positive, says Tran. "A lot of people are coming up, thanking us for doing this, because they're going to classes and they're hearing the other side -- but they're not hearing any of our side, the views of our side," he explains. "So they appreciate what we're doing."

    "We're bringing out issues into the mainstream," Tran continues. "Also, a lot of liberals and other people in our community are coming up and saying, 'Well, why are you doing this?' And we're just saying, 'This is for debate.'"


    Ban of Easter candy with religious messages in school unhinges mom

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    The bleating from these faux-Christians about being "victimized" never stops.
    The mother of a North Carolina second-grader is threatening to sue a public elementary school for prohibiting the boy from passing out Easter candy displaying religious messages.

    Natalya Hill alleges her son Robert was barred from handing out Easter candy with an attached religious message to his classmates at Leesville Elementary School in Raleigh. Hills' attorney, Delia Van Loenen with the Alliance Defense Fund, has penned and sent a letter to the school demanding that it end its "censorship of student religious expression."

    According to Van Loenen, the youngster was told he could not distribute the candy during class time, at lunch, or even during recess. The attorney says that violates the U.S. Constitution.

    "The school needs to know that the students have a right to religious expression -- that's protected under the First Amendment," Van Loenen says. " And basically the school has treated this student's religious speech as second-class speech, and it's a blatant violation of his constitutional rights."
    Note this is the same Alliance Defense Fund, which is also sponsoring the Day of Truth mentioned in my earlier post. If her panties are in such a twist, why is this child in public school? There are plenty of religious schools out there where her son is free to proselytize all day long to his peers.


    Bush explains how God shapes his foreign policy

    As his numbers hit 32% today, Dear Leader tells us about the voices he hears in his head. I'm convinced that the dry-drunk prez is in need of a padded cell now. (E&P):
    Bush also explained, in unusually stark terms, how his belief in God influences his foreign policy. "I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true," he said. "One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free.
    Yeah, the same Almighty voice in your head told you to bomb the hell out of a country that had no WMDs (and you knew it), and sent our servicemen and women over to die, and alerted you to make sure your friends cashed in during the aftermath. Here's more pious, delusional BS:
    Bush said he'd sat in a California church on Sunday near a mother and stepfather grieving for their son who had been killed in Iraq. "I also want to let you know that before you commit troops that you must do everything that you can to solve the problem diplomatically," he commented. "And I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing what I know today."
    Jeezus.


    District Court dismisses challenge of DADT

    “We continue to believe the military’s ban is un-American and unconstitutional. There is no reason lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans should be prohibited from serving our country. They are patriotic, dedicated veterans. America should welcome their contributions and honor their commitment to our country."
    -- C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) after today's news
    Another setback in the fight against discrimination in the U.S. military. The decision to dismiss the case of Cook v. Rumsfeld, was handed down by Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. The suit challenged the constitutionality of the Pentagon's ban on gay and lesbian servicemembers.
    The SLDN lawsuit asserts that “’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ punishes gay, lesbian and bisexual service members . . . for their sexual orientation and for their private, constitutionally protected conduct. As a result, it has denied and continues to deny them several Constitutional rights, including the right of privacy, equal protection of the law, and freedom of speech.” The plaintiffs in the lawsuit all served honorably in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Together, they have served more than sixty-five years in the armed forces. Three have served in direct support of operations in the Middle East. Among them, they have earned more than five dozen awards, medals and commendations.
    Here is a list of the plaintiffs and their bios. The U.S. Attorney seeking the dismissal for the government, Mark Quinlivan, according to 365gay.com, called the suit "frivolous and without merit," and had argued that the ban didn't violate the constutional rights gays and lesbians because they could still serve as long as they remain in the closet and don't have sex.

    He also used the old saw of homos causing harm to unit cohesion without offering up any evidence of this "fact."

    Can I scream now?


    Wednesday is the National Day of Silence

    Brent Hartinger of Voices In My Head and The Big Gay Picture, sent in a reminder that this Wednesday is the National Day of Silence, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the United States Student Association.

    This event is a day-long vow of silence taken by students who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools and to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment. Brent:
    I knew of no openly gay teachers or administrators. But even then, the teenagers I worked with yearned to be open and honest about who they were. Heterosexuals often ask me why gay teenagers would want to talk about their sexuality in the first place. “Their wanting to talk about sex is just another form of rebellion, right?”

    But being openly gay doesn’t mean rebellion, and it isn’t talking about sex. It just means no longer maintaining the elaborate ruse of pretending to be straight.

    I always ask heterosexuals to imagine their teen years if they had had to hide the fact that they were straight. That means no talking about which pop star you thought was cute and definitely no idealized night at the prom. You might have had to date someone you’re not emotionally attracted to, even becoming sexuality active in order to keep your lie intact.

    In other words, being a closeted gay or lesbian teenager means being silent. And for someone who is itching to forge a self-identity, as all teenagers are, this is a very frustrating way to live.

    In 1996, some gay and straight students at the University of Virginia created the Day of Silence, going a whole school day without speaking to protest the silence of most gay students and teachers and the fact that most school curriculums ignored the contributions of gays and lesbians in history and literature.

    Since then, the protest has mushroomed. This year, on Wednesday, an estimated 500,000 gay and straight students from at least 4,000 schools, some in the Tacoma area, will participate what is now called the National Day of Silence. In the history of the civil rights movement, there have been few protests this dignified and this exactly appropriate.
    Sounds great, right? It's so great that the Day of Silence ruffled the feathers of the wingers -- the Alliance Defense Fund is putting on its The Day of Truth loser event, scheduled for the next day, April 27th.
    The Day of Truth was established to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective.

    In the past, students who have attempted to speak against the promotion of the homosexual agenda have been censored or, in some cases, punished for their beliefs.  It is important that students stand up for their First Amendment right to hear and speak the Truth about human sexuality in order to protect that freedom for future generations. The Day of Truth provides an opportunity to publicly exercise our free speech rights.

    Participating students are encouraged to wear T-shirts and pass out cards (not during class time) with the following message:

    I am speaking the Truth to break the silence.
    Silence isn’t freedom. It’s a constraint.
    Truth tolerates open discussion, because the Truth emerges when healthy discourse is allowed.
    By proclaiming the Truth in love, hurts will be halted, hearts will be healed, and lives will be saved.




    Blend Exclusive: an interview with Virginia Delegate David Englin



    [This post will be up top for most of the day; check below for fresh Blend.]

    Virginia Delegate David Englin (D-45) recently caused quite a stir in the blogosphere; many of us learned about him after he gave a whale of a speech in support of civil equality on the floor of the legislature. He's proven to be an outspoken ally for the LGBT community, working mightily at the state level to directly challenge the right wing's message of bigotry and fear.

    The religious right-beholden Republicans (and way too many Democrats) went on to vote to place the bigoted marriage amendment on the ballot this fall, which bans civil unions, domestic partnerships and any relationship/legal arrangement that approximates marriage.

    A fighting Dem who was in the Pentagon on September 11, and served in the Balkans while in the Air Force, David Englin had nothing to gain and everything to lose politically by getting up and sharing these thoughts with his colleagues before that vote:
    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.

    I recently had the opportunity to ask David Englin about the outpouring of support he received after the speech (and the criticism), the state of progressive politics in Virginia, the effect of the religious right there, and how other Dems can and should stand up for what is right.

    ***

    Interview with David Englin

    Q: Your passionate speech against the Virginia marriage amendment in the House of Delegates garnered a lot of attention and support from all over the country. What has the volume of email, calls and snail mail been like since that day?

    I spoke on the House floor in the morning, and when I checked my new BlackBerry that evening, I thought it wasn't working properly because I suddenly had more than 300 new messages. Within a few days, I had nearly a thousand emails and dozens of calls to my office from all over the country. I've received a handful of actual letters, but most people seem to communicate electronically these days. I haven't really kept track of the total number, but I'd guess I've had roughly a couple of thousand email messages. They've tapered off at this point, but I still get a few new messages every week.

    Q: Did most people find out about it from the blogosphere, and when did you realize the impact of the speech?

    There wasn't much traditional media coverage of the floor debate, so I assume most people found out about it from the blogosphere. A few days after the speech, my uncle, who is gay and lives in Arizona, called me to let me know that a friend had forwarded the speech to him not even knowing he and I are related. I guess I didn't appreciate the impact of the speech until a few days later as I was wading through the emails. Gay and lesbian families were sending me their personal stories and family photos and thanking me for having such courage and for giving them hope. These families are forced to live each day with the fear and insecurity that stems from our collective failure to live up to our nation's founding principles. They are the ones with real courage.

    Q: What kind of reaction or responses have you gotten from the Right?

    Sources are telling me that local Republicans are already targeting me. I assumed I'd have a Republican opponent when I'm up for reelection in 2007, but it sounds like they feel a greater sense of urgency now that I've confirmed their worst fears -- that I'm a Democrat with a spine who's not afraid to use it. Other than that, the right has been surprisingly quiet about my speech. I received three or four emails calling me names -- which I actually kind of got a kick out of -- and a couple of people trashed me in blog comments, but that's been about it. I'm sure they're using my name in vain in their fundraising letters and biding their time to strike.

    Q: One of the interesting behind-the-scenes business about your speech on the House floor is that a fellow Democrat told you that it was "bad strategy." How do you respond to that comment, and was that isolated or did you hear from others with the same opinion?

    What does "bad strategy" even mean? That by speaking out, I made the amendment more likely to pass? I was under no illusions that speaking out would cause the House to defeat the amendment, but it's important for Virginians to know that there are people like me -- a husband, a father, and a military veteran -- who are willing to stand up against this kind of bigotry. It's never bad strategy to defend people who are being abused. When was the last time you saw a Republican get the vapors because a fellow Republican stuck to his (albeit misguided) principles?

    Q: You serve the 45th district, which is in Northern Virginia (NoVa). It's a progressive area, but Virginia is not a state known for progressive politics overall; the right-wing extreme element of the GOP has a level of control that has resulted in relentless efforts to demonize gays and lesbians. There are also plenty of Dems willing to side with Republicans on socially conservative issues. What is the overall atmosphere in the legislature in a climate like this?

    We're in a very partisan, contentious period in the Virginia legislature, mainly because the House Republican caucus is controlled by that right-wing extreme element of the GOP. Interestingly, Senate Republicans are fairly moderate (although not moderate enough to defeat the marriage amendment) so we count on the Senate to kill many of the extremist bills that sail through the House. This divisiveness isn't limited to social issues. We're in a special extended session right now fighting over the state budget where the Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, and Governor are all on the same page, but House Republicans are obstructing the process because of their extremist anti-tax theology.  

    Q: Do you see any shifts toward more moderation in Virginia politics overall, or more of a balkanization between urban/suburban and rural political spheres in the state?

    The recent string of Democratic victories in Virginia suggest that voters are rejecting extreme right-wing social dogma in favor of Democrats who are talking about education, health care, public safety, transportation, and other issues that matter to the vast majority of people, gay or straight. In November, we elected our second consecutive Democratic governor, and we're back up to 40 (out of 100) Democrats in the House and 17 (out of 40) in the Senate. Nearly all of the newly-elected Democrats in the General Assembly have consistently voted against the extremist social legislation coming from the Republican majority. We're not there yet, but we're moving in the right direction.

    Q: On a day-to-day basis in the House, how strong is the pressure of the religious right in terms of lobbying and pressure? Clearly they've been effective.

    On balance, the religious right is still very influential in Virginia, although I'd say that it's starting to wane a bit. There are legislators who naturally embrace the politics of the religious right, and there are others who are more moderate than their voting records suggest but who are hostage to the religious right, who put them and keep them in office. One of the most interesting results of my speech on the marriage amendment has been the number of Republicans who have told me privately that they agree with me but feel beholden to the religious right. That suggests to me an opportunity for our side to organize and become a more potent electoral force, so legislators will feel beholden to advocates of reasonable, progressive policies instead. That's why I'm so focused on grassroots organizing and building the party.

    Q: Dem party officials -- where do they stand regarding strategy on progressive politics in Virginia? The Dem and progressive forces haven't been successful in countering this enough to make serious headway. What is the plan?

    Actually, Democrats have been making quite a bit of headway in Virginia, and I think we can be a model for other parts of the country where Democrats are trying to claw their way back to a majority. As I mentioned, we just elected our second consecutive Democratic governor, and we continue to pick up seats in both houses of the General Assembly. We were down to 34 Democrats in the House a few years ago, and now we're up to 40, including two seats we won in special elections since November, so the momentum is on our side. Not all of my newly-elected colleagues vote as progressive as me, but nearly every one of them voted against the marriage amendment --including Delegate Shannon Valentine, whose district includes Jerry Falwell and Liberty University, and Delegate David Poisson, who ousted one of the most hateful extremists in the state.

    In terms of "the plan", we need to keep running terrific, energetic Democrats who are smart enough to campaign on the issues most voters actually care about, like health care and education. That's step one, which has been aided by the fact that Republicans here keep running extremist candidates who campaign on the death penalty, abortion, and bashing immigrants and gay people. We also need to continue strengthening our investment in grassroots field operations so we are identifying voters year round that we can turn out on election day.

    In my opinion, our weakest area -- here in Virginia as well as nationally -- is having a coherent, compelling agenda for the future, but it's something several of us at various levels are working on. Finally, progressive Democrats need to get fully engaged. Ask yourself if you can give just a little more money or just a little more time, so that when people like Shannon Valentine and David Poisson --and me! -- are up for reelection, they have what they need to win. Even beyond that, get down to your local Democratic committee and get involved, recruit other people to be committee members, and run for committee leadership positions. If you do that, eventually you'll be one of those party officials deciding strategy. To quote my favorite TV president, "Decisions are made by those who show up."

    Q: A politician who catches a lot of grief on the Blend is Governor Tim Kaine, whom you helped to elect. Obviously, (Kaine's Republican opponent) Kilgore represented the bottom-of-the-barrel level of wingnuttery that had to be defeated, but Kaine has been playing cute on the marriage amendment -- unhappy with its "language," but ultimately he is not for civil equality. How do you square your views with his - which are clearly aimed at positioning himself as a centrist at the expense of gays and lesbian voters (and taxpayers)?

    I wish Governor Kaine agreed with me on same-sex marriage, but he doesn't. That said, I think you're otherwise being a bit too hard on him. While he doesn't believe in complete marriage equality the way you and I do, he does support most other forms of equal rights, and he began challenging Republicans on issues like employment nondiscrimination the very moment he took office. (His first act as governor was an executive order on employment nondiscrimination.) Moreover, he has been surprisingly public and outspoken in his opposition to the marriage amendment, refusing to sign the legislation putting it on the ballot and publicly urging Virginians to follow his lead and vote against it. He's shown a lot of courage on other progressive issues too. For example, against his staff's recommendation, he vetoed a bill on baccalaureate services that was important to the religious right that only 11 of us voted against, which took real guts. He's not as progressive as I am, but on a whole range of issues, he does the right thing.

    Q: Have you had discussions with Kaine (or his campaign) about this all-too-familiar attempt by establishment Dems to woo the right wing elements rather than court the many disaffected voters who are looking for real change in politics?

    I've spoken with Governor Kaine and his staff about the future of the party and how we can keep building and bringing in new voters, and it's a constant topic of concern to our caucus and party leadership here in Virginia. There's a lot going on behind the scenes through the governor's leadership PAC and through the party to build the grassroots and to reach out to those disaffected voters. Honestly, seeing things from inside the wall, I've been impressed with how little wooing of the right wing there is and how much unity and determination there is on our side right now. To some extent, it might be a reaction to how far right the Republicans have gone. For example, they killed a cabinet nomination for the first time in history for no other reason than the appointee -- who was also a close personal friend of the governor -- had been the president of the Virginia AFL-CIO. Not much wooing happens after that sort of thing.

    Q: Here in North Carolina, we have managed to turn back an amendment bill a few times, with it dying in committee in the Dem-controlled General Assembly. There is a realization that this amendment is bad for business. What do you think is it about Virginia politics that makes it difficult for elected officials to see the damage this amendment can do for business in terms of recruitment of employment talent, businesses and tourism?

    You said it: You have a Democrat-controlled General Assembly. Among Virginia Republicans, Grover Norquist and the religious right carry more sway than the business community. The fact that the marriage amendment is bad for business and intrudes upon private sector business practices will help us defeat the measure at the ballot box in November, but it wasn't enough to stop it in a Republican-controlled General Assembly. Like so many issues, the real solution is to win back Democratic control of the House and the Senate.

    Q: In the next election cycle, do you think your strong progressive views are going to put you on the defensive, or do you think the groundswell of support that you've received bolsters your case that fairness is "electable"?

    My main weakness right now is not my progressive views, it's that I'm still carrying $25,000 in campaign debt, which makes it difficult for me to pay for everything I need to communicate with my constituents. If I don't erase my debt fairly quickly, I become a juicy target. However, I'm as progressive now as I was when the people of the 45th District elected me in November, so I don't imagine my views will put me on the defensive. I'm not on the ballot again until 2007, but I'm already out meeting with constituents on their doorsteps, through various organization meetings, and at Metro stops throughout the district. A number of people have commented that they aren't used to the kind of energetic leadership I work hard to provide. This seat doesn't belong to me, it belongs to the people of the 45th District. Anyone is free to challenge me, but they had better be prepared to face the grassroots juggernaut I've built. But I still need money, so please go to my website, www.davidenglin.org, and donate $100 online right now. :-) Many, many thanks to your readers who have already contributed.

    Q: Blenders have complained endlessly -- and rightfully so -- that the Democratic party at the national level just doesn't get it. The endless cozying up to the right, the inability to defend and frame progressive issues successfully, the endless begging for money from the very groups -- gays and women -- that they continually throw under the bus when it comes for standing up for civil equality, and reproductive freedom. It's maddening. Why can't they do what you do?

    I wish I knew the answer to that question. To me it's not rocket science: Be who you are, stand strong on your principles, and be loyal to your friends. I guess the downside of being a party of thoughtful, intelligent, open-minded people is that we're so open and tolerant that we never want to say simply, "We're right and they're wrong." Well, on so many issues, I believe in my heart that we're right and they're wrong, and it's my duty to my community and to my country to say so.  

    Q: Is the problem the high-paid, consultants (that continue to lose so often), the endless focus groups and polling -- what is wrong with the party? What can we do to fix it, aside from supporting the rare Dems with spines like yourself?

    There are all kinds of consultants who provide all kinds of services, some of which are very helpful and make a big difference. The problem is candidates who let consultants turn them into something they're not. If you're not strong enough to be true to who you are on the campaign trail, why should voters think you'll be strong enough to do that in elected office? I've heard that Republican consultants operate on a "three strikes" policy where three consecutive losses and they will no longer be able to find work. I don't know if that's true, but maybe it's something Democrats should consider. But the real solution is to get more involved, not just online, but offline. There are plenty of Democrats out there with energy and ideas and backbone, there just aren't enough of them running for office. Have you considered running for office?

    Q: Who are the progressive pols who you feel are willing and able to frame these issues effectively? (state or national)

    That's a difficult question to answer in part because "progressive" includes a number of issues, and I don't know that there's anybody out there who's exactly where I want them to be on every issue. Certainly, social issues are important, but where a candidate stands on the environment, health care, poverty, and other issues matter too. To varying degrees, I'd say the national list probably includes Barak Obama, John Edwards, Mark Warner, Russ Feingold. Here in Virginia, our House Democratic Caucus chair, Delegate Brian Moran, is very talented and would make a terrific statewide candidate, and he's strong on most progressive issues.

    Q: When Dem politicians at the local level clearly articulate and define progressive positions, and how can these pols get party support when the machinery is concerned with running to the right?

    If we want party organizations to become more progressive or support progressive candidates, progressive activists need to get more involved and work their way into the party structure. The next time your local party reorganizes -- as many local party committees are required by party bylaws to do every couple of years -- show up with 20 of your people to become new committee members, and then run for a leadership position on the committee.

    Q: What role do you see for blogs and the internet generally for candidates at all levels? Do you find that one party or another is making better use of new media?

    Blogs and the internet can be extremely helpful, especially for candidates at the state and local level who otherwise wouldn't get much attention. The real problem is that most candidates don't know how to take advantage of the internet. You can use blogs and the internet to build buzz and even to build community, but if you can't translate that into volunteers, money, and ultimately votes, you can't win. My gut feeling is that the left makes better use of the internet than the right, which is better at talk radio. That said, Republicans still control all branches of government, so our online advantage has yet to fully translate into electoral victory.


    Q: How has all of the excitement and exposure affected your family? Shayna has been very effective and supportive.

    Elected office requires tremendous family sacrifice -- probably more than most of our constituents realize -- and this experience demonstrates how much those sacrifices are worth. Shayna and I have always been committed to fighting to improve the world -- I guess you could say that it's one of our family's core values. I am blessed with a brilliant wife who is the love of my life. Effective and supportive don't even scratch the surface. I wouldn't be the man I am without her, and she happens to be a brilliant campaign strategist, so I probably wouldn't be in elected office without her either.

    Q: When are you going to clone yourself?

    Thanks for the love, but that's a scary thought! I was the one to stand up and speak, but when I look at the courageous progressive votes some of my colleagues cast this past session, knowing that those votes will hurt them come election time, it makes me want to clone them.

    ***

    We have to continue to encourage and support 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 to de-spine themselves and court the right wing. 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.

    Our dollars and support need to go to candidates who don't pander to the bible-beating, womb-controlling, privacy-invading, power-mad homophobic bigots -- the real enemies of the principles of freedom upon which this country was founded.

    We need allies in office 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 to support civil equality.

    Thanks, David, for setting the bar high.

    ***

    Virginia's marriage amendment:

    Constitutional amendment (voter referendum); marriage. Provides for a referendum at the November 2006 election on approval of a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage. The proposed amendment provides 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." The proposed amendment also prohibits the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage." Further, the proposed amendment prohibits the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

    The ballot shall contain the following question:

    "Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state, in part, 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' and to add provisions relating to the legal status of other relationships and prohibiting the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from recognizing a legal status for relationships that intend to approximate marriage?"


    Religious coalition gearing up for Marriage Protection Amendment vote

    The fire has been lit under the AmTaliban as the June vote on the federal amendment to ban gay marriage nears, and there are religious leaders of all stripes lining up to sign a petition to support the amendment.

    This time around, the Catholic bishops are out and active, readying 10 million postcards to bombard Senators. Man, oh man, these guys have no business getting on the moral high horse, but they are shameless. (IHT):
    A coalition of about 50 prominent religious leaders, including six Roman Catholic cardinals and a half-dozen archbishops, have signed a petition and pledged their influence to support a constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage.

    Organizers of the petition said it aimed to revive the groundswell of opposition to same-sex marriage that played a major roll in moving conservative voters to the polls in 2004. Republicans are increasingly worried about turnout in the elections this autumn, and Republican Senate leaders have scheduled a vote in June on the proposed constitutional amendment.

    ..."The personal involvement of bishops and cardinals is significantly greater this time than in 2004," Korten of the Knights of Columbus said.

    Several people involved in the effort said it had been organized in part by Professor Robert George of Princeton, an influential conservative Catholic scholar with close ties to evangelical Protestant groups.

    Others involved said aides to Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the Republican leader, Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, were involved in the planning as well.


    UN Spokesman is gay, defends anti-gay vote

    Another scoop for blogACTIVE, this time on the international front.

    Raw Story recently reported on the horrid U.S. vote in the United Nations, our country siding with Iran and other homophobic countries to deny observer status to two gay rights groups at the world body.

    As Mike Rogers points out, the man whose job it is to speak for John Bolton's office doesn't have a problem representing support for this vote.
    blogACTIVE has learned that John Bolton's spokesman at the United Nations, Richard Grenell, is gay. Mr. Grenell confirmed this information directly to blogACTIVE and he explained that ambassador Bolton had welcomed him into his home with a male date.

    Spokesmen always hold a special place at blogACTIVE. They are the guys crafting the message that sells this crap to the American people.
    For this, Grenell receives blogACTIVE's first Roy Cohn Award of the 2006.


    Grim Reaper Bolten ready to ax staff

    Sunday, April 23, 2006


    How many folks were sweating in the room after this announcement by new chief of staff Josh Bolten on April 17? (CNN)
    Signaling a possible shake-up among President Bush's senior advisers, the new White House chief of staff told top presidential aides Monday to expect changes that "refresh and re-energize the team." He invited anyone who is thinking of leaving before year's end to do so now.
    Bolten didn't ask for anyone's head at that time, but no one stepped forward to say they would leave, either.

    "Fetal position" Scotty was the first to hit the self-eject button, Karl Rove got a mini-demotion, but according to Raw Story, the New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller has a column up tomorrow highlighting the extent of the sweating over Josh the Grim Reaper among the Bushies.
    "There is fear and moaning in the West Wing these days as Andrew Card Jr., the genial father figure who promoted a family-friendly White House, has been replaced as chief of staff by Joshua Bolten, a Goldman Sachs-trained workaholic who is exposing President George W. Bush's aides to market forces.

    In other words, after a big set of staff changes last week - Karl Rove gave up his policy portfolio to focus on the midterm elections and Scott McClellan, the press secretary, resigned - no one is sure who is in and who is out. Aides say they are on edge, and Bolten has promised more housecleaning this week, after Bush returns from a four-day trip to California. Treasury Secretary John Snow is possibly the next to go.

    ...Bolten, who is single [More about that here: Another closet case serving Dear Leader? --Pam], keeps investment banker hours and is well known for staying at the office until 11 p.m. When he was White House deputy chief of staff in Bush's first term, he was also known for making it to the 7:30 a.m. senior staff meeting with only minutes to spare.
    Even more embarrassing, the Rethugs of the Beltway are now bleating for Darth (18% approval and falling) Cheney to get the hell out of Dodge, floating Condi (good god) as a replacement. The flopsweat of desperation flows...
    Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard magazine and author of Rebel in Chief, a sympathetic new biography of Bush, said: “There are going to have to be sweeping personnel changes if people are going to take a second look at the Bush presidency.”

    Barnes, who is close to the White House, said he believed Cheney would be willing to stand down in order to help Bush. “It’s unlike Bush to dump somebody whom he likes and respects,” he cautioned. “But the president needs to do something shocking and dramatic such as putting in Condoleezza Rice.”


    Also: floating the Condi trial balloon for 2008 is already under way in some circles, including Freeperland.

    ...Tom Edmonds, a leading Republican consultant, said the White House had failed to grasp that the party was in desperate straits. “I have never talked to so many disenchanted Republicans,” he said. “The president even stonewalled the minor changes he made by talking about how he was really perfectly happy with his team. He didn’t even give himself wiggle room.”


    Big post tomorrow - interview with David Englin

    I don't often put up teasers here, but one of the reasons that posts have been a bit sparse the last couple of days is that I have a big exclusive that will go up tomorrow AM -- an e-interview with a favorite here at the Blend, Virginia Delegate David Englin.

    It's a wide ranging discussion -- he shares the feedback that he received on both sides of the aisle after he gave The Speech in support of civil equality on the floor of the legislature before it voted to place the bigoted marriage amendment on the fall ballot, the state of the Democratic party (the good and the bad), and much more.

    Be ready to spread the word. Maybe some spineless Dems out there will take note.


    South Carolina ready to ban sex toys

    SC, you're behind the times! Your peeps in 'Bama were right on this abomination months ago.

    In August of last year, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case on the legality of a ban on the sale of sex toys in Alabama. The law prohibited the distribution of 'any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.' You could get a year in jail or be fined $10K on a first offense.

    Alabama's law does allow the sale of vibrators and body massagers that are not specifically designed or marketed to the public as sexual aids. Sales of sexual devices were exempt if they were to be used 'for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose.' Hmmmm...name valid law enforcement uses for a blow-up dolls or a butt plug. The other states with bans are Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.

    Anyway, back to the Palmetto State, Rethug Rep. Ralph Davenport of Boiling Springs, SC, is the man with a plan to deep-six dildos. Under his bill (H. 4830), if you're convicted of selling a vibe you can receive up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. (Anderson Independent-Mail):
    Lucy’s Love Shop employee Wanda Gillespie said she was flabbergasted that South Carolina’s Legislature is considering outlawing sex toys.

    ...The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.

    "That would be the most terrible thing in the world," said Ms. Gillespie, an employee the Anderson shop. "That is just flabbergasting to me. We are supposed to be in a free country, and we’re supposed to be adults who can decide what want to do and don’t want to do in the privacy of our own homes."
    The proposed law is completely based upon the premise that selling a sexual device is a violation of obscenity laws.
    A person disseminates a sexual device within the meaning of this article if it is designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs and solely for the sale of prurient interest in sex.
    Look at Davenport's level of detail and research that obviously went into crafting this masterpiece of legislation. Warning: -- it could give some of you the vapors, but the man is serious about protecting South Carolina's citizens from the purveyors of products for pee-pees, hoo-hahs, and any other body parts that might be subject to stimulation.
    (B) For purposes of this article any material is obscene if:

    (1) to the average person applying contemporary community standards, the material depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically defined by subsection (C) of this section;

    (2) the average person applying contemporary community standards relating to the depiction or description of sexual conduct would find that the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex;

    (3) to a reasonable person, the material taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; and

    (4) the material as used is not otherwise protected or privileged under the Constitutions of the United States or of this State.

    (C) As used in this article:

    (1) 'sexual conduct' means:

    (a) vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse, whether actual or simulated, normal or perverted, whether between human beings, animals, or a combination thereof;

    (b) masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition, actual or simulated, of the genitals, pubic hair, anus, vulva, or female breast nipples including male or female genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal or covered male genitals in a discernably turgid state;

    (c) an act or condition that depicts actual or simulated bestiality, sado-masochistic abuse, meaning flagellation or torture by or upon a person who is nude or clad in undergarments or in a costume which reveals the pubic hair, anus, vulva, genitals, or female breast nipples, or the condition of being fettered, bound, or otherwise physically restrained on the part of the one so clothed;

    (d) an act or condition that depicts actual or simulated touching, caressing, or fondling of, or other similar physical contact with, the covered or exposed genitals, pubic or anal regions, or female breast nipple, whether alone or between humans, animals, or a human and an animal, of the same or opposite sex, in an act of actual or apparent sexual stimulation or gratification; or

    (e) an act or condition that depicts the insertion of any part of a person's body, other than the male sexual organ, or of any an object into another person's anus or vagina, except when done as part of a recognized medical procedure.

    (2) 'patently offensive' means obviously and clearly disagreeable, objectionable, repugnant, displeasing, distasteful, or obnoxious to contemporary standards of decency and propriety within the community.

    (3) 'prurient interest' means a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion and is reflective of an arousal of lewd and lascivious desires and thoughts.

    (4) 'person' means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, firm, club, or other legal or commercial entity.

    (5) 'knowingly' means having general knowledge of the content of the subject material or performance, or failing after reasonable opportunity to exercise reasonable inspection which would have disclosed the character of the material or performance.

    (D) Obscenity must be judged with reference to ordinary adults except that it must be judged with reference to children or other especially susceptible audiences or clearly defined deviant sexual groups if it appears from the character of the material or the circumstances of its dissemination to be especially for or directed to children or such these audiences or groups.

    (E) As used in this article, 'community standards' used in determining prurient appeal and patent offensiveness are the standards of the area from which the jury is drawn.

    (F) It is unlawful for any a person knowingly to create, buy, procure, or process obscene material or a sexual device with the purpose and intent of disseminating it.

    (G) It is unlawful for a person to advertise or otherwise promote the sale of sexual devices or material represented or held out by them as obscene.

    (H) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.

    (I) Obscene material and sexual devices disseminated, procured, or promoted in violation of this section is contraband and may be seized by appropriate law enforcement authorities."
    Hat tip, Raw Story.


    33%: Cutting Into The Base

    (This was my guest-post over at Firedoglake last night.)

    More Americans disapprove than approve of how George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Congress are doing their jobs, while a majority approves of Condoleezza Rice. President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans. Faux News, breaking the bad news to the faithful with its latest poll
    I figured that once we hit 33%, it would represent the bottom for the Chimperor. After all, there’s a hardcore Base, the blind followers of this disaster of a president who simply won’t give in, won’t accept the reality of major failures like Iraq, the rotten-to-the-core widespread corruption, or the fact that Bush is, to be charitable, a dunce and embarrassment at home and abroad.

    You know what? I heard also howls coming from the fetid swamps of Freeperland when I saw that poll. At 33%, we are digging into the rotting flesh of the most vile, ardent fans of Dear Leader, and they are yelping in pain.

    We have a few ready to abandon their man, others are still tethered to IVs filled with wingnut-flavored Kool-Aid concentrate. and a subset who, even by the swamp’s standards, are ready for the padded cell.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    As I watched the TV today…I couldn’t help but wonder to myself…are we being represented AT ALL?? 6 posted on 04/20/2006 11:55:20 AM PDT by ConservativeMan55 (DON’T FIRE UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF THE CURTAINS THEY ARE WEARING ON THEIR HEADS !)

    Will the RNC please nominate someone in 2008 who can speak well and sound somewhat smart? And please, no more rich people or sons of rich people (Bush family). Ronald Reagan - please extend your hand from the heavens and point us to this person.

    That would be Rice, Jeb Bush, Rudy, or Romney.

    You mean the Ronald Reagan all of you Dinasours whined about all thru the 1980s for negotiating with the Commies? Amazing how quick you all are to forget reality to create a revisionist history. You all did the same whining about Reagan back in the 1980s. Spare us the selective memory and psuedo historical claims.

    I agree with the idea that Bush low poll numbers are in fact due to many people who voted for him, being really po’ed right now. The dems never liked him, understandable. But you don’t get this low in the polls without people who once supported you being really disillusioned with you.

    And please, no more rich people or sons of rich people

    I agree 100 percent. I’m very very upset. I’m not one of these people that want to be angry with him. Its simply the fact that…I’ve held my nose as long as I can.

    Personally I don’t think it’s just a Bush problem, as much as it is a GOP problem. What do they stand for? Do they stand for smaller government? That’s a hard case to make with their spending. Are they for lower taxes? Hell, I just had to pay the AMT for the first time ever, what’s up with that? It all goes back to "that vision thing."

    The country doesn’t want liberals. The country doesn’t want half ass republicans. WE WANT CONSERVATIVES. Liberals end up getting elected because they either A: Pass themselves off as Conservatives or.. B: People get so angry with liberal republicans they vote third party or not at all..and some idiot like Spector gets elected.

    You’re not the only one who feels this way. I’m really disappointed in Bush. I voted for him twice and don’t regret it, considering the alternative, but I am disappointed and getting a little nervous about November. The situation at the border infuriates me and his yammering about the ROP makes me sick and I’m damned sure not thrilled to see the Chinese Butcher in Chief feted at the White House by a Republican President.

    But we have to keep things in perspective. I think that the President is doing a very good job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t forget that he nominated and got Senate confirmation for Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court and we’re still enjoying the fruits of his tax cuts.

    There’s allot of things I don’t like. Like having to apologize for being a white consevative working American male. But damn. We have Democratic Underground trolls lurking here all the time and they are loving this sort of thing. They copy these threads and post them over there and set back and LTAO. I lurk there to see what they are saying. To tell you the truth, this thread would fit right in over there if posted on the regular forum.
    I headed over to Lucianne.com, to measure the pain of the true believers there. Mommy-of-Jonah runs a tight ship over there, yet some of the most vile, racist and unhinged bile outside of LGF can be found without digging very hard. Some of the lunatics in this hangout are actually blaming Faux News itself for Bush’s woesthe network’s been hijacked by the left.

    I kid you not.


    Actual Lucianne Lunatic Quotes™

    Reply 1 - Posted by: baja_ha, 4/20/2006 8:27:54 PM Very similar to polls announced on the eve of the last two presidential elections. These polls are written to give the specific result the organization paying for the poll desires. Proof: Who won both elections? Elections are the only meaningful polls.

    Reply 4 - Posted by: loislanee, 4/20/2006 8:39:33 PM Just wake up, would you? Like FOX of all companies is going to go out and commission a poll to make Bush look bad. Get real. Worst. President. Ever.

    Reply 5 - Posted by: TiminPhoenix, 4/20/2006 8:39:40 PM While polls are biased for the most part against the president, his approval ratings are very low.

    You have the Moonbat crowd of 40% of the country, the fools that voted for Kerry who are going to dislike Bush by habit.

    You also have that mindless group in the middle that gives about one tenth of the thought they give to sports, to what is happening in the world. They are the bumpersticker middle. They after years of a media that no longer even attempts to hide their partisan ship has succumbed to the notion that it’s chic to hate Bush.

    And then you have many conservatives, who are so angry, especially over Bush’s love of Shamesty on real border control, that they also somewhat poll against him.

    Some of the lack of support is from people who are haters, those who are followers, and those who are the neglected base.

    Reply 9 - Posted by: 4LadyK, 4/20/2006 8:49:35 PM Perhaps these polls are reflecting what a lot of us are feeling whether we voted for him or not: That he isn’t listening to us.

    If I were polled right now, I’d give him a very low rating. I’m spittin’ mad about the illegal alien mess he sat on for so long. Plus, what happened to his whole "switching to ethanol" thing that he was talking about only a few months ago? brazil is TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT on "sugar-gas". He has had to many opportunities during his presidency to step up,like on SS, Immigration, fuel…and right now he is just letting them all go like dust in the wind. I am infuriated.

    Reply 14 - Posted by: judy, 4/20/2006 9:13:49 PM Ask me how I feel about Fox. It stinks. It’s has been infiltrated with libs. Brit, Tony, Gibson & Ollie are the only ones worth watching. Fox should watch their own shows, it would show they are turning into cnn 2. e I quit watching msnbc, & cnn because they always put a snitty remark when they describe anything Bush, now Fox is doing the same thing.

    Reply 16 - Posted by: greggojo, 4/20/2006 9:21:15 PM This is ridiculous. The media cooks up biased nonsense about Bush and others in the Bush Administration, which (as Rush points out), sensible people must then straighten out, which takes time. Meanwhile, after pounding Bush with lie after lie and just pumping blatant biased misinformation into the national consiousness, the members of the media run out and ask loaded questions to get the responses they want about Bush. As people turn their attention to politics for the November elections, they will see through the fog and vote Republican (I hope and pray.) The truth is that the Democrats are as always, lying and incompetent and just scummy and they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    Reply 19 - Posted by: typhoon, 4/20/2006 9:25:03 PM I wonder what percentage of the 33% who think Bush is doing a good job are the illegals pouring into the country?
    What will they do if Dear Leader dips into the 20s? How low can we go?


    Al Gore's evolution on gay marriage?

    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are, and loving who you love, is a form of tyranny over your mind. And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated.
    -- Al Gore, speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Gala on March 25, 2006, at the Century Plaza Hotel.
    Consider this a pre-emptive 2008 strike against the man who really won the 2000 election. Baptist Press is frothing at the mouth, happy to start a gay marriage-loving smear against Al Gore -- and set the tone for attacks on any Dem who tiptoes toward a message of civil equality.

    Remember, Gore actually supported Clinton's DOMA, and has stated that he favored separate-and-unequal civil unions, so it's a far cry from Russ Feingold's open support for marriage equality. That said, Gore was a strong supporter of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).

    Former Vice President Al Gore delivered the keynote speech at a homosexual group's dinner in late March, and while he didn't directly mention "gay marriage," he implied that he supported its eventual legalization.

    Gore spoke March 25 at a gala dinner in Los Angeles for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest homosexual organization. HRC supports "gay marriage."

    What the wingers are upset by is Gore's speech intimates that civil equality is necessary, inevitable and the right thing to do. It will be interesting to see, if Gore is planning to run (he's stated that he will not), whether he has had an evolution in thinking regarding same-sex marriage. From his stirring speech, Gore really does sound like he's had a change of heart, ready to speak out, and willing to reframe the message for a party that continually runs screaming from the issue. (IN Los Angeles mag):
    It is that love, after all, that is at the heart of why everybody is here. That is what must be honored and respected. Your right to fall in love with who you fall in love with. And your right to expect that that will be recognized with the same dignity and honor that love is recognized for other couples. Love is transcendent and fulfilling and powerful and any force on earth that endeavors to make you feel that you should be ashamed for feeling genuine, deep love for another of your choosing is a form of oppression.

    ...Much has been made of the second simple truth -- the first being that love ... that transcendent feeling is at the center of all the debates. The second simple fact is that -- it's been mentioned here -- is that when your fellow Americans come to know you for who you are, everything changes. But the so-called Catch 22 that discrimination and oppression put you in, is that the law requires gays and lesbians in the military or in job settings where they have no protection or in other settings where discrimination is rampant -- if the law and the culture of society requires you to be closed and secret and inauthentic and to pretend that you are not who you are, then you are not allowed to use your basic humanity to change the minds and hearts of those around you. You must have the right to be who you are, just as I have the right to be who I am.

    As I was on the way here, I reflected on why is there so much controversy about the question of equality for gays and lesbians. Why? This fight has been so long and so hard for something that is so simple and so right.
    To read about another Dem with a spine on marriage equality, check out my exclusive interview with Virginia Delegate David Englin.


    The sanctity of marriage: Sheen edition

    Actress Denise Richards didn't hold back in her allegations against soon-to-be-former husband Charlie Sheen. The Smoking Gun has her sworn declaration of a few of Charlie's proclivities that will curl your hair. Apparently he likes surfing for underage gay and straight porn, among other entertaining, family-man activities. This stuff is so rank. But here's just a taste of the depravity. The man needs serious help:
    Richards claims that an enraged Sheen--who was over for a visit with the couple's two children--told her she was "fucking with the wrong guy" and called her a series of vulgar names in front of the children. The actor, Richards said, then shoved her to the ground and screamed, "I hope you f--king die, bitch."

    As Richards, 35, tells it, Sheen was angry because she had told her divorce attorney about discovering details of Sheen's porn-surfing practices. Richards's declaration, filed in support of her request for a restraining order against Sheen, contends that Sheen "belonged" to "disturbing" sites "which promoted very young girls, who looked underage to me with pigtails, braces, and no pubic hair performing oral sex with each other." Other sites visited by Sheen, Richards alleges, involved "gay pornography also involving very young men who also did not look like adults." Richards claims that she also discovered that Sheen "belonged to several sex search type sites" on which he "looked for women to have sex with." His online profile, Richards adds, included a photo of "his erect penis."

    The Richards evisceration also portrays Sheen as a lousy father who urged her to abort their first child. And, when she was about to give birth to their second child via a C-section, Sheen's attention was "diverted to his pager for the results of his betting.
    Bleh. What a winner this turd is.


    Oakland carpenter nailed for working in his birthday suit

    This dude probably could have gotten a ton of business if he advertised by word-of-mouth about his "services," though this guy is on the too-pervy side of the fence for that. Heaven help this guy if he drops the wrong tool on his tool. (NBC11):
    An unfinished bookcase and a day in jail has brought down Alameda County's infamous nude carpenter.

    Fifty-year-old Percy Honniball is vowing to work fully clothed from now on after being arrested and charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure. He is free on bail and is scheduled to return to court in a few weeks.

    Honniball says he loves working in the buff because it gives him a better range of motion and makes him a more efficient worker. But an Oakland homeowner who hired him called police after discovering the contractor building a set of bookcases in the nude.

    Honniball apologized and said he was simply behind on his work. He said this was his way of speeding the process.

    It turns out he has a long history of run-ins with police. Officers have stopped him three times since 2000 for working in the nude or allegedly exposing himself to mail carriers.
    Hat tip, Holly.


    Sexy images short-circuit men's ability to think clearly

    A Belgian research study found that images of sexy women or lingerie made it hard for men to concentrate and think clearly -- the little head overruled the big head. (BBC):
    The more testosterone he has, the stronger the effect, according to work by Belgian researchers.

    Men about to play a financial game were shown images of sexy women or lingerie.

    The Proceedings of the Royal Society B study found they were more likely to accept unfair offers than men not been exposed to the alluring images.

