An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Mapping Our Rights, state by state

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

You have to check out this newly released web site, Mapping Our Rights: Navigating Discrimination Against Women, Men and Families. It ranks states on their level of respect for reproductive and sexual rights.

Who comes out on top? New York and New Mexico tie at #1. At the bottom, no surprise: South Dakota.

The project is the work of Ipas, an international reproductive health organization based in Chapel Hill; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective. From the NGLTF release:
Leila Hessini, Ipas senior policy advisor, said: "Historically, the United States has represented ideals of liberty and equality for much of the world. But, as this project demonstrates, that freedom often depends on the state you call home."

The clickable, online map uses more than 20 indicators to rank the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including:

* Public funding for family planning and abortion
* Whether health-care providers can deny medical services because of their beliefs
* Whether same-sex couples can adopt
* The use of abstinence-only curricula in schools
* Whether states have anti-discrimination clauses that explicitly protect gays

...Jason Cianciotto, research director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, said: "With the launching of Mapping Our Rights, the relationship between reproductive rights and the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is clear. From the right to control our own bodies, to access to fertility technology, to the application of scientifically based approaches to HIV/AIDS, people of every sexual orientation and gender identity share the most basic human concerns and goals."
The scoring system, according to the site, uses a penalty-point system to determine whether a state's laws and policies protect sexual and reproductive freedom.
State legislation or policies that are unfavorable or that do not protect sexual and reproductive rights receive 100 penalty points, while states with policies that uphold these rights receive no penalty points. States could also receive 50 points for legislation that does not apply to the state as a whole, or is enjoined by the courts.
I decided to see where my state, NC, came out. It's dead in the middle at #25.
North Carolina received 100 penalty points on the following filters:
* Mandatory parental involvement in minors’ abortions
* TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws
* Abortion coverage under the Medicaid program
* Emergency contraception (EC) in the emergency room
* Emergency contraception (EC) pharmacy access
* Anti-discrimination laws for LGBT Community
* Hate crimes legislation for LGBT Community
* DOMA (Defense of Marriage Acts) and similar constitutional amendments
* Same-sex marriage laws
* Abstinence-only education
* Legal status of midwifery
* State constitutional guarantee of equal rights for men and women (ERA)
* "Conscience" or refusal clauses
* Fetal homicide laws

North Carolina received 50 penalty points on the following filters:
Lack of protection or restriction: Second-parent/Step-parent adoption by same-sex partners
Go to the site and check out your state's ranking. Kate's birth state, Alabama, actually comes in at 29. Mississippi, right next door, is 45.



Roy Moore tanks in Alabama governor's race

The Alabama GOP primary is on June 6, and SurveyUSA delivers the bad news to Roy:

If the Republican Primary were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Roy Moore? Or Bob Riley?

30% Moore
66% Riley
5% Undecided

But he's not giving up. Well, he has given up on putting the slab o' Ten Commandments in the state house.
Moore states that if elected he will not attempt to return the Ten Commandments monument to a state building in Montgomery. But he says he will work for term limits for legislators to curb influence from special interests. And as for the pre-election polls, he believes he will benefit from a strong voter turnout.

"People have to understand: in this state we don't have party registration -- [therefore] you can vote in any primary that you wish," he explains. "So we encourage all people in Alabama to come in and ask for the [Republican] ballot ..., to vote so we can return a godly understanding of government to our state and representative government to our people. We need to return the government of this state back to the people of Alabama."

Moore also vows to push for tougher penalties for businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. His campaign website also states Moore's opposition to gambling, pornography, and same-sex "marriage," as well as his promise to defend individuals' rights to "publicly acknowledge God as the moral foundation of law, liberty, and government."
Meanwhile, across the aisle...

If the Democratic Primary were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Lucy Baxley? Don Siegelman? Or some other candidate?

39% Baxley
47% Siegelman
9% Other
5% Undecided

Former governor Don Siegelman, who is being tried on racketeering and corruption charges, is leading in the Dem race. Man, you couldn't make this up. Riley will cruise to victory.


Exxon will continue its anti-gay ways

The shareholders have spoken, and it's not for equality. (365gay):
For the seventh consecutive year shareholders at ExxonMobil's annual meeting have voted down a proposal to include LGBT workers in the company's anti-discrimination policy.

But despite rejection there is room for some comfort the nation's largest gay rights group says. The number of shareholders supporting the policy change is growing annually.

This year 34.6 percent of shares voted in favor of the policy this year, an increase from 29.4 percent in 2005.

...ExxonMobil is the only major U.S. company to rescind a non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation.

LGBT workers had been included in employment policies at Mobil. In December 1999 when Mobil merged with Exxon and under Exxon's direction, the policy was abandoned. At the same time, it closed Mobil's domestic partner benefits program to any more employees.


RFK Jr. to question 2004 election results in Rolling Stone

The Brad Blog just released this nugget.
A damning and detailed feature article, written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., for Rolling Stone and documenting evidence of the theft of the 2004 Presidential Election is set to hit newstands this Friday, The BRAD BLOG can now confirm. The online version of the article will be posted tomorrow (Thursday) morning.

The article -- headlined on the cover as "Did Bush Steal the 2004 Election?: How 350,000 Votes Disappeared in Ohio" -- has been several months in development and will contend that a concerted effort was undertaken by high-level Republican officials to steal the Election in Ohio -- and thus the country -- in 2004!

Kennedy told The BRAD BLOG this morning that "the best evidence says the Republicans succeeded" in their plan.

He writes in the 10-page long article, and confirmed to us today, that evidence shows Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was "certainly in on" the scheme, and "there are indications that the effort went all the way up to the White House."
All I can say is that RFK Jr. better have his "i" dotted and his "t"s crossed on this one, because the right wing blogosphere is going to work it over big time.

Brad has more details on the article over at his pad.


Open thread

A couple of tidbits:

* Jerry of www.christianlgbtrights.org, emailed me that the same-sex marriage cases are being heard by the New York State Court of Appeals today. Here's the link to the live webcast, which begins at 2PM EDT.

The 365gay story on the case is here. A snippet:
In lower courts judges in three of the cases upheld the current ban on same-sex marriage. In the fourth, New York City judge Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that the New York State Constitution guarantees basic freedoms to lesbian and gay people, and that those rights are violated when same-sex couples are not allowed to marry. That ruling was overturned in a midlevel appeals court.

...Lawyers for same-sex couples will argue that Judge Ling-Cohan ruled correctly and that banning same-sex marriage violates the state Constitution. The state will argue that only the legislature has the right to define marriage. In the specific case involving Ling-Cohan lawyers for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will also argue against gay marriage, even though the mayor as recently as last weekend said he supports same-sex marriage.


* And it looks like Ned Lamont's candidacy gets a boost, as the NYT says he needs to be "taken seriously" as a challenger to Holy Joe.


New Orleans dangerously unprepared for hurricane season

Is there any surprise about this? It's sickening that the Bush admin, state, and local officials have failed to adequately prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, and thousands of residents are at risk once again.

The non-profit Institute for Southern Studies has prepared a new report, "Storm Cloud over New Orleans," as part of its Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch project. It documents the negligence that leaves the city's storm defenses in critical condition. Some of the sorry stats:
* Due to delays in funding and construction, nearly 20% of New Orleans levees and floodwalls destroyed by Katrina have not been repaired. What’s more, the Army Corps of Engineers has no mandate to protect the city from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, even though climate trends show storms are growing in intensity.

* The city’s pump system, designed to prevent flooding in low-lying areas, has not been tested and repaired after being corroded after Katrina. Three pumps failed during a light rain in April, and doubts about oversight and evacuation plans have added to the chaos.

* Federal leaders have done little to restore Louisiana’s fast-disappearing coastal wetlands. Despite being an excellent natural "buffer" against storm surges, Congress rejected a $2 billion proposal to restore the wetlands this spring.

* Over the concerns of community leaders, officials have failed to take action to close the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet -- 40-year-old relic which during Katrina breached its levees in 20 places, and is responsible for destroying over 20,000 acres of key wetlands.
Add to that the tactic by all Gulf states this year to alert residents that they are basically "on their own" in terms of preparing for a storm aftermath, combined with a difficult to understand, head-in-the-sand attitude by locals about the dangers posed by the upcoming hurricane season, and it sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Emergency management officials groaned this month at a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., which found that of 1,100 adults along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, 83 percent had taken no steps to fortify their homes this year, 68 percent had no hurricane survival kits and 60 percent had no family disaster plan.

"I can't rightfully say I see any increased sense of people getting ready," said Larry Gispert, emergency management director in Hillsborough County, Fla., home to Tampa. "It's like a psychological issue — 'If I don't think about bad things, bad things won't happen.' "


Daddy Dobson: the forces of hell are attacking marriage

The increasing hysteria and flop sweat on the right as the marriage protection amendment vote approaches makes you picture Daddy Dobson and friends running down the road, emitting blood-curdling screams as the homo demon slithers toward them.

Daniel at Ex Gay Watch listened to the latest Focus on the Anus broadcast, and Dobson was in rare form.
Cos as you all very well know marriage is under vicious attack, now I think from the forces of hell itself. Now it's either going to continue to decline, and as I told you in my office a few minutes ago, I believe with that destruction of marriage will come the decline of western civilization itself.

[snip]

We're really in a crisis point, right now, right now... Where the family is either going to survive or it's going to fall apart and it will happen in the next few years.
Daniel noted that the "forces of hell" for these people must certainly include the kids of gay couples, you know, the little ones rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn.

It's not the first time that Daddy predicted a cataclysm if gays are allowed to marry. Take a look at this juicy quote, during the Oklahoma Senate race between Dem Brad Carson and Rethug Tom "Sterilize 'em" Coburn, in October 2004.

Dobson warned those attending the Friday afternoon rally at Oklahoma Christian University that the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman must be protected. ... "Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage," Dobson said. "It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth."
UPDATE: Take a look at the ad campaign that Daddy Dobson is running, targeting specific senators who will be voting on the marriage protection amendment:
The ads ask readers to contact their senators - who are undecided or opposed to marriage-protection efforts - and urge them to approve the MPA when it comes to the Senate floor.



Arkansas - Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (PDF)
Colorado - Sen. Ken Salazar (PDF)
Florida - Sen. Bill Nelson (PDF)
Indiana - Sen. Evan Bayh (PDF)
Louisiana - Sen. Mary Landrieu (PDF)
Maine - Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (PDF)
Montana - Sen. Max Baucus (PDF)
Nebraska - Sen. Chuck Hagel (PDF)
New Hampshire - Sen. John Sununu (PDF)
North Dakota - Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad (PDF)
Pennsylvania - Sen. Arlen Specter (PDF)
Rhode Island - Sen. Lincoln Chafee (PDF)
South Dakota - Sen. Tim Johnson (PDF)




WND bend-over poll


Mike Tidmus contributed this for the post: Looks like it’s a Ford for the Lord!

This poll is the response to the latest Wildmon "alert" that Ford is backing "homosexual polygamy."

How would Ford's pro-homosexual policies affect your car-buying?



Fundies go after Mitt


Yet another GOP 2008 hopeful courting The Base gets slapped down.
Some pro-family groups and the conservative media are being accused of covering up the fact that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is "the founding father of homosexual marriage' -- or so says a parents coalition leader in that state.

The Massachusetts-based Parents' Rights Coalition (PRC) claims it was Governor Romney's "illegal" executive order that imposed homosexual "marriage" in the Bay State, not the controversial Goodridge court decision in November 2003. PRC's John Haskins contends the 2008 presidential hopeful committed an impeachable act by violating several articles of the Massachusetts Constitution.

According to Haskins, PRC and the Article 8 Alliance -- another Massachusetts-based pro-family group -- notified conservative media outlets such as The Weekly Standard, National Review, and the American Spectator that Romney was personally advised in advance that he was violating the state constitution.

"The real tragedy here is that many pro-family groups and the conservative media continue to cover up for Governor Romney and ignore the plain meaning of the Massachusetts constitution," asserts Haskins, "which says that neither the governor nor any court can strike down laws --only the Legislature can do that."


Unhinged Vernon Robinson tries a little 'gay-baiting' on NC incumbent Brad Miller

Do you want to know how low a Rethug can go? Take a look at the antics of homobigot Vernon Robinson, who's trying to unseat Brad Miller in the 13th District race here in NC with some dumb gay-baiting tactics -- a well-worn path for him. He intimates that because Miller and his wife have no children, that he's somehow "suspect."



In a News & Observer article by Rob Christensen, it's clear that Robinson is going to take the extremely low road since he has nothing else to offer voters in this state.
"My wife was interviewed on three television stations last week about why we had not had children and what was my sexual orientation," Miller recently told delegates to the 13th District Democratic convention at Alamance Community College.

"Ohh my Gawd!" blurted out a woman in the audience.

Welcome to the culture wars of the 13th Congressional District, where Republican Vernon Robinson is trying to unseat Miller, a two-term incumbent from Raleigh.

...Soon after winning the GOP primary in the 13th District in May, Robinson mailed literature to more than 400,000 households portraying Miller's voting record and personal life as being out of the mainstream.

Among many other things, the literature calls Miller a "childless, middle-aged personal injury lawyer."

Miller said he was "stunned" by the letter.

"I think that should not be part of what you agree to take on if you want to be involved in politics -- that kind of personal attack without any basis," Miller said.

Miller said his wife of nearly 25 years, Esther Hall, could not bear children because she had endometriosis and then a hysterectomy at age 27 before the couple were married.
Robinson is a sick man. But it doesn't end there.
...Miller said Robinson has a history of implying that his opponents are gay, noting that in 2004, he described GOP opponent Ed Broyhill as "limp wristed." (Robinson distributed a campaign letter quoting a woman calling Broyhill a "limp wristed millionaire.") Robinson said he was not questioning Miller's sexuality.

"I did not say the guy is a homosexual ...," Robinson said. "We were talking about the left-wing wacko friends he runs around with."
Miller often posts diaries on DKos, and Robinson squeals in his literature that Markos is "militant homosexual rights advocate" and calls him "Brad Miller's San Francisco Soul Mate."

Gee, does that sound like gay baiting to you? Why is Vern so fixated on homos? Hmmmm.

Robinson is a piece of work, known as "the black Jesse Helms" and his pet issue, aside from gay-bashing, is stirring hysteria about "the brown menace" coming over the border. He ran an infamous ad on the radio that said "If Miller had his way...America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals." Mariachi music played in the background.

You might recall Robinson's outrageous Twilight Zone ad, which I posted about back in March. Here's a refresher -- a really good peek inside the mind of a disturbed man.


The Twilight Zone-theme and music are quite appropriate in this case. This is one of the most offensive -- and amusing -- pieces of political theatre I have ever seen, with a picture of a fetus, then invoking the Homo AlertTM

with an image of men kissing. He moves on to "aliens," showing spaceships, then cutting to a pic of Mexicans scaling fences. This ad packs every wingnut, unhinged Freeper cause into this one media piece.

What's amusing is that the spot says a lot about this self-loathing black man -- the fact that he's a Republican is incidental, other than it's the party as it exists today that kowtows to bigots like Robinson. When the announcer in the ad is bleating about not being able to "post the Ten Commandments in public or say God in public.", it cuts the all-American white children in the picture above.

The spot immediately segues to a mug shot of Jesse Jackson and a retro shot of Al Sharpton to talk about black babies born out of wedlock and quotas. There's no logical connection, only the juxtaposition for shock value. It's sad.



Yes, Vern is appealing to the base of the party and its values. He even calls the ad "The Twilight Zone vs. Leave It To Beaver" -- the last shot is of the Cleaver family backing out of their driveway, going out for a car ride. The Real America.



It's Vern's ode to the TV lily white surburban fantasy world. In the real world, he would have been sitting at the back of the bus and chased from the whites-only lunch counter. Nice.
There's no flipping way Robinson has a prayer of winning this seat, but it's going to get ugly. This is the NC GOP in all its glory. At one time or another, Robinson has been endorsed by:
Jesse Helms, Alan Keyes, Bob Barr, Elizabeth Dole, Lauch Faircloth, Richard Burr, Tom Tancredo, U.S. Immigration Reform PAC, English Language PAC, Jack Kemp, Dick Armey, Gary Bauer, the NRA, the Executive Directors of Gun Owners of America and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Right-to-Life, Bill Bennett, Pat Buchanan, Pete du Pont, Police Benevolent Association, Int'l Association of Fire Fighters, Republican Liberty Caucus, The Dixie Daily News, Southern Caucus, Richard Petty, and Jeb Bush.
What's telling is that his current endorsement page is empty.


Indiana porn busters for Jeezus

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hoosiers in Jackson County can't even go to the local porn shop without running into proselytizers -- and the bible beaters have cameras
Concerned Christians in Jackson County, Indiana, are hoping to shut down a local porn shop by posting customers' photographs online. Meanwhile, some of these pro-family community activists are taking advantage of the chance to witness to the shop's clientele.

The Lion's Den is an adult bookstore that was opened in Uniontown, Indiana, just off Interstate 65 eight months ago. Ever since, protesters have been outside the store around the clock, taking pictures of customers and placing some of the photos on the Internet.

It's all part of an effort by a group called "War-Line," which runs the website. Rob Patterson, a member of the Christian activist group, says he and his fellow protesters have declared war on porn in their community.

"These people said, 'We're drawing the line. It's not going to happen here,'" the Indiana man says. And as a result, he adds, "Some of these Lion's Den's have already closed. I think there are about four or five that have closed in the past couple of years."


Perhaps he needs a better location for that bathhouse

Cleveland, Ohio doesn't seem like the best place to be opening an upscale, men-only bathhouse, particularly when Ohio is one of the most homophobic states in the nation (and proud of it, according to Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values).

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael O'Malley plays this one, ahem, straight.
The ambitious project by Cleveland native Charles Fleck features hotel rooms, swimming pools, saunas, whirlpools, a nightclub-restaurant and a rooftop sand pit for nude sunbathing.

The two-story Art Deco style building on the city's near East Side sits among factories, warehouses, big-truck docks and blue-collar shot-and-beer bars. It's also a few blocks from the city's main homeless shelter for men.

Fleck expects the private club to become an oasis for gay men, but all men, he said, are welcome. "Straight men who are comfortable with their sexuality wouldn't have any problem coming here," he said. "It's the homophobes who would."

Fleck stressed that the bathhouse is not a sex club. "We frown on anything like that," he said. "No sleaze."
Hmmm...OK. How long before the fundies burn this place down? This has to be one of the most misguided business decisions in recent memory. Fleck will catch hell from day one.

I cannot top the commentary on this by Faggoty-Ass Faggot, who wrote an open letter to O'Malley about his reporting on this news:
Dear Michael O'Malley:

Since, as a straight man, you clearly are not equipped to report this story, let me offer a few follow-up questions for the next time you have to cover a bathhouse opening:

These hotel rooms - how big? Wow, 6 foot by 6 foot seems a little small. What's the rack rate for such a room? Oh, you mean they rent by the hour? What kind of hotel is this exactly?!

What programs will you show on these big-screen TVs? Sports? Movies? You'll be showing what? What kind of a club is this exactly?!

Will you be hiring a big-name chef to work in your restaurant? Oh, you don't have a kitchen? Just vending machines? What kind of a restaurant is this exactly?!
Please go read the rest. You will be on the floor laughing.

***

On a serious note, the patrons of this future bathhouse should be mindful of this:

US 'sees rise in unsafe gay sex' (Hat tip, Holly.)

And, PBS begins its series on The Age of AIDS tonight, which is a two-part Frontline series marking the 25th anniversary of the epidemic.


Tin foil hat open thread


Actual caption: This undated photo provided by the International Bird Rescue Research Center, shows an X-ray taken Sunday, May 21, 2006, of an injured duck with a broken wing. The International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia. Calif., plans to raise funds with an unusual duck X-ray, which they say shows the clear image of what appears to be the face, or head, of an extraterrestrial alien in the bird's stomach. Unfortunately, the duck died quickly and quietly of its injuries. (AP Photo/International Bird Rescue Research Center, Marie Travers)

Gee, I've watched a lot of The X-Files, and I didn't know The Greys were that tiny.


Start playing 'Taps' for the DNC

Good god. He just doesn't get it.
Howard Dean says Democrats must have faith in their ability to attract religious voters.

The former presidential candidate, who will speak at this weekend's Oregon Democratic Convention in Eugene, says his party must do a better job of winning the support of evangelical Christians, who have voted Republican in recent elections.

To that end, Dean recently appeared on Pat Robertson's "700 Club.'' The appearance wasn't without its bumps. Dean had to later apologize to gay-rights leaders for incorrectly stating during the program that the party's platform said "marriage is between a man and a woman.''

Still, Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in an interview with the Register-Guard newspaper that he hopes to eventually make another appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network - and that he's encouraging rank-and-file party members to discuss faith and morality.

"Our Democratic values are American values,'' Dean said. "Most people in this county, including evangelicals, think it's immoral to let children go to bed hungry at night. They think it's immoral not to have everyone in some kind of health insurance.''
What is he smoking? The evangelicals elected the very government in charge that is letting children go hungry, kicking hurricane victims out of hotels and giving them defective trailers (if they can get one), and health insurance, well that's a joke. A Republican politely points out that Howard's insane:
But Amy Langdon, executive director of the Oregon Republican Party, said Democrats are so out of step with religious voters on issues such as abortion and gay marriage that the approach has little chance of working.

“I think they’ll be hard-pressed to make the case to the faith community that somehow the Democratic Party serves their interests,’’ she said.
Where she is wrong, of course, is the presumption that the "faith community" is only the wingnut faction, which is the average 700 Club viewer. Dean is trying to win over the wrong religious base. He's wasting his time.

UPDATE: Shakes Sis puts in her two cents (and posts some of Crazy Pat's greatest hits):
He calls for the assassinations of world leaders. He blames natural disasters on gays. He is batshit fucking insane, and not only is it foolish to believe Dems will be able to cull voters from his brainless audience; it’s also patently offensive to those of us (women, the LGBT community, minorities), who are repeatedly and unapologetically slurred on his program, for the chair of the DNC to legitimize that backwater of televised lunacy by making appearances and going on about how the Dems share their fucking values.


Hat tip, PageOneQ


Dear Leader makes his Senate walk the amendment tightrope

Winger Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard reports that Dear Leader will be stepping out in a Rose Garden ceremony to call for the Senate to vote in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment the day before the June 6 vote, despite Laura's disapproval.

Clearly that's the signal of what's really important to the president, with Iraq in full meltdown -- he's got his priorities straight, as it were (latest: At least 37 dead in 2 Iraq car bombings).

What Barnes also says is that many Rethug senators are queasy about this vote -- and the debate that will come before it. This is all about Bill Frist and his fealty to the AmTaliban.
Much of the conventional wisdom about the amendment and the marriage issue turns out to be wrong. For instance, the amendment is not being pushed by Republicans as a wedge issue aimed at dividing Democratic voters. Republican senators regard the issue as touchy and awkward. In fact, they agree with First Lady Laura Bush, who said on Fox News Sunday that the subject of gay marriage "requires a lot of sensitivity" and shouldn't "be used as a campaign tool." They'd prefer the issue--and the amendment--go away.

When Majority Leader Bill Frist asked Senate Republican committee chairmen in 2004 if they wanted him to schedule a vote on the amendment, none urged him to. Frist did anyway. This year, the same was true. He received no pressure from Republican senators for a vote. Instead, his talks with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council led Frist to put at least a day of debate on the amendment, then a vote, on the Senate schedule.
Barnes correctly notes that same-sex marriage will be one of the foundation blocks of the 2008 race (since the Rethugs can't run on their record, of course). This vote is going to separate the men from the boys who want to make a run for the White House in the eyes of The Base, like The Tool.
A second misconception is that it's sufficient for an elected official merely to declare his opposition to gay marriage. It's not anymore. The question now is whether an official will support efforts to block gay marriage from being imposed by judges at the federal or state level. And the way to do that in the Senate is to vote for the amendment.

...This is a huge problem for Senator John McCain, the Republican frontrunner in 2008. McCain has moved to the right on taxes and abortion and recently reconciled with Jerry Falwell, the prominent conservative Christian. He drew sharp criticism for the Falwell overture and is leery of shifting again and being accused of pandering to the Christian Right.

McCain voted against the amendment in 2004. And he repeated his opposition on Fox News Sunday last month. "I will vote against it because I believe very strongly, first of all, in the sanctity of union between man and woman, but I also believe that the states should make these decisions." Many religious conservatives regard this as an unacceptable dodge.
Here we are, with the same problem on the other side of the political spectrum. It is a dodge, both for Dems and Republicans who have been hiding behind the federal amendment while states have passed their amendments.

These cowards trying to walk the tightrope with a middle ground stance are now finding that their bases are tired of the bobbing and weaving and are ready to cut the wire. They should be sweating.

HRC's response just hit my inbox:
“It’s a national disgrace that President Bush has yet again bowed to the far-right extremists. Instead of addressing the real challenges facing American families -- from record high gas prices, bankrupting health care costs and an endless and costly war in Iraq -- the President will further divide this country and put the far-right extremist’s interests ahead of the American people’s well-being,� said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.


Batwoman returns as a lesbian


Well, well, well. And I thought the character was still referred to as "Batgirl."
Comic book heroine Batwoman is to make a comeback as a "lipstick lesbian" who moonlights as a crime fighter, a DC Comics spokesman has confirmed.

Batwoman - real name Kathy Kane - will appear in 52, a year-long DC Comics publication that began this month.

In her latest incarnation, she is a rich socialite who has a romantic history with another 52 character, ex-police detective Renee Montoya.
Related:
* Straight (and Not) Out of the Comics (NYT)
* The DC Comics message boards (with predictable reactions)


Supremes shut down whistleblowers

Sammy strip search comes through for Dear Leader in today's ruling. (AP):
The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for government employees to file lawsuits claiming they were retaliated against for going public with allegations of official misconduct.

By a 5-4 vote, justices said the nation's 20 million public employees do not have carte blanche free speech rights to disclose government's inner-workings. New Justice Samuel Alito cast the tie-breaking vote.


Open thread

Kudos to The Alternate Brain for this one. The headline:

"Dope"-sniffing dog does its job



***

Health update: not coughing up the red stuff much. I can eat solid food again. Oxygen levels were off yesterday, and I talked to my doctor and she reminded me to take it easy (does blogging qualify?). Off the heavy meds, thankfully. With the pain relief comes such wooziness that it's almost not worth the tradeoff.


'Left Behind' video game -- God Gameth, God Bloweth Away

It wasn't that long ago that the bible beaters were wailing about violence in video games. RockStar Games' R-rated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas raised the ire of "family" groups because of its violence and sex (see my post here), so you'd think that these folks wouldn't be proponents of a game like Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

The producers of this game, which will be out in October of this year, are connected to The Purpose Driven Life author and megachurch pastor Rick Warren,

It's all tied together in "The Purpose Driven Life Takers", by Jonathan Hutson at Talk to Action, a blog that reports on the religious right (it's also up as a DKos diary). You won't believe the latest Dominionist BS:
Time magazine has described Mr. Warren as one of the nation's most influential Evangelical Christian leaders. He describes himself as a "stealth evangelist" and describes his training programs as "a stealth movement, that's flying beneath the radar, that's changing literally hundreds, even thousands of churches around the world." He claims that he has sold tens of millions of copies of The Purpose Driven Life by developing a worldwide network of pastors.

The international director of Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church, Mark Carver, is a former investment banker who serves on the Advisory Board of the corporation created in October 2001 to develop and market this game. The creators plan to market their game using the same network marketing techniques that Mr. Warren used to turn The Purpose Driven Life into a commercial success. For example, they plan to distribute their merchandise through pastoral networks, especially mega-churches.

This game immerses children in present-day New York City -- 500 square blocks, stretching from Wall Street to Chinatown, Greenwich Village, the United Nations headquarters, and Harlem. The game rewards children for how effectively they role play the killing of those who resist becoming a born again Christian. The game also offers players the opportunity to switch sides and fight for the army of the AntiChrist, releasing cloven-hoofed demons who feast on conservative Christians and their panicked proselytes (who taste a lot like Christian).

Is this paramilitary mission simulator for children anything other than prejudice and bigotry using religion as an organizing tool to get people in a violent frame of mind? The dialogue includes people saying, "Praise the Lord," as they blow infidels away.
Religious right nut and co-author of the popular Left Behind novel series, Tim LaHaye, sees this as an outreach program for teens:
Could such a violent, dominionist Christian video game really break through to the popular culture? Well, it is based on a series of books that have already set sales records - the blockbuster Left Behind series of 14 novels by writer Jerry B. Jenkins and his visionary collaborator, retired Southern Baptist minister Tim LaHaye. "We hope teenagers like the game," Mr. LaHaye told the Los Angeles Times. "Our real goal is to have no one left behind."
I first blogged about the upcoming Left Behind game in July 2005, when other faith-based games were talked up at the Christian Game Developers Conference, and Left Behind: Eternal Forces was being unveiled for the first time to conventioneers. (Red Orbit, 7/25/2005):
Left Behind CEO Troy Lyndon said the books have a diverse loyal reader base of more than 10 million parents, single adults, teens and kids. He said the company, which was founded in October 2001, will invest more money and resources into its first game than any Christian game has ever seen. Lyndon also said his games will be sold at Wal-Mart, which accounts for about 25% of all game sales.

"If only 10% of the readership buys our game, it will be a top hit, selling more than 1 million units," Lyndon said.

...Go Play Research video game analyst Billy Pidgeon said "socially conservative Christians may not want their children to play games at all. . . . On the other hand, when kids are asking to play video games, Christian parents may find these games an acceptable way to promote their values, while keeping their children entertained."
So, the values are "blowing the infidels away." Talk about the End Times. Growing tomorrow's fundamentalists, one game at a time.

Read the rest of Jonathan Hutson's "The Purpose Driven Life Takers" -- "God Gameth, God Bloweth Away". I'll leave you with this bit of gameplay:
For game enthusiasts, there is also a multi-player mode, in which you can go online and battle to take territory from other players. If you happen to blow away a neutral party - and collateral damage is inevitable in the End of Days - then you will lose "Spirit Points". But you can power back up with merely a brief timeout for prayer, or by converting one of New York's terror-stricken citizens.
Hat tip, Paul.


Poor Star Parker



Break out the tiny violin for Star Parker, the junior grade, melanin-enhanced Ann Coulter.

She's whining in her latest column, Gay agenda means less freedom for all, that the recent Gallup polls showing a positive trend on the general public's views about gay rights is a troubling sign to social conservatives that their power is waning.

Woe is me, she bleats:
From the narrow view of just the same-sex marriage issue, although the majority of Americans are still opposed to legalization, they are a lot less opposed than they were in the a decade ago. From the vantage point of homosexual activists, the trend certainly appears to be their friend.

Moreover, given how this debate is formulated and presented, I see a broader message emerging. I get a sense that Americans are increasingly confusing entitlement and political power with freedom and tolerance. This does not bode well for the future of a free and vibrant country.
This is the trend that represents a burr up her posterior:


39 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, up from 27 percent ten years ago and 58 percent oppose, a drop from 68 percent 10 years ago. Boo-hoo...look at her stumbling, bumbling, searching for answers because the numbers aren't going her way.
So, along with the trend toward increasing acceptance of the idea of same-sex marriage has been the complete obliteration of the idea that homosexuality is a type of behavior as opposed to a state of being. The discussion has long disappeared that this is about attitudes regarding this behavior and it has become almost exclusively cast as discrimination claims against gays and lesbians.

...Now there are without question instances where individuals change their sexual behavior. I have never heard of instance of a black person becoming white or vice versa.

Yet, somehow we have gotten to the point where it is generally accepted that being gay is a fact and not a choice.
Gee whiz, Star -- you think? But of course, now she has to readjust her thinking; the blame game begins with the fact that the vast majority of gays don't subscribe to her brand of political conservatism.
If gay activists really wanted freedom, as opposed to advancing a particular political agenda, they would be hard at work moving government control out of areas of our society that limit their as well as everyone else's freedom.

They should be fighting for nationwide school choice, so they can send their children to schools that teach what they want. They should be fighting for private social security accounts and so they could stop complaining about discrimination in survivor benefits. They should fight for private health care accounts and getting corporations out of the benefits providing business and so they could stop complaining about discrimination in benefits toward gay couples.

Unfortunately, this is not happening. From what I see, despite the hijacking of the language of freedom, rights, and discrimination, this movement is about sleight of hand and political power.
Oh boy, this is rich. You know, gays in some circles are quite supportive of those political positions -- those would be Log Cabin Republicans and gays who lean to the center on fiscal issues. But that's not what's at the core of her frustration. Star and her ilk are the real problem.

Star, how can you expect gays to suddenly come to a table where they are not invited, and in fact, reviled for being who they are and kicked out the door for good measure? Your movement has embraced the bigots, the religious intolerants and socially backward misfits while demonizing gays for political gain and access to power. Why, when you see your grip on social control is slipping, should you expect a political sea change in this demographic -- or in the political views of those who are now in support of civil equality? You've bedded down with the fundamentalist extremists and now you have to lie in it.

It doesn't mean that school choice or private social security accounts don't hold appeal to gays as issues, they simply cannot be issues of primacy when gays:

* can't serve openly in the military
* are threatened with legislation to prevent them from adopting or fostering children
* cannot have the same partnership and legal benefits as married couples
* can be fired from a job simply for being gay.

You're not fighting to end that discrimination, Star -- you believe in it. When you step up and truly believe gays and lesbians are equal citizens, then we'll talk. Until then, stop whining about any group seeking political power when your goons on the right have plotted and planned for years to take control. They are not only attempting to legislate rights of gay citizens away, they are attempting to control the reproductive rights of women (from contraception to abortion), and obliterate the privacy rights of everyone.

The social conservatives have had a stranglehold on government, and it's clear that you feel the folks you have placed your trust in have squandered it because the public has not bought into the social control agenda. That isn't our problem, that's your problem.

The fact that public opinion is trending toward fairness despite the incessant drumbeat on the Rovian right about perversion, saving the children, and the sanctity of marriage is just too damn bad. It's why your movement wants to shove gays back in the closet of shame. You (and Dobson, Bauer, Wildmon and the rest of the social conservatives) know that every person who comes out represents an opportunity to change dozens of minds in one fell swoop.

Personal interaction with openly gay and lesbian friends, colleagues, neighbors and relatives destroy the myths and prejudice. It serves as a more powerful tool for tolerance than any bleating from a columnist or unhinged bigotry coming from the pulpit can counter.

Related:
* Star Parker's All-Purpose Homosexual AgendaTM


Gays, Dems and sHillary

Monday, May 29, 2006

It's clear that Town Hall columnist Kevin McCullough doesn't surf around these parts, because he would know that the "radical homosexual activists" aren't supporting the two-faced sHillary. He's bleating away that we're on her side in his latest screed, Hillary asks gay activists for marriage amendment help.

I'd tell you that I was rolling on the floor laughing after reading this -- I'm too sore for that -- however, feel free to fall off of the chair as you read sh*t like this:

Hillary Clinton wishes to lead the fight against protecting marriage in the upcoming debate on the matter in the United States Senate. Oh sure when my New York listeners call her office her spokespeople say that she supports marriage - she just doesn't wish to see the federal government over reach.

Right... Ms. Universal Healthcare wants government not to intrude!

This last week however, a little clue was uncovered that indicates Hillary is not neutral on the issue at all. Instead she is strategizing on how to promote the message of the radical homosexual activists while debating the Marriage Protection Amendment on the Senate floor next week. This tidbit came to light in the New York Blade newspaper - a mouthpiece for the radical homosexual lobby.
He's referring to the article, Marriage Matters: LGBT Leaders Rethink Dems' Talking Points. Openly gay NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn hosted an event with 55 LGBT leaders and elected officials earlier in May to strategize about the amendment debate. This is also worth the read, because it outlines more excruciating "planning" by Dems to address the amendment, and it sounds like more tap dancing and dodging -- and cluelessness.
Quinn said LGBT leaders will also be developing new talking points for the MPA vote beyond a set of seven circulated at the meeting from the Human Rights Campaign. Those points generally diverted attention away from the matter at hand without emphasizing the inherent dignity and value of LGBT relationships and families.

One statement read, "...President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress have chosen to put politics ahead of real progress..." Another read, "Many legal experts agree this amendment also would close the door on civil unions..." Perhaps the most explicit talking point said, "This ban on same-sex unions undermines the Constitution, which has never once been amended to deny rights to a group of Americans."

Ethan Geto, longtime political consultant and president of the firm Geto & de Milly, said the messages lacked the personal elements that connect with people. "It was missing some of the kinds of messaging that we should be focusing on in these situations, which is to be talking about our lives, our families, personal stories-how people are deeply personally affected as human beings, as parents, as children, by this kind of stuff," he said.
What's new? They are afraid to utter anything about gay rights, they refuse to bring the humanity of taxpaying lesbian and gay citizens into the argument. The strategy so far (and HRC is just as guilty of this) is to say that the civil equality isn't a real issue, and that both parties need to focus on "more important matters." Guess what Dem leadership -- the Rethugs are going to keep beating this dead horse because they know you don't want to talk about it, and have no counter-argument except "let the states decide." Last time I looked, a whole lot of gay and lesbian citizens were living in states where their right to marry was decided by popular vote. Dems have no plan.

The article also points out that in the floor debate before the 2004 amendment vote, NY Senator Chuck Schumer couldn't even manage to use the words "gay," "lesbian," "same-sex" or "marriage" and sHillary's position was "leave it to the states," and didn't speak of how an amendment would directly affect the lives of gays and lesbians. This year's comments out of Dem leadership haven't been inspiring.

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, laid out the basic problem with the spineless Dems.
"I know from traveling across the country and talking to a lot of people, there is widespread disenchantment about the Democratic party's leadership or ability to take a stand," Foreman said. "This is something that the Republicans have mastered-they take care of their base, and they understand that they cannot win without an energized base."
Let's go back to McCullough's Town Hall column, He catches sHillary's number with this bit of spot-on analysis, which goes to show you that her attempts to suck up to left or the right convince no one. For the wingers, she's part of the Homo Agenda.
In one breath to callers from her state she assures them of her support for the institution of traditional marriage and how the states should have every right to protect it. In the next she is hosting backdoor conferences, making propositions in smoke filled rooms to advance the radical homosexual activist cause - yet she must go to the activists to learn how to make their case.

It is one thing for a person to be a sworn enemy; you understand where they are coming from. It is entirely another issue to be so hostile to the welfare of the institution of marriage that you purposefully commit to destroying it but you can't articulate why.

...Judges are out of control over turning the will of the people. The activists are seeking to turn the debate over protecting marriage into a campaign to legitimize and promote publicly their behavior that none of the nation is interested in nor should be subjected to.

And all the while Ms. Hillary plots and schemes, lying to her own voters, making alliances with activists, and asking for the talking points to drag our nation even further from its necessary moral roots.

At least now we know...
Yes, we all know. Given this reaction from the wingers, the right leaning Dem establishment needs to realize there is no compromise on this issue that will mollify the viewers of The 700 Club, just to pull an example out of thin air. They might as well do the right thing by a loyal constituency -- or watch it hold its votes for those candidates who won't publicly commit to civil equality.

Another take on sHillary's dilemma -- Jonathan Chait: Hillary Clinton's character gap. A snippet:
As a prospective national candidate, she has two great vulnerabilities. First, many voters think she's too liberal. Second, many voters also see her as cold, calculating and unlikable.

Her response to this was to position herself in the center, cozying up with her former GOP tormenters in the Senate, staking out hawkish positions and making an overture to cultural conservatives. The theory was that her centrist positions would endear her to moderates but that it wouldn't cost her on the left, because years of conservative vilification caused liberals to bond with her emotionally.

But instead of moderates focusing on her positions while liberals focus on her persona, the opposite seems to be happening. Moderates fear she remains too culturally divisive to win. And liberals can't stand her centrist positioning. It's the worst of all worlds.
Yes, it's what we've been saying here all along. You'd think the dolts in her campaign would get a clue that she's toast as a presidential candidate.

***

And look -- the NY progressive base is dropping sHillary like a stone, hahahahahahaha (NYDN):
She is not in Arkansas anymore," said Yayoi Tsuchitani, campaign chairwoman of the Village Independent Democrats, which voted this month to back Jonathan Tasini, Clinton's little-known Democratic challenger for her Senate seat.

"This is New York we are dealing with, and the majority of New Yorkers are against the war," Tsuchitani added.

The defections among the activist left of the city's Democratic Party — long considered a loyal chunk of Clinton's political base — suggest that her recent rush to the political middle ground and beyond may exact a price.

In addition to the Village Independent Democrats, the equally vociferous Downtown Independent Democrats also voted recently to endorse the anti-war Tasini, a 49-year-old freelance writer and longtime labor organizer from upper Manhattan.

Other established political clubs in Manhattan — including the upper West Side's Three Parks Independent Democrats and downtown's Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats — chose in recent weeks to endorse no one for Senate rather than support Clinton.


Mormon head calls for flock to lobby on fed marriage amendment


Doesn't Gordon B. Hinckley have any more pressing matters to attend to? (365gay):
In a letter read in all congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday senior officials of the denomination said that the Church has "repeatedly set forth our position that the marriage of a man and a woman is the only acceptable marriage relationship."

It was signed by LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley and his counselors.

"We urge our members to express themselves on this urgent matter to their elected representatives in the Senate," the letter said.

The Utah-based Church has spent millions of dollars campaigning against gay marriage. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is a co-sponsor of the amendment.
In the past, Hinckley has pontificated about gays, including this unhinged appearance on Larry King:
"We love these people and try to work with them and help them. We know they have a problem. We want to help them solve that problem."

King then asked the 94-year old leader of the world's Mormons if the "problem" is one caused by gays themselves or one they were born with.

"I don't know. I'm not an expert on these things. I don't pretend to be an expert on these things. The fact is, they have a problem, Hinckley replied.
Gay Mormons rightfully fear stepping out of the closet -- they can face shunning and rejection by their church and their families. I've blogged about Jayce, a young man who was featured in the MTV True Life documentary "I'm Coming Out". He was so upset by the fact that he had same-sex feelings and what that would mean as a Mormon that he literally paid to have the gay shocked out of him -- reparative aversion therapy suggested to him by his bishop. An account of what he went through:
It's 1995. He is sitting in an office on the campus of BYU, where his counselor has attached electrodes to his hands, arms, torso and genitals. His Mormon Bishop gave him a referral to the counselor. Jayce is shown pornographic images of men having sexual encounters. Then, ZAP! His body tingles, then aches from the electrical shock administered by his trusted counselor. He is scheduled for twice-weekly sessions for four months. "Toward the end of the program I could press a button and it would stop the shock and then a picture of a woman would come on."

But Jayce is 19 years old and he willingly goes back for more. He gives them his college savings -- $9,000 -- for the treatments which are promised to cure his homosexuality.

"They promised me it would work, and who doesn't want to live a life that's normal and acceptable in your society and have your family embrace you?" he asks rhetorically.

Therapist Ron Lawrence of Community Counseling Center in Las Vegas says this "reparative therapy" is "equivalent to what I would call the kind of torture that people experienced in Nazi concentration camps." Jayce displays the scars on his hands and tells of more scars where the electrodes were placed "on my torso, and [breathing deeply as though reliving some excruciating pain ] on my genitalia."

The words don't come easily to Jayce as he explains why he so willingly gave up his education savings -- and put his earning potential on hold -- in order to endure what Lawrence describes as "assault and battery, abuse".

"You're taught that the leaders of the church will never lie to you, never deceive you and you're taught to believe them blindly," Jayce explains. "I believed the counselors. I believed it would work. I believed that through that [reparative therapy], faith, temple attendance and prayer and fasting I would be healed. I believe that through God anything's possible. And I was told it would work. It probably sounds really naive, but I truly believed it would work."
There are more stories and support at the Affirmation web site, a resource for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Mormons and allies.


Memorial Day reminder

This list comes from a comment posted last year from An Other Greek. It holds true today.
Military Service Records, prominent Democrats:

* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68;
Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,and
Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart,
Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57 * Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but
received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.


Republicans (and these are the guys sending our kids to war):

* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments,
the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve.
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* John Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making
movies.
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.

Pundits & Preachers

* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot back.)


NYC's Bloomberg: let gays marry

"I do not believe that government should be in the business of telling people who they can and can't marry...I believe New Yorkers should have the right to marry whomever they choose, regardless of sexual orientation."
Go Mike! He also trashed intelligent design as "creationism by another name" in his radio address, and took wingnuts to task for blast conservatives who oppose stem-cell research and naysayers who question the evidence of global warming. (NYDN):
Mayor Bloomberg landed another left on the right yesterday, coming out strongly in favor of gay marriage - and vowing the city will perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, if allowed.

The Republican mayor used his weekly Sunday radio address on Memorial Day weekend to say he is "firmly opposed" to any constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

..."The U.S. Constitution should be something that unites, rather than divides Americans," said Bloomberg, a life-long Democrat who joined the GOP to run for mayor in 2001.

...Last week, he used a commencement address at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to blast conservatives for their opposition to stem-cell research and their questioning of the science behind global warming.

"Today we are seeing hundreds of years of scientific discovery being challenged by people who simply disregard facts that don't happen to agree with their agendas," he told the medical school graduates.
At this point, party affiliation doesn't matter, because it's the exception, not the rule to see politicians willing to speak out about equality -- and not just about fig-leaf opposition to a federal amendment.


Open thread


Actual caption: President George W. Bush prepares to give a hug to West Point Cadet Eric Michael Zellers of Battle Creek, MI, during graduation ceremonies at the United States Military Academy graduation at West Point, N.Y. on Saturday, May 27, 2006 . (AP Photo/ Jim McKnight)

This begs for caption play, folks. Leave links, chat and blogwhore!

***

Overall I'm feeling better, today, but I still have trouble speaking, eating or drinking because of the wounds from the intubation. Anytime I eat or drink, it opens up again and bleeds. My brother leaves today.


'Ex-gay' shill Janet Boynes: lesbianism caused by rape

Jeebus. How stupid is this, from a podcast interview with ex-gay fundie Janet Boynes and running buddy of Minnesota homobigot Michele Bachmann (via Eva @ Lloydletta):
From what I know I believe there's 80% of women, between 80 and 85% of women that are struggling with homosexuality were either raped by someone they knew or somebody outside of that normally there's some type of rape or some kind of molestation in our past.
Stats pulled out of her ass, of course. Who is Janet Boynes?



She is featured in the anti-gay Minnesota Family Council's "Pro-Family News", and bills herself as a "former lesbian," speaking at engagements around the country to help call people out of their homosexuality by finding Christ. Eva on Janet:
When I debated Michele Bachmann on KKMS, Janet called in and stated that gay women are frequently in butch/femme relationships, and so why not go for a male/female relationship.
Man, this is weak.


Frist: it's all about The Base and the Gay Boogeyman

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was on Faux News Sunday, and he freely admitted that the Rethugs have nothing of substance to offer up to its Base of bigots, knuckledraggers and bible-beating sheeple except the Gay Boogeyman. Oh wait, and flag burning. I sense flop sweat and naked fear that the illega immigration issue is going to bury them, so they are pulling out the old bag of sad-ass tricks.

He's excited about the upcoming marriage amendment debate, hoping it can serve as a smokescreen to mask their utter failure as a party to lead on anything. (365gay.com):
With Republicans on the defensive and for the first time in six years facing the potential of a crushing defeat at the polls in November Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is turning to the issue that successfully galvanized the GOP's conservative in the past - banning gay marriage - to reverse the party's lagging support.

..."It's important to the heart and soul of the American people," Frist (R-Tenn.) told "Fox News Sunday".

He also is pushing an amendment to bar flag burning. Asked if these were the two issues were the most important the Senate can address in June - with the nation facing escalating gas prices and a host of other problems, Frist said his agenda will focus on securing the country and its values.

"That union between a man and a woman is the cornerstone of our society. It is under attack today ... [by] activist judges, unelected activist judges," he said.
***

UPDATE: Frist's nonsense gave Howard Dean/the DNC an easy opportunity to comment. Just passing this along...
"At a time when the Republican party is in trouble with their conservative base, Bill Frist is taking a page straight out of the Karl Rove playbook to distract from the Republican Party's failed leadership and misplaced priorities by scapegoating LGBT families for political gain, using marriage as a wedge issue. It is not only morally wrong, it is shameful and reprehensible. This measure will only hurt LGBT Americans. America deserves better than this.

"Democrats value all families and are committed to the fundamental principle that every American has the right to live in dignity, with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law. Democrats strongly oppose any attempt to write discrimination into law and are committed to fighting this hateful, divisive amendment and to fighting similarly hateful ballot initiatives in states across the country."
***

Meanwhile, the Base cannot be happy with this statement out of spokesbot Tony Snow, who compared illegal immigration to getting a speeding ticket. Tom Tancredo's (R-CO) office hopped on that one pronto:
"If you had a traffic ticket and you paid it, you're not forever a speeder, are you?" White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in response to questions from The Examiner. "So the fact is, you have paid your debt to society," he added. "And we have come up with a way to make sure that the debt to society gets paid. Then you move forward."

The "traffic ticket" analogy raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, where many House Republicans regard illegal immigration as a grave crime.

"I don't know if Tony meant to trivialize it or not," said Will Adams, spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. "But it's certainly misleading."

..."Here's a more apt analogy," he said. "You get stopped for speeding, and you say to the cop: "Hey listen, you're about to give me a $300 ticket. How about we make it 20 bucks and just call it even?"
No wonder Frist is harping on same-sex marriage. If the public dares to pay attention to the implosion going on in the Rethug party over immigration they would see the chaos and failure.


Darth's still in control


Charlie Savage at the Boston Globe has another excellent piece out about the control Darth Cheney exerts on this administration, and how he is the enforcer behind Dear Leader's myriad attempts to circumvent Congressional oversight and laws on the books that would stifle what he sees as appropriate presidential power.
The office of Vice President Dick Cheney routinely reviews pieces of legislation before they reach the president's desk, searching for provisions that Cheney believes would infringe on presidential power, according to former White House and Justice Department officials.

The officials said Cheney's legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington, is the Bush administration's leading architect of the ``signing statements" the president has appended to more than 750 laws. The statements assert the president's right to ignore the laws because they conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution.

The Bush-Cheney administration has used such statements to claim for itself the option of bypassing a ban on torture, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and numerous requirements that they provide certain information to Congress, among other laws.

Previous vice presidents have had neither the authority nor the interest in reviewing legislation. But Cheney has used his power over the administration's legal team to promote an expansive theory of presidential authority. Using signing statements, the administration has challenged more laws than all previous administrations combined.
This article is the follow-up to Savage's must-read piece from April, Bush challenges hundreds of laws. (I posted on it here).


Open thread

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Actual caption: Underclass Navy midshipmen rest their eyes as they listen to the commencement address delivered by Vice President Dick Cheney during the graduation ceremony of the 2006 class of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Friday, May 26, 2006. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)

***

UPDATE: Just moving the open thread up for folks, since I added quite a few posts last night and I couldn't sleep. Those are still below. Would love to see your comments on that Holy Joe post.

***

Sun AM: Today I woke up and I really can't talk much (hoarse); my throat is kind of closed off, attempting to heal from being severely raked over by the intubation. Anything I eat, opens the wounds back up, and then, well, I start coughing up the red stuff again and it's raw.

I'm zonked today, as are Kate and Tim, since, while I was being tortured in the ER yesterday, they had to alternately stand around looking on, while I was being jabbed over and over, or bored to tears waiting for me to come back from some test or another. We're all tired, so we're just going to veg out today.

***

Drop in your links and blogwhoring, please; I need the reading material for my convalescence, lololol. :)


Kansas Catholic church fires gay music director

Joseph Nadeau is the music director of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Roeland Park, Kansas, also serves a similar role at Kansas City's Heartland Men's Chorus. However his contract with the church will end in June because he refused to publicly state that being gay was a disorder, among other nonsense. (365gay):
In January, St. Agnes Catholic Church hierarchy summoned Nadeau into a closed-door meeting, he said. Pastor Gary Appelgate told Nadeau that to continue as music director, he needed to resign from Kansas City's Heartland Men's Chorus, take a vow of celibacy and acknowledge that homosexuality was a disorder, Nadeau said.

"Science and psychology have taught us that homosexuality isn't a disorder," said Nadeau. "If I had agreed to that, I would have felt like I was being very dishonest with myself. And I think there are a lot of parishioners who feel the same way."

Officials with St. Agnes refused interview requests, and the Archdiocese of Kansas City said it would not discuss personnel issues. But staff confirmed that after eight years of service, Nadeau's contract will officially expire in June.

..."The most divisive issue in American religion today is homosexuality, and the Roman Catholic church is absolutely shut down on this," said Bernie Schlager, a gay former organist who now works for the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry in Berkeley, Calif. "I knew that as a gay person I had to leave the church because of the danger of being fired at any time with no recourse."
It wasn't always that way. Nadeau was hired with the blessing of the current Archbishop, who had no problem with Nadeau holding both positions, but the leadership changed...
Later that year, former Kansas City Archbishop James Keleher told Nadeau if he kept his two jobs separate, he did not see a problem with his other position.

The leadership at the archdiocese changed last year. In January, Nadeau said Applegate informed him that his membership in a "gay-affirming" group kept him from living out church doctrine.
May Papa Ratzi's house come falling down if all the gay folks and allies step out.


Holy Joe vs. Ned Lamont on LGBT rights

Blender Sportin' Life, in an open thread, mentioned that support for Lamont against Holy Joe is growing, saying "MoveOn has joined the effort to elect an actual Democrat for CT."

The thread got really lively, including this observation from Henway:
Joe Lieberman's sorry ass needs to be retired now. He is getting a good challenge in Connecticut right now, and if Santa gets my letter, Joe will be put out to pasture and just spend his future as a lobbyist/shill for war profiteers.

Joe Lieberman is Hillary Clinton, but without a penis.
All of you should check out Pachacutec's post over at Firedoglake, Ned Lamont Deserves Enthusiastic GLBT Support. It contains an interview with Ned Lamont on why Connecticut's LGBT voters actually have a real gay-affirming Democrat to vote for:
FDL: The Human Rights Campaign, the principle lobbying organization in Washington DC on behalf of GLBT rights, has come out in support of your opponent, Senator Lieberman. Do you have any thoughts on that endorsement?

LAMONT: What’ I’m learning about the political process is that, at the national level, there’s a real tendency to support the incumbents, but at the local level – here in the state of Connecticut and I think you’ll find this elsewhere – you have a lot of members who feel differently. I’m finding that on the union front and I think we’re finding that on the HRC front as well. Sometimes the national organizations don’t necessarily speak for their supporters on the ground level.

FDL: In summation, then, why do you feel that supporters of GLBT equality should support you in the Connecticut-Senate primary?

LAMONT: Because I strongly believe that rather than us having a federal government that tries to take rights away from people, we need a federal government that guarantees rights for people. Guarantees them a right to privacy; guarantees them a right to live their lives without federal interference. I think the Bush administration has been wrong on this. I think Senator Lieberman is too likely to mix religion and politics, and I believe that, when it comes to gay rights, that’s the next civil rights struggle, and rather than take away people’s rights, we should be fighting to guarantee rights.
That's quite straightforward support, as opposed to the incumbent's positions. From an LA Weekly article by Doug Ireland:
Lieberman, who told the New Haven Advocate that “homosexuality is wrong,” joined with notorious homo-hater Jesse Helms in voting to take away federal funding from schools that counsel suicidal gay teens that it’s okay to be gay. On gays in the military, Lieberman has enunciated the now-discredited canard that “homosexual conduct can harm unit cohesion and effectiveness.” (Tell that to the dozens of countries, from England to Israel, that permit openly gay troops in their armed forces.)

In fact, Lieberman worked with Georgia’s Sam Nunn to fashion the destructive “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which resulted in escalating expulsions of gays from the military every year after it took effect. Its Catch-22 provisions have directly stimulated a rising wave of violent gay bashing and harassment in the military because victims can’t complain without “telling.”
The important matter here is that Pachacutec, a gay man in a committed relationship, asks the obvious question in the FDL post - why is the Human Rights Campaign behind Holy Joe? It certainly can't be because he's a strong supporter of civil equality:
WTF is the Human Rights Campaign thinking endorsing anti-marriage, anti-privacy Joe Lieberman?  Rape Gurney Joe has never truly risked a thing for GLBT people, ever.  He’s helped install James Dobson endorsed judges to the Supreme Court like Sam Alito and he’s done everything possible to undermine a progressive agenda in America.  But the policy of the Human Slights Campaign is so wedded to its fancy black tie fundraisers and corporate connections that it’s more than willing to sell out the people it shakes down to finance its operations. 
It's hard to come to any other conclusion than HRC is continuing on the path as another Liberal Failure Support Organization (LFSO), ignoring true allies of LGBT citizens in races and latching onto incumbents in order to maintain its access to power and buxxx.

