An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Open thread - Dear Leader in action

Monday, July 31, 2006


Actual caption: In this combination photo, President Bush reacts as he stumbles while walking off Air Force One after returning to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Monday, July 31, 2006. (AP Photos/Haraz N. Ghanbari)



Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Click any of the images for details...God/Goddess/Dog help us all.


Help me Jeebus...

I think that I am going to die laughing at "former homosexual" activist James Hartline's paranoid account of what happened during the "spiritual and educational outreach" held by Peter LaBarbera and various fundies during the Gay Games in Chicago.

Petey hasn't produced his own detailed first-hand account, but Hartline more than makes up for it with this screed:
Hartline says at one point during his visit, he and a group of Christians gathered together in front of a homosexual bathhouse. There, he notes, they met fierce resistance from a raucous crowd of homosexual activists and their supporters.


"When we went inside of the homosexual community," the Christian activist recalls, "it had to be one of the ugliest spiritual experiences that I've ever experienced, because of the hostility that was directed towards us specifically by members of that community. It was like a mob mentality."

Hartline says members of the Chicago Police Department surrounded him and the people with him and created a barrier to protect them from the menacing pro-homosexual throng whose hostile members were raging at them. "There were so many threats coming our way," he asserts, "they basically had to separate us from them."

What was most disappointing about the whole situation, the ex-homosexual speaker observes, was the fact that some clergy members in their religious garb stood alongside the homosexual activists, shouting at the Christians. This scenario presented "one of the more telling signs about how far away from the Word of God some of these churches have gotten," he says.
Porno Pete, who gave a talk about "The homosexual agenda in Chicago and its powerful friends, including compromised corporations" during his "Love & Truth Campaign" at the Games, showed up at Steamworks to do "outreach" accompanied by an armed bodyguard.


Mitt catches the 'tar baby' virus

White House spokesbot Tony Snow must have been snogging with 2008 GOP presidential hopeful and homo-basher Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, because we have another case of "tar baby" bleating with foot-in-mouth complications.

Gov. Mitt Romney has apologized for referring to the troubled Big Dig construction project as a "tar baby" during a fundraiser with Iowa Republicans, saying he didn't know anyone would be offended by the term some consider a racial epithet.

In a speech Saturday, Romney, a Republican considering a run for president in 2008, acknowledged he took a big political risk in taking control of the project after a fatal tunnel ceiling collapse, but said inaction would have been even worse.

"The best thing politically would be to stay as far away from that tar baby as I can," he told a crowd of about 100 supporters in Ames, Iowa.

...Black leaders were outraged at his use of the term, which dates to the 19th century Uncle Remus stories, referring to a doll made of tar that traps Br'er Rabbit. It has come to be known as a way of describing a sticky mess, and has been used as a derogatory term for a black person.

"Tar baby is a totally inappropriate phrase in the 21st century," said Larry Jones, a black Republican and civil rights activist.
Bush's mouthpiece Snow, who educated us all about the fact that racism is dead, used the term not once but twice in the same press briefing back in May when he was asked about the NSA and its collecting of phone records:
Having said that, I don't want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program, the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm nor deny.
And later:
QUESTION: What are your personal goals? What do you hope to achieve here? Will you continue to televise these briefings? And would you put into English the phrase (OFF-MIKE) the tar baby?

SNOW: Well, I believe hug the tar baby, we could trace that back to American lore.
This is the history of the use of the term. Certainly both of these men are intelligent enough to find other ways to describe a sticky situation.

H/t, Tony R.


Out lesbian's victory in Alabama challenged by opponent's mother-in-law

Oh, this is rich. Retired beautician Mattie Childress, mother in law of losing candidate Gaynell Hendricks is charging winner (by 59 votes) Patricia Todd with hiding the fact that she received support from The Victory Fund.

Kathy @ Birmingham Blues has the scoop, saying:
There’s a tiny problem with that assumption — Patricia has been out for years. Every news story I saw on her runoff victory mentioned that she would be the first openly gay legislator in Alabama history. This wasn’t a big revelation to anyone who was paying attention. And if the majority of voters in District 54 don’t care that she’s gay, why would they care that she received money from the Victory Fund?
Childress also tosses off charges of a payoff of two other Todd opponents who eventually endorsed Todd, and that there were unspecified "illegal votes."

There is a smell of homophobic desperation in the air.


Amendment vote doesn't look good in Virginia

A recent poll on an upcoming marriage amendment vote suggests Virginia will fall in line with the other states that have passed them. (Daily Press):
Fifty-six percent of Virginians say they will support a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage while 38 percent plan to oppose it, a new poll shows.

Well before the start of the fall campaign season, the Mason-Dixon survey found only 6 percent to be undecided.

Mason-Dixon Polling and Research conducted the poll for the Daily Press and other media. Pollsters surveyed 625 likely voters by telephone from July 25 through July 27. The margin for error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
There's quibbling in the article over the language of the poll versus the actual amendment language (which is longer) -- and the latter, obviously, is what will appear on the ballot.
Mason-Dixon question:

"Question Number 1 on the November ballot asks, 'Shall Article One, the Bill of Rights, of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state that only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions?' "

The November ballot question:

"Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state:

'That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

"This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.?"
The Commonwealth Coalition, which opposes the amendment, said its poll, which includes the entire amendment language, resulted in 45 percent in favor and 40 percent against, almost within the margin of error. An Equality Virginia poll, which asked the same shorter question as the Mason-Dixon poll, came up with results similar to M-D.

What does this mean? If the Commonwealth Coalition is correct, it means that redoubling efforts to educate the public places the state within the realm of possibility of turning away the amendment. It will be good to track numbers on this one over the next while to see if this theory pans out.


Why gays shouldn't foster and adopt kids...

Whoops, my mistake! This is a straight couple perpetrating horrors on their children. (CNN):
A woman who molested at least one of her five children and prompted four of them to have sex with each other has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Robin Kraft, 26, had pleaded guilty in June to two charges of rape and four counts of child endangering. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge David Davis on Friday imposed the maximum sentence, saying Kraft should not be released from prison while she can bear children.

...Prosecutors said Kraft and her husband, Paul Kraft, 32, sexually abused their four sons and one daughter, ages 1 to 6, in 2004.

In March, Paul Kraft received five life sentences on five rape charges and 96 additional years on 12 charges of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. He is ineligible for parole.
As I said in my recent post "Parents", Florida couple John and Linda Dollar tortured and starved their children, beating them with belts, paddles, switches and whips, kicked, and took a cattle prod to them. Former Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone whipped his son with a belt hard enough to hospitalize him and was not judged to have committed a crime.

Then there are the various parents deliberately placing their children in harm's way by leaving them in hot cars, riding them in trunks of cars, or serving them up to be raped).

Yet time, energy and money are spent all over the country trying to make sure law abiding LGBT citizens don't have the right to adopt or foster children simply because of their orientation.

The hat tip goes to Shakes Sis, who also has a slam-dunk post up, An Epidemic of Hatred, that chronicles the lack of MSM coverage of crimes perpetrated on the LGBT community around the country.

We hear more about shark attacks, the latest news about who is boinking who, but outside of gay media, there's an awful lot of silence unless it's about gay marriage amendments, attempts to stop gay fostering and adoption and general worries about the homo boogeyman. Shakes Sis:
There have been two episodes of gay-bashing in California in the last week. In the first, three men stood outside a gay club yelling epithets at entering patrons, then smashed a window, then got into a physical fight with patrons who confronted them. Then yesterday, a graver attack was mounted on three gay men leaving San Diego Pride festivities. They were taunted, struck with a baseball bat, and one may have been stabbed. (All three received serious, but not life-threatening, injuries.)

Recently, a lesbian couple in Maine had their home left in ruins after an attack which included anti-gay messages scrawled on the walls, smashed and stolen property, and urination and defecation throughout.

These closely follow a similar pattern seen around the country last summer, during which in July alone, a gay club in Brownsville, Texas was torched, and the week before that, the only gay club in Fayetteville, Arkansas was torched, and earlier in July, a gay-friendly UCC church was tagged with anti-gay graffiti and then torched.

Three big stories in one month, two years in a row—and only stories of attacks so vicious they made the news, and only the local and alternative national news, at that.

...And Congress, well, they were pushing for an amendment to deny equal rights to same-sex couples. Their focus was "protecting the sanctity of marriage." They’re more concerned with protecting an institution, an abstract concept, than protecting people.


Open thread -- I'm just tossing out this quote


"There are some in politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill informed and easily misled, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or a smart line. I've seen this cynicism over the years from political professionals and journalists. American people are not policy wonks, but they have great instincts and try to do the right thing. ...[It's] wrong to underestimate the intelligence of the American voter, but easy to overestimate their interest. Much tugs at their attention."
-- Karl Rove, speaking to graduating students at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.
What tugs at the attention of The Base, hmmm?


Happy birthday to the Blend

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Blend turns two today!

***

While we're on the subject of blogs and blogging, here's information on a Pew Research portrait of the "internet's new storytellers." It's called Pew Internet & American Life report and it's definitely worth the read.

I always wonder where I fit in on the spectrum in terms of blogging, since you often feel like you are typing your thoughts and posting them out into a void, not sure how they'll be received, or whether anyone is reading at all.

Of course in the case of PHB, I know that there are folks out there reading these days -- bloggers, lurkers and commenters alike, but many bloggers don't have an expectation of a readership at all -- they do it for the enjoyment of putting thoughts out there. That's how I started out, but eventually the Blend morphed into less of a soapbox, and more of a community, where I post what's on my mind, but I am now equally interested in what you all have to say.

There's a lot of information in the report; this is just a sampling.

* The most distinguishing characteristic of bloggers is their youth. More than half (54%) of bloggers are under the age of 30. Like the internet population in general, however, bloggers are evenly divided between men and women, and more than half live in the suburbs. Another third live in urban areas and a scant 13% live in rural regions.
* Another distinguishing characteristic is that bloggers are less likely to be white than the general internet population. Sixty percent of bloggers are white, 11% are African American, 19% are English-speaking Hispanic and 10% identify as some other race. By contrast, 74% of internet users are white, 9% are African American, 11% are English-speaking Hispanic and 6% identify as some other race.