    ...Dr Siegfried DeWitte, one of the researchers who worked on the study, said: "We like to think we are all rational beings, but our research suggests ... that people with high testosterone levels are very vulnerable to sexual cues.

    "If there are no cues around, they behave normally. "But if they see sexual images they become impulsive."

    ...Dr George Fieldman, principal lecturer in psychology at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, told the BBC News website: "The fact men are distracted by sexual cues fits in to evolutionary experience. It's what they are expected to do.

    "They are looking for opportunities to pass on their genes."
    In case you're wondering, the researches have not found women respond to visual stimuli in the same way.

    There is no indication that these folks tested any gay folks. Hmmmm...

    Hat tip to Waveflux, who is drooling over Rosario Dawson in his post.


    Molesting priest kept on staff after admitting crimes

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    The hits just keep on coming for the pedophile priests, this time in Alabama.
    The Birmingham-based Eternal Word Television Network said the Reverend Real Bourque conducted mass, held weekly Bible study for workers and visitors and gave talks at retreats, but he was not allowed on the air or to be around young people after 1995, when executives say they learned of his past.

    Bourque left E-W-T-N in 2002 and now lives in a Catholic retirement facility in Bellville, Illinois. Officials said they were unaware of any allegations of misconduct by Bourque related to his time in Alabama.

    In an interview published last week in a Belleville newspaper, Bourque admitted sexually abusing boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s while serving as a priest in Maine and Massachusetts. He has not been charged with any crimes.


    John Dean: Bush is increasingly dangerous

    Watergate figure John Dean has an excellent analysis of what we are going to face under the rule of the Chimp through January 2009, (when he can't do any more damage).
    In a mid-2004 column, I argued that, at that point, Bush had already demonstrated that he possessed the least attractive and most troubling traits among those that political scientist James Dave Barber has cataloged in his study of Presidents' personality types.

    ...Currently, President Bush is busy reshuffling his staff to reinvigorate his presidency. But if Dr. Barber's work holds true for this president -- as it has for others - the hiring and firing of subordinates will not touch the core problems that have plagued Bush's tenure.

    That is because the problems belong to the President - not his staff. And they are problems that go to character, not to strategy.
    An aside -- it looks like Harriet Miers, the apple of George's eye, and completely out-of-her-depth SCOTUS nominee, may be the next one in chief of staff-cum-grim reaper Josh Bolten's scope, likely to be demoted or booted.

    No, moving one of your doormats to the back door won't help, Dear Leader. Dean uses the example of Bush defending Rumsfeld from the upstart generals as proof that the president's power trip blinds him to the long-term damage he does to his standing each time he pulls rank.
    Bush's defense of Rumsfeld was entirely substance-free. Bush simply told reporters in the Rose Garden that Rumsfeld would stay because "I'm the decider and I decide what's best." He sounded much like a parent telling children how things would be: "I'm the Daddy, that's why."

    This, indeed, is how Bush sees the presidency, and it is a point of view that will cause him trouble.

    Bush has never understood what presidential scholar Richard Neustadt discovered many years ago: In a democracy, the only real power the presidency commands is the power to persuade. Presidents have their bully pulpit, and the full attention of the news media, 24/7. In addition, they are given the benefit of the doubt when they go to the American people to ask for their support. But as effective as this power can be, it can be equally devastating when it languishes unused - or when a president pretends not to need to use it, as Bush has done.

    Apparently, Bush does not realize that to lead he must continually renew his approval with the public. He is not, as he thinks, the decider. The public is the decider.
    What it comes down to, is that we have an unbalanced man at the helm who listens to no one, who cannot be trusted by aides to speak extemporaneously without mucking things up, and has people who work for him too intimidated to let him know the public isn't buying his BS.
    George Bush has misled America into a preemptive war in Iraq; he is using terrorism to claim that as Commander-in-Chief, he is above the law; and he refuses to acknowledge that American law prohibits torturing our enemies and warrantlessly wiretapping Americans.

    Americans, increasingly, are not buying his justifications for any of these positions. Yet Bush has made no effort to persuade them that his actions are sound, prudent or productive; rather, he takes offense when anyone questions his unilateral powers. He responds as if personally insulted.

    And this may be his only option: With Bush's limited rhetorical skills, it would be all but impossible for him to persuade any others than his most loyal supporters of his positions. His single salient virtue - as a campaigner - was the ability to stay on-message. He effectively (though inaccurately) portrayed both Al Gore and John Kerry as wafflers, whereas he found consistency in (over)simplifying the issues. But now, he cannot absorb the fact that his message is not one Americans want to hear - that he is being questioned, severely, and that staying on-message will be his downfall.
    Geez, you have to read the rest of this column, including Dean's thoughts on what we can expect from Dear Leader in the future, including the near certainty that as his poll numbers continue circling the drain -- and as the mid-term elections near -- he and Rove will stop at nothing to prevent the Rethugs from losing control of Congress. Expect an October surprise.


    Clowns on the Hill grant Homeland Security funds for clown and puppet shows

    And we wonder where the billions are going. It's certainly not making us safer if Congress is earmarking funds to go to puppet shows and gyms, especially when all kinds of crap makes it through airport security, and effective communications systems for first responders are still not where they need to be. More waste, fraud and abuse courtesy of the Rethug-led Congress. Even Dear Leader couldn't rein in the pork on this one.
    Fire departments are using Homeland Security grants to buy gym equipment, sponsor puppet and clown shows, and turn first responders into fitness trainers.

    The spending choices are allowable under the guidelines of the Assistance to Firefighters grant administered by the Homeland Security Department, which has awarded nearly 250 grants since February totaling more than $25 million out of the current spending pot of $545 million.

    ...The Bush administration has specifically asked Congress not to allow funding for physical fitness, but the members who run Congress' appropriation committees keep inserting the language into the department's budget, officials say.


    Head of Dear Leader's faith-based initiative office resigns

    "Jim Towey has waged an unrelenting war against church-state separation. With Towey's resignation in hand, the president should do the American people a favor and close the misguided faith-based office... the faith-based initiative has always been about funneling public funds to favored political constituencies, not helping the poor."
    -- Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of United for Separation of Church and State
    It's a relative revolving door over at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which has been funneling cash to religious organizations ostensibly for social services, but in reality looks a whole lot like pastor political payoffs. H. James Towey, director of the office, resigned on Tuesday.

    Amy Sullivan on the honchos who have paraded through, attempting to give the office credibility.
    Towey also chose to mouth the Bush administration's fiction that government discriminated against faith-based groups until George W. Bush came to save them. And he stayed in his position long after it was clear to most observers that the faith-based office was little more than a political showpiece for the White House. On that score, it may turn out to be very difficult to replace him.

    The first director of the faith-based office, John DiIulio, left after just six months in the position and later blasted the White House for using the office as a political tool. DiIulio's deputy, David Kuo, said much the same thing after he left the office. It took Bush six months to find someone willing to fill the position after DiIulio left, and when Towey accepted the job, it was in February of 2002, too early to know for sure (although surely early enough to guess) that the entire operation was a religious PR stunt. Now, with even the most loyal congressional supporters of the faith-based initiative calling the effort a sham, it will be nearly impossible for the president to find a Democrat willing to take the job.
    The WaPo recently (March 22) ran 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 from the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
    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.
    The article also notes that Crazy 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.

    Towey, in the same article, defended his office saying said politics played no role in grant-making decisions to faith-based organizations.

    Right.

    Exhibit A: Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, of Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ in Milwaukee, received over $600K in 2003 and $800K in 2004 from the Compassion Capital Fund. And guess what? Daniels was a 2004 Republican National Convention delegate. A little more on how Sedgwick was turned on by Bush cash.
    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.


    More sexual imagery from the bible beaters

    If there's one thing we all agree on around here, it's that the more rabid the religious zealotry, the more they fixate on sex, sex acts, and how important sex is -- because it's so evil.

    Here's yet another example of completely unhinged, sex-drenched imagery in the fertile mind of a bible beater under the guise of fighting porn and woodies. This essay is called The Serpent of Porn, by Steve Gallagher of Pure Life Ministries, a Kentucky-based outfit whose goal is to "lead Christians to victory over sexual sin and a deeper life in God."
    Solomon intimately understood how powerful sexual temptation can be for a young man. It was with him in mind that he wrote the fifth chapter of Proverbs. "My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding .... For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech" (Proverbs 5:1-3).

    ...Time spent in the Word every day builds up a man's immune system against the poison of pornography. The scriptures are simply the thinking and perspectives of the Lord. As a man continually immerses himself in the Bible, he will gradually take on God's mindset toward life, people and, yes, even sexuality. a man who devotes daily time to the Word is given spiritual insight into the power of temptation and how it works.

    Notice again what Solomon says about sexual sin. He personifies it as an adulteress whose lips of honey represent promised fulfillment. The temptation seems irresistible because it is laced with deception -- namely, that the act of sin will bring about tremendous pleasure and satisfaction. The tantalizing thought is presented and all thoughts of resistance are forgotten. the act of sexual sin looks absolutely intoxicating and therefore irresistible. The smooth oil represents the craftiness of the enemy .... Fully camouflaged and extremely calculating, he presents the perfect illusion, timing each consecutive attack "to steal, and kill, and destroy God's property."

    The wise man, whose heart has been fortified with the Word of God, sees the devil behind that intoxicating temptation. In the Garden, Satan exposed himself as the "crafty" serpent he is. I imagine him being very much like a cobra. Known for the hideous hood it extends when preparing to attack, it actually spits into the eyes of its victim before striking. With its target blinded and helpless, the serpent could easily squirm away into the brush. But this viper is not content with escape; it enjoys killing. With bared fangs, it lunges, injecting its deadly poison into its victim's body.

    This is a fitting picture of the man lured into viewing pornography. The temptation usually begins when he comes across a glimpse of flesh and/or a sexually suggestive hyper-link. It is just enough venom to temporarily blind him to the impending danger. The initial presentation is stimulating, creating a sensual atmosphere which spiritually incapacitates him.

    Now the serpent moves in for the kill. That one glimpse of porn unleashes a poison that rockets into the man's soul and instantly spreads throughout his being. Just like a snakebite victim, he enters a catatonic state of mind: a sexual trance where all reason seems to abandon him. Lust rushes through his body; his face flushes with excitement; his palms get sweaty.
    I think Steve Gallagher needs to check out the Daddy Dobson-approved help for horny boys.


    Think again

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Kerry 'thinking hard' about 2008 run for president. God, no.
    Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said on Thursday he was seriously thinking about another White House bid in 2008 and will decide before the year is out.

    "I will make that decision toward the end of the year, but I'm thinking about it hard," Kerry said in response to a question at the Latin Economic Forum at the United Nations.

    "If you can get help me find 60,000 votes in Ohio ...," he joked, referring to the close race in that state on which his 2004 loss to President Bush hinged.
    He's got about as good a chance as sHillary to win. Please. Don't any of these establishment Dems see that the party needs a serious image overhaul? Sorry Kerry fans, he's stale goods.


    GLAAD: St. Maarten paper gives thumbs-up to gay bashing

    "Let's be clear. When a newspaper waxes nostalgic about a time when it was more acceptable to assault gay people, that's not just condoning violence — it's endorsing it. I don't care who you are; you don't get to editorialize support for gay bashing and then turn around and claim that you're the victim."
    -- GLAAD President Neil Giuliano, on a slur- and hate-filled editorial in the St. Maarten paper Today
    How sick is it when a paper longs for the days when you could go thumping fags for kicks? On St. Maarten, where a heinous anti-gay attack on two CBS News employees put the island's homophobic culture front and center in the media, this is what passes as "damage control"? (GLAAD):
    The "Today" editorial began by protesting — as anti-gay activists have done for years -- use of the term "homophobia." The paper then ridiculed the term "gay bashing," claiming such occurrences "might have been a case of a stronger (and non-gay) person taking advantage of a male whose strength may be suspect to the more macho individual."

    The newspaper then proceeded to blame and attack the victims of the assault:
    Now we don't know what the news producer and his male pal, who also works for a syndicated news organization in New York, might have been drinking or ingesting before the unfortunate incident. They were in a bar setting, from accounts of eye witnesses they were "all over each other" and four upset young men didn't like it.

    They didn't like it so much that after they were asked to leave Bamboo Bernie's, they glared at the gay men, who have also been known as faggots, homos, homosexuals and other names that won't go into this family newspaper. They glared at them hard and they exited the place.

    And waited in the parking lot.

    Gay bashing has taken many forms over the decades. During and after World War II, it was considered common sport for military guys to let themselves be picked up by a faggot in a bar in Los Angeles or San Francisco. The one who was picked up would pretend to go along for the ride, only to turn around and beat up or rob the homo who picked him up, leaving him without wallet and sometimes teeth.

    All that has changed, of course, largely due to American laws that are being spread around the world. Gay bashing is now a no-no. Slurs against homos, a no-no. And beating a person over the head for flagrant public behavior that once was considered criminal misconduct is a no-no.

    This is a sorry case and we hope the police find the attackers. But it is made much worse when silly homosexuals use their power in the New York media to trash a friendly island for a one of a kind incident. The homosexual community should be ashamed.
    Perhaps a few words of reason should be directed at the St. Maarten tourism bureau: info@st-maarten.com.

    John @ Americablog had an excellent idea: contact the St. Maarten Bureau for Constitutional Affairs, because it is still part of the Netherlands and seeks independence. This clearly reflects badly on the island: sxmconstiburo@sintmaarten.net


    One for the ages (under 24)

    Sorry for the dearth of posts, but today has been quite hectic. Shakes Sis found a live one in God's Country -- Oklahoma:

    Man willing to pay cash for a young, non pig-worshipping, virgin bride.
    A sign that 45-year-old Michael Thelemann posted in his yard Sunday said that he'll pay $1,000 for a virgin bride between the ages of 12 and 24.

    "I feel like I'm living down the street from a pedophile," said neighbor Christy Sternadel. "We want him out of this neighborhood. Who asks for a 12-year-old virgin bride?"

    ..."I'm just somebody who is getting up there in years, and I'm looking for a born-again, God-fearing virgin between the ages of 12 and 24 who can bear me children," said Thelemann, who was divorced in 1989. "What's the problem? I just think I have some wicked neighbors."
    Who is wicked? Jeezus.

    BTW, Thelemann hasn't received any offers yet.


    Petey's petition desperation in Illinois

    Our reliable AmTaliban entertainment master Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute is trying to drum up support and signatures for his anti-gay marriage amendment petition and his effort is flagging. His April 20 deadline to collect signatures is here and he hasn't reached his goal -- so he's extending it to the 30th.

    To rub salt in the wound, the Gay Liberation Network is tossing a shindig today to mark Peter's failure to whip all the fundies into a frenzy by his self-imposed deadline.

    Read below and experience the flopsweat and extreme bleating by the homo-sex obsessed fundie; the hysteria on the IFI site is over the top -- what a drama queen!
    A far-left homosexual group in Chicago is planning a premature "celebration" on April 20th because they think Protect Marriage Illinois will fail to get the signatures it needs to qualify for the ballot in November. Are you prepared to do all you can to make sure that their prediction doesn't come true?

    Last week, the Gay Liberation Network" engaged in a bit of wishful thinking by announcing an April 20th rally in Chicago's homosexual "Boystown" neighborhood that will "Celebrate the FAILURE" of far right forces in Illinois to get an anti-gay referendum."
    Here's the problem for GLN: We're NOT going to fail, and the April 20th deadline is only an internal one. In fact, petitions are pouring in like never before, so we are extending the deadline for mailing in Protect Marriage Illinois signatures to April 30th to accommodate the rush of petitions. (The official date when we have to turn them over to the state is Monday, May 8th.)
    More Christian Bashing

    Take a look at the Gay Liberation Network's flier, available at www.gayliberation.org.



    The group mocks several high-profile individuals opposed to homosexual activism, including former GOP Senate candidate Alan Keyes, former GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Oberweis and Rev. and St. Sen. James Meeks. Under a photo of Chicago Catholic Cardinal Francis George's is this caption: "Cardinal 'Boy' George, my 'Christian charity' includes opposing equal employment, housing and access to public accommodations [for homosexuals based on 'sexual orientation']."

    ...Isn't it interesting how the Left engages in mean-spirited insults against men of faith and there is no media interest or outrage whatsoever?

    Smear the messenger
    Under my photo in the GLN flier is this caption:


    "Peter 'I butch it up in leather & whips only so that I can investigate the homosexual lifestyle, really I do' LaBarbera." This refers to my and IFI's efforts to expose the radical homosexual agenda, including the sadistic and pornographic "International Mr. Leather" event that is held every year in a swank Chicago hotel. (It's coming to the Palmer House Hilton on May 25 through May 29--Memorial Day Weekend.)

    So, according to the Gay Liberation Network's illogic, exposing the perversion that surrounds homosexuality makes one a pervert himself. That's like saying that pro-lifers who march outside of abortion clinics secretly yearn to have abortions themselves--how absurd.

    I urge you to join me in making one final push for signatures so that in November, all of us will be able to vote to reaffirm the natural and historic definition of marriage as between a man and a woman!
    Related:
    * Letter from Peter LaBarbera


    This and that - open thread

    Post links and blogwhore away...


    * Bye Bye Tom: when a publication in your state publishes a cover like this, it's hard to say "there's no place like home" (hat tip, Adrian).

    ***

    * The Political Pit Bull has a video of Scotty's Greatest Hits up on the podium at the White House press briefings. It's about 4 minutes, and at about 3:15 into it, check out Scotty's tussle with homo-obsessed WingNutDaily columnist Les Kinsolving over a question about Brokeback Mountain and "whether Bush watched any of the Academy Awards for prostitution and sodomy."

    * Speaking of Brokeback, with the release of the DVD comes an ace review of it over at DVD Verdict. It's worth the click.

    ***

    * Paul passed along the news that former San Francisco D.A. Joseph Freitas Jr. died. You may not know his name, but he has an infamous legacy as the man whose office oversaw the prosecution of of Dan White, the S.F. supervisor who assassinated Mayor George Moscone and the first openly gay Supervisor, Harvey Milk, in 1978. The jury in that case failed to convict White of first-degree murder, finding him guilty of two counts of voluntary manslaughter, which set off riots in the streets.

    White, btw, climbed into the window of City Hall to avoid metal detectors and reloaded to shoot Milk, which indicated the acts were clearly premeditated. His lawyer used what became known as the Twinkie Defense, alleging White consumed too much sugar, in this case Twinkies and Coke, and it set him off on his murderous rampage.

    ***

    * The latest in womb control, this time in Ohio (hat tip, Blender Katie):
    Ohio house bill 228 introduced by Tim Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, in April would make it a felony for a woman to seek to terminate her pregnancy and holds the same penalty if she chooses to leave the state for the medical procedure. Additionally, anyone who helps coordinate an abortion or transportation to leave the state for one could be charged as well.

    "House Bill 228, as far as I know, is still in committee. Some bills take more time to come out of committee. You just never know," said Ohio Rep. John Schlichter, R-Greenfield. "I'm a pro-life person. My voting record has been consistent. I was raised in a Christian home."


    New levels of pervdom



    Sick bastard poses as a doctor giving door-to-door 'breast exams'. Argh, I get nauseous just looking at the picture. This gross coot in Lauderdale Lakes, FL, clearly looking to cop an illicit feel (and more), showed up at the apartments of two women -- and they fell for his line of crap. One of the women he conned was an immigrant who didn't speak much English; the other figured out 76-year-old Philip Winikoff wasn't an M.D, only after he started feeling her up. This is nasty.
    Philip Winikoff walked up to the door of the Lauderdale Lakes apartment carrying a black medical bag. He told the woman inside he was a doctor from ''North Miami Hospital,'' going door- to-door offering free breast exams.

    But authorities say the 76-year-old Winikoff was no doctor. And the medical bag wasn't his, but his wife's. She is a registered nurse.

    On Wednesday, Broward sheriff's deputies arrested Winikoff on charges of sexual battery and simple assault. Winikoff allegedly fondled the breasts of two women and then sexually assaulted them.

    It's a ''very bizarre crime,'' said BSO spokesman Hugh Graf. ``It may very well be a first.''
    There is video here.


    Snail mail moron

    Boy, I thought the elected official who made the Blend recently, Colorado State Representative Jim Welker, for sending idiotic, offensive emails around was a dunce, but this takes the cake -- Repub Missouri Representative Jo Ann Emerson's office sent out a hard copy letter to a constituent with this closing sentence:

    "I think you're an asshole."

    Emerson says she can't explain how the offensive language made it into the letter, which otherwise reads like a typical response to a citizen's question about last year's testimony of oil executives before the Senate Commerce Committee.

    "There is no excuse for this inappropriate letter having been sent, and every apology has been made to the individual who received it," Emerson said in a statement to The Associated Press.

    "We cannot determine whether the addition to the letter was made by someone within the office or by someone with access to the office, but it is on my letterhead and the responsibility for it lies with me. A valuable lesson has been learned and new procedures will be adopted as a result."

    Spokesman Jeff Connor said the measures include locking down all computer workstations when they are not being used, increasing the editing of outgoing mail and reviewing policies on who has access to the office.

    "No one has been disciplined at this time because we are not yet able to identify the person responsible," Connor said.
    Hat tip, Raw Story.


    What is wrong with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee?

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    I'm still trying to figure out why it's a flipping political problem to display your organization's anti-discrimination policy. Apparently the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has some issues, because when PageOneQ asked whether their policy included sexual orientation, to say there was a pissy reaction is an understatement.
    Less than twenty-four hours after an inquiry by PageOneQ about the lack of sexual orientation in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) non-discrimination hiring policy, the organization removed all job listings and the policy from its website.

    ...Bill Burton, a spokesman for the DCCC said that the policy included sexual orientation and that its absence on the website was an error. A return visit to the website revealed that the policy had not been corrected, but completely removed.
    Once you read the rest, you'll see how quickly it turned pissy.

    While checking out the non-discrimination policies on the other side of the political fence, PageOneQ fared no better, though that's not surprising:
    The Republican National Committee (RNC) explained that the policy request must be faxed to Cathy Secor at the RNC. When contacted to follow-up on the faxed request, Ms. Secor hung up the phone on this reporter reporter.

    Carl Forti, Director of Communications of the National Republican Congressional Committee said, “I will not tell you if there is a non discrimination policy here and if there is one I would not send it to you as it would be an internal policy.� When asked what good the policy was if perspective job applicants could not find it, Mr. Forti responded, “I am not going to discuss that with you.�
    The sensitivity of the DCCC regarding openness on what should be a no-brainer for them is ridiculous, considering the many, many organizations -- for-profit and non-profit -- that list sexual orientation in their policies because it's good for business/reputation. The overreaction speaks volumes.


    On the RethuggliKKKan side, those organizations should be saying how they are proud to discriminate against the homos because it pleases their fundie masters, or simply state that they don't discriminate, given the teeming amount of fags they have working for them.

    [UPDATE: the information has been restored on the DCCC jobs page, reading: "All applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, sex (including marital or parental status), disability, or age or any other basis prohibited by law." (H/t to Blender Kevin, who located it)]


    Does Dear Leader read the Blend?

    CIA mines 'rich' content from blogs. I don't know how rich the content is here at the Blend, but any spooks from the CIA who want to stop by for a cup of java, please drop by to increase your intelligence. (Wash Times):
    President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.

    The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.

    "A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times.

    Eliot A. Jardines, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for open source, said the amount of unclassified intelligence reaching Mr. Bush and senior policy-makers has increased as a result of the center's creation in November.

    ..."I can't get into detail of what, but I'll just say the amount of open source reporting that goes into the president's daily brief has gone up rather significantly," Mr. Jardines said. "There has been a real interest at the highest levels of our government, and we've been able to consistently deliver products that are on par with the rest of the intelligence community."
    No military secrets here, folks. But we could pass along a bunch of links to gay nightlife that you can send over to the RNC. Oh wait, they probably have that covered.


    One frightening photo



    What does this image conjure up for you?

    I think it is going to give me nightmares about vampires.

    You can thank Holly for serving up this one.

    ***

    The Green Knight kindly pointed to another papal portrait that deserves comment and interpretation:



    ***

    A quote on Papa Ratzi's one-year anniversary:

    "There is no reason and no indication that Benedict will not as vehemently punish, silence and make difficulties for any theologian, politician or other person within the church that doesn't tow the line in orthodox ways."
    -- Catholics for a Free Choice, U.S.-based church reform group.


    Recruiting 45-year-olds for the Dear Leader's Iran Adventure

    As I mentioned yesterday, with Holy Joe doing the shuffle and jive for the White House as it rumbles about military action in Iran, one has to wonder where are they going to find soldiers if it comes to on-the-ground efforts. The military is having a difficult enough time maintaining forces as it is.

    One answer: lowering admissions standards, including raising the age of recruits...
    A U.S. military advisor and former combat officer is troubled by recent reports that the Army has had to lower recruiting standards to meet its quotas.


    Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis says after missing last year's goal by 7,000 recruits, the Army is going to have a tough time reaching is fiscal year 2006 goal of 80,000 new soldiers. Still, he is not happy about what the branch has had to do to fill its ranks. "It means that 2,500 of the people this year that we'll recruit are getting in basically with waivers of the old standards," the Pentagon advisor says. "However, in order to fill the ranks of 80,000 this year, it's become necessary to take some action. We're also recruiting an older population -- bringing in people in their early 40s to basic training. I don't understand why this nation has to revert to that."

    Although these older recruits are "probably reasonably healthy," Maginnis notes, "by the time you're that old, you're older than most of the drill sergeants that are trying to run you through basic training, and the idea that we're going to be fighting wars with 45-year-old infantry privates just seems to be a bit ludicrous to me." It is unfortunate that the U.S. Army has had to "change the standards in order to get the numbers," the Lt. Colonel says, "but that's what happens in a volunteer force." Maginnis also points out that, besides accepting older recruits, the Army has lately been issuing recruits more waivers for criminal convictions, drug use, and medical conditions.


    Buh-bye: Scott-bot out, Rove booted from 'policy development'


    "I have given it my all sir and I have given you my all sir, and I will continue to do so as we transition to a new press secretary."
    -- Scotty, finally tired of going into a fetal position from continuous pummeling as Dear Leader's official lie-master
    [UPDATE: Tony's angling for this job more than I imagined - Think Progress has video of him attributing high gas prices to "People Complaining About Donald Rumsfeld." ]

    Geez, I go out to a business meeting and miss all the action about the Scott-bot stepping down and Karl Rove's assignment shift. And even more wingnuttery's rolling in -- a suggestion that Faux News's Tony Snow might get the call to officially shill for the White House, something he's been doing from the mothership of "fair and balanced" for quite some time. (CNN):
    A shake-up in U.S. President George W. Bush's administration widened Wednesday as White House press secretary Scott McClellan announced his resignation and a senior administration official said longtime Bush confidant Karl Rove will no longer oversee policy development.


    ...CNN has learned from multiple Republican sources that new White House chief of staff Josh Bolten reached out to Fox News anchor Tony Snow several weeks ago at the White House. Snow, who was a speechwriter for former President George H.W. Bush, had no comment on the story.

    ...As for Rove -- the powerful architect of Bush's two presidential campaigns -- a senior White House official told CNN that Rove will no longer focus on policy but will be involved in long-term strategic planning as a deputy chief of staff and a senior adviser.

    The official said the Joel Kaplan, now a deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, will move to the White House as deputy chief of staff for policy.
    I don't see how shifting Turdblossom is going to make a bit of difference in the mix, since he's running the political show no matter what office he's sitting in. This bit of business is simply smoke and mirrors.


    What did Rudy say to Little Ricky?


    Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, left, laughs as Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., covers his face following a joke by a speaker at a campaign event, Tuesday, April 18, 2006, at Centre Square Fire Company in Blue Bell, Pa. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

    Barf bags at the ready: Giuliani calls Santorum a remarkable leader.

    Does Rudy want to be prez so badly that he would stoop to sucking this hard on Mr. Man-On-Dog? Oh, never mind...
    "Sen. Santorum is a remarkable political leader," Giuliani told a receptive crowd of elected Republican officials, GOP candidates and first-responders and their families. "He is not just a U.S. senator, not just a political figure, but a leader."

    ...Giuliani said Santorum stood with President Bush when the president vowed to track down the terrorists wherever they were and to take the war to Afghanistan.

    ..."Sen. Santorum had that position because he was able to look into the future, make a determination on what he believes is in the best interests of this country and to stick with it even when it becomes unpopular," said Giuliani, who has been mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2008. "That’s the kind of leadership we need."
    ***

    In other Santorum news, Little Ricky wasn't happy with receiving a shout-out on The Sopranos:
    On Sunday night's episode of "The Sopranos," Tony (James Gandolfini) told his shrink Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) that when it comes to homosexuality, he agrees with "that Sen. Sanatorium, who says if we let this stuff go too far, pretty soon we'll be f---ing dogs." Santorum, several years back, made similar remarks, only he used more delicate language than Tony did.

    ..."We're not gonna dignify that comment by commenting on it," said Santorum [self-loathing openly gay] communications director Rob Traynham.


    'Ex-homos' bleat away on gay rodeo, White House Egg Roll


    Hartline: Gay rodeo full of perversion. More over-the-top, batsh*t insane AmTalibannery comes out of the mouth of California 'ex-gay' activist James Hartline, who has his knickers in a twist over a Ford dealership that is a corporate sponsor of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA).

    For the "Christian" crusader for deliverance from homosexuality, all the gay calf roping and bronc bucking is just too much to bear.
    "It's the number-one volume Ford dealership in the world," Hartline says of Galpin Ford. "In other words, they sell more Fords out of this one dealership than any individual Ford dealership anywhere in the world -- and they're a corporate sponsor of this gay rodeo." Other sponsors of the Los Angeles chapter of the GSGRA [Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association] include the Hilton Burbank Airport & Convention Center, Bud Light, and the homosexual television network "Logo."

    ..."These gay rodeos are not necessarily marketed in a way where people will know because they don't read the gay newspapers [or] the gay press," the activist says. "So a lot of these families will think, 'Oh, it's a rodeo.' So they bring their kids to this event, thinking they're just going to another fun rodeo."

    So instead of just watching bucking broncos and barrel racing, families may encounter men dressed up as women as well as "mocking" of family values, says Hartline -- and unknowing parents will be very shocked by other things they and their children will see, he adds.

    The Christian activist claims the homosexual agenda is being forced into very family-friendly arenas -- like rodeos -- by corporations such as Ford through sponsorship. Hartline believes strongly that consumers need to let their dealerships know such anti-family sponsorship will not be tolerated.
    ***


    Speaking of "former homosexuals," our BrightSmile friend and radio evangelist Stephen Bennett had to weigh in on the Egg Roll -- he viewed it as a gay recruiting event.
    A former homosexual says he is not surprised that homosexual activists led by the group Family Pride Coalition showed up at yesterday's annual White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, DC.

    Stephen Bennett, a Christian entertainer and speaker who left the "gay" lifestyle over a decade ago, says the Family Pride Coalition's effort at the April 17 Easter Egg Roll is a typical expression of the mentality behind the homosexual agenda.

    "Homosexual activists today are looking for any public venue to get affirmation and acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle -- to do anything that they can to normalize it," Bennett contends. "I think it's tragic that they would use something like the White House Easter Egg Roll, which is a children's event, for political means," he says, "but the whole idea behind the entire homosexual activist movement is 'Get them while they're young.' And what I mean by that is [they want] to start indoctrinating people into believing gay is okay, to normalize it as much as they can." It is regrettable that children were exposed to the homosexual activists at the White House Easter event, Bennett says; however, he asserts, such people routinely target children in order to shape their view of homosexuality.


    Gridiron bible-beating

    You can't avoid the proselytizing in the bible-belt; witness this promotion at an upcoming arena football game in Alabama.
    The Birmingham Steeldogs will be wearing Christian throwback jerseys during the May 5 game against the Louisville Fire. Both teams are members of the 23-team Arena Football League. The jerseys worn by Steeldogs players that evening will display the name "Samson" on the front -- a reference to the Bible hero with incredible physical strength. On the back, players' names will be replaced by a book of the Bible, and players' numbers will correspond with a specific chapter and verse of that book.

    In addition, free Bibles will distributed at the gate, and the Christian rock group Audio Adrenaline will perform in a pre-game concert. It is all part of the first of three "Barber's Dairy Faith Nights." Steeldogs' managing partner Scott Myers helped come up with the promotion.

    ...Myers says Steeldogs coaches fully supported the decision to wear Bible-themed jerseys even though it was made before the team's final roster was set. The jerseys are made by the Christian Throwback Jersey Company of Birmingham.


    Gay icon Patti Labelle and the homobigot pastor



    This is a fricking shame. Why must Patti Labelle hobonob with the likes of Eddie Long, the homophobic pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church? James of At Thirty-three shared the awful news that she sang at his church on Easter Sunday; he's pissed at Patti's blindness to this man.
    Long has bragged about his friendship with President George W Bush and reaffirmed his rigid brand of Christianity by jockeying for "Faith Based" dollars from the Bush administration. Labelle the popular R&B singer has had a long relationship with gay community marked by her public friendship with the Sylvester and scores of gay men. Patti, as gay men lovingly call her, owes much of her success to her popularity among gay men.

    ...We cannot accept this kind of behavior from individuals who purport to be our allies. Patti should not embrace the pain that Eddie Long and his church have caused the thousands of Gay men she has touched if she considers herself an "Ally." Patti needs to be checked. We must let her know what it cost to embrace our enemies!! We must let her know that a more accepting church is a more acceptable place for her to promote her new album.
    Bishop Eddie Long is a truly awful 'phobe. In 2004 he organized a march with his 25,000 megachurch in Atlanta (homobigot and daughter of Martin Luther King, Bernice King, helped lead it as well), bringing thousands of people into streets, with its first goal promoting an amendment to ''fully protect marriage between one man and one woman."


    He's quite unhinged as well; he has made some memorable comments about homos -- and human anatomy.
    Woman is the soul of man. She is his flesh consciousness. In essence, God made Eve to help Adam replenish the earth. Woman has the canal…everything else is an exit. God had to separate Adam and Eve where they connected so he could tell them to reconnect in covenant to duplicate Him. In Christ, God puts his seed in us. Any other way is a spiritual abortion. Cloning, Homosexuality and Lesbianism are spiritual abortions. Homosexuality is a manifestation of the fallen man."


    UNC student government roiled over anti-discrimination proposal

    Matt Hill Comer's blogging about a debate at UNC-Greensboro over a proposal to add sexual orientation and gender to the UNC Association of Student Government Constitution’s equal opportunity clause. The proposal will be heard at the next General Assembly meeting on Saturday, and Matt's not sure it will pass.
    We will be meeting at Eastern Carolina University. Just a heads up though: It is very likely that this proposal will not pass. For this I am very, very worried. Some of the arguments used against it are along these lines:

    * “We don’t have a problem with it now… so why add it?”
    * “It should go in a policy statement. It does not need to go into the equal opportunity clause.”
    * “We don’t need to recognize this type of discrimination because UNC System policy, state law and national law does not yet recognize it.”

    To me, these arguments are ridiculous. UNCASG must stand up for what is right, but I have a feeling that it is going to be an uphill battle at the state level, even though a similar proposal would probably pass at each, individual UNC campus.

    The part that scares me the most is that one of the voting members of the ad-hoc committee at UNCASG wanted to contact UNC Counsel. Knowing the way this state works in regard to LGBT people I have a feeling as to what Counsel would say: It would either be something along the lines of “It isn’t necessary” or just flat-out “No.”


    I'm goin' back to Cali, to Cali, to Cali...

    Well, my wife and I are packing up and preparing for our road trip to lovely San Francisco, California, to attend the 2006 National NORML Conference. We're traveling with Smoke Dogg & Madeline, the Executive Director of Oregon NORML, who are also a couple of our best friends in the movement. Madeline will be speaking at the event in the discussions of state-level chapters and how she and Oregon NORML have lobbied with great effectiveness and presented so many positive events for the Oregon cannabis community.

    With luck I'll also get to meet another online acquaintence or two. Perhaps a Paul in SF...

    I'll check in as I can with some same-day blogging from the National NORML Conference.


    Lesbian-baiting Penn State basketball coach 'reprimanded'

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Given the damage done by Penn State and the personal sacrifice of Jennifer Harris, the consequences faced by Rene Portland are insulting and inadequate.
    -- Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
    The investigation into anti-lesbian bias by Rene Portland of the Penn State's womens basketball program has found she did indeed violate the diversity policy of the school, creating a hostile environment for Jennifer Harris, a six-foot guard on the Lady Lions basketball team from 2003 to 2005.

    What did the school do to Portland? She got a letter of reprimand and a fine. Do you think the results would have been different if her team consistently sucked? A mild proposal to suspend her from one game was deep-sixed, for crap's sake! (365gay.com):
    The results of the probe were announced Tuesday by Penn State president Graham Spanier who said Portland has been given a letter of reprimand that will become a permanent part of her official personnel file, but no further immediate action against her is planned.

    Spanier said that the letter informed Portland that should there be any future instance of so-called lesbian-baiting, she would be fired as coach.

    ...Harris alleges that Portland repeatedly questioned her about her sexual orientation, repeatedly threatened to kick Harris off the team if she found out Harris was a lesbian, and eventually told other players not to associate with Harris because she believed that Harris was gay. In 2005, Coach Portland abruptly told Harris to find somewhere else to play. Harris transferred to James Madison University.

    ...Harris was also disappointed by Spanier's statement. "Penn State did not take the allegations seriously and does not appear interested in solving the underlying problem," she said in a statement.

    ...In his statement Tuesday Spanier said that Portland must participate in a diversity program but he rejected a recommendation from investigators that she receive a one-game suspension. Instead he is imposing a $10,000 fine on her.


    But I didn't get the memo from Dear Leader

    Think Progress has brought to my attention the new official White House policy on homos and sex -- you can't have any. Here is the strict new definition of abstinence to be taught in abstinence ed classes, according to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) unit of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
    Abstinence curricula must have a clear definition of sexual abstinence which must be consistent with the following: “Abstinence means voluntarily choosing not to engage in sexual activity until marriage. Sexual activity refers to any type of genital contact or sexual stimulation between two persons including, but not limited to, sexual intercourse.”
    Later, the guidelines explicitly define marriage:
    Throughout the entire curriculum, the term “marriage” must be defined as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife, and the word ’spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” (Consistent with Federal law)
    Hmmm. It looks like Dear Leader left us with polishing the knob/butterin' the muffin as valid activities.


    Why are Roy Moore's prayers not being answered?

    Just asking. Kathy at Birmingham Blues passed on the news that Mr. Ten Commandments must have a bad connection to the Big Guy Upstairs, since he's trailing incumbent Bob Riley in the polls by 44 points.
    "These poll results suggest that Moore's campaign has pretty well tanked," said USA political scientist Keith Nicholls, who directed the polling.


    Guess touring the country shilling his pious tome didn't help him either.

    ...Moore dismissed the results, saying that they would prove "totally inaccurate" when voters go to the polls.

    Nicholls said Riley's lead appears "insurmountable" at this point.

    "It's hard to imagine what might happen to bring Moore back to competitiveness," he said. "Bottom line is that the fat lady may not have sung for Roy Moore, but she's warming up."
    Kathy: "Sounds like magical thinking to me, Roy. Don’t you consider magic sinful?"

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

    * Boobage and the governor's race in Alabama: the Libertarians nominate Loretta Nall


    Schools lobby for bill allowing rejection of LGBT students

    Congress Moves To Except Religious Schools From Gay Rights Laws. Good grief. The onslaught against homos just never f*cking stops. This bill has already passed the House and is before the Senate.
    Private Christian colleges would be excepted from local and state non-discrimination laws under a proposed amendment to the Higher Education Act - a move that would allow the schools to legally reject LGBT students.

    The amendment, proposed by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), would prevent accrediting boards from making adherence to non-discrimination laws a requirement.

    Brigham Young, University of Notre Dame, Baylor, Pepperdine and Samford universities have all been lobbying heavily for passage of the bill.

    ...The [Senate] committee also inserted language in the bill stating that it is not meant to allow an institution to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. The provision does not include sexuality.
    So, for instance, if a celibate but self-identified gay student applies, that's all one of these schools needs to know to reject them. Nice. The impetus for this? Extra pressure on the schools, they say, as a result of the Soulforce Equality Ride. They claim a need for "protection" from the Homosexual AgendaTM by preemptively ensuring that accreditation is not tied to adherence to non-discrimination laws in the future.

    Brigham Young, incidentally, was the site of 24 arrests of Soulforce Riders on April 11.
    The students and Riders were part of a procession carrying Easter lilies onto campus in remembrance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Latter Day Saints church members who have committed suicide because of the church's oppressive stance on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members.

    ...As the marchers reached the gates of the campus, they stepped forward with their lilies as stories and names of the individuals who had committed suicide were read aloud. The Riders and BYU students crossed onto campus one by one as the dead were remembered, and lay down in the grass until Provo police asked them to get up and escorted them off campus. Each arrested marcher left a lily behind until a pile of flowers had accumulated as a memorial to young people who were unable to resolve the conflict their church had created between their sexuality and religion.
    The Equality Ride folks stop at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN today. Eleven Equality Riders were arrested on the campus of the Air Force Academy on Friday.
    Military police descended on Equality Riders, handcuffed, and detained them, when they attempted to present a check for signing to the commandant of the Air Force Academy. The check was made out to the Department of Defense from U.S. taxpayers for 364 million dollars, the amount the government has spent training lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender U.S. service members who have been discharged because of the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy.

    "This check represents an unacceptable waste of money for the purpose of taxpayer-supported discrimination," said Jacob Reitan, Equality Ride co-director. "There was a time when the armed forces were segregated. That kind of discrimination in our public institutions was wrong then and it is wrong now."


    Holy Joe: Bombs away on Iran

    "The US is probably incapable of completely destroying the Iranian nuclear program, but as a last resort it could attempt to knock out "some of the components" in order to "delay and deter it..."I don't think anyone is thinking of this as a massive ground invasion, as in Iraq, to topple the government." Rather, he said, he envisaged "an attempt to hit some of the components of the nuclear program," primarily from the air, with some potential for covert ground assistance."
    -- Holy Joe, in the JPost
    He's got to go. Joe Lieberman is nothing more than a Dem shill for the White House these days, a little puppet to trot out when they need to produce evidence of Dem support for its failed policy in Iraq -- and now he's ready to bend over again as Dear Leader plans to bomb Iran. John over at Americablog summed up this lunacy well:
    This is the imbecile who thinks Iraq is going really well. Now he's trying to convince people that we not only need to go to war in Iran, but that it will only take a surgical air strike? Is he crazy? First off, from what I hear, a surgical air strike isn't enough.

    1. There may very well be nuclear facilities we don't know about - an air strike won't hit those.

    2. The very reason the Bush administration is talking about possibly using nukes against Iran is because, one assumes, we fear conventional weapons aren't enough to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities.

    3. That means, according to defense experts I've spoken to, we're going to need to send in ground forces to scour the entire country of Iran in order to determine if we've sufficiently destroyed the nuke facilities we targeted, and to determine if there are any other nuclear facilities we didn't even know exist.

    Yes, Virginia, we're going to need to launch a massive American ground invasion of Iran.
    John aptly noted that Iran is three times the size of Iraq with more than twice the population -- just how is the U.S. supposed to effectively remove the "threat" while we are still entangled in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Where in the hell are we going to find the military personnel to engage in George's Next Big Adventure? Will the Yellow Elephants be lining up at the recruiting stations to give W one last high-five for military action?

    If the U.S. goes ahead with Joe's advice (going alone on this of course, because even Tony Blair won't get burned again), 9/11 could look like small potatoes. (Boston Globe):
    Iran is prepared to launch attacks using long-range missiles, secret commando units, and terrorist allies planted around the globe in retaliation for any strike on the country's nuclear facilities, according to new US intelligence assessments and military specialists.