If you need any more evidence, Pachacutec kindly provides it by interviewing Mike Mings, the HRC’s Deputy Director of Electoral Activities and PAC Manager. Mings gave responses that indicate exactly what the problem is, specifically, on the very subjective scoring that the organization gives to Holy Joe, despite his record (giving a lot of weight for his vote against FMA, but wouldn't say how the vote for Alito, an opponent of privacy rights factored in Joe's scorecard), and he's cornered on a question about other progressive organizations that have jumped ship to endorse Lamont.
FDL: NOW and NARAL have looked at this race and have begun to approach their endorsement decision differently, taking not only the micro-view of Senator Lieberman’s vote on this or that piece of legislation, but looking also at the whole picture of Senator Lieberman’s record. They’ve come out in support of candidate Lamont’s campaign, recognizing that Senator Lieberman actually undercuts the advancement of a progressive agenda that protects women’s rights, as well, as many would observe, as GLBT rights. Why is that same calculus rejected by the HRC?

MINGS: We have a strict guideline of the way we endorse candidates that’s been approved by our Board, and those issues that we rank candidates on and score them by our card is what we have to go on. Given that the votes that we’ve scored for Senator Lieberman, he comes out at a place where he shows a strong support of fairness for the GLBT community.

FDL: Was Judge Alito supported by the HRC?

MINGS: No.

FDL: Senator Lieberman was part of the infamous “Gang of Fourteen” that cut off the ability of progressive Democrats to be able to threaten a filibuster in the Senate against any judicial nominee, thereby enabling the ascension to the Court of both Roberts and Alito, particularly Alito, for whom there may have been the votes to support a filibuster. Given that Judge Alito will serve on the Court for a good, maybe, thirty years, and given that he was the preferred and endorsed judge by people like James Dobson, why would that not be considered as a much larger issue than, say, a vote for ENDA which had no chance of passing, making it a “free vote?”

MINGS: Ah, like I said, I’ll have to see whether the Alito vote was scored or not, because I’m just not aware if it was.
Just so you know, Mings still hasn't gotten back to Pachacutec about how that Alito vote was scored.

And on the matter of HRC's propensity for suppoting the incumbent to retain access to power and money, regardless of the candidate's actual performance on civil equality for LGBT citizens, Mings was refreshingly transparent -- giving you all that you need to know about HRC's vision of this race in regards to its self-sustaining mission.
FDL: Have you looked at any of the positions of candidate Lamont in determining the extent to which he might support full marriage rights in ways that Senator Lieberman does not? Does that figure into your endorsement decision?

MINGS: Part of our endorsement decision is based upon incumbency, and when we have an incumbent who’s in office who is consistently fighting for our rights, then we tend to side on the side of incumbents to continue with that long record that’s been proven.
There you have it, folks. Are your needs being voiced, supported and represented?

But the larger question is what can be done to make organizations allegedly working on our behalf more responsive -- to be able to support politicians who are willing to stick their necks out for our rights at a time when that is what is most needed? Supporting pseudo allies, or worse, actual foes in the overall battle for civil equality makes no sense for those LGBT citizens whose lives are profoundly affected by "friends" like Lieberman.

The only way, in the end, is to bypass those organizations and give directly to those candidates who do stand for equality..


Violence mars gay rights event in Moscow

Saturday, May 27, 2006

This got out of control fast. A sick mob attacked gay activists and there are reports that tear gas was used on those at the rally.
Russian police, nationalist protesters and Orthodox Christians forcefully prevented gay and lesbian rights activists from rallying in Moscow on Saturday. The activists had planned to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a symbol of the Second World War struggle against fascism and one of Russia's most revered places.

But some 1,000 riot police moved in to close the gates to the park near Red Square as the marchers arrived.

The activists said they planned the event as a symbolic protest to equate the struggle for gay rights with the struggle against fascism in the Second World War. City officials had refused to grant permission for the rally, and on Friday a Moscow court upheld a ban imposed by the mayor.

Police arrested 120 people, both gay activists and anti-gay protesters. The rally's organizer, Nikolay Alexeyev, was among those arrested..."We are conducting a peaceful action. We want to show that we have the same rights as other citizens," Alexeyev told a news conference a few hours before events turned violent.

The crowd opposed to gay rights and the rally included women who held up religious icons. They were joined by men in Cossack traditional dress - white sheepskin hats and black-and-red tunics.

Police quickly moved in as the first half-dozen rally participants arrived carrying flowers. They were joined by about 100 religious and nationalist extremists who kicked and punched some of the activists.
You can read more at UKGayNews and check out the blogging of Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights program for Human Rights Watch, over at the Washington Blade. CNN has video.

I've not seen this level of sick homo-bashing in the swamps like this in a long while. Remind Ken and Karl (and MCheney) that this is The Base of the Republican Party speaking its mind:

Actual Freeper Quotes™

There is something good coming out of Russia afterall. I can just hear the effeminate liberal leftist voices moaning and whining about this.

Spandex/tutus vs. sheepskin hats and tunics - Bet on the real Men every time...

Maybe the Russians have seen how the Fags in the USA have pushed their lifestyle acceptance down to elementary school books. The Russians decided to be less tolerant of perverts. Good for them.

What a baboonery. Couldn't they be expressing their disapproval without fists?

We will surely see the ACLU all over this. Or will it be the RCLU? After all several of the gay participants received blows. Maybe I should try to put that another way.

There sure does seem to be a lot of "gay" yahoos running around out there lately. I hope this isn't one of those things caused by "global warming."

I'm not going to criticize the actions of the Russians. They haven't become feminized yet. So I will celebrate their cultural difference.

Back during one of the Reagan-Gorbachev summits ACT-UP sent a passel of poofters to Moscow to generate publicity with one of their trademark "kiss-ins". It started OK, they pranced around in front of the cameras waving condoms and shrieking "Get Condoms, Not AIDS", but when they got to the "kiss-in" part, a bunch of Russian men boiled out of the nearby buildings and commenced to stomp the dog crap out of them. CNN showed the altercation just once. I tried to get my VHS set up to catch it during the next rotation, but they didn't show it again. Too bad. It was a total hoot. Anyone else see that?

NO, this is what is needed. For REAL men to stand up to the sickos and perverts.

Sometimes Russia seems more civilized and sane that America, where far too many people are intimidated by the goofball liberal PC press. Congratulations to the regular folks of Moscow for standing up and saying "NO" to sodomy and the whole gay agenda.

Well said. It is amazing that in only a few decades we've been successfully cowed into saying nothing when 1-2% of our population want to wave their sexual perversions in our faces. We're too afraid, but the Russians aren't.

I'm definitely no supporter of the homosexual agenda, but I don't think the protesters deserved this. There's a huge difference between not submitting to every perverse demand they make, and beating the crap out of them.

Maybe they saw how far "dialog" helped us in the US to preserve traditional values and realized it was a lost cause.


Will the fundies go after grandma and grandpa?

STDs Running Rampant In Retirement Community. Will the bible beaters enter the rest homes to do abstinence ed?
Doctors said sexually transmitted diseases among senior citizens are running rampant at a popular Central Florida retirement community, according to a Local 6 News report.

A gynecologist at The Villages community near Orlando, Fla., said she treats more cases of herpes and the human papilloma virus in the retirement community than she did in the city of Miami.

"Yeah, they are very shocked (to hear the diagnosis)," gynecologist Dr. Colleen McQuade said. "I had a patient in her 80s."


Miller Beer and Hilton sponsorship of leather fest sets off LaBarbera

This weekend is the International Mr. Leather gathering and you-know-who is very upset. He sent out a press release, which I received in my inbox this week. (I guess Peter's still reading the Blend!)

Here's the whole release, in its unhinged glory.
Miller Beer/Palmer House Hilton Support ‘Consensual’ Homosexual Violence: AFT

Americans for Truth
President Peter LaBarbera today condemned Miller Brewing Company and Palmer House Hilton for sponsoring and hosting an annual sadistic sex celebration in Chicago that glorifies ‘consensual’ sexual violence and degradation, and some of the most reprehensible perversions ever invented by men.

The International Mr. Leather (IML) contest draws homosexual, sadomasochistic “leathermen” from all over the world to Chicago every Memorial Day weekend. The IML’s vendors’ market shows what types of behaviors the IML celebrates: "gay” male porn videos featuring condomless, "barebacking” anal sex; whips, chains, "electrotorture” devices and other implements designed to inflict pain and humiliation; bondage materials; and even a booth for a group called "Water Boys” devoted to "sex pigs" who receive sexual gratification from urinating on one another during orgies.

Wikipedia defines Sadism as "the sexual pleasure or gratification in the infliction of pain and suffering upon another person. …The word is derived from the name of the Marquis de Sade, a prolific French writer of sadistic novels."

At IML events, "masters" can be seen leading around their (willing) "slaves" on leashes—another subgroup in the bizarre "leather" world.

This year’s event is being held from May 25th through May 29th at the Palmer House Hilton, a swank Chicago hotel which has often been host to this and other hedonistic homosexual events. Miller Lite is listed as an "IML Official Sponsor" on the International Mr. Leather website. Miller has been catering to the "leatherman" crowd, and other militant homosexual activists, for years through event sponsorships.

"It is both appalling and mind-boggling that Miller Beer and the Palmer House Hilton would lend their corporate names to, and endorse an event that is dedicated to celebrating extremely dangerous behaviors which would absolutely repulse 99 percent of their customers," LaBarbera said. "No corporation should seek to profit from sexual violence, albeit consensual, and organized perversion."

Added Matt Barber, Corporate Outreach Director for Americans for Truth: "I’m baffled as to why Miller Beer and the Palmer House Hilton would be willing to destroy their mainstream credibility by throwing caution to the wind in support of such debauchery."

LaBarbera said Americans for Truth will "work in the coming years to educate the American public on corporate pandering to the radical ‘gay’ and allied movements so customers can make informed choices on how to spend their hard-earned dollars."
Also:
* AmTaliban Peter LaBarbera investigates the International Mr. Leather conference
* Letter from Peter LaBarbera


Ordeal

I've been through the medical wringer today, so no blogging as you can see.

Feel free to stop reading after this sentence if you are of the queasy sort.

***

In total, I've been in either urgent care or the ER because of complications from my surgery since 10 AM. We just got home -- around 9 PM. I won't go into a blow-by-blow description, but here are the highlights for those with cast-iron stomachs.:
* I was repeatedly coughing up blood and had labored breathing (fallout from general anesthesia and intubation) overnight.
* It took 7 tries to get an IV in (veins kept rolling or collapsing).
* I had one other procedure to check my oxygen levels that involved getting to an artery (as opposed to a vein) in my wrist. That hurt so bad that I actually left bite marks on my other hand that I was chomping on to keep from screaming in the ER. The nurse doing that procedure said I handled it well. At least I was given fair warning that it would be a lot worse than putting an IV in.

All that plus a lot of blood work and tests that ended up with nothing conclusive except to rule out anything serious for now. I was sent home to wait and medicate.


Open thread - this and that

Not enough energy yet to blog at length, but things are still arriving in the mailbag that you might want to nosh on.

Feel free to blogwhore and drop some links in the cookie jar...

* More church sign humor, this from The Pagan Bodhisattva, who took this pic in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district. He says "Looks like some evangelicals are coming around..."



* Blender Christopher passed on a link to the campaign of Patrick Gardner, who is running against homobigot Debra Maggart for the House District 45 seat in Tennessee. You might recall my post on this horrid woman who said:
"I am not convinced that just because our foster children desperately need loving homes that we should just place them in homes that are available when research also shows that most homosexual couples have numerous emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues that may not be healthy for children."
Clearly, she's got to go.

* Paul points to an article in The Olympian about Washington State politics, which notes that immigration is now going to be the hot issue for Rethugs, supplanting same-sex marriage.
“There might be some hot resolutions brought up,” [Thurston County Republican chairman ] Matthews said. “There could be one for immigration and enforcing immigration laws. There could be the usual one for marriage, (limiting it to) between one man and one woman...I think the immigration issue has taken attention away from the marriage issue."
* Just from the description, you know that Shakes Sis must be pointing to something outrageous: "If I hadn't already long ago purchased my one-way ticket to hell, this would pretty much do the trick. Of course, I was raised by a Lutheran mother who is quite convinced that Jesus has a fabulous sense of humor, with which I agree, so basically, I couldn't help but laugh." Also, my bloggrrrrl wrote up a fun and sweet post about how we met online yesterday that I forget to mention.

* Kel Munger of the alt-pub Sacramento News & Review has an entertaining column up on the phenomenon of anti-gay bigots who seem to spawn gay kids or have gay relatives.

* This is rich -- Daddy Dobson has a ridiculous cookie cutter Marriage Protection Amendment Letter to the Editor Generator up at the Focus on the Anus web site. Thanks to David at InOpinion for the heads up, noting that some of these letters have actually made it into some smaller papers:
Most of the time, these operations are more successful at planting their plagiarism in the letters columns of smaller papers without the staff to pull the weeds, but Focus on the Family really knows what they are doing.

They’ve slipped by the editors at The Fresno Bee, The Orange County Register, The Toledo Blade, Tucson Citizen and The Deseret News.
* The Campaign for America's Future's 2006 Take Back America's Future conference is coming up June 12-14 in DC. I've received a couple of invitations to attend on Blogger's Row at this big progressive event, but I'm only a part-time blogger with a more-than-FT job, so it sucks to have to take a pass on what looks like a really interesting event. This is what separates the A-list bloggers from the rest of the pack because the "non-anointed" regular folks either 1) can't afford to go/the events are too far away; or, 2) don't have the free time to go. That's just how things shake out -- there will never be a real level playing field in the blogosphere because of this.

Anyway, there will be some pretty big names there: Robert Redford, Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Russ Feingold, Gov. Tom Vilsack, Rep. George Miller, Sen. sHillary Clinton...Why is sHillary even invited, ha, ha? I'm sure she won't be taking any questions from bloggers...

One thing I will note as a deficit on the agenda from my perspective -- the only panel that looks like it will touch on gay rights issue is the generic "The Values Debate: The Anti-American Right," on which Barney Frank is participating. There is a "Blogs and the New Politics" panel, moderated by the excellent Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory, and features Christy Hardin Smith of one of my faves, Firedoglake.

* Litbrit tells us in song why Gore should run in 2008, and provides a Belated Mothers' Day Present Wish List that includes "The Great Decider decides to move back to Texas permanently; suffers fatal brush-clearing accident."

* Over at Lassiter Space, Jay's got some interesting stuff up that you should check out, including an interview with the democratic Congressional candidate from his district (he's in Cherry Hill, NJ), and an editorial for the NJ Courier Post about Jay's recovery from meth.

* The North Carolina Advocacy Coalition is a new PAC working on LGBT issues in the state, and, as a startup, it's trying to get its financial sea legs to do good work here. For more info, email Matt Hill Comer.

* R. Neal over at Facing South riffs on the ridiculous bans on sex toys in Southern states:
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the rash of anti-sex toy legislation sweeping the South? South Carolina is the latest to consider a ban, and legislation has already been passed in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Similar legislation was proposed in Tennessee earlier this year, but it was quickly withdrawn. Apparently nobody in Nashville wanted to touch the sex toy issue. I had no idea this was such a big problem in the South. I guess we've solved all the problems of poverty, equality, jobs, and health care, and sex toys are now our number one priority.
* And one question of the day -- Paul suggested that I post a morning and evening open thread, since Blenders seem to have been engaging in more (great) conversation and debate that go off-topic in posts, and he's been enjoying a lot of the free-form discussion. Thumbs up for that?


Hartline plans to "Shake the Nation"

Friday, May 26, 2006


Our friendly West Coast bible-beating "former homosexual" stays busy, doesn't he?
James Hartline, a Christian activist in California, is pointing fellow believers to an event taking place this Saturday in San Diego that he says will help equip them to fight in the culture war. He says the "Shake the Nation Conference" will feature speakers from all facets of life, sharing their experiences dealing with opposition to Christianity in society.

Hartline says many Christians today are seeing their free-speech rights violated on a regular basis, even as some of the Shake the Nation Conference presenters have. "We have been very diligent to bring together speakers on every area that we feel we are having a problem with in the culture," he says.

...The conference will also feature workshops on the benefits of home schooling and on being a Christian teacher in a public school and ministering in that workplace. Others workshops will touch on believers running for public office and doing pro-life activism.
Some of the Blend's Hartline hits:
* 'Ex-gay' James Hartline: repeal of DADT is threat to national security
* Hartline: Starbucks caters to the homos
* James Hartline: wingnuttery unleashed
* Hartline: Gay rodeo full of perversion


Bible-thumpers gearing up for Senate marriage vote

Here's the long post I had queued up for you all. I wanted to pass on the entire letter that was sent out by Religious Coalition for Marriage, an interfaith group of zealots banding together to fight the Homosexual AgendaTM. They plan to put pressure on Senators as the marriage amendment vote nears.

In the coalition: eight U.S. Catholic cardinals, officials of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

We're mighty powerful if we've gotten all of these folks on the same page, don't you think?!

Read on, and take note of some of the names you've seen on the Blend over and over, particularly the ass-clown black pastors who belly up to the faith-based trough and bleat away on all the sins of homos, just as Karl and Ken Mehlman want them to.
A Letter from America's Religious Leaders in Defense of Marriage

Throughout America, the institution of marriage is suffering. As leaders in our nation's religious communities, we cannot sit idly by. It is our duty to speak. And so across the lines of theological division, we have united to affirm, in one voice, the following:

For millennia our societies have recognized the union of a man and a woman in the bond of marriage. Cross-culturally virtually every known human society understands marriage as a union of male and female. As such marriage is a universal, natural, covenantal union of a man and a woman intended for personal love, support and fulfillment, and the bearing and rearing of children. Sanctioned by and ordained of God, marriage both precedes and sustains civil society.

Marriage is particularly important for the rearing of children as they flourish best under the long term care and nurture of their father and mother. For this and other reasons, when marriage is entered into and gotten out of lightly, when it is no longer the boundary of sexual activity, or when it is allowed to be radically redefined, a host of personal and civic ills can be expected to follow. Such a point has always been stressed by the world's great monotheistic religious traditions and is, today, increasingly confirmed by impeccable social science research.

Long concerned with rates of divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and absentee fathers, we have recently watched with extreme alarm the growing trend of some courts to make marriage something it is not: an elastic concept able to accommodate almost any individual preference. This does not so much modify or even weaken marriage as abolish it. The danger this betokens for family life and a general condition of social justice and ordered liberty is hard to overestimate.

Therefore, we take the unprecedented stand of uniting to call for a constitutional amendment to establish a uniform national definition of marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman. We are convinced that this is the only measure that will adequately protect marriage from those who would circumvent the legislative process and force a redefinition of it on the whole of our society. We encourage all citizens of good will across the country to step forward boldly and exercise their right to work through our constitutionally established democratic procedures to amend the Constitution to include a national definition of marriage. We hereby announce our support for S.J. Res.1, the Marriage Protection Amendment.

May God bless all marriages and all those who labor to protect the sanctity and promote the goodness of marriage throughout this nation.

Signed,

The Right Reverend Keith L. Ackerman, SSC
Episcopal Bishop of Quincy, IL

Daniel Akin, Ph.D.
President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Right Reverend Peter H. Beckwith
Episcopal Bishop of Springfield, IL

Bishop Charles E. Blake
First Assistant Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ (COGIC)

Bishop Wellington Boone
Founder and Sr. Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches

The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Denver, CO

Charles W. Colson
Founder and Chairman, Prison Fellowship

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America

James C. Dobson, Ph.D.
Founder and Chairman, Focus on the Family

David Dockery, Ph.D.
President, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee
Chairman, Board of Directors, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

The Right Reverend Robert Duncan
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA
Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network

His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan
Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, NY

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, IL

Timothy George, Th.D.
Dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University
Executive Editor of Christianity Today

The Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez
Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio, TX

The Reverend Ted Haggard
President, National Association of Evangelicals

The Reverend Dr. Jack W. Hayford
President, The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
Founder/Chancellor, The King's College and Seminary
Pastor Emeritus, The Church On The Way

The Most Blessed Herman
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Primate, The Orthodox Church in America

The Right Reverend John W. Howe
Episcopal Bishop of Central Florida

Bishop Harry R. Jackson
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church, Lanham, MD
President, High Impact Leadership Coalition

His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore, MD

The Reverend Dr. D. James Kennedy
Chancellor, Knox Theological Seminary, Fort Lauderdale, FL

The Reverend Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick
President, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Dr. Richard Land
President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention

Rabbi Daniel Lapin
President, Toward Tradition

Steve W. Lemke, Ph.D.
Provost, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

The Reverend Dr. Peter A. Lillback
Senior Pastor, Proclamation Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr, PA
President, Westminster Theological Seminary

The Reverend Herbert H. Lusk, II
Senior Pastor, Greater Exodus Baptist Church
President & CEO, People For People, Inc

His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, CA

His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Detroit, MI

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone
Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland, ME

His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, DC

The Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino
Roman Catholic Bishop of Madison, WI

The Most Reverend John Myers
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Newark, NJ

The Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kansas City, KS

Elder Russell M. Nelson
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Reverend Richard John Neuhaus
Editor in chief of FIRST THINGS

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Roman Catholic Bishop of New Ulm, MN

Rabbi David Novak
J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies,
Professor of the Study of Religion and Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto
Visiting Professor of Religion, Princeton University (2006)

The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted
Roman Catholic Bishop of Phoenix, AZ

His Eminence Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley, O.F.M., Cap.
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, MA

The Reverend William Owens
President, Coalition of African-American Pastors

Rev. Dr. Luciano Padilla, Jr.
Senior Pastor, Bay Ridge Christian Center, Brooklyn, NY

Dr. Paige Patterson
President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

His Eminence Justin Cardinal Rigali
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia, PA

The Reverend Eugene F. Rivers, III
Founder and President, The Seymour Institute for Advanced Christian Studies

The Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, Jr.
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals

The Most Reverend Michael J. Sheridan,br>

Roman Catholic Bishop of Colorado Springs, CO

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik
Associate Rabbi, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun of Manhattan, NY

The Most Reverend John G. Vlazny
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland, OR

The Reverend Dr. Rick Warren
Founding Pastor, The Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA
Author, The Purpose-Driven Life

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
Executive Vice President, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

The Reverend David Welch
Executive Director, U.S. Pastor Council

The Most Reverend John W. Yanta
Roman Catholic Bishop of Amarillo, TX

Malcolm B. Yarnell, III, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Theological Research
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary


Don Wildmon of the American Family Association sounds like he's about to have an orgasm over all of this cooperation, and going back to that old ramming/cramming obsession...
"People are getting fed up with having homosexual marriage crammed down their throats by activist judges across the country," Wildmon says, "and we are absolutely thrilled that all of these groups have come together." While many of the coalition's members "have very divergent and different theological perspectives," he notes, "they do agree that marriage should be only between one man and one woman."


Among the living

Just a note to say I'm home and barely conscious, stumbling about, so forgive any sloppiness here. Kate and Tim are taking care of me -- actually right now they are napping since we've been up since 4AM.

General anesthesia always kicks my butt, however, all went well otherwise and I'll be up and about in a few days. Posts will be infrequent unless I have the capability of sleep-blogging, lol. I do have a post that I queued up this AM that I'll release in a bit...

So, what have I missed, other than some news about shots fired at the Capitol?

Here's fun article for fellow geeks to check out: The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time. I have to concur with 1) AOL, 15) Iomega Zip Drive and 18) IBM Deskstar 75GXP, which I've had personal experiences with that rank up there in sucktitude.


A little late for this realization


REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
"I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know. "Wanted, dead or alive"; that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted."
-- Dear Leader, catching on that playing cowboy by taunting the Iraqi insurgents was a big f*ckup.
Somehow, "better late than never" really doesn't cut it when thousands of Iraqis and 2400 Americans paid the price for his foolishness with their lives because of his verbal dick-wagging.

This will serve as an open thread, as I'll be out of commission today. I'll check in to let you all know I'm upright.

Post some links, blogwhore and pour yourself a cup of Blend java or tea and chat!


Family Research Council bares its teeth at the Tool, MC


Humping Dear Leader isn't enough.

The Tool can't satisfy The Base, even after speaking at Rev. Tinkywinky's school.
Pro-family leaders are not comfortable with the anti-marriage amendment candidate who is the GOP's frontrunner for the presidential nomination in 2008. Senator John McCain, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, has once again stated his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment, saying the issue should be left to individual states.

Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins says McCain is off the track. "I think any nominee of the Republican Party is going to have to be clearly in support of marriage between a man and a woman," says Perkins. "Short of that, I think you're going to have a difficult time in getting the nomination of the Republican Party." The FRC head points out that 70 percent of the public has voted for the protection of traditional marriage. "Every time it goes onto the ballot thus far, it's passed with on average of 70 percent of the support of voters. So it's clearly an issue that the American public cares about. It's just one that the politicians want to avoid." Perkins says just as life is a threshold issue for the party, so is the marriage amendment. He feels that a strong supporter of marriage will rise up after the elections this fall.
***

Speaking of Perkins, he's on high alert with the Marriage Protection Act vote coming up on June 6. He's sending out breathless email blasts out to his list, with the goal of filling the FRC's coffers. Here's a highlight of one.


Homosexual activist groups are pouring millions of dollars into their campaign to end marriage as we know it. They are counting on their friends in the media to drown out the vast majority of Americans who support and have voted time and again for the protection of man-woman marriage. We need to match these activists stride for stride in the media. Be as generous as you can so that we can carry this fight with the fire it deserves. You have my heartfelt thanks.
One of the best parts of the letter has to do with Mary Cheney. If she thought she was "exploited" by John Edwards and John Kerry in the 2004 campaign, calling Edwards "a total slime" and Kerry a "son of a bitch," I hope she has something equally coarse to say about Dear Leader's friends at the FRC, who are invoking her name to raise funds from the holy rollers.
Over the next eight weeks Family Research Council's policy experts and media voices will take fresh messages about the sanctity of marriage onto the nation's airwaves, religious and secular alike. We have our work cut out for us as you know. In the past few weeks, the media have been filled with appearances by Mary Cheney and others who are working to undercut the importance of marriage to our survival as a society.

The media have delighted in the fact that Vice President Cheney's daughter publicly opposes the very convictions that brought her father's political party into the White House. But this issue isn't about one family's personal drama. It's about what's best for every family and for our nation's future. FRC was pleased to record a new television spot to get out the word on the need for the Marriage Protection Amendment. Watch it here and be sure to share this message with as many of your friends and family members as you can.


Canada's Harper puts the gag on wingnuts over Mountie marriage


Unlike Dear Leader, Canada's Prime Minister knows the fringe in his party will bleat uncontrollably about the homos, so he sent out a message not to comment about the recent news that two gay RCMP constables are getting married. Message control and discipline at that level doesn't exist here - thankfully.
The Prime Minister's Office has warned Conservative MPs not to comment on the marriage next month of two gay RCMP constables. The gag order went to all MPs but was aimed at "the small minority who might say something stupid," said one caucus member.

...Sandra Buckler, Harper's director of communications, was not available for comment Thursday. But several Conservative MPs quietly confirmed they had received the PMO gag order after the story of the Mountie wedding received widespread media coverage last week.

Opposition MPs said the gag order is telling. "It shows that Stephen Harper does not trust his own caucus to avoid social Neanderthalism on these issues," said Liberal MP Scott Brison.

"And if he doesn't trust his caucus to be socially progressive, then why should Canadians trust his party to be socially progressive?"

...Ian Brodie, Harper's chief of staff, has warned cabinet ministers that if they stray off message they face an escalating scale of sanctions, ranging from public humiliation to removal from cabinet. Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and Industry Minister Maxime Bernier have already felt the sting.
Of course, reading this article you get the impression that Harper is a Bush-in-training in terms of megalomania.


Perv given probation because he's too 'small' to do time in the clink

Thursday, May 25, 2006

This is outrageous:
A judge said a 5-foot-1 man convicted of sexually assaulting a child was too small to survive in prison, and gave him 10 years of probation instead.

His crimes deserved a long sentence, District Judge Kristine Cecava said, but she worried that Richard W. Thompson, 50, would be especially imperiled by prison dangers.

"You are a sex offender, and you did it to a child," she said. But, she said, "That doesn't make you a hunter. You do not fit in that category."
So now short-in-stature child molesters can avoid prison time because the judge deems your size puts you at a greater risk of becoming someone's b*tch in lockup -- what is this judge doing?!

Dome tip to Shakes Sis, who says:
The thing about this that’s really getting on my last good nerve is that this guy wasn’t convicted of robbing a bank or jacking a car or murder. He was convicted of sexually assaulting a child. What concern did he show for that child’s safety? He abused someone weaker than he was—and now he’s getting out of the prison time he so richly deserves because the same thing might happen to him, by a design of his own making. Unbelievable.


The 'ex-gay' for pay PR machine

Daniel Gonzales of Exgay Watch discusses the not-so-surprising fact that "former homosexuals" touted by the movement as successes of conversion therapy are, without fail, professional ex-gays -- working for them.

In the video "It's Not Gay", out of nine former homos interviewed, all of them are being paid to proclaim their heterosexuality by one of the ex-gay organizations or ministries. XGW has screen captures of the usual suspects, including our friend Richard Cohen, the unlicensed, discredited therapist and president of PFOX who made a splash with a demonstration of his "touch therapy" on the Paula Zahn program the other night.

Why can't they ever find an average Jane or Joe who has successfully graduated from their "programs" to put on their promotional videos?


NC Baptists: no homos allowed

"All of us on the moderate side were proud to claim North Carolina as a bastion of reasonable thinking and moderation. It's clear now that the convention has joined other state units in going fundamentalist."
-- Stan Hastey, executive director of the Alliance of Baptists, in response to the Baptist State Convention "going nuclear" on gays
The bible-thumping bigoted Baptists in my state are meeting in Asheboro, and they've just approved a measure to kick out any churches that welcome LGBTs into the flock. The full body votes on it at the annual meeting in November, but it's sure to pass because most of the tolerant churches plan to leave the fold. (Raleigh N&O):
The vote cements the conservative direction of the convention, the largest denominational body in North Carolina with about 4,000 affiliated churches. Although the convention adopted a financial policy in 1992 that refused money for churches showing "public approval, promotion or blessing of homosexuality," the new policy would go further.

It would forbid churches from ordaining gay clergy, making public statements supporting homosexuality or accepting as members people who have refused to "repent of the sin of homosexual behavior."

Asked whether he thought the policy would be approved by convention delegates, Don Warren, president of the board of directors, answered, "Absolutely."

"We believe homosexuality is sin, as are many others," said Warren, a retired textile executive from Gastonia. "But we are not aware of any other sin that has a national organization that promotes its happening beginning in kindergarten and first grade."
What this now means is that the status of several NC churches, who do open their doors to LGBT parishioners are now in limbo; their membership in the BSC is likely to be revoked.
Many of those churches have not publicly supported or endorsed gays, but they affiliate with the more liberal Alliance of Baptists, an organization based in Washington that welcomes gays as equal members. Twenty-one churches in North Carolina affiliate with the alliance, and many have already left the Baptist State Convention.

..."I don't like the idea of one Baptist entity telling another Baptist entity who it will cooperate with," said the Rev. Guy Sayles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Asheville. Sayles said his church, which has 3,000 members, gave $10,000 to the state convention this year and $1,000 to the Alliance of Baptists. He said the church will probably reduce or eliminate its contribution to the state convention, though it would still support Baptist colleges and retirement homes.
Churches listed that have left or plan to leave the BSC for the more liberal Alliance of Baptists group:
Binkley Memorial Baptist, Chapel Hill
Greenwood Forest Baptist, Cary
Millbrook Baptist, Raleigh
Pullen Memorial Baptist, Raleigh
University Baptist, Chapel Hill
Watts Street Baptist, Durham
White Oak Baptist, Clayton


Mark your calendars for 'Marriage Protection Sunday'

"We just don't see anything in American life at this point that has greater implications for our culture than the same-sex marriage issue. Just about every area of life will be impacted if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land."
-- Barrett Duke, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's vice president for public policy and research
Soldiers and civilians are dying every day in Iraq, the levels of corruption in government are out of control, our rights are being trampled by Dear Leader and the bible beaters are in a panic over same sex-marriage.

It looks like the Southern Baptists will be in rare form on Sunday, June 4...
"Supporters of traditional marriage need to bombard their senators' offices with e-mails and phone calls," ERLC President Richard Land told Baptist Press, "and preachers across America need to let the pulpit ring forth in clear and no uncertain terms on Marriage Protection Sunday, June 4, and help create a groundswell of support for this amendment. I can assure you the opponents of traditional marriage are doing their best to let their voices be heard in the corridors of the Senate. It is up to us to let our voices be heard loudly as well."

Massachusetts is the only state to have legalized "same-sex marriage," but state supreme courts in New Jersey, New York and Washington could legitimize such unions before the end of the year.

...On its website, the ERLC includes suggestions for the activities churches might consider for June 4:
-- Information on "same-sex marriage" could be distributed.
-- Pastors might preach on the issue.
-- Those in attendance could be encouraged to call or e-mail their senators June 5 or 6 to urge them to vote for the MPA.

..."We certainly don't see any reason why we wouldn't have more votes this time than last time," he said. "The Senate is decidedly more conservative, certainly more Republican, than it was the last time. We believe that if enough senators hear from their constituents, the MPA can be passed. It's obvious that a significant majority of Americans throughout the country do not want same-sex marriage. If that significant majority will communicate their convictions to their senators, the amendment should be passed."

Southern Baptists and others may contact senators by calling the Capitol switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and asking for their offices. E-mails may be sent through a link on the ERLC's website, www.faithandfamily.com, or the Senate's Internet site, www.senate.gov.
I took a little surf over to Richard Land's faith and family site, and you know what? I found out a lot of really good information (ahem) about the homosexual lifestyle in the FAQ section: HOMOSEXUALITY: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED. He's answered everything that you've needed to know with (junk) science, dear readers.
First and foremost, a homosexual person simply does not exist. Homosexuality should be considered as an adjective-a behavior-and not as a noun or label defining a person. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, one of the foremost experts on the causes of homosexuality as a sexual disorder and founder of NARTH, National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, states, "There is no such thing as a homosexual person. We are all heterosexuals. Homosexuality is a description of a condition. It is not a description of the intrinsic nature of the person" (NARTH's Statement of Policy). Given his statement, then, men and women who consider themselves homosexual are really intrinsically heterosexual but they have a sexual identity problem and, as a result, might engage in homosexual behavior.

...Many reputable therapists believe that while genes may be predictive of behavior, environment and choice determine behavior. Because as Paul says, "[We] were dead in trespasses and sins, …and were by nature children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:1-3), we each may have certain sins to which we are more inclined than others.

That is why the Bible is so clear that we need to be born again. Temptation will not automatically disappear when we place our trust in Christ, but we will have a new nature and a new power within to deal with the power of sin.

Those who want to insist on genetic determination are perpetuating a tragic myth and robbing those who genuinely want to turn from what they believe to be sin.

...Do you really want your children to open up the pages of The Washington Post or your local newspaper, turning to the kids' section, and reading an article entitled "Defining Marriage," which tells your child how "normal" it is for two people of the same sex to be married? That is what The Washington Post did in an article published just for kids. Legalizing same-sex marriage would make these events common, everyday occurrences. Is it honestly appropriate to encourage children to experiment with their "sexual identity" at such a tender age? You may not think same-sex marriage will affect you, but you are wrong. It will affect you, and most importantly it will affect children. We have no right to experiment with their destiny.
It goes on and on, but you get the idea.


What's left to say: 'unable to govern'

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) tosses back the words of Newt Gingrich to the Rethugs on the floor of the House. Beautiful.



Back in October of 2004, Ryan also opened another can of whoopass on the House floor, when the rumors were circulating on campuses that the administration was going to reinstitute the draft (that video is here).


Number of gays booted under DADT increased last year

Believe it or not, with recruiting down and our military stretched thin around the globe, the dumbbells at the Pentagon are at it again.

Data has been released showing that there was an 11% increase of discharges under "don't ask, don't tell." (SFGate):
A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, said 726 service members were discharged under the policy during the 2005 budget year that ended last Sept. 30. That compares with 653 discharges the year before. She released the figures after a gay rights advocacy group said it had obtained the statistics on its own.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has represented military members who were forced out for being openly gay, says the Pentagon's policy deprives the military of qualified and experienced personnel in at a time when the Army and Marine Corps have struggled to meet their recruiting goals.
As you see above, SLDN already had the figures, so the Pentagon's hand was forced on this one. It really is a position the government cannot defend with any logic at this point. (SLDN):
The rate of discharge has remained relatively consistent each year since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and represents a 40% decrease compared with years prior to the attacks. A total of 742 military personnel were discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay service members, up from 668 discharges among the services in FY2004.

The time has come for the Pentagon to call on Congress to repeal ‘Don’t "The law deprives our nation of thousands of skilled men and women who could be instrumental in fighting the war on terror." Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn.

The Army discharged 386 soldiers in 2005, up from 325 the year before. The Air Force dismissed 88 airmen, down slightly from 92 in 2004; the Navy discharged 177 members, the same as the prior year; 75 Marines were discharged, up from 59 the year before; and the Coast Guard discharged 16 men and women, compared to 15 in 2004.

...The San Antonio Express-News recently reported that the armed forces are facing a “major” officer shortage, including falling short by 2,500 captains and majors in the Army this year, with that number increasing to 3,300 in 2007. In an attempt to attract new recruits and fill the gap, Pentagon leaders have recently relaxed enlistment standards regarding age, physical fitness, education and criminal records. The discharge of lesbian and gay Americans, however, continues.
The mental giants and patriots over at Freeperland need to head on down to the recruiting office, since they are celebrating the discharge of able men and women who are prepared and willing to defend their right to be keyboard cowards.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

And this is bad why?

They must not like cleaning the latrine after a hot date in the latrine.

OMG! This is HUGH!!!

Hugh, too? OMG is right!

Who needs 'em?

The less deviants out on the lines, the better. There is no place for them there.

The military clearly needs a bigger screen door with a much quicker spring so that it does hit them in the butt on the way out!

Well, you know how those poofters just can't shut the hell up.

They are hoping for a class action suit someday. The lawers want a cut, of course.

"so that it does hit them in the butt on the way out!" They'd probably like it!

It is only a mater of time until this spins into "retention problems".

Yeah, likely the 630 troops that re-upped at Fort Carson, Colorado 2 weeks ago, en masse, almost an entire regiment, were obviously just a bunch of gays who wanted to stay together

The army has no retention problem, but the MSM has created a recruiting problem by failing to tell the truth about Iraq. If the army wants to maiontain recruiting levels, they simply need to get the news out of who is winning in Iraq.

Brokeback discharge. ;~)

So happy to be retired. I never would have imagined the military would have to defend its actions in this matter. Don't ask don't tell was a typical limp wristed response by Cigar Bill to be everyones buddy. So lets go over this one again butt buddies...if you are in the service shut the hell up and man up, or pack those A bags and head back to fairy land. JEEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I was hoping the doorknob wouldn't give 'em that "special" thrill.

We have much better fings to do than get our athes shot up when all we want to do is kith Ahmed and Furqaan!

What a typical BS lib distortion. Recruitment goals are consistently being met -- That's fact! I guess looking back, this morning I struggled to tie my shoes, eat breakfast, brush my teeth. Later I struggled at my job. Then I stuggled boiling pasta for dinner. And yet I do it every day for 365 days a year. Idiots.

Solution - ask, then if they give the wrong answer, show 'em the door of the recruitment office.

The U.S. military is not the place for BJ Clinton's social experiments. Destroying the military was the first order of business in building the "CLINTON LEGACY"...

This is just the fudgepackers showing true colors. Fewer fags in the service is a good thing.
Related:
* Scraping the bottom
* SLDN's 14th Annual National Dinner live-blogging event


Beyond Freeperland

I am frequently asked by readers how I can stand wading into Freeperland and other nasty haunts, gathering up the foulitude that I post here each day. I don't have a good answer for you, other than I have a high tolerance level for reading BS and plenty of anti-bacterial cleanser for my laptop.

Actually, these days, many of you are the ones sending me links to these filthy bigots, lol, goading me to visit and post the lunacy of the bible-beating fringe. Mission accepted. ;)

This piece, however, was found during my tour of Freeperland this AM. One of the knuckle-draggers there posted a link to an article on Catholic Planet by Ronald Conte, Jr. that I had not seen before, Instruction on Controversial Questions: Homosexuality Is Evil -- it's mind-blowing.

As with most homobigots, he takes pains to say "I do not bear hatred or undue prejudice against gays and lesbians," but proceeds to unleash the most unhinged and hateful commentary -- from a biblical perspective, of course. The intro starts off with a bang.
Homosexuality is evil. It is directly and irreconcilably opposed to God's will for humanity and for the human person. A homosexual orientation is a grave moral disorder within the human person. This disorder is not part of God's plan for the human race; it is a result of the sinfulness of the individual and of groups of individuals. This disorder is not a part of human nature; it is an effect of serious sin on human nature. Anyone who has a homosexual orientation has a severely damaged human nature.
It's a long and sick piece but I pulled my favorite portion out for you, Blenders, because I was astonished to find a well-rounded list of offenses to God's plan outlined quite nicely for you (unfortunately not ranked), as Conte answers the question:
Are homosexual sins more sinful than heterosexual sins?

Yes. For several reasons. First, it should be understood that the only sexual act that is moral is natural sexual relations between a man and a woman who are married to each other.

Now, concerning heterosexual sexual sins, some are more serious than others. Natural sex before marriage is a sin against God's plan that sexual relations take place only within marriage. Adultery is a sin against both God's plan for marriage and against one's spouse and children. Unnatural sex within marriage is a sin against the natural order that God created in the human person, and it is a sin against procreation, and it is a sin against one's spouse. Unnatural sex outside of marriage is an even worse sin because it adds the sin against God's plan for marriage. Rape adds a sin against the body and the will of another human person, in addition to the other above-mentioned factors. The factors that make any sexual acts sinful, or more sinful, include one or more of the following (in no particular order):

a.) sex outside of marriage - offends against God's plan for marriage and marital relations.
b.) adultery - offends against one's own spouse and/or against the spouse of another person.
c.) contraceptive sex - offends against God's plan for procreation.
d.) masturbation - offends against God's plan for marriage and procreation, and against the human person
e.) unnatural sex - offends against nature, i.e. the natural order that God created in the human person, and against procreation, and against the other person.
f.) rape (sex without consent) - offends against the body and the will of another person and against God.
g.) underage sex - offends against God's plan for children and adults, and against consent. Sexual relations between an adult and a teen is even more offensive than between two teens. Sexual relations between an adult and a child is all the more offensive, and increases in offensiveness as the age of the child decreases.
h.) homosexual sex - necessarily includes the offenses of unnatural sex, non-procreative sex, sex outside of marriage, and further offends against God's will that sexual relations only occur between a man and a woman.
i.) other sexual sins - various types of perversities offend even further against God, His plan, and His creation.

More than one of the above-listed factors are sometimes found together in the same relationship or in the same sexual act. Each factor increases the sinfulness of the acts. Note that there are other sins and perversities that offend even further against God.

Homosexual sex necessarily offends against God's plan for marriage, and for procreation, and is necessarily unnatural, and it adds the further perversity of offending against God's will that sexual relations only occur between a man and a woman. This further offense is against the very order that God created in the human race and in Creation. Therefore, homosexual sins are not equivalent to heterosexual sins, but are much worse. Some Christians think that all sex outside of marriage is equally sinful. But this is not so. Homosexual acts are a more serious offense against God because they are fundamentally and objectively a greater state of disorder and a greater state of opposition to God's plan.
I have to say that this is so beyond the pale that, by and large, even the Freepers didn't nibble on this one. A sample comment:
Well, I've read through it, and the most productive comment I can make is to suggest you keep this sort of bizzare writing away from the Liberals.

When I got to the: "Sexual relations between an adult and a child is all the more offensive, and increases in offensiveness as the age of the child decreases." I'm thinking... so sex with a 5 year old is more offensive than with a 6 year old?... surely it's equally abominable!.... I guess not.

So much of it is clearly concocted from the mind of the writer, with very fragile scriptural arguements to support his more silly points.

I actually agree with a great deal of it, but he lets himself down with declarations that have no support.

The idea that the homosexual tendency springs from an individual having commited mortal sin made me concider that the author was actually working undercover for the homosexual activists. What a secret weapon he is for them....

Hey Mr Conte Jr... I've uncovered your REAL mission! - you rabid homo-lover!

It's writings like his that undermine the whole intelligent arguement against the homosexualisation of society. It's such a shame, because so much of it is right.


No tampon ads during Papa Ratzi's Poland tour


Pope graphic by Mike Tidmus

Well, damn. Who would have thought that tampons were 'inappropriate products' to advertise while the Pope was in town? It seems that all traces of anything related to sex, bodily functions, or material that covers the naughty bits must be purged from the airwaves lest it offend Benedict, or distract the Polish population from focusing on the papal visit.

Look at what the government of Poland did in advance of the Prada Pope's arrival.
When Pope Benedict visits the homeland of his predecessor this week he will find Poland and its Catholic Church struggling to adapt to life after John Paul - but he will not see any advertisements for lingerie, beer or tampons on state TV.

Broadcasters have banned the promotion of 'inappropriate products' during Benedict's visit, as well as ads carrying any whiff of sexual innuendo. The three state-run channels have demanded to see in advance material due to be shown during his tour, which begins on Thursday. 'There is always the risk that the faithful may feel hurt if programming devoted to the Pope's visit is interrupted by frivolous ads,' said Zbigniew Badziak, head of advertising at the state network.
The decision about what to deep-six was determined by "teams of Catholic journalists."

When I was listening to a piece on NPR about it yesterday, it also mentioned that any billboards with ads for the same products mentioned above, as well as condom ads, would be covered up so Ratzi wouldn't have to avert his eyes or think about bodily functions or sexual urges as he tours the streets.

Bloomberg News reports the Polish public TV station also refers to the banning ads for "explosives and flammable materials."

That leaves you plenty to comment on.


Hastert



Shakes Sis's favorite political sex god (known as the Tyrannosaurus of Turpitude) U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is demanding a "full retraction" from ABC for reporting that he was under investigation for ties to the Abramoff corruption scandal. ABC's not budging. (CNN):
The report Wednesday night prompted the Justice Department to take the highly unusual step of denying on the record that the Illinois Republican is the subject of a probe.

...The network said law enforcement sources told ABC that the Justice Department denial meant only that the speaker was not a formal "target" or "subject" of the probe, not that he wasn't under investigation.

...ABC News, citing "high-level official sources," reported that the FBI is investigating a letter Hastert wrote three years ago urging then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton to block an Indian casino that would have competed with casinos operated by other tribes, which were represented by Abramoff.

Hastert's letter, the details of which were widely reported during news coverage of the Abramoff case, was written shortly after a fund-raiser for the speaker was held at the lobbyist's Washington restaurant, where Abramoff and his clients made contributions to Hastert
Think Progress has the details on the Hastert ties. His passionate defense of $90K-in-the-freezer Dem congressman now makes sense, of course. He doesn't want any FBI agents barging into his offices, poking around. They might find something.


Frist and gorilla sweat

I can't add anything more to Atrios's comment on this fawning, seriously unhinged profile of Bill Frist:
Rick Santorum has got to be jealous that the Washington Post published this hot Frist-on-Gorilla porn.


In the mailbag

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The mailbag is f-u-l-l, folks. Whew. I have a lot to catch up on. Some items for you.

* Wayne Besen reviews former NJ Governor James McGreevey's new book. (h/t Randy)


* Lars Clausen, an ordained Lutheran pastor and straight ally, rode a unicycle 1,000 miles from Vermont to Washington, D.C. to ask people along the way what it's like to be an LGBT person in America today. He chronicles his encounters at visits to Rev. Tinkywinky's church and the NYC Gay Pride Parade in his book, Straight Into Gay America. You can read more about the book at the web site, and even read three chapters for free in advance of its publication on June 1.

* Check out The North Carolina Advocacy Coalition (NCAC), which local activist Matt Hill Comer is forming "to increase voter participation, public education and to advocate for issues and legislation that are important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied North Carolinians." It's got a lot of work to do, that's for sure.

* MadKane is at it again: Tabloid Times, and Frist and Hastert Rediscover The Constitution

* Oh my -- QueerBeacon asks: "Mary Cheney and Dana Carvey Separated at Birth?"

* Speaking of MC, I really don't want to waste more blog space on her or fish-wrap tome any longer, but feel free to comment on these statements, noting who wrote them.

* The NYT reviews An Inconvenient Truth. (hat tip, Holly.)

* While recruiting is at a trickle, this news: Military Discharges 2 Service Members Per Day for Being Gay.


* How ridiculous is this: Boy in Slinky Fuchsia Gown Denied Entrance to Prom. (hat tip, Kim)


In the Blade

Hi folks -- my brother came into town today and we've been hanging out in advance of my surgery on Friday, so I had no clue that the Washington Blade interview with me was up already! I expected it to be up Friday.

My only quibble is that the link in the article points to my personal web page as opposed to the Blend (I've emailed the reporter to fix that), it's otherwise a fair and accurate piece. At least I didn't make a complete fool of myself. I hope that I did you all justice, because the Blenders have become the heart of the coffee shop, so thank you all for being repeat customers!



P.S. Thanks for the kind words in the article, Shakes Sis, and to Mike Rogers -- what about that outrageous quote -- "Pam is certainly the most important lesbian blogger in America," says Michael Rogers, editor and publisher of gay blog PageOneQ.com." Oy. Not really, but thanks.


Elastic parenthood

Penis-possessing head of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute, Bob Knight, spews fresh bile, this time fixating on lesbians and adoption. This is a change for Bob, who normally focuses like a laser beam on man-on-man action.
A pro-family leader is lamenting a U.S. Supreme Court decision this week to decline hearing an appeal in a custody battle between two lesbians. The high court's refusal to comment on the case lets stand a lower-court ruling that redefined what a "parent" is.

Culture and Family Institute director Bob Knight says the Supreme Court has blown another one. "This is actually a boost for lesbian adoption because the Supreme Court, by not taking up the case, is leaving intact an earlier ruling that paves the way for 'psychological parenting,'" says Knight. "That is the idea that you don't have to be related to the child; you don't have to be related biologically or legally -- and if the court decides you're a parent, you're a parent."

Knight had hoped the court would uphold traditional family law, under which America has existed since its inception. "Children fair best in arrangements like this, and that supports the mother-and-father, married family," he says. "By opening up to the idea that the court can determine who's a parent and who's not, they've made it an elastic definition of parenthood -- and that will only benefit the homosexual activists." Now, he says, it is the courts that will decide the definition of a "parent."
More Bob Knight on fire:
* Starbucks promotes the homo agenda
* The ACLU's part of the homo agenda
* Homos are taking over DC's power center
* Bob Knight loses his cookies over gay adoptions
* Bob Knight wigs out over Time piece on gay teens


Open thread


Actual caption: President Bush responds to a question after talking about the global war on terror to a crowd attending the National Restaurant Association annual trade show at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, Monday, May 22, 2006. Bush fielded a wide range of questions from will he see former Vice President Al Gore 's movie to the war in Iraq . (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Something tells me that he's not going to the premiere of An Inconvenient Truth.


Crazy Pat's legs o' steel

CBS Sportsline's a little late reporting this one, but it's still funny. Pat Robertson's been hawking his 'Age Defying' diet shake for some time now on his CBN site, claiming it enables him to leg press 2000 pounds.



Mind you, the man is 76 years old, and the bested the top effort by another human by 665 lbs. CBS Sportline's Clay Travis:

1. I am going to drink this protein shake of his and try to leg press a Mazda Miata with three clowns sitting inside.

2. There is no way on earth Robertson leg presses 2,000 pounds. That would mean a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst. Where in the world did Robertson even find a machine that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time? And how does he still have vision?
I blogged about Pat's shake(down) last year, but it was for other reasons -- Pat used his tax-exempt, non-profit "ministry" and his Virginia-based Christian Broadcasting Network to shill the product. The recipe was given away on his CBN web site, but he was rolling that cash in because it was being sold at GNC health food stores for profit.

You know Crazy Pat was in deep doo-doo when AgapePress ran a slam piece on him. This is from September 2005:
Ole Anthony, president of the Dallas-based religious media watchdog group Trinity Foundation, says the well-known TV minister cannot legally use his nonprofit ministry to push his nutritional drink.

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

Some of these ministers are becoming "fabulously wealthy," the Trinity Foundation spokesman adds, "but it's because they're promoting it heavily on the donor-supported airtime."

...Anthony contends that, by doing this, Pat Robertson is misusing his ministry's tax-exempt, nonprofit status. "He created or entered into an agreement with GNC to produce the shake -- Pat's shake -- for his personal profit." Once he did that, the ministry watchdog says, "I didn't care if he promoted his recipe that he gave away for free; but to continue to promote it, for profit for him personally, is a violation of the IRS code."
Hat tip to Daniel S. (and Think Progress)


Inside 'ex-gay' therapy

Paula Zahn had infamous "ex-gay therapist" (or as he calls himself, "conversion therapist") Richard Cohen on last night in a segment called "New Therapy Claims to "Cure" Homosexuality."

The CNN correspondent on the piece is Deborah Feyerick (Video is here).
Richard Cohen, now married with three kids, is a leader in the so-called reparative therapy movement. With just more than 1,000 members it is not a particularly big movement, but because it's so controversial and despised within the gay community it tends to get a lot of attention.

...FEYERICK (voice-over): Cohen, who had several boyfriends, spent years in various kinds of therapy searching for answers. It wasn't until he remembered being sexually abused by a man when he was a child that what he calls his convergence process began,

COHEN: I knew it wasn't for me. I knew it in my gut I wasn't born this way.

FEYERICK: Cohen is an unlicensed therapist. He offers the theory that some kind of childhood trauma triggers homosexuality. All it takes is figuring out what it is, healing from it and moving on. One of his clients is a 42 year old program analyst who we'll call Rob. Because it is such a sensitive subject, he asked us to shield his identity.

He began seeing Cohen three years ago after years of struggling with unwanted homosexual feelings.

"ROB", CONVERSION THERAPY CLIENT: I had a mother that basically committed emotional incest with me because they had a very bad marriage. She used me as her husband, a stand-in.

FEYERICK: Cohen explains Rob's same-sex attraction is typical of the men he treats. Cold, distant dad, overbearing mom and overly sensitive kid. He showed us some of his unconventional techniques like touch therapy, in which he encouraging Rob to seek out same-sex mentors to basically re-create a healthy father-son bond.
The transcript doesn't describe what Cohen does next on the video to demonstrate his therapeutic "techniques." I'll let Steve @ A Tenable Belief, describe what he saw.
He sits upright on a sofa, his client sprawls lengthwise for a close chest-to-chest embrace. The reporter does a sanity-check, asking the client if he feels aroused. Nope, just safe.

Cohen, saying that another key technique is designed to release memories embedded deeply in one's muscles, raises a tennis racquet above his head and bashes a pillow once for each word he screams at his mother.

Wow.
What, exactly, is Richard doing with his clients (and they are almost all men...hmmm)? The reporter didn't ask whether Cohen was aroused.

By the way, Cohen calls that pillow/tennis racket technique bioenergetics. Do you beat the gay away?

UPDATE: Dan at Ex-Gay Watch has a screenshot of the video with Cohen "therapizing" his client...



There's also reaction from the "ex-gay" community at XGW as well.

***

Wayne Besen, author of the eye-opening book about "ex gay" movement, Anything But Straight, reported last year that Richard Cohen, also president of Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays (P-FOX), was "expelled for life" out of the American Counseling Association for malpractice and unethical conduct. You have to read Wayne's post about an unhinged mailing Cohen sent out after he and Wayne debated on a NJ television program.

Cohen also wrote Coming Out Straight: Understanding and Healing Homosexuality (with a forward by Dr. Laura, no less!). Where he elaborates on the "causes" of The Gay. Read and weep from this BS up at the NARTH site:
He lists the factors that predispose a person to homosexuality: "heredity, temperament, hetero-emotional wounds, homo-emotional wounds, sibling wounds/family dynamics, body-image wounds, sexual abuse, social or peer wounds, cultural wounds, and other factors: divorce/death/ intrauterine experiences /adoption/ religion."