Relatively small groups of bloggers view blogging as a public endeavor.
* Despite the public nature of creating a blog, most bloggers view it as a personal pursuit.
* 55% of bloggers blog under a pseudonym, and 46% blog under their own name.
* 84% of bloggers describe their blog as either a "hobby" or just "something I do, but not something I spend a lot of time on."
* 59% of bloggers spend just one or two hours per week tending their blog. One in ten bloggers spend ten or more hours per week on their blog.
* 52% of bloggers say they blog mostly for themselves, not for an audience. About one-third of bloggers (32%) say they blog mostly for their audience.

...When asked "What does your blog mean to you?" the largest group of bloggers (44%) replied that their blog is "something I do, but not something I spend a lot of time on," a point that meshes with the findings that bloggers do not update their blogs very frequently and do not spend much time updating their blogs in any given week. Only 13% of bloggers post new material every day. The typical blogger spends five hours per week updating his or her main blog. Another sizable contingent of bloggers (40%) describes blogging as a hobby that they enjoy working on when they can. There is a smaller core of devoted users, just 13%, who say that their blog is very important to them, and describe it as a big part of their life.

More than half (54%) of bloggers are under the age of 30, and about another third (30%) are between 30 and 50. Just 14% of bloggers fall in the 50 to 64 age group and a tiny 2% are 65 or older. In comparison, only 24% of internet users are age 18-29. Nearly half of internet users (45%) are age 30 to 49 and another quarter (24%) are age 50 to 64. About 7% of internet users are 65 or older.

Bloggers are less likely to be white than internet users. While 60% of bloggers are white, 11% are African American, 19% are English-speaking Hispanic and 10% are some other race or ethnicity. By contrast, among internet users 74% are white, 9% are African American, 11% English-speaking Hispanic and 6% are some other race or ethnicity.

While many of the most popular blogs on the internet post material frequently, even multiple times per day, the majority of bloggers do not post nearly so often. 9 One-quarter of bloggers post one to two days a week, and about one in seven bloggers (15%) post three to five days a week. Twenty-eight percent of bloggers say they post new material to their blog every few weeks. About one in five bloggers (19%) post every few weeks or less often.

In our sample, 13% post daily or more frequently. Bloggers who have had a personal website in the past are more likely to post material daily to their blog, as are bloggers who report higher than average levels of blog traffic.

...The typical blogger spends about two hours per week on their blog.

On average, bloggers do not spend a great deal of time on their blogs. Six in ten bloggers (59%) report spending one to two hours a week on their blog, and another quarter spend 3 to 9 hours a week blogging. One in ten (10%) spend ten or more hours a week tending their blog. Six percent did not answer the question or did not know how many hours they spent per week. Younger bloggers, despite being more likely to keep a blog, generally spend fewer hours per week working on their blog.
If only I spent two hours on the Blend, lol. I probably spend about 4-5 hours a day on the blog, stolen hours in the late evenings and early mornings, stacking up posts to release during the day.

Hat tip, Holly.


Ohio pols focus on 'God, Guns and Gays'

Sometimes I think the Southern states should adopt Ohio, because so much of the wingnuttery that comes out of that state resembles the stereotype that the rest of the country holds about our region (see prior Ohio Blend posts). They've already got a heinous marriage amendment on the books (note: NC doesn't).

If you've been paying attention to the governor's race in the Buckeye State, you've seen the incredible marvel of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell sucking up to the extremist fundie base for some time now, harping on homo-bashing and bible beating as a strategy to reach the governor's mansion.

An interesting AP article tries to figure out why the wingnut campaigning doesn't quite seem to align with the average voter priorities, despite the huffing and puffing over hot button issues.
Scriptural references are flying like a plague of locusts in one of America's most watched governor's races this year. Yet only about half of Ohioans belong to a church. Voters have been told that Democratic nominee Ted Strickland is a friend of the National Rifle Association and that his Republican rival Ken Blackwell is a gun-owning Second Amendment supporter. But, of 11 million Ohioans, only about 400,000 hold a hunting license or concealed carry permit.

Rounding off this holy political trinity of hot-button issues -- "God, guns and gays" -- Ohio's governor candidates are also at the ready with their positions on traditional vs. same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Census, only a fraction of 1% of the state's residents reported they were gay or lesbian living with a partner in 2000. The highest estimates put the nation's gay and lesbian population at around 5%.
Well, gee, the state's inhospitality toward its gay and lesbian citizens made itself quite clear when the amendment was on the ballot in 2004, so I wouldn't have imagined there would be a large reporting of out queers in the state four years earlier.
Democrats are fighting fire with fire in Ohio this year, running a more religious and gun-friendly candidate in Strickland in hopes of neutralizing some of the wedges that have allowed Republicans to dominate the state. Strickland, a former prison psychologist and minister, has taken his campaign message to Christian radio, typical territory for more conservative candidates. His ads quoted the same Bible verse that Blackwell's primary opponent, Attorney General Jim Petro, tried unsuccessfully to use in a flood of values-oriented television ads. Both campaigns sought the upper hand against the openly religious Blackwell, who routinely speaks to both Christian and secular audiences with a Bible in hand, lauding the importance of a government centered on God.
I'm sorry, but Jeebus H. Christ. This is the same Ken Blackwell who has earned 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. This is the same Ken Blackwell who worked day and night to disenfranchise 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 Dear Leader.

Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence says that the governor's race and others like it are really about courting the voter base that is firmly committed to Guns, God and Gays positions, and cultivating the irrational fear factor for the rest of the undecided voters (a hallmark of Rovian political gamesmanship).
"They scare people with these hot-button issues. Whether you care a lot about one of those issues is not really the point," she said. "If I can make you be afraid of one of these issues -- they're going to take your guns away, or gay marriage is going to be everywhere -- then I can guide your vote. It's always about fear."
***

And then we have this targeted Ohio fun:

Picture of aborted fetus to be flown over Cleveland

A story in The Plain Dealer seems to makes that case for Southern adoption of Ohio as well, since it's clear that the fundie forced birth crowd sees the state as fertile ground for the movement.
As a shock tactic, a national group that opposes abortion plans to fly a billboard-size picture of an aborted fetus over Cleveland beginning Monday. The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which frequently employs such attention-grabbing advertising, hopes to jar people into reconsidering their support of abortion, director Gregg Cunningham said. He said the banner would be the most graphic picture ever displayed from the air.

"It will be categorically the most shocking we have ever done," he said. "The imagery is so horrifying that I can't almost stand to look at it." Cunningham wouldn't describe the advertisement, which also displays a toll-free number to the organization. But he said the advertisement would compare an aborted fetus to a second graphic image related to the war in the Middle East.

"This thing just sucks the wind out of even me," he said. The California-based group, which has an office in Columbus, is best known for displaying on college campuses giant photos of mutilated bodies of genocide victims or lynchings next to photos of aborted fetuses. The group advocates nonviolence, but its displays often set off aggressive protests that result in vandalism and lead to arrests.

The group's nonprofit status prevents it from campaigning for candidates or ballot issues, but it is targeting Ohio because of its heated races for governor and other statewide offices. The group flew pictures above Cincinnati and Columbus in the weeks leading up to Ohio's May primary as part of its 2006 Key States Initiative.
The group is spending millions on this airborne campaign (here's a prior one); the state NARAL group noted that if the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform was serious about reducing abortion numbers, it should really be working to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. Do they support sex education (I guess it depends on what the meaning of "education" is)? The use of contraception and Plan B (no)? And, of course, do they care as much about the fetus once it is post-birth?


NC marriage amendment legislation stopped for the third year

I almost forgot to pass on this fantastic news from my state -- North Carolina is still the only Southern state to stop a marriage amendment in its legislature!


Forrester and his good old boys were denied...again. Sucka.

NC State Sen. James Forrester didn't waste any time submitting another marriage amendment bill this year (Senate Bill 1228, Defense of Marriage/House Bill 2438), but Equality NC announced that with the adjournment of the 2006 session of the General Assembly, legislation to amend the state constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying has died.

The language of the bill would have also banned civil unions, domestic partnership or any other form of relationship recognition for unmarried couples. ENC:
"North Carolinians should be proud that their elected leaders spent their time this year on important issues like ethics reforms, the minimum wage, and the state budget, rather than the politically motivated bigotry of this amendment," said Ian Palmquist, Executive Director. "Equality North Carolina worked closely with legislative allies to block this unnecessary, discriminatory legislation."

As this bill would have inserted discrimination against LGBT people into the state's constitution, Equality NC and its supporters led a ferocious charge to help keep the bill in check for the third straight year.

Among the most critical actions taken by the advocacy group was the organization of a lobby day on June 6 in which nearly 100 North Carolinians came to Raleigh to rally against the proposed amendment. Equality NC supporters came from all over the state to lobby their legislators and take part in a spirited rally outside the Capitol Building.

"When legislators hear from real people whose lives would be affected by anti-gay legislation, it opens their eyes to the impact of their decisions," said Palmquist. "Our lobby day and other efforts enabled gay and straight North Carolinians alike to speak out against discrimination."
Thanks to EqualityNC, the active and out LGBT community here and all our political allies!


This and that - Blend news

Sunday, July 30, 2006

* Starting tomorrow, The Rude Pundit will be on a Red State vacation and he invited me, along with a stellar crowd, to guest post. I will toss in my foul-mouthed contribution on Friday, August 4.

Here's the lineup of fine female bloggers -- all prepared to get lewd, rude and crude...
Monday, July 31:
Bitch Phd and Angry Black Bitch (it wasn't intentional to have a day of the "Bitch," but sometimes chaos works out that way)

Tuesday, August 1:
Jill Filipovic of Feministe and Egalia of Tennessee Guerilla Women

Wednesday, August 2:
Avedon Carol of the Sideshow and Shakespeare's Sister

Thursday, August 3:
Maryscott O'Connor of My Left Wing and Echidne of the Snakes

Friday, August 4:
Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise, Lauren Bruce of Feministe, and Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Pandagon
Any particular topics that you'd like me to take on in the Rude vein?