    But military and intelligence analysts warn that Iran -- which a recent US intelligence report described as ''more confident and assertive" than it has been since the early days of the 1979 Islamic revolution -- could unleash reprisals across the region, and perhaps even inside the United States, if the hard-line regime came under attack.

    ''When the Americans or Israelis are thinking about [military force], I hope they will sit down and think about everything the ayatollahs could do to make our lives miserable and what we will do to discourage them," said John Pike, director of the think tank GlobalSecurity.org, referring to Iran's religious leaders.

    ''There could be a cycle of escalation."
    And Holy Joe is ready to sign on for another war tour with Dear Leader. I hope the people of Connecticut have finally heard enough and boot this "moderate Dem" from office.

    Hat tip, oddjob.


    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to receive SLDN's Randy Shilts Visibility Award

    >
    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) will honor Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for her work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members at the organization's annual dinner on May 13 in Washington, DC.

    Ros-Lehtinen will be presented with the SLDN’s Randy Shilts Visibility Award, given each year to an individual who has worked to keep the plight of LGBT service personnel under the unfair policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the public eye. She is a one of 114 supporters in Congress of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), which would repeal DADT.
    "Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen has a distinguished record on issues important to the lesbian and gay community and our men and women in uniform," said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. "In addition to supporting repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law, she rejected an attempt to amend our constitution to prohibit same-sex unions, is a staunch supporter of employment non-discrimination and has been a tireless Congressional advocate on behalf of Americans living with HIV/AIDS. SLDN is proud to have Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen as an ally in Congress. We are pleased to honor her work on behalf our community."
    The keynote speaker at the fundraiser dinner will be Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the highest ranking female officer in Army history. She has spoken out against DADT in the Detroit News. (SLDN):

    "The Army damages itself when it doesn't live up to its own values," General Kennedy said in an exclusive interview with columnist Deb Price in this morning’s Detroit News. "Gay men and lesbians are serving with honor and distinction. We should focus on people's performance, not on whom they're sleeping with." Kennedy went on to say the armed forces could lift the ban without incident, noting that, "If we set the standard that someone gay should be treated the same, you train to that standard and enforce it."
    Kennedy was also recently interviewed by EDGE Boston about the insanity of DADT and she said:
    We should stop talking about whom people sleep with but about their performance in the military."

    The Army teaches its soldiers--officers, NCOs and other enlisted personnel--to live by seven values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and courage. ...Tell me...which is only found in the heterosexual population?

    Some people always want to drive home the fact that they believe you are simply evil if you are homosexual. To people who often use religion to badger people who are vulnerable I say, ’Remember they are all God’s children.’"
    Kennedy's so full of refreshing common sense about why this policy is expensive -- and ineffective -- at making the military stronger by "weeding out" gays.
    But supervising talented gay officers -- in particular, one skilled Chinese linguist -- made her see that prejudices and stereotypes long used against women had just been repackaged.

    "It used to be about the latrines. Now it's about the showers," she says with a laugh.

    Now she believes anti-gay arguments are just part of the military's growing pains in keeping up with a democratic society that instinctively rejects discrimination.

    ...What about privacy in the showers? She responds that group showering is rare and enforcement of harassment rules should ease fears. Besides, she notes, "putting in private showers for basic training would be far cheaper than the bill sent to taxpayers for 'Don't Ask.'"
    ***


    Big news: Rebecca Sawyer of SLDN has kindly invited me to attend the dinner and to live-blog it (she said I'm the only blogger invited to do so). I worked out my schedule and will be able to make it!

    FYI, going to events like this one (and Equality Forum), are all on my own dime for travel and lodging, so the piggy bank only allows for a really limited amount of this sort of thing.

    That's not a call to hit the tip jar, folks (if you want to hit one, hit Russ's). It's just that I've gotten emails from folks assuming that some expenses are picked up by the hosting org. Nope. I don't know whether the well-known A-list, full-time bloggers get that kind of treatment, though I assume some do.

    When you're a non A-list blogger (with a FT day job) located outside the big media centers, you simply hit a wall in your ability to take up offers to be on panels, to contribute to other blog projects, interviews, and such, either because of time/scheduling or money or both. That's just the reality, for better or worse, sigh.


    White House Easter Egg Roll pictures

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Blender Steve (below), who went to the event, graciously sent these photos in...





    It wouldn't be the Blend without featuring the best and brightest of bigot wingnutteria standing outside the Easter Egg Roll with these offensive signs (click to enlarge):


    Some of the simpleton bullsh*t: "Attention Sodomites: Your behavior is a gross abomination! Not a "genetic trait" Read the bible for details." Family values, right on display for children to see.

    ***

    D.C.-based photographer Joe Tresh was at the Egg Roll as well, and has some fabulous pictures over at this pad. Below are a few.






    Mike Wilson and Kennji Kizuka, from Washington, D.C., brought 21-month old Auden to his first White House Egg Roll.

    Go see the rest of the fun shots, including a picture of Alberto "Torture" Gonzales, reading "Tomas and the Library Lady" to children. Not kidding.

    ***

    Terrance of The Republic of T has video up as well.


    WingNutDaily columnist on WH Egg Roll: S/M next year?

    Good god, the right wing is off its rocker. WingNutDaily columnist Les Kinsolving made an ass out of himself asking a question about the egg roll dust up at the White House Press Briefing. PageOneQ:


    A bit of additional controversy was added to the briefing when conservative radio talk show host and World Net Daily columnist Les Kinsolving turned the discussion to sadomasochism by asking if next year's Easter Egg Roll would "include all sexual orientations, including those wearing arm bands proclaiming that pain is pleasure, or not?"

    Mr. McClellan would not directly answer the question, despite Mr. Kinsolving’s pressing him. The press briefing continued for a moment when Mr. McClellan told Mr. Kinsolving, "You've already had your question." At that point laughter could be heard in the press briefing room.


    Texas elementary school principal caught in sex sting



    More family values in action, this time in Bush Country. Here's the tale of (former) elementary school principal (and Baptist deacon) Doak Lamb, who was caught with his pants down at Beaumont's Tyrrell Park last week. (The Port Arthur News):
    Beaumont Police Department Vice and Narcotics Unit conducted a surveillance and sting operation at the park after having received numerous complaints from individuals, as well as parents, about men in the park approaching them and asking for sexual favors. These men also exposed their genitals to some of the complainants.

    According to the BPD, undercover officers were approached by a variety of men, including Lamb, who asked for sexual favors. The undercover officers had contact with approximately 15 men. Of those, seven were arrested for indecent exposure and two for traffic charges. The other contacts became suspicious that the undercover officers may have been police and conversations were terminated.
    One of the men arrested with Lamb was a manager at the Chuck-E-Cheese store. There have to be plenty of jokes out there from you all on that one.


    UN report: Iraqi gays target of kidnappings, murders

    "I don't want to be gay anymore. When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid. When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me."
    -- Hussein, 32, gay Baghdad resident who fears being kidnapped or murdered as a result of a fatwa on gays issued by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani
    Doug Ireland has been covering this horror story for some time (you can read his work here).

    Now that the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has released a report on the atrocities and fear instilled in the community by death squads, maybe someone will take note. (DIRELAND):
    This U.N. report, released April 10 by the UNOCHA‘s IRIN news and information service, described the widespread increase in kidnappings for ransom and the subsequent killings of university professors and teachers—350 in the past five months alone—and quoted Iraqi Interior Ministry official Ra’ad Hassan as saying that “roughly 50 kidnappings take place countrywide every day.”

    Hassan also told the U.N. office, “Since January, the number of kidnappings has increased unabated, along with attacks and threats against certain communities.”

    The U.N. report said that Iraq’s gay community is one of those targeted “for reasons other than ransom money,” and said that one local non-governmental organization reported that “members of Iraq’s small gay community had received more than 70 threats from kidnappers in the past two months, while 12 have been killed.”
    The BBC has finally weighed in on events that have been undercovered (or not covered at all) in the MSM about the treatment of gays in Iraq. This blood is on the hands of the U.S., which has unleashed religious extremism in Iraq as a result of Bush's folly.
    They say that since the US-led invasion, gays are being killed because of their sexual orientation. They blame the increase in violence on the growing influence of religious figures and militia groups in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

    Islam considers homosexuality sinful. A website published in the name of Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shia cleric, says gays should be put to death. "Those who commit sodomy must be killed in the harshest way," says a section of the website dealing with questions of morality.

    ...Hussein is 32 and lives in Baghdad with his brother, sister-in-law and nieces. He says his effeminate appearance and demeanour make him stand out and attract hostility.

    "My brother's friends told him: 'In the current chaos you could get away with killing your brother without retribution and get rid of this shame,'" Hussein said, after agreeing to speak to the BBC only if his real name was not used.

    A transsexual friend of his, who had changed names from Haydar to Dina, was killed on her way to a party in Baghdad about six months ago, Hussein said.
    Hat tips to Ms. Julien, Holly, and Katie.


    Yank that football, Lucy...

    Big yummy smackaroos to Glenn Greenwald for his post, Lucy, Charlie Brown & the Football, which is precisely what the Bush Administration and his supplicants in the MSM are doing in the drumbeat to make Iran the Next Big Imminent Threat to CivilizationTM.

    Glenn nails it.
    As amazing as it is, there is no question that exactly the same political segment which led us into the Iraq disaster really is in full-on, coordinated war-mongering mode with regard to Iran. What's most startling about it is that they are not even attempting to do anything differently. It's all exactly the same.

    Thus, we have Weekly Standard and National Review prattling on about all sorts of scary stories showing that Iran is an uncontainable danger (invariably as a result of hostile overtures towards Israel, but that doesn't seem to matter, just like it didn't last time); we have New Republic publishing a cover story, complete with all-too-familiar cartoons showing demonic Iranian leaders, which enable people like Jonah Goldberg, on simplistic script, to recite: "Don't let anyone tell you that it's the American right which is trying to "demonize" Ahmadinejad" (yes, what a revealing shock it is that even The New Republic has jumped on the War-Against-Iran craze); and all of the tough-guy bloggers are beating their chest in manly unison, proclaiming their bravery and strength to the world as they stand tall against the Hitlerian-Persian Threat.

    But what is really most alarming -- although, I know, it shouldn't be surprising at all -- is that the American media seems not just willing, but tongue-waggingly pleased, to be exploited and used again, in the best tradition of Pravda, as the principal mechanism for venerating governmental claims as though they constitute "news," without even pretending to subject those claims to the slightest bit of skepticism or scrutiny.
    Why think of new ways to sell a potential war when they can trot out the old hoary scare tactics? They assume the American people are ignorant sheeple, well, they would be right most of the time. What cojones it takes, given the utter failure, deception (oh sh*t, flat-out lying) surrounding the Iraq debacle, with the body count (and costs) rising at a hair-raising rate, to toss out the same scare tactics to build support for another Bush adventure.

    You'd think the Bushies and the conservative media machine could be more imaginative, or at least want to coast out the rest of the term so that they aren't saddled with another military bungling as part of Dear Leader's legacy.

    Also, check out Glenn's earlier post, Fighting all the Hitlers. This post is one of the most satisfyingly accurate I've ever read about the frightening clowns in leadership (another smoocharoo for you, Glenn):
    To pro-Bush war supporters, the world is forever stuck in the 1930s. Every leader we don't like is Adolph Hitler, a crazed and irrational lunatic who wants to dominate the world. Every country opposed to our interests is Nazi Germany.

    ...We were led into invading Iraq by a group of people who are as bloodthirsty as they are historically ignorant. They are stuck in a childish and stunted mental prison where every event, every conflict, every choice is to be seen exclusively through the prism of a single historical event, an event which – for a variety of reasons, some intellectual, some cultural, some psychological – is the only one that has any resonance for them. Even as we are still mired in their last failed war, they are attempting to impose these stunted historical distortions to lead us into a new one.


    Laura Bush avoids gay families at Easter Egg Roll


    Only kids of straight folks got to cozy up to Laura Bush. (Reuters/Larry Downing)

    The plan to ensure that the First Lady wasn't photographed with gay families at the White House Easter Egg Roll succeeded, but these families were still visible and it was a big story. (365gay.com):
    More than 100 gay and lesbian families lined up in a heavy morning downpour Monday to join thousands of other families for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

    ...Mrs. Bush and the President posed for pictures - but only with the families of White House staff.

    By the time the gay and other families were allowed in the First Lady had left - a carefully orchestrated move to avoid being caught on film meeting any of the children of same-sex couples as the Administration pushes for a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.


    Same-sex couple Christina Burke (L) and Victoria Burke (R), both from Salisbury, Maryland, pose with Mrs. Bunny and their daughter, Phobe (6 months old), on the South Lawn of the White House during the annual 2006 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, April 17, 2006. The Burke's are wearing a rainbow lei to indicate their support of same sex union. REUTERS/Larry Downing

    But even without a photo op Family Pride which rallied gay and lesbian families to take part in the event declared victory. Television cameras focused on families with rainbow leis around their necks as they waited to enter the grounds.

    "The visibility of LGBT families has been exceptional," said Renna. "It puts a face on gay families for the American public."
    Terrance of the Republic of T was among the families at the event. He'll have photos and a report up later. His earlier post on lining up to get tickets to the event is here.

    Related:
    * LGBT families wait all night for Easter Egg Roll tix, White House shuts them out of opening ceremonies

    ***


    Whoa. Homo-sex obsessed media whore Peter LaBarbera couldn't resist weighing in on the egg roll controversy.

    He does know how to provide absolutely perfect quotes for mockery; this bit of business is over the top. I'm also trying to figure out how many organizations this guy is affiliated with. This article is from some place called Americans for Truth:
    The “gay” crashing of this morning’s White House Easter Egg Roll is just the latest demonstration of selfishness by adult homosexual activists, who invariably put their wants above the best interest of children, Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth, said today.

    ..."There are some bad eggs on the White House lawn today and they should be marked SSA for Selfish Sexual Agendas. Shame on these adults for exploiting an event designed solely to bring joy to young children," LaBarbera said.

    "Whether it's redefining marriage to legitimate sexual sin, indoctrinating impressionable schoolchildren with pro-homosexual lesson plans, legally harassing the Boy Scouts, pushing 'gay adoption' despite kids' obvious need for a mom and a dad—or crashing a White House Easter Egg Roll as a crass publicity stunt to promote 'gay parenting'—one common theme stands out: it’s all about the 'gay' adults and their desperate need for approval of their lifestyle choice, not what’s best for children.

    "What a pity that the homosexual lobby had to tarnish a great tradition with this in-your-face political maneuver," he said. "Turning the Easter Egg Roll into a 'gay' propaganda exercise represents a new low in the movement for ‘rights’ based on aberrant sex."


    Where's the Empty Wig?

    I'm completely disappointed by Time Magazine's 10 Best and 5 Worst Senators list. The Tool landed in the top 10, for goodness sake.

    You absolutely cannot have a Worst list without my senator, the Empty Wig Elizabeth Dole on it. But here are the magazine's picks...

    The Best:

    Thad Cochran
    Kent Conrad
    Dick Durbin
    Ted Kennedy
    Jon Kyl
    Carl Levin
    Richard Lugar
    John McCain
    Olympia J. Snowe
    Arlen Specter

    The Worst:

    Daniel Akaka
    Wayne Allard
    Jim Bunning
    Conrad Burns
    Mark Dayton

    If you want to get an idea of what actual citizens think of their senators, check out Survey USA's rankings, taken in March:

    Top 10
    1 ND Conrad, Kent
    2 HI Inouye, Daniel
    2 ME Collins, Susan
    4 NE Nelson, Ben
    5 ME Snowe, Olympia
    6 RI Reed, Jack
    6 IL Obama, Barack
    6 SD Johnson, Tim
    9 VT Leahy, Patrick
    10 MS Lott, Trent

    Bottom 5
    96 OH Voinovich, George
    97 FL Martinez, Mel
    98 PA Santorum, Rick
    99 KY Bunning, Jim
    100 MT Burns, Conrad


    Hat tip, Facing South and Shakes Sis


    Spending all her money isn't working



    It should be lights out for the Senate campaign of boobie-swinging Katherine Harris soon.
    The Florida Senate seat held by Bill Nelson (D) was once seen as a pick-up opportunity for the GOP. Now, however, the imploding campaign of Katherine Harris has Nelson counting down the days until May 12. That's the deadline for some other candidate to file and challenge Harris in the Republican Primary.

    ...Numbers like these have even caused the state's top-ranked Republican, Governor Jeb Bush, to express concern over the state of the Harris campaign. Over the past month, every senior member of the Harris campaign resigned.
    Just a reminder, Katherine Harris said this to Sean Hannity on 3/15:
    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…"
    Her flopsweat campaign (or what's left of it) later said she really didn't mean she was going to spend all the cash daddy left her.


    Harris's boobage got more attention from patrons than her message when she campaigned at a restaurant near Kissimmee on April Fool's Day. Photo: Ed Sackett/Orlando Sentinel


    The AmTaliban leans hard on the GOP to deliver the social agenda

    Again, no surprise. The whining bible beaters are not satisfied with the progress the Bush administration and Congress have made on implementing the theocracy. The AmTaliban has made it clear that if Congress doesn't act on abortion and gay marriage pronto, something bad (as in sheeple staying home on election day) is going to happen. (AP):
    Protection of marriage amendment? Check. Anti-flag burning legislation? Check. New abortion limits? Check. Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.

    In a year where an unpopular war in Iraq has helped drive President Bush's approval ratings below 40 percent, core conservatives whose turnout in November is vital to the party want assurances that they are not being taken for granted.

    "It seems like for only six months, every two years - right around election time - that we're even noticed," said Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council. "Some of these better pass," he added. "You notice when it's just lip service being paid."

    Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer agreed that the effort matters. "If they get to these things this summer, which we expect that they will, that will go a long way toward energizing the values voters at the base of the Republican Party," said Bauer, head of Americans United to Preserve Marriage.
    The first shot across the bow by the wingers was the announcement of FRC's "Values Voter Summit," which will be held in September, so those running for re-election can get face time with the AmTaliban, and the latter will be keeping a tally of who's on message about social issues.

    As I said in the earlier post on the conference, these folks will use any means necessary to control all wombs, pass out enough chastity promise rings, and to chase enough homos back into the closet. The Hill is already quaking in its boots.
    The House has approved an amendment to the Constitution to outlaw flag burning and passed a bill to crack down on the practice of minors' crossing state lines for abortions to evade legal limits in their own states


    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and a possible presidential candidate in 2008, announced early this year that the Senate would consider those and the anti-gay marriage amendment that has failed in both chambers despite Bush's endorsement. "When America's values are under attack, we need to act," Frist told the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

    Those were sweet words to Bauer's ears. "The marriage amendment is in a class by itself because of what's at stake," Bauer said...Sending the proposed amendment to the states for ratification may not win the two-thirds majority required in the House and Senate. But committing to a vote in June is a gesture of good faith that would resonate with social conservatives, Bauer said.
    ***

    In somewhat related AmTaliban bloviating, Rev. Tinkywinky went on the Sunday chat show "Late Edition" and broke some earth-shattering news -- he won't back Rudy for the 2008 GOP nom.


    Damn, we didn't see that coming, huh?
    "Everybody admires him. And I'll never forget the great things he did on 9/11 and following," Falwell said.

    "But, of course, we have, as conservative Christians who take the Bible seriously, we have probably irreconcilable differences on life and family and that kind of thing," Falwell said Sunday on "Late Edition" on CNN.

    "I'll never speak an ill word about him because he means so much to America. But, yes, you're right. I couldn't support him for president," he said.
    Who knows what Rudy was thinking when he recently attempted to court the wingnuts in the South? Plus, Falwell's doing the two-step with McCain the Flip-Flop Tool right now.

    More fresh Blend here.


    Chimperor's record-shattering downward spiral: 39%

    Sunday, April 16, 2006


    Rasmussen Reports, the most accurate polling firm during the 2004 Presidential election, drops this bomb today:
    Thirty-nine percent (39%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. That's the lowest level of approval ever measured by Rasmussen Reports.

    Sixty percent (60%) disapprove of Bush's job performance, the highest level ever recorded.
    The question is, will the the Rethug up for election get flushed down into the sewer with Dear Leader? The bad news continues. Break out the hankies... ::sniff:: ::sniff::
    More people now identify themselves as Democrats than they did around Election 2004. Month-by-month party affiliation numbers show that the Republicans gained ground during 2004 and have been losing ground ever since.

    Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Americans believe that President Bush should be censured, or formally reprimanded, by the U.S. Senate. The proposal, advocated by Senator Feingold, is not necessarily good news for the Democratic Party, but it has the potential to boost Feingold's standing within the Party.

    For the first time ever, a majority of Americans (52%) say that the U.S. mission in Iraq will be judged a failure. Just 32% believe history will judge it a success.
    I guess this means the bombs will start dropping on Iran shortly and/or the terror alert level kicks up a notch.

    I had to go over to the swamp to measure the level of denial and hand-wringing. Many are actually ready to cut and run from the guy; a bunch of the really drunk-on-Kool Aid freepi are blaming the "general's revolt" on Iraq/Rumsfailed on the Left (!). Jeezus.

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    Lowest level ever... Now there isn't a single poll that shows the President at 40 or above.

    The so called Generals Revolt is going to hurt alot. And, it will be a gift that keeps on giving to the dems to election day.

    It was 45% three days ago

    what happened is gas prices quickly went up

    Well there is no reason for any poll to show 40 percent approval. Bush spends like a drunken sailor; refuses to protect our borders; has signed off on the US being a part of some north american one country and has wasted all of his politcal capital in return for very little. Having said that, I agree that he is better by a factor of 1000% over either algore or jean kerri, but that doesn't mean he is any good.

    I still support President Bush 100% +. Funny, the Polls never call me. The good news is - my opinion is the one that counts with me.

    and immigration, and the Plame/Scooter leak flap and..... I know I am not satisfied.

    Wait for the privately funded DNC campagn campaign ads with Generals demanding that Rummy step down. This is a well organized plot. But, think if you were the average American and you were unhappy with the way the war was going and out pops a number of generals saying this isn't the militaries fault it is Bush and Rummy's fault, what are the American public going to think?

    Bush not only has more than his share of enemies, he also has done a number of things to dampen the enthusiasm of his base - the biggest being his failure to address the immigration/borders issue in a meaningful way.

    And, of course, you bitchers and bellyachers have just the right candidate in mind...... Likely, some extremist that stands no chance of getting more than .5% of the vote, but, by God, he's the right man for the job. I have to laugh at how negative this place has become.

    It seems to me that you have the right to your opinion about him, but groaning about it doesn't really have any effect at this point. Bringing down his job approval goes nowhere except getting the weak kneed GOP Senators and Congressmen to wobble all over the place over everything - not something that will improve your chances of getting what you are looking for in the future. I say this, sincerely. I am always puzzled because ranting against Bush seems to push the only people who will matter in the future (Senators and Congressmen) further away from what you are looking for.

    I'm not so sure it was the generals. I think folks are waking up to the illegal immigrant situation and haven't quite signed on to the vision Bush has for the future of our nation.

    A question that I'd like to see asked of the "generals" is...Have you, General ______ communicated with Hillary Rodham (Clinton), her agent(s), or more generally, any operative in the Democrat party: and, have you been offered consideration for a position (anything from VEEP, SECDEF, on down to advisory capacity) in exchange for your opinion?

    I don't know, I think Rumsfeld's approval rating is higher then Bush's. These generals come off as cry babies.

    Prices are pretty close to where they were after Katrina, and there's no hurricane now.

    almost everyone I work with is an uninformed sheeple - none of them are talking about the generals, everyone is talking about gas prices, and a few are talking about the immigration issue.

    George W. Bush 1Q 2006 Report Card:

    US Economy: A+
    Global War on Islamo-Facists: A-
    Judicial Appointments: B+
    Energy Security/Independence: C-
    Federal Spending: D
    PR/Communications: D-
    Immigration Enforcement: F
    Border Security: F

    in a country that is as divided as ours, the "its time for a change" theme is a powerful factor in every election. don't underestimate it, "Bush fatigue" is going to be a big part of the 2006/2008 elections, even though he isn't running.

    That's evidence that a wave of negative emotion about Bush has swept the saps in America, who always look to blame somebody when things don't go as they wish. Bush has nothing to do with the fact that only 86% of refineries are operating at capacity, and that several suppliers of MTBE have refused to make the stuff any longer (since Congress refuses to shield them from lawsuit), so gasoline requiring the stuff is in short supply in some urban areas.

    I hear you, but I think that most Americans see gas prices as something that effects them directly. For a lot of Americans many issues-whether it is immigration, the war or what have you-do not impact them directly (or at least they don't think that they do), but gas prices do.

    In another poll, 74% of Americans blame Bush for the gas prices. Perhaps AlQeda's agenda is moving forward.... : (

    The generals revolt is a despicable manipulation of the military by the left. I believe it is an organized movement by someone to attack Rumsfeld / Bush knowing full well that other Generals who support Rumsfeld / Bush will not come out and do so as to look political too. I've got to hand it to the left, they come up with sleazier and sleazier political tactics every day.

    Looks like Rass got a bad sample.

    I don't think so. Bush is losing freepers for crying out loud. So unless he's picking up support with DUmmies, these numbers seem right.

    After coming out for a couple weeks and advancing his agenda and spreading his message to the American people, the President has fallen back into bad habits. Maybe Josh Bolten can get him motivated again. If not, I'm afraid Dubya's numbers will remain in the sub-30% to low 40% range for the next 2-1/2 years. This idea some folks have that Bush doesn't care about polls, or is concerned about how the American people perceive his Presidency, is political naivety.

    Excellent economy, war on terror being pursued, and Iraq moving steadily forward. And 60% dissaprove. Lots of blame to go around. Ineffective republicans, troublemaking dems, left wing media, and a fickle public.

    what plan? I don't even know what the Bush plan is. he has no specific plan, just some broad outlines, and he seems willing to jump on anything he thinks can pass (like the senate bill) - no matter which party offers the predominant support for such plan.

    It's the pollen count.


    Rev. Tinkywinky's Easter 'ex-gay' bleating


    In his Easter weekend WingNutDaily column, Jerry Falwell takes time to reflect on one of the most important issues of the day -- the "former homosexual."
    I would like to tell you about some people who are often treated as if they do not exist. While they flourish as citizens and are active in our churches across the nation, it is as if they lack reality as far as the so-called mainstream media are concerned.

    These people are former homosexuals, sometimes known as ex-gays, who have prevailed over their previous existence. I imagine they are the most politically incorrect people in our nation. They do exist, though, and there are untold thousands of them.

    But when former homosexuals are depicted on the networks, they are typically unhappy or anxious to return to their former lives. On NBC's "Law and Order: SVU," an ex-gay man returns to his former lifestyles but murders another gay man to hide his backslide. On NBC's "Will & Grace," a meeting of former homosexuals ends with everyone present running off with a same-sex member of the group.

    So you see, when these individuals are not being completely ignored, they are being demeaned and put down by those who argue that one cannot overcome homosexuality.

    Ex-gay ministries attempt to reach homosexuals with the Gospel of Christ so they can find fulfillment in Him. Former homosexuals learn to overcome their same-sex attractions and often marry and have children.

    I am proud to know several former homosexuals. It is thrilling to see them joyously living out their lives. I have actually had the privilege of working with a few individuals who have turned their backs on homosexuality so that they can live fully in Christ.

    I actually addressed a rally of ex-gays last year and can tell you that they are living out their faith as fearlessly as any group of people I have seen in quite some time. It is a great pleasure to see people discover true peace, true purpose in Christ.

    This isn't a popular notion, by any means. But it is imperative that the Church of Jesus Christ boldly confronts the issues of homosexuality and the power of Christ to enable change.


    As Stephen Bennett says, "Jesus never tolerated sin. He confronted it - in love."

    Stephen lived the homosexual lifestyle until he was 28. And then he gave his life to Jesus Christ. Today, 16 years later, he is happily married, the father of two, and one of the nation's most courageous spokesmen on overcoming homosexuality through Christ. You can learn more about his story at: www.sbministries.org.
    That's enough. I couldn't take any more of this bullsh*t. Once he threw the Stephen Bennett card out there, I simply stopped reading. How can you take Stephen Bennett seriously when he spouts this lunacy:
    1. "I don't understand why everybody is jumping on the bandwagon of homosexuality," says Bennett. "It is like the 'in thing' today. And, of course, with this movie Brokeback Mountain, everybody is jumping in now to do what they can to capitalize on this newest, latest fad that people are accepting."

    2. "I just spoke with a married man on the telephone who is contemplating leaving his wife and children," says host Stephen Bennett. "He says he's gay, and Brokeback Mountain has influenced his decision."

    3. "We keep in contact with many of those active homosexuals who are curious [about Stephen's "deliverance from homosexuality"]. But in most cases, they will tell me I was never "gay" in the first place. And I tell them, "Yeah, you go and ask my 100-plus partners how 'gay' I was not." I was "gay."
    Alrighty then.

    I decided to skim further so you could choose to go on with the torture if you wanted to -- the rest of the commentary pimps the work of Rev. Tinkywinky's legal arm, Liberty Counsel and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) to combat diversity training and tolerance in schools.

    For instance, PFOX's response to Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) at schools is to encourage kids to start "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight Clubs". One of its leaders, "ex-gay" Richard Cohen, was expelled from the American Counseling Association for unethical behavior.
    The purpose of an ex-gay & everstraight club is to provide a safe environment for all students to discuss alternatives to homosexuality and find ex-gay resources. Clubs can be started by students who have never been gay (everstraights), ex-gay students, and those struggling with unwanted same sex attraction. These alternative ex-gay clubs are started at schools (high school or college) which already have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) or similar gay affirming club. These ex-gay clubs can be called by whatever name the student(s) decide is best for their school.
    Also:
    * BlogActive on Stephen Bennett: "Now, I don't know if he has sex with men any more or not...but I can tell you he sure looks at the guys. Not one male intern walked by Bennett's exhibit table [at a Concerned Women for America conference] without being checked out by Mr. Ex-Gay."


    AgapePress and other "dirty" words

    I recently posted about the ludicrous AgapePress article in which the author couldn't spell out v-a-g-i-n-a when referring to The Vagina Monologues. It was rendered The V Monologues (making more than one Blender, including me, to think about the sexy, big haired lizard alien in the TV series V).


    V's Diana is probably too sexy for Don Wildmon as well.

    However, Daniel at Ex-Gay Watch had some more fun with the prudery of Don Wildmon's crowd at his "news" organ. Daniel decided to do a little research on the selectivity of the AFA "vulgarity police."
    I was curious what other words might have slid past the AgapeCensors in past articles:
    Sodomy, as well as Sodomize
    Anal Sex
    Vibrator
    Orgy
    Rimming
    Penis
    Sex Club as well as Bathhouse
    "gay.com"
    And lastly my personal favorite, Gay Bowel Syndrome

    Update: Found a few more real gems:


    Clitoris
    Crack Whore (Always popular)
    Damn
    Teenage Prostitute
    Beastiality
    Masturbation
    Sadomasochism
    Upon being told the Agapepress has used Penile Penetration, Peterson Toscano remarked, " this is a very unsafe site for a struggling homosexual."
    God I feel like I'm 12 years old.
    Now that was a good laugh.


    This and that in the mailbag

    Some tidbits as I opened the full mailbox. Blogwhore and post any links of interest in the comments...

    * Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway is blogging about the discredited bogus anti-gay "scientist" Paul Cameron, who looks like he may have pulled the wool over the eyes of a reputable peer-reviewed journal with his BS and actually got an article published.
    Paul Cameron's article, "Children of homosexuals and transsexuals more apt to be homosexual" has just appeared in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of Biosocial Science, an imprint of Cambridge University Press. Until now, almost all of his work has been self-published, either on his web site or in the pay-to-publish Psychological Reports. But now it is only a matter of time before he is able to brag of having obtained the imprimatur of Cambridge University Press.

    Cameron was booted from the American Psychological Association "for a violation of the Preamble to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists."

    In his post, Jim does a point-by-point analysis of Cameron's latest drivel and notes:
    It's a terrible pity that the editors and reviewers of the Journal of Biosocial Science (JBS), who presumably posses far better credentials than I, have not been able recognize blatant propaganda when they see it. This is all all the more surprising given the clue that is not so well hidden in the very first sentences of the article:
    'Common sense' holds that homosexuality is 'contagious' (Levitt & Klassen, 1974). Thus Rees & Ushill [sic - ed.] (1956) state 'it is vain to blind oneself to the fact that the problem of male homosexuality is in essence the problem of the corruption of youth by itself and by its elders. It is the problem of the creation by means of such corruption of new addicts ready to corrupt a still further generation of young men and boys in the future' (p.29).
    ***

    * We've blogged a lot here about Daddy Dobson and his lunacy. The man's written books on child-rearing (he's got a Ph.D. in child development -- scary), and I received an email from a reader who was actually by parents using his twisted Dare to Discipline as a tool. From Christine @ Rising Up Whole:
    I was disciplined and guilted and shamed into submission for many years. It somehow seems appropriate to me that Focus on the Family is such a partner with Exodus. My parent's treatment of me as a child (using Dobson as their guide) no doubt made me all the more vulnerable to the ex-gay message. I was ready and willing to believe myself a damaged and broken person that needed to be fixed, with my sin nature needing to be beaten down and submerged, subdued, and dominated. I was willing to believe that my homosexuality was a part of my own strong-willed defiance gone horribly wrong and satanically out of control.
    Read her post; it shows you how damaging The Dobson Way is.

    ***

    * The Lovely Litbrit @ The Last Duchess (and Shakes Sis contributor) likes reading my posts about nappy hair, passed along a cool article by Nicole Johnson on the hot comb (ssssss...as it fries your natural locks to temp straighitude), Combing Through Memories, in the St. Pete Times-Floridian.

    Times photo: Bob Croslin
    Part. Grease. Slide the comb. Part. Grease. Slide the comb. A hair boogie of sorts, transforming woolly clumps, wiry spindles and rough waves into black satin.

    One misstep, and an ear or forehead was burned. To outsiders, it may sound more barbaric than beautifying. To the pressed, it is both.
    Well, to this former victim of the hot comb, it's frigging barbaric, but it's still a great article that gives readers who have no exposure to the ritual an insight to a part of black culture that is rarely discussed.

    ***


    * On May 1, Deborah (a.k.a. Goldfish) will be hosting the first ever Blogging Against Disablism Day at her pad, Diary of a Goldfish, noting "Disabled people are very much the poor relations of the egalitarian movements and I am in a rather quiet corner of the blogosphere," and
    Many of us blog regularly on subjects surrounding disablism and disability issues, but the idea is to see how powerful disabled people and the supporters of equality can be as a combined voice in the blogosphere. Are there as many people prepared to put their two pennies' worth in on this subject as there are on sexier subjects such as Race and Gender?
    If you want to participate in BADD, leave a comment at Deborah's blog.

    ***

    * Easter, the non-traditional view: Blender and artist Becky Jayne sent links about JesusInLove.org (a queer view of Christianity). One of the topics she raised that is featured now on the site, is controversial art, including Kitt Cherry’s queer Christ, “faggot� crucifixion -- and other artists who are doing gay Christian artwork. Check it out.

    ***

    * That Colored Fella has a good post up on Tavis Smiley's tome, The Covanent With Black America, which contains essays on the state of black America and ideas about improving lives in the community. Smiley, not surprisingly, speaks about religion and the role it plays in the black community, but makes no mention of same-sex marriage and civil equality.
    Presently, I can envision no better strategy to possibly stem the dire spiral currently gripping the Black community in this country...We can easily list the many debilitating factors that have contributed; yet we no longer have a Bull Connor, George Wallace or J. Edgar Hoover to assign blame. If the Black faith movement in this country is genuinely growing a moral society, why are building bigger houses of worship and turning morality tales into feature length movies a priority, and an easily financed mission to end the cycle of poverty and illiteracy non-existent? There are over 200 citations concerning the poor in the Old and New Testament, and no mention of Gay Marriage.

    Which begs the opportune question, by advocating in support of gay rights, why did Coretta Scott King believe it to be an extension of the civil rights cause?
    There's a lot more to the post -- it's a must-read.


    The lap dog won't roll over


    Blair refuses to back Iran strike. Oh that nutty Tony Blair, he's not listening even as his master Bush is jerking the chain, trying to get him to roll over once more for the big guy after Tony was oh-so-obedient on Iraq. Is Dear Leader going to have to resort to pet abuse to get him in line?
    Tony Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday.

    Amid increasing tension over Tehran's attempts to develop a military nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister has laid bare the limits of his support for President Bush, who is believed to be considering an assault on Iran, Foreign Office sources revealed.

    ...in the midst of international opposition to a pre-emptive strike on Tehran, and Britain's military commitments around the world, the government maintains it cannot contribute to a military assault. "We will support the diplomatic moves, at best," a Foreign Office source told Scotland on Sunday. "But we cannot commit our own resources to a military strike."


    Another e-moron



    A Pennsylvania official (need we ask whether he was a Rethug). hits the send button and doesn't think anyone would be offended by the garbage he's sending out there -- say, the township supervisors, including the chairman. (NBC10.com)
    An e-mail controversy has some people calling for the resignation of an elected official in Bucks County.

    Republican Warminster Township Supervisor Fred Gold distributed the e-mail. Gold sent an e-mail picturing a topless woman to other township employees. It was sent back in January, but then photocopies started popping up earlier this month.

    The e-mail supposedly celebrates the fictional holiday of National Breast Appreciation Day on Jan. 15. Accompanying the photo of the topless woman is the message "Beats the **** out of Martin Luther King Day doesn't it."

    "I find that type of humor to be offensive and not funny at all," one woman said. "He sent this out? That's really crude," another woman said.

    ...Now, Joe Bowes, the chairman of the township's Democratic committee says an apology isn't going to cut it..."The thing that was most disturbing to me was the number of people it had been sent to from him -- township supervisors, the chairman of township supervisors, the other supervisors," Bowes said.

    Gold told NBC 10 News that he sent the email from his home computer and he now realizes he never should have sent it.
    Hat tip, Paul

    Also:
    * Email moron: Colorado State Representative Jim Welker


    Transgender candidate challenges House Whip Blunt

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    "People are seeing what I stand for. I'm not for a gay or a transgender agenda, I'm for equal rights for all people."
    -- transgender Midge Potts, a veteran of Operation Desert Shield, who is a self-described "fiscal conservative and Eisenhower Republican"
    Man, the Show Me state will never be the same. Midge Potts, Missouri's first openly transgender political candidate, is campaigning for the GOP nod in southwest Missouri's 7th District, trying to unseat five-term congressman and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt.
    "Even though I have my own unique niche, being transgender, I really feel like I'm a candidate of the regular people, for the regular people," Potts told The Associated Press.

    ...Potts faces an uphill battle in a region where the Republican Party is dominated by moral and social conservatives.

    "Given the conservative nature of the 7th District, her chances of winning the primary are slim. And the primary voter tends to be more conservative yet," said Missouri State University political science professor George E. Connor.

    "To have her run as a Republican is not the craziest thing, because there is a part of the Republican Party that is fiscally conservative but shows support for personal choice. It harkens back to a part of the Republican Party that does not exist in southwest Missouri," Connor said.

    Blunt, who has won solidly in his previous races, and the state Republican Party declined to comment on Potts' campaign.

    Dee Wampler, a Blunt supporter and prominent Springfield Republican activist, dismissed Potts' chances, in part because she is transgender. "A person with that background would not atrract a serious vote," Wampler said.
    Blunt btw, is an ace homobigot (rated 92% by the Christian Coalition), is for a marriage amendment and voted to end gay adoptions in D.C.

    Hat tip to Blender Kevin


    Pam: extreme makeover edition

    The weekend is the time to drop in a few self-indulgent, non-political postings, so today's activities definitely fit that bill...

    The other day I received an email from a reader, Richard Conrad, a makeup artist who recently moved to NC from Hotalanta.
    I'm writing to you because I wanted to let you know that I am makeup artist and I'd love to do your makeup sometime!--(not that you need it!) I just know that sometimes ladies like to get a little glammed up for certain occasions--even those who don't normally wear makeup. I have a light touch with makeup-so don't worry!

    I primarily do bridal makeup, but I also freelance for Laura Mercier here in the Triangle area-in fact I will be working @ the Nordstrom in Southpoint this Saturday @ the Laura Mercier counter!
    Now I do wear makeup on occasion, and don't know what the flip I'm doing; I just don't take the time. I've never even gone into a department store to sit in the chair for a makeup session for fun, so I decided to take Richard up on his offer just to see how bad the situation really is, lol.

    Kate's the big makeup gal, I laugh at her dropping buxxx over at the Trish McEvoy counter once a year. For me, I just cruise in the drugstore for makeup as needed. The most I've ever spent is $7 on Revlon Colorstay lipstick, since it really does last all day. I'm too lazy to reapply the other stuff.

    So, it's Saturday AM. We get over there a little after noon and there's really no one around at any of the counters. Richard recognizes me right away and I get in the chair and the construction work begins, with Kate there for feedback on the overhaul. My biggest problem, and this is true of many women of color, is finding foundation/base that matches well (and doesn't make you yellow or orange), something that's true of any drugstore product I've used, so I don't wear any. If nothing else, getting good advice and product on this front was the most valuable thing I walked away with. But Richard was full of much more good counsel. I was embarrassed to tell Richard all the pedestrian products I use (or what I don't use at all).

    He did the whole shebang, and we talked about blogging and politics (Jeff Gannon, Kerry, Bush, you know, all the stuff we gab about) as he patiently counseled me on options -- good brushes for application (yes), mascara (yes), disposable mascara brushes (big yes), false eyelashes (not for me), gel eyeliner vs. pencil (trying out gel). I definitely need work on the eyebrows, but that's always been a problem area for me -- not enough hair there, as opposed to having a lot to shape).

    I guess I was in the chair about an 45 min or an hour, maybe, and I walked out with a great makeup job, a lot of good advice and a lighter wallet, courtesy of Laura Mercier. Since I never indulge and don't wear makeup too often, I figure this stuff in the bag will last a loooooong time.

    Kate took a pic on the cell phone of the end result in the store with Richard:

    The lighting in Nordstrom really sucks, so Kate took a better shot of the overhaul once we got home:


    Of course it would help to show the "before", but we don't want to break Dear Leader's internets, now do we?

    All, in all, we all had a great time (it certainly beat doing yard work, which was what we would have done this AM), and thank you Richard for your work on the extreme makeover!

    Richard's temp web site, featuring photos of some of his excellent work on way better subjects, is makeupthebride.com.


    LGBT families wait all night for Easter Egg Roll tix, White House shuts them out of opening ceremonies

    Nice move, Bush Admin, to deep-six the visibility of the LGBT families. Guess the AmTaliban batphone to the White House has been ringing off the hook ever since then Family Pride Coalition announced that gay families would line up and come to the event wearing rainbow leis to distinguish themselves.

    This year, at the last minute, for the first time, the policy for distributing tickets to the White House Easter Egg Roll has changed, with the families waiting outside all night to get opening time tickets receiving tickets with an entrance time of 11AM or later -- after the cameras have rolled for the opening ceremonies of the event, because the egg roll is slated for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m, according to the White House press release.

    So, the bob and weave is complete -- they cannot bar the gay families, but they can try to ensure invisibility to avoid a PR nightmare for the Bushies and their religious right masters.PageOneQ has the scoop on this story.
    The unannounced change means that the families who waited in line the longest, in one case for twenty-four hours, will not be among the visitors at the event's opening ceremonies.

    ...One ticket recipient who was approximately fifty people behind the Family Pride Coalition, told PageOneQ that he was "upset, very upset, that they would change the policy to make those of us who spent the night be the last ones to get into the event." When asked his name, the man said that, "Because my brother works for the State Department, I'd rather keep my name out of the article."