...Cohen is a second-generation reparative therapist who is as zealous about helping others find and facilitate healing as he was zealous to find healing for himself. Unlike the concepts used by first-generation reparative therapists who were trained largely in the psychoanalytic tradition, many of Cohen's concepts and recommended techniques appear to reflect the influences of family systems therapy, the recovery movement, faith healing, and the holistic health movement in mental health and pastoral counseling.

Therapists more versed in psychoanalysis and traditional Reparative Therapy may find it challenging to translate some of Cohen's ideas and language, such as the "adult-child" and "inner-child," and what he describes as the need to "balance both light and dark energies" through fun and play into concepts with which they more familiar.

...Cohen acknowledges that it is more important to understand the process of recovery, as well as the causes and meaning of same-sex attractions, than to use any given technique. The "tools and techniques to be used in each stage of recovery may change," he says, "but the tasks will remain the same" in overcoming what he clearly sees as a "developmental disorder."
This man is dangerous.


GA commentator on the air: 'faggot' marriage

The Georgia Gang is the local version of The Capital Gang or McLaughlin Group, covering politics in the Peach State, broadcast on Fox 5 WAGA-TV.

Talking head Bill Shipp, a reporter and associate editor of Georgia Trend sounds like he's got a freshly ironed sheet in his closet for nighttime activities, while he belches out his bigotry on the air on Sunday mornings.


At Thirty-three blogged about it, and this was Georgia Equality's response.
May 23, 2006, Atlanta, Georgia - During a discussion of the issue around the court ruling to overturn the amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman this past Sunday on the "Georgia Gang" television program, conservative journalist Bill Shipp referred to it as "faggot" marriage.

The program is broadcast weekly on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am on Fox Affiliate WAGA Channel 5, in Atlanta. Shipp is also a weekly columnist and is a contributing editor to "Atlanta Magazine."

"Mr. Shipp’s reference to calling us ‘faggots’ is clearly indicative of the way some feel about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Georgians," said [Chuck Bowen, Executive Director of Georgia Equality]. "These are the same people who support spending over one-hundred thousand dollars to call our General Assembly back into special session to address an issue that is already illegal in the State of Georgia."
What a breath of fresh air to see The Base breathing fire and just putting the raw meat out there.


Clergy opposed to the marriage amendment piss off the fundies

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


It's time to break out the tiny violin for our bible-thumping friends who are whining about the liberal clergy who are speaking out against the marriage amendment. From Don Wildmon's "news organ":
The proposed amendment that protects marriage as defined in the Bible, as the union of a man and a woman, is supported by Roman Catholic bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention. But Rev. Paul Simmons, a Baptist minister and University of Louisville professor, said the amendment "has the smell and feel of Salem," comparing its supporters to the colonial Puritans who burned witches.

Simmons says he and many other clergy oppose a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. "There is a broad and profound opposition to the proposed amendment among religious people," he noted. "The thunder of the Religious Right should be resisted as misguided and prejudicial."

And Rev. Kenneth Samuel, a United Church of Christ pastor and NAACP chapter president in Georgia, said black pastors who oppose homosexual marriage have turned their backs on civil rights. "A lot of what goes on is also tied on to the faith-based initiative money," Pastor Samuel said, "and I am sorry to say that many of our African-American clergy have been bought out."
Amen. These pastors are demonstrating to the bigots that they do not have a monopoly on "values," and the right wing zealots are pissed off.

Gary [Bat Boy] Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families is not concerned about the coalition of religious leaders who are lobbying against the marriage amendment. "I believe they're way out of step with church-going Americans who, every study shows, overwhelmingly support keeping marriage as the union of one man and one woman," he says.


...And Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council says he is not surprised to see these groups and other liberal denominations speaking out against defining marriage as it is taught in the Bible. "This is completely predictable for this bunch," says Schenck. "Every time anyone anywhere asserts traditional moral values or traditional biblical positions on anything -- and most especially marriage and human sexuality -- you can predict that this same group will parade out and oppose it."

Schenck says these groups are not only on the wrong side of Christian doctrine and the wrong side of what he calls "the moral divide," but also on the wrong side of history. He believes that is why such groups are losing members. "While it's lamentable, while it's predictable, in the end it only makes them even more irrelevant than they are," he states.
Related:
* Pensito Review: First Lady and VP Oppose President on Anti-Gay Amendment
* King Cranky at Royally Kranked is hot under the collar over the brain-dead Rovian Right


Proud of Buckeye bigotry

"They feel like we're intolerant. So I guess we should wear that as a badge of honor."
-- Phil Burress of the Cincinnati-based anti-gay Citizens for Community Values on Ohio placing dead last in measures for civil equality for LGBT citizens
Oh this AgapePress article is a hoot. Burress is in fine form here, bleating his dismay over all the "special rights" the homos are clamoring for, but he's pleased that Ohio is leading the way for states in legislating intolerance.
A pro-homosexual group calling itself Equality of Ohio recently published a nationwide study about so-called discrimination against "gays," lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals. The study rated the state of Ohio dead last in protecting the "equality" of those groups.


But Phil Burress of the Cincinnati-based pro-family group Citizens for Community Values (CCV) says one has to understand what homosexual activists mean when they talk about equality. What they are really talking about, he asserts, is "special rights" for homosexual, bisexual and transgendered people.

"You would be surprised what it is that they really want," Burress says. "What they call equality is for everyone to accept their behavior and for them to have access to our children at a very early age, promoting homosexuality as normal." Opposing the homosexual activists' agenda is "what they call intolerance," he contends.

..."What they're complaining about," Burress asserts, "is ... that they don't have rights and privileges that override the rest of us who are average working families and people here in the state of Ohio. They want special privileges."

Also, the pro-family advocate says, homosexual activists want access to the educational system and government sanction of same-sex marriage. "They want to have all the things that the people and the governments and the laws have said that they can't have," he says.
Winger Burress also has a side project that's amusing -- CleanHotels.com, which "is a network of lodging facilities that do not offer in-room, 'adult', pay-per-view movies." Phil's motivation for getting into this biz?
"So rather than just curse the darkness and just keep complaining about this, we decided to launch into an opportunity to offer people a new way of dealing with this problem."
I'm trying to figure out what "the problem" is. Can people simply not order the porn? Is the TV possessed in these motels, switching on, tuned to images of naughty bits in action only when "Christians" are in the room?


Quaint

Walking into the Happy Harbor is like walking into a time warp.
-- ironic review of the Inn at Bay Weekly Online
Fags and coloreds...what a blast from the past, with a twist! The Maryland town of Deale's The Happy Harbor Inn really has a handle on that old hospitality thing. (WashBlade):
The Happy Harbor Inn, a popular dockside restaurant in the southern Maryland town of Deale, displayed the sign next to its main entrance as saying, "ATTENTION BIKERS: NO COLOREDS, FAGS, CLUB ATTIRE, (no) EXCEPTIONS," according to two people who visited the restaurant on May 3.

On May 20, nearly three weeks later, the sign had been changed. A visit to the restaurant by a Washington Blade reporter showed that the letters "eds" and "f" had been covered by white paint, with a faint outline of the letters still visible.

From a distance, the sign on May 20 read, "ATTENTION BIKERS: NO COLOR, AGS, CLUB ATTIRE (no) EXCEPTIONS."

"It could be a violation of Article 49 of the state's human relations code," said J. Neil Bell, deputy director of Maryland's Human Relations Commission

...Records with the Anne Arundel County Board of Liquor Commissioners list Barbara A. Sturgell and Karen Kay Sturgell as the owners of the Happy Harbor Inn.
By the way, Barbara Sturgell, known as The Anchor of Deale, big surprise, contributes to the GOP. An interesting tidbit - she worked for the FBI under queen J. Edgar Hoover as a correspondence typist; he came by the restaurant from time to time. (BayWeekly):
Larger-than-life J. Edgar Hoover was known as an iron-fisted FBI head; only after his death was his private life scrutinized. Barbara Sturgell rose to become superintendent of the correspondence section, a trusted position, and had the job of delivering paperwork to Hoover's home on weekends.

"I think he was a great man," she says, recalling how she instructed her employees to work hard when Hoover came around and never to make eye contact with him.
Hat tip, PageOneQ
UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments by Lulu, a subsequent WaPo article includes the reaction of the owner of the restaurant, who was not available for comment in the Blade piece:
Barbara Sturgell posted the sign on the door of the Happy Harbor Inn in Deale four years ago after a fight between Hells Angels and Pagans ended in a cloud of pepper spray and bullets.

The 72-year-old business owner broke down and cried yesterday as she wondered why someone had altered the sign on the door by painting out certain letters and adding others to discourage black and gay patrons.

"I have no idea who would mess with my sign. I can't believe that someone would be that vicious," said Sturgell, who has run the inn for 30 years.
That would seem to put things into context, but the article also quotes a patron who sees it differently.
Ted Harris, an African American who has frequented the restaurant since the 1960s, doesn't hold Sturgell blameless. He and a friend spotted the altered sign on the door during a visit May 3.

"It was all in the same ink. It was professionally done," he said. ". . . When we came back, it was painted over, but you still could see the 'E-D-S' from the word 'colored.' "
And the Blade updated its article with additional information that still leaves the situation murky.
Sturgell said that about three weeks ago, one of her employees told her someone "altered" the sign by replacing the letter "r" with an "f" and made a similar substitution to change the word "colors" to "coloreds."

"I think they wrote it in with magic markers," Sturgell said in a telephone interview on May 23. "We took Clorox and wiped it off," she said. "It was at night when it happened."

When told that two witnesses reported seeing the sign with the words "fag" and "coloreds" at lunchtime as far back as May 2, Sturgell said her employees most likely first noticed the altered letters during their nighttime shift.

"I never saw it," she said. "I walk by there almost every day, but I didn't notice anything until an employee brought it to my attention."


Just unbelievable

So, since OJ is joking around with this low-life behavior, it must mean that he's completed his mission to find the real killer, right?
In a scene from his new candid-camera program "Juiced," O.J. Simpson pulls a prank involving the infamous white Bronco, drawing criticism from the family of a man he was accused of killing.


AP Photo/Xtreme Entertainment Group

As part of the pay-per-view show, Simpson pretends to sell the Bronco at a used car lot and boasts to a prospective buyer that he made the vehicle famous, according to a segment aired Thursday on "Inside Edition."

"It was good for me -- it helped me get away," Simpson said, referring to the slow-speed, televised police chase that preceded his 1994 arrest on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Goldman's father, Fred, told "Inside Edition" he found Simpson's comment "morally reprehensible."
This sh*t is so sick I really don't know what to say.


Caption this


Actual caption: Lens flare caused by a spotlight forms a circle around U.S. President George W. Bush as he speaks at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky May 19, 2006. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

It's a boy in the bubble open thread. Linkees and blogwhoring appreciated as well!


The Iraqi "gay cleansing" continues

The religious militia are cruising Baghdad and assassinating gays on the spot -- you won't see this on the MSM in this country. Didn't the Pentagon say that the violence is under control, or are homos an exception? (Times Online - UK):
The death threat was delivered to Karazan’s father early in the morning by a masked man wearing a police uniform.

The scribbled note was brief. Karazan had to die because he was gay. In the new Baghdad, his sexuality warranted execution by the religious militias.

The father was told that if he did not hand his son over, other family members would be killed.

What scares the city’s residents is how the fanatics’ list of enemies is growing. It includes girls who refuse to cover their hair, boys who wear theirs too long, booksellers, liberal professors and prostitutes. Three shops known to sell alcohol were bombed yesterday in the Karrada shopping district.

In this atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation, the militias have made no secret of their hatred of homosexuals.

The man who threatened Karazan said that he was a member of the Taib (Wolf) Brigade, a commando group reportedly infiltrated by the armed wing of the hardline Shia party the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Its orders come from fundamentalist clerics.
Related:
* Homo fatwa

Hat tip to Blender Davis F.


Can you handle it?


I don't know if I can bring myself to waste time reading about the sanctity of this marriage -- Clintons Balance Married and Public Lives (NYT). A real "duh" moment right off the bat, on the first page sets the tone, just so you're aware..
The dynamics of a couple's marriage are hard to gauge from the outside, even for a couple as well known as the Clintons. But interviews with some 50 people and a review of their respective activities show that since leaving the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton have built largely separate lives — partly because of the demands of their distinct career paths and partly as a result of political calculations.


Hoosier bloggers meet Senator Evan Bayh

And Shakes Sis was there -- go girl.

And if you want to see yet another example of Dem queasiness on the position the party's staked out on marriage amendments ("leave it to the states"), and the bind it puts them in, read on -- you can feel Bayh squirming when confronted with the possibility of his own state passing one. He has nothing to stand on, which is precisely the point when we take the party to task on this punt -- the Dems cannot stand for equality if the party is willing to endorse the position that states can simply vote discrimination into their constitutions.

Remember, Bayh is likely to jump into the 2008 race and this is the best he can do on this issue. This is f*cking weak. My emphasis:
Then it was time for the Senator to arrive. He came in and introduced himself to everyone individually, then was seated one chair away from me. He didn’t give a prepared statement; just opened it up for questions. Bil [Browning of Bilerico] got things off to a roaring start by questioning the Senator about the Federal Marriage Amendment. Bayh said he had voted against it before, and would vote against it again. Then Bil followed up by asking about the amendment on Indiana’s state ballot, which is up for a vote next year. On this, the Senator struggled. It’s dangerous to punt with a statement like, “It’s a state issue” when your home state’s currently considering an anti-gay marriage measure and there are people from that state sitting in front of you asking you questions. I desperately hoped he’d plainly state his objections to a discriminatory amendment, but alas, he did not. He said he hadn’t read it and didn’t really have an answer. Not good.
This is the problem. The Dem position leaves candidates completely vulnerable -- are you for or against discrimination. It's that simple. You have to be able to explain why it's OK for states to make its gay and lesbian tax payers second-class citizens, instead of diving behind your "no" vote on a federal amendment. States are deciding by popular vote to discriminate. How is this fine with a Democratic party that allegedly believes in civil equality? And don't worry, the Rethugs will corner you and kill you on this one. It's a stupid fallback position that's no longer working as the state amendments pass.

At least with the anti-gay elected bigots, you don't have any question where they stand on the issue.

And my bloggrrrrl brought her laser-beam humor to the event and zinged Bayh on impeachment.
As for me, I tried to think of a question that the Shakers would like to see answered, and what I came up with was asking the Senator whether he supported Nancy Pelosi’s decision to take impeachment off the table in the House, even though thorough investigations of the administration haven’t been done and polls show that Americans increasingly support impeachment. Bayh said (paraphrasing), “Remember when the Republicans were going nuts in pursuit on Clinton…?” And because I apparently cannot control my smart-assitude even when sitting two feet away from a Senator, I said, “No, I don’t remember that at all. When was that?” Okay, the other bloggers laughed, but Bayh didn’t seem to find it all that funny. Sorry, Senator. He went on to say that the American people didn’t like it when the Republican Congress went after Clinton when they should have been paying attention to jobs and the economy and shit, and there was a backlash, and the Dems won seats during midterms—and if the Dems tried to impeach Bush, the same thing would happen, because it would be viewed as motivated by a vendetta.
Sis points out, rightfully so, that the Dems have no brain or a spine, because there was no backlash against the Rethugs -- here we are in the nightmare term 2 of this administration (and the only reason the Rethugs are in trouble is because of their own corruption and malfeasance).

What's ridiculous is that this position presumes that there is some equivalence between a lying about a BJ and Dear Leader's torching of the Constitution to suit his needs. What on earth what would qualify in Dem minds as grounds for impeachment when all they are worried about is imaginary political "backlash?" How about considering what might be the best thing to do for the country when the executive branch is power-mad and out of control? Taking it off the table as a strategy is a worthy question for these Dems to answer fully, given there so much up in the air that could come crashing down on the Bushies.


Father Jon speaks...again

Father Jonathan Morris, the blogger/commentator for FauxNews.com, posted a diatribe on same-sex marriage the other day, Marriage Act Debate: It's Not About Homosexuality, to alert The Base about the new tactic to promote the Marriage Protection Amendment, which the Senate will vote on in June. (My post on it is here.)
Remind your senators, kindly and insistently, the Federal Marriage Act is about the family, not sex. It is not homophobic. It doesn’t bash gays.
So now Father Jonathan has part two of his blog up on the matter, and it looks like he received quite a bit of mail about column #1 that challenged his assertions. You should read the whole thing; his responses are pulled from the "stock winger response file" with great confidence -- here's a snippet:
As long as gays aren't legally allowed to marry, the conferring of criminality and prejudice continues: ie, "they make bad parents," "they degrade the morale of the army," "they are more likely to be paedophiles," or "they aren't decent people." I respect that it is not your intention to engage in discrimination or bias, but I ask that you recognize that when the law is used as you propose (Federal Marriage Amendment), that is the exact outcome that occurs. — Tim

...All laws are discriminatory. They discriminate between what is good and bad for society in relation to the question at hand. Laws that define marriage as only between one man and one woman do not discriminate against homosexuals as people, but as their ability to comply with the inherent nature and objectives of the institution being regulated. To compare the acceptance of two men marrying each other with the acceptance of interracial marriage, as some have done, is disingenuous and offensive.
But then he gets tripped up by this letter.
I enjoy reading your column. I am an atheist. I do not use the Bible to establish or enforce my morality, my ethical behaviour, or to derive my virtues. Opponents of defining marriage as only between a man and a woman often argue that ours is a religious stance. I would like to make it very clear that there is nothing religious at all about it. In case it has slipped some people's minds, there are TWO genders: male and female. When they copulate, they can produce offspring, which perpetuates the human race. Marriage is our society's legal representation of this...and it represents a legal and financial reward for people who wish to reproduce. Men and women who are married and do not intend to reproduce are simply using marriage to reap the benefits of the law. — Dave, Arizona
He doesn't have a response, so he sticks his fingers in his ears and starts the "la la la la la" and begs off of answering.
If there is one thing I would like to make clear it is this; the issue is complicated. I don't have all the answers, but it is worth a reflective and sincere search for what is best for our country and the world.
Thanks to Tedi for the pointer.


The crazies

"The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said 'There's something I want you to know. Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida'..."I introduce to you, as the Lord Jesus has said, the next governor of the state of Florida, Charlie Crist."
-- the Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, announcing his news about the Florida GOP candidate for governor from the Heaven Hotline to other pastors at a prayer breakfast
Dozier also says that he got this bit of wisdom from above two years ago in a dream. Why didn't he get the heads-up about the hurricanes last year? Why is Dozier's Jesus focusing on political races instead of passing along a warning to save hundreds of lives? Why am I even asking questions about this nutcase?

When you read this AP piece, it again really hits home regarding the relationship of the GOP to The Base. The fundies feel emboldened by the political climate to just blurt out the most ridiculous statements, perhaps taking cues from Crazy Pat as a baseline. And the politicians are then left to try and toss off the statements without completely embarrassing their bible-beating supporters since they've hopped in bed with them for support -- and votes.
Crist's first words were, "Well, as they say, the praise doesn't get any higher."

Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who is opposing Crist in the primary, wouldn't comment on the remarks after the event.

Afterward, Dozier said he met Crist two months after the dream at a conference of Republican leaders from around the South. He told Crist about the dream, and Crist replied that he would run.

"It's the most amazing thing anyone's every told me," Crist said. "It's beyond overwhelming, but the reverend has a very strong faith in his heart and he's a good man. I'm very grateful for his help and his support and his belief."

Gov. Jeb Bush, who appointed Dozier to a group that nominates judges in South Florida, didn't directly respond to the remark, but praised Dozier. "Far be it from me to judge about people's faiths and what occurs because of it," Bush said. "He is very sincere. Rev. Dozier's a good man."
Holy hell - Jeb is allowing this pastor to nominate judges?! There's the news in this story -- you Floridians are f*cked if these crazies are representing the public interest for nominations to the bench.

Hat tip, Holly.


Throw them all out

Monday, May 22, 2006

It doesn't matter that this guy has a (D) behind his name, he's part of the festering, oozing sore of DC corruption. The Rethugs just have a whale of a head start.
Democratic Representative William Jefferson of Louisiana said he doesn't plan to leave Congress after a weekend search of his office and FBI allegations he was videotaped receiving a briefcase containing $100,000.
And $90K was stashed in his freezer. He relied on storing the loot in "various frozen food containers" and as well as wrapping some of it in aluminum foil.

He should have used a Foodsaver to keep the bills fresh and crisp!


Fundies twisting in the wind?

"We can't afford to alienate moderate voters any more than they are already alienated... . Issues have a shelf life. Gay marriage passed everywhere [on state ballots] in 2004, but today, a lot of people look at that issue and think, 'It is so over and done.' Our party base is already fracturing, and if we emphasize gay marriage now, it would create new divisions."
-- GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio
The moderates and the bible beaters are getting antsy as The Base roils about getting what it wants. Isn't this fun?

There's a really interesting column up by Dick Polman of the Philly Inquirer, Gay-marriage ban a no-win deal for Bush, that captures the bind that the fundies and the GOP are in -- Dear Leader hasn't been pushing hard enough, and they are whining big time.
To religious-right leader Gary Bauer, the president's underwhelming effort is "inexplicable." Bauer said the other day that Bush "should be calling members of Congress, twisting arms, making public statements, rallying the troops. This issue is extremely important to his base. This administration needs to get its base back." He warned that if Bush doesn't crusade against gay marriage, "this is just going to be one more thing that keeps people at home on Election Day."


PAM'S FUN FACT: Gary fell off a stage while flipping pancakes during his failed presidential run in 2000.

A similar warning was issued by Tony Perkins, another religious-right leader, who told Fox News on Wednesday that Bush faced "the very real potential of deflating what's left of the GOP base. They deflated the fiscal conservatives, because of [the increases in] spending, and now they risk deflating the social conservatives by failing to act on our interests."

...What Bauer didn't mention is that the polls show far less support for amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. And the subject doesn't seem to register on the intensity scale, either. The latest Fox News poll, released Friday, listed the 20 issues that Americans are most concerned about, and gay marriage didn't even make the list.
As the social conservatives lose their boner, one has to ask -- what about the two Supreme Court appointments; wasn't that their Holy Grail? Is that simply not enough? We all know the answer is no. It never will be enough.

Look at the politicians cozying up to the fundies, even in light of the polls showing public support of gays and lesbian relationships is climbing. The June Senate vote on a Marriage Protection Amendment is one big get-out-the-vote stimulator for the fall, because the social and religious conservatives are losing their patience and may sit out the midterms. Watch -- Bush is going to let the fundies and those up for re-election twist in the wind.
That reality is a big reason why the Senate vote next month is just a gesture to the religious right. Sixty-seven senators are needed to pass a constitutional amendment, and there's no way GOP leaders can goad even all their own senators to vote for it. (John McCain is against it.)

Hence, Bush's difficult position. He can steer clear of the fight, as he is doing now, and risk alienating religious conservatives who await their reward for services rendered. Or he can spend precious capital in a losing cause, and risk alienating moderates and independents.

Don't worry, he won't spend his capital on the faithful -- he's looking out for Number One.


Our president on global warming

Jeezus.
"And in my judgment we need to set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects and focus on the technologies that will enable us to live better lives and at the same time protect the environment."
Maybe we should take those commercials by the Competitive Enterprise Institute more seriously since Dear Leader clearly knows best -- he's taking the talking points from the crack-smoking capitalists at CEI.

See "Energy," which extolls the virtues of pumping CO2 into the air.


Pope channels John Gibson

Last week, I blogged about Faux News talking head John Gibson calling for white folks to start shooting out babies ASAP, suggesting all of those brown immigrants are upsetting the Aryan balance in the nation.

It looks like Papa Ratzi had a mindmeld with Gibby, because he came out with this bookend statement, concerned about Canada's low birth rate, which he says is caused by secularism (read: birth control) and gay marriage (WTF?!) (365gay):
Benedict, who has spoken out several times in favor of large families, blamed Canada's low birth rate on social ills and moral ambiguities that result from secular ideology.

Canada legalized same-sex marriage last year.


"Like many countries ... Canada is today suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism," Benedict told visiting bishops from Canada. "One of the more dramatic symptoms of this mentality, clearly evident in your own region, is the plummeting birth rate."

Canada's birth rate in 2005 was 10.5 births for every 1,000 people, according to Statistics Canada.

...Separately, Benedict told the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See that family based on marriage should not be "replaced or confused" by other institutions - a second allusion to gay marriage, which also is legal in Spain.


Happy birthday, Tim!

My baby brother inches closer to 40 today...heh heh heh -- love ya!



He's actually coming to visit in a couple of days, to be around when I have surgery at the end of the week (long story), but let's just say there won't be any blogging on Friday, for starters.

Hopefully I'll be functional enough once I get home to let you all know I'm not dead. ;)


Open thread

Leave some news and links...

Some headlines:

* Supremes decline to rule on another gay parenting case

* Former NJ Gov McGreevey describes in his book how badly he tried to be straight. For ambition's sake, of course.

* Two gay RCMP officers plan to marry this summer

***

For those of you who may have missed goings-on at the Blend over the weekend, a few of the posts that still have lively comment threads...

* Question of the day: What is the Blend to you? Lots of interesting responses so far from readers.

* Land mine: My two cents on the AB "Big Girl" fracas.

* Why does Don Wildmon care about a student newspaper? He's mad at art depicting the naked, anatomically correct Jeebus in an embrace with a man.


Clarence's prayer circle

Guess Scalia lackey Clarence Thomas is worried about Dear Leader, enough to tell Bush's sis that it's time to drop to the knees and beg for deliverance from bad poll numbers...(NYDN):

The other night at a Washington book party for the President's sister, Doro Bush Koch, the Supreme Court justice arrived with his wife, Ginny, on the tented roof of the Hay Adams Hotel, overlooking the White House, and made a beeline for the author.

"We have to pray for your brother. He's in real trouble," Thomas told a wide-eyed Koch, whose older brother is, indeed, suffering from near-catastrophic public-opinion ratings.

Koch — whose memoir of the first President Bush is "My Father, My President: A Personal Account of the Life of George H.W. Bush" — politely thanked Thomas and kept a stiff upper lip.


KKK has homobigot Marilyn Musgrave's back



How about this for an endorsement from The Base -- support for the work of Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) coming from the bowels of the Knights Party of the Ku Klux Klan ("America's Largest, Oldest, and Most Professional White Rights Organization - We Love you!" -- no, I'm not linking to kkk.bz).

These knuckle-draggers laud her for trumpeting for Homeschool Non-Discrimination Act, H.R. 2732, as well as a federal marriage amendment.
"I think there needs to be more acknowledgement and respect for the (home-schooling) movement," Musgrave said.She added that she is looking for another major change. "This amends the child labor laws to allow these home-educated students to work during the day when they would normally be in school if they went to a public school," Musgrave said. All these changes amount to one thing: leveling the playing field.

...Musgrave is working on behalf of tradional marriage. Musgrave told the Associated Press, "I am firmly committed to keeping marriage as it is now, between a woman and man."

...Musgrave points out that the homosexual movement is now making use of the many liberal judges appointed during the Clinton administration. Homosexuals are going to unelected judges to get their way rather than going through the legislative process
Nothing is more frightening than the thought of members of the Klan homeschooling kids. What must those history lesson plans look like?

The KKK outfit is run out of Arkansas by Pastor Thomas Robb, who also has a video program that he bills as "The World's First and Only Racialist Internet TV SHOW" featuring news updates on:
Negroes slashing tires at Republican campaign HQ - court case is over ......Mexican and Muslim protesters of Minutemen meeting in Chicago turn on police - court case review .....Physicians group makes powerful argument for why millions of so-called legal Mexicans in U.S. should not be citizens even though they were born here.....Good stewardship - is it too much for some to understand?....and much more!
And look at this bullsh*t from the site
(kkk.bz/aids_plague_worse_than_bubonic_a.htm) about AIDS:
The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that for the first time more black "heterosexuals" had the disease than gay white men did. This included any Hispanics with Negro blood. Hispanics of Caucasian ancestry were not affected severely.

Most people do not want to admit that AIDS is a racial disease. The biology of the races is different and they react to the virus differently when they are exposed to it.

...Remember, the national media talks about the high rate of AIDS among heterosexuals in order scare white people into donating to homosexual and inner city programs. The increase in heterosexual population is among non-white heterosexuals NOT white heterosexuals. Even white homosexuals have a natural immunity to the disease simply because of their race. They contract it however, because they continually expose themselves to the virus via their filthy lifestyle and in addition often sleep with non-white homosexuals.
How about that, Marilyn?

PageOneQ and Raw Story have more details...I wonder if Marilyn's office has any comment?


Head over to Jesus' General

The General writes Peter LaBarbera to let him know that he just might be skewing the Google Trends rankings for Elmhurst, Illinois (Petey's Illinois Family Institute's just a stone's throw away).

Elmhurst, as Blender Paul noted in the comments of another thread, strangely ranks at the top for searches involving "sex," "porn," "gay porn," and "anal sex."

All that research, Peter. Your studies are evidently very thorough, meticulous -- and exhaustive.


Latest polling on same-sex marriage

The Gallup organization released a poll today, part of its annual Values and Beliefs survey, on the popularity of a prospective marriage amendment as well as the level of support for the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

As you can see, the bulk of Republican voters are, as expected, on the bible beater side of the issue. That 19% who support same-sex marriage must feel pretty lonely in their party...



Regarding a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the organization's poll found that two-thirds of Republicans (66%) were in favor of one, while a majority of Democrats (55%) were opposed.



The Pew Research Center's findings from March are slightly different, but show the same overall trend.



And the trend in both Pew and Gallup's polling over the last ten years explains why the Daddy Dobsons, Don Wildmons and their wannabes are acting out with such fury on the issue. Those numbers in the Independent category are more in alignment with Dems than Rethug in that first graphic, and that spells trouble for the AmTaliban. The wingers are trying to stop the boulder of fairness and public acceptance they see coming down the hill -- they know that it is eventually going to crush their movement. They are not, however, going down without a fight.

Time is on our side overall -- we simply need allies to speak out, more people to counter the hate and ignorance on the right, and to hold accountable both parties for their promotion of anti-gay bigots for office, or those who are only willing to support us in the shadows, begging for money while doing precious little publicly to change minds or counter the attacks from the religious zealots.

***

And while we're chewing on numbers, Jon over at Pensito Review, reminds us about this Barna Group research study:
Among “born-again” Christians, 27 percent currently are divorced or previously have been divorced, compared with 24 percent among adults who are not “born again.”

Surprisingly, the Barna report said, the Christian group whose adherents have the highest likelihood of getting divorced are Baptists. The only group to surpass Baptists were Christians associated with non-denominational Protestant churches.




Skies brighten a bit for gays in Alabama

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Back in December 2004, I wrote a post about the sorry state of affairs for LGBT citizens in Kate's birthplace, Out Mag: "Is Alabama really the worst place to be a gay person in Bush's America?".

It's nice to be able to point out an article that shows the progress being made and a ray of hope for our fellow queers trying to carve out community in the deep South. David Crary's AP piece, Affirmative in Alabama: Gay Acceptance Rising in the South does just that.
So why does Howard Bayless want to stay? Well, his roots are here, he says. So are his friends. He’s partial to the congenial neighborhood in Birmingham that he and other gays helped rescue from decline.

"This is where I’ve carved out a niche for myself," says Bayless, who has spent most of his 40 years in Alabama. "We’ve created our community here, and I don’t want to leave. I’d rather do the extra work of making my neighbors realize who and what I am."

Leader of Equality Alabama, a statewide gay-rights group, Bayless is one of many with the same conviction. In Mobile, Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, Alabama’s gays and lesbians - like their counterparts throughout the U.S. heartland - are slowly, steadily gaining more confidence and finding more acceptance.

...An openly lesbian candidate, Patricia Todd, has a strong chance of winning a seat in Alabama’s legislature this year - that would be a first. Mobile’s recent Pride Parade drew upbeat local news coverage and only a handful of protesters. Gay-straight alliances are active at most universities; in the cities, if not the suburbs and small towns, gay-friendly churches are proliferating.


Birmingham city council member Valerie Abbott, left, and Howard Bayless, board chair Equality Alabama. (Photo:AP/Rainer Ehrhardt)

...Activists say the sternest anti-gay rhetoric comes mainly from evangelical pastors and politicians. Among them is Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Moore, who was ousted as state chief justice after refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had placed in the judicial building.

Moore has many fans and many critics, including Birmingham city councilor Valerie Abbott. After the judge wrote in a court ruling that homosexual conduct is "abhorrent, immoral, detestable," Abbott persuaded the council to condemn those assertions.

"I expected to get hate mail from the crazies - it didn’t happen," she said.

Her district includes Howard Bayless’ neighborhood, the formerly rundown Crestwood area. "Gay people came in and took to that area and made it a wonderful place," Abbott said.

Like Bayless, she firmly believes gay rights will come to Alabama, albeit slowly and with minimal help from the statehouse.

"Our legislature is like no other place on earth - it’s stuck back in the dark ages," she said. "But Alabama is changing, like the rest of the country is changing. Like every new idea, it takes a while to absorb."
It's a lengthy article and worth the read. The state has a long way to go, but if progress is apparent, even in the reddest of states, it shows the bible beaters that they are on the losing side of history.

The also piece recounts a story many in Red states can identify with -- a young person needing to leave in order to find community and acceptance in a less restrictive environment, but the bright spot is that the young man's mother has now become an PFLAG activist because she wants to help Alabama become a place that her son will want to return to -- where he can be out and proud in his home state.


And my former senator kicked ass on 'This Week'

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, John Edwards didn't hold back with these thoughts about Dear Leader:
Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., says George W. Bush is the "worst president of our lifetime," and "absolutely" worse than Watergate-tainted President Richard M. Nixon.

In an exclusive appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the former presidential and vice presidential contender said of Bush, "He's done a variety of things -- things which are going to take us forever to recover from.


"You have to give Bush and Cheney and gang credit for being good at politics -- you know, good at political campaigns...They're very good at dividing the country and taking advantage of it. What they're not good at is governing, and it shows every single day in this administration. And the country is paying a huge price for that."
And Darth Cheney got a swift kick to the keister as well.
"It is not an accident that he's unbelievably poorly thought of," Edwards said. "He is one of -- if not the -- principal architects of this disaster in Iraq. He put us on an energy path that the American people are paying an enormous price for right now. He paid little to no attention to making sure the government was prepared to respond to the kind of disaster that hit our Gulf Coast. We've got a health care crisis going on, he's had no proposal of any kind that I know of. And people don't trust him anymore, which is understandable. I wouldn't trust him."
As far as whether he's thinking of running in '08, he only said that he "was thinking about it."

Edwards's launching pad for 2008 is called One America Committee. He needs to re-articulate what civil rights and liberties he feel gay and lesbian taxpaying citizens are entitled to. Here are some of the knowns, based on his public statements to date:

* the recognition of partnership benefits
* changing our immigration and adoption laws, so that they provide equality to gay and lesbian couples
* a re-examination of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy
* he's taken the punt of "let the states decide" on whether to ban or allow same-sex marriage.

As we've discussed ad nauseum, Dems taking this position are saying civil equality should be something decided at the ballot box, something they never would have said to Dr. King.

On his blog, Edwards praised the life and work of Coretta Scott King, who spoke early and often about full civil equality for gays and lesbians.
"Our nation owes her a debt of gratitude for all of her efforts to bring about peace and equality both here in America and around the world. Today, we must continue her legacy by working to end poverty, so all Americans have the same opportunity to realize the American dream. We honor Coretta Scott King by carrying on her commitment to ensuring civil rights and justice for all Americans."
I would hope that he has come to embrace the idea that allowing states to decide to enshrining discrimination into their state constitutions against taxpaying citizens is wrong. But I'm not holding my breath.


The latest from The Empty Wig

Jeebus, I keep getting these feeble e-blasts from my pathetic senator, Liddy "Sugar Lips" Dole, in her capacity as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

When you read this shrill, breathless piece -- sent out to hit up The Base for buxxx, of course -- you wonder if The Empty Wig and the fools at the NRSC really think this sort of drivel will actually fill the coffers. I thought about editing this down to choice bits, but the whole thing is so ridiculous that you simply have to read the whole thing. If only the Democrats were as effective as this alarmist piece suggests...


We know the Democrats have had no legislative agenda during this Congress, but their political agenda is becoming clearer by the day.

They want the White House in 2008. But they know their policies won't fly with the American people. So they've embarked on a plan to take control of Congress in 2006 and then use Congress to initiate a long series of investigations and possible impeachment to win the White House in 2008.

You know that Senator Russ Feingold has introduced legislation to "censure" President Bush. He has called for hearings and has vocalized his support for possible impeachment.

On a national newscast, Senator Dick Durbin, the second most powerful Democrat in the US Senate, refused to rule out impeachment of President Bush.

Another chilling comment from a Democrat Leader was in the Washington Post just a few days ago:

[House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi also vowed "to use the power to investigate" the administration on multiple fronts.... When asked if this would lead to impeachment of the President, she said, "You never know where it leads to."

The likely Democrat Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (where impeachment begins), has already made it clear that he supports the Democrat's plan. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has sponsored a resolution calling for an investigation with the clear aim of initiating impeachment proceedings. Already, 35 Democrats plus Senate candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have signed on as cosponsors. One of Rep. Conyers' web-sites even has an entire section dedicated to investigations and possible impeachment.

If this were not enough, a coalition of over 100 liberal organizations have banded together to push the Democrat Leadership to impeach the President.

Help me stop this irresponsible, vengeful, and destructive course of action by the liberal Democrats.

I need your immediate help.

Please click here now to make a contribution of $33, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000 today toward the National Republican Senatorial Committee's campaign to protect our Republican Senate Majority.

The future of our conservative agenda and the Bush presidency will hinge on whether we win this campaign.

Destroying President Bush is at the top of their wish list.

But Democrats want to do more than that . . . .

You see, for months now, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers in the House and Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton in the Senate have been planning for the moment when they have the Majority in Congress...because that's the moment they can begin to wipe out the accomplishments of the last six years.

They want to roll back the tax cuts that have restored our economy and that put an end to the Clinton recession.

They want to undermine all Republican efforts to win the War on Terror.

And they want to reverse the ban on partial birth abortions and radically change the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

We can't let this happen. That is why your immediate support for the National Republican Senatorial Committee is so urgently needed.

[Contribute $500, $100, $50 or $33 to the NRSC]

Your financial support will enable the NRSC to rush much-needed campaign support to each of our outstanding 33 Republican Senate candidates who are under withering attacks from the liberal Democrats and their Special Interest allies.

[Yeah, Little Ricky's in the toilet because of the liberal Democrats, lololololololol, that's rich...and how's that Katherine Harris campaign working out for you, Liddy?]

Without your support, Democrats like Russ Feingold, Dick Durbin and Harry Reid will be calling the shots in Washington.

The NRSC is counting on dedicated Republicans like you to stand with us now and help prevent these reckless liberal Democrats from gaining control of the Senate and putting their damaging, pessimistic agenda into motion.

But remember - we are facing a well-organized and well-funded Democrat machine.

That is why it is critically important for the NRSC to remain in the best possible financial shape possible throughout the course of the entire 2006 election campaign.

So please, click here to help the NRSC stop liberal Democrats from capturing the Senate. With your help right now, we can keep American moving forward on the right course.

Thank you for helping the NRSC and our hard-charging Republican candidates defend our critical Republican Majority in the upcoming 2006 elections.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Dole
United States Senator
Chair, National Republican Senatorial Committee
The flop sweat is rolling off of this one.

Also:
* 'GOP Superstar'-- the Empty Wig gets pummeled
* Empty letter from the Empty Wig
* The Empty Wig threatens voters with 'mandatory' survey


'Protecting marriage' is not about homosexuality

Father Jonathan Morris is a blogger/commentator for FauxNews.com, and he's slapped up an outrageous post, Marriage Act Debate: It's Not About Homosexuality, clearly meant to educate folks on how to lobby their senators about the federal amendment.

As polls are showing that voters don't see an amendment as a priority, and opposition to same sex marriage is dropping (51% oppose it now, vs. 63% in 2004), the new spin is that the amendment is not about homosexuality at all.

Gee, I guess we've all been barking up the wrong tree, eh? Read the wisdom of Father Jonathan:
Our founding fathers would have bristled at the thought of defining the obvious — A union between one man and one woman? Polygamy and homosexuality are not new phenomena — George Washington saw that and a whole lot more. What is new is saying marriage has more to do with sexual rights than having children and benefiting society with the unique stability of the traditional family. Supreme Courts in New Jersey, New York, and Washington (among others) are poised to change the definition of marriage this year in their respective states. As the courts continue their social activism, the Defense of Marriage Act is losing its bite.

Polls conducted by both political parties, and even homosexual activist groups, show a majority of voters support an amendment designed to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. Our senators, however, are human beings, and they listen most to those who shout.

The best way to shout, in my opinion, is to do it quietly. Remind your senators, kindly and insistently, the Federal Marriage Act is about the family, not sex. It is not homophobic. It doesn’t bash gays. It is a pragmatic recognition of the changing times and circumstances. Ten years ago, President Clinton signed a good bill to protect the family. Today, President Bush wants to do the same, and together with members of Congress proposes a Constitutional amendment.

It may be the only way to protect the definition of what used to be obvious.

God bless, Father Jonathan
What? How does this amendment NOT bash gays? Those 1,138 federal rights and protections granted to married heterosexual couples are meaningless to Father Jonathan, because, in his eyes we don't have relationships worth acknowledging. Watch for more condescending spin like this.

Hat tip, Holly.


Must-see sHillary drop-kick

Hat tip to Blender henway, who passed along a link to Ward Sutton's hilarious sHillary cartoon in the Village Voice, "Hillary's New Right-Wing Conspiracy." Here's just one pane as a teaser...



Jebbie may now support FL marriage amendment


The Rethugs continue to line up to suck off the right-wing bible beaters -- Jebbie's now climbing into bed with the extremist Florida Family Policy Council (another tool of Daddy Dobson whose face is plastered on its web site), appearing at a fundraiser for the organization.

Jeb's sounds like he's ready to support a state marriage amendment (he has publicly opposed it in the past, saying it was unnecessary). The wingers failed to gather enough signatures to get an amendment measure on the ballot, and now Jeb's seeing the homo boogeyman threatening his state. (Sun-Sentinel):
At a fundraiser for the Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative group that backs such a ban, Bush said courts in other states overturning laws banning gay marriages have led him to the conclusion that a change to the Florida Constitution might be necessary.

"We may be at that point in our state," he said.
The article also notes that this organization is the same group of ghouls that found to keep brain-dead Terri Schiavo on a feeding tube. What a bunch of winners and mainstream citizens. The FFPC has also been the recipient of a ton of money directly from the state GOP -- that's sick.
"The governor is effectively fundraising for an organization that wants to put discrimination right into our constitution," said Brian Winfield, an Equality Florida spokesman.

"It's an embarrassment to have the Republicans cater to a rabid antigay group," he said. "The governor is supposed to represent all Floridians, and I don't believe that most people in Florida think like this group."

The council's petition to get a gay-marriage ban on the 2006 ballot fell short of the signatures needed, but it is on track for the 2008 ballot and has received $300,000 from the Republican Party.
Read some of the bleatings of the head of the FFPC -- here is an example of one of the "pastor resources" on the Florida 4 Marriage web site -- talking points to spew from the pulpit:
Top ten talking points about same sex marriage
By John Stemberger
President and general counsel, Florida Family Policy Council, Inc.

1) Collective wisdom-all the collective wisdom of human history, not to mention biology, logic and common sense shows us that marriage is designed to be between a man and a woman.

2) Creating same sex families-when you create a same sex marriage you are also creating a same sex family, and so the question now becomes what is in the best interests of children

3) Social experiment-same sex marriage subjects children to a vast untested social experiment

4) Socializing children-children need to grow up understanding the proper human relationships between a man and woman, a mother and father, and a husband and wife

5) Dads and moms matter-children need both a mother and a father. The two most loving moms can not be a dad and the two most loving dads can not be a mom and children need both

6) The research is clear-the research is crystal clear, children always do better in families with a mother and a father

7) Loving and civilized societies-a loving and civilized society always comes to the aid of fatherless and motherless families. But a loving and civilized society never intentionally creates fatherless and motherless families as a matter of law and public policy

8) If marriage means anything-if marriage can mean anything then marriage means nothing

9) Relationship buffet-no society ancient or modern has ever sustained itself with a buffet like mentality when it comes to marriage and family

10) Slippery slope-establishing same sex marriage as a fundamental right will undermine current polygamy laws and create a new legal precedent for anything goes forms of marriage

* much credit for many of these themes goes to the outstanding work of Glenn Stanton with Focus on the Family


Question of the day: What is the Blend to you?


Your host: Sir Mo Tonka Ho, a.k.a. T-bone.
[No real reason for posting the pic; I just came across it again last night.]

In the thread on the land mine set off over at AB the other day (now 80 comments long), there are tons of great exchanges and thoughts about that particular situation, the effect of group dynamics and how a blog is defined (or not) by both its author and its readers.

It made me think about this quite a bit (I put some musings in the thread), so here's a very open QofTD for you Sunday surfers out there...

The primary question: what do you come to the Blend for and why?

To answer, consider some of the subjects that came up in the other thread, which I'll frame here:
-- What do you see as the purpose of this blog? What do you get out of it?
-- How often do you stop by for some fresh Blend (you're new here, vs. daily, several times a day, a few times a week, etc.)?
-- What is missing or desired at PHB that you go to other blogs for?
-- What is missing or desired at other blogs that you come here for?
-- If you comment, why do you do so? What is different about commenting here vs. elsewhere?
-- Do the writers (Pam, Russ as contributor) have any particular responsibilities toward PHB's audience -- and what do you think they are from your perspective?

Ramble on in the comments...




'No Special Rights'

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Gary at Advance Indiana has been battling a local AmTaliban organization called NoSpecialRights, which declares on its web site as its mission: "Lovingly opposing the homosexual agenda." And read this blather:
The purpose of this page is to help you to get up to speed on the consequences of giving homosexuality a "special protected class" status in our community or far worse in our nation. The links below will help you to get important information as a citizen and as a person of Faith. Did you realize that extending a special protected class status could lead to the persecution of all faith based organizations and business who refuse to hire homosexuals in any position. How could a Church or a faith based school or day care center comply with such an order? Why should any employer be forced to under the threat of devastating lawsuits?
There was a hearing of the South Bend Common Council on Wed. concerning an amendment to its anti-discrimination laws that would include LGBT, and the bigots showed up to bleat the usual "party line" we've come to expect in these cases:
No Special Rights gave out blue and yellow stickers which read "Protect Our Children" and had the group's name and others, while South Bend Equality wore pins that said "I Care About Equality!"

...A family counselor, Nathan "Bud" Steadman, said gay rights groups have said they want to change society beyond the law and that the amendments would allow that agenda to advance in South Bend.

"Whatever ground is given to the homosexual lobby, that ground will simply be the staging area for further destructive activism," he said. "The very fabric of American society must not change from morality-based law to immoral license."
Go read Gary's entry to learn more about the disinformation and intimidation perpetrated by No Special Rights.


Partying like it's 1976

Keith Boykin has a post up, Shock and Raw, that really makes you scared and sad. I really don't know what can be done to stop this kind of pathology.
What do you get when you mix a roomful of horny naked men, flowing drinks and no condoms? A hot mess! If you believe the Evite, that's what you'll most likely find Saturday night at a party called "Raw Dukes" in Harlem. According to the party organizer, 54 people showed up at the last raw party. Perhaps it's just salesmanship on the organizer's part, but he says the last party was "packed, hot, sweaty and freaky."

Like many other sex parties, the party starts late. It begins at 11 at night and goes until 6 in the morning. And like many other sex parties, there's a mandatory clothes check. And although the party organizers will provide lube, there's one thing they won't provide or allow: condoms! Yes, you read that correctly. This is a raw sex party. Not only are condoms discouraged, they're prohibited.

I hope this is all a hoax, but even if it is it's not the least bit funny. It's the year 2006, and we're about to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic next month, and some men are still carrying on like it's 1976.
Here are the rules of entry:
1. Only call number if u need directions the night of the party!!
2. Anyone caught using jimmies will be asked to leave with no refund given!!
3. Must be in-shape/toned/muscular and black or latin. No fats or big guts!!
4. No wallflowers. Come ready to freak!!
5. Come clean...nuff said!!
6. Smoking allowed only in the chill area!!
Mind you, this is going on within weeks of the 25th "anniversary" of the AIDS epidemic, and we have minority men in complete denial about the risks of bareback sex, and one can only imagine how many of these men are also sleeping with their girlfriends after engaging in this anonymous unsafe sex. These women probably have no idea.

Black gay activists in Harlem are equally appalled. (Newsday):
The invitation arrived in Tokes Osubu's e-mail inbox on Monday, and the contents astounded him: Black and Latino men were being invited to attend a gay sex party this weekend where condoms would be banned. Show up with a condom, the invitation said, and you'll be asked to leave.

"I was shocked and disgusted," said Osubu, executive director of Gay Men of African Descent, a Harlem-based nonprofit group battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic among black gay men.

...Nationally, in 2004, the HIV diagnosis rate for black men was seven times the rate for white men; twice the rate for Hispanic men; and nearly twice the rate for black women, the CDC says. Most infections among all men result from gay sex, the CDC says.
Newsweek recently published an excellent article by Ellis Cose about the slow response of leadership in the black community to combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and how homophobia in the community is driving sex underground.
The reluctance of some black organizations to engage stems in part from the fact that most so-called black leaders are perpetually overwhelmed. Poor minority communities are assailed from many directions.

...But some of the reluctance also comes from a combination of denial and disgust. For taking on AIDS means openly talking about things that many people, particularly those who are culturally conservative, find exceedingly distasteful or discomforting. Sex, drugs and men having sex with men are "taboo subjects" to many blacks, observes Jatrice Martel Gaiter, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. "I think the black middle class has almost totally rejected this issue—as if they are excluded from it, or embarrassed by these people," she adds. Tracie Gardner, the director of policy, Women's Initiative to Stop HIV-NY (WISH-NY) at the Legal Action Center, agrees. Many blacks in leadership positions would prefer that "somebody else ... over there" deal with AIDS, she says.

For politicians worried about constituents' reactions, embracing the AIDS battle can seem fraught with peril—especially today, when political hay is to be made by standing up for so-called traditional values and morality. Many politicians "don't want to touch the issue" because they fear people will think they are "pro-gay-rights," says Rep. Artur Davis, Democrat of Alabama.
This is what encourages the proliferation of parties described above. The blindness to the issue of men having sex with men was on full display in BET's recent documentary The Down Low Exposed. I watched it twice, and one segment struck me -- the description of prison sex. You came away with the notion that if there was man-on-man sex, it was always forced -- that no real black man would actually participate in same-sex encounters willingly while behind bars. The majority of correctional facilities prohibit condom possession, so prison officials have their heads in the sand as well. From Newsweek:
Harold Atkins, 30, spent just over five years in San Quentin State Prison in California, where he was a peer educator for Centerforce, a group that provides HIV education to inmates. "There was a lot of sex happening in prison," says Atkins. There was not a lot of clarity about sexuality, however. "The same individual who had unprotected sex with males on the inside Monday through Friday would be in the visiting room with his wife and kids on Saturday and Sunday," says Atkins, who himself is HIV-negative. The men, who engaged in what Atkins calls "survival sex," did not consider themselves homosexual, and they didn't tell anybody on the outside what they were doing. "They'd say, 'I have sex with men. I'm not gay, they're gay'."
What will it take to turn this around?


Saturday night at the fights

Look at this match up: Tommy Hilfiger vs. Axl Rose. Perhaps this should go to pay-per-view.
Tommy Hilfiger really showed his "Appetite for Destruction" yesterday when he pummeled Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose in a dispute over a VIP table at Rosario Dawson's birthday party, sources said.

The midnight turf battle erupted when Axl moved Hilfiger's girlfriend's drink in the banquette area of The Plumm nightclub on West 14th Street - where the "Rent" actress was celebrating her 27th birthday. A densely packed crowd of celebs - including Lenny Kravitz and Kid Rock - had ringside seats to the battle.

The feisty fashionista was acting all gangsta, hitting Axl with a flurry of punches, one that landed under Rose's eye.

"First [Axl and Tommy] were sitting. Then they were pulling on each other . . . It got so out of control," said a shocked witness. As the punch-up escalated, Hilfiger introduced Rose to some "November Pain" with a blow to the cheek. Club guards quickly tried to separate the men.

"A bunch of security ran over - but Tommy would not back down. He was just out to take him down," the witness said.


The faith is weak

With all of the fundie power out there, why is their faith so weak that they have to send off freshly minted high school graduates with "assistance" to keep them on the morality wagon? (AgapePress):
"ConGRADulations!" is a "transition tool" for high school seniors that comes in the form of a CD and DVD. This year's CD includes an online graduate devotional journal, interactive scrapbook, links to campus ministries, and 11 contemporary Christian songs that deal with the issues graduates are facing. It is put out by an organization called Interlinc, which works with 60,000 churches helping youth pastors use music and media in evangelism and discipleship of students.

The group's founder and president, Allen Weed, says ConGRADulations! targets young people who often leave their parents' faith to find one of their own.

..."It's a real deep project," Weed explains. "It's sort of a book in songs and video. It's got a lot of biblical content that we believe will get used. A kid might leave his books at home when he leaves home to go to school, but he's going to take his music collection and his DVD collection with him."
What do you get in the ConGRADulations! packet? A backpack full of goodies to keep young grads right with religion as they enter the den of sin -- college.
With over 800,000 copies given to grads by 20,000 churches, ConGRADulations! is the # 1 GRAD gift of this decade. New and improved for the Class of 2006, ConGRADulations! is a 2 Disc Set Interactive Grad Gift (Music Disc and Video Disc) that features:

* 11 powerful songs dealing with important life issues like friendship, the future, success, and personal faith
* All songs are the original recordings by the top names in Christian music (Relient K, P.O.D., Mercy Me, GRITS, Superchick, Building 429 and more)
* Artist “Words to the Class of 2006” Videos (from Tobymac, P.O.D., Jonah 33, Building 429)
* Video Greetings and Testimonies from Five Seniors
* “Flight Lessons” Online GRAD Devotional Journal
* Year In Review Video
* Online Bible
* Interactive Senior Year Scrapbook
* Music Videos
* Ministry-Based Weblinks
How about information on how to avoid STDs, pregnancy, date rape...oh that's right, none of these young people will be engaging in activities involving naughty bits...


Anti-gay OK adoption law nixed by fed judge

"Gay and lesbian parents in Oklahoma can now breathe a collective sigh of relief because their relationships with their children are no longer threatened by the state of Oklahoma."
-- Lambda Legal attorney Ken Upton; the organization challenged the law on behalf of three couples.


"It's another case of an activist court trying to legislate from the bench. It's unfortunate that a single judge is trying to rewrite the law."
-- bleating Oklahoma bigot Republican State Rep. Thad Balkman
Good and fair news for children, who need to be in loving homes. Idiots like Balkman seek to break up families because of his bias instead of concentrating on all the good that permanently placing children with able and willing gay parents can do for those kids.
A federal judge struck down a 2-year-old law that prohibits Oklahoma from recognizing adoptions by same-sex couples from other states and countries.

U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthron ruled Friday the measure violated due process rights under the U.S. Constitution because it attempted to break up families without considering the parents' fitness or the children's best interests.

...One of the plaintiffs, Heather Finstuen, said the ruling will allow her and partner Anne Magro to focus on being parents to their 7-year-old twin girls rather than worrying about the adoption law.

"This is really good news for our family," she said. "It's a huge relief."


Why does Don Wildmon care about a student newspaper?

[Welcome, readers of the Good General...]

The American Family Association's unhinged bleating continues, this time in a breathless action alert:
Oregon student newspaper runs pictures of Jesus as a homosexual. It is time to speak out!

The Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO) has refused to apologize for an obscene anti-Christian assault in the campus newspaper Insurgent.

The March edition of the Insurgent ran one of the strongest attacks on Christianity I have seen. The paper ran graphics depicting Jesus as a homosexual. One was a depiction of a naked Jesus on the cross with an erection; the other, titled Resurrection, showed a naked Jesus kissing another naked man, both sporting erections.

(To see the graphics, click here. We warn you that they are extremely offensive. We have pixilated out the private parts.) [Oh hell, here it is, with Don's pixillation, even blurring out Jesus's naughty bits on the cross.]:



When asked for an apology by Students of Faith, ASUO refused to give one saying that "there are no grounds for demanding an apology from Insurgent." The ASUO went on to defend the publication saying that the newspaper contributes "to the cultural and physical development of the university community."