* A couple of days ago I was interviewed by a reporter for a Curve magazine article! Kind of fun. It may not appear in print until November or even later. When I know, I'll post. The editor would also like for me to contribute a piece on my hair journey sometime as well. Now I have to find some time to actually sit down and do that.

* Another profile is up on Duke Today (a publication for employees). The picture is completely unflattering, sorry to say. I don't know what kind of lens the photographer was using; I may be larger than the average chick, but that distortion is way off. Sigh.

* I'm going to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association's 2006 National Convention & 3rd annual LGBT Media summit at the The Loews Miami Beach Hotel September 7-10. I'll be on one of the Saturday panels (and no, nothing about this trip is comped either, but it's a great chance to meet a lot of folks I only know virtually). The panel:
Advocacy + Personality + Journalism = Blogging
"The Big Gay Picture," "Pam's House Blend" and "Good As You" have personalities that give each blog a unique style and take on issues affecting our community. All work to bring news and analysis to their readers in a manner that is smart, witty and thoughtful. Join us as the people behind the three blogs talk about how they use their varying points of view and sensibilities to promote LGBT causes.

Coordinator: Michael Jensen, Co-Founder, [the late, but not forgotten] "The Big Gay Picture" and AfterElton
Brent Hartinger, Co-Founder, "The Big Gay Picture"
Pam Spaulding, Publisher, "Pam’s House Blend"
Jeremy Hooper, Founder/Editor, "Good As You"
Here is the rest of the program.

***

Chat and blogwhore away...


The Rotting CryptkeeperTM on O'Reilly



Moving from poorly photocopied flyers to the digital realm, the Phelps Phamily Phollies of the Westboro Baptist Church move into the 21st century and take on Bill O'Reilly, of all people in a video "newscast." Fred himself helms this bit of fun, with some colorful descriptions of Falafel Man:
O'Reilly is the spawn of the Devil...

Spin doctor for his father the Devil...

A demon-possessed messenger of Satan...

A hell-bound blaspheming hypocrite...

The synergy between Satan and his favorite son, Bill O'Reilly is revealed...there is no truth in him...it's a congenital thing for Bill O'Reilly to lie about God...
All for "slandering Westboro Baptist Church" and not allowing Fred and Co. to come on the The Factor. Click the pic above to go to the video.

***

WBC, by the way, is being sued by the father of a fallen soldier whose funeral was picketed by the Phelps clan in one of their "love crusades."

Albert Snyder's charging that Westboro "knowingly violated Snyder's privacy, defamed him and was an intentional infliction of emotional distress against the bereaved father."

Unhinged Shirley Phelps-Roper is not amused. (CBSNews):
Phelps-Roper feels this is a misuse of the judicial system. "Their stated purpose is to tie this little group — the servants of the living God — up in litigation," she said, "not caring what the merits are … or if they could possibly prevail."

Snyder says that he wants to spare other grieving families from Westboro's activities. "My hope is that they'll stop doing what they're doing."

At Arlington, Pastor David Foote of Franklin, Penn., saw the protest and attempted to engage the demonstrators. He told them that "God loves everyone," prompting church members to descend upon him in a hail of insults.

"A lying, false prophet — that's what this is," Phelps-Roper told CBSNews.com, and dismissed him as a "dumb-ass" and a liar.
Also:
* Watch Shirley Phelps Roper come unglued on Faux News' The Big Story over the protests at soldiers' funerals. It gets out of control fast.



Faux News to shell out $250K to settle sex discrimination case

Talk about a touch of class. First "Falafel" O'Reilly and now this cretin, Fox Marketing VP Joe Chillemi, whose attitudes toward four former female employees has the network ready to pay out $250K to have this Fed case go away, admitting no wrongdoing. Among the lovely charges:

* Chillemi sexually harassed freelance production assistant Kim Weiler;
* created "a hostile work environment because of their sex";
* Chillemi routinely used gross obscenities and vulgarities when describing women or their body parts, such as "useless as tits on a bull" and described a pregnant women's breasts as "fucking huge," "cannons" and "melons" in the workplace.
* allegedly referred to his female staff as his "Promo Girls."

In earlier coverage on the case this was also on the table.
The suit charges that Mr. Chillemi, in a discussion about a television segment focusing on sexism in the workplace, said, "Of course I'd pick the man" if he had to choose between a woman and a man for the same position, because he was concerned that a woman could become pregnant and leave her job. Mr. Chillemi is described in the suit as the supervisor of the Fox Advertising and Promotions Department.
Fox, described the above as "an issue of bad language, not discrimination."

Related:
* Fox slapped with bias suit


Evangelical pastor spurns conservative politics -- and shakes up the pews

The NYT has a good piece up by Laurie Goodstein, Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock.

Rev. Gregory A. Boyd, of Woodland Hills Church near St. Paul, MN has repeatedly turned away organized efforts to hold anti-gay, anti-reproductive freedom and pro-Republican outreach in his church, much to the dismay of some parishioners. He holds fairly conservative views, but feels the AmTaliban has gone too far.
The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
As a result of his stand, some members have chosen to leave the church, which has lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members. Be that as it may, he has stood firm, and has even written a book, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church, based on the Cross and the Sword sermons.

Is this a turning point or is Boyd going against the grain?
“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”
Boyd is clearly a renegade and a breath of fresh air -- he and others of the same ilk need to take back their faith from the Dobsons and Falwells and Wildmons. While those in the emerging church movement may not be our political allies on issues of equality or reproductive freedom, they clearly have little in common with the AmTaliban's mission to control every aspect of their flock's lives (as well as ours). They are ready to speak out forcefully about the importance of church/state separation and what being a "Christian" really means.
In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.

...Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.

“Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”
As I said above, Boyd lost a good number of people when he refused to use the bible beating tactics of other evangelicals; it's telling who objected and left and who filled the pews -- the deserters tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, and the church later gained blacks, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos from the surrounding community.

Hat tip, Holly.


Ft. Bragg looks the other way when it comes to DADT

The homobigoted civilian leaders at the Pentagon obsess over keeping gays out of the military, but one place where actual opinions about "unit cohesion" are worthwhile is where the servicemembers are. And they don't give a rat's *ss about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Fayetteville Online):
Fort Bragg soldiers don’t care about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“If you are doing your job, you fall into the same category as anyone else,” said a former drill sergeant now serving at Fort Bragg. He said a soldier’s sexual orientation has no bearing on job performance.

The Observer interviewed 20 Fort Bragg soldiers Friday about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy after The Associated Press on Thursday reported that a former 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper says he was unfairly kicked out for admitting he was gay.

All of the soldiers interviewed Friday declined to give their names because of the sensitive nature of the issue.

“It’s political. The Army has to have a public face,” said an 82nd paratrooper. “When you look at the commercials, you see soldiers doing their jobs. You don’t see his personal life.”
It may be the case that DADT might seem trivial or ignored by and large by soldiers, but it doesn't mean that it's easy to be gay on base there. One Fort Bragg story is that of former staff sergeant Leonard Peacock, which you can read at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network web site.
After basic training, advanced individual training as an avenger air defense weapons system technician and jump school, I arrived at my first duty station at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the 82nd Airborne Division, 3/4 Air Defense Artillery Regiment. Being in the 82nd Airborne Division, I often heard racial slurs and anti-gay comments. Even the leadership at Fort Bragg said these disparaging comments, but I decided to ignore them. I did not want any attention directed toward me.

Many people suspected that I was gay but no one really said anything. In 1999, I was reassigned to Bravo Company, 782nd Main Support Battalion. When I got there, we had to go to the field for a month. When I got out of the field and was released for the weekend, I walked to my truck and found a sign with "FAG" written on it sitting on my windshield. It concerned me, but I threw it away because I didn't want to attract attention.

But the harassment didn't stop there. I got to my truck one day to see black stickers spelling out, "FAG," "RAINBOW WARRIOR," "GAY" and other epithets on my windshield.
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


It's a flipping mess

34 youths among 56 dead in Israeli strike. A building in the town of Qana where refugees were seeking shelter from the air raids collapsed after a bombing. Israel now admits that was "a mistake." The bombing will continue.
Before the airstrike, Olmert told Rice he needed 10-14 days to finish the offensive in Lebanon, according to a senior Israeli government official. The two said they would meet again Sunday evening."We will not stop this battle, despite the difficult incidents this morning," Olmert said said during Israel's weekly Cabinet meeting, according to a participant in the meeting. "We will continue the activity and if necessary it will be broadened without hesitation."

..."One must understand the Hezbollah is using their own civilian population as human shields," said Israeli Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir. "The Israeli defense forces dropped leaflets and warned the civilian population to leave the place because the Hezbollah turned it into a war zone."
Of course, CNN also reported this AM that many of the residents who are in those basement shelters cannot get out because gas stations have been bombed, roads and bridges out of town are destroyed, and people are afraid of being killed while trying to make an escape. A billion leaflets won't fix that problem.

Lebanese official tells Condi: 'don't bother coming.' Without a proposal for an immediate ceasefire, Condi's disinvited. Rice's statement was that she called Lebanese PM Saniora to postpone her visit; angry Lebanese officials said their government called off the meeting.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the attack has halted any talks about a resolution to the fighting between Israel and Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia. Siniora also called for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire and an international probe of the attack...A senior Lebanese official said that Lebanese government told Rice not to come."It is a very bad time to talk today at this very tragic moment," the official said. He said the priority is to deal with the aftermath of the attack.
And all of this chaos has activated masses still left in Beirut: UN building stormed amid Lebanon rage over Qana.
Angry Lebanese protestors have stormed the building of the United Nations in Beirut, smashing glass doors and hacking at the furniture in rage at Israel's deadly bombing of homes in Qana.

After the violent protest at UN headquarters, thousands of people -- some in tears and others shouting angry slogans -- converged from both Christian and Muslim areas of the capital on Riad Solh Square where the building is located. After hearing news of the carnage in Qana which killed 51 people, including 25 children, a group of protestors attacked and briefly occupied the UN House in downtown Beirut where they smashed windows, burned curtains and destroyed furniture.