    The Family Pride group, which was located approximately 150 people from the start of the line, received tickets with entry times of 11:30am and later.
    Mike Rogers, as you'll see in the article, called and exchanged emails with White House shill, er, Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. The official excuse is that children from volunteer organizations were designated to fill the earliest times, when in the past, special guests and the public who waited for tix were integrated into the opening ceremonies. Look at the spinning.
    PageOneQ wrote back to ask Perino:
    There is one question that is still unanswered.

    In years past, with the exact same arrangement of invited guests, those that spent all night outside for tickets were given tickets to the event's opening times. When was the decision made, and by whom, to exclude those families from the opening ceremonies? This is the first time that no early tickets were distributed to those that waited the longest. Do you know why?
    Perino's reply:
    "The early morning tickets were designated this year for the youth voulunteers[sic]."
    You can see pictures of the families camping out for tickets at photographer Joe Tresh's blog.


    The ad (and Q of the day)

    I happened to check in here to look at some comments and saw this in the Blogads to the right yesterday:



    I was sitting next to Kate at the time and nearly screamed. "These prominent bloggers"?! I think it's safe to say most people who see that ad don't know who the flip I am. My pass and program for the Equality Forum arrived yesterday as well.

    This ad is running all over the blogosphere, sheesh! Earlier on, the ad featured the nice Equality Forum globe in the ad, but today it switched it over to this one. Oy, I need some Tums.

    Why do I think the experience will mostly involve watching John and Jeff/Jim/Bulldog -- whatever the f*ck he's going by these days -- just going at it the whole time? It will be interesting, given John's blogging on him.

    Questions of the day -- what would you ask the disgraced former Talon News "writer" and former White House cub reporter-cum-rent boy if you were on the panel? Or, if that fruit is too low-hanging for you, what would you ask John A.?

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


    Some news makes you want to go postal


    Think Progress passes along news that makes you want to hurl (or riot):
    Average Americans are struggling to keep up with persistently high gas prices, now approaching $3 a gallon. Testifying before Congress last November, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond blamed the problem on"global supply and demand" and assured the public that"we're all in this together."

    Last year, Raymond made due with"a total compensation package" of just $69.7 million or $190,915 a day, including weekends.
    Oh, and guess what? Look at his retirement package, as you fill up your tank and sell your first-born (ABC):
    Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.
    What do you say behind that sh*t?


    V is for Vagina

    The folks at Donald Wildmon's "news" organ AgapePress can't bring themselves to type the word v-a-g-i-n-a. I get the feeling that there is some nun or preacher there slapping a ruler on the wrist of anyone who dares to tap it out. Read and weep with laughter.
    A conservative Catholic group is criticizing the University of Notre Dame for once again allowing a homosexual film festival and a vulgar feminist play on the Indiana school's campus.

    Notre Dame's President John Jenkins recently stated that he saw "no reason to prohibit performances of the V Monologues on campus." His position comes as a surprise to some who object to the play's content, which includes profanity and graphic descriptions of lesbian sexual relationships.

    The prestigious Catholic school near South Bend, Indiana, has hosted the V Monologues for the last five years and a "gay and lesbian" film festival for the last two years. Patrick Reilly, president of the Catholic watchdog group the Cardinal Newman Society (CNS), says he is not surprised the university is continuing to allow homosexual activism on its campus.

    ...In fact, the president of the Catholic watchdog group believes most Notre Dame faculty are strongly resistant to any idea of restoring the school's faith-based identity. And he feels it is disingenuous for administrators like Jenkins to claim Notre Dame is not endorsing the V Monologues and other pro-homosexual events when it is obviously funding them.

    ...But as far as how individual Catholics should respond to a production like the V Monologues goes, "The question is just whether it's sinful, whether this is scandalous, whether we're leading people away from the church," Reilly contends. "And I think there's no doubt that these events clearly scandalize the faithful."
    Now go and repent...


    D.C. bus driver fired because of anti-gay sign

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    This dude isn't playing with a full deck if he's got a sign saying this prominently displayed behind the driver's seat of his D.C. tourist bus:
    ‘He is to be worshipped…[and] feared by refraining from all that he has forbidden (i.e. worship of other than Him…murder, oppression, homosexuality/lesbianism [sic]…all sins done in public or in secret).’”
    He gets bonus lack of gray matter points for telling a person objecting to the message to go to the back of the bus.
    A bus driver for one of the city’s new Circulator tourist buses was fired last month for telling a passenger to move to the back of the bus after the passenger complained about a message hanging behind the driver’s seat that equated homosexuality with murder.

    “Those comments were completely unacceptable,” said Karen Meachman, a spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Transportation, which created the Circulator bus system.

    “We don’t know if he posted these signs,” she said. “But the fact that he told the passenger to go to the back of the bus was completely unacceptable.”


    Yikes! I've been sacked!

    armpits.jpg
    Well, well, well. There is a first time for everything. Today I got fired for the first time ever in my life.

    This all relates back to my contaminated armpit hair. I've been working for the company for nearly two years, and I went through seven interviews and a background check and was given an offer letter... which was then rescinded when my armpit hair tested positive for marijuana metabolites, just as I told them it might, since I volunteer with medical marijuana patients... like, 200 of them, all smoking and vaporizing in an enclosed room for three hours straight.

    I should never have taken the test or gone for the job in the first place. Drug testing is reprehensible. I should have just read my own words from a year ago. But I snookered myself into denying my morals and surrendering my privacy because of the lure of a salary finally commensurate with my skill and dedication, awesome benefits, and the assurances of human resources that they'd "greased the skids" for me and would do everything to get me hired. Ben Franklin was right: those who sacrifice essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither. That lesson is now well learned.

    Anyway, how I got sacked: It was Thursday, and I realized that Friday was a company holiday (Good Friday... nice to see that we get paid days off for Christianity). This was my last chance to tell my friends at the company to watch my cable access show on Sunday.

    I made up little handouts that said the following:
    To my co-workers and friends at [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.]... IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH YOU!

    As you know, [Chew’em-up ‘n’ Spit’em-out IT Services]'s contract with [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] ends May 1. I've told many of you that I was looking forward to working full-time with all of you, since [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] had offered me a Field Service Engineer position.

    Unfortunately, [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] decided to rescind that offer, because I volunteer to help people suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, anorexia, hepatitis-C, and chronic pain. Also, I drink far too much water during the day.

    If you think that sounds unbelievable and you'd like the true story you can't get on the grapevine, tune into my cable access TV show this Easter Sunday at 2:00 pm, on Comcast Cable Channel 11.

    -- "Radical" Russ Belville
    I roamed the halls and handed these out to all my friends I could find. Unfortunately, some of my friends weren't at their desks, so I left the flyer on their keyboards (mistake borne of ignorance, more on that later). Later, I found one of the HR people walking around with a handful of my flyers -- they were gathering up my personal invitations to my friends! That motivated me to crank out the following e-mail to everyone in the company (mistake borne of emotional irrationality):
    Subject: Apparently, [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] frowns on free speech, too.

    This afternoon, I made some small green handouts, inviting my friends here at [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] to watch my political affairs cable access TV show, this Easter Sunday, LIVE at 2PM with viewer call-in, on Comcast Channel 11 (re-broadcast Saturdays at 6PM on Ch. 21). I was able to deliver a few personally, but some of you were away from your desks, so I left the handout on your keyboard.

    The handout read: [same as test above]

    Since [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] rescinded their offer, I complained that it would be very embarrassing to have to tell all of you that I'm not going to be here after April 30, especially when I've been going around for a month telling everyone I would be here with [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.]. That would get me the inevitable and embarrassing "why?" questions. H.R. told me that I don't have to answer "why?" and that H.R. wouldn't be telling anyone "why?", but c'mon, if a company gives you an offer letter, then takes it back, how many possible "whys" are there ("did Russ commit a felony?" "Is he a registered sex offender?" "Is Russ a heroin junkie?" "Did he fail a security background check?")

    Rather than let all the possible rumors float around, I've told a few people what's going on. Still, I wanted to clear up the reasons and shine the light of truth on this episode, and I felt the best way to handle that would be through the exercise of free speech on my television show. After all, H.R. told me that I could (and I quote) "tell everyone whatever you want to tell them."

    So, not more than an hour after I distributed 60 of these handbills, I discover one of the women from H.R. with at least 20 of them in her hand.
    She was told to go throughout the building and collect them. MY PERSONAL INVITATIONS TO MY FRIENDS! I doubt invitations to personal baby showers or dragonboating or full-color copies of Dilbert cartoons get the same treatment.

    Anyway, my story must be pretty compelling if [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] feels the need to censor it. You can find out what all the hullabaloo is about by tuning in this Sunday:

    SUNDAY, APRIL 16 (EASTER SUNDAY)
    COMCAST CABLE CHANNEL 11 at 2PM

    If you're not a Comcast Cable subscriber, you can read the whole story on my
    website:

    http://www.radicalruss.net/blog/2006/04/so_this_is_what_discrimination_feels_like.html

    And once again, it was nice working with you all. Too bad [We Hate Medical Marijuana, Inc.] prefers to discriminate against talented employees with a two year record of commendable performance.
    OK, so, yeah, that's gonna get a guy fired. I got the call last night with the first hint. I went to the office to try to drop off my equipment, but my badge was locked out. That's a pretty good sign. Then this morning, the triumvirate of boss, grandboss, and great-grandboss all conferenced in (after boss took ten minutes trying to figure out the "conference" button on the phone) to let me know to bring in my equipment and badge on Monday morning.

    They also let me know that I would be getting no severance pay, because I was fired for violating company policy forbidding "solicitations for non-work related activities". I asked, "solicitations... is that like asking people to buy something?" No, it refers to any non-work related activities. "So, you mean like the birthday party invitations, Dilbert cartoons, intramural sports solicitations, and other non-work-related stuff I see people posting around here all the time?" No, see, those don't count because the company didn't complain about those. "Ah, I see, so it is the content of the speech that is a problem, not its non-work-related nature, huh?"

    I was also busted for "using your knowledge of the company network and computer system to distribute non-work-related communications to [the company's] employees, even though you used your own personal e-mail account." Uh-huh. Basically, it was me sitting there, trying to recall as many names of people I could from that company, by memory, and creating the standard lastnamf@wediscriminate.becausewecan.com e-mail address. So, apparently, now I can't send e-mails to my friends at work, either.

    After that, the conversation with my consulting company overlords went to the whole "we wish you good luck / we're really sorry / we really appreciate you / we were really trying to help you out" reach-around they give you as they pound you up the ass. It's okay, though; I was already lubed and limber from the pounding the client company gave me two weeks ago -- and they didn't even give me a reach around; they gave me a lie and an insult.

    The lie was this:
    As a federal government contractor, we are obliged to comply with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988...
    ...which any reasonably smart fellow with Google can refute by visiting the US Department of Labor Website:
    (1) All organizations covered by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 are required to provide a drug-free workplace by taking the following steps:
    (a) Publish and give a policy statement to all covered employees informing them that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the covered workplace and specifying the actions that will be taken against employees who violate the policy.
    (b) Establish a drug-free awareness program to make employees aware of a) the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace; b) the policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace; c) any available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs; and d) the penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations.
    (c) Notify employees that as a condition of employment on a Federal contract or grant, the employee must a) abide by the terms of the policy statement; and b) notify the employer, within five calendar days, if he or she is convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
    (d) Notify the contracting agency within 10 days after receiving notice that a covered employee has been convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
    (e) Impose a penalty on--or require satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program by--any employee who is convicted of a reportable workplace drug conviction.
    (f) Make an ongoing, good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace by meeting the requirements of the Act.
    What's the obvious missing portion? Any requirement whatsoever to drug test employees!

    And the insult was this:
    In addition, [the company] manufactures products that, in the event of failure, could result in the loss of life. Because of the criticality of our products and the Company's obligations under federal regulations, [the company] has decided to withdraw its conditional offer of employment.
    Funny, I worked there for two years and nobody died. You know what else is funny? Portland cops don't have to drug test. You'd think some cop on drugs might get somebody killed, wouldn't you? Even funnier: presidents of the United States don't have to drug test. You'd think some president on drugs (or at least one with DUIs and cocaine allegations in his past) with a finger on the "nucular" button, threatening to use nukes on Iran, might get somebody killed.

    So... I'm out with two weeks to go, when one of those weeks was already booked for my vacation time. I'll be getting my vacation payout (I'd better be getting my vacation payout!) and I've already got full-time work booked for the last two weeks of the month; actually, more than full time - I'm splitting my time working at Oregon's largest medical marijuana clinic and teaching computer software by day, and I'm collecting signatures for an initiative that would make marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority in Portland by night and weekend.

    I've got to believe this is all for the best. I am not some cog-in-the-wheel corporate worker drone. I was not born to give up my privacy and risk my health to devote my talents to enriching the profits of an already-wealthy family. I have a higher purpose. I am fighting for the day when Americans have their privacy rights back and no one must suffer the indignity of a "guilty until proven innocent" unnecessary intrusive seizure of their bodily fluids or hair just to put food on the table and a roof over their head. I am fighting for the day marijuana will be regulated and taxed like alcohol and nobody will be imprisoned for their choice of socially-harmless intoxicant. I am fighting for the rights of seriously ill people to use the natural herbal medicines that work so much better and cause so much less harm than expensive toxic pharmaceuticals. I am fighting for the return of America to her roots in hemp to provide environmentally-friendly fuels and textiles and nutritionally rich foods.

    Most of all, I'm fighting for the day when all my volunteering and activism will be rendered moot, because America has matured enough to abolish prohibition of nature's most perfect plant.

    [Crossposted at Radical Writ, just as soon as I come down off the cross...]


    The Tool flip flops again on fed marriage amendment


    The Tool was against it...before he was for it...before he was against it again. Is this a lame bob and weave, or just another sign of his insanity? Let's see...

    In 2004, he said 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."
    Then, McCain humped Rev. Tinkywinky and agreed to speak at Liberty University's graduation on May 13, Falwell said McCain told him that he was on board with a federal amendment.

    "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.
    Now, while stumping in Iowa yesterday, he changed courses once again.

    During his Iowa appearances, McCain refused to change his stand on issues that rankle both the party's establishment and conservatives, including his opposition to ethanol subsidies and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    ..."I intend to vote against it," he said. "I believe each state should decide."
    Will Falwell get on the hotline and demand clarification from The Tool before he gets to speak at Liberty?


    Dirtbag McCain and Protect Marriage Arizona chair Lynn Stanley smile with glee about his state's amendment, which he supports.


    Air Force Reserves dismisses lesbian major under DADT

    "I joined the Air Force because I wanted to serve my country. I have loved being in the military – my fellow airmen have been my family. I am proud of my career and want to continue doing my job. Wounded people never asked me about my sexual orientation. They were just glad to see me there."
    -- Major Margaret Witt, who is challenging her discharge for "engaging in homosexual conduct" by the Air Force Reserves in a case filed by the ACLU of Washington state
    Don't Ask, Don't Tell claims another much-decorated member of the military, this time a major and flight nurse assigned to McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma, Washington.

    Major Margaret Witt was booted out of the service by an anonymous "tip" received two years ago, identifying her as a lesbian in a long-term relationship. The military, under DADT, opened up an investigation that led to her discharge. (ACLU):
    From 1997 to 2003, Major Witt was in a committed relationship with another woman, a civilian. In the summer of 2004, Major Witt was notified that the Air Force had begun an investigation into an allegation that she had engaged in homosexual conduct. In November 2004, Major Witt was placed on unpaid leave and told she could no longer participate in any military duties, pending formal separation proceedings. In March 2006, the Air Force informed Major Witt that she was being administratively discharged on grounds of homosexual conduct.

    The lawsuit seeks to restrain the Air Force from discharging Major Witt or from otherwise hampering her military career. The military has provided no evidence that her sexual orientation or conduct has caused a problem in the performance of her military duties. To the contrary, the ACLU is submitting declarations from military colleagues that her forced absence is harmful to her unit’s morale.
    Mind you, there is a critical shortage of flight nurses in the Air Force Reserves, with 121 vacancies for flight nurses at Major Witt's rank.

    This makes no flipping sense, and everyone knows it.

    How can someone with this record be cut loose when the military needs more people like her in the ranks?
    During her 18-year career in the Air Force, Major Witt has served in the Persian Gulf, has received many medals and commendations, and has always had superb evaluations from her superiors. In 1993, she was selected to be the "poster child" for the Air Force Nurse Corps recruitment flyer. In 2003, Major Witt was awarded an Air Force Commendation Medal for her action in saving the life of a Department of Defense employee who had collapsed aboard a government-chartered flight from Bahrain.
    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's Steve Ralls told 365Gay.com that the requirement of DADT that a commander must receive "credible evidence" of a service member's homosexuality is quite fast and loose.
    "Unfortunately, however, the definition of 'credible evidence' is determined by the command...SLDN has represented numerous service members who were investigated based on questionable information, including anonymous emails and accusations made by individuals who were clearly untrustworthy."
    This all has to stop. With Dear Leader swaggering about Iran, and as the body count continues to rise in Iraq, how long can this insanity of terrorizing and discharging gays and lesbians for simply wanting to serve their country continue?

    ***

    Links:
    The complaint filed by the ACLU of Washington State
    Major Witt's Air Force commendations
    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

    Hat tips to Blenders Paul and Lisa


    Irony, part 2



    As a counterbalance to his rant: Catholic Church Gets 783 New Abuse Claims.

    I hate to keep posting about this bastard, but he keeps on coming up with the most foul, hypocritical bullsh*t posturing imaginable -- with absolutely no shame. After yesterday's bloviating (see my post Irony) about urging Catholics to confess for Easter (after all, God's forgiven him for enabling all the raping, molesting priests he's in charge of), today, Good Friday, he's going to deliver an address condemns geneticists "who play at being God,"and the general moral decline of society -- "satanic mores" -- which apparently exists everywhere outside of the Vatican.
    The pope will deliver a blistering attack on the “satanic” mores of modern society today, warning against an “inane apologia of evil” that is in danger of destroying humanity.

    In a series of Good Friday meditations that he will lead in Rome, the Pope will say that society is in the grip of a kind of “anti-Genesis” described as “a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family” [Are you listening homos?]. He will pray for society to be cleansed of the “filth” that surrounds it and be restored to purity, freed from “decadent narcissism”.

    Particular condemnation is reserved for scientific advances in the field of genetic manipulation. Warning against the move to “modify the very grammar of life as planned and willed by God”, the Pope will lead prayers against “insane, risky and dangerous” ventures in attempting “to take God’s place without being God”.


    Episcopal loons want to indict gay bishop for heresy

    "The homosexual thrust is real, aggressive and largely influenced by a shadow gay-lesbian-transgender hierarchy of bishops, priests and laypeople. The most persistent campaigner for accelerating the gay agenda in the Episcopal church is Integrity, a 30-year-old homosexual activist organization believed to comprise much less than one per cent of the national church."
    -- quote from the unhinged statement of Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion
    What century are we in? These nuts sounds like they are ready to burn openly gay bishop Gene Robinson at the stake.

    It also looks like, someone must have sent the Lay Episcopalian Crackpots a copy of Star Parker's All-Purpose Homosexual AgendaTM to clue her in on our plans for world domination. (365gay.com):
    A conservative Episcopal lay group is calling for a church trial for the denomination's first openly gay bishop and the 35 bishops who endorsed his election. The group, called Lay Episcopalians for the Anglican Communion, on Thursday launched a national petition drive to force a trial.

    In a statement the group said that only by putting the bishops - including the presiding bishop of the church - on trial could there be a final determination on the role of gays in the faith.

    The group said the worldwide Anglican Communion has been fractured by the “reckless pursuit of a gay agenda that is hostile to Scripture and to the historic order of the church.”

    The call for a trial raises the ante in a continuing feud within the church. Last week the group demanded that church leaders who supported the election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire repent "for their sin".

    “Our purpose is to demonstrate the gravity of unilateral (non-Communion) actions already taken to advance a gay agenda in our American church," the group said in its statement.
    Ten bishops have to file complainants for this effort to go to church trial.


    More 'persecution' of 'Christians'

    Thursday, April 13, 2006


    Flip is flapping his gums again, via AgapePress.
    The director of Operation Save America says it's becoming more difficult for Christians to protest or demonstrate without fear of harassment or arrest in the U.S. For more than 20 years Flip Benham has led protests and demonstrations at abortion mills and also at "gay pride" events, such as last year's "Charlotte Pride" in North Carolina. Benham says authorities often single out Christian activists for persecution while allowing homosexuals to engage in explicit acts during public events.

    "We have found ... that as [society] decriminalize[s] one kind of behavior, we are criminalizing another kind of behavior," Benham shares. "And as we go to these parks where homosexual gay pride events are taking place, we find that if you have a Bible, you are [either] going to be thrown out of that park or ... if you don't go, you're going to be arrested."

    In Benham's estimation, recent events demonstrate that Christianity is being criminalized while sodomy is being celebrated. "God tells us in Proverbs, Chapter 28, Verse 4, that those who forsake the law praise the wicked. Those who keep the law resist them," the activist says. "And we as Christians are called to be law keepers. When our nation begins to break God's law, we must be those that resist those that break laws -- and sometimes that might mean jail." In July Benham will lead protests at Mississippi's only abortion clinic, in Jackson. His group's efforts over recent years led to the cancellation of this year's "Charlotte Pride," a pro-homosexual event in the North Carolina city.
    It wasn't canceled; the guy is lying. Here are 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.

    ***

    Bonus action item: Mike over at Blogactive is asking readers to ring Flip up.

    Flip's Operation Save America helped convince a NC school board to deny approval for a Gay Straight Alliance. The students in South Rowan fighting the ban. Mike:
    I spoke to Flip... He cites some case heard before Lawrence v. Texas as the basis of why he thinks the Federal Courts will uphold the school board's decision. Be sure to ask Flip for RECENT case law supporting his argument.


    Rummy death watch


    How many generals have to say Donald Rums-failed's got to go before the guillotine falls? We're up to five six now.

    Who's going to be out the door first, Rummy or White House spokesbot Scotty?

    UPDATE: quotes from the generals below, from the NYT --





    Guide to the Top 20 AmTaliban

    Here are the Top 20 "Christian" organizations and their leaders, according to some pub called The Church Report, via Agape Press, which heralds this motley crew as "20 Reasons There Is Hope for America."

    If you're a regular Blender, most of these names are familiar to you. I added more interesting information to the descriptions; the originals in the article were pretty dry...

    1 TONY PERKINS
    President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. AgapePress acknowledges that FRC has the ear of many members of Congress, the White House, and Christians nationwide.


    FUN FACT: Tony Perkins (l.) paid David Duke $82K for the former Klansman honcho's mailing list.


    2 DR. RICK SCARBOROUGH
    Dr. Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America, recently held the wingnut extravaganza "The War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006." A choice quote from RIck: "A war on Christians rages across the America. By attacking Christians, the left intends to destroy the remnants of Judeo-Christian morality.The left intends to eliminate God-based morality from our government to achieve its goal of cultural Marxism in a secular state."

    3 ALAN E. SEARS
    Alan E. Sears is president, CEO and general counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a foul, fundie legal group that is sponsoring The Day of Truth, to be held on April 27th, as a "counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda and express an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective." What ADF is countering is The Day of Silence, a project of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the United States Student Association.


    4 MATHEW D. STAVER
    Mathew D. Staver, founder, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, Jerry Falwell's legal arm. He asserts that the Soulforce Equality Riders are "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."


    5 ROY S. MOORE
    "Ten Commandments" Moore is the disgraced, de-benched Chief Justice of Alabama and a gubernatorial candidate this year. Roy declared homosexuality "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature." Gay sex, he wrote, is "an act so heinous that it defies one's ability to describe it," an "inherent evil" that "should never be tolerated."

    6 JAY SEKULOW
    Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and shill for the nomination of SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito. He was named one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals" in America by Time Magazine. ACLJ was founded by Crazy Pat Robertson.

    FUN FACTS: Sekulow is a member of Jews for Jesus, and his first appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court was in the 1987 case of Board of Airport Commissioners v. Jews For Jesus. That victory allowed the organization the right to distribute pamphlets in airports. Sekulow helped draft the Defense of the Marriage Act, which passed both houses and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

    7 JOYCE MEYER
    Joyce Meyer is an author and head of Joyce Meyer Ministries. Another one of Time's "25 Most Influential Evangelicals" in America. She believes that you choose heterosexuality or homosexuality. See this hilarious interview with Larry King. Quote: "Obviously, Larry, if I believe the Bible, then I don't believe that a gay lifestyle or a homosexual lifestyle is the right way to choose to live. I believe that there's something so much better."


    8 DR. D. JAMES KENNEDY
    The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ was established by Kennedy, is an extension of his Coral Ridge Ministries. He also runs the Center for Christian Statesmanship, a "training lab" to create pod people politicians of tomorrow: "They learn to view every vote as a religious duty, and to consider compromise a sin. That puts them at the vanguard of a bold effort by evangelical conservatives to mold a new generation of leaders who will answer not to voters, but to God."

    9 DOUG PHILLIPS
    The founder and director of Vision Forum, "a discipleship and training ministry that emphasizes Christian apologetics, world-view training, multi-generational faithfulness, and creative solutions whereby fathers can play a maximum role in family discipleship." Never heard of the guy. Quote: "Every age has its defining crisis. Sin is always at the heart of the crisis. But the manifestation of sin expresses itself differently from age to age. The defining crisis of our age is the systematic annihilation of the Biblical family."

    10 DAVID BARTON
    Founder and President of WallBuilders, a "pro-family", anti-choice organization. WallBuilders seeks to "rebuild America's constitutional, moral and religious foundations," and "to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country." He was a speaker at last year's Reclaiming America for Christ conference, put on by D. James Kennedy.


    11 REV. ROBERT L. SCHENCK
    President and Co-Founder of the National Clergy Council and President and Founder of Faith and Action. He was sorry to see Tom DeLay step down, because he is "at his core a very good man" and "a very fine Christian" who has provided exemplary service. "I wrote him a letter today," Schenck notes, "and I told him how much he will be missed, that we thank God for his years of leadership. He did an excellent job, and the country will be at a loss for his absence."


    12 REV. LOUIS P. SHELDON
    Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, whose obsession over gay sex rivals Peter LaBarbera's. He ties gays to pedophilia whenever possible. There are so many posts on this clown on the Blend. Here's a link to several. He has Congress, Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove on his speed-dial, and likes to recruit homobigoted black pastors into the GOP fold.


    13 ALAN KEYES
    Horrible father to his gay daughter (he threw her out of the house when she came out) and founder of Renew America. Quote: "If my daughter were a lesbian, I'd look at her and say, 'That is a relationship that is based on selfish hedonism.' I would also tell my daughter that it's a sin and she needs to pray to the Lord God to help her deal with that sin." Another failed presidential candidate


    14 PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY
    Mother Schlafly is not six feet under yet. She is the head of wingnut org Eagle Forum and runs it with her out gay son. Choice quotes: "Disease is one of the most important reasons to stop the traffic of illegal aliens...They are bringing diseases that we never had before in the United States or which we eradicated decades ago."

    "Americans have everything to lose if we subject ourselves to tribunals dominated by the socialist pro-gay country to our north and the corrupt and Communist governments to our south."


    15 JANICE SHAW CROUSE, PH.D.
    Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, part of Concerned Women for America. She's also the author of the Sex Pyramid. She's also concerned about the state of marriage: 'You don't want to get married until you're settled in your career; until you've established yourself and gotten enough money to buy a house and buy a good car and those kinds of things.'" The result? "We have downgraded marriage in the minds of young people,"

    16 FR. FRANK PAVONE
    National Director for Priests for Life. He recently appeared at a Pennsylvania Pastors Network training session, where Little Ricky Santorum addressed the attendees and urged support for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. According to the NYT, Pavone emphasized how important Rethug control of the Senate would be if another Supreme Court vacancy would be to tip the Supreme Court against abortion rights.

    17 J. THOMAS SMITH
    He's with America 21 - Family Values for the 21st Century. Fun quote: "Voter surveys in key political races suggest that abortion was the top moral issue causing turnout for Godly candidates. Our hearts tell us that abortion is where the turning in America must begin. Repentance on this issue is critical to the growth of your local church and national revival. It may also save America from our enemies."

    18 DR. WILLIAM GREENE
    Founder and president of RightMarch.com, started up to counter MoveOn.org. "Our goal is to counter the well-financed antics of radical left-wing groups like MoveOn.org, by appealing to the grassroots "silent majority" to take action -- contacting government and business leaders; placing newspaper, radio and television ads; and holding the Left accountable for their anti-American antics."


    19 GARY L. BAUER
    Failed presidential candidate Bauer serves as chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, and as President of American Values. Endless bleater about persecuted Christians. Gary also thinks the media's reporting on the low military recruiting numbers is just a conspiracy to present only negative information about Iraq. "The liberal media views the recruitment difficulties as just "one more piece of evidence" that the war in Iraq is "illegitimate and a failure."


    FUN FACT: Gary fell off a stage while flipping pancakes on the presidential campaign trail.

    20 DR. JAMES C. DOBSON

    Daddy Dobson is founder and chairman of Focus on the Family. Evil incarnate; member in good standing of The Arlington Group, a coalition of All-Star AmTaliban seeking passage of a marriage amendment. Also: see Daddy Dobson-approved help for horny boys.

    FUN FACT: The Rotting CryptkeeperTM Fred Phelps called Dobson an "old heretic" who has "caved to the faggot juggernaut."


    Irony

    "A good confession before Easter remains an obligation that should be fully valued and gives us the opportunity to start anew."
    -- the Prada-wearing, pedophile-enabling Papa Ratzi, during his weekly public audience, urging Catholics to go to confession.
    Does he realize, given the corruption and utter moral failings of the church, how hollow this statement is? Amazing.


    WA pharmacists "conscience" won't let them fill prescriptions for vitamins and antibiotics


    I've been following the wingnut phenomenon known as "conscience clauses" for pharmacists. This is where members of the American Taliban, posing as medical professionals whose job it is to dispense prescriptions, refuse to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, because filling a legal prescription chosen by a doctor and patient might offend the pharmacist's morals.

    In Washington State, the legislature has been looking into the "conscience clause" issue, with all the regulars of the Religious Reich weighing in. I've joked about how this kind of thinking would lead to Muslim bartenders who won't serve alcohol and vegan Hooters waitresses that won't serve Buffalo wings., and back when I first looked at Washington State's discussion, I wrote:
    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?
    It turns out I wasn't too far off base. The latest story out of Washington State shows how the bible-thumpers "conscience" extends to filling ANY prescription (including vitamins and antibiotics) if the prescription was merely ordered by a clinic to which they are morally opposed.
    (The Stranger) Cedar River Clinics, a women's health and abortion provider with facilities in Renton, Tacoma, and Yakima, filed a complaint with the Washington State Department of Health this week alleging three instances where pharmacists raising moral objections refused to fill prescriptions for Cedar River clients. The complaint includes one incident at the Swedish Medical Center outpatient pharmacy in Seattle. According to the complaint, someone at the Swedish pharmacy said she was "morally unable" to fill a Cedar River patient's prescription for abortion-related antibiotics. Cedar River's complaint quotes its Renton clinic manager's May 17, 2005, e-mail account: "Today, one of our clients asked us to call in her prescription... to Swedish outpatient pharmacy. [We] called the prescription in... and spoke with an efficient staff person who took down the prescription. A few minutes later, this pharmacy person called us back and told us she had found out who we were and she morally was unable to fill the prescription." (Cedar River thinks their client eventually got her prescription filled.)

    The complaint also includes an incident from November 2005 in Yakima, in which a pharmacist at a Safeway reportedly refused to fill a Cedar River patient's prescription for pregnancy-related vitamins. The pharmacist reportedly asked the customer why she had gone to Cedar River Clinics and then told the patient she "didn't need them if she wasn't pregnant."

    "Pharmacists should not be able to elevate their personal beliefs over the needs of the patient," says Amy Luftig, deputy director of public policy at Planned Parenthood Network of Washington. Luftig offered several anecdotes of refusal stories--including one of a young couple seeking emergency contraception in the Central District who were lectured by the pharmacist about sex--but says most women are too embarrassed or stigmatized to go public with a complaint like the one Cedar River filed on behalf of its clients. (Indeed, until this week, pharmacy board director Steven Saxe says, the board had not received any complaints.) Luftig says Planned Parenthood is now posting signs in its clinics asking people for their refusal stories.
    Refusing prescriptions - not for emergency contraception, but for vitamins and anti-biotics, fer gawdsakes! - based on the fact that the clinic that wrote the prescription performs abortions?

    This festering ideological wound must be healed, and fast. How long before we see these cases?

    "I can't fill your prescription for heart medication; it was written by Dr. Blank and he works at a clinic that recommends medical marijuana, which I am morally opposed to."

    "I can't fill your prescription for AIDS retrovirals; your medical history shows no blood transfusions or IV drug use and you're not married; therefore you must have contracted HIV through promiscuous sex, which I'm morally opposed to."

    "I can't fill your prescription for Viagra; it is well-known that you are in a committed homosexual relationship, and I am morally opposed to that."

    "I can't fill your prescription for pseudoephedrine cold remedies; the doctor who wrote this prescription is Indian, and I am morally opposed to filling prescriptions written by 'mud people'."


    If you want to be in a position to lecture people about morality, then your career choice should have been "priest", not "pharmacist". It is hard for me to believe this is even an issue. Don't like dispensing medications? Don't be a pharmacist! Sheesh! I'm morally opposed to hitting people in the face; that's why I didn't become a boxer. But people like this really test my morality...

    [Crossposted at Radical Writ, despite any moral objections]


    Just when you think you've heard the last FEMA knee-slapper...

    Oh wait, this isn't a joke: Hurricane Evacuees' Trailer Explodes.
    A FEMA trailer being used by a couple who lost their home in Hurricane Katrina burst into flames, severely burning the husband and incinerating most of their remaining possessions.

    The blast, which followed the January explosion of another Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer, appeared to have been sparked by a lit cigarette igniting propane gas that had seeped into the travel camper, fire officials said.

    Linda Meyer said she and her husband escaped through a portion of the trailer that was blown off by the explosion Wednesday morning.
    Hat tip to R. Neal @Facing South, who noted that the article also mentions the laughable briefing for trailer recipients informs them that if they smell a gas leak to contact FEMA for assistance.
    Really? So, the Governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans begged for FEMA's help, day after day, on live TV, directly to the President of the United States, and got nowhere. Six months later they're still waiting. Now some poor guy in a camper trailer out in the bayou somewhere is going to be able to get right through to FEMA? And they're going to fix his gas leak?


    Ann Coulter's Florida felonious voter registration form is...interesting



    Her entire registration form, captured by The Brad Blog is interesting because the wicked, increasingly unpopular witch of the Right may end up in the big house for five years for committing voter fraud. She registered and voted in a precinct in which she does not live at the time of the 2004 election -- Palm Beach, Florida.

    Coulter has publicly denied this, but Brad unearthed the evidence -- Ann put down the address of her realtor as her legal residence,
    Meanwhile, Coulter's official Florida Voter Registration Application Form received from the office of the Palm Beach County Election Supervisor confirms that she specified "999 Indian Rd" as her "Legal Residence" -- despite never having lived there.

    The Indian Road address is that of Coulter's Real Estate agent and her husband David.

    Coulter's signature on the form is next to an "oath" affirming the information on the form is true, and acknowledging that she understood she could face a third-degree felony conviction, a $5,000 fine and/or five-years imprisonment for providing false information on the form.

    "She never lived here," Lambiet reported [realtor Suzanne] Frisbie as confirming about the address Coulter used on her registration form. "I'm Ann's Realtor, and she used this address to forward mail when she moved from New York," said Frisbie.
    She is still listed as an active voter in Connecticut. Guess she has no business bleating about undocumented workers with fraudulent papers who may end up on the voter rolls, huh? I'm sure she would never write on that issue.

    Via PageOneQ and The Brad Blog, the more salacious aspect of the form (gee, this feels so Wonkette or Page Six -- I'm just passing this on).
    Conservative commentator and best-selling author Ann Coulter neglected to answer Question #15 on her Palm Beach County, FL voter registration form, PageOneQ has learned. The question asks the registrant to indicate sex by checking 'M' or 'F' on the form. Bloggers and comment posts have speculated about Coulter's gender identity.

    Arthur Anderson, Jr., The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, confirmed to PageOneQ that Question 15 had not been answered on the original form. Coulter's registration form was first posted by BradBlog.com, the blog of voting rights activist and journalist Brad Friedman. Friedman reported Tuesday that Coulter's registration form raised questions about her decision to register and vote at an address where she did not live. For a full report on Coulter's voter registration click here.

    ..."I object," said a transgender activist who spoke with PageOneQ today, "To the state of Florida expecting its citizens to answer questions which are not relevant for voter registration." When asked about Coulter's voter registration form, the activist declined to speak specifically about Coulter. "Generally speaking, I hope there is a day when transgendered people can be open about who they are without fear of retribution from employers, colleagues and neighbors. With that in mind, I hope anyone with a high media profile would use that opportunity to be honest with the American people."
    Needless to say, Coulter didn't return PageOneQ calls to her speaking agency, publisher, or FOX News. Sheesh. I don't think sane trans folks out there would want to claim Ann Coulter as a movement icon anyway.


    The Traditional Values Coalition and the White House Easter Egg Roll

    "For crying out loud, at the Easter Egg roll? This is a family event...They're trying to cloak themselves in normalcy. It's not normal. The American people overwhelmingly believe it's not normal."
    -- Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Crazy Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, on gay families participating in the White House event
    The Easter Egg Roll event is open to the public, and members of the gay rights group Family Pride plan to show up at the event with their children -- as American a family as any other. (Boston Herald):
    Two years after President Bush backed calls for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the White House may find itself in the unusual position of hosting hundreds of gay families from Massachusetts and beyond at next week’s annual Easter egg roll.

    The families plan to line up Friday evening so that they can be the first ones on the White House lawn Monday as they tweak a 134-year-old tradition.

    “We want our children to have access to the same great American traditions that other children do, and we can think of nothing better than doing that at the White House egg roll,” said Jennifer Chrisler, director of the Family Pride Coalition, an advocacy group for gay and lesbian families.
    A little while back I received an email from a Blender, Veronica L., who read Andrea Lafferty's ridiculous comments about gay families and decided to write the Traditional Values Coalition to let them know that gay families are indeed normal, and that the bigotry has no place at an event like this. Here's her letter.
    Hi Pam,

    I have been reading your blog for a several months now, very enjoyable. I usually just read & never comment on anything. But, for some reason when I read about the Easter Egg Roll fiasco it just struck a nerve, not that it hasn't happened before, but it is just beyond absurd what some people will say & do. I guess it bothered me so badly because my partner & I have been together 11 years & we have 3 beautiful children.

    Anyway... In case you are interested here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to the TVC this morning.

    ===

    Good Morning,

    Until early this morning I had never even heard of your organization. I was reading an article about the White House Easter Egg Roll & came across comments by Andrea Lafferty, I think that is her name, I no longer have the article in front of me.

    The actual disgrace is the fact that there is a copy of the United States Constitution on your website, which is obviously something you have never read. "All men are created equal.....". Does Andrea know any homosexual families? I would think not, seeing her uneducated comments. By uneducated I mean she needs to arm herself with real knowledge about people if she is going to make such absurd comments. Of course I also understand this is her "job".

    You all need to understand that homosexual families have a great deal of obstacles to overcome to have a family. There are no accidental pregnancies, everything is well planned before the wonderful event of the birth of a child. The children are loved so very much & the families try so much harder to be good parents, because of the struggles they go through. A child to them is so cherished, so appreciated.

    The reference to pedophiles & homosexuality would be laughable, were it not so disturbing. You must know that is very untrue. Have you thought about posting something regarding Catholic Priests all being pedophiles? I am not saying they are, because they are not, but there is an obvious problem there. Pedophilia is an illness & a crime.

    Homosexual parents & their wonderful children should be allowed anywhere heterosexual parents are. Even heterosexual parents who are divorced, single parents, bi-racial couples, couples from different religious back grounds, couples with children that are un-planned, etc. You get my drift. We are all different, that is what makes us all so wonderful. Everyone does not fit into a mold, never have, never will.

    Everyone needs to work on themselves, peace comes from within, not from trying to change everyone else. Try working on the divorce rate, rape, incest...real pedophiles. Use your numbers, use your Christianity to show kindness, love & support.

    So you can discriminate in the name of religion if you want, but one day you will regret your actions. Religion is not a cloak to hide behind for the sake of making money or pushing your own twisted agenda. And you do have an agenda. I am not sure what you mean by the "homosexual agenda", that is very strange. The only agenda for any United States citizen should be to ensure everyone is created equal.

    Because everyone is equal in the eyes of our Maker. A loving caring God who sent his Son to die for us all. God is not filled with hate or prejudice, pleased don't make non-Christians believe that He is....

    Sending you love, much needed peace & happiness...Veronica


    Nigeria really, really doesn't like the gays


    Bush welcomed Obasanjo to the Oval Office on March 29 (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

    Dear Leader's buddy Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo practically wants to jail folks for even thinking about homosexuality.

    The proposed law, expanded by the senate, would punish foreigners living in the country for attending a gay wedding, and aid workers from other countries where same-sex marriage is legal will have their passports screened for indication of their marital status. It sounds like it's possible that one could be questioned about orientation as well.

    If any Nigerian same-sex couple flies off to another country to legally marry, that can land you in jail as well, and under the thumb of this regime, adoption by gays would be outlawed and it would be criminal offense to be a member of a gay club, social organization or LGBT civil rights group.

    And don't look for any scenes of same-sex relationship depictions on TV, in print or the internet -- that looks like it will land you in the clink as well.

    I hope Nigeria isn't looking to boost tourism.


    Health problems grow for those exposed to WTC 'dust'

    On September 18, 2001, as fires still smoldered at the the trade center, Whitman said the air in Lower Manhattan was "safe to breathe." She continued to reassure New Yorkers in the days and weeks that followed.
    -- WNYC report on a class action lawsuit against the EPA and its former administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, for telling people the air in Lower Manhattan was safe shortly after the World Trade Towers collapsed
    It was all about getting Wall Street back up and running, and now, folks are dying from breathing in that air full of toxic dust. According to the BBC, the number of people affected has risen to 15,000, and the government estimates between 30,000 and 50,000 people were at or near Ground Zero -- and were exposed to that hazardous dust.
    On Tuesday, a coroner said the death of a policeman who developed a respiratory disease was "directly linked" to 9/11. James Zadroga - who worked at Ground Zero - died in January. The New Jersey coroner's ruling was the first of its kind.

    ...Jeff Endean used to be the macho leader of a police Swat firearms team. Now, he has trouble breathing and survives on the cocktail of drugs he takes every day.

    Kelly Colangelo, an IT specialist, used to have good health but now endures a range of problems including asthma and sinus pain.

    "It worried me that I've been damaging my health just being in my home," she told the BBC News website. "It also worries me that I see the health impact on the [the emergency crews at the scene]. We were also exposed and I wonder if in 10-15 years from now, am I going to be another victim?"


    Kentucky governor celebrates 'diversity day' by cutting gays from anti-bias law

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    "It is our diversity that gives us strength."
    -- Gov. Ernie Fletcher, proclaiming "Diversity Day" in Kentucky in a speech to schoolchildren -- after signing an executive order removing sexual orientation from the state's anti-discrimination laws
    Talk about pandering to The Base. Ernie Fletcher earns the turd of the day award for this ballsy move. (Courier-Journal):
    Fletcher replaced the 2003 employment policy of former Gov. Paul Patton with one that bans employment discrimination because of "race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, veteran status and disability."

    It makes no mention of sexual orientation. Patton's policy included protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
    The reason why Fletcher needed to roll back the policy? It included transgender protection, with his lackey saying it's all about the bathrooms.
    Fletcher spokesman Brett Hall said the governor has no intent to discriminate against gay workers. Rather, the new order mirrors federal affirmative action policy and is meant to prohibit all discrimination, he said. "This is in no way to discriminate against anyone," Hall said.