The Insurgent would never show a naked graphic of the Rev. Martin Luther King kissing another man, both sporting erections. But offending Christians was of no concern to the Insurgent or to University President Dave Frohmayer.

The ASUO Women's Center tolerates no defamation against gays and lesbians. Three years ago, ASUO demanded that the university radio station, KUGN, drop Michael Savage (a conservative talk show host). The university promptly discontinued the program. But depicting Jesus as a homosexual is perfectly OK.

Here is what Insurgent Student Editor Jessica Brown had to say about the graphics. "I have to say it is really fun to offend people. It is fun to break the rules. If it pi--es people off…good that's the point!!! It has here in this office. So read, get pi--ed and talk about it."

Incidentally, the University forces all students, including Christians, to pay student dues of $191.00 per term, part of which goes to support the Insurgent.
Art can be offensive and confrontational, but not in Wildmon's World. Don goes on to ask his readers to email the governor to make him "aware of the growing anti-Christian bias in our country," and, of course, Don asks his flock for more money.

Hat tip, Paul, who said
: "The Artist probably drives a Ford, too. Jesus Christ with a boner. What won't those homos stoop to?"


The Tool feels the love

McCain heckled at commencement speech. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. (CNN):
Sen. John McCain was booed and heckled as he delivered the commencement address at The New School on Friday in New York.

The protesting students pointed to the Arizona Republican's speech last week at the conservative Liberty University run by the Rev. Jerry Falwell as proof that McCain clashed with the school's liberal ideals.


"McCain does not speak for me," read orange signs held by dozens in the audience, while dozens more turned their backs for the duration of McCain's speech.

...For his part, McCain stuck to his script, which was basically the same speech he delivered at Liberty University to a warm reception. In Manhattan, however, he was jeered when he told the 2,700 graduates and others in the audience that he "supported the decision to go to war in Iraq.
CNN has video of the students turning their backs and the booing.


Sucking up to the fundies and Dear Leader's coming home to roost, Senator.


Holy Joe wins party nom, but Lamont's showing forces primary


Hey hey, ho ho -- Holy Joe's got to go...Greenwich, CT businessman Ned Lamont managed to garner way more votes than Lieberman's camp expected, and now there will be a primary battle.

Holy Joe tries to pathetically spin this development.
Before the convention, Lieberman said he believes Lamont will hurt other party hopefuls if he continues his battle for the Senate seat.

"I think it's going to be harmful of our party and the chances of our congressional candidates, our Democratic challengers and our gubernatorial candidates," he said. "But it's his decision."

Lamont said there was no reason to pull out of the race.

"Everywhere I go, no one is saying, 'Oh my God, you're hurting the party,"' he said.
Jane @ Firedoglake has an onsite report from Connecticut Bob, and this says it all:

Bob also says the response to Lieberman’s nomination speech, given by Chris Dodd, was extremely tepid and people were talking over Dodd the whole time. When Bush’s favorite Democrat entered the room, his volunteers tried to get things going by using those annoying thunder sticks, and the accompanying music was (I kid you not) "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Bennetar. Because, you know, he’s going to stand up to that Ned Lamont because Joe Lieberman is a fighter, dammit. Bob is going to need combat pay for his "Worst Moments of VH1" endurance contest. Only a Republican could pick anything that bad.
Hat tip, Sportin' Life




Land mine

I was offline most of Friday evening, and when I came back online I saw there was a huge eruption over at Americablog. I'm trying to piece together what the heck happened, and jotting down some thoughts here, "thinking aloud," so bear with me...

1. John writes a post on the stupidity and cowardice of Kansas Rethug Sen. Pat Roberts. Roberts appears to have no problem torching the First or Fourth Amendments as long as he's safe at home saying:
"I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties," Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) remarked at yesterday's Hayden confirmation hearings, "but you have no civil liberties if you are dead."
2. John titles his post "GOP Senator Pat Roberts is a big girl".

3. There is an eruption of massive proportions by commenters that this is a wholly sexist headline.
I have to agree with this, simply because I've never heard the phrase "big girl" used this way in all my homo years (do I have to turn my lesbian card in for failing gay vernacular?). I don't see how you can interpret the use of "girl" in that headline as anything other than a derogatory usage, belittling and insulting half the population in an attempt to call out a wingnut knob-end on an important issue.

4. The whole matter is exacerbated by John deleting comments of those offended by the use of "big girl" as the thread grows to hundreds of comments long.

5. At some point in the fracas, the whole thread disappears and reappears, stripped of all the original comments, and the original topic of the post is never really discussed.

I can't imagine what was going through his mind when he thought of using that phrase for his headline, but I think he could have gracefully saved the situation by simply admitting a brain fart. Geez, we're all products of the same misogynist culture, and when we step in it, it's probably better to fess up and move along, lessons learned. Mass deleting comments or a thread is the equivalent of trying to "take it all back," which of course, only raises the temperature level even more for testy commenters on all sides of the issue. Oy.

Quite frankly, I probably open my mouth and insert my foot so many times in this space, with typos, grammatical miscues, and half-ass, sleep-deprived brain-dead commentary that you all probably deserve to knock me with a silly stick from time to time. I think in one post long ago, I was chastised in the comments for using the term "breeder," which offended a few people. I was clueless about that, because I often use it with straight friends who aren't offended in the least by this. It's clearly not as big a land mine as the one John stepped on today, but the instant feedback of the blogosphere lets you know quickly if you've stepped on a mine.

I also remember both Russ and I got quite a bit of grief about our misogynist references to Ann Coulter in prior posts. The lowlife voice of the right deserves a lot of grief and criticism because she is a bigot, plagiarist and right wing buzzsaw, but I can insult her royally without calling her a bed-worn b*tch, for instance. It made me think about my implicit biases/internalized misogyny, etc. Blogging can really be a messy affair, since (for me anyway) it's often a brain-dump of random thoughts, occasional reporting, rants, and chatting. Everyone has room to learn -- and unlearn.

How one cleans up a mess like this generally leaves the greatest impression on folks, so on that front, John could either let the thread roll off into the archives with the issue unaddressed, or say it was truly a foot-in-mouth issue that unnecessarily damaged the power of the original post's intention and be done with it. I guess a third option is to defend the use of "big girl" in that headline, but man, I can't fathom how to spin that one with any success.

Shakes Sis has two posts up, here and here, that chronicle the whole mess within the comments.

Oy, I'm sleepy. I'll leave it to you all to dissect and comment.


Headline of the day

Friday, May 19, 2006

The good editors at 365gay.com have set a high bar -- I don't know if they can ever top this headline, which refers to the plan to hang the official portrait of outed New Jersey ex-Gov James McGreevey in the state house this summer:

First Gay Governor To Be Oiled & Framed


Slow on the uptake

The American Family Association was a bit slow in its response to the ruling of the "activist judge" in Georgia who invalidated the vote banning same-sex marriage this week.

Don Wildmon's legal goon Steve Crampton, of the AFA's Center for Law & Policy weighs in on the matter.
...the reversal of the Georgia amendment, which was approved in November 2004 by a 76 percent majority of the state's voters, underscores the vulnerability of state marriage laws across the U.S., even when they have the people's mandate and are enshrined in the state's constitution. What this case does, he asserts, is "it sort of highlights the need for us to take steps to once and for all protect marriage."

...A federal marriage amendment is the only way to ensure the protection of traditional marriage from the attacks of homosexual activists and activist judges, Crampton insists. "The institution of marriage is God's very first social institution," he says. "Protection of the family begins with the protection of marriage, so Congress must act to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to preserve the institution of marriage against the efforts of those seeking to redefine it."




Another FEMA 'knee-slapper'

First we heard about the FEMA trailers exploding because of propane leaks, now this.
An environmental group says thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims in Mississippi and Louisiana may be living in unsafe conditions after tests it conducted showed dangerous levels of formaldehyde in some government trailers.

The Sierra Club on Wednesday asked for a congressional hearing after it claimed that 30 out of 32 Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers it tested had levels of formaldehyde that were unsafe.

"We started doing this testing because people were getting sick, having nosebleeds and having constant coughs," said Mississippi Sierra Club spokeswoman Becky Gillette. "The government is making people sick. They are putting people back in harm's way."
Hat tip to R. Neal at Facing South, who also has another great post up about the Gulf Coast residents and their lack of planning for the next hurricane season. This is unbelievable.
When I first saw this story, I thought it was an attempt by FEMA to lay blame at the feet of residents for FEMA's past failures and their own unpreparedness in advance of the upcoming hurricane season.

But then I saw it was from a survey conducted by the NOAA National Hurricane Center and director Max Mayfield, whose credibility is pretty much beyond reproach and whose only motivation is to save lives. (You may recall there was video of him warning President "No one could have anticipated" Bush that Katrina's storm surge would top the levees.)

Here are some findings from the survey:
* 56% don't feel vulnerable to a hurricane or related tornado or flooding,
* 60% have no family disaster plan,
* 68% have no hurricane survival kit,
* 83% have taken no steps to make their homes stronger,
* 13% said they might not or would not evacuate even if ordered to leave — leaving tens of thousands of residents at grave risk.


Radical Mail in the Blend Inbox

I do declare, it's been one helluva week for this Radical. I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice to say that it's been made clear to me that not every single person on earth likes me. Apparently my activism in Portland over the past year, especially my bi-monthly cable access show, has generated some attention. One commenter on a message board noted that I was arrogant and patronizing, and my ego was so huge that my "head needs hydraulics to keep it upright."* Oh well, as my daddy always told me: "Son, do you like everybody? No? Then why should everybody like you?"

So it was just fitting that I should receive this e-mail, presumably written by someone who'd read my Barbie Talibania post earlier:
Dear Radical Russ,

A wise old man once told me, “If you have a vice you are a slave”. As an American I am appalled that our country has become such a slave to consumerism. Everything we hear and see in the media is totally biased to get the most amount of money out our pockets and into “their” pockets. Sex is the “grease” of the American economy. SEX!!! Sexy clothes, sexy cars, sexy this and that, pornography, dating services, alcohol, “contraceptives”, IUDs, abortions, condoms, and so forth are BIG BUCKS! People are blatantly lied to about sex, so others can get rich without working.

It’s sad that so many 19 years olds have some kind of sexually transmitted disease.

Many “grown ups” believe that the condom protects you from AIDS. According to Masters and Johnson you can get AIDS just from kissing, because blood cells exist in saliva (http://www.aegis.com/news/lt/1988/LT880303.html).

Some diseases such as herpes are contagious by genital contact alone and a condom is worthless! Look at pictures of Herpes, Chlamydia, Genital Warts, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, AIDS, etc. (www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/md/herpespictures.html)

Do you want to take a 0.00001% risk of getting any of that? Do you want your daughter or son or students, getting that? Then show them these pictures!

But I guess if you already have all these STDs then you aren't too worried about avoiding them? And as far as other people go I guess misery seeks company!

The people who are making the aforementioned big bucks want to sidetrack the issue and make people feel guilty as some sort of a religious fanatic if you talk in favor of chastity. But this is a health issue. Besides isn’t the Groin Worship, that you promote, a religion?

To counteract the media manipulation I recommend every member on the Board of Education, every teacher, every parent, every grandparent, every student, and everyone else become informed of the FACTS. I recommend watching a video called Sex, Love and Relationships with Pam Stenzel.

If you really love someone don’t you want the best for them? Then tell them they don’t have to be sexually active to be accepted by people.

I would love to find a girl like Brandi Swindell for a girlfriend/wife but unfortunately those girls are usually quickly snatched up and are hard to come by. I really don't find anything romantic about getting herpes, etc.

Too bad bachelors in the USA don't have the right to choose....a clean wholesome un-adulterated girl to marry.

Mike F
Mike, thanks for writing. I particularly like the phrase "Groin Worship"; I think it would make an awesome band name.

By the way, Brandi Swindell is single and 29 years old. It doesn't appear that she's been "quickly snatched up". Don't you get down on yourself -- there are plenty of sexually-repressed, Christo-fascist, anti-woman virgins out there; you'll find the right girl for you.

I can find agreement with you on one issue: as a culture we are victims of rampant consumerism. That's the "invisible hand of the marketplace" at work, jackin' off the rich man and pissin' on the poor. We have poor people convinced that voting Republican is in their best interests and buying a $4 t-shirt at Wal-Mart is a helluva deal even if some Chinese teenager was paid 37-cents a day in a sweatshop for sixteen hours following her government-mandated abortion for that low price. We have the working class convinced that if they just keep their noses clean, work hard, and play by the rules, everything will be okay, they'll be moderately wealthy one day and they can enjoy their pension and retirement into the golden years; meanwhile the Ken Lays and the John Rigas are swiping the retirement fund and hiding assets in the Caymans so they don't have to pay the taxes to help pay for the wars the working-class and poor kids are dying in.

But when you try to tie that to the "sex is the lubricant" is where you lose me. You write as if sex and porn and lust are something new. Mankind has always been into "groin worship" and always will be; it's hard-coded, it's DNAs way of making more DNA. All the attempts by religion over thousands of years with the implicit authority of the maker of the universe Himself have not ever succeeded in curbing mankind's predilection for doing the horizontal mambo. Gosh, it might lead one to think that Maker perhaps didn't know what He was doing when he made our naughty bits.

There's nothing wrong with encouraging abstinence and sexual chastity. I have many young nieces and nephews and I don't want them to become diseased, pregnant, or emotionally traumatized. However, I'm not stupid enough to think that all my wishing in the world is going to overcome that natural horny teenage desire (when they become teens) because, after all, it didn't work on me or anyone else I know, either.

I won't deny that abstinence is 100% effective against STDs. So yes, encourage abstinence for teens. However, with the realization that some young people are going to have sex regardless, it is best to prepare them for the eventuality with the facts they can use to protect themselves. Some of those facts are that you cannot get AIDS from kissing (shame on you), you can reduce your risk of STDs by using condoms, you can avoid unwanted pregnancy with birth control, and abortion is a legitimate right of every woman to maintain sovereignty over her body and medical decisions.

My issue with Brandi and people like her on this subject is this attitude that "OK, we told you to be abstinent, so if you're not, then tough shit, you get what you deserve." That's the kind of Christlike attitude I've come to expect from most hypoChristians these days. Both of us want our young'uns to be 100% protected by abstinence. Where we differ is that if they're not abstinent, I'd prefer they'd be 99% protected and you'd prefer something in the mid 60%'s.

Again, this is nothing new, and if we were to compare our era to any other, you'd find we have far lower incidence of sexually-transmitted diseases (when's the last time you saw a raging syphilitic in the streets?) and the people who get them don't die as often. But then, that's a problem for you, isn't it? Not enough hellfire and brimstone to generate the fear and misery needed to lure in new recruits when a shot can cure the clap.

Again, thanks for writing. I was having some writer's block today and you cured it.

P.S. What if I want to have sex, fall in love, and form a relationship with someone other than Pam Stenzel? Is there a book for that, too?

*In response, I told him that I only seemed arrogant because I was so much better than he and I questioned if he really meant to say "patronizing", because patronizing is a word that means you treat someone like you think they are stupid. To quote Bugs Bunny, "yeah, I'm a stinkah!"


Bribing baby Jesus

Folks, we've reached the end of the sanity line when you've got politicians invoking "baby Jesus" to cover their asses on political "gifts" that they receive.

Look at what North Carolina State Rep. Drew Saunders, (D-Mecklenburg) said in opposition to an ethics bill under consideration in the legislature to ban gifts over $200 smackeroos:

"Even baby Jesus accepted gifts and I don't believe it corrupted him."
H/t Facing South, pointing to Think Progress.


Winger immigration 'humor'

Look at what passes for a knee-slapper column over at WingNutDaily -- Joe Kovacs (an editor at WND) solves the immigration problem with this fun suggestion, based on the recent spate of alligator attacks in the Sunshine State:
Yes, finally a solution that has some teeth. Lots and lots of teeth.

Simply transplant a large sample of Florida's reptile populace (the meanest, nastiest looking buggers) along a path from Texas to California.

Let's just see how fast the illegal invaders "vamanos" when faced with the killer smiles of the four-legged American welcoming committee. Let's see if they still want to reclaim the Southwest if the new kids on the block want to have them over for dinner, or dessert.

Watch the flood of human traffic into America evaporate, as you can bet many Mexicans will be making a new run for the border – the border with Guatemala, that is.

...Of course, this brilliant idea does entail some bold challenges, such as evacuating hundreds of swamp-dwelling creatures in an orderly fashion. Why not employ New Orleans Mayor Ray "Chocolate" Nagin who still has dozens of moisture-packed school buses at his disposal?
How long before some freakshow Minuteman decides this is actually a worthy plan?

***

Oh, look -- here's Dear Leader "in action"...


Actual caption:US President George W. Bush takes a ride in a US Border Patrol dune buggy. Bush traveled to this desert town on the US-Mexico border -- one of the most popular entry points for illegal immigrants -- to underscore his commitment to sealing America's porous borders.(AFP/Paul J. Richards)


Religious looney tunes crow over 'Da Vinci'

These idiots are just plain crazy. It's a only a movie, people, and apparently not a very good one, if you believe the reviews coming out of Cannes.
Well known pro-family advocate Judie Brown of the American Life League says The Da Vinci Code, the movie and the book based on it, are just another attack being launched against faith in contemporary society. Brown believes the latest barrage is a sign that the anti-God forces are getting frustrated.

"I think that people who hate God and who hate the entire idea of Christianity are trying to develop ways to be more scathing in what they have to say," the pro-lifer asserts, "because Christianity is growing stronger. And the very fact that that is happening is debilitating to those people who hate God. It's almost like the anti-Christ is among us and has taken about 500 different forms, all of which have the same message: you have to hate God to be accepted in our society."

But as these vehement attacks against God and against Christian belief are a good thing, Brown contends, because they show that Christianity is making giant forward strides in the postmodern world.
But wait, there's more...
The chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission says "The Da Vinci Code" is an anti-Christian and anti-Semitic film that was financed by a British Muslim.

Ted Baehr says Mohammed Yusef's Invicta Capital put up most of the estimated 200 million dollars it cost to make the film version of Dan Brown's novel. Baehr told reporters at a Washington news conference, "I think it's a very serious problem when people start funding movies and books to attack somebody else's religious faith." He said the financial backing for "The Da Vinci Code" reveals "a terrible double standard" by Muslims who erupt in violent protests when they believe their own faith is being attacked.
It's fiction, people.

Blender Paul noted this fun bit at the end of the SFGate article on the poorly received screening of the movie -- by out actor Sir Ian McKellan:
Reviewers did have kind words for co-star Ian McKellen, who plays an irreverent Grail enthusiast. Critics said McKellen stole the movie, and the British actor also stole the show at the news conference with his co-stars and Howard, delivering a zinger about the possibility Christ had a wife.

"I'm very happy to believe that Jesus was married," said McKellen, an outspoken defender of gay rights since disclosing his homosexuality in the late 1980s. "And I know the Catholic church has problems with gay people, and I thought this would be absolute proof that Jesus was not gay."


DC Mayor calls out defiant homobigot pastor

“It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy...Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow. All the real men -— I'm talking about the straight men.”
-- DC pastor Bishop Alfred A. Owens, in a recorded sermon delivered at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church
That didn't sit well with DC Mayor Anthony Williams, who said that if Owens doesn't step up with a public apology for the above BS, Williams will toss him from his interfaith council. (WaPo):
The mayor said yesterday: "If you can be shocked, saddened and disappointed all at once, I really am, because I really have to condemn remarks made like that whenever they're made against any group on the basis of sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity or anything else."

Williams said he expected public contrition from Owens. "Otherwise, we would have to discontinue that relationship, and I would really regret that because he really has been a great leader in our city."

...The Rev. Clark Lobenstine, executive director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, agreed with the demand for an apology.

"There is not a theological criterion for being appointed to the mayor's interfaith council, but service on the council does commit us to work in a respectful way with all persons in this community," said Lobenstine, who is also a member of the interfaith council.

Earl Fowlkes, head of the International Federation of Black Prides, a D.C.-based organization that highlights issues concerning the black gay community, applauded the mayor's actions.

"The mayor is showing a lot of courage in issuing the statement," Fowlkes said. "The mayor cannot allow someone who is on the council to be a bigot."

...But the Rev. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of the D.C. Baptist Convention, a group of local Baptist churches, said the mayor should not ask Owens to say he is sorry.

"It's not an elected official's place to approve or disapprove of the pronouncements of clergy on any topic," Haggray said.
I actually agree with Haggray. Quite frankly, I don't think homobigot brothers of the pulpit Owens or Willie Wilson should apologize. Mayor Williams can boot Owens from his honorary position, and the parishioners who were offended by that sermon should have walked out of the church. Williams also better rethink the whole interfaith council matter, because, if you think about it, the whole idea of government partnering with ministries is asking for trouble, despite the best of intentions. Look at Dear Leader and his Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.

Pastors like Owens and Wilson have the right to believe and preach whatever they want to, but they need to be called out and shunned for spewing filth like this. They will understand only when folks stop contributing to the coffers, and the congregation dwindles.

However, keep dreaming on a real mea culpa -- these guys don't really apologize. Owens responded:
During my Palm Sunday sermon, I used words that the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Men and Women has denounced as offensive ["Gays, God and Bishop Owens," op-ed, May 13]. It was not my purpose to wound anyone or discriminate against any group, and I apologize for any offense.

Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church was in the forefront of delivering help through counseling, education and prevention to the gay community when HIV-AIDS hit hard in the 1980s. For that I was harshly criticized, and the church was stigmatized. Nevertheless, I increased our financial aid and instituted a support group for those who wanted help in pursuing a heterosexual orientation. I will continue the fight to alleviate the suffering of all people.

However, I will not submit my sermons through political filters for fear of recrimination by political or social groups.

On any given Sunday, I preach about love, faith and holiness, and, yes, about hell and sin. For that, I offer no apology.

BISHOP ALFRED A. OWENS JR.
Pastor
Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church
Washington
Yes, the Bishop Owens of the world should be free to preach about "pursuing a heterosexual orientation" or any other homophobic BS. Let him do it without access to any public funds or association with any government agencies. It's sad but true, that the religious bigots have clearly exhibited why church-state co-mingling is a dangerous and slippery slope, despite the good many churches have done in their public works.

This is why you now have the AmTaliban constantly bleating about being "marginalized" or "attacked" for being "Christians." The big mistake is that local, state and federal officials have created this mess by instituting these relationships with churches, assuming that the views of all religious figures are in the mainstream, and reflect respect for all concerned. It's all coming home to roost.

Related:
* DC homobigot pastor tries to top Willie Wilson
* DC Rev 'apologizes' for outrageous sermon attacking gays (Wilson)


What the hell is he thinking?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Giuliani Campaigns for Ex-Leader of Christian Coalition. Man, it's a race to see who can suck up to the corrupt wingers more, Rudy or Tool McCain. This is really scraping the bottom of the barrel, since Ralph Reed is radioactive from his connections to Jack Abramoff.
Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani glided over his support for gay civil unions and declared heterosexual marriage to be "inviolate" today as he helped raise money for a former leader of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, who is in a tough fight to become lieutenant governor of Georgia.

...The Giuliani-Reed embrace came five days after another possible Republican candidate in 2008, Senator John McCain, appeared alongside the Rev. Jerry Falwell for a speech at Liberty University, an avowed evangelical institution. Georgia Republicans said that Mr. Giuliani's visit was set weeks ago, though they acknowledged that both he and Mr. McCain were seeking inroads to the southern and religious wings of the party.


Mr. Giuliani did not once mention Jesus Christ or his childhood interest in becoming a priest, but instead preached from the Bible of fiscal conservatism. He called for more federal tax cuts as a means of creating more jobs and stimulating the economy, and argued that tax cuts would invigorate business and ultimately yield greater total tax receipts, thereby helping the cause of deficit reduction.

...Introduced by Mr. Reed as "a great conservative" and "America's mayor," Mr. Giuliani urged Republicans to look toward the political landscape with optimism, and not be embarrassed to support President Bush — whose approval ratings are at a low — or Republican policies.
Holy crap. Who, even on the right, isn't embarrassed by the clown-in-chief at this point?

Hat tip, Holly.


'Holy' fish swiped


The text supposedly says "Wa anta khair al-raziqin."

Yes, our fundies see Jesus in an asparagus root, now we've got Muslims seeing 'Koranic text' on fish. (BBCNews):
The tuna fish, which had provoked intense interest from Muslims, was apparently stolen by people posing as National Museum officials.

The theft was discovered when the real official from the museum, based at Fort Jesus in Mombasa, came to get the fish.

The fish was being studied to find out if the Arabic inscription "You are the best provider" was natural or a hoax.
H/t Holly.


'Primetime' report on teen girls and sex airs tonight

It comes on at 10PM, and it looks like it will be a real (and sad) eye opener on relations between these young women and young men. "Primetime" and Seventeen magazine, gathered girls for a sleepover to discuss sex -- the parents also were in the mix, interviewed afterward, to see the responses by the daughters. (ABC)
According to an ABC News poll, about 90 percent of parents nationwide say they've spoken to their teens about sex. Only half of their teens agree. So whatever parents think is "the sex talk," it doesn't seem to register with their kids.

...The girls at the sleepover were divided as to whether oral sex qualified as "sex." As one girl Natalie said: "We just consider it to be like another thing to prepare you for actual intercourse." Most of the girls seemed to agree that if you had oral sex with a boy, you could still be a virgin.
The attitudes of the boys quoted below are completely divorced from any influence of the feminist movement, contrary to the bleating of religious right, which always claims the opposite to be true.
How girls feel about themselves plays a huge role in their decision to have sex. Girls with low self-esteem are three times more likely to do something sexual that they didn't want to do, according to our ABC News poll.

While some boys are busy pushing girls to have sex, do they really like the ones who do? "Primetime" talked to some boys about it and brought the tape back to show the girls.

"And if the girl gets with all these guys. … If she had sex with everyone, [she's] like a bike that gets a ride," said one boy Johnny, with a laugh.

"No one wants to get with a girl like that," said another boy.

And no girl wants to get called the name that goes along with it — a slut.

While boys who have sex with different girls are called "players," it's a very different world for the girls who do it. They are, as one girl said, "ruined."
The sad truth is that this culture is still doing a sh*tty job of raising its boys if are still depersonalizing and objectifying the girls in their peer group like this, and it's clear that parents have let down teen girls in terms of helping them develop the confidence in themselves to respect their bodies in the face of pressure to have sex before they are ready. If they aren't getting the tools to deal with these social pressures and life choices at home, depending on where you live, these young folks aren't getting it in school either.

You can read about the parents' reactions to what they saw their daughters say here.


The I'm not sh*tting you post of the day

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced two 60-second television commercials that are airing in 14 cities for the next week or so. The organization is "dedicated to advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government. We believe that individuals are best helped not by government intervention, but by making their own choices in a free marketplace."

These propaganda pieces of fiction focus on why we should continue burning those fossil fuels at will because the threat posed by global warming just isn't real.
“The campaign to limit carbon dioxide emissions is the single most important regulatory issue today,” says Marlo Lewis, a CEI senior fellow in environmental policy. “Claims of looming climate disaster due to energy use are unfounded; our ad campaign is a call for balance in public discussions of global warming.”
When Blender Wes emailed me about this, I thought he was kidding. After I watched the two commercials, I have to believe that the folks in this outfit are insane.

Here's one, "Energy," which extolls the virtues of pumping CO2 into the air. I can't begin to describe how unhinged the reasoning and rationalizing about polluting the planet is in this commercial -- please go see it.

CEI also begs for money, saying "your support will help us continue our fight against global warming alarmism, and for affordable energy and economic freedom around the world."


Howard's sorry

You've got that right, in more ways than one. You have to read this interview over at the Advocate with Howard Dean, who apologizes again for misstating the 2004 Dem platform on marriage equality, saying "I would hope one misstatement is not going to destroy the relationship that I’ve had with the LGBT community over the past four or five years."

However, you will not read a more tortured dance around what is or isn't a position on marriage equality coming from anyone's lips (save sHillary). Writer Bruce C. Steele hammers him. This is just one snippet below -- go read the whole thing and comment.
When we all know that privately, many Democratic politicians support marriage equality, why can’t the Democratic Party take a firm stand on equality?
Well, I think we do take a firm stand on equality; there’s no question about that.

But not for marriage equality.
Well, the question is how we get to equality under the law for all Americans, and I think the Democratic Party has provided that [plan]. It’s obviously a difficult debate, but there’s no backing away from equal rights under the law for all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans. The question is how do you get there, and I think that’s what’s still being debated.

Do you personally support marriage equality for same-sex couples?
I’ve never answered that question. What I have said is that I support equal rights under the law for every single American.

That sounds like you want to say you’re in favor of marriage equality without saying you’re in favor of marriage equality.
You know, I represent a party that has a very broad constituency. I think there are people who are committed to equal rights under the law but don’t think you have to have [same-sex] marriage in order to do it, and there are people who think you have to have marriage. I’m not a candidate at this point; all I can do is say is that we’re going to continue to work really hard for equal rights under the law, and we’re going to continue to work really hard to kill nasty approaches and divisive approaches like the marriage amendment [which would write antigay marriage discrimination into the U.S. Constitution and has been scheduled for an early-June vote in the U.S. Senate by Majority Leader Bill Frist]. We do not support amendments to the United States Constitution that scapegoat communities.
Yes, all those state marriage amendments are passing one by one, while Dems keep their heads firmly in the sand. They are certainly kicking something down the court, but it feels more like my homo keister these days. There was no visibility on that front to actively campaign against those amendments in the last election cycle. He's still ready to "leave it to the states."

Just when you didn't think he could dig a deeper hole, on equality, he does. Why don't we all go down to Homo Depot and send him a shovel?

Related:
* Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006


Crazy Pat's back on track


We all knew the brief interlude of sanity would not last. He's back in fighting form. (AP):
In another in a series of notable pronouncements, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coastline this year.

Robertson has made the predictions at least four times in the past two weeks on his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded.

Robertson said the revelations about this year's weather came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."
Well, then, he better get on the horn to Dear Leader, whose idea of preparation for the next Gulf hurricane is to pray it away.


Marriage amendment markup today - Feingold walks out

I received an email from Rachel Perrone of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office alerting that there will be action on the Marriage Protection Amendment (S.J. Res. 1: Sens. Allard, Sessions, Kyl, Hatch, Cornyn, Coburn, Brownback, and DeWine) today by Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
FYI - I'm told the Senate just announced that the first vote today will be called at 10am. The Senate Judiciary markup of the Federal Marriage Amendment is currently scheduled for immediately after the first vote is called. Note that votes do not always happen precisely on time.

The committee will meet in the Capitol President's Room, which is right off the Senate floor. It is not accessible to the public and is very small. There are not even enough seats for the Senators to sit. I'm told there will be Senators who object to proceeding under this scenario. Unclear if Senator Specter will insist on the markup.
For sh*ts and giggles, they will also be discussing S.J. Res. 12, the Flag Desecration resolution (Sens. Hatch, Feinstein, Brownback, Coburn, Cornyn, DeWine, Graham, Grassley, Kyl, Sessions, Specter).

UPDATE: Russ Feingold walked out on the marriage amendment hearing and had a testy exchange with Arlen Specter, heh, heh, heh...(CNN):
A Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Thursday, after a shouting match that ended when one Democrat strode out and the Republican chairman bid him "good riddance."

"I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, shouted after Sen. Russ Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment, his affinity for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting.

"If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter finished.

"I've enjoyed your lecture, too, Mr. Chairman," replied Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who is considering a run for president in 2008. "See ya
."
Russ, you all know, showed his spine in April by publicly declaring his support for civil marriage equality.

UPDATE2: Russ Feingold's statement on today's fireworks.
“Today’s markup of the constitutional amendment concerning marriage, in a small room off the Senate floor with only a handful of people other than Senators and their staffs present, was an affront to the Constitution. I objected to its consideration in such an inappropriate setting and refused to help make a quorum. I am deeply disappointed that the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee went forward with the markup over my objection. Unfortunately, the Majority Leader has set a politically motivated schedule for floor consideration of this measure that the Chairman felt compelled to follow, even though he says he opposes the amendment.

Constitutional amendments deserve the most careful and deliberate consideration of any matter that comes before the Senate. In addition to hearings and a subcommittee markup, such a measure should be considered by the Judiciary Committee in the light of day, open to the press and the public, with cameras present so that the whole country can see what is done. Open and deliberate debate on such an important matter cannot take place in a setting such as the one chosen by the Chairman of the Committee today.

The Constitution of the United States is an historic guarantee of individual freedom. It has served as a beacon of hope, an example to people around the world who yearn to be free and to live their lives without government interference in their most basic human decisions. I took an oath when I joined this body to support and defend the Constitution. I will continue to fight this mean-spirited, divisive, poorly drafted, and misguided amendment when it comes to the Senate floor.”


Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Rethug campaigning hits a new low

You know, when someone is willing to attack an opponent for having a heart transplant with a disgusting campaign like this, it makes it pretty clear who's the real sick person. This is in California. (SFGate):
What may be a Hall of Fame moment in the annals of political ads may have come down in the GOP race for 25th State Assembly District race in the Modesto area this week.

We're talking the campaign mailer in which GOP candidate Bill Conrad attacks opponent Tom Berryhill -- for having a heart transplant.

The headline of the direct mail piece -- in blood red ink, no less: "Tom Berryhill doesn't have the HEART for State Assembly."

That's accompanied by a handy list of "Heart Transplant Facts."

Among them:

*"The Average Lifespan of a Heart Transplant recipient is 7 years," followed by the none-too-subtle observation that "Berryhill's transplant was 6 years ago."

*"Heart Transplant patients take Anti-rejection medications for life. (These medications weaken the immune system making the recipient more susceptible to illness and death.)"

And finally:

*"Severe stress SIGNIFICANTLY shortens the life expectancy of Heart Transplant recipients."
The direct mail piece also warns of the costs to the taxpayer if Berryhill kicks it, saying "Can you imagine the costs to taxpayers for a Special Election when poor health renders him unable to fulfill the duties of office?"

Conrad tries to use the fig leaf of Dick Cheney and his heart condition as a reason why his direct mail hit piece is fair game. Har-dee-har-har. One can legitimately ask about a candidate's health without this kind of a smear -- note Conrad did this through the mail, as opposed to an interview or in a debate. That, of course, is no accident -- he spent $15,000 to mail 47,000 copies of this piece of crap to voters.

The Hotline has links to the full graphic, a portion of which is below:




Hat tip, Paul.


MC continues the shill tour for her fish wrapping tome

I really don't want to talk about Darth's Daughter any more, but I thought I'd pass along a few items for you to nosh on.

She'll be on the Diane Rehm Show today at 10 AM if you care to stomach it. She's listed as "Guests: Mary Cheney, AOL, Inc. executive. Director of vice presidential operations for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign...The daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney talks about living in the political spotlight as a campaign strategist and a gay woman." (hat tip, Holly)

Yesterday before the cable went completely dead, Kate said that MC was on The Situation Room with Wolfie. She does manage to say this:
BLITZER: You write this on page 180 in your book: "If the Republican Party fails to come around on this issue (same-sex marriage), I believe it will find itself on the wrong side of history and on a sharp decline into irrelevance." Those are strong words.

CHENEY: They are strong words. And I did write them. And I believe them. I think if you look at polls, and I do talk about them in the book, this is not a conservative issue, not a liberal issue, not a Republican issue or Democrat issue. This is a generational issue.

...BLITZER: You see this in the book in which you go into great length as almost like treating gays and lesbians as second class citizens, real discrimination along the lines of what used to exist in this country with other minorities.

CHENEY: The analogy I use in the book, I don't think I use the word second class citizens anywhere. But the analogy I use in the book is when the Supreme Court handed down the decision in Virginia v. Loving, and forgive me if I don't remember the year. It was '62 or '67. Polls at the time showed it was one of the most unpopular decisions ever by the Supreme Court. Something like 72 percent of the people in America opposed the idea of interracial marriage.
OK, that earns a gold star for clarity and common sense observation. Late, but it's on board.

One question though: how did she manage to cite Virginia v. Loving yet is completely clueless about the laws that will affect her in short order today? From the Larry King interview just days ago:
KING: On domestics -- what's the rule -- what's the law in Virginia?

CHENEY: Actually I'm not sure what the law is in Virginia. I should know that.

KING: Does your partner have -- if you're in the hospital, god forbid, does your partner have rights?

CHENEY: My partner and I have living wills, regular wills, powers of attorney, everything that quite honestly any couple married or not should have.
Mary, in the interest of helping a fellow homo out on the matter, here's what you, Heather and the rest of Virginia's residents get to vote on in the fall:
"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?"
Yeah, and watch that amendment pass and see how relevant all of it will be if some fundies want to make hay of your "rights." And what about those folks who cannot afford to draw up legal contracts? I'm sure that financial matters don't cross her mind on a regular basis unless it involves tax cuts...

I cannot leave this priceless exchange out. Daddy's (Halliburton's) little girl:
Do you believe that your father and the president have handled the Iraq situation well? You've been one of your dad's key advisers.

CHENEY: I don't speak for the administration. I'm not an administration official.

BLITZER: You did work in the campaign.

CHENEY: I did work on the campaign and very proud of that. And I think that they have handled Iraq exactly right.

BLITZER: You do?

CHENEY: Just think about it, Wolf.

BLITZER: No mistakes?

CHENEY: No mistakes.

BLITZER: Exactly right? Because those are strong words.

CHENEY: Three years ago -- exactly right. Those are very strong words.

BLITZER: Tell us...

CHENEY: Three years ago, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes.

CHENEY: Twenty-five million -- 25 million people are free today who were not free three years ago in Iraq. Iraq has managed to hold three national elections and every single election, more people came out and voted than voted in the previous election.

These are people who are going to the polls, and voting and casting votes for their leadership for the first time in their lives. They deserve an enormous amount of respect from us and they deserve our help, and we are doing everything we can to help them. And quite frankly, I think we are doing it exactly right.
Breathtaking.

And one more, if you can stand it. Time magazine has 10 Questions For Mary Cheney up. (h/t BarbieAnn). She's completely on autopilot, bleating the same stuff. She offers up yet another spin on why she didn't speak out about SSM during the campaigns -- she just didn't have time.
I never really was trying to be this mysterious figure. During both campaigns, I was rather busy trying to get my job done. There was a flood of phone calls that Heather and I got from reporters. My reaction was, I have other things to worry about.


Exodus at a bible-beating school

Look at this implosion.
Nearly a third of the faculty members at a small evangelical Christian college in Virginia are reportedly leaving the school following disputes with its president over theology and academic freedom.

Christianity Today reports that five full-time faculty members have announced they will not be returning to Patrick Henry College in Purcellville next year. Nine professors have left in the past year, as well as four senior executives in the past 18 months. The departing professors accuse outgoing PHC president Michael Farris of squelching academic freedom on campus and disparaging Calvinist theology.

Theology professor Todd Bates, who is a Calvinist, claims Farris told him "a person of the reformed position ... cannot in good conscience sign the [school's] statement of faith." In July, Farris will be replaced as president by Dr. Graham Walker, who was formerly the vice president for academic affairs and dean of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Farris says he is surprised the disgruntled professors would leave PHC even though they knew he would no longer be president. Farris, the founding president of the school, will continue with PHC in the role of chancellor.
One of the items on the ten-point statement of faith is the entertaining "Satan exists as a personal, malevolent being who acts as tempter and accuser, for whom Hell, the place of eternal punishment, was prepared, where all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity."

Patrick Henry College, btw, is unaccredited (surprise!), according to the Christianity Today article, and the rash of departures may have an impact on the college's attempt to achieve accreditation if the administrators don't figure out how to stop the bleeding.

It doesn't sound like there's ever going to be a lot of room for intellectual debate on the campus when it comes to religion. Look at the food fight.
According to the school's statement of doctrinal neutrality, Patrick Henry College "welcomes all people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" and "does not take sides on certain doctrinal matters that often separate … believers." The statement reads: "The College itself is neutral on the doctrinal distinctives which go beyond the points covered in our Statement of Faith and are outside the mission of the College."

Farris, a Baptist minister, has publicly expressed views that have shocked some professors and students. "He said St. Augustine was in hell," said Root. "I heard it with my own ears." Other professors and students said Farris has repeatedly disparaged Calvinist theology.

"There is a sense that you face antagonism as someone who is theologically Reformed," said Bates, who sparred with Farris over a speech he was planning to deliver at the college's annual Faith and Reason Lecture, and again over the use of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology textbook. According to Bates, Farris considered it "too Reformed."

"We are put in a hard position," said Bates. "We're told this is an open dialogue, but if you engage in open dialogue, you're in trouble. It's infuriating because you're an academic and want to engage in ideas."

Bates said that at a meeting with Farris, "He told me that a person of the Reformed position to which I hold cannot in good conscience sign the statement of faith. When I responded that I failed to see the discrepancy between the two, he replied, 'I define the statement of faith.'"
Whew. Get them into a WWE wrestling ring.


$%#@&^ Time Warner Cable



Man, yesterday was technical melt-down day. First my hosting account maxed out, then cable -- and with it my access to Dear Leader's internets -- was down at my house all evening. It's 4:45 AM (don't ask -- I'm up at this hour on many days, starting my blogging so I can actually do work during the day, lol), and it's finally back up.

I knew something was wrong when Kate and I were driving into the neighborhood and we saw two TWC with several guys parked at what looked like one of those main terminals that probably branches out to the whole subdivision. I actually said something to the effect of "what are those guys doing? I bet the cable is toast." Sigh, yes, it was.

Calling TWC resulted in listening to a message that basically said it was a "known outage" and that they were "working on it."


Pennsylvania homobigot's pissed at the First Lady

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Homosexuals have a right to live their lives as they want, but they do no have a right to force our society to redefine marriage and family...Those involved in the homosexual lifestyle have never been forced to sit at the back of the bus nor are there water fountains labeled ‘Gay Only.’ The thousands of ex-gays in this country show that people are not born ‘gay.’
-- Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Yawn...She's mad that Laura Bush said that the fed marriage amendment shouldn't be used as a campaign tool in the midterms -- it's cramping the style of all the homobigots.

Shall we pull out the violin for Ms. Gramley? From the unhinged press release:


It is tragic that Mrs. Bush doesn’t see the importance of making the marriage amendment a campaign issue. Americans want marriage between one man and one woman protected through a constitutional amendment. Marriage is the foundation of any society and the voters recognize the need to protect its foundation.

...“Protecting traditional marriage from activist judges is not discriminatory. Our elected officials on both the federal and state level need to pass the amendments that are before them and give the people a chance to vote on how they want to define marriage,” continued Gramley.

The value voters spoke in 2004 and, in many cases, are still waiting for confirmation that their concerns are being addressed by the people they placed in office. Marriage was an important issue in 2004 and will continue being an important issue until one man, one woman marriage is fully protected from activist judges and others who want to redefine it to include same-sex marriage or any other configuration.

“The federal Marriage Protection Amendment is not discriminatory. Our proposed Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment is not discriminatory.
I don't know what Gramley's bleating about -- Dear Leader's wife isn't a lawmaker.


Georgia governor to fight ruling on same-sex marriage amendment

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell's ruling yesterday that the ballot measure on a ban on same sex marriage is invalid is a burr in the saddle of good old boy Governor Sonny Perdue.

She ruled that it violated the state constitution's single-subject rules for ballot issues by including language on whether same-sex civil unions, would be recognized, so now he's racing to do something about the decision of this "activist judge." (AccessNorthGa):
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue says he'll call a special legislative session to work up another constitutional ban on same-sex marriages if the state Supreme Court doesn't rule on the issue by Aug. 7.

...Perdue set a deadline on when the appeal must be decided because he will want the Legislature to put the ballot issue before voters again this year if the ban isn't upheld by the state's highest court.

All ballot language for the Nov. 7 general election must be submitted to the Secretary of State's office by Aug. 14 to allow plenty of time for absentee ballots to be printed. A special session of the Legislature could last at least a week.

"I think the people spoke overwhelmingly. I think the people of Georgia knew exactly what they were voting for," said Perdue, a Republican, referring to the judge's opinion that the ballot question was misleading.

The constitutional amendment that was approved by 76 percent of the state's voters.
While Russell's ruling was technically correct, this is now going to be, unfortunately, a tool for the wingers to campaign upon down there; the state already had its own DOMA, and over 75% of Georgians voted for the amendment, so there really isn't good positive spin in the end, IMHO.
"All these guys are running for election. And once again they're going to try to use gays and lesbians as their platform," said Chuck Bowen, director of Georgia Equality, the state's largest gay-advocacy organization. "They're using us to shield the real issues facing the state."
Yes, and now it's homo whipping boy time.


Fundies, one more time -- virginity pledges are failing

"These programs work...We see it all the time. I don't trust this data...Things have changed."
-- in-denial Leslee Uhruh, president of the nonprofit National Abstinence Clearinghouse, wailing about a new study out that abstinence/virginity pledges aren't cutting teen sex
Facts be damned, the bible beaters have their fingers tightly pushed into their ears, their eyes closed, and singing "la la la la la la" as reports come out indicating that teens are engaging in sexual activity despite virginity pledges, silver rings and Jesus head jewelry. (WaPo):
Many abstinence programs have embraced the concept of virginity pledges, encouraging children as young as 9 to promise to wait until marriage to have sex.

So how reliable are reports of sexual activity by teenagers who took such a pledge?

Not very, according to a study by Harvard doctoral candidate Janet Rosenbaum published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Rosenbaum found that 53 percent of adolescents in a large, federally funded study who said they made a virginity pledge denied doing so a year later, often after they had become sexually active.

At the same time, 10 percent of teenagers who said they had had intercourse and then made a pledge or became born-again Christians subsequently said they were virgins.
The WaPo also reported on this in March 2005, again, with data on these virginity pledges touted by head-in-the-sand organizations like True Love Waits and the Silver Ring Thing -- they are doing nothing to stop the spread of STDs in young people.

It was found that among the 20 percent of kids that took a virginity pledge, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying or prior to 2002 interviews. Almost 7 percent of the students who did not make a pledge were diagnosed with an STD, compared with 6.4 percent of the "inconsistent pledgers" and 4.6 percent of the "consistent pledgers."

But for some of the fundies, stopping STDs isn't even the point, and they are admitting it. That's refreshing.
Denny Pattyn, founder of Silver Ring Thing, an evangelical Christian program that has received federal funding, said that about 60,000 youths have made virginity pledges after attending a three-hour sound and light show sponsored by his Pittsburgh-based group. Participants spend $15 for a silver ring inscribed with a Biblical verse -- a virginity symbol to be removed on the wearer's wedding day and given to his or her spouse.

"We teach abstinence because it's the truth," said Pattyn. "We don't analyze ourselves based on reducing the risk."

Pattyn said that his program assesses its effectiveness in part by sending e-mails to participants for four months after they take a pledge to ask if they are abstinent.
There you have it. La la la la la la...

Silver Ring Thing, by the way, lost its faith-based funds in January after it was found to be in violation of fed regs that prohibit "religious instruction or proselytization." Up until that point it had received over a million of your tax dollars. In order for the organization to reapply for buxxx, it has to separate its abstinence education from religious education. With above statements like Pattyn's, it doesn't sound like there's been much of a change in "strategy."

Also:
* Newsflash: fundies are f*cking before marriage
* Abstinence ed is really working: oral sex safe and not really sex, say teens
* Texas teens increasingly knocking boots after abstinence program

Hat tip, Holly


Whoops...

Had a little hosting problem with disk quota, so I was offline for a while. That probably resulted in some bounced emails and an inability to post for a bit.

The good folks at APlusNet upgraded me gratis.


Bush Approval Map: May 2006 Edition


Memo to George W. Bush: when IDAHO drops down to only +7% net approval, you're in deep doo-doo! Memo to Democrats: You can start actively opposing this president now.

Yes, it's that time again, when Survey USA releases their Fifty State Tracking Polls. These polls reflect the Approval and Disapproval ratings for the pretzeldunce in every state. Subtract the latter from the former and you've got Net Approval.

Someone called my color shading into question. "Just because a state like Kansas might have more dislike than approval for Bush, that doesn't mean they're 'turning blue'. On the contrary, they may think Bush isn't conservative enough." That's true. But my red and blue mapping, originally from the 2004 Election Map, is merely meant to reflect a state that's "hot" to "hotter" (red to pink) for Bush vs. a state that's "cool" to "cold" (blue to aqua) against Bush.

Now there are only the stalwart three - Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming - that can begrudgingly offer positive support for Bush. He's even lost the South. And dislike of Bush has grown so intense that a few states fell off the edge of my "thermometer" that bottomed out at -45%. New York is at -51% and Rhode Island at -52%! Keep in mind that at -33%, two out of three people dislike you, and at -50%, three out of four. Could a state actually hit the four out of five (-60%) level within the year? I've extended my "thermometer" into the pale-aqua / off-white territory needed for -50%-ish ratings.

Bush now stands at a Weighted Net Approval of -31% (weighted by state populations, so California's net -43% is weighted 77 times as much as Wyoming's +1%)... so dang near two out of three people in this country dislike Bush.

NOTE: Update your links; I've moved the maps to www.radicalruss.net/bushmap.


We've found the remaining Roy Moore supporters

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

...And they are in a group of Texas-based veterans.
Judge Roy Moore made national headlines several years ago when, as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he refused a federal judge's order to remove a granite Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building. Moore was eventually removed from his seat because of the incident.

Now Moore is a contender in the Yellowhammer State's race for the governorship. Jim Cabaniss, president of Houston-based American Veterans in Domestic Defense (AVIDD), is encouraging veterans in Alabama to vote for Moore in the June 6 primary.

"We want to send a message to [groups like] the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Americans for Separation of Church and State and let them know they don't run the state of Alabama," says Cabaniss. "They don't run this nation. The people do."

...Recent polls indicate Moore trailing incumbent Governor Bob Riley by a two-to-one ratio. But Cabaniss believes Christian voters will provide strong support for Moore.

"I would encourage all the church people [to support Moore]," he says. "I mean, what better opportunity do you have to elect and endorse a Christian patriot? My goodness -- if they don't understand this, they're not thinking very clearly."


Princess Barbie Talibania: Arbiter of Appropriate Library Materials


What day is it today? The 16th? Let me check my calendar... good god! Has it really been weeks since Princess Barbie Talibania has done something noxiously anti-American in the service of the Fatherland's emerging theocracy? Well, then, to the inbox we go... and whaddaya know. There's my forbidden object of orange-tanned lust, shakin' up the rabble in my own hometown of Nampa, Idaho, for a modern-day book burning. Ah, Brandi, Sie sind ein zutreffender Wert zum Vaterland!
Community and Faith Leaders Concerned About the Public Display of Sexually Graphic and Disturbing Books at the Nampa, Idaho Public Library

Some of the books contain naked explicit photos of sexual activity and one book, "The Joy of Gay Sex," discusses bestiality, sado-masochism, Daddy/Son fantasies and fist ***king.

Friends, when I was first notified about these books by the Jackson family, I went to the Nampa library to see them for myself. I was assuming that it was probably not that big of a deal and that the books probably pertained to sexual health issues. But I have to tell you, I was shocked when I discovered what was in them. [So shocked I had to read all the books and scan every picture. Twice, just to be sure.] The sexually graphic images and the vulgarity and use of sexual slang were astonishing. What was even worse, it was not placed in the fiction section. [Which is where books on gay sex belong, because, you know, gay sex is something spun from whole cloth by the fevered imagination of Truman Capote.] It was about 10 feet from the teen section and on a shelf where a toddler could easily reach it. The Nampa library board has denied a request to put these books behind the counter. The next step is to go before Nampa City Council. It is our goal to work with the Mayor of Nampa and the City Council to resolve this issue and make sure that sexually graphic and explicit materials are not put in the hands of our children.
Instant poll time:

How many Nampa kids regularly hang out at the library trolling for explicit books and pictures of gay sex, because, after all, information like that is damn hard to find on the internet?

How many Nampa kids will now be trolling for explicit books now that the bible thumpers have alerted them to exactly where they are and what they contain?
Randy Jackson, a local Nampa parent, will speak to the Nampa City Council about this issue on Monday, May 15th , at 7:00 P.M.

Mr. Jackson, who has already spoken to Nampa Public Library Board of Directors comments, " As a father of two young children in Nampa, I am deeply concerned about children having access to these incredibly graphic and disturbing books. As a local supporter of the library through my tax dollars, it is hard to understand how a book could be purchased and displayed which talks about bestiality and father/son sexual fantasies. Books should be available in the library which serve the common good of the entire community and best represent the standards and values of our community. I would hope that the public library would consider removing these books completely. However, at the very least, they should be kept behind the counter and out of the reach of young children."
Mr. Jackson also commented, "Yo, dawg, a'ight, look, it was just a'ight for me, dawg. Not your best performance. But, yo, you know you're in the Dawg Pound, a'ight? Yeah!" (Non-American-Idol Blenders... just ignore this one and read on...)

"Removing these books completely," huh? So, then, adults should not have access to books at a public library that a vocal minority of sanctimonious prudes think might upset the children? Information should be censored to match the "standards and values" of the local Puritans, huh? Damn it, where are my jackboots and torches when I need them?
Brandi Swindell, National Director of Generation Life, states, "It must be stressed this is a public library with books purchased with public money. [And therefore, a small segment of the public should determine what the rest of the public is allowed to read.] As such, local citizens have the right and responsibility to share their concerns about the types of books that are purchased and how they are displayed. I think most citizens would be appalled if they knew their tax dollars were being spent on books discussing finding sex with people you meet over the Internet. Censorship is not an issue here. For clearly, the Nampa Public Library would never display books that supported racial intolerance or gave implicit instructions on how to engage in violent activity."
You mean something awful like The Turner Diaries which advocate violent overthrow of the government by terrorist means in order to establish the White Christian Homeland, a book noted by many kooks (like Timothy McVeigh) as a sort of manifesto. Click the link and you, too, can place a hold on the first available copy that's returned to the Nampa Public Library.

Now I can see where there is a problem if, say, the photo essays of gay sex are on the same shelf with Elmo Goes To School and The Cat In The Hat. I can even understand wanting to put the more explicit books in a more restricted area where kids can't get to them. But remember, that's not the American Taliban's first impulse. They want those books banned, burned, or buried, and only when someone points out the resemblance of those acts to, er, mid-20th Century central European sociopolitical thought* do they even mention the "Plan B" of just having the books moved out of sight.

The proof is in the actions of Mr. & Mrs. Jackson leading up to the council meeting. Ms. Swindell dishes the details:
Randy and Lynette Jackson are concerned parents living in Nampa with 2 small children. When they discovered these sexually graphic and explicit materials, they felt that they could not leave these books in the library so others could be harmed. [Dang, what's it called again when you take something from a library without checking it out? Anyone got a copy of Exodus 20:15 handy?] Because of this, they have been sent fines as well as a bill to cover the purchase of new copies of each of the books. Furthermore, because of their actions, the Library Board has revoked their membership.

Lynette is a homeschool mom [shock!] who is now unable to check out materials and books that she uses in educating her children. The Library Board has been punishing Randy and Lynette as they have been in the process of challenging these books.
How dare the Nampa Public Library issue fines and revoke the membership of people who steal books and don't pay to replace them!

There we go. My monthly dose of Barbiemania. It's the itch I can't help but scratch (and like most itches, it is giving me a hideous rash.)

* It's my New Years Resolution to faithfully observe Godwin's Law and resist all attempts to paint anyone with the Nazi brush... but damned it the Cheneyburton Maladministration keeps making that tougher and tougher...


Tony Snow and 'tar baby'

Well, Tony Snow's off to a great start as press secretary. Remember, he's the man who educated us on the fact that racism is dead:

"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
I guess that's why it's A-OK to use the phrase Tar Baby again. This explains a lot, from today's press briefing, when he was asked about the NSA and its collecting of phone records:
Having said that, I don't want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program, the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm nor deny.
And he said it again later:
QUESTION: What are your personal goals? What do you hope to achieve here? Will you continue to televise these briefings? And would you put into English the phrase (OFF-MIKE) the tar baby?

SNOW: Well, I believe hug the tar baby, we could trace that back to American lore.
OK. Let's look at the actual history of Tar Baby and see if it has a place coming out of the mouth of the White House Press Secretary.
The tar baby is a form of a character widespread in African folklore. In various folktales, gum, wax, or other sticky material is used to trap a person.

The folktale achieved currency in the United States in written form in one of Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus stories, a collection of stories based on African-American folklore, narrated by the fictional Uncle Remus, a former slave. In the story "Tar-Baby," the character Brer Fox makes a doll out of tar, which he places by the road to entrap his enemy Brer Rabbit. Brer Rabbit talks to the doll, and when it doesn't answer, he hits it, and gets stuck in the tar. The more he struggles with it, the more he is entangled in it.