...A small group of protestors burned an American flag while shouting: "Death to America."..."Thank you America for your smart bombs, on behalf of our slain children," read one banner carried by the protestors, most of whom were also raising Lebanese flags. Activists also waved flags of several parties, including the yellow standard of Hezbollah. "Dear (Hassan) Nasrallah, strike Tel Aviv," they chanted, addressing the head of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah which has met Israeli attacks with fierce resistance for the past 19 days, firing rockets into northern Israel.
Of course, Israel is going to have a hard time eliminating/controlling/beating back Hezbollah if the militia is spread out among the population, located in civilian dwellings. An interesting interview and report by Kevin Sites shows how weaponry is stored inside houses and fighters await calls to action.
We meet "Hussein" at his home and sit down to talk in his living room, while his four-month-old baby daughter lies on a blanket on the floor. He is in his late 20s and has a calm face. He is polite but has a resolute sense about him that creates a cautious distance. Like many fighters, he says, he has another job and only joins the militia when he's needed.

..."I have a job to do and if the Israelis want to come inside," he says, "then we'll do our job and defend our families." He shows me what he will use to defend them. In a closet in an adjoining bedroom he reaches into the top shelf and pulls out a green shoulder harness full of ammunition clips.

Then, from the corner of the closet, next to some shirts on hangers, he pulls out an American-made M-16 assault rifle and places it on the mattress in the room next to the ammo belt. He goes back to the closet and from the same corner reaches for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and two canvas shoulder bags. He places these on the bed as well.

I ask if nearly every house in the neighborhood has a stash of small arms like this. "Some have more," he says, pulling an AK-47 from one of the canvas bags and locking on a 30 round banana clip, named for its banana-like curve. "But the larger weaponry is kept somewhere else."
This is FUBAR.


NYT endorses Ned Lamont


Damn. Holy Joe is sinking faster than a stone. You know that his campaign was working hard for the endorsement in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut, and now that's all gone up in smoke with Gail Collins's blast.
...Mr. Lieberman is now in a tough Democratic primary against a little-known challenger, Ned Lamont. The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman's friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers - most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents - say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush.

...If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.
Whew. You have to read the whole scorching endorsement; Joe's campaign must be sh*tting bricks right about now. Steve is on it:
Make no mistake, Lieberman's campaign is reeling from this. It is a disaster of the first order. Instead of smacking us blogofascists down, she's basically repeated our arguments and validated them in the most public way possible. This is going to make some people decide to jump ship, because it's becoming clear that Lieberman's campaign is a last hurrah.
Ned Lamont better be ready for some serious hardball now.

Check out Mad Kane's No Liebe For Lieberman.

Also:
* Holy Joe's GOP dough
* DSCC to Holy Joe: you're on your own
* NARAL backs Holy Joe over Lamont
* Holy Joe collecting signatures for independent campaign
* Holy Joe vs. Ned Lamont on LGBT rights
* Holy Joe: Bombs away on Iran
* Holy Joe on-air meltdown
* Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Holy Joe has got to go!


Q of the day and open thread

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What article of clothing have you worn in the past that is a complete embarrassment now?

Clothing that your parents bought for you doesn't count -- this one has to be your unfortunate selection.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Mine would be a memorable pair of gauchos -- 100% thick and nasty hot polyester, powder blue. Purchase date around 1977. I wore those crappers for two seasons -- with brown boots, I recall.

Blogwhoring and links are welcome in the thread as well.


The passion of the drunken anti-Semite, part 2: mea culpa

Mel Gibson didn't mention who he might have offended when he went bonkers during his DUI arrest. This is his entire statement on the matter. Schadenfreude! (AP):
"After drinking alcohol on Thursday night, I did a number of things that were very wrong and for which I am ashamed. I drove a car when I should not have, and was stopped by the L.A. County sheriffs. The arresting officer was just doing his job and I feel fortunate that I was apprehended before I caused injury to any other person.

"I acted like a person completely out of control when I was arrested, and said things that I do not believe to be true and which are despicable. I am deeply ashamed of everything I said and I apologize to anyone who I have offended. [I guess he couldn't find some way to address the "Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world" comment, or "sugar tits"?]

"Also, I take this opportunity to apologize to the deputies involved for my belligerent behavior. They have always been there for me in my community and indeed probably saved me from myself. I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry.

"I have battled the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse. I apologize for any behavior unbecoming of me in my inebriated state and have already taken necessary steps to ensure my return to health."
Apologies for the folks out there who don't like the Freeper Quotes; I had to dip back in to see the reaction to the non-specific apology.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

He's ashamed that his true views came out for everyone to hear.

Sounds like a Democrat

While I like Mel Gibson as an actor, his drunken, aggressive conduct and hateful words as a 50 year old father of six and a role model for many are reprehensible. I'm reminded of the old Roman maxim, "Vin Veneto Veritas" -- "with wine comes truth" (not literal truth, but what the inebriate really thinks when his tongue is loosened).

I see no apologies to the Jewish community.

Not very Christian. Boy, did I have him pegged.

At least it is a sincere apology. It's still hard to accept -- not so much the drunk driving part as the other. I don't know what to think.

The same holds true of folks who use the protective distance and anonymity of their computers to speak their "minds" about others. Personally, I don't know what Mel Gibson said when he was drunk, nor do I care. I know what he stands for in his life, and the faith and works of his life speak for themselves. When you find somebody who doesn't have a flaw or who doesn't sin, you've either found God or the person whom you think you are.

Has Kennedy apologized for his alcoholism? Gibson is human, just as we all are.

He deserves every bit of the contempt that will be heaped upon him over this. The man has six children, he endangered other people, said some horrible things about Jews, and is lucky he didn't have his head taken off for what he said to, and about, the deputies.

Some will drink themselves to a stupor because of that, while others will shoot up a Jewish center.

I know what he stands for in his life, and the faith and works of his life speak for themselves. He apparently despises Jews. Perhaps you admire people like that. I don't.

Gibson showed his true colors last night during his arrest. I argued with you about THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and his portrayal of Jews. I stood up for Gibson to you and a number of my Jewish friends. Now, I'm sorry I did.

Love Mel for what he is.

And what exactly is he? He's a movie-maker who hates Jews.

OK, he said all this wacky stuff on only 0.12 % alcohol level? That isn't "crazy drunk". That's just crazy. Mel has built up a lot of infrastructure around his religious views. If he seriously wants to solve what's going on in his mind, there is going to be a lot of fallout to those around him.

I'm going to give him a break here for one reason: there are things that I have done and said that I am deeply ashamed about, and reflecting and meditating on that flawed behavior has changed me as a man. Maybe he is a screaming Jew hater. He can change. One thing that Christianity has taught me is that all have sinned and all can be forgiven. Another lesson I've learned is that people are transcendent beings. We are not stuck on autopilot like God's lesser creatures. In fact, some of things that I am deeply ashamed about are contained somewhere in documents that are now sealed, so I know what it is like to have your shameful behavior posted in public for all to see. I know how small and stupid I felt; for a star like Mel Gibson, that public display must be extraordinarily humilating. I hope Mel uses this incident to become a better man.

Lots of denial going on here. It's difficult when your hero falls so far.


Agreeing with the fundies on marriage equality

While we are on opposite sides of the marriage question, the president of Alliance for Marriage, is spot-on about the fact that no matter what the states do regarding amendments, this is going to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, said it is possible that a few other states might join Massachusetts in legalizing gay marriage, and suggested the U.S. eventually will have to choose whether to ban or accept such unions nationwide.

"We could not have a cohesive society with radically different definitions of marriage throughout the states," he said.
No we can't. It's why interracial marriage bans were struck down with the decision in Loving v. Virginia. This situation is what is vexing both sides, as many marriage equality advocates as well as opponents aren't sure they want a case before the current court. The fundies want another shot at filling a vacancy (86-year-old John Paul Stevens is on their hit list) before a case makes it to the court in order to ensure a win for its side. Similarly, gay activists are torn about timing, after all, if there is another vacancy under Dear Leader, marriage equality is doomed under the Roberts court.


Failed presidential candidate and head of Campaign for Working Families, Gary Bauer is already bleating about this, in light of the upcoming NJ Supreme Court decision.
Bauer says all it takes is one liberal judge or liberal court to swing the momentum the other way -- and homosexual advocates know that.

He says it is too early to tell if judges across the nation are beginning to exercise judicial restraint on the issue of men marrying men and women marrying women. "[B]ut we should get a better idea when the New Jersey Supreme Court decides on the constitutionality of that state's marriage law," he says. Bauer believes that if homosexual activists win there -- a court which he describes as "notoriously liberal" -- things could easily start to come apart.

"New Jersey could start issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples from other states, setting off a flurry of litigation in the federal courts challenging the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act," he points out. "It only takes one court determined to impose same-sex 'marriage' on its citizens to threaten marriage everywhere."


The passion of the drunken anti-Semite

UPDATE: I've added the passion of the Freepi below.

[I was up at 5AM and saw this (don't ask -- the dogs got me up), but was too tired to post.]

It was more than a drunk-driving arrest for Mel Gibson, according to TMZ.com...
TMZ has four pages of the original report prepared by the arresting officer in the case, L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy James Mee. According to the report, Gibson became agitated after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway and told he was to be detained for drunk driving Friday morning in Malibu. The actor began swearing uncontrollably. Gibson repeatedly said, "My life is f****d."
And then the fun begins, for the misogynist, conservative actor/director.
Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"
Nice. TMZ has part of the arrest report, lest some PR flak tries to deny the incident occurred.

***

And here is the Passion of the Freepi for you. It starts off with disbelief, and as the reports come in, they are ready to cut the cord...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

What do you mean he's done? You obviously don't know or understand Hollywood that well. His stock will just go up! Hollywood REWARDS those who do this type of crap. What I don't like is, if true, that he went on an anti Semitic tirade let alone berating the cops. Besides, Mel doesnt' need hollywood to make movies. He proved that with Passion of the Christ. Too bad Marlon Brando isn't still alive. Both him and mel would have been great together on Larry King blaming everything on the Jews! (that's sarcasm for some of your humorless conservatives on here).

I hope it's fake. I like Gibson and most of his movies. I almost never boycott people for their political views. But I won't give dollar one to an anti semite.

I'm not even a huge fan of the man, but unless they have it on tape, I don't buy it.