    Hall said the administration was concerned that the Patton policy on sexual orientation was too broad and extended to others, such as transgender people. That caused a dispute at the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet over which restroom an employee undergoing a sex change should use, he said.

    "These types of special privileges are not only difficult to comply with, but it's very expensive," Hall said, saying it could lead to lawsuits or require the state to build additional restrooms.
    Jeebus H. Christ. These folks are crazy. At least there are elected officials in the state that know this is BS pandering to the AmTaliban.
    Several lawmakers criticized the new policy, saying it takes Kentucky backward as some states and major employers extend anti-discrimination policies to include gay and lesbian workers. Indiana state government prohibits discrimination in hiring, advancement and firing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    [Sen. Ernesto] Scorsone predicted the new policy would make gay and lesbian state workers fear disclosing their sexual orientation. And only recently have they begun to feel comfortable about acknowledging their sexual orientation at work through small gestures, such as displaying a photo of a partner on a desk, he said.

    Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, called Fletcher's action "Neanderthal" and said the governor is "taking the state back to the dark ages."
    And the kicker quote comes from the Fletcher flunkie, when asked if the governor was playing to his party's base, he said: "I don't know how that plays with the Republican base."

    ***

    In other non-pandering-to-the-right Ernie Fletcher news, he just signed a bill to allow the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds, with the governor stating it is "an integral part of our history and an integral part of our law."

    He also has a problem with C.E. (Common Era) and B.C.E. (Before Common Era) replacing B.C. and A.D. (Before Christ and Anno Domini, Latin for "in the year of the Lord") when referring to historical dates.
    Gov. Ernie Fletcher, surrounded by lawmakers at a ceremonial signing of a Ten Commandments bill on Monday, said he is opposed to dropping the B.C. and A.D. dating system in what one conservative Christian group says is an effort by the state school board to be politically correct.

    "This is an attempt to religiously sterilize the teaching of history in our schools," said Martin Cothran, a policy analyst for The Family Foundation in Lexington.

    Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education, said a draft of a revamped, 600-page guidebook for teachers does recommend the change. However, a final version that may be considered by the state board on Tuesday would propose using all four acronyms.

    "To me, this is a tempest in a teapot," Gross said. "There's no move here to de-Christianize anything."

    Gross said C.E. and B.C.E. are coming into widespread use, and Kentucky students need to be exposed to the terms in case they encounter them on college placement tests.


    U.S.: Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days

    That lunacy comes out of the mouth of our U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation. Dear Leader's prepping us for his next war party.
    Iran, which is defying United Nations Security Council demands to cease its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days if it goes ahead with plans to install thousands of centrifuges at its Natanz plant, a U.S. State Department official said.

    "Natanz was constructed to house 50,000 centrifuges," Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow. "Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days."
    The sad truth is, Iran is further along on the nuclear path than Saddam ever was, but this sort of bullsh*t bloviating after the debacle known as Iraq pretty much ensures that no one will take anything the Bush administration says seriously about the "facts," even as he plans to load up the stealth bombers.

    The endless lies about Iraq just keep on coming. See WaPo: Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War: Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary, or this disinformation, er, lying, that Colin Powell admitted to (h/t Shakes Sis):
    On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department’s top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us.

    “The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote,” Powell said. And the Niger reference in Bush’s State of the Union speech? “That was a big mistake,” he said. “It should never have been in the speech. I didn’t need Wilson to tell me that there wasn’t a Niger connection. He didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. I never believed it.”


    Don't mess with these homos



    I guess this would qualify as a bookend post to the last one on the violence-laden anti-gay graffiti at Michigan Tech University.

    There's an article in Philly Weekly about the Pink Pistols, a group of gay folks who are armed and ready. I have no interest in owning a firearm, but considering the hate crimes going on out there, it may be a good idea for your typical fag-bashers to think twice about their next encounter with a homo.
    The Pink Pistols advocate the use of firearms for self-protection, specifically among their target audience: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The slogan of the loosely organized club-there's no formal process to become a member-is rather blunt: Armed gays don't get bashed.

    "When friends find out I'm in this, they're horrified," says Greene's 25-year-old straight roommate who asks not to be identified because he doesn't want his co-workers to talk about him. He speaks softly in a high-pitched voice. A long blond ponytail sprouts from under his camouflage Winchester Rifle baseball cap.

    "They think I'm a fascist, a warmonger," he says.

    Many of the Pink Pistols revel in their ability to live in two worlds that seem so ideologically divergent: the gun-loving NRA crowd and the queer community.
    According to the article, there are 42 chapters in the United States and Canada with an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Pink Pistol members and they come in all shapes, sizes, genders and political affiliations.

    Has Bush's intolerant Amerikka really come to this? Well...
    Many of the Pink Pistols can recall a harrowing tale of a run-in with meatheads.

    More than a decade ago, on a hot summer night, Greene was returning to his car after a night of partying at a Center City leather bar. Sporting a black leather vest, white T-shirt, jeans and leather boots, he headed east from 13th Street toward his car, which was parked in Queen Village.

    A few blocks into his journey, four young adults began following him.

    "Hey faggot!" Greene says the teens yelled. Greene picked up the pace. He turned around at one point and saw that each of the thugs was waving a metal pipe as they continued barking at him. When Greene, who says he hadn't been drinking, finally arrived at his car, he reached into his pocket, pulled out his five-shot Smith & Wesson revolver, and aimed it at the hooligans.

    "Holy shit! He's got a gun!" Greene says the one of the teens yelled. Then they ran off.

    "This was a successful self-defense with a gun," Greene says. Without a weapon, he says, the kids would've ganged up on him, and the cops wouldn't have been able to do anything.

    "The police would've shown up in time to clean me up off the street," he says with an uncomfortable chortle.


    Hate on a Michigan campus



    It's pretty sobering to see this anti-gay graffiti chalking at Michigan Tech University. There are more photos of such filth as "Shoot and kill every f*cking fag" and "Mutilate gay people."
    The administration and faculty have been highly outspoken from the beginning in denouncing the acts, with statements on Friday from both president Mroz and vice president Les Cook. Still, perhaps the strongest disapproval has been voiced by the student body itself.

    The sense of distaste at the content of the chalkings has cut across beliefs and attitudes towards homosexuality, and an instant consensus seems to have formed, especially among those who have seen the pictures of the hate chalkings. "It's an embarrassment to everyone associated with this school, really," said Landon Gryszkowski, an undergrad. "It's the only political expression we've seen in a long time on this apathetic campus, and it turns out to be of the most ignorant kind. It can't give us a good reputation nationally."

    The most unequivocal statement of condemnation, but one that seems to reflect the general sentiment very accurately, came in a joint statement from Undergraduate Student Government president Phil Ribeiro and Graduate Student Council president Dan Adler. Adler and Ribeiro wasted no words in stating their conclusion: "If you cannot set aside your differences with others enough to allow them to peaceably live their lives, then you have no place at Michigan Tech."
    Hat tip, Jeremy @ Good As You


    Minnesota church denies day care to trans client

    For Trinity Lutheran Church transsexual = deviance and thus the state of Minnesota's anti-discrimination policies are contrary to God's will. (AgapePress):
    Officials in one Minnesota county are punishing a church for taking a stand against sexual deviance. A report from Associated Press says Anoka County officials are refusing to send any more clients to a church that denied day care to a trans-sexual client. The county's social services department has been sending disabled senior citizens and other vulnerable adults who need care during the day to Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Francis.


    But the conservative Missouri Synod church turned away a client who had undergone surgery to be changed from a man into a woman. Associate pastor John Maxfield says the man's decision is "contrary to God's revealed will" -- and now his church is paying the price for its stand. "The county has basically said that if we would like to continue the contract with new clients," the pastor explains, "we would have to sign a non-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation -- and that would violate our theological beliefs." Maxfield notes that although the church is losing a lot of money by taking this stand, obedience to God's Word is more important. He also believes other churches involved with government-funded programs will face similar challenges.


    Facing South: Yearly Kos ignores strategies, voices in the progressive South

    Thank you, Chris Kromm, for posting on this. Billed as the biggest shindig on the Left, the Yearly Kos convention, is set for June 8-11 in Vegas, and it completely misses the mark on its panel on Southern politics.

    You'd think the slate for "The Impact of the South on U.S. Politics" would feature bloggers who know the region and would be able to shed light on how to regain the South by embracing and helping to tease votes from and grow the progressive movements here. You'd be wrong. Chris:
    But my enthusiasm vanished when I read the panel description:
    "The South is a large region of the U.S., but does it hold an important place in the country's politics? "The South's Importance in the American Political Arena" is a panel discussion by a group of acclaimed political writers - Thomas Schaller, Jerome Armstrong, Steve Jarding and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders."
    From what I know of them, these are all nice enough people. But what insight can they give us on the South and U.S. politics? Let's do a quick run-down:

    1) Tom Schaller is prof at U of Maryland-Baltimore County, best known for his view that Democrats should write off the South. Consider this gem from November 2003:
    "Trying to recapture the South is a futile, counterproductive exercise for Democrats because the South is no longer the swing region. It has swung: Richard Nixon's 'Southern strategy' of 1968 has reached full fruition."
    So much for the South's Importance in the American Politica Arena.

    2) Next up is Jerome Armstrong, who's only experience in Southern politics that one can divine is his active role in ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's bid for president in 2008.

    3) And then there's Steve Jarding and "Mudcat" Saunders, the media's favorite go-to guys for colorful quotes about why Democrats should pass on social issues and focus on NASCAR, hunting, and aligning party politics to speak to "the white male," as if that's a useful category. (This apparently also includes rehabilitating the image of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which Saunders is quick to note "has two black members.")

    I'm sure all will have something interesting to say, but what's missing from this picture?

    Well, for starters, what's missing is anyone advocating a truly progressive politics in the South. There are two main views represented here: that progressives should 1) forget the South, or 2) move to the right. As we have argued since Facing South launched over a year ago, these aren't the only options.

    The South has a deep progressive tradition, rooted in values such as a sense of place, love of the land, mutual aid, and a healthy populist wariness of unaccountable power. Throughout history, Southern political figures and movements have successfully tapped these rich veins to advance various progressive causes. The fact that the right has been more politically successful -- as it has nationally -- doesn't make these progressive traditions any less real or useful.
    Go read the rest of Chris's post. I'm really tired of the same old "F*ck the South" song and dance, or that there is no hope for the red states -- some that are rapidly turning purple, given disaster of Iraq and its impact on states like NC, and certainly the outsourcing of jobs overseas, hitting the wallets of working men and women in the region.

    There is plenty of discontent from which Dems can harvest votes, yet as usual, they just think the South is a complete waste of time, or that you have to hump Joe Six Pack and become a Centrist Stepford Wife like sHillary to win.

    It's unfortunate when the folks at Yearly Kos don't see the need to put voices of the progressive South on the bill to help broaden the strategy discussion. But are we surprised?


    Bill O'Reilly joins the War on Easter crowd



    You might remember my earlier post on WingNutDaily's unhinged bleating about the War on Easter. Now it looks like old big head Bill has to jump into the fray.
    Although some left-wingers in the media deny it, we have documented a number of cases where Christian holidays, like Christmas and Easter, have been attacked by secular interests. Lawsuits and corporate policies have proved this point over and over again.

    The Factor asked Jon Meacham, author of the brand-new book "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, "What do you think Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would have thought about the ACLU, all right, Pledge of Allegiance, no God, Christmas icons out of the public arena? What do you think those guys would have thought about that?" Meacham responded, "They would have been against it. They would have been against the ACLU taking on the elimination or pushing for the elimination of religious references in the public square. There's no question. The Declaration of Independence, our founding document grounds the fundamental human rights and the cause for which we went to war against the world's mightiest empire in the rights that were the gift of nature's God and endowed by their creator."

    The Factor challenged this idea and asked, "But that wasn't in the Constitution. Once the ACLU spits at you, if they wanted that, they would have put it in the Constitution." Meacham said, "You have to read the documents together. You can't be secular and eliminate the Declaration, nor can you be on the right and read the Declaration and ignore the Constitution." The Factor wanted this pint made as plainly as possible and pressed further, "So you're firmly convinced based upon your research that the founders would not approve of the ACLU jihad, pardon the pun, against Judeo-Christian tradition in this country?" Meacham said, "No, I don't think so at all. I think that what they wanted was religion in the country. They didn't want it coercive. They did not want it forced on people, because largely for religious reasons. The religious argument for religious freedom is that if God himself did not compel obedience, then no man should try."
    H/t, Think Progress


    Alabama wants to move its prez primary up

    Looks like Alabama wants to actually have a voice in the presidential primary. Since it's currently in June, all earlier primaries and caucuses have decided the nominees of both parties, a bill is in the legislature to make it Feb. 5. Kathy @ Birmingham Blues weighs in:
    I guess it would be nice to see the front-runners in person, but I fear having to cater to the people of Alabama (or their perceptions of the people of Alabama) will mean they will be pandering even more than usual to the religious right. I’d hate to be completely disgusted with the lot of them that far in advance.
    I commented at her pad:

    Oh, lord, Kathy. It means you'll get to see The Tool McCain in all his suck-up-to-the-Right glory. One can only hope Mitt Romney gets in the race so that it will be a contest to see who kisses Roy Moore's feet first.
    ***


    Speaking of my wifey's home state, we have an update from Loretta Nall, the Libertarian candidate for governor, who held a well-covered news conference on the steps of the State Capitol. She's gotten a lot of mileage (and donations) as a result of the boobies and panties dustup by a local newspaper editor and columnist, which I blogged about the other day.

    Here's an article on the press conference. Video is here and here.


    Tim Kaine gets freeped



    The New (faux) Dem governor of Virginia recently released a statement saying he wouldn't sign a marriage amendment slated to be on the ballot this fall because it might inadvertently hurt unmarried couples. That gave him cover to urge all Virginians to reject it. At least he said it.

    However, he unfortunately took great pains to reiterate that he believes "that marriage is between one man and one woman, and current Virginia law makes that abundantly clear," just to reassure the bible-beaters that he's really just looking out for the heterosexual taxpayers in the Commonwealth because he disagrees with the language of the amendment.

    Of course back when he was tapped for the State of the Union response and in the limelight as the Fresh-Faced Electable DemocratTM, he was willing to sign the amendment. So when the final language cleared the legislature (and probably heard an earful from his gay taxpaying constituents), he flip-flopped and decided to decline signing the amendment.

    His announcement was an opportunity to give many reasons why the amendment bad: the potential impact on state growth and business, that it could adversely affect unmarried couples -- and it creates official discrimination against a bloc of law-abiding, tax-paying citizens in the state's constitution. We all know that he left that last bit of business out on purpose.

    Guess what, Tim, even with that tepid positive move, the alarm bells went off on the Right. The triangulation convinces no one (on either side, quite frankly). As a strategy to sell yourself as a national candidate, it's clearly out of the tired DNC playbook. The "I was for it before I was against it" stance on the marriage amendment isn't flying with The Base.

    At least that's what the Freepi tell me...

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    Governor Kaine clearly has no respect for Rule 1!!!

    All the pandering to queers tends to indicate these pols have no system of priority or dedication to American culture and heritage. They all suck.

    Kaine is just another Corporatist fake. The Democratic party in Virginia has been taken over lock, stock and barrel by the fascist movement.

    Kaine Not Able to Kill Fruit Mating

    Kaine said the wording in the amendment could be interpreted to include unmarried heterosexual couples, where it reads the Virginia Constitution should not recognize “another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.”

    ROTFLMAO -so he is afraid that judges might liberally interpret the wording! LOL Might as well disband the Legislature and just concede the Excecutive branch while at at -sounds like the dummycrat plan on terror --surrender! So much for checks and balances with this guy!

    He is right in the fact that sometimes there are other ramifications. I don't like pandering to gays either and don't think one little reason should be enough to oppose it, but sometimes there are a few things that get slipped in.

    Although Gov. Kaine said he opposed same-sex marriage,

    Yeah right. Sounds like all those who say they are "personally" opposed to abortion, but...

    I personally do not think the government should pay benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples either. If a private company want to do so that is their business. This amendment would not stop them from doing so just the state. He is lying.

    Oh so Kaine is a "But Monkey" ehhh ... in more ways than one I figure.

    In other words: "I AM an opponent, but I DO not oppose. Now vote for me."

    But hasn't Kaine been informed that Virginia "doesn't elect" liberals and he ran as "conservative" to 'win' (even though his campaign platform was FURTHER LEFT than any of the "moderate Democrats" representing me here in suburban Chicagoland) This can't be. This would mean Virgina has a governor more liberal than their socialist neighboring state of Maryland. Virginia freepers has steadfastly gloated about how "conservative" their state is. Hmmm.

    The Commonwealth already explicitly forbids the recognition gay marriages by law. And as for people, specifically "pols," having no dedication to "American culture and heritage," I will assume you mean those people who are opposed to further polluting the constitution with needless assignments of additional power to the state. My ancestors arrived here starting in 1611 to get away from England's laws and to start fresh in the wilderness. They had moved to Appalachia before the revolution. Why? To live as they saw fit and to succeed according to their own merit, free men and freeholders. Those are real American values and traditions. The government should mind its own concern and let people organize themselves as they will. Government off our backs!

    With his inane explanation, Kaine has highlighted the whole problem with same-sex marriage. It's not really about homosexuality at all. It's about making marriage be worth nothing more than non-marriage. That's the whole goal of the same-sex marriage advocates, they want to destroy the traditional family. The first step is to remove its privileged legal status.

    Virginia freepers has steadfastly gloated about how "conservative" their state is.

    And we will continue to do so until you get your fact straight. Sure, there's been an huge influx of liberals into the state. Yes, it's becoming more and more difficult to for conservatives to win here, and our state senate has been taken over by RINOs. We've never denied any of that. But the facts are that Tim Kaine, and Mark Warner before, him both won because the GOP candidates ran lousy campaigns. Not because of a shift, perceived or otherwise, to the left in the general voting population.

    All this furor over a proposed amendment that essentially changes nothing (your words, as well as all the other pro-homosexual agendaists) in this state and 19 others. Perhaps Federal coercion, effectively blowing away current prohibitions, would be more to your liking?

    Virginia is not, per se, Conservative, but it has a very Conservative Republican party.

    At the moment the Republicans control the House and the Senate. They regularly lose the governor's office but only to Democrats who run as Conservatives. The Dems pulled a trick the lat two times ~ they ran cryptofascists, or Corporatists. This allowed some, and I repeat "some" Virginia Conservatives to abandon the Republican candidate.

    The Marriage Amendment will pass without his vote. Do all Democrats attend the Clinton/Kerry School of Taking Both Sides of an Issue?
    When you read stuff like this, you have to wonder why on earth does the Dem establishment continually court The Base? There's no flipping way you can move far enough to the right?

    One can only hope that Virginians won't vote yes on the amendment, but don't hold your breath. It will take a massive effort by not only gay advocacy organizations and allies, but elected officials, and business leaders to publicly make the case why this amendment is wrong.


    Another black wingnut spewing homophobia



    "Born-again Christian" and fire-breathing conservative Star Parker is jockeying to be the melanin-enhanced Ann Coulter, having written such tomes as "Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats: From Welfare Cheat to Conservative Messenger" and "Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It." Her latest effort is another bomb-throwing effort against gays and all you heathens out there.
    The author of a new book titled White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay, says churches have made things worse by abandoning biblical morality. Star Parker says white America increasingly has the high rates of divorce, cohabitation, and out-of-wedlock births that afflict the black community. She suggests that churches which promote homosexual "marriage" are threatening to bring even more chaos into the lives of children. She blames some churches for abandoning the teaching of biblical morality.

    "We see a lot of the traditional denominations now ordaining homosexuals and getting very aggressive in that debate," she comments, noting that her book encourages readers to consider what Scripture has to say on such issues. "If you are of the biblical worldview, there is some consistency in Scripture -- and maybe we should re-read it and assess it and then live by it," she suggests.

    Challenging her fellow black Christians to vote their values, Parker says, "If you really believe Scripture, then you're a conservative too." Star Parker is president of CURE, the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education.
    You know how we have all been looking for our copy of the Homosexual Agenda? It looks like Star has found it, and expands on it in her tome.
    Lest you think this indoctrination has been the natural progression of our illuminated society, remember that an active agenda has existed for decades to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle. Shockingly candid evidence of this agenda ran in Christopher Street Magazine, a revered gay rights magazine of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Excerpts from its article outlining "Six Principles for the Persuasion of 'Straights'" reveal how the public homosexual image has been shrewdly manipulated and crafted:

    1. The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it....The visual media . . . [is] a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan Horse might be passed.... The National Gay Task Force has had to cultivate quiet backroom liaisons with broadcast companies and newsrooms in order to make sure that issues important to the gay community receive some coverage.

    2. Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by ref lex to assume the role of protector.... We must forego the temptation to strut our "gay pride" publicly whenever it conf licts with the Gay Victim image.

    3. Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, but should instead take anti-discrimination as its theme. [Hence, the improper equating of racism with discrimination against homosexuality.]

    4. Make gays look good. In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights you have to portray him as Everyman . . . the campaign should paint gays as superior pillars of society . . . in no time, a skillful and clever media campaign could have the gay community looking like the veritable fairy godmother to Western civilization.

    5. Make the victimizers look bad....To be blunt, they must be vilified ...we intend to make the anti-gays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.
    [And I thought all the gay-love floating around our nation was from our own innate kindness!]

    6. Solicit funds . . . those gays not supporting families usually have more discretionary income than average.

    The homosexual movement's tactics have so cleverly seduced our society that it is nearly impossible for Middle America not to fall for its radical agenda, an agenda demanding many of us to surrender beliefs rooted in our families for generations. Honestly, what "bigot" today could disapprove of the sincere, savvy Will Truman or the funny, huggable Jack McFarland of Will and Grace? The duo-tyranny of the thought police and societal pressure has such a strong grip on American society that most of us today will not breathe a word in public against homosexuality for fear of being ostracized and maligned.
    (With friends like that, who needs hate crimes?)
    You have to read the review of this drivel posted on Amazon. He tears her book to shreds. A snippet:
    Regardless of my own personal beliefs, this book is just plain badly written. Parker jumps from one topic to the next in an episodic frenzy, each section marked by tabloid-style headlines that connote glib frivolity. Parker spends most of the 200+ pages of this book generalizing about "Middle America" in long spiels of inert prose, and her sentences are constructed the way young children speak. And no sooner does she raise an interesting point than she moves on to the next point without ever laying down any kind of argument.

    I counted exactly eight critical thoughts in this book. Everything else she says is a broad statement with just the bare minimum of evidence cited in support (which she interprets rather unconvincingly a lot of the time).


    The sanctity of marriage and parenting

    As the homos have been told over and over by the Christofacists, marriage cannot and should not be available for gay folks to destroy it, and certainly parenting/adopting will lead to cultural destruction.

    Bloggrrl Ms. Julien passed on a few news items that highlight some straight folks who have these exclusive matters down pat, setting a great example for us all.

    * 8 Sailors Charged in Marriage Scheme. My god, you mean there are straight folks out there who do this to the institution of marriage? Get Don Wildmon on the bat phone?
    Eight sailors were charged Tuesday with arranging sham marriages to Polish and Romanian women to help the women obtain U.S. citizenship and to collect bigger military housing allowances for themselves.

    An investigation by Naval Criminal Investigative Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement found that none of the women lived with the sailors they married. In all, the eight sailors received $35,000 in fraudulent basic housing allowance payments, investigators said. One sailor was allegedly getting $1,836 per month.

    The Navy terminated the allowances in November. If convicted, the seven current and one former sailor from the USS Kennedy and USS Simpson could face up to five years in prison per count.

    * Department of Children and Family Services looking into Brit and K-Fed's parenting skills. This is following the pop-tart's (and shoe-free gas station washroom patron) multiple instances of driving with the Federline spawn out of the car seat and in her lap. Nice.
    On April 7, when Britney Spears and Kevin Federline realized that their baby, Sean Preston, had been sleeping more than usual, panic bells went off. Just six days earlier, the 7-month-old had taken a major fall from his high chair, a tumble that had his parents worried that he might have been critically injured.

    They had every right to fret. After rushing Sean to a nearby hospital, they discovered he had a minor skull fracture (sometimes called a "scalp fracture" in babies), and a blood clot. And the doctors weren't the only ones to take notice! The next day, the Department of Children and Family Services began looking into the incident.
    * Moving on to winger billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and the state of holy matrimony under his roof. Toss in a little animal abuse to boot -- should gays not be able to adopt pets? Inquiring minds want to know. (NYDN):
    Police responded to a call last week when Scaife's estranged and apparently enraged second wife, Margaret (Ritchie) Scaife, arrived at his estate in Pittsburgh. She allegedly assaulted his housekeeper, his security chief and his cancer-ridden secretary while a cook fended off her violent attempt to take the family dog.

    "He's in a trauma. He was almost choked to death when she was grasping the leash," the 73-year-old Scaife, who almost never gives interviews, complained to Lowdown's Nicole Pesce yesterday. "She claims that the dog belonged to her because the dog is in her name on the registration papers. But she gave the dog to me nine years ago. So he's my dog."

    ... At stake in what is shaping up as one of the nastiest divorces in American history is a fortune estimated at $1.2 billion. "There's no prenup — so wish me luck!" said Scaife, who was married to the 58-year-old Mrs. Scaife for 14 years before they separated in December.


    Bill Nye the Science Guy gets whacked in the bible belt

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006



    I know Bill Nye probably had an out-of-body experience after encountering God's People of Wacotm at McLennan Community College, where he came to speak about, well, science.
    Audience members who expected to see Bill Nye “The Science Guy” conduct experiments and wow their children received quite a surprise Wednesday when Nye spoke at McLennan Community College.

    Nye instead addressed such topics as Mars exploration, global warming and energy consumption, particularly oil and gas. He even ruffled a few religious feathers along the way. The scientist with a background in stand-up and sketch comedy kept spectators interested, entertained and at ease with his funny, sometimes hilarious, delivery.

    ...The Emmy-winning scientist angered a few audience members when he criticized literal interpretation of the biblical verse Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

    He pointed out that the sun, the “greater light,” is but one of countless stars and that the “lesser light” is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.

    A number of audience members left the room at that point, visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence. “We believe in a God!” exclaimed one woman as she left the room with three young children.
    Don't let science get in the way of the sheeple's beliefs, Bill. Where have you been -- this is W's Christofascist Amerikkka, science be damned, burqas are on backorder.

    Hat tip, Whamstress @ The Green Knight.

    More fresh Blend here.


    Homobigot Kraft stockholder tries to bully company on Gay Games support

    Take a look at this document, submitted by Marcella V. Meyer (an abstinence education proponent, btw), filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 03/10/06 as part of the Kraft proxy solicitation.

    It's an attempt to bully Kraft Foods, a strong supporter of gay civil equality and a major sponsor of the Gay Games, a sporting and cultural event to be held in the Windy City this year. The Kraft annual meeting is on April 25. (via Freeperland, of all places)
    STOCKHOLDER PROPOSAL

    DISSOCIATION FROM THE 2006 AND ALL FUTURE SO-CALLED "GAY GAMES"

    Marcella V. Meyer, M.D., [address deleted], claiming beneficial ownership of 200 shares of common stock, submitted the proposal set forth below.

    RESOLVED:

    That in the best interest of our company Kraft Foods Inc. as well as in the public interest, Kraft Foods does hereby disassociate itself from the 2006 and all future so-called "gay games", and that no future financial support be given for the 2006 "gay games" or any other future activities supporting, proselytizing, promoting or encouraging homosexual activity or life style.

    Supporting Statement:

    • It has been widely reported in the press that Kraft Foods is a major financial sponsor of the summer 2006 "gay games" in Chicago (Crain's Chicago Business, 5/23/05, "Gay Games Will Test Kraft, Harris"), and

    • The gay rights movement is not a charitable activity; rather, it is a political movement designed to promote increased acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, and

    • Numerous studies have linked homosexual activity to sexually transmitted diseases. (MMWR, CDC, 8/26/05, "Shigella flexneri Serotype 3 Infections Among Men Who Have Sex With Men—Chicago, Illinois, 2003-2004"). STD's are often followed by sickness and even premature death, especially from AIDS. The gay community is a major contributor to the spread of STD illness, and

    • The "gay games" event will be appealing to immature young people attracted by the excitement, fun, and even glamour of the event. Some of these young people are likely to experiment with homosexual behavior as a result of this appeal, and

    • Because of the "gay games" sponsorship by our company, Kraft Foods may at some future date be found to be complicit and legally liable in a case in which a young attendee at the "gay games" decides to experiment with homosexual encounters and later develops a serious, even fatal, illness, and

    • The economic costs to Kraft Foods Inc. and other businesses in terms of medical care for employees as well as loss of employee productivity caused by sexually transmitted diseases are huge. (perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Vol. 36, Number 1, January/February 2004. "The direct cost of STDs including HIV among all age groups was estimated to be $9.3 - 15.5 billion in the U.S. in the mid-1990s").
    Kraft, you might recall, told the religious right (including the American Family Association and our friend Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute) to go take a flying leap and reiterated its support for the Gay Games even after the AFA launched a boycott.

    It was no surprise to see this reaction to the bigoted shareholder bully:
    The Board recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal.

    The Company is committed to supporting the communities where we live and do business. Last year alone, the Company provided over $85 million in food and financial support to hundreds of non-profit organizations around the world.

    The Company's charitable contributions program emphasizes three global focus areas relevant to its business: (a) promote better nutrition and more physical activity, (b) combat hunger and (c) promote agricultural sustainability. In addition, the Company supports local charities and civic events in its home communities, with an emphasis on organizations and events in Chicago, where our headquarters is located.

    Diversity in all its forms is important to the Company. Based on a suggestion from one of our employee councils that help promote our awareness of and commitment to diversity, Kraft contributed $25,000 to the non-profit, tax-exempt entity that organizes the Gay Games VII. This will be an eight-day sports and cultural event that the City of Chicago is officially supporting. Other contributors to the event include CNA Insurance, Exelon, Harris Bank, and Walgreen's.

    In short, while we understand the Proponent's position, the contribution was one of hundreds of donations that the Company made last year in the Chicago area and was well within the scope of our overall charitable giving program.

    For these reasons, the Board recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal, and proxies received by the Company will be so voted unless stockholders specify a contrary choice in their proxies.
    Show Kraft some love for its moxie:

    Kraft Foods
    CEO Roger K. Deromedi
    3 Lakes Dr.
    Northfield, IL 60093
    Phone: 847-646-2000
    Fax: 847-646-6005
    TOLL FREE: 1-800-323-0768
    Web Form


    Darth's ass was booed


    U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney throws out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals first home game of the season at RFK Stadium in Washington, April 11, 2006. The Nationals are playing the New York Mets. REUTERS/Jason Reed

    Think Progress has the video. Apparently the drones at Faux News turned down the audio when Mr. Defibrillator took the mound and the crowd greeted him with boos and catcalls.

    ***



    Speaking of the VP, I just received a copy of Duck! The Dick Cheney Survival Bible ($9.95 Villard), by Gene Stone, the NYT bestselling author of The Bush Survival Bible.

    From the book's web site:
    Why, you may wonder, a book on surviving Dick Cheney? He's not going to shoot you. Or at least, the odds aren't that high. You're probably not rich or powerful enough to be invited on one of his hunting trips. And besides, he's a bad shot.

    Well, once you think about it, there actually are plenty of bad things Dick Cheney could do to you. He could start a war on a false pretext, and send your friends and children off to fight in it. He could drive oil prices up so high that you will no longer be able to commute. He could raise your debt to a preposterously high level (while telling you that "deficits don't matter"). He could tap your phone without your knowledge, and post your conversations on a local bulletin board. He could hire thugs to torture your family--no explanation required.

    When people truly grasp the concept of Dick Cheney, they become scared. Really scared. "I had a nightmare the other night," they remember, "and it was about the vice president!" Or they realize, "When my toddler saw him on tv, she burst into tears and ran from the room!" Or, they recall, "That's the man whose face broke my mirrors and whose voice made the dog howl."

    Dick Cheney isn't just the vice president of the United States anymore. He is something much larger and more intimidating. Dick Cheney is the scariest man in America.
    Oh, you won't believe this one - Gene Stone emailed me and I'm actually mentioned in the book, in the chapter "12 Places to Go Online."
    Given the mainstream media's increasingly conservative bent, and the general lack of nonconservative news sources, more and more people are checking out the Web for their news. There are many good sites, including Raw Story and Political Wire, as well as blogs by Steve Clemons, Joe Conason, Matt Yglesias, James Wolcott, Pam Spaulding, Josh Marshall, Oliver Willis, and a host of others...
    I nearly fell out of my chair reading at being mentioned with those heavy-hitters. Good grief, what am I doing in that company, lololol?! Thanks, Gene. I need a cup of tea to recover from reading that one...


    Gay net 'here! TV' picks up UCC ad

    Viacom's faux-gay LOGO rejected it, but here!, the first gay-oriented TV network, will run the United Church of Christ's new "ejector" commercial. Guess the suits in that board room don't have a complex about inclusion, unlike the Viaclone dolts. (US Newswire):
    "As a cable network dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT Americans, 'here! Networks' is proud and honored to broadcast the United Church of Christ's kind and inclusive ad," said Stephen Macias, senior vice president of communications, in a statement to United Church News. "We will not allow our community's interaction with various religious groups to be defined by those who do not include us in their houses of worship, but rather by those who welcome us as part of their respective congregations. We strongly support all faith-based organizations that use their teachings to bring people together, not to divide with fear and prejudice."

    The ad will run indefinitely on "here! TV," Macias said, and could be supplemented with additional gay-positive UCC spots in the future.

    ..."UCC members and churches are grateful for the courtesy and affirmation extended to us by 'here! TV,'" said the Rev. Robert Chase, the UCC's director of communications. "This partnership means that more and more people will hear the gospel message of welcome and inclusion, which is too often reduced by our culture as something reserved only for selective segments of society. It's imperative as people of faith that welcome the stranger, just as Jesus did. As our ad emphasizes, 'God doesn't reject people, and neither do we.'"
    We don't get LOGO on Time Warner Cable, but we do get "here!". It's available on satellite providers DIRECTV (Channel 190) and DISH (Channel 537), and through multiple cable providers, including Adelphia, Cablevision, Comcast, RCN, Starpower and Time Warner Cable.


    Pentagon: yes, we spied on homos

    In addition to looking at the homeland security threat posed by Quakers, grannies and vegans, the Pentagon now admits it has been spending your tax dollars on surveillance of the radical Homosexual AgendaTM, according to the good folks at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

    The Pentagon TALON reports were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by SLDN, to confirm that organizations working for the repeal Don't Ask/Don't Tell were under surveillance.
    "The Department of Defense has now confirmed the existence of a surveillance program monitoring LGBT groups," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. "Pentagon leaders have also acknowledged inappropriately collecting some of the information in the TALON database. That information should be destroyed and no similar surveillance should be authorized in the future. Free expression is not a threat to our national security."

    Although the recently released TALON reports may not be a complete list of groups monitored, it does confirm domestic surveillance of protests at New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. DoD has indicated that it continues to search for other documents related to SLDN’s FOIA request.
    Hat tip, PageOneQ.


    Rowan County, NC schools ban gay-straight alliance

    "We've got to address this issue. We're not in the business of teaching sex, we're in the business of educating our kids. This is Rowan County, not New York City, and I think it's time to use a little Rowan County common sense."
    -- School board member Jim Shuping on the decision to ban GSAs in the NC county
    As I noted in the roundup, bible-beating Charlotte-area AmTaliban Flip Benham of Operation Save America used a press conference in Salisbury to kick off his "God is Going Back to School" campaign, hoping to influence the Rowan-Salisbury School Board as it debated whether to allow a gay-straight alliance.

    And the wingnuts got their way in Empty Wig Liddy Dole's home town. Some more detail, from the local paper there, the Salisbury Post:
    Board members voted 7-0 in favor of Jim Shuping's motion to ban all sexually-oriented clubs — gay, straight or otherwise — and to address any student's emotional issues concerning sexuality with guidance counselors.

    Shuping later added to the motion — at the recommendation of attorney Don Sayers — that the existence of such a club would "materially and substantially interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities in school," a clause that makes banning it legal under the federal Equal Access Act.

    The decision Monday ended months of virulent debate surrounding South's Gay/Straight Alliance. Board members discussed it during their March work session — Shuping made a motion to abolish it then — and decided they could not legally ban it without banning all other non-curricular clubs.
    Oh and the wingnuttery continues, as one cretin stood up, and bleated, apparently unaware of Lawrence v. Texas. You can imagine "Dixie" playing in the background at this meeting.
    Brian Johnson, whose children will attend South Rowan, said a public high school was no place for a Gay/Straight Alliance. "Take a stand for what you believe is right," he told the board. "If it comes down to a lawsuit, there will be help for that."

    Carl Ford, who has been an active supporter of the high school, said sodomy was illegal in North Carolina, so a Gay/Straight Alliance shouldn't exist.

    He also wondered why South was forced to drop its old mascot, the Rebels, when this club — which offends more community members — was being allowed to meet.

    ..."I, too, am here to speak for our children," said Mike Clawson, president of the Salisbury-Rowan chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Homosexual students "are like everybody else's children, and they deserve the same rights as everybody else. The bottom line is, it's the law."

    The crowd booed Clawson as he left the microphone.
    Man, this is embarrassing BS in my home state. As I said, the Triangle is an oasis of sanity. Drive too far outside the bubble and this is what you encounter.


    The email for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education is BOE@rss.k12.nc.us. The web site is here.

    Hat tips, Scott and Triad-area blogger Matt Hill Comer.


    This and that in the mailbag - open thread

    Go ahead, hit me with what's going on out there -- blogwhore and link away...



    Here are some things that recently came in the mailbag.

    * Loaded Orygun (that's also Carla of Preemptive Karma) updates us on a lesbian couple that is taking the state of Oregon to court for preventing the name of the non-birth mother to be on the birth certificate of their child.

    * DBK @ Blanton's and Ashton's emailed about the numnut owner of a popular gym in Philly (frequented by gays) who stupidly supports Senator Man-on-Dog Santorum. Philadelphia's 12th Street Gym owner Bob Guzzardi's wingnuttery garnered enough heat that he decided to sell his share of the gym. Activists later declared the area a "Santorum-Free Zone."

    * Jon @ The Pensito Review has a bone to pick with the "Christian" loser who is suing for the right to hate at Georgia Tech, which has a anti-discrimination policy. The argument is that these measures, intended to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, are actually discriminating against conservative Christians.

    * MadKane's latest ditty is Ode to the Leaker-In-Chief. Check it out.

    * Speaking of ditties, check out Pink featuring Indigo Girls - Dear Mr. President. Thanks, Blender Randy for the pointer.

    * And On the Fritz weighs in on American Idol boot-ee Mandisa, who dropped the Jeebus-bomb on the show too many times, and told the press that "she's not a gay 'Advocate'". Fritz says, "How many dance singles is she gonna sell?" Indeed. There will be no gay icon status in her future...

    * Michael Stickings writes another thought-provoker, Liberalism unbound: Shifting the center of gravity in American politics. A snippet:
    Liberals and Democrats, stand firm. Stand up for what you believe in. Do not give in. There may be room for compromise, for "centrist" policy, but do not abandon liberalism. Do not allow the other side to define the parameters of American politics and thereby the center of gravity thereof. Do not succumb to absolutism, do not turn immoderate, but also do not sacrifice your principles, our principles, for the sake of short-term political gain.

    Remember that America is fundamentally a liberal society. If presented with conviction and compassion, a liberal vision for America will resonate once again with Americans. Don't expect 1964 all over again, but there's no reason why liberals can't balance out conservative efforts to define the parameters of American politics. If they succeed, if we succeed, America may soon look and act more like itself again.
    * Eva and Paul both emailed me about the AFA's latest crowing about giving Ford a wedgie with its boycott. They are both on the mailing list of those Wildmon dirtbags, who take pleasure in beating up the automaker when it's on an economic slide, taking credit for a 5% drop in sales. Pigs. Also, a shareholder resolution asking Ford to stop promoting the "homo agenda" will remain on the docket of the meeting.
    The resolution requests "that Ford Motor Company amend its written equal employment opportunity policy to exclude any reference to privacy issues related to sexual interests, activities or orientation."
    * Blender Scott and NC Triad-area blogger Matt Hill Comer passed along this item about a GSA controversy that has erupted in Rowan County. Unhinged Charlotte-area AmTaliban Flip Benham of Operation Save America used a press conference in Salisbury to kick off his "God is Going Back to School" campaign, inviting "Concerned parents, teachers, pastors, students, and local businessmen are joining together to say, "NO!" to the bullying tactics of the radical homosexual agenda." All over a freaking gay-straight alliance in the schools. More in the Charlotte Observer.

    Scott just emailed me: "Just after the Rev. Flip’s press conference, a largely attended school board meeting voted unanimously to ban a Gay/Straight Alliance club at Rowan High School. 7-0." More here.


    Will: Why McCain might be it

    Columnist George Will has started up a suck-McCain-off-for-2008 campaign, with a fawning commentary this week. His thesis is that McCain is doing what it takes to land the Rethug nom, and that it's all the media's fault for pointing out the Arizona senator's conflicting opinions and cozying to the right. McCain's no tool, according to Will -- just a canny pol.


    He has been unmasked as a "pro-life, pro-family, fiscal conservative." Those words are his, and are a reasonably accurate self-description of the man who voted against the prescription drug entitlement and the most recent transportation bill because of their costs.

    ...St. John of Arizona can seem insufferably certain that he has cornered the market on incorruptibility. So as he begins trying to assemble a presidential majority, he seems, as anyone trying to do that will, like a run-of-the-mill sinner.

    But his quest for the Republicans' 2008 nomination was bound to require tactics inconsistent with his carefully cultivated reputation for unexampled authenticity. He has endorsed teaching "intelligent design" theory in schools, and has sought a detente with Jerry Falwell, one of "the agents of intolerance" he denounced in 2000. But who has ever assembled a presidential constituency without endorsing positions formerly avoided or compromising positions formerly endorsed?

    ...But to those Republicans who turn out to pick presidential nominees, one electoral consideration could trump ideological aversions: California. Ken Khachigian, a veteran of Ronald Reagan's White House, is a California Republican strategist who in 2000 was a senior adviser to McCain's campaign. Khachigian says McCain could "put California in play." McCain might be the only conceivable Republican nominee who could.

    To put California in play is not the same thing as carrying it. But carrying it is not necessary to significantly improve a GOP nominee's national chances. If the nomination of McCain could force the Democratic nominee to spend a number of days and, say, $30 million to secure California's 55 electoral votes, those days and dollars could not be spent in Ohio, Florida and other battleground states.

    This November could produce what McCain could use - grim election returns for Republicans. If on Nov. 8 Republicans are reeling and a re-elected Hillary Clinton is rampant, hitherto unenthralled Republicans might suddenly consider McCain as virtuous as he considers himself. For the politically nervous, "virtuous" is a synonym for "electable."
    So, all of The Tool's notorious recent flip-flopping on issues as he sucks up to the right is now considered a good tactic? Tell that to Kerry, who suffered from the eternal damnation of the perceived flip-flop from the wingers in 2004. Please.

    The easy way to counteract his alleged electability is to expose the obvious early and often:


    Get a room, already. via Mike Tidmus.

    Shakes Sis said it best:
    On McCain's slavish devotion to Dear Leader: [P]erhaps McCain is actually a Real Doll, as it occurs to me that the owners of Real Dolls and the Bush administration have approximately the same needs-loyalty, compliance, someone who looks real enough but doesn't ask too many questions, a realistic body with no brain to help convey one's basest urges. And I don't think McCain is the only Real Doll floating around the Beltway. He's certainly not the only GOP hack willing to get repeatedly fucked while never saying a word.
    But have no fear. We on the left don't have to go it alone in destroying The Tool. It looks like our knuckle-draggers in the swamps of Freeperland are doing a fine job of slagging McCain...