This story has led to the figurative use of tar baby in the sense 'an inextricable problem or situation', sometimes with the nuance 'something used to entrap a person'. Both the examples cited in the question show the use of this sense, which appears to be first used in the early twentieth century.

The expression tar baby is also used occasionally as a derogatory term for black people (in the U.S. it refers to African-Americans; in New Zealand it refers to Maoris), or among blacks as a term for a particularly dark-skinned person. As a result, some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context.
Maybe Tony likes to use jigaboo from time to time as well.

***

Paul had this interesting insight on the whole thing.
Too funny. I was reading through the comments on the "tar baby" posting in C&L when I came across a comment which said something like "I'm surprised he didn't use the word 'niggardly'."

I was going to respond to that, as the word has nothing to do with the N word and comes from a completely different place, but seems to cause consternation whenever it appears, in what I and others think may be a case of p.c. carried a bit too far.

Before posting my reply I googled the word niggardly just to make sure that my understanding was correct and came across this quote from a Salon article: (note the name of the columnist in the 2nd 'graph).
"David Howard, the white director of a Washington D.C. municipal agency [..] told his staff that, in light of budget cutbacks, he would have to be "niggardly" with funds. An uproar followed that resulted in Howard's resignation, which was accepted by Mayor Anthony Williams on the grounds that Howard had shown poor judgment.

Even some of the commentators who admitted that they knew that "niggardly" has no relation to "nigger" (the origins of the first word predate those of "nigger" by about 300 years) still condemned Howard. They were answered by the columnist Tony Snow, who wrote, "David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who

a) didn't know the meaning of the word 'niggardly'

b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the word's meaning and

c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance."


Open thread - this and that

A few items...

* I forgot to mention that I was interviewed by the Washington Blade about Mary Cheney last week. You can read that article here. Also, Wayne Besen has a good piece up on MC, "The Million Dollar Staffer."

* You have to read this unhinged column by David Limbaugh at TownHall.com, Gay "rights" -- who is harrassing whom? It's heinous. Blender BarbieAnn pointed me to it.
I suppose it's a matter of one's perspective, but it sure seems to me that if there is any special interest group aggressively pushing its agenda on society, it's the radical homosexual lobby. I don't assert this as some earth-shattering revelation or to prove my superior powers of observation. But it is amazing how many people have swallowed the homosexual activists' propaganda that it is heterosexual conservatives who are picking on them rather than the other way around. BarbieAnn: (Sure it's all those homosexual activists who are trying to keep straights from marrying and criminalizing heterosexual sex.)
* Blender Paul K. made a video about the murdered gay/trans teenagers for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17th. You can see it at YouTube.

* SLDN has more photos and coverage of its 14th annual dinner. Check it out. I'm swamped and still need to transcribe my digital audio files to get up the three interviews I did during the live blogging. Sigh.

* Jon Ponder of the interesting and insightful The Pensito Review is profiled at the political pad The Hotline. He kindly mentions PHB as one of his favorite blogs. That made my day. :)


Crazy Pat hits a sane patch

Mr. 700 Club was speaking to -- I kid you not -- a group called the Virginia Federation of Teenage Republicans, and he said this:
The founder of the Christian Broadcast Network charged the Republican Congress as "abandoning" fiscal responsibility, noting among other things the $223 million for the construction of a bridge connecting Alaska's Gravina Island to Ketchikan (also dubbed "the Bridge to Nowhere").

"This is our government at work, and unfortunately it is run by Republicans," he said.

...In light of the NSA wire-tapping revelation, which he called a "tool of oppression," Robertson admonished the Bush administration for "encroaching on" Americans' personal liberties.


Surprise -- he didn't charm The Base

The WingNut Daily poll that ran yesterday, took the pulse of The Base as it looked forward to Dear Leader's speech. The majority called for "immediate construction plans for an impenetrable barrier on the border" and "immediate deportation of all illegal aliens."

Well today, here is the reaction after the fact, in a new poll:

What do you think of President Bush's speech on illegal immigration?



So much for that strategy to rally the true believers.


Gay GOP strategist: sHillary will be 2008 Dem nominee

In the Jewish Ledger, an indy publication in Connecticut, there is an interview with Arthur Finkelstein, the infamous, secretive GOP consultant who has worked on some of the bigoted campaigns imaginable.

For instance, Jesse Helms received down and dirty political services from him on his Senate run against Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt in 1990. I was living in NC during this time period, and it was one of the nastiest, racist campaigns I've seen in a good while. It was a close race (Gantt was leading by a couple of percentage points), until Finkelstein and friends ran the infamous "white hands" TV ad showing a close-up of a pair of flannel-shirtsleeved hands crumpling a job rejection letter, with an ominous voiceover booming that he lost that well-deserved job because "they had to give it to a minority." This, not surprisingly, appealed to the base instincts of blue collar, textile working folks in the rural areas, and Helms cruised to victory.

Finkelstein, who was outed in 1996, married his partner in Massachusetts back in 2005.

Anyway, in this interview, he basically echoes what many are saying about sHillary and the internal conflicts within the GOP between the cultural whack jobs and the fat cat fiscal wing of the party.

It's more than likely that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee; Hillary, who encompasses so much of what is today's Democratic Party. She reflects the anti-defense sentiment in the U.S. and captures the cultural left. Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey would twirl in their graves to think that she is the symbol of their party, let alone its leading candidate. On the Republican side the battle is more interesting and will be more chaotic.

What you see in the immigration fight, for example, is Republicans trying to figure out whether they are cultural conservatives or freedom conservatives. There are open border people inside the Republican Party and also the "throw them all out and protect our culture" people. There's Pat Buchanan, who wants to reorient the culture in protectionist terms, and there is Larry Kudlow, who defines the argument in terms of free markets and free people.

The battle inside the party is about which element is going to dominate. Are we going to be a party that makes personal freedom and liberty its priority or one that puts culture over all else? The party's nominee could be someone who has a stake in both sides. But right now people are mostly lining up on the cultural side and the surprise cultural candidate could be someone like Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas. Or, on the freedom side where business interests reside, it could be a candidate like New York's Governor George Pataki. It promises to be quite a contest.
Mind you, Finkelstein has worked with Pataki, so that was a bit of shilling there.

Otherwise it's interesting, and consistent with the grumbling coming from the fiscal conservative circles (finally). One wonders how far gone did these bible beaters in their party have to take the country before the free market fools realized the train was out of control.

I have to differ with Finkelstein's opinion that sHillary captures "the cultural left" when she spends her time on BS such as the flag burning amendment and flipping the bird to gays (always with the hat out, mind you) cozying to the Right. She's shown precious little conviction that would convince either side to vote for her. What she does have, however, is a big war chest, and that's frightening.

Am I missing something, or is there some sizable portion of the population that would actually vote for sHillary? To me, all the chatting up about her on the Right is about wishful thinking -- they want her on the ballot because she's make it an easy win for just about any (non-fundie-beholden) Republican they'd put on the ticket. If the party nominates a bible-beating Huckabee or racist George Allen, they are in big trouble.


California bigots fall short on second try of marriage amendment petition

What is up with the wingnuts in the Golden State? They have several anti-same-sex marriage groups trying to collect signatures for forms of an amendment and none of them are getting anywhere in terms of meeting deadlines to move their proposals forward. Geez, you would think these dolts would be more organized than this. (365gay):
ProtectMarriage admitted earlier this year it was having trouble collecting signatures and also missed an earlier deadline. A second group the Campaign for Children and Families also missed the earlier deadline and said it was concentrating its efforts on getting its proposed amendment on the 2008 ballot.

The two groups have slightly versions of the ban on gay marriage, although both - if passed by voters - would accomplish the same thing.

Both groups now must start again collecting signatures. Meanwhile, two smaller organizations have also announced they too will begin collecting signatures for anti-gay marriage initiatives.


The rise of the theocrats

Blender 'Bean's sent on this link to an excellent excerpt at Salon from Michelle Goldberg's book entitled Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism (Norton, $23.95), which ironically, I just received in the mail. The excerpt is definitely worth reading.

It's frightening - the teaser: "Across the United States, religious activists are organizing to establish an American theocracy. A frightening look inside the growing right-wing movement." It's what we discuss here all the time. The excerpt starts off with one of the poster children for the dominionists, Alabama candidate for governor, Roy Moore.
On November 13, 2003, Moore was removed from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court after he defied a judge's order to remove the 2.6-ton Ten Commandments monument he'd installed in the Montgomery judicial building. On the coasts, he seemed a ridiculous figure, the latest in a line of grotesque Southern anachronisms. After all, Moore is a man who, in a 2002 court decision awarding custody of three children to their allegedly abusive father over their lesbian mother, called homosexuality "abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated," and argued, "The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle." He's a man who writes rhyming poetry decrying the teaching of evolution and who fought against the Alabama ballot measure to remove segregationist language from the state constitution.

To the growing Christian nationalist movement, though, Roy Moore is a martyr, cut down by secular tyranny for daring to assert God's truth.


Thanks from The Rotting CryptkeeperTM

Monday, May 15, 2006

Poor Barney Frank. He voted against the wrong-headed Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, meant to stop the Westboro freaks from exercising their first Amendment rights to make asses out of themselves at the funerals of soldiers, and look at the thanks he gets from Fred Phelps and his band of homo-haters...



That should be good for a laugh in the congressman's office.

Hat tip, Good As You.


While Chimpy is talking about our porous southern border...

The bleating BS coming out of his mouth tonight is up here.

***

You have to wonder in the hell Dear Leader can say to defend the embarrassingly wide open conditions at the border with Canada, which are so bad that the Security-Guard-In-Chief needs to be fired for incompetence.

Read about this ludicrous situation, which aired on Anderson Cooper 360: 24 Hours on the Border. (CNN transcript):
COOPER: We're following "24 Hours on the Border." It's now late afternoon, and we take you to the northern border with Canada, some 5500 miles long, many parts of it unprotected.

CNN's Gary Tuchman shows us one border crossing where entering the U.S., legally or not, is no trouble at all.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's late afternoon, rush hour in many places. But not here. On this desolate roadway in the Canadian province of Manitoba where a monument separates Manitoba on the left from Minnesota on the right, a sign warns that you're about to arrive to the official U.S. border checkpoint. And then there it is -- the Jim's Corner Immigration Customs Reporting Station. Which looks like a shack and operates on the honor system.

Two sheriffs on the American side are not happy about it.

(On camera): What percentage of people in general do you believe check in there?

DALLAS BLOCK, SHERIFF, LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTY: I believe it's less than 30 percent. Maybe even far less than that.

TUCHMAN: When we entered Lake of the Woods County, Minnesota, from Canada, we went through the rather unorthodox process.
Folks, this is almost worse than having no system at all -- a f*cking videophone.
(On camera): Push the call, push the American flag.

Inside the shack, a videophone connected to a border agent 50 miles away. Hello, U.S. Customs. I'm at the Jim's Corner. My name is Gary Tuchman. I think you'll find I have a clean record.

The agent looks at you through the camera, and you look at the agent. What is your name?

OFFICER JOHNSON, BORDER AGENT: Officer Johnson.

TUCHMAN: Hello, Officer Johnson.

(Voice-over): Officer Johnson would have no way of knowing if people were just driving by the shack without stopping, which indeed often happens because many honorable people can't be bothered with the videophone that often doesn't work. (On camera): I'm going to hold you up my passport first. Can you see it?

JOHNSON: Okay.

TUCHMAN: That's me.

...(On camera): It is your professional opinion that terrorists have gone through Angle Inlet into the mainland United States?

[DALLAS BLOCK, SHERIFF, LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTY]: Yes, it is.


TUCHMAN: And that's through intelligence you have?

BLOCK: Yes. We have pretty accurate, pretty reliable intelligence that that has happened. I don't think Osama bin Laden's going to check in there, but. So you're really on your honor system.
I'm sitting here listening to the President's horrid speech on securing our southern border. Kate says "ping" every time he says any version of "security" in lieu of a drinking game.


The pulse of the fringe

From the latest WingNutDaily poll:

What do you most wish to hear from President Bush's speech tonight?



What, pray tell, is an "impenetrable barrier"? Is that some sort of industrial strength condom that we are going to wrap around the U.S.?

Hey, I'm up for that whole resignation thing -- someone needs to pump up that selection in the poll!

***

Speaking of WND and the fringe pop, Jon over at the Pensito Review found a little gem from an ape calling himself Vox Day, who describes himself as "a novelist and Christian libertarian" and "a member of the SFWA, Mensa and the Southern Baptist church."
If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn’t possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don’t speak English and are not integrated into American society.
Holy hell.


What?! Homos working in the Vatican?

[Hand covers mouth in disbelief...]

Someone better get Ratzi on the horn!
The Roman Catholic Church was in the midst of damage control on Sunday following the firing of a key aide to the Cardinal in London for being gay and the reported arrest of a top Vatican official in Rome for trying to pick up a gay or transsexual prostitute.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has reportedly fired his top aide after discovering the man is gay. The Mail reports that Stephen Noon's sexuality was discovered when his long-term partner visited him at his office.

..."Shortly afterwards the Church made it clear that his sexuality was incompatible with the job he had to do. Since he was the spokesperson for the Cardinal, Murphy-O'Connor clearly felt he had to act because homosexual acts are regarded by the Church as a sin," the friend was quoted as saying.
Ah, but it gets better...
...Meanwhile, in Rome, the Vatican is vehemently denying published reports that a senior Church official had been arrested while looking for a male or a transsexual prostitute in an area of the city know for its hustlers.

The Ansa news agency and Italian newspapers report that the 48-year-old priest - whose rank was withheld and who was identified only by the initials CB - works in the office of the secretary of state of the Vatican.


Underground Jesus



Via Shakes Sis, yet another Jesus in NatureTM sighting -- the root of a dead ten-year-old asparagus plant in the U.K. How long before it's up on eBay?

I went to the original story and it included some of the other "sightings":
1978: Maria Rubio made a burnt tortilla, which resembled the mournful face of Jesus Christ. 8,000 curious pilgrims treked to her house in rural New Mexico to view the sacred icon.

1981: Christ appears, crucified on a garage door in California, caused by reflections from two street lights that had merged with shadows of a bush and a real-estate sign.

1987: Jesus appears on the chimney of a suburban bowling alley in Chicago. The four-foot image is formed from rusting metal.

1989: Thousands flocked to a home in north-east Harris County, Texas, to view a linoleum table top reflecting the image of Jesus.

1991: Jesus made national news as the centerpiece of a Pizza Hut billboard in Atlanta. The image of Jesus' face was found in strands of spaghetti hanging from a fork.


Journalists under the White House microscope

The headline says it all:

Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling.

The Bush thugs are doing the equivalent of breaking news outlet kneecaps to try to find out who the leakers and "sources" are. Might they try eliminating the corruption in the White House ranks instead?

Oh wait -- that would clear out the offices, right? From the network's Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross and Richard Esposito:
A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.
This rotten-to-the-core administration has decided it's just fine and dandy torch the Constitution, rendering civil liberties meaningless if it gets in the way of absolute power -- and no one seems to be paying attention, and in fact, the true believers are happy to roll over for Dear Leader.

Hat tip, Raw Story.


SLDN to appeal district court dismissal of DADT challenge

You saw it here first, if you caught my live-blogging of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) annual dinner on Saturday (check out the post for pictures, audio and video).

The organization will appeal the court decision that dismissed the challenge of DADT's constitutionality. From today's release on the matter: (US Newswire):

The organization announced the appeal during its annual fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., on May 13. The suit was filed in December 2004 on behalf of lesbian and gay veterans of the war on terror who were discharged under the military’s ban. In April, the District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed the lawsuit, granting a motion to dismiss brought by the federal government.

“SLDN intends to appeal the recent court decision granting the government’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.,” SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn said. “The men and women in SLDN’s lawsuit are among the best and brightest America has to offer. They have diligently fought for the right to serve our country and defend our ideals. All of us at SLDN are enormously proud of their determination and we work to honor them every day.


But will the conservatives really stay home?

Dobson and his Arlington Group friends are ratcheting up the heat on the administration but reading this, it sounds like a lot of hot air. It's probably wishful thinking, but one can dream that fundie voters would just sit out the midterm elections, reading the hysteria below (NYT):
Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion.

"There is a growing feeling among conservatives that the only way to cure the problem is for Republicans to lose the Congressional elections this fall," said Richard Viguerie, a conservative direct-mail pioneer.

Mr. Viguerie also cited dissatisfaction with government spending, the war in Iraq and the immigration-policy debate, which Mr. Bush is scheduled to address in a televised speech on Monday night.

"I can't tell you how much anger there is at the Republican leadership," Mr. Viguerie said. "I have never seen anything like it."

In the last several weeks, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential Christian conservatives, has publicly accused Republican leaders of betraying the social conservatives who helped elect them in 2004. He has also warned in private meetings with about a dozen of the top Republicans in Washington that he may turn critic this fall unless the party delivers on conservative goals.
Wait, what kind ot threat is this? Daddy Dobson's been mighty critical all along the way, with a giant burr up his butt over these issues. According to the article, the main reason for his wrath, particularly toward the GOP-controlled House, was the passage of the hate-crime bill which would extend protections to gays, and growing support for embryonic stem cell research. Those are the folks up for re-election, and he's trying to do a little pre-emptive spanking.
"There's just very, very little to show for what has happened," Dr. Dobson said, "and I think there's going to be some trouble down the road if they don't get on the ball."
So, what on earth is his plan to punish those who do not bow down and kiss his feet? He doesn't say anything here. More hot air.

The real bit of interesting business here is that the fiscal conservative wing, also represented in the article by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who attended the Council for National Policy meeting that was held this past weekend, is publicly slapping the fundies down, saying the continual bleating about same-sex marriage isn't helping their cause -- it's clear the voters don't see "marriage protection" as an important issue, given the way the public feels Dear Leader and the Hill are otherwise deep-sixing the country.
"If the Republicans do poorly in 2006," Mr. Norquist said, "the establishment will explain that it was because Bush was too conservative, specifically on social and cultural issues."

Dr. Dobson declined to comment. His spokesman, Paul Hetrick, said that Dr. Dobson was "on a fact-finding trip to see where Republicans are regarding the issues that concern values voters most, especially the Marriage Protection Act," and that it was too soon to tell the results.
What facts will Daddy D find? And if he doesn't like what he finds, will he actually ask voters to stay home? This just sounds like fundamentalist dick-wagging to keep his name in the papers and the coffers of fundie orgs filling with dough from the true believers.

I had to go over to the slime pit for reactions...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Reasonable people know JUDGES are what matter on family issues. Would people rather have Nancy Pelosi nominate judges?

I predict that within a few weeks we will be seeing MANY posts that say: The GOP has been in control for years and Abortion is still legal and we still don't have a gay marriage amendment and the obscenity on TV and in movies is STILL not under control. Why bother with the people...they are nothing but Democrats in Republican clothing.

And still others will point out that Howard Dean says that Dems support Marriage as being between a man and a woman...and Hillary is going to build that wall! It's coming.

I sympathize with your perspective...and I agree to a point..yes having a democratic leadership in congress would be a disaster for conservative values. However, republicans can not continue to be ineffective moderate conservatives in name only and expect to continuously have the support of conservative voters. Conservatives are NOT liberals. They will not support blindly indefinately a party that continuously fails to deliver on their agenda items. Whetehr certain party memebers like it or not. This is a reality of te politics of the right. You can not continue to be ineffectual at advancing conservative agenda and expect the base to support you indefinately. Ther have been some very real betrayals of conservative values by the republiucan leadership..eventually the chickens come home to roost and the piper must be paid.

Ummm most of these "Christians" favor illegal immigration and fighting global warming.

But, but, but ........ The First Lady said today on Fox News Sunday, regarding the Gay Marriage Ban that, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."

I agree judges are a huge issue and Bush's picks of Roberts and Alito are stellar. However, the Senate has been remiss in confirming appellate and circuit court judges. The anti-gay marriage referenda helped motivate conservative turn out in 2004. Yet the republican senate is useless on that issue. I believe immigration "reform" and drunken deficit spending has chapped conservative hides and their tolerance of business as usual by the professional politicos is pretty much over. It feels a bit like 1992 when many a conservative issued a big eff you to George the 1st and voted for Perot. Hope Bush and the Republican congress wake up and get with the program.

Ok, here they go...throwing another division into the mix in an attempt to further divide conservatives and suppress voter turnout. Dobson and Viguerie are NEVER happy. Ever. Picking up their ball and going home is what they do, every two years, at about this time. You can set your watch by them.

I'm really sick of this out and out blackmail.

With respect to judges, affirmative action is inevitably toast given the current make up of the supreme court. Roe v Wade is one judicial appointment away from being overturned. Electing someone like Hillary in 2008, or putting dolts like Conyers and Kerry in charge of all of the committees will undo all of the hard work we've done over the last few years. Can conservatives be this stupid? Perot gave us eight years of Clinton, morons!

Yep social conservatives only real issues are guns,abortion and a strange obsession with queers. W has delivered with his picks for the SCOTUS. ut has dropped the ball on day to day governance. Entitlements...spending ...tax reform...tort reform...energy ...the ability to articulate a conservative agenda. Social conservatives only give lip service to these vital issues. You have to pass their litmus test first. Time for Rudy and let a conservative SCOTUS court do their job.

This is de riguer for Dobson and Viguerie. They make their living bitching.

So they think the cure is to elect Democrats and then they will get abortion overturned, stop gay marriage and remove all obsenities????? Yes, this is the solution. Unbelievable.

Ultimatums are rarely effective. Constant pressure and voicing dissatisfation through the appropriate avenues generally are more effective. I can't say that I'm happy on the immigration issue, on spending, on the plan after Iraq, or on the gay marriage issue. That said, it's a matter of perspective. There is a lunacy is self-flagellation or spitting at those who might best represent your interests--or at least keep those who would work directly against them out of power.

This is politics, Howlin. This is how social conservatives forced Bush to stand down from the Miers fiasco and to appoint a genuinely capable conservative SCOTUS justice. We'll push just as hard this time around on these other socially conservative issues. I suspect you're unpappy for the same reason sinkspur and Black Irish are unhappy. You're social liberals.

If you throw this election to the Democrats, don't show up here on January 22nd, 2009 whining about abortions for everybody, open borders, spending more money than you can ever imagine, gay marriages and any other nightmare scenario you can think of. Oh, and don't come whining about how your vote doesn't count because there is no more Electoral College. Dimbulbs, the lot of you.

Effective politics means bringing pressure to bear in exactly the way Viguerie and Dobson are doing here. You're complaining because you fear the pressure might prove effective. I hope your fears prove well founded.
Hat tips, Holly and Paul.


Laura to Karl: no gay-baiting in midterm election

Sunday, May 14, 2006

CHRIS WALLACE: If I may press my question, what do you think of the constitutional amendment and the idea of using it as a campaign tool?

BUSH: Well, I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously. But I do think it's something that people in the United States want to debate. And it requires a lot of sensitivity to talk about the issue, a lot of sensitivity."

People, I have found, over the country don't want the governor of Massachusetts or the mayor of San Francisco to make the choice for them — the courts of Massachusetts, I should say. So I think it deserves debate. I think it's something that people want to talk about.
-- Laura Bush, on Faux News Sunday
Uh oh, she's speaking out, which means there's a bit of discord in the White House bedroom (not that one envisions much going on anyway, right?). The question is, who does Dear Leader really listen to, Daddy Karl or "Mommy" Laura?

Bill Frist also opens his piehole, completely pandering to the right wing whack jobs, of course, explaining what he would say to Dark Lord Cheney, who opposes the amendment only because he's the father of a lesbian fish-wrap creator, er, author. (365gay.com):
I basically say, Mr. Vice President, right now marriage is under attack in this country," Frist said on CNN. "And we've seen activist judges overturning state by state law, where state legislatures have passed laws defining marriage between a man and a woman, and that's being overturned by a handful of activist judges around the country. And that is why we need an amendment to come to the floor of the United States Senate to define marriage as that union between one man and one woman."
[In my bleary-eyed state yesterday, I copied the wrong quote from Laura, which is now above, from the FNS transcript.]


Happy Mother's Day

I forgot to make note of this day in this space, but I feel mom knows I care.

Here's a link to Litbrit's pad, The Last Duchess, where she discusses the Mothers' Peace Day Observance back in 1872.

Amanda Panda also has a few words to say.



On the Sunday Blend bookshelf

Ah, it's good to be home. Just got back from DC about 2 hours ago and I have a LOT of transcribing to do from my interviews at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's 14th Annual National Dinner last night. I'll post them as I complete them.

Check out my live-blogging of the event, which features photos and audio/video clips from the dinner.

Many thanks to the interviewees -- Dixon Osburn, the executive director of SLDN, Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.) the event's keynote speaker, and former Marine Corps Sergeant Brian Fricke -- all spent 20 minutes or more with me just before the dinner.

***



I'm always in the midst of a few books at once. Here are some that landed on my desk that are worth a peek that are in my queue:


Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, by Eric Boehlert. (Free Press, $25.00, hardcover). A must-read. We all know the press rolled for Bush all throughout this administration. They know it too -- look at the stony reception Stephen Colbert received at the White House Correspondent Dinner, for god's sake. Boehlert punctures the idea of liberal bias in the media and looks at the real problem -- coziness inside the Beltway, laziness, and the inability to ask the tough questions until this presidency was in full lying meltdown spin regarding Iraq. Case in point where the media was MIA, the Downing Street Memo, which proved Bush's plan to invade was a done deal. CNN was more interested in Natalee Holloway:
Even after Blair and Bush were quizzed about the memo at a Washington, DC press briefing on June 7, CNN continued with its allergic reaction to the touchy story. From the time the memo was published in London until June 10, the news network had aired approximately 90 hours of programming in the United States, during which time the Downing Street Memo was mentioned 13 times. By contrast, when word got out that a young American woman vacationing in Aruba had gone missing, it was all hands on deck at CNN. During just one seven-day stretch in June 2005, CNN anchors, reporters and guests mentioned "Aruba" more than 190 times.

Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, by Tab Hunter, with Eddie Muller. (Algonquin, $24.95, cloth). Younger generations know him from John Waters' Polyester and Paul Bartel's Lust in the Dust, but Tab Hunter is one of the last of the Hollywood Golden Era creations, a completely studio packaged, trained, shaped and marketed "star" expected to live a life in the closet (see my earlier post on Mr. Hunter here). I'm enjoying this book, which has plenty of classy dishing (including a relationship with Tony Perkins -- of Psycho, not of the Family Research Council, lol), and there are plenty of satisfying pictures from the glory days interspersed in the bio.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel. (Houghton-Mifflin, out in June, $19.95). This is the autobiography of Bechdel, the creator of the long-running strip, Dykes to Watch Out For. And yes, it's done in comic strip form. It's full of the humor and irreverence you'd expect, even in its dark moments, including a complicated relationship with her closeted gay father, an English teacher and owner of the local funeral parlor. Bechdel on creating Fun Home:
"When I was twenty, a year after my father died, I was looking through some old family photographs and found one of a young man, a student of my father's, in his underwear. Finding this visual evidence of my father's secret life was like being handed the key to a cryptogram."
The K Street Gang: The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine, by Matthew Continetti. (Doubleday, $24.95, cloth). Haven't cracked this yet, but it looks like a good one -- an exposure of the underbelly of lobbying and the ins and outs of the "Casino Jack" Abramoff scandal and the major players swept up in the maelstrom -- Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay (of course) and all sleazebags trolling around the corridors of power.

The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, by Jonathan Alter. (Simon & Schuster, $29.95, cloth). Newsweek's Alter reminds us about a time in this country's history when leadership was sorely needed -- the Depression -- and what FDR did to bring America back from the brink of disaster. (As opposed to the current occupant of the White House, who seems hell-bent on taking us over the edge into the abyss of disaster). FDR's first 100 days was a much as political theater and maneuvering as it was a call to action. I'm in the first chapter of this one; Alter spends time describing the early life of FDR, the formative years that illustrate the self-confidence and security his family gave him that would later translate into his leadership style in office.


And last but not least -- get blogger Glenn Greenwald's How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok.


Army spooked by gritty HBO documentary

As if public opinion of how poorly things are going in Iraq can get any worse, it's back to "blame the messenger" over at the Pentagon. (Raw Story):
The Army is backing away from an HBO war documentary called Baghdad E.R. due to fears that it may demoralize troops and "negatively affect public opinion about the war," according to a story in the New York Times, RAW STORY has found.
One has to wonder, what did the Army officials think filmmakers would capture when following the goings-on at a combat hospital -- fun and games?

A snippet from the NYT article:
...High-ranking military officers, including Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, who is the Army chief of staff, and Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, the surgeon general of the Army, had been expected to attend the screening but now will not, people involved in preparations for the event said.

The documentary, titled "Baghdad E.R.," chronicles two months at the 86th Combat Support Hospital, where filmmakers were given broad access to follow doctors, nurses, medics and others as they treated soldiers wounded by roadside bombs and in combat. As one nurse, Spc. Saidet Lanier, says in the film: "This is hard-core, raw, uncut trauma. Day after day, every day."


Welcome to the SLDN's 14th Annual National Dinner live-blogging event

Saturday, May 13, 2006



I'm coming to you live from the Renaissance Washington Hotel, tapping out coverage of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's 14th Annual National Dinner.

SLDN's mission, as a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization, is dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and related forms of intolerance. Tonight the organization celebrates its successes, challenges and honors those who have made a significant impact over the last year in the fight to raise awareness of the contributions and importance of this country's gay and lesbian service members, and who have played a role in the mission to repeal DADT.

I'll be updating you on the goings-on, as well as posting short interviews and commentary about SLDN and the speakers and honorees tonight.


Speaking tonight: Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the highest ranking female officer in Army history, former Marine Corps Sergeant and Iraq veteran Brian Robert Fricke.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), receives SLDN's Randy Shilts Visibility Award for her work to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (via video).


And we'll be entertained this evening by the group BETTY (of The L Word theme fame).

***

This will be the largest gathering so far for this annual event - Rebecca Sawyer, communications officer for SLDN says about 700 will be in attendance, including current and former servicemembers, some out of the closet and others, out of necessity who are still serving "in silence."

One truth of about the reality of life under DADT that is little discussed, is that many are serving openly, with their commanding officers fully supportive of them. After interviewing Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, former Marine Corps Sergeant Brian Fricke, and Dixon Osburn, SLDN's executive director earlier today (I'll be doing a lot of transcribing and will post those interviews later), it's clear that it's the civilian leadership by far that is the obstacle to change. The administration is not listening to the change that is going on from within.

Time markers below are approximate.

7:15 The room is buzzing now, as it is filling with people ready to take it all in.

Things are about to kick off with the color guard and the singing of the national anthem by Bleu Copas, a trained Army linguist who was discharged under DADT.

And I get to munch on a bit of salad before settling in to record the action...

***


7:30 BETTY has now taken the stage with a rowdy version of the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. You can hear more at the BETTY myspace site, and the band's main web site, Hello BETTY.


From earlier in the evening -- I promised wifey Kate that I'd come home with a pic taken with BETTY.

7:35 The program opens with a welcome from National Dinner Steering Committee Co-Chairs David Crane and Capt. Joan Darrah, USN (Ret.)

7:45 Dixon Osburn, the executive director of SLDN, gives a few good jabs at the Pentagon in his speech for its surveillance of a kiss-in against DADT as an act of terrorism. There are one million gay veterans. Think about that...and two service members are discharged every day. Oh, he just told a great job about all the queers working at the Pentagon "have you looked at who in the gym?!"

He reads from Maya Angelou's Still I Rise..."still, like air I rise," referring to all the servicemembers who refuse to back down, and are fighting for their right to serve openly. The 65,000 LGBT members serving are indeed equals to their straight colleagues. He outlines the risks to those who serve and that for many, SLDN is their only lifeline to surviving under this policy. Over 950 calls have been taken, individuals helped.

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, with 115 sponsors, is a strong piece of legislation that Osburn feels has an fighting chance.

He announced, for the first time publicly, that the recent SLDN DADT constitutionality case that was dismissed will be appealed. That brought a standing ovation.

***

7:55 Board co-chairs Joe Tom Easley and Amy Courter thank the hardworking staff of SLDN is recognized for all their hard work putting on this dinner as well as for all of their efforts during the year.

8:00 They introduce the video of Randy Shilts Award recipient Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who is a co-sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. Ros-Lehtinen recounts the story of her husband, who was injured in Vietnam and was cared for by nurses -- some of whom might have been gay -- would their orientation have made a difference in the care he received? No. That's why Ros-Lehtinen is working to bring an end to DADT.

Note that she is one of the few Republicans signed on to this bill.

***

8:10 Dinner break...I pick the chicken. As I wait, guess who shows up:



Mike Rogers (R) of BlogActive and PageOneQ stopped in to say hi. He's with Rebecca Sawyer and Steve Ralls, communications director for SLDN.

***



8:40 BETTY returned to the stage and performed a couple of songs, including the theme to The L Word. Click the image for a video clip. (Thanks, Mike!)

***


From earlier in the evening during our interview.

8:50 Former Marine Corps Sergeant Brian Fricke is speaking. Brian Fricke served for five years under DADT, entering at 19 years old. Like many gays and lesbians who enter the service, he suppressed his own coming out process to himself in order to serve his country. Fricke spent eight months on duty in Iraq, but over time came to the realization that maintaining a secret life to remain in the Marines was too big a price to pay. While Fricke was not ensnared in a DADT dragnet, he speaks with many servicemembers who are concerned about being discharge, in his role as a volunteer for SLDN. You can read more about Brian Fricke's journey here.



I'll have an in-depth interview with Brian later.

Here is a short clip from his speech tonight (WAV file).


***

9:00 Brigadier General Pat Foote (Ret.) is introducing General Kennedy. Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy, USA (Ret.) is the highest ranking female officer in Army history as well as the highest-ranking military official to speak at SLDN's annual gathering.

She is a recognized authority on women in the armed forces and military intelligence; the three-star general has also served as an on-air consultant for NBC News, and appeared on 20/20, CNN Larry King Live and MSNBC. She is the author of Generally Speaking, which covers her career, which spanned from 1969-2000. You can read an excellent profile of General Kennedy by Deb Price in the Detroit News.


9:02 Kennedy takes the stage. Army values expected of service members are loyalty, duty, selfless service, mutual respect, integrity and personal courage, and she wants the Army itself to live up to those values. She asks which of those values that are directly correlated to sexual orientation? None, which is precisely the issue.

It's a moving and at times really amusing speech; she's inspiring.

***

9:10 A Moment to Honor Fallen Comrades is delivered by honorary SLDN board member Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Vincent W. Patton III, USCG (Ret.). He makes a direct comparison to the importance of the integration of the armed forces to the prospective lifting of DADT.

***



9:25 The closing song of the evening, You Raise Me Up, is performed by Bleu Copas, and the LGBT Color Guard presents again.

***

This evening I also had the pleasure of meeting several other veterans who served under DADT, the brave plaintiffs involved in the constitutional DADT challenge case, and those whose service in the closet predated the Clinton-era policy travesty.

Many thanks to all of the good folks at SLDN who were very accommodating for this experimental live blogging event -- no technical glitches! And a big thanks to Mike for his drop-in, because he was able to snare some of these shots while I tapped away during the evening.

10:15 Mike also kindly walked me back to my hotel, as we discussed the events of the evening and what an impact SLDN has made in terms of outreach and growth. It's a great organization.

If you'd like to support the work of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, you can donate here.


Open thread

Landed in DC about an hour ago, and I managed to check in early to dump my bags and put one post up. I plan to get to the SLDN event around 5 to set up for the live blogging tonight, which begins at 7.

What is going on in the world? Blogwhore and leave some links...


History, cracker-style

What century are we in? This is out of Columbia, SC -- a high school teacher with a very interesting retro perspective on race. And by the way, these utterings were captured on video. (WLTX):
"These sorts of things are going to upset people, but the truth can be very upsetting," said Brookland-Cayce High School teacher Winston McCuen.

That truth, at least according to McCuen, is that black people are inferior to whites.

"Intellectually, yes they are," said McCuen. "This has been confirmed over and over, and this is a generalization. Again, there are some blacks who are more intelligent than individual whites. But as a rule, that is true. I-Q tests prove it over, and over and over."

News19's J.R. Berry asked McCuen, "Do you think slavery in America was a good thing? "Yes," said McCuen. "In America there was a rational assessment saying listen, if we give these people freedom right as they are and you have to go back to see how they were, you can't assume they were like us.

J.R. asked, "How were they?" "They were coming out of the jungles," said McCuen. "They had been enslaving each other for centuries in Africa, and in terms of being used to rule of law, they knew none of that."
And to think, Tony Snow said racism is rapidly becoming an ugly memory.


Blinded by lack of science

The mind-boggling, anti-science freakshows proudly keep coming out of the woodwork...
A Christian author and biblical apologist is dismissing a Vatican astronomer's claim that six-day creationists are embracing a form of "pagan superstition." Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno recently told The Scotsman newspaper that creationism is a "kind of paganism" akin to the idea of "nature gods," who pagans believed were responsible for things like thunder and lightning.

Dr. Ron Carlson is the founder and president of Christian Ministries International and a frequent speaker at Worldview Weekend conferences. Carlson says Consolmagno's comments are not surprising considering that, for a century, the Catholic Church has taught that evolution is how God created the world over millions of years -- a stance affirmed by the pope last year. Referring to the Vatican astronomer, the Christian apologist says he is "always fascinated" by people who were not present at the time of creation, yet "have the arrogance to think that they know more than the infinite, eternal Creator who was at creation and Who tells us very clearly that in six days He made the world and everything that was in it."

Carlson contends that Consalmagno, who works in the Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican Meteorite collection in Italy, embraces naturalistic evolution -- and that examples of paganism and superstition can be seen at the Vatican itself. "All that you have to do is read the new Catholic catechism, [which] says Christ's death was not sufficient to forgive us of our sins -- that everyone will go to purgatory to purge themselves of sin," he states. Carlson also says he recently saw a Jesuit scholar on the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network declare "it is a dangerous thing to go to Bible studies where they use only the Bible."
It's interesting to see a return to the glory days of fundie Catholic bashing; they've been bed buddies of late over birth control, abortion and homos, but as you can see, that's not enough for some of these bible-beaters to jump the broom with them.


John Gibson calls for white breeding ASAP

This may be the first time I've heard of the fair and balanced channel call for more f*cking. Only I'm pretty sure, based on the transcript, only whites are invited to party on -- and it has to be procreative -- because, according to John Gibson, the U.S. will be overrun by the "brown menace."

The Faux News host bleated this insanity... (Media Matters):
On the May 11 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson advised viewers during the "My Word" segment of his program to "[d]o your duty. Make more babies." He then cited a May 10 article, which reported that nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: "By far, the greatest number [of children under five] are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic." Gibson later claimed: "To put it bluntly, we need more babies." Then, referring to Russia's projected decline in population, Gibson claimed: "So far, we are doing our part here in America but Hispanics can't carry the whole load. The rest of you, get busy. Make babies, or put another way -- a slogan for our times: 'procreation not recreation'."
First Michael Savage, now this boob. These folks are scary.


Michael Savage is a sick bastard

Sheila Kuehl... is one of the chief reasons you must never elect an overt, pushy lesbian or homosexual to any office. They are obsessed with their sexuality. They will only think of their sexuality. They will only work for their sexual ends. They will not think about national security. They will only think of gay security, gay security, gay security, gay security, gay propaganda, gay propaganda, gay security, gay security. And that is why, in the past, when this country was more sane, homosexuals were not hired by the State Department, nor by the Defense Department. It was well-known what would happen.
-- lowlife Michael Savage, going for broke on his radio show.
And that's just what he said about homos. Latinos and Jews got a nice bashing as well for good measure. What a guy. (Media Matters):
Discussing the immigration debate on May 10, Savage stated that "our brown brethren, who are so nationalistic and so anti-gringo and anti-Anglo," are not "as enlightened as the European-American." Warning that "the European-American, or the white person, is being erased from America's future," Savage doubted that "minorities, when they take over the country, will be quite as benevolent and as enlightened as the European-Americans today."

...Later in the May 11 broadcast, Savage smeared Albright for wanting to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Savage referred to Albright as "a woman who not only was distasteful physically, but is distasteful mentally." He then added: "This hag, this hack, this brisket maker has the audacity to say that we should have a dialogue with the Hitler of our time. Coming from that hag who happens to be Jewish is a triple disgrace."
Tonight, according to a commenter in another thread, he was at it again, saying "homosexuals" are "filthy vermin." He's got a first amendment right to say whatever the hell he wants, but he doesn't have to get paid for doing so -- why does this man have any sponsors for his show when he bleats out filth like this? What company would want to be affiliated with this man's rantings?

You can listen to this bullsh*t here. Media Matters has corporate contact info, including Talk Radio Network.

I don't have a current advertiser list, but I hope someone gets one together.


Karl tells the Bushies that he's going down

Friday, May 12, 2006

Please god, let it be true. Hat tip to Ms. Julien, who points to Truthout for this:
Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources confirmed Rove's indictment is imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove's situation. A spokesman in the White House press office said they would not comment on "wildly speculative rumors."

...Rove's announcement to President Bush and Bolten comes more than a month after he alerted the new chief of staff to a meeting his attorney had with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in which Fitzgerald told Luskin that his case against Rove would soon be coming to a close and that he was leaning toward charging Rove with perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators, according to sources close to the investigation.
So (looking at watch), when does the Iran bombing campaign begin?


Subtle politics in Alabama

"I am what the propagandists call a Holocaust denier, but I do not deny mass deaths that included some Jews. There was no systematic extermination of Jews. There's no evidence of that at all.

"It's time to stop pushing down the white man. We've been discriminated against too long."
-- the wisdumb of Larry Darby, the Dem candidate for Alabama state attorney general
I agree with Kathy @ Birmingham Blues -- did the Alabama Dem Party have no idea about the little "problem" with Darby? It doesn't sound like he is even remotely trying to fly under the radar with his views. (AL.com):
A Democratic candidate for attorney general denies the Holocaust occurred and said Friday he will speak this weekend to a "pro-white" organization that is widely viewed as being racist.

Larry Darby concedes his views are radical, but he said they should help him win wide support among Alabama voters as he tries to "reawaken white racial awareness" with his campaign against Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson.

The state Democratic chairman, Joe Turnham, said the party became aware of some of Darby's views only days ago and was considering what to do about his candidacy.
Did I mention that he's polling at 12% in the race as of last month? I'm wondering whether that number will go up or down after this dustup in some circles, but Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson, his opponent in the Dem primary, must be pleased about all of this blowing up.
Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press, Darby said he believes no more than 140,000 Jewish people died in Europe during World War II, and most of them succumbed to typhus.

Historians say about 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, but Darby said the figure is a false claim of the "Holocaust industry."

...Darby said he will speak Saturday near Newark, N.J., at a meeting of National Vanguard, which bills itself as an advocate for the white race. Some of his campaign materials are posted on the group's Internet site.

..."I am astonished as anyone has ever been that anyone is running for public office in Alabama on that platform," said Tyson. "I do not take him as a serious candidate."


Army recruiter: 'Send me those patriotic gays'

Oops. Remember when all those gay foreign language translators were discharged from the Army under DADT? Twenty Arabic and six Farsi specialists were booted between 1998 and 2004.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network passed on some interesting emails received recently that show some of the knobends doing the recruiting don't have a flipping idea that gays are banned from serving. Can you believe it? Read and weep with laughter...
From: Chris J
To: sldn
Subject: RE: GoArmy.com

Hello SLDN,

I recently saw a pop up ad on the internet from the US Army, advertising for arabic translators.

I responded to the ad, (see very bottom of this email) with a "activist" comment, because I read that the military was firing gays, because of their homosexuality. I also read the military was firing arab speaking gays, at a time when we need these individuals! Anyway, some bozo from the military has actually replied, with a rather unprofessional email. (see below) I thought you'd like to see what he wrote. Perhaps you can educate him, or am I wrong about my facts?

Christopher
Detroit, MI
***

Here's what Chris posted from the GoArmy site:
From: chrisDTW (email address partially redacted)
Sent: Sunday, May 07, 2006 10:47 PM
To: GoArmy
Subject: GoArmy.com
Mailer: 109L
SOURCEBASE Code: 2089

Message:
You need arabic translators? I know MANY patriotic US citizens who are willing to serve the US military, to serve as translators. The problem is, that you keep DISCHARGING them because they are gay..! Get a grip and become a "modern" army like so many of our allies, and hire gays!!
***

And here's the response from the Army's "Arabic - Cyber Recruiter" -- he's ready to sign up the homos! Boy, didn't he receive the DADT memo? (contact info redacted)
What is your problem; you just heard crap about that. We didn't discharge anybody; it is all negative propaganda against army and also portraying Arabs as gay. Send those patriotic gay friend of yours to me I will be more than happy to put them in the Army.

Respectfully,
Zuber Ali Arif
Cyber Arabic Linguistic Specialist
http://www.goarmy.com
Well, that's INTERESTING, huh? Mike Rogers over at PageOneQ asked the Army for a comment on this bit of business and this was the response:
"The recruiter does not speak for the United States Army," Major Nathan Banks, an Army Spokesman said today in a conversation with PageOneQ. The emails from the recruiter were sent from his US military email account.
Well, if he's recruiting and responding from an military email account to an inquiry posted on the Army web site, it would suggest an official communication, you dunderhead. Steve Ralls of SLDN added this comment:
Bleu Copas, a trained linguist who was discharged from the Army because of his sexual orientation will be singing the national anthem at the SLDN's national dinner. "Bleu's story, and the stories of other Arabic speakers dismissed because of the military's ban, is not 'propaganda,' as Mr. Ali Arif suggest," Mr. Ralls said, "They are the stark, unfortunate truth of how our nation's armed forces treat gay Americans."
***



Just a reminder that I'll be live-blogging from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's 14th Annual National Dinner at the Renaissance Washington Hotel tomorrow night.


In the spotlight at the dinner are 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.


The event will also feature a live performance by BETTY (of The L Word theme fame). The group will be honored for "their longtime commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."

You can read about what I'll be doing at the SLDN web site and at its blog, The Frontlines.


Can non-gays/trans be "queer"?

In the 90+-comment thread for For drop-kicks anti-gay shareholder proposal post below, we got into an interesting discussion about the use of the term "queer" that I felt should be promoted to the front page.

Holly Capote got the ball rolling with this note:
I agree with Callie that queer could apply to everyone. I have straight artist friends that consider themselves queer, not by dint of sexuality, but by reason of clear difference...and outsider status. I don't mind a bit. It's nice to have more pals in the queer pool.
Which brought the following response from Sarah in Chicago, who commented:
oh, and as to 'queer', I personally I tend to restrict it to sexuality and gender nonconformities ... while fluidity and non-static is at the core of the identity, to open it up to non-trans heterosexuals? Nah, would lose meaning.

Straights can perform queerness, but they aren't queer themselves.
Now the context of this discussion had to do with the observation that in essence, we're all different in some way, but some differences are more prominent because of society's take on those differences. For example, some of us are blue-eyed, some brown, some green, but that's not a meaningful difference because society treats people of all eye colors the same.

I think I fall right between Sarah and Holly (oh, get your mind out of the gutter!) in that I think "queer" shouldn't be expanded to, say, multiply-pierced artists or tattooed dwarf amputees, because then "queer" becomes so broad as to lose its meaning. However, I do think "queer" applies to all "non-traditional" sexualities, not just gay, lesbian, or transgendered, but also polygamists, infantilists, BDSM enthusiasts, and foot fetishists.

My dear cyber-sister-wife Callie then expands the discussion to include "coming out":
Take for instance, the use of the term "coming out" that some Christians have applied to themselves (i.e. that they are "coming out" as Christians). Personally, I take offense to their use of that term by non-gay people. The odds are that when a Christian professes their faith that all of the bad things that can happen to a gay person for the same thing will happen to them, such as potentially losing family and friends, losing their job, losing their kids, etc. The reaction of society is just not the same.
Hmmm. How do you feel about us marijuana activists and our reference to "coming out" as an open cannabis consumer?

On one hand, I see how you'd like that reserved for gay folks, but on the other, we face loss of family, friends, job, kids, and perhaps even our freedom if we "come out".

In my view, there is so much in common between the gay rights movement and the marijuana legalization movement. We're both stereotyped minority groups. We both face discrimination in the workplace, the church, and the courtroom. People will vilify us for a choice of lifestyle, we both respond that our orientation is inborn. Neither of us make any progress by remaining closeted. We both try to change minds by being out and proud. We both have martyrs, leaders, national organizations, shared history, culture, and rituals.

I get lots of flack on this one. "You don't choose to be gay, but you do choose to smoke weed. You don't have to get high, but you do have to fulfill sexual drives," a gay activist once told me.

I responded, "ah, but you're missing the forest for the trees. It's not your homosexuality that is an inborn drive - it is your sexuality. Nearly all humans are sexual, but you choose to bed down with humans of the same sex to fulfill that drive. You are physically capable of bedding down with a woman, but that wouldn't fulfill your drive as completely as bedding down with a man. Boy-on-boy action works best for you, and you have every right to do so, even if society in general disapproves. You don't have to have orgasms, and you choose to smoke poles.

"Likewise, nearly all humans are born with an innate drive to seek pleasure and alter their consciousness. Some use beer, some use food, some use gambling, some like to bungee jump. I'm physically capable of doing any of those things, but they don't fulfill my drive as well as marijuana. That works best for me, and I have every right to do so, even if society in general disapproves."

Now, I'll grant that stoners don't face the violence and volume of scorn from society that homosexuals do, if you'll grant that there's no pee test to detect homosexuality and no prison terms for being caught in possession of gay porn. I never said the movements were identical, just similar.

So, I hope I don't offend you, because I'm going to continue to refer to myself as having "come out of the (cannabis) closet".


I.T.M.F.A.


With the approval ratings of Pretzeldunce Chimpy W. McFlightsuit (29%) dropping into the late-malaise/hostage-drama Jimmy Carter range (28% July '79) and bound for I-am-not-a-crook Richard Nixon levels (24% at resignation), the chorus of Americans calling for impeachment is beginning to resonate.

The picture above I copped from a blog called I.T.M.F.A. (Impeach the Motherf*cker Already!), which is selling ITMFA stickers and buttons and t-shirts. Some people are even getting it as a vanity license plate!

Of course, the Repug spin machine is trying a pre-emptive strike on the notion of impeachment by saying things like "the country doesn't want to get into an impeachment proceeding," trying to neuter the idea of impeachment by making it seem like the country would come apart during this critical time of war if we dared to, you know, follow the constitution and actually address high crimes and misdemeanors by the executive.

The Dems are taking the bait, too. When asked about the possibility of impeachment, should they retake the House or Senate or both, they'll whimper about "investigations", but stress how that doesn't necessarily mean impeachment.

The Rude Pundit, as he often does, hits the bullseye on what the Dems should do, but will likely not do, because, well, they're Dems:
Democrats need to embrace the politics of impeachment and make it a centerpiece of their national Congressional campaign. It's so simple: "If you don't want George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to be our leaders anymore, vote for Democrats."

Goddamn, isn't that breathtakingly direct? It makes Republicans have to either run scared or respond with something along the lines of "I don't want them impeached because I believe in the jobs that Bush and Cheney are doing," which, you know, almost two-thirds of the nation doesn't believe. Hell, at this point, more people disapprove of Bush and his administration than oppose gay marriage.
The Rude One even offers up the rhetorical device any Dem House or Senate candidate should be employing every time there is a microphone in their face:
For Democratic Congressional candidates, it's simple enough. (And if they're not doing the following already, they are missing out on a golden opportunity.) Choose any random Democrat running against a Republican. Let's say Lois Murphy, running against incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach in Pennsylvania's Sixth Districh. ...[I]n every ad that Murphy runs, every appearance that Murphy makes, she should make sure to mention how much Gerlach is beholden to Bush and Cheney. Hell, she should makes sure that she always says, "Jim Gerlach and George Bush believe..." And fill in the blank. That's the weight, man. Hell, with Gerlach and other House members, there's the added weight of Tom DeLay: "What Jim Gerlach, George Bush, and Tom DeLay did..." And who the f*ck's gonna vote for him? Someone who actually still supports Bush and DeLay? That's gettin' to be precious, precious few people, and we'd call them "bugf*ck insane."
Indeed. However, if past is prologue, then despite the logic and power of the burgeoning impeachment meme among the American electorate, I anticipate two sure things between now and November:

1) Democrats will run away from the impeachment meme because they'll still buy Karl Rove's bluff. They'll fear that impeachment talk makes them appear too "mean spirited". They'll fear (wrongly) that no one wants to revisit the impeachment debacle that was The Great Clinton Blowjob Investigation, even though I believe people would welcome an impeachment for legitimate reasons to soothe the retroactive guilt we feel for being fooled into allowing an impeachment for sordid personal political reasons. And the people, just itching to punish the Pretzeldunce for his lies, crimes, and bloodlust, will again see the Dems for the invertebrates they are and either stay home or vote Repug.

2) We'll be hip-deep in the invasion and bombing of Iran, which will go badly, perhaps even to the point of some of our Fifth Fleet being sunk in the Straits of Hormuz and the use of nukes by us in retaliation. Gas tops $8/gallon as we slip into the Dominionist's wet dream of the End Times Apocalypse and the people cling to our leadership out of fear (or, if not, martial law and suspension of elections). Impeachment will be a secondary concern to gathering your family and some food and water and getting the hell out of your city before it's dirty-bombed in retaliation. (Never before have I wished to be more wrong in a prediction.)

Six months to go until the election. What do you think?

[This would be crossposted at Radical Writ... but somehow my blog has just magically lost every single post and comment since March 15. Perhaps I was too hasty in abandoning Blogger...]


By the numbers

I enjoy reading the Durham-based Institute for Southern Studies' Facing South e-newsletter, a biweekly roundup of progressive Southern news and politics. It features the always-enlightening Institute Index, which compares and contrasts some interesting figures this go-round...
* Years since the minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) was last increased: 9

* Amount that Congress has raised member salaries since that time: $28,000

* Amount that minimum wage would be now if it had kept pace with inflation since 1968: $8.80/hour


* Income of Lee Raymond, CEO of ExxonMobile, in 2005: $33,538 an hour

* Number of parents with children that would benefit from an increase to $7.25 an hour: 1.8 million

* Percent of U.S. public that supports increasing the minimum wage to $7.15 an hour: 83%

* Percent of Republicans that support such an increase: 72%

* Number of Southern states that have or will likely increase their minimum wage this year: 3
You can read more great daily coverage of news, politics and activism affecting region over at the Institute's blog, also called Facing South.


The GOP corruption continues - Kentucky style

Anti-gay, dim-bulb Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher is in a heap of trouble.
After months of speculation and intrigue, a special grand jury investigating the state government’s hiring practices indicted Gov. Ernie Fletcher on three misdemeanor charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination.

...Although he said he had no plans to step down from office, Fletcher acknowledged the indictments were “a disappointment.”

“But it’s not going to let us take us off our game,” he added.
This is the same knobend that turned up in my post, Kentucky governor celebrates 'diversity day' by cutting gays from anti-bias law. In that case, Fletcher's ballsy move was to sign an executive order removing sexual orientation from the state's anti-discrimination laws because he was concerned that it included transgender protection -- because it would create a problem with bathroom accommodations.

The kicker is that he then gave a speech to students on Diversity Day, saying "It is our diversity that gives us strength."

If he goes to the slammer, he'll get a nice taste of a diversity if he's in gen pop.

Hat tips Holly and David


You gave Dear Leader permission to scoop up your phone records

That's the government's explanation for the National Security Agency obtaining call records of millions of citizens from AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. (WaPo):
One government lawyer who has participated in negotiations with telecommunications providers said the Bush administration has argued that a company can turn over its entire database of customer records -- and even the stored content of calls and e-mails -- because customers "have consented to that" when they establish accounts. The fine print of many telephone and Internet service contracts includes catchall provisions, the lawyer said, authorizing the company to disclose such records to protect public safety or national security, or in compliance with a lawful government request.

"It is within their terms of service because you have consented to that," the lawyer said. If the company also consents, "and they do it voluntarily, the U.S. government can accept it."
Let's see, is there any telephone company that doesn't have this little privacy escape clause? I dare say no. If that's the case, then consumers don't actually have a choice regarding consent unless the choice is not to have a phone.

Since Qwest was the one company that didn't bend over for the NSA, I'm sure its board is breathing a sigh of relief about this, over at Think Progress: Telcos Could Be Liable For Tens of Billions of Dollars For Illegally Turning Over Phone Records.

As Ms. Julien said in an email, "Guess your phone bill is going up."