It seems as though ALL those Hollyweird types these days are a collection of weirdo creeps. If this is true, he's screwed himself and all his films. What a jer@#@#&*$@!!

Assuming this account is true, you can't just explain his behavior away by saying he's HUMAN. His remarks are more than just being human. It's like you saying Terrorists that blow themselves up to kill innocent women and children are just human.

If that was true I'd say he picked a bad time to use hillbilly cocaine, crank, and crystal meth.

True, but I don't think "Jew comments" show up in your average police report, either. They usually say "the suspect was combative" or "the suspect was verbally abusive." Seldom do they go into this much detail. My BS beeber is set to stune.

I am telling you i don't think he'll be done. Hollywood will shrug it off. He makes people money and they'll allow him to to get drunk, spew off anti jew speech, or even molest little choir boys. As long as he puts butts in the movie theater seats, he's Christ and can do no wrong.

For what it's worth, a local SoCal TV station just went on the air basically confirming this version of the arrest (although not providing quite so much detail). They cited additional sources "at the Sheriff's department".

Oh please let it be he was researching another movie? Desperately seeking a better reason for this foolishness.

Possibly true, but also sounds like a hit job manufactured by people who want to get Mel Gibson and pin an anti-semitism label on him. BTW I think Gibson has become pompously in love with himself but I hate to see a guy tarred by a smear.

I have always read that he had a bad drinking problem back in the Mad Max days and had quite a temper (his comments in his biography) but had long ago quit drinking and cleaned himself up what with his large family, building his own Catholic Church on his property, etc.. This is a little shocking, but he has also not looked like himself for a while. Wonder what the backstory on this really is?

.12 doesn't seem drunk enough to go on a career-ruining tirade.

heard of FOX NEWS??? http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,206152,00.html

It sounds rather scripted, like someone made it up. On the other hand, Gibson's father has nutty views. Like father, like son? Who knows? If he really did go on an anti-Semitic tirade, then Mel will be a hero to the hard left. All he has to do now is claim to hate America at least as much as he hates Jews, and the "mainstream" left will adore him.

I'll say. He's been looking downright crazy -- a lot like the booze and drugged out crazies on skid row. Booze and drugs can change behavior. So can some physical problems like brain tumors. Whatever's going on with Mel, it really does seem like he's descending into a bad place in his life.

Christians aren't supposed to be drunk, and there is more in this article than him simply being antiSemitic.

He was booked at 4am and he's a family man? Wouldn't a family man be at home asleep in his bed at that time instead of out drinking and driving?

Mel does have some class, though. If this report is true, I expect he will apologize profusely.

Me, I'm not about to cast aspersions on anyone who babbles incoherently after having had one too many. Just about everyone I know -- myself included -- has been down that route a time or two.

When you're intoxicated...your true self is revealed....Shame on Mr. Gibson is this is all true...his career is effectively over.

'F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world... Are you a Jew?' Are they sure it wasn`t Hillary they arrested?

Shame on Mr. Gibson is this is all true...his career is effectively over. Nah. Hollyweird will embrace him as one of their own and forgive him for "Passion". ;)

Oh, dear. How can I ever watch "The Passion" again after knowing this about Mel. Is there something in the water out there that makes people crazy?

I think he fell off the wagon big time with all the stress over the Passion. After that movie, he was acting pretty nuts (well even more nuts)and seemed to age about 20 years which I suspect is from the booze. Also, a big side effect from alcoholism is self destruction which may be the reason for his comments. It all becomes about the booze after a while, and if the career or job gets in the way of that, you destroy it, conciously or subconciously, so you will have more time to drink (take it from one who knows). I mean what is the WORST possible thing he could have said to screw up his career? Mel has a huge booze problem, and to me that is the reason he said "My life is f****d." Now it probably really is because they taped everything he said.

After hearing this from several sources today, I can believe he let loose with obscenities, and even anti-semitic statements. His dad, after all, is a Holocaust denier, and he grew up around that stuff.

Ahhhh...I see you have finally come to embrace reality. TMZ (Time-Warner/AOL) obviously has a friend inside the LAPD; aside from that, they would never make up a story as radioactive as this one. At first, the cops tried to sanitize the circumstances of the arrest, but the arresting PO was evidently PO'd enough to write everything down very carefully. In my opinion, it went down as the officer wrote it. And, IMO, this episode has tainted the movie that his fans always denied had any Jew-hatred in it. Harder to defend now, eh?

OK, I'll revise that so people stop writing to me....TO ME, his career is over....added to the list of people I will not give money to anymore. OK? :)

Are you kidding? His behavior and words have eliminated all possibilities of his having any class at all. Me, I'm not about to cast aspersions on anyone who babbles incoherently after having had one too many. You could fill me full of Chivas, tequila, beer, heroin, or chocolate and I would never swear at the police. I would never speak ill of any race or religion.

If this is Mel's excuse, it's going to take a LOT of work for anyone to listen to him explain this, should he sober up one day and want to apologize.


Why Lance Bass's coming out matters

He may not be at the peak of his career, but when Lance Bass of 'NSYNC came out, it wasn't a shock, but it provided yet another peek into public reaction to celebrities flinging open the closet door.

MTV's web site has comments of support for the singer; note that many came from Red State America. As I've said many times before, the act of coming out is what scares the bible beaters most. They know that the younger generation is not fazed by this, and the genie can't be put back into the bottle (though the fundies are trying mightily).
It was very encouraging to learn that Lance Bass came out. It seems that today, for celebrities to be gay is a bigger thing, because the whole world will find out. This allows people who hate gays to attack them. But I hope that things work out well for him. I just want to let him know that what he has done has encouraged me not to hide anymore either.
Paul, 19
Las Cruces, NM

As an 'NSYNC fan for eight years - literally half my life - I was shocked when I heard the news, and I did cry, but even while I was crying, I knew I loved Lance all the same, just in a different way now. I support him completely, and as much as I admired him before, I respect him immeasurably now.
Taylor, 16
Richmond, VA

Lance Bass' story makes me so very happy. I am the daughter of a homosexual male. It kills me that my father had to hide who he truly was for 15 years. It makes me happy to see that Lance is happy and comfortable enough to tell the world who he is. In today's world, gay is becoming a norm. While many in the world may not agree, if we could all take the approach of Lance's grandmother, who loves him and accepts him no matter what, maybe we can become a more accepting world too.
Erin, 22
Fort Wayne, IN

I think that it was really a good thing to come out like Lance Bass did. He is brave. It's funny because I was at the "TRL" studio and they told us the announcement. I was not surprised, but my sis was. I'm myself bisexual and I'm proud of it, but my parents don't know.
Hansel, 23
Ozone Park, NY

I love this story. I think it's fantastic because it shows that Lance is happy with himself and that he is comfortable with who he is. It shows that it is OK to be gay and that there is nothing wrong with it.
Mona, 15
Austin, TX

I'm really happy that Lance is able to finally be himself without having to hide anything. It is a little jarring to see someone I had a major crush on when I was in junior high come out of the closet, but going by the articles and the things he's said, he's really happy now, and that's all that matters.
Rebecca, 20
New York, NY
***

Before decloseting, Bass and the 'NSYNC crowd made this now-howler commercial in 2001 (unearthed by The Best Week Ever), a McDonald's commercial with the group and a pre-KFed Britney Spears. They are playing a game of spin the bottle. It's Lance's turn, so he spins away, preps with a little breath spray...and the bottle doesn't land on Britney...priceless.



Since his bandmates claimed not to know about Bass being queer at the time, it's too bad; it would have been a cool in-joke.


Fear of the boobie, part 2



This image generated over 700 protest letters to the editor of BabyTalk magazine. Some of the comments:
"I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine.

"I immediately turned the magazine face down"

"Gross."

"I shredded it. A breast is a breast -- it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

"Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob."
A poll of more than 4,000 readers showed that, 25% of responses to the above cover were negative, citing the photo inappropriate.

The sorry thing is that most of the above quotes were from boobie-phobic women, who are as brainwashed as men about the sexualization of the act of feeding a baby. This isn't a titty show to give guys a woody, as the magazine editor points out, and these American prudes can't separate feeding an infant with s-e-x:
Babytalk editor Susan Kane says the mixed response to the cover clearly echoes the larger debate over breast-feeding in public. "There's a huge Puritanical streak in Americans," she said, "and there's a squeamishness about seeing a body part -- even part of a body part."

"It's not like women are whipping them out with tassels on them," she added. "Mostly, they are trying to be discreet."
I blogged about this topic last year, when a similar article on public breastfeeding in the ballpark caused an eruption in Freeperland, with the knuckle-draggers equating breastfeeding with urination or worse -- that pretty much says it all.

Incidentally, there are battles over this topic in FR fairly regularly; in a more recent thread when an Illinois woman was booted from a Target for breastfeeding in a dressing room. one of the Freepi actually posted "I wonder if the morons equating breastfeeding with urinating, defecating and masturbating will show up on this one? Bet they will, you just watch...."

Earlier this year, a Michigan mom got in hot water when she exposed a boobie to feed her child at the local Y pool, and she was told by a lifeguard at the org that her nursing "created a distraction to lifeguards." An even more unhinged excuse was given by the senior programs director at the Y, who said for the article that there is no food or water allowed in the pool area and there would be no exceptions.

It's now come down to the categorization of feeding moms as a vending machines/public milk dispensers, and monitoring all the kids jumping and playing in the pool is less of of a distraction for a lifeguard than a mother sitting quietly by the pool breastfeeding.



Wouldn't this gal sitting poolside serve as an equal distraction to a lifeguard or a gal with a bathing suit on that is barely covering the areolae? Of course not, this is the proper use and display of the titty, or perhaps the objecting letter-writers to Babytalk see this as the only use of the titty, and that's why they are wigged out by a nursing mom. Shakes Sis:
There are people who are uncomfortable with seeing women breastfeed in public, people who are not evil or intolerant or think boobies are dirty—they just get a little squigged out by it. But most of them don’t think nursing in public should be banned, and I bet most of them wouldn’t have the slightest objection to this magazine cover, either. It tends to be men and women who are extremely conservative, who worry about boys and men seeing errant breasts in public, who think that the body is sacred but its functions aren’t, who rail against stem cell research and abortion because “every life is precious” but don’t care to see that precious life being nurtured. Tiresome, that lot.
Yes -- after all, it's only been a short while since the boobage of the Spirit of Justice statue was covered up in the Justice Department by former Attorney General John Ashcroft because it offended him.