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    Why McCain might be it

    Only if the "it" was how Hillary ended elected President.

    Anyone but McCain. Oh yea and Mitt Romney too...

    McQuig would be the worst possible candidate to run against Hitlery. He is a RINO of the first order who has done everything possible to limit free speech with his moronic McCain-Feingold legislation. He is a true Manchurian candidate who has NO business at the head of the most powerful nation on earth. A leopard cannot change it's spots. McQuig can bark and howl about what a conservative he is to the media and anyone who will listen. Those of us who have watched himknow the real truth.

    if he get the nomination, I'm not voting, and I'll be encouraging others not to vote either.....regardless of if Hillary is nominated or not.

    The headline left out an "sh" in front of "it".

    No they didn't. It's the 'it', as in 'it's full of it'

    You know Romney and Rudy are bad by the fact, that McCain can actually run to the right of them and Romney and Rudy are probably the only 2 guys in the country who could make McCain look like a real conservative.

    McCain would beat Hillary in an electoral rout not seen since 1984. The fact is we can do much better.

    NO to McLAME!

    McCain is not just a Rino, he is also literally insane. He has already openly attack first amendment rights, if he became Peesident, he would do more damage to the U.S. than the Clintons did in their eight years in the White House.

    Let's not forget his views on illegal immigration - the McKennedy amnesty is his doing.

    I wouldn't vote for him for all the mexicans in the US.

    If it's Hillary he's running against, I'll be dragging everyone I can to vote for him.

    "McCain .... is a conservative Republican. "

    ROTFL -- I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Just look at his voting record. He recently authored and sponsored the "terrorist protection" bill, that doesn't sound like something a conservative Republican would do. Not to mention all his other votes that were not only NOT "conservative Republican", but there were opposite of the votes of the Republican majority.

    Frankly, I don't disagree with much of what McCain has to say. However, the man is nuts. He scares me.

    Thanks for the reminder. This guy is arguably more dangerious than Hillary.

    "McCain would beat Hillary in an electoral rout not seen since 1984."

    Only if he is running on a Democratic ticket; on a Republican ticket he would be an excellent reason to go play golf on election day.

    george Allen will be the GOP nominee ! Bank on it !

    Allen is a marshmallow. "Jet Puffed" is not presidential timber.

    You are entitled to your baseless opinion.


    26 posted on 04/10/2006 12:31:07 AM PDT by Old Seadog (Inside every old person is a young person saying "WTF happened?".)

    If the McCainiac is it, it will be without this child, no more will I vote for the lesser evil. Depending on who is on the opposing ticket, McCain may be the greater evil.

    Not my favorite, and I wouldn't vote for him in the Primary. If it came down to him against Hillary, or Feingold against Hillary, well most any Dem, I would vote for McPain. He could never do as much home to this country as a Liberal.

    Fortunately, the Republican nominee is chosen by Republican primary voters, not by insufferable Beltway swishes like George Will.

    He has endorsed teaching "intelligent design" theory in schools... I already rather much detested McCain, but pigs will fly through a blizzard in hell before I'd vote for him now.

    I don't "hate" McCain, but I sure would never vote for him. It isn't a matter of hate, it's just that I can't stand him. As soon as I see him, I get angry. That's all it takes. Especially after seeing him up there with Ted fat head Kennedy on the amnesty thing. I can't say "that was the last straw", because the last straw was a long time ago. Let's just say, after seeing him up there the other day with fat-head, "that was the last, last straw". I don't care what the "polls say" ... he has about as much chance of getting the nomination as Lindsey (Lindsay? - what's his name?) Graham-cracker (or whatever his name is - he was up there too, with fat-head). What happened to Rudy? He isn't running? God knows where this thing is going, but I like George Allen of Virginia.

    If NovoCaine can get past the primaries I can see him comfortably winning the General election against any Democrat. That is unless the base deserts him in November. But then we are not letting him get past the primaries, so McPain can forget it.

    He comes off as a wack job even if we agree 100% !

    Absolutely not. I would never vote for anyone that to my knowledge supports teaching "intelligent design" as if it were science. ID is not science and science education in America has enough problems without teaching mysticism and philosophy as if they're science. Who knows what future scientist's achievements could potentially get aborted by teaching him unscientific nonsense as if it were science??

    The only way a RINO like McCain gets my vote is if he's got a gun to my head. I'd rather 'waste' my vote on a third party conservative than REALLY waste my vote on an insane nutbag like him.

    And for anyone still remotely considering that dirtbag--Senator Keating Five McCain, lately Mr. "Campaign Reform," didn't vote against the 'bridge to nowhere' when he could have stood tall against pork and had it COUNT instead of grandstanding.


    Tim Kaine will not sign VA marriage amendment

    Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, the recipient of an avalanche of criticism on this blog for his spineless indifference regarding the effect of the state's hostile marriage amendment on his gay constituents, issued a statement urging voters to reject it, and will not give the bill his blessing by signing it. The amendment will be on the ballot this fall.

    As he is a "New (faux) Dem", Kaine's using the cover that it will inadvertently affect unmarried heterosexual couples, and wasted no time in his statement reiterating, a la sHillary, that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman. W-E-A-K. (WaPo):
    In a symbolic move, a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage will go on the Nov. 7 ballot without the signature of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

    ..."I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and current Virginia law makes that abundantly clear," Kaine, a former civil-rights lawyer, said in a statement yesterday.

    "But I am concerned that the broad wording of the proposed constitutional amendment goes much further than that, threatening the constitutional rights of individuals to enter into private contracts, and also threatening the discretion of employers to extend certain benefits, such as health care coverage, to unmarried couples."

    Meanwhile, the Family Foundation Action yesterday criticized the Democratic governor -- who reached out to social and religious conservatives during the campaign -- for "reversing his position" because he completed a candidate survey last year indicating support of the amendment.

    "It is disappointing that a governor who has spoken so eloquently about his faith has chosen to break his campaign promise," Victoria Cobb, the group's president, said in a statement.
    This heinous amendment will ban civil unions, domestic partnerships and any relationship/legal arrangement that approximates marriage; how vocal will Kaine be in asking voters to reject it?

    The text:
    "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."


    Empire State voters in favor of same-sex marriage

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Great news, as New York State's highest court will hear a legal challenge to the prohibition of gay marriage next month. Via 365gay.com:
    The majority of people across New York State support same-sex marriage according to a new poll released Monday.

    The survey shows that 53 percent of prospective voters support marriage equality for gays and lesbians, while 38 percent do not. The poll was conducted by Global Strategy Group in March for Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's largest LGBT civil rights organization and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

    It is the third Global Strategy poll for Pride Agenda and shows as New Yorkers continue to become aware of gay and lesbian families support for same-sex marriage grows. An identical poll in 2004 found 47 percent in favor of marriage equality with 46 percent against.

    ...The New York survey also found that nearly 60 percent of those questioned believe out-of-state same-sex marriages should be recognized and that politicians supporting gay marriage would likely not face opposition when they come up for re-election.

    "New Yorkers have been thinking through this issue for three years now," said Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. "They’ve seen our families; they know we’re in loving, committed relationships and that many of us are raising children. They’ve heard how our families are harmed by the discriminatory denial of marriage and they’re moving to support us."


    Immigration vs. gay rights -- not a zero-sum game

    Blogger Jasmyne Cannick opened up a huge can of worms with her Advocate commentary, Gays first, then illegals, taking the position that LGBT citizens -- legal, taxpaying, and voting individuals don't yet have all of their rights and that they should be at the head of the line.

    I have to be honest with you, I don't see any reason to pit the undocumented immigrant struggle with that of LGBT citizens, despite some similarities in plight for equality and legal recognition, but Jasmyne slammed this down on the table, and I'm sorry to say, it's in a non-productive way.
    American citizens continue to be denied the right to marry because of their sexual orientation while their families are deprived of access to the 1,138 federal rights, protections, and responsibilities automatically granted to married heterosexual couples.

    It's a slap in the face to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to take up the debate on whether to give people who are in this country illegally additional rights when we haven't even given the people who are here legally all of their rights.

    If we're going to hold 24-hour Senate sessions using taxpayers' dollars, let those sessions be used to come up with a comprehensive plan that allows America's same-gender-loving stakeholders to have the opportunity to have the right to make decisions on a partner's behalf in a medical emergency or the right to receive family-related Social Security benefits.
    It is not a slap in the face to recognize that this country hasn't dealt with these workers, who toil at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, picking the fruits and vegetables we eat, mowing lawns, cleaning homes, building houses -- doing work that no citizen can do (note I didn't say willing to do), because employers cannot exploit U.S. citizens as they do undocumented workers. The underground economy pulls wages down for all workers in this sphere, and that's the way these employers -- and the government -- like it.

    I usually find Jasmyne's take on race and politics, particularly regarding tensions between the religious black community and gay people of color enlightening and clarifying; this column seems misguided, simply blind to the effect of the negativity it engenders -- for no good reason.
    Immigration reform needs to get in line behind the LGBT civil rights movement, which has not yet realized all of its goals.

    Which is not to say that I don't recognize the plight of illegal immigrants. I do. But I didn't break the law to come into this country. This country broke the law by not recognizing and bestowing upon me my full rights as a citizen. As a black lesbian I find it hard to jump on the immigration reform bandwagon when my own bandwagon hasn't even left the barn.
    I understand her frustration; watching the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers and supporters around the country today illustrates that critical mass matters. These immigrants are no longer in the shadows and the White House and the Hill are apoplectic. Who wouldn't be when this problem has not been dealt with for decades -- and it blows up on their watch threatening to split their political party, one that has built its base on homophobia, racism and social injustice.

    The fact that LGBT citizens and other citizen minorities cannot possibly create the same tidal wave of visible activism that we have seen over the last couple of weeks is just a fact of life. Movements don't form on a schedule.

    It does not mean there isn't the passion or effective activism or support for LGBT or black civil rights; we are watching a new movement taking shape, forming and realizing its power. We should be building bridges, not burning them, but that, sadly, is what Jasmyne appears to be doing.
    President Bush wants a comprehensive guest worker program.

    With all due respect, Mr. President, there can be no guest worker program until we resolve the issue of making sure that all lesbian and gay legal workers have the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner and the right to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.
    Our economy at present is dependent on the backs of this particular group of immigrants to a frightening degree now realized in full flower, and we have a president offering up a plan to ensure that these immigrants work in a defined second-class status, able to be exploited legally. This is not right.

    Our elected officials have been mute about the matter until now, and have never been held accountable by voters to solve the problem because we too were participating in the don't ask/don't tell charade of supporting the underground economy grinding along on undocumented labor - gay, straight, all races, rich, poor and middle class.

    While I support legal immigration and efforts to enforce the laws of the land, the reality is that we cannot simply round up all these people and send them to their homeland. Once the anti-immigrant folks finally get this through their heads, maybe we can have a sane discussion.

    Does any of this rigamarole mean gay rights are any less important? No. But what if you are a gay U.S. citizen involved with an immigrant who could be deported at any time? That's the plight of many gay couples as well, how does this fit into Jasmyne's equation?

    Kate and I were thinking about this issue and we both noted that you could compare civil unions and Bush's guest worker BS as analogous. Both are simply poor, diluted offerings to the respective groups that cannot and will not provide the benefits of marriage/citizenship. What these mechanisms are intended to do is to placate the groups, and to institutionalize second-class status, making it infinitely harder to achieve full equality.

    There are too many simply gray areas here to begin pitting one disenfranchised group against another when the stakes are so high for both.

    What echos in my mind as I read the commentary is how myopic it is when we look at the countless posts on Jasmyne's blog and of course here on the Blend about the black civil rights leaders who have turned their backs on black gays and lesbians. These so-called leaders of the black community are bellying up to the faith-based trough, cozying up to Dobsons, Sheldons and the other AmTaliban leaders who would have likely justified segregation a couple of decades ago. They embrace bigotry in the name of protecting marriage, vilify the gay parishioners from the pulpit, and rightfully earned the scorn of Jasmyne in her writing.

    Civil rights is not a zero-sum game -- something I've said about the black homophobes who want to deny LGBT people civil equality. I wonder how and why this relevance of this point has been lost in the obvious thought Jasmyne put into the Advocate essay.

    ***

    An open letter from queer people of color responding to Jasmyne Cannick's column makes several cogent points. A snippet:
    And we ask those who share the destructive views of this article to remember the immortal words of Audre Lorde when she said that "There is no hierarchy of oppression�. We reject any attempts to pit the struggle of multiple communities against each other and firmly believe that "Rights" are not in limited supply. We condemn the "scarcity of rights" perspective espoused by Cannick and other members of the LGBT movement, and are surprised to see members of our community trafficking in such ugliness. But then, one reason why it has always been so hard to shift power in this country is because the ruling class has successfully made us believe that there are only a few deserving groups to whom rights can be given. This strategy has always been used to divide oppressed groups from coming together to work in coalition.

    We are painfully aware that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities still lack many basic protections under the law in this country, including the right to care for and support all of our families, in the various ways in which we construct family and kinship. Nevertheless, supporting immigrant rights, while we continue to work for LGBT liberation, does nothing to hurt our cause. In fact, we believe the opposite to be true, and want to work towards building powerful coalitions between immigrant and LGBT movements to work together for social justice.

    We are also aware that many immigrant right advocates have (intentionally or not) used anti-black rhetoric to move their agenda forward. Arguments such as "Don't treat us like "criminals'" or "We are doing work that "other' Americans won't do" have the effect of positioning immigrant narratives as subtly juxtaposed with American stereotypes of non-immigrant black communities. They leave native-born black Americans as among the only people who do not have access to the immigrant narrative, and so are in a permanent position of subordination, as the state consistently negotiates and redefines citizenship and "American-ness" for almost everyone but blacks. Nevertheless, the solution to this problem is not to abandon support for the struggle of immigrant communities. Rather, we call on immigrant movements and (non-immigrant) black organizations to work together for real racial and economic justice in this country. Together these movements can work to end the exploitation and targeting of both communities, and to ensure that black folks and immigrants do not end up having to choose between competing for low-paying jobs, or being targeted for detainment or imprisonment.
    This is a heavy topic, and one that quite frankly, makes me sad. The real enemy is the Right, and they relish in watching circular firing squads of this nature, because they are so raw.

    I hope that those in conflict can find common ground.

    ***

    A recent WaPo article illustrates why these undocumented immigrants, a group that the conservative evangelical movement has actively courted, need to be reminded that when it comes down to it, the AmTaliban will throw them under the bus to serve its own agenda and base. They are, as I said, the real enemy here.
    Some predominantly white evangelical groups, such as the Christian Coalition and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, have strongly opposed the Kennedy-McCain bill, labeling it an "amnesty" package. They support a House-passed measure that would concentrate on sealing U.S. borders and enforcing existing immigration laws.

    "We think our national boundaries should be respected. That's a biblical principle also," said Christian Coalition lobbyist Jim Backlin.

    Many larger groups, such as James C. Dobson's Colorado-based Focus on the Family, have not taken a stand on the issue. Rodriguez, of the Hispanic Christian conference, said his group wants to know why.

    "We need to know from white evangelical leaders why did they not support comprehensive immigration reform, why they came down in favor exclusively of enforcement, without any mention of the compassionate side, without any mention of the Christian moral imperatives," he said.

    "So down the road, when the white evangelical community calls us and says, 'We want to partner with you on marriage, we want to partner on family issues,' my first question will be: 'Where were you when 12 million of our brothers and sisters were about to be deported and 12 million families disenfranchised?' "


    Condi vs. Boobs


    Hey, did someone mention boobs?
    (US News & World Report) Foreign Affairs, the Economist, and certainly U.S.News & World Report are titles you'd expect to see at the two State Department newsstands visited by the public, employees, and their kids, but Playboy and Penthouse? Yikes! Or so thought Condoleezza Rice a while back when she began receiving briefings in Foggy Bottom before her confirmation hearings as secretary of state. Alerted by an aide that the skin magazines, partially clad in brown paper covers, were placed beside newsmagazines and close to candy, nuts, and stuffed animals, she said, "I want them out."
    So, lemme get this straight. There is some sort of newstand at State. They sell many magazines. Two of the magazines feature women's naked bodies, but are tastefully covered by brown paper bags. No one at State is forced to purchase these magazines. State does not issue the magazines to employees, and I doubt they allow the magazines to be open and lying around or read within the work environment.

    So, what's the problem?
    A few weeks later, when she took over from Colin Powell, the eviction began. "The secretary wanted them gone immediately," says senior adviser Jim Wilkinson." She didn't understand how a department that claimed to fight for the rights of women worldwide could sell pornography that degrades women."
    Condi, you kindasleezzy reptilian Aunt Thomasina, how dare you say that while your administration denies federal funding to assist with women's birth control and abortion choices, while you support the Catholic entities that won't distribute condoms in AIDS-ravaged Africa, while your slimy brethren like Tom DeLay fought like hell to keep the government from enacting worker protection for the women and children exploited in the Philippines and Marianas for cheap labor and sexual slavery, and while you and the government do nothing to fight against the ritualized clitoridectomies happening throughout the world!

    I am so sick of the "pornography degrades women" bromide. Yes, there are levels of pornography and the sex industry that take advantage of and degrade women, but that's not the Playboy or Penthouse level. Those magazines are highly professional and pay very well. A centerfold within has been the launching point for many successful careers.
    And, he adds, the magazines "could be seen as contributing to a hostile work environment."
    OK, if the centerfolds are taped up on a cubicle wall, that's hostile. If they're taped up in a well-hidden locker, that might be hostile, assuming someone who takes offense ever got a peek at it. But merely selling the closed magazine in a brown paper envelope... that's supposed to be a hostile work environment? Puh-leaze. Long ago we passed the milestone demarking where "sexual harrassment" jumped the shark and became too politically correct for our own good. (My employer supplies medical devices to the military. All throughout sales and marketing are pictures taped on cubicles of various soldiers in MASH units being treated with our equipment. Now, if I'm a Gulf War vet with PTSD, and I get queasy everytime I see an image of an injured soldier in the desert wearing beige/sand BDUs, is that a hostile work environment?)
    He teamed with State's internal manager and several State women who had been campaigning against the publications but had gotten nowhere. Now that they have succeeded, some of those women are eyeing other lad mags like Maxim and FHM. But State News's Richard Williams isn't listening. It was no problem banning the XXX fare: It didn't move very fast. "But Maxim," he says, "is a bestseller."
    Read: low-selling naked boobies; go ahead and take them. High-selling barely-covered boobies; over my dead body! (Perhaps the Playboy and Penthouse ban came about because the articles are written at too high a comprehension level for government employees. If so, that would explain why Maxim and FHM are OK.)

    [Crossposted behind the counter, in a brown paper bag, out of sight and reach of the sensitive children and prudish adults, at Radical Writ]

    P.S. Russ's Rule of Naked Women: The only thing better than a naked woman is a another different naked woman.


    Dubya's Ownership Society - The Economy's Great... for the Owners


    Why is it that the administration touts all of these figures about the burgeoning economy, yet Chimpy's approval numbers are still stuck in the mid-30's? Simple. Zogby and Gallup aren't talking to enough CEOs:
    Even after a decade of sharply rising CEO pay, 2005 proved a watershed for a select group of executives. Their paydays -- or potential paydays -- broke $100 million.

    Median 2005 pay among chief executives running most of the nation's 100 largest companies soared 25% to $17.9 million, dwarfing the 3.1% average gain by typical American workers, USA TODAY found in its annual analysis of CEO pay.
    Hey, average American worker, how's that 3.1% raise doing for you? What's that, you actually lost wages when you consider that the average rate of inflation for 2005 was 3.39%.
    Coming off 2004's 25% jump in big-company CEO pay, the sharp rise in executive compensation perplexes corporate governance experts who expected temperance following scandals at Enron, WorldCom and Tyco, increasing scrutiny by regulators and shareholder activists, and starting this year, new accounting rules requiring expensing of stock options.
    Matt at MyDD points out the other obvious issue: there's plenty of money to pay workers a living wage:
    It's not as though corporations don't have the money to spare:
    U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

    Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966.

    For all of 2005, before-tax profits totaled $1.35 trillion, up from $1.16 trillion in 2004 and just $767 billion in 2001.

    Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.
    And it's not as though corporations balance sheets are hurting. According to the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds report, corporations are the only economic sector to actually increase their savings during this expansion. Undistributed Corporate have increased from 192 billion in 2001 to 418 billion in the third quarter of 2005. Clearly, they have the money.
    Note that this issue of ballooning CEO pay is the flip side of the illegal alien undocumented worker coin. The "Ownership Society" term coined by Bush is just too scarily accurate, as it describes the days when those in society had ownership over the workers, whether they were outright slaves, sharecroppers, indentured servants, or today where they are minimum wage workers who haven't seen a raise since 1997 (40 hrs / week @ $5.15 / hr = $206.00 before taxes), workers with no union protection, and undocumented workers who can be paid a sub-minimum wage pittance and suffer gladly any abuse or maltreatment for fear of La Migra. Ah, those were the days and the Ownership Society can't wait to bring 'em back full force.

    America is addicted to cheap labor, and it is only through cheap labor and a shrinking middle class that the fat cats at the very top are able to command egrigiously high salaries and compensation packages -- even when they do a lousy job. They got their cheap foreign outsourced labor through NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA, and everything they can't outsource they'll "insource" by bringing the cheap labor here, whether it's engineers from India on an H1-B visa or it's fruit pickers from Mexico sneaking across the border and being hired by these businessmen and paid under the table.

    The big "winner" in the CEO pool sweepstakes is Capital One Financial CEO Richard Fairbank, who leads the list after exercising 3.6 million stock options that were set to expire for a gain of almost $250 million. What's in your wallet, indeed?

    There were 131 CEOs whose total compensation for 2005 exceeds $10M. Six of those made more that $100M. Now, I don't begrudge anyone getting rich, and certainly running a large corporation is at least as hard as starring in "Mission: Impossible III" or dunking a basketball. Still, there should be some sort of supply and demand effect on CEO pay, shouldn't there? We've got a list here of 131 CEOs; is CapitalOne's $280M CEO really 28 times more effective than Dow Chemical's $10M CEO? I guess so.

    Economics is not my strong suit, and I'll admit that I don't know enough about business to know how much work, dedication, and risk that CEO job entails. I don't really know how scarce the talent for CEOing is, nor what sort of practice, study, and mental and physical hardships one must go through to be a CEO.

    But at first glance, I can't believe that it takes more high pressure mental focus than sinking a 30' birdie putt at the Masters (Tiger Woods: $80M in 2005). I can't believe it is more demanding and stressful than driving an IRL car at speeds approaching 200 MPH (Michael Schumacher: $80M in 2005). I can't believe it takes more quick thinking and split-second decision making than setting the NFL single season touchdown pass record (Peytom Manning: $42M in 2005). I can't believe their skills are more rare than a 7'1" 325lb. man who has dunked his way to three championship rings (Shaquille O'Neal: $32M in 2005). I can't even believe it's as tough as running a daytime talk show and production company (Oprah Winfrey: $255M in 2005).

    I've always liked the Ben & Jerry idea of maximum wage, where the CEOs pay is tied to the wage of the average employee's wage. After all, if you are the leader, you shouldn't prosper at the expense of those you lead, but rather in cooperation with those you lead.

    When I write these things, I get accused of hating America, capitalism, rich people, baseball, apple pie, and Old Glory, which is ridiculous, because I only hate baseball. I like capitalism... to a point, and that point is where some players make it to the top and no longer have effective competition.

    The way I see it, capitalism is like evolution, but with a system of keeping score. Like evolution, there are all these organisms competing with each other for resources. Each organism has only self-preservation and replication on its mind. Effective organisms survive, others die. Some organisms mutate and become more effective organisms. Some organisms merge with other organisms to become more powerful. As they evolve, the big fish eat the little fish, and all the organisms must adapt or die to changes in the environment.

    The motivating factor for these kind of organisms is greed, which, as Gordon Gecko reminded us in Wall Street, is good. The greed is these organisms' will to survive. Just like cavemen who would chow down on a mammoth, eating as much as they could and storing the rest for fear of the next famine, guarding their spoils from other predators.

    This stasis is maintained, so long as all the organisms balance one another. Where things go awry in nature is when the ratio of predator to prey is out-of-balance. When there are too few bats, we get too many bugs. When there are too many fishermen, we end up with too few fish.

    In capitalism, greed is good when there is a balance between competitors. If Joe opens up a coffee shop across from Jane, they can compete against each other fairly. Whomever makes the better coffee and provides the better service will survive.

    But if Starbucks opens across the street from Joe and Jane, both of them will wither and die. Starbucks is big enough that Joe and Jane cannot compete fairly. Starbucks (or Wal-Mart, or Home Depot, etc.) can leverage the profits from their other stores to prop up a fledgling store. They can take a loss on the new store for months. They can drive down prices to starve the competitor. Thus the big boys get bigger and bigger, the bigger they get the less competition they face, which makes them even bigger, to the point where they really have no competition and they have become a monopoly, duopoly (Coke or Pepsi, anyone?), or cartel.

    That's why I support strict regulation and oversight over corporations. The only predator big enough to police these multinationals is government. Government is akin to nature in that it is the force that equalizes the playing field. Government is the 300-mile asteroid that can obliterate the dinosaurs of crony capitalism in favor of the smaller, nimbler, more adaptable mammals of small business

    However, in the Cheney Maladministration, government is just another business, run by an out-of-touch entitled rich white male CEO. His government exists to fatten the corporations, not hold them to account. They've never been interested in checks and balances from Congress or the Judiciary, so why should they be a check or a balance to runaway corporate greed and malfeasance? If proper government is a coyote that keeps the ranks of the ultra-rich corporatist herd thinned down to manageable levels, then Bush's government is a corporate rancher illegally shooting the coyotes and pumping hormones and steroids into the cattle to make them unnaturally big and fat.

    Ay, that's my limit of tortured metaphor for the day. To recap: CEOs way too rich, working Americans way too poor, and somehow, it's George W. Bush's fault.


    Prison officer faces punishment for screening 'Brokeback' to inmates

    "I want to make it clear, it wasn't the subject matter — it was the graphic nature of the sexually explicit scenes."
    -- Massachusetts Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin on why an officer is being reprimanded for showing "Brokeback"
    Help me out folks -- what movie is this spokesperson talking about? I didn't see any sexually explicit scenes in this film, certainly I saw nothing remotely approaching activity Ms. Wiffin might get a gander at if she took a stroll around MCI-Norfolk, the facility where the Oscar-winning film was screened by an unnamed prison official. For god's sake. (SFGate):
    Massachusetts Department of Correction spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said the officer, whose name was not released, had not followed standard procedure for screening the movie for excessive violence, assaults on correctional staff, nudity or explicit sexual content.

    She would not reveal what discipline the officer could face.

    The officer showed the movie Thursday at MCI-Norfolk, a medium security prison about 25 miles southwest of Boston. According to Wiffin, a deputy supervisor came in as the movie was showing and asked if the officer had screened it first. He said no. Since only 20 minutes remained of the movie, the inmates were allowed to see the end, she said.
    As far as she knew, no other personnel had been disciplined for showing a movie.

    Hat tip, Paul


    NGLTF report analyzes the GOP courtship of blacks using homophobia

    I'd be excited to see the GOP finally making a serious push for black voters-if the party was offering fresh ideas on police profiling, housing discrimination, unemployment and other issues of importance to black folks. But the focus of the meeting wasn't on any of that. Rather it was on the gosh-darned 'homosexual agenda.' It would be the height of stupidity for African-Americans to align themselves with those whose philosophical forefathers maintained the machinery of our subjugation. It would be the height of hypocrisy to do so in an effort to deny someone else their civil rights.
    -- Leonard Pitts Jr., African-American author, discussing a GOP meeting between 70 African-American clergy and leaders of the Republican National Committee
    The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute has released a report exposing the GOP's latest attempt to win over black votes, particularly in the religious community by tying 'moral values' to opposition to gay civil rights rather than addressing actual priorities of the African-American community that the Bush administration has completely ignored. It's all about the smokescreen and dragging out the gay boogeyman once again.

    A couple of high-profile Rethugs who have been at the forefront of the values movement get special treatment in the report -- Rick Santorum and Trent Lott:

    Like President Bush, Santorum feels very comfortable injecting his faith into many topics, a fact that may appeal to African-American churchgoers. However, Santorum's actions belie his rhetoric. For example, many African-American families live in abject poverty in this country, struggling to survive on income provided by one or two minimum wage jobs with few if any benefits and little hope for advancement. Santorum not only voted 17 times against raising the minimum wage, but personally enjoys an income of $162,100, an amount that he claims leaves his family living "...paycheck to paycheck, absolutely."

    Santorum not only voted amount that he claims 17 times against raising the minimum wage, but personally leaves his family living enjoys an income of $162,100, an amount that he claims leaves his family living "...paycheck to paycheck, absolutely."

    Our analysis demonstrates that Santorum has consistently opposed legislation with the potential to profoundly improve the lives of African-Americans, despite the fact that he is a key leader in a political party that is actively recruiting African-Americans because of its position on "moral values."


    Another conservative Republican congressional leader with a poor record of advocating for issues important to African-Americans is Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, who served as Senate majority leader from 1996 to 2002 despite having a long history of opposition to civil rights and other legislation that would assist African-Americans. He scored only six out of 100 on the NAACP index and fared even worse on the LCCR index, scoring only four out of 100. However, his status as a reliable conservative vote is reflected in his 100 percent rating from FRC and 96 percent rating from the ACU.

    Lott has long been associated with the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) as well as the segregationist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), an organization whose statement of principles includes opposition to, "…all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called 'affirmative action' and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.

    The extensive NGLTF report also tears into the hypocrisy of the religious leaders tied to the GOP that court black support as well, such as unhinged Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and James Dobson of Focus on the Family. All three of these men have a hotline to the White House.

    The report also highlights examples of black leaders who publicly support gay civil equality -- the late Coretta Scott King, Julien Bond, Rev. Joseph Lowery, and Congressman John Lewis, each has frequently denounced the right wing's attempts to continuously pit black and gay communities against one another.


    The question is, how successful will Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's tactics be as he asks black voters to "come home" to the "party of Lincoln"? The NGLTF report notes that in the last seven presidential elections, the Republican candidate has received no more than 11 percent of the black vote. With the hellish handling of Katrina exposing the Bush administration's regard for minority poor, will any significant amount of the black vote buy this line of homobigot crap that the GOP is planning to use?

    Can the continual faith-based payoff of black pastors heading up mega churches turn enough votes to make a difference?


    Get out the hanky for the Christian Coalition

    The WaPo has an article on the beautiful downward spiral of the Christian Coalition, as it wallows in deep debt and is being abandoned by chapters left and right. The brainchild of Crazy Pat and the former home of Abramoff bedmate and pious whizkid Ralph Reed is a shell of its once-powerful self.
    In an era when conservative Christians enjoy access and influence throughout the federal government, the organization that fueled their rise has fallen on hard times.


    The once-mighty Christian Coalition, founded 17 years ago by the Rev. Pat Robertson as the political fundraising and lobbying engine of the Christian right, is more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors' lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters.

    In March, one of its most effective chapters, the Christian Coalition of Iowa, cut ties with the national organization and reincorporated itself as the Iowa Christian Alliance, saying it "found it impossible to continue to carry a name that in any way associated us with this national organization."
    I burst out laughing at this paragraph. Oh, it's too good.
    At its peak a decade ago, the Christian Coalition deployed a dozen lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Today, it has a single Washington employee who works out of his home. Its phone number with a 202 area code is automatically forwarded to a small office in Charleston, S.C.
    Hat tip, Holly.


    Boobage and the governor's race in Alabama

    The governor's race in Alabama sure is getting interesting. The Libertarian Party has selected Loretta Nall as its candidate and she's getting a lot of attention, and surprise, it's not all about the issues. Gee...


    Her slogan is Vote Nall Y'all...It's Just Common Sense.This is a race with the disgraced, de-benched judge Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore in it, and former governor Don Siegelman, who is being tried on racketeering charges. Kathy at Birmingham Blues notes:
    Her platform includes support for initiative & referendum, drug policy and prison reform, tax cuts for private and home school families, repealing sales tax on food, non-compliance with the Patriot and REAL ID Acts, calling for Alabama National Guard troops to be brought home from Iraq, separation of religion and government, legal lottery and casino gambling run by private enterprise, and the promotion and development of alternative fuel sources so that Alabama can begin to decrease its dependence on foreign oil.

    I'm happy that the people of Alabama can choose between three candidates who didn't end up fired or indicted based on their performance in previous government positions. It's also good to have an outspoken woman in the race.
    Nall is a woman who isn't afraid (in the bible belt) to put the link "Boobs & Panties....Who Knew??" right up on her campaign web site. That's refreshing.

    If you're wondering about the whole booby thing, the well-endowed gubernatorial candidate had to put up with two guys named Bob who are fixated on Ms. Nall's breasticles -- and not even nude ones -- it doesn't take much in God's country.

    Bob #1 , editor of the The Montgomery Independent, Bob Martin, selected a picture of Ms. Nall that showed some cleavage. Here's the boobage that shocked Bob #2, columnist Bob Ingram, in whose column the photo ran:



    Here's Ingram's reaction after this shot ran:
    Allow me to express a personal note of appreciation to Bob Martin, the editor of this newspaper, for finding a picture of gubernatorial candidate Loretta Nall to run with my column last week. I am sure it attracted a lot of readers.

    In 55 years of political writing, that was a first for me—-a picture in my column of a woman displaying cleavage. I can only hope that my mother...and I know for a fact where she ended in the after life...didn’t see that column. She wouldn’t have approved of that picture.
    Nall, in turn, sent both Bobs a fabulous letter on the matter. A snippet (and you have to go read the whole thing).
    Earlier this week it came to my attention that you had supplied a photo of me for use in Mr. Bob Ingram's column. While I missed the first column I happened to catch the second one containing Mr. Ingram's apparent surprise at discovering the fact that I have breasts. GASP!

    ...It was quite shocking to me to see my breasts being discussed in the context of my gubernatorial election campaign and by a highly respected political columnist. Why, I'm even thinking of changing my campaign slogan to "Less Bob....More Boob!"

    I stopped by your office yesterday morning in hopes of discussing this matter with you in person but you were not in yet. I purchased a copy of the paper to see what all the uproar was about and discovered the photo you had used was from at least two years ago and on a website that has nothing to do with my campaign.

    While I am in no way ashamed of the photo, a little cleavage never hurt anyone after all, I have to question your decisions of not contacting me for a photo and using information from a website other than my campaign website, which is located at http://www.nallforgovernor.com .

    I also question why you chose that particular photo out of about 200 available on the internet, many of which were more suitable for the political nature of the article in which the photo appeared. It doesn't seem to be a decision that a person of your journalistic credibility and background would make.

    On the up side, my web traffic has been through the roof....I guess nothing drives people to website quite like a shot at seeing some high profile boobies. If nothing else, you have secured me the "horny guy" vote that exists among your readers.
    Nall, btw, has worked out the whole shebang with editor Bob Martin, and she posts an update here, where she said: "I'll drop you a yard sign by when I am in Montgomery later this week. Would you like your sign with or without cleavage? :)"

    ***

    After all the skyrocketing traffic to her site, Nall also posted this as an update "to help a sister out" -- go girl:
    If you are reading this blog and the stories about the boobies and panties made you laugh then make a $1 contribution to my campaign.

    If everyone reading over the last two weeks had contributed $1 then I would have enough money to finance ballot access and the rest of my entire campaign for Governor of Alabama. It really is that simple.
    Women of ample cleavage must stick together; the assumption that boobs=stupid, boobs=slut or boobs=return to mommy's teat surfaces all too quickly -- and openly -- as we see here in completely inappropriate, irrelevant ways. Are "the twins" always what matters first to these folks?

    Yet another reason why breast reductions are so popular.

    ***

    Kathy received a great letter from Loretta Nall today:
    Dear Kathy,

    Thank you for posting about my campaign on your site. People from all over the US are making contributions at a time when I greatly need them. Bless you woman for promoting me.

    I posted on your blog but also wanted to tell you in a seperate email that as Governor I will veto any legislation banning gay marriage. The government does not belong in our bedroom and they do not have any power under the constitution to define marriage. Did you know that the only reason a marriage license was required in the first place was to keep inter-racial couples from marrying after slavery ended. Before that one was not required.

    I am happy to state that on the internet, in the news media and to anyone else who asks me about my position on gay marriage. And by all means let the gay community in Alabama know that I am an ally. If you have events where speakers are required I would be happy to speak or if you would like to organize something for me in the future just give me a holler.

    I believe this election that if I can pull in all of the people that are pissed off, disgusted, angry and sick of being fucked with then I might actually win. I truly believe we have reached the tipping point where the politicians have angered enough of us that we could unite and vote them out of office. That's my plan anyway :)

    Liberty for All,
    Loretta Nall
    She also dropped me a line just a bit ago:
    Dear Pam,

    Thank you so much for your words of support and for providing coverage of my campaign for Governor of Alabama.

    Many links have been posted around the internet and today money has been pouring in to my campaign.

    Alabama has so much potential but our elected officials play on the ignorance and fear of the population and they exploit the religious beliefs of their constituency.

    People here are thirsting for change and I honestly believe I will have a major impact on this election if not outright win it.

    Anyway just wanted to say thanks for the linkage.

    In Liberty,
    Loretta Nall


    Baptist school ousts gay honors student because of web profile

    "I know at least 10 people who went to their (MySpace.com pages) and deleted tons of stuff because of fear they might be kicked off the campus, too."
    -- University of the Cumberlands student Jennifer Fore, after another student was kicked out for having a profile that revealed he was gay.
    A Kentucky Baptist school tossed out 20-year-old theater arts student Jason Johnson for violating its no-homos policy, which says "Any student who engages in or promotes sexual behavior not consistent with Christian principles (including sex outside marriage and homosexuality) may be suspended or asked to withdraw from the University of the Cumberlands."

    Even if you make the dean's list, your gay behind is booted. (LEX18):
    Cumberlands president, Dr. James H. Taylor, said in a written statement, "At University of the Cumberlands, we hold students to a higher standard than does society he general...University of the Cumberlands isn't for everyone. We tell prospective students about our high standards before they come. There are places students with predispositions can go such as San Francisco and the left coast or to many of the state schools."
    Well, the following tells you all you need to know about the school. It invited Alabama's whacked Roy Moore to its campus to dedicate a Ten Commandments monument on April 3, where he spoke to a crowd of nearly 2,000 on "moral law and leadership."


    Monuments inscribed with the Ten Commandments and the Eight Beatitudes are unveiled on UC's campus.

    Hat tip, TJ Tong



    This makes no sense

    Sunday, April 09, 2006



    Gay cable channel LOGO rejects the pro-gay United Church of Christ "Ejector" ad. How moronic is this, when the commercial is running without a problem on A&E, AMC, BET, CNN, CNN, TBS, TNT, E!, Lifetime and other channels. These folks end up looking like numnuts. (US Newswire):
    A Viacom-owned network, LOGO is operated by MTV, which states that its standards and practices could not accept the UCC's 30- second commercial "because of the political nature of its content," according to a sales associate's e-mail response on March 30.

    When asked for an official reason, MTV Networks responded, "Our guidelines state we will not accept religious advertisements that may be deemed as disparaging to another religion."

    Ron Buford, director of the UCC's Stillspeaking Initiative, says the 1.3-million-member denomination's four-year identity campaign was created after focus group testing revealed the depth to which people felt alienated or rejected by organized religion. The church's new "ejector" ad uses humor to convey the message, "God doesn't reject people. Neither do we."

    Buford insists that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are among those most in need of a welcoming, affirming Christian message, one that the UCC is wanting to share. "I guess the idea of gay TV doesn't really mean it's your community's network," Buford told United Church News. "It's just something that's targeted at you to sell product." On April 6, the UCC's media action website -- http://www.accessibleairwaves.org -- launched a letter-writing campaign to LOGO executives, urging them to rethink their decision.

    "Viacom's refusal to air this new commercial is an example of an apparent policy that fails to allow for a full range of religious expression in the United States," the action alert reads.
    View the ad here. The UCC has started a letter writing campaign to encourage Viacom to reverse its stance.

    Related:
    * United Church of Christ's newest TV commercial rocks


    Talking trash with Tim Wildmon

    Or...how fundies can't learn to love the F-bomb, by the president of the American Family Association.

    But today many people mock you if you complain about public profanity. They say it's just the way people talk today and the language one uses doesn't matter. My question then is, why use words like "f" and "mf" and "gd" in public if language doesn't matter? Why didn't the teenage boy on the basketball court just say, "Give me the ball, John," instead of "Give me the ball 'mf'?"
    From Tim's propaganda organ, AgapePress, a screed, er, guest commentary on profanity, "Proliferation of Public Profanity a Cultural -- and Spiritual -- Problem," that will make you roll.
    Perhaps you saw the same survey I saw the other day about Americans and public profanity. It said that we the people are cursing more frequently and using words that were once considered taboo in public. I was probably 12 years old when I first heard the "f" word used by a neighborhood kid. I even asked my parents what it meant because I had no idea. Talk about an awkward moment for a parent. Today, however, you frequently hear words such as this out in the open.

    A few weeks back I was on an airplane and the 25-year-old male a few seats over was yaking on his cell phone, letting everyone in on his business that none of us cared about. About every 60 seconds he felt the need to use the "f" word. I don't know if that made him feel more adult or what. Later in the airport waiting on a connecting flight, there was a lady, about 50, talking loudly on her cell phone. I heard her twice use the "f" word in what sounded like a casual conversation.

    ...For the Christian, foul language is forbidden by the Bible. That is why using profanity in public was considered unacceptable before we became a post-Christian culture. Christian values and morals are now considered passé or "old-fashioned" to many Americans – especially the younger generation, sad to say.

    ...Even though we know the standard, still, we are human and we often fail to live up to those standards. But the occasional slip is not what I am talking about. I wish it were. What I am talking about is a serious profanity problem in the general population. Sadly, I doubt we can reverse this trend. As I stated earlier, in many respects our American society has rejected the Christian moral value system. So this really is the way people talk to each other if they don't care what God thinks about the words that come out of their mouths. To them -- to us in our current cultural context -- it doesn't seem to matter. But according to God's Word, words still matter.
    Will the AFA propose stoning for public profanity? A boycott, on something, perhaps -- are they simply running out of things to get riled up about? Oh wait, the AFA is already mad at NASCAR for an errant "piece of sh*t" comment that floated onto the airwaves, and is filing a complaint with the FCC.

    Related:
    * Speaking of sh*t


    Back in NC

    NYC was flipping cold. As the plane landed, it was SNOWING. For this native Tar Heel and Katie the Alabamian, we were about to break out into tears over the prospect of crappy weather for our whole trip. And it rained most of the time to boot.

    We spent most of the time indoors in Queens and Brooklyn with family and old friends, so we weren't doing too much of the tourist thing anyway.


    Kate with my two aunts, getting blasted with cold air.

    But look -- we did get to the Unisphere! There were kids rollerblading in the blue fountain area that is drained for the winter. We also saw a couple getting their wedding pictures taken near the steel structure, which is in Flushing Meadow Park. It was freaking cold, I don't know how the gal could stand there with her white gown whipping in the wind.

    However, it was positively frigid on Saturday evening, when I met up with Nancy Goldstein, ace Raw Story columnist (and her wife), as well as Blender Donica and Lindy, a HS friend of Kate. We had dinner at Frank, on Second Ave and Fifth Street (the Lower East side).


    Your blogmistress and Nancy G.

    Oh, and as we were flying out today, the sky cleared and it was warmer. Sigh.

    ***

    I arrived home to an inbox of 250+ emails, so I'm slogging through it all for the next while...

    And a big thanks, as always, to my man 'Radical' Russ for behaving behind the counter and serving tasty bits and hot java. Hit him up with some Paypal love over at his pad, (or go grab yourself some neat RR swag).


