An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Alabama lawmaker ready to take on the NEA over the homos

Friday, June 30, 2006


Alabama State Representative Gerald Allen (Rethug-Cottondale), is a real piece of work. This is the rocket scientist who proposed legislation last year that would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle."

His goal, he said, was to protect young people from The Homosexual Agenda (our "copy" is located here). He also wanted to bury books.
"Our culture, how we know it today, is under attack from every angle...Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed.

"I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them," he said.
So, you can imagine how he felt about the National Education Association's annual meeting, where the body is about to vote on a measure to endorse/recognize SSM. Allen is telling the 300 Alabama delegates to boycott the meeting lest they participate in enabling the deviance. (AgapePress):
Allen says education leaders, not only in Alabama but across the U.S., "must take a stand and say [to the NEA leadership], 'If you're going to go in this direction and try to indoctrinate our children with this type of materials, then we're going to maybe form our own association.' That's one of the things I think needs to be looked at."

...Allen believes homosexual activists within the NEA have a long-term plan in mind for America's school children after they have been thoroughly indoctrinated with pro-homosexual ideas. "Once they grow up and become adults and policymakers themselves, then certainly they'll sponsor constitutional amendments and turn things around," he says.

...The original proposed amendment, designated B-8, was submitted by the NEA's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus but was later watered down by the educators union's Resolution Committee to endorse only same-sex unions in the seven U.S. states where such unions are currently legal. Now, however, the Resolutions Committee has decided that the original (B-8) and revised (B-10) amendments will both be voted on by the union's Representative Assembly. Critics of the original measure claim it endorses not only homosexual marriage but also polygamy.

...Feelings have run high throughout the debate over the resolutions, and [California delegate Diane] Lenning notes that she was surprised by the comments NEA president Reg Weaver made to an audience that included many women teachers and retired educators. Delegates at the convention say Weaver at one point held up a copy of an American Family Association newsletter detailing the union's proposal to endorse same-sex marriage and called the AFA document "a crock of sh--." [Tee hee!]

Lenning says that kind of profane outburst "is not characteristic of our president," whom she describes as "a very nice, professional gentleman." Although she cannot say exactly what might have led to the national NEA leader's profane remarks, she asserts, "something must have really teed him off."


Fundies want to force bibles on servicemembers

You can't escape them, even when you're on duty serving your country. Has it ever occurred to these folks that not everyone wants a bible? Would they be OK with a Koran "care package" or some other religious text being placed in every bunk?
The ministry Revival Fires International has launched an effort to distribute the Bible to every Marine, sailor, soldier, airman and Coast Guardsman serving America in combat areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to Revival Fires' spokesman Tim Todd, U.S. military personnel who are deployed and serving their country, in harm's way daily, are open to the gospel and desperately need God's Word. However, he notes, the U.S. government no longer provides God's Word for America's troops. "Because of the foolish 'separation of church and state' battle going on in this country, our military stopped this years ago," Todd observes. "Now our chaplains have to depend on Christian organizations ... to provide these Bibles for our servicemen and women."

...He is urging Christians to partner with Revival Fires International by giving to this effort to supply God's Word to the men and women who are defending America's freedom and fighting the war on terror. "You and I will never do anything more important or patriotic this July 4 than providing Bibles for our troops," Todd says. A ministry web page has been set up to provide would-be supporters with more information.


Open thread

Links and blogwhoring, please.

Here's a Q of the Day: could you get by without air conditioning where you live/work?

Check out Shakes Sis's post, The Air Conditioning Conundrum. Addressing global warming has to include a discussion on the impact of A/C. I posted this in the comments:
People do die down here when there's no A/C.

Also, it's not feasible not to have it when you're dealing with computers. The productivity in the urbanized South would plummet during a good chunk of the year. If the A/C went out in my office building (and it has), computers get so hot that we have to shut down everything. How air-conditioning keeps changing the US.

When you're dealing with 90%+ humidity and 90-plus degrees temps, the South comes to a standstill without A/C. That was OK back in the day, but I can't see the region going A/C-free now.


The Governator dines with the Log Cabin Republicans

Arnold Schwarzenegger represents the poster child for the dilemma faced by gay-supportive Republican politicians (the few publicly out there).

I'm sure that he actually has no problem with SSM, but he cannot mention marriage without the holy rollers -- the Randy Thomassons of the Golden State -- coming in to destroy him. In their eyes he's probably already suspect. He's got polar opposite powerful groups to pander to, which is why he has a varying record on the issues.

* Last year he vetoed the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Protection Act.

* However, California has the strongest domestic partner law in the country and the right wing hates him for this.

With that in mind, he appeared at a Log Cabin event Thursday at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood and dodged the marriage question. He was heaped with praise from the LCRs, receiving the organization's Ronald Reagan Award. Sigh. (LA Times):
In his first appearance before a gay rights group, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday acknowledged that he would continue to disagree with activists on critical issues but pledged to respect them and foster a spirit of "respect, equality and inclusion" in California.

"Whether you are gay or straight, everyone needs someone to love," he told the crowd in Hollywood. "While we may not agree on every issue, we are united in the values of love, understanding and tolerance."

...The governor actually spends more time during the week with two gay people — his chief of staff and his personal assistant — than with his wife, Maria Shriver. Her chief of staff, Daniel Zingale, also is gay. A former political director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, Zingale also is a close advisor to the governor.

...The speech Thursday came as the Republican governor attempted to burnish his politically moderate credentials leading up to his reelection campaign. But even with the marriage veto, Schwarzenegger is "slightly ahead of the curve" on gay rights issues compared with other politicians, including some Democratic governors, said Patrick Guerriero, national president of the Log Cabin Republicans.

"He has been very clear," Guerriero said. "But it doesn't mean we agree with him on everything."

...When Schwarzenegger took the stand, the crowd chanted: "Four more years, four more years!"

Schwarzenegger told the group, which endorsed him in the 2003 recall election, "I can't promise we will always be of the same mind, but I can promise you I will always have an open mind."
The bible beating crowd had tried to make the Governator cancels this appearance, ratcheting up an e-mail and phone campaign, and blasted him for supporting Pride events in the state by signing a proclamation hailing them.

Campaign for Children and Families honcho Randy Thomasson was on the ready to opine about the Governator's appearance:
"No Republican governor in California history has promoted transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality like Arnold Schwarzenegger has."
When you think about it, gay Californians have much to be thankful for in terms of gay rights progress and its politicians (compared to gay folks in Red States), but idiots like Thomasson remind folks that there are still plenty of wingers to beat back on a regular basis.

And Schwarzenegger needs a slice of that conservative vote to win, so he tiptoes through a gay rights legislative and political mine field. His Democratic opponent in the governor's race, Phil Angelides, supports full marriage equality.

We'll see what happens.

***

BTW, this one paragraph in the LAT article caught my eye:
The audience of about 350 people, who dined on grilled chicken and baby greens salad, couldn't have looked more conservative: a sea of men, and some women, in blue suits. There were business owners, teachers, publicists and other professionals.
Women seem to be sparse in the LCR organization. I wonder if the powers that be have any clue why that is (or if they care). Just tossing that out there for you all to Blend about.


Why don't women receive equal prize money at Wimbledon?

It seems ridiculous that we're even talking about something so obvious, but this is a debate that has been stirring up this year. Women's tennis is surely as exciting as the men's game, so why can't these athletes be rewarded equally?

Good question -- and it's being asked a lot across the pond. Tony Blair is in favor of equal pay for women athletes at Wimbledon, as is John McEnroe and Virgin boss and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Global Advisory Council Member, Sir Richard Branson.
Speaking at the Tour's pre-Wimbledon welcome reception for the players in London last night, Sir Richard added; "Women players have every right to feel strongly about the issue of equal prize money at Wimbledon. The outdated position adopted by the All England Club tarnishes the good name of the world's greatest tennis tournament and sends a completely negative signal to women everywhere."
How bad is the disparity in payout? The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour cites figures official Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2006 prize money and it's staggering -- male singles and doubles players will receive over £600,000 more than the women. That's scandalous. The U.S. Open and Australian Open don't have a gender-based pay scale when it comes to awards.

Jay over at Lassiter Space weighs in:
It's worth noting that the tournament in Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates) offers equal prize money to the men's and women's winners. So moderate Arab nations are willing to pay up for equality's sake, but not Wimbledon. Ironic?

I'll close my feminist rant with this. Sports Illustrated suggests that-- for what the women bring to the game-- they should be paid MORE than the men! Naturally, I agree. But for now I'm happy being pragmatic.


'Snow job' response to Pentagon change on homosexuality as a disorder


When a reporter asked White House spokesbot Tony Snow about the Pentagon's recent decision to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder -- and whether this had any impact on DADT, Tony turned on the Bob and Weave MachineTM. Big surprise.

WingNutDaily oddball reporter Les Kinsolving lobbed the bomb:
At today's press briefing, WND asked Snow: "Reuters reports that while the Pentagon no longer deems homosexuality a mental disorder, this reversal has no impact on U.S. policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military. And my question: Does this also accurately report the position of the commander in chief, or not?"

Stated the spokesman: "I will defer all questions about military personnel policies to the Department of Defense."

"Has [the president] changed his mind on this or not?" countered WND.

Said Snow, "The president's positions on all these matters are well-established."
Gee, what does that mean? Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's Steve Ralls had this response to that non-answer:
Having a well-established position, however, is far from having the right one. In the 2000 Presidential campaign, Bush said that he's "a don't ask, don't tell man." And from that day until yesterday, the White House was officially mum on the matter.

We know there are at least 65,000 lesbian and gay service members on duty today. If Bush isn't going to salute their service by calling for an end to the ban, at least he could salute it with a simple "thank you."
And the lame shell game gets better. Looks at this! (SLDN):
The Department of Defense has indicated that it defers to Congress, recently telling the New York Times that "the law would need to be changed to affect the department's policy." Some Members of Congress, in turn, have called on the Department of Defense to take the lead.

..."This is the keystone cops approach to leadership," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "Our men and women in uniform deserve better."

..."When will the White House stand up for gay Americans who sacrifice so much for our country?," asked Osburn. "The Pentagon needs troops, and there are thousands of gays and lesbians willing to serve. Since the ban on gay personnel went into law, America and the military have changed. Both are ready to move on and end this federal discrimination against gay Americans. It is time for our commander-in-chief, who is out of step with the majority of Americans on this issue, to show real leadership and call for an end to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"


PFLAG to ring NYSE closing bell

“There are thousands of parents just like me who will shop and spend with companies who support equality for my lesbian daughter. This is our opportunity to make sure that these corporations know that we’re here, that we’re paying attention, and that we influence their bottom line.”
-- Samuel Thoron, president of PFLAG
Parents Families & Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG) will receive the honor of ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange today, an act normally extended to foreign dignataries and CEOs of new companies. It's more public recognition by Wall Street that it respects the pink -- and pink-allied -- dollar. (365gay):
“The purchasing power of the GLBT community is estimated today to be a massive $641 billion, with projections reaching $1 trillion by 2012," said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG.

"Add in the buying power of the millions of family members and friends who show fierce allegiance to fair-minded corporations, and you get a message that no company can afford to ignore: equality is good for business.”

PFLAG leaders will be presenting exchange members with new research showing that more than three-fourths of Americans personally know someone who is GLBT and those consumers are more likely than others to support companies that market to the gay and lesbian community.
It's nice to see that the Freepi can't muster up much on this one. They seem tired, frustrated and well, they just toss out the same hoary crap since they are on the losing side of history on this one:

Actual Freeper Quotes™

"Parents, Families and Friends of Bums and Drunkards"

Corporations supporting PFLAG's appearance at the New York Stock Exchange on June 30 include American Airlines, Chubb, the Citigroup Foundation, Dow, IBM, Logo, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Pfizer, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

Thank you very much for the list. I don't believe in boycotts... but neither do I personally plan to reward this garbage.

Yes, let's invest more in a demographic incapable of reproducing who has a history of transferring a terminal disease.

I used to work at a stock exchange. No one gave a flying fig who rang the closing bell - all we exchange employees cared about is that it rang and we could go home (or to the bars - a more popular destination). It could have been Bozo the clown for all anyone cared. Once it was Chesty Morgan, the stripper - remember her? As I recall - she got a standing ovation.

Perverts.

The Actuarial Tables of your Life Expectancy project otherwise.

How much of that finacial power is government expense for medical care and diseases related to the homosexual lifestyle? Not just aids but all sex diseases, then drug abuse, then of course the domestic violence courts. Seem to me that they just took 10% of the ecconomy rather than 2% AT best. Now how much homosexual related products outside the medical issues? seems there would be a very small market for homosexual pride parade wear.

I never cease to be amazed at how the left banters terminology around - for decades it has been "racism" or racist. And while they still use said term (just look at the screams of racism regarding the very real need to close the borders). And this article uses the other favorite term of the left - "phobia", as in "homophobia".

But since when is disagreeing with a lifestyle CHOICE that flies directly in the face the Bible and core Christian beliefs (regardless of the claims of the left to the contrary - this country was FOUNDED on Christain principals), equate to a fear? I don't fear homosexuals - I pity them and their choices. But my heart reaches out to them, fully knowing that they can choose to turn from their sinful lifestyle in much the same way as all of us are suppose to turn from the sin in our lives. But fear - not at all. But I also believe that people living in and advocating for said lifestyle have no business teaching my children, leading a boyscout troop, pastoring a church, or other functions that should be held to a somewhat higher moral standard. But that is not fear....

Parents, families, and friends of prescription drug abusers. The pharmaceutical companies thrive on their purchasing power. They help out the financial status of doctors and medical clinics too. Sometimes even hospitals.

Their purchasing power was just as high when they were in the closet.

I, for one, am glad that lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, the transgendered, the omni-sexual and the whatever-sexual are finally getting their share of the American Dream, and that Corporate America is stepping up to the plate to help.

Why, I remember the day when LGBT's were forced to live on the outskirts of town, in that hellish twilight zone known as the "other side of the tracks", in ramshackle huts (those who had homes, that is), but most often taking shelter wherever they could -- in holes dug in embankments or in makeshift tents fashioned under bridges with sheets of newspaper; eating the leftovers from dogs and scavengers; drinking from filthy mudholes; wearing whatever they could find, usually the discards from rescue missions. Yes, they've come a long way, baby, and I can't help but get a misty-eyed inspiration from their struggle, calling to mind the words of that old homosexual spiritual, "Free at last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, we're free at last."

I seem to recall this issue showing up on some ballots in a few states... Overwhelming majority oppose such nonsense. It would seem to be a prudent business move to cater to that large majority. But I guess we don't make a big enough stink to be on their radar.

Why not give a bestiality rights group that honor too for the sake of fairness?



'Ex-gay' freakshow Cohen scares George Foreman on Kimmel's show

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Big hat tips to Ex Gay Watch, The Malcontent and PageOneQ for covering this latest hilarity -- the very public mental/professional breakdown of infamous "sexual reorientation specialist" Richard Cohen.

You know, this Richard Cohen (beating "the gay" out with bioenergetic therapy):


via Truth Wins Out.

He appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and made a complete ass out of himself, doing his little schtick with the tennis racket (only one whack, mind you, on the sofa cushion, not as entertainingly as he did on Paula Zahn's show above).

The kicker is that fellow guest, George Foreman was so weirded out by Cohen's ridiculous crap that it was a glory to see. He actually had the balls to ask Foreman to submit to his "cuddling therapy".


via Ex Gay Watch

I almost had to avert my eyes from the video embarrassment. I think Cohen's media whoredom has completely unraveled him.

By the way, Cohen claimed that he's helped "hundreds" of people leave homosexuality in the sixteen years that he's been practicing -- with an astounding 85 percent success rate. Yeah, right.

Richard's doing more to discredit the "ex-gay" movement than anything we could do on this end.

Related:


via Ex Gay Watch. View the whole video here.

* Exposure of Richard Cohen ex-gay 'cuddling therapy' causes rift
* Inside 'ex-gay' therapy
* More MSM coverage of ex-gay 'conversion therapist' Richard Cohen




Here we go again...

If it's summer, it's time for the horror stories of parents leaving babies in cars to fry. (Grand Forks Herald):
A 5-month-old baby died in a minivan Wednesday after the mother apparently forgot to drop the child off at day care.

..."The mother had forgotten to drop off the child at day care in the morning," said Curt Kreun, owner of Wonder Years 2. "She actually came in the building to pick up the child and then realized what had happened."

The child was in a car seat in the back of the vehicle, according to Sgt. Jeff Burgess of the Grand Forks Police Department. A Wonder Years 2 staff member made the 911 call, according to Kreun.
Almost 300 kids have died this way since 1998, according to a companion article in the same paper. The numbers are rising, they assert, because of airbags, the child seats are now in the rear seat of the car -- and parents forget.

Even if you account for some babies being forgotten (39%), 25 percent of the fatalities were caused by a parent knowingly leaving them in the car while they ran an errand.

Help me out here -- these awful stories are run every year, telling people how fast temperatures rise to a deadly level in a car during the summer -- how does this keep happening?

From 2005:
* What is wrong with people -- child dies in hot car

* Woman Leaves Disabled Daughter in Hot Car at Shopping Mall.

Bonus:
* Woman Charged For Allegedly Driving With Children In Trunk


No one has to 'ask' if you 'tell' in Myspace

I don't have a page in Myspace, but a millions of people do. A lot of active, closeted military personnel are socializing using the online community, and many are placing themselves at risk if they have profiles that can let the gay cat out of the bag.

Erin at SLDN's blog, The Frontlines, has a bit of advice...
Forget “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Don’t type, don’t post! This foray for good times and casual interaction has become a huge problem for gay service members. There is a false sense of privacy that exists and encourages Myspacers to open up and provide detailed information about their lives. Bad idea. Even if you don’t specify that you’re gay next to the “orientation” classification, pictures of you with your same sex partner, holding hands, kissing, wearing veils…well, let’s just say it. A picture’s worth a thousand words. So, this is my plea to all of you service members out there. If you can’t bear to part with your Myspace account (I can commiserate), restrict it, take down any incriminating photos, monitor the postings on your wall. You don’t want to end your career over some extracurricular fun.
You can find SLDN's list of online dos and don'ts here.


NY Bill would ban 'Gay Panic' defense

"We don't see women shooting men ever time a man comes on to them in a bar and touches them on the arm. I don't buy it. That's like saying, 'Road rage made me do it.'"
-- Bronx Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr., on why his bill is necessary
Even though the use of gay panic fails miserably most of the time, it's still lobbed out there. Diaz's bill would require judges "to disregard appeals to bias and prejudice through courtroom tactics such as 'panic strategies.'" (Gay City News):
The bill, similar to one that passed the California Assembly, was introduced at the prompting of Tom Smith, former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, after it was reported that a 16-year old arrestee in the attack on Kevin Aviance last week alleged to a TV news station that he acted after the drag singer made an inappropriate advance to him, comments that could be laying the groundwork for a so-called "gay panic" defense.

..."Sounds like a dangerous undertaking," civil libertarian Bill Dobbs, an out gay man, said. "The ability to present evidence and defend oneself against criminal charges is critical to a free society and efforts to erode that fundamental constitutional right should be turned back. If somebody's conduct was the product of an impulsive act, that evidence needs to go in."
Aviance suffered severe injuries, his leg required a brace and he had a broken jaw that had to be wired shut.


HRC's 'State of the Workplace' report

It's hot off of the press -- Human Rights Campaign has released the 2005-2006 The State of the Workplace for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans, a document that tracks the progress we're making.

When you look at the positive trajectory in the corporate sphere, it really underscores how lame our national Dem leadership is on equality. They need to use these statistics to counter the endless, brain-dead, religion-infused bigotry.
* A majority of Fortune 500 companies, 253 (51 percent), offer domestic partner health insurance benefits. HRC notes that this is the first time it's topped 50%.

* 430 (86 percent) of the organizations include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies

* 81 include gender identity and/or expression, marking a tenfold increase from 2001.
You can download the entire report here, as well as Joe Solmonese's statement on it. He noted that 25 years ago, these workplace policies accommodating LGBT workers didn't exist. The bigoted wingers would love to reverse this.

Certainly if corporate America values its LGBT employees, why can't the sorry-ass Dems make the public case that LGBT taxpayers deserve equal protections and rights under the law at the state and federal levels?


Good news in Arkansas

Some common sense in a Red state. Gays and lesbians cannot be barred from becoming foster parents.
Arkansas cannot ban homosexuals from becoming foster parents because there is no link between their sexual orientation and a child's well-being, the state's high court ruled Thursday.

The court agreed with a lower court judge that the state's child welfare board had improperly tried to regulate public morality. The ban also violated the separation of powers doctrine, the justices said.

..."There is no correlation between the health, welfare and safety of foster children and the blanket exclusion of any individual who is a homosexual or who resides in a household with a homosexual," Associate Justice Donald Corbin wrote in the opinion.

In addition, the court said, the testimony of a Child Welfare Agency Review Board member demonstrated that "the driving force between adoption of the regulations was not to promote the health, safety and welfare of foster children but rather based upon the board's views of morality and its bias against homosexuals."
The state had tried to argue that a child being raised in a gay household was somehow going to face academic problems or gender identity problems.

Kathy L. Hall is the attorney for the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, and she used additional inane arguments to try to sell the bigotry:

* The health, safety and welfare of foster children is of the utmost concern to the state -- "and that can't happen in a home where unmarried sex occurs."

* The state shouldn't "leave it for chance for the children of Arkansas to be guinea pigs to find out if it is harmful" to be raised in a home with gay foster parents.

* Foster children are already vulnerable and moving them into a home with gay foster parents could subject them to "a culture shock that these kids just don't need."


It's all the atheists' fault - open thread

Damn you all! What have you done to the children? Daddy Dobson's VP is on the case.
A Christian pro-family advocate is linking youth violence to a godless, Darwinist worldview. Focus on the Family vice president Bill Maier says atheistic beliefs have led to an alarming increase in youth violence.

Young people are more aggressive than ever, he asserts, with many participating in fight clubs and posting violent videos on the Internet. But that is what you get from Darwinist evolution, the Focus on the Family official contends. "If we have a prevailing worldview that teaches that, basically, human beings evolved from the slime and we have no intrinsic worth or value or meaning," he explains, "then naturally we are going to see individuals begin to gravitate toward behavior such as this. It's basically Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' concept carried to its logical conclusion."

Maier says parents need to help kids learn to distinguish between necessary defense and excessive violence and can do this, in part, by limiting their children's exposure to media violence.


Supremes smack down Chimpy on Guantanamo

[UPDATE: This decision is a critical blow to the Bush Administration; you have to surf over to Glenn Greenwald's excellent post, Media, others finally recognizing the President's seizure of law-breaking powers.]

Ooops. Bush megalomania skirted both military justice law and the Geneva Convention in setting up war crimes trials. AP has more:
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti- terror policies.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and Geneva conventions.

The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a body guard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.

Two years ago, the court rejected Bush's claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers. In this followup case, the justices focused solely on the issue of trials for some of the men.
The vote was split 5-3 according to another AP update -- moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court's liberal members on the vote, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who had backed the government's side when he was on the appeals court, was sidelined in this case.


Churches in upheaval

First, it looks like the Episcopal church is about to implode, based on some of the news out there. I don't see how a split can be avoided.

* Three conservative Episcopal dioceses voted to reject the authority of the denomination's presiding bishop because of their opposition to the consecration of gay bishops (Dioceses of Pittsburgh, South Carolina, and San Joaquin, CA). Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, was asked to assign them an alternative leader.

* The Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, asked Williams to assign them a leader other than Jefferts Schori, because it disagrees with idea of the ordination of women. The Diocese of San Joaquin does not accept women priests either.

* Interestingly, the Diocese of Newark, N.J. decided to jump in the fray and test the new call for restraint by the church on the selection of gay bishops -- it's named a gay priest among the four nominees for its leadership position.

What a mess. Columnist Deb Price has an extremely personal take on the upheaval.
Church regained a central spot in my daily life. My dark mood was slowly replaced by an ever-deepening commitment to trust spiritual tools to fix life's problems. That the Episcopal Church had already elevated to bishop a gay man in a committed relationship made me feel especially blessed to have been born into the denomination.

But that joy in finding a safe, healing place -- a true sanctuary -- was shattered last Wednesday when the Episcopal Church's national convention abandoned its moral high ground and urged that no bishop be confirmed "whose manner of life poses a challenge to the church" -- church-speak for "no self-respecting gays allowed."

Shamefully caving in to Neanderthals threatening to tear apart the Anglican church community, the outgoing and incoming presiding officers -- traditionally gay allies -- spearheaded the vicious resolution. They plunged my denomination backward at the very time when courageous church leaders are desperately needed to stand firm against those cloaking bigotry in religion.

Many gay Episcopalians will stay, feeling called to help enlighten the church. Others, fiercely torn, will ultimately decide that to sit in an Episcopal pew or put another dollar bill in an Episcopal collection plate would feel like a slap at the diversity-loving God who chose to make us gay.
***


Popa Ratzi photo illustration by "evilgenius" Doug at Reality Stick).

Then we trek over to Papa Ratzi's pad, where the paranoia runs deep these days. The WaPo reports that Vatican insiders are worried that the church's positions on reproductive freedom, SSM, and embryonic stem cell research in an increasingly progressive world may land them in an international court. The fact that Spain, Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium have legalized SSM has vexed the church.


The statements by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo sound very familiar, like our homegrown whining bible beaters who are endlessly claiming that it's the homos that are controlling everything, and persecuting "Christians."
Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Family, reiterated traditional Roman Catholic Church positions and criticized some European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and France, for giving legal recognition to civil unions.

"We worry especially that, with current laws, speaking in defense of life and the rights of families is becoming in some societies sort of a crime against the state," Lopez Trujillo told the Catholic news magazine Famiglia Cristiana for its issue scheduled to hit the stands Thursday. The remarks were posted online on Wednesday.

...Chai Feldblum of Georgetown University's Law Center said the chances of the church being punished for stating its beliefs were slim to none, at least in the United States, though its stances could lead to Catholic organizations losing state funding. "I cannot fathom a religious organization being punished for speaking its belief against abortion or gay marriage," said Feldblum, a veteran gay rights advocate.

"What is illuminating is not the reality of the legal penalties they face, but an acknowledgment that public morality is shifting under their feet," Feldblum said.
Lopez Trujillo also compared SSM to "absolute emptiness," reiterating that marriage is between a man and a woman. IN the past he's also been quite pithy about gays adopting, calling it "moral violence" against children and jeopardized their personality and stability.


Pull out a tiny violin...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I haven't heard about any action items to storm Scott Bloch's offices. Does AgapePress know something we don't?
Pro-homosexual forces have launched an all-out attack on the head of the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel. The office was created to protect whistleblowers, the military, and the merit system.

As the newly appointed Special Counsel to the White House, one of Scott Bloch's first acts was to depart from past federal administrative policies shielding employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. Bloch's explanation of his rationale for removing those protections for homosexuals from the federal guidelines has been that "sexual orientation isn't protected from discrimination or hate crimes by current civil rights laws," and statutes protecting people from racial and gender discrimination do not apply to sexual orientation.


When Sen. Carl Levin asked Bloch whether he would recommend that Congress clarify the fed employee anti-discrimination law to include sexual orientation, Bloch declined to take a position. Photo: (By Lois Raimondo -- The Washington Post)

Family Research Council (FRC) vice president Tom McClusky says Bloch does not deserve the flak he has been getting since he took office. According to McClusky, a number of career government employees have pointed out that the policy change -- to include homosexuals as a protected group -- was initiated by Bill Clinton and was illegal.

"Scott Bloch reversed the policy back to the constitutionally and congressionally-ordered statutes," the FRC official says. "For his actions he has now been under fire from both Congressional and within the administration [critics] and from outside forces." However, the newly installed Special Counsel has been credited with cleaning up that office, McClusky asserts, and he says people should tell Congress and President Bush to leave Bloch alone.
Related:
* A chip off the old AmTaliban Bloch


sHillary dissed at Reid press conference

Whoa. What on earth is going on -- is this a little ego problem on Reid's part?
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Senate Democratic leadership yesterday planned to exclude Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) from a news conference promoting legislation she introduced until just hours before the event, according to today's Roll Call.

Just prior to the event, according to Roll Call, a Clinton aide could be seen yelling at an aide to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), among other things, "you suck."
Ah, a touch of class.


Birds of a feather

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

When Rush has Mr. Fox Falafel defending him, that brings the story down to a whole new low.
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly is coming to the defense of his radio competitor Rush Limbaugh, claiming authorities in Palm Beach County, Fla., are "out to get" the conservative talk-show host, and are maliciously targeting him for prosecution.

"He is an American," O'Reilly said of Limbaugh last night on "The O'Reilly Factor," "and I believe powerful people in his home county are trying unjustly to harm him."

...Though Limbaugh was not arrested, O'Reilly noted it was unusual authorities checked the shaving kits of people flying on private planes, and that the story was leaked to the press almost immediately.

"This is malicious, and this is unnecessary," said O'Reilly. "I only can conclude that in Palm Beach, where Mr. Limbaugh lives, they're out to get this guy."
You think O'Lielly is projecting a tad?


Mitt Romney is an ass


"Who's going to tell us what a civil right is and what's not? Well, the people will."
-- Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, urging lawmakers to pass a proposed state marriage amendment
And this man wants to be president? Jeezus H. Christ. (SFGate):
Supporters have long cast same-sex marriage as a civil right that should not be subject to a popular vote, likening it to the desegregation battles of the 1950s and 1960s, where the courts played a central role in expanding rights for blacks.

Yet Romney, during a news conference attended by Cardinal Sean O'Malley and other religious and civil leaders, said that in a democracy, nothing is off-limits to voters, even the definition of civil rights.

"We have a Constitution. We can look in there and say, 'Does it say here you can vote on matters unless someone can define them as civil rights?' No," said the Republican governor, a graduate of Harvard Law School who is mulling a presidential run in 2008. "It says you vote on all matters in this country and we'll decide what is a civil right and what's not. So, fundamentally, we come back to the principle that the people speak."


Open thread insanity

Since commenter North Dallas Thirty has managed to evade answering this question in two separate threads, perhaps someone can frame it in a way he can understand and answer. I'll take one more crack at it:

Name a Republican who is likely to run in 2008 who would vote for, or legislate in favor of these gay rights initiatives:

* civil marriage or its equivalent, with all federal benefits that convey with marriage
* anti-discrimination measures, so that coming out doesn't result in someone being fired
* the right to adopt and foster children

The crux of this issue is not whether any Dems, liberals, or "moonbats" will vote for this candidate, it's whether the person running for office has an official position or even personal opinion on the above that demonstrates that they believe in equality. The Log Cabin Republicans have no problem articulating that the above issues are important to its constituency, so it's intellectually dishonest to dodge answering the question.

Many people who have commented regularly on this blog on this issue have said that they would most certainly be willing to vote for a Republican candidate who would vote for the above measures over a "leave it to the states" Dem who is trying to suck up to the 700 Club set. For some Blenders, voting for a Republican is a fate worse than death, no matter their position on gay rights. I would expect a spectrum of beliefs on this, whereas NDT assumes all fall into the latter camp.

Anyway, it was rough, but I thought of a couple of pro-gay Republicans who have been chatted up at one point or another for '08:

* Michael Bloomberg -- though he won't run (I don't think)
* Rudy Giuliani -- who knows if he will run

Aside from those two, who are considered RINOs within the GOP and would not pass muster with the far right. I can't think of any other prospects, can you?


Why is CNN giving Dobson space?

Good grief -- CNN, clearly in a fit of spasms over a perceived need for "balance," has given Daddy Dobson space to rail on in with a neat homobigot commentary piece -- "Special to CNN" -- entitled Media provides cover for assault on traditional marriage.

He spends most of the column bloviating and whining about the fact that state constitutional amendments have passed overwhelmingly when on the ballot, and that these stories of "success" by the "pro-family" crowd was ignored by the MSM. As a result of the lack of coverage, the self-important demi-god of the American Taliban says, the Marriage Protection Amendment in the Senate failed.
Indeed, on the day before 48 senators bailed on marriage, a 20th state voted on its own constitutional amendment. It was Alabama, which supported traditional marriage by 81 percent to 19 percent! A search of the database Nexis revealed that not one reference to this dramatic vote in Alabama was published in the print versions of The New York Times or Washington Post. There was virtually no mention of the story in other national newspapers. Yet, each of them devoted considerable coverage to the Senate's defeat of the Marriage Protection Amendment.

CNN and the mainstream televised news networks uttered hardly a peep about the Alabama decision. Why was the issue buried? Because the "poll" in Alabama and 19 other states didn't match the template put forward by those who wanted the amendment to be crushed. Their bias against the family is breathtaking.
He continues on a rampage, blasting the senators who opposed the amendment who should have known better (i.e., taken his phone calls or knelt before him):
As for the senators who voted against the amendment, the excuses they gave were pitiful. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island, Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minnesota, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, and many others thought they had the perfect alibi. They claimed that the issue should be handled at the state level. What hypocrisy!

All of these senators are smart enough to know that, first, it would create utter chaos to have 50 different definitions of marriage in one country, where every state is required by the Constitution to support the laws of the other 49. Come on, Senator McCain and company. You and your colleagues know better than that.
It goes on and on. Shakes Sis focused on this section of DD's foaming-at-the-mouth diatribe as he compares the prospect of SSM to slave-trading:
And here's the best part: "So where does the issue go from here? Time will tell. It took William Wilberforce more than 30 years to bring about an end to Britain's slave trade in the 1800s. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of a protracted victory."

...William Wilberforce was white (unlike some prominent American abolitionists one might name, like Harriet Tubman or Frederick Douglass), and he was also an Evangelical Christian who managed to successfully convince the House of Commons to require missionary work a condition of the British East India Company's 1813 renewed charter. In other words, to do business, they had to agree to "introduc[e] Christian light into India."

...To you or me, mentioning this rather obscure British patrician in passing might just seem weird. To Dobson's devotees, however, it becomes a message that white evangelicals must continue their struggle to blur the line separating church and state—and, more nefariously, a message to politicians that if they want to stay in business, they’d better play by Dobson's rules.
Go read the rest.


LaBarbera on Ozzie Guillen

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I think it's astonishing to see the media in Chicago and maybe across the country bending so easily to this idea of when you say this word, which I don't say -- I don't say the word f-a-g -- but the idea that this is a slur analogous to racism is just ridiculous.
Sometimes I think excitable Peter LaBarbera puts out these little items simply to amuse us. I mean come on -- he feels the need to weigh in on MLB commissioner Bud Selig's decision to send Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to tolerance training for calling a Chicago Sun Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti a "f*cking fag."
"The fact that they're going to require this man to undergo sensitivity training -- pro-homosexual training, which will likely violate his moral and his religious beliefs -- is just astonishing," exclaims LaBarbera. "We're coming to the point in America now where people of faith can have their rights and their beliefs trampled over in the name of supporting the gay agenda."

The family advocate says the White Sox manager has run into the "liberal thought police." ...According to LaBarbera, "we have to guard and protect our freedoms now more than ever in this country because gay activists are out to silence us."
Related:
* Michael Jensen of AfterElton interviews Chicago Sun-Times columnist Greg Couch, who reported the Guillen story.


Pentagon changes regulations: homosexuality no longer a mental disorder

Great news passed along from Steve Ralls of SLDN's blog, Frontlines.
We've just learned that the Pentagon has updated the much talked about instruction, listing homosexuality as a mental disorder, to be current with all other Department of Defense regulations (which had adopted the right view of the situtation years ago). The instruction will now reflect, along with all other Pentagon materials, the APA-accepted stance, adopted in 1973, that lesbian, gay & bisexual orientation is decidedly not a mental disorder.
Expect a fundie eruption shortly.

UPDATE: PageOneQ has more details.

NOTE: SLDN's executive director, C. Dixon Osburn, will be on Democracy Now, live at 8AM on Thursday.


Obama: Dems need to court the fundies

"I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy."
-- Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), in remarks for the Call to Renewal conference, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty
The bloom is off the rose, folks; he must be running in '08. Barack Obama doesn't understand what the real problem is.

There is not a lack of acknowledgment of faith and the role it plays in American lives, it's dismay at the buy-in by the Democratic establishment of the Republican spin that the faith community is only made up of those who are socially conservative.

This is partially a failure of the voices in the progressive religious community to make inroads in the debate, to effectively counter the fundamantalist fringe, and clearly the message is still not getting through when you have Barack Obama uttering this:
"Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters...It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase 'under God,'" he said. "Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats."

...Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square."
No, the issue is that politicians, beholden to the fringe religious movement, want to force, quite specifically, their view of the world, a set of religious standards on everyone -- and to enact legislation that reflects the prejudices spurred by that perspective.

And make no mistake, these folks mean "Christianity" as the fundamentalists define it. The fundie movement has as its objective the demonization/recloseting of gays and the control of the sexuality and reproductive freedom of women. They want to merge church and state. These are the folks that the Dems want to court?

There is an anti-religion element on the left that has no patience for any of this, and they also have a hard time remembering that the people of faith are not all bible beating whack jobs. Many in the faith community can be courted -- just not the fundamentalists, who cannot be reasoned with.

It really is incumbent on the progressive religious community to continue to speak out on this matter, to stop the spin being perpetrated by the Rovian right.

UPDATE: You can read his entire speech here.

Obama is both right and wrong on the matter, as I outlined above. He does hit pay dirt with this passage in the speech.
And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Levitacus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage so radical that it’s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?

...This may be difficult for those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.
The problem lies in the Democrats treating the faith community as one bloc — a socially conservative one. Dean trolling on The 700 Club illustrates the confusion.

As long as the core of the left doesn't stop disparaging the entire religious community (not the fire-breathing fundies driving the MSM train), there will be a problem gaining traction and votes. Obama needs to take his party leadership to the woodshed and school them on the differences.

And I'm saying that as a person with a beef with organized religion.



Another ad from Faith In America. Click image to see the ad at full size.

Also:
* Not enough
* Powerful ad from Faith In America
* United Church of Christ's newest TV commercial rocks
* Not much progress on the black homophobia front
* Mel Watt: framing gay rights for the black community


Not enough

Some of the establishment black leadership are heading out to combat the seduction of black churchgoers to the evangelical camp of social conservatism.

The message is not surprising -- tell voters not to focus on gay-bashing, but to pay attention to the litany of ways that the conservative Republicans have let minorities and the poor down. (365gay):
Prominent black leaders said they will work to combat Christian conservatives they say have used gay marriage and abortion to distract from larger moral issues such as the war, voting rights, affirmative action and poverty.

The Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery and hundreds of black leaders from around the country are focusing on mobilizing black voters for the fall elections. They kicked off a three-day black clergy conference Monday in Dallas.

"There are no gay people coming to our churches asking to get married," Sharpton said. "But there are plenty of people coming with problems voting or their sons in jail."

Sharpton said tours are planned of swing states starting in July to bring out black voters and push Democrats to take a tougher stand on social justice issues.
You see what's going on here, right? Sharpton knows better, but he's using the same Dem dodge -- he's not making a case for why the homobigotry is wrong, only that gay issues are a smokescreen distracting the average black voter from "more important" matters.

I don't have a problem with leveraging the failure of this Administration into votes (it's provided a mile-long list of outrages), but it's clear, based on the level of homophobia, that voters can and do need leadership and framing on this issue to combat the bible-beating right wing. A significant portion of voters do need to hear from leadership that state amendments and measures to restrict gay adoption/fostering rights, for example, play upon the fears and worst aspects of people -- they are wrong -- and it's the conservative evangelical movement that has lead the way in fear-mongering.

We, as individual out gays and lesbians make a difference in changing hearts and minds by living our lives, but when religious leadership continually deflects the issue away from why the position of the evangelical right on gay civil equality is morally wrong, it's a lost opportunity and a clear signal to the bigots that support on the center-left for LGBT citizens is wavering at best.

Lowery and Sharpton have, to date, been quite supportive of civil equality. It's no surprise that media hogging, self-aggrandizing Jackson, however, would punt on the issue. In 2004 supported "equal protection under the law" for gay couples, but does not support SSM -- he believes "In my culture, marriage is a man-woman relationship."



Another ad from Faith In America. Read my earlier post on the work of this organization.

An interesting read: Keith Boykin's Village Voice piece, Whose Dream? -- Why the black church opposes gay marriage.


The House Republican American Values Agenda


(AFP/Getty Images/File/Mark Wilson)

I came across this press release and couldn't resist reprinting the horror for you to comment on.

First, the ridiculous introductory comments coming out of the Tyrannosaurus of Turpitude's House Speaker Denny Hastert's (R-Ill.) mouth.
"The American Values Agenda will defend America's founding principles. Through this agenda, we will work to protect the faith of our people, the sanctity of life and freedoms outlined by our founding fathers. Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life."
Here's is the package known as "The American Values Agenda" -- all the right priorities...

Pledge Protection Act (HR 2389; Akin)
Summary: Protects the Pledge of Allegiance from attacks by activist federal judges seeking to rule it unconstitutional.

Freedom to Display the American Flag Act (HR 42; Bartlett)
Summary: Ensures an individual has the right to display the U.S. flag on residential property.

The Public Expression of Religion Act
(HR 2679; Hostettler)
Summary: Ensures local officials and communities do not face financial ruin to defend their rights to free speech under the Constitution (provides that when state or local officials are sued over public expressions of religion, no monetary damages, costs, or attorney's fees may be awarded).

Marriage Amendment (HJRes 88; Musgrave)
Summary: Constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman

Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (HR 356; C. Smith)
Summary: Requires that those performing late-term abortions inform the woman seeking an abortion of the medical evidence that the unborn child feels pain, and ensure that if she chooses to continue with the abortion procedure, she has the option of choosing anesthesia for the child, so that the unborn child's pain is less severe.

Human Cloning Prohibition Act (HR 1357; D. Weldon)
Summary: Bans human cloning and the importation of products derived from a cloned human embryo (e.g. stem cells).

BATFE Reform (HR 5092; Coble)
Summary: Reforms the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) to protect citizens' rights.

Internet Gambling Prohibition (Leach/Goodlatte):
Summary: Addresses the issue of illegal internet gambling by making gambling laws apply equally to the internet.

Permanent Tax Relief for Families
Summary: Likely series of votes on the child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, tax incentives for adoption, and other priorities for American citizens.

Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act (HR 5013; Jindal)
Summary: Prohibits governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies.


This and that chat

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

* The flag burning amendment goes down -- by one vote. Suckaaas.

* Lars Clausen, author of Straight Into Gay America, is giving his book away free through A-Page-A-Day service that delivers it to your inbox. On July 18, he will participate with Soulforce in a Colorado Springs event to counter the anti-gay message of Daddy Dobson's Focus On The Family.

* SLDN's executive director, C. Dixon Osburn, will be a guest Thursday morning on Democracy Now (you can listen live at 8AM).

* Activist Eric Rofes has died.

* You want to help out Patty Wetterling, homobigot Michele Bachmann's opponent? Patty is trying to raise $25,000 by June 30 to keep Minnesota's answer to Marilyn Musgrave from going to Washington.

* "Ex-gay" and sidekick of Michele Bachmann, Janet Boynes will be setting up the first known "ex-gay" exhibit at a National Education Association meeting. Wayne Besen wants to counter her efforts by taking her on with Truth Wins Out. "This is part of an orchestrated effort on the part of the ex-gay ministries to target children. As a community, we have a clear choice to make: We can either sit on the sidelines and let the right wing mentally abuse kids or we can choose to take a stand and put a stop to this madness."

* Blender Rick points to a Seed Magazine article (via Chris Glass) about "The Gay Animal Kingdom." It covers the work of a transgendered scientist who is trying to change the view of Darwin's sexual selection theory.

* You've got to read it to believe it, at ESPN: Manhood in the world of sports. (H/t, Dan).

* Zogby poll finds Tennessee voters support fairness for gays and lesbians. The numbers are positive: 59% of voters in the state agree that gays and lesbians should have the same rights under law as other Americans. Callie sent this one in, saying "This is an important piece of news since our own Dem. governor Phil Bredesen said that the anti-gay amendment will definitely pass it's only a matter of whether it will be by 85% or 95% (a total ass!)."

Blogwhore, post links and gab about the above or whatever's on your mind...


Powerful ad from Faith In America

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This ad campaign by Faith In America ran in our local progressive paper, The Independent Weekly.

Faith In America is "dedicated to the emancipation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from bigotry disguised as religious truth." And that's a tall order, given the hijacking of religion by the extremists. It's run by Rev. Jimmy Creech, who has been bucking the anti-gay system for some time now, here in NC.
In April of 1999, Creech celebrated the holy union of two men in Chapel Hill. Charges were brought against him and a church trial was held in Grand Island, Nebraska, on November 17, 1999. In August of 1998, the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church had ruled that the statement prohibiting "homosexual unions" was church law in spite of its location in the Social Principles. Consequently, the jury in this second trial declared Creech guilty of "disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church" and withdrew his credentials of ordination.
He has served on Soulforce's board and speaks around the country on equality issues. Creech's book, Adam's Gift, chronicles his experiences trying to get the faith community to welcome and accept LGBT members of the community into the United Methodist Church.

I was pointed to this item by local science blogger Abel Pharmboy of Terra Sigillata, who said in an email to me:
"We are not GLBT, but our daughter's education at our daycare/preschool has benefited from the messages of love and tolerance and gifts of creativity shared by several of her gay and lesbian teachers. To use religious language, we consider ourselves blessed to have them in our lives."
And that's the lesson of that ad. Faith and bigotry are paired so often today -- it doesn't have to be if good people speak up.


The slab o' Ten can stay

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The fundies score a teensy win. Faith and Action's President, the Rev. Robert Schenck, got his wish -- the 850-pound granite Ten Commandments placed in view of the Supreme Court doesn't need a permit. Praise Jeebus and the D.C. Transportation Department.

H/t, Holly.

Related:
* Batsh*t fundie gives SCOTUS justices a view of 'the big 10'


Rush's boner pills may have killed his plea deal

We commented on Rush Limbaugh's problems at the airport yesterday, but now there are new developments in the story:
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) -- Rush Limbaugh could see a deal with prosecutors in a long-running prescription fraud case collapse after authorities found a bottle of Viagra in his bag at Palm Beach International Airport. The prescription was not in his name.

Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at the airport after returning from a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

[Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul] Miller said the alleged violation could be a second-degree misdemeanor. The sheriff's office was investigating and will soon turn the case over to the state attorney's office, which had no immediate comment Tuesday.

Under the deal reached last month with prosecutors, Limbaugh was not to be arrested for any infraction for 18 months in exchange for authorities deferring a charge of "doctor shopping."
Which, in and of itself, is yet another one of those "special rights" people with money and power get. Tell me that a single working class Hispanic mother or a homeless poor black veteran or a white miminum wage earner would've gotten the same sweetheart deal and not been locked up and given a mandatory minimum.

Oh, and as Paul in SF noted from another commenter on another blog: "(What) is the reason Rush would visit the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere for two days with a supply of Viagra? What are the tourist attractions in this overpopulated, poverty stricken, ecologically overwhelmed nation that a man who can afford any possible resort or vacation destination could want to visit? For two days. With Viagra."
PUERTO PLATA, Dominican Republic -- A slow tourist season has hurt the T-shirt and coconut milk vendors in this scenic beach town, but it hasn't put a dent in the body business.

"There is always a demand for sex," said one Dominican prostitute as she lounged at one of the town's waterfront bars. "Men will always pay for it, especially in here ... where they can get anything they want at a discount."

Indeed, the Dominican Republic is one of the biggest sex tourism destinations in the world, thanks in part to Internet sites that extol the country as a "single man's paradise.

In the Dominican Republic, as in many developing countries, many women are driven to sell their bodies by poverty and lack of alternatives. It is a profession that is illegal but tolerated by local authorities, who accept kickbacks to turn a blind eye to the seedier side of tourism.

"I don't have an education, and I've got two children," shrugged 15-year-old Belkis as she slinked along the busy beach promenade here in a hot pink Lycra dress. "Where else can I make such good money? To be a prostitute, you don't need schooling, all you need is your body."
Wow. Shopping for young, cheap whores in a third-world country where a rich famous man can go about unrecognized. By comparison, shopping for doctors doesn't look all that bad.

I'd go visit the denizens of Castle Freepervania, but this time, instead, I think I'll just let ol' Rushbo speak for himself... about himself:
"There's nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. ... if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up."

"...too many whites are getting away with drug use. Too many whites are getting away with drug sales. Too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff."