Also: check out MadKane's limerick, We Have Bush's Number ... and He Has Ours -- plus a haiku.


Ford drop-kicks the anti-gay shareholder proposal

Thursday, May 11, 2006

95% of shareholders voted against it. Fundies, you lose big time on the PR front.
An attempt by a Ford shareholder to force the automaker to drop protections for LGBT workers from its human resources regulations was swiftly defeated on Thursday.

Shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Dearborn voted 95 percent to reject the proposal.

The motion had been submitted by shareholder Robert Hurley of Alton, Ill. Ford attempted to keep the issue off the agenda for today's meeting but Alton went to the Securities and Exchange Commission which ordered Ford to put it to a vote

The motion called for Ford to change its policy to exclude any reference to sexual interests, activities or orientation. Ford argued to the SEC that the proposal would hurt the company's ability to recruit and could hurt sales to gays and lesbians. The SEC rejected the argument.

Ford then issued a recommendation to shareholders to vote against the measure.
I trekked over to the dark side, Agape Press. Take a look at the reaction of a shareholder who favored the bigoted proposal.
Ford shareholder Tom Strobhar, who is a pro-family activist from Ohio, publicly read the proposed resolution and spoke in its favor. He outlined several reasons why he felt his fellow shareholders should pass the resolution.

"Ford is paying domestic partner benefits while cutting retirement benefits. Our company is closing plants while building gay and lesbian centers," he stated. In addition, he said, the company gives shareholder money -- which Strobhar described as "the fruit of all our employees' labor" -- to the largest homosexual organizations in the country. "These organizations use it to aggressively promote same-sex marriage. In addition, we advertise in publications whose primary focus is gay sex."
OK, now on to the hilarious pyrrhic victory quote of the day, from Don Wildmon:
Dr. Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association (AFA), says he is extremely pleased with the Ford shareholder vote. "The mere fact that five percent voted for this proposal came as a shock. I think it sends a loud message," says the AFA leader. "And we're very grateful that we got that five percent and that this issue can come back up again next year. We have a lot of time to work on it."
What a bigoted buffoon.

H/t, Kevin


Womb control bleating

This emergency contraception issue has the bible-beaters so bent out of shape, you can just visualize them foaming at the mouth over this.
A pro-life advocate says it is outrageous that a respected doctors' group is promoting a campaign to encourage use of a pill that causes abortions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is sponsoring the "Ask Me" campaign, which encourages women to get advance prescriptions for the "morning-after" pill so that the abortion-causing drug can be readily available when they have unprotected sex.

The theme of the campaign is "Accidents happen. Morning afters can be tough." An ACOG spokesman says the campaign is his group's way of "standing up for our patients." Dr. Iffath Hoskins says "one of our goals is to make awareness of [emergency contraception] so widespread that it's no longer a best-kept secret in medicine."

Jim Sedlak with American Life League says he cannot believe a group of medical doctors would support such irresponsible behavior. "We think it is absolutely irresponsible for this group of physicians to push products that work, according to the manufacturer, by preventing implantation, which means that they kill already created human beings in the womb," states Sedlak. "And also, these products have not been tested for their long-term health effects on the women and girls who take them. So it is just absolutely ridiculous that this kind of a campaign should be started." Sedlak says the campaign simply encourages promiscuity.


Dear Leader's keeping you safe



NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls.
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
You've probably heard about this fun news elsewhere, but here's a thread if you want to comment on your President's latest effort to ensure your safety in the Global War on Terror.

I love the little Q&A that is provided by USA Today. A snippet:
Q: Does the NSA's domestic program mean that my calling records have been secretly collected?
A: In all likelihood, yes. The NSA collected the records of billions of domestic calls. Those include calls from home phones and wireless phones.

Q: What was the NSA doing?
A: The NSA collected "call-detail" records. That's telephone industry lingo for the numbers being dialed. Phone customers' names, addresses and other personal information are not being collected as part of this program. The agency, however, has the means to assemble that sort of information, if it so chooses.

Q: Can I find out if my call records were collected?
A: No. The NSA's work is secret, and the agency won't publicly discuss its operations.

Q: Why did they do this?
A: The agency won't say officially. But sources say it was a way to identify, and monitor, people suspected of terrorist activities.

Q: But I'm not calling terrorists. Why do they need my calls?
A: By cross-checking a vast database of phone calling records, NSA experts can try to pick out patterns that help identify people involved in terrorism.

Q: Is this legal?
A: That will be a matter of debate. In the past, law enforcement officials had to obtain a court warrant before getting calling records. Telecommunications law assesses hefty fines on phone companies that violate customer privacy by divulging such records without warrants. But in discussing the eavesdropping program last December, Bush said he has the authority to order the NSA to get information without court warrants.
Entertaining, huh?


Polls in the sh*tter? Time for a military strike

Good god. Larisa at Raw Story has a breaking item about plans for a military strike on Iran that has Pentagon officials worried. Weep for this country. What is this sick man in the Oval Office doing?
Concern is building among the military and the intelligence community that the US may be preparing for a military strike on Iran, as military assets in key positions are approaching readiness, RAW STORY has learned.

...Intelligence sources confirm hearing the allegations of a June attack, but have been unable to fully confirm that such an attack is in the works. Both the New Yorker and the Washington Post have previously reported that the Pentagon is studying military options on Iran.

All sources, however, agree that given the administration’s interest in regime change, an attack on Iran is likely, regardless of international support or UN backing. Furthermore, all sources agree that [Retired Air Force Colonel and former faculty member at the National War College Sam] Gardiner’s scenario is the most probable, including an estimated duration and "pause" assessment.

...As previously reported by Raw Story, a terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) is being used on the ground in Iran by the Pentegon, bypassing US intelligence channels. The report was subsequently covered by the Asia Times (Article).

Military and intelligence sources now say no Presidential finding exists on MEK ops. Without a presidential finding, the operation circumvents the oversight of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.


Ratzi: gay love is 'weak'


Graphic by Mike Tidmus

Give me a f*cking break. Man, this old Prada-wearing fart. What's weak is a church with a morals-free leader who put his raping pedophile priests' welfare ahead of victims. Over and over.
Pope Benedict XVI denounced gay and civil unions, saying marriage between people of the same sex is "weak."

"Only the foundation of complete and irrevocable love between man and woman is capable of forming the basis of a society that becomes the home of all men," Benedict told a convention of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute today. The pope said "confusing marriage with other types of weak love" should be avoided.
Jerry at A Christian Voice for LGBT Rights has had it with the hypocrisy and sickness.
...the single-minded intensity and venom directed against LGBT people and their relationships, to the virtual exclusion of issues such as poverty and war, tells us more about the likely sexual dysfunctions and warping of many in the Vatican, including the Pope, than it tells us about anything else.


Donald Rumsfeld's hungry, depleted military

U.S. Marines go hungry. Jeezus H. Christ. Never mind the lack of body armor, the stop-loss efforts, these service members cannot even get three square meals a day in Dear Leader's military. The folks risking their lives for Dear Leader over there are begging for food.
So Nick Andoscia went to Iraq. And hunger soon followed.

"I got a letter," says Karen. "And he had called me before that. He said, 'Send lots of tuna.' "

Nick told his mother that he and the men in his unit were all about 10 pounds lighter in their first few weeks in Iraq. They were pulling 22-hour patrol shifts. They were getting two meals a day and they were not meals to remember.

"He told me the two meals just weren't cutting it. He said the Iraqi food was usually better. They were going to the Iraqis and basically saying, 'feed me.' "

Karen started packing in that wartime tradition as old as mothers and sons. She packed a lot of the packaged tuna, not the canned.

...The last thing he should have to worry about is an empty stomach. The last thing he should have to do is approach Iraqis and ask for food.
Why does Rummy still have a job? If this was a Dem Admin's Sec Def, his ass would have been scorched by the Right and he would have been out on his ass long ago. Oh wait, we wouldn't be in this flipping war, would we?

H/t, Shakes Sis

***

Meanwhile, you can't leave, either: Army Using Policy to Deny Reserve Officer Resignations. This is different from the stop-loss policy, which does not apply to officers.
The Army Reserve, taxed by recruiting shortfalls and war-zone duty, has adopted a policy barring officers from leaving the service if their field is undermanned or they have not been deployed to Iraq, to Afghanistan or for homeland defense missions.

The reserve has used the unpublicized policy, first adopted in 2004 and strengthened in a May 2005 memo signed by Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, its commander, to disapprove the resignations of at least 400 reserve officers, according to Army figures.

..."This is a dangerous precedent for the future of all officers. They are saying officer service is permanent," said Capt. Bradley Schwan, who served six years on active duty before joining the Army Reserve. He is suing Defense Department leaders to be allowed to resign, after being turned down twice. He is awaiting a ruling on a government motion to dismiss his case by a judge in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

...But Defense Department lawyers say that the federal law, including its use of the phrase "indefinite term," clearly gives the administration the authority to disapprove officer resignations. "The term 'indefinite' means what it says," they said in a filing in the Schwan case. "An indefinite term has no specific length, but is rather unlimited."
And remember, the recruiters are out there ready to sign up 45-year olds, people with autism, and those with backgrounds of "serious criminal misconduct" (that includes aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats) in their desperation for warm bodies.

H/t, Holly


Why do Freepers have a hard-on for John Edwards' hair?


Just asking. I know my former senator and 2004 VP candidate's a nice-looking guy, but to read the comments over at The Swamp, it really looks like John Edwards stirs up some serious man-loving feelings and hair envy in these knuckle draggers. It's unhealthy, I tell you.

This particular post is titled Edwards defends choice to mention Cheney's gay daughter in debate, about MC's appearance on Larry King where she slammed Edwards for his comments during a 2004 debate (he stands by what he said).
She said she mouthed an expletive after Edwards praised the Cheney family during the October 2004 debate for their willingness "to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter."

Edwards said Wednesday that he stood by the comments.

"What I did was express my respect and admiration for the way the Cheney family, along with millions of other families, have embraced members of their family, and if I remember the vice president was very gracious in reacting to that," Edwards said. "I think it was appropriate."
And then came the flow of Breck Girl comments...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

What a turd. Only a supreme coward would bring up sensative family issues of his political opponent in a forum where the opponent couldn't drag his ass outside and beat the breck out of him for insulting his dignity.

Looks like the "uber-tolerant" uber-liberal Breck Girl still doesnt have the decency to say: "I'm sorry." No surprise there.

Cheney called Edwards a "total slime" and argued that he tried to use her sexual orientation as a political tool against her father.

Bless her heart!

One of the first things mama taught me was, "Never trust an ambulance chaser. They are liars."

I know three people whose vote swung our way because of Edwards tasteless stunt in the Vice Presidential debate. Thank you Johnny.

The Breck Girl is so 2004. He didn't defend her then, and he isn't defending her now. His comment then was basically used to paint the VP into a corner, only Cheney handed Breck Girl's posterior to Breck Girl on a silver platter by answering the question directly and civilly. What business is it anyway of Breck Girl to meddle in the affairs of someone else's family?

Edwards is a metrosexual lightweight. It always interests me that the self named "party of tolerance" is actually more racist and homophobic than any other group I can think of.

A computer (a device that doesn't even recognize emotions) thought he was too feminine.

Only a supreme coward would bring up sensative family issues of his political opponent in a forum where the opponent couldn't drag his ass outside and beat the breck out of him for insulting his dignity. And after HE had instructed the press that he was NOT to be questioned about his son's death! If I ever see that little creep, I'm going to have some words with him.

I think Kerry and Edwards lost a lot of votes when they did this. Remember, Kerry did the same thing. They are both slimebags.

Pretty boy can explain it anyway he likes, but the bulk of Americans from all "sides" saw that cheap shot for exactly what it was.

There was a story a few weeks ago of this computer that determined through text only (speeches and debates from 2004) that Breck Girl and sKerry were too feminine, and that sKerry seemed depressed to the point of suicide. Bush on the other hand seemed smart, intelligent, manly and presidential, and Cheney as well was concluded by a mere piece of software to be exuding presidential and manly qualities. It was in the WaPo several weeks ago.

I wonder how Edward's family felt when they found out that he was gay.

I happen to have a live-and-let-live attitude about gays, but Kerry and Edwards' little "innocent remark" was such a BLATANT play to stir up anti-gay feeling that I often wonder, what do gays think of a candidate who would do that just to get votes?

Of course, black Americans have had to deal with this kind of things from the Democrats forever...as Mrs. Clinton would say, an' you KNOW what ahm talkin' about.
Related:
Catch Michael Jensen's comments over at The Big Gay Picture.


Howard Dean knows he stepped in it

His behind was torn up after that little appearance on Crazy Pat's show, folks.

Dean knew he was wrong, particularly when the NGLTF took the switch to him, and returned a $5,000 donation the org received from the DNC. The mea culpa, hot off the press... (US Newswire):
In a Christian Broadcasting Network interview aired on Wednesday, May 10, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said the following in response to a question about gay marriage:

"[On] gay marriage: the platform said marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is we believe in inclusion. That everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect and equal rights under the law are important. I'm not saying we'll agree with everything between the more conservative evangelicals and Democrats but I think there's more common ground and we're willing to work with the evangelical community." [CBN, 5/10/06]

Dean today issued the following statement:

"I misstated the Democratic Party's platform, which does not say that marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, but says the Party is committed to full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and leaves the issue to the states to decide. The Democratic Party remains committed to equal protection under the law for all Americans. How we achieve that goal continues to be the subject of a contentious debate, but our Party continues to oppose constitutional amendments that seek to short circuit the debate on how to achieve equality for all Americans."
Most of us have a serious problem with the Dems' "leave it to the states" tack, because the state amendment battles have been lost each and every time when they've gone to the ballot, with feeble vocal opposition and resources from the DNC to counter the endless bible-based diatribes about "protecting" marriage. Hiding behind the apron of leave it to the states has done real harm to gays and lesbians living in those Red states.

The party needs to put its money where its mouth is as several states vote this fall on amendments. The period between now and then will be telling as to whether there is any real commitment to "debate on how to achieve equality for all Americans," or simply more surface coddling to convince queer dollars to flow into DNC coffers. My wallet is shut tight.

The dude was on the 700 Club trolling for votes. Is this the new Dem outreach, when they have millions of other voters they could be reaching out to? The fundies will not vote Dem, Howard -- the only folks watching the 700 Club are the looniest of the fringe.

Shakes Sis also has commentary.

***

UPDATE: As Blender Sarah in Chicago noted, HRC was slow on the uptake, but finally released a statement and they are adding to Dean's misery.
'Governor Dean’s comments weren't a mere slip of the tongue but a glaring reminder of the governor's lack of leadership on this issue,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

Solmonese continued, "While Governor Dean's clarification of the Democratic platform's inclusive message is a step in the right direction, it's imperative that the Democratic National Committee and Governor Dean himself continue on that path in a clear and unequivocal way. We join fellow gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender leaders in concern over a troubling series of missteps that fail to convey Governor Dean's and the DNC's commitment to equality."
Ouch. Now if HRC can learn to actually keep the heat on the party -- out front and not in reactive, supplicant mode.


Onward 'Christian' pervs...

How about this youth minister in Arkansas? The avalanche of hypocrisy out there by these so-called religious "values voters" is astonishing. I cannot possibly keep up with it all. Blender Konagod passed this one on, from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Joseph G. Stevens, 33, was charged Monday in Bradley County Circuit Court with attempted first-degree sexual assault and Internet stalking of a child. Authorities say Stevens, a youth minister at the First United Methodist Church in Warren, used instant messaging to arrange a sexual encounter with a teenage girl under the age of 16. He was arrested Friday at his home. Authorities later seized a laptop from the church office and sent it to the State Crime Laboratory for analysis, Warren police Lt. Shaun Hildreth said.

Hildreth declined to say whether Stevens and the girl knew each other through the church. He said the girl was not physically assaulted.

“I hope that no other children were harmed and that this incident was isolated,” Hildreth said. Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Deen of the 10th Judicial District, however, hinted more charges were forthcoming.

“This investigation is not over by a long shot,” he said. Stevens was released on a $10,000 bond.
Konagod commented: "Methodists seem to be infringing on the Catholic & Baptist territory."

***

But wait, there's more...

AME Church Relieves Minister of Duties After Sex Abuse Allegations.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church has relieved a Los Angeles minister of his duties after concluding that he sexually molested two underage victims, according to a spokesman for the church, even though no criminal charges have been filed and the pastor denies the allegations.

The Rev. Sylvester Laudermill Jr., a prominent minister in the AME Church, assumed the pulpit of Ward AME Church in 2004 after pastoring a church in St. Louis for 10 years. He has maintained his innocence since allegations against him first surfaced in December 2005, when a 25-year-old man told St. Louis police that Laudermill began a sexual relationship with him when he was 14 that continued until he turned 21.

Another accuser then came forward in Los Angeles, but neither church officials nor police will elaborate on the nature of his allegations, except to say that he is a minor.
H/t, Jasmyne.


Conservatives are now fleeing the sinking ship

Bush, GOP Congress Losing Core Supporters. The WaPo article by Jim VandeHei and Peter Baker outlines the post-iceberg Titanic that is Dear Leader's administration.
The Gallup polling organization recorded a 13-percentage-point drop in Republican support for Bush in the past couple of weeks. These usually reliable voters are telling pollsters and lawmakers they are fed up with what they see as out-of-control spending by Washington and, more generally, an abandonment of core conservative principles.

There are also significant pockets of conservatives turning on Bush and Congress over their failure to tighten immigration laws, restrict same-sex marriage, and put an end to the Iraq war and the rash of political scandals, according to lawmakers and pollsters.

Bush won two presidential elections by pursuing a political and governing model that was predicated on winning and sustaining the loyal backing of social, economic and foreign policy conservatives. The strategy was based on the belief that conservatives, who are often more politically active than the general public, could be inspired to vote in larger numbers and would serve as a reliable foundation for his presidency. The theory, as explained by Bush strategists, is that the president would enjoy a floor below which his support would never fall.

It is now apparent that this floor has weakened dramatically -- and collapsed in places.
There are several damning quotes in the article from conservatives who have had it with this administration, and it's causing a steep erosion in the polls and in fundraising, which is alarming the GOP. While the pro-business faction has benefited mightily from this administration's policies, the limited government conservatives have been royally screwed over.

One should note the last paragraph in the article outlines what we all know is coming -- the gay boogeyman and the wanton woman aborting her fetus, and the fricking deficit-bloating tax cuts. Again, the pro-business, limited government wing of the party wants to rescue itself by getting in bed with the theocratic Base.
Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser, and GOP leaders are well aware of the problem and are planning a summer offensive to win back conservatives with a mix of policy fights and warnings of how a Democratic Congress would govern. The plan includes votes on tax cuts, a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, new abortion restrictions, and measures to restrain government spending.
As far as governing is concerned, it's pretty obvious Democrats can do no worse than the corrupt clowns currently running the show on the Hill and the voters know it.


In case you're wondering...

I couldn't bring myself to watch the Larry King interview with Mary Cheney. Kate recorded it in case I want to throw something at the TV.

Anyone out there tune in?


NGLTF slams Dean and DNC, returns $5K gift

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wow. It's actually happening. A large gay group stands up to the two-faced DNC -- the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force took Howard Dean to task on his representation of the party's stance on same-sex marriage, which he discussed on Crazy Pat's The 700 Club.

Dean said this on the program:
"The Democratic Party platform from 2004 says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what it says. I think where we may take exception with some religious leaders is that we believe in inclusion, that everybody deserves to live with dignity and respect, and that equal rights under the law are important."
The actual 2004 Democratic platform says this:
"We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush's divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a 'Federal Marriage Amendment.' Our goal is to bring Americans together, not drive them apart."
How did the NGLTF react? Here's Exec Director Matt Foreman's reaction:
Governor Dean is wrong about what the Democratic platform says about marriage equality. Disturbingly, this is not the first time he has misrepresented this important and affirming plank, and he has been asked before to correct the record and to cease making these misleading statements.

Governor Dean's record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues since becoming DNC chair has been sorely and sadly lacking. The Democratic Party chair should stand by and fight for the party's own platform and values. In light of Governor Dean's pandering and insulting interview today with the Christian Broadcasting Network, we have decided to return the DNC's recent $5,000 contribution to us. We do so with great sadness, knowing that the Democratic Party has long been a champion of our rights. Once again, we urge the governor to accurately represent the party's commitment to equality for LGBT people and our families, and to do everything in his power as chair to realize this vision. This would include but not be limited to fighting anti-gay ballot initiatives in various states this November. We urge him to take the money we are returning today and spend it to defeat these attacks on LGBT people and our families."
Unfortunately, Matt, I think you're throwing the money down a rat hole. In order to defeat attacks on taxpaying LGBT citizens, Dean and Co. have to have a plan, and they have shown no ability to frame an argument on civil marriage equality in response to the homobigots.

These useless Dems are too busy pandering to The Base by appearing on shows like The 700 Club to reassure the fundies that wink::wink:: "we're on your side about what marriage really means."

Blenders, do we need any more confirmation that the DNC is telling homos to re-closet in 2006?

Now what will HRC have to say? Anything? ::crickets chirping::

UPDATE: Howard Dean knows he stepped in it. The DNC issued a release. He's still not off the hook.


Assclown homobigot of the day

And the winner is...Richard Barnbrook of the right wing British National Party. While bleating anti-gay diatribes, he somehow forgot about the porno -- ahem -- art film he produced and directed in the 80s. (Guardian):
He is the poster boy of the BNP, an articulate former teacher whose blue eyes and easy charm helped win the far-right party 11 council seats in Barking, east London. But now Richard Barnbrook, London leader of the BNP, has been forced to deny that an erotic movie he produced and directed as a student was a gay porn film.

HMS Discovery: A Love Story contains scenes of flagellation, men undressing and frolicking in a river and a naked man apparently performing a sex act on another. While this may be hard for supporters of a party opposed to the "promotion" of homosexuality to swallow, Mr Barnbrook's transgressions get worse: the 58-minute film, made in 1989, is described as "Marxist" by one film website. [Are you rolling on the floor laughing yet?]

"It was an art film, end of story. It was not a bloody porn film," said Mr Barnbrook, now leader of the opposition on Barking council. "The only nudity in it is a couple of guys running in a river. It is not about homosexuality. It is about sexuality. Anything to do with my past politics or my past work, I am not interested in commenting on."

...But yesterday he denied penning erotic poetry set to the footage, which includes the lines: "It bares you like a foreskin's folds" and "Open-mouthed, I shall dream of altar boys."
Oh my! The BNP, among other things, claims that homosexuality is "wrong and unhealthy for any community" and an "unhealthy practice."

Oops.


Science? What's that?

OMG. Just look at this prime example of reality-based thinking going out the window. Southern Baptist Seminary Appoints Creationist to Head Center for Theology and Science.
A Young Earth creationist will be replacing a leading intelligent design (ID) proponent as director of the Center for Theology and Science at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

The new center will be led by Dr. Kurt Wise, who recently directed the Center for Origins Research at Bryan College, a school located in Dayton, Tennessee, home of the famous Scopes evolution trial in 1925. The new director of the Center for Theology and Science at SBTS says he intends to take a different approach than that of his predecessor, leading ID theorist Dr. William Dembski.

While Dembski was an outspoken participant in the debate between the religious and secular scientific communities over evolution and a vocal promoter of ID in opposition to mainstream Darwinist theories, Wise says he hopes to "focus more on the Christian world and how Christians should respond to the entire issue of origins."

As a creationist who holds a master's degree and a doctorate in paleontology, Wise contends that scripture provides what is by far the best evidence for creation. "I'm very interested in the specific claims the Bible makes about science," he notes, "and I'm less interested in the secular world's response to those things."


Hartline: Starbucks caters to the homos

One of our favorite "ex-gay" bleaters who provides choice quotes is James Hartline. He's made the Blend twice in one week! Now he's got agita over Starbucks. I love the subhead of the AgapePress article: "Pro-Family Advocate Thinks Fellow Believers Should Reconsider Sipping From Java-Giant's Cup."
A Christian activist in California who has left the homosexual lifestyle says the coffee giant Starbucks has some troubling ties with homosexual activism.


James Hartline, a former homosexual, notes that the first time he became aware of Starbuck's support for homosexuals was during a local San Diego "gay pride" festival. He says the company chose not to pull its sponsorship from the event, even after being notified that convicted pedophiles were involved in the homosexual celebration.

Also, Hartline asserts, Starbucks is a big supporter of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD. And this year, when that group held an awards ceremony "to honor Brokeback Mountain and homosexual, lesbian and transsexual success stories in the media," he says, "Starbucks was a major corporate sponsor again of that event."

GLAAD has an extensive history of doing two things, the Christian activist contends. The group works tirelessly to promote homosexuality and "gay," lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual acceptance in the media, he says, and "additionally, from a political perspective, they have a long history of going after and boycotting Christian enterprises -- groups that are opposed to homosexuality."
Also:
* 'Ex-gay' James Hartline: repeal of DADT is threat to national security


NC homobigot submits another marriage amendment bill

North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast that faced a marriage amendment and killed it in the legislature -- two years running, thanks to a Dem-controlled General Assembly and a lot of hard work by allies and advocates. The bills died in committee.


As expected, another battle is ahead. Good old boy NC State Sen. James Forrester didn't waste any time submitting another marriage amendment bill today in our General Assembly. This time it's Senate Bill 1228, Defense of Marriage.
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman at one time. This is the only marriage that shall be recognized as valid in this State. The uniting of two persons of the same sex or the uniting of more than two persons of any sex in a marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar relationship within or outside of this State shall not be valid or recognized in this State. This Constitution shall not be construed to require that marital status or the rights, privileges, benefits, or other legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried individuals or groups."
This, as you can see, would affect both same-sex couples and unmarried opposite-sex couples.

Senator James Forrester (Rep)
(919) 715-3050
Email: Jamesf@ncleg.net
District: 41
Counties Represented: Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln

Eighteen Republican senators signed onto the bill as co-sponsors.



Senator Austin M. Allran (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5876, Email: Austina@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Catawba, Iredell.
Senator Tom Apodaca (Rep), Deputy Republican Leader, Phone: (919) 733-5745, Email: Toma@ncleg.net.
Counties Represented: Buncombe, Henderson, Polk



Senator Stan Bingham (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5665, Email: stanb@ncleg.net.
Counties Represented: Davidson, Guilford
Senator Harris Blake (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-4809, Email: Harrisb@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Harnett, Moore
Senator Andrew C. Brock (Rep); Phone: (919) 715-0690, Email: Andrewb@ncleg.net.
Counties Represented: Davie, Rowan



Senator Harry Brown (Rep), Phone: (919) 715-3034, Email: Harryb@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Jones, Onslow
Senator Don East (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5743, Email: Done@ncleg.net.
Counties Represented: Alleghany, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin
Senator John A. Garwood (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5742, Email: Johnga@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Alexander, Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes


Senator W. Edward (Eddie) Goodall (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-7659, Email: Eddieg@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Mecklenburg, Union
Senator Fletcher L. Hartsell, Jr. (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-7223, Email: Fletcherh@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Cabarrus, Iredell
Senator William B. Miller (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-7850, Email: Williammi@ncleg.net
County Represented: Forsyth


Senator Neal Hunt (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5850, Email: Nealh@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Wake
Senator Jim Jacumin (Rep), Phone: (919) 715-7823, Email: Jimja@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Burke, Caldwell
Senator Robert Pittenger (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5655, Email: Robertp@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Mecklenburg


Senator Keith Presnell (Rep), phone: (919) 733-3460, Email: Keithp@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Yancey
Senator Fred Smith (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5748, Email: Freds@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Johnston, Wayne
Senator Richard Stevens (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5653, Email: Richards@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Wake


Senator Jerry W. Tillman (Rep), Phone: (919) 733-5870, Email: Jerryt@ncleg.net
Counties Represented: Montgomery, Randolph


Equality NC has an action item up on this.

***

Guess what? Forrester didn't buy his own domain name.


Daddy Dobson on how to create a homo

It looks Dobson has unlocked one of the keys to the creation of a homosexual with information pulled out of his ass. Daniel at Ex-Gay Watch has a real educational experience for you all, straight from Daddy Dobson's Focus on the Family Institute.
In Monday's (05/08/06) Focus On The Family broadcast Dobson throws out a new term not even Google has a clinical definition for called "detachment and differentiation." This supposedly describes the process by which a young boy separates from the mother and bonds with the father around ages 2-3. Dobson says homosexuality is "very typically rooted in the failure to accomplish that differentiation." Dobson proceeds to tell listeners and a studio gallery full of Focus Institute students he remembers that pivotal moment at age 2-3 which led to formation of his heterosexuality.
Dan's also got full audio and transcript of Dobson's utterings, including this gut-buster:
This is fairly new information that's being discussed in the child development clinics and in the universities throughout the country and around the world, and it is called "detachment and differentiation." In other words, a boy detaches from his mother and then begins to accept the roll model that he sees in the father. The father really needs to entice the boy away from the feminine characteristics in the mother and begin to teach him to identify with the masculine model.

Now folks, listen to me, it is now believed that homosexuality is very typically rooted in the failure to accomplish that differentiation and when you see individuals who are very very feminine and you go back and you look at the early childhood development characteristics you will see a failure to make that change.
Oh, and on that "detachment and differentiation" theory, Dan did a little Googling and the only reference to that term is about urinary bladder cells.

I guess Daddy Dobson is just ahead of the science curve on the matter.


John on Mary

Think he's got something on his mind?

Mary Cheney calls John Kerry a "son of a bitch" for using gays for political gain, but not a word about George Bush or dear old dad doing the same
Now you have a much larger window into Mary's mind, and closet. In her own personal Stockholm Syndrome, the gay-bashers who started the fight are good people who just haven't "caught up" yet. The gay-defenders fighting back are "sons of bitches," "slime," and need to "go fuck" themselves."
I think he hits the mark on this in many ways here.
A newbie's coming out experience is usually indicated by one or more of the following utterances:
1. I'm not one of those "activists." (I.e., I don't do anything to defend my rights, so I belittle people who do in order to make myself feel better.)
2. Sure I'm gay, but it's not all I am, I'm other things too. (I.e., I'm still a bit embarrassed about who I am and about the fact that I'm not an activist).
3. Why can't gay people be more "normal," like me? (Normal means hiding out in the suburbs.)
4. I'm not a single-issue voter. (I.e., I still vote Republican and the only issue I DON'T take account when voting is "me.")
5. Republicans don't really hate gay people, they just "have" to vote the way they do for politics. (I.e., I still vote Republican.)
6. Democrats, sure they vote FOR gay people, but they're not perfect either. (I.e., I know Republicans trash gays 90% of the time and the Dems help gays 90% of the time, but I still need to justify why I vote for a party that hates me.)
Of course you all got riled up in a prior Mary thread (over 100 comments!), so try keep yourselves together as I ask the Q of the day:

Out of John's 1-6 above, which ones, if any, will you cop to feeling/saying?

John's list doesn't really work well for gay Dems, but can be modified to address issues about those first uncomfortable steps out of the closet. I've never voted Republican (in NC, I've seen no "liberal" or even "moderate" Rethugs to consider), but I think way back in the day I felt strongly about #2 and #4. Today's climate makes it really hard for gay rights not to be the make or break issue. Clearly, I still feel strongly about a portion of #6 -- the Dems just suck less on gay issues at this point -- they need to be held accountable. I can't stomach the spineless hypocrites any longer.


That abstinence-only sex ed is really working, huh?

Oral and anal sex increasing among teens. Instead of putting blinders on, Dear Leader and his abstinence-only friends need to address what represents a serious STD issue with real information and instruction. Jesus head chastity rings are clearly not cutting it.
During the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of teenagers and young adults engaging in oral sex and, less commonly, having anal intercourse, according to data from STD clinics in Baltimore, Maryland.

The finding is not all that surprising, Dr. Emily Erbelding from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore told Reuters Health.

She explained that "a few national surveys conducted recently have suggested that oral sex may be a behavior that teenagers are increasingly participating in. For example, in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, most teenagers reported having oral sex and many had not had intercourse."
Also:
* Newsflash: fundies are f*cking before marriage
* Abstinence ed is really working: oral sex safe and not really sex, say teens
* Texas teens increasingly knocking boots after abstinence program
* Score one against abstinence-only ed


Blair's Equality Minister has a problem with the homos

Hat tip to a Blender across the pond, Henry, who wrote:
Ruth Kelly has just been appointed Equalities Minister, responsible for piloting the new Equality Bill through the House of Commons. Unfortunately she is also a member of Opus Dei, a hardline Catholic organisation. She voted against the Civil Partnerships legislation whilst not in her present post and also voted against the lowering of the age of gay consent. She has also dodged questions as to whether she believes homosexuality to be a sin, apparently completely contradicting the legislation she is supposed to be having put into law.
Yes, poor Tony Blair's got another embarrassment on his hands. I wonder if he and Dear Leader are trading political war stories...
The row threatens further to undermine the wide-ranging reshuffle carried out by the Prime Minister after Labour's poor performance in the local elections last week. But Ms Kelly strongly defended her position, insisting she was committed to promoting equality.

Interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live, Ms Kelly twice declined to say whether she thought homosexuality was a sin. She said: "I'm sort of getting used to these questions as I go from one department to another. Is it possible to be a practising Catholic and hold a portfolio in government? The answer is 'yes'. Why? Because I'm collectively responsible for cabinet decisions and I firmly believe in equality and I believe everyone should be protected from discrimination."

Pressed again, she replied: "I don't think it is right for politicians to start making moral judgements about people. What I think the question is, is what are my political views? As a politician, those are the ones that I'm accountable for to the public."

In a second interview with Sky News, Ms Kelly repeatedly declined to say whether she agreed that same-sex couples should be permitted to adopt children. But she insisted she would promote the rights of all.

...Lorely Burt, the Liberal Democrats spokeswoman on equality, said: "How can the gay community trust legislation to be properly implemented when Ruth Kelly has such an ambiguous record on gay rights? Ruth Kelly urgently needs to come clean about whether she agrees with her own department's policies on equality issues. Blair's reshuffle tried to reduce bad headlines but has so far only succeeded in shifting trouble from one department to another."
I guess it matter what the definition of "all" is, right?


Exodus on the Fall Out Boy tolerance statement

Brady at Some Guys Are Normal was looking to stir the sh*t when he posted on the ex-gay Exodus blog about the band Fall Out Boy's anti-homophobia statement (see my earlier post, Knob-end mom lashes out at band for tolerance statement at concert).

Brady posted this:
I think there is a bit more to this Fall Out Boy story. According to the band member and one person at the concert (that posted on my blog and a couple of others), Fall Out Boy was using foul language. However, their "liberal homosexual rally" amounted to the band saying that it was ok to say the band was no good or people didn't like the band, but using homophobic remarks like calling something gay instead of stupid was unacceptable. I can't believe this mother disagrees with such a statement, and I hope you guys would agree with that statement at the very least.
One of the Exodites posted this response:
We do not condone negative comments such as using the word gay to suggest stupidity. However in the article in question band member Wentz actually said this:
"In a post on FallOutBoyRock.com, Wentz wrote: "The only thing I said in Charlotte was, 'You can leave this show and say, "I think this guy is an arrogant jerk," or think, "This band is better than this one," because these are your opinions. The only thing we consider unacceptable is for you to engage in sexist, racist or homophobic behavior. If you do, we don't want you as a fan. Return our merch and leave.' "
Mr. Wentz' statement is clearly stating that homophobia is not just a difference of opinion to which all Americans are entitled. He is saying it is on the same par as sexist and racist behavior. In other words, "if you don't agree with us regarding homosexuality take off our merchandise and get out." I don't hear anything positive, constructive, or enlightening in that... In addition I noticed he didn't mention any refund of ticket or merchandise money to any who might be unhappy with the band for their take on homosexuality...bottom line Mr. Wentz' statement is a threat aimed at impressionable teenagers... conform or be ostracized!
Brady rightly pointed out that if organizations ostensibly "love" the gays and want to "guide them out of homosexuality," why would they condone homophobia of this nature?
Read carefully. Ms. Brown just said that homophobia was acceptable. Notice the Fall Out Boy bassist said nothing about whether or not he supported homosexuality (as Ms. Brown implies). The bassist merely said he did not tolerate homophobic remarks (i.e. derrogatory remarks about gay people). How there is nothing enlightening or "good" about that, I have no idea.

...I'm sorry to see that someone employed (or volunteering for, not sure which) an organization that claims to help gay people would support something like this mother's rantings. Little tip for the folks at Exodus--if you are going to claim to help gay people, don't support homophobic behavior. You can disagree with being gay without being homophobic.


Self-respect in the house of worship

Keith Boykin throws it down, taking on the sad, sad reaction by the black gay men challenged by homobigot minister Bishop Alfred E. Owens of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in DC. When Owens said "Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow...All the real men-I'm talking about the straight men...You ain't funny and you ain't cranky, but you're straight, the closeted brothers in the pews felt they had no option other than to step on up. Keith:
Another Sunday passes and another minister is caught on tape with his homophobic foot in his mouth. Sadly, that's no longer news. I am tired of stupid ministers preaching hatred and ignorance in their churches. But I have to be honest. I am also tired of passive black gay men who go to these churches week after week and participate in their own abuse. I understand how black gay men often do not feel empowered to challenge the abuse they suffer, and I sympathize with people in this situation. But coddling these men in the hope that they will change on their own is not the solution. It's time for our community to demand more. It's time for a change.

...I know what I'm saying will not be popular in some quarters. Some might call it "blaming the victim," and no doubt black gay men are victims in Bishop Owens's church and in numerous others like it all across the country. But I think it's time for us to stop encouraging this self-destructive behavior and start changing it.

Black gay men are under attack, not only in our churches, but in our families, at our jobs, on the radio stations we listen to, in the songs we dance to at our night clubs, and in the dark spaces of the parks where we often dwell. I am not a confrontational person, but I believe you have a right and a duty to defend yourself when you're attacked. Sometimes you fight back. Sometimes you simply seek to prevent injury to yourself and others. And other times you vow to avoid those situations in the future. Either way, you do something to defend yourself.
Ending the homobigotry in the black faith community will have to start with parishioners who are willing to walk out of a service, call out the hateful comments coming from the pulpit and to let the plate pass them by.

Go read the rest, including the eye-opening comments.

***

The unwillingness of black gays in the pews to call out homophobic pastors such as Owens and Willie Wilson clearly also stems from the fact that many of these men won't even admit to being gay or even bisexual. Too many cannot even say those words.

Jasmyne Cannick pointed me to this press release for an upcoming event, Miami Beach Bruthaz 2006. The theme is "Bridging the Gap Between the Gay and Straight Communities."

The conference is open to all, mind you -- LGBT-identified folks are invited to participate, says the press release, a welcome use of the terms when, for the most part, the term "same-gender-loving" (SGL) is used by a sizable number of blacks to distance themselves from "gay". It's to show a distinction from the "white gay culture" that they cannot identify with as a strong black man, exacerbating the problem of denial for some.
Miami Beach Bruthaz 2006, scheduled July 20-23 on South Beach, promises to bring African-American men together from across the country for engaging seminars, enlightening discussion and informative workshops on issues facing straight and gay Black men. The event will feature New York Times best-selling author J.L. King, author of On the Down Low and executive producer of the BET special Down Low Exposed, Houston radio talk show host Christopher Evans and Chicago author Marshall Douglas. The event is open to men and women within the straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

"I'm excited about participating in Miami Beach Bruthaz 2006 because now more than ever, with so many pressures and challenges facing African-American gay and straight men, we have to create an ongoing forum that encourages dialogue, promotes new thinking and outlines the social, psychological and physical responsibilities we all face," said New York Times best selling author J.L. King.
You don't have to click far into the site to realize this affair is going to attract a whole lot of "straight" black men looking for homo action on the DL. How many of these men are out? How many are actively in a relationship with a woman who doesn't know their man is on "a business trip" to this "conference"?

Interestingly, this convention offers opportunities for real dialogue, but look at the topic list:
* Men's Total Health and Well Being
* Heterosexual Black Men Who Have Sex With Men
* Taking Responsibility
* Bridging the Gap Between the Gay and Straight Communities
* Issues Facing DL Bruthaz
* Manhood vs. Masculinity
* Homosexuality and Spirituality
Heterosexual Black Men Who Have Sex With Men. Wrap your mind around that. Of course it is possible for a straight person to have sex with someone of the same sex, but that's not really what's going on here. What this is about is Self-identified "Heterosexual" Black Men Who Have Sex With Men On a Regular Basis and Sleep With Women.

The question is, do those women know about their straight man's other activities? If they know and accept this fact in the privacy of their relationship, that's one thing. The truth is, no one knows how much "creeping" of this nature is going on.

One can only hope that all the men who attend that panel also attend the Taking Responsibility panel that follows.

This is clearly not a black-only issue, but a slice of the pie of closeted pathology that has infected one community in a way that is only beginning to be addressed; you can draw a connection between the vitriol from the pulpit and the level of denial and deception that feeds the problem.

What many in the political venue choose to ignore is that the black vote will remain a strong part of the Democratic base, but that the unaddressed homophobia within will allow for those same party-line voters to vote for anti-gay measures. Will Democrats (of all colors) stand up and call out homophobia in all circles where it exists in its party? I haven't seen much activity to suggest it will be. Dems have taken blacks for granted for decades. Who will call them out?

As far as Republicans go there's precious little hope on that front, despite Ken Mehlman's "outreach," and the high-profile blacks running for office (Ken Blackwell in Ohio, Lynn Swann in Pennsylvania, Michael Steele in Maryland) that result in stories like The Year of the Black Republican? Those campaigns are reaching out to The Base.

As I said in an earlier post, many white Dems are terrified of the race card being tossed out there by defensive, homophobic blacks who don't want this issue openly discussed. It all has to be discussed, by all of us. It goes without saying that other groups of color, such as gay Latinos, face much the same uphill battle in those faith communities.

This doesn't preclude hard discussions within the black community, with the admission of the issues here, as well as an open and honest look at the relevance of homophobia in the black community to the larger role of this sickness in the dominant culture, also fostered in that religious community.

The highest profile black figure to tackle this has been Al Sharpton. The National Black Justice Coalition held a summit in January to discuss the issue of the church and homophobia, a landmark event, but more like it are sorely needed.

***

Shakes Sis has a great post up related to this, Gotta Touch the Third Rail, and talks about this in the context of the lame attempt by the WaPo to create some kind of momentum in its Year of the Black Republican article I mentioned above.

She echoes my frustration about our posts on topics that touch on race and politics:
This is a subject both Pam and I have written about before, and we always end up grousing about the lack of comments posts on the topic inevitably receive. Progressives are willing to talk about religious intolerance toward the LGBT community, and the GOP’s exploitation of gay rights as a wedge issue, and the frustrating intermingling of religion and politics—but as soon as race gets thrown into the mix, it’s a no-commenter. The truth is, the entrenched homophobia in many black churches, confirmed repeatedly by Boykin’s commenters, is an important political issue and and an important cultural issue. If the inevitable result of the GOP stealing voters based on such a despicable tactic isn’t enough to get us talking about this, the forcible, faith-based marginalization of LGBT people of color surely ought to be.
Related:
* DC homobigot pastor tries to top Willie Wilson


'#1 fag recruiter in the US'

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

That's what The Rotting CryptkeeperTM says about Dear Leader over at his new multimedia pad, Sign of the Times (no, I'm not linking).



The video gets a 10 for production values, if you compare it to the crooked, hundredth-generation-photocopy PDF fliers that are posted on Fred's GHF site.

If you want to see this (and many other unhinged, but entertaining anti-gay rants), complete with MTV-style editing and hilarious, but appropriate music, you'll have to head over to sign of the times dot net.

Bob in Raleigh points to the latest news on the legislative effort to curtail the Cryptkeeper clan from picketing soldiers' funerals. A pithy quote from Fred:
Phelps, in a telephone interview, described Congress as "an American Taliban" that is "patently, blatantly violating the First Amendment." The nation, he said, "is rapidly reduced to having as much liberty as a frog in a snake's belly."


Weakening the gene pool

The Federlines are procreating...again.


WND on sHillary and Rupert

A poll currently running on WingNutDaily, taking the winger pulse on the conservative media magnate's plan to hold a fundraiser for sHillary...

What do you think of Rupert Murdoch's support for Hillary Clinton?




Indecency at the check-out counter

Your AmTaliban wants you to be safe from the evils of Cosmo...
A pro-family organization in Michigan is mobilizing forces to protest magazine displays in grocery story checkout lines. Bill Johnson's American Decency Association says he is tired of the risqué magazine displays along the checkout line, and his group wants to do something about it. "If there's a place where Christians can win the battle against indecency, it ought to be at the checkout counter," says Johnson. "And it's greatly concerning to us because we believe there are numbers of people who are really alarmed by the pornographic nature, the verbiage, the actual pictures themselves [on the magazine covers]."

The vulgar nature of many of the magazines can wield an influence, he contends. "Little by little, that which we tolerate and that which we then accept ... does work its way down into the very moral fiber of our country," eventually becoming the "cultural norm," he says. Particularly upsetting to Johnson's group is the current issue of Cosmopolitan, which is devoted to sexual fulfillment techniques for women.

The American Decency Association website offers several strategies individuals can take when they encounter indecency at the checkout counters.
One of the sample strategies, which is sure to make store reps burst out laughing:
As you see a magazine(s) that is particularly concerning, i.e . Cosmopolitan 2006 or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, take a copy directly to your local store manager. If he/she isn't available, speak to an assistant manager. Show them face to face your concerns - point them to the pictures and the explicit titles. Talk about the destructive messages that degrade you as a shopper and diminishes their store.


King of the hill at HUD

[UPDATE: His flack says he was just making sh*t up...see below.]

Another Bush-supporting brother gone power mad, believing he can dole out government contracts on the basis of whether the person in question kneels down to Dear Leader.

From the Dallas Business Journal, the wit and wisdom of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson at a conference, recounting a reminder of his self-importance to the audience with an example of he did to a prospective advertising contractor:
"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."
Hat tip, Paul in SF.

***

UPDATE: Think Progress reports that Jackson's spokesperson is bleating that he was just shooting the sh*t, making the whole story up as calls for his head and an investigation loom.
Dustee Tucker, a spokeswoman for Jackson, told the Dallas Business Journal Tuesday that Jackson’s comments at his April 28 speech were purely “anecdotal.”
He was merely trying to explain to the audience how people in D.C., will say critical things about the secretary, will unfairly characterize the president and then turn around and ask you for money,” Tucker said. “He did not actually meet with someone and turn down a contract. He’s not part of the contracting process.”
In other words, Jackson used a public forum to fabricate a long and detailed exchange (excerpt: “He said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’”) with a CEO that doesn’t actually exist, about a process he isn’t actually involved with.

...That excuse isn’t just difficult to swallow — it also contradicts the spokesperson’s first response published in today’s paper, which referenced the specific contract in question: “Dustee Tucker, a spokeswoman for Jackson’s office, said the value of the advertising contract, which was to be placed with a minority publication, could not be provided.” It looks like Jackson is changing his story as criticism builds.


More family values

"A mother is going to protect her child...it transcends standing in front of a train."
-- unhinged mom Caren McDonald, who was found guilty of abducting her son -- she believed that the child being around his father might make him "turn gay"
Sheer lunacy. She coached her child to lie. (Miami Herald):
Caren MacDonald's attorney evoked the Holocaust, 9/11, the Old Testament, Shakespeare and the mothering instincts of a South American beetle in arguing that his client acted out of necessity when she abducted her son and lived with him on the lam for nine months.

Jurors didn't buy it.

It took the panel of four women and two men just an hour to find the 50-year-old artist guilty of interfering with custody and of violating a restraining order. She faces up to six years in prison at her sentencing next month.

''This was about a woman who wanted to get her own way,'' said Assistant State Attorney Anita White after the verdict.
In 2001, MacDonald put on a wig and a school uniform and abducted her child, living in Austin, Texas and Costa Rica under assumed names. Once she was caught, the lies continued right into the courtroom.
MacDonald said she feared her son was being molested by her ex-husband's lover and might ''turn'' gay.

Attorney David Bogenschutz portrayed MacDonald as a loving mother whose fear of AIDS and exasperation with the judicial system led her to desperate actions.

...During the eight-day trial, the boy, whose name is being withheld by The Miami Herald because of his age, testified that his mother made him lie about being molested.

''My mother told me it was necessary,'' the teenager testified last week. ``She thought it was unfair that I lived with my dad pretty much all the time.''


Mary, again.

"She lives her life the way she thinks is the best way to advance gay and lesbian issues. You know, at some point, you think, 'Can we talk about something else already?' "
-- Mary Matalin, on Mary Cheney's sense of "activism" - writing a book to cash in on her life as a homo her daddy's campaign.
This is the living end. Read this puff piece on MC in the WaPo:
Her refusal to engage in public debate has infuriated many gay-rights activists. But she's making her point now, on her terms. "Didn't you just see me go on 'Good Morning America'?"

And when she decides it's her turn, she definitely knows how to get in her licks. In her book, Cheney devotes two chapters to her anger and frustration -- and outright dislike -- when it comes to Kerry and Edwards. And this is where the quick, wry, humorous tone of the book brings in a little venom. She thought Edwards, whom she ridicules for his fixation on his hair, "was complete and total slime." She quotes her sister calling Kerry a "complete and total sleazeball." She herself called him a profanity, she recounts with relish, after Kerry invoked the fact that she is a lesbian in non-response to a question during the presidential debate about whether he believes homosexuality is a choice.

..."Campaigns are these amazing things," she says, and now she's being earnest. "It's too bad that so few people actually get to see what goes on."

This, she says, is the No. 1 reason why she wrote the book. She's wise enough to know, though, that it won't be the No. 1 reason why most people buy it. There are those who will buy it to see what she has to say about Bush's stance on gay marriage. There are those who will buy it looking for insights into her father. And there are those who will buy it wanting an inside peek into the life and head of a gay woman who also happens to be a Republican and the daughter of the second most powerful man in the country. She can keep trying for the understatement, but now that she's stepped into the world of celebrity -- Larry King up next, Wednesday night -- it isn't going to be quite so easy.
The more I read, the less regard I have for Ms. Cheney. I had little to begin with, but she has not impressed me at all as someone who has any empathy for those who risk losing their jobs, custody of children, even their safety, simply because they are gay. Now that it's "her turn" to talk, she's digging the hole deeper.

If Mary's stance is truly 'Can we talk about something else already?' that really does say it all. I hope she understands that, as a resident of Virginia, she is about to watch her state vote this fall on passage of a heinous marriage amendment which would legally attack her relationship with Heather Poe. Would she rather talk about kayaking down the river with Poe, or might she step up to the plate as a resident of the Commonwealth and say that this amendment is wrong, no matter which party you belong to? If she did so, then I might revisit my opinion of her. I doubt she'll do anything of the sort.

She really is clueless (and uncaring) about the impact her silence in 2004 had on gays and lesbians who lived day to day, watching those red states pass marriage amendments, then made moves to stop gay adoption, all as she lived and worked in the safety and financial comfort that her father's status provided. It was easier not to say a word, not to give a damn, than to challenge the right wing nutcases as they demonized gays and lesbians to stir up The Base.

By the way, Mary's employer, AOL, is laying off 9% of its workforce. Her head isn't on the chopping block, though -- it's the "peon" call center folks -- she's got a cushy exec position.

H/t, Holly


Rummy's recruit: a young man with autism

It can't get much worse than this. Michelle Roberts of The Oregonian has an unbelievable piece on the depths of Rummy's recruiting problem. An 18-year-old with moderate to severe autism was recruited.
"When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, 'Well, that isn't going to happen,' " said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. "I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic."

But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he not only had enlisted, but also had signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.

Officials are now investigating whether recruiters at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Southeast Portland improperly concealed Jared's disability, which should have made him ineligible for service.

..."My concern is that if he got into a combat situation he really couldn't take someone's back," said Mary Lou Perry, 51, a longtime friend of the Guinthers'. "He wouldn't really know a dangerous thing. This job they have him doing, it's like send him in and if he doesn't get blown up, it's safe for the rest of us."
The article also recounts the story of an Ohio family - a mentally ill son was snared by the desperate recruiters, and in Houston, one target was told that if they didn't show up for a meeting with recruiters, that the person was going to be sent to the slammer.


The downward spiral of agony in Freeperland

Dear Leader is at 31% in the polls, the only folks willing to toss him a life preserver are the stalwart evangelical fundies, and now we've got Freeper essays pleading for the knuckle-draggers to go to the polls and not stay home for the mid-terms.

Read and die laughing at the flopsweat bleating in this post.
I'm more upset with Conservatives than I am with George W. Bush
Posted on 05/08/2006 7:04:26 PM PDT by mwfsu84

If I had told you on 9/11/2001 that we'd go four and half years and counting without another terrorist attack on US soil, would you have believed me?

If I had told you that US-led forces would secure Afghanistan in just a few months...something the Soviets couldn't accomplish in ten years...would you have thought I was crazy?

If I had told you that Saddam was gone, that Khadaffy had renounced terrorism, and that Iraq was on the verge of becoming the second democracy in the Middle East, would have thought I was on medication?

Sometimes in our disappointment of this administration, we often forget some of the positives. The economy is strong. More Americans are homeowners. With tax cuts, we're spending less time working for Uncle Sam.

And if you take those benefits for granted, just imagine how much different things would be under a President Al Gore.

So if the president's stance on immigration and spending upset you - and they do upset me - what are you going to do about it? Stay at home? Nothing could be worse for conservativism. Your non-support will usher in more immigrants, higher taxes, and weaker national security.

If the GOP loses Congress, George W. Bush will be removed from office. Nothing would embolden terrorists more. How can we be counted on to wage an effective war when we can't even decide who our enemy is?

George W. Bush isn't the enemy. But that's exactly the message conservatives will send to the world if they stay at home this November.

If you're upset with W. on immigration - write him, write a Republican Congressman, let him know how you feel. It was conservatives who got Bush to change his mind on Harriet Meirs.

I promise you, a Democratic Congress won't be nearly as responsive to your needs.
Well that got the troops riled up in the swamp; they didn't like the whining one bit. But they hardly sound confident.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Then you are just going to have to be upset. We've had enough.

Looks like you're fixin to get a whole lot angrier.

You need to grow up and place blame where blame belongs.

It's about the Mexicans. At this point, al-Qaeda is secondary for these pygmies. It's all about the Mexicans!!!

I'm confident a Democratic congress will be just as responsive as the Republican congress has been.

I will gladly vote for any conservative Republican candidate that respects the sanctity of life, the 2nd Amendment, and the security and sovereignty of our borders. If they don't meet those requirements (and the likely Senate nominee in NJ, Tom Kean Jr., does not), I will probably stay home or vote Constitution Party.


2008 primary will be the place to have the larger fight - We are currently in a war and we cannot allow the anti-military, anti-American, anti-sucess in the WOT democrats become a majority in Congress.

I'm thinking this whole thread is destined for failure.

You're right. Staying home is stupid. I intend to vote third-party instead. It was conservatives who got Bush to change his mind on Harriet Meirs. And do you think he would have if he knew there was no chance of said conservatives bolting in '06?

I'll know what to blame if the Dims get control of Congress and help prepare the way for Hilary in the White House.

What's the point of writing to people who are just going to respond with some sappy patronizing spin-filled letter without changing their policies? That's not called "being responsive." That's called patronizing you and trying to keep your vote while betraying Republican principles. Medicare prescription drug benefit? Growing deficits? Pork-filled bills? No ANWR oil drilling? No Social Security reform? No immigration bill? No border security? More bureaucracy? I think the Democratic Congress can be just as "responsive" as that. Except maybe Bush would have the guts to veto them, which he clearly doesn't with respect to "Republican" leadership.

I used to defend the President and this party at all costs, but it's becoming increasingly more difficult to do. And that's their own fault.

No, the senate is to blame along with the White House. The House has delivered much more when it comes to fiscal conservatism and their immigration bill is fantastic. Republican voters have learned a valuable lesson.....NEVER ELECT A COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE TO DO A CONSERVATIVE'S JOB.

Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighters

It is time to cowboy the F up and stand shoulder to shoulder with this CIC while he leads our soldiers in this war. Come hell or high water. 08 is the time to take your personal political fight to the primaries.

You have a point , but I'm sick of the "vote republican because as bad as we are the dems are worse" approach. I think if people stay home its more out of frustration than anything else. I mean if you have the house , senate and presidency and you still cringe whenever Dean or Kennedy or McCain for that matter bash your ideas (when they have nothing) then what good are you. Here we have people in the country illegally, openly disgracing our flag and basically telling us "screw you we know you haven't the guts to deport us", and the republicans are sitting around debating how they can pass amnesty without calling it amnesty. < /rant >

Folks, if the Democrats win the Congress this year, you ain't seen nothing yet. It will be a flyinp $hit storm for the next two to six years.