Hat tip to Chris Howard.

Related:
* Freeper debate: nursing in the ballpark
* The AmTaliban influence continues: nipples are the new WMD


Bible beaters in a tizzy over radio station format change

Friday, July 28, 2006

It sounds like the station manager and programming director at a radio station in Kingsburg, CA have no love for the fundies -- they are putting the screws to them after switching from a Christian format to something decidedly more interesting, to say the least. (CNN):
KFYE-FM hasn't budged from the Fresno-area dial, but it's about as far as you can get from the Christian music, sermons and Bible stories it was broadcasting until about a week ago.

Now it calls itself "Porn Radio" -- "all sex radio, all the time," with a suggestion that people under 21 not listen.

Songs with little in common except suggestive titles and lyrics fill the playlist, including "Why Don't We Do It in the Road" by The Beatles, "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye and "Nasty" by Janet Jackson. Tamer songs are heated up by adding recorded moans and groans.
It's a gimmick, but hey it got the station national attention.


NYT: sHillary, Tool McCain held vodka drinking contest

Raw Story points to a NYT article that, well, I'm not sure what the purpose of it is. Drinking = centrism? Drinking= butch?

On a congressional delegation trip to Estonia in August of 2004, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) held a "vodka-drinking contest," according to an article slated for Saturday's edition of The New York Times.

..."The after-dinner game went so well — memories are a bit hazy on who drank how much — that Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, later told people how unexpectedly engaging he found Mrs. Clinton to be," Kornblut reports. "'One of the guys,' was the way he described Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, to some Republican colleagues."

"What happens in Estonia stays in Estonia," a Clinton spokesman tells The Times.


Open thread - fundie Ts

Hi folks. Was out most of the day, so apologies for the meager amount of posts.

It's freaking hot here in Durham today; the humidity is oppressive. The sun was so blazing that when Kate and I were walking into Best Buy to window shop, the walk from the car to the store seemed like it took an eternity and we cooked along the way.

Anyway, I thought about all of you Blenders when we went into one of our local malls this evening; we came across one of those kiosks along the middle of the corridors, you know that sell tchotckes and random stuff, perfumes and homemade lotions and potions and what not. Usually on the weekends you have to dodge people trying to pimp a sample of a smoothie or come at you with an atomizer with some gawdawful fragrance. Kate gives them the f*ck off gesture if they get too close, lololol...

We came across this kiosk for Jeebus merchandise, and Kate got all excited about this freakshow, telling me to take snaps with my cell phone (inconspicuously, of course) of some of the unbelievable T-shirts for you all. Read and weep.

..
Want a Reese's Jesus?


How about doin' the Dew?


I want to toss back a nice cold one...


Imaginary Conversation on Gay Marriage

I was reading Pam's post below on Washington State's "punt" on gay marriage and the reactions in Vancouver. Living just across the river from the 'Couv, I can tell you that the comments do not surprise me. Many Portland workers live across the Columbia in the 'Couv for the lower tax burdens, and they tend to be much more conservative than Portlanders (we in Multnomah county voted against the Measure 36 anti-gay amendment, even though it passed statewide).

The bumper sticker comment that always makes me laugh is "No special rights for homosexuals". I always love hearing that one. In my mind I'm waiting for someone to drop that one on me, for I already have the conversation in mind that would twist a little fundie's mind:

I'd turn it around by asking, "Would you mind if I started a business with one other business partner? The business' assets would be in both of our names and we'd share both the profits and the expenses of the business. We'd form an LLP, an S-Corp., or a regular Corp., whichever legal arrangement would protect our shared assets and guarantee each of us the legal control over the business. Is that okay with you?"

"Uh, sure," might be the response.

"Okay, now me and my partner, our business is going to sell to the public and be publicly traded on the stock market. Still okay?"

"Yeah..."

"Alright, so me and my partner's business is going to sell things that might be dangerous in the public's hands. I don't know what: firearms (someone could get shot), fireworks (some kid might blow up), food (could be tainted), martial arts instruction, psychological counseling, firefighting equipment, children's day care, whatever. The point is that we'd be taking in public investments and selling something that would hurt people if we were careless. Can we still start our partnership?"

"Well, as long as you follow the regulations and the safety procedures, go right ahead."

"Excellent. Now, I'm a white guy, but I may want to my business partner to be a black guy. Is that okay?"

"Of course!"

"Okay, what about a woman? Or a Jew? Or a atheist communist lesbian HIspanic transsexual little person confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis. Can I still start our partnership?"

"Uh... yeah, sure, I guess so. I don't care who you run your business with."

"Okay, then you're telling me that I can choose whomever I want to be my business partner, even though we will be directly interacting with the public and could potentially poison, kill, or maim someone with our products or services."

"Yes. If your business harms someone, you could always be sued, and if somebody dislikes your partner, they just don't have to shop at your business."

"Great, glad to hear it. Now let's switch gears: can I marry a man?"

"Absolutely not! Marriage is between one man and one woman!"

"Huh? I don't get it. You'll let me form a business partnership with another man, take people's money, and expose the public to potential dangers, and that's fine. But if I want to form a personal partnership with another man, keeping all our personal interactions private, and exposing the public to little more than the sight of us caring for one another... THAT you have a problem with?"

"It's different! Marriage is a sacred institution to protect the children..."

"Hold on, a second ago you were going to let me and my disabled atheist communist lesbian HIspanic transsexual little person business partner run a day care for the children, feed the children, teach children martial arts, counsel the children, sell fireworks to the children, sell the firefighting equipment to protect the children, and sell firearms that could somehow end up in the hands of the children. You seem to think my choice of partner means little in those situations, but when we're talking about personal private bedroom antics that will never be seen by the children, it's a big deal?"

"You just don't get it. This is about protecting the traditional family..."

"'Traditional family'? What's that?"

"Oh, come on, you know: a father, a mother, and their children."

"But that's only been a tradition for fifty years. Used to be that mom and pop and grandma and grandpa and auntie and uncle and their kids and our kids were 'traditional'."

"Yes, but they were all related and they were all marriages of one man and one woman..."

"Okay, then the tradition is only 120 years old, since Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers in this country were enjoying marriages of one man and many women up until the 1890s."

"Now that's an exception and hardly 'traditional'..."

"It was to them! And, might I add, quite the tradition if we look through all of human history and especially throughout the Bible. Were King David's many wives and concubines 'traditional'?"

"Look, now you're being ridiculous. You know what a traditional marriage is."

"Well, yes, I do. It is a public legal contract between two parties guaranteeing private shared domestic rights and responsibilities in our society..."

"No, it is a sacred bond of holy matrimony ordained by God..."

"Really? So God approves of the drive-thru wedding chapels in Vegas?"

"Now I didn't say..."

"And The Lord issues his blessing and guidance through the Justice o' the Peace during marriage ceremonies in the city hall, even if the Justice is a liberal Jew?"

"Stop interrupting! God ordained the bond of marriage for our souls in the spiritual world but our society also has to certify that marriage in the secular world."

"Ah, so there's 'church marriage' and there's 'civil marriage'. And as far as the government is concerned, only the civil marriage counts, right? I mean, the judge can marry you legally in the courthouse and you're married, but if the preacher marries you in the church, you still have to get the civil marriage license from the courthouse. So what we've got here is a country where I can enter into any public partnership contract with anyone I choose, regardless of how much or little public interaction, trust, and responsibility is required of that partnership, but there's one private partnership contract with little to no interaction with the public where government can limit by half the potential partners I may choose. In essence, you're telling me gay people can form any business partnership they like, but the domestic partnership is a special right reserved only for heterosexuals."

"Uh... God made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve! One man, one woman! God said it, I believe it, that settles it! Marriage is for procreation!..."

"You know my wife and I can't have kids, right? Why are you letting us be married?"

"...Protect... children... recruit homosexuals... gay agenda waved in our face and shoved down our throats... activist judges... majority don't want gay marriage..." *spark* *fizzle* "Error... error... does not compute..." *ka-blooie* (imaginary fundie's head explodes like the guy in John Carpenter's "Scanners")

(While this conversation is imaginary, I've had variations of this conversation with my Born-Again™ aunt in Boise. These conversations usually end up with her exasperated, saying something like, "You were always very clever, Russell, and I just don't have the wherewithall to argue with you on this subject." Indeed, when you argue with an atheist, and your base position is "God said so", you are going to get the same results as discussing Picasso with Stevie Wonder...)


The Washington wingers come out of the woodwork

Blender Randy emailed me about more local/online reaction to the Washington state Supreme Court 5-4 decision Wednesday that affirmed the state's ban on same-sex marriage:
Pam, I was thinking about moving to Vancouver, Washington so I read the online version of the Vancouver Columbian. Today there is a story about the local state rep who is going to introduce legislation to make gay marriage legal. Now the Columbian is lucky to get two or three comments to their stories. The last I checked this story had 153 comments and the wingnuts are out in force. Their comments would be funny if they were not so sad and threatening. This made me think twice about moving to Vancouver.
The story that garnered the comments was The Columbian's Gay Marriage: Moeller vows to keep issue alive in Legislature. State Representative (and out gay man) Jim Moeller has stated that he'll submit marriage equality legislation next year.
"I thought that there were some stereotypical excuses for the ruling," he said. Arguing that same-sex marriage is contrary to the state's interest in procreation and child-rearing, as some justices did, "seems to me to blatantly discriminate against couples who are beyond their child-rearing years," he said. "I thought the argument was bogus."

... Several gay-rights advocates attended the somber news conference in Vancouver, and about 20 later gathered in Vancouver's Esther Short Park to share their stories.

The Rev. Tom Tucker, pastor of Vancouver Heights Methodist Church, said he had hoped to marry some gay and lesbian couples in his congregation before he retires. "I'm also a realist," he added. As in other civil rights campaigns, he said, progress will come "two steps forward, one step back. You have to keep coming back to the halls of the Legislature."