"This country certainly appears to be tolerant, forgive and forget. I mean, you know as well as I do, you go out and commit the worst murder in the world and you just say you're sorry, people go, 'Oh, OK. A little contrition.'... People say, 'I feel better. He said he's sorry for it.' We're becoming too tolerant, folks."

"...if there's a line of cocaine here, I have to make the choice to go down and sniff it.... And his point is that we are rationalizing all this irresponsibility and all the choices people are making and we're blaming not them, but society for it. All these Hollywood celebrities say the reason they're weird and bizarre is because they were abused by their parents. So we're going to pay for that kind of rehab, too, and we shouldn't."

"When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia (former Grateful Dead guitarist) destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he's being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks. [He's] another dead drug addict."
Man, I hate to have to agree with Rush, but he's right: we are too tolerant of rich white celebrities getting away with breaking the law and taking drugs. They ought to be convicted and sent up just the same as we'd do to an inner city kid caught with crack cocaine, right, Rush? Well, actually, I think both Rush and the crackhead deserve treatment and compassion, not imprisonment, but if Rush is going to support a regime that gives drug addicts longer median sentences than violent criminals, he should have to live by those rules himself.


Rush jokes and dodges on the air

Russ updated us on Mr. Boner's legal troubles above. Here are a couple of other tidbits of fun.

Rush tried to laugh off his airport incident on his show today by saying that he's "trying to figure out how Bob Dole’s luggage got on his airplane. And… he told the doctor he was worried "about the next ELECTION...not..."

He also mentions having "a great weekend down in the Dominican Republic."

Crooks and Liars has the audio.

Steve at Calling All Wingnuts actually managed to call in the show and mention sex tourism in the Dominican Republic on the air. Rush dodged it.

You have to read Taylor Marsh's take, "Rush Stops by "Single Man's Paradise." A snippet:
After 3 divorces, it's easy to understand why Rush might prefer a little docile barely legal babe. However, other rumors have been flying for years. I mean, who can forget Rush's obsession with Gore's package in a show that had me in tears I was laughing so hard. Of course, now I know he was drugged out of his mind when he did it, but still. But those rumors are just silly, or is that stogie in his mouth telling the truth?

Of course, we're just speculating here.
Roxanne is running a "caption this picture" post.


Too much information - open thread



Bankruptcy Bill Joe let folks know he's got a libido at his leadership PAC Generation United's meeting last week.
Because he was the first Democrat to step up and say publicly last year that he’s exploring running for president, we can assume that Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) is plenty interested in the office.

But like most other men, apparently there are things that interest him more.

"I’d rather be at home making love to my wife while my children are asleep," he said.


sHillary hires Daou as blog advisor

An interesting development, as sHillary tries to make inroads in the blogosphere, where she's clearly in trouble in many circles.

Peter Daou, of The Daou Report over at Salon, is a peach and has been a big asset to the blogosphere. He's also a major booster of smaller blogs whose voices are normally drowned out by the A-listers, and has shown great insight on the burgeoning, confusing and cantankerous relationships between blogs, the MSM, and the often clueless political establishment. A must-read of his on the matter is The Triangle: Limits of Blog Power. At least someone on her team is cooking with gas.


As you know all too well, I'm a huge critic of sHillary, and it's clear that Peter's got a long hard road ahead of him trying to convince anyone as "blog advisor to facilitate and expand her relationship with the netroots" that 1) sHillary's a viable and legitimate Dem candidate progressives can back; and 2) that any self-respecting gay person in favor of full civil equality, for instance, would want to support her. She's publicly shown us little except dodging and pandering to the dark side.

Of course the whole mission depends on the definition of what "netroots" is, no? Is PHB part of the netroots or way outside of it?

I wish Peter luck -- sHillary needs all the help she can get.

I don't know what all of this means for the blogosphere, but these upcoming election cycles are going to be case studies on the evolution of blog cooperation, co-opting and the attempt to maintain independent rabble-rousing when it comes to candidates.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.

Also: check out The Dark Wraith's post, An Open Letter to Senator Hillary Clinton, at Big Brass Blog and The Dark Wraith Forums.


Gay buying power can't be denied

Queer spending muscle will hit $1 trillion by 2012. This sort of news always gets under the fundies' skin, and I think this is what really drives them to be so strident in their opposition.

They are winning key battles, but losing the war. These folks know the power of the purse is so powerful that are working over time enact legislative measures to hurt LGBT citizens and they aren't certain that they can stem the cultural tide of change.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) will make history on June 30 as the first organization for families and allies of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people to ring the Closing Bell (SM) at the New York Stock Exchange.

PFLAG's trip to Wall Street - to "ring the closing bell on homophobia" - will be an opportunity for the group to discuss the exponentially growing reach of the buying power of GLBT Americans when coupled with the purchasing force of their families and friends.

"The purchasing power of the GLBT community is estimated today to be a massive $641 billion, with projections reaching $1 trillion by 2012. Add in the buying power of the millions of family members and friends who show fierce allegiance to fair- minded corporations, and you get a message that no company can afford to ignore: equality is good for business," said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of the more than 200,000-member organization.

"This economic clout and product loyalty is only going to grow. We are here to give the business world this wake-up call and to help companies compete."
Bloggrrrl Ms. Julien passed on these figures for you all:

* 15 million - Gay, lesbian and bisexual adults in U.S. (6.8% of population)
* $641 billion - Buying power of U.S. gays and lesbians in 2006
* $42,700 - Per-capita buying power of U.S. gays and lesbians in 2006
* $232 million - What U.S. companies spent on gay media and sponsorships in 2005
* 175 - Number of Fortune 500 brands that actively market to gay consumers

Despite the endless AFA boycotts/boycott threats (Disney, Ford, Kraft, etc.), in the end, there is no shortage of companies ready and willing to market to the gay community.
"Typically, companies would come in, run their regular ads to get their feet wet, the same ads (they run) in other consumer books," said Todd Evans, CEO of Rivendell Media, a New Jersey company that represents gay media companies.

"As they get more comfortable with it, they realize they don't have backlash, and they go that next step to have specific creative (content). ... That's big news, because to make specific creative is a very expensive proposition."

...It's a fallacy that gays and lesbians make more money than straight people. In fact, their incomes mirror those of the population as a whole. But what does differentiate them as consumers is that they have more discretionary money since they're less likely to have children. As of the 2000 Census, one in five gay male couples and one in three lesbian couples had children.

...Moreover, gay consumers regularly show up in studies as having more allegiance to companies that court them. "Loyalty stats of gays and lesbians are higher than loyalty stats for NASCAR fans," said PlanetOut's Soukup.
Of course, one expects that Dapper Don Wildmon and his crew have scanned this SFGate article and are ready to do launch another impotent initiative against the corporations listed below. Wells Fargo is already on the Daddy Dobson's sh*t list.
"Companies who go into sponsorship are aware of the need to show support for the community and not appear to be pandering to us just to get a dollar," said Michael Wilke, founding executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, a nonprofit group that tracks images of gays and lesbians in advertising.

San Francisco's gay pride festivities have two dozen corporate sponsors, including Bud Light, Delta Airlines, Travelocity, Comcast, Wells Fargo, San Francisco Toyota, Bank of America, MasterCard, Diet Pepsi and Showtime, which pay about $10,000 for a parade entry and $8,000 for a booth.
As I said, the American Family Association folks have nothing better to do than go off on all sorts of corporations and entities. Some of their recent targets (they'll be a boatload more as they continue the effort to "put the Christ back in Christmas" all summer long):

* Mattel (American Girl Dolls)
* Ford
* Procter & Gamble
* Kraft
* Disney
* Kodak
* Wal-mart
* Kroger
* Target
* Walgreens, Office Max, Lowes and Home Depot
* Rick Santorum (ha!)
* Condoms
* Israel


Drag bandits knocking over shops in NOLA

This is freaking weird. A crime wave that sounds like a story out of a bad film is taking place in a city that doesn't need any more crime -- or bad press. (KLTV):
Robyn Lewis, owner of Dark Charm fashion and accessories for women, represents the first line of defense for the Magazine Street shop owners. She is the first to see them come strutting in their pumps down St. Andrew Street, the bewigged pack of thieves who have plagued the Lower Garden District since May.

Like an SOS flare, Lewis grabs her emergency phone list and starts calling. "They're coming," she warns Eric Ogle a salesman at Vegas, a block down Magazine Street. Ogle, who was terrorized by the brazen crew two months earlier, alerts neighboring Winky's where manager Kendra Bonga braces for the onslaught.

Soon every shop owner in the 2000 block of Magazine Street has been alerted. Sarah Celino at Trashy Diva eyes the door, ready to flip the lock at the first sight of the ringleader's pink jumpsuit and fluorescent red wig. Down at Turncoats, where the fashion-happy gang once made off with more than $2,000 in merchandise, store manager Wes Davis stands ready.

Davis said it wasn't supposed to be like this. They survived Hurricane Katrina's Category 3 winds and the ensuing looters. They reopened despite the long odds of doing business in a devastated city. The last thing the Magazine Street shop owners expected to threaten their survival was a crime ring of transvestites.


Conference tackles gay rights issues in Africa

Nairobi was the setting for the the second Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights, and 400 delegates gathered to address issues that for the most part, are discussed only with great difficulty in the many countries on the continent.

Being openly gay in many African countries makes you a target discrimination and violence, so speaking out at this level represents great progress. (IOL):
We are here in Africa. We live in the mainstream, we pay taxes like everybody else, we relate with people in the mainstream. We are a naturally occurring phenomenon in the universe," said activist Donna Smith of gay people in Africa.
Smith represents the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, a Johannesburg-based black lesbian organization.

The host nation, Kenya, in fact, has repressive laws on the books. You can receive 14 years in the can for the "crime" of homosexuality.

Others spoke about the violence that still occurs.
Fikile Vilakazi, of the Coalition of African Lesbians, cited the example of Zoliswa Nkonyana, a 19-year-old lesbian who was killed by a mob in Cape Town earlier this year because of her sexual orientation.

Vilakazi said that matters were aggravated by officials' attitudes towards gays. "A number of rape and assault cases have been reported to police stations. When one reports, the police respond by asking why one is a lesbian."
South Africa, ironically, is a country with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of gay citizens. The Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in 2005 that it was unconstitutional to prevent same-sex marriage. Yet the violence continues.


Open thread - major malfunction - and a Rush bonus

Monday, June 26, 2006

Crazy news of the day: Man with faulty penile implant gets $400K. The therapeutic boner device wouldn't go down.
Charles "Chick" Lennon, 68, received the steel and plastic implant in 1996, about two years before Viagra went on the market. The Dura-II is designed to allow impotent men to position the penis upward for sex, then lower it. But Lennon could not position his penis downward. He said he could no longer hug people, ride a bike, swim or wear bathing trunks because of the pain and embarrassment. He has become a recluse and is uncomfortable being around his grandchildren, his lawyer said.
The manufacturer, Dacomed Corp., said there was nothing wrong with the device.

Once the evidence was "presented", I don't see how Dacomed could have made that claim.

***

And in related boner news, something almost too good to be true. El Rushbo ran into a little difficulty at the airport after a flight from the Dominican Republic in his private plane (hat tip to Paul, pointing from AB).

Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription.

Customs officials found a prescription bottle labeled as Viagra in his luggage that didn't have Limbaugh's name on it, but that of two doctors, said Paul Miller, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

A doctor had prescribed the drug, but it was "labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes," Roy Black, Limbaugh's attorney, said in a statement.
Customs took his little blue pills away. Since the bottle didn't have Rush's name on it, this may be a second degree misdemeanor violation.

I had to make a quick Freepi run...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

No harrassment here! I wonder how many hollywood types get treated like this! Sue the pants off 'em Rush!

This was leaked so that the MSM could 'leak' the fact that Limbaugh uses Viagra, and thus mock him for it. I would suspect that it will be hard for them to do so when he owns the CBS affiliate in Miami, as I suspect he soon will

you can bet Rush is on a special watch list because of what he has gone thru. He most likely has been advised by his lawyer that he will be a target for searches and he probably had a letter from the doctor explaining why the meds were labled differntly. Someone leaked the story to embarass him. It's no big deal to me but it will be a big deal to those who will ridicule for it. So what...it won't cause people to not listen to him and if anything, it might cause people to have more sympathy for him as it shows the left will stoop to any level to destory a person.

The libs cannot hide from the truth, so they harass those that expose their criminal, lying, cheating, Godless ways. Give 'em Hell Rush!!!

To win the War On Drugs, some eggs must be broken.

The sleazoid lib war on Limbaugh continues. Can you imagine the thermonuclear 'privacy' uproar if this kind of leaking of personal, confidential medical info was inflicted upon a liberal, say Pinch Sulzberger???? I'd guess that ol' Pinch needs lots of viagra with his boy-toys, but if any CUSTOMS official ever leaked that info to the media we'd have a frickin' constitutional crisis on our hands. The hypocrisy and double-standards of the libs never ceases to amaze me, even if it no longer surprises me.
Crooks & Liars has video of Olbermann on Rush.


The possibility of civil unions in PA is just too much for AFA

"A marriage is the foundation of society. If we can't see the need to protect that, then we are all in trouble, not only here in Pennsylvania but around the nation."
-- Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of Pennsylvania, going apesh*t over the state's marriage proposed amendment language, which doesn't ban civil unions
Even when they do get their way, it's still not enough for the wild-eyed bible-beating right.

The Pennsylvania House passed more restrictive proposed marriage amendment language -- it bans recognition of any domestic partnerships, but the state Senate stripped its bill of of a ban prohibiting civil unions, passing that measure 38-12. For Gramley, this is practically armegeddon, because it means it could take up to two years to get an amendment on the ballot, since both legislative bodies have to reconcile the bill language. Too damn bad. (AgapePress):
And contrary to the arguments of homosexual "marriage rights" advocates, Gramley insists that a constitutional marriage protection amendment is not about discrimination against people in same-sex relationships. "Homosexuals are free to live as they wish, but they are not free to demand that we redefine marriage and family," she says. [Why yes, it is discrimination! This is why we cannot reason with these people.]

The AFA of Pennsylvania spokeswoman believes homosexual activists view civil unions as a stepping stone to legalized same-sex marriage. She feels the state Senate, by passing a constitutional amendment that bans homosexual marriage but allows civil unions, has opened a door that homosexual activists will undoubtedly exploit to undermine traditional marriage.

Gramley says Pennsylvania senators have abandoned their Christian and pro-family constituents by supporting a constitutional amendment that would allow civil unions to be legalized. The amendment the Senate passed protects the word "marriage" but not the institution, the activist contends. For one-man, one-woman marriage truly to be protected, she says, any state marriage protection amendment must deal with both same-sex marriage and civil unions.
These extremists have convinced themselves that these onerous moves to "save marriage" don't represent bigotry in their minds, even though the goal extends beyond "protecting" religious marriage, or even civil marriage. It's really about negating the value of gay and lesbian relationships period. Given the chance, they would recriminalize homosexuality again, and have us return to the closet en masse.


Tell your Rep: Vote YES on Hinchey

Please call your federal representative today and ask them to vote YES on the Hinchey Medical Marijuana Amendment to the Justice Appropriations Bill.

You can learn more about the amendment at Americans for Safe Access. The amendment forbids the Department of Justice (read: the DEA) from spending taxpayer money to interfere with the state programs in the eleven states (CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, MT, NV, CO, VT, ME, & RI) that allow medical use of marijuana.

In other words, no more jack-booted federal thugs breaking down the doors of medical marijuana dispensaries and handcuffing wheelchair-bound and elderly patients who legally use marijuana to treat cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and other maladies.

218 YES votes are needed for passage. We gained 13 votes last year, bringing the total to 161. Please call your representative and help us get the next 57 votes we need to enforce states' rights and end the federal harassment of seriously ill people.


Government confirms surveillance of DADT and anti-war protests, emails

“Federal government agencies have no business peeping through the keyholes of Americans who choose to exercise their first amendment rights. Americans are guaranteed a fundamental right to free speech and free expression, and our country’s leaders should never be allowed to undermine those freedoms. Surveillance of private citizens must stop. It is the suppression of our constitutional rights, and not the practice of them, that undermines our national security. It is patently absurd that this administration has linked sexual orientation with terrorism.”
-- Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn
It's shameless and disgusting. A June 15 letter to attorneys for SLDN disclosed monitoring of protests against the Iraq conflict and DADT by the Pentagon -- at SUNY Albany, N.J.'s William Paterson University, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of California at Berkeley -- as well as electronic communications.
The documents released today indicate that emails sent by various student groups were intercepted and monitored by the government and that the government collected reports from seemingly undercover agents who attended at least one student protest at Southern Connecticut State University. None of the reports in the documentation, however, indicated any terrorist activity by the students who were monitored.
How's that for Homeland Security?


Bush: 'I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem'

He's got to be f*cking kidding. How many times and ways has the man lied about this? (via Raw Story):

(AFP/File/Stephen Jaffe)

QUESTION: I know you are not planning to see Al Gore's new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet --

BUSH: I think it's -- I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over where it's man-made or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing that -- the technologies necessary to -- to enable us to achieve a couple of big objectives: one, be good stewards of the environment; two, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil, for economic reasons and for national security reasons.

That's why we're pressing for clean coal technology. That's why the hydrogen initiative is -- is robust. In other words, we want our children being able to drive cars not fueled by gasoline but by hydrogen. That's why I've been a strong advocate of ethanol as an alternative source of -- of fuel to run our cars.

I strongly believe that we ought to be developing, you know, safe nuclear power. The truth of the matter is, if this country was -- it wants to get rid of its greenhouse gases, we got to have nuclear power industry be vibrant and viable.

And so I believe in -- and I've got a plan to be able to deal with greenhouse gases.
Does this mean that he disagrees with his friends at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, the batsh*t outfit that produced two 60-second television commercials that extolled the virtues of pumping CO2 into the air (see the incredible Energy" ad). CEI says:
“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 asked, I told'

That's what Rhonda Davis, a former petty officer 1st class with the United States Navy, said in her op-ed in the New York Daily News. She was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and she does a splendid job of explaining why the policy makes no sense, and how personally devastating and nonsensical it is to have to live in the closet for the comfort of homophobes.
I stopped counting at 52. That's how many times just this week I've heard someone at work mention their spouse in casual conversation: "I have to leave early today to take my wife to the doctor" or "My husband hates shopping."

Now imagine if you were told by your employer that you couldn't talk about the person in your life. Imagine you couldn't even acknowledge their existence. If you slip and casually say, "My girlfriend and I are in love and we want to get married," you don't get congratulated ... you get fired.

That's what happened to me because I violated the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

...So, as thousands marched down Fifth Ave. yesterday to celebrate gay pride, I was left with the sadness that my country is not proud of how I have honorably served the Navy for more than 10 years. I have always been respected for my hard work and dedication. I've seen the world. I love my job. But now it's over.

Three weeks ago, I attended a march on the Brooklyn Bridge for marriage equality and, like most functions I attend, I proudly came in uniform. I explained to a news reporter there that I have a girlfriend, but she's not from the States, so she had to return to her home country. We have endured months without each other that we wouldn't have had to suffer through if we were a heterosexual couple. That hurts me. And it makes me angry. I'm an American. I'm a taxpayer. I vote. I'm serving my country, but I don't have the freedom or the right to marry the person I love.
Yes. Tell that to John McCain, who thinks DADT is the right policy for the military.

Steve Ralls, of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, gets the hat tip for the above, and for passing on the news that USA Today is planning a special Independence Day issue, ‘What It Means to be an American in 2006’.

Steve relays that he was contacted by the editors, who are extremely interested in having LGBT voices as part of this series. From SLDN's blog, The Frontlines, which describes what USA Today is looking for, and encourages LGBT veterans to send in submissions to the newspaper:
“From American flags, baseball and apple pie to immigration, gay marriage and a war on terror, how we define ‘American’ might be as diverse as the people who live here. As the country prepares to celebrate Independence Day, USA Today would like to hear your comments on what it means to be an American today. Send submissions of 250 words or fewer to editor@usatoday.com. Please include your contact number, city and state for verification. Comments will be considered for an upcoming issue.”


Homosexuality Again Linked to Biological Factors

OK, we've seen this data before, but it's nice to see the extra twist of it being reported in Forbes.com:
MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to the theory that homosexuality may be hardwired and not the product of environmental factors, new research again confirms that the more older brothers a male has, the more likely he is to be gay.

Researchers have known for years that a man's likelihood of being gay rises with the number of older biological brothers. But the new study found that the so-called "fraternal birth order effect" persists even if gay men were raised away from their biological families.

Bogaert and a colleague first reported the older-brother effect a decade ago. According to Bogaert, men with no older brothers have about a 2 percent to 3 percent chance of being gay. If they have three or four older brothers, the rate goes up to about 5 percent.
Stephen Colbert made fun of this study, noting that he has seven older brothers, yet he's straight. Then I noted that my one gay brother-in-law is the youngest of eight brothers.
About 20 studies have reinforced the link between fraternal birth order and male homosexuality, Bogaert said. However, no similar link has been found in lesbians.

Bogaert said he launched his new study to better understand the fraternal birth order effect. "Is it a biological phenomenon? Or is it psychological or have to do with rearing?" he said.
Must... resist... urge... to... type... off-color... pun...
To find the answer, Bogaert examined surveys of 944 Canadian men, both gay and straight, about their sexuality and their families.

The older-brother effect was constant regardless of whether the men were raised with natural, adopted or stepbrothers. It also didn't matter if they weren't raised with their biological mothers.

If gay younger brothers and older brothers don't have the same home environments, what do they have in common? "They shared the same uterus, the same womb, the same mother," Bogaert said.
Bogaert has also co-authored some research that shows genetic differences between women who have multiple gay sons and those who don't.

As always, this research into gay genetics is a double-edged sword. On one side, it's nice to have the "nature" argument prevail as a foundation for equal treatment under the law. On the other side, it is scary to think of the sci-fi future where gay genes can be located in utero and "treated" in order to produce a straight baby.

I've always been a proponent of the "gay" = "religion" argument; people shouldn't be treated differently under the law because of how they choose to believe and what morality they possess, so long as they don't harm others. Nobody's "born" Christian, yet they get equal rights. Shouldn't gay people (whether "born" gay or "chosen" gay) get the same treatment?


Faux News tanking, heads may roll



The White House Kool-Aid transmissions aren't mesmerizing enough sheeple and they are tuning out.
So far during the second quarter, the No. 1 cable news channel’s primetime schedule has dropped 22% in its core 25-54 demo and 8% in total viewers. The first quarter was even worse.

Production values are slipping, and bookers aren’t competitive enough, relying too heavily on the same pool of faces and settling for authors or actors after they’ve already been on CNN or … gasp … MSNBC.


I wouldn't bet on this

Below are the odds that these public figures will eventually come out of the closet, according to the wagering site BetUS.com:

Vin Diesel 4 - 1
Oprah Winfrey 6 - 1
Keanu Reeves 5 - 1
Tom Cruise 25 - 1
Anderson Cooper 20 - 1
John Travolta 30 - 1
Jake Gylenhaal 5 - 2
Condoleeza Rice 8 - 1
Alex Rodriguez 12 - 1
Kordell Stewart 10 - 1
Jeff Garcia 15 - 2
Peyton Manning 7 - 2
Troy Aikman 10 - 1

I'm pretty sure some on that list are straight, anyway (the sports guys I have no clue about). I don't think any of these folks will come out, no matter how many stories/rumors persist. Blenders, what do you think?

H/t, Towleroad.


Reporter suspended for appearing in Pride parade

You have to check out this story out of Pennsylvania.
A longtime columnist and features writer for The Morning Call of Allentown said Friday that he was suspended from the newspaper for serving as the grand marshal of a gay pride parade.

Frank Whelan, who is gay, said he was suspended for two days without pay over what the newspaper called a violation of its ethics policy, which prohibits employees from publicly associating themselves with causes.

Whelan, who has not worked since the parade, said he is planning to file a civil rights lawsuit against the paper and pursue the matter with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces laws against workplace discrimination.
You can read E&P's and The Morning Call's coverage of it as well.

I wonder if the paper would axe any black reporters who appeared at an MLK Day or "traditional" civil rights celebration.

Hat tip, Kevin.


Flag burning amendment may pass

The Hill's priorities are in order, huh? This obvious craven pandering to the wingers is a complete waste of legislative time.

The sad part is that the Senate is thisclose to passing this nonsense.
...Senate vote counters say the constitutional amendment to prohibit physical desecration of the U.S. flag is on the cusp of passage.

Approval would probably ensure that the measure is sent to the states for ratification. And that prospect has raised the stakes for what had been a largely symbolic face-off on the issue in the Senate.

The flag-burning amendment had passed the House six times since 1995, most recently last summer. But the proposal consistently stalled in the Senate, where it was clear it lacked the two-thirds majority needed for approval of a constitutional amendment. Now, the GOP's gain of four Senate seats in the 2004 election has made the matter too close to call.

The amendment "will win or lose by a vote," said Eric Ueland, chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
And sHillary is trying to have it both ways (big surprise!)...

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), widely considered the front-runner for the party's 2008 presidential nomination, has tried to strike a middle ground: She has said she opposes flag burning but does not support prohibiting it through a constitutional amendment.

She has introduced legislation with Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) that would make it a crime to burn or otherwise desecrate the flag, legislation they say was crafted to overcome the Supreme Court decision on the issue.
Do the knuckledraggers want to prosecute Dear Leader, who was caught by AP defacing a flag in 2003?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

UPDATE: John Byrne at Raw Story reports that this amendment effort will fail, according to his sources.
A constitutional amendment to criminalize burning of the American flag will not pass the Senate, senior Democratic aides and a Republican spokesman told RAW STORY Monday.

..."It certainly is an issue to highlight in states where members are clearly out of touch with their states,” said Brian Nick, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. “A classic example is [Sen.] Robert Byrd (D-WV), who used to be in favor of the amendment but now opposes it.”
An aside: the article also includes a quote from an unnamed Kerry spokesbot, calling the vote a “Republican tar baby.”

Can someone please retire the use of this? jeezus.


Did anyone see Petey at Chicago Pride yesterday?

I just came across a press release from Peter LaBarbera's Illinois Family Institute, and he was planning to be on the prowl "investigating" deviance at Chicago Pride yesterday. He was disgusted by all of the corporate sponsorship, and again fixated on gay male sex acts, real, imagined, or fantasized.

He took a swipe at GOP gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, drawing conclusions about the candidate based on the position of her float in the parade. Man, this queen is a nutcase.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka's float in today's Chicago "Gay Pride" parade is scheduled to be just nine spots ahead of a float sponsored by the homosexual bathhouse called Steamworks, said Illinois Family Institute Executive Director Peter LaBarbera.

LaBarbera and Matt Barber of the group Americans for Truth will be attending the homosexual "pride" parade today as critical observers, to document the goings-on for future use. (Past parades have featured public nudity and other illegal and obscene behavior, tolerated by the watching police.) The two men will be available for media comment, "for those reporters who still recognize that there are two sides to controversial moral issues," LaBarbera said.

... "No matter how many people attend today's 'gay pride' parade, or how many corporations support it, homosexual practice always will be wrong," LaBarbera said. Several major media companies such as WGN and the Chicago TV affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS are fielding floats in the 'Pride' parade again this year. (NBC has also signed on as an official sponsor of the "Gay Games.")

Barber said: "It is surreal and Orwellian that cultural elites would embrace this pagan tribute to a sexual sin, and that the media, who are supposed to be impartial observers on divisive social issues, would join along in the celebration."


Open thread

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Non-political Q of the day/evening...

For those of us who can't sing worth a damn, the ability produce beautiful melodious sounds instead of driving people out of a room is a fantasy.

Which artist's pipes do you dream of having?

In my case, it would be Anita Baker, a woman blessed with the gift of an exquisite vocal instrument. I wore out two cassettes of her 1986 album Rapture back in the day, it's a definite "desert island" pick for me. If only I could sing like that...



Cheney on the homobigot fundraising trail


Why does Dick Cheney spit on his daughter's life partner relationship? The Dark Lord has no problem going on on the campaign trail to raise buxxx for the on-the-record supporters of a federal amendment to prevent Mary and Heather Poe from ever being able to marry.

Tomorrow, Mr. Defibrillator will appear at a swank fundraiser for vicious anti-gay Minnesota State Senator Michele Bachmann, who is running for Congress (MN's 6th District). Guests will pony up $250 per person for the general reception or drop $1,000 to attend a "more intimate reception" at the Minneapolis fete for bigotry. Bachmann has been pushing a state marriage amendment (which didn't make it to the MN Senate floor for debate) with a vigor that suggests an obsession with all things homosexual.

On Friday, Darth filled the coffers of anti-gay GOP House candidate Dave McSweeney, who's looking to represent Illinois' 8th congressional district. He's trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean, who has a strong lead the war chest department. McSweeney, no surprise, is also a supporter of the Marriage Protection Amendment. Darth got up and said this about the candidate:
I'm delighted to join you in giving strong support to Dave in his campaign for Congress. He has deep roots in this part of the country. He's a person who clearly speaks with conviction. He's an active citizen, a common-sense conservative. And he knows the issues, he understands the needs of the eighth district, and he's perfectly in tune with the values of the people who live here.

...The President and I have tremendous confidence in Dave. Send him to Washington and you'll have a congressman who speaks for your interests and your values each and every day.
At this event, tickets for the McSweeney fundraiser were $250, with pictures with the Dark Lord going for $2,100. The GOP was hoping to raise $200K.

What pray tell, does Darth say to Mary as he slaps these winger folks on the back, having a rip-roaring time, helping the very people who will vote to make her a second-class citizen if elected? For that matter, what do you think goes through Heather's mind as she watches this family psychopathology play out?

Michael Petrelis notes:
Hey Dick, what does it feel like to cut your occasionally pro-lesbian conscience to suit this year's homophobic GOP congressional fashions?

And I have a question for Mary: Why do you suffer laryngitis when your father stumps and raises money for Republican candidates who endorse bigotry against you and Heather?
***

UPDATE: A conservative Minnesota blogger, Craig Westover, can't seem to understand why I find Cheney's behavior reprehensible in the extreme. He quotes my above post and then says I lack "compassion".
This is a prime example of what the hard left Bachmann-haters (as opposed to those that politically disagree with her) don’t get -- people with a common set of objective principles can disagree on issues, debate issues internally, put issues in context and don’t have to resort to name-calling and misrepresentation to make their points. In fact, unlike those that rely on “bullsh*t” to create an impression, those interested in truth strive to accurately understand and represent what their opponents believe. It’s impossible to have a discussion or move toward the truth without doing so.
Exactly what is the truth? The continuous demonization of LGBT taxpaying citizens by politicians who are attempting to legislate us into second class citizens? The real lack of compassion rests with the religious right, which cannot seem to grasp the concept that their religious beliefs have no place in these matters, and that their behavior, when translated into laws against fellow citizens bears little resemblance to anything remotely resembling compassion.

Eva at Dump Michele Bachmann encourages Blenders to politely respond articulately and civilly there.


The Tool: gays should not be able to openly serve in the military



I hope Dirtbag McCain the Bush-Humping Tool didn't serve with anyone queer, because he's going to have to explain why he continues to believe that out gays and lesbians should be barred from serving their country. Hail, Rev. Tinkywinky, eh, John?

In an interview in Boston's Edge Providence, McCain was asked whether he would vote for Massachusetts Congressman Marty Meehan's Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), which would repeal DADT, he said "No."

Even more offensive is his statement that the policy is actually working.
"All the senior members of the military say that it's working," McCain told EDGE. "I hold the same position."
Let's see, how is it working when, over the last ten years, our government has wasted an estimated $363 million discharging able-bodied men and women who have received training in essential positions, simply because of sexual orientation. Twenty Arabic and six Farsi specialists were booted between 1998 and 2004. All those folks had to be replaced with suitable heterosexuals.

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

Oh yes, and this week the Army announced, for the second time since January, that it has raised the maximum age for recruits. The first bump was from 35 to 40. This week. the new ceiling is 42, for both active-duty Army or the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard.

And it all adds up:
In the last 10 years, more than 10,000 service members have been discharged because they did not keep their sexual orientation to themselves as required, according to the Service Members Legal Defense Network, a gay rights group that monitors the armed forces.

...The department [of Defense] does not track the specific costs of investigating or discharging gay service members, counseling and providing pastoral care for them or for handling legal challenges and reviews of dismissals, the report says. But the accounting office estimated that it cost the Pentagon nearly $100 million, $10,500 a person, to recruit replacements for enlisted service members who were discharged from 1994 to 2003 for being gay.

Investigators said that the cost to the Navy to train the replacements was $49 million, $18,000 a service member. The report said the Air Force estimated its training costs at $16.6 million, or $7,400 a service member, and the Army said its costs were $29.7 million, or $6,400 a service member. The investigators said the Marines declined to provide estimates.
DADT's working...sure.

Hat tip, PageOneQ.


Ken Blackwell is a vile individual


Fundie butt-kissing homo-bigot Ohio Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor, Ken Blackwell, is a shameless man who Bush and his stooges point to as one of their up and coming stars in the GOP. The list of this man's sucktitudinous asshattery, acts of fealty to the Bush and bible-beater machinery, and all-around evil perpetuated on the voters of the Buckeye state is a mile long.

The Cincinnati Enquirer takes a look at Blackwell's new "book", Rebuilding America: A Prescription for Creating Strong Families, Building the Wealth of Working People, and Ending Welfare , that puts his wingnut political views down on paper. A couple of outrageous claims he makes in his fish-wrapping tome is that the spread of HIV/AIDS in minority communities is due to "the social agenda of liberals," and that abortion rights will lead to the genocide of blacks.
The sexual agenda promoted by the political Left has allowed AIDS to reach epidemic proportions in African-American communities. We do not believe that liberals have ever had a conscious agenda to cause black genocide in America. Instead, our concern is that liberal policies regarding abortion and sexual freedom have had unintended genocidal consequences for African-Americans. ... If abortions were being supported by conservative Republicans instead of by liberal Democrats, African-Americans would be loudly arguing that the true goal of abortion was to eliminate the African-American race from the United States through attrition."
Did I mention that Blackwell's book is put out by Cumberland House Publishing, that release the bullsh*t-filled, "Unfit for Command," the alleged expose of John Kerry's war record? Bonus points added because Ken's "co-author" is Jerome R. Corsi, who also co-penned Unfit.

Rebuilding America is currently rated 1.5 stars on Amazon, and is ranked 274,497. You have to see some of the scorching reviews. Just a couple, for your entertainment.
When I heard J. Kenneth Blackwell would be writing a book I was most excited. As a family values conservative I was also pleased to hear Jerome Corsi would also be working with him after his most accurate statements about John Kerry while blogging on a conservative website. Unfortunately, upon receiving my advanced copy I was unable to actually read this masterpiece as it wasn't printed on the right weight of paper.

"The truth is that Blackwell is tied to everything that is wrong in Ohio, taking money from Tom Noe and Coingate, his inability to run a fair election in 2004 and 2006, and his repeated snafus with publishing Ohio residents' private data (social security number and more) on the state website."
If you've read Robert Kennedy Jr.'s well-researched Rolling Stone article, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? , it outlines the direct role Ken Blackwell played in tossing the election to Bush in 2004. The secretary of state disenfranchised thousands upon thousands of voters with registration hurdles, law-breaking, and simply not putting enough machines to accommodate voters in select strong Democrat areas.

I've posted this excerpt before but this is one of the many, many documented examples of voting gone awry, due to The Blackwell Factor:
Take the case of Ellen Connally, a Democrat who lost her race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. When the ballots were counted, Kerry should have drawn far more votes than Connally -- a liberal black judge who supports gay rights and campaigned on a shoestring budget. And that's exactly what happened statewide: Kerry tallied 667,000 more votes for president than Connally did for chief justice, outpolling her by a margin of thirty-two percent. Yet in these twelve off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to outperform the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand total of 19,621 votes -- a margin of ten percent.(181) The Conyers report -- recognizing that thousands of rural Bush voters were unlikely to have backed a gay-friendly black judge roundly rejected in Democratic precincts -- suggests that ''thousands of votes for Senator Kerry were lost.''(182)

[Rep. Dennis] Kucinich, a veteran of elections in the state, puts it even more bluntly. ''Down-ticket candidates shouldn't outperform presidential candidates like that,'' he says. ''That just doesn't happen. The question is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?''

...In Auglaize County, where Kerry lost not only to Connally but to two other defeated Democratic judicial candidates, voters cast their ballots on touch-screen machines. (187) Two weeks before the election, an employee of ES&S, the company that manufactures the machines, was observed by a local election official making an unauthorized log-in to the central computer used to compile election results.
Blackwell gets a cookie for lovingly bedding down with the fringe element in Ohio, earning the support of anti-gay Talibangelist Rod Parsley of Reformation Ohio and Russell Johnson, founder of the Ohio Restoration Project and the Patriot Pastors movement.

The IRS, incidentally, has been asked to investigate Johnson and Parsley to determine whether their groups have engaged in illegal partisan political activity (much on Blackwell's behalf) that would violate their tax-exempt status.

Hat tip, Holly.


University of California-Santa Cruz chancellor dies in apparent suicide

The Monterey Herald reports that Denice Dee Denton, out lesbian and the first woman in the nation to lead an engineering college at a major university, leapt to her death from the 44th floor of the apartment she shared with her partner.
Denton, 46, landed on the roof of the building's parking structure, said San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens. He was unsure if she had left behind a note. The medical examiner's office is investigating the death as a suicide.

Sources said Denton had retreated from the campus in the weeks before her death, canceling appointments and clearing her calendar. She recently sought a medical leave.

...UC officials struggled Saturday to understand what was behind Denton's death. Spokesman Michael Reese said there were more questions than answers and that officials were trying to put together the pieces.

''Her tragic passing is a tremendous loss for the entire University of California family,'' UC President Robert C. Dynes said in a written statement. ''She was a person of enthusiasm, of big ideas, of tremendous energy, and of great promise.''
The youngest of the Golden State's ten chancellors in the university system, Denton may best be known for the confrontation with Harvard President Larry Summers when he suggested that "women didn't have the same aptitude for science and math as men."

Her tenure at UCSC was rife with controversy over the hiring of her partner, Gretchen Kalonji, into the Office of the President. Why that particular matter was a big deal escapes me, as spousal/partner hires are not an uncommon occurrence in academia. Perhaps there more to that story than what meets the eye;. matters weren't helped when Denton folded a $3K dog run into a $600K renovation to the chancellor's home on the school's campus, she was also the target of student protests.

Hat tip, Fritz.


Governator to fundraise for LCRs, 'pro-family' knickers twist

"No Republican governor in California history has promoted transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality like Arnold Schwarzenegger has...Now, in an unprecedented act honoring transsexual-bisexual-homosexual 'pride', Schwarzenegger has done the unthinkable: He's agreed to be the top fund-raising speaker for homosexual activists."
-- Randy Thomasson, Campaign for Children and Families.
I haven't seen much from AmTaliban Thomasson in a while. Perhaps Blenders in California can tell me why this guy hasn't made the news lately. Has his fundie star fallen or has he been busy and just not getting as much MSM coverage?

As usual, the WingNutDaily coverage is entertaining.
Though Schwarzenegger vetoed a same-sex marriage bill in September, he has otherwise signed every piece of pro-homosexual legislation to reach his desk.

The homosexual Log Cabin Republicans – which publicly parted company with President Bush after he supported a federal marriage-protection measure – have stood by Schwarzenegger, the Associated Press reported.

...Though AP reported the Thursday event costs $250 a plate, Campaign for Children and Families says attendees can get their photo taken with the governor for a $5,000 contribution.

Thomasson asserts the Log Cabin Republicans want to "transform the California Republican Party into the party that supports homosexual 'marriage' and the entire transsexual, bisexual and homosexual legislative agenda."


So long, Aaron

Aaron Spelling dies at 83. He left a legacy of deliciously trashy nighttime soaps like "Dynasty" and "Melrose Place" -- both shows featured gay characters. Spelling also produced "And the Band Played On." Other hits: "Hart to Hart, "Charlie's Angels," "Fantasy Island," "Starsky and Hutch," and "The Love Boat."


Arm yourself with a copy of 'The Homosexual Agenda'

The Homosexual Agenda is an elusive document. We've been looking around for a copy for quite some time; the distribution plan is so secret that it's almost like we need a queer Indiana Jones to hunt the master copy down. The various anti-gay forces are certain that we all have a copy and are coordinating a attack to achieve world domination.

While doing some investigative work on my own, I've located a few documents that purport to be the Agenda, posted at one time or another on the Blend. I thought it would be good to post them again as refreshers, until we get our hands on the real deal.

Homosexual Agenda #1

6:00 am Gym

8:00 am Breakfast

9:00 am Hair appointment

10:00 am Shopping

12:00 PM Brunch

2:00 PM (Here's the really important part)

1) Assume complete control of the US Federal, State and local Governments as well as all other national governments
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels
5) Establish planetary chain of "homo breeding gulags" where over -medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership
6) Bulldoze all houses of worship
7) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.

2:30 PM Get Forty Winks of Beauty Rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest

4:00 PM Cocktails

6:00 PM Light Dinner

8:00 PM Theater

11:00 PM Bed

***

Homosexual Agenda #2

This version comes to us from the research of black homobigot Ann Coulter wannabe Star Parker. Like so many of these right wing tools, she spent a lot of time delving into all things gay to get a good feel for what deviance really is.
Lest you think this indoctrination has been the natural progression of our illuminated society, remember that an active agenda has existed for decades to legitimize the homosexual lifestyle. Shockingly candid evidence of this agenda ran in Christopher Street Magazine, a revered gay rights magazine of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Excerpts from its article outlining "Six Principles for the Persuasion of 'Straights'" reveal how the public homosexual image has been shrewdly manipulated and crafted:

1. The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it....The visual media . . . [is] a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan Horse might be passed.... The National Gay Task Force has had to cultivate quiet backroom liaisons with broadcast companies and newsrooms in order to make sure that issues important to the gay community receive some coverage.

2. Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers. In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by ref lex to assume the role of protector.... We must forego the temptation to strut our "gay pride" publicly whenever it conf licts with the Gay Victim image.

3. Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, but should instead take anti-discrimination as its theme. [Hence, the improper equating of racism with discrimination against homosexuality.]

4. Make gays look good. In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights you have to portray him as Everyman . . . the campaign should paint gays as superior pillars of society . . . in no time, a skillful and clever media campaign could have the gay community looking like the veritable fairy godmother to Western civilization.

5. Make the victimizers look bad....To be blunt, they must be vilified ...we intend to make the anti-gays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.
[And I thought all the gay-love floating around our nation was from our own innate kindness!]

6. Solicit funds . . . those gays not supporting families usually have more discretionary income than average.

The homosexual movement's tactics have so cleverly seduced our society that it is nearly impossible for Middle America not to fall for its radical agenda, an agenda demanding many of us to surrender beliefs rooted in our families for generations. Honestly, what "bigot" today could disapprove of the sincere, savvy Will Truman or the funny, huggable Jack McFarland of Will and Grace? The duo-tyranny of the thought police and societal pressure has such a strong grip on American society that most of us today will not breathe a word in public against homosexuality for fear of being ostracized and maligned.
(With friends like that, who needs hate crimes?)
***

I just came across a link to this one in the comments of another thread.

Homosexual Agenda #3

THE GAY AGENDA


By Jude Bennett aka angry_biscuit @ Politics, Sex, Humor, Complete Dysfunction & Assorted Other Musings

*cue dancing leather queens in assless chaps on a pride float, drag queens painted for the back row with 6' hair, 1o" heels, and SEQUINS SEQUINS SEQUINS, dykes on bikes, "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge, and poppers for all!!!*

...1. Gay men and lesbians should marry one another, and extol each other every tangible and intangible benefit the institution provides. They cannot stop gay marriage as long as gays are marrying. If you are gay and single without a desire to marry, marry a homosexual of the opposite sex anyway, and donate any marriage credits the government may offer to any gay organization seeking to destroy heterosexual norms.

2. Once benefits are secured, divorce. Wreck the sanctity of the institution by driving up the divorce rates from the current 52% to at least 80%.

3. Remember 52% of marriages end in divorce, the remaining 48% in death. There's nothing sanctimonious about that. Demand the institution and then wreck it. James Dobson was right about our evil intentions. We just plan to be quicker than he thought.

4. Get a gun and learn how to shoot. It's as much about arming bears as it is bearing arms. If you think you're protected by the Constitution, think again. If they don't allow you to marry, the next amendment will be to deny gays guns.

5. Reclaim Jesus. He was a Jewish queer to begin with, and don't let anyone forget it.

6. BAN DIVORCE. If the institution is so in need of protection, seek a constitutional amendment to ban divorce. One marriage, once.

7. Normalize - Thwart fashion and style sense inclinations so that homophobes cannot separate you from straights. Gay vague my ass. Make it gay impossible to tell.

8. Hate Crime laws are just the beginning. Once those are passed either federally or in all 50 states, begin campaign to eliminate homophobia entirely.

9. Like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," thoughts or words equal conduct. Homophobic inclinations alone, even without any actions, should be criminal and punishable to the full extent of the law.¹

10. Penetrate the sperm banks to perpetuate the gene. Although the nature vs. nurture debate rages on, ensure that as many vials of semen contain gay genes.

11. Lie about your sexual orientation when giving blood. Screening of blood is either effective or not. If a celibate gay's blood is more dangerous than that of sexually promiscuous heterosexual, the problem is in the screening process, not the orientation of the donor. Faggot blood is God's blood.

12. Alternatively, set up blood banks for gay blood only. For us fags by us fags (~*FUFBUF*~).

13. Become surrogate mothers or males donate sperm to lesbian couples. If children of gays are to be put up for adoption, stipulate that heterosexuals are unfit for parenting such children, no matter how sad or desperate they may be.

14. If you are HIV positive, consider engaging in unprotected sex with pedophile priests and pastors. We have enough recruits from Christian schools and the military without us having to house perverts cloaked in religion. There's the Catholic Church for that.

15. Tithe. Make sure that gay representation permeates every level of governance.

16. Sneak gay subtext into every book, movie, video game, TV show or other media that you have access to. Nothing like subliminal messaging to equate queerness with Godliness. (Don't forget, they catch the obvious ones like Spongebob and Tinky Winky, but they'll miss Bart or Freddie from Grand Theft Auto because they're too well hidden. Don't worry, their badly parented, unsupervised kids will know it when they see it).

17. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians etc. are fundamentally the same. Don't pledge allegiance to any one party. Make all parties grovel for your vote, not take it for granted.

18. Ensure that you preserve DNA samples to be used for cloning purposes if necessary.

19. Join the military and rise in the ranks (as has always been the case). When enough gay servicemembers come out en masse it will force the military to drop their outdated policy, and admit that probably 25% or more only happen to shoot straight.

20. Ensconce yourself in virulently homophobic organizations like the Boy Scouts and Southern Baptists or Concerned Women for America. The more indispensable homos they have in their fold, the more hypocritical their ultimate exposure. And any bad behavior can simply be blamed on their organizations.

21. If you're a sick pedophile, join the Catholic Church. They'll be good to you and shelter you like they always have.

22. Recruit straight men and women. We're accused of it anyway, so we may as well give the accusation legs. And remember, when push comes to shove, a six-pack or a joint goes a long way.

23. If you're male, give Concerned Women for America a raison d'être by fucking their husbands, sons and fathers. And of course, you dykes will know exactly what to do with their daughters. At least those that aren't already teaching us in our beds.

24. Bombard the Federal Communications Commission any time anything remotely offensive to gay people appears on the airwaves. Homophobia is indecent, and our children must be sheltered from it. They want to regulate decency. Let's keep them really, really busy.

25. Create facilities that recondition homophobic deviancy. Certain religious groups have attempted to "straighten" gay children. If their assertions are correct, children exercising homophobic tendencies can be corrected using electro-therapy. Turn eradicating homophobia and encouraging the gay lifestyle from a cottage industry into a multi-billion dollar cash cow.

26. Turn "Heather has a Mommy and a Daddy. Don't Blame it on Her" into a best seller.

27. Most gay children are born of heterosexual parents. If they want to eradicate homosexuality, vasectomies and hysterectomies are fabulously effective. Safer than condoms and abstinence!

28. Some are still attempting to define homosexuality as a disease. Let them move forward. Once passed in any region -- local, state or federal -- take full advantage of employment protection legislation and related compliance including Medicaid and workers compensation. They can call us names but it's going to cost them. Big.