The Red Meat, All of Nothing, single issue fanatics can drive every movement into the ground. The left wing "MoveOne fanatics have captured the Democrat Party and removed them from the realm of sanity. The question is, can fanatics destroy the Republicans as well?

I am thankful that we have not experienced another terrorist attack but am concerned that one will occur sooner rather than later due to our porous borders. Sure, we attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and are fighting terrorism around the world but we have left our borders wide open.

If Pedro and his eighteen brothers can get in so can Mohammed and his eighteen hijacker friends…

Keep drinking the kool-aide and repeating everything is great over and over.

Thank you for an intelligent well-thought out post. I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you. I am not willing to sacrifice my future or that of my children & grandchildren for a game of "teach 'em a lesson". The thought of the Progressive Caucus running the house makes me sick to my stomach.


Mama Lynne's wild west

Jon over at Perrspectives reminds us about Lynne Cheney's steamy lezzie western in his post, "Life Imitates Art: Lynne and Mary Cheney Write Books."
Back in 1981, Mary's mother Lynne Cheney published "Sisters," a tale of two women's hard lives and unspoken love in the Old West. The Second Lady showed could she could write - as well as talk - some trash:
"The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage - no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were."
That potboiler has to be more entertaining that her daughter's fish wrapping tome.

Lynne was getting all hot and bothered at the typewriter about girl-on-girl action, which begs the question -- do you think that Lynne and Dick might have had been in a few three-ways, given her rich fantasy world?

Argh, my eyes, visualizing Darth "in action" is a heinous thought surpassed only by the thought of Denny Hastert getting it on with anyone. Shakes Sis would agree.


Falwell's legal bootlicker: let 'the people' decide on SSM

So, if things were left up to Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, civil rights are to be determined by the ballot, not the courts, because we all know that the sheeple will always do the right thing.
Perhaps the most liberal circuit court of appeals in the United States has tossed out a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage ACT (DOMA). The San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday (May 5) that two homosexual men did not have legal standing to challenge the federal DOMA because no state has determined the two are "married." But were they to change their residence to Massachusetts, the court stated, "their situation might change." Massachusetts is the only state in the country that legally recognizes same-sex marriage.

The two men, Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, also challenged California's marriage laws, but the court abstained from addressing those claims because the state law challenge is currently pending in California state courts. And because the state has always regulated marriage, the Ninth Circuit deferred to the state.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, which defended the case on behalf of Sacramento-based Campaign for Children and Families, says the Ninth Circuit did the right thing. "The federal courts should defer to state courts, and the state courts should defer to state legislatures," says Staver. "The people -- not the courts -- should determine marriage policy."
Of course, what if "the people" did vote for it? Is that acceptable, Mat? What if they decided to reinstitute segregation? Witch burning? Oh, no, he clarifies things for us...marriage is off the table regardless of the will of the people, just to hedge his bets.
And neither should same-sex couples be permitted to redefine marriage, Staver adds. "Same-sex advocates want same-sex marriage not to get married but to radically redefine marriage and upset the culture," he says, pointing to statistics that show very few same-sex couples are "rushing to the altar" in jurisdictions that have adopted same-sex marriage. "Same-sex marriage would drastically alter our society and hurt children," says Staver. And for that reason, the attorney adds, the push must continue for a federal marriage protection amendment.


CIA hookergate implosion

Monday, May 08, 2006

Doesn't it seem like a house of cards at this point? (CNN):
The third-highest official at the CIA, under investigation over ties to a defense contractor linked to a Capitol Hill bribery inquiry, has decided to step down, intelligence sources told CNN Monday.

...[Kyle "Dusty"] Foggo is being investigated by both the FBI and the CIA's inspector general over ties to a defense contractor linked to the bribery case against former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California.

The investigations stem from Foggo's relationship with defense contractor Brent Wilkes. The two men have reportedly been friends since childhood.

...After media reports surfaced last week alleging Wilkes provided Cunningham with limousines and prostitutes at two Washington hotels, Foggo said he had attended poker parties thrown by Wilkes at the hotels.
To add to the fun, the man tapped by Dear Leader, CIA Nominee Gen. Michael Hayden, is linked to the company tied to the bribe/prostitution scandal. From TPM Muckraker:
Hayden, President Bush's pick to replace Porter Goss as head of the CIA, contracted with MZM Inc. for the services of Lt. Gen. James C. King, then a senior vice president of the company, the sources say. MZM was owned and operated by Mitchell Wade, who has admitted to bribing former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham with $1.4 million in money and gifts. Wade has also reportedly told investigators he helped arrange for prostitutes to entertain the disgraced lawmaker, and he continues to cooperate with a federal inquiry into the matter.

King has not been implicated in the growing scandal around Wade's illegal activities. However, federal records show he contributed to some of Wade's favored lawmakers, including $6000 to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and $4000 to Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL).
Litbrit, over at Shakes Sis, points to a great Molly Ivins column, who dares the MSM to cover the Hookergate scandal.
...if you expect me to pass up a scandal involving poker, hookers and the Watergate building with crooked defense contractors and the No. 3 guy at the CIA, named Dusty Foggo (Dusty Foggo?! Be still my heart), you expect too much. Any journalist who claims Hookergate is not a legitimate scandal is dead—has been for some time and needs to be unplugged. In addition to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, Hookergate is rife with public interest questions, misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance, and many splendid moral points for the children. Recommended for Sunday school use, grades seven and above.
No kidding. The MSM didn't mind covering Bill's BJ 24/7; this certainly rates reality-based coverage.


My brain is...different

Lesbians' brains respond differently from those of heterosexual women. How long before some fundie "scientist" has some off-base "explanation" for this?
Homosexuals' brains respond differently from those of straight men and women when exposed to sex hormones, but researchers now say the difference is less pronounced in lesbians than in gay men.

Lesbians' brains reacted somewhat, though not completely, like those of heterosexual men, a team of Swedish researchers said in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A year ago, the same group reported findings for gay men that showed their brain response to hormones was similar to that of heterosexual women.

In both cases the findings add weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical basis and is not learned behavior.

"It shows sexual orientation may very well have a different basis between men and women ... this is not just a mirror image situation," said Sandra Witelson, an expert on brain anatomy and sexual orientation at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
As I read the article, I had visions of all the brains, limbs and fetuses I saw in jars at the Mütter Museum while in Philly.

Hat tips, Holly and Mena.


Any sHillary fans left out there?

As Blender Henway emailed me, "guess who's in bed with sHillary? Hint: Not Bill!" Jeezus he's not kidding, look at this, from the Financial Times, via Queen Drudge:

Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul whose New York Post tabloid savaged Hillary Clinton's initial aspirations to become a US senator for New York, has agreed to host a political fundraiser for her re-election campaign.

The decision underlines an incongruous thawing of relations between Mr Murdoch and Mrs Clinton, who in 1998 coined the phrase "vast rightwing conspiracy" to denounce critics of her husband, such as Fox News, the conservative cable channel owned by Mr Murdoch's News Corporation.

...The fundraiser for Ms Clinton's re-election is in stark contrast to the brutal coverage from the New York Post of her first Senate campaign.

The partisan tabloid ran unflattering pictures, and frontpage headlines pleading: "DON'T RUN". A poll from the Post's website during the campaign identified her as the sixth "most evil" person of the millennium, ahead of Benito Mussolini and Vlad the Impaler. Her husband ranked second.
This ranks up there with Tool McCain taking a brief break from humping Dear Leader in order to mount Rev. Tinkywinky's leg for bible-beating approval.


Walter Jones has his priorities in order

"I think that this country is in so much trouble from the illegal immigration to the attack on religious freedom in this country that I just felt that this was the right thing to do,"
Love how the fight for religious freedom ("Christian" freedom, of course) manages to slip into the immigration wars. That's serious gymnastics!

Walter B. Jones (R-NC), thankfully does not represent my district. The jingoistic third district U.S. congressman, formerly known as Mr. Freedom Fries, just had to jump on the immigrant-bashing bandwagon with this little bit of BS, H.R. 5255, the American Flag Display Protection Act, which would "prohibit a school from receiving Federal funds if the school prevents a student from displaying or wearing in a respectful manner a representation of the flag of the United States."

I guess the business of the third district has been taken care of and low-wattage Walter has nothing else to do. He spoke to AgapePress and ratcheted up the heat a notch.
A member of the House since 1994, Jones observes that "in many ways America is under assault." And like himself, he says "those…who believe in the Constitution and the Bible as well … need to do what we think is right to protect the freedoms of this country." And one of those freedoms, he notes, is the freedom to respectfully display or wear Old Glory. "I don't know why a student, if he or she wants to display the American flag in a respectful way, why they should not be able to do so," Jones says.
Walter definitely had time on his hands last year, when he introduced these two doozies:
* a bill to name Falls Lake after bigot wingnut ex-Senator Jesse Helms

* H.R. 235, which would allow religious leaders to make endorsements from the pulpit:
HR 235 was introduced to liberate clergy from the muzzle imposed by the absolute ban on all speech that may be regarded as "political," and thereby enable them to speak out on all vital and moral and political questions of the day. It will free houses of worship from the fear and anxiety and uncertainty created by the threat that the IRS will impose financial penalties or revoke tax-exempt status altogether.
Some of the organizations on board with Walter are the usual suspects -- the Christian Coalition, National Right to Life Committee and Concerned Women for America.


Just dumb

As if we needed reinforcing news about moronic frat boy behavior.
Four members of a University of Vermont fraternity were charged Monday violating Vermont's new hazing law after pledges were made to dress up as gay cowboys.

The Phi Delta Gamma chapter was suspended last month after the allegations first arose. The four charged are all officers of the fraternity.

Police said that fraternity members required pledges to wear cowboy clothes similar to those worn by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain." The pledges were then allegedly were taunted with homophobic comments.


Retired military officer: it's time to end DADT

Dan Crewe, a 20-year veteran who proudly served his country, has an op-ed in the Maine Sunday Telegram, U.S. needs our gay, lesbian patriots, that eloquently calls for the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

He spent two years in the Naval Reserve, four years at the U.S. Naval Academy, three years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force and ten years in the Air Force Reserve -- all in the misery of the closet.
During the nearly 20 years I served in the armed forces, however, I was always aware of a different kind of danger line. I am a gay man, and each day I faced the possibility of being discharged simply because of who I am.

...One revelation about my sexual orientation, however, would have made all those years irrelevant. In an instant, my dedication to our country would have taken a back seat to my sexual orientation.

...I was always aware that I was hiding something, and constantly deceiving my colleagues. My partner became my "cousin," and my true weekend activities were edited and filtered to make me seem something I am not.

I also knew my career was in constant jeopardy, not because I was unqualified, but because I am gay.

In the end, enough was enough. I resigned from the Air Force Reserve as a captain in 1970; I could no longer walk that danger line. If my country had simply welcomed me for what I am, however, things may have turned out very differently.
It's good to see more and more former and current service members coming forward to speak out against DADT.

Also:
* Air Force Reserves dismisses lesbian major under DADT
* District Court dismisses challenge of DADT
* Homo-bigot congressman confronted on DADT

***



Rebecca Sawyer of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) passed on word that the rock band BETTY (of The L Word theme fame) will be performing at the SLDN national dinner this Saturday. The group will be honored for "their longtime commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."

Tickets to the SLDN 14th annual national dinner are still available.

Also in the spotlight at the dinner are Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.), Iraq war veteran Brian Fricke and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. I'll be live-blogging the event, which will be held at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.


Gore priming for 2008?

Or is it wishful thinking? It's the buzz all over the blogosphere today, with the Wall Street Journal piece, Al Gore Might Yet Join 2008 Contenders.

The prospect of a new, improved, big cojones pro-gay marriage Gore 2.0 in 2008 is a helluva lot better than thinking about the nightmare known as sHillary.
For former Vice President Al Gore, a rash of favorable publicity surrounding this month's opening of his movie "An Inconvenient Truth," and the growing political resonance of its subject -- global warming -- are stoking the most serious speculation about a Gore political comeback since his loss in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

In 2008, that could mean a once-unimaginable battle for Democrats' nomination between Bill Clinton's former vice president and his wife, Hillary Clinton. To some pro-Gore Democrats, worried about Mrs. Clinton's electability, that is part of the appeal.

...The Gore buzz reflects a sense among even some pro-Clinton Democrats that Mrs. Clinton, considered the prohibitive favorite for the nomination given her support in the party's base of activists and donors, can't win the general election because she is a polarizing figure to many voters. These skeptics believe only someone such as Mr. Gore with the celebrity and fund-raising potential to match Mrs. Clinton could stop her.

Like Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Gore remains a negative figure to many voters, says a Democrat who has seen private polls. For both, that might only increase with the spectacle of a Clinton-Gore brawl. Even insiders can't fully account for the bad blood that has built up since. At bottom, they say, it reflects contrasting views of what cost Mr. Gore the 2000 election: Mr. Clinton's scandals, or Mr. Gore's decision to so fully separate himself from a president who remained popular amid peace and prosperity. Several insiders say Mr. Gore is more likely to run if Mrs. Clinton does than if she doesn't.
The thread over at AmericaBlog on this topic is over 400 comments large, so clearly folks are hungering for someone other than sHillary. Shakes Sis, who would give Gore a big smoocheroo if she had the chance, lol, is also chatting this one up.

So, what do Blenders think?

***

BTW, here's the Freepi commentary, in case you were wondering...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

We can only hope the dems are stupid enough to run Gore again.

Oh, please; oh, please!

Praise be to allah, the earth godless, and every other entity worshipped by the fruits and nuts of this world. Go AL Go!!!

In '92 and '96 the Dems ran the sleaziest guy they could find, and won both times. In 2000 they ran the dumbest mental case they could find and came within a hair's breadth of winning. In 2004 they ran a certified traitor and almost won. I think this time they will go back to sleaze. Its their winning combination.

He can be the first white-woman vp, as Bubba was the first black pres.

Run al-Gore; the Muslims need you. Run Ozone Al, the environmental wackos need you. Run Algore, the Leftwing kooks still love you.

I've been predicting an Algore run for a while now, and I strongly believe that he will defeat the Hildabeast in the '08 primaries and become the 'Rat candidate. Reasons: 1. Hillary is radioactive in the red states, where Gore could potentially mask his agenda there among the so-called 'swing voters' (ie. uninformed morons) 2. The leftist kook base is not that crazy about Hillary because of her Iraq position, where Gore has been a hysterical antiwar nutjob from the beginning 3. The Dean/Kerry faction within the 'Rat party may be more inclined to support Gore as an anti-Hillary because of internal rivalries (I believe that Dean's ascension to DNC chair occurred for the same reason: ie. he was the anti-Terry McAuliffe)

Be very afraid of a Gore candidacy: unless all of the uninformed losers that constitute the 'swing voter' population suddenly get informed about how much of a nut case our former VP is, he would (IMHO) stand a much better chance of defeating the Republican than Hillary.

I just don't think I can stand to hear Al Ogre's voice again. Or Kerry's either.

Like you, I think Algore will run in '08 for two reasons:
1. He sees himself as the second coming of Richard Nixon, i.e. lose a very close election then come back 8 years later and win against a divided opposition party;

2. He absolutely hates the Wicked Witch of the West Wing, probably more than he hates Dubya, and the chance to destroy her in the primaries may prove too tempting to pass up.

Running on a hard-left platform of environmental whackiness, anti-war, pro-tax and spend will send the leftwing nutjobs into a frenzy that will last until Election Day. Fortunately, it won't be enough to push him over the top against a competent GOP opponent and will likely scare the hell out of swing voters. One final thought on the RATS in 2008. If Algore does run, Jean Francois Cherie might as well drop out the moment the Tree throws his hat in the ring, because Ketchup Boy will be appealing to the same lunatics, but won't have the same fiery wonkishness that Algore brings to the table.

Please run, Al, PLEEEEEEEZZZZZZEE RUN!!!! We need a good laugh . . . . .

Some of the speeches he's given lately makes me think he's escaped from an insane asylum...he's really gone off the deep end...what a moonbat.

He might try to ditch the hard-left rhetoric, but the GOP will have 8 years worth of tape showing just how deranged he's become since 2000.

One of our relatives did a few years as pysch nurse. She has said for about 4 years that Goron and Tipper both need to be in locked pysch wards to protect themselves, innocent family members and the rest of us. She is in total agreement with you. His remarks in the middle east about America are on tape and will drive any sane person away from voting for him.

Consider this...in Iowa, Al is likely trusted more than Hillary. In this game of primaries...winning Iowa matters. It forces Hillary into a must-win situation for the next race.

Goron has gone nuts...what a complete loon. You're right, please Goron run run run...LOL

One of my wife's relatives sent me an email and said that Goron is trying to blackmail the DNC into bribing him not to run. She believes that Burkle, will offer Goron a big paycheck to do nothing besides not running.

If he puts an R after his name he'd have a number of FReepers, Karl Rove, and Ken Mehlman supporting him. Maybe he should consider running as a Republican this time.


Knob-end mom lashes out at band for tolerance statement at concert

"The ticket said 'all ages,' and your band was very foul-mouthed and anti-morals. Charlotte is not the demoralized city that liberal San Francisco and other cities across the North and West are...I had looked forward to this concert with my girls for months [and] I didn't spend over $200 on gas, food and, unfortunately, shirts for you to give your own personal political testimony. ... This was a concert, not some liberal homosexual rally."
-- an unhinged mom in an email to Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, who made a simple statement against racism and homophobia at the punk rock band's Charlotte, North Carolina concert
Brady at Some Guys Are Normal pointed me to this article on MTV's web site, which really just says it all about the out-of-control bible-beater behavior in the culture war. Everything is offensive to them, even tolerance. Take a look at what set her off. This is what Pete Wentz said:
"The only thing I said in Charlotte was, 'You can leave this show and say, "I think this guy is an arrogant jerk," or think, "This band is better than this one," because these are your opinions. The only thing we consider unacceptable is for you to engage in sexist, racist or homophobic behavior. If you do, we don't want you as a fan. Return our merch and leave.' "
Well you would have thought that he was about to drop trou and start humping some male concertgoer in front of this mom's eyes:
The woman went on to promise that she would contact the national news media and the arenas that Fall Out Boy would be playing on future dates, and predicted that the band would lose "a lot of financial support" from concerned mothers like herself.

"I am not the only parent with morals that had children at this concert ... your responsibility was to sing your songs. When you opened your mouth to talk, you blew it," she wrote. "Here's to your band being just another Spice Girls, looking back and remembering the good times and 15 minutes of fame, because you [underestimated] who pays your bills. By the way, my children will not be a part of your sick idea of family."
Do you think this woman was there to stir up AmTaliban batsh*t, or just whacked out of her skull? His response shows a great deal more class than her vile email:
"I encourage fans of our band to grow up to become good people and to change the world. Unfortunately, I don't believe that treating other people as inhuman is acceptable. If that is offensive to you, I apologize, but we don't want you to be part of our fanbase. [Our show] is not a liberal homosexual rally, but at the same time, it will never be a Ku Klux Klan rally. We don't need to sell tickets that badly."


The anti-sex, anti-gay, anti-woman agenda

"The effective separation of sex from procreation may be one of the most important defining marks of our age — and one of the most ominous. This awareness is spreading among American evangelicals, and it threatens to set loose a firestorm.. . .A growing number of evangelicals are rethinking the issue of birth control — and facing the hard questions posed by reproductive technologies."
-- R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on why the AmTaliban is working 24/7 to stop non-procreative sex and control the wombs of America.
We all know that this is the real agenda of the Religious Right -- they cannot stand the thought of people having sex for pleasure and above all, in their dirty minds, any sex where the "right parts" don't fit.

In the article Contra-Contraception in the NY Times Magazine, it's all laid bare, no pretenses at all. These folks came after the homos and the wanton women first, but they want to monitor everyone's bedroom activities.
Many Christians who are active in the evolving anti-birth-control arena state frankly that what links their efforts is a religious commitment to altering the moral landscape of the country. In particular, and not to put too fine a point on it, they want to change the way Americans have sex. Dr. Stanford, the F.D.A. adviser on reproductive-health drugs, proclaimed himself "fully committed to promoting an understanding of human sexuality and procreation radically at odds with the prevailing views and practices of our contemporary culture." Focus on the Family posts a kind of contraceptive warning label on its Web site: "Modern contraceptive inventions have given many an exaggerated sense of safety and prompted more people than ever before to move sexual expression outside the marriage boundary." Contraception, by this logic, encourages sexual promiscuity, sexual deviance (like homosexuality) and a preoccupation with sex that is unhealthful even within marriage.

It may be news to many people that contraception as a matter of right and public health is no longer a given, but politicians and those in the public health profession know it well. "The linking of abortion and contraception is indicative of a larger agenda, which is putting sex back into the box, as something that happens only within marriage," says William Smith, vice president for public policy for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
Ultimately, the battle against non-abstinence-only sex ed, emergency contraception, sex toys, porn, homosexuality -- anything that has to do seeking carnal pleasure (even within the bonds of marriage if babymaking isn't on the agenda), or simply using correct terms for anatomy is what these people are after. It's sick and Americans need to wake up.

Shakes Sis lobs a good one:
They can claim from here to eternity that their primary interest is "a religious commitment to altering the moral landscape of the country" (which, from my perspective, they’re doing, since I consider prioritizing babymaking sex over AIDS prevention, for example, a decidedly amoral position radically diverging from the moral landscape currently hanging on by a thread), but what this is really about is the subjugation of women, who by any measure will have less freedom and opportunity if control over their own reproduction is taken away from them. (That’s not to minimize the additional strain on men who would also become fathers against their will, but fathering 7 kids doesn’t have quite the same affect career-wise, for instance, as carrying and bearing them does.) While little girls are being targeted with purity balls by Focus on the Family, to try to indoctrinate against extra-marital sex early, a search on prostitution—to which, historically, men turned to get their jollies when "nice girls" were locked up in chastity belts and wives who didn’t want to get pregnant again simply refused sex—just turns up yet more information on homosexuality. Though prostitution flourishes in sex-restricted cultures that don’t provide women with reproductive choices, the pro-lifers don’t seem to care much about preventing it even as they try to lock down women again.


Show him the door



His Legacy and His Library Occupy Bush's Thoughts. Let's use that word "thoughts" loosely when it comes to Dear Leader. As Iraq continues its downward spiral, gas prices soar and corruption is overflowing in his administration and party, the Chimperor's ready to kick back for the duration.

Since he's now publicly on autopilot, why can't he can save us all some grief and just step aside before he does any more damage to the country?
Whatever Mr. Bush decides, one thing is obvious: Two and a half years before he leaves office, with his popularity at record lows, Mr. Bush is actively thinking ahead to his post-White House life. His dinner with Mr. Shultz, a Hoover fellow, offers a glimpse into how the president wants to spend at least some of his time and influence his legacy — after he leaves office.

..."I would like to leave behind a legacy or a think tank, a place for people to talk about freedom and liberty, and the de Tocqueville model, what de Tocqueville saw in America," Mr. Bush told Mr. Schieffer. "I would like for there to be a place where young scholars come and write and think and articulate and opine and teach."
OMG. Think tank. Well, we can assume there will be plenty of bibles available in the Dear Leader library, along with a copy of The Pet Goat and the sports sections of the papers that he bothered to unfold.

H/t, Joe at Americablog.


Abstinence-only proponents dominate CDC anti-STD panel

The pressure to avoid facts and science in order to accommodate the faith-based BS continues unabated. (365gay):
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has bowed to pressure from a Republican congressman to include two abstinence-only proponents to a federal panel on STDs, bypassing the scientific approval process according to a published report.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind) the chair of the House subcommittee on drug policy accused the CDC of including only opponents of abstinence programs on the panel to be held Tuesday at the National STD Prevention Conference in Jacksonville, Fla.

...Jonathan Zenilman, president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association and conference organizer said that the two pro-abstinence people added to the panel are not scientists.

"These people aren't scientists; they haven't written anything," he told the Inquirer. "The only reason they're here is because of political pressure from the administration."

To make room for the abstinence proponents the CDC dropped two researchers from the panel - one a Penn State scientist who had prepared a discussion paper on how abstinence programs were tied to rising STD rates.
Perhaps the panelists will explain how to pray the clap away.


How will Snow Job's first day go?

Today is Tony Snow's first day at the podium in his role as WH Press Secretary, and he's going to face questions about Porter Goss's sudden canning, er, resignation from the CIA. This assumes that the press actually asks any questions of relevance. Jay Rosen at PressThink wonders whether it's possible to get straight answer as to why Goss left, given the current state of the MSM (h/t, Raw Story):
Reason-giving is basic to government by consent of the governed. Very basic. An Administration that doesn't have to give reasons for what it is doing is unaccountable to the American people and their common sense, to world opinion" even to itself.

To pressure the CIA director to leave after 20 months in the job, and to give no reason at all for it --not even "spend more time with the family" is a big screw you to anyone trying to discern what the President is doing and what the government is up to.

This is why we have professional journalists as part of our public life. They are supposed to step in when reason-giving falters, and press for an explanation. And if on Monday, the White House press corps can't get an explanation for Goss's departure it will fail some basic test of usefulness.

...Especially after Goss called it "one of those mysteries," reporters will, I think, be asking lots of CIA director questions on Monday.

...Monday is also the day Tony Snow, the new White House press secretary, is supposed to take over in the briefing room. Thus it’s possible we will know right away whether Snow represents a change in White House strategy, or a corrective to the old strategy of de-certifying the press and rolling it back.
You can also link and blogwhore away here...


'Mary Cheney's Step Forward'

That's the title of Hilary Rosen's and Elizabeth Birch's (both formerly of Human Rights Campaign) piece up at the WaPo on Mary Cheney. The basic theme of the column is to applaud MC for finally coming out publicly in favor or marriage equality, despite her work for a party that is actively working to deny gays and lesbians basic human rights, let alone marriage.
Yet we've concluded that at this moment in time, the past doesn't seem nearly as important as the future. And though the movement we support deserves credit for much of the acceptance she is receiving, Mary's presence on the national stage -- the daughter of the vice president of the United States discussing issues related to our lives -- is most welcome and has the potential to be a transforming moment for all Americans.
Read and comment.

My take -- there may be potential there for "teachable moments," but I doubt we'll see anything of substance, unless MC finds a spine to come out of the box and publicly chastise the Right and the bigots on the Hill as they move forward with debate on the Marriage Protection Amendment. It will take a lot to undo the damage that has been inflicted on the gay community while Mary's remained silent about her disagreements with this administration's anti-gay policies (and still taking a paycheck).

***

Also, in yet another MC profile, this one in USA Today, more tap dancing emerges about why she didn't say anything during the 2004 campaign about the gay-bashing administration's policies that she helped along by working for the BC04 re-election.
Numerous gay rights supporters — and an infamous webcampaign called "Where is Mary Cheney?" — called on her to speak out against Bush's stand and considered her sexuality fair game. "Fair game?" she writes in the book. "My sexuality is fair game? It was completely outrageous."

She also was roundly criticized because she and Poe did not stand onstage with the Cheney family at the 2004 GOP convention: "We decided that we were going to be low-key. ... We had talked about the possibility of going up onstage either after my dad's speech or after the president spoke. I was happier and more comfortable staying behind the scenes." Poe, she writes, was "more averse to stares and cameras than I am."

Asked whether she could have used her position as daughter of the vice president to help promote gay rights, Cheney, a Bush Republican, says: "I am and have always been very open and honest about who I am, about being gay. I'm about to publish a book that devotes a whole chapter to the issue of marriage amendments. Quite honestly, I think that's the way I can be most effective."
Gee, her sexuality wasn't off-limits when she was taking a paycheck from Coors as its professional homosexual liaison. It's only fair game to speak about it when you're getting paid, right Mary?

Related:
* Mary Cheney's path
* All you need to know about homosexuality and Mary


Legislation to protect gays under fed hate crime laws dropped

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Yet another reason why the Rethugs need to be tossed out of control. (365gay):
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) has been trying to get the measure passed since 1999. This session he tacked it onto a national sex offender bill.

The sex offender registry bill has been tied up in the Senate for months as Kennedy fought to have the hate crime provision passed. Late last week he pulled the amendment allowing the sex offender bill to pass unanimously after Republicans threatened to block passage of the sex offender legislation pin the blame on "liberal Democrats" and gay activists.

...A House version of the hate crime bill passed the House earlier this year, as an amendment to the Children's Safety and Violent Crimes Reduction Act. The hate crime provision, which would have included gays, lesbians and the transgendered was later stripped out of the bill.


Roygear purchases help out Equality Alabama

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues passed along some fun for a great cause, Equality Alabama.



Jennifer of Intous has a Cafe Press site up where you can buy anti-Roy Moore gear, including the design above -- a portion of each purchase will go to help EA.


Open thread -- and the highs and lows of Dear Leader

Dear Leader has to be the worst president in history if he feels his best moment in office is this:
U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.

"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
Read it over again. This is the leader of the free world, the man with a tax-cut plan, the Great Decider. Can we just throw him back in the lake?

He doesn't help his case much with his declaration of the worst moment in office.
Bush said the worst moment was September 11 when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.


“I had just been told by (Chief of Staff) Andrew Card that America was under attack and I was collecting my thoughts,” he explained to Larry King on 8/14/2004.

"In such a situation it takes a while before one understands what is happening," Bush said. "I would say that this was the hardest moment, once I had the real picture before my eyes."
***

Check out Mad Kane's haiku on Dear Leader, Fishing For Accomplishments.


Freedom from homosexuality, the Daddy Dobson way

Dan at Ex-Gay Watch has a laugh-out-loud commentary on the activities of the clown-car show known as the 2006 Exodus Freedom [from homosexuality] Conference, featuring "professional heterosexuals" and allies such as Anne Heche's mom, Nancy, Randy Thomas, and Focus on the Anus's gender issues analyst and "former lesbian" Melissa Fryrear.
Perhaps at this year's conference Ms. Fryrear will meet a homosexual who has not been molested. If any XGW readers who have not been molested attend the conference please identify yourself to Ms. Fryrear.

The award for best workshop title goes to Randy Thomas. I've got no clue what it's about but it's got to be good:
Escaping the Gaytrix - Randy Thomas
TBA
From the same city that brought you Kevin Federline comes...
What's Wrong With Masturbation? - Russell Willingham
We've all wondered about Masturbation. Is it healthy self-expression or a bondage? What does the Bible say and not say about it? In this workshop we will explore these questions and look at ways to deal with this challenging issue.
Dan also aptly noted that there are twice as many panel discussions on how to prevent man-on-man action than on dyke deviance (which we all know, is par for the course with these folks).


WingNutDaily: National ID the Mark of the Beast?

Well, hit me with that 666, Uncle Sam.
Is the national ID card the next step toward the imposition of the biblical "mark of the beast" Christians believe will be required to buy and sell during the Last Days?

That's the contention of a growing group of believers who are working to turn back the approval of the Real ID Act by Congress last year. Public Law 109-13 requires the national ID portion of the plan go into effect by May 2008.

"There is a prophecy in the Bible that foretells a time when every person will be required to have a mark or a number, without which he or she will not be able to participate in the economy," states the Christian website NoNationalID.com. "The prophecy is 2,000 years old, but it has been impossible for it to come to pass until now. With the invention of the computer and the Internet, this prophecy of buying and selling, using a number, can now be implemented at any time. Has the time for the fulfillment of this prophecy arrived?"

...Endtime Ministries' Irvin Baxter, a radio host, believes the national ID is a precursor to the forced embedding of radio-frequency chips under the skin.

Baxter told the Concord, N.H., Monitor: "That's where we are headed right now. The prophecy states that you will have to receive a mark on your hand or in your forehead."
The information slated to be included on this card, that will be stored in databases that are compatible and shared by all states:
* your full legal name
* date of birth
* gender
* driver's license number
* digital photo of the person
* current address
* the card must be machine-readable for verification

Now there are legitimate reasons to oppose a national ID, since it means the government in theory will be able to track you with this card (as if one cannot already be tracked on infinite levels by private sector businesses), and used for nefarious political purposes by corrupt fed, state or local officials/entities. Dear Leader has already decided that he has absolute powers, so I don't know why these WND people aren't freaking out at that. We have a de facto national ID in drivers' licenses, but these aren't standardized.

Something tells me that our government, with Real ID in place, will do a lousy job of making us "safer" anyway, based on its past and current failures when we need "security" most.

Anyway, while reading this article, it reminded me of an earlier WND piece that conflicts with the whole 666/Mark of the Beast scenario. These folks really need to get their tin-foil asshattery straight.
For centuries, people have been intrigued by the number 666, the "number of the beast" from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. Not only is it mentioned in Scripture, it has been associated with the Satanism, universal price codes and the game of roulette, as the numbers on the wheel add up to 666.
However, in its own reporting, all the hysteria might be over a misreading of the holy texts, blowing all the batsh*t crazies like themselves out of the window...
While many Bibles have footnotes saying the number translated from the original Greek could be 616, experts say new photographic evidence of an ancient fragment of papyrus from Revelation indeed indicates the number is 616, instead of 666.
Does this mean that folks in Grand Rapids, MI (area code 616) are all damned?

Related:
* WingNutDaily serves up an extra helping of batsh*t nuttery
* Wingnuts Fear RFID Chips Could Herald 'Mark of the Beast'


The Empty Wig puts out the call for more cash

Yawn. My senator, Sugar Lips Dole, is continuing her crappy reign as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and this piece of crap turned up in my email the other day. If this is supposed to rally the sheeple, the GOP is in bigger trouble than we thought...

Our Senate Majority Needs You!

If the liberal Democrats succeed in 2006, it will only be a short matter of time before these Feingold-Reid-Schumer Democrats see that our worst fears are realized. They will:

* Increase your taxes.
* Block all of President Bush's judicial nominees and allow our court to be run by liberal activist judges.
* Call for endless congressional investigations, congressional censure and maybe even impeachment of President Bush.
* Put the War on Terrorism on the back-burner.
* Go on an unprecedented spending spree.
* Take over the White House in 2008!

As Chair of the NRSC, I want to assure you that I am working 'round the clock to help our country avoid this disaster.

But with the massive amounts of money being raised daily by the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee, numerous "527 Committees," Big Labor bosses, radical Hollywood elitists and liberal billionaires like George Soros...

...Our backs are up against the wall.

And that's why I'm urging you to make a generous contribution of $50, $100 or even $250 to the NRSC right now - today.
Related:
* 'GOP Superstar'-- the Empty Wig gets pummeled


NC county sued for preventing anti-gay pamphlets

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The bible beaters were slapped down for promoting the Day of Truth with gay-bashing handouts, and now they are suing the Sampson County (NC) school system and the principal who suspended the ninth grader. (Sampson Independent):
According to school superintendent Dr. Stewart Hobbs, a student from Midway High School approached principal Gaynor Canady to get approval to wear a T-shirt promoting Day of Truth, and to pass out leaflets reportedly bashing gays and lesbians. Hobbs said Canady told the student, identified by the Associated Press as Benjamin Arthurs, the T-shirt had to be approved first and that religious leaflets were not permissible.

Hobbs said the student wanted to wear the T-shirt and pass out leaflets on Day of Truth, which was April 27, in retaliation of Day of Silence that was on April 26. The student was given permission to wear the T-shirt that only read “Day of Truth,” but the leaflets were not allowed because it was forcing religious beliefs on other students in a public school.

...Hobbs said Arthurs was still not given permission to pass out the leaflets but he did any way during the morning of Day of Truth, which is the “Christian counterpoint view to Day of Silence.” The leaflet “basically said gays and lesbians are going to hell,” said Hobbs. Several students, teachers and parents came to the Midway High office concerned about the leaflets being passed out.

...Hobbs said Arthurs was suspended for insubordination. Arthurs passed out leaflets even though the principal told him he couldn’t, said Hobbs, and those leaflets disrupted the school setting and was forcing religious beliefs on others. The T-shirt, though, was not deemed disruptive.
***

Similarly, up in the Great White North, Blender Mark passed on this lunacy -- from his blog, Slap Upside the Head:
Ted Morton’s Bill 208, which passed second reading this week, would make it OK for teachers to not acknowledge the existence of same-sex marriage in Alberta. And for teachers that do wish to acknowledge reality… well, they’d be required to send out parental warnings before speaking a word about the gays. How quaint!

When asked why this craziness was conceived, Morton replied: “[It’s] to pre-empt the type of harassment of people who disagree with same-sex marriage.” Yeah, because those people are so discriminated against. Also — wait, did that response have anything to do with parents and teachers?

I believe this nonsense, considering Premier Ralph Klein was practically dragged kicking and screaming to accept same-sex marriage last year.


God's Own Party?

The whole Duke Cunningham/lobbyist prosty scandal is still heating up, with the rumbles now that Porter Goss, the CIA head who bailed all of a sudden yesterday, might somehow be involved. Raw Story:
According to a senior law enforcement official quoted in an article in Saturday's NY Daily News, the resignation of Porter Goss is tied to the scandal enveloping a Republican congressman convicted for taking bribes in exchange for government contract hand-outs.

"It's all about the Duke Cunningham scandal," the unnamed official tells the Daily News.
The article intimates that Goss and an assistant were present at poker parties held at the Watergate Hotel, where prostitutes were available to Congressmen who were on the take.

The interesting aspect of this is that it's entirely possible that gay hookers are also involved, considering Duke was outed some time ago (see my December 05 post, Washington Blade editorial: 'outing' can change votes for that item). HRC's former head Elizabeth Birch inadvertently let that cat out of the bag.

Let's see whether this bit of information ever gets play in the MSM in relation to this story.

And a blast from the past -- this is what happened during Poppy's administration (h/t DKos commenter wonkeydonkey):



That story is here and here. A Brit documentary about it is here.


DC homobigot pastor tries to top Willie Wilson

“It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy...Wait a minute! Let all the real men come on down here and take a bow. All the real men -— I'm talking about the straight men.”
-- DC pastor Bishop Alfred A. Owens, in a recorded sermon delivered at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church
We've got another live one here, courtesy of Jasmyne Cannick. Instead of taking the tack of fellow homo-bigot pastor Willie Wilson, who saw a lesbian around every corner, we've got Bishop Owens, who's trying to root out the gayboys in his church with a call-out from the pulpit.

This is a prime example of the sickness in the socially conservative religious black community, and you will not see these hateful sons-of-bitches called out by the mainstream Democratic leaders. The spineless Dems won't touch this homobigotry with a one-hundred-foot pole for fear of the race card being slapped down on them. Falwell, Dobson and the white fundamentalist extremists can be held up as sick examples of conservative fear and hate, but men like Owens and Willie Wilson get a pass.

It's disgusting to see one oppressed community sh*t on another -- queer folks of color, particularly black men, are left to largely fend for themselves in a lonely purgatory of sorts, exacerbating the problem of the down low phenomenon. And why wouldn't it, when your own community rejects you on a level like this (Washington City Paper):
Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr.—pastor of the Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, one of the city's largest congregations—had a clever theme for his April 9 service. His sermon was titled “Fan or Follower!” Owens, who is an honorary member of Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ Interfaith Council, delivered a message urging congregants to be move beyond being fans of the church to becoming followers of the righteous path.

He also made clear that one segment of his congregation is not welcome on that path: gay men.

...“You ain’t funny and you ain’t cranky, but you're straight. Come on down here and walk around and praise God that you are straight. Thank him that you're straight. All the straight men that's proud to be a Christian, that's proud to be a man of God.”

Owens did not return calls seeking comment.

One attendee of the service, who describes himself as a gay, says the house was packed for the Palm Sunday service. He and “about 20” other closeted gay men in the crowd, he says, felt they had no choice but to join Owens’ spontaneous celebration of straightness.

He calls the bishop's message “offensive” because it suggests “it is impossible to be gay and serve God.” He also objects to Owens’ use of “faggot” and “sissy” to describe gay men. “If I wasn't delivered,” he says, “I wouldn't have been delivered on that day.”

The Bishop's anti-gay rhetoric is no surprise coming from the No. 2 man in the conservative Mount Calvary Holy Church of America Inc. Gay activists say Owens has a history of homophobic sermons, but add that his congregation include numerous gay members.

...Ward 8 activist Philip Pannell says the bishop “has a longstanding record of homophobia. I literally will not step in his church,” says Pannell, who is gay.
These gay parishioners are clearly afraid to walk out, come out and lose the sense of community they do have in a hostile world, but quite frankly, these gays and lesbians (and their allies) must come out, speak out and withhold their money from these bigots who spend Sunday sermons demonizing them.

Owens's wife, Co-pastor Susie C. Owens, according to black anti-gay minister watchdog site Operation: Rebirth isn't much better at laying off the homo-baiting from the pulpit. First, she ignorantly references the ordination of Gene Robinson as Bishop in the Episcopal church.
The "Epistopal (not Episcopal, but Epistopal) Church voted to ordain and accept an openly gay priest!" From the way the crowd moaned and groaned, you would have thought someone died. She felt it reprehensible for a church to sanction a gay man to speak the oracles of God.
Nevermind the fact that the people who elected and ordained him felt that he was a good priest. He helped people. The parishioners LOVE him. His work spoke volumes of his character, his love for God, and his devotion to showing God's love to people. He was obedient in doing what priests should do. But no, he shouldn't be ordained. After all , HE'S GAY! Let THAT be what we judge him on.

She went on to say how the devil tried really hard to stop her from preaching this sermon. But she told him, "I'm gonna preach this sermon if I gotta crawl to do it. I gotta tell the TRUTH!" The congregation went WILD! (Now stay with me here, she's getting somewhere….I promise.) Co-Pastor Owens then said, "let the tape and the record show, that I AM NOT a homophobic person. I AM NOT a 'gay bashing' preacher. I just don't applaud the gay and lesbian lifestyle. SIN IS SIN! I don't care if you a fornicator, an adulterer, a murderer, a liar, a thief, or if you love to gossip…ALL OF IT IS SIN!"

...Lastly, she made a snide remark about "you gays that are taking the pills thinking you're delivered, trying to get your lil' T-cell count up…check out the latest medical report. The HIV virus can over time develop a resistance to those pills. So, what you thought could make you able to go out and continue what you were doing…THE PILLS AIN'T WORKIN NO MORE. If you don't be careful, God will take what was meant to bless you and use it to curse you."
This, friends, has to stop. These bigots are speaking these words of hate and intolerance with children sitting there in the pews. It makes me sick.

Perhaps folks might want to politely express their distaste to the Owens family for using the pulpit to preach hate.

Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church
Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr., D.Min., Pastor
Evangelist Susie C. Owens, Co-Pastor
Associate Pastor, T. Cedric Brown
Office: 202-529-4547
Fax: 202-529-4495

Jasmyne has more contact information at her pad.

***

Even with that unhinged hate above, It's frightening that this sad sorry example of a spiritual leader doesn't top Willie Wilson. It's pretty hard to surpass this insanity:
""Now, can I talk here? I ain't homophobic, because everybody in here got something wrong with him. Whoever you point at, you can point at your own self. You got something wrong with your life. But when you get down to this thing, women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain't real. That thing ain't got no feeling in it. It ain't natural. Any time somebody got to slap some grease on your behind, and stick something in you, it's something wrong with that. Your butt ain't made for that. [Audience shouts and yells its approval in the background.]

You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding. It's destroying us. Can't make no connection with a screw and another screw. The Bible says God made them male and female. The Hebrew word Negade (?), which means complimentary nature - there is something unique to man and unique to woman and it takes those two things to compliment each other. You can't make a connection with two screws. It takes a screw and a nut! (shouting)."."
--The Rev. Willie Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast D.C. (and a former mayoral candidate) during a recorded sermon.



"The situation is so grave that it should be declared a national emergency."
-- Willie Wilson, on the "epidemic" of lesbianism among black girls, on the Web site of Union Temple Baptist Church
See the hilarious Flash animation that accompanies Wilson's audio from his sermon.

Earlier posts on Wilson:

* DC pastor - lesbianism is "about to take over our community"

* Homo-bigot DC pastor gets skewered by rights groups

* DC Rev 'apologizes' for outrageous sermon attacking gays

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

* Willie Wilson: homo-bigoted pastor and LIAR

* Tidmus gives Willie Wilson the Shaft

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



Tidmus on Mary


Mike's caption for his graphic: "It's Mary Coulter's Cheney's turn at last."

You have to visit Mike's links to his earlier posts on Darth's Daughter...
I’ve toasted and roasted...Mary Cheney in past posts. I’ve wondered, more or less aloud, why Mumsie and Daddy don’t do more to defend their gay daughter from their rabid right-wing friends.

Now, Milk-Carton Mary is busily peddling and promoting her brand new book. Don’t buy it. End of review.


'Ex-gay' James Hartline: repeal of DADT is threat to national security

Friday, May 05, 2006

I blogged last week about Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), the latest member of Congress to sign on to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would kill Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The wingers caught on to this bit of business, and put their own spin on it. Witness the reaction of "former homosexual" James Hartline. He calls the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network a "radical homosexual group" out to create a threat to national security. Put on your anti-gay tin foil hat and count the winger cliches in this, from The James Hartline Report (via Freeperland):

In what many are calling a grave threat to national security, Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis has begun to push for the legalization of sodomy in the United States military. According to an April 28, 2006 press release issued by the radical homosexual group, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), Congresswoman Davis has signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill to remove the ban on homosexual participation in the United States military. Davis, a liberal pro-abortion Democrat, represents the military-based area of San Diego, in turn making her decision to lead the charge to remove restrictions on sodomy in the military, a move that could jeopardize, not only moral discipline in the armed forces, but would lead to the immediate flight of thousands of military servicemen who do not want to be exposed to homosexual activity inside of their barracks.

...Gay activists have been upset with Congresswoman Davis for not previously signing on to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military. Up for reelection in the Congressional 53rd District, Davis now reversed course to appease radical gay activists. Deeming it more important to appease homosexual activists than the consequences to national security by allowing the spread of homosexuality inside of the military, Congresswoman Davis now personifies a politician who is out of touch with the current world war that America is fighting to defeat terrorism. Why someone would want to introduce something as unhealthy as sodomy into the military, that would clearly demoralize many American troops in the midst of a deadly war, has dumbfounded voters in her district.

Congresswoman Davis has, as her District Director, Todd Gloria, a radical gay activist. Gloria, who serves on the board of the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Center, has been aggressively supporting the legalization of gay marriage and other anti-family causes. In 2003, Congresswoman Davis was a featured speaker at a porn-promoting Conference on Bi-Sexuality, where workshops on perverted sexual acts were also presented. The idea that Congresswoman Davis has surrounded herself with such immoral policymakers and events is disturbing to many of the constituents in her district. Now that she has extended her radical views on sexuality into a campaign to legitimize such behavior in the Armed Services, can only be interpreted as a threat to national security. With documented cases of sexual promiscuity and AIDS inside of homosexual communities throughout America rapidly increasing, it is disturbing to many Americans, why liberal Democrats and some Republicans want introduce such a threat into the military.
The screw is loose. I think James is getting a woody, fantasizing about nude men around him in the barracks shower with the bar of soap mysteriously dropping.

The Freepi had scintillating comments on Hartline's shrill piece, reflecting the level of critical thinking skills that you've come to know and love.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

There's nothing like poop on a private part to increase the military's morale.

In the good-old-days she would have been tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail.

Just when you think the faltering Republicans are about to be overtaken by the Keystone Kops of the Democratic Party in an election year, one of the kops blows up their own pursuit car.

Nothing new, really. The Liberals have been sodomizing the military every chance they get for quite some time now.

This is the democratic party and their priorities. The Republicans should pick this and some of the other looney things going on i.e. Cynthia McKinney and run with it. But you want hear anything but crickets from the Republicans.... I think someone has pictures of the Republicans in a compromising position. They have no spine and they act like they are a minority. Of course they will be the minority party after November.

With dykes like this "serving" in Congress, I have little hope for America. And much less hope for the braindead who put her there.

She needs to be bent over....and........

Somebody tell this simp that the code is to never leave your buddies behind and it isn't not to leave your buddy's behind.

"Why do we let the 2% deviants and their supporters ruin this country?"

Because the Republicans allow it! They have no spine, they are cowering in the corner letting Reid, Kerry, Clinton and the other members of the "majority", I mean minority party run the show!

I can just see it all now. A Company Commander and his First Sergeant skipping down the street holding hands while looking at each other with "goo-goo" eyes and stopping occasionally to swap spit. Isn't that just the way it should be?

next they'll make up gay fairytales for the military school kids to learn

How can they fight if they're walking all funny the next day? BTW, whatever happened to "don't ask, don't tell"? They're slowly whittling it down until heterosexuals are no longer allowed in the military.

Okay, all you dumbfounded voters, get to the polls and VOTE HER OUT.

We Americans just can't SIT around & allow these vermin to continue to destroy all good aspects of a society. We can't just complain. We have to take an active force on these cretins. I don't mean harmful acts but she needs a few gnats in her face on a constant basis which interrupts her lunches etc.

The statement that there are 21,000 gay and lesbian veterans is a statement that has no proof of fact. That is a falsified number that cannont be proven, stated by the homosexual website seeking to legalize sodomy by overstating their numbers and importance. Really, it is time to DEFY THE LIE!

In any case, she's a woman, why does she care about sodomy - and in the military, no less?

Lets send this to the Rev FRED PHELPS and the WBC. maybe he will go protest at her offices and leave the vets hospitals and soldiers funerals alone for awhile.


sHillary sickness

Hey homos -- get under the bus now. sHillary's sitting in the driver's seat and ready to roll over all of us for 2008. (Newsmax):
When she hits the presidential campaign trail next year, 2008 White House hopeful Hillary Clinton is planning to sell herself to the nation as a common sense, iron-willed, family values candidate.

So says Newsweek's Howard Fineman, who says he uncovered the daring strategy during a recent conversation with longtime Clinton advisor James Carville.

He writes: "As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton looks for a basic sales pitch after what is likely to be a sweeping reelection victory in her New York Senate race this fall, she’s going to play a part that comes naturally to her: hard-eyed realist in a world of dreamers . . .
She must be stopped. Oh, by the way, Blender Henway, who pointed me to this article, also passed along this companion piece of the Bill and Hillary Clinton Centrist Election 2008 PlanTM, a new cozy relationship with Faux News and News Corps head honcho, Rupert Murdoch. Barf bags at the ready...
According to the New York Observer, however, Clinton has just accepted Murdoch's invite to speak at the Pebble Beach Golf Club in August.

..."We have a good relationship with the former president," a News Corp spokesman explained to the Observer.


...The company's relationship with Hillary Clinton has also apparently improved. Mrs. Clinton turned up at a Fox News 10th anniversary party in Washington, D.C. last week.

Last year the Observer reported on growing signs of an alliance between Murdoch and Clinton, citing a private lunch the two shared in 2002 and comments from her spokesman, who told the paper: "Senator Clinton respects [Murdoch] and thinks he is smart and effective."


MD Senate candidate harps on gay marriage issue

Who's surprised that faux "Oreo-peltee" Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is dragging out the homo boogeyman in his bid to become a U.S. Senator? No one. Look at this BS.
Earlier this week the Republican appeared at a meeting of conservative Christian leaders who are pushing for an amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage and reaffirmed his belief that marriage is a covenant between a man, a woman and God only.

“Marriage is not a purely human institution,” Steele told the Alliance for Marriage Foundation workshop. “Marriage defines not only the relationship between a man and a woman but also their journey through life.”

The remarks drew a harsh response from Equality Maryland, the state's largest LGBT civil rights organization.

"This is a transparent Karl Rove tactic designed to sway voters into thinking he is running something other than an empty shell of a campaign,” said Equality Maryland's Executive Director Dan Furmansky in a statement.

“According to Mr. Steele, ‘they [people of faith] should not be brow-beaten into thinking something that goes counter to what the people in the community aspire to.’ Does that then mean he would have supported the Southern states that "defined marriage" in their constitutions as “two Whites, Negroes or Mongolians” circa 1948, after “activist judges” began striking down interracial marriage bans as unconstitutional...against popular opinion?”
* Who's race-baiting now - Steele's phony Oreo-pelting story


Mike on the Equality Forum -- and Jeff Gannon's pre-panel 'report'

Mike Rogers has posted about his experience at the Equality Forum panel with Jeff Gannon over at BlogActive. A snippet:
The panel was a great opportunity for me to bring up questions on Gannon's work. Where is his accountability when there is proof of his plagiarizing previously published articles? And Was he ever at the White House when the day changed (at midnight)?

(He answered neither.) I also loved that he referred to Matt Drudge, who I reminded the audience was yet another closeted gay guy working against our community.

There will be an article up at Raw Story later today with some exclusive video footage from the event shot by PoliticsTV.com and more details about the panel, including a response to my suggestion that Gannon debate me in DC. And, from what I've read, I'm a pretty good debater, well better than O'Reilly.

...I had the pleasure of meeting Pam and her partner Kate for dinner. Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla joined us too....What a treat.
Kate and I would like to thank Mike, John, Susie, David and Brandon for helping to celebrate Kate's birthday in advance of the "festivities" that evening.

Also, Raw Story has a piece up, Gannon comes out: Former escort, conservative reporter grilled on White House visits.
In a conversation with RAW STORY Thursday evening, Gannon spoke frankly about numerous questions this site has raised about his work. RAW STORY was the first to publish the Secret Service logs of his visits to the White House, revealing that Gannon checked in on numerous occasions but failed to check out.

"That's a problem with Secret Service record keeping," Gannon said when asked why Secret Service logs show fourteen days he failed to check out. He referenced an article from 2003 which revealed shoddy record-keeping by the presidential bodyguard.

"I think you're going to see that in this Abramoff thing that's coming out right now," he added. "You're probably not going to get a complete historical record."

Asked if he ever slept over at the White House, Gannon said, "Never. Absolutely never stayed overnight at the White House. Never ever."
John Byrne also reports that Gannon supported the outing of Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA), who resigned after Mike exposed Schrock's trolling for men on a phone sex hotline with audiotapes of the calls for "action."
Yet perhaps the most stunning of Gannon's comments was his assertion that he supports "outing" gays who live one life and vote another. Gannon – who himself was "outed" as a former sex worker without his consent – said that he supported the outing of erstwhile Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA), who resigned in disgrace after Rogers posted tapes of him soliciting gay sex on the Internet.
You might remember this gem of a recording of Schrock on the prowl:
I weigh 200 pounds, hazel eyes, blond hair, uh, really buffed up, really tan. Ah, I'm just looking to get together with, uh, any white guy, uh, who has got a great body on him, has got a good-size endowment, is cut, just to get together, get naked, play with one another, get each other off, nothing hardcore, I have to be incredibly careful, incredibly safe, incredibly discrete, I cannot overemphasize that. If that appeals to you, uh, I'd like to hear from you, so hit me back. Thanks. Bye.
Back to the forum -- as predicted, when it came to answering questions about Gannongate, the moderator slapped Mike down -- the very reason John and I dropped out.
He floated several questions of Gannon which went unanswered at the panel but were taken up in our interview Thursday for this story.

"Dozens of times when you didn't leave the White House during the day. What happened?" Rogers asked. "Were you ever at the White House at midnight, when the day changed?"

At one point, the moderator interjected, saying that Gannon couldn't respond.
The panel was recorded by Politics TV and you can see the video here.

***

I just got back into town and checked my email and I found a message from Jeff Gannon:
Pam:

I'm sorry you didn't come to the Panel. I was looking forward to meeting you. I enjoyed participating in an event that lived up to the principle of diversity.

Best of luck with the blog.

Jeff Gannon
He also included a link to his Washington Blade column, written before the panel occurred. It's outrageous, basically, he accuses me of being convinced by John to drop out. Oh please, I guess I have no principles of my own, right? Maybe I just shine John's shoes too, Jeff. Damn, I know I'm not a top-level blogger, but there seems to be a running patronizing theme here (considering I was nearly invisible in the press release by EF that scorched John for dropping out). Oh well, consider the sources...
But last week, I was informed that Aravosis had decided to withdraw from the panel following a dispute with the organizers about the content of the discussion. He convinced another panelist, Pam Spaulding, to pull out as well.

Mike LaMonica, program director for Equality Forum, issued a news release stating, "Mr. Aravosis wanted to control the content of the overall panel. When no compromise could be achieved, Mr. Aravosis elected not to participate."

Aravosis subsequently accused the Equality Forum of lying in a diatribe published on his blog. Aravosis and Spaulding were replaced, and the planning went forward without them.
Uh, the organizers did lie, Jeff, and we all saw what happened. Again, he turns it back to the old saw that he's a victim of conservative bashing.
Further, the organizers lived up to the principles the Forum espouses by inviting someone with my point of view. They recognize that the GLBT community is more diverse than any other, cutting across racial, cultural, religious, socioeconomic and political lines.