At the news conference, Pastor Suzan Soza of the nondenominational church Crossroots Ministries in Vancouver stated publicly for the first time that she is a lesbian. "If the good people of Washington knew they were surrounded by good Christian people" who are gay and lesbian, "I think some things would change," she said. "It is incumbent upon us to be more visible. We really are just like you."
The article contains commentary on both sides of the issue, and as Randy said, there are lots of reader comments, many supportive -- but there are Freeper-level-worthy unhinged bleatings like these as well (it's over 170 comments now):
Comment by Scott - July 27, 2006 @ 11:42 AM
I wish the gay people would go back in the closet or get help as thats what they need. I am sick of whats going on, and I am sure that there are millions of others like me that wish the gays would stay out of government positions. The way things are going it looks like the gays are taking over and that is SICK! Please vote them out of office and keep them out! As that is the right thing to do.

Comment by Bruce - July 27, 2006 @ 11:55 AM
Gays have equal rights to marry since they can choice to marry anyone of the opposite sex. Granting special rights is all they are looking for and if they don't get it they scream . Being gay is a choice and proven by medical science since there NEVER have been a study that has proved a genetic link. I love the Dallas Cowboys and that is my CHOICE, should I get a special right for that?!

Comment by Tired of it all - July 27, 2006 @ 12:06 PM
I am tired of hearing about other peoples sexual orientation, why is this always in the headlines?? I dont care who you are sleeping with, but I am on a need to know basis & thats one thing I dont need to know. You dont ever see heteros going around claiming their "pride" or having parades, or being all loud about who or what they have sex with. You dont see them trying to go political to make sure homosexuals are "kept in the closet". If you live an "alternative" life, meaning that which is not the majority, then expect "alternative" rules. Sleep with who you want, just please quit talking about it. Keep your bedroom door shut, so to speak.

Comment by Jon - July 27, 2006 @ 12:13 PM
If you know someone that is gay, please let them know they can get help. I had a friend help me get the help I needed to get out of that sick way of life and I am now the proud father of two boys. I promise you I will be telling my story with them. Please if you are gay get the help you need to live a straight life.

Comment by A Mom - July 27, 2006 @ 01:09 PM
I'm sick of people saying being gay is not a choice. I can see how you who are gay would believe that, because you have these "feelings" in which seem natural, and uncontrollable. Well, pedophiles have certain attractions and impulses, so does that make it o.k. to be a pedophile? Or how about a murderer, or shoplifter? Not all "feelings" are normal, and should not all be acted on. I believe gay people are victims of something that happened to them in child hood, or poor relationship with same sex parent. It's unfortunate, but it does not mean we have to accept it in the mainstream. If gay marriage becomes legal, they'll have to teach it to our kids in public school. Can you imagine what "sex education" would include? I don't care what people do in their bedroom, but leave the rest of us out of it.

Comment by Please - July 27, 2006 @ 01:12 PM
Please all you gay people, just stay in the closet and lock it forever or get the help YOU NEED!!! You are very sick people.

Comment by earl - July 27, 2006 @ 02:18 PM
damn! the homos are just as angry as the muslims! both are supposed to be peaceloving folks but all i see is a bunch of hatred and discontent. tell you what "homo" people John Kerry welcomes people like you in Mass. if you all leave it could ease the traffic and housing burden that we in the NW are seeing. Portland legalized it for a couple of hours once so maybe go there and wait for it to happen again. Vancouver dosent need you and your terrorism. dont pollute our streets with your immoral behavior. the courts have ruled now either shut up and be quiet or go someplace where you are accepted and dont try to push your lifestyle on the rest of us.

I have to include this one sane comment:

Comment by Good Grief Charlie Brown - July 27, 2006 @ 09:31 PM
I can't believe what has been written here on this subject. I have to ask, is there a truly educated person amongst any of you? What a bunch of sanctimonious dribble. Absolutely nothing of what I have read here shows a inkling of knowledge about religion or science. It would be nice to hear someone offer something of real value on the subject (other than the Mother from Vermont who spoke from the heart). And they say ignornace is Bliss, Yikes!! There should be a law against it! Nothing more dangerous than a closed mind. Vancouver, if these who have written here are representative of our citizens, we are in BIG TROUBLE.
Sick, cowardly commenters like these (hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet), are eager to usher gays back into the closet. This is exactly why more people need to come out, live their lives openly and show the people who can be reasoned with that there is no gay boogeyman. It's the last thing the folks up there want to happen.

There is nothing to be gained by taking this setbacks in WA and NY as a sign to be quiet, to avoid talking about marriage equality (and other measures like ENDA) and wait patiently for either party (partcularly the Dems) to wake up and see this for the civil rights issue that it is. We have to engage in discussions, and bring straight allies into these conversations. We have to continue to make it clear to our alleged political allies that shutting up and waiting till they are in charge again is not an option, as the state amendments keep on churning and the Right keeps on beating the homo straw man, and ignorant people like these continue spouting nonsense.


Minnesota hijinks



Karl Rove made a lightning-quick, lame drop-in at a Stillwater, MN fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate (and ace homophobe) Michele Bachmann last week, and William Prendergast @ The Stillwater Tribune blog has a great first-hand post on the protests outside and Rovian hijinks, with pix of the turd trying to make his way in and out without being seen.
Rove’s entrance and exit. The most tightly guarded I’ve ever seen in small town Minnesota. He had front men and flak catchers, local police, etc. covering his entrance and exits from the building. Didn’t want anybody taking his picture for free. He came in through the back door and he left through a different back door, carefully avoiding all the Americans outside who’d shown up to catch a glimpse of him. You wouldn’t know this was a public relations event from the “heavy security” approach applied to his arrival and departure. A very “South American dictator” style entrance-and-exit, considering that he was appearing here in the heartland and in a Republican-trending district.

It is true that Rove took a little verbal abuse as he attempted to sneak out the back way (“Benedict Arnold!” yelled one guy in the crowd; a reference to Rove's alleged security leak.) But he took it smilingly as his people made a corridor for him though the crowd. Security volunteers kept them from getting close enough for questions or taking a really good photo.

...According to those inside, Rove’s remarks were unremarkable and rather disappointing to people who hoped to hear him denounce someone or something. That, too, is probably by design; Bachmann’s Sixth District run is going to be another one of her “stealth candidacies.” It’s probably been decided that in order to win this election she needs to downplay her right wing Christian fundamentalist politics; her fundamentalist base is already “in the bag,” so she can only attract more votes by trying to deceive people who don’t know who she really is and what she really stands for.
William Prendergast has a pic of Rove's escape as well.

Bachmann is a certified nutjob, who does anti-gay roadshows with her buddy, "former homosexual" Janet "rape causes lesbianism" Boynes. She's been photographed stalking at gay rallies, crouching in bushes to get a glimpse of the homos, who for some reason opposed her neverending battle to pass a marriage amendment in her state...


April 2005: OutFront Minnesota's 2005 JustFair Lobby Day. Bachmann had to see all the homosexual congregating first-hand. Her comment after someone busted her on this unusual "surveillance" by an elected official: "I had high heels on and I just couldn't stand anymore. I was not in the bushes." (More photos at Eleventh Avenue South).

This sort of behavior explains the next mysterious bit of business. At the Rove event, William Prendergast captures this pic (more at his pad):



This dude is across the street, in the venue where the Rove-Bachmann event was held, videotaping protestors before and after the shindig.
Later he came out and started photographing them outside the building, too—didn’t seem interested in recording anything except the people who were protesting the Bachmann/Rove event. I asked him who he was, whether or not he was with the Bachmann/Rove event, why he was videotaping the people who were protesting—and he refused to say! Refused to even answer me; just stared straight ahead and frowned.
Who is he? Readers at The Stillwater Tribune were quick to make the call -- they said it is the former Student for Bachmann (a defunct blog) and current shill on the payroll of the Bachmann campaign, Luke Hellier. So far, no response from the Bachmann campaign or Hellier about the above videography fun and games.

Eva at Dump Michelle Bachmann has this standing offer:
I will edit Hellier's video and post it on You Tube and the Michele Bachmann video blog... at no cost to the Bachmann campaign!!!
***

Since we're on the subject of Minnesota political tidbits, how about this news...

Getting it up at 81


Actually, it sounds like Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman's pop doesn't need help in some respects...
Coleman's father was arrested for lewd and disorderly conduct after he was found having sex outside a pizzeria with 38-year old Patrizia Marie Schrag. Norm Coleman, Sr., is 81-years old.

Senator Coleman released a statement declaring "I love my father dearly. I do not condone his actions or behavior, and I am deeply disturbed by what I have learned. He clearly has some issues that need to be dealt with, and I will encourage him to seek the necessary help."


Open thread - danger zone

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You think I'm brave for stepping into Freeperland? Blogenfreude at Agitprop has wandered into a veritable cesspool of wingnuttery today and made it out alive -- Hugh Hewitt, Malkin, Instapundit, Jonah, Powerline...the list is looong.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I emailed him and said "Jeezus, how much Purell did you have to bathe in after that trip you took!?"

Guess what? The she-beast has been dropped from another paper, one in the Tar Heel State...
Following on the heels of daily papers in Augusta, Ga., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a weekly in Greensboro, N.C., has decided to drop Ann Coulter's regular column, distributed by Universal.

"Yes! Weekly", which has carried the conservative firebrand since last August, announced the move after polling its readers, among other considerations. She will be replaced by another conservative, William F. Buckley.

This follows the pattern at the other papers that had dropped Coulter, where she was replaced by conservatives Michelle Malkin in one case, David Limbaugh in the other. A fourth paper, the Shreveport (La.) Times, has said it is strongly considering dropping Coulter.
***

Post whatever's on your mind -- the latest crap from the bible beaters, wingers, and freakshows -- and blogwhoring, of course.


Brownie bites back

Do you think former FEMA head Michael Brown is a tad pissed at his critics as well as Dear Leader?

A leaked AP video proved that Bush knew about the dangers the Gulf region faced as Katrina loomed, countering the Administration's claim that they had no idea of the gravity of the situation.