29. Until marriage is equal, heterosexuals should be forbidden from wearing wedding rings in public. The blatant flaunting of their sexuality is inappropriate, and we don't need our children conjuring up penises and vaginas every time they spot a wedding ring. Gay marriage would neutralize that consequence.

30. Heterosexual public displays of affection can be confusing for gay kids. There should be no hugging or physical touch between heterosexuals in public places. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is okay.

31. Any literature or educational material in any school or public library should display warnings if they contain heterosexual content.

32. The Tinky Defense - San Francisco Supervisor, Dan White, blamed Twinkies for murdering gay Supervisor, Harvey Milk and Mayor, George Moscone. It worked. If you happen to kill a heterosexual, simply blame Jerry Falwell's Tinky Winky obsession as the reason. You were purple with rage.

33. Any homophobic persons, even former homophobes that have been rehabilitated, should be required to register using the same model as child molesters. There should be strict limitations pertaining to their proximity to any gay bars, clubs, gyms or institutions that are predominantly gay. Parents of gay children need to be aware of the dangers such individuals present, and should be aware of their presence in their neighborhoods.

34. If accused of having a Gay Agenda, point to this page and respond, "it's not an agenda, it's the Gospel."

¹In the words of Lewis Black, in reference to the thoughts (but not necessarily usage of) profanity: "...if you think it, then you said it asshole! Even Jews believe that!"

So there you have it folks -- if you come across more supporting documentation to add to the Agenda, pass it along... :)


Fundies pressure NC school district to ban slang dictionary

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Actually, more books than that were challenged.

The local fundie group Called2Action, a group of professional AmTaliban protestors and activists, is on the loose again. These folks spend their time sending out "Action Grams" to get a marriage amendment passed here and protesting the teaching of yoga in the schools.

It was not surprising to read that Called2Action's latest action item is the control over what kids can read in schools. And the hit list makes no sense.
Jonathon Green, who compiled the 87,000 entries in the Cassell Dictionary of Slang, which was published last year, said that North Carolina is the only place he knows of where the book cannot be used in schools.

A Wake County school official told ABC News that five books, including the dictionary, were formally challenged. The others were listed as The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, Junie B Jones and Some Sneaky, Peaky Spying by Barbara Park, Reluctantly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. School officials acted after pressure from Called2Action, a local Christian activist group.

Some parents were also reportedly upset that their children were required to read books such as The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Beloved by Toni Morrison, on the grounds that the books contain "vulgar and sexually explicit language".

"I'm very flattered," said Mr Green on Friday. "It's not exactly book-burning but, in the great tradition of book censorship, there never seems to be the slightest logic to it." He said that there were around 80 words in the dictionary that could sum up his reaction. The word that he would use for those who had pushed for the ban, he said, was "wowser", a 1910 Australian term for a "Bible-banging" puritan.

Called2Action, whose website asks people to "join our E-army today to take your place on the front lines of the battle for our children's future", did not respond to a call.
When they were doing their lobbying effort last year to get a marriage amendment out of committee, C2A passed out around Action Grams with this on it:
Legalization of same-sex marriage is crucial to a broad agenda that includes

  Silencing all public religious teaching against homosexual activity
  Criminalization of any institutional limitation of homosexual activity
  Complete legal and financial equality of same-sex partnerships
  Complete normalization of homosexuality in all public education
  Aggressive reverse discrimination in favor of homosexuals and their proponents
  Aggressive institutional and legal discrimination against anyone who speaks against homosexual practices

North Carolina has strong laws that define marriage as only between one man & one woman at one time. However, having a strong law is not enough in todays culture. Indeed, North Carolina is only one decision away from having its marriage laws declared unconstitutional. The strongest defense in favor of traditional marriage is a state constitutional amendment an amendment which has been introduced in both chambers of the NC legislature.


Needless to say, C2A and the fundies bused in for the 2005 marriage rally expected 10,000 to show up, and only managed a couple of hundred folks. The bill died in committee.

Hat tip, Paul.


Open thread - question of the day

Hi folks, sorry for the MIA posting last night; we got together with non-virtual world friends we hadn't seen in a long time and you know how that goes -- a nice long evening chatting and catching up.

Question of the day: What did you want to be "when you grew up" as a kid? And, did you end up doing it?

When I was about six I told my mom that I wanted to be a veterinarian (argh, I later realized that I couldn't handle the sadness of seeing hurt animals over and over).

A few years later I remember saying I wanted to be "in the news." I think that was really an asshat description of news or political reporting, since I had a childhood fixation on TV news and talk shows, even though I didn't always understand what the heck people were talking about. As I've said before, while other kids said they'd want Winnie the Pooh or Captain Kangaroo over for dinner, I begged my mom to invite "Uncle Walter" (Cronkite). I was a bizarre child.

I've held a series of jobs in the publishing field, but not as a writer. I guess I am getting that fix in an very offbeat way now with the blog.

Blogwhore and link away...


Homobigot black pastor bleats to students at graduation event

"Homosexuality, bisexuality, they are sins according to the word of God...I understand that the climate (in Berkeley) is a climate that values political correctness, but that’s not my concern. I'm concerned with biblical correctness."
-- Rev. Manuel Scott Jr. explaining the message he delivered during a keynote address to Berkeley High School Af-Am department students
Who wants to hear this crap during a time when you are focusing on students' academic achievements?

The Berkeley (CA) Daily Planet covered an unhinged pastor's rant to students during a graduation event called the Celebration of Excellence. It's regarded in Berkeley as "the black graduation" (it's open to all students), and it is a cultural, not official, event supported by members of the community.

This, naturally, gave Rev. Manuel Scott Jr. the license to teach those in the audience some life lessons, and gave some people there an eye-opening look at the homophobia in the black religious community.
Evangelical preacher the Rev. Manuel Scott Jr. made derogatory remarks about gays as part of his keynote address at the annual Berkeley High School African-American Studies Department Celebration of Excellence June 10.

...Scott, a Los Angeles-based Baptist Evangelist, gave a five- to 10-minute speech themed “After you graduate, be careful what you put in your system.” He identified an assortment of temptations to which students must not succumb such as drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. Rounding out the list was homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexuality.

School board Director Nancy Riddle, who attended the ceremony as she has each year for four years, was appalled.

I know some people have those religious beliefs, but it was still shocking to hear,” she said. Some people in the audience were visibly bothered, a ceremony participant said. Riddle received a phone call from a parent upset by the sermon, as did City Councilmember Darryl Moore, the first openly gay, black public official in the East Bay.

“I do think these graduations are great, but I think there is no place for homophobic comments,” Moore said. “We in Berkeley appreciate the diversity of our community. I think the speaker could have been just as forceful without making these extremely negative comments.”
The decision to select Scott as the keynote speaker was made by his friend BHS African-American Studies Department Chair Rev. Robert McKnight, who paid Scott an honorarium for the pleasure of slurring the gay and lesbian students at the event. He said of the matter: “We do not censor anyone. We defend free speech for everyone. If it’s right wing, if it’s left wing or in the middle, it’s free speech.”

Sure, Scott can get up there and say anything he wants, tasteless or not. I think more of these pastors need to expose themselves as the homobigots that they are in full public view. People need to hear what's going on out there in segments of the religious black community, and see why too many pastors are lying down with the anti-gay dogs of white evangelical movement and coming up with their fleas.

Hat tip, Andy R.


NRA crazies

This is why some people really don't need to own a gun -- Gun owners accuse UN of July 4 conspiracy. Thousands of them are bombarding the chairman of a U.N. conference on the illegal small arms trade with postcards, accusing him of planning to take away all of their precious firearms on Independence Day. The UN, btw, is closed that day.

It's clearly fundraising time for Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, who also, just by coinkydink, is selling a new book (ding ding ding)...
"I myself have received over 100,000 letters from the U.S. public, criticizing me personally, saying, 'You are having this conference on the 4th of July, you are not going to get our guns on that day,"' said Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's U.N. ambassador.

...The campaign is largely the work of the U.S. National Rifle Association, whose executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, warns on an NRA Web site (http://www.stopungunban.org/) of a July 4 plot "to finalize a U.N. treaty that would strip all citizens of all nations of their right to self-protection."

...LaPierre, who also uses the site to pitch his new book, "The Global War on Your Guns," asks NRA members to send letters to Kariyawasam and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warning that "the American people will never let you take away the rights that our 4th of July holiday represents."
Our country is full of gullible, tinfoil-hat-wearing morons.


Fundie 'Action Plan' for the Gay Games

Friday, June 23, 2006

"Because our Lord is in charge of the fire and brimstone, however, I think we're called now to rain-down something else on this global gay parade: the love of Jesus...I think he'd be downtown on the lakefront July 15-22, loving those homosexuals as people created in His own image condemned by sin and the Law just as we were till someone lovingly shared the good news with us and God in His mercy turned our hearts toward Him."
-- the wisdom of Pastor Michael Allen of Chicago's Uptown Baptist Church, who plans to proselytize at the Gay Games
Peter LaBarbera and his fundie brethren couldn't stop the Games, they couldn't get sponsors to drop out, so now they are working on Plan C. Peter was kind enough to put up The Plan at the Illinois Family Institute web site.

There is an open letter by Uptown Baptist Church Pastor Michael Allen to Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, and Rev. James Meeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago. LaBarbera prefaces the letter with a fun introduction. You can tell he's all fired up and a tad pissed that they haven't been as proactive (you know, all those undercover leather investigations) as he has in combatting the Homosexual Agenda.
Personally, although I am greatly encouraged by Pastor Allen's pluckiness in wanting to get pastors off their keisters in reaching out to the "Gay Games" attendees, this letter is about 25 years too late. Anyone who has observed a Chicago "gay pride" parade (it's more like a huge festival; another one is being held this Sunday) can see that much of the Christian Church in Chicagoland has abandoned serious outreach to homosexuals. Or at least Christians have become quite comfortable "tolerating" a "GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered] community" built around destructive sins.


Peter recently did a lot of research at the bathhouse during his undercover work at the International Mr. Leather conference because he needed to educate his Christian audience about the inner workings of "a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men."

The result is that Chicago's "gay community" has grown and become bolder in its demands and its perversions (witness the escalating anti-religious rhetoric of homosexual activists and the existence of an actual "museum" for sexual sadists, the Leather Archives, located on Greenview St.).
Is it me, or do you get the feeling he's getting a hard-on just talking about this stuff? Why is he fixated on gay (male, of course) sex? Never mind. The pastor's letter contains lots of fire and brimstone, but I have to tell you, this whole document is hysterical. You have to read it all to get the full flavor of how sad, petty and mean these people really are -- it's the essence of religion gone terribly wrong. One snippet.
Shame on you!

Shame on me!

Shame, shame on all of us!

Not because full-throttle, all-out Pagan hedonism is about to envelope Chicago's downtown lakefront, the University of Chicago, UIC, Northwestern University, Crystal Lake, and Oak Park. It's America, after all, and America is free to sin.

Not because we all stayed mousey-quiet as the Gay Games Machine rolled over scores of morally rudderless corporate sponsors like WMAQ-TV, Walgreens, Kraft, Sidley & Austin, American Airlines, Ernst & Young, Harris Bank, AT&T, AON, Exelon, UBS, CNA, etc. Sure, we're a day late and dollar short once again with our witness as Christian leaders, but that's not the worst of it.

Not because we stayed lamely mute as our state's Springfield leaders enshrined homosexual behavior as a protected "human right" a few years ago. Wisely or foolishly, some of us narrowly define our jobs to recuse ourselves from leadership on public policy questions, so that's not even the worst of it.
This goes on and on for a while, in much the same manner, but let's get to the Action Plan for the Gay Games, as the black and white homobigot pastors unite to save the souls of wayward gay folks in July. One of the highlights will be the testimony of "ex-gays" brought in for exhibition.
So, subject to any better suggestions at this late hour, here's what I respectfully propose that we as Illinois Christian leaders are now going to do about the Gay Games. We are going to "come out of our prayer closets," and deploy our forces for:

The Gay Love Offensive

1. Training: We're going to train our people on gay evangelism, on WWJD?, at one or more of the following:

* Uptown Baptist Church, this Saturday, June 17, and on the opening day of the Gay Games July 15th. Our trainers will be John Greene, Syl Davis of Emmaus Ministries and me.

* Near Grant Park is The Pacific Garden Mission (PGM), which will be our staging area for tracts and bottled water. July 15 ... We will also hold repeated open-air training sessions at our Gay Love Offensive headquarters [time and location to be announced].

* Opening Ceremonies at Soldier Field. Streams of our gay citizens will be flowing by, listening in (or cat-calling), as they flow from the Chicago Hilton "Hub" of the Gay Games. That day, we'll see how many show up and organize for deployment again in Grant Park, and to other Gay Games venues, throughout the week. The PGM will be our hospitality, prayer, training, programming, and logistics, headquarters throughout the Gay Games. For information at any time, call ... me at [phone # omitted].

[Who will they drag in as a professional heterosexual?]

2. Programming: On the training day above, and on each day of the Gay Games at the "Free Water & Prayer", we'll be introducing one or more Out of the Closet Ex-Gays, who by the power of Jesus Christ and his shed blood, have forsaken homosexual practice and embraced obedience to God. Some will be celibate, some married now with children. But all will be telling their own stories of redemption for onlookers and the media. The Bible makes it clear, as will these speakers, that homosexuality is a sin rut, like so many others, from which Jesus can deliver anyone.

And of course, this absolutely flies in the face of the Gay Games storyline that "unbiased" big media outlets like NBC 5, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Defender, and The New York Times want so eagerly to promote. (Amazingly, all of these media are listed on the official Gay Games website as FINANCIAL SPONSORS -- not just reporters -- of the Gay Games!)

[Time to draw the line and say civil rights have nothing to do with gay rights...]

Finally, the joint action you two proposed at Willow [Creek Church] poses another crucial challenge to the pagan media story line: The loving witness of black/white/brown Christians against the inappropriate "civil rights" paradigm behind the homosexual legal and public policy agenda. More on P.R. and programming in the days to come. Any help you can deliver that shows the love of Christ, will be most appreciated.

3. Stuff: At the [Pacific Garden Mission], we're planning on supplying your flock (and other believers) with:

* T-shirt uniforms for our Gay Love Offensive. They will be handsome, matching, conversation-starter tees that say nice things like, "Pray4U?" and "Forgiven?" and "Know Jesus"?

* Lemonade and water bottles to give away free to passersby, with a kind word.

* Excellent, thoughtful Gospel tracts designed to make passersby think hard about their current path in life -- whether or not they are gay.

# All materials will show our website [www.uptownbaptistchurch.org], which will link to solid Gospel presentations and websites.

[CASH is key, friends...here comes the pitch.]

4. Funding: Bill, James, Erwin, Joe, the G-8 [pastors]-- and all of you other pastors, Christian leaders, businessmen, etc. reading this -- we need your funding help, right now. Uptown Baptist is a small, plucky church that gets 250 folks out on a good Sunday. One friend has told me he will give $20,000 for the Gay Love Offensive described above -- but only if you guys will help me out and match him on at least a 9:1 ratio, for a total of $200,000. But c'mon, this kind of money is NOTHING if we're actually serious about working side-by-side, black and white, to win lost souls for Christ.
Folks, that was only a small portion of the letter.


Will your vote count at all?

This should scare everyone, particularly in the 17 states in the high-risk category because there is no paper trail on these electronic voting machines. No matter where you stand on a candidate or issue, this attack on your fundamental right to participate in our democracy has happened right before your eyes.

Common Cause released a new report, "Malfunction and Malfeasance: A Report on the Electronic Voting Machine Debacle," that outlines the security and reliability issues surrounding electronic voting machines. The sad truth is that nothing seems to be happening to ensure voters going to the polls in November will be able to cast a verifiable vote in these states.
"With nearly 40 percent of voters in 37 states expected cast ballots on DRE voting machines in less than five months, Congress needs to stop ignoring the problems and take action to assure that citizens votes are counted as cast," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "We need legislation passed that would mandate random manual election audits of voting machines and require voter-verified paper trails, and citizens need to come to the polls knowing how to safeguard their vote."

The report, "Malfunction and Malfeasance: A Report on the Electronic Voting Machine Debacle," finds that 17 states, including critical swing states such as Pennsylvania, are at "high" risk of having election results compromised due to problems with voting machines known as DREs. States designated as high risk because they use DREs with no paper backup are: Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Twenty-three states are at mid-level risk of having election results compromised. Those states use a voter-verified paper trail, but do not conduct manual audits. Eleven states are at "low" risk for a compromised election because they require mandatory audits and use voting systems that have a voter verified paper ballot.
You can read the whole report here.

The lovely Litbrit has a post up (also at Shakes Sis) about the ongoing attempt by the GOP to make sure Dem votes won't count by stalling and de-fanging the Voting Rights Act to enable the party's "caging" activities.
The party in charge wants to de-criminalize actions they took in 2004, namely, challenging an unprecedented three million-plus voters at the polls by claiming their registrations had been removed or that their addresses were not legitimate, and then requiring these voters to submit "provisional" ballots. Over a million of these provisional ballots were never counted. And over 88% of them were cast by minority--read: Democratic--voters.
She points to the excellent coverage of this by The Guardian's Greg Palast.

Why didn’t the GOP honchos 'fess up to challenging these allegedly illegal voters? Because targeting voters of color is AGAINST THE LAW. The law in question is the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Republicans target Black folk not because they don't like the color of their skin. They don't like the color of their vote: Democrat. For that reason, the GOP included on its hit list Jewish retirement homes in Florida. Apparently, the GOP was also gunning for the Elderly of Zion.

...Now that the GOP has been caught breaking the Voting Rights law, they have found a way to keep using their expensively obtained 'caging' lists: let the law expire next year. If the Voting Rights Act dies in 2007, the 2008 race will be open season on dark-skinned voters. Only the renewal of the Voting Rights Act can prevent the planned racial wrecking of democracy.
Below are the resources I featured in my last entry on this topic, Election reform now, which recounted the GOP caging strategy.

Sites to visit:
* Verified voting.org

* The Brad Blog, which covers vote fraud shenanigans from top to bottom.

* RFK, Jr.'s article in Rolling Stone, Was the 2004 Election Stolen?. Ohio's Ken Blackwell ensures Bush wins Ohio.

* Your state may have its own grassroots effort to verify votes. Tar Heels, go here.

* Congressman Rush Holt's effort to pass voting reform, HR 550, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act. He discussed it on Lou Dobbs' program.


Bush Approval Map: June 2006 Edition

It's time to check out the Bush (Dis)Approval Map for June. Assuming that you'll be able to see the picture below, since my graphics don't seem to be appearing in my posts anymore (Pam, what's up with that?). If not, just click here.

My home state of Idaho leads the nation in Bushlove, jumping up to double digits of net support. Five states became Bush-positive, compared to only three last month. Bush saw gains in nearly every state this month (but not frosty Vermont, which remains the biggest Bushhater at -49%). It's amazing what demonizing the invading brown horde from Mexico, getting Karl Rove off the hot seat, and bombing al-Zarqawi into oblivion can do to mobilize Chimpy's base.

All that pandering raised Bush's nationwide disapproval from -31% to -23%. C'mon, Karl, gotta do better than that. Start screaming about the gay adoptions, the flag burners, and the Ten Commandments; that oughta get you in the negative teens. Throw in a few orange terror alerts and the surprise October capture of bin Laden and you'll have the Congress sewn up again for the lame duck years.

Some folks note that the blue Bushmap doesn't mean those states like Democrats. Indeed, maybe they hate Bush because he's not wingnut enough. So no matter how blue this map gets, I'm not holding my breath that we'll get control of the House or Senate in the fall. Besides, there are Diebold voting machines everywhere now... the winners have already been programmed.


All your bank records are belong to us

Dear Leader can snoop in accounts without a warrant because it's all about keeping the Homeland safe, don't you know...and it's a 'limited' operation.
Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

...But all the programs grew out of the Bush administration's desire to exploit technological tools to prevent another terrorist strike, and all reflect attempts to break down longstanding legal or institutional barriers to the government's access to private information about Americans and others inside the United States.


Gee, is the WNBA gay?

With Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in the doghouse for calling Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti a fag, I noticed in many of the stories that they included Guillen's humorous attempt to mitigate his comments by saying he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, has gone to a Madonna concert and intends to go to the Gay Games in Chicago.

I wondered when I read that...does he think the WNBA is gay? SHOCKING!!!! Where would he get that idea?

Jasmyne noticed this as well, and has her tongue planted firmly in her cheek in her post.
Now as someone who attends games locally here in Los Angeles, I will say that there is an abundance of lesbians in the audience, or let me be politically correct, women who I think are lesbians in the audience, but does that make the WNBA a lesbian hot spot?

I am sure there are going to be members of the WNBA (Lisa Leslie) who are not going to appreciate Guillen’s comments, especially since some of the WNBA's players work overtime at making sure they aren't gay profiled.
That may explain the WNBA's web site feature on Getting Ready for Prom Season -- het, of course.

For the record, WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes stumbled out of the closet in last year. Michele Van Gorp, a center for the Minnesota Lynx did so in 2004. Retired player Sue Wicks was the first WNBA player to come out.


Open thread - name your top LGBT flicks

[UPDATE: This is a popular open thread from last night; I'm moving it back up to the top so folks don't feel it's too late to hop in. Newer posts are below this one.]

LOGO has its viewers' picks for the top 50 LGBT films. Take a look and see if some of your faves are on the list.

Here are the films at the top of LOGO's list:

1. Brokeback Mountain
2. Latter Days
3. Beautiful Thing
4. Trick
5. Bound
6. Angels in America
7. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
8. Desert Hearts
9. Tipping the Velvet
10. Big Eden

What are your your top three (whether or not they are on the list of 50).?

Oh, I'll just pick a few, maybe not the best, but they're memorable.

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love. Such a sweet film. And Laurel Holloman was/is a cutie.

The Times of Harvey Milk. It's still moving. This didn't make the top 50!

But I'm a Cheerleader. Hilarious take on an "ex-gay" camp. If only it had done a take-off on Richard Cohen's techniques.

Mysterious Skin. One of the best films that I saw last year was this disturbing and haunting film by Gregg Araki (not on LOGO's list either).

Worst: Easily Claire of the Moon. Jeezus, that is bad lesbian cinema (outside of some short films I've seen at festivals).

***

And a reminder for Tar Heel (and environs) Blenders: the NC Gay & Lesbian film fest tix go on sale July 17.


'Homosexual agenda' = Nazi agenda

This asshat victim mentality by the religious right goes completely over the sanity line with this piece by Joseph A. D'Agostino, Homofascists March On, posted at The Population Research Institute. To say that it's offensive is an understatement.
When Nazis are talked about today, there is usually no mention of certain of their prominent aspects. Of course, those aspects which don?'t fit into the politically correct view of history are those which get no mention.

So you rarely hear of the Nazis? push for eugenic abortion, for euthanasia of the unfit (i.e., the disabled, sick, or dying), or their persecution of the Catholic Church. You are even less likely to hear of the prominent role that homosexuality and a hyper-masculine homosexualist ideology played in the early days of the Nazi Party until Hitler purged the most flamboyant of those elements, perhaps to prevent average Germans from turning away from the newly successful fascists.
OK, we all know that there is a possibility that Hitler was gay (stormtrooper commander Ernst Röhm certainly was), and that a closeted pathology combined with megalomania almost ensures one f*cked up individual.

But we know that's not where D?'Agostino is taking this -- it's all about making all homos megalomaniacs, and that somehow, gays have managed hijack both the culture and the government (that's news to me!) and is successfully hammering his flavor of extremist "Christianity" into submission, crushing lives, destroying the ability for true believers to procreate.
Some of that spirit lives on and is growing. Today?'s homosexual ?rights? activists are determined to impose upon Western society a neo-paganism that is anti-life, anti-family, and anti-religious, and they actively seek to punish those who disagree.

Obviously, homosexuality is opposed to the propagation of new human life, and the huge campaign in favor of it we now experience comes at a time when birthrates have already fallen below replacement in almost every Western country. In fact, as early as the 1960s, Planned Parenthood listed the encouragement of homosexuality as one of the methods for reducing human populations. And male homosexual behavior spreads AIDS, which increases the death rate.

It may be illegal to say such things in the near future.
He goes on to list "evidence" of how their right to express their religious beliefs in the public sphere is being attacked. One example.
On April 26, students at Midway High School in Wilmington, N.C. participated in the Day of Silence that homosexualists promote in the schools each year. They handed out flyers and remained silent for the day while the school condoned the activity. Yet the next day, which Christian activists call the Day of Truth, students were suspended for distributing cards that were pro-traditional morality. "Apparently, religion is not allowed in Sampson County schools unless the belief system in question supports the homosexual agenda," said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. "Public schools are open to the public, and that includes Christian families, too, who pay taxes and have the right to send their children to public schools without facing viewpoint discrimination."
Uh, no, you knobend. A tolerance program in support of gay students in school doesn't equal a religious declaration -- unless, of course, D'Agostino would like us to start up the "Church of the Queer" so we can be entitled to bleat about religious intolerance of some sort. The whole point of the "Day of Truth" was to express an opposition to homosexuality (and by extension, condoning intolerance of openly gay students) from a Christian perspective.

Cripe -- this is why you cannot reason with these zealots.


Marcavage's Philly fundie freakshow

Tireless bible beater and head of Repent America, Michael Marcavage is, according to AgapePress, bleating about being harassed by a "lawless mob" of homosexuals at Philadelphia's Pride parade on June 11.

He claims that they were interrupting his(lame) proselytizing at the event, even accusing people of threatening him with physical violence in front of the Philly PD. His complaint:
Repent America continues to endure the lawless behavior of militant homosexuals. On June 11, during Philly Pride's annual homosexual pride parade and festival, Philadelphia police, once again, disregarded Pennsylvania's harassment and stalking statute and allowed a militant mob of homosexuals to block, scream profanities, and make threats of physical harm against RA.
If you look at the video (on the RA site), you will see gay folks marching peacefully, and one guy with a bullhorn telling Marcavage to go home, tossing out a few cuss words, and Marcavage preaching (unimpeded), "There is freedom from homosexual behavior" to the crowd as well as this:
"You don't get to heaven by being a good person. You don't get to heaven by doing good things. We have all violated God's law, and the only hope we have is found in Jesus Christ.
In the piece at Don Wildmon's "news organ," he sees a conspiracy afoot in the police department:

"The Philadelphia police are not enforcing the law when it comes to harassment, when it comes to disorderly conduct -- and, especially at the Pride Parade and Festival, we see floats that have obscene things taking place on them," says Marcavage. "So they're not even enforcing the open lewdness statute here in the state of Pennsylvania."

The Philadelphia Police Department, he adds, is seemingly "turning a blind eye to whatever the homosexual groups are doing."
You can read more about "Jesus Geek Superstar" in a Philly City Paper. A pithy Marcavage quote from it:
"There are thousands upon thousands of people out there who want to hear what I have to say," he says. "I think that's just God's design for me."

"The Bible is in its entirety truth. It speaks to all issues we could encounter."


Baptist pastor: stop using 'Gay'

Poor William Gay of Washington, NC. The retired pastor is so upset that homos have "stolen" the word "gay," that he submitted a motion at the recent Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting to prevent his fellow pastors from using it (via Good As You):
Stop using the word "gay" when referring to homosexuals in sermons, publications and the media. The motion, presented by retired pastor William Gay of Washington, N.C., also asked other pastors to stop referring to homosexuals as "gay" in their sermons and publications."
Allan Blume, chairman of the convention's order-of-business committee rejected it, saying the motion was not in order -- "it is beyond the scope of the convention's authority to direct churches to use a specific vocabulary."

Perhaps Gay should look into a name change if this is tormenting him so much.

H/t, PageOneQ


Colorado Catholics instructed to support anti-gay measures

"If same-sex marriage is legalized here, churches that refuse to perform these 'weddings' could lose their tax-exempt status...Any religious teaching which condemns homosexual acts (would be) considered hate speech and is punishable by imprisonment. This reduces the Christian view of marriage and sexuality to bigotry."
-- Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan in the diocesan paper, The Colorado Catholic Herald
Papa Ratzi's men in Daddy Dobson land are right on top of matters, ordering the sheeple to collect signatures to ensure that a state constitutional to ban SSM and a measure to block benefits to same-sex couples make it on the ballot.

According to 365gay.com, the state has about 370K Catholics and they need 68K by August 7 to get them on the ballot. The bishops have been told to publicly speak out in favor of the measures.
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said that petitions on the two gay issues and a third on abortion are to be made available in every parish in the state.

"If these important measures do not get on the ballot in November, we will have failed to add to our state laws a strong message of respect for our families and new life," Chaput wrote in the Denver Catholic Register.

Under Chaput's instruction bishops in the state will read pastoral letters or write columns in area Catholic papers in support of the proposed amendments.
If the petition efforts succeed, it's likely that an amendment will pass, but that the ban on couple benefits would fail.


The end of racism, part II

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Part one, of course, was White House Spokesbot Tony Snow's assertion that racism's "rapidly becoming an ugly memory."

Today's lesson comes from an equally observant teacher, (need I say he's a Republican) Rep. John Carter of Round Rock, Texas, who thinks that the GOP holdup of the renewal of the Voting Rights Act isn't a big deal. He was asked to comment on the matter and opened his Lone Star State pie hole to educate us:

"I don't think we have racial bias in Texas anymore."
Breathtaking. The hat tip goes to Chris Kromm at Facing South who nailed it:
Is Carter referring to bias in general, like the kind in Tulia, Texas where 15% of the town's black population was framed by an informant one judge found to be "a racist, a liar and a thief, resulting in sentences up to 99 years? (A judge later overturned the convictions, but a similar case came up in 2002 in Jackson County, Texas)

Or the lynching of James Byrd -- a 49-year-old black man beaten by three whites and dragged behind a truck for three miles, dying when his arm and head were severed when the truck hit a bump? Pick your own story.

Or is Carter referring specifically to race bias in voting, such as the way Texas Republicans led an unplanned redistricting in 2002 that dilluted African-American and Latino voting strength so that more Republicans could get into office?
A note from a reader, Mika, on this:
A GLSEN 2005 school climate survey sez:

"Overall, the frequency of bullying reported by Texas students was similar to the national sample with two exceptions. Youth in Texas reported a higher frequency at which students are harassed because of their race/ethnicity (48% vs. 39% reporting at least some of the time) and because of their ability at school (61% vs. 48%)."
To compare a Miss Wild Thing also passed along the story of someone who recognized discrimination in goverment and did make a difference, Hiram Bingham, IV. He was recently honored with a postal stamp for defying the Roosevelt administration's official policy of refusing to grant visas to Jews during WWII. He saved 2,000 lives by issuing visas. Miss Wild Thing: "In light of the rocket scientist in Texas, I thought this was an interesting comparison to someone who really recognized danger in discrimination."


Homo-fixated bleater outraged at NEA marriage equality support

Linda Harvey of Mission[ary Position] America is up to her old tricks, attempting to purportedly "save the children" from exposure to the queer world around her by uttering the most ridiculous nonsense.

She's hopping on board with Don Wildmon in losing her cookies over the National Education Association's decision to endorse marriage equality at the union's upcoming convention. (AgapePress):
Linda Harvey of the pro-family group Mission America believes this NEA proposal could radically change what U.S. school children are taught in classrooms across the country. "It's basically saying any kind of legalized form of anything you're going to call marriage is going to be okay with us," she asserts, "and [that] we will want to, of course, promote that to our students and our faculty."

Harvey calls the proposal "outrageous" and describes it as "simply one more radical move by the NEA to promote anything and everything out there that is immoral." Adding the proposed language, she warns, "definitely would open the door to teaching that polygamy, common-law marriages, marriages [at] all ages" are all equally acceptable.
Of course, Linda has other theories about how faggotry and dykery are propogating, sprouting out, recruiting children in an all-out cultural assault à la Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


The Creation of New Homosexuals

...Can people, children in this case, become homosexuals by exposure to certain ideas and behavior? In other words, can a person who would not otherwise become homosexual, start the behavior, come to prefer it and continue it?

Can a society create more homosexuals? The answer quite clearly is yes. That is how current homosexuals, in fact, came to be. There is no evidence--none-- for a genetic origin for homosexuality. That may come as a surprise to many people, but it’s true. It’s even more astonishing when one realizes how many influential groups and people now accept homosexuality as inborn for some, but when you look behind the rhetoric, you find that there is nothing but wishful thinking. For an excellent paper debunking this myth, see Culture and Family Institute’s article at http://www.cwfa.org/images/content/bornorbred.pdf .

In view of this, the promotion of this behavior to our children has incredibly destructive potential, yet this unprecedented trend is occurring with few objections by parents.

People, especially the young, can be seduced into homosexual behavior and have their identity molded around the homosexual lifestyle, through a combination of persuasion and circumstances which may include the following:

• Being convinced homosexuality is acceptable;
• Reading or viewing explicit homosexual pornography;
• A close relationship with a peer who is practicing homosexuality;
• Admiring an older teacher or mentor who is homosexual;
• Attending homosexual social venues (a “gay” club, bar, church youth group);
• Being homosexually molested;
• Having parents who espouse liberal values;
• No strong ties to a conservative church, and hostility toward traditional views.


An Army of Forty-somethings

Rumsfailed's war is going so well that even middle-aged guys like me are now getting the chance to become IED fodder in the War (to find Saddam's WMDs to liberate the Iraqi people from Saddam to give the Iraqi people free elections to install an American oil-company-friendly puppet government that will accept a permanent American military presence on their soil) on Terror.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army, aiming to make its recruiting goals amid the Iraq war, raised its maximum enlistment age by another two years on Wednesday, while the Army Reserve predicted it will miss its recruiting target for a second straight year.

People can now volunteer to serve in the active-duty Army or the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard up to their 42nd birthday after the move aimed at increasing the number of people eligible to sign up, officials said.

It marked the second time this year the Army has boosted the maximum age for new volunteers, raising the ceiling from age 35 to 40 in January before now adding two more years.


Man tortured by AO-hell customer service when he tries to cancel

This is inexcusable, but not surprising at all. A couple of weeks ago, Vincent Ferrari tried to stop the service, and the AOL rep ("John") did everything in his power to keep him from terminating his account.

It was so bad that Ferrari recorded the conversation. The CSR actually asked to speak with his dad -- Ferrari is 30 -- to get him to change his mind.

Matt Lauer interviewed Ferrari.



A snippet of the transcript of the phone call:
AOL: Hi, this is John at AOL. How may I help you today?

Ferrari: I want to cancel my account.

AOL: OK. I mean, is there a problem with the software itself?

Ferrari: No. I don't use it. I don't need it. I don't want it.

John disputes Ferrari's claim that he never uses the account.

AOL: Last year, last month it was 545 hours of usage.

Ferrari: I don't know how to make it any clearer. So I'm just gonna say it one last time. Cancel the account.

AOL: Well, explain to me what is wrong.

Ferrari: I'm not explaining anything to you. Cancel the account.

It goes on like this for 5 minutes.

Ferrari: Cancel my account. Cancel the account. Cancel the account.
Hell, when I called to cancel my mom's account after she passed away, the rep still kept me on the phone 20 minutes to do that. It's BS "customer retention" -- though how one attempts to retain a dead customer is beyond me.


Open thread - this and that

Items to check out:

* Doug Ireland's piece on Bush's secret assault on the world's poorest AIDS patients.

* BlogActive exposes the activities of politically closeted U.S. Rep. James McCreary (R-LA) -- who was outed by the Advocate back in 1992 -- raises over $27 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Those folks are clearly not in our corner (or his for that matter, but what's new with these self-loathers).

* More Ohio womb control: A judge has ordered Cincinnati's Planned Parenthood Clinic to fork over records for any abortion patients who are under 18 to the attorneys of a family whose teenager had an abortion there. (H/t Holly)

* Pennsylvania Senate Approves Gay Marriage Ban. This moves forward, but does not include a ban on civil unions. It requires approval by the House and Senate in successive two-year sessions of the General Assembly and can then go on to voters. The supporters of the amendment want to get it on the ballot in 2007.

* What a blast from the past: House Republicans stall Voting Rights Act renewal. Back to whipping on the colored folks for the GOP -- nice to see nostalgia in full force. The excuse this time is that GOPers complained the Act unfairly singles out nine Southern states for federal oversight (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia). Hey, I'll agree on that one -- we need to expand the list given the election shenanigans in Florida and Ohio.

* Great news - out director Bryan Singer will take on the endlessly talked about (but never produced) biopic of Harvey Milk, "The Mayor of Castro Street," based on Randy Shilts's biography. Milk, the first openly gay San Francisco supervisor -- he was assassinated (along with Mayor George Moscone) in 1978 by fellow supervisor, Dan White. White received a seven year sentence. (H/t, Towleroad)

***



A couple of weeks ago, Richard Hart, the editor of local progressive paper The Independent Weekly, asked me to contribute a feature to the Stonewall anniversary section of the latest issue. I'm always kind of surprised when asked out of the blue about this sort of thing. There's still some kind of disconnect I have about the fact that there are more of you out there reading my random tappings than the small slice represented by the beloved Blender commenters -- and Peter LaBarbera, of course.

Anyway, my little piece is called My, how things have changed since Stonewall.

Also, catch the companion piece by Jim Baxter, Before the 'Net, there was The Front Page. Jim is the former editor of The Front Page, a biweekly newspaper for the community in the Tar Heel state. It had a 26 year run, publishing its final issue on May 12.


Give Little Ricky the strait jacket

His polls really must be going south. He took to the floor to claim that the U.S. found Saddam's WMDs, and then he -- and fellow fantasist, Michigan Rethug Rep. Peter Hoekstra -- got their tender behinds smacked down by the Defense Department. The news was broken to them on Hannity and Colmes, of all places.

See the video via Think Progress.


Will Wisconsin defeat a marriage amendment?

Joshua Freker of Fair Wisconsin wrote in to say that there's a chance that this could be the first state to turn back a constitutional ban on civil unions and marriage. It would be good to get one in the win column.

Joshua:
As of May of 2006, we have amassed nearly 7,000 volunteers, coordinators in every county of the state, Action Networks in 26 communities, over 1600 trained speakers, 25 staff members, and a broad base of support including various labor organizations, communities of faith, and many other organizations across the state.
Fair Wisconsin is running a $30 by the 30th campaign to help spread the word that this amendment can be defeated.
On June 30th we face one of the most significant benchmarks of our campaign--we will file our first public fundraising report with the state elections board. This is our big chance to show Wisconsin and the rest of the country exactly how many of you are standing up to say "No" to the ban. This money will help us expand into new areas of the state and air early TV and radio ads.

If we can stop this in Wisconsin, it will send the message across the country that the time of using gay people as political scapegoats is over.
It may just happen; take a look at FW's top ten reasons why the amendment can be defeated -- after all, this is Senator Russ Feingold's state.

It makes you wonder what kind of support FW is receiving from the Dems at the national level, huh? Russ is pretty lonely out there in speaking out for equality.


Sponsors keep rolling in for Gay Games

This has to get Miss LaBarbera's knickers in a twist. His pressure tactics and rants about corporate sponsors of the 2006 Gay Games, to be held in Chicago, haven't worked.
Despite condemnation by a conservative Christian group of corporations sponsoring next month's Gay Games the number of companies lining up to put their names behind the event continues to grow.

The latest big corporations to become sponsors are ESPN and QTG - the maker of Quaker Oats, Tropicana juice and Gatorade.

Gay Games organizers announced the additional sponsors at Mayor Daley's annual Pride reception Monday night.

Chicago-based QTC has become a Global Gay Games Sponsor. Gatorade will be the Official Sports Drink of the 2006 Gay Games and will provide sideline hydration at all Gay Games sports. In addition, Tropicana and Quaker will be feeding the athletes and volunteers nutritious and wholesome breakfasts and snacks throughout the week.

Sports network ESPN will be a sponsor of the Opening Ceremony Fireworks.
The Illinois Family Institute and the AFA have been boycotting Kraft -- it wouldn't pull its sponsorship, thumbing its nose at the fundies, nor did Walgreens.

The Illinois Bureau of Tourism also felt the wrath (to no effect) of the undercover leather scene investigator.
.We doubt the exaggerated claims of "gay" activists who say the "Gay Games" will bring in $50 million in tourist money to Illinois. Homosexuals may be better off financially than the average Joe, but I doubt they can spend THAT much! After all, as reported by the "gay" press, the homosexual "Games" have been a financial disaster in Montreal and Amsterdam, where they were held before.

But even if the "Gay Games" does bring significant tourist money into Chicago, there are some things that are far more important than money. It is simply wrong to promote homosexuality and other immoral behaviors in the name of sport. Send a message to your government that money isn't everything. We don't want Illinois being known as a homosexual tourist mecca.
Peter's flailing because of nothing is going his way, so he has ratcheted up the vitriol; one of his mewlings has been about the fact that an HIV+ ban was lifted by the government to allow those athletes with that status to compete.
Today we call upon President Bush and Congress to rescind the newly-granted waiver for HIV-infected travelers participating in or attending the "Gay Games," an athletic event drawing homosexuals from across the world to Chicago. These homosexual "games" already officially promote dangerous sexual activity: Steamworks, a 24/7 Chicago gay bathhouse, where men go for anonymous sex with other men, is listed as a "business sponsor" on the "Gay Games" website. And both Steamworks and another Chicago bathhouse, Man's Country, are listed in the "Parties & Events" section of the "Games'" website. (Man's Country is also listed as a "sponsor" of the "Gay Games.")...Inviting thousands of HIV-infected visitors to a "Gay Games" celebration that officially promotes promiscuity will only put Chicagoans at risk and help spread HIV.


United bigotry in the holy land

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

They are at it again -- the religious zealots are trying to stop a gay pride parade on August 7 in Jerusalem. The Arabs and Jews are calling for a ceasefire just to gang up on the gay folks.

Even better, these religious leaders are saying that the homos would be to blame for any violence that breaks out between the sides if there's a pride march. You just can't make this up.
Rabbis and Sheikhs held a joint press conference, and Jerusalem City Councilwoman Mina Fenton gathered hundreds of signatures at the World Zionist Congress session.

Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Brooklyn-based Jews for Morality organization, is now in Israel for the express purpose of trying to stop the parade from happening. He led a press conference on Monday, together with Israeli-Arab MK Sheikh Tzartzur, Rabbi Menachem Fruman and others, calling for a "hudna" [ceasefire] in the current Israeli-PA conflict in order to fight a common battle for traditional values.

Rabbi Fruman - a resident of the Yesha community of Tekoa - later explained to Arutz-7 that allowing the parade in Jerusalem would increase Moslem hatred for the "Jewish infidels who allow the Holy Land to be polluted in this manner. I have long felt that the conflict between us is a religious one... A prominent Sheikh just spoke last week very strongly against homosexuals - the Al-Alwatim, they call them, in the name of the Biblical Lot, even though Lot actually tried to prevent a homosexual attack... I feel very strongly that having the parade could increase the risk of Arab attacks against Israel - possibly on the day of the parade itself, and possibly afterwards."


Kansas fundies dazed and confused by TM group

"Basically, our objection is that this is a religion and a sect of Hinduism and they're not being honest and up front about that with people. We see that as a spiritual danger."
-- Greg Hubbard, pastor of Evangelical Free Church
Transcendental Meditation. How sixties is that? Smith Center, Kansas won't know what hit them. The Global Country of World Peace is planning to build facilities in the area -- "peace palaces," a "coherence-creating center "-- man, this is nuts and granola stuff -- as well as a broadcast compound...sorry, it's making me laugh. To make the situation evn more colorful, this is one of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's efforts. Start playing the sitar in the Great Beyond, George...

Anyway, the arrival of the TM group is scaring the locals. I'm sure at the first sign of yogic flying, they'll be out in full force to counter demonic possession. (AgapePress):
The organization, which promotes yoga and meditation, says it has no religious affiliation and one can practice these techniques while belonging to any faith.

Pastor Hubbard seriously questions the group's claims, however. In April, he and other pastors sent a signed letter to the local newspaper stating that the TM group's members "are welcome" but must recognize that they and the church are at odds, "competing for the eternal souls of people." Neither freedom of religion nor property rights are at issue, he insists -- the blatant untruthfulness of the New Age group is.

This latest construction plan marks the second time the Global Country of World Peace has tried to build in Smith Center, Hubbard points out. The Kansas clergyman says the group attempted to move in ten years ago but failed, mainly because of a lack of receptivity among the townspeople. The New Agers offered to hold town meetings to address area residents' discomfort, but many local citizens were merely confused by the unfamiliar terminology the group used.

...[Alert! Hate disclaimer ahead...] While he does not hate these people, Hubbard says he and other townspeople are opposed to their teachings. "It could be any one of a number of divergent religious groups and we would still have the same problem," he explains.




Out lesbian to be named San Diego fire chief

Considering the earlier post about the NYFD rugby players who had a problem playing against a team with gay men on it (for fear of HIV transmission), this is an interesting irony. (365gay.com):
A 22 year veteran of the San Diego Fire Department is expected to be confirmed as its next chief when city council meets on Monday.

Tracy Jarman was nominated this week by Mayor Jerry Sanders. If as expected council agrees to his choice Jarman will lead a department that includes 928 firefighters, 124 lifeguards, 85 uniformed positions in Emergency Medical Services, and 121 civilians, and manage a budget of $160 million.

Jarman will join an elite group of just two dozen female fire chiefs in the United States, and will be the first in San Diego. Of the 24 female fire chiefs in the nation, only Joanne Hayes-White of San Francisco runs a department larger than San Diego’s. She also will be one of only a handful of openly lesbian fire chiefs in the country.

Jarman is 50 and lives with her domestic partner.
Hat tip, Juan.


More GOP family values

And the hit parade of perversion just keeps on coming for the party of God and Country... (The Brownsville [TX] Herald):
A young girl featured in a controversial television ad during the 2000 presidential campaign testified this week that the man who developed the commercial molested her for years and forced her to watch pornography and use sex toys.

The girl, now 15, told jurors Carey Lee Cramer — a 44-year-old political consultant who gained national notoriety when he released an anti-Al Gore ad showing a young girl picking daisy petals and ending in a nuclear blast — began molesting her in the third grade, when she lived in Mercedes with him, his then-wife and her younger brother.

...She told jurors Cramer began by taking her into his home office and showing her pornography when she was 8. He would touch her sexually, remove her clothing and perform deviant sexual acts on her. The incidents occurred weekly, when the girl was home alone with Cramer.

By the time she was in the fifth grade, Cramer began to force her to perform acts he would share with her from pornographic Web sites, including oral sex, she said. He also tried to make the girl use a vibrator and other sex toys, she continued. And Cramer forced her to have sex with him three times, she testified.
I just noticed that Shakes Sis also posted on Cramer, and she's on the mark with this:
In any case…you name it, and the GOP’s got it. Pedophiles, more pedophiles, lots and lots of pedophiles, wife-rapers, mule-fuckers, falafel-creeps, closet cases, gay hookers, Hookergate, dirty novelists—they’ve got it all.


Bestiality bullsh*t of the week

Why do the homophobes keep on bleating this line of thinking? This time, it's the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, Dan Henninger, for god's sake, saying SSM could lead to marrying snakes.

This is a great clip from The Colbert Report.



Hat tip, Raw Story.


Scarborough's blowhard guest host

I just happened to have MSNBC on at the end of Keith Olbermann's show when I caught the lead-in for Joe "What dead intern?" Scarborough's show. He had a bald white male guest host, and as a bald white male I had to listen. He was leading in a report about the torture and killing of the two American soldiers (one of whom was a 22-year-old from nearby Madras, Oregon) in Iraq. Enjoy the strawman goodness:
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, GUEST HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: Two U.S. soldiers brutally tortured and murdered in Iraq. How should America respond? And I want to know why are all those critics of so-called American torture not speaking out about the torture of our guys today?

...But first: A militant Islamic Web site claims the new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq personally carried out the killings of two soldiers found dead in Baghdad last night. Those bodies showed signs of torture. They were killed in a, quote, “barbaric” way, and American troops had to literally fight their way to the bodies, which were booby-trapped with explosives.