The Equality Forum realizes that my conservative viewpoint needs to be included, since I represent a segment of the community that has few voices. This is something Aravosis must view as threatening, since he led an unsuccessful advertising boycott of the Blade last year when it began publishing my columns.


THOSE WHO WOULD TRY TO SILENCE or intimidate others who have different points of view are doing the community a tremendous disservice. So much discussion of GLBT issues is influenced by partisan political rhetoric that actually impedes progress. A more reality-based approach to these issues will yield long-term results that are better than a few short-lived victories.
Yes, it would have been very productive to have a valid conservative blogger viewpoint on the panel. That wasn't what was on the agenda. I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss ethics, journalism and blogging with JG/JG if his "issue" is on the table as fair game, since he truly is an "expert" on that subject.

As is my style, I politely -- and appropriately responded to JG:
Jeff,

I'm sorry that the panel was not able to be agreed-upon so that I could be there. John A. played no role in "convincing" me to withdraw. The emails from days of back and forth between Katherine and Malcolm (the fallout chronicled on both John's and my blog) speak for themselves. The matter was poorly handled by them.

This would have been my first panel so I had little motivation to simply withdraw as a lark or folly.

Perhaps we can meet and discuss the issues at some point in the future at a better-constructed forum.

--Pam
Someone has to take the high road.


All you need to know about homosexuality and Mary

We can stop debating now -- I've found a great American who knows all about the homos, presenting an expert analysis of the matter. From the Primetime Live message board on the Mary Cheney interview, someone calling themselves "ishelp4" (paragraph breaks added for sanity, otherwise the post is unaltered):
Mary Cheney some of why children are influenced

Many children are influenced to be gay. It is definatley my opinion no one is born gay. I want people to understand how a child can have an experiance as a child and then forget as they grow. Then many people have post traumatic stress from issues of having formed a sexual attraction, and some from memmories that they had forgoten. Innoscent times when a young child may have bene influenced incident or perpertated, and the child had formed an attraction involving an act that was very sensual to them. This is forgotten often.

So a child may find themselves attracted to simular innscodent. Would appriciate if someone like you could help people understand issues of gender dysphoria more. That people could realise it does not mean a person is gay. Parents often feel their child will be gay. I believe gender dysphoria can be born in a child, and also some children that learn characteristics that mimic gender dysphorias.

Parents should understand this to better help a child. A child does not have to have a gender dysphoria to form an attraction on same gender iether. Not all children with a gender dysphoria will form attractions on same gender as well. I believe though children with gender dysphorias, born or learned have higher incidents of experiancing homosexual issues. Children without gender dysphorias, and children with learned dysphorias that experiance fear of forming or having a sexual attraction to same gender seem to have more homophobic behaviour outcomes.

Also if a child that had a formed behaviours that mimmic gender dysphoria, these are the children that have higher rates of outgrowing the gender dysphoria. Yet children born with a gender dysphoria have more of transgendered outcomes. Some children without any characteristics of gender dysphoria experiance acts that cause a child to be sexually associated with female dress code, these men usually turn out transvestite, and not homosexual. I could go on, but many people can not distinguish all these issues. BUT I ASSURE YOU NO ONE IS BORN GAY !
WTF was that insanity about? Jeebus.

BTW, we didn't see the interview. Blender Henway saw it and emailed:
Biggest laugh, for me, came when lil' Mary came out to mother Lynne, who burst into tears because Mary would face "a hard life." Uh, and who was going to make her life so hard?

The expression on Sawyer's painted face was priceless-- the sympathy and concern that should normally be reserved for lepers, burn victims, or Teri Hatcher.

This self-deceiving chick is sick, sick, sick. What's more, if last night's interview is any indication, her book will reveal absolutely nothing, and certainly not address the question on everyone's mind: "Woman, what on earth are you really thinking?"
As I said in my earlier post, the book is fish-wrap worthy.

Apparently John A. was edited into the Primetime Live piece, culled from an old, unaired interview, probably when he was running the Mary milk carton deal.

Anyone bother to tune in? Reactions?


Man breaks breathalyzer

Patrick Kennedy may have dodged taking one when he smashed into a security barricade in DC, but this man, the mayor of Ault, Colorado, blew a .4 and broke the damn breathalyzer. From the DenverChannel:
The mayor of Ault, a small town in northern Colorado, remained in jail Wednesday after being arrested over the weekend on charges of third-degree assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

According to an arrest report, James Fladung's blood-alcohol level was at least 0.40 percent. when he was arrested Saturday afternoon.

Officers "observed the (Breathalyzer) results climbing at a rapid rate, reaching above a 0.4 (percent) . . . the numbers were moving too fast for the officer to read and the machine shut off and would not turn back on, as if it was broken," according to an arrest affidavit.

Police took Fladung to North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley because of concern over his high blood-alcohol level.


Brownback, homobigot pastors urge support for Marriage Protection Amendment

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The major bleating to drum up fear of the homo boogeyman has begun, since there's a good chance that the federal marriage amendment will fail in the Senate -- it takes two-thirds of the body to pass it and the votes are currently not there. Look at this drivel. (AgapePress):
Kansas Republican Senator Sam Brownback says the federal marriage amendment will finally see action within a matter of days. "We will have it up probably coming to the full Judiciary Committee in two weeks," he says. "It will probably pass on a strict party line vote, defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman."

..."I would urge people to contact their senators, particularly Democratic senators, and urge them to support the definition of marriage by the United States Congress as a man and a woman," the Kansas lawmaker says, adding that he sees that as the only way the amendment will have enough votes to pass.
And yes, the black and Latino wingnuts are bedding down with the AmTaliban on this, no surprise. And look at the unhinged justification for passing such an amendment:
Meanwhile, about 100 African-American and Latino pastors and religious leaders from around the country met in suburban Washington on Wednesday (May 3) to learn what they can do to work for passage of the federal marriage amendment scheduled to be introduced next month in the Senate. The gathering was hosted by Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church, in Lanham, Maryland. [Earlier posts on this turd are here.]

Jackson, who is also the founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, tells Associated Press that a marriage amendment is needed to cover holes in existing law. "There is a superseding amendment needed because of the things that may happen if a person tries to take a marriage license from Massachusetts and then go and get all the benefits of marriage in the state of Maryland, for example," he says.

Rev. Jackson says the Church has always had a role in the formation of marriage laws, and that contrary to what the press might report, the marriage amendment is not anti-"gay."

"There is a Judeo-Christian basis for all of our laws in America, and marriage came from the Church -- in a sense -- to the secular society," he explains. "We believe that marriage is a sacred right, not a civil right, and that there are ways that we can make sure that the civil rights of gays are taken care of. "We don't have anything against gay people. This is for the protection of marriage, and we think a national 'umbrella' is necessary."
He has nothing against gay people. Right. Is he stupid? Has he no idea what civil marriage is?

Also:
Visit The Anti-Sam Brownback Blog


Thursday Philly photos



We went to the Andrew Wyeth exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it was incredible. Very highly recommended. We also lucked out that Grace Kelly's wedding dress was on exhibit (along with one of her bridesmaid's gowns and a flower girl's dress). It is part of the museum's collection, but because of the gown's fragile state, it is only on display from time to time. She wore size 7 shoes, btw, and Kelly had the designer build a penny into the shoe for good luck (they had an xray of the shoe there).



Below are a couple of shots from the great staircase leading up to the museum, looking down Ben Franklin Parkway. Movie buffs -- these are the steps Rocky Balboa ran up when he was training.





When coming back down Ben Franklin Parkway, you pass Logan Circle:



The Franklin Institute Science Museum...



and The Free Library of Philadelphia...



We had lunch back in Reading Terminal Market, at a restaurant called Pearl's Oyster Bar.

We went back to the hotel for a bit, and then went over to the gayborhood to Giovanni's Room (12th and Pine), a bookstore, to browse around, and on the way passed the notorious 12th Street Gym. This is a gym that is smack dab in the gay district, frequented by queers and one of the owners was a big donor to Rick Santorum's campaign. Needless to say, that didn't go over well in the community, and a dustup in April resulted in Robert Guzzardi selling his interest in the gym. Will Bunch:
In the face of protests from gay activists and their political allies over political donations to Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a leading foe of gay causes, the 12th Street Gym's lead owner is selling his stake in the club.

A statement released by the gym last night said Robert Guzzardi, the gym owner who had donated $4,100 to the GOP senator's uphill 2006 re-election fight, "concluded that, given his political commitments, a sale of his interest in the 12th Street Gym made sense."

Rick Piper, the president of the health club, said he has bought out Guzzardi's interest and is now the gym's CEO.

The news didn't stop a small group of a dozen protesters from going ahead with a planned gathering last night outside the gym, in an area of Center City where a number of businesses cater to gays and lesbians.
Our flight takes off in the late AM tomorrow. We were graced with perfect weather on this trip and we have thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Philly; all the locals we have encountered along the way have been so friendly and accommodating, and we will definitely return.




Oregon Supreme Court: Medical Marijuana patients who fail drug tests may be fired


"Radical" Russ with Blender Paul in SF at the National NORML Conference in San Francisco

Howdy, Blend! It's been a while, between me returning from the National NORML Conference, writing and editing my article for High Times about the Conference, looking for employment, and preparing for the Million Marijuana March on Saturday (check your local city for times and places to march.)

Unfortunately, here in Oregon we have more reason to march than ever. There was a case in Oregon, Washburn v. Columbia Forest Products, that was decided today in the Oregon Supreme Court. The case involved a man (Washburn) who has prescribed medical marijuana for leg spasms. He tried other prescription drugs for the condition so he could sleep, but those drugs left him in a stupor the next day - not a good condition for someone working in a lumber mill! The marijuana he'd use at night would allow him a full night's sleep and he could awake the next day rested and ready for work.

Well, Columbia Forest Products is a federal government contractor and as such they have a drug-free workplace program. They drug tested Washburn and they came up with a positive result for marijuana metabolites in his system. This only proves Washburn had used marijuana within the past four weeks, not that he was impaired on the job (and he never was). Washburn asked for other drug tests that might prove impairment, but Columbia refused and fired him.

Washburn took the case to court, saying that he was disabled and Columbia fired him unfairly for that disability. A trial court disagreed, saying Washburn wasn't disabled, since he could take medications that ameliorated his condition. An appellate court overruled the trial court.

Today, the Oregon Supreme Court sided with the original trial court verdict. From the ruling (emphasis mine):
We allowed employer's petition for review and now conclude that plaintiff is not "disabled" for the purposes of ORS 659A.112 to 659A.139.

Employer has a workplace drug policy that prohibits employees from reporting for work with a controlled substance in their system. ... The particular type of drug tests that employer used could indicate only whether a person had used marijuana within the two-to-three week span preceding the test; the tests were incapable, however, of ascertaining whether a person was drug-impaired at the time of testing.
"[I]n this case[,] it's undisputed that there is medication which is a mitigating measure, other than the marijuana, and which deals with the Plaintiff's problem; and, therefore, he is not disabled, in my view, under the act."
With regard to Oregon employment law, the general rule is that an employer may discharge an employee at any time and for any reason, absent a contractual, statutory, or constitutional requirement to the contrary.

[T]he statutory scheme requires a determination whether the identified impairment "renders" an individual unable to perform a major life activity or significantly restricts the condition, manner, or duration under which that major life activity can be performed. In our view, that means that the legislature did not intend to categorize an impairment as substantially limiting if, for example, medication could ameliorate the effects of impairment such that the individual would be capable of performing the otherwise affected major life activity.

In this case, plaintiff argues that he is disabled by virtue of his leg spasms, a condition that he claims substantially limits one of his major life activities, i.e., sleeping. However, as the trial court noted below, it is undisputed that plaintiff is able to counteract those leg spasms and the resulting sleep problems by using prescription medication. As a result, we conclude that, because plaintiff can counteract his physical impairment through mitigating measures, his impairment does not, at this time, rise to the level of a substantial limitation on a major life activity. Consequently, we conclude that plaintiff is not a "disabled person" for purposes of ORS 659A.112 to 659A.139. Because plaintiff is not a "disabled person" under those statutes, employer had no statutory duty to accommodate plaintiff's physical limitation in the manner sought by plaintiff.
In case legalese is not your strong suit, here's how the ruling breaks down: If you use medical marijuana to treat a condition so you may be unimpaired enough to work, an employer may fire you if you fail a workplace drug test -- because if you're healthy enough to work, you're not disabled enough to protect from firing.

See, the right thing for Washburn to do was to not take marijuana and instead stay on those expensive, liver-toxic, mind-numbing prescription medications, so he could be good and drowsy and uncoordinated while he worked on the lumber mill floor, presenting a safety risk to himself and his co-workers. At least then he wouldn't be an unemployed pothead...

[Crossposted at Radical Writ... even with the presence of THC metabolites in my system...]


Gannon went the distance

[UPDATE: Corrente has a really good blow-by-blow account. ]

Mike Rogers called me late last night to say that Gannon finally came out of the closet, directly answering a question from Mike during the Equality Forum panel about whether the $200/hr rent boy was gay or not. That was the only bit of news, since he dodged the questions about plagiarism, and admitted to being at the White House overnight only once -- during election night (har-dee-har-har).

Mike will probably have the first-hand, blow-by-blow (pun intended) soon. Spindentist at All Spin Zone has a post up on the event -- he attended.

About 70 people showed up for the panel, btw, not a big crowd, and they laughed heartily at Mike's skewering; it didn't get out of control.

As I said, you'll probably catch more at BlogActive and PageOneQ for the nitty gritty. John Byrne from Raw Story was also there, as was David Grossman of Politics TV, so there should be good reporting on what happened that you can link to.

The winner of the House Blend T-shirt...drumroll... is: Paul in SF!

Paul was one of several who guessed that JG/JG would make it, so I wrote all of those names down and Kate pulled the winning Blender name out of a bag.

Email me with your snail mail addy, Paul, so I can order it up for you.


Mary Cheney's path

The top self-loathing out queer on the planet, Mary Cheney, will open her dark heart to ABC News "Primetime" anchor Diane Sawyer tonight at 10PM. This is lined up to coincide with the upcoming release of the ready-to-serve-as-fish-wrapper Now It's my Turn: A Political Memoir (can you believe it's 320 pages long?).

Clearly, the conflict of being a former professional lesbian and re-closeted daughter for the sake of her father's ambitions has wreaked havoc on her mental health. How on earth can you make sense of this statement (there's no way to paraphrase this insanity):
"I struggled with my decision to stay on the 2004 campaign," Cheney told "Primetime." Her personal challenge came when President Bush said the nation must defend the sanctity of marriage. When Bush proclaimed it in the State of the Union, she refused to go. Mary Cheney, a senior campaign advisor, was finally taking her stand. "I didn't want to be there. No one banned me from being there. But I didn't want to stand up and cheer," she said. She says the president offered to let her give a public statement in disagreement, and her father indicated publicly he disagreed with his boss on the issue. She declined but says she did talk with her family about quitting the campaign. Cheney has had to deal with hearing hateful names about gays and lesbians from the right-wing of her own party. And gay rights activists say that Cheney's silence is just a form of hypocrisy. They even made a milk carton that said, "Mary Cheney Missing." She jokes about that. "That's...ooh, God, that's a nice picture." Her reply to their criticism is simple. "We each have to choose our own path," she said. "I respect their opinion. But it is not the path that I would choose for myself."
Which path is that, Mary?

* One that questions "professionally closeted" gays who work for a party that officially considers you a second-class citizen? Jeezus, you're in company with plenty of out gays who work for, support and vote for candidates in a party who are ready to legislate your relationship into legal limbo, the level of delusion is stomach-churning. Happy with that path?

* You couldn't find a way to choose a path that fights for the rights of everyday LGBT citizens, putting your personal mettle to the test to live openly, speak publicly, question those in authority, and distance yourself from a campaign that was demonizing you (instead of further lining your wallet)?

* If you had chosen a different path, what you could have been to the civil equality movement, given the opportunity presented to you by Dear Leader himself to publicly speak out in disagreement and quit the campaign.

You had the ears of the most powerful elected officials in the land, and yet chose to continue to support a party that denigrates your relationship with your life partner, and the relationships of millions of gays and lesbians who have no access to power, no job security, no support from their families for that matter, something you clearly do have.

* If your politically powerful family loves you unconditionally -- something you're probably going to be spewing ad nauseum on your book tour -- then there was little risk to you to stand tall and make a difference. What a path you chose.

The paycheck versus your principles...everyone knew where you stood then (and were flabbergasted). Now, with this interview, you confirm what a sick and sorry state of mind you're in. I am trying to find a place in my mind where I can pity you, but I simply can't.

I think of your gutless existence and then I think of someone like the late Laurel Hester, who, in both life and death, has made an impact on the lives of everyday gays and lesbians. The former NJ police officer battled the bigoted Ocean County Freeholders -- while battling terminal cancer, for god's sake -- to leave her pension benefit to her partner, is now a giant in the gay rights movement.


She risked, she won. Laurel Hester was an average person who took a stand, withstood hateful comments (one of the Freeholders said if Hester's request was granted it would "violate the sanctity of marriage"), and her personal sacrifice has now earned her a revered place in gay history -- because of the path she chose. From Garden State Equality, which sums up the impact of Hester well.
Had Lieutenant Hester and Stacie Andree been allowed to marry -- and if same-sex couples across New Jersey were allowed to marry -- government officials could never put same-sex couples through this kind of hell.

In February 2006, the very month Lieutenant Hester died, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard the marriage equality lawsuit that's been making its way through state courts for several years. If Lambda Legal and the plaintiff couples win, New Jersey will become the second state in the U.S. to give same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

The state, acting as defendant in the case, argued that the New Jersey domestic partnership law already provides same-sex couples "many" of the rights of marriage. That is preposterous. The state's domestic partnership law, even with its expansion at the start of 2006, provides same-sex couples only 10 of the 1,049 rights of marriage, or less than one percent. And in the few rights the law provides, loopholes allow officials like the Ocean County freeholders to do what they did.

With their intransigence, the Ocean County freeholders wound up proving the domestic partnership law's weaknesses and greatly helped the arguments for marriage equality -- a cause that no doubt repluses them. How sweet are the ironies of history.
What a difference you could have made at the national level, Mary. The path you selected -- wealth and access to power -- is heartless, selfish and ultimately reflects badly on the purported Cheney family values that we're going to hear about over and over as you shill your book.

Hat tip, Americablog.


A few Philly photos



Sorry, just getting these up now...

Blender and blogger Jay Lassiter of Lassiter Space took us to breakfast yesteday at Reading Terminal Market, which is full of places to enjoy the offerings of local vendors. We went to The Dutch Eating Place, an Amish-run restaurant. Jay recommends the blueberry pancakes and Kate took him up on it. Kate says "served with real butter...mmm."


Kate found a giant clothespin statue in front of an office building on Market St. (left); the College of Physicians, which is the location of the Mutter Museum. We viewed all of the medical oddities, including many jars of deformed, pickled fetuses, conjoined twins, and plenty of the medical fallout from nasty lesions, contagions and other matters that might cause folks with mild constitutions to hurl. We enjoyed it.


One view of the huge and beautiful City Hall building. Spindentist told us the other night that the statue of William Penn atop the building is holding a document that, when viewed from one particular angle, looks like he has a boner greeting you. We'll try for that shot on Thurs.


Anniversary of Mom's passing


On this day in 1997, my mom passed away from lung cancer. Back in March of this year, when Kate and I did a yard project in honor of Mom's birthday, (I posted about here), making a sitting area in the backyard with a wood and wrought iron bench surrounded cypress and cedar mulch and pine bark nuggets.

I took a picture of it back then, when the trees were still bare. Folks posted in the comments of that thread that they wanted to see another pic once the leaves filled in.

Before (March 11):



Now (actually, last Sunday, since I'm in Philly):



11% of Americans are officially brain-dead

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Poll: Fox News 'most trusted' US source.
Asked to name the news source they most trusted, without any prompting, 59 percent of Egyptians said Al Jazeera, 52 percent of Brazilians said Rede Globo, 32 percent of Britons said the BBC, 22 percent of Germans said ARD and 11 percent of Americans said Fox News, each leading their respective nations.
My god. Who is in the 11%? Well, what do you know...Dick Cheney.


Episcopal gay bishop = 'terrorist bomb'

"Christian" tolerance at its best, this time coming out of the mouth of the Rev. Paul Zahl, of the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, who equates the election of a gay bishop to a Homeland Security issue. (365gay):
What's left of unity in the Episcopal Church is at stake heading into a weekend election for bishop of California that sets up a major clash over gays' role in the church.

Three of the seven candidates are openly gay, and choosing one of them to head the Diocese of California would further alienate Episcopal conservatives already feeling betrayed that the church approved a gay bishop three years ago. It could also fracture the strained relationship between America's 2.3 million Episcopalians and their parent body, the worldwide Anglican Communion.

A vote against a gay bishop would likely preserve the fragile truce.

The Rev. Paul Zahl, dean of the conservative Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa., likened the election of a gay bishop in California to "a terrorist bomb, which is timed to destroy a peace process."


Ohio whack job in favor of homo death penalty received 24% of the Dem vote in primary

Self-described "Biblicist" Merrill Keiser, Jr. of Fremont, Ohio, ran and lost in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to Sherrod Brown, but look at this -- he actually received 24% of the vote!

What is wrong with Ohio? It's not like Keiser was finessing his opinion on the matter. From a report before the election (WTOL):
Merrill Keiser, Jr., is a trucker by trade, and he's hoping his next journey takes him all the way to Washington. His goal is a seat in the US Senate, but first he has to make it through the primary that will determine which Ohio Democrat will be the November ballot.

The Fremont man is causing some controversy with one of his beliefs. He tells News 11 homosexuality should be a felony, punishable by death. "Just like we have laws against murder, we have laws against stealing, we have laws against taking drugs -- we should have laws against immoral conduct," Keiser says.
Hat tip, Holly.


Dean fires gay outreach head in retaliation for outspoken partner's criticism of DNC

The decline of the DNC continues, with what can only be described as a retaliatory firing of Donald Hitchcock, the organization's gay outreach advisor, because Hitchcock's partner has been critical about the party's sad-ass support of LGBT citizens.

The sacking occurred just days after Paul Yandura publicly criticized Dean for doing nothing to stop the avalanche of marriage amendments passing in states. Of course, the public line from the DNC is that the firing has nothing to do with this. BS. (WashBlade):
Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean on May 2 fired the party's gay outreach advisor Donald Hitchcock less than a week after Hitchcock's domestic partner, Paul Yandura, a longtime party activist, accused Dean of failing to take stronger action to defend gays.

..."It was not retaliation," [DNC spokesperson Karen] Finney said of Hitchcock's dismissal. "It was decided we needed a change. We decided to hire a proven leader."

Hitchcock declined comment Tuesday night except to confirm that Dean informed him May 2 through a surrogate that he had been terminated. He said he was considering consulting an attorney to decide whether to contest the firing. "This is retaliation, plain and simple," said Yandura. "This shows what they think about domestic partners."

Yandura said Tuesday night that Dean was using Hitchcock as a "scapegoat" for problems of Dean's own making.

"All I did was ask questions about what the party and Dean are doing about its GLBT constituency, Yandura said. "I have yet to see any answers." Hitchcock's dismissal came after Yaundura created a stir among party activists, both gay and straight, by sending an open letter on April 20 to gay Democrats criticizing Dean and the party for not getting involved in state ballot measures seeking to ban gay marriage.

Yandura charged that the DNC failed to counter efforts by Republicans to promote the anti-gay ballot measures as a wedge issue to win elections. He suggested that gays withhold donations to the Democrats until the party formally addresses issues he raised.
Gee, Yandura's simply speaking the truth. If Hitchcock was ineffective -- one could argue that the party's nonexistent organizing efforts against marriage amendments at all levels is partially his fault, but come on -- the party functionaries at all levels have been running scared from the issue. It's clear that this position has been offline, and "outreach" has meant pass-the-hat around to the homos. If there are internal, personnel-related reasons for the dismissal, a change in the outreach position is one matter, but without a fundamental change in strategy of the Democratic party re: public support of LGBT taxpaying citizens, we're in for more of the same no matter who's sitting in the chair.

I ranted at length about the lame-ass Democrats in my earlier post, Dems to homos: re-closet yourself in 2006, and it still applies:
...the Dems are going to avoid the gay issue like the plague again. They are not interested in reframing the issue and not ready to counter the AmTaliban. The Democrats are just not "comfortable" enough to fight at the national level for our rights. Thanks for the heads-up, Howard.

The truth of the matter is, there is no spine in this party, no desire to really take on Republicans on anything remotely related to gay civil equality on any matter (and I'm not just talking about same-sex marriage). One can only conclude that the party doesn't see any urgency about the amendments sweeping through the nation, and that it's a perfectly acceptable position to say "let the states decide" -- to make discrimination of a class of citizens permanent law. Many of those states don't even have a fig leaf of "separate but equal" civil unions/domestic partnerships/"marriage" to offer up to same-sex couples (they can't be equal because none of the over 1000 federal benefits that convey with civil marriage are available to gays).

At this point, because of Dem silence while the void is filled by the hate mongers demonizing gays, you've got some states considering a ban on gays adopting or fostering kids (adoption's already banned in Florida), deep-sixing same-sex benefits, and choosing to kill anti-discrimination bills that propose adding sexual orientation to existing law -- what icing on the cake this is in the daily lives of gay Americans in those locations.
The DNC has a huge credibility problem in the gay community and many of us aren't going to give a dime until they stop the BS.

As I've said before, these Dems cannot handle the level of public scrutiny, instant analysis and questioning about the quite obvious lack of risk-taking coming from those in leadership roles in the party. They do not like to be called out to explain what core issues they stand for, because they know today's core value is about as firm as the next focus group or poll of the NASCAR set. This kind of polluted, craven thinking is what produces a beast like sHillary, the Great Dem Hope for 2008.

Shakes Sis, as always, has plenty to say that hits the mark:
Nothing but excuses for why things that appear to be indicative of marginalizing the LGBT community from the Democratic Party. And now this latest debacle—about which John Aravosis, who gets the hat tip (care of Angelos), says, “Can you say Valerie Plame?” Good point. I’d like to believe that this is just a matter of someone who got fired for legitimate reasons, but the actions of the DNC over the course of the last year are simply not conducive to subscribing to such a notion. Dean needs to get his shit together. Yeah, I know he was the first governor to champion and secure civil unions in his state, but now he needs to show some commitment to the LGBT community on a national level, because this bullshit is getting tired.

And aside from the more important issue of the ethical failing of abandoning an important civil rights issue, I’m not too pleased with the politics of it, either. Any progressive interested in seeing the GOP get roundly trounced during the next election cycle surely prefers to have an active and dedicated LGBT base to help out—not one that’s rightfully so pissed off that they tell the Dems to go fuck themselves.


Contest

There will be an insider report on the fracas tonight at the Campaign for Jeff Gannon's Legitimacy panel at Equality Forum, which is from 7PM-8:15PM.

For fun, we're holding a little contest. Post your answer in the comments to this question --

At the Campaign for Jeff Gannon's Legitimacy panel, how many minutes into it will he walk out?

Zero is also a valid answer if you think the $200/hr rent-boy-cum-cub-reporter-cum-blogger makes it through the whole thing (or doesn't show).


The winner receives a free Pam's House Blend T-Shirt.

If there are multiple entries for the choice that wins, Kate will pick the T-shirt winner by random selection.


Argh. Mary Cheney: 'It's My Turn'

How long can this tome by Mary Cheney be -- 10 pages? It appears that the only interesting part of this book will be a peek inside the mind of the Dark Lord, with a generous dose of whitewash. (Raw Story):
In her new memoir, NOW IT'S MY TURN (Simon & Schuster/Threshold Editions, 2006), Mary Cheney writes that when she told her parents she was gay, the first words out of her father’s mouth “were exactly the ones that I wanted to hear: ‘You’re my daughter, and I love you, and I just want you to be happy.’”

VANITY FAIR editor Todd Purdum reports that Mary Cheney tells her story in a voice very much like her father’s, and that she came out to her parents when she was a junior in high school, on a day when, after breaking up with her first girlfriend, she skipped school, ran a red light, and crashed the family car. Cheney writes that her mother hugged her, but then burst into tears, worried that she would face a life of pain and prejudice.

When Purdum asks the vice president whether he thinks gay people are born that way, Cheney scrunches up his mouth, fixes him with a look that says “Nice try,” then says: “I’m not going to get into that. Those are deeply personal questions. You can ask.”
My favorite bit of business in the Vanity Fair piece is the description of the level of 18% approval-and-falling Darth Cheney's undergarments.
Purdum reports that Cheney travels with a chemical-biological suit at all times. When he gave his friend Robin West and his twin children a ride to the White House a couple of years ago, West commented on the fact that Cheney’s motorcade varied its daily path. “And he said, ‘Yeah, we take different routes so that “The Jackal” can’t get me,’” West tells Purdum. “And then there was this big duffel bag in the middle of the backseat, and I said, ‘What’s that? It’s not very roomy in here.’ And [Cheney] said, ‘No, because it’s a chemical-biological suit,’ and he looked at it and said, ‘Robin, there’s only one. You lose.’”


Not a bright guy

Actually, embezzling at this level just to get your rocks off really falls into the Boggles the Mind category. (CNN):
An executive at a heart disease charitable foundation who embezzled close to a quarter of a million dollars over two years to pay a dominatrix to beat him was sentenced Tuesday to two to six years in prison.

Abraham Alexander, an accounts payable executive at the Manhattan Cardiovascular Research Foundation, admitted to stealing $237,162 and spending most of it on services provided by a Columbus, Ohio-based dominatrix called Lady Sage.

...Lady Sage's Web site features dozens of photographs of the stern, unsmiling dominatrix carrying a whip. She is seen in some pictures wearing a feathered boa over leather or with a metal-studded thong bikini in high-heeled boots.

She lists her services at $250 for the first hour and $200 for each additional hour. An eight-hour session costs $1,500 and 12 hours runs clients $2,000. Lady Sage also commands $1,000 a day in travel expenses if she has to beat a customer on his own turf.
Good grief. She's raking it in -- supply and demand, folks; we're in the wrong business.

Alexander also spent a healthy amount of his foundation's dough -- meant for heart disease research -- on plane tix between New York and Ohio, rental cars and some nicities purchased at Wicked Naughty Accessories, Leather Creations and Victoria's Secret.

He pleaded guilty, avoiding a trial where he faced up to 15 years in the clink.

Hat tip, Holly.


Flashing for cash in Alabama

The candidate with the most moxie in the Alabama governor's race is Loretta Nall, the Libertarian candidate. You might remember my earlier post, Boobage and the governor's race in Alabama, detailing the ridiculous obsession over Ms. Nall's boobies by a local editorial columnist, Bob Ingram, who said:
"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."
This is "that picture":



Nall responded with humor and grace.

At the present time, Nall's in a battle to get on the ballot, which is an uphill effort in the state. She needs to gather 42,000 valid signatures and present them to the Secretary of State by June 6th in order to appear on the ballot with the Democrat and Republican candidates, who don't have to clear that hurdle.

Loretta has launched a "Flash for Cash" campaign to raise the money to do the outreach and gather those signatures. This is a hoot:


"For a measly $2, you can tell the uppity Alabama media that you think all candidates deserve to get on the ballot -- no matter their race, political party or boob size."


Out and about


Last night, Spindentist of All Spin Zone provided Kate and me with a short, interesting walking tour of a slice of Center City (many thanks!) on our way to Drinking Liberally which is held on Tuesdays at Tangier Cafe (located at 18th and Lombard).

Kate and I had a great time meeting bloggers and political junkies, including the good local folks on the ASZ roster, BooMan of Booman Tribune and Jim of Rittenhouse Review. And, I finally met the blogger of the mighty visitor count, Atrios:


Just to give you a sense of perspective, Eschaton receives about 140K unique visitors a day to his pad, the Blend: 5.5K, as of yesterday. But those five thousand daily Blenders are all special... :)

Duncan and I talked about the panel debacle and roared heartily about how Equality Forum has no idea what it is in for now that Mike Rogers is stepping in to do a "correction" on the Gannon situation.

There was a sizable crowd at DL, some who knew about the Blend (that still surprises me for some reason). We later met up with SpinD's witty spouse and they took us out to dinner and great conversation (lots of talk about man-on-dog Santorum) at The Nodding Head.

***

This AM we're supposed to meet up with Jay of Lassiter Space for brunch, and then Kate and I will get out and about and take photos around town. I'll post a few later.


Off to Philly - open thread

Tuesday, May 02, 2006



I'll have the laptop, so eventually I'll be back online to check in.

Link and blogwhore away...

***

4PM: What a landing. The pilot must have been on something because as he approached Philly, we banked left and right incessantly, practically making everyone airsick.

The weather is perfect for taking in the city, light cloud cover, in 60s-70s.

We're checked in and grabbed a snack (the Courtyard by Marriott is quite nice, btw). Spindentist of All Spin Zone will be picking us up at 5 and taking us on a little walking tour of downtown as we head over to Drinking Liberally.

While here we plan to hit the Mutter Museum (we're geeks, ok?) and the Wyeth exhibit at the Philly Art Museum.


Covenant marriage going nowhere fast

Who could have predicted the failure of convenant marriage to catch on in the bible beat -- muwahahahahaha -- just about everyone reading this, that's who.

You remember the brouhaha...by creating this sort of super-duper-padlocked version of marriage, the hets in God's country (of Louisiana, Arizona and Arkansas, where covenant version exists) were supposed to flock to it, and show us what commitment is all about.


The governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee and his wife, famously and publicly traded in their traditional marriage for a souped up, throw away the key one.

The high-level, red-alert version of marriage involves these extra hurdles, for those who don't remember the details:
Before marrying, you have to go through counseling. You have to affirm orally and in writing that your marriage is "for life," that you accept its "responsibilities," that you've "chosen each other carefully," that you've "disclosed to one another everything" important, and that you'll "take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling." Divorce takes longer than today's no-fault dissolutions, and the grounds are narrower. The prescribed waiting period is usually two years.
That's from William Saletan's entertaining and informative column in the WaPo on same-sex marriage and the level of commitment gays and lesbians have shown in the last few years versus the bible-beating crowd, who have opted in very small small numbers, to take advantage of covenant marriage.
The pioneers of covenant marriage thought their followers would flock to it. They were wrong. In states conservative enough to promote it, fewer than one in 100 marrying couples have chosen this option -- about 6,000 to 7,000 couples, judging from published data. Meanwhile, in states liberal enough to permit same-sex marriage or civil unions, thousands of gay couples have signed up -- more than 7,300 in Massachusetts, 1,200 in Vermont (6,600 more if you count out-of-staters) and 700 in Connecticut. About 3,700 gay couples have registered for domestic partnerships in New Jersey, and 30,000 or so have registered in California. More blue-state gay couples than red-state straight couples are signing up for as much commitment as the law allows.
Yes. Read that paragraph again. Email it to your homobigot relatives and elected officials. How about showing them this:
Louisiana: The first year that the law was in effect, only 1% of Louisiana newlyweds chose the covenant vows. That percentage has increased slowly over the last couple years, but it is still quite low.

Arizona: According to Scott D. Drewianka of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, only one-fourth of one percent of couples getting married in Arizona select the covenant marriage option.

Arkansas: Although Arkansas has one of the nation's highest divorce rate at 6.5 per 1,000 population, the number of Arkansas couples signing up for a covenant marriage is very small. The national average for divorce in the U.S. is 4.2 per 1,000 population.

According to William Bailey, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas, there has been a decline in the number of new marriages choosing covenant marriage licenses. In the time frame from 2001 - 2004, only 400 couples opted for covenant marriage licenses. In 2002, the Dept. of Health, Vital Statistics reported 37,942 marriage licenses issued in Arkansas. Only sixty-seven (67) couples signed up for the covenant marriage option. Twenty-four (24) who were already married converted to covenant marriages.

As of May 20, 2003, out of 11,037 marriage licenses issued in Arkansas, there were only four (4) new covenant marriages, and five (5) conversions.
Or this:
Red States Divorce rate
State # divorces per 1,000
Utah 4.7
Wyoming 6.5
Idaho 6
Nebraska 3.8
Oklahoma 5.9
North Dakota 3.2
Alabama 5.8
Kansas 4.1
Alaska 4.9
Texas 5
Average 5

Compare to the Blue States, with the lowest rates.

State # divorces
Massachusetts 2.5
Rhode Island 3.6
Vermont 4.4
New York 3.1
Maryland 3.1
Connecticut 3
California 4.3
Illinois 3.4
Maine 4.2
Hawaii 4.3
Average 3.6
Eat all of that, Dobson, Falwell, Wildmon and the rest of the high and mighty "leaders" and "protectors" of marriage. You can't even get your sheeple to upgrade to the "permanent" solution where it exists in order to prove your moral superiority, and the divorce rates speak for themselves. You and your followers are more interested in oppressing people who want access to the same civil rights and commitments you have access to. We don't need your hyper-biblical version of marriage, we just want the economy model.

Am I bitter? Damn straight. :)

Back to this nonsense of covenant marriage. This "upgrade" comes with some serious problems attached to it, from the standpoint that it creates risk for those in abusive relationships -- and it is proving itself out. A reader email in the marriage section of About.com describes the dark side of covenant marriage.
The law is so ambigious that most courts will not even HEAR any cases concerning covenant marriages WITHOUT a two year separation AND counseling. Even though the law states you have 3 "outs" (abuse, adultery, and felony conviction resulting in JAIL TIME, it is NOT the case. If one member of the marriage does NOT want "out", the court does not even have to hear the case. That is how scary the covenant marriage is, especially when faced with what I was faced with. Abuse has to be proven, and it seems only physical abuse is acceptable AND only IF the spouse is beating you up in court. Adultery, the courts will just mandate counseling for two years, and even after the counseling, if one spouse doesn't want a divorce...guess what? You must stay married. Felony, there has to be actual jail time.

The guy I was married to informed me that as long as he doesn't hit me with a closed fist, it is NOT abuse. And it would not result in a felony arrest. And even if it DID, as long as HE didn't want to divorce, guess what? I would not get a divorce. And this is how the courts here are interpreting the law. It is scary and frightening.
No wonder the AmTaliban's all for covenant marriage. It's all about control.

BTW, we're paying to save marriages. Dear Leader is spending over $200 million to "develop innovative approaches to promote healthy marriages," and on the promotion of "family formation and healthy marriage activities." Maybe a few more coins need to be tossed at the Red State folks who can't manage to hold their marriages together. It might help if these people stopped fixating on lesbian and gay relationships and take a look at what's happening (or not happening) under their own roof.

Thanks to Blender Kevin M. for the pointers to Ex-Gay Watch and A Tenable Belief


Guess who's taking my place on the 'Gannon' panel?

Mike Rogers of BlogACTIVE. He's looking for question suggestions, btw.
Some of you may have heard that Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend has decided not to participate in the Equality Forum's panel on media this Wednesday in Philadelphia. I have a great deal of respect for Pam and have followed her blog since the inception of blogACTIVE.

My reasons for attending this panel are consistent with Pam's great arguments for not doing so.
I hope the Equality Forum and Annenberg folks are ready for that wrestling match. It's really what they wanted, but didn't want to admit it -- the told us that Gannongate wasn't the focus so that they could keep their hands clean. It blew up in their faces when they were caught being, well, less than truthful to John and me -- and really crapping on John publicly.

My take on this? I think Mike's position as an ace flamethrower fits the bill for this panel at this point, given the way they've handled things. Perhaps he can salvage the event, hopefully for the community -- not EF/Annenberg, whose behind-the-scenes and public machinations have been unfortunate regarding an event that purports to discuss ethics.

Mike will give the audience what it wants, humiliating the $200/hr rent-boy who the organizers have deemed a "journalist" and a "blogger" with standing in the LGBT community. Argh, it smarts to even type that when referring to JG/JG.

How long do you expect JG/JG to last on the panel (if he shows)?

Related:
* Offline

* Why I won't be on the panel in Philly


Rudy pleads for GOP to leave same-sex marriage out of it

Giuliani must be dreaming -- the gay boogeyman and the wanton woman aborting her fetus with glee are all these folks have in their back pocket at this point. (365gay.com):
Raising money for local Republicans even as he ponders his own political future, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Monday that Republicans must increasingly be "a big party" that accepts divergent views.

Giuliani said that broad-brush themes, like limited government, ought to define the Republican Party - not hot-button social issues like abortion and gay rights.

"The major thing that we organize around as Republicans is government that puts more reliance on people than government," Giuliani said. "They (Democrats) tend to think of government solutions as most of the answers."

...Some strategists believe Giuliani will face significant hurdles in Republican politics because he supports abortion rights and favors tough gun control laws, views that contrast those held by many core Republican voters.

..."I've got a lot of places to go and a lot of people to talk to and a long process to go through to see if it makes sense for me to run for president in 2008," Giuliani said.
Step number one, Rudy, is to understand the AmTaliban-controlled GOP won't bend on the homo issue.


Bug killers not good for the little brain

Monday, May 01, 2006

Whent it's late, I seem to come across weird stuff like this: Pesticides may affect penis size. Hold off on that yard work, guys...
A renowned U.S. scientist who has documented fertility and sex changes -- including decreasing penis size -- due to environmental contamination says he wouldn't apply pesticides on his own lawn.

Delivering a special series of lectures this week at the University of Western Ontario, Louis Guillette has been drawn into London's lawn-care debate during question periods and talk-show interviews.

...A zoologist, Guillette has spent the last decade studying the influence of environmental contaminants on fetal development and reproductive systems of wildlife and humans, including the differences between alligators living in contaminated Florida lakes and those in cleaner ones.

He found abnormalities in sex organs, dramatic differences in egg-hatching rates and hormone levels.

Penis size of the animals from the polluted lake was smaller than animals from the less-polluted lake.

"This is important because it is not just an alligator story. It is not just a lake story. We know there has been a dramatic increase in penile and genital abnormalities in baby boys," Guillette said.


The Creation Museum

I know you cannot wait for this grand opening.
Progress is being made on a facility that will house exhibits designed to proclaim the authority and accuracy of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The Creation Museum, located near the Cincinnati International Airport in northern Kentucky, is well under way; and later this month, the museum will be unveiling its large and uniquely designed bookstore.

The Creation Museum is a project of Answers in Genesis, a ministry that helps Christians become equipped to defend the biblical account of creation. The 50,000-square-foot museum will feature exhibits and other teaching tools that will show visitors how science confirms biblical history.

Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham says the project is on target for its opening next April, and the opening of its 3,000-square-foot bookstore May 20. The bookstore is "done up as a medieval castle inside, with a theme of 'Dragons and Dinosaurs,'" he says. Replicas of those mighty creatures will be incorporated into the store's design," Ham notes, along with "a big sculpture of St. George and the Dragon."


Daddy Dobson on Hannity and Colmes

That's what Daddy's web site says, and he's asking for you to drop on your knees for him (and his wife, since she'll be on the program with him). It airs at 9PM tonight on Faux News.
Please pray that the Lord will provide Dr. and Mrs. Dobson with wisdom as they discuss the National Day of Prayer, the Marriage Protection Act, and other issues related to the nurturing and defense of the family.

Dr. and Mrs. Dobson will also participate in many National Day of Prayer events throughout the week. Please pray for strength and health and that millions of people across the country will join them in prayer as they lift America before the Lord in supplication and repentance.
If you click over to Daddy Dobson's site, you can also read the latest anti-gay screed about adoption.
A new Syracuse University survey has found that two-thirds of lesbians and a third of homosexual men in the U.S. plan to adopt -- a significant increase from four years ago, and the impact of which could be devastating.

Dawn Stefanowicz knows that devastation firsthand. She grew up in a household headed by two homosexuals.

"There was a tremendous impact on my gender identity, my sexual feelings and my value towards specific gender roles," she told Family News in Focus, adding that gay couples often have an ulterior motive in adding children to their household.

"Children right now are being used," she said, "to advance a political agenda that will create for the children, I believe, a great deal of harm."

...Caleb Price, a social research analyst for Focus on the Family, said the trend toward legalizing homosexual adoption without regard for the potential effects on children parallels the no-fault divorce experiment of the '70s.

"All the experts told us that there would be no consequences, that it was harmless on consequences," he said. "And now we see, two generations later, that the impact on their lives has been dramatic and tragic."


The Tool better watch his back

The Minutemen have their own candidate for 2008 in mind if John McCain decides to run. (WND):
Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, is considering a run for president in 2008 representing the Constitution Party.

...Chairman James Clymer told WorldNetDaily the party was excited about the possibility of Gilchrist as its marquis candidate.

"Yes, indeed, we are interested," Clymer said. "Gilchrist spoke to us last weekend in Tampa and our people asked Jim then if he would be the candidate. We think it would be wonderful if Jim Gilchrist would seriously consider being our presidential candidate."

Gilchrist told WND the only candidate he would support as the Republican Party presidential nominee in 2008 was Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. [Oh geez, that should tell you something -- Tancredo's a moron.]

"If John McCain enters the race for president," Gilchrist said. "I will definitely run. John McCain should have forfeited his right to run for president on the Republican Party the moment he put his name on immigration legislation with Sen. Ted Kennedy."
So what do the devotees of WingNutDaily have to say about a Jim Gilchrist candidacy?

Wingnut Daily Poll:



Also: Ex-Gay Watch's Mike Airhart posted back in Feb that Peter LaBarbera's Illinois Family Institute is promoting the Constitution Party's 2006 convention in that state. Petey has considered jumping ship to vote on that party line.


Covering the May Day action

Facing South is providing ongoing coverage of the May Day immigrant protests sweeping through the South. Check it out.


Rosie's The View contract: no haircuts

What I'm guessing is that ABC really means "no dykey haircuts on The View, Ms. O'Donnell." (Faux News):
Rosie O’Donnell’s new mega contract with ABC has one absolute proviso: the former talk show queen cannot cut her hair.


This is a no-no for The View.

You may recall there was an uproar toward the end of Rosie’s run as a syndicated talk show host because she chopped off her locks to emulate Culture Club songstress Helen Terry.

...ABC apparently wants Rosie to look as glamorous as possible when she sits down on “The View” among Joy Behar, Star Jones, and Debbie Hasselbeck.
It makes you wonder what else is in that contract about what Rosie can and cannot say or do.

Hat tip to Blender Katie F.


Prayers at the pump

While Dear Leader's logistics plan for hurricane season is to pray that there aren't any, we have his sheeple working the magical thinking at the pump with praylive.com. (UPI):
A U.S. Christian group has grown tired of escalating gasoline prices and is set to stage a national prayer rally to lower the numbers at the pumps.

Various Christian clergy from around the country will convene around a Washington, D.C., gas station Thursday at noon to pray.

...In a release, the Pray Live group said many people are "overlooking the power of prayer when it comes to resolving this energy crisis."

..."It is our hope that seeing and hearing some of the nation's most powerful preachers gathered around a gas station and the United States capital as a backdrop, will remind everyone who is really in charge of our world -- God," [group founder Wenda] Royster said.
BTW, this event happened last Thursday; I wonder where Don Wildmon was then? Oh that's right, he was probably tanking up down in Mississippi at $50/pop and crying.

Hat tip to Blender Patrick, who has a DKos diary up on this one.


Damnation and a prayer from Bill Keller

On Sunday, I blogged about Bill Keller, the insider trading ex-con, preacher, and "the Next Big Thing in mass-media religion," according to Weekly Planet magazine.

From my post highlighting Bill homo-fixation:
"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 didn't take long, but it appears that WingNutDaily's 'Dr. Phil' of prayer, reads the Blend and had some holy feedback for me that landed in my inbox a little bit ago.

I thought I'd share the the Florida Talibangelist's missive (for entertainment purposes only, of course).
Subject: from Bill Keller
From: "Bill Keller"
Date: Mon, May 1, 2006 12:51 pm
To: Pam Spaulding

...LOL..I'm always amazed at the vast amount of God-haters that I upset by simply sharing the love of Christ with the hurting and lost..the reality is Pam..one day you will die..that day sooner than you expect..and at that moment..there will only be one thing that matters..do you know Jesus as your personal Savior by faith..that choice alone will determine your eternal existence..I understand poor lost souls like you lash out to justify your own rejecting of Christ ...out of your insecurity..and deep rooted fear you are wrong..which by the way you are..at least now..when you die..and stand before God..and are cast into everlasting damnation..you won't be able to say you didn't know..there is still time Pam..I did my job..it is your soul..

..btw..if you helped 1 /100 of the people in your life my ministry does in an given day..you would not be so bitter and hateful...I will pray for you..

You will be in my prayers, be richly blessed,
Bill Keller
www.liveprayer.com
Besides the inability to finish a sentence (and indecision over whether an ellipsis has two or three periods), Bill could take a lesson or two from Peter LaBarbera. Now that's entertainment.

About that richly blessed matter -- is that with or without the mink coat, Bill?
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.


Congressman Marty Meehan to receive honor for DADT repeal efforts

Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA), sponsor of The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059) -- which would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell --will receive the Barry Winchell Courage Award, named in honor of the slain Army Private murdered in July 1999 at Fort Campbell, Ky., on May 16.

The event will be held during Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's (SLDN) annual lobby days on The Hill. The award will be presented to Meehan by Winchell’s parents, Patricia and Wally Kutteles. From the SLDN release:
“Congressman Meehan has spearheaded efforts in Congress to topple ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and we are honored to recognize him for his amazing work,” said Patricia Kutteles. “Service members continue to be harassed, threatened and intimidated every day under the military’s ban. By relegating our sons and daughters to second class citizenship, the armed forces send a dangerous message that such harassment is permissible. Congressman Meehan is working, every day, to end discrimination and exclusion in our military. Barry would be proud to know we are honoring the Congressman’s efforts with an award in his name.”

...“SLDN is proud to have Congressman Meehan as our leading ally in the House,” said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. “From his first day in office, Congressman Meehan has been a tireless advocate for our men and women in uniform. His efforts have resulted in the first Congressional proposal to allow lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans to serve openly. Mr. and Mrs. Kutteles have chosen a well-deserved recipient for this year’s ‘Barry Winchell Courage Award.’”


Open thread


Graphic: Jim Jenkins

Mission accomplished. These were the good old days for Dear Leader, when he was riding high, strutting on the deck of the aircraft carrier, sharing his package with the world. All he needed was a pair of ass-less chaps and he would have been ready to party with Karl and Jeff and all of that crowd after this photo op.

Now he's just a mean limp weenie, polls in the dumpster, at war with his fellow party members on the Hill.

See Digby for some reminiscing by Chris Matthews about the marvel of the presidential package, and also linking up to this mind-blower from G. Gordon Liddy (I forgot about this homoerotic rant):
And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know—and I’ve worn those because I parachute—and it makes the best of his manly characteristic.
Link and blogwhore away...

***


...expecting a different result

“On the days that I have disagreements with people like (evangelist) Jerry Falwell, I’m reminded that I disagree more with (House Democratic leader) Nancy Pelosi on a hundred different issues.”
-- Patrick Guerriero, president of Log Cabin Republicans
Fine, Patrick, only the AmTaliban is still in control of your party, and the bible beaters don't like the homos. This story in The State, Gay Republicans warming to Bush, shows that the LCRs are incapable of hearing the message coming from The Base. What can you say when you read this:
The Log Cabin Republicans were pleased that the White House, after the 2004 election, immediately pivoted to issues more to their liking, such as cutting taxes and reforming Social Security.

And while those issues have lost political steam with the unease over the war in Iraq and the president’s declining popularity, the Log Cabin Republicans see other positive developments, most notably the proposed 2007 budget that includes some $70 million in new money for HIV/AIDS.

“The healing progress has begun,” Guerriero said. “There’s a new engagement (with the White House) on a broad range of issues.”
Has he been aware of the spinning and continual arousal of the wingers over the Marriage Protection Amendment, the varoius assaults on the ability of gays and lesbians to adopt and foster, never mind the GOP's support of state marriage amendments across the country?


What about all the fealty to the fire-breathing, pious thugs on the White House bat phone, such as Don Wildmon, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Lou Shelton, and Gary Bauer?

This is just sad.

Hat tip, PageOneQ


Blowback is beautiful


Gas relief, indeed: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tenn., second from right, is joined by fellow Republicans during a Capitol Hill news conference to discuss a gas price relief plan, From left are Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)

Who the blazes thought sending a $100 gas tax "rebate" to taxpayers to mitigate the spiraling gas prices was a bright idea? Frist, if this is your baby, kiss 2008 goodbye. The GOP shell game is over, and the sheeple will have none of it.

Look at the "plan" that was floated to the press:
Under the proposal, $100 checks would be sent late this summer to an estimated 100 million taxpayers, regardless of car ownership. Single taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above about $146,000 would be ineligible for the checks, as would couples earning more than about $219,000. The $100 figure was determined by Mr. Frist's office, which calculated that the average driver would pay about $11 per month in federal gas taxes over nine months.
Jeezus, the party is desperate. So you don't even need to have a car, which is ostensibly the only reason you would need to receive the bribe, unless you count everyone who owns a gas-powered mower, right?

This idea was so lame-brained that even the conservatives went ballistic and the sheeple smelled a big GOP rat and picked up the phone, and launched a torrent of missives to the Hill.
Aides for several Republican senators reported a surge of calls and e-mail messages from constituents ridiculing the rebate as a paltry and transparent effort to pander to voters before the midterm elections in November.

"The conservatives think it is socialist bunk, and the liberals think it is conservative trickery," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, pointing out that the criticism was coming from across the ideological spectrum.

Angry constituents have asked, "Do you think we are prostitutes? Do you think you can buy us?" said another Republican senator's aide, who was granted anonymity to openly discuss the feedback because the senator had supported the plan. [that spine went on vacation, huh?]

Conservative talk radio hosts have been particularly vocal. "What kind of insult is this?" Rush Limbaugh asked on his radio program on Friday. "Instead of buying us off and treating us like we're a bunch of whores, just solve the problem." In commentary on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume called the idea "silly."
Rush is a little late with that observation, isn't he? Take note, people, this may be the last time you read David Winston's name in conjunction with work for the GOP:
David Winston, a Republican pollster who advises the Senate Republican leadership, called the rebate an intuitive way to show voters that Republicans were on their side. "It is like putting the American family budget ahead of oil company profits," Mr. Winston said. "How do you help the American families out? Well, give them some money."
See The Moderate Voice for more.

UPDATE 1: The Dark Wraith has a most excellent suggestion for use of the $100 over at his pad, which he linked to in the comments.
If the hundred dollar checks are indeed disbursed pursuant to an Act of Congress approved by the President, all who are opposed to the Republicans pledge as follows: Upon receiving the check for the sum of One Hundred dollars ($100.00), I shall immediately sign the back of the draft and send it to the non-Republican political party or candidate of my choice.

The Republicans will, then, have instituted de facto public campaign financing on a scale that could rival any formal campaign finance reform proposal. If one million households were to honor the pledge suggested above, one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) would flow into the coffers of the Democrats, the Greens, and other non-Republicans for the 2006/2008 election cycle. If the Republicans in Congress chose not to back down from their hare-brained, transparent vote-buying scheme, they would stand their shaky ground knowing very well that the commitment of non-Republicans to use their checks this way would be far greater than that of Republican voters to use their checks to support the GOP, especially considering how unpopular the Republicans are as we head into the jaws of the 2006 campaign season.
UPDATE 2: Damn. DW's idea was too good to be true -- Frist deep-sixed his $100 idea:

Frist Backs Down on Accounting Provision Repeal.
Rapidly backing down under intense pressure from business groups, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has decided that the repeal of a popular business accounting practice will no longer be part of the energy package GOP leaders hope to move this week.

Frist said Monday that the plan to pay for a $100 gas rebate to 100 million Americans by changing accounting practices known as “last-in, first-out” was dead.
Hat tip Holly


March for Peace, Justice and Democracy in NY

Blogger and Blender Jay Lassiter was out and about at Saturday's March for Peace, Justice and Democracy. Check out his coverage and pictures of the event at Lassiter Space. A snippet:
...yesterday's march cut across all demographic lines: veterans, hippies, young, old, men, women, gays, straights, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddists, pagans, blacks, whites, et al.

Some of the most powerful messages were from the Iraq veterans themselves...Here is a group of Americans who put their ass on the line in the Iraq War, which is why what they have to add to this debate REALLY matters. The Vets had the crowd in a frenzy with the bootcamp marching-in-formation chants they reworked for the occasion. Talk about a showstopper.
AP coverage is here.