    Hefner's 80, America's still childish


    Playboy founder Hugh Hefner turned 80 years old. His magazine has been kicking for 53 years, and he and his three girlfriends are the subject of a hit reality show.

    I've been reading Playboy (yes, actually reading) since age nine (Debra Jo Fondren, Sept. '77). My dad had box after box of Playboys and it didn't take long for me to find them. I was a voracious reader, and mom and dad had always said, "You are free to read anything you want," thinking, I suppose, that would apply to the novels and textbooks they owned. One day, I brought up that Sept. '77 Playboy and said, "Dad, you always said I could read anything I want, so, I was wondering..." as I slowly brought out the magazine from behind my back.

    So, it turns out my parents were OK with me reading almost anything. Dad snatched the Playboy from my hands and insisted that I not mention it to mom. That, of course, intrigued me more, and I've been reading and subscribing ever since.

    I don't know if there are any analogues for pre-teen gay kids, but for this pre-adolescent straight boy, baffled by my body rebelling against my control, awash in pubescent hormones, suddenly both terrified and fascinated by the bumps and curves forming on my female classmates, Playboy magazine was like a Rosetta stone for gender and sexuality. Maybe Playboy is not the preferred curriculum for childhood sexual education, but it was better than an absent father and a silent mother on the issue, and far better than anything that was ever taught in public school.

    Yet still, after 53 years and all the changes in American society since 1953, America wtill can't handle the bare boob. Janet Jackson whips out a mocha-colored mammary in a Super Bowl a couple of years ago and the country goes ballistic. The bare boob is so tantalizing that there are scores of websites devoted to "nipple slips". And if a celebrity dares to sunbathe topless in St. Tropez, there are dozens of paparazzi ready to put the image in the gossip rags. We even get riled up about statues of boobs; we all remember former Attorney General John Ashcroft covering up the bare boob on the Spirit of Justice statue with $8,000 worth of taxpayer-funded curtains. Playboy could never have succeeded as it has without America being so sexually hung-up.
    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Playboy creator Hugh M. Hefner was in the middle of an interview about his 80th birthday when a TV cameraman asked him to move a statue of former girlfriend Barbi Benton from the shelf behind him.

    The statue's nude breasts were in the shot and that might not pass muster with TV decency standards.

    "As much as things change, they stay the same," Hefner remarks, disappointment in his voice. "There is still controversy about, maybe even more than before, not just nudity -- a nude statue."

    That is Hefner's point -- that Playboy with its mission of sexual liberation is as relevant as ever in these days of federal government crackdowns on television content that some consider indecent.

    "Attitudes toward nudity and Playboy have changed, in many ways, very little," says the man who gave the world the centerfold. "In some ways it is even more political than it was in the '50s and '60s."
    On the other hand, we don't have our women in burqas.


    The DaVinci Gay Hankie Code

    Friday, April 07, 2006


    I know what the red hankie on the right means, but what do you suppose a red baseball cap means? Does it involve a Louisville Slugger?

    It seems every time I read the Washington Post, I learn something new...
    It was with some trepidation that we opened a most interesting card [from Senator Bill Frist], which announced on a blue-jeaned cowboy's belt buckle something called the "5th Annual VOLPAC '06 Weekend" in Nashville on April 21-23.

    Problem was you had to unbuckle the cowboy's pants and look inside to see what this was all about. Seemed a bit too "Brokeback Mountain."

    The back of the card shows the cowboy from behind with a red flowered handkerchief sticking out of his right pocket. Wait a minute -- wasn't there something about how this used to be some kind of code in the gay community years ago? A way to signal each other in crowded, noisy bars?

    So we checked the GayCityUSA.com's Hanky Codes. Sure enough, there it was in the chart explaining what they mean: red hanky in right pocket. Oh, dear.
    Now, growing up in the '80s I recall that which ear you wore your single stud earring in made a huge symbolic difference, but I never heard of this color-coded hankie thing. I wonder how many times I innocently put a handkerchief in my back pocket long ago when I was playing music in bars and maybe, without my knowledge, I was teasing the gay men. Who knew?

    Wow. I just checked out the Hanky Codes. Only gay men could come up with a color coding signal that depends on the interpreter to distinguish the subtle difference between "coral" vs. "orange", "mosquito netting" vs. "teal", and "robin's egg blue" vs. "Air Force blue". And what, pray tell, happens to the poor red-green colorblind gay men cruising for an "armpit freak", only to be hit on by a "navel fetishist".

    Man, there is still so much I don't know. "Shrimper?" "Milkee?" "Chicken hawk?" "Tearoom bottom?" What is this, a John Waters movie?

    [Hat-tip: Huffington Post]


    No job for the Radical, now no severance pay?

    The hits just keep on comin'...


    Pray hard! The Dalai Lama is coming!

    The patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, are in great peril. On April 17th, they will be visited by a presence so dark, so deadly, that it may be Evil Incarnate. Seriously ill patients will be exposed to a force so dedicated to death and destruction, a force that compels the feebleminded into blind obedience to fantastic notions so counter to reality and so offensive to decency and good that we must all band together and pray for the deliverance of these good people from the clutches of this malevolent force!

    No, no, Dick Cheney's not going to Minnesota. I'm talking about the highest teacher in Buddhism, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. From AgapePress (and hat-tip to Blender pushpak):
    Olive Tree Ministries founder and director Jan Markell says the patients and staff at the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, need a prayer of protection on April 17. She believes a guest who will soon be visiting the hospital may pose a greater danger to the patients than the illnesses that brought them there.

    Markell says she was informed by a supporter of her ministry that on that date in mid-April, the Tibetan spiritual icon, the Dalai Lama, will be visiting the clinic and speaking on "practices that encourage a peaceful mind and positive ways to live during difficult times."
    How much more obvious does it need to be, people! This man spreads this sort of lying and hatred under the guise of religion! He must be stopped!
    From her own personal experience at the medical facility, the head of Olive Tree Ministries says she knows the Rochester clinic is a place where many people go as a last resort when they have exhausted all other hope for treatment of their diseases. Because of this, the Tibetan Buddhist leader's impending visit is "a disaster waiting to happen," she contends.

    "You've got hundreds if not thousands of people like that, in that mental state," Markell observes, "and then along comes this false prophet, who probably is going to give them some kind of lie because he represents everything that has to do with the New Age movement."

    The bottom line, the ministry leader says, is the need for people "to pray for this thing that's going to happen on April 17." At a time in the Church and in society when many people desire to experience God in a fresh new way, she contends, bringing the Dalai Lama before people who are already in a vulnerable state just paves the road for false doctrine and New Age spirituality to enter their lives.
    You damn sure don't want to waste all that mental vulnerability exposing someone to a false doctrine of spirituality, when that is the moment they are most ready to accept that the maker of the universe made them exactly in his image, cares deeply what they do with their naughty bits, and sent himself down as his own son in order to suffer a torturous death so everyone who misuses their naughty bits can still attain a peaceful mind and experience God in a fresh new way.
    But despite what Tibetan Buddhism teaches, Olive Tree Ministries' founder asserts, the Dalai Lama cannot offer anyone peace because there is no true peace apart from salvation in Jesus. "The intriguing thing," she says, "is the way people are flocking to want to hear this man. I guess I don't understand, other than that we're in such days of deception now, as the Bible predicted."

    Markell suspects that the public's fascination with the Dalai Lama may be a mark of many people's desire to have a fresh encounter with God. "But this is a false god in a false religion, who has nothing to offer anybody," she emphasizes. "As a matter of fact, he's a Buddhist, and Buddhists don't even believe there's a God."
    And yet, so many in the public are more interested in hearing his wisdom for a peaceful life rather than listening to the "peacemaker who got bloodily tortured to death so you can go to heaven as long as you don't do anything fun while you're alive" story. I guess we are in the days of deception, just as the Bible predicted.


    The Friendship Litmus test


    Blender Sarah in Chicago posed a question in the comments that deserved to hit the front page:
    At what point does politically disagreeing become something that you simply can't remain friends over?

    I have a bunch of friends from varied political perspectives (though, admittedly, most are liberal, but hey, I work and study in the sociology dept. of a university!), but the one line that I won't cross is same-sex marriage. Either they think it's a no-brainer and us gays and lesbians should have it, or I don't want them in my life anymore.

    Hell, I have friends that are TOTAL fiscal conservatives, and we have some real interesting discussions around taxes, and I know some people that are anti-choice. But allowing me the option of marrying the woman of my dreams when I meet her, there's my line in the sand.

    Do others have similar?
    Some others chimed in, but I thought we'd open up the comments to this conversation as well as make this an open thread and blogwhoring extravaganza.

    Personally, there are so many friendship deal-breakers for me it's a wonder I have any friends. I like to go out in public with my four earrings in and my 100% hemp potleaf cap on. It helps me quickly distinguish the kind of people I don't want to be around, anyway.

    The usual brands of hate -- homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, etc. -- are all friendship deal-breakers for me, as they should be for any reasonable person. I don't do well with the the overtly religious, because I have a tendency to give an honest opinion when asked. It is difficult because so many of my family have a little bit of the Jeebus Juice in 'em. But so long as they don't proselytize and they can accept my hedonist atheism, I can get along.

    I can deal with political difference of opinion. I have Republican friends, Libertarian friends, pro-life friends, and anti-gay marriage friends. You may think the anti-gay marriage thing would conflict with the anti-homophobia thing, but I don't think that is always the case. I know people who are comfortable with gay people, not particularly religious, but just can't get past the "one man one woman" rhetoric. I can't be friends with someone who is hateful, but I think many of these people are simply ignorant, and ignorance can be cured (and if recent stats regarding acceptance of gay marriage can be trusted, ignorance is being cured).

    I can even be friends with people who are opposed to my pet political cause: marijuana policy reform. Two of my cousins are county sheriff's deputies back home, and we get along great. I tease them about how if they were on duty, they should be throwing me down and cuffing me; they tease back that if they see reason to do so, they don't need to be on duty. But both agree that marijuana prohibition is ridiculous and they'd rather spend their time and efforts on real crime. But then they fall back into the "we just enforce the law" and "if it's a bad law, the citizens need to change it" defenses, which, I'll grant them, are valid.

    That's just me. I try to win over my opponents by showing them I'm smart and reasonable and deserving of as much respect and equal treatment under the law as they are. I try to befriend them and teach them that the lies and stereotypes they've believed about people like me are just wrong. If I can get them to thinking "well, not all liberals/potheads/atheists are bad; I know this guy Russ...", then I'm winning. I can't tell you, Sarah, that you should befriend the people who wish to deny you marriage; however, it would make it harder for them to justify that bigotry when it's happening to someone they know and like as a friend.

    Thoughts?


    McClellan: "Important distinction" between intel release and CIA leak


    I'm home from work for a minute following an interview. I turn on CNN and get to watch the ScottBot live in a press conference. I'm just gonna free-form live-blog paraphrase this thing:

    "Democrats refuse to recognize this distinction." Here's the "it's all partisan politics, the big bad Democrats who control nothing in government are just working hard to let Osama bomb your kids' school!" theme of the day.

    Wiretapping "vital to our nation's interests". Don't worry, we're only listenin' for al Qaeda. You want us to listen for al Qaeda, right? We're only goin' after al Qaeda... and kiddie porn. That's all we're wiretappin', al Qaeda and kiddie porn... and these drugs. al Qaeda, kiddie porn, and drugs, you want us to listen to that, right? You want what's best for America, right? al Qaeda, drugs, kiddie porn, no wait, make it all porn, porn is a "mind drug", oh, and Quakers, long-haired peacenik groups who hate America, and the homersekshuls and that big thick agenda they keep trying to shove down our throats, over and over and over...

    You know, you could almost sell me on a so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" if I knew it was run by intelligent, competent, ethical and moral leaders in the Executive Branch under the strict observation of bi-partisan Congressional review, well-defined laws and procedures, and judicial oversight, even though the Executive may move quickly on its own in an emergency and get the warrants and review up to three days later... oh, wait, we DO have such a thing, it's called a FISA Court, and if you think it's antiquated, you can have your rubber stamp Congress review and amend it. Just because you know the Republican House and the Republican Senate and the Republican courts will give you whatever you want doesn't mean you can just bypass them and go ahead and do it. I mean, hell, that's like stealing five bucks out of your friend's wallet. "You know if you just asked, I woulda gave ya five bucks, dude!" Now your buddy can't trust you and is hurt that you didn't trust him and ask for help. No wonder they don't want to get their pictures taken with you on the campaign trail, Georgie; you broke their hearts! (I'm trying to put it in terms a fratboy might understand.)

    "Ongoing investigation, go and look back at previous statements, ongoing legal proceding, we want to see a fair trial, yada yada yada." I think that's what he said. Scottbot has four basic settings:

    1. Can't comment on ongoing proceding.
    2. We've already commented on that, I suggest you go check the record.
    3. This is crass politics by the Democrats.
    4. War on Terror. al Qaeda. Attacks on American Soil. BOO!

    "Been a long time policy of not commenting to an ongoing legal proceding, even in other matters." Uh, like how you didn't comment about Tom Delay or Duke Cunningham's ongoing investigations at the time?

    "President has the authority to declassify info at any time." Oh, really? So, are we saying, technically, that when the president says it, whether or not it was classified, it becomes declassified by the simple act of the president declassifying it by saying it? Technically speaking, it is impossible for the president to ever leak something classified, because once he says it, it's not classified? Is that like, "if the president does it, it's not breaking the law", cause I've heard that one before. Jeebus H. Kristofferson, mainstream media, you're not going to let this one float by, are you?

    "Crass politics by Democrats who refuse to recognize this distinction. You bet the president is angry about disclosing the terrorist surveillance program to the enemy, and enemy who adapts,... stop attacks from happening on American soil. That's just crass politics, he is not acknowledging an important distinction. [Leaking Valerie Plame] is different, because it was declassified, it is an important distinction, put in context, what was going on at that time period, the National Intelligence Estimate was declassified." Leaks we like, good. Leaks we don't like, bad. Got it.

    "If you've got a specific instance, bring it up. I'm not going to let you put words in my mouth. You're trying to get me to make broad statements and I'm not going to do it." Of course, when they ask him about a specific instance, like the next questioner who asks about Fitzgerald's filing, he "can't comment on an ongoing legal proceding." Notice how it's not "investigations" any more, it's "procedings".

    "You're lumping things. (Lumper!)" Uh, like Saddam and al Qaeda and Osama and terrorists? Or Pelosi and Feingold and Boxer and Reid and Kerry and Clinton (both) and Michael Moore? Or heroin, acid, PCP, cocaine, crack, meth, and marijuana? Lumper!

    "Leaking classified information... is a serious matter... it is dangerous they put our nation at risk. This is a different kind of war that we are engaged in with an enemy that is sophisticated...." Unless the president decides it's declassified. Next Q: "So, when the president decides to declassify information, does it happen immediately, that moment he says it, or when the process of declassification is complete?" Scottbot: "The president has that authority." Interesting answer to a question with an "or" in it. But, at least someone in the mainstream media DIDN'T let it float on by! Good, but could have been followed up better with the "so, the president can't ever possibly leak classified information, by definition, right?"

    "It was in the public interest to provide the information to show the collective judgement of the intelligence community as we were leading up to Iraq, this was to show that there was no manipulation of the intelligence leading up to the war." See, that leak was good because without it, it would have been more difficult to go to war with the terrorists, but now that we're at war with the terrorists, the other leak is bad.

    Oooh, love the one on "So, classified info is 'leaked' and declassified info is 'provided'?"

    I've got to go back to work. I'll dive into the transcript sometime later.


    Scientists discover a missing link

    Thursday, April 06, 2006


    ...and no, it's not Pretzeldunce Chimpy McFlightsuit.
    Scientists have discovered fossils of a 375 million-year-old fish, a large scaly creature not seen before, that they say is a long-sought "missing link" in the evolution of some fishes from water to a life walking on four limbs on land.

    A model of the 375 million-year-old fish, which exhibits changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals.

    In addition to confirming elements of a major transition in evolution, the fossils are widely seen by scientists as a powerful rebuttal to religious creationists, who hold a literal biblical view on the origins and development of life.

    Several well-preserved skeletons of the fossil fish were uncovered in sediments of former stream beds in the Canadian Arctic, 600 miles from the North Pole, it is being reported on Thursday in the journal Nature. The skeletons have the fins and scales and other attributes of a giant fish, four to nine feet long.

    But on closer examination, scientists found telling anatomical traits of a transitional creature, a fish that is still a fish but exhibiting changes that anticipate the emergence of land animals — a predecessor thus of amphibians, reptiles and dinosaurs, mammals and eventually humans.

    The scientists described evidence in the forward fins of limbs in the making. There are the beginnings of digits, proto-wrists, elbows and shoulders. The fish also had a flat skull resembling a crocodile's, a neck, ribs and other parts that were similar to four-legged land animals known as tetrapods.
    Or as comedian Lewis Black says, regarding the battle between evolutionary science and "intelligent design": "We've got fossils. We win."


    Evangelicals having trouble sucking in converts


    The implosion of the Christofascist movement continues, according to the head of a bible-beating organization. Bring out the tiny violin.
    Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) believes the American church has become evangelistically anemic. In a recent column for Lifeway.com, he pointed to statistics that seem to bear out that assessment.

    According to a 2004 research project Rainer led, it took 86 church members in America one year to reach a single person for Christ. The study also revealed that, in the past six months, more than 50 percent of pastors made no evangelistic efforts whatsoever.

    The Southern Baptist leader says Christians often get caught up in minor issues, meanwhile losing their passion for soul winning. "The majority of evangelical Christians will live a Christian life, die, and go to heaven without ever having shared their faith one time with a lost person," he says.

    "And when I say a majority," Rainer continues, "I mean in the mid-50 percentile. We've got to do something to connect our people, our evangelical Christians across America, with the lost and unchurched world so that we can tell them the best news that there is -- the news that Jesus Christ saves."

    As head of one of the largest distributors of Christian products and literature in the world, Rainer observes that the church in America is not lacking in resources, but lacking in genuine zeal for evangelism -- a deficit for which he feels there is no good excuse.
    Oh so the real story is that sales are down, right Thom?

    ***


    Dispatch from NYC

    Today we're staying in Queens, visiting two my aunts. Kate, brave soul, wants a "tour of Queens," which of course made us all laugh. We may hit the Museum of the Moving Image and the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park.

    Later I'm meeting a Stuyvesant classmate in DUMBO or Fort Greene for dinner and we're relocating to our uncle's pad in Stuyvesant Heights Brooklyn for the duration of our stay.

    Ciao for now (on dial-up...ARGH!).
    Pam and Kate


    Who will protect the children from Homeland Security?

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    I've seen this particular Dateline NBC special, To Catch A Predator, floating around on MSNBC a few dozen times. They set up a sting to film men coming to a suburban home to meet the young teenagers they'd met online.

    It's always so surreal that these guys, walking in with cases of wine coolers, condoms, and AstroGlide, will then just sit down and speak to the authoritarian-looking white man in the suit jacket (our anchor) and the bright lights and the cameramen and the boom mic operators and the grips and god-knows who else, and just flat out lie about their intentions, or worse, snivel and apologize and claim "this is the first time".

    Geez, you'd have to be stupid on a galactic scale to not just cover your face and run. And your sick perverse criminal double-life must have your personality twisted into all sorts of dysfunctional knots.

    Yet, these guys get jobs (bet they pass their drug tests, too...) as rabbis, teachers, cops, businessmen, and, in three high-profile cases, jobs in the Department of Homeland Security.

    John at AMERICAblog reminds me, oh, yeah, that's right, in addition to Brian Doyle, a spokesman at DHS, and Frank Figueroa, the former head of (no irony intended) Operation Predator for DHS, two months ago one of the guys on that Dateline NBC special was from Homeland Security, too!
    And the federal agent can’t seem to stop talking to the cops.
    Michael Burks: My father was a police officer. I was a police officer. I work for the Department of Homeland security. I understand you guys have a job to do and I’m not trying to tell anything else other than that. I swear to God, as God as my witness, I’m wearing a St. Michael’s medal right now, okay? I was not going to do anything with her.
    But the detective doesn’t seem to be buying his story.
    Police officer: I am telling you I don’t believe that you didn’t intend to have sex at some point with the girl.

    Burks: Sir, I swear to God.

    Police officer: It would have happened, I guarantee you, it would have happened.
    And he has one more thing to say to the disgraced federal agent.
    Police officer: In your position, you should have known better. You know the law. That’s even worse. You know what, that puts a bad mark on my job, on everybody. Every cop in this country you put a bad mark on.

    Burks: I know, sir.


    New Conservative Canadian Government ready to bash the homos

    Pam, Kate, enjoy the status of your legal Canadian marriage while you can...
    (Ottawa) Canada's new Conservative government said Wednesday that it is preparing legislation to repeal the same-sex marriage law.

    The move follows a campaign promise to hold a free vote in Parliament on the issue.

    Justice Minister Vic Toews said the bill is being prepared and a vote would be held "sooner rather than later."

    Toews pointed to the party platform saying that if the equal marriage law is overturned the government would bring in a second bill limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.
    So sad. This Tory government is also looking to recriminalize marijuana and ratchet up its own War On Drugs, and also have relented on the US DOJ request to extradite Canadian Marc Emery to face charges relating to his marijuana seed business, charges that would get him a small fine and minor jail time in Canada, but could put him away for life down here.

    Gee, a draconian war on marijuana and a Puritanical war on homosexuals. And I don't like hockey or beer or cold weather... Thanks, Tories, for curing my urge to give up and move to Canada!


    California Supreme Court to rule on disclosure of sexual history


    California is getting ready to rule on a case that may set a scary precedent for rummaging through your sexual history:
    (LA Times) The California Supreme Court, considering the case of a woman who said her former husband gave her HIV, appeared Tuesday to favor holding people responsible for failing to disclose previous, unprotected sexual contact with an infected partner.

    Under California law, a person can be held liable for monetary damages for failing to disclose that he or she has a sexually transmitted disease. At issue before the court is whether a person should also be responsible for informing a partner when they have reason to suspect they contracted a sexual disease but have not received a diagnosis.
    "Reason to suspect"? Well, most sexually transmitted diseases don't give a person -- especially a male -- much of an indication that they're partying in your privates. Any sort of sexual contact would give you a greater "reason to suspect" you've possibly contracted an STD than if you were a virgin, right? And how does that "reason to suspect" play out if, say, your partners are gay rather than straight, poor rather than rich, black rather than white? Unless you've got open sores and it hurts when you pee, I've got reason to suspect that this "reason to suspect" is more a license for a witch hunt.
    A Los Angeles County woman identified by the court as Bridget B. sued her former husband for allegedly infecting her with HIV on their honeymoon. Bridget wants her ex-spouse, known as John B., to disclose the names of past male lovers and to produce his medical records. John contends she has no right to rummage through his sexual history.

    A trial court judge ordered John to provide the information, but an appellate court ruled that the right of sexual privacy under state and federal constitutions limited the kind of information that could be requested during discovery, including the identity of past sexual partners.
    That's where this "reason to suspect" goes awry. From reading the story, it seems to me like the ex-wife is trying to prove that the husband should've had "reason to suspect" he'd exposed himself to STDs because he had gay sex (you know, the whole 'gay = AIDS' equation). What purpose could there be in identifying the former partners? Even if you find that the husband slept with Big Gay Al and Mr. Slave, there probably was no reason for the husband to suspect Big Gay Al and Mr. Slave were HIV+ when he slept with them; most HIV+ people show no outward symptoms. So is she fishing to find a very gay, visibly AIDS-ridden former partner to parade in court to prove that her philandering husband should've known he'd give her AIDS?
    Jenny Pizer, senior counsel of Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, said she hoped the court would come up with a rule that applied to all sexually transmitted diseases, not just AIDS. She also said her group has strong concerns about protecting the privacy of third parties who could be pulled into a lawsuit.

    "One of the very important issues … is the extent to which litigants can do a fishing expedition," Pizer said.
    Even with that, I worry about the precedent of courts issuing subpoenas and deposing witnesses on our sexual histories. I fear any bitter ex-wife/husband, ex-girl/boyfriend, or even a one-night stand, could use this as a weapon to exact revenge on their ex- who gave them the clap, herpes, or the crabs*, and invade the privacy and potentially ruin the lives of former partners ("Gee, honey, where ya goin'?" / "Ah, I have to go to court to testify that I once blew a guy while doing X at a rave." / "That's nice, dear. Do get home on time for dinner, though; we're having ribs.")

    * When I was twenty-two, I caught the crabs. Groupies come and go; but crabs never leave you lonely. Anyhow, I asked my dad what I should do. He said I needed a razor, an ice pick, and some lighter fluid. He said you shave off half of your pubic hair, then you pour the lighter fluid on the other half. You set the hairy half on fire, and when the crabs come running out to the bald side, you stab them with the ice pick.

    Now you know why I turned out like I did.


    7 out of 10 men are fat


    ATLANTA - More American children are getting fat, with more than one-third now overweight. More of their dads are getting heavy, too. But the percentage of women who are overweight seems to have peaked, leading some experts to wonder if the U.S. obesity epidemic may soon be leveling off.

    The findings come from the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collects data on a sample of about 5,000 people each year. The researchers clustered years together, presenting calculations for 1999-2000, 2001-2002 and 2003-2004.

    The survey is considered the gold standard for obesity data -- it's done through in-person examinations that include actual height and weight measurements.

    That beats telephone surveys, in which men tend to overstate their height and heavy people underestimate weight, throwing off obesity calculations, said Cynthia Ogden, the study's lead author.
    And it sure beats the hell out of the method of collecting height and weight information from people's driver's licenses, which had shown year after year that only 15% of men and 0.0001% of women were overweight. ;)
    The study found the percentage of men who are overweight rose to 71 percent in 2003-2004, from 67 percent in 1999-2000. The obese percentage rose to 31 percent, from 27.5 percent.

    For women, both the overweight and obese percentages held steady, at about 62 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
    As one of those obese men, let me offer an opinion.

    I'm 6'0" tall and (today) weigh 280 lbs. Accoding to the BMI calculator at the CDC, my BMI is 38. Over 30 is considered obese. Now, I don't feel obese, and people that see me wouldn't say I'm obese (overweight? sure.)

    A few years ago, I went on an intense weight loss and exercise program. I was at the gym an hour a day six days a week. I consumed only 1800 calories over six meals eaten at three-hour intervals. I munched down ephedra pills, protein shakes, creatine, and all sorts of supplements.

    After six months, I had whittled my then 270 lb. body down to 215 lbs. I looked awesome. I actually fit back into my early-20s leather rock'n'roll pants. I was buying "L" shirts instead of "XL". Hot chicks (and a few guys) couldn't help but throw themselves at my studly form. Hell, I couldn't stop throwing myself at my studly form (then again, weight's never stopped me from doing that).

    roofing.jpgAt that point my BMI was 29.2. That's the top end of the government's "overweight" category, just 0.8 shy of "obese". Ah, to be overweight again.

    For fun, I plugged in numbers to find out where I'd have to be to fit the government's definition of "normal" (BMI < 25.0) Turns out I'd have to lose another 35 lbs. from that skinny picture above in order to be "normal". I'd have to weigh 180 lbs., which I think I weighed in 9th grade when I was 5'8".

    My point is that while BMIs and categories of "overweight" and "obese" may be interesting statistical markers, they tell nothing about the relative health of people. At every physical I go to, my doctors rave about my strong heart, good blood pressure, moderate cholesterol levels, and overall good health.

    In addition, there is no way that one height and weight calculator fits all people. As you can see, I'm a pretty "thick" guy. I have broad shoulders and a barrel chest. I have muscular legs and a big head. I am just naturally going to weigh more than "normal", even at my peak with exercise and diet.

    That said, we all make choices, and there is no doubt that the choices America makes are leading to a nation of fatties. This is where the government likes to use these BMI stats to tell us all to change our lifestyle and eat less and exercise more. Websites like smallstep.gov spring up to tell us how we can make permanent changes with "small steps" like walking the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther away at the mall so you have to walk the parking lot. We have to eat more nutritious foods in smaller portions more often throughout the day.

    And I'm fine with that. I walk to work (ten minutes) every day. I take the stairs at work, many times a day as I'm running around fixing PCs. I go to the gym at least three times a week, which is treadmill running for twenty minutes, weights for twenty minutes, and core training for twenty minutes. I am avoiding the fast food and eating smaller portions. After taking all these small steps, starting in January, I've gained six pounds. Still, I'm okay with it, because as long as I'm healthy and married, I really don't care much what I weigh.

    Where I have the problem is with the government telling us all what we should do while steadfastly refusing to do anything on its end to reduce obesity. The government sticks by its agribusiness and food industry big donors and quashes any regulation or reformation that might change the health of the nation for the better. For example:

    Efforts to get nutritional labeling on fast food wrappers were always opposed by the government; it wasn't until Supersize Me and public outcry about it that McDonald's finally relented and put nutritional info on its wrappers. No other fast food giant is following suit.

    Physical education is being phased out or underfunded in the world of Bush's No Child Left Behind, as are healthy school lunches. Meanwhile, no government entity tries to intervene to provide improved facilities or materiel for schoolkids, instead opting to let Coca-Cola advertise on the basketball backboards and using profits from Coke vending machines to provide much needed services.

    As more people slip deeper into poverty, they lose that health care coverage (if they had any) that provides physicals and nutritional counseling for kids. Also, parents are forced to buy the big bulk carb-laden staples like Mac & Cheese instead of more expensive fresh produce. Besides, if you only get to shop for food once per month and you have a tiny refrigerator in your rental apartment, do you really want to fill up the crisper with lettuce, broccoli, and apples that will go bad before you get a chance to serve them?

    Finally, high fructose corn syrup. Look on the labels of your food; it's everywhere. It's mostly a bone thrown to the agribusiness industry to insure a profitable market for corn. Most of its use is unneccessary. Or look at the various subsidies the government pays to prop up industries like the beef industry. McDonald's 99-cent value meal owes its existence to beef subsidies; otherwise a simple McDonald's hamburger would cost $9.95.

    So yes, we men are getting fatter, and yes, I believe in personal responsibility. Nobody puts that fork in my face but me. However, if the government is serious about reducing American obesity on a grand scale, it is going to take more than imploring the citizenry to take "small steps".

    [Cross-posted at Radical Writ with a Frosty and a Biggie Size order of fries...]


    House Blend vacation


    Kate and I are off to NYC to visit family for a few. We'll be back late Sunday afternoon.

    We plan to meet up with "Donica, Russ's sister-wife" (a.k.a. a classmate of mine, btw) and Raw Story columnist Nancy Goldstein.

    I'm not taking the laptop, so no blogging/email for me unless I find myself near a computer with broadband. I dread the thought of how full the inbox will be when I return home. Anyone looking for a reply will have a looong wait, lol.


    'Men are coming to Atlanta to have sex with a child'

    Those are the words of LaKendra Baker, project manager for the Center to End Adolescent Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). She is talking about the thriving sex tourism business in Georgia. As the Reuters article (via Raw Story) notes, this isn't happening in well-known locales for this, such as Bangkok or Costa Rica -- it's happening in Jeebus country.
    In a sleazy hotel room, "Brittany," then aged 16 and drugged into oblivion, waited for the men to arrive. Her pimps sent as many as 17 clients an evening through the door.

    A "john" could even pre-book the pretty young blonde for $1,000 a night, sometimes flying in and then flying out from a nearby airport.

    ...It took place in Atlanta, the buckle of the U.S. Bible Belt, where the world's busiest passenger airport provides a cheaper, more convenient and safer underage sex destination for men seeking girls as young as 10.

    "Men fly in, are met by pimps, have sex with a 14-year-old for lunch, and get home in time for dinner with the family," said Sanford Jones, the chief juvenile judge of Fulton County, Georgia.

    A new federal law passed in 2003 ensures that American sex tourists landing on foreign soil and hiring prostitutes under the age of 18 can get 30 years in prison. But in Georgia, punishment for pimping or soliciting sex with a girl under 18 is only five to 20 years, according to Deborah Espy, the Deputy District Attorney of Fulton County.
    The more you read, the worse it gets. It's hard to get through the entire article.


    Porn sting nabs Homeland Security deputy press secretary

    Maybe Brian Doyle was trying out some new tactics to stop terrorism that we aren't aware of, you know, like trying to locate dirty bombs by sending sexually explicit messages and movie clips to folks. After all, he's doing it on the taxpayers' dime, so he knows what he's doing, right?
    When he wasn't sending pornographic movies to and asking for explicit photos from a teenage girl in Polk County, a Maryland man was bragging about his job as a spokesman at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement officers said.

    The revelation - actually made to a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl - resulted in the arrest of 55-year-old Brian J. Doyle at his Silver Spring, Md., home Tuesday night, officials said.

    During his Internet chats, Doyle quickly revealed his name and job, and he sent his office and government-issued cell phone numbers. The information allowed detectives to quickly verify Doyle's identity, the Polk County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday night. Doyle moved quickly in other regards, officials said, sending enough sexually explicit messages and movie clips that they were able to secure a warrant for his arrest on 23 felony counts roughly two weeks after he responded to the detective's profile.

    The charges stem from Doyle repeatedly requesting the girl he was pursuing to purchase a Web camera so that she could send explicit images to Doyle, sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Rodgers said. Doyle promised to reciprocate, she said. He also sent numerous pornographic movie clips to the girl and used America Online's Instant Messenger program to carry on sexually laced conversations, a news release stated.
    Hat tip to Blender Robert B. in Raleigh.

    Boozhy comments as well.


    Head over to Firedoglake

    Jane @ Firedoglake (a Koufax winner for Best Series, btw) invited me to guest post tonight on racism in the right wing blogosphere. Apparently the MSM can't seem to find any evidence that sites like Red State, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs exist.

    Ask Wolf Blitzer, who allowed winger talk show host Hugh Hewitt to get away with saying this on The Situation Room:
    "No, that’s not right, because talk radio, when you look at Rush, at Sean, at myself, at Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, we all conduct ourselves appropriately on the air, or the FCC will smack — smite — smack us down.—So, I think what we have got is basically a monopoly on responsible new media on the center-right side, and talk radio is responsible new media, even though that fever swamp on the left, the Michael Moore-disease-ridden Democrats on the left, they don’t want to admit that, so they won’t. But, in fact, talk radio is quite responsible."

    Jane's series runs all this week; last night Armando of DKos was up with The Education of Blitzer Continues.

    So surf over and take a look at my offering, Educating Wolfie.


    Bob Knight wailing about Bug man's departure

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    They're moaning about the Hammer...boo-f*cking-hoo.
    Pro-family and religious leaders in Washington, DC, are lamenting the news that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is leaving the House of Representatives. Delay has been indicted for illegal use of campaign funds but has maintained his innocence.


    The penis-owning head of the Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute is known for his tirades against homos.

    Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute believes the lawmaker's resignation from Congress will be a huge blow to pro-family advocates. "Tom DeLay's departure will be a tremendous loss to conservatives," Knight says, "because he did pursue a conservative agenda, especially on the moral issues."


    Faith and Action director Rob Schenck, a key religious leader on Capitol Hill, has also been one of Congressman Tom DeLay's strongest advocates. The ministry spokesman says he is going to miss DeLay sorely in Washington, DC, because he is "at his core a very good man" and "a very fine Christian" who has provided exemplary service. "I wrote him a letter today," Schenck notes, "and I told him how much he will be missed, that we thank God for his years of leadership. He did an excellent job, and the country will be at a loss for his absence." According to Schenck, DeLay's decision to resign is the noble way of handling the fallout from his indictment by putting his party above his own political career.
    The potency of the Kool-Aid is remarkable.


    Blender Paul makes the news

    One of our fave long-time Blenders, Paul Barwick of Paul's Rants, was featured in an article today in The Seattle Times on the state of same-sex marriage. Paul Barwick was a plaintiff in the first gay-marriage lawsuit filed in Washington state. This is a good read.

    It's been more than three decades since Paul Barwick and John Singer walked into the King County auditor's office and, amid the glare of news cameras, requested — and were refused — a marriage license.

    In the annals of the gay-rights movement, the men were revolutionaries: Thirty-four years ago this month, they became the first gay couple in the state, and the second in the country, to sue over the right to marry.

    A King County Superior Court judge and later the state Court of Appeals rejected their claim that state law denying them the right to marry was unconstitutional. Their case, Singer v. Hara, has become case law — cited by gay-rights lawyers as an outdated reference point and by their opponents as an enduring legacy.

    ...Though they were turned down, Barwick said, the action itself was significant. "There were an awful lot of young people who saw this on the news and called to say they'd never met another gay person.

    "They thought they were the only ones. At times when I thought that maybe my life was all screwed up, those messages made it all worthwhile."
    We're not worthy, bro. You blazed the trail. Thanks.


    The bullsh*t of the Boy Scouts

    The Malcontent rants wonderfully about the hypocritical stance of the Boy Scouts of America, which has, since the Boy Scouts of America v Dale ruling allowed it to declare freedom of association as a private organization to exclude gays because homosexuality is incompatible with its "morally straight" clause.

    Penn and Teller's Bullshit! (on Showtime) exposes the sham that has been enabled by this ruling -- the BSA continues to use a ton of federal funds and public accommodations for scouting. Mal:
    As an aside, a few years back when I worked in the Senate, I played a bit part in helping to turn back legislative threats to the Scouts' dependence on government. Even though I was accurately representing the position of my boss, I felt I could do so in good faith, based on my own experience in the Boy Scouts dating back to the early 1980s. But as "Bullshit!" points out, the BSA was hijacked by the Mormon Church in the mid-'80s, and today I'm sickened that I didn't know the full story before now.

    The bottom line is, you cannot have private membership standards that exclude a good swath of the public while continuing to suck off the public teat. >Bullshit!, btw,

    is a wild, enjoyable show. I caught the one on conspiracy theories and laughed my ass off.


    A couple of values voters in AZ


    Clifton Bennett, of Prescott, and Kyle Wheeler, 19, of Glendale give new meaning to the word depraved.

    Blender Kim wrote me about this horrorshow, where two men pleaded guilty Monday to one count of aggravated assault -- for shoving broomsticks and flashlights up the rectums of 18 young boys last year, according to the AP.

    A little detail - one of these creatures, Clifton Bennett, is the son of Arizona's Senate president.

    Kim:
    I write you from the not-so-great state of Arizona to alert you to what is going on here. As every sane Arizonan is sadly aware, we have one of the wingnuttiest state legislatures around. Always pushing nutty legislation in the name of "Family Values" and well, you know, same old tired crap taking place on the national level as well. Well it seems the family values only apply to everyone but our great legislators and their families. Let me give you the the headlines and beginning paragraphs from 2 articles in our paper these past few days. This just makes my blood boil! These are the same creeps that are trying to tell us that we need to protect the family with a state marriage amendment banning gay marriage. I am so enraged I cannot see straight...
    Wheeler, by the way, also pleaded guilty to an additional aggravated assault charge -- he choked three of the boys until they passed out.

    The kicker to this story, and it makes you sick, is how the prosecutor's office described the factors he considered relevant in this case. It's complete bullsh*t:
    Yavapai County prosecutor James Landis said his office never considered the "broomings" as sexual in nature. Rather, he described what happened as a form of punishment or discipline.

    He has said his office could not prove Bennett and Wheeler had any sexual intent.

    He said the case likely would have been treated differently if the victims were girls or if there was evidence that the defendants were homosexual.


    Russ Feingold comes out for civil marriage equality

    "The proposed ban on civil unions and marriage is a mean-spirited attempt to divide Wisconsin and I indicated that it should be defeated,” Feingold said. “It discriminates against thousands of people in our communities – our co-workers, our neighbors, our friends, and our family members. It would single out members of a particular group and forever deny them rights and protections granted to all other Wisconsin citizens. It would also outlaw civil unions and jeopardize many legal protections for all unmarried couples, whether of the same or the opposite sex. We shouldn’t enshrine this prejudice in our state’s Constitution."
    -- Russ Feingold, on his web site, slapping down the bigots in his state
    Big Kahuna Dem spine located -- are you listening, jellyfish Dem leadership? Russ Feingold is not afraid of wrath of the fundies; he's not bobbing and weaving in an attempt to avoid discussing civil equality. He was asked about his position on this while at a Kenosha County listening session over the weekend in in Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, and he declared his firm support.
    “As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy,” Feingold added. “Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue.”

    Feingold noted that removing the prohibition against gay marriage would not impose any obligation on religious groups. He indicated that no religious faith should ever be forced to conduct or recognize any marriage, but that civil laws on marriage should reflect the principle of equal rights under the law.
    Feingold's forceful stance was hailed by National Stonewall Democrats.
    "Senator Feingold understands that religious institutions should have the freedom to marry adherents according to their interpretation of their faith, and not the dictates of politicians. American families will be strengthened by tasking couples with the legal responsibilities that come through civil marriage," said Jo Wyrick, NSD interim executive director. "Americans are quickly moving towards full support for marriage equality, and we are seeing a new generation of Democrats emerge whose leadership will help turn that support into law."


    Just checking in


    Howdy, Blenders! Just thought I'd check in since I've been silent on the blog for a while. It's been a tough week for your favorite straight white male, as I have been battling against prejudice and discrimination.

    (Black folks, gay folks, black gay folks: cue the tiny violin...)

    Long story short: I was up for a promotion from contractor to full-time employee at my current company. This included huge benefits and a 25% raise. I was interviewed by seven managers and suggested for the position by the head of human resources*. I was given a signed offer letter on March 1.

    Then the offer was rescinded four weeks later, because I'm politically active in support of medical marijuana patients and I am a caregiver for my wife's medical marijuana. OK, technically speaking, I failed a hair drug test, which is not at all surprising, given that I am in enclosed rooms with dozens to hundreds of medical marijuana patients multiple times per month as well as my wife's use every single day.

    I won't use up bandwidth here on the details, but I'll answer the obvious question: no, I didn't fail because I've been smoking marijuana; I quit smoking and abstained long before I took the test. This is simply discrimination against me for my belief in reforming marijuana laws and helping seriously ill people use marijuana legally as medicine here in Oregon (my company is based out of New York, so they don't understand).

    If you want to check in on the whole saga, check out So... this is what discrimination feels like.

    * I hate the term "Human Resources", as if people are just another resource to be managed like gas, timber, or crops. The term turns us into numbers, just another line on the balance sheet. Before, we used to be "personnel", which at least reminded the bean counters that we are "persons". Ah, but downsizing, laying off, and cutting the benefits of "persons" seems so cruel, doesn't it? It sounds so much better to make adjustments to "human resources"...


    The latest fatwa: war on statues

    “Why would anyone even bring up the issue (of the statues) in a country where there are more than 10 state-owned institutions that teach sculpting and more than 20 others that teach the history of art?”
    -- Gamal al-Ghitani, magazine editor asking the obvious question as the fundies launch a morality campaign against statues and scuptors
    Good grief. Another feather in the cap of religious extremism, this time in Egypt.
    A fatwa issued by Egypt's top religious authority, which forbids the display of statues has art-lovers fearing it, could be used by Islamic extremists as an excuse to destroy Egypt's historical heritage.

    Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, the country's top Islamic jurist, issued the religious edict which declared as un-Islamic the exhibition of statues in homes, basing the decision on texts in the hadith (sayings of the prophet).


    Egypt's grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, also says the use of Qur'anic verses as cellphone ringtones as insulting to Islam,

    Intellectuals and artists argue that the decree represents a setback for art -- a mainstay of the multi-billion-dollar tourist industry -- and would deal a blow to the country's fledgling sculpture business. The fatwa did not specifically mention statues in museums or public places, but it condemned sculptors and their work.

    We don’t rule out that someone will enter the Karnak temple in Luxor or any other pharaonic temple and blow it up on the basis of the fatwa,” Gamal al-Ghitani, editor of the literary Akhbar al-Adab magazine, told AFP.