It‘s a horrific story, and as I watch it unfold, I have to ask myself where are the people who worked themselves into a lather about the naked pyramid pictures at Abu Ghraib or those who wanted trials at The Hague because we played Christina Aguilera music a bit too loud for the detainees down at Gitmo. Tonight in America, some are no doubt sitting in barcaloungers kvetching over which American soldiers will next be put on trial for alleged war atrocities, and meanwhile, these dirtbags—they‘re thinking about whose head they want to chop off next.
OK, my liberal (and not so liberal) brothers and sisters, raise your hands if you think Americans piling up naked prisoners, shoving glowsticks in their rectums, forcing them to stand in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, waterboarding, peeing on their Korans, smearing shit all over them, and beating them until they die are bad things. Let's see... 1, 2, 3, 4,... yup, looks like all of you. OK, put your hands down.

Now, raise your hands if you think Iraqis torturing and decapitating American soldiers is a bad thing. Let's see... 1, 2, 3, 4,... yup, looks like all of you again.

Idiot blowhard. NOBODY thinks it was OK for our boys to be tortured. NOBODY thinks our torture was as bad as their torture. But some of us hold America (you know, the good guys) to a higher standard. Mr. Blowhard seems to be saying, "hey, our low grade torture of them is perfectly justified because of their high-grade torture of us!"

What Mr. Blowhard and the wingnuts refuse to acknowledge is that BushCo (Gonzalez, particularly) set the bar for torture when they decided the Geneva Conventions were "quaint anachronisms". They decided that captured Iraqis weren't "prisoners of war" deserving of trials, lawyers, justice, or decent treatment. The chickens are coming home to roost. We are reaping what we have sown.

That's not to say that these murderous terrorist bastards wouldn't have used torture anyway, even if we did follow the rules of war or made Gitmo a four-star luxury resort. But we can never know that now. For us to complain now about their disgusting tactics makes us the master stonethrowers of glass house land. We can -- and should -- scream to the high hills about the atrocity perpetrated on our troops... but only if we follow it up with action to treat our prisoners humanely, afford them lawyers and open trials, shut down Gitmo, and impeach/imprison the war criminals who made this vile state affairs possible.

Now I know some winger is reading this and thinking, "see, no matter how bad the enemy is, all you liberals can do is blame Bush!" Well, why shouldn't we; he is "The Decider", after all. I blame insurgents for torturing our soldiers; I blame Bush for putting those soldiers in harm's way for no good reason.

One other note: Interesting, is it not, that the bodies were found in an abandoned power station. In a place where people only have electricity for 1 hour out of 6. Were they put there because it was simply an abandoned place that's easy to booby-trap, or was somebody trying to send a message?


Open thread - taking measurements


Actual caption: President Bush speaks to international students during a discussion at the Austrian National Library in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, June 21, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The java is flowing...help yourself. Links and blogwhoring appreciated.

A bonus for you. What are they talking about?


Actual caption: US President George W. Bush (L) and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attend the EU-US summit at Hofburg Castle in Vienna. Bush has warned that Iran must respond before August to a proposed deal on its nuclear program, and urged North Korea not to go ahead with plans for a missile test.(AFP/Mandel Ngan)


This is just nuts

NY Firefighters Refuse to Play Against Gay Team.
Members of a rugby team made up at least partially of New York City firefighters, including one featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, refused to play a game against the Gotham Knights gay rugby team after one of the firefighters asked the gay team if they could guarantee that none of their players were HIV-positive.

As Gotham team leaders went over strategy prior to their quarterfinal match against the team, called Rock B/Fire, in the 30th Annual Rockaway Rugby Sevens Tournament in Queens on Saturday, June 17, a player from the Fire team approached the Knights, said Eric Merfalen, a 26-year-old back for the team.

"He came up and said something like, 'I don’t mean to be a jerk, but . . .' and then he asked if we could all confirm that we were not HIV positive," said Merfalen, who was standing with the group. "He asked us several times." Merfalen was the only member of the Knights who agreed to have his name used for this story. He spoke with Outsports shortly after the incident, before Gotham club members were asked not to speak to the media.
So, would these fire fighters ask whether someone was HIV positive before they rescued them from a burning building?


Barbie Talibania* & The Joy of Gay Sex

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

No, it's not what you think. Our orange-skinned hottie for Christ hasn't turned over a new leaf and started playing for the lavender team, no matter how much I dream about her and Tila Tequila wearing trashy lingerie and engaging in a no-holds barred jello-wrestling cage match on pay-per-view. (Yeah, I know, that's a very ridiculous lesbian scene, but I'm a very ridiculous straight guy who read too much Penthouse as a teenager...)

I'm referring to our Barbie's latest crusade to have removed from my hometown public library the books The Joy of Gay Sex and The Joy of Sex because (*gasp!*) what about the children?!? Yes, when Princess Talibania isn't busy trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, or getting the Ten Commandments displayed in public parks, or fighting to keep brain-dead flesh muppets alive despite the opinions of husband or muppet or court of law, or fighting the distribution of condoms to Olympic athletes, she spends her time trying to censor books she doesn't like, as I blogged about last month.

Now she's sent me a follow-up note to let me know how the public meeting at the Nampa (Idaho) Public Library turned out:
Thank you to each who attended the Nampa Library Board meeting about the removal of the sexually explicit and graphic materials, "The Joy of Sex" and "The Joy of Gay Sex". I'm sorry that I wasn't able to be there as I am in California working to save the cross on Mount Soledad. Elysse Barrett, President of America's Renewal and Generation Life representative, who was there to stand with Randy Jackson, and other community leaders and concerned citizens for the removal of these pornographic materials, shares a report of the meeting.
Mr. Jackson said, "Yo, dawg, we got a hot one on the dawg pound tonight! Yeah! You were a little pitchy in the beginning, but you worked through it, dawg. That was da bomb!"**
The library board meeting opened up at 4 pm on Monday, June 19th, with one item to consider -- the topic of these books. The board meeting was attended by a full house, probably at least 50 people plus a full slate of media.

The first order of business was to hear the recommendation of the Honorable Mayor, Tom Dale. His comments were clear and well received. He stated that there was a clear consensus among the comments he received -- that the books were pornographic, inappropriate, and he recommended that they should be removed.
It cracks me up to think of dozens of staid Nampans checking out The Joy of Gay Sex just so they can discover it is pornographic and inappropriate. Then I realize that most likely none of them have even seen the book and are just howling as a pack because the lead dog howled.
The Mayor also adressed some of the concerns and issues that had been brought up in defense of the books staying on library shelves, stating that this is not about censorship, it is about values and decency. It is not about "caving to a small, radical, fundamentalist fringe" as some have suggested. This whole issue is about responding to the needs and concerns of the citizens and families of Nampa.
I see. This makes perfect sense, because there are no gay citizens or gay families in Nampa who might like to learn how to enhance their sex lives. Also, those Nampa citizens are incapable of turning away, picking up a different book, and watching their children in the library. This lack of the mind-your-own-business gene has been traced to lifelong exposure to the stinky effluence of the local sugar beet factory.

Not!

And speaking of a "small, radical, fundamentalist fringe", remember that Randy Jackson's first act upon seeing The Joy of Gay Sex on the library shelf was to remove the book without checking it out (some might say that violates one of those precious Commandments) and destroy it. Haben Sie irgendwelche Bücher kürzlich gebrannt, mein Herr?
The representative of the City Council, Councilman Steven Kren, also reported that it was the consensus of the Nampa City Council that these books should be removed from circulation. He stated, among other things, that it was not wise to use tax payer dollars on books such as these.
The mayor, the city council... things aren't looking good for free speech in the red states. I'm wondering how wise it was to spend taxpayer money on some of those other books in the library. I know, let's have a referendum, where the political leaders decide which of these books support Nampa's values and decency and which of these books are wastes of taxpayer money. That has always worked out well throughout history.
Despite these strong recommendations, 4 of the 5 library board members stated their position to keep the books in circulation, New Board member, Bruce Skaug, added his voice to that of the Mayor and City Council, and made a motion for the books to be removed from circulation. There was no second. Then a motion was made for these books to be placed on the highest shelf possible and for staff to more frequently reshelve these books. It passed with 4 affirmations and board member Skaug abstaining.
Well, what do you know? There are at least four sensible people in Nampa, Idaho! That would seem to solve the problem with the wisdom of Solomon. The books are available for people who may want to read them, but inaccessible to the children (except, I suppose, the really tall ones). In fact, it makes so much sense that I just know how Barbie will react:
We are deeply disappointed that the Nampa library board seems to care so little for the protection of their children and turns a deaf ear to the citizens of their community. It is a sad day when decency and protection of our children are called censorship and homophobia.
Yeah, it sucks when the pitchfork-wielding mob can't impose its medieval worldview on more sensible people. It's a sad day when censorship is called decency and homophobia is called protecting our children. A sad day, but just another ordinary day in the liberty-challenged Bizarro world of Princess Barbie Talibania.

* In case you joined late, Princess Barbie Talibania is really Brandi Swindell, the head of "Generation Life", and my favorite member of the American Taliban, if only because I have a bizarre fetish for sexually-repressed Born-Again™ Christian chicks. It's like that macho hetero idea of "turning" a lesbian.

** That American Idol joke never gets old to me.


Exposure of Richard Cohen ex-gay 'cuddling therapy' causes rift

Oh this is rich. Remember infamous "conversion therapist" Richard Cohen and his wacky appearance on CNN's Paula Zahn?

via Ex Gay Watch. View the whole video here.

...Cohen's methods have raised some questions, however; and he has lately taken sharp criticism over a May 23 appearance on Cable News Network (CNN), in which he demonstrated a technique that involves cuddling a male client in his lap. Another of the unusual therapy techniques depicted involved a client hitting a pillow with a tennis racket while shouting the name of a parent or other individual who elicits painful childhood memories.


via Truth Wins Out.

Cohen, who refers to himself as a reorientation therapist, explained the "holding therapy" exercise as a means of using "healthy touch" on clients, who very often were "touch deprived" as children. He says this technique is one of the most effective ways to help men and women leave homosexuality.

"They're hungering for that intimacy and that bonding that they didn't experience in primary relationships with parents and/or same-gender peers," the psychotherapist asserts. "So what we have to provide then, in the Christian community, is really mentoring these men and women," he says, "and a lot of them need healthy touch -- hugging, holding, just palling around, buddying around."
It looks like the worldwide broadcasting of Cohen's cuddling and cradling techniques to cure The Gay didn't go over well with another junk science "reparative therapy" guru -- and the sh*t is hitting the fan.
Psychologist Dr. Warren Throckmorton, director of college counseling at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, maintains a blog on sexual identity change therapy and related information for interested individuals. He is not a reparative therapist, but he claims Cohen's techniques as demonstrated on CNN are bizarre and are not based on solid research.

Since viewing the "Paula Zahn Now" segment, Throckmorton has notified PFOX that, although he supports its mission and its belief that people are not born homosexual, he will not represent the group as long as Cohen remains its board president.

"Richard means well and has a good heart," Throckmorton acknowledges. "I think he is interested in helping people achieve the change that he himself has achieved. However, I also am concerned that the techniques and the portrayal of them left the wrong impression in the minds of many people in the public."
You don't say, Warren? Meeeeoooow. Richard bites back.
Meanwhile, Cohen has asked Throckmorton to apologize for his "fallacious" remarks, calling him "a brilliant man and a great brother in Christ" who is helping in this area of ministry but who has handled his disagreement with a colleague in the wrong way. The PFOX board president says it is "very unfortunate that, instead of following Matthew 18 protocol for any conflict resolution" and "instead of addressing me directly," Throckmorton "went right to the blog and then posted his comments."


The state of gay activism

I'd love to read your comments about this thoughtful series on gay activism at Proceed At Your Own Risk. It's in three parts and the last piece goes up tomorrow. (H/t to Paul, who reminded me to point Blenders to this)...

Part One: AIDS and the rise of partyism

Part Two: The Perils of Complacency


This is not a joke

Santorum reaching out to women for reelection support. He's tanking in the polls and so now Little Ricky finds some value in the "little women."
The Morning Call, a paper serving Pennsylvania's LeHigh Valley reported today that US Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has launched a campaign to gain female supporters for his reelection campaign to the US Senate.

The campaign has also launched a web address, WomenForRick.com, target women voters in the fall campaign.
And what a feminist he is. This is the same Rick Santorum who made this ass-hat statement in his book It Takes A Family:

Graphic: Mike Tidmus.

"The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong."
According to Steven P. Martin, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at The University of Maryland-College Park in his study of divorce, the divorce rate is directly correlated to a lack of education, especially among women.

I guess as long as females can cast a ballot for Little Ricky, it's A-OK with him.


Observations of a batsh*t homophobe

In a "guest commentary" over at AgapePress, J. Matt Barber's Observations of a So-Called 'Homophobe' has to be one of the most ridiculous diatribes I've read in a while. He's another bible-beater who is moaning that he and his fellow fundies are losing the culture war, and that "Christians" are the ones being persecuted in the U.S., not the homos.

How do you explain an unhinged statement like this?
People of faith, and anyone else who dares to speak out against sexual immorality, or to defend the time-honored definitions of marriage and family, are no longer just ostracized, but are frequently silenced through fear and intimidation, fired from their jobs, and in some cases, have even been jailed, beaten, or killed.
The problem, from Barber's point of view, is that gays are immoral disease vectors who have pulled the wool over the eyes of the American public, causing:
...rapid destruction of traditional family values, liberty of conscience, and freedom of speech at the hands of leftist and secularists who condone, promote, and/or participate in dangerous, unhealthy, and traditionally shameful sexual behaviors.

...Homosexuality is not a neutral status or state of being as typified by one's membership in a suspect, minority class (such as being black or female). It's about sexual deviancy. It's about choosing to define one's identity based upon with whom, and how, one elects to achieve sexual gratification -- IT'S THE BEHAVIOR, STUPID!
He continues, clearly sorry that Lawrence v. Texas struck down anti-sodomy laws.
Many pro-family organizations, conservative politicians, and clergymen seem to have surrendered -- to have given up on addressing the negative moral, physical, and emotional implications of homosexual behavior -- and have instead chosen to hunker down and play defense; to simply try to "defend" traditional marriage. "We've lost on the behavior issue, so let's circle the wagons in defense of marriage," is the attitude that seems to prevail. But just because a large portion of society has chosen to disregard the negative aspects of the homosexual lifestyle doesn't mean that those negative lifestyle aspects shouldn't continue to be challenged.
Have you caught your breath yet? You know what comes next, right -- the disclaimer that he's not really homophobic, he just acts like one, and he's ready to buck up for more culture wars...
It's nothing personal. It's not an attack on any individual person because of who that person is; but rather, it's simply an honest and legitimate debate as to whether we should all be forced to accept and honor what that person chooses to do ... whether we should have to view that behavior as good, moral, and praiseworthy despite thousands of years of Judeo/Christian tradition, and good-ole common sense that decidedly says it is not.

Come on, let's call a spade, a spade -- let's call dangerous behavior, dangerous behavior -- let's call sin, sin. As they say, the best defense is a good offense, and it's time to go on the offense ... no matter how offensive it might be to those who don't want to hear it.

...It's time to focus once again on behavior as we seek to protect the sanctity of marriage, and put to rest this ridiculous, oxymoronic, and androgynous counterfeit referred to as "same-sex" marriage.
Gee what was that about behavior? Pull out your personal copy of the Homosexual Agenda, you radical homosexual activists, and work on your game plan. There are a whole lot of "family values" politicians we could point to that don't seem to be paying a lot of attention to the sanctity of marriage.

That list is a mile long. Care to list a few for Barber?


Bush Approval Map - Coming Soon

Howdy, Blend! I'm back from vacation. Yes, I know there are new figures up for the state-by-state Bush Approval Map. Looks like Idaho pulled ahead of Utah in Bush love, and Dear Leader improved his standing overall (three good news stories in a row will do that for even the schlubbiest schlub). I'll get the map posted tonight once I get unpacked and organized.

Consider this the openest of threads...


Red State Reunion

Howdy, Blenders! It's "Radical" Russ, your token married straight white male barista from the Pacific Northwest*, back behind the counter after an extended absence. Do you want whipped cream with your quadruple-shot venti iced cherry mocha?

I was back in Idaho (motto: Like Alabama, only whiter) for my family reunion. After three years in Portland, I'd grown accustomed to the humidity and lush green foliage. I was quickly reminded of the hot, dry, sagebrush-&-dirt landscape as soon as I left the Columbia Gorge.

But even in the Jeep with the AC on, it was easy to tell I'd left my friendly blue state environment. The Bush/Cheney stickers started appearing on the freeway, attached to progressively larger and higher 4x4 pickup trucks, as well as the multiple magnetic ribbons supporting the troops, each one featuring more creative designs to include the Jesus fish (?????), Old Glory, or a cross. As I crossed the Snake River into Idaho, the Ten Commandments** and "Abortion stops a beating heart" stickers started appearing. The one sticker you don't see much in Idaho is "One Man One Woman", because there are no gay people in Idaho (joking!) or because there's no room for debate on the issue.

What made this family reunion particularly interesting is my "coming out" as a cannabis activist. I sense my family already knew I was a party-hearty musician-type, but now I'm much more in-your-face about my activism. It's hard not to be when I'm a board member for Oregon NORML, I run the website, I'm on cable access TV twice a month, and I've just gotten brand new tattoos on my calves (the Mandarin symbols for "cannabis hemp").

I brought with me a handful of Oregon NORML pens to hand out to my relatives. Of course they had to ask, "what's NORML?" When I answered "the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws," I got many puzzled looks. But after I explained that I lobby to change laws, that marijuana users should not be locked up, that I help medical marijuana patients, and that I work to restore industrial hemp farming, they seemed less concerned.

One of my Born-Again™ Christian aunts even told me, "I don't have a problem with someone using marijuana medicinally. Where I have a problem is when people are just smoking to get high and then they get behind the wheel, especially since the pot nowadays is so much stronger than the '60s..."

"Stop right there," I told her, "because that's a lie. The THC potency of police-seized marijuana has remained steady for decades. The government lies to you about potency. They compared ditchweed stored for a decade in locker from the 1960's to premium bud seized today. That's like comparing Coors Light from 1960 to Bacardi 151 today and claiming 'alcoholic beverages have gotten so much stronger since the '60s!' Stronger marijuana only means someone smokes less of it to get high, and since smoke is the only harmful thing about marijuana***, stronger pot is a good thing.

"Also, nobody supports operating a vehicle under any impairment. That includes marijuana, as well as alcohol, cold medicine, or extreme fatigue. Driving stoned is a crime. Getting stoned is not."

Another aunt wondered if I was taking any of the marijuana myself. "Of course," I replied, "I consider myself a medical user... it's just that my conditions aren't part of Oregon's medical marijuana law (yet). But must we have a doctor's and the state's permission to treat ourselves with natural remedies? Marijuana is a non-toxic naturally-growing plant; we need no more authority to use it than aloe vera or apples. Or did God make a mistake in creating this one plant?"

The best reaction came from my oldest female cousin, who is a cop in my hometown. "I'm on your side! We're wasting our time busting potheads. It's no worse than alcohol. We need to spend that time busting meth freaks. Now if they drive intoxicated, give 'em a DUI, if they sell to kids, bust 'em, but if they're in their own home getting high, leave 'em alone." After I picked my jaw off the floor I gave her a huge hug and told her about Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Her husband is an undercover detective. This time he had a long biker-like goatee. I gave him a pen and said, "next time you sign a ticket, use this pen. I'd love the irony." He says, "I'll do you one better. Next time I have to fill out one of those DEA reports for the pounds of meth I'm trafficking, I'll fill it out with this pen." Beautiful! I've always said that if you let the people have their weed, the need for speed will decrease indeed.

The coup de grace was my Born-Again™ sister-in-law (let's call her "Shaniqua", because it's a funny pseudonym for pasty-faced white girl). I had a long discussion about medical marijuana with her and explained how my wife uses cannabis to treat chronic migraines. Shaniqua said, "I get those, too." I explained how my wife can't take prescription remedies for the pain because she's allergic. Shaniqua said, "I'm allergic to those, too." Then I explained how I've had to take my wife to the emergency room six times for migraines. "Me, too," said Shaniqua. I continued to tell her how the only thing that works is a shot of Demerol, but you can't get a prescription for that, you have to go to the emergency room, it costs an arm and a leg, and you better not make any plans for the next two days because of the Demerol hangover. "Yeah, I know," answered Shaniqua.

So I told Shaniqua about how I convinced my wife, at the time a strongly drug-free woman****, to try the marijuana if she felt a migraine coming on. Sure enough, next aura she felt she puffed a doobie and the headache never came on. From that moment she was convinced and the following month she had her Oregon medical marijuana card. I told Shaniqua that marijuana would probably alleviate her migraine symptoms, as well as her insomnia, anxiety, and stress levels. She replied, "maybe I'll have to try that someday."

I couldn't let that "someday" become "never". I took some of my wife's medicine and rolled it up into a joint. I handed it to Shaniqua and said, "Here's your emergency medical joint. If you feel a migraine coming, try it. But only one puff; this is top-grade Oregon bud."

My brother joked, "don't worry, I'll finish what she doesn't!" I replied, "uh, I kinda doubt it. Unless you plan on hugging the floor and eating Cheetos for the next six hours."

To my surprise, she took the joint and put it in her purse. Shaniqua, my brother's new wife, the Born-Again™ Christian, is now driving around Boise with the devil's weed in her purse. This is a success far beyond what I had anticipated for my family marijuana evangelism. Turns out that my conservative Red State family isn't as uptight about cannabis as I'd feared. With just a little education to dismantle the prohibitionists' propaganda lodged in their brains, they might even come out in support of medical marijuana... in frickin' Idaho!

What does this have to do with GLBT issues? Nothing, unless you can see the parallels in being "out and proud" and having to educate and present a positive influence on the issue to others. So that I don't meander too far "off-blog", I'll just mention that my lesbian great aunt and her partner of 40 years were at the reunion, too. My family doesn't have much anti-gay virulence in them, but they don't exactly celebrate Pride Week, either*****. Everyone knows and loves the two of them, everyone knows their relationship, but nobody talks about it, and both of them are very "straight appearing" women in their late 60s. None of our family genealogy books list my great aunt's partner, which is probably the biggest affront, but to be fair, most genealogical software isn't configured to accept same-sex partnerships in the database (especially the one I use, written by the LDS Church!)

* For who better to write for a blog written by a black female lesbian from the South?

** Next time you see one of these Ten Commandments freaks, ask them to name them. Tell 'em you'll even accept 8 out of ten. Most can't get any more than five.


*** And recent studies have shown no link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer. Marijuana smokers have the same lung cancer rates as the non-smoking population. Furthermore, tobacco smokers who also smoke marijuana show lower lung cancer rates than smoking tobacco alone.

**** I know, hard to believe she married me, huh? Well, her brothers were those stereotypical lazy pothead couch potato slackers, and she didn't want to become that. She'd accepted my marijuana use because I'm successful and gainfully employed. As are most cannabis consumers.

***** You know the type: "I don't have a problem with the gays as long as they don't flaunt it by behaving as if they are normal people who can be affectionate in public, and as long as they don't try to shove their long, throbbing, thick, rock-hard agenda down our throats..."




Kentucky's bigoted governor's in a heap of trouble


A NYT article notes that Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher is an ordained minister, a family doctor and a former fighter pilot.

He's also a politician in a heap of trouble -- he's dragging the state GOP into the toilet. Pols in his party are running for cover.
A year ago, after being accused of illegally forcing Democrats out of state Civil Service jobs and giving the jobs to political loyalists, Mr. Fletcher, a Republican, dismissed the charges as little worse than noodling in March. (Noodling is legal only from June 1 to Aug. 31.)

But 15 indictments later, Mr. Fletcher's administration — including his self-titled Disciples, accused of being the ringleaders of the patronage scheme — is still feeling the sting as his approval ratings drop below 30 percent.

Most of his former backers, including his mentor, Senator Mitch McConnell, have distanced themselves from him, and Democrats point to the case as another example of Republican corruption and overreach. Mr. Fletcher was indicted on three misdemeanor charges; while on vacation in Florida in early June, he had his lawyer enter a plea of not guilty.

...The charges against Mr. Fletcher — conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination — were brought on May 11. The 14 other members of his administration who have been indicted are charged with a total of 23 felonies and 60 misdemeanors for, among other things, criminal conspiracy and evidence tampering. In August 2005, Mr. Fletcher issued a blanket pardon protecting everyone in his administration but himself from prosecution.
Fletcher, you might recall, celebrated 'diversity day' in his state by cutting gays from anti-bias law, citing the inclusion of transgender protection was the problem -- his spokesbot Brett Hall said "These types of special privileges are not only difficult to comply with, but it's very expensive," Hall said, saying it could lead to lawsuits or require the state to build additional restrooms.

The kicker is that Fletcher then gave a speech to students on Diversity Day, saying "It is our diversity that gives us strength."

So these developments couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Hat tip, Holly.


Don Wildmon goes after the NEA

Boy, Don's been getting a woody over the homos quite a lot lately. The latest action alert out of the bowels of the American Family Association is a campaign to blast the National Education Association. At the union's upcoming convention, it will endorse marriage equality.

This sent Wildmon over the edge, with predictable results:
The National Education Association is set to endorse homosexual marriage at their convention coming up in Orlando June 29 through July 6.

The new NEA proposal essentially says schools should support and actively promote homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage (two men and one woman, three women, two women and three men, etc.) in their local schools.

The new proposal, expected to pass overwhelmingly, is found under the B-8 Diversity paragraph:
The Association... believes in the importance of observances, programs and curricula that accurately portray and recognize the roles, contributions, cultures, and history of these diverse groups and individuals.

The Association believes that legal rights and responsibilities with regard to medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, legal immigration, domestic partnerships, and civil unions and/or marriage belong to all these diverse groups and individuals.
Translated, that means the NEA will promote homosexual marriage in every avenue they have available, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. Their plans will include every public school in America.
He calls for his sheeple to forward the alert to parents with children in public schools because "they need to be aware of the plans the NEA has to indoctrinate their children with their pro-homosexual, homosexual marriage agenda," and for teachers who are offended by the NEA's position to find an "alternative teacher's group to help them retain their benefits" -- the Christian Educators Association International.

The mission of that organization, on its web site:
To Serve the Educational Community by Encouraging, Equipping and Empowering Christian Educators in Public and Private Education.

* Proclaim God's word as the source of wisdom and knowledge,
* Portray teaching as a God given calling and ministry,
* Promote educational excellence as an expression of Christian commitment,
* Preserve our Judeo-Christian heritage and values through education,
* Provide a forum on educational issues with a Christian world view.
* Partner with churches, parachurch organizations, educational institutions and parents.

So, if you're not Christian, are you SOL on this one? Don doesn't offer an alternative solution.


Your tax dollars at work



Headline over at Raw Story: Federal contracts up 86% under Bush; Halliburton rises 600%.

Bonus points to Lockheed, which nailed contracts larger than the budget of Congress and the Department of the Interior.

Does your wallet feel curiously light?


Pentagon lists homosexuality as mental disorder

Monday, June 19, 2006

Let's see, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, yet Rummy's crowd still lumps being gay with mental retardation and personality disorders. What about all those queer folks who are serving quite ably? (SFGate):
The document, called a Defense Department Instruction, was condemned by medical professionals, members of Congress and other experts, including the American Psychiatric Association.

"It is disappointing that certain Department of Defense instructions include homosexuality as a 'mental disorder' more than 30 years after the mental health community recognized that such a classification was a mistake," said Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Congress members noted that other Pentagon regulations dealing with mental health do not include homosexuality on any lists of psychological disorders. And in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday, nine lawmakers asked for a full review of all documents and policies to ensure they reflect that same standard.
Blender Paul emailed me: "No problem. I developed this 'disorder' while in the military. I guess that must mean that I qualify for a veteran's disability check, eh?:


Open thread


Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush reacts in this combination picture as Merchant Marine Academy graduate Gabriel Whitney of Nashua, New Hampshire, gives him a big hug after Whitney received his degree at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point in New York, June 19, 2006. Bush addressed the Academy's 2006 graduating class. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

Reuters' Jason Reed has a lot of fun with Dear Leader. You can see more here.


Psychic powers are demonic

A couple of days ago I posted about this numnut fundie who believed that practicing yoga could lead to demonic possession of unsuspecting Christians (Will my head spin around during downward dog?). Dave Hunt noted that "you must always have your guru present when you get into this state of consciousness, because you could be taken over by some evil entity."

Now the author of Yoga and the Body of Christ is taking on the topic of psychic powers and demons.
A Christian author says that Christians have no right to make use of psychic powers. Dave Hunt, who co-leads The Berean Call ministry, says believers should have nothing to do with psychics or their powers. While acknowledging that many psychics are fake and use tricks to deceive clients, Hunt believes some psychics are used by demons to make destructive predictions.

He believes assassin Sirhan Sirhan, for example, had demonic psychic powers and predicted the day that Robert F. Kennedy died. "You have to really be a master at this and have given yourself over to come up with any degree of accuracy," he says. "Nevertheless, Satan can make predictions of a destructive nature." And Satan can predict some evil things and "have his people that he is controlling bring them to pass," explains Hunt, "but he can't predict any good things."
Does anyone have strait jackets handy for these folks?


Fundies blowing a gasket


New Episcopal church leader says homosexuality no sin. She's coming out strong off the bat...
Newly elected leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Monday she believed homosexuality was no sin and homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.

Jefferts Schori, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected on Sunday as the first woman leader of the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church. the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. She will formally take office later this year.

Interviewed on CNN, Jefferts Schori was asked if it was a sin to be homosexual.

"I don't believe so. I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us," she said. "Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."
How long did it take for an eruption to occur on the right? Not long...
Rev. Kendall Harmon, a conservative Episcopal leader, tells Associated Press that the new presiding bishop was chosen with complete disregard for Episcopalians who disagree. "We have whole pockets of this church that don't agree with the ordination of women," says Harmon. "Nobody brought up the pain."

Rev. Martyn Minns, another conservative Episcopal leader, says the election of Jefferts Schori will deepen the Episcopal Church's divisions with other Anglican churches over Robinson's confirmation. "She voted for Gene Robinson and supports same-sex blessings," the clergyman says. "She'll bring into sharp relief the difference between being an Episcopalian and being an Anglican."

...Rev. David Anderson, who heads the conservative American Anglican Council, says "mom and pop are leaving" the Episcopal Church. He says, "we're seeing the erosion at a consistent rate."
Dare I slog through Freeperville? The holy rollers are out in full force...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Eliminate sin by defining nothing as sin. Satan must be very satisfied.

According to ECUSA, believing in the existence os sin is the only sin.

Just another smorgasboard Christian church. What next? Will she say it’s OK to marry my Cocker Spaniel?

Schori = Apostate

My MILs gonna have a cow! That's her church!

Mix just enough truth with damnable lies and gullible people are dying to drink it.

She's right. Homosexuality (i.e. attraction to members of the same sex) is not a sin. The sin is sodomy.

I guess Leviticus 18 has been removed their Bibles.

Of course it's okay. God put animals on this earth to be loved./sarcasm

She's right. Homosexuality (i.e. attraction to members of the same sex) is not a sin.

I suppose that is correct. I am attracted to sin. I may not ACT on that impulse and I SHOULD pray to have that inward desire removed.I may want to eat of the tree of Good and Evil but as long as I eschew I did not sin.

(Interviewed on CNN, Jefferts Schori was asked if it was a sin to be homosexual. "I don't believe so. I believe that God creates us with different gifts.)

1) Apparantly one of those gifts is for certain guys to place their genitals into the rectal orifice of another guy.

2) If she doesn't think it's a sin I suggest she re-read her Bible. Or is that dusty old book just mean't as "guidelines" to ECUSA?

I wonder if she thinks there's such a thing as adultery.

The Labradors and I are waiting for our day in family court so the adoption will be legal! We want equal rights too! /sarc

I could be wrong (it happens on rare occasions!!), but if I recall correctly, if you have sinned in your heart, it is counted against you as if you had done the sin in actuality. Jesus looks at what is in our hearts, and judges us accordingly. I am sure that if I have gotten this piece of theology incorrect, someone will gently and diplomatically correct me!!

However, attraction to members of the same sex is more a condition. Think of homosexuality as a disorder. A disordered sexuality, for "God made them man and woman". Those afflicted with this disorder are required to live chaste lives, as is anyone outside the married state, for that matter.

I wonder how long until she throws out the other nine commandments.

Yes, you're right, but being tempted is not a sin. It is acting on that temptation that is the sin, whether that act is in thought or deed.

Most adults are probably guilty of sodomy. Not just homosexuals.

Yes -I watched the interview and she parsed her words well; however, she objectively did not take the opportunity to add in the portion you necessarily knew was required for completeness e.g. "the sin is sodomy" nor did she even hint at stating the objective reality that homosexuality is a disordered condition...

What they SHOULD have asked her (but never would because it was CNN asking the questions) was if she believed that if the attraction to one's own sex is not a sin, was it a sin to be attracted to animals or other non-human beings? It's in Lev, right after it says that it's an abomination for a man to lay with another man as a woman. Any chance she would answer that? I am NOT holding my breath.

Now this woman wants me to believe that being queer is a 'gift'??? Gays, lesbians, bi's and trannys are now to be considered a 'blessing'??? Beam me up Scotty.

Sadly, it won't shock me, if sometime in the future these people embrace pedophiles and claim "They were just given a different 'gift'"

The daughter of satan shall rule with benevolence over her flock which eventually will consist only of perverts.

This bitch of a bishop must know exactly what she's doing as well as those evil ones who appointed her.
Hat tip, Kevin.


Big fun coming up at the NC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

I just got the word from my contact on the festival program committee (and a regular Blend reader) that Margaret Cho and Tab Hunter will be appearing at the 11th Annual North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF) on August 10-13 at the historic Carolina Theatre in Durham.



Margaret will perform at the opening night event, along with LISP, "the World's Greatest Gay Rapper." Tab Hunter will host a special screening of Paul Bartel's Lust in the Dust on 8/12. He will hold a Q&A session as well as sign copies of his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential : The Making of a Movie Star (Algonquin Books, $24.95). Tab's also the guest of honor at the festival's reception.

The NCGLFF has been held since 1995; it's the second largest LGBT film festival in the Southeast -- and the biggest queer event in the state. It's a roaring great time -- queer Durham comes alive. There are folks I've met at the festival who drive in for the weekend from points all over the South to be out proud and take in a marathon of moviegoing.

This year's festival includes 60 films from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain and other countries. There will be 4 world premieres, 8 Southeastern premieres and 47 North Carolina premieres featured at the fest.

For more information on films, schedules and festival updates, surf over to www.carolinatheatre.org. or http://festivals.carolinatheatre.org/ncglff.

Tickets go on sale Monday, July 17 at 11 a.m.


Another Dem with a spine located


Angie Paccione (l) has a chance to unseat the unforgivable bigot Musgrave, sponsor of the Marriage Protection Act.

She's State Rep. Angie Paccione, who is up against homobigot Marilyn Musgrave in the race for Colorado's Fourth Congressional District.

Musgrave, incidentally, is a vulnerable candidate, with her negative job approval rating at 59%. Paccione blasts Marilyn on her web site.
"Just whose marriage will be saved by Marilyn Musgrave? This is utterly disingenuous, discriminatory, and dishonorable," Paccione said. "The voters aren't going to be fooled by this pathetic attempt to distract our attention from scandals rocking the White House and Congress, the quagmire in Iraq, and skyrocketing gas prices."

...Gay couples made a convenient target for Musgrave when she introduced a similar bill in 2004, breaking her promise not to focus on social wedge issues. Now she’s at it again, breaking a similar promise she made last year not to push for legislation.

"Marilyn needed a scapegoat, someone she could lay the blame on for all of her shortcomings and all the nation’s problems," Paccione said. "Once again, she chose decent, hardworking Americans minding their own business."

Paccione also expressed concern that Musgrave is "making a mockery of the Constitution to satisfy her personal obsession" with gay marriage. The proposed amendment would be the only constitutional amendment that actually permits discrimination, she said.

"Her desire for the federal government to control what we do with our private lives is completely at odds not only with traditional Republican ideals, but more importantly with America's deeply valued belief in liberty and the protection of privacy."
Icing on the cake: daddy-of-a-homo Darth Cheney didn't mind shilling for Musgrave back in May at a fundraiser, calling her "exactly the right person for the job." He raised $200K for horrid woman, who's pushing an amendment that directly affects his daughter. Family values and loyalty indeed.

Paccione also took on one of her unhinged colleagues, Rep. Jim Welker (R-Loveland), when the lunatic said proclaimed same-sex marriage promotes bestiality.

Paccione's website: http://www.angie2006.com/

Hat tip, Eva, who also points to Doogman's pad, where he has pictures of what is most certainly a Musgrave supporter...here's one:



With friends like Blanco...


REUTERS/Lee Celano

Faux Dem Gov. Kathleen Blanco knelt before the womb control advocates and signed a strict abortion ban into law, which would apply to all abortions, even in cases of incest or rape.

The kicker is that although she wanted those exceptions, she supported this law anyway, citing the "overwhelming" support for the bill.
The Louisiana ban would take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Medicaid, which provides health benefits for the poor and disabled, requires funding for abortions in cases of rape or incest. Louisiana would allow those exceptions so long as it was required for Medicaid funding.

Seven states have such abortion trigger laws, and Louisiana already had a trigger law, although abortion legislation has been blocked by courts. The new law would mean the ban would happen quicker in the case of a new Supreme Court decision.
The bible beaters were elated -- look at the reaction of the forced childbirth proponents.
"We are so proud that Democrats led this effort," said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life. “We commend Senators Broome, Mount, Nevers and the other pro-life democratic Senators and Representatives who led this effort and truly represented the view of voters of Louisiana."

"I commend the Democrats and the Louisiana legislature," said former Louisiana Congressman Chris John. "It is a fight worth fighting in the state and in Washington as I did while serving in the United States Congress. The work compliments our mutual goal to end abortion."
In Louisiana, doctors performing them could receive a ten-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $100,000. As with all of these anti-choice laws, the women who want an abortion are not penalized, nor the man responsible for impregnating her who may want to terminate the pregnancy. Just wait. I'm sure that the fundies will work on that bit of business next...


Sleaze now sorry he outed Clay for pay

I'll preface this bit of news by saying I don't watch American Idol. I think I may have caught a couple of episodes -- Kate couldn't take it and switched it off, lololol.

I think John Paulus is looking to extend his 15 minutes of fame. You might remember the sordid outing of American Idol finalist Clay Aiken last year. Paulus told The National Enquirer that he had a one-night stand with the Tar Heel singer.

The former Green Beret's story was that he met Aiken at a hotel in North Carolina, after Aiken chatted him up online and asked him to be his "discreet bf (boyfriend)." Paulus allegedly saved a washrag with Clay's, ahem, DNA on it as proof of the encounter. And now he's sorry about it all. (MSNBC):
"I regret defying the trust of Clay;" Paulus writes on his blog. "I regret hurting him, his family and his fans; I regret that I started a blog that ridiculed him. ... I apologize to Clay for that and I hope he will accept." Aiken’s rep didn’t return The Scoop’s calls for comment.

Paulus also claims that in a "very callow and selfish moment" he passed along the story to the National Enquirer, then changed his mind and tried to get the tab to kill it, and even took legal measures to stop it, sending a cease-and-desist letter to the Enquirer. That’s not quite the way the editors at the tab remember it. “Our reporter couldn't get him off the phone," National Enquirer editor David Perel told The Scoop.
Of course, after that story broke, the devoted Claymate fans threw a tantrum and filed a complaint, citing 'false advertising':
They allege that employees of RCA, Sony/BMG, and Aiken himself "engaged in collusion to prevent public disclosures they believed might be harmful to their product".

The angry ladies go on to state, "This is tantamount to a manufacturer concealing information about a defective product. Therefore these actions were both unfair and deceptive to consumers."
There was no comment from the Aiken camp on this story.

As I mentioned when the first story broke, I don't know whether coming out on his own would hurt Aiken's career. What makes the matter difficult is that Aiken and his imagemakers courted the vanilla pop idol crowd, which would include a large slice of the bible-beaters. And we all know the fundies will turn on a dime on anything gay.

The Fox folks are keenly aware of the undercurrent of gossip about the initial scandal and issued a warning to entertainment journalists covering the last AI finale not to "question or solicit comment from Clay Aiken regarding his recent scandal will result in their being barred from the finale."

* Claymate heartbreak?


Exported 'purity'

We're polluting the UK with our AmTaliban batsh*ttery -- The Silver Ring Thing, a ludicrous virginity pledge organization that is critical of contraception, has set up shop across the pond. (Observer):
Hundreds of British teenagers are thought to have gone through courses organised by the Silver Ring Thing, created a decade ago by two Christian activists in Arizona as a response to rising teenage pregnancies. It promotes abstinence before marriage and sexual fidelity within it, using Bible teachings and DVD clips to emphasise the horrors of sexually transmitted diseases and abortions.

At the end of the course, children prepared to pledge chastity can pay £10 for a silver purity ring to be given to their spouse on their wedding day: even non-virgins can be 'born again'.

US President George Bush has heavily advocated abstinence teaching, budgeting $170 million a year for it. However, research by Columbia and Yale Universities found while those who pledge chastity may delay first sex, 88 per cent of them eventually break the promise, and are then less likely than non-pledgers to use contraception.
The chastity rings have rubbed school officials the wrong way and the jewelry has been banned as a violation of the dress code policies, which prohibit jewelry. It's not a pretty sight, as the fundies are objecting to the ban on religious freedom grounds.
But the decision by one of the country's top state schools to ban American-style 'purity rings' - increasingly worn by Christian teenagers to symbolise a pledge not to have sex before marriage - has prompted not just a standoff with local parents, but a debate over religious expression and sex education.

Heather and Philip Playfoot have spent almost two years in dispute with Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, over their 15-year-old daughter Lydia's ring. While the school's uniform rules forbid jewellery, they argue that the rings - given to teenagers who complete a controversial evangelical church course preaching sexual abstinence - hold genuine religious significance.
The conservative political element has jumped into the fray as well.
The issue has now been taken up by the Tory MP Andrew Selous, chair of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, who raised the wearing of purity rings with the Schools Minister Jim Knight in the House of Commons last week.

...Selous said while many schools banned jewellery he did not see a problem with purity rings, adding: 'Given that the government is failing to achieve its teenage pregnancy targets, you would have thought that schools would do everything in their power to help children help themselves.'

However Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society defended the school, adding: 'If the school has the uniform policy I don't see why it should make an exception for this. I'm deeply distrustful of these Silver Ring Thing-type initiatives: the research is quite clear that they don't work.'
Personally, I don't see a problem with these kids wearing the rings; it's not inhibiting them from learning, nor is it distracting in the classroom if ignored. The significance of this story is yet another example of the ambitions of our fundies -- exporting ignorance and a homegrown flavor of moralism around the globe. Sad.

Related:
* Fundies, one more time -- virginity pledges are failing
* Falwell's legal boy still pouting over Silver Ring Thing's funding being yanked
* Virginity pledge org busted by feds for proselytizing on your dime
* Score one against abstinence-only ed
* Newsflash: fundies are f*cking before marriage


U.S. Episcopal Chuch taps woman for top post

Well, you can't say the Episcopal church isn't stirring the pot! (Reuters):
The U.S. Episcopal Church chose Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on Sunday as its first woman leader, a move unprecedented in the Anglican church and one likely to produce more turmoil in a faith divided over the ordination of an openly gay bishop.

Her election came 30 years after the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. The selection seemed likely to provoke controversy, since most other Anglican communities, including the Church of England, do not allow women bishops.

...Jefferts Schori, 52, is the bishop of the Diocese of Nevada. She will be installed at a ceremony in Washington's National Cathedral later this year.

Her selection won immediate praise from Integrity USA, an organization representing Episcopalian gays. "We look forward to continuing the process of working closely with the presiding bishop toward the full inclusion of the gay and lesbian faithful in the Body of Christ," said the Rev. Susan Russell, head of the group. "The historic election ... is something for us and the whole church to celebrate."


And what about this?

Dear Leader's wasted billions on his Big Iraq Adventure where there were no WMDs, and now look at what's been brewing on the other side of the globe with loony Kim Jong Il.
North Korea appeared close Sunday to test-firing a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States, prompting the White House to warn of an appropriate response and Japan to threaten a "fierce" protest to the United Nations.

North Korea was silent on the issue but vowed to bolster its "military deterrent" in a burst of fiery rhetoric carried by its state news agency.

..."If they go ahead with a test, then we will have to respond properly and appropriately at the time," Snow told CNN's "Late Edition." Asked if he could explain what that meant, Snow replied, "No."


The fundies won't win in the end

Sunday, June 18, 2006

An eye-opening recent column by Cokie and Steve Roberts -- two pretty centrist stalwarts -- on their evolution to support same-sex marriage after long-time friends of theirs decided to get hitched, is another sign that the fundies cannot win the culture war.
As we approach our own 40th anniversary, we believe in marriage more than ever. It might not be right for all people all of the time, but it’s right for most people most of the time, whatever their sexual orientation, and friends like Kevin and Grant have convinced us to alter our views and support gay marriage.

We’ve always supported civil unions, which give same-sex couples certain legal rights. But we shared the concerns of our good friend, Rep. Barney Frank, an outspoken gay leader, who worried that America was not ready for gay marriage.

His fears are still justified in many parts of the country. And we don’t think religious institutions should be forced to perform or recognize same-sex ceremonies.

But the trend line is clear. According to the Gallup poll, 39 percent of Americans now approve of gay marriage, an increase of 12 points over the last decade. Despite all the over-heated rhetoric about gays "undermining" marriage, real-world experience tells a very different story.
Terrance of The Republic of T has a great post on this that you should read. A snippet...
Here’s that poll that Cokie and Steve cited in their column, which also shows that opposition to same-sex marriage has dropped from 64% to 51% since February of 2004. That’s pretty much during the same period during which the president and his supporters have tried to convince the country that we’re some kind of orgiastic cabal hell-bent on destroying civilization during whatever spare time we have between orgasms. (And according to what I’m reading these days, that’s a paranoia that goes back to the Dark Ages and beyond, when the church was the state.) So if you think about it, they’ve thrown almost everything they have at the issue, and still opposition to same-sex marriage has gone down and support for marriage equality has gone up.

Pair that with my previous post concerning Deb Price’s column about younger people (younger voters, we hope) becoming more gay-friendly with each generation and more supportive of same-sex marriage and/or civil unions. Then imagine where public opinion will probably be ten years from now. While you’re imagining that, know that the other side has already imagined. They’ve seen the writing on the wall and that’s why they’re considering more desperate measures like a constitutional convention. They know it’s now or never for them on this issue. They know that the next generations will probably be the one’s to make same-sex marriage a reality, and to overturn most of the anti-gay marriage laws in the states once those laws are inevitably challenged.
As I've said before, coming out and opening up dialog with coworkers, neighbors and family -- personal interaction -- is already paying off; corporate America recognizes the value of gay employees and the gay market.

The major problem -- stalling even more progress -- is that gays and lesbians cannot count on open political support from establishment politicians. These idiots refuse to openly stand up for full civil equality for gays, preferring to remain behind the curve, and hiding behind a position opposing a constitutional amendment until it's "safe" to be pro-gay. They are worried about soothing the 700 Club crowd instead of living up to the core progressive values.

They could lead, but they don't want to, even as they hold their hat out for queer dollars, and as they whisper in our ear that "we're with you, just be patient while I stroke this fundie over here." It doesn't wash, and the fundies see through it too. The only conclusion to draw from the mad-dash away from the issue is that these otherwise progressive politicians truly have weighed that screwing over gays to obtain and retain power is preferable to standing up for principles, believing we have nowhere else to go. Terrance:
Well, we should remember just who stood up and who ran scared, leaving us on our own. We should keep a list of names, check it when elections roll around, and deliver or withhold our support accordingly.
It's sad to see such timidity when all the signs are there that the public is ready for leadership and reframing on this issue, based on the tone of the Roberts's column, and other progress we have seen. Aside from the sorry few politicians at the national level (Feingold, Kennedy) willing to speak out, the silence by most others signals inertia, incompetence and apathy regarding the impact of the denial of civil equality on LGBT citizens.

Also:
* More squirming from Dems on equality



Dobson's gender issues analyst distorts study on lesbian suicides


Melissa Fryrear, professional "ex-gay" and cog in the Focus on the Anus wheel, is pulling more ridiculous theories out of her rear. Dan at Ex Gay Watch came across this attempt to use a study on lesbian youth and suicide to bolster the case for the need for reparative therapy. It's pathetic.
Last week Focus on the Family published an article in which gender issues analyst and "former homosexual" Melissa Fryrear blames "pro-gay advocates" for high suicide rates among lesbian youth:
The survey revealed that nearly four out of 10 lesbian girls say they have attempted suicide in the last year, compared to 8.2 percent of heterosexual girls.

Melissa Fryrear said there's a reason why the numbers are so high.

"Regrettably, they think they have to embrace homosexuality because pro-gay advocates told them that they were born gay,"
she said. "And that is absolutely not true."
Wayne Besen actually called up the study's author, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor at the University of British Columbia, to tell her about Fryrear's claims, and she said:
"Nothing in the brief results we presented or in our overall study could lead to such conclusions...Population surveys cannot determine cause and effect...they can only suggest possible links. Even so, other researchers have not found these sorts of links, and neither have we."


Stop the anti-gay horrors abroad

Mike Tidmus is rallying bloggers to spread the word about Michael Petrelis's plan for a vigil in San Francisco to mark the hanging of the two teenaged boys in Iran last July (the 19th).

The purpose of the vigil is to demand Iran's leaders respect the human rights of its gay citizens, to remember Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, the two gays hanged and demand an end to the death penalty. Please join me in publicly standing up on July 19 for gays in Iran and in exile, many of whom face state-sanctioned torture and execution.

If you live the San Francisco Bay Area, make a promise to show up at Harvey Milk Plaza on July 19. And for people elsewhere around the world, consider organizing a vigil and speak out at your local Iranian embassy or consulate, if one exists where you live.
The Pet Shop Boys have dedicated one of their songs from their new album to the boys.

And Mike Tidmus reminds us what this is important.
If you doubt that we GLBT people have “less-fortunate family members abroad,” you haven’t been reading this blog, or Doug Ireland, or Michael Petrelis, or the UK Gay News, or the Pink News, 365Gay News or PageOne Q. Gay people are under violent attack in every country run by religion-crazed fascist zealots from Afghanistan to Poland to Latvia to Iran to Iraq to Nigeria to Zimbabwe. I could go on, believe me. The extremist religious right in the US pales by comparison to these primitive superstitious cultures.


Saturday night open thread - this and that

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Does anyone have anything interesting planned for the rest of the weekend?

Kate and I, deviant dykes that we are -- hellbent on cultural destruction -- plan on pulling weeds out of the flower beds, clipping hedges and doing laundry tomorrow, weather permitting. We may take in a movie if we are good girls and get all our chores done, cook dinner and eat on the deck. Hardy partying, huh?

A few things that came in the mailbag today...


* Boy, is it any surprise that a former "family values" lobbyist for Tony Perkins' Family Research Council was caught allegedly offering $1000 for some three-way lesbo action? Apparently Jack Burkman isn't too bright (or perhaps only thinking with "little Jack", since he propositioned the two women at DC Pride, handing out a business card with his real name and contact info on it. Wonkette has more. (H/t Americablog, -- thanks, Holly)

* Fellow Triangle resident and ace science blogger Bora (a.k.a. Coturnix) now has a base at A Blog Around the Clock, which hopes to expand to a 100-blogger coalition by year's end. He's also running/participating in a drive for DonorsChoose.org, which will help provide funds to assist public school teachers in providing books, equipment, and field trips that to spur and encourage interest in science. Go check out the project and the list of participating bloggers. Bora:
A bunch of us at ScienceBlogs have set up Bloggers Challenges which will let us (and that includes you) contribute to worthy school projects in need of financial assistance. We'll be able to track our progress right on the DonorsChoose site. And -- because we like a little friendly competition -- we'll be updating you periodically as to which blogger's readers are getting his or her challenge closest to its goal.

You don't need to give a barrel of money to help the kids -- as little as $10 can help. You're joining forces with a bunch of other people, and all together, your small contributions can make a big difference.

* King Cranky sent in this one from the UK -- sorry news that anti-gay crime is on the rise:
Two men who punched and kicked a gay barman to death as if they were " trying to kill an animal" were jailed for a minimum of 28 years yesterday.

The sentencing came as it emerged that the number gay-hate crime cases being dealt with by the courts almost doubled in the past year, to 600 investigations. But campaigners warn that the prosecution rate represents a fraction of the true scale of the problem.

Jody Dobrowski, a 24-year-old barman, sustained 33 separate injuries during the attack on Clapham Common in October last year. His killers, Thomas Pickford, 25, and Scott Walker, 33, showed no emotion as they were jailed for life after admitting to the murder at the Old Bailey. The court heard how Mr Dobrowski's body was beaten so severely that his family did not recognise him, and had to identify him by his fingerprints.
* Mad Kane talks about Ann's Master Plan

* Paul pointed out that Raw Story has a number of great items up today, including:
-- Rove says Left uses Web to 'mobilize hate and anger': you have to read this -- he's off his rocker.

-- New Bush policy adviser said jail abortion doctors. Domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister's perfectly comfortable with the idea.

-- From the "they all look alike" department - Tony Snow does it again. He had to apologize yesterday for confusing the identity of Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), with Representative McKinney (D-GA).

* Hair wars. Yet again, selective bigotry regarding grooming policy and "ethnic hairstyles," this time at Six Flags America. (H/t, Teddy):
It's right there, under "Extreme Hairstyles," in the 2006 seasonal handbook for Six Flags America employees: no dreadlocks, tails, partially shaved heads "or any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags theming." Braids "must be in neat, even rows and without beads or other ornaments," the amusement park handbook advises.

...That prompted Tim Bivins, 18, who has worked at Six Flags America in Largo for two years, to cut several inches off his hair this spring and pay $50 to have it braided into cornrows. Not good enough, he was told. Cut the braids shorter or go home.

..."This is culturally very, very insensitive and possibly discrimination," said King Downing, coordinator of the ACLU's national campaign against racial profiling. "The question is, how long do we have to keep going around and around with this when it comes to people of African descent and the natural style of the hair that they wear?"

.."Why not point out mohawk or mullet [styles], too?" [Editor of Nappy News Linda] Jones asked. "They only specify dreadlocks, and who is more likely to wear those styles? Are they saying that styles that aren't in keeping with the European aesthetic are not professional?"


GOP campaign manager guilty of 'corruption of minors'



How's that for a item on a Rethug resume? This guy gets triple Conservative Values Monitor points for also being a minister and a cop. Ding! Ding! Ding! (ABC's Blotter):
A man convicted of "corruption of minors" after being accused of having sex with two teenage girls is working as the campaign manager for a Republican candidate for Congress in Arizona, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

Steve Aiken, a former Quakertown, Pa. police officer and self-proclaimed reverend (and Christian youth counselor), was convicted of two counts of corruption of a minor stemming from his 1995 sexual relationships with two teenage girls. He served almost two-and-a-half months at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

...Aiken is listed as campaign manager for Randy Graf, a Republican in a five-way primary for the Congressional seat in Arizona's 8th district.
Actually, he gets quadruple bonus points, because on his website he also describes himself as "leader of conservative thought," and has worked as a spokesman for crazy homophobe Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition. Brian Ross also reports that Aiken's site displays
...photos of himself with leading Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush, Tom Delay, and Pat Buchanan.

Since his conviction, Aiken also has worked as a spokesperson for the Traditional Values Coalition, a Washington lobby group that represents over 43,000 churches.  A spokesman for the Coalition would only say, "He is no longer with us."
The pictures are shameless, too. There's even one of him standing in front of the smoldering Pentagon, pointing at it, after 9/11.

You really have to wonder about this guy -- his website includes a "help wanted" section, inviting HS and college kids to volunteer as interns on the weekly radio program that he hosts in Tucson.


Two very different views of the same story

This story was in the news a couple of days ago, and I was waiting to see when the wingnuts would erupt over it. First, the story as it was reported in the Washington Blade.
Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich on June 15 replaced his state's representative on the board of directors of the D.C. area Metro subway and bus system after news surfaced that Robert J. Smith referred to gay men and lesbians as "sexual deviants."

"Robert Smith's comments were highly inappropriate, insensitive and unacceptable," the Republican governor said in a statement released by his office. "They are in direct conflict to my administration's commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance and opportunity," the governor said.

Ehrlich's decision to replace Smith, an architect and Republican Party activist from Montgomery County, came less than four hours after D.C. Council member Jim Graham demanded Smith's resignation over the remark.
Who do you think was all over this story first -- you know who it is, the man who specializes in all things homo, our penis-possessing friend Bob Knight of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute. It's been a busy week for him; he must have every gay site in his newsreader, waiting to bleat out pithy quotes for any reporter who rings him up.

Here's the distinctly different coverage by the Wildmon's "fact"-filled web rage, AgapePress.
In Washington, DC, a member of the Metro Transit Authority Board has lost his job for referring to homosexual behavior as "deviant." Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich fired his appointee to the board, Robert Smith, after another member of the board, who is an open homosexual, complained. Smith said he made the remark while taking part in a local cable TV program about a proposed ban on same-sex "marriage." He says his personal beliefs have nothing to do with running trains and buses and have not affected his decisions on the board.

Reacting to the incident, Bob Knight [damn, has he nothing better to do?!] of the Washington, DC-based Culture and Family Institute (CFI) says Governor Ehrlich has "given in to the bullying of homosexual activists" -- and ought to be "ashamed of himself" for having done so. Those activists, Knight says, are "basically saying 'You agree with us, or you can't be in public life anymore' -- and the governor has bought right into that. We can't allow these bullies to tell us what to believe and where we can serve."

The CFI spokesman feels the governor's actions are telling. "Given that there's an openly homosexual man serving on the same board, and Governor Ehrlich hasn't moved to remove him for his 'peculiar' activities [WTF?!], we can only conclude that the governor values homosexuality more than he does traditional Roman Catholic belief, or traditional Christian belief for that matter," says Knight. Smith, he adds, "is merely voicing his Catholic beliefs that are shared by millions of people in this country," and should be reinstated.


'What Does GOP Stand For?' Contest

Head over to Perrspectives -- Jon is holding a 'What Does GOP Stand For?' contest:
The contest is simple. Tell us what you think the three-letter acronym "GOP" now stands for. With the one-time budget balancers now the budget busters and the isolationists now nation builders, what does GOP mean? Has the "Grand Old Party" become "God's Own Party?" Greed Over Patriotism? Gauging Oil Prices? Gays On Pitchforks? Got Only Probation? Guilty On Plame?

First prize for the most creative, original, irreverent or entertaining GOP definition is an iPod Shuffle. Second place earns you a $50 Amazon gift certificate. And the third place finisher will receive a Perrspectives "Conservative Threat Level" t-shirt.


I have a "Conservative Threat Level" t-shirt -- it's a hoot.


sHillary fright factor - open thread

From Raw Story:

New Fox News poll will put Clinton among most 'feared' possible presidential contenders.

Clinton had the highest "fright" factor among Republicans, at 58%. Independents also feared Clinton 2-1 over Giuliani, 25% to 12%. Among Democrats, Clinton came in as the second most feared candidate, trailing former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani by just 7 points.
Have at it...

***

This open thread is brought to you by Blenders Konagod and Txrad, who kindly surprised me with a gift in the mail! Kate and I just checked my offsite mailbox and had a wonderfully fragrant bag of Texas coffee awaiting us. Truth be told, I'm actually not the big coffee drinker in the house (I'm the English Breakfast tea nut), but we will be serving it at our next brunch! Yum.

BTW, Kate has relatives in Austin, so the next time I'm down there, I'll look you (and Amanda of Pandagon) up! Any other Austin folks out there? Perhaps there will be a critical enough mass to do a Blend meetup. :)


If only...

Blogenfreude asks an excellent question about the she-beast's fish-wrapper -- What If Coulter's Publisher Had To Pull The Book?

The floodgates have opened and numerous instances of plagiarism in Godless have been uncovered, thanks to several folks, including The Rude Pundit. The contact info of her publisher, Crown, is up -- does this place have any fact-checkers? Do they care?

Ron Brynaert also reported on this as well, both at his pad and Raw Story.


Fired for cohabitating

From Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, the story of a holy roller rink.
The owners of a roller skating rink have fired an 18-year-old woman they called one of their "Top 10" employees because she moved in with her boyfriend, violating a company ethics policy that prohibits "live-in relationships of an intimate nature."

"I loved my job and I didn't want to leave," Crystal Plotner told the Coeur d'Alene Press this week.

She said she was fired after casually telling her bosses, Skate Plaza owners Marvin and Pat Miller, that she planned to move in with her boyfriend in mid-May.

Pat Miller praised Plotner, saying that "In all the years that we've employed people, she was one of the Top 10. It was a sad day when she left because everybody loved her." But Miller added, "We've had our (employee) handbook out for many years and it does say if you live in an immoral way with a member of the opposite sex or same sex, you will be terminated."
Some of the other highlights of the Skate Plaza's moral and ethics clauses:

* "We have a 4-inch rule". (what's that about!?)
* no petting, necking or bad language
* no public displays of promiscuous activities, homosexuality, intoxication, use of profanity, lewd behavior, use of illegal drugs, child abuse, spouse abuse, unlawful relationships, cross-dressing, stalking and nudity.

Miller was able to can Plotner because it's not illegal to fire someone for marital status (or, as we all know, for letting someone go because of sexual orientation or gender identity). Anti-cohabitation statutes are still on the books in many places, and there are plenty of wingnuts who don't want them rolled back. Take this clown at RenewAmerica, David N. Bass "a twenty-year-old home school graduate, a committed Christian, and a proud conservative."
Social conservatives are so preoccupied with the battle to prevent judicial activists from reinventing the definition of marriage that they're losing sight of a trend already wreaking untold havoc on the nuclear family — cohabitation.

Also known as "shacking up" or "playing house," this non-matrimonial experiment has grown in the United States from the frowned-upon custom of a small minority to a socially acceptable living arrangement practiced by over ten million people. And those who remain steadfast in condemning the practice are routinely ostracized and ridiculed as hopelessly out of step with the sexual mores of our time.

A legal battle taking place in North Carolina illustrates this growing quagmire that is mixing culture, religion, and morals into a ubiquitous soup. According to the Associated Press, a North Carolina Superior Court judge in early February approved the continuation of a lawsuit challenging state General Statute § 14-184, which forbids unmarried couples from living together on penalty of a misdemeanor charge. Spearheaded by the ACLU of North Carolina, the suit was filed on behalf of a former police dispatcher, who left her position after being told by her supervisor to stop cohabiting, marry her live-in boyfriend, or find another job. The legal challenge seeks to have the cohabitation statute declared unconstitutional.
Hat tip, Paul.


Macy's apologizes for yanking mannequins from Pride display

Friday, June 16, 2006

Actually in this Boston Herald article, they are claiming that the mannequins were pulled "due to a miscommunication." Why can't these people just admit they had their heads up their keisters on this one?

After sparking a firestorm of protests for yanking two “gay” mannequins from a Downtown Crossing display window last week, a top Macy’s official issued an open letter to the gay and lesbian community apologizing for the move, and denying that the store bowed to pressure from a group that opposes gay marriage.

In the letter, Ron Klein, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s East, said the mannequins were pulled from the Boston Pride Week window display by mistake.

“When the controversy arose over the content of our display, the decision was made to maintain the display with no change,” Klein said in the letter, published by gay publications including In Newsweekly and Bay Windows yesterday.

The dummies, one with a rainbow pride flag wrapped around its waist, were pulled due to “miscommunication,” Klein said.
See my earlier post on this. At the time the mannequins were pulled a Macy's spokesbot said that they were removed "to strike a balance." That doesn't sound like a miscommunication to me.


Fundamentalist whackjob Brian Camenker of MassResistance/Article 8 the intial protests, and has been taking credit for the removal of the mannequins. He's still puffing up his chest and threatening to start up and email campaign to punish Macy's for apologizing.


What a f*cking lowlife...

When Robert Knight (him again?!), the penis-possessing director of Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute opened up his conservative Moonie Washington Times this week, he also took a look at its weekly newspaper insert, American Profile.

What Bob saw shocked the knickers off of him -- it contained a full page advertisement promoting the Lifetime cable channel's movie "A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story." On a radio broadcast, he refers to it as a "drastic departure from the mission statement of American Profile" (as a family-oriented publication).

Bob was particularly disgusted by the poster, which says "When your son believes he was meant to be a girl, you challenge him, you fight him, you accept him, you love her." He called the movie a "direct attack on the difference between the sexes" and "promotes transgenderism."



I listed to the whole audio clip and it was disgusting. He mentions nothing of the horrible, brutal killing of Araujo. He does, however, urge his fellow fundies to deluge American Profile with letters telling them how depraved they are for running the ad.

The film, which stars J.D. Pardo and Mercedes Ruehl, looks like a really sensitive portrayal of Araujo's struggle.
Imagine feeling like you're trapped in the wrong body, that there's been some sort of mistake — that you're supposed to be a girl instead of a boy. How would you tell your family and friends that you wanted to change genders? Would you bring it up with someone you had a crush on? And what would you do when society not only refused to accept the new you, but was violent toward you? Well, Eddie Araujo didn't know the answers, but he did know he was supposed to be female, so he began to dress as a girl and changed his name to Gwen.
It premieres on June 19 at 9 PM. You can see a preview on Lifetime's site in the Video Lounge.

H/t, Jeremy.


Open thread - caption the dance

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Actual caption: President Bush greets a guest as White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten plays bass guitar with his band 'The Compassionates' at the White House Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House, June 15, 2006. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)


Iowa congressman deep-sixes fed funding for G&L center

This is why the wingers need to be tossed out of office.

PageOneQ has the scoop on this legislative bigotry of Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) -- he slipped in an amendment to an appropriations bill (HR 5576) to strike any funding for "the construction, expansion, renovation, or building of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center."

The Concerned Women for America site is crowing about this.
Thanks to your calls in support of an amendment by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will not be funding the homosexual agenda.
I'm sure that he would have been heartily in favor of funding a faith-based initiative.


Ohio womb control

As Blender 'Bean said, this is asshattery. Another state legislator, this time in Ohio, is tossing a bill up that he knows could force another Roe v. Wade challenge.
At a Statehouse news conference marking this week's 33rd anniversary of the landmark 1973 decision, opponents called on the Ohio General Assembly to debate a bill banning all abortions.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Introduced nine months ago by Rep. Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, House Bill 228 would make it a felony to carry out abortions or transport a woman across state lines to have one. It would allow abortions only to save the life of a mother.

...Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, warned that anti-abortion advocates "are using the states as laboratories" in their efforts to overturn Roe. Indiana, too, is considering a ban on abortions, and other states are adding restrictions to when abortions are allowed.

Mark Harrington, executive director for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform Midwest, called Brinkman's bill a test case. Anti-abortion groups say that a Supreme Court reshaped by President Bush - with new justices John Roberts and, expected soon, Samuel Alito - will be inclined to overturn Roe.
There's an excellent map on 'Roe v. Wade': The divided states of America in USA Today that shows you where reproductive freedom is safe vs. at risk vs. under attack.


Turn or burn

[Homosexuals deserve] "the same punishment as any sexual pervert - the same as the fornicator. The schools of thought disagree about the punishment. Some say they should be punished like fornicators... Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement."
-- the refreshingly Phelps-like commentary of Muslim cleric Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi
Jeremy of Good As You found this loon. The best part of the transcript of the interview with this freakshow is that he actually addresses lesbianism if only briefly (we're usually off the radar in most of these diatribes).
Interviewer: There is an issue that some people may find strange. If homosexuals and lesbians belong to the same category - an inclination towards the same sex - why are there different punishments for men and women, for homosexuals and lesbians?

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: A punishment for who?

Interviewer: For homosexuals and lesbians - the punishment for a woman who favors women, and for a man who favors men.

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Lesbianism is not as bad as homosexuality, in practical terms.
Would those "practical terms" have anything to do with his desire to see girl-on-girl action/porn?

Hat tips, Paul and Holly.


Election reform now.

There's nothing to stop this from happening again unless people act.

Greg Palast's post, Massacre of the Buffalo Soldiers, will enrage you. It outlines the disgusting GOP tricks perpetrated to disenfranchise minority voters who were abroad, serving this country.
Over one million provisional ballots cast in the 2004 race were never counted; over half a million absentee ballots were also rejected. The extraordinary rise in the number of rejected ballots was the result of the widespread multi-state voter challenge campaign by the Republican Party. The operation, of which the purge of Black soldiers was a small part, was the first mass challenge to voting America had seen in two decades.

The BBC obtained several dozen confidential emails sent by the Republican’s national Research Director and Deputy Communications chief, Tim Griffin to GOP Florida campaign chairman Brett Doster and other party leaders. Attached were spreadsheets marked, "Caging.xls." Each of these contained several hundred to a few thousand voters and their addresses.

A check of the demographics of the addresses on the "caging lists," as the GOP leaders called them indicated that most were in African-American majority zip codes.

...These GOP caging lists were obtained by the same BBC team that first exposed the wrongful purge of African-American "felon" voters in 2000 by then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Eliminating the voting rights of those voters — 94,000 were targeted — likely caused Al Gore’s defeat in that race.
It should be noted that soldiers who sent in their ballot while abroad would never know that their vote was lost due to a Rethug challenge.

We've been at the point of at-will, purposeful voter purging to achieve elected results for some time now, and yet nothing has been done, even after ample evidence of fraud, lost votes because there is a lack of concern about a voter-verified paper audit trail in electronic voting machines (thanks Diebold).

If we ever want to achieve fair elections, the whole fraudulent system has to be broken down and the entire network of corruption by the GOP exposed -- people need to go to jail and heavy fines need to be levied.

Sites to visit:
* Verified voting.org

* The Brad Blog, which covers vote fraud shenanigans from top to bottom.

* RFK, Jr.'s article in Rolling Stone, Was the 2004 Election Stolen?. Ohio's Ken Blackwell ensures Bush wins Ohio.

* Your state may have its own grassroots effort to verify votes. Tar Heels, go here.

* Congressman Rush Holt's effort to pass voting reform, HR 550, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act. He discussed it on Lou Dobbs' program this week.

Hat tip to the lovely Litbrit of The Last Duchess and Shakes Sis.


Holy Joe's sweating



I didn't had time to comment on this one in the last day or so, but Jane at Firedoglake is smoking about Holy Joe pissing his pants over the fact that challenger Ned Lamont's breathing down his back in the polls. Catch these posts on it (1, 2, 3).

The big news is that Joe's whispering that he'll jump ship and run as an independent if Lamont kicks his ass (the latest Rasmussen poll has the race now at Lieberman 46, Lamont 40) -- Joe can add sh*tting bricks to the pissing in his diapers.

What's even more astonishing and telling about the state of the Democratic party is that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (headed up by NY's Chuck Schumer, no less) appears to support the maneuver.
Schumer said the Dem primary voters want winners and are focused one electability. He couldn’t resist adding even "in 2008," which pricked the ears of reporters who thought he was sending a message about the relative electability of Hillary Clinton. (He wasn’t, apparently.)

Schumer said that the DSCC "fully supports" Sen. Joe Lieberman in his primary bid, and he refused to rule out continuing that support if Lieberman were to run as an independent.

There were degrees of independence, Schumer said. "You can run as an independent, you can run as an independent Democrat who pledges to vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader."
Jeebus. What's the point of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee if it's not going to support an actual Democrat that wins the primary who isn't the incumbent? Jane:
Frankly he can’t leave the party fast enough for me. He makes Democrats look like weak-kneed, flip-flopping, opportunistic, treacherous little toadies and his continued presence in the party is a huge PR hurdle.


More state foster care stupidity

The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services wants to ensure that gays cannot serve as foster parents, however, the reasons that they are giving to deny the ability to foster are so brain-dead that I can't believe someone could say these things with a straight face. (Arkansas Pine Bluff Commercial):
The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services is appealing a 2004 decision by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox, who said it was unconstitutional for the state's Child Welfare Agency Review Board to bar homosexuals from becoming foster parents.

Kathy L. Hall, an attorney for the state agency, told justices that the state already bans unmarried couples who live together from becoming foster parents. Because Arkansas banned gay marriage, a homosexual couple is ineligible to have foster children, she said.

The health, safety and welfare of foster children is of the utmost concern to the state, Hall said, "and that can't happen in a home where unmarried sex occurs."

But Associate Justice Annabelle Clinton Imber pointed out that the state allows single heterosexual individuals to be foster parents, but bans single homosexuals. Hall said that a single heterosexual parent is allowed to be a foster parent because he or she "has the potential" to find a spouse; whereas a gay individual does not.
Kathy Hall spewed even more inane statements:

* The state shouldn't "leave it for chance for the children of Arkansas to be guinea pigs to find out if it is harmful" to be raised in a home with gay foster parents.

* Foster children are already vulnerable and moving them into a home with gay foster parents could subject them to "a culture shock that these kids just don't need."


Transitioning Houston police sergeant speaks out


Video of Sergeant Oliver is here.

Tuesday I posted about the Houston PD Sergeant, Jack Oliver, who will undergo sex reassignment surgery in a year, after a period of transition, becoming known to colleagues as Jane Oliver -- all while continuing on the force (How not to cover a trans story). Oliver is fully supported by her department.
Dressed in his police blues, Sgt. Oliver looks like any officer, but look closer and it's the subtleties that some say make him different.

"There have been a couple of comments about my face and voice," he said.

He has a smooth face, higher voice, and now longer hair. His changing appearance has led to questions and his decision to go public about something very private.

"I reached a point where I could no longer deny it for myself and decided to do it for myself and stand up for my feelings," said Sgt. Oliver.

After five children, a divorce, and 49 years of uncertainty...

"You spend most of your life trying to be what everybody says," he told us.

Sgt. Oliver is currently undergoing treatment to become a woman. He'll have surgery in about a year and wants to continue as a police officer.

"I'm still a sergeant, still a police officer and still can perform this job effectively," he said.
Blender Jami passed on the links to above additional coverage, which has accompanying video from Houston's ABC13 station, as well as channel's forum, where some real knuckledraggers felt the need to reveal their ignorance.


Is this the U.S.?

The Roberts/Alito era is upon us.
The Supreme Court made it easier Thursday for police to barge into homes and seize evidence without knocking or waiting, a sign of the court's new conservatism with Samuel Alito on board.

The court, on a 5-4 vote, said judges cannot throw out evidence collected by police who have search warrants but do not properly announce their arrival.

...The court's five-member conservative majority, anchored by new Chief Justice John Roberts and Alito, said that police blunders should not result in "a get-out-of-jail-free card" for defendants.

Dissenting justices predicted that police will now feel free to ignore previous court rulings requiring officers with search warrants to knock and announce themselves to avoid running afoul of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches.


Will my head spin around during downward dog?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I don't think we can build enough institutions to house the religious crazies. Just when I'm about to step away from the computer, I find more insane crap to post that simply blows my mind. From Don Wildmon's "news" organ, AgapePress: Author Wants to Enlighten Christians About Yoga's Demonic Influence.
Christian author Dave Hunt, co-founder of the Oregon-based ministry, The Berean Call, has written a new book called Yoga and the Body of Christ. In it, he contends that yoga is a spiritually dangerous practice designed to expose people to demonic influences.

While conducting research for the book, Hunt says he studied the roots of yoga and interviewed many people who have practiced it. As a result of his investigation, he says he has concluded that the techniques employed in yoga are not designed primarily to promote health but to put participants in a mental state similar to that of hypnosis.

And it is not those critical or skeptical of yoga who are confirming these conclusions, the author points out. "These are the yogis, now. These are the people who developed it," he insists. "These are the people who practiced it, and they warned [that] you must always have your guru present when you get into this state of consciousness, because you could be taken over by some evil entity."

...The elements of yoga are sometimes adapted to meet the needs of non-religious practitioners and those of other faiths, including Christians. But Hunt insists there is no way to modify this inherently spiritual practice to make it acceptable for Christians.
I don't recall ever being possessed by a demon during a restorative yoga class.

We may just have to give up South Carolina just to get rid of these knobends (see the Christian Exodus movement). Gay folks in the Palmetto state, you're welcome to move up to the Tar Heel state before we seal off the border with SC.

Calgon, take me away from this asshattery.

Also, as a bookend to the above reference to SC's fertile ground for fundies: South Carolina Approves Guidelines Requiring Critical Analysis of Evolution.


Harper's wingers push to reverse same-sex marriage in Canada


Graphic: Mike Tidmus.

While our AmTaliban is crowing for a Constitutional Convention to punish the homos, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wingnut faction of conservatives are making noise about rolling back marriage rights.

Canadian Blenders out there know that this effort is probably doomed to failure, but as we see here, these bible beating bigots are like cockroaches, you have to politically stomp them out of power, and the walls are full of these critters. The U.S. is exporting the bigotry, as Dobson and Co. are up there, spreading the pestilence of intolerance.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier this month that the House of Commons will vote on a motion this fall seeking to reopen the law, and today's rally will be the first outing in what is expected to be a months-long campaign by religious and ethnic groups that could see members of Parliament threatened at their nomination meetings and publicly attacked in advertisements.


The afternoon demonstration will include several busloads of Christians from Toronto, including representatives from the Chinese, Filipino, Jamaican and Spanish communities, said Warren Booth, an organizer with the group called Man and Woman Union.

...The website belonging to Man and Woman Union speaks of the ability of gays and lesbians to "convert back" to heterosexuality and warns that the family tree "dies" in a same-sex relationship.

"I just don't understand what people don't get," Booth said. "If God says don't do it, you don't do it. For us it's a no-brainer. It's not a grey area, it's black and white ... What they're doing is sinful in the eyes of the Lord. Don't get mad at us, we're the messengers."
No brains, indeed.


Tony Snow on 2,500 dead U.S. soldiers: 'it's a number'

Damn, what a smooth operator. It makes you long for the days of Scotty "fetal position" McClellan when spokesbot Snow utters garbage like this:


Q Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?

MR. SNOW: It’s a number, and every time there’s one of these 500 benchmarks people want something. The President would like the war to be over now. Everybody would like the war to be over now. And the one thing that we saw in Iraq this week is further testimony to the quality of the men and the women who are doing that, and the dedication and determination to try to ensure that the people of Iraq really do live in a free, effective democracy of their own creation and design.
Think Progress has the video.


Open thread



Is Man-on-Dog telegraphing something to us with his fashion choices for the day? Perhaps he's been receiving tips from his communications director.

Hat tip to Christy, who said: "Today, Rick Santorum (R-PA) pulls off the always tricky Great-Gatsby-meets-My-Little-Pony look."


Fundies want a Constitutional Convention to ban same-sex marriage

Paul just mentioned in the post below that homos are on the back burner as targets for the fundies. I guess we were both wrong.

The bible beaters feel the Hill will never come around to doing it for them, they are losing the culture war, and are probably fearful that they will lose control of the House or Senate and it will all slip from their fingers. Witness this insanity from the AmTaliban (via Think Progress).
Earlier this month, efforts to ban gay marriage by amending the Constitution failed badly in Senate. Now the religious right is considering appealing to state legislatures to call a Constitutional Convention under an obscure provision of Article 5 that would allow amendments to the Constitution without congressional approval. The Evans-Novak report has the details:
Meeting after the big failure at the offices of the social-conservative Family Research Council, the top leaders of the marriage movement — Catholic, Protestant and Mormon leaders among others — discussed the possibility of an unprecedented Constitutional Convention. Two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures would have to call for such a convention — which could be done only with great difficulty. Even then, no one knows what such a convention would look like or what sort of amendments could result from it.
I don't have to tell you how frightening this is, not because of the viability of the idea, but because it exposes the complete level of naked hatred for gays and lesbians by these people.

For all the black homobigots who are wringing their hands about the zero sum game of civil rights, wake up now -- you have a sizeable number of citizens willing to open up our entire Constitution for debate just to deprive a group of citizens of civil rights you take for granted. You're on board with that?

These fundies might not like what they are asking for. Someone could float a constitutional amendment to prevent the tax-exemption of religious organizations.

Novakula actually works out the math - he's almost salivating at the possibilities...
[I]f such a convention were to pass a marriage amendment, we estimate that 28 states would easily ratify it. Another eight states may do so only after a protracted and bloody political fight (which could span an election cycle). That leaves supporters with two more states to go to reach the threshold of 38 (three-fourths), and only the most difficult ground to fight on — states such as Maine, Rhode Island, Oregon and Nevada are probably not ideal places to win such a fight, although not all would be unwinnable.
Big smooches to Shakes Sis, who hits the nail on the head, as always, with Homobigots won’t throw in the towel:
1. The people who support this shit are totally batshit bonkers and will stop at nothing to permanently relegate the LGBT community to second-class citizenship. After all their wailing about activist judges, here they are trying to find a way to circumvent the legislature after it didn’t deliver unto them the Constitutional amendment they so fervently desire, even after routinely asserting that the legislature was the only acceptable method for resolving the issue. They are vile, hatemongering hypocrites, and I don’t give a piddly shit how firmly they wrap themselves in the flag or how often they claim they’ve got God on their side. There’s not anything remotely moral about it, and I refuse to address it as though there is. This is nothing but an attempt to codify bigotry in law—a nasty, despicable, disingenuous maneuver no matter through which channel it’s pursued nor what motivation, earthly or heavenly, is claimed.

2. LGBT issues matter. Every time I read some allegedly progressive blogger suggesting that this is a secondary issue, I want to put my goddamn fist through the wall. It doesn't do the LGBT community a fat lot of good if Dems who don't give a flying fuck about them win—and unless we endeavor passionately and persistently to change minds about these issues, only Dems who don't can win. Bil Browning has got a post on Evan Bayh’s parsing of the gay marriage issue that’s informative of the game-playing on this issue, illustrating the difference between what Dems say to gay and gay-friendly constituents and the statements they issue via their spokespeople, and how ridiculously hollow the punting—"state’s rights issue"—is as Dems are faced with their own states pushing a gay marriage ban.
Absolutely. As I mentioned a few days ago in my post, More squirming from Dems on equality, Dems hide behind the safety and comfort of publicly opposing a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage while seemingly unable to articulate, with equal public vigor, a definitive position on what rights they believe LGBT taxpaying citizens should have, be it marriage equality, adoption rights, protection from employment discrimination, and a host of other matters that affect our daily lives.

***

I echo Shakes' call to visit Bil Browning's blog to see the excruciating time he had trying to get an answer from Evan Bayh's camp on his position on same-sex marriage regarding his own state of Indiana's pending marriage amendment. He's more than happy to states that:

* He's against a federal amendment
* "Marriage is between a man and a woman"
* "Leave it to the states"

But he apparently has no public opinion SJR-7, Indiana's proposed constitutional amendment. Crickets chirping.

It is the perfect example of the bobbing and weaving a whole lot of Dems are doing on this, and it's fooling no one. Now Bayh, according to one reader posting in defense of the Hoosier, co-sponsored Senator Kennedy's Employment Non-Discrimination Act, has openly gay people on his staff and received a 100% ranking from HRC in 2002.

In my opinion, that makes the Bayh position look even worse. If you can easily opine and stake a claim on those other matters, then why does the discussion of marriage equality make you go silent and spineless?

Make your case publicly, and let the voters, particularly your gay supporters decide whether to cast a ballot for you. Don't play cute and dodge the issue. We're tired of the BS.

It's not just Bayh -- where do the elected Democrats (senators, reps, your governors) stand on the issue?

* For full marriage equality at state and fed level (e.g. Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy)
* For full equality at state and fed level whether or not it's called "marriage."
* Opposes fed amendment: "Leave it to the states", but "Marriage is between a man and a woman" (sHillary and most of these losers)
* Opposes fed amendment - no public position on what states should do for gay and lesbian citizens. (Evan Bayh)
* For a fed amendment: "Marriage is between a man and a woman, period." (Harold Ford)

It's a good time to remind folks to keep adding those to the list we're compiling (Shakes has named it the "Phobocrats") on elected national Dem officials and where they fall (and opponents if they are up for re-election) -- with links to articles and/or sources.

Here's a list of governors, senators, and representatives.


Gay rights struggle downgraded to 2nd place...for now

Blender Paul of Paul's Rants dropped some spot-on commentary in my inbox, straight from this morning's news. The wingers take a breather on the homos -- the bigots know they are slowly losing that culture war -- to go after another target...
A government website taken down after a slew of complaints that it caters to "those people".   Elsewhere, angry parents demand that books be pulled from the school library to protect "impressionable and vulnerable" children from ideas that their parents don't agree with.  Roving bands of teenagers target and beat those whose lives are different from theirs.  Only this time those folks weren't upset about gays.  They are attacking Hispanics these days.

Put it all together and one can't help but notice that the struggle for gay civil rights has been bumped from first to second place for a large part of our population.  The cry of "The fags are coming, the fags are coming" has been replaced with screeching about the dangers of the brown skinned hoards. 

Welcome to America.  Now go home, we don't want you here.  (Tonto in an aside to The Lone Ranger; "What do you mean "we", White man?)
Gays are still in the deep throes of the legislative wars with so many anti-gay lawmakers still flexing muscles, but the bigots know that stirring the pot over undocumented workers (and Hispanics generally) represents a much easier win for The Base.


Insanity



There's no other explanation for the ranting of Shirley Phelps-Roper, who was out with the rest of the Westboro Baptist cult picketing the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro this week.

It's clear that she's got as many screws loose as her father the Rotting CryptkeeperTM. She verbally assaults a Baptist interviewer on the street with biblical BS and screams about the "fags running this country."

Good As You has links to all three clips. I could only stomach the first one, which is above.

The scariest bit? Shirley bleated that she has 11 children -- all being poisoned by the Phelps' hate.


Bob Knight unhinged -- again

Here's another screecher from one of our favorites, Robert Knight, the penis-possessing director of the Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute.

He's completely unglued, upset that the marriage protection amendment was scrapped by the Senate last week, but the interesting aspect of this column is that he is on target about the Dems who dance around the issue of equality. Ted Kennedy was one of the few senators who actually called out the amendment for what it was and demanded full marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Bob definitely noticed...

Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) was one of the few who actually talked about the MPA itself. He called any vote for the amendment “a vote for bigotry, pure and simple.” Well, that’s pretty straightforward. If Mr. Kennedy is correct, then about half the Senate, the president of the United States, the Pope, Billy Graham, the late Mother Teresa, Franklin Roosevelt, the Founding Fathers and a majority of the U.S. electorate are or were drooling, raving hate mongers.

This is because the amendment language itself was not an issue for Mr. Kennedy. It was the appalling idea itself of preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Anyone who believes that a wedding needs a bride and a groom is in Mr. Kennedy’s Bigotry Hall of Shame. Even though Mr. Kennedy is undoubtedly an expert on creative expressions of marriage, it would have been better for the country and even for him if he had spent more of his time talking about Iraq. Or gas prices. Or health care.
And Bob doesn't hold back on the Senators that he sees as RINOs in bed with the homos.
...When all was said and done, seven “maverick” (read: liberal) Republicans joined all but two Democrats in voting to kill the amendment. It was McCain (Arizona), Specter (Pennsylvania) and the New England Gang (Snowe and Collins of Maine, Sununu and Gregg of New Hampshire, and the ever-trendy Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island) against the rest of the country, or at least Red State America.

Meanwhile, while senators were fiddling in Washington, the people in Alabama gave an 81 percent approval to their state constitutional amendment. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo that marriage isn’t supposed to be a big deal.

...In Nebraska, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon last year struck down a constitutional amendment passed by 70 percent of the electorate. His reasoning? Passage of the amendment precludes a “class” of people from “petitioning their government for redress of grievances.” And what’s the grievance? The state’s voters don’t want to recognize anything other than man-woman unions as marriages. This means that people who want other arrangements, such as two guys, two girls, three girls, two guys and a girl, a guy, a girl and a mariachi band, are being denied their First Amendment rights.
Tee hee. His knickers are in a twist again.


Queer books burned in Illinois library

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Photo: WMAQ. See more images and video.

Someone set fire to the gay and lesbian book section of the John Merlo Library in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, and there's speculation that this was a hate crime. (WBBM):
The Chicago Public Library says that about 100 books were destroyed after someone set a fire in the section for gay and lesbian literature.

It happened Tuesday about noon at the John Merlo branch of the public library in the 600 block of West Belmont. Newsradio 780 is told that someone is believed to have set fire to books with a cigarette lighter and that about 90 gay and lesbian books were destroyed, and that about 10 books destroyed in the African American literature section.
Blender Greg G. initially emailed me about this story; he called the library and was told by a staffer they think it was definitely arson and one target was the LGBT collection.

WMAQ Chicago has additional information on the arson.
Chicago police said they were calling Tuesday's incident arson, but representatives of the gay community said on Wednesday that the timing with the upcoming Gay Pride Parade and proposed laws dealing with gay marriage in the works, the incident is too coincidental.

..."Lakeview and the city of Chicago represents some of the most accepting, tolerant communities in the United States," said Art Johnston, a board member of Equality Illinois. "The fact that this could happen in a library, of all places, is scary for all of us. In my experience, an attack on any of the communities is an attack on all of us."
The library contact information:

JOHN MERLO BRANCH
644 W. Belmont Ave. 60657
(312) 744-1139, (312) 744-5553
(312) 744-0716 (FAX)

***

Shakes Sis also weighs in, and notes that "Area fundies have also been increasingly wingnutty since Chicago decided to host the Gay Games later this summer. Someone's trying to send a message."

Yes, Miss LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute has been wringing his hands over the Gay Games for quite some time. The leather-event-investigating winger activist was angry at Mayor Daley because the mayor welcomed the 2006 Gay Games -- and declined to bid for the next Republican National Convention. Peter:
"...he has his priorities all mixed up...Perhaps if this were a convention of homosexual Republicans, he would be showing some interest".
Then he was mad at Kraft and Walgreens, two sponsors of the Gay Games (Walgreens is providing HIV/AIDS awareness education as well) that refused to back out when he started throwing a tantrum.
"The Gay Games are about homosexuality, and I think it's wrong for Walgreens to sponsor it. They've taken the step of becoming an official sponsor, which is putting the Walgreens name to endorsing this event."

...LaBarbera said he has no problem with AIDS awareness and education because: "Homosexual behavior itself is a leading cause of HIV." But he said that he is opposed to an event to promote gay athletes to do it in.
And his campaign to try to stop the Illinois Bureau of Tourism from promoting the Games was completely unhinged.
This is outrageous: the people of Illinois should have a say over which events are promoted using their taxpayer funds. Koster emphasized that the Tourism Bureau is NOT funded through general taxes but rather through the an Illinois hotel/motel tax. However, this means that if the "Gay Games" grant is approved and you have stayed in an Illinois hotel or motel, the taxes YOU paid will be used to promote an event designed in part to celebrate homosexuality.

...We doubt the exaggerated claims of "gay" activists who say the "Gay Games" will bring in $50 million in tourist money to Illinois. Homosexuals may be better off financially than the average Joe, but I doubt they can spend THAT much! After all, as reported by the "gay" press, the homosexual "Games" have been a financial disaster in Montreal and Amsterdam, where they were held before.

But even if the "Gay Games" does bring significant tourist money into Chicago, there are some things that are far more important than money. It is simply wrong to promote homosexuality and other immoral behaviors in the name of sport. Send a message to your government that money isn't everything. We don't want Illinois being known as a homosexual tourist mecca.
So, it's not as if there hasn't been a sufficient amount of wingnut activity around that would make it possible for some fool in Chicago to think burning gay books is A-OK with the moralists.


Those wild and crazy Southern Baptists

Holy rolling was in full flower at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, which wrapped today in Greensboro. In fact there was an appearance today by Condi, of all people, who tried to massage the message of Dear Leader for the bible thumpers. How about this flaming pile o' manure:

“The weight of international leadership is not borne easily, but we as Americans are more than equal to this challenge, and we must be, for if we imagine a world without American leadership we are led inescapably to this solemn conclusion: If America does not serve great purposes, if we do not rally other nations to fight intolerance and support peace and defend freedom, and to help give all hope who suffer oppression, then our world will drift toward tragedy...We go into the world not to plunder but to protect; not to subjugate but to liberate; not as masters, but as servants of freedom.”
O-M-G. Is there any doubt that she said this with a straight face?

In other news from the convention, the SBC elected Rev. Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina as its new fearless leader. Actually he needs to be a little fearless because the outgoing president left him with a whale of a task - converting one miiillllion victims into Baptists.
Another issue that has been taken up at the annual meeting is the SBC's progress toward outgoing president Bobby Welch's goal of baptizing one million new converts in the year that began last October 1. With less than four months remaining until the deadline, only a few thousand new baptisms have been reported, and many Southern Baptists feel a miracle might be required to put the benchmark within reach.
Not to worry. Page received a little motivation from Rev. Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
"The Holy Spirit will give us new power," Luter continued, "power to walk right, power to talk right, power to preach right, power to sing right, power to serve right, power that enables us to share the gospel, power that enables us to witness, power that enables us evangelize, power that enables us to win the lost at any cost!"
With all that excitement, what could possibly top that? How about a return to Prohibition? I hope those Baptists partied hard the night before this little topic came up.
The resolution dealing with alcohol use by SBC members not only expressed opposition to the drinking of alcohol but also stipulated that no one who does so may be elected to serve with any entity of the denomination.

A messenger from Florida spoke against the anti-alcohol resolution. "I do not think that we can be more holy than Jesus Christ," he said. "Christ turned water into wine. If indeed, as we have said, this is a matter of Christian liberty, then we cannot at the same time say that this is a matter of righteousness."

Another messenger, however, encouraged support of the measure from a personal perspective. "I spent two years and seven months in prison, and it all started with drinking beer when I was eight years old," the delegate said. "I think that we as Southern Baptists -- but, more importantly, we as Christians -- need to take a stand against something that's destroying our nation."
The resolution, my friends, was approved.

How long will this measure hold out? I predict more churches will leave the SBC flock over this controlling BS.


Toss her back into the drink - open thread



Mike Tidmus pays homage to Hannibal Lechter in his latest graphic ode to the she-beast Ann Coulter.
Nobody, it seems is not talking about ultra-conservative and criminally insane typist Annibal Coulter this week. With a slew of media appearances in support of her new book Codless, the Silence of the Cods, Ms Coulter is giving even former, right-wing buddies and her adoring fans (both of them) good reason to head for the hills or duck into a convenient porta potty when they see Annibal heading their way.
UPDATE: Coulter's busted on the plagiarism tip -- again -- by The Rude Pundit (via Raw Story). Not just a couple of them, but multiple instances of lifting material without acknowledging the source in her new fish-wrapping tome. Jeezus.


Let the kids rot in foster care

It's amazing when the bigots try to defend their immoral positions and they actually reinforce the fact that they have no moral compass in their own words.

Ed Vitagliano's AgapePress column, Why Mother-Father Couples Are Superior to Same-Sex Couples When It Comes to Adoption, wastes plenty of space on the old hoary argument that kids raised in same-sex households are more likely to "drift towards the sexual orientation of their homosexual 'parents'."

That's laughable BS, but what makes Vitagliano's piece completely insane is his assertion that social conservatives are really thinking that society is best served by preventing the adoption of kids -- ones most straight couples do not want -- by gays. At the very same time, he tries to defend how this position doesn't mean bible-beaters would prefer kids going from foster home to foster home.

The knobend effectively makes the case that yes, the bigots do want kids languishing out there -- because "kids deserve the best, and a mom and a dad best fit the bill" -- no matter that there aren't enough of those moms and dads stepping up to adopt.
Admittedly, this is a card that is hard to beat because too often in our culture, emotion does trump sound policy. However, according to Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, the issue is not a clear-cut winner for the homosexual lobby -- at least not when one considers the actual numbers involved.

Knight says there are about 600,000 children in the U.S. foster care system at any given time, but at least half of these are caught up in custody battles and would not be candidates for adoption anyway.

On the other hand, Knight says that the National Council on Adoption puts the number of mother-father, married couples waiting to adopt at between one and two million. These married couples "are having such difficulty [adopting] in the U.S. that they are seeking children, at great expense, in Russia, China, Romania and other nations," he said. "There is no excuse for deliberately placing a child in a motherless or fatherless household by design, except under unusual circumstances."

True, of the 300,000 kids who are available for adoption, some would be unadoptable, being too old, perhaps, or having special needs that would scare away most couples wanting to adopt.
Or perhaps, a significant number of those kids are brown or black, which is why many couples adopt from Europe and Asia. Notice that isn't discussed anywhere in the article.