    ...Gomaa had pointed to a passage from the hadith that stated: ”Sculptors would be tormented most on Judgment Day,” saying the text left no doubt that sculpting was “sinful” and using statues for decorating homes forbidden.

    ...Ghitani added: “It’s time for those placing impediments between Islam and innovation to get out of our lives.”
    Lest we laugh at the idiocy of this latest nonsense, it's only been a short while since the boobage of the Spirit of Justice statue was covered up in the Justice Department by John Ashcroft because it offended him.


    Violence against women emerges as winning campaign issue

    Shakes Sis has a great post up on the Lifetime Networks' Women's Pulse Poll, part of its "Stop Violence Against Women" Campaign. The Roper Poll was done to highlight National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
    Violence Against Women Is Seen as Key Election Issue: Nearly all women (97 percent) feel that the issue of domestic violence and sexual assault against women and girls is important and will impact who they vote for in the 2006 mid-term elections.

    Violence Against Women of Equal or Greater Importance to Voters than Expected Top Issues Like Homeland Security, Jobs and the Economy, the War in Iraq and the Environment: Nearly eight out of ten (77 percent) women and men said that preventing violence against women was of paramount importance to them as an election issue - more so than or on par with issues that receive much greater attention such as jobs and the economy (79 percent), health care (79 percent), education (80 percent), homeland security (68 percent), the war in Iraq (65 percent) and the environment (63 percent).
    This is a no-brainer for Dems to get behind for many reasons -- and for the spineless ones out there, there's no downside, as Shakes Sis notes:
    Violence against women is one of those issues to which there's no drawback in supporting it passionately. It's not controversial to champion protecting women from violence and sexual assault, by which they are disproportionately victimized. And, clearly, it's an issue of concern to lots of voters. Sometimes issues like this aren't given lots of attention, because they're not controversial-Duh, nobody's for violence against women, so what's the point of making a big point of saying how you're against it?
    That said, the White House and Rethugs have managed to find a way to do just that, by not adequately funding programs in the expanded Violence Against Women Act in the budget proposal.
    VAWA wasn’t passed until late last year - after Dear Leader had drafted his budget request. That meant no funding proposed for the new VAWA programs. Bush's budget requests $546 million in funding for continuing and new programs - just over half of what he could have requested, according to StopFamilyViolence.org. It's the fifth year in a row that Bush has not requested full funding for VAWA programs in his budget proposal.

    W is for women all right.

    Via StopFamilyViolence.org, here are some of the new VAWA programs that have not received any funding in the President's 2007 Budget Request:
    * Services for Children who witness abuse
    * Sexual Assault Services
    * Privacy protections for victims of violence
    * Programs for Communities of Color and Indian Women
    * Prevention - encouraging men and boys role in ending violence against women

    The following are some of the continuing VAWA programs that have not received full funding in the President's Budget request
    * National Domestic Violence Hotline
    * Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Shelter and Services
    * Rape Prevention and Education
    * Services for Older and Disabled Victims of Violence
    * Legal Assistance for victims of violence
    * Transitional Housing


    Letter from the Huckster

    “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
    The good guv also attended the recent Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Fort Lauderdale, a Christian boot camp to "engage the culture for Christ." See my post Unhinged winger conferences.

    Blender QLH, an Arkansas resident, decided to write Huckabee to get some insight on why a state official needed to go to a conference like this.
    Pam-

    Recently you posted about Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee attending a religious conference in Florida. I e-mailed his office about it and wrote a letter as well.

    Just yesterday I received a letter from him in response to my letter.

    ...I also e-mailed him recently about his remarks about Barney Frank. I'm going to send him a letter about it as soon as I get time this weekend.

    Just wanted to thank you for letting this Arkansas resident know what her governor is up to.

    -QLH
    And his response:

    Thank you for your note regarding my decision to accept an invitation to speak to the Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Florida. While you did not mention any specific objection, other than the fact that I chose to participate, I will attempt to address your concern.

    While I am sorry you disagree with my decision, it is a decision I do not regret. The nature and purpose of the conference is routinely mischaracterized by those who have never attended. My purpose there was to share my own view of why people of faith should not neglect the political realm. I believe this about people of all faiths.

    The organizers of the Reclaiming America conference do not wish to create a theocracy in America, as is often alleged. They do believe, as I do, that our government was founded on Biblical principles. One of those principles says that duties owed to God equal rights between men. So, since choosing to believe in and follow God is a decision only the individual can make, no one can force someone else to be a Christian. According to this Biblical principle, freedom of religion is an inalienable right that must be protected.

    Throughout my years in office, I have strived to be a governor for all Arkansans, not just those who agree with my politics or religion. Shortly after the World Trade Center attacks, I invited representatives of the Muslim community to the Capitol in an effort to help prevent unfair treatment and targeting of Muslims. I have also enjoyed a close and friendly relationship with the Jewish community in this state and have enjoyed attending the Menorah lighting ceremony each December.

    Again, I am sorry if my participation in the conference offended you. It may be that you and I disagree on a philosophical level. I would hope that we could disagree without being offended, but sometimes I guess that's not possible.

    Sincerely yours,
    Mike Huckabee


    Pennsylvania legislature votes on marriage amendment

    Gary at American Agenda alerts us to what's at stake today in Santorum country.
    Tuesday April 4th, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will be voting on the future of thousands of PA Families. And the vote they consider is one that will cause great damage in the name of alleged protection.

    Those that would have the Legislature believe marriage between anything other than a man or a woman is an abomination to God are screaming louder than we are! People, this is our fight to lose!

    I think Stacey Sobel from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights hits the nail squarely on the head:

    House Bill 2381, the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment, represents an attack on the legal rights of Pennsylvanians. It will not prevent one couple from getting divorced. It will not provide support to any couples struggling to find their way. It will not feed, clothe or educate a family’s child. All of us would describe ourselves as “pro-family.” This amendment, however, does not help even one family, but has the potential to harm thousands.
    ***

    And in Minnesota, Michele Bachmann keeps on bleating as a marriage bill comes up for debate in committee. Each side has blocks of tickets, and folks are going to pack in to testify. (365gay):
    The Senate Judiciary Committee is taking up the issue for the first time in two years - a period where legal and legislative disputes over same-sex relationships have continued to ignite heated debates in Minnesota and dozens of other states.

    "We've been kind of begging for this for a long time," said Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, the leading legislative booster of a constitutional ban on legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

    The House of Representatives has already passed the amendment twice. If the Senate follows suit, voters in November would be asked to constitutionally define marriage as strictly between one man and one woman. It would also eliminate the possibility of civil unions, and foes of the measure say it could also block domestic partner benefits, hospital visitation rights and other legal benefits of civil marriage.

    To say the hearing is a hot ticket isn't an exaggeration. Legislative committee hearings are open to the public, but with emotions running high around the gay marriage issue, the Judiciary Committee is issuing two blocks of 50 tickets, one for amendment supporters and the other for opponents.
    Related:
    * Homo-bigot Minnesota State Senator Michele Bachmann has a screw loose


    NOLA: will Bush pull the plug on it?

    Scout at First Draft is on top of the machinations going on to "save" New Orleans. I'm using quotes because it looks like the rebuilding effort, with only a short time away from the next hurricane season, is dealing with cronyism, corruption, inattention and failure at many levels.

    The issue of shoring up and repairing the levees is at a critical juncture because Dear Leader is waffling over putting the dollars into the project:
    If ever there was a time to blog about saving New Orleans now is the time.

    The Army Corps of Engineers announced last week that another $6 Billion is needed to rebuild the levees for the NOLA area. Here’s a breakdown

    But more than $3 billion in improvements are needed to bring Algiers, eastern New Orleans, the Lower 9th Ward, West Jefferson and most of Jefferson Parish's east bank, St. Charles Parish, Belle Chasse and Lower Coast Algiers to the appropriate protection levels. And $3 billion more would be needed for Plaquemines Parish.

    Donald Powell who is Bush’s point man on Katrina reconstruction has said Bush is making no promises regarding the needed $6 billion. The decision will be made this week or next. Powell indicated that Plaquemines Parish is on the chopping block as few people live there. This would be a disaster eventually for NOLA as Plaquemines with its wetlands is a natural buffer to the city. But there is no guarantee that the $3 billion for NOLA metro area will be forthcoming either.

    Without levee protection residents and business will not return. It is that simple.



    DeLay drops out of re-election bid

    Monday, April 03, 2006


    The Hammer comes down for the final time. He can now spend his free time getting fitted for his orange jumpsuit. (CNN):
    Rep. Tom DeLay will drop out of his re-election race, two Republican congressional sources told CNN Monday.

    DeLay was forced to step down as House majority leader last year after being indicted in his home state of Texas.

    DeLay told Time magazine Monday that he and his wife, Christine, had been prepared for an election battle, but that he decided Wednesday to spare his suburban Houston district the mudfest to come.

    "This had become a referendum on me," he told the magazine. "So it's better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what's important for this district."
    I had to go swamp-dwelling to see if the Freepi were wailing...

    Actual Freeper Quotes™

    This should end all doubt as to the reasons why the Dems went after Delay. Guilty or not, they have again run a Republican out of office on charges that would not even draw a headline in the NYTimes if it was a Democrat.

    This isn't the end of the world... frankly, all these guys stay way too long. There's too much money in politics for a person not to be tainted after awhile - even if they're blameless, they still have to chase after money to keep in office.

    Tom needs to take a break, finish up with this annoying legal business is Texas, and figure out what he can do next with his considerable skills..

    Senator Delay?

    Republicans always throw their own to the wolves.....One thing you can say about the Dems is they fight for their people no matter what.

    Very true - And just look how many on the right (GOP) want to jump ship on GWB when the WOT gets tough.....or look at the awful comments made toward GWB over a differing of opinion when it comes to the immigration debate (from those on the right).

    How about Tom as the new White House Press Secretary? That would drive David Gregory to a drug he hasn't tried before.

    Delay '08

    He's backing out just weeks after winning the primary? Hmm, smells like a guilty plea is coming down to me.

    True but you see the Dems no matter how wrong will go to the mat for things they care about....We have all these judges waiting and even with a 55/45 majority they wont be voted on....Delay was one of the few Reps with guts!

    There's too much money in politics for a person not to be tainted after awhile - even if they're blameless, they still have to chase after money to keep in office.

    McCain, is that you? (The only real campaign finance reform would be term limits)

    Guilty of what? Being a successful leader and party fundraiser? How much money is the elegant Barack Obama raising these days?

    Taking defiant swipes at "the left" and the press, he said he feels "liberated" The left may end up regreting having driven Delay from office.

    they didnt fight for that fraud hackett

    If it were me, every time the Dem's accomplished something, I would make the reward taste like bitter apple. Pretty soon they would become gun shy, unable to pull the trigger, willing to leave well enough alone.

    In truth I am upset with Bush on the WOT. He has been trying to pander to the liberals by handcuffing our troops instead of allowing them to win.

    Let's hope for at least that much! Damn democrats. I despise them.

    $3M in his coffers! Primary finished! This reeks. This South Valley Texan not impressed. But not much of what the GOP does these days is very impressive. And I have been one of Tom's most ardent admirers here to fore.

    Even the Dems could see the picnic was short a few sandwhiches!

    Look I actually like Tom DeLay. I think he was a valuable player on the GOP team, and only wish Frist and most of the other republicans had the cahones DeLay did. At the same time when the DeLay Aide pled guilty last week, guilt was obvious.

    The US Senate? It's not going to happen.

    Federal prison? If Delay is lucky he'll get a soft serve, like Martha Stewart. And just for the record, Valuable as Delay was, I don't vote for these guys so they can make themselves wealthy. If that's more important to them fine -- Just don't run as a republican.

    Or maybe the press are about to dig some more dirt and he feels that that could harm the Republican Party more if he is running for office. After all it is less news if he has already withdrawn his nomination.

    just wondering if abramoff threw him under the bus

    GWB is not "right"....he has to be forced by the base to do the right thing....He is all we have and thats sad.

    So....dimocrat Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle gets his wish. Earle probably has little or no case against Delay, but was still able to hang the "INDICTED" sign around Delay's neck for several months. What a miserable rat hack.

    Fat bloated Kennedy committs involuntary manslaughter and remains in the Senate. Unfrickingbelievable.


    Congrats to the 2005 Koufax winners

    And big smackeroos to fellow bloggrrrl Shakespeare's Sister! Here are the winners, and this is an amazing group to hold up as the best of the lefty blogosphere:

    Best Blog — Non Professional
    Crooks & Liars

    Best Blog — Professional or Sponsored
    Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo

    Best Blog Community
    Daily Kos

    Most Deserving of Wider Recognition
    Echidne of the Snakes

    Best New Blog
    Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory

    Best Writing
    Digby of Hullabaloo

    Best Single Issue Blog
    Jordan Barab of Confined Space

    Best Expert Blog
    Pharyngula by P.Z. Myers

    Best Group Blog
    Shakespeare’s Sister

    Best Post
    Bag News Notes for Katrina Aftermath: And Then I Saw These

    Best Series
    FireDogLake for Plame coverage

    Most Humorous Blog
    Jesus’ General

    Most Humorous Post
    Dood Abides for The Wizard of Oil

    Best State or Local Blog
    Bluegrass Report and Tennessee Guerilla Women

    Best Commenter
    Georgia10

    Maybe next year, folks!


    Love from the mailbag

    Man, I haven't gotten a live one like this in a while. He's referring to my post, Head of Mormon church: "Gays have a problem". Enjoy.
    Pam,

    I read, with interest, your blog on Mr. Gordon Hinckley, the leader of the Mormons. While I do not follow that sect, I do admire their standards. I have met people of many different faiths and know there are some good in all of them. I've also met a lot of gays and lesbians and have found some goodness in some of them also.

    I must admit that I abhor the homosexual lifestyle as I do believe that is against nature, meaning of course that it's just flat unatural. I mean come on, how in the crap is a women having "sex" with another women, or a man having "sex" with another man going to create a child? Now, in reality, isn't that why we're here? Some men "get turned on" watching women having "sex"with other women, but to me it's like watching a dog sniffing another dog's rectum.

    Anyhow, that's not why I'm writing you this e-mail. I am writing because of the disrecpect that you have shown to Mr. Hinckley in your sick column. A "walking corpse"? Do you realize what a lame attempt you made? All this man said was that you people need help and he would like to help you. I'll have say that I do admire him for his well-meaning statement, but you and I both know that that isn't possible because there is really no help for you people because what you have is a sickness and it is indeed in epidemic proportions. Who know though, maybe some day there will be a cure for AIDS or if not, it will eliminate most of you, but unfortunately you will take a lot of straights with you.


    The caption in question: The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, walking corpse Gordon B. Hinckley, wants to solve our "problem."

    After looking at your profile, I'm thinking what a pitiful, unhappy little person you must be. I mean afterall you do NOT have very much going for you if that is the way you choose to live. You and your entire following, as you parade in the streets flaunting your indecent behavior are so sad and misled.

    Well, I've said about all I need to say, but I do want to thank you for the opportunity to write you and express my sincere feelings. Here is hoping that someday the scientists will find a cure for the illness that plagues you and those others who live your lifestyle.

    Very Sincerely,

    Joseph B.
    Oh, I didn't bother responding to this one; I'm busy working on something else right now, so I figured that I'd enlist your help in addressing this pitiful, unhappy little man, since he's obviously reading the Blend and addressing all the homos out there as well. :)


    Neal Boortz 'apologizes'

    Here it is, from his web site:
    AN APOLOGY


    Talking about stepping in it!

    Suddenly, for some people, the issue isn't Cynthia McKinney hitting a law enforcement officer and then screaming racism. Nope. The issue is what I had to say about her hair style. That's entirely fair --- to a point. Last Friday I said that that hairdo ... the wild and crazy every hair going in a different direction hairdo -- made her look like a ghetto slut. Know what? That was wrong. Bad wrong. That was overboard. I know Cynthia McKinney. I've know her for years. I intensely dislike her anti-American politics and her constant race baiting ... but on a personal level we've always gotten along just fine .. kidding each other ... needling each other. I remember her spotting me sitting in the House visitors gallery one day and yelling (with a smile on her face, by the way) "Neal Boortz! Who the hell let you in here?" I've known her father much longer than I've known her. I have said on the air several times this past week that I think that she has an endearing personality and a million-dollar smile.

    That being said, I don't think that it was right to use the word "slut" in any description involving her or her hairdo. So ... my heartfelt apologies to Cynthia McKinney. I'll say it here, and I'll say it on the air on today. When I'm wrong I'll admit it with no hesitation.

    Now this apology is going to mean absolutely nothing to those of you who consider every word ever uttered by someone-not-liberal to be "hate speech." This apology is going to mean nothing to those of you who consider every negative comment or criticism ever made of or about anybody-not-white to be "racism." Most of the people who have sent me some rather nasty emails in the last 24 hours know nothing about me except what they've read on some far-left websites. One listener from Saginaw, Michigan wrote to say that this apology indicates that I recognized my error and that I take responsibility for my words. He then wonders if it will be accepted. I am not concerned about whether or not it will be accepted. That's up to McKinney. I've said this because it's the way I feel. The apology, therefore, is for the millions of listeners who do know me and who were disappointed by my statement on Friday. Sorry I let you down.

    Actually, I should be horsewhipped for saying something stupid that allowed, to some extent, the attention to shift from the wrongdoing of Cynthia McKinney to my ill-chosen words. The issue here is not how one would define Cynthia McKinney's hairstyle. The issue is whether or not Cynthia McKinney assaulted a law enforcement officer who was merely trying to do his sworn duty. Contrast, if you would, my apology with that of Cynthia McKinney. McKinney has only said that she "regrets" that the incident happened. That is not an apology. So far as I've heard there has not been one "I'm sorry." Instead, McKinney stages a news conference Friday afternoon featuring two of premiere Hollywood leftist jackasses, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte, two men fresh from their recent appearance giving aid and comfort to America-hater Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. So, there is Cynthia McKinney, standing there with two men who have said some mighty foul things about our country and our president, accusing a police officer of being a racist because he didn't recognize her when she circumvented a screening station. That man spends his days protecting McKinney and her colleagues; and she thanks him by calling him a racist for merely doing his job. Let's see if Cynthia can eventually stand up and apologize for being a fool. I just did. It really doesn't hurt all that much.
    I'm glad to see that Boortz took responsibility for what he said; his racist and sexist comments were over the top. The above is about as good as you're going to see out of the man. He was doing fine on this missive aside from the hard-to-miss exception of blaming listeners for grabbing onto the inappropriate offensive statements about Rep. McKinney's hair instead of his interpretation of how she handled the Capitol Hill police officer incident:
    "The issue here is not how one would define Cynthia McKinney's hairstyle. The issue is whether or not Cynthia McKinney assaulted a law enforcement officer who was merely trying to do his sworn duty."
    That's the whole point, fool. You're the one who chose to make comments over the airwaves about McKinney that had nothing to do with the actual reason you were angry with her. You let your base racist instincts do the talking, and showed a complete ignorance of why the statements you made reached way deeper than a hairdo.

    You did step in it, and it blew back on you, Neal. It was not irrelevant that he used the term "ghetto slut" and all the loaded connotations that came with it -- but to his credit he figured that bit of business out -- it took an avalanche of emails and calls to educate the man.

    As I said in my initial post on the matter, in the end, it's likely both McKinney and the Capitol police officer are in the wrong to some extent. McKinney's post-incident press conference undermined cases of blatant and extreme racism that people experience every day, and the cop didn't use the best judgment when interacting with her in that moment.

    And yes, race always matters. The card gets played on both sides, and that's what everyone needs to acknowledge -- stop playing games with it -- and start an open discussion about how to overcome the problems that cascade from the lack of concern and understanding.

    Hat tip, Ann.



    The headline says it all


    Former Sen. Jesse Helms Has Dementia.

    See an earlier Blend post on the former senator.


    Making the homeland safe for air travel

    "I don't know if she thought my mom had a bomb in her Depends or what."
    -- Sally Moon on the treatment of her wheelchair-bound elderly mother by a Transportation Security Administration screener
    This is outrageous. The TSA is under the gun after a recent incident involving an 83-year-old woman at the Denver International Airport. The new Homeland security effort to protect the public now involves putting the screws to frail grandmothers with dementia.
    The incident at Denver International Airport occurred eight days ago when Sally Moon, her sister and a Frontier Airlines employee were transporting Bernice "Bea" Bogart to a special security screening area. Moon's sister, who did not have concourse clearance and the Frontier employee were left behind as Moon pushed her mother to the screening site.The TSA goons not only made the woman get up, but issued threats.

    Moon had been told by Frontier and TSA staff that screeners would not require Bogart to leave her chair for the security check, so she turned to put her mother's carry-on luggage through the x-ray device. When she turned back, she discovered her mother had been picked out for further screening and was out of her chair, "hobbling" through a glass-walled corridor.

    "There were no grab bars," Moon told the Rocky Mountain News. "What I could see really was her fingers trying to hang onto a little ledge."
    The TSA goons not only made the woman get up, but issued threats.
    Moon says she instinctively reached out to assist her mother, fearing another fall and another broken hip.

    "Don't touch her!" Moon says the screener warned.

    Moon attempted to tell the young screener, a woman in her mid-to-late 20s, that her mother was under doctor's orders not to stand without her four-wheeled walker, but the screener shot back, "You'd better change your attitude. Or do you want me to make it so you don't fly today?"


    On the way out?



    When I was getting up this AM, dodging our three dogs -- they were going ape over the bad thunderstorm outside -- I flipped on the tube and saw that CNN was speculating that the Scott-bot's head might be on the chopping block.

    My first thought was why on earth would they need to fire the guy -- at this point he should be running screaming from the White House, as he has had to perform up there at the podium as the public lying sack of sh*t for this administration, taking the body blows over Iraq, Rove, Gannon, oh, geez, the topics that have driven him into a fetal position goes on and on.

    What masochist will want to take that job? More at Think Progress.

    ***

    Speaking of a job no one wants, it looks like the Bushies can't find a warm body to step into Brownie's old shoes at FEMA with the hurricane season approaching. Gee, I wonder why? A few of the candidates who said "Thanks, but no thanks" when they got the call (NYT):




    'Mr. Hetero' sues over security bill



    Holy roller and manly man, Rev. Thomas Crouse of Holland Congregational Church and creator and emcee of the Mr. Hetero contest (see posts, here and here) is suing Worcester, MA because the police department sent him a bill for providing security for the event. (365gay):
    "Mr. Heterosexual 2006 - A Celebration of God's Design" drew heavy criticism from LGBT civil rights groups, local politicians and the Human Rights Commission.

    As opposition mounted Crouse asked for five police officers to provide security, but after Police Chief Gary J. Gemme met with Norma Sandison, executive director of Mechanics Hall the security detail was beefed up to 20 officers. A handful of protesters demonstrated outside the hall on Feb 18 as the event went on and the number of people inside the hall was reportedly sparse.

    When Rev. Crouse got the bill for the police detail he decided to go to court.

    Supported by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona legal group that fights against LGBT issues across the country, Crouse says in his lawsuit that his constitutional right to free speech was violated by the heavy police presence. Crouse also claims that police were responsible for the low turnout at the event.
    Bahahahahahahahaha. Yes, right Tom. The streets would have been teeming with folks waiting to get in to watch events such as the The Best Use of Duct Tape, Name the Food and Strength (tearing up Oprah's O magazine) events.


    I have to repost a snippet of an on-the-scene report from the Worcester Independent's Mike Benedetti.
    One could not help but note three major Hetero things that were missing from this pageant:

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

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

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

    My recommendations for future Mr. Heteros:

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

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

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

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


    More whiny fundie babies mad at GOP


    They get what they deserve, then they eat their own. No wonder you have pols like John McCain and Mike DeWine sucking at the fundie teat these days. The bible-beaters are stirring up the sh*t of discontent once again to remind all the clowns they put into office that they didn't do the bidding of God's people.

    Take out the teensy violin for the AmTaliban; they are just figuring out the Rethugs have been sucking up to big business and not adequately tending to the needs of the faux-pious sheeple.
    Pro-family advocates are saying the GOP-controlled Congress has failed families. Dr. Alan Carlson of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, & Society contends the Republican Party has not lived up to its promises to families. Carlson points to the recent bankruptcy bill as an example. "Congress helped the banks, helped the credit card industry, gave them what they wanted -- but really didn't look at the interest of families here," he asserts, adding that huge interest rates and late fees have harmed families and yet were not addressed.


    Carlson on what our priorities should be: "We will build a new culture of marriage where others would define marriage out of existence. We will welcome and celebrate more babies and larger families where others would continue a war on human fertility."

    Carlson insists anti-family attitudes can be seen much of the time when Congress teams up with big business. "Major corporations will favor working mothers, [which] drives down labor costs," he says, "and the GOP has done nothing to help families with a stay-at-home parent." Carlson continues: "They do nothing to help families that make all the sacrifices to keep a parent at home to care for little children. As I said, again, when the interests of big business and the interests of average families collide, the GOP almost always gives way to the interests of big business."


    Christian leader Tony Perkins, like Carlson, suspects the unrest among the GOP conservative base is occurring because some core issues are being ignored. The Family Research Council president points to the right over marriage as a prime example. "When you look at what the discussion has been since 2004, marriage has been absent from the vocabulary," he observes. "In fact, in the State of the Union address, not this year but last year, it was mentioned; this year it wasn't mentioned. So, clearly, there is a concern that those core issues are not being addressed." But conservative supporters want to hear reinforcing comments on that right now, he adds. According to Perkins, they still believe the president should take a stronger stance on the issue of protecting traditional marriage with a constitutional amendment.


    'The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history'

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    That's the opening sentence of the Kevin Phillips column up at the WaPo on how the GOP became God's Own Party, and the threat these crazies pose to our nation. It's a must read. A snippet:
    When religion was trod upon in the 1960s and thereafter by secular advocates determined to push Christianity out of the public square, the move unleashed an evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal counterreformation, with strong theocratic pressures becoming visible in the Republican national coalition and its leadership.

    Besides providing critical support for invading Iraq -- widely anathematized by preachers as a second Babylon -- the Republican coalition has also seeded half a dozen controversies in the realm of science. These include Bible-based disbelief in Darwinian theories of evolution, dismissal of global warming, disagreement with geological explanations of fossil-fuel depletion, religious rejection of global population planning, derogation of women's rights and opposition to stem cell research. This suggests that U.S. society and politics may again be heading for a defining controversy such as the Scopes trial of 1925. That embarrassment chastened fundamentalism for a generation, but the outcome of the eventual 21st century test is hardly assured.


    Clockwise from top: James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; and Pat Buchanan, a political commentator and founder of American Cause. All are simply religious extremists who believe in God's Own Party should control our lives (and bodies). (Photos: AP)

    These developments have warped the Republican Party and its electoral coalition, muted Democratic voices and become a gathering threat to America's future. No leading world power in modern memory has become a captive of the sort of biblical inerrancy that dismisses modern knowledge and science. The last parallel was in the early 17th century, when the papacy, with the agreement of inquisitional Spain, disciplined the astronomer Galileo for saying that the sun, not the Earth, was the center of our solar system.

    Conservative true believers will scoff at such concerns. The United States is a unique and chosen nation, they say; what did or did not happen to Rome, imperial Spain, the Dutch Republic and Britain is irrelevant. The catch here, alas, is that these nations also thought they were unique and that God was on their side. The revelation that He apparently was not added a further debilitating note to the late stages of each national decline.
    The moderate Republicans know the bed they've made and it's clear from the behavior of those jockeying for 2008 (McCain, Romney, etc.) that they fear The Base. I think the fear is almost paralyzing these folks; the pols aren't sure how many times they can get away with kissing up to the bible beaters and pulling the legislative rug out from under them once in office. What they don't understand is that every time they throw them a bone to appease them -- a Supreme Court pick or two, marriage amendments passing in the states -- the country moves closer to that theocracy that the movement desires.

    At some point it will be almost impossible to legislatively stop the juggernaut of damage to society that these people have caused in the name of God. The only hope is that the sheeple wake up, particularly the apathetic voters who simply stay home, never read a paper or care about politics even as their privacy rights are eroding. These are the people that Dems (and moderate Republicans) should energize if they wish to turn back the Christofascists.


    Where things stand on same-sex marriage


    The AP has a story up on the status of gay marriage in the states. The run-down:
    * In November 2004, voters in 11 states adopted constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon and Utah.

    * In 2005 Texas followed suit.

    * This year, voters in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin are likely to vote on the issue.

    * Vermont and Connecticut allow civil unions

    The article erroneously states that the civil unions in Vermont and Connecticut "extend the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples," which we all know is not the case; those unions are not recognized in all 50 states, and none of the 1000+ benefits that convey with marriage are available to same-sex couples in a civil union.

    This week, the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that gay couple from other states cannot marry if SSM is illegal in their state. The MA Superior Court will 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.

    The AP also fails to note that Alabama is also going to vote on an amendment in June.

    Also, Washington state awaits a court decision that could overturn the ban on same-sex marriage, and the New Jersey Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a gay-marriage case and is expected to rule in the next several months.

    It's hard to keep track of all the initiatives making their way through legislatures, so if you all have additional updates, on goings-on in other states, post away in the comments.

    ***

    And in California, the dilemma that gay activists are in knots about. A couple is suing right to marry under the U.S. Constitution, and is asking for a federal appeals court to rule. This is one step before the U.S. Supreme Court, and many are worried that it's the wrong time for SSM to go before the high court. (Sacramento Union):
    Two gay California men will ask a federal appeals court this week to declare they have a right to marry under the U.S. Constitution, but heavyweights in the fight for same-sex marriage are sitting this one out because they think the legal tactic is misguided.

    “We have been very active in trying to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples,” said Jon Davidson, legal director for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. “We think there is a smart way to do that and a less smart way to do that.”

    Lambda, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are waging their campaigns in the state courts of California, Iowa, Washington, New Jersey, New York and elsewhere, seeking rulings similar to the one that led to legal gay marriage in Massachusetts.

    The groups are withholding funding and other support for this case because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling at this juncture is a likely loser given the national consensus against gay marriage, and it’s likely to set bad precedent, they say.

    The lawyer for a California couple whose case will be heard Tuesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals scoffs at the groups’ tactics.

    “You fight for your rights when your rights are being denied,” Richard Gilbert said. “When the building is on fire, you don’t stand by and let the building burn down and say we’ll fight the fire another day.”
    The rest of article lays out the pros and cons and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure what the best strategy is. Short-term loss for long-term gain, or waiting for the public tide to turn.


    Filing an FCC complaint against Neal Boortz

    In my earlier post, The politics of hair - Neal Boortz edition, I blogged about the unbelievable racist and sexist commentary of Neal Boortz on his radio program about Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), which included these statements about her hairdo (which as far as most reasonable people can ascertain, has nothing to do with the facts of her run-in with the Capitol Hill police):

    "She looks like a ghetto slut."

    "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."

    "She looks like Tina Turner peeing on an electric fence."
    Whether you like her hairstyle or not, this is more than a superficial slam on someone's looks. It's not irrelevant that he selected the term "ghetto slut" and all the loaded connotations that come with it. Read the rest of my post for the rest of my rant on the politics of hair and race. As I said:
    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.
    However, folks can put some heat on this racist bleater Boortz. Here is the FCC complaint form that can be used to share your opinions of Boortz; reference the original audio of his diatribe, which is posted at Media Matters, along with the transcript.

    Here are the stations that air his show (PDF).

    Blender Michael adds this pertinent info for folks heading over to fill out the FCC form:
    FCC COMPLAINT FORM INFO: Be aware that the FCC requires certain compulsory information as follows and which I am providing here.
    DATE OF BROADCAST: 31 MARCH 2006
    CALL SIGN: CRX ATLANTA
    CITY AND STATE: ATLANTA, GEORGIA
    DETAILS ABOUT THE PROGRAM: If you listen to Boortz's comments at the link Pam provides, then you can fill this in as you see fit. But clearly referring to Rep. McKinney as a "ghetto slut" and "ghetto trash" just about covers it, although he says other offensive things as well. I am not sure of the time the comments were broadcast and I simply put in a question mark in the space provided. But if you simply refer to the program by its proper name, THE NEAL BOORTZ SHOW, that should be adequate.
    Folks also asked about sponsors of the Boortz show. They are conveniently supplied on his web site. They include:

    * Chevy Trucks
    * Dekalb Tire Company .
    * Georgia Pressure and Steam
    *Kudzu.com (Photos, consumer reviews, 3rd party credentials and Better Business Bureau reports)
    * Longhorn Steakhouse
    * Mister Sparky, Inc.. An Atlanta electrical service company
    * Overhead Door Company of Atlanta. Call us at 404-USA-DOOR. Email.
    * Solomon Brothers Fine Jewelry
    * Splash Town, metro Atlanta's home of the BullFrog Spa.
    * Taylor Construction.
    * Trotter Company is Georgia's largest foundation repair and drainage contractor.


    Tool-a-rama


    John McCain on Meet the Press today:
    RUSSERT: But, Senator, when you were on here in 2000, I asked you about Jerry Falwell, and this is what you said:

    MCCAIN (clip, 3/5/00): Gov. Bush swung far to the right and sought out the base support of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Those aren't the ideas that I think are good for the Republican Party.

    RUSSERT: Do you think that Jerry Falwell's ideas are now good for the Republican Party?

    MCCAIN: I believe that the "Christian Right" has a major role to play in the Republican Party. One reason is because they're so active and their followers are. And I believe they have a right to be a part of our party. I don't have to agree with everything they stand for, nor do I have to agree with everything that's on the liberal side of the Republican Party. If we have to agree on every issue, we're not a Republican Party. [No, but if you want to be elected with their help you have to change your mind on a marriage amendment to appease them, huh? Guess you literally meant "Straight Talk" as your campaign theme, a la Stephen Bennett. ] I believe in open and honest debate. Was I unhappy in the year 2000 that I lost the primary and there were some attacks on me that I thought was unfair? Of course. Should I get over it? Should I serve - can I serve the people of Arizona best by looking back in anger or moving forward?

    RUSSERT: Do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?

    MCCAIN: No, I don't. I think that Jerry Falwell can explain how his views on this program when you have him on.

    Think Progress has the video of McCain flushing the moderate vote away.

    ***


    More fun...Meanwhile, Rev. Tinkywinky defends his decision to invite McCain to speak at Liberty University. Love it; this can't help McCain with moderate voters either.
    Dr. Jerry Falwell is defending his decision to invite Arizona Senator John McCain to speak at Liberty University's spring commencement ceremony. McCain will make his first ever appearance at the Lynchburg, Virginia, school when he delivers the Christian university's commencement address on May 13.

    The invitation from Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell may come as a surprise to some conservatives, considering McCain's past opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, his support for embryonic stem-cell research, and his recent cameo appearance on the raunchy, nudity-filled movie Wedding Crashers. But Dr. Falwell said he wanted to invite a "dominant Christian leader of the free world."

    "There are several very good pro-life, pro-family candidates who are vying for the White House, and I thought I would invite one of them who's an American hero, a military hero, who's a U.S. Senator, and who, very frankly, is at the moment the frontrunner," Falwell explains. "That doesn't mean we're endorsing Senator McCain, but it does mean we're taking a very close look."

    According to Dr. Falwell, Senator McCain assured him during a telephone conversation earlier this week that if federal courts were to toss out state amendments protecting traditional marriage, he would be "a champion and a leader" for a Federal Marriage Amendment.


    Australian prime minister Howard: 'I'm Not Anti-Gay'

    Come the f*ck on - is this the new meme for the retro-homophobes -- a variation on "some of my best friends are..." as they attempt to legislate the rights of gay folks away? Jeezus. (365gay):
    Australia) Australian Prime Minister John Howard says that his government's threat to expand its ban on same-sex marriage to include civil unions is not anti-gay.


    "This is not an anti-homosexual gesture," Howard told the Ten Network on the weekend. "This is a gesture to support the special and traditional place of marriage as a heterosexual union for life of a man and a woman in Australian society."

    Last week Howard's Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, told the government of the Australian Capital Territory he would block proposed ACT legislation that would create civil unions giving same-sex couples all of the rights of marriage but without the name.

    "Why we're against what the ACT is doing is that, in all but name, they are equating same-sex unions with marriage," Howard told Ten Network. "I don't support that, not because I'm against homosexuals, but I think there should always be a margin for marriage as we understand it in our society ... you don't equate a gay union with a traditional marriage - that's our position."


    'Ex-gay' BS in the Tar Heel state

    You want to know a secret? I still find myself attracted to men occasionally. To those of you with the puzzled looks on your faces, let me say it a different way. I have found that God’s provision is not necessarily eradicating the same-sex attractions; His ways, which are not my ways, include strengthening the shoulder that bears the burden. And as Dr. S. M. Lockridge used to say “That’s my King!”
    -- "Pray away the gay" proponent Tim Wilkins of NC's Cross Ministry, who says he's a former homo ready to walk you out of homosexuality
    Please. This nonsense has got to stop. The ex-gay movement has zero credibility, yet these clowns keep popping out of the woodwork, this one out of Wake Forest.
    A North Carolina-based ministry is planning a series of conferences geared toward church pastors, staff members, and lay leaders in an effort to better equip them to minister to those who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle.

    Tim Wilkins is a former homosexual who now runs Cross Ministry, which helps to equip churches to evangelize and disciple the homosexual. One of the ways Cross Ministry achieves its goal is through conferences that convey -- through personal testimony, workshops, and literature -- the reality of change for those struggling with same-sex attraction. This summer, Wilkins' ministry will hold a series of one-day conferences under the banner of "More Than Words."

    ...But that is not the case, Wilkins says. "[T]his conference is for everybody -- pastors, associate pastors, church staff, professionals, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, coworkers." The ministry website promises to get conference attendees to the "bottom line" where they can make a difference in the lives of homosexuals by "witnessing the grace, love, and power of Jesus Christ who makes 'all things new.'"

    Wilkins says while Christians know homosexuality is wrong, most of them do not have the knowledge to refute homosexual propaganda -- and churches and schools, he says, are being bombarded with such misinformation in order to legitimize homosexuality.

    "The emphasis [of the conference] is walking people out [of the homosexual lifestyle] rather than talking them out," he says. "Therefore, we'll be dealing with such issues as what's a parent to do when a mother, father, or guardian, or some family member learns that a son or daughter or loved one is dealing with homosexuality."

    In addition, says Wilkins, the conference will touch on such issues such as untwisting so-called "gay theology." Wilkins has run up against that quite often. "Over the last 20 or 30 years, there are those who are trying to rewrite scripture in order to say that the Bible condones homosexuality," he notes.
    Last year, Jeremy of Good As You put out the bait to "ex-gays" by challenging a few to come forward and agree to appear on 700 Club to take a lie detector test with him, and would have only one question asked: "Are you a homosexual?". Tim Wilkins responded.

    On his web site, Wilkins explains why he couldn't go see Brokeback Mountain and it says a lot about how successfully "ex" he is.
    A reporter from The Christian Post asked my thoughts about the movie and I obliged. My comments as a former homosexual were made from the reviews I had read–comments which generated numerous emails to me from individuals arguing that I could not make an intelligent comment on a movie I had not seen.

    They suggested that my viewing the movie would be beneficial in responding to the reporter’s questions. I told them and the reporter that my going to see Brokeback Mountain would be similar to asking a former alcoholic to go to a liquor store to buy his neighbor a toddy for the body.

    ...I am aware that an ultra-literalist might argue that viewing the movie does not constitute sexual immorality, but let’s remember that sexual immorality can be a thought as much as it can be an act.

    On a more simplistic level, I urge people who are allergic to bee stings to avoid bees–fair skinned women to void the sun–lactose intolerant men to avoid dairy products–asthmatics to avoid perfumes–and hay fever suffers to avoid pollen.


    Spring forward, folks...

    The clock moved up an hour overnight. Back to bed.



    Abandon ship on the Harris campaign

    Saturday, April 01, 2006


    Looks like the boobage is getting more attention than what's coming out of Katherine Harris's mouth, seen campaigning at a restaurant near Kissimmee on Saturday. Photo: Ed Sackett/Orlando Sentinel

    In this Orlando Sentinel article, it's clear Katherine Harris need not worry about spending any more dough on her campaign to unseat Bill Nelson as from his Senate seat. Her operation is falling apart, with resignations expected at all levels of the campaign. Boo hoo.
    The last of U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris' key staffers appear ready to abandon her campaign for the U.S. Senate in a wave of resignations expected to start this weekend.

    Sources close to the campaign said Friday that the defections would touch virtually every level of her operation.

    Harris, who is running against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, is likely to lose her chief political strategist, her campaign manager, her spokeswoman, her director of field operations and even a traveling aide who helps hand out stickers at campaign appearances.

    It is the latest and most dramatic indication so far that her campaign is on the verge of collapse.

    "I've never seen staffers go like this," said David Johnson, a Republican pollster and consultant. "It's just imploding."
    Hat tip, Raw Story.


    The kink factor is off the meter in western NC


    I guess there really isn't much you can say about this story except to print the facts as they are and let it fly...(Asheville Citizen-Times):
    Three men charged with performing castrations in a sadomasochistic dungeon in their Haywood County home will go to court on Monday, a prosecutor said today.

    A judge during the hearing, called a 96-hour hearing, will advise them of their right to remain silent and to legal representation. They will also be given the opportunity to apply for a court-appointed attorney, District Attorney Michael Bonfoey said.

    ...The first hearing that could provide more details of the castrations and illegal surgeries will be an April 12 probable cause hearing. The state will offer evidence that shows it had cause to believe a crime was committed, the prosecutor said.
    Oh, but it gets better.
    Investigators believe at least six men traveled from across the nation and abroad to learn “slave training” and have their genitals mutilated by a man they called “Master Rick” in a sadomasochistic dungeon inside a home in the Allens Creek community.

    Haywood County authorities said Friday the men were castrated during eight illegal surgeries at the house on Peace Mountain Road. The operations took place from June 2004 to November 2005.
    OK. How many guys out there aren't holding the family jewels at this point? Oh, yes, and the investigators said that the victims were willing participants to boot.

    By the way, as one expects in unhinged cases like this, there's always some joker who is a complete dunce when doing something illegal -- one of the suspects actually filmed himself doing the slicing and dicing and burned it to DVD, which was found by the police when his home was searched.


    Priest charged with sexual assault of woman who expected counseling

    More depravity. A man of the cloth in Saratoga, CA has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman at a Motel 6 who he had been corresponding with over email. She was expecting counseling from him and instead she got raped.
    The Rev. Randy Benas, 45, of Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga was arrested Thursday and is being held on $200,000 bail at the Santa Clara County Jail, Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Lt. Marty Dale said.

    ...The 29-year-old Oregon woman alleged that Benas raped her early Tuesday morning after she met him at the Motel 6 on Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale. She was driving to visit friends in San Diego but had stopped in the Bay Area late Monday after Benas asked her to meet him for the first time, Dale said.

    They had been exchanging letters and about two phone calls a month for the last year, Dale said. "The victim viewed it as a counseling or mentoring relationship," Dale said. "The father's insight had helped her through struggles that she was having."

    The woman was looking for spiritual guidance a year ago when she sent inquiry letters to a number of priests around the country. Benas was the only one to respond, Dale said.
    Do you think this was the only woman that Benas has "given spiritual counseling" to in this manner?

    Hat tip Fritz


    Painful visions


    The freakshow

    Minnelli: 'I'm sick of sex'. That's the actual headline I skimmed, and quite frankly, I'm now spasming thinking about Liza and David Gest. This is really so much more than we all needed to know. (Contact Music):
    Minnelli split from fourth husband, producer DAVID GEST in 2003 and their divorce is still pending, so the singer insists she won't be racing back down the aisle anytime soon. She explains, "Look at my track record - I have good taste in friends and lousy taste in husbands." The 60-year-old, who has survived addiction problems and two hip replacements, is cautious when it comes to her love life She admits she's "seeing a couple of people" but insists, "I'm sick of sex! I don't give a rat's a**! I care about integrity and kindness."