But then, in this almost throwaway paragraph below, Vitagliano's so dismissive of the misery that many kids face in endless foster situations -- that it casts a bright light on the perverted thinking of these "pro-family" types -- they only care about the fetus, not the child once it is born.
In the end, however, sad situations and heart-wrenching circumstances cannot determine public policy, which, after all, must be based on sound principles, and not exceptions. For example, even with unadoptable kids still in the foster care system, we would not want to place those children with a couple on the verge of divorce, or with two unemployed adults. This is not because such adults are unloving or incapable of being good parents, but because public policies must consider what is optimal -- and less than optimal -- most of the time.
These people are sick.


'Ex-gays' split over Foster 'Hitler' smear of Besen

Mike Rogers has the scoop over at PageOneQ on the schism in the ex-gay community over the extremist posting of "former homosexual" DL Foster on his blog that depicted a P'shopped photo of Wayne Besen with a Hitler mustache (see my earlier post).


Foster refuses to apologize, even after rebukes from fellow "ex-gay" movement colleagues Alan Chambers of Exodus International and Randy Thomas.

Thomas and several others who left comments on Foster's site have had them deleted. The man's continuing to post more stupidity and picking a fight with Thomas to boot.
Thomas' letter also includes a statement to Foster that his "posts about him [Besen] are not prophetic, they are pathetic." Thomas continues by writing, "You deserve a solid straightforward rebuke from a brother in Christ... I am rebuking you because you need to repent for this...Please retract the posts and apologize to Wayne. If you do not I will recommend to the [Exodus International] management team that we make a public statement to distance ourselves from your statements." Thomas, who also serves as the media director of Exodus, has a disclaimer on his site about the email, "This email is my personal opinion, not the views of Exodus," wrote Thomas.

Foster responded to Thomas' mention of the Exodus management team by posting a third post in which Foster distanced himself from Exodus International. In the post titled "The distance between us" Foster writes, "Additionally Herr Besen as I have titled him, is a direct threat to my work and ministry and free speech in the same ways the evil Hitler was towards the Jews within his evil grasp." Foster's post continues on with him maintaining that he is not a "member, subsidiary, or affiliate," and that he operates independently from Orlando-based Exodus.
Whew. What a f*cking crackpot bigot this man is! It's getting hot in here...go read the rest.


GOP strategery

This is what they come up with when the well of selling points (you know, like actual results to show everyone) runs dry.

A "Confidential Messaging Memo" from Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) reveals what he's conveying to his caucus as they plan for a Thursday floor debate on Iraq. Read and weep at the "strategery," summarized by Think Progress (which has the original memo):
1. Exploit 9/11. The two page memo mentions 9/11 seven times. It describes debating Iraq in the context of 9/11 as "imperative."

2. Attack opponents ad hominem. The memo describes those who opposes President Bush's policies in Iraq as "sheepish," "weak," and "prone to waver endlessly."

3. Create a false choice. The memo says the decision is between supporting President Bush's policies and hoping terrorist threats will "fade away on their own."
Expect the talking points to begin airing on Faux News shortly.


BYU professor loses contract over opposition to marriage amendment

"Since you have chosen to contradict and oppose the church in an area of great concern to church leaders, and to do so in a public forum, we will not rehire you after the current term is over."
-- from a letter to part-time Brigham Young University professor Jeffrey Nielsen, announcing that he would not be rehired because of an op-ed he wrote in the local paper opposing a marriage amendment
The Mormons play hardball. The AP story notes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spent millions to support a marriage amendment; Nielsen speaking out against the church was not part of the plan and so he had to go.

Augusto at Queer Beacon points to the op-ed in the The Salt Lake Tribune that got Nielsen in hot water. It's an eloquent piece. A snippet...
The leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke out against gay marriage and asked members to encourage their U.S. senators to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage.

As a member, I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities; however, I reject the premise that they are thereby immune from thoughtful questioning or benevolent criticism. A perfect God does not require blind obedience, nor does He need unthinking loyalty. Freedom of conscience is a divine blessing, and our privilege to express it is a moral imperative.

When the church hierarchy speaks on a public issue and requests that members follow, it is difficult indeed if an individual feels the content of their message would make bad law and is unethical as well. I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral.

Currently the preponderance of scientific research strongly suggests that same-sex attraction is biologically based. Therefore, it is as natural as a heterosexual orientation, even if rare. It seems it might be caused by environmental conditions in the mother's womb, before birth, triggering the DNA to give the fetus a homosexual orientation. Neither the mother nor the child has any choice in the matter; it is a completely natural process.

Truly, God would be unjust if He were the creator of a biological process that produced such uncommon, yet perfectly natural results, and then condemned the innocent person to a life of guilt, while denying him or her the ordinary privileges and fulfillment of the deep longing in all of us for family and a committed, loving relationship.
Hat tips to Richard and Trey.

***


Speaking of Mormons, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is hitting up the folks in Utah for big buxxx as he plans his 2008 presidential run. Take a look at what he's pulling in.
Utahns have contributed nearly half of the funds being raised by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as he prepares for a possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Records from political action committees in four states and federal campaign disclosures show Utah donations account for 45 percent of more than $1.6 million in contributions.

Most of the $732,500 -- all of it from 50 Uthans -- is being spent to support Republican campaigns and causes outside of Utah. Only Utah consultants Kirk Jowers and Max Farbman are seeing any Romney funds.

...The bulk of the Utah money raised came from a single Salt Lake City fundraiser in March. Another event was held in Orem last week and a fundraiser is slated for Logan today.

Tickets for the events can run as high as $1,000 per couple for dinner, $2,000 per couple for a "VIP briefing reception," and $3,500 per couple for a "private photo reception" with Romney, according to information from an invitation for a canceled Ogden fundraiser which had been planned for today.

...Utah billionaire philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., father of Utah's governor, is the largest single contributor. He's given $128,500, the most recent disclosure records show.


J.C. Watts is right -- and wrong

J.C. Watts is a former congressman from Oklahoma (1995 to 2002), and the GOP poster boy for black Republicans, a lonely existence. He recently wrote a column on the clear problem the GOP has in attracting black voters -- basically saying the party is failing to appeal to that group when it has every reason to court them because of the general social conservatism in the religious black community.

He harps on marriage and abortion in particular as issues that could create a solid bond with blacks. He's right that this group could be appealed to, but the fact is the GOP has f*cked up this opportunity over and over because of its own institutionalized racism and disdain for the black poor (see Katrina).

But Watts is right on one front -- the sheer volume of the black homobigots you see here on the Blend shows you that even with that huge deficit, it's possible to unite that demographic over topics like same-sex marriage if the GOP ever gets its act together. There's fertile ground. (Pahrump Valley Times):
Protecting marriage isn't simply expeditious politics in an election year. I wish it were. Simply, this is good public policy.

I acknowledge that we must always be careful in how we allow government to intervene in the lives of adults. But Congress does have a responsibility to determine what is sanctioned as opposed to allowing an appointed judge who has no accountability to the people to unilaterally determine cultural mores. Should four or five judges in Massachusetts be able to set the tone for the entire nation? Should they define marriage? This issue must be removed from the authority of the courts, and put back in the hands of the people. The people have voted overwhelmingly to protect marriage in more than 20 states. There are activists working in those states who are already working to overturn those votes.

The president's detractors say he was just appealing to his political base when he endorsed the marriage amendment. The fact is this issue also appeals to a group not normally affiliated with a Republican president... the black community.

The black community is overwhelmingly pro-marriage and pro-life. Blacks have stood with Republicans on marriage and life issues for years. At a recent event in support of this constitutional amendment, many black ministers stood behind the president in support of him as did conservative white leaders. The challenge facing Republicans - a challenge they have yet to meet -- is to appeal to the minority community not only on social issues, but on opportunity issues. I've been talking to my Republican friends about this since my first political speech at the 1990 Oklahoma GOP convention.

Conservatives would have more credibility with the black community on important social issues, such as marriage, if they would make a stronger effort to include blacks and other minorities in economic opportunities.

Black farmers have been discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture for generations, and contract opportunities for minorities in the aerospace, defense, transportation and energy industries are sadly lacking. Minorities have been shut out of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that called for diversity in programming on cable networks (in the last 10 years, six minority networks have failed because they couldn't get carriage), and there is little opportunity for procurement with telecom companies.

If the Grand Old Party will reach out to minorities and engage itself in creating real opportunity to prosper, as well as the social issues on which they are kindred, my party will be the majority for generations to come.
Yeah, but don't hold your breath, J.C. Your party will not come around to embrace blacks on the opportunity front.


Almost as bad as Dukakis in the tank


Actual caption: White House senior staff members wear helmets and bullet proof vests on a combat helicopter while travelling with U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad for a surprise visit to the city, June 13, 2006. From L-R are: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett. REUTERS/Larry Downing (IRAQ)

Dear Leader's spokesbots playing soldier.


Darth to appear at fundraiser for homobigot Michele Bachmann

The obsessive, craven homobigotry of Minnesota State Senator Michele Bachmann is well-known to residents of the state, and she wants to impose her batsh*ttery on the Hill by running for Congress (MN's 6th District). She has made a name for herself by railing on and on about protecting the sanctity of marriage and the sickness of gays (she's a running buddy of professional "former homosexual" Janet "rape causes lesbianism" Boynes) and has made the Blend several times now. Her pet issue to date has been a state marriage amendment (which didn't make it to the MN Senate floor for debate).

It looks like, even though he has a lesbian daughter and opposes a federal marriage amendment, the Dark Lord is welcome to raise cash for Bachmann's coffers. According to the AP, Cheney will be slithering into the state to attend a Minneapolis fundraiser for her on June 26.


Jon-David/MN Publius (click to enlarge)

As MN Publius noted:
Will she ask Cheney to stop attacking her marriage, traditional conseervative values, society, and the children? Is she going to tell him she's thinks he is immoral?

Cheney:
“Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it’s an issue our family is very familiar with,” Cheney told an audience that included his daughter. “With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone. ... People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to.
Bachmann::
"It's not a political issue; it's a moral issue, it's a cultural issue...
Guests can pony up $250 per person for the general reception or drop $1,000 to attend a "more intimate reception" and will have a chance for a photo opportunity with Mr. Defibrillator.

William Prendergast @ The Stillwater Tribune has this to say in his post, Anti-Gay Politician With Lesbian Daughter Supports Anti-Gay Politician With Lesbian Sister:
Okay--here is my very best offer. I'm not paying any more than three hundred bucks for the whole package. Put me down for that very special "intimate" reception with Bachmann and Cheney. When they say "intimate," do they mean "clothing optional?" If so I expect a bigger break on the price, because they'll probably want to see my scar, where the dog bit me.
For a Congressional race, this is certainly attracting a high level of fundraising power. Interestingly, the AP article notes that neither the White House nor Bachmann's campaign has been willing to talk about Darth's little fly-in, which will be held at a home on the shore of Lake Minnetonka. Maybe they'd rather not get a lot of coverage for supporting a candidate who was caught on camera crouching behind bushes to peep at the homos attending OutFront Minnesota's rally on the Capitol last year.

Hat tip, Eva at Dump Michele Bachmann.



American Airlines pisses off the Freepi

American Airlines, voted a "gold standard U.S. carrier for hospitality and service" by readers of Out Traveler magazine last year and recipient of a top score of 100 percent on HRC's 2005 Corporate Equality Index, is celebrating Gay Pride Month. It's noted on the company's web site for LGBT employees, amrgleam.com.

Tomorrow, the company will feature a talk by Matthew Shepard's mom, "Erase Hate: An Evening with Judy Shepard," at the AA Training and Conference Center in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The airline, which was also the first major U.S. carrier to protect its transgendered employees, it has put a burr under the saddle of the Freepi. They are moaning about the losing battle on the culture war front and it's not a pretty sight. Boo-freaking hoo...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Thoughtcrime in the office. The liberals have won.

Don't doubt that for a second. Rush may be right in saying this is primarily a conservative country, but the liberals have taken over control of government and society, and there is no going back.

The site where I am currently contracted is also celebrating GLBT month, in much the same manner. Lots of large companies do, to avoid pressure and bad publicity from GLBT advocacy groups and their willing helpers in the MSM.

They don't get a freaking month! Already stole the rainbow and the = sign.

I wonder if these folks plan on being buried with this rainbow flag of theirs. I'm sure God will be amused.

Well, that settles it for me....I won't be flying on a sex-deviate-supportive airline like American and American Eagle, and have told them so. Until the end of the extortion (threat of legal action against them) from companies with no backbone or principles occurs, I'll take my business elsewhere.

.....Indeed....! I simply cannot understand the "pride" associated with what are basically un-natural and disgusting sexual activities....! but, again.... another sign of the sick times in which we live....Lord help anyone who might want to start a "Straight Pride" month...they would be branded as "homophobic" or something....!!

[ClearChannel radio station G-105 held a Straight Pride parade in Chapel Hill back in 2004 -- I went to check it out -- and it was a resounding, pathetic flop, lol. Here are some of the pictures. ]

It is extortion and should be recognized as such. The MSM is providing them with the power to push a protection racket.

This is nothing short of a terrorist flag displayed for all the gerbils of the world to see. These poor creatures already suffer from low self-esteem from having forced visits to the crap-shoot of the gay male community.

Sorry, but 90%+ of the male Stewards on all airlines strike me as seriously gay.

Heck, they all do it. You have to dislike each and everyone of them. I already can't buy Bud anymore because they support this crap and so on and so forth.

The agenda of the liberal activists must be exposed. If that requires boycotts, so be it. Employees should not have to surrender their political and religious beliefs as a condition of employment. Agreed. But it will take a revolution of sorts to make this happen. Things are going to need to get a lot worse to shake enough people to stand up for what's right. Most of us are still sleeping and completely unaware of the big picture.

Why don't we just declare the whole year "Gay Pride Year" and be done with it? Certainly for the Mainstream Media, that already is the case. There's also a LGBT history month some other time of year, and "days of silence" galore. Gay activism is indeed a religion and has its own liturgical calendar.


Home churching

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm not sure what to think about this one. It's an AgapePress article about the growing number of Christians, according to church and culture analyst George Barna of Barna Group, who are choosing to worship in home-based churches as opposed to traditional congregations with a pastor.

It could be a sign of fundies tiring with the perceived weakening of certain denominations, representing a further retreat into holy roller land of crazy group think. Barna articulates some concern.
"There are some challenges, of course," the Christian researcher says. "You've got the possibilities of bad teaching and errant theology creeping into the process, but we already have that happening in churches today. So we're going to have a lot of the same challenges that we've always had -- it's just an issue of who's going to resolve them."

Barna predicts that the home-church movement will continue to grow. He also predicts this increasingly popular alternative to traditional churches will prompt many Christians to take their faith more seriously and to avoid depending on clergy for spiritual growth.
For religious gays who feel left out of the church, I suppose that home churches offer an alternative way to continue worship in a setting that is comforting and affirming, but for an already fractured fundamentalist movement that plays the "who's got the upper pious hand" game, it seems like home churches will foment even more disagreement over who is "right."
Author and former pastor, Rev. Chip Brogden, a home-church leader in North Carolina, considers home churches a necessary part of the Christian community. He believes this style of Christian fellowship is filling some of the gaps left by traditional churches.

Brogden says home churches can be a place for those who have been hurt by the traditional church or for those who do not want to be distracted from Christ by a complex church structure. But he cautions Christians not to differentiate themselves from one another based on what kind of structure they choose for their worship and association with fellow believers.
What are your thoughts?


Open thread - caption man-on-dog


Actual caption: Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., shakes hands with first lady Laura Bush after she made remarks on his behalf at a fundraiser in Villanova, Pa., Tuesday June 13, 2006. Santorum is running for re-election against Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey in the fall. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


How not to cover a trans story

The Houston Chronicle featured an article the other day about a police officer, Sgt. Jack Oliver, who is undergoing transition for sex reassignment. Oliver is the first HPD officer to transition while active on the force, and thus the reason for the interesting profile.

The good news is that the department is supportive, as is Oliver's supervisor.
"They haven't had a chance to figure out how they're going to react to it and neither have I," Oliver said.

Hans Marticiuc, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union, sat next to Oliver at the news conference. He said the department will support the transition and offer any assistance Oliver may need.

"I know it's unique, but certainly not the first of its kind," Marticiuc said.

"Our department has a policy that we don't discriminate," said Gabriel Ortiz, HPD public information officer. "We will do what's best for the employees and what's best for the department."
OK, the bad news is that, for no apparent reason, reporter Anita Hassan and her editor felt the need to find some bible-beating wingnut -- no one on the police force, mind you -- to comment on Oliver's ability to do the job once fully transitioned.
However, at least one local pastor feels differently.

David Welch, executive director of Houston Area Pastors Council, said he thinks Oliver's decision to have the operation raises questions about his capability as a police officer. "That would raise issues of competency in the line of duty in my mind," Welch said.
What kind of irrelevant crap is this? And his expertise is...?

Who is Welch? According to Blender Dennis O., who passed this story along, he's a well-known fundie windbag in Houston. He was part of the Texans for Marriage movement, which helped push through the state's marriage amendment. You can actually see a video of Welch bleating at the TfM web site (go to Video Gallery, and find Dave Welch under "Education").

Welch famously said that the Texas amendment was needed in order to "honor the marriage bed."

He's listed up there along with one of Bush's favorite black pastors, Rev. Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. of Cornerstone Baptist Church (who said of NOLA after Katrina "They have devil worship. They advertise 'Sin City' tours. They celebrate Southern decadence. Girls go wild in New Orleans. Sometimes God does not speak through natural phenomena. This may have nothing to do with God being offended by homosexuality. But possibly it does.") Brothers in arms, huh?

Anyway, Chronicle readers noticed the stupidity of soliciting comments on Oliver's reassignment surgery from local bigot Welch and wrote in.
IT was odd that the executive director of the Houston Area Pastor's Council felt he had any reason to comment on the decision of Houston Police Department Sgt. Jack Oliver to undergo a sex reassignment process [see the Chronicle's June 10 article "Veteran officer reveals he is undergoing sex reassignment"].

But it was even stranger that the Chronicle should have sought his opinion. Was this a misguided effort to offer "balance" to a story where there should be no controversy?

Oliver is apparently receiving the usual and customary treatment for a medical condition — nothing more and nothing less.

The fact that this condition is poorly understood and sometimes stigmatized by the public makes the officer's willingness to discuss it in public an act of courage to be respected.

That Oliver has the support and confidence of colleagues and superiors in HPD should reassure those concerned about the officer's fitness.

But if there were a question of "competency in the line of duty," the Chronicle would have served its readers better by reporting the opinions of law enforcement and medical experts rather than that of a religious leader whose expertise, if any, is plainly irrelevant to the question.

MORRIS FLOYD Houston

***

WHAT a great story about Sgt. Julia (Jack) Oliver. At a time when most mainstream media paints a picture of the transgender community in a Jerry Springer-esque way, it is heartening for the Chronicle to run such positive articles about our community and its members. It was especially encouraging that the article ran during Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride month, not to mention the fact that the article ran on June 10 — the same day that three large events were being held by various transgender organizations in Houston.

Concerning David Welch's comments on Oliver's competency, I wonder if he meant to insinuate that a female sergeant would be less competent than a male. It was clear, however, that Welch had never met the person he was criticizing because, otherwise, he would know (as does everyone who has met her) that Oliver could easily take down the hardest of criminals.

GEORGES ZEMANEK Houston
Blender Dennis aptly said: "Apparently [Welch] was mentioned in the original piece because the Chronicle felt the need to provide the dumb-ass point of view."


Blenders: help compile info on Dems and equality

[UPDATE: Here's a list of governors, senators, and representatives.]

In the last thread on the squirming Dems on marriage equality, Blender Tom mentioned:
I wish there was a list compiling all the waffling Dems on this issue. I was shocked to learn that Boxer was not with us on this issue.
Well, why don't we start working on it? With all our Googling skills, we should be able to come up with publicly stated positions of the Dems on the Hill (and governors, if you want to be thorough) so that we all know where they stand.

Identify the elected national Dem officials in your state and where they fall (and opponents if they are up for re-election). Please provide links to articles and/or sources.

Categories of varying squishiness

* For full marriage equality at state and fed level (e.g. Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy)

* For full equality at state and fed level whether or not it's called "marriage."

* Opposes fed amendment: "Leave it to the states", but "Marriage is between a man and a woman" (sHillary and most of these losers)

* Opposes fed amendment - no public position on what states should do for gay and lesbian citizens. (Evan Bayh)

* For a fed amendment: "Marriage is between a man and a woman, period." (Harold Ford)


More squirming from Dems on equality

Paul points to an excellent article by Wyatt Buchanan in the SF Chronicle, Gays want more from Dems on marriage.

It's ground we've covered here before -- Dems hiding behind the safety and comfort of publicly opposing a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage while seemingly unable to articulate, with equal public vigor, a definitive position on what rights they believe LGBT taxpaying citizens should have, be it marriage equality, adoption rights, protection from employment discrimination, etc.

Even those who purport to be allies were squirming when the questions arose during the marriage amendment debate last week.
...most Democratic senators argued only that Congress should be confronting more important issues like the economy and the Iraq war; they did not specifically address same-sex marriage. When asked later for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's position on same-sex marriage, a spokesman said Feinstein's speech was her only statement on the topic.

In the speech, Feinstein argued that the states "reign supreme" in family law and are dealing with same-sex marriage "as they see fit."

Sen. Barbara Boxer, like Feinstein a Bay Area Democrat, spent more time talking about gay families. But her speech focused on the other issues she believed the Senate should discuss.

A spokeswoman said Boxer supports full rights and benefits equal to marriage for same-sex couples, but not marriage. The spokeswoman did not respond to a question about what distinction the senator draws between marriage and the kinds of unions she supports.
That dovetails with the message Terrance Heath of The Republic of T received from the "netroots" at Yearly Kos -- that it's "our job" to shift public opinion so that it's "safe" for Democratic leaders like Feinstein, sHillary or Boxer to stand up on those issues when questioned. Any and all progress on LGBT issues is our job to do by changing hearts and minds -- don't look for support from the Dem leadership -- they're off courting the 700 Club vote. See you at the polls...and by the way, open your wallet and drop some dough.

Remember that, as the mailers come in asking for your queer (and queer-ally) cash, because if the position of "leave matters to the states" is the phrase of the campaign season, will the Dems actually fight those amendments coming up on the ballot? Good question.
Gay rights leaders said a crucial test of Democratic Party support -- in addition to the marriage vote -- is how the party responds to a formal request from the National Stonewall Democrats to help fight the state amendments and encourage gays and lesbians to vote. The party has yet to budget any money for the efforts.

"They know they have to quickly move on something, and we are optimistic that it will be in the next few weeks," said John Marble, spokesman for the National Stonewall Democrats.

Constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in Idaho, Virginia, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Carolina. Gay rights leaders believe they have the best chance of defeating the Wisconsin amendment.
The most insightful comment in the article actually comes from a bible beater, Benjamin Lopez of insane Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition, who knows that the lame ass-kissing effort by Howard Dean and Co. of the evangelicals won't pay off -- it will simply turn off the gay vote.
"I don't think the Democratic Party is going to sacrifice a significant portion of its base simply to appease a few evangelicals they might win over in November and then have to deal with the long-term effect of having to win over the gay community for years to come," Lopez said.
Maybe the Dems will listen to one of these social conservative "true believers" and come to the realization that gays, those in favor of reproductive freedom, and citizens concerned with privacy rights (just to name a few disillusioned portions of the Dem base) will refuse to vote for sellout Dems. Or, as we have seen so far, we'll just watch the spectacle of the party establishment continuing its blind and delusional race to chase down the evangelical vote.

***

Perhaps some of those lame, on-the-fence, triangulating Dems need to take a look at this WaPo article on how Loving v. Virginia has relevance to this gay rights struggle: Loving Day Recalls a Time When the Union of a Man And a Woman Was Banned.

Monday was the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down miscegenation laws in Virginia, as well as the 15 other states where these horrible laws existed. The reasoning for banning racial intermarriage was, as we see each and every day here when it comes to same-sex marriage opposition, torn from and justified by the bible at the time.
"Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, Malay, and red and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend the races to mix," [Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Leon ] Bazile ruled.
Once the laws were overturned, the United States did not implode after Loving v. Virginia. Cultural armageddon did not not ensue. What did change was the boom in mixed race citizens.
That decision has, in the ensuing years, changed the way the nation looks -- the percentage of interracial marriages has increased fivefold from 1970 to 2000, according the U.S. Census, from 1 percent of all marriages to more than 5 percent. The number of children living in interracial families has quadrupled in that time period, going from 900,000 to more than 3 million, and the Census Bureau predicts that such interracial unions will continue to increase.
What one has to ask the Dems who cannot find the voice to oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians is whether they truly believe that there is nothing wrong with leaving the very same right to marry up for a popular vote by "the people."

Hat tip, Holly.


CNN: No Rove indictment

No Fitzmas, if what CNN reports is accurate.



The banner: White House senior adviser Karl Rove won't be charged in the CIA leak case, according to his attorney.

Drop in links if there are updates -- ah, the first AP link is up.


No surge for the Chimp - open thread

Monday, June 12, 2006

I guess the pundits were waiting for a big thunderous boost for Dear Leader after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The answer is that it didn't materialize, according to the latest CBS poll.



The results also show that over half of Americans think Zarqawi's death will have no effect on the level of violence in Iraq, and 30 percent say it will actually lead to more attacks against U.S. forces.

Question: since the above news didn't give him a bump, what do you think Karl and Co. will dream up to boost those poll numbers?


I'm sure global warming has nothing to do with this



AP:
More than 20,000 people along Florida's Gulf Coast were ordered to clear out Monday as Alberto — the very first tropical storm of the new hurricane season — unexpectedly picked up steam and threatened to come ashore as a hurricane.

...If Alberto came ashore as a hurricane, it would be the earliest hurricane in 40 years to hit the United States, according to the National Hurricane Center. The earliest on record is Alma, which in 1966 struck the Florida Panhandle on June 9 — the ninth day of the hurricane season.

...Scientists say the 2006 season could produce as many as 16 named storms, six of them major hurricanes. Last year's hurricane season was the most destructive on record and the busiest in 154 years of storm tracking, with a record 28 named storms and a record 15 hurricanes.


Burn the First Amendment -- for the children

Yes, that's A-OK with Robert Peters, head of Morality in Media. He wants to ensure that broadcast TV as well as cable is smut-free for the young ones.

Does he not have channel blocking functions on his cable remote, or are he and the sheeple just too stupid to use it?
Peters says broadcasting today is dominated by media giants for whom a $32,500 fine can be treated, "like corporate parking tickets," as an easily affordable cost of doing business. Once signed into law by President Bush, the FCC would be able to levy penalties up to ten times that amount. "That," notes Peters, "will hopefully get the attention of both corporate executives and shareholders."

Of course, Peters says, the potential for large fines will only help if federal regulators continue to enforce broadcast indecency laws. Also, he remarks, Congress needs to address the problem of indecent programming on non-premium cable and satellite TV channels. Although "there is undoubtedly a market for sex and vulgarity," the Morality in Media spokesman observes, "opinion polls indicate that most Americans are offended by and concerned about the glut of sex and vulgarity on TV. While Americans cherish their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and press, most also want to live and raise children in a safe and decent society."

In any case, Peters points out, the Supreme Court has already ruled that enforcement of indecency laws does not constitution impermissible censorship. "Imposing the maximum fine poses no threat to freedom of speech," he says, "because the First Amendment was not intended to provide a license to pollute public spaces with indecent talk and pictures."
***

You know, when Kate and I were driving from Rochester, MN to Winona, we barely made it out of the airport when we we came upon a giant flashing electric sign for the latest XXX porno, sexy lingerie and "organic smoking products" up for sale at a roadside establishment.

What does Peters intend to do about adult entertainment that isn't broadcast over the airwaves, but is out in the heartland? Never mind, they are working on that as well, right? I hate to break it to him, but sex and vulgarity of the kind he's consumed by is as American as apple pie. He won't eradicate it no matter how hard he tries.


The 'ex-gay' machine goes after Wayne Besen

The intellectually and morally bankrupt "ex-gay" movement is smearing author and activist Wayne Besen (Anything But Straight), who is exposing the sickness of that movement with a new effort, Truth Wins Out.

TWO is a non-profit dedicated to countering the disinformation by the "ex-gay" war machine. The launch has brought out the vitriol, including P'shop hack job by "ex-gay" DL Foster on his blog Perspectives in Motion, calling the non-profit's effort "Wayne Besen's Final Solution," referring to him as "Herr Wayne Besen." Look at this quaint bit of bigotry (PageOneQ):
Later in the post, Foster points out that Besen is Jewish:

In the press conference, Besen (of Jewish descent) claimed that 'ex-gay' ministries could not be trusted or tolerated in our tolerant society. To back up those claims he presented evidence that 'ex-gay' leaders invariably go back to being gay. Richard Cohen, John Paulk, Michael Johnston and uhhhh those two guys who "fell in love" left their wives, got AIDS and lived happily ever after. Proof positive, he asserted that 'ex-gay' ministries were shameless snake oil salesmen.
This personifies the extremism that is characteristic of the 'ex-gay' movement, Mr. Besen told PageOneQ today. "They claim they are about love, yet regularly engage in character assassination and misinformation campaigns," he added.

Besen responded to the image on the site, as well as it's title, "I am disturbed by the blatant anti-semitism of Rev. Foster. His writing and the use of a graphic image which is so painful to so many speaks loudly not only of Foster, but reflects poorly on the entire so-called 'ex-gay' community," said Besen.
What a mental giant Foster is.

He's not alone in attacking Truth Wins Out wither. Our penis-possessing friend and head of Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute, Bob Knight, has his knickers in a twist as well in the post Group Launched to Attack the Ex-Gay Movement. You can listen to him bleat about it, but here is his teaser:

Across the country, thousands of men and women are coming out of the homosexual lifestyle thanks to groups like Exodus International and others. Now, a tiny group of homosexuals who have tried to change and have fallen back into the lifestyle have formed a group to denounce ex-gay ministries.
We all know that these "ex-gay" proponents are sick and dangerous, and the Truth Wins Out site compiles a ton of information on the kind of thinking that hurts gays and lesbians who are struggling with their sexual orientation; this is from TWO's 10 Wacky 'Ex-Gay' Ideas page.
Defeat Will Make Some Straight Men Crave Gay Sex
"Non-homosexual men who experience defeat and failure may also experience homosexual fantasies or dreams." (Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality)

The Rubber Band Technique
"Every time you catch yourself watching someone erotically or engaging in fantasy, snap the band. This will cause a moderate stinging pain, which serves as a shocking reminder of what you are doing. This should help you interrupt the spell." (Bill Consiglio, Author, "Homosexual No More")

Playing Sports Will Make You Hetero
"I recently counseled a fifty-year old man who carried a heavy burden since he was twelve. He thought that he had no eye-hand coordination, could not throw a ball, and therefore was less than the other boys and less than a man. I paired him up with a friend of mine who was willing to play ball with him. Within a few days, a new man was born. He could throw a ball. He just needed some practice and a sympathetic man to show him the ropes." (Richard Cohen, President, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays)

Prozac Can Cure Homosexuality
"When we consider that there is no objective distinction between homosexuality and the other perversions, we can easily see how the development of the homosexual 'habit' fits into this framework (of cures through medication). Some [homosexuals]…are being successfully treated with Prozac. Here too, sexual reorientation is reported to have occurred incidentally." (Dr. Jeffrey Satinover , M.D., Author)

Prayer and Faith Cures AIDS
"Today, with God's abundant grace, and His miraculous power to heal, I walk totally free from the AIDS virus." (Michael Lumberger, Exodus)

"Matthew was delivered from homosexuality in 1989 and miraculously healed from HIV/AIDS in 1994." (Mathew C. Manning's web-site http://www.matthewcmanning.com/)

** Note: Exodus Executive Director Alan Chamber's also believes that AIDS can be cured through prayer. When asked about Manning's supposed healing he told Besen, "God is bigger than science.

Trouble in Mom's Womb Can Make You Gay
"If a mother was experiencing difficulty in her relationship with her husband while carrying a child or if she felt rejected, unloved or unwanted by him or she experienced any other painful experiences during pregnancy, the unborn child within may have experienced these thoughts and feelings as though they were directed at him or her." (Richard Cohen, President, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays)

Hypnosis Can Make You Hetero
"At the count of three, your subconscious mind will make you aware of the cause of your homosexual behavior…You need to form in your mind the event you have been looking for whether it was created in this or a previous lifetime…Your soul records are available to you on this issue. You learn from the past and move on!"(Potentials Unlimited, "Gay and Unhappy", A Self-Hypnotic Tape)

Focusing on a Tree Will Help Make You Hetero
"I would start to experience a sexual response… So I would look out my car window and say something like, 'Gosh, Lord, there's a tree out there! That tree is green, and has leaves on it. It's got brown bark.' I would fix my mind on anything to distract myself…Over time, that made me mentally disciplined enough to displace all lesbian thoughts, period."(Anne Paulk, Co-Author, "Love Won Out")

Many of the Best Christians Are Mentally Ill
"Many of these persons - having suffered breakdowns and hospitalizations in the past - end up being the strongest and most effective Christians because, having been under such bondage to the voices of the past and present, they gladly listen for the life-giving Word in order to survive as persons." (LeAnne Payne, Author, "The Broken Image")

Gaining Weight Will Help Make You Hetero
"My weight started to increase, and I found little desire to keep on a strict diet and stay fashionably slim. My very appearance was changing. I was looking less and less gay. And I was perfectly happy about it."(John Paulk, Spokesperson, Focus on the Family)
I laughed while reading these, but at the same time I remind myself that people like DL Foster actually believe this sh*t. While these theories are bizarre and complete quackery, how many hurting people are wasting their time, mental health and money on these snake oil salesmen who tell gays and lesbians that they are sick and must be delivered from homosexuality.

They will continue going after any organized effort to counter the lies and deception being propogated by the "ex-gay" movement. TWO's debut press conference included the stories of ex-ex-gays who cam and shared moving stories about how they were able to leave the grip of the "ex-gay" movement.

I don't need to remind you all of the insanity of "ex-gay therapist" Richard Cohen and his healing "techniques" recently displayed on Paula Zahn's show (Inside Ex-Gay therapy), a clear example of why we need TWO out there debunking the sick BS.

I forgot to add this before posting but Fritz mentioned it in the comments, TWO has an excellent 10-point strategic plan to respond to the "ex-gay" movement's efforts to spread junk science and disinformation.


Don Wildmon's upset at the EPA

This is just sad - it's clear that the American Family Association and the Wildmon boys have nothing better to do with their time if this is getting under their skin.

The organization is now calling for an action alert against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it has announced plans to "recognize the diversity of our workforce by celebrating and observing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month." Eva at Lloydletta received the latest bleating and fundraising appeal (of course), from Don. A snippet of the insanity:
The EPA Office of Civil Rights, Diversity Program for Sexual Orientation, is sponsoring an opening event to be held on June 14. On June 28 EPA will hosts Gilles Marchildon, Executive Director for Egale Canada (Equality Canada) as a guest speaker.

Karen Higginbotham, Director, Office of Civil Rights, states there will be other activities in which the homosexual lifestyle will be celebrated in EPA offices across the country.

I thought you might like to know that the EPA, funded by your tax dollars, has joined the push for the homosexual agenda.

...Take Action - Send your email to Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator, and to President George W. Bush, to protest the tax-funded EPA celebrating this destructive and unhealthy lifestyle. Forward this to your friends and family.

Our children's future is at stake. Thanks for caring enough to get involved.
As always, the AFA provides a web form to send stock emails out.


Another perv pastor

The list keeps on growing, this one's out of Ohio...
The leader of a Springfield Township church lost his job on Sunday after he was arrested on charges of molesting a 13-year-old girl. The Rev. Ronald D. Love faces as long as 18 months in jail if he is convicted of gross sexual imposition.

Love, 50, was the minister at Carthage Baptist Church on Seymour Avenue.

...Love gave a taped statement admitting to fondling the girl on several occasions from January to April this year, the arrest report states.

The church official said Love submitted his resignation Saturday after his arrest. Church leaders accepted it.

On Sunday the church began their search for a replacement for Love. Carthage Baptist Church has about 300 members and has struggled in recent years to maintain that membership. The church official, who asked not to be named, said he hopes the news of Love's arrest doesn't hurt efforts to increase church membership.
Hat tip, Holly.


I am the nominee for VP

...of The Fixer's Blogger Party, over at The Alternate Brain. Fixer: "What if I were President, elected from the 'Blogger Party'? How would I arrange my cabinet? I picked bloggers I read regularly (generally at least once a day) and I think would rise to the occasion, even if they aren't necessarily an expert in the subject."

I am flattered to be picked to attend all those state funerals for President Fixer - bring on the corpses! :) Take a look at some of these other heavy hitting cabinet members that he wants to tap to displace the current clowns in office:
Secretary of State - Michael J.W. Stickings
Secretary of the Treasury - Brad DeLong
Attorney General - Christy Hardin Smith
Secretary of the Interior - Gordon
Secretary of Agriculture - Radical Russ
Secretary of Commerce - Mrs. Fixer
Secretary of Labor - DBK (Froggy)
Secretary of Defense - Cdr. Jeff Huber
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Scout Prime
Secretary of Transportation - 42
Secretary of Energy - Michael Hawkins
Secretary of Health and Human Services - Shakespeare's Sister
Secretary of Education - PZ Myers
Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Jo Fish
Secretary of Homeland Security - Larry C. Johnson
Press Secretary - Jane Hamsher
Ambassador to the U.N. - Roxanne

Advisers to the President:

For the Arts and Humanities - Mimus Pauly/Patrick
For High Technology - Badtux the Geeky Penguin
For International Relations - Eponymous/Juan Cole
For Womens Issues - Blondie (Blondsense Liz)/AOB
For Racial Issues - Steve Gilliard
For LGBT Issues - Genia Stevens
For Religious Issues - The Green Knight
On the Environment - Grannyinsanity
Go check out the great comments and responses over at The Alternate Brain.





This made my day

Peter LaBarbera whines about the governor's race in Illinois. Crack open the champagne!
While some Washington politicians want to use gay marriage to divide the electorate in November, Illinois voters are choosing between two candidates for governor who are regular crowd favorites at this city's gay pride parade.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his GOP challenger, state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, are nearly identical in their support for gay rights. Both say a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is unnecessary, and Topinka supports the state law signed by Blagojevich protecting gay people from discrimination.

"As gay voters we have good choices," said Rick Garcia, political director for the gay rights group Equality Illinois.

Conservative Republicans are not so giddy. "We got nobody," said Peter LaBarbera, executive director of a conservative group pushing to get a measure on Illinois ballots this fall that would ask voters whether the state constitution should be amended to ban gay marriage.

...A conservative Web site lambastes Topinka for her past participation in the parade and warns voters that Topinka "holds extremely liberal values that are contrary to those embraced by the vast majority of Illinois Republicans." LaBarbera has said the Web site is his personal undertaking and not affiliated with his job as executive director of the Illinois Family Institute.
See my earlier post on his slam site on Topinka, LaBarbera goes after Illinois gubernatorial candidate. A snippet from that post -- you can practically hear Peter screeching in the copy on the web site as he tries to malign Topinka:

Judy Baar Topinka knows that her avid support for homosexual and "trans-gender" rights is not widely popular in Illinois, and could especially cost her support from hundreds of thousands of conservatives who vote Republican in Illinois primaries. That’s why she is now hiding her "gay" advocacy from the public. Despite her cowardly obfuscations today, her homosexual activist friends will certainly count her as an important ally if she becomes governor of Illinois.

Considering all of the above, again we remind you…

These are Judy Baar Topinka’s Values…

And again ask you… are they yours?
Petey's also said that he might vote for the Constitution Party candidate (it's Randy Stufflebeam), since both major parties are just too homofriendly (see La Peter is unhappy with Illinois Republicans). Stufflebeam is still working on ballot access, so if he doesn't make it, Petey's SOL.


Ready for the remainder bin - open thread

PageOneQ reports that Mary Cheney's fish-wrapping tome isn't breaking any sales records. In fact, it's sucking wind:

Mary Cheney's book, Now It's My Turn, has sold less than 6,000 copies since it hit bookstores on May 9, 2006. With a reported advance of $1 million, the book's publisher, Simon and Schuster, would need to realize a profit of $166.66 on each book sold so far in order to break even, an impossible goal for a book with a cover price of $25.00.
Another fun fact in the story is that on Amazon, where they have the "Buy both now" feature, It's My Turn is paired with She-Beast Coulter's Godless: Church of Liberalism for a discount of 40%.

Blogwhore and chat away; I'm still slogging through email...


Ratzi: no hormones for transgender population


(Max Rossi/Reuters)

What is the Vatican doing weighing in on this, for crap's sake? Has world hunger been eliminated and all the raping priests rounded up? (gay.com):
The Vatican's newspaper took a stand Friday against providing free hormone treatments for transgender people, which the government of Tuscany began doing this week.

"The problem is not cost; it's principle," said L'Osservatore Romano, calling the government's decision "incredible."

The Italian region of Tuscany is the first to provide the treatments for free as part of its regional health service, Reuters reported."Faced with problems that afflict health care in Tuscany, waiting lists for operations, (insufficient funds for) chemotherapy and inadequate numbers of medical staff, perhaps it would have been better not to give precedence to hormonal treatment for sex changes," the paper said.

..."The Vatican's criticism is a glaring example of the widespread ignorance surrounding the health care needs of transgender people," said Simon Aronoff, deputy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C.


The Rotting CryptkeeperTM heading to NC this week

Fred's probably loading up the bus with his band of hate-mongering family members of his "church" and is planning to picket the only slightly-less wingnutty Southern Baptist Convention meeting, or as he calls it, the "Idolatrous Southern Baptist Convention."

The pathetic Phelps performance art will take place at the Greensboro Coliseum on Tuesday and Wednesday.



Phelps didn't show the last time WBC came to the state -- they picketed a staging of The Laramie Project here in Durham and Kate and I had a blast going over to take pictures of these sad, sick people:


Losers. Jonathan Phelps was dressed in a red poncho, shouting "Save The Gerbils!" and "Stop the Sh*t-eating Fags" and other un-Christian-like bile.

Earlier Blend posts on WBC in NC:
* Triumphant production of The Laramie Project in Durham
* Photos from day two of the Phelps Hate Machine in Durham
* Local media coverage of Phelps clan's visit to Durham
* First shots from the Westboro Baptist Church protest in Durham, NC
* Durham HS receives award for The Laramie Project

As I said, the Southern Baptists are almost as offensive as Phelps. They spent the weekend, in advance of their convention, sending out 2000 "evangelistic outreach" workers to show the heathens the way back to church. (AgapePress):
Southern Baptist churches throughout central North Carolina are taking the gospel to the streets through a variety of activities and events this weekend. Nearly 90 churches and more than 2,000 volunteers will take part in the evangelistic effort known as Crossover Triad.

The series of events will target Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point -- areas known collectively as "the Triad" -- tomorrow and Sunday, the weekend before the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in Greensboro. Marty Dupree, Crossover coordinator for North Carolina, calls this occasion "a great opportunity" with the potential to affect hundreds of thousands of lives.

"About 1.8 million people live in the Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point area," Dupree says, "and out of that 1.8 million, over 650,000 people are unchurched. So we really are trying to focus on and target those unchurched and unreached people with these different events and the different venues."

The spokesman for Crossover says this wide-scale evangelistic outreach is being sponsored by the North American Mission Board in cooperation with the Baptist state conventions and associations and local churches. "The different venues that we have," he notes, "are things like prayer walking and prayer journeys, sports evangelism, inner-city evangelism."
Also: Shirley Phelps Roper became unhinged on Faux News' The Big Story over the protests at soldiers' funerals the other day. You have to watch it to believe it. It gets out of control fast. (h/t, Dan L).



Yearly Kos

Going to my brother's wedding was way more important than schmoozing with the liberal blogosphere, politicians and think-tank doodadders at YearlyKos in Las Vegas. One of my brother's friends at the wedding actually joked how Tim deep-sixed my opportunity to go to YK because of the wedding scheduling, hahaha. Like I could have afforded to go to Vegas (and the wedding) anyway...

However, it looked like an interesting affair, even if you don't agree on all things Kossack.

While we were getting dressed for my brother's wedding on Saturday, Kate and I flipped on CSPAN and they were covering part of the Yearly Kos convention live (with lots of technical difficulties; the network terminated the coverage after a while). I don't recall what the panel was specifically about -- it was some generic how-the-blogosphere-affects-politics kind of matter, but what caught my attention were the scarily inarticulate questioners getting up there during the Q&As, rambling on almost incoherently, not able to form a question.

They sort of reminded me of all the super-geeks I went to school with at Stuyvesant HS (and that was a school full of them -- I was merely a run-of-the-mill geek) -- full of enthusiasm, but just a few pancakes short of a stack socially. That's not to say that these folks aren't brilliant behind the keyboard when blogging about the same ideas, but a conference like this makes it clear that the successful "faces" of the blogosphere will remain the extroverts -- the ones comfortable in front of cameras and large groups, for better or worse.

Terrance Heath of Republic of T was standing in line during Howard Dean's appearance at YK during the Q&A, and he didn't get a chance to ask Dean about his insane appearance on Crazy Pat's 700 Club, and the DNC's lame framing of gay issues. Terrance did, however, record Dean's speech and podfisked it, point by point. Check it out.

He also posted this on his blog.
I’m not asking the Democrats or anyone to make same-sex marriage their top priority. I’ve got it through my head that it’s just not going to matter that much to most people. What I want is to hear that Democrats aren’t going to run from the issue, that they aren’t going to dismiss it as “not important,” and that they’re going to equivocate when it comes to equality. When and where it comes up, I want to hear that they’re going to to say plainly that discrimination is wrong, period, and has no place in our laws or constitution.

What I hear from the progressive netroots is pretty much that if Democrats have to put our issues on the back burner, and reach out to more conservative voters, in order to get back into power, we should understand that, and help them win so that they can move those issues forward later. I keep asking how they’re going to do that and stay in power if they have a new, more conservative, conservative constituency that won’t let them do that and stay in power. I keep asking how this doesn’t add up to a more conservative Democratic party.

The answer that I get from the netrootsy types is that it’s "our job" to shift public opinion so that it’s “safe” for Democratic leaders to stand up on those issues. Well, if we’re out and we’re educating our friends, family, and communities about our issues and how they affect our lives, we’re already doing our job. It took me this long to figure out what the netrootsy types were saying: from now on progress on our issues is our job and nobody else’s.
Amen, brother. There you have it folks - it's our job to make it safe for the spineless Dems to say discrimination is wrong. Jeebus H. Christ on a cracker. No, the problem is that we're doing our job, and we need allies, who have the numbers to change minds, to speak up.

Perhaps the "progressive netroots" haven't been paying attention, but the last time I looked, marriage amendments are passing left and right, permanently affecting thousands of taxpayers in those states who happen to be gay. We can't shift cultural numbers to stop the bleeding without help from heavy hitting allies willing to call out the discrimination and campaign for fairness with a better frame. We can affect change on a personal basis, but not when we're up against an organized effort to spread fear and hate and disinformation.

We need leadership from the party, not a bunch of scared, self-serving political assclowns. But I guess we better get back to work on "our job" of shifting public opinions since we're on our own, right?


Back in Durham

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Whew. We got in around 7:30 PM - just ahead of a big thunderstorm here, so I wasn't online for a while. We're beat.

What a wonderful wedding. The one matter Tim and I were truly sad about amidst all the joy and celebration was that Mom was not there to share in it.

***

I did not bring back any of the 30 lbs of cheese that they had at the wedding reception, konagod. ;)

And Holly C. -- maybe the next time I'm back in that area, we can meet up. Winona was really a cool small town, though it does have that hunter/gatherer kind of flavor to it -- lots of heartland guys with trucks and camouflage, but hey - it's the upper Midwest, right?

***

Why on earth do I have 268 messages in my inbox?! It'll take a while to weed through those (and they aren't spam).


Post from Winona - open thread

Friday, June 09, 2006

Winona, Minnesota is a lovely, small town surrounded by wonderful hills. We went to an overlook this AM (sorry, no way to transmit the pix yet), and got some nice shots despite it being overcast.

The drive here from the quaint, small Rochester, MN airport was interesting, to say the least -- lots of cows, flat farmland. In fact, when we turned on the radio to find some music to listen to on the way to Winona, it was tuned to KOWZ-FM. Yes, I'm serious.

Russ, if you're out there, it was funny but not surprising to see a sign for an adopt a mile sign that indicated it was sponsored by WSU Student NORML chapter. ;)

Here's another open thread...Tim's big day is tomorrow afternoon.

***



The mewling here is just pathetic. (365gay.com):
Frist said that a new bill would be introduced in the next session. 

"We're making progress, and we're not going to stop until marriage between a man and a woman is protected ... protected in the courts, protected in the Constitution, but most of all, protected for the people and for the future of our children in this society," vowed Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas). 

..."The U.S. Constitution will be amended. The only question is whether it will be amended by the courts or by the people through the ratification process,” said Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council.


Off to Minnesota

Thursday, June 08, 2006



My little brother is getting married! Kate and I are off to Winona, MN this AM to take part in the big shebang. The Big Day is Saturday.

No, the laptop isn't coming with me this time...so that does mean a few days without fresh Blend (from me, anyway). We'll be back on Sunday.

This is your open thread -- play nice... :)


The hysteria of Bob Knight

The penis-possessing leader of Concerned Women for America, Bob Knight, is consumed by all things homo. He's another winger convinced that society will be completely destroyed if gays marry -- just like the perversions going on in Europe(!).
“The crudest and dumbest point made by a liberal opposing a federal marriage amendment was the comment by Sen. Ted Kennedy [D-Massachusetts], who said that support for such an amendment was ‘a vote for bigotry, pure and simple,’” said Robert Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute.

“Another point made by liberals opposing a federal marriage amendment is that ‘we have more important things to do.’ Really? There’s nothing more important than protecting marriage and families, because without them, the United States faces a bleak future in which government is ‘Daddy and Mommy’ and the state keeps growing to pick up the pieces of the shattered social order. Marriage-phobic Europe is fast committing social suicide, but we don’t have to let liberals take the United States down that path,” Knight concluded.


Cybill Shepherd's joining The L Word

This should be interesting...

The "Moonlighting" star will play a married woman with two grown children who " suddenly begins questioning her sexuality.''

The 56-year Shepherd will appear in 11 of 12 episodes slated for the new season which launches in January.

The character will be the vice chancellor of California University and the boss of Bette Porter ( Jennifer Beals). Last season Bette was dumped by longtime lover Tina (Laurel Holloman). Come January Better gets a new girlfriend played by Marlee Matlin.


On target



Henway sent this one in, from Don Asmussen's Bad Reporter strip at SFGate. This is just one panel - go see the rest of it.

A good companion piece is the column by editorial page editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cynthia Tucker.
Prohibiting same-sex unions would have absolutely no effect on the state of traditional marriage. Britney Spears -- whose first marriage lasted less than a day -- has done much more to discredit traditional marriage than gay couples have. (If an aversion to gay unions showed a commitment to traditional marriage, then black America could serve as the model for healthy heterosexual unions. After all, few voting blocs show a stronger antipathy to gay marriage than black voters do. Yet marriage is in decline in black America.) Nor does the Bible bestow a singular blessing on unions between one man and one woman. The marital arrangement most often cited in the Bible is polygamy.
(h/t, Anthony R)


Open thread

Wednesday, June 07, 2006



Is she even human Is she a pile of elephant dung? I can't imagine anyone being this callous and sick. Even Tucker Carlson asked her whether she realized people think she's a whack job.


Petey's blasting 'militant homo activists'

How can we go a week without something foolish coming out of Peter LaBarbera's mouth?

The Illinois Family Institute head is hopping mad about the treatment of one of his local black homobigots, Bishop Larry D. Trotter, of the ironically named Sweet Holy Spirit Church, by "militant homosexual activists." Here's part of LaBarbera's sack-sack, hilarious letter to supporters of one of Peter's many shadow efforts, Protect Marriage Illinois.
The Gay Liberation Network and allied groups stood outside Trotter's Sweet Holy Spirit Church on Chicago's South Side, yelling, "BORN AGAIN BIGOTS, GO AWAY!" and other slogans designed to demonize people of faith who, like Trotter, stand up for traditional marriage. (Trotter, who is the Presiding Prelate of the United Pentecostal Church of Christ, organized a petition drive for the Protect Marriage Illinois Referendum, yielding thousands of signatures for PMI.)

...Andy Thayer and fellow radicals at Gay Liberation Network, who once protested Moody Bible Church and Catholic Cardinal Francis George's home as "Houses of Hate," could not be more wrong. Defending Biblical sexual morality is not prejudice, and protecting marriage as one-man, one-woman is not "hate."

The homosexual activists' name-calling is another sign that they have no compelling arguments as to why America should discard thousands of years of human history by radically redefining marriage to accommodate men who have sex with men, and women who have sex with woman. Creating counterfeit "marriage" is not a civil right, but it is a moral wrong.

...Please pray that Illinois Family Institute and the PMI coalition will, with God's help, defeat the leftist coalition (including Gay Liberation Network) that is mobilizing to keep you and other Illinois citizens from voting "YES" for marriage in November.

,,,Thank you and may God bless you.

Sincerely,

Peter LaBarbera
Illinois Family Institute
info@illinoisfamily.org
I left out the crass pitch for dollars toward the end of the letter, btw. Petey gets bonus points for shilling for Stephen Bennett Ministries with this line at the end of the post:

If you consider yourself "gay" but want out of the lifestyle, click THIS LINK; change IS possible.
Also:
* Signatures Questioned In Illinois Anti-Gay Amendment (365gay.com)

Hat tip, Dan L.


Boston Macy's deep-sixes Pride mannequins



Fundamentalist whackjob Brian Camenker of MassResistance/Article 8 Alliance fixated on the pride-flag-as-man skirt in the above display, complained -- and Macy's caved and yanked it. Can you believe this? ((Boston Herald)
The Downtown Crossing store display featured two male mannequins - one wearing a gay pride rainbow flag around its waist - standing near a list of several planned Boston Pride events. The display was designed by Macy’s with the approval of the Boston Pride Committee.

But the store yanked the mannequins from the window after MassResistance, the conservative group formerly named Article 8 Alliance which has also campaigned against sex education and gay-themed books in public schools, complained the display was offensive.

They were male mannequins with enlarged breasts, and one was wearing a skirt," said MassResistance president Brian Camenker, referring to the gay pride flag wrapped around one figure, cinched with a white belt. "It was really disgusting."
Please. The Macy's spokesbot said that the mannequins were removed "to strike a balance."

Hat tips to Andy and Paul


The Senate bigots didn't even get 50 votes to continue debate


Too damn bad, huh? Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., right, with, from left, Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., Pastor Rev. William Owens Founder and President of the Coalition of African American, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, speaks in a news conference on Capitol Hill to support the Marriage Protection Amendment, Tuesday, June 6, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

[UPDATE: The Senate web site has the full roll call up now.]

Boy, what a bunch of losers. How will the bible beaters spin this, since they've been bleating about getting a majority of senators on board this time around? They were expecting at least 52. (CNN):
The Senate rejected Wednesday a bid to amend the Constitution to essentially ban same-sex marriage.

Republicans pushed the plan even though supporters conceded the measure did not have enough votes to pass.

Proponents failed to get the 60 votes needed to end debate and move to a vote on the actual amendment. The Senate vote was 49-48 to end debate.
In 2004 they only managed a 48-50 vote.

This DKos diary has details,
All Dems except Ben Nelson and Robert Byrd voted against cloture (Rockefeller and Dodd didn't vote). 7 Republicans broke with the party and also voted against cloture: Snowe, Collins, McCain, Sununu, Chafee, Gregg and Specter. Gregg and Specter had voted for cloture in 2004, so they are pickups. I don't believe anyone who voted against the FMA last time switched sides this time.
According to John, Chuck Hagel was not present because he was on the road with Dear Leader, so that means Darth would have been the tie-breaking vote had it come to that. What an irony.

Bring out the tiny violin...



I love it, look at sponsor Sam Brownback's lame reaction:

"People are going to be responsible for this vote," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. "We are making progress in America on defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman."
Sam, btw, has stated that he will not hire openly gay people.


Alabama update and open thread

Just an update on the Alabama primary...
"I'm all man, so I ain't got nothing to do with that.I go by what the Bible says -- man and woman."
-- Montgomery resident Joseph Rembert Jr. who said he didn't go to the polls because of the state marriage amendment, but was glad it was on the ballot


"I just prefer the state not do that. It's an individual choice."
-- Gwen Carmack of Mobile, explaining that it's not the government's business to can or can't marry
Sadly, the amendment breezed through with 80% of the vote, but one fundie wanted to rub salt in the wounds of gay Alabamians.
Christian Coalition of Alabama President John Giles, though, wanted an even bigger victory. "We know we lost a lot of votes over confusion," said Giles, noting that some voters voted "no," thinking it meant they were against gay marriage when in fact a "no" vote meant they were against a ban.

Tuesday's defeat was a blow to the gay rights group Equality Alabama. "The reality is that we all lose tonight," said Howard Bayless, the group's spokesman. "All of Alabama loses, and it sends a message to the rest of the world that we're still not ready for diversity."
In brighter news, Roy Moore went down in flames of hellfire. In the race for governor, the Ten Commandments candidate found out that Jeebus hung up on him. (NYT):
In their battle to be the Republican candidate for governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, the current governor, defeated Roy S. Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who drew national attention when he refused a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building's rotunda and was removed from the bench.

On the Democratic side, Lucy Baxley, Alabama's lieutenant governor, defeated six candidates, including Donald Siegelman, a former governor who was, even on Election Day, standing trial on racketeering and bribery charges.

Ms. Baxley, the ex-wife of Bill Baxley, a former lieutenant governor and state attorney general, had gained momentum in the polls since April, when Mr. Siegelman's trial opened; he is accused of taking campaign donations and gifts and offering political favors in return.


With nearly 70 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Riley had 64 percent of the votes to 36 percent for Mr. Moore. Ms. Baxley had 60 percent to Mr. Siegelman's 36 percent.
Feel free to report on any interesting news along with blogwhoring and links.

***

MORE POSITIVE NEWS: Openly gay candidates who won their primaries, with Red State representation up front (G&L Victory Fund):
-- In Alabama Tuesday, Patricia Todd fended off a last minute smear campaign in order to make it to a July 13 runoff for a state legislature seat in a Birmingham district.

-- Matt McCoy won his primary in Iowa last night to defend his legislative seat in November even after repeated attacks from a "family values" opponent. This is McCoy's first race as an openly gay candidate.

-- Kathy Webb won her Democratic primary May 23 for a seat in the Arkansas state legislature. She is poised to become the first openly LGBT legislator in the state’s history.
***

And I think oddjob mentioned this in the comments of another thread, so I'll put a link here on this entirely unsubstantiated bit of business floating about -- is Laura sleeping elsewhere? Who knows, but The Dark Wraith speculates...


Blanco will sign abortion ban

The same the lame-ass Dems who can't back gay rights, don't mind letting reproductive freedom go out the window as well. Take a look at the latest faux Dem, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who says she'll sign into law a horrible abortion measure.
[Blanco] says she believes an exception for rape and incest victims to get an abortion, a proposal rejected by both the House and Senate, would have "been reasonable," but she said she wouldn't reject the bill for that reason.
She might as well switch parties now. Why point fingers at the virulent anti-choice forces in the GOP when there are plenty of Dems who are ready to advance womb control with just as much vigor, or, as in Blanco's case, a casual aside.

Hat tip, Feministing.


Unreal

Tuesday, June 06, 2006



[UPDATE (9 PM): I'm moving this back up because we have video of this fool now, courtesy of Think Progress. Click the image.]

Email from Christy at The Senate Majority Project:
During today's same-sex marriage amendment debate, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) used a prop of a blown-up photo of his family (some 20 people or so). Gesturing towards the photo, he said:

{14:24:36} (MR. INHOFE)
(NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT}
As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we'll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I'm really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of a homosexual relationship.
Um, wow.


Texas GOP wingnuts: God's chair of the party

Last week's Texas state Republican convention, as reported in The Dallas Morning News, sounds like it was resembled a religious revival more than a political convention.
Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell offered a greeting to delegates to the Republican convention. "It's great to be back in the holy land," the Fort Worth native said to the cheers of the party faithful. For the 4,500 delegates at last week's biennial gathering, it was both an expression of conservative philosophy and religious faith, a melding of church and state.

At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, party leader Tina Benkiser assured them that God was watching over the two-day confab.

"He is the chairman of this party," she said against a backdrop of flags and a GOP seal with its red, white and blue logo.

The party platform, adopted Saturday, declares "America is a Christian nation" and affirms that "God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom."

"We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state," it says.
These folks are nuts -- at least they don't mince words.

Hat tip, Facing South.


Russ and Ted take the GOP thugs to the woodshed

Two of the only Dem spines at the national level take the GOP goons to school on their hate amendment. You can read Russ Feingold's at the Wisconsin senator's site, and listen to it as well. Go read it all.

I love the section where he asks the supporters of the amendment to explain what its real intent is, given the confusion on the right about what the amendment's language means.
Groups supporting the amendment like the Alliance for Marriage and Concerned Women for America seem to think the amendment will permit legislatures to enact civil union legislation. In a radio interview during the Senate’s consideration of the amendment in 2004, Bob Knight, the head of that Concerned Women for America, suggested that wasn’t such a good thing. He said:
The second sentence was so convoluted that many legal scholars disagreed about what it actually meant, and its backers assured everyone that it meant states could pass civil unions, which is not the way to protect marriage. Civil unions are gay marriage by another name.
As recently as November 2005, the website of the Alliance for Marriage had the following explanation of a chart in which it says that “quasi-marital schemes” such as civil unions would be permitted if adopted by a state legislature rather than imposed by court:

“The second sentence ensures that the democratic process at the state level will continue to determine the allocation of the benefits associated with marriage.”

Interestingly, this chart no longer appears on the website. I won’t speculate about why that is, but it does seem like an important question for supporters of this amendment to get their stories straight on. There are states in the country today that authorize civil unions. How would this constitutional amendment affect those laws? We know what the supporters of the amendment intended with respect to the law in Massachusetts, but what about in Vermont, and Connecticut, and California, and New Jersey? What are duly elected state legislatures, in the exercise of their responsibility to enact laws consistent with the values and preferences of their citizens, allowed to do, and what are they prohibited from doing? Don’t they deserve to know?

...I could go on and on here Mr. President, but let me mention Prof. Scott Fitzgibbon of Boston College Law School, who also testified in support of the amendment at the Subcommittee’s last hearing. Mr. Fitzgibbon simply declined to answer when I asked him at the hearing whether the amendment would allow a state employer to give benefits to unmarried domestic partners of its employees. And he also refused to answer a followup written question about whether Connecticut’s civil union law would be constitutional. But he did say the following at the hearing:

“I am just going to say that the degree of ambiguity … isn’t such a terrible thing. This isn’t part of the tax code. It is proposedly [sic] a part of the United States Constitution and constitutional provisions rightly leave some scope for later determination.”

So there you have it Mr. President. The supporters and drafters of this amendment can’t agree on how it would affect civil union laws like the one recently enacted by the democratically elected legislature of the State of Connecticut. And at least one of them says that ambiguity is not such a bad thing. It’s normal for constitutional provisions to leave “some scope for later determination” he says.

So who will decide this question, which everyone can anticipate will be raised if this amendment becomes part of the Constitution? Who is responsible in our legal system for making a “later determination,” as Prof. Fitzgibbon calls it, of the meaning of a constitutional amendment? You guessed it, Mr. President, the courts! Given how this whole exercise of trying to define marriage in the governing document of our country started – outrage over a state court’s interpretation of a state constitution and fear of supposedly “activist judges” taking it upon themselves to redefine marriage -- that is ironic indeed.
And it goes without saying that Ted Kennedy just puts the issue right out there -- the way we need it said aloud, without the pathetic bobbing and weaving of the sHillarys, Holy Joes and Joe Bidens.
Despite these growing numbers, many here in the Senate want to deprive these men and women – these children – and their families – of the legal protections and benefits associated with marriage. These families stand up to private bigotry and prejudice in their ordinary activities - why would the federal government make their lives harder by writing discrimination into the Constitution? It’s wrong for Congress to add another burden to these families already struggling to live their lives and take care of each other.

The General Accounting Office has identified 1,138 protections and benefits provided by the federal government on the basis of marital status. Many of these are laws relating to family and medical leave, social security benefits, and tax benefits. Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights as married couples, including the right to be treated fairly by the tax laws, to share insurance coverage, to visit loved ones in the hospital, and to have health benefits, family leave benefits, and the many other benefits that automatically flow from marriage.

Supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment claim the need to stop activist judges. Our colleagues should recall the words of another activist court:
“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the most vital personal property rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness.”
The activist judges stating this fundamental belief were part of the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in the landmark case Loving v. Virginia, which held that marriage is a basic civil right, and that freedom to marry a person of another race may not be restricted by racial discrimination.

Now, nearly forty years later, I urge the Senate not to turn back the clock on this progress, or start writing discrimination into our country’s most cherished document. The framers never wanted it to be used for short-term political games – that’s why it is so difficult to amend. As Chief Justice John Marshall said, the Constitution is “intended to endure for ages to come.”

Two years ago, we defeated a disgraceful attempt to force this right wing agenda into the Constitution and we're prepared to do so again. There is too much at stake to let the politics of bigotry prevail. I urge the Senate to reject this so-called Federal Marriage Amendment, and get back immediately to the real business of the nation. Save the pandering for right wing supporters on the campaign trail.


NSA won't own up to surveillance of homos

Why should they -- this is the Bush administration. SLDN has up to five years to appeal this crap decision.
In a June 5 letter to counsel for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the National Security Agency (NSA) says it will "neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence" of information that may have been obtained through agency surveillance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

SLDN sought information, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, after media reports indicated the agency may have been monitoring groups and individuals opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel. The June 5 letter was sent in response to SLDN's appeal of NSA's refusal to release any information related to that surveillance. The appeal was filed on SLDN's behalf by the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP.

"2006 is the new 1984," said SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn. "The federal government's Orwellian surveillance programs of ordinary, law-abiding citizens violates our right to privacy under current law. The government's refusal to disclose its surveillance programs erodes the public trust."


sHillary can't do it


She simply won't take a public stand on same-sex marriage -- as predicted of course. Some reporter needs to corner her on this one, but don't hold your breath.
New York Senator Hillary Clinton, widely thought to be preparing for a 2008 White House run, lashed out Republicans for pushing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

...At a fundraising event Tuesday Sen. Clinton said the move is the work of the "political machine of the White House and the Republican majority."

She said that New Yorkers have more pressing concerns. "[They] worry about everything from terrorism to gas prices to the cost of health care to energy independence."

But in her speech she stayed clear of discussing her position on gay marriage.
Bashing the Republicans on the MPA is easy, sHill. How about getting a spine and justifying your definition of marriage and leave-it-to-the-states position? How about all those gay voters you're asking to donate money to your coffers. Do their rights matter enough to explain your position, or do you just like to have the gay wallets available for pickpocketing?

Oh never mind, I'm sure she's scheduling an appearance on The 700 Club shortly.

Also:
* You go, girls: Molly Ivins and Susan Sarandon flip sHillary the bird
* sHillary running from her Wal-Mart ties
* On Hackett, Hillary, & So-Called Moderates - COWABUNGA!
* NY gay rights group blasts sHillary
* The sHillary backlash continues
* Fallout from leaked Empire State Pride Agenda memo
* Another reality check for sHillary
* Rove in 'Strategery': sHillary will lose
* Bag Hillary; this is ridiculous
* We had to destroy this party in order to save it
* What is wrong with Americans?
* Hillary continues image building with more wingnut bootlicking


Santorum's top priority: recriminalize sodomy


Graphic: Mike Tidmus.

Man-on-dog loves sodomy so much that he's been talking about it on the Senate floor in the amendment debate. I hope someone plays a loop of him spewing about it. John:
Santorum is railing against the recent Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas. That's the decision that rules that states can no longer throw gay people in jail simply because of who they are (up until then, several states made "sodomy" a crime - and remember, sodomy includes oral and anal sex, both heterosexual and gay).

So, Rick Santorum is upset that states can no longer throw gay people in jail. Rick Santorum is upset that analingus, cunnilingus and fellatio are no longer crimes in America, even for heterosexual married couples. Rick Santorum thinks this is what the United States Congress should be spending its time and money debating.
He agrees with Tony "does he sodomize his wife" Scalia's dissent:
State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.
We must then assume that it's no wanky for Little Ricky as well.

He might as well bleat away because he trails Dem challenger Bob Casey 56% to 33%. I guess he needs something to do to keep his mind off of those tanking numbers -- and any stimulating thoughts.


Papal bullsh*t of the week


Graphic by Mike Tidmus

Prada Papa Ratzi's like clockwork with his hateful blogviating on homos. The latest screed from the Vatican:
The Vatican said on Tuesday that gay marriage, abortion, lesbians wanting to bear children and a host of other practices it sees as threats to the traditional family were signs of "the eclipse of God".

A 60-page document, called "Family and Human Procreation," was issued just days after President Bush urged the Senate to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The document strongly restated many of the Roman Catholic Church's positions on sexuality, marriage and life but went further, saying the family today was more endangered than at any time before in history.

"The causes are diverse but the 'eclipse' of God, creator of man, is at the root of the profound current crisis concerning the truth about man, about human procreation and the family," said the document, prepared by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family.

It said the family was under attack around the world, even in traditionally Christian cultures, by what it called "radical currents" proposing new family models.

It listed these threats as homosexual marriages, giving gay couples equal legal recognition as married heterosexuals, lesbians demanding the right to bear children through artificial insemination and gays who want to adopt children.
I didn't see anything mentioned about the raping of children by priests destroying families. Hmmm.


This and that - open thread

The mailbag is full again, so I'm spending my lunch time putting up some of the interesting links for you to nosh on...

* Communion denied to Rainbow Sash parishioners. The Rainbow Sash Movement are gay Catholics' attempt to counter Ratzi's anti-gay church by showing up for communion with sash to identify themselves as gay or allies. The heat on this has been rising and here's one resulting clash when 50 sash-wearers showed up at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. Paul, MN. (h/t Holly):
In an act that some witnesses called a "sacrilege" and others called a sign of "solidarity," a man who was not wearing a sash received a Communion wafer from a priest, broke it into pieces and handed it to some of the sash wearers, who consumed it on the spot.

Ushers threatened to call the police, and a church employee burst into tears when the unidentified man re-distributed the consecrated wafer.
* Jeremy at Good As You posts on Ann Coulter's appearance on Today. She lost her cookies at Matt Lauer for her horrid portrayal of 9/11 widows in her new tome:
These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzies. I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much.
Media Matters also covers this.

* There's nothing like The Real Threat to Marriage: Top 10 GOP Adulterers, which you will find over at The Pensito Review. His list is now up to 11 and lots of runners up. I'm sure you can come up with a hundred or so more. Poppy is at #1.

* 'Bean passed along some interesting links to Holy Joe blowing his stack over challenger Ned Lamont. The pressure is getting to Joe, who says he is "as angry and frustrated" as the voters about Iraq. Whatever. (Huff Post):
Reuters is reporting that the war's "first big political casualty" may come in August, when Connecticut Democrats have the option to reject pro-war Senator Joe Lieberman. The alternative is Ned Lamont, a successful, low-key businessman who spent the spring puncturing the shell of Lieberman's seemingly high approval ratings, exposing simmering discontent with the three-term Senator. Political insiders started taking Lamont seriously when he beat expectations at the state convention last month, and many reporters are covering the race as a Democratic referendum on Iraq.


...What exactly is Lieberman so angry about? He looks content discussing his hawkish views on TV. He is comfortable cutting deals with the Bush Administration. No one can read his mind, but he appears to enjoy the extra attention he receives as Bush's favorite Democrat - from that memorable kiss to the administration's more somber plaudits for his leadership. He relishes presiding over bipartisan theatrics in Congress, including the filibuster compromise that may soon fall apart. He displayed enthusiastic body language when he was the first member of Congress to stand and applaud one of Bush's statements during the State of the Union - an image that has been circulating on the Internet ever since.
* Tedi reminds me that we should all go have some fun at The Church Sign Generator.



* Mike Tidmus emailed me a link to a HuffPost column with a great head: Hurry, Mr President! Stop me Before I Burn the Flag in my Assless Chaps. Sounds like Peter LaBarbera might give him a call...

* Paula of Whtz on my mind is also a member of Jesus Metropolitan Community Church in Indiana, which I blogged about last week. The church is spending $55K on a tolerance campaign, placing yard signs, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and door hangers, with the statement on it: Would Jesus Discriminate? An update on the feedback and exposure:
Your incredible volunteer efforts created an enormous buzz, so much so that the Indianapolis Star ran a news story (copies available in the Social Hall). The Associated Press also distributed a story that ran in various newspapers across Indiana including Ft. Wayne and Lafayette. A variety of national gay media, such as www.365gay.com, various blogs, and gay newspapers in New York, Washington DC, Houston, and Atlanta have also picked up the story. The Star will soon begin running "letters to the editor" that will generate significant additional attention

* How about this tongue-in-cheek column at The Web Pen Blog: Gay Marriage Is Good For The Economy


* View Dear Leader's fetish for rubbing the heads of bald men. (h/t Julius)

* Oprah confirms that she isn't gay (Queer Beacon). Were the rumors that rampant?


Don Wildmon's got the Christmas spirit in June

There's nothing like a good old American Family Association ActionAlert, this one on how fundies need to get their holy posteriors in gear to save the Christ in Christmas for 2006.
June is not the time when we think of Christmas. But June is the time when retailers begin making their plans for Christmas promotions — store banners, newspaper ads, TV commercials, etc.

Remember last Christmas when many national retailers banned the use of Merry Christmas and allowed only the use of Season's Greetings or Happy Holidays or even winter holidays? Remember how some stores did not allow their employees to say "Merry Christmas" to their customers? Remember how Christmas trees were called Holiday trees?

There are companies which don't want to offend a small handful of their customers by mentioning Christmas because Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. However, they don't mind offending Christians by refusing to use the term Christmas.

We could be headed for another year when similar incidents occur, unless we let companies know right now that we will not accept the banning of Christmas in their promotions.

Now is the time to let the retailers know that if they ban the use of the term Christmas, you will not be shopping with them during the Christmas season!
It's nice that he's focused on this instead of say, planning ahead to feed the poor during the holiday season.


Red state hope

Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm sure most of you who are living in the comfort of Blue states, wonder why on earth do queer folks continue to live in states where it is a constant battle against wingers, bible beaters and legislatures -- places where the elected officials are either hostile or indifferent to your rights. Here is a must-read op-ed in the Anniston Star that may help you understand. It's a good read:

Hope not lost for gay Alabamians: Struggle for equality will continue after Tuesday

Folks like Howard Bayless of Equality Alabama are working hard a day at a time for LGBT rights in the heart of Dixie and, even in the shadow of a vote on a state amendment (it's sure to pass), he remains positive about the changes that are occurring. A snippet:
We have a long way to go to show all Alabamians how simple and normal our lives are; to explain that laws to ban marriage are not about preserving relationships, but about tearing them apart; to prove that pitting neighbors against neighbors is neither good for our government nor good for our communities; to ensure that if I arrive at the hospital in 40 years to visit Dale when he is seriously ill, an unknowing nurse does not stop me from entering his room and say, “Sorry, sir, the government says you are not a family.”

But on the eve of a vote to further block protections for some Alabamians, I am tremendously hopeful. I am hopeful knowing that thousands of people from Anniston to Atmore, from Decatur to Dothan — communities where some folks think not a single gay person exists in town — will vote against this misleading and mendacious amendment.

I am hopeful because every time the media misrepresent our community, there is an increasing number of stories that portray the gay community and its lives with the same humanity as journalists would depict anyone else’s. I am hopeful because for every hateful, misguided, naïve word uttered about gay people by anti-gay extremists, there are more and more fair-minded Alabamians coming to understand the desire of the gay community to love and to live that love in freedom.
This is why it angers me to hear politicians, particularly spineless Dems like Joe Biden tonight on one of the talking head shows, cling to the fig leaf of "leave it to the states" and the fact that the DOMA is the law of the land.

I have yet to see a reporter this evening challenge this lame position with a discussion about all the states that have decided to discriminate against taxpaying gays and lesbians by placing them on the ballot, and how those lives will be affected by "leave it to the states," while the spine-free politicians foolishly attempt to massage their message to capture a slice of The Base.

By the way, has sHillary shown her sorry ass on the TV to comment on the festivities in the Senate? I can't wait for her to bob and weave.

Letting the people decide the civil rights of others is now the appropriate position for elected officials of either party to take? What about Loving v. Virginia -- are they saying interracial marriage should have been determined by popular vote? If not, what's the difference? The bible verses and same arguments were tossed around back then.

Hat tip, Kathy @ Birmingham Blues.


There was no answer on the prayer line

Some of you may have missed the discussion in an earlier thread about this story, Lioness Kills Man Invoking God.
A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in the Kiev Zoo after he crept into an enclosure, a zoo official said Monday.

"The man shouted, 'God will save me, if he exists,' lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."


Open thread



It looks like there are plenty of news items about what's going to happen on 06/06/06 -- will the fundies go apesh*t?


* Damien's back as the remake of The Omen opens.

* Hell, Mich., Heats Up for 6-6-6 Party.
They're planning a hot time in Hell on Tuesday. The day bears the date of 6-6-06, or abbreviated as 666 - a number that carries hellish significance. And there's not a snowball's chance in Hell that the day will go unnoticed in the unincorporated hamlet 60 miles west of Detroit. Nobody is more fired up than John Colone, the town's self-styled mayor and owner of a souvenir shop.

"I've got '666' T-shirts and mugs. I'm only ordering 666 (of the items) so once they're gone, that's it," said Colone, also known as Odum Plenty. "Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying you've celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell." Most of Colone's wares will sell for $6.66, including deeds to one square inch of Hell.

* Coulter's 6-6-06 book launch bad omen for the left. WingNutDaily's hot and bothered by her upcoming fish-wrapper.
Ann Coulter's decision to launch of her latest and most explosive book yet on 6-6-06 – a date some have linked to the "mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation – is a bad omen for liberals. "If a Martian landed in America and set out to determine the nation's official state religion, he would have to conclude it is liberalism, while Christianity and Judaism are prohibited by law," Coulter writes in "Godless: The Church of Liberalism."
* Some expectant mom's are telling their doctors that they don't want to deliver on that date.
If given a choice, some expectant mothers in Modesto want to avoid giving birth Tuesday. Their child's birthday would be 06/06/06 — or 666 — which often is interpreted as the biblical mark referring to the devil, Satan, and the Antichrist, who will bring on the Apocalypse. Modesto physician Harvey Palitz said a couple of patients have asked to have a Caesarean section or their labor induced Monday because of the ominous date. "They didn't want to have a kid with a birthday on 666," he said of the once-in-a-century date. "Their fear is that it might really mean something."
* A WingNutDaily reader even suggested last year that John Kerry was tied to "666".

During his presidential campaign in Iowa today, Democrat John Kerry was surrounded by a sea of handheld signs displaying the number six on them.

..."The imagery of 666 appearing everywhere was too much to be ignored. I had to rewind my TIVO and shoot these photos of the TV screen."
At this point, some of the bible beaters aren't even sure it's 666 that they need to worry about. One WND article suggested the number of the beast is 616.


Batsh*t Lou turns on Dear Leader and his brothers in wingnuttery


Graphic:Mike Tidmus

It's never enough for the extremists, and Lou Sheldon is one of them. Even with Dear Leader's bloviating to the true believers this afternoon, Lou feels this marriage amendment is a slap in the face because he sees a loophole for civil unions -- and his fellow bible beaters supporting it have sold out to the homosexual agenda. We can't have that, can we? (PageOneQ):
“This amendment is a hollow gesture when it comes to protecting marriage,” said TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon. “It does not ‘fully protect marriage’ but it amends the Constitution to allow civil unions and other forms of counterfeit marriage in all 50 states.”

“I am disappointed in the White House, but I am even more disappointed in those social conservative leaders who have misled the American people into believing that the Marriage Protection Amendment will stop homosexual marriage. Promoting a civil unions amendment disguised as a marriage protection amendment is shameful.

“No reasonable person will deny marriage to homosexuals once a Constitutional right to a ‘civil union’ is established. And this amendment is not compassionate conservatism, this is unprincipled relativism.

“President Bush deserves the support of the American people, but the White House is wrong when they claim that the amendment would ‘fully protect marriage from being redefined.’

“But another disappointment in all of this is the group of prominent religious conservatives who traded civil unions for some empty marriage protections, knowing very well that this civil unions amendment will fast track homosexual marriage across America.

“These people are supposed to dig their heels in and refuse to compromise when it comes to principle. They are supposed to be the voices for those working people across America who can’t come to Washington to be heard. But that’s not what they did. They have acted like auctioneers who have tried to make the best deal for votes and, in the end, they have abandoned the principled defense of marriage and are still nowhere near the votes needed to pass this amendment.


Black homobigots rally with 'pro-family' Tony Perkins tomorrow

"A Marriage Protection Amendment is necessary. Activist courts have left our nation with no other option. Marriage will either be defined by the courts or by the people. Now is the time for Congress to act!"
-- FRC President, Tony Perkins
Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., jughead Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, will vogue with 100 black homobigots in a joint press conference to support the Marriage Protection Amendment.

That faith-based cash and face time must do wonders for the coffers of these pastors. Shameful.

Look at who he's humping for support:
* Bishop Harry Jackson, Chairman of High Impact Leadership Coalition (said this in all seriousness: "I'm not against gay people; I'm not trying to bash them per se. I just think that we're in such a terrible situation in my community that I've got to protect the institution.")

* Star Parker, President of The Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education. Yes, the Star Parker who has stolen a copy of our Homosexual Agenda and has been moaning about the positive trend of the general public's views about gay rights. ("Churches which promote homosexual "marriage" are threatening to bring even more chaos into the lives of children.")

***



Commenter Kevin reminded me that Tony Perkins has ties to David Duke and the Klan, which makes the fact that these 100 black "leaders" are appearing with Perkins even more sick. From a June 2005 Blend post:
It seems that family-oriented, pious Tony paid former KKK Wizard, cosmetic-surgery-enhanced, self-proclaimed head of the "European American" movement, David Duke, $82K for his mailing list of affinity knuckledraggers in 1996.

Why has no one, especially these courted black pastors, called FRC on this low-rent white supremacist co-mingling by Perkins? From The Nation:
Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.


Chimperor scratches his balls for the fundies



As I posted on Saturday, they demoted the fundie-licking speech from the Rose Garden to a less visible location (the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, according to Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network).

PageOneQ has the video of his statement. Watch as the camera zooms in on some of his black pastor buddies, seated right up there in the front.

John also noted that none of the usual suspects were on camera, though there was some odd close-up of Watergate felon-turned fundie Chuck Colson. MIA from the on-camera seats: Crazy Pat, Rev Tinkywinky, Daddy Dobson, Janet Parshall, radio host (formerly FRC), Bob "homo wet dreams" Knight, Concerned Women for America and Tony Perkins, Family Research Council. Alas, Rove didn't want them out of the closet.

Wouldn't it have been grand to see our friends Peter LaBarbera or Lou Sheldon? No face time after all their hard work.

***

Here's the transcript:
President Discusses Marriage Protection Amendment
Presidential Hall
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

1:48 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Please be seated. Good afternoon, and welcome to the White House. It is a pleasure to be with so many fine community leaders, scholars, family organizations, religious leaders, Republicans, Democrats, independents. Thank you all for coming.

You come from many backgrounds and faith traditions, yet united in this common belief: Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges. (Applause.) You are here because you strongly support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and I am proud to stand with you. (Applause.)

This week, the Senate begins debate on the Marriage Protection Amendment, and I call on the Congress to pass this amendment, send it to the states for ratification so we can take this issue out of the hands of over-reaching judges and put it back where it belongs -- in the hands of the American people. (Applause.)

The union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution. For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that marriage is critical to the well-being of families. And because families pass along values and shape character, marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure.

America is a free society which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. In this country, people are free to choose how they live their lives. In our free society, decisions about a fundamental social institution as marriage should be made by the people. (Applause.)

The American people have spoken clearly on this issue through their elected representatives and at the ballot box. In 1996, Congress approved the Defense of Marriage Act by large bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate, and President Clinton signed it into law. And since then, 19 states have held referendums to amend their state constitutions to protect the traditional definition of marriage. In every case, the amendments were approved by decisive majorities with an average of 71 percent. (Applause.)

Today, 45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman. These amendments and laws express a broad consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage. The people have spoken. Unfortunately, this consensus is being undermined by activist judges and local officials who have struck down state laws protecting marriage and made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage.

Since 2004, state courts in Washington and California and Maryland and New York have ruled against marriage laws. Last year, a federal judge in Nebraska overturned a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, an amendment that was approved by 70 percent of the population. And at this moment, nine states face lawsuits challenging the marriage laws they have on the books.

Some argue that defining marriage should be left to the states. The fact is, state legislatures are trying to address this issue. (Applause.) But across the country, they are being thwarted by activist judges who are overturning the expressed will of their people. And these court decisions can have an impact on our whole nation.

The Defense of Marriage Act declares that no state is required to accept another state's definition of marriage. If that act is overturned by the courts, then marriage recognized in one city or state may have to be recognized as marriages everywhere else. That would mean that every state would have to recognize marriage as redefined by judges in, say, Massachusetts or local officials in San Francisco, no matter what their own state laws or their state constitutions say.

This national question requires a national solution. And on an issue of such profound importance, that solution should come not from the courts, but from the people of the United States. (Applause.) An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our nation with no other choice. When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution, the only law a court cannot overturn.

The constitutional amendment that the Senate will consider this week would fully protect marriage from being redefined. It will leave state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage. A constitutional amendment is the most democratic process by which our country can resolve this issue. In their wisdom, our founders set a high bar for amending the Constitution. An amendment must be approved by two-thirds of the House and the Senate, and then ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures. This process guarantees that every state legislature and every community in our nation will have a voice and a say in deciding this issue. (Applause.)

A constitutional amendment would not take this issue away from the states, as some have argued. It would take the issue away from the courts and put it directly before the American people. (Applause.)

As this debate goes forward, every American deserves to be treated with tolerance and respect and dignity. (Applause.) On an issue of this great significance, opinions are strong and emotions run deep. And all of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another. All people deserve to have their voices heard and a constitutional amendment will ensure that they are heard. (Applause.)

I appreciate you taking an interest in this fundamental issue. It's an important issue for our country to debate and to resolve. And the best way to resolve this issue is through a constitutional amendment, which I strongly support. God bless.
The Faux News faithful decided to weigh in on the question:

Are the GOP's efforts to ban gay marriage an act of protection or distraction?
"It most certainly is a protection for marriage. This will prevent a lot of bad things from happening if this is passed." — Clarissa (Banner Elk, NC)

"I think the Republicans are doing anything they can to avoid dealing with the illegal immigrants, closing the borders, and protecting our Constitution from militants that wish to tear our country down." — Stephanie (Ohio)

"Republican Senators are attempting to distract the conservative base. They have no intention of passing this bill." — R.S.

"Personally, I think their efforts would serve the nation better if used elsewhere. Although I am solidly in favor of same-sex marriage, I would vote solidly against a constitutional amendment for it. Marriage is a sacrament of the church (any church); as such, its regulation needs to be left to the church. The government may weigh in on civil unions as much, and as often, as it chooses, but it needs to keep its nose out of marriage and other church business. This is where separation of church and state comes in, NOT in whether or not to permit prayer in schools, or the public display of the Ten Commandments or similar documents. This is what the framers of the Constitution meant when they said that government should not interfere with or establish religious practice." — Hopkins

"Common sense dictates that marriage is ONLY between a man and a woman. Unfortunately we have to resort to a constitutional amendment to affirm what we have all known for thousands of years. I support this effort." — B.D.

"The Constitution is a document which limits the federal government's authority in many ways. This proposed amendment would expand federal authority. While I truly believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, I don't believe a Constitutional Amendment is the right approach. An overhaul of the federal judiciary might be a better way to approach this. The Constitution is somewhat vague about the judiciary; something an amendment might fix." — Eric (Orlando, FL)

"What we have here is a too obvious political play that unfortunately scapegoats a minority as a means to gather votes. This is unkind, manipulative and divisive. My wife and I are Christians. We are not remotely confused abut our own marriage. Are we supposed to care about this because some other Christians are offended? Does this really threaten traditional marriage? Are there truly couples in traditional marriages who are personally confused and threatened by this? Fear not! We know two women who both earlier had children from a traditional marriage. They later lived with one another. They’ve also made sure their children have male influences. Why not let them and all their children have health insurance benefits and no extra problems? I say this to President Bush: We as a nation ought not impose particular religious beliefs on strangers doing no harm in the name of gathering votes." — Stanley & Connie (Mill Valley, CA)

"This is a huge distraction by the Bush administration to take people's minds off of the multitude of policy failures and instances of incompetence his cronies have inflicted upon our country and its citizens. From the federal government's shameful Katrina response to the inability to stop the invasion of our country by illegals, the list goes on and on and on." — Greg (Lake Mary, FL)

"It is in no way a distraction, but an amplification of what should have been done years ago!" — Ted (Atlanta, GA)
***


Click for the video. Tony needs to go "get a more precise definition" of "civil rights."

Also, White House spokesbot Tony Snow stepped in it when commenting on the amendment at today's White House press briefing. Raw Story reports that Snow told a reporter that barring same-sex marriage is a "civil rights" matter. When asked to clarify what the hell he meant by "civil rights", he bumbled and fumbled and made an ass out of himself at the podium.

They've had ages to get their message straight on this. Did Snow not get the memo?


What are they really attempting to save?

John at AB comes out swinging and on track about the Senate marriage amendment vote today with an action item that will clearly jam the phone lines on the Hill with appropriate, hysterical drama, since the wingnuts have insisted that this debate is about protecting the sanctity of marriage.

He's got the full list of hypocrites who are going to be mewling about saving marriage when their closets are full of skeletons. A snippet from his action item, which asks folks to ring up the folks on the Hill and inquire about how far they are willing to go in their personal lives to protect marriage...
In a nutshell, the religious right and far-right Republicans have said repeatedly that the "gay marriage" battle is really about outlawing:

* sodomy
* masturbation
* adultery
* prostitution
* out-of-wedlock sex
* marriages that cannot procreate

...MESSAGE:
Specifically, we'd like you to ask them to vow that in the past, now, and in the future they will abstain from sodomy (including same-sex and/or male-female analingus, cunnilingus, and fellatio), masturbation, adultery, prostitution, out-of-wedlock sex, and marriages that cannot procreate. We will also ask them about divorce, as there is no greater threat to marriage today than divorce (in addition, the Bible makes clear that divorce is a no-no).
Of course my state is well-represented on the list of cretins:

NC Senators
Dole, Elizabeth (R-NC)
Burr, Richard (R-NC)

NC Congresscritters
Coble, Howard (R-6-NC)
Hayes, Robin (R-8-NC)
Jones, Walter B. (R-3-NC)
McIntyre, Mike (D-7-NC)
Myrick, Sue (R-9-NC)
Taylor, Charles (R-11-NC)

The number for the Congressional Switchboard is 1-888-355-3588, if you feel like stirring the sh*t for wingnut elected officials. Here is the Senate contact page.


Senate debate begins today on Marriage Protection Amendment


Yes, these are the people that the bigots in the Senate will "reach out to" with the amendment vote.

They're off to the races, and the posturing will be a sight to see, I'm sure. I'll be swamped at the day job, so I won't be able to monitor the debate on the amendment. Sigh.

The Senate web site says debate begins at 2PM. The MPA vote is on Wed. (AP):
"Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all."

The president was to make further remarks Monday in favor of the amendment as the Senate opened three days of debate.

All but one of the Senate Democrats — the exception is Ben Nelson of Nebraska — oppose the measure and, with moderate Republicans, are expected to block an up-or-down vote, killing the measure for the year...Parliamentary maneuvers were likely to sink the amendment for the year. Senate procedure requires two days of debate before the 100-member Senate decides — 60 votes are required — whether to consider the amendment on an up-or-down vote.
Anyway, you can catch it live on C-SPAN.

There's an interesting piece in the latest Newsweek by Debra Rosenberg, Politics of the Altar: GOP leaders are putting gay marriage back on the agenda. Will voters respond?, but this is the paragraph that is going to make the fundies go apesh*t:
Though Bush himself has publicly embraced the amendment, he never seemed to care enough to press the matter. One of his old friends told NEWSWEEK that same-sex marriage barely registers on the president's moral radar. "I think it was purely political. I don't think he gives a s--t about it. He never talks about this stuff," said the friend, who requested anonymity to discuss his private conversations with Bush. White House aides, who also declined to be identified, insist that the president does care about banning gay marriage. They say Monday's events with amendment supporters—Bush will also meet privately with a small group—have been in the works "for weeks" and aren't just a sop to conservatives.
As I said yesterday, the bible beaters have been roiling over the lack of attention that the White House has paid to this and they are still bleating. Daddy Dobson, according to the article, met up with key Rethugs and tossed out this nice, "Christian" threat: "If you forget us, we'll forget you." Tee hee. And here's Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
Land says he's happy Bush is speaking out, but he'd like to see signs of real commitment to the issue. "We know what a full-court press looks like when we see one," Land says. A White House official, who declined to be identified discussing strategy, says Bush has not made calls on the amendment because "nobody has asked us."
Bush is scheduled to pay homage to the fundies and the sanctity of marriage vote around 1:45 today, according to CNN this AM.


More Hollywood brain damage - open thread

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Here's some random, unimportant information I just came across. Has-been actor and part time boxer Mickey Rourke's obviously taken quite a few blows to the noggin and perhaps all that extensive awful plastic surgery has taken its toll as well. Here he opines on Dear Leader's performance regarding Iraq:
MICKEY ROURKE has pledged his support for US President GEORGE W BUSH's controversial foreign policy in Iraq. The SIN CITY actor, who is famed for being for being outspoken, has come forward as one of the few stars to support the war on terror. The former boxer says, "George is doing a hell of a job during very difficult times, more power to him. Screw all them people who don't like him."
It's a hell of a job all right, and no doubt that we've all been screwed as well.


Happy Marriage Protection Sunday, folks!


Click the image to see an expanded view (and a surprise). Graphic illustration: Jim Jenkins/BlogAsheville
“[The homosexual] agenda includes teaching prohomosexual concepts in the public schools, redefining the family to represent "any circle of people who love each other," approval of homosexual adoption, legitimizing same-sex marriage, and securing special rights for those who identify themselves as gay. Those ideas must be opposed, even though to do so is to expose oneself to the charge of being "homophobic."
-- Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide,” by James Dobson
Jim Jenkins of BlogAsheville (NC), sent me the terrific photomontage to commemorate the fundamentalist fest known as Marriage Protection Sunday. put on by the homobigots of the Southern Baptist Convention. Relgious leaders are stirring up the folks in the pews to start ringing up senators about the vote next week.

Jim has a wry rant over at his pad. A snippet -- he talks about getting up to speed on Daddy Dobson's view of the threat of same-sex marriage:
To find out I've been reading work by a man named James Dobson who is so focused on the family that he started an organization called Focus on the Family. This guy has got his panties in a wad over this whole gay marriage thing. In fact, he wrote a book about it. I'm not going to link to it because I don't like him very much. His argument, best I can tell, goes something like this. Homosexuals don't really want to get married. They are incapable of fidelity and most of them have thousands of different sex partners in their lifetime. (Partly why I don't like him is that he makes me feel so inadequate.) There is a full scale homosexual conspiracy to pretend to want to get married so that they can devalue the institution to the point that it is meaningless for everyone. Dobson just doesn't strike me as a big thinker.


Terrorism threat surfaces north of the border


Items seized by police are shown on display during a press conference in Toronto, Saturday, June 3, 2006. Canadian authorities said Saturday they had foiled plans for terrorist attacks in southern Ontario with the arrests of people who were 'inspired by al-Qaida.' (AP Photo/Canadian Press, Aaron Harris)

Michael Stickings of The Reaction has been commenting and monitoring the situation in his country, where anti-terrorism raids have occurred in Toronto. He emailed me that he's just a few miles from the Pickering, Ontario police station that has been turned into a "fortress" as a result, saying "Our troops are in Afghanistan. The war on terror has come to Canada."

You can read his posts (1, 2, 3, 4) on the situation as it unfolds.

This is not child's play. From a Canadian Press article on Saturday:
A series of terrorist attacks plotted against unspecified targets in southern Ontario were "inspired by al-Qaida," a CSIS official said Saturday, adding that the ring of suspects arrested posed a "real and serious" threat.

Three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a commonly used fertilizer used to make explosives, were recovered by police, who say that's three times the amount used in the bombing of a government building in Oklahoma that killed 168 people.

"It was their intent to use it for a terrorist attack," RCMP assistant commissioner Mike McDonell told a news conference.

"If I can put this in context for you, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was completed with only one tonne of ammonium nitrate."

...Toronto Mayor David Miller said he was told by Police Chief Bill Blair several months ago that a suspected homegrown terror cell was being investigated.
Remember folks, my post a few weeks ago about the lame situation regarding border security with Canada, which was documented on Anderson Cooper 360: 24 Hours on the Border. Many points along the massive border have crossings that are a joke, including a checkpoint that relies on the honor system for travelers to check in with the border police by holding your passport up to a videophone.

Instead of fixating solely on the "brown menace" coming from the south, perhaps the Freepers and Dear Leader might deign to take a look at the gravity of the porous nature of the border with Canada, given this new bit of news. All a few terrorists have to do is load up a few knapsacks, fill a truck and drive to a remote section of Canada and cruise right over into the States.

'm sure Dear Leader has a plan and he's just not alerted us about it -- trust him.


Batsh*t fundie gives SCOTUS justices a view of 'the big 10'

The WaPo has an article up on the bizarre antics of fundie Rob Schenck.


You might remember Schenck from his last batsh*t stunt back in January, when he slipped into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room for the nomination of Strip Search Sammy Alito and put holy oil on the seats of the major players to ensure confirmation. He did the same for John Roberts, blessing every piece of furniture in the hearing room at that time, according to the WaPo.

Now Schenck, of Faith and Action and the National Clergy Council, is unveiling an 850-lb granite Ten Commandments monument across the street from the Supreme Court.
Faith and Action says on its Web site that it plans to unveil the waist-high, 850-pound granite sculpture Saturday on the front lawn of the rowhouse on Second Street NE where the national group's offices are. But the group apparently doesn't have the approval it needs from at least two agencies, city officials and neighborhood activists said.

...The sculpture "will be visible to the nine justices as they arrive and leave each day," the site said in explaining why the group undertook the project.

...Promoting the public display of the Ten Commandments is a central part of Faith and Action's mission. It presents stone tablets of the commandments to elected and appointed officials and asks them to "display and obey" the gift.

"At the heart of the Ten Commandments Project is an effort to restore the moral foundations of American culture," the group says in a brochure at its offices, where two reproductions of the commandments are on display on the first floor.
Hat tip, Holly.


Bleating

Just passing along more hot air coming out of the fundies...

Matt Daniels of the bigoted Alliance for Marriage Coalition held a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist made sure he got plenty of face time to bloviate; Virginia's George Allen also put his two cents of intolerance in.

Senator Frist: "Matt, congratulations for once again bringing together wonderful people from around the country who underscore the importance of what the United States Senate is about to once again undertake. . . . The people surrounding me who represent thousands and thousands of people understand that marriage is the cornerstone of our society. This institution, more than any other, concerns the well-being of our future, of our children, of the states that my colleagues and I represent -- indeed of this country...We've got to do more than talk. We've got to do more than say "These are our beliefs." We've got to do more than say "These are the beliefs of the American people." We need to act. If not we move in the opposite direction. To allow the courts to redefine marriage is to suppress, to discount, to ignore the voices of the American people, to ignore the votes of the American people who have overwhelmingly voted to preserve marriage solely as that union between a man and a woman...So Matt, once again I thank you for your tremendous leadership. This is an issue that is important to every single American."


Senator George Allen: "I thank all of the leaders here from a diversity of religious views, a diversity of backgrounds, all coming together, recognizing that no matter one's culture there is no more important institution than that of the family and the institution of marriage as the key for the future of our country and the future of our children. I thank you all. And, Matt, thank you for putting together a great team. Unfortunately we see unelected judges usurping the right of the people to express their views and their values. Matt mentioned the case just last year in Nebraska where the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly -- over 70% -- voted to define in their constitution marriage as between a man and a woman. And an unelected federal judge -- appointed for life -- ruled that unconstitutional. So we need a constitutional amendment -- a federal marriage amendment -- to protect the will and the views and the values of the people in the states. There will be those who say this is a state's rights issue, and it is! It is protecting what we believe in our respective states.

Other windbags at this conference: Senator Wayne Allard, Senator David Vitter, Rabbi Abba Cohen, Director and Counsel of the Washington Office of Agudath Israel of America, Niger Innis, National Spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality, Bishop Joseph Kurtz, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Rev. Sam Rodriguez, the President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Dear Leader's go-to black pastor, Bishop Harry Jackson, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition.
Hat tip, Michelle R.


International news

Taking a look at some news going on outside of the U.S. this AM, it reminds you that in many ways, we're fortunate, despite the AmTaliban onslaught..

Romanian anti-gay protesters clash with police.
Ten people were injured and dozens detained when militant protesters trying to break up a gay rights march clashed with riot police in the Romanian capital on Saturday, police said.

Hundreds of activists marched through downtown Bucharest to protest against discrimination in the largely conservative society and call for the legalisation of same-sex marriages.

But the parade was disrupted by more than a thousand protesters, who threw eggs, stones and plastic bottles at the activists, who were shielded by police in trucks.

Some protesters, including Orthodox nuns and a priest, carried crosses and chanted "Romania does not need you"
* CNN interviews gays in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
We were filming an interview on a Beirut street with Youssef, a 21-year-old Lebanese man from a conservative Shia family. A car slowed down. "Foufou!" the driver screamed in our direction. "He called you foufou?" I asked. "Yes," Youssef answered. "Foufou means 'fag.'"

Youssef then told me that when he came out to his family, two of his brothers kidnapped him at gunpoint and held him hostage in the family home for weeks. "It was their honor in the garbage," he said.

Youssef is a rarity in the Middle East. He is openly gay and says he doesn't care who knows it. Most gays and lesbians in the region would only agree to speak to us anonymously. It took months to find willing participants. Often, we would meet in hotel lobbies and film interviews in silhouette, hiding identities and distorting voices.
* Failure to extend human rights protections for gays meets with demonstrations in Bermuda.
Bermuda’s MPs had to face off hundreds of protestors today in one of the biggest demonstrations in recent years. The huge crowd snaked the grounds of the House of Assembly with signs calling the MPs cowards for failing to discuss a proposed change in the law last week that would have given gays protection under the Human Rights Act.

Bermuda is a majority black country yet most of the protestors were white. The island’s black church leaders were vociferous in their opposition to the amendment, uring MPs to vote against it.
* The toll of AIDS hits developing regions hard.
AIDS could kill 31 million people in India and 18 million in China by 2025, according to projections by U.N. population researchers. By then in Africa, where AIDS likely began and where the virus has wrought the most devastation, researchers said the toll could reach 100 million.

"It is the worst and deadliest epidemic that humankind has ever experienced," Mark Stirling, the director of East and Southern Africa for UNAIDS, said in an interview.
Hat tips to PageOneQ and 365gay.


This and that - open thread

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tidbits from the mailbag...

UPDATE: added a couple of items at the end, including a snippet from Howard Dean's speech @ Stonewall Dems.


Several of you emailed me about the Lear jet that went down in Long Island Sound -- it was registered to Crazy Pat Robertson. The pilots died, the passengers escaped without serious injury. Do you think the reverend may have bought his jet with profits from his Age-Defying Shake, or the shake-down dollars in his pocket from his shadow charity operation endorsed by the Bush and FEMA for Katrina relief, Operation Blessing. (h/t Holly, Rona, and Fritz, who said "Okay, how is crazy Pat going to explain this as the will of God? ")

* The Washington State pharmacy board says drugstores can refuse to sell 'morning-after' pill (h/t Paul). Disgusting. "We are not dispensing machines. We are professionals who have as many rights as anybody else." -- Rod Shafer, executive director of the Washington State Pharmacy Association.
Rep. Shay Schual-Berke, D-Normandy Park, the only physician in the Legislature, said she was extremely concerned about the board's endorsement. "The language they're considering adopting is so vague that to me it opens the door for any pharmacist to (decline) to fill any prescription for any reason," Schual-Berke said.
* While we're on the topic of womb control: Tribal council outlaws abortion (h/t stefani). The Oglala Sioux tribal council banned all abortions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and suspended President Cecelia Fire Thunder on Tuesday, charging that she solicited donations on behalf of the tribe for a proposed abortion clinic without the council's approval.


* The awesome Terrance Heath of The Republic of T sat down to talk to PoliticsTV (thanks to David Grossman). He gives a good skewering of the DNC for its lame-ass stance on gay rights issues, the marriage amendment and a lot more. Here, here!

* Jude Nagurney Camwell of Iddybud Journal has a great post on why there is no need for a federal marriage amendment and the hypocrisy of the rightwing bible beaters: We must ask ourselves: “Is this amendment proposal really a pressing and dire necessity?” With all of the (many) pressing problems of a dangerous and wanting world, we see a hyper-focus on “saving” marriage by Republicans today. (And some of them have not been adept at “saving” their own personal unions).

* Cell Whitman passed on even more info on "ex-gay" therapist Richard Cohen and his Moonie background.

* The Galloping Beaver has a good takedown of an unhinged column by Watergate felon-turned-fundie Charles Colson on the marriage amendment.
Over at Townhall.org, Colson has written an unbelievable piece attempting to make a connection between same-sex marriage and crime entitled (if you can believe this) Marriage and Crime. The deadly connection.
And the amendment is essential to protect the sanctity of marriage. Now, some don't like the moral or philosophical arguments for a marriage amendment. Others dislike dealing with a contentious social issue at all or simply do not like amending the Constitution. My response to these people is, "Do you want to continue to see our prisons fill with kids who have been raised like feral children in the wilderness? Do we want to risk further damage to the integrity of the family?"
* Dana of Mombian: Sustenance for Lesbian Moms writes in to report that nearly 130 blogs took part in Blogging for LGBT Families Day on June 1. You can visit her site for a full recap and the list of the participating blogs. Dana adds:
Additionally, it's worth noting that President Bush has declared this Sunday, June 4, to be National Child's Day, a time to "reaffirm our commitment to America's children." This, one day before he speaks in favor of an amendment that would do great harm to children of LGBT families. The contributions to Blogging for LGBT Families Day confirm this.
* Howard Dean speaks to Stonewall Dems at the national meeting. You can read his speech here.
"It is wrong to discriminate in housing. It is wrong to discriminate in health care. It's wrong to discriminate in hospital visitations. It's wrong to discriminate in hiring. It's wrong for our tax code to be discriminatory. And it is wrong for any group of Americans to live in fear of hate crimes. We believe that every taxpayer should have the same government services and benefits as any other American.

..."I am proud to lead a Party that has led the fight for hate crimes legislation, and fought for laws banning any discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and on sexual orientation... And I am proud to lead a party that understands that using marriage as a wedge issue and scapegoating groups of Americans to win elections is morally wrong.
Is it me, or is Dean speaking in code in the bolded statement above? Is he saying marriage equality without saying it? And will the DNC endorse candidates who don't support equality -- that's the real test.


Laugh of the day

"Jeff Gannon" finally decided to take a swipe at me on his "blog" (nope, don't want to give him a link). Yawn.
When a Washington newspaper ran a puff piece on a lesbian blogger who is praised for writing about the "radical right" a reader responded:
Pam Spaulding’s not as courageous as your profile of her implies. She chickened out on a great opportunity to debate the ultra-conservative Jeff Gannon at the Equality Forum. One can only conclude she didn’t think she could handle him. Anybody can blog to the choir.
Ouch!
That's rich coming from a man who doesn't even allow comments on his blog, lolololol. Sad, huh?


Just asking


Actual caption: Mary Cheney, left, sits with her partner, Heather Poe, in Madison Square Garden during the Republican National Convention in New York. Jeff Haynes, AFP

Will Mary and Heather make a statement on civil equality when Dear Leader is fawning over his fundies on Monday about the marriage amendment vote? Just asking.


And what about Darth -- will he or Lynne have anything to say about the President and Bill Frist's desire to fill the coffers of the base by trashing Mary's relationship during this amendment debate? Just asking.

Related:
* Mary Cheney's path

***

Since we're talking about protecting marriage, how about this candidate in San Diego, who is proving, once again, that the sanctity of marriage has been under attack for some time -- and the homos had nothing to do with it.
Republican Jim Galley, who is running for Congress as a “pro-traditional family� candidate, was married to two women at the same time, defaulted on his child support payments and has been accused of abuse by one of his ex-wives.

The San Diego Union-Tribune discovered the personal history in making public-records checks on Galley, who is making his fourth run for elective office in four years. These checks are part of the newspaper's election reporting process.

Galley married his second wife, Beth, in 1982 when, unbeknownst to her, he was still married to his first wife, Terry. Beth and Galley divorced in 1990 after she sought a restraining order alleging abuse.
Protecting marriage is what Dear Leader and Bill Frist have declared top priority.

Do they plan to divulge the divorce rates of all the "pro-family" candidates running for office?

H/t, Raw Story.


Fundie: Bush hasn't lifted a finger to push Marriage Protection Amendment

"It's clear he's not serious about the amendment. "He's not doing a lot of arm-twisting to get votes or making campaign commitments to get votes. This administration could care less about protecting marriage. Otherwise they would have had a ceremony in the Rose Garden three or four weeks ago. There would be several sore arms in the Senate by now."
-- Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, giving his opinion of the level of support Bush has given the MPA
Tomorrow is Marriage Protection Sunday and all the fundies, led by our friends the homobigots of the Southern Baptist Convention, will be bleating from the pulpit to the sheeple, encouraging them to call and write their senators and encourage them to vote for the MPA. The measure in question (S.J. Res. 1) has 32 co-sponsors (all of them are Rethugs, including both of my useless senators, Dole and Burr).

Poor Dear Leader -- it's never f*cking enough, he cannot lick the fundamentalists hard or often enough to give them satisfaction. Should I pull out the tiny violin?



Glover keeps on pummeling him -- and, in a bit of news, he says Bush's news conference won't be in the White House Rose Garden. I haven't seen that anywhere (the latest AP story and others don''t mention the location of the event now). Are the fundies getting shoved out of sight?
The pro-family activist notes that the president worked for months on issues such as Social Security and the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, "which conservatives didn't even like." Glover adds. "But for marriage he gives us one speech ... the day before and expects us all to be pleased with it."

In addition, Glover reports that the venue for Bush's speech on Monday -- originally to take place in the White House Rose Garden -- has been moved to a room in the Eisenhower Building. He suggests the change in location as another indication of the administration's lackluster support for the amendment. "They've moved it to the back of the bus," he says.
Waah, crybaby...

There's also a good LA Times piece today on the grumbling to check out. Glover must have been the fundie front man, because he's quoted in this article as well, talking about Monday's event as a "dog-and-pony show" that is too little, too late. The most interesting aspect of the story is the squirming over the language of the amendment, which members of the Base split over.
At least two prominent social conservative groups — Concerned Women for America and the Traditional Values Coalition — believe the language contains a loophole that would allow gays to seek civil unions.

The proposed amendment reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, and others say the second sentence leaves open the option that gays and lesbians could enter unions other than marriage; and that's a deal breaker for them.

...Social conservative groups such as Focus on the Family, headed by James C. Dobson, support the amendment, despite the flaws they see in it. "We would prefer stronger language, but we're content with this language," said Tom Minnery, Focus on the Family's vice president for public policy. "It leaves the issue of civil unions to the states. We recognize that this is the best we're going to get at the federal level."
However, Dear Leader is taking his lumps and bowed down to the AmTaliban in today's radio address this AM. I'm posting the whole flaming load of crap for you.

Good morning. Next week, the United States Senate will begin debate on a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman. On Monday, I will meet with a coalition of community leaders, constitutional scholars, family and civic organizations, and religious leaders. They're Republicans, Democrats, and independents who've come together to support this amendment. Today, I want to explain why I support the Marriage Protection Amendment, and why I'm urging Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification.


Marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all.


In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives. And in a free society, decisions about such a fundamental social institution as marriage should be made by the people -- not by the courts. The American people have spoken clearly on this issue, both through their representatives and at the ballot box. In 1996, Congress approved the Defense of Marriage Act by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, and President Clinton signed it into law. And since then, voters in 19 states have approved amendments to their state constitutions that protect the traditional definition of marriage. And today, 45 of the 50 states have either a state constitutional amendment or statute defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. These amendments and laws express a broad consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage.


Unfortunately, activist judges and some local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage in recent years. Since 2004, state courts in Washington, California, Maryland, and New York have overturned laws protecting marriage in those states. And in Nebraska, a federal judge overturned a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.


These court decisions could have an impact on our whole Nation. The Defense of Marriage Act declares that no state is required to accept another state's definition of marriage. If that act is overturned by activist courts, then marriages recognized in one city or state might have to be recognized as marriages everywhere else. That would mean that every state would have to recognize marriages redefined by judges in Massachusetts or local officials in San Francisco, no matter what their own laws or state constitutions say. This national question requires a national solution, and on an issue of such profound importance, that solution should come from the people, not the courts.


An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our Nation with no other choice. The constitutional amendment that the Senate will consider next week would fully protect marriage from being redefined, while leaving state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage. A constitutional amendment is the most democratic solution to this issue, because it must be approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures.


As this debate goes forward, we must remember that every American deserves to be treated with tolerance, respect, and dignity. All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another, and all people deserve to have their voices heard. A constitutional amendment will put a decision that is critical to American families and American society in the hands of the American people, which is exactly where it belongs. Democracy, not court orders, should decide the future of marriage in America.

Thank you for listening.
***

Bonus (h/t Raw Story)! Little Ricky weighs in, but I think he should be more concerned about his sh*tty poll numbers (see Rasmussen numbers below )than Brokeback Mountain. Unfortunately, Mr. man-on-dog can't help himself in an appearance on the right wing radio show, "Janet Parshall's America."
...everything from Brokeback Mountain to, you know, all the TV shows that you see promoting and affirming alternative lifestyles -- I guess to put it nicely -- you would think that the culture would eventually just move in the other direction. But I think these kind of debates are the chance for a public discourse to counter what Hollywood is purveying to our young people. Not just what Hollywood is purveying to young people, to all people. And it's an opportunity for us to get beyond, you know, 'We should treat everybody nicely.' I'm for treating everybody nicely, but that doesn't mean that we need to change the law to recognize a form of marriage that is harmful to our country.


Reality TV - officially dead?

Surely the genre jumped the shark several series ago, but I think this is getting close to the death knell. No, I take that back. I'm sure there's something left to exploit. Here's the latest bit of family entertainment.
He loves pizza, baseball, hockey -- and the inspirational, uplifting music put forth by church choirs. That's why Michael Ilitch, owner of Little Caesar's Pizza, the Detroit Tigers, and the Detroit Red Wings, has launched "Voices of Joy", a modified reality television program that hopes to find America's most exciting church choir.

Ilitch says Voices of Joy is more than just a competition for church groups. "It is an inspirational reality show-based series of live events and television programs for the entire family," the highly successful American entrepreneur shares. "But the beauty of this competition is that, unlike other reality shows, every one of the finalists wins something." And those winnings are substantial. More than $1.3 million in educational scholarships will be awarded to choirs as they advance in the competition -- and the winning choir will receive a half-million-dollar prize.

Eight church choirs from within a 100-mile radius of 12 key U.S. markets will compete against one another before a panel of judges, with the winning choir from each of those markets advancing to a nationally televised competition this fall.
I'm sure that there is an audience for this, probably on PAX or CBN, and they are giving out educational scholarships. And it will be a big deal for the participants.
The live events and subsequent High Definition television programs, CDs and DVDs promise to be a series of upbeat and exciting concerts featuring the music of America’s best choirs.It is our goal to present viewers with the sounds of America’s best choirs representing denominational and non-denominational churches, singing a variety of Christian music genres. The music will range from gospel, to traditional four-line hymns, to contemporary Christian music.
Oh, so it appears that only Christian groups are eligible to participate. Let's look at the rules.
The Ensemble and the Soloist will each be required to perform one (1) song, which song may be no longer than three (3) minutes. The Ensemble and the Soloist may perform either a contemporary Christian song or a traditional Christian song. However, the Soloist may not perform a song in the same style of church music as the song performed by the Ensemble. If the Ensemble performs a contemporary Christian song, then the Soloist must perform a traditional Christian song and vice versa.
Hmmm. What if a pagan, earth-worshipping group wants to participate -- is that a no-go? Just asking. Think up some other possibilities that might rock this program's world.

Hey, reality-TV producers managed to get a few misguided folks to tune in to Britney and Kevin: Chaotic -- they should have paid the audience to watch.


A million cups of java

We rolled over the one million visitor mark here at the Blend! It happened a bit sooner than expected after a huge bump from Crooks & Liars yesterday (6500 visits vs. the normal daily 3000 or so), which linked up to the Richard Cohen piece.

Who'd have thought that so many folks would drop by this little virtual coffeehouse since I opened shop in July 2004? I was just blabbing/venting on here by myself for quite some time before the first commenters dropped by, mostly after following the blogwhoring links left at other folks' pads.

Just to give you perspective on the growth of the blog in the last six months, we reached the 500K mark on Friday, December 30, 2005. I guess the word is getting around somehow. :)

Celebrate with coffee, baked goods and conversation for all! I'm making myself a nice hot cup of English breakfast tea.

Links and blogwhoring encouraged, of course!



Thank you all for sharing your thoughts -- the commenters here are stellar; each of you has made the Blend more than just a place to read the ramblings of the folks behind the coffee bar. I hope that the content and the atmosphere here remains pleasant and interesting enough to keep you coming back.

Mwwaaahh!


Bizarre Bay State homobigot's unhinged over Boston Pride

Brian Camenker of the anti-gay Article 8 Alliance, along with his sheeple protested the launch of Gay Pride in Boston because they are concerned about city officials participating in the event. Oh my! (AgapePress):

To start the festivities this year, he says, Mayor Thomas Menino "is going to be part of a ceremony where he raises the gay flag, the rainbow flag, over Boston's city hall." Camenker adds that he and other members of his group plan to be at City Hall today as the events kick off to "take a picture of the mayor of Boston as he does this bizarre thing."

The Article 8 Alliance spokesman says his group has a picture from last year showing that both the American flag and the state flag had been taken down so the homosexual flag would fly alone. He expects a large contingent of city officials and dignitaries will be on hand for this year's raising of the rainbow flag. The weeklong homosexual celebration will culminate with a "gay pride" parade through the streets of Boston. Camenker says based on what happened last year, it is clear that Gay Pride Week is a major event for city officials, taking precedence over all over celebrations and acknowledgements.
Camenker is another homo-obsessed man with nothing better to do; he's made the Blend several times, most notably for his successful campaign to remove a billboard for Gay.com that featured two men wrapped in a flag. His comment: "You have two men embracing, wrapped in the American flag, advertising a porno website. How can you get more offensive than that?"


More MSM coverage of ex-gay 'conversion therapist' Richard Cohen

Friday, June 02, 2006

You'll recall my post a week or so ago about the unhinged "ex-gay" therapist Richard Cohen (Inside 'ex-gay' therapy), who appeared on Paula Zahn and demonstrated his unusual therapeutic techniques, such as hugging the gay away (no penii arousal involved, of course):


About this therapy, Cohen says "You've got to feel it to heal it." O-M-G. (Screenshot:Ex-Gay Watch)

Crooks & Liars picked up that post today and followed up with the news that Cohen's marriage is, well, arranged in traditional Moonie style.

From yet another MSM outlet giving this discredited "therapist" publicity, the WaPo:
Articulate and engaging, Cohen has the sinewy build and erect carriage of the dancer he once was. He has been married for nearly 23 years -- an arranged marriage that he said was suggested by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon when he and his wife were members of the Unification Church, to which they belonged for 20 years.

The couple has three children, two of them students at the University of Pennsylvania, and a happy marriage that Cohen said belies their turbulent early years. He has been exclusively heterosexual since 1987, he said, and no longer feels attracted to men, only to women.
Right. The article at least goes on to report about his lack of license and his expulsion from a professional organization.
He is not licensed as a therapist, he explained, because he "didn't want to jump through the hoops and deal with the heterophobia and anti-ex-gay attitudes." He circumvents the licensing requirement by asking for donations to his foundation. "I am not doing therapy per se," he said. "I'm coaching."

In 2002, Cohen was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association (ACA) for multiple ethical violations.

Permanent expulsion is a rarely used sanction, according to David Kaplan, chief professional officer of the Alexandria-based organization. Kaplan said Cohen was found to have violated six sections of the ACA's ethics code, which bars members from actions that "seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients," those that exploit "the trust and dependency of clients," and for soliciting testimonials or promoting products in a deceptive manner.
I can't leave this out, please gentle Blenders, hold your sides to keep them from splitting -- here's more detail on how to rid yourself of the homo demon through Richard's pro guidance. It's even more amusing the second time around.
As part of his treatment, Cohen advises patients to pray, exercise regularly and undergo "behavioral and gesture reeducation" in which they practice acting more conventionally masculine. He also endorses a technique using "bioenergetics" in which a client releases pent-up anger by smashing a tennis racket against a mound of pillows while repeatedly screaming "Dad" -- or the name of the person about whom the client has unresolved feelings. This, Cohen said, is how he recovered his repressed memories of sexual abuse.


Way cool



Soulforce is raising funds to put up 16 billboards in June like the one above to get out the word about fairness and equality -- and to fight the Marriage Protection Amendment.
The anti-gay forces are making another attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage in such a way as to exclude the families of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee is their agent for putting the Federal Marriage Amendment before the Senate.

During this summer's fight to defeat the FMA, these billboards will serve as a powerful reminder that Coretta Scott King called for legal protections for same-gender families. And we are placing them in Senator Frist's hometown.


What do your state party platforms say about equality?

That's the question of the day. Surf around and see what you can find.

Just so you know, the NC Republican Party Convention starts today and runs through Sunday in New Bern. It's no wonder the party spawns the likes of Vernon Robinson when you have a platform that says this:
We believe homosexual behavior is not normal and should not be established as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle either in public education or in public policy. We do not believe public schools should be used to teach children that homosexual behavior is normal. We do not believe that taxpayers should fund benefit plans for unmarried partners. We oppose special treatment by law based on nothing other than homosexual behavior or identity. We support federal and state constitutional amendments to ensure that marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman. We oppose attempts to legitimize homosexual relationships by placing such relationships on an equal footing with marriage. We oppose the adoption of children by same sex couples. (NCGOP Party Platform Article I, Section 3)
That doesn't give the Triangle Log Cabin Republicans much to work with, huh? I discussed the state of the LCR with one of its members during the last NC Pride. You can read about that encounter here.

And what about the NC Democratic Party, which will hold its convention June 23-26, in High Point:
We oppose discrimination of any kind, whether in employment, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, veteran status, religious affiliation, spiritual beliefs, health care, education, retirement programs, housing, or any other area. We encourage vigorous enforcement of existing civil rights laws and a periodic re-examination of their adequacy. ("Discrimination" NCDP Platform www.ncdp.org/platform)
Better, but you won't find an official statement on marriage. Sigh. Not yet.

The Progressive Summit, organized by the Progessive Democrats of North Carolina PAC, will meet this weekend, June 3-4, 2006 as well, at The Summit at Haw River State Park, in Browns Summit. Its statement on the same subject:
We demand full human and civil rights for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. We honor their experience and believe they are entitled to the same rights to marriage, child adoption, housing, and employment that all other state residents enjoy. We condemn efforts to pass a state constitutional ban to gay marriage.
Maybe one day we'll get there.

Hat tip to the North Carolina Advocacy Coalition, which has been gaining steam. Its web site is up, and it recently landed its first organizational funding so that it can work at the grassroots level to increase voter participation, public education and be an advocate for issues that will affect LGBT Tar Heels, targeting the 18-24 age group, the demo with the lowest voter participation rates. It's a good complement to the excellent work of Equality NC.

Speaking of Equality NC, the organization will hold Take a Day Off for Equality - Lobby Day on June 6 at the NC General Assembly, encouraging citizens to participate in speaking with legislators about the marriage amendment bills, and other repressive backward legislation they have on tap. (Senate Bill 1228/House Bill 2438 - yes, the wingnuts submitted it again - a petition to legislators is here). You can see the goons in my last post on the matter.

Equality NC will provide training on how to engage with elected officials, and it will hold a mid-day press conference and rally that day as well. Coordinating and participating on this with ENC are:
* Human Rights Campaign
* North Carolina PFLAG
* Durham People's Alliance
* NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina
* The Queer College Youth Network of the Triad
* Safe Schools NC
* UNC GLBT-SA

Related:
* Meeting the NC Log Cabin folks at NC Pride


Bush's go-to black homobigot on marriage

"Same-sex marriage is not directly addressed in any affirming way by the words of Christ," Jackson continues, "and it is simply spoken against in the Old Testament. And so we need to be true to the sacred scriptures that we hold as the guiding light for our faith."

"It's a matter of whether you're a biblical conservative or a biblical liberal. By and large, biblical conservatives say that although we accept all people, there seems to be [a biblical] admonition against same-sex unions, especially the concept of [homosexual] marriage."

"Gay rights is not an extension of the civil rights movement simply because there's no choice involved in our blackness. I think there is an amazingly militant group of gays who have made it their point to say, 'We're going to be out; we're going to be visible' -- that's their choice."

"We've got, I think, both a biblical lens in which I'm viewing this problem, and a sociological lens. Something that devalues the institution [of marriage] would take us to an even further level."

"The gay community is well on its way to getting many, many of [the] rights that they want. I'm simply wanting to protect traditional marriage."
-- the wit and wisdom of Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Bowie, Maryland
All those choice quotes were in just one article. Bishop Jackson, by the way, also said this to mitigate his bullsh*t toward the end of this AgapePress tripe (hold your nose):
"I'm not against gay people; I'm not trying to bash them per se. I just think that we're in such a terrible situation in my community that I've got to protect the institution."
Since only 30 percent of blacks are in monogamous married relationships, Jackson feels that preventing homos from a crack at matrimony will be the big fix. Fancy that.

Jackson is chairman of the High-Impact Leadership Coalition, which released a six-point "Black Contract with America on Moral Values." He's also one of the signatories of a letter sent out to senators voting on the Marriage Protection Act next week by the Religious Coalition for Marriage. I posted about it last week.

Fun facts: did I mention that Jackson is buddies is Rev. Lou Sheldon, of the Traditional Values Coalition, and that the Bishop was one of the players at Justice Sunday II, or that he was one of the 20 religious leaders ushered in to meet with Dear Leader lasy July?

This is a man on the White House and fundie batphone as the go-to black pastor.


Good news in Hoosier land

"Jesus defended social and religious outcasts. That was one of his trademarks. Yet many in today's church seem to specialize in beating up on those who are different. What's wrong with this picture?"
-- Pastor Jeff Miner of Jesus Metropolitan Community Church in Indiana, which is spending $55K on a tolerance campaign
As Blender Paula said, "finally some good news from the Hoosier state."
How would Jesus treat gays and lesbians? Would he accept them as they are, or condemn them as sinners?

Whether you're interested in engaging in the debate or not, a local gay and lesbian church's in-your-face advertising campaign could make it a difficult topic to avoid over the next few weeks.

Especially with 2,000 yard signs, which began popping up in the metro area over the weekend, an ad in Sunday's Indianapolis Star (with three more planned), 650 bumper stickers, 720 T-shirts and soon 25,000 door hangers -- all courtesy of volunteers from the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church.

...Some conservatives welcome that debate but say Miner is wrong. Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute said it was, in fact, dedicated Christians who ended slavery and have fought for many social justice issues throughout history. [Lo and behold, Daddy Dobson is featured on its web site!]

"The Bible is misused all the time, and I think the good pastor is misusing it as well," said Smith.
The IndyStar is running the ads, which will feature Klansmen around a burning cross and the headline "Remember a time when a symbol of love was used as a symbol of hate?" with the subhead: "The Bible shouldn't be misused to justify discrimination against any group, including gay people."


Open thread - caption this

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Actual caption: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks about immigration reform at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington June 1, 2006. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Larry Downing has a rep for capturing some of those "best of Dear Leader" shots. Here's a post with a round up of Reuters fun.

Also: Poll of Voters: Bush Worst President Since World War II


Kiss those votes goodbye

The RFK, Jr. article in Rolling Stone, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? is up in its entirety. It's very long, well-sourced and completely depressing piece on how our democracy has been trashed. Skeptics, I recommend that you read the whole thing before contributing snarky commentary.

You cannot come away without at seeing how Ohio Secretary of State (and now gubernatorial candidate) Ken Blackwell is just f*cking evil. Katherine Harris is small potatoes compared to what Patriot Pastor-sponsored homobigot Blackwell did to toss the election to Dear Leader, disenfranchising thousands upon thousands of voters with registration hurdles, law-breaking, and simply not putting enough machines to accommodate voters in select areas. You know, the precincts that wouldn't swing for the Chimperor.

Here's just one of many, many documented examples of voting gone awry you'll read about.
Take the case of Ellen Connally, a Democrat who lost her race for chief justice of the state Supreme Court. When the ballots were counted, Kerry should have drawn far more votes than Connally -- a liberal black judge who supports gay rights and campaigned on a shoestring budget. And that's exactly what happened statewide: Kerry tallied 667,000 more votes for president than Connally did for chief justice, outpolling her by a margin of thirty-two percent. Yet in these twelve off-the-radar counties, Connally somehow managed to outperform the best-funded Democrat in history, thumping Kerry by a grand total of 19,621 votes -- a margin of ten percent.(181) The Conyers report -- recognizing that thousands of rural Bush voters were unlikely to have backed a gay-friendly black judge roundly rejected in Democratic precincts -- suggests that ''thousands of votes for Senator Kerry were lost.''(182)

[Rep. Dennis] Kucinich, a veteran of elections in the state, puts it even more bluntly. ''Down-ticket candidates shouldn't outperform presidential candidates like that,'' he says. ''That just doesn't happen. The question is: Where did the votes for Kerry go?''

...In Auglaize County, where Kerry lost not only to Connally but to two other defeated Democratic judicial candidates, voters cast their ballots on touch-screen machines. (187) Two weeks before the election, an employee of ES&S, the company that manufactures the machines, was observed by a local election official making an unauthorized log-in to the central computer used to compile election results.
The overwhelming sense you get after reading this article is that no one was interested in calling this out. Kerry, as we all saw, just folded the day after the election, when it was clear major shenanigans were going on.

No doubt the right will attempt to pick apart this piece, or simply scream "partisan propaganda" to divert attention, but it really doesn't matter -- if it's all true, then what? As Shakes Sis says in her post about this good, thorough, full-of-footnotes piece, "I have no idea WTF we're supposed to do about it."

The MSM is not interested in rocking this boat.


Saving the sanctity of marriage in Minnesota



Eva at Dump Michele Bachmann passed along a link to the latest screeching from the Minnesota for Marriage clods.

They've released a video, "Battle for Marriage," that features contributions from Bachmann's friend, "ex-gay" Janet Boynes (see my last post on her, where she claims lesbianism is caused by rape). You can pick the three-minute overview or the tortuous 30-minute version for your viewing pleasure.

This newly-released video presents the case for a Minnesota state constitutional marriage amendment. This program will help you move beyond a basic awareness of the debate surrounding same-sex marriage to become fully informed and equipped to take action. Informed of the catastrophic setbacks that await you, your family and your church should we loose the battle for marriage. Informed of why this is not a civil rights issue. And informed of the real agenda of homosexual activists. You'll also learn why "civil unions" are just "same-sex marriage" by another name. You'll hear from attorneys, Christian leaders and professionals about the real facts and the real dangers. And you'll learn how you can take action to protect marriage and future generations of Minnesota families.
UPDATE: Eva's transcribed some of the bleating from the 30 minute version, which features Daddy Dobson, Janet Boynes and Michele Bachmann....


More on fundie game Left Behind: Eternal Forces

In a follow-up post to his awesome revelation (pun intended) about the ties to megachurch pastor Rick Warren to the new Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game, The Purpose Driven Life Takers, Talk To Action's Jonathan Hutson goes deeper into the connections with Violent Video Marketed Through Mega-Churches .

Jonathan emailed me today about this latest post. He had so many hits from the first blog on this that the traffic (40K in one day) crashed his server. This installment is a great, long piece that is worth the read. Here's a snippet of his coverage on the insanity of Left Behind: Eternal Forces.
Okay, so we've got Christian paramilitary forces loose on the streets of New York, fighting to turn the United States into a theocracy, and shouting "Praise the Lord!" as they blow away those who refuse to convert. In the virtual world of Left Behind only the conservative Evangelical Christians were "raptured" - spirited into heaven for the big Super Bowl party and skybox seats to the ultimate battle between absolute theocracy and the absolutely AntiChrist. So who's "left behind" to blow away? Catholics, mainstream moderate Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, suspiciously well-groomed men, lesbians, and conservative Evangelicals who are closet gays. (As Congressman Barney Franks (D-Massively Funny) has said, "Throw the gays out of church? Who do you think has been playing the damn organ all these years?") Blowing away these good folk ("Praise the Lord!") - is that supposed to be the "Christian stuff" or the "cool stuff"?

How about this nifty game feature: the bodies of slain New Yorkers don't disappear after a battle, and no one gives them a decent burial. Instead, the festering corpses just keep piling up: left behind. Is that "Christian" or "cool"? Or how about this: The game portrays the United Nations - hello again, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, and Jews - as the headquarters of the demonic forces of the AntiChrist, who is spawned by DNA from two gay lovers (hello, Greenwich Village!). So nice to see you all, my errant, resisting brothers and sisters. BLAM! BLAM! "Praise the Lord!"

Mr. Lynch explains in an interview with the video game industry site GameDailyBiz how parents can spend quality time with their children by sharing the joys of infidel cleansing, paramilitary style. He also avers that violence and Christian entertainment naturally - and profitably -- go hand in hand.

"Left Behind Games was established on the belief that given the choice, people will voluntarily choose games with positive moral elements. We just need to make sure the Christian games are as fun to play as other games. Only one of the top twenty grossing movies of all time was rated R, and that movie was The Passion of the Christ.

"It is my opinion that Christian games can only make a positive difference in our culture if they portray the Jesus of the Bible; a caring loving person who didn't come to condemn, but to save. This message will reach our youth...and the best way we can show the youth we care, is by spelling love as TIME. As parents, we need to be connected with our kids and video games provide a great opportunity for us to do this on a regular basis."

Oh, "positive moral elements," is it? "Caring and loving" quality time? Then how does he explain that his game allows children to switch perspectives and command the demonic soldiers of the AntiChrist, who (I'm not making this up) feast on the Christians. How is that caring and loving? What kind of quality time is that? What deity are the Dads and lads supposed to praise as the demonic forces at their command drink the blood of Christian theocratic militia members?
Related:
* 'Left Behind' video game -- God Gameth, God Bloweth Away


sHillary's presidential plan


Ward Sutton/Village Voice

She accepted her party's nomination yesterday in her run for a second term as a New York senator, and sHillary was trying with all her might to sound presidential. Actually, she did succeed at sounding like a DNC candidate-bot, spewing generalities that are meaningless. Take a look at this pablum:
"We need a fundamentally new direction � solutions that help us meet our 21st century challenges of expanding our economy, defending our security and preserving our values...We can reclaim our country. We can assume our standing in the world. And we can send a message far and wide: America is back."
What values might she be referring to -- bombs away in the war effort, banning flag burning...bleh.

The polls still show her as unelectable, but she plans to make a vanity video to show how she's "won over" moderates in the Empire State.
A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll shows a huge gender gap among Clinton supporters, even among Democrats, with women more likely to support Clinton than men by a margin of 13 points.

The gap continues with Republicans, where three in 10 women indicated a willingness to support Clinton compared with two out of 10 Republican men.

...A daunting 42 percent of all Americans say they'd never vote for her for president.

That statistic worries many local Democratic officials, including one from Greene County Missouri, where Bill Clinton won both his presidential runs.

"We really do need a nominee I think who can appeal to those moderate Republican voters and Independents," said Nora Walcott, executive director of the Greene County Democratic Party. "I am just not personally sure that Senator Clinton is that candidate."

Clinton is now taking steps to address the concerns about her appeal by positioning herself as a moderate and unveiling a campaign video that includes the New York skeptics she has already won over...

If you wanted to know the kind of thinking that's going on in the sHillary bubble about her electability, search no more -- read the delusions.
"Upstate New York is like Middle America," said Democratic advocate Donna Brazile. "And they're the type of voter she will need to win and pull together if she decides to run in 2008."

Some supporters point out that Clinton comes from Illinois and spent years in Arkansas.

But not everyone buys that argument.

"I think that having gone to Washington, and been there so long, and now being in New York as a senator really does tie her pretty tightly to the East Coast establishment," Walcott said.
They really want to peg her as an outsider from the heartland? Are they freaking serious? Sadly, the sheeple were adequately convinced that Dear Leader was "one of them," so I guess the sHillary plan is to follow the GOP playbook.

Hat tip, Henway

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Paul points to a Raw Story piece that's entertaining:
A new behavior prediction tool by a media psychology firm is forecasts a landslide victory for former Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the 2008 presidential election should he run for office -- but says if Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) wins the Democratic nod, any potential Republican challenger will emerge victorious.


From My Lai to Haditha

It was bound to happen. I thought the My Lai event for the Iraquagmire was going to (just) be Abu Ghraib, you know, just torture and degradation and a manslaughter or two.

Now we have Haditha.

In case you haven't heard, it is alleged that in the city of Haditha, Iraq, a band of Marines reacted to the roadside bomb killing of one of their mates by going batshit crazy and shooting up houses full of Iraqi civilians, murdering up to two dozen of them. Then the Marines attempted to attribute their deaths to the roadside bomb and the Marine Corps may have been complicit in the cover-up. Three investigations later and now survivors, some children as young as twelve, describe the horror of watching their families executed by the American military.

Upon hearing the news, my wife exclaimed, "God damn George W. Bush!" Keith Olbermann on MSNBC asked whether the environment we've created (e.g. Geneva Conventions are "quaint anachronisms", we've gone from liberators to occupiers, we're using more reservists and Guardsmen who may not be as well trained, etc.) in this war helped set the table for this atrocity to occur.

I thought about that for a moment and I was surprised to find I don't blame Pretzeldunce Chimpy W. McFlightsuit for this, nor do I think this war's lawlessness makes atrocity any more likely.

For war itself is the atrocity. The very act of shooting people to force their government to accept a different worldview is an atrocity. Sure, My Lai and Haditha were borne of wars against a guerilla insurgency, where it is hard to tell enemy from friendly and where there is no well-defined battlefield; however, those are not the motivating factors for the slaughter of civilians. Atrocities against civilians happen in every war, just or unjust, well-planned or Rumsfailed-planned. It is the nature of war. War causes massive stress, a few soldiers will react badly to massive stress, and a few civilians will be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It would be inaccurate to try to pin Haditha on Cheneyburton's lust for the use of homoerotic torture, or Rumsfailed's foolish idea to disband the Iraqi military, or Chimpy's calls for the insurgency to "bring it on", or even Congress' and the people's lack of sufficient outrage over Abu Ghraib needed to create real oversight and punish the real wrongdoers at the top of the chain of command. Maybe these factors lead to a better chance for more atrocities to occur or perhaps a more intense atrocity to occur, but how could we measure that? Like global warming to hurricanes, common sense leads us to believe the former affects the latter, but it's hard to prove.

I say that in war, the atrocities are going to occur no matter how perfectly you plan and fight the war. That's why we go to war as a last resort for the purpose of self defense ONLY. We only go to war when the cause is so pressing and so just that we can accept as unavoidable the deaths of civilians in the crossfire. If there is anything about Haditha to blame on Bush, it is only at the meta level -- the fact that he got us into an unnecessary war of choice in the first place. Abu Ghraib didn't cause Haditha; "Shock & Awe" did. And Haditha's not the only atrocity; it's just easier to spot because it is individual soldiers directly choosing to murder innocent civilians instead of a cluster bomb dropped from miles above indirectly taking out a wedding party.

Oh, well. So much for winning the hearts and minds in the Muslim Arab streets. If I were Osama bin Laden, I couldn't imagine a better recruiting poster for al Qaeda than a picture from Abu Ghraib, a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb for a turban, and the text of that 12-year-old Iraqi girl describing the slaughter of her parents in Haditha. To really rile 'em up, you could add pictures of Americans cheering in the background, including a scantily-clad Paris Hilton eating a $6 cheeseburger while washing a Dodge Viper, Donald Trump in a $5,000 suit on his gold plated toilet, and George W. Bush riding a missile a la Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove.

They hate us for our freedoms... yeah, right! Well, maybe a couple of freedoms: our freedom from the general non-military public sacrificing anything for this war and our freedom from concern and outrage over the slaughter of innocents.

Yes, I know: 9/11 changed everything. Sure did. It proved the land of the free and the home of the brave is actually populated by some very cowardly people who will readily give up their freedoms if they are frightened and who will lash out like violent bullies out of fear with no consideration of the actual culpability of the victim. In one morning, 19 young men with box cutters did to our country, Constitution, and culture what the British, the French, the Mexicans, the Confederates, the Spanish, the Kaiser, Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, Ho Chi Minh, and Saddam Hussein couldn't accomplish with actual armies and months or years worth of real warfare. 9/11 changed America from a lofty ideal to just another name for a piece of land.

And no, I'm not going to leave America, because I don't hate America, so don't say it. I love America. I just hate the people who are running America into the ground. I'm going to stay and see that those people are removed from office and punished, and then I'm going to work toward making America a shining ideal again.


Study: your color affects your mortgage rate

Someone should email this bit of business to White House Spokesbot and race expert Tony Snow, who declared that "racism isn't that big a deal any more."

The Center for Responsible Lending , based here in Durham, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy org which does great work to fight abusive financial practices that threaten homeownership and family wealth, just completed a study that reveals continued nationwide discrimination in mortgage lending experienced by blacks and Latinos. The information is contained in the report Unfair Lending: The Effect of Race and Ethnicity on the Price of Subprime Mortgages (PDF).

What makes the situation egregious is that the study showed that credit scores were comparable in this cases (50,000 subprime loans were studied).
Lenders say they charge more because African-Americans and Latinos on average have shakier credit histories, which makes lending to them riskier. But that explanation is simply wrong.

In the most extensive study of its kind, CRL found that African-Americans and Latinos are commonly almost a third more likely to get a high-priced loan than white borrowers with the same credit scores.
This kind of predatory lending goes on all the time. The effect of this nonsense is that this places the same minorities at risk of defaulting on those loans, damaging the very credit score that will then be used against them in other aspects of their financial lives. From the CRL's release:
"When African-American and Latino families are steered into higher-cost loans, this path to security is made steeper," said Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP, the lobbying and public policy branch of the civil rights group. "That means that it's even harder for families of color to build equity for their future; it's even harder to send their children to college; and it's even harder to build wealth for the next generation."
So, what do you think the government is doing about this -- and any guesses as to whether they are looking out for the little guy?
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is trying to get banks in his state to disclose more about their lending practices, but the banks and even federal regulators are fighting him in court.

...And on Capitol Hill a House subcommittee is debating whether a bill should include weak provisions favored by industry or stronger protections for borrowers in the vast sub-prime mortgage market, where people with blemished credit borrow and most mortgage abuses occur. The lending industry is lobbying subcommittee members heavily.
Disgusting. But doesn't Tony know best? There's nothing to see here...move along.

Hat tip, R. Neal @ Facing South.


Little Ricky's going down

It couldn't happen to a nicer man-on-dog.

Rasmussen Reports passes along bad news for Little Ricky's campaign, calling him "the most vulnerable congressional incumbent this election season." Tee hee.



How will Santorum's communications guru, out gay man Robert Traynham, spin these figures?

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Some other interesting polls at the site...

How low do the numbers have to go for Katherine Harris to hang it up already?



And look at the Buyer's Remorse poll:



Praying woman struck by lightning in home

I'm sure you all will have plenty to say about this one. (Montgomery Advertiser):
Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm raged through Baldwin County.

Suddenly, lightning exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a pockmarked area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

"I said, 'Amen,' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire," she said. "I'm blessed to be alive."
What do you think this "act of God" means? What would Crazy Pat say?