Left: secure government video obtained by The Associated Press shows then-Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown, center, at the Homeland Security EOC (emergency operations center) in Washington Aug. 28, 2005, taking part in a government video briefing the day before Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29. Right: Bush is shown responding in the briefing. (AP Photo)

Look at this swipe, which is in an upcoming Playboy interview. (Raw Story):
Several quotes from the piece appeared in today's Washington Post, including rages against President Bush, Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS), and Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff.

..."[Bush] doesn't have an incredible command of the English language," Brown explains..."Dealing with horses' asses taught me how to deal with the federal government," the men's magazine is set to quote him as saying.

...Still, Brown saves his harshest words for Congressman Taylor, who accused Brown of being disconnected from the realities of the disaster. "For that little twerp to claim I didn't understand death and suffering," Playboy is set to publish, "he can just bite me, for all I care."


1-800-SUICIDE targeted for extinction by Bush admin

[Welcome, Americablog readers...]

Terrance at The Republic of T. has a call to action on yet another program being unraveled by the Bush adminstration that affects many people at risk, including LGBT youth.

The 1-800-SUICIDE line is in trouble. The government has ceased its funding for this important resource and wants to roll services into one of its agencies.
With teenage suicide being the 3rd leading cause of death between 18 to 24 year olds - our government should not be duplicating prevention efforts but helping fund the many local organizations and non-profits with proven track records on prevention. In addition our government should not be in the business having access to this private and sensitive information!

Despite the fact that almost 2 million callers have reached help and hope over the last 8 years, and a government funded evaluation stating the benefits of 1-800-SUICIDE, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), a division of Health & Human Services, has decided to create their own government run system where they would have direct access to confidential data on individuals in crisis.
You might recall SAMHSA, which came under fire from the fundies back in February of last year. Agency officials were forced by the Bush admin (after the WH received hopping mad calls from Family Research Council's Tony Perkins) to remove all LGBT references from a federally funded suicide prevention conference in California and to kill gay-positive content from the SAMHSA site.

The Bushies also suggested a session on "faith-based" suicide prevention, and threatened the conference's funding. The wingnut admin functionaries backed down after an outcry for sanity from response from mental health professionals.

SAMHSA also took a big hit when its web site featured a section called "Celebrating the Pride and Diversity Among and Within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations" which flew in the face of the flat-earth science often promoted in government under Bush that seems to either ignore or condemn homosexuality. The SAMHSA link above is to The Memory Hole, btw. My original post on this was called How long before a Bush drone puts a stop to this?

The answer was 12 days. That's how long it took for a Bush drone to scrub a government web site of gay-positive content.

Since the neutered agency is now under the complete control of the administration's fundamentalist Base, an independent resource like 1-800-SUICIDE is ripe for the picking. Do you want suicide prevention in the hands of the Bush administration? Terrance throws it down.
Do I need to mention the Bush administration’s record on gay & lesbian issues? Probably not, but I do feel the need to mention the administration’s office of faith-based initiatives, which I posted about earlier as being overrun with overrun with evangelicals and lacking in oversight. It's to the point where it's basically turned into a gravy train for Bush's religious supporters to get federal dollars with which to proselytize and discriminate based on religious beliefs.

It doesn't take much imagination, given all the above, to envision 1-800-Suicide being reborn under the Bush administration as a grant to a Bush-backer through the White House office of faith-based initiatives, to do suicide prevention. Given that, it doesn't take much more imagination to envision, say, one of Pat Robertson's outfits or part of James Dobson's empire getting into the suicide prevention business.
Here's how to help.

1. Tell the Government to keep their commitment to 1-800-SUICIDE and send the $266,000 that was already allocated.
2. Help Fund 1.800.SUICIDE. We need to raise $266,000 for our bills with AT&T to keep the Suicide Prevention Hotline running privately. Once we pay off AT&T for our old phone agreement We have to pay roughly $30,000 per month for the next 6 months in order to come out of debt.
3. Keep Suicide Prevention Private and Confidential Petition. Our Government should not duplicate the efforts of the Hopeline – but help with training of social works, education and awareness of the issues of mental health.
4. E-mail your friends.

Click here for more fresh Blend.


Kicking her when she's down...


Damn. This is cold (and a beautiful) embarrassment for the GOP: former Katherine Harris staffer joins opponent's campaign.

After the mass staff exodus from the proudly silicone-enhanced Florida Senate candidate a couple of weeks ago, it looks like the campaign is in a death spiral.
Chris Ingram, who was one of five senior staffers to leave Harris' campaign two weeks ago, is now [LeRoy] Collins' campaign manager, according to a news release from the Collins camp.

..."Admiral Collins has the leadership abilities, integrity, and common-sense values Florida voters need for effective representation in Washington," Ingram said in the statement. "Governor Bush was right when he said, '(Katherine Harris) can't win.' At 30 points down in the polls, it is safe to say a vote for her in the primary is as good as a vote for Bill Nelson. LeRoy Collins has the experience and determination to give Republicans their best shot at defeating Nelson this fall."


Q of the day - game plan

This Q comes from freedomboy in the comments thread on the Washington state marriage ruling.

What is the plan for election day on this site? How can we use the tools of instant e-mail lists for alerts, how can we be better voter promoters? Where does some kind of extended buddy system thinking come into the equation for making sure the polls are well attended??

Ideas?

There are several amendment measures out there to monitor, for instance.

Just my two cents, but blog/community platforms like Scoop or Soapblox (which DKos and My Left Wing run on) excel at this kind of stuff, because you have the ability for hundreds/thousands of people to register and post diaries, and therefore can function as local "correspondents" on simultaneous efforts, organize, provide updates.

How do you keep the info flowing? I'm only a part-time blogger, so the Blend won't be the place for the latest or most in-depth news on election activism.


Video: reporter 'comes on' to one of the Phelps drones

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This comes to us from Wayne via Mike Tidmus.

You have to click over to this hilarious interview with one of the Phelps' homohaters, Fred Phelps Jr., by Firth in the USA, an Australian reporter who came to a Greensboro Westboro "crusade," as the "church" refers to their protests.

The most entertaining part of the video is when the reporter starts singing praises about the Phelps drone's posterior, and starts stroking his shoulder - that sends the "Christian" running for cover. The Phelps Klan starts screaming "get away from him, you pervert!"

Mike added this comment at his pad:
Viewers of these videos are beseeched to muster some sincere sympathy for Sister-in-Christ Shirley Phelps-Roper. It's not a widely known fact that a house recently fell on her sister, and tragedy struck again, while Shirley was witnessing for the lord in her own inimitable way at a deceased American serviceman's funeral, when her much-loved ruby-red Prada slippers were stolen from her luxuriously appointed, double-wide, make-up trailer. And I pray, in a purely secular way of course, that you all pay no heed to those rumors about Sister Shirley downing her methadone with a mix of Red Bull and vodka. They are false, utterly false, and may Satan strike you dead if you repeat them!


Where do you even begin?

For your enjoyment this AM.

A Focus on the Anus article featured quotes on the $250K Marriage Matters ad campaign from a couple of familiar names (h/t Blender Kevin):

“This is the soft image of the gay movement. They do these warm and cuddly ads to try to win support. We’ve seen the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force equate firmly held religious convictions with hate and bigotry.”
-- Peter LaBarbera, seemingly unaware of the old saw when it comes to his crowd, "if the shoe fits..."

[BTW, Peter showed up at Steamworks in Chicago to "do outreach" during the Gay Games accompanied by an armed bodyguard. GLN has pix.]


“I think their long-term goal is to portray themselves as equals, as people who are the same as heterosexuals, that their lifestyle is just as legitimate as heterosexuality...We have to fight to protect marriage because marriage is best for children. As Christians we need to respond in love, respond with respect towards people with different opinions from us, but be unwaivered in our pursuit to protect kids and protect marriage.”
-- "former homosexual" and head of Exodus International, Alan Chambers
Daniel at Ex-Gay Watch has the audio.

And how about this tidbit on the moral high ground, about another "ex-gay" for pay, Focus on the Anus's Mike Haley, from Wayne Besen.
Denver Post columnist Cindy Rodriguez has revealed that before Haley was a holy-roller, he was a hooker:
During his gay years, he had a series of relationships with men. He even got arrested for prostitution. (He says he wanted to see how much someone was willing to pay for him.)
Yeah, right and he didn't inhale. He was simply doing research on how much his booty could fetch and had the misfortune of getting busted on his first sexcapade. Sure, we believe you, Mike.

The truth is, Focus on the Family has long used "experts" on gay life that lack credibility and are not qualified to talk about anything, really. One wonders if they troll gutters behind gay bars looking for fall-down drunks and street walkers that they can convert with the help of big fat paychecks?


Military mess

A few stories about the military...

[UPDATE: including the latest discharge, of Bleu Copas.]

Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist 'Outed' By Anonymous Email Campaign

Yes, more skills flushed away all because of fear of TEH GAY. (SLDN):
The U.S. Army recently discharged a highly regarded Arabic linguist who was the target of an anonymous email ‘outing’ campaign. Former Sergeant Bleu Copas was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was a member of the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division. A decorated Sergeant who received impressive performance reviews, Copas also performed in the 82nd Airborne Chorus. His dismissal, under the federal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel, brings the total number of Arabic language specialists dismissed under the ban to at least fifty-five. Neither Copas nor his command know who was the source of the email campaign.
Look at the insane line of questioning Copas was subjected to when investigators probed about his homosexuality.
The command-appointed investigating officer interviewing Copas asked such questions as, "Do you work off duty with the local community theater?" and "Do you know or are you aware of anyone who believes you are a homosexual?" He also recommended conducting "an inquiry…into the possibility of further homosexual conduct by member(s) of the (unit)." Despite never learning who made the original allegations against him, Sergeant Copas was dismissed from the Army in January.
Jeezus. Community theater?

Copas, btw, sang the national anthem at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's 14th Annual National Dinner.

***

Fed judge dismisses DADT lawsuit
"Within the military context, she did not draw attention to her sexual orientation, and her colleagues value her contribution to their unit and apparently want her back. She has served her country faithfully and with distinction...[But] Don't Ask, Don't Tell represents a rational response to a legitimate government concern [for unit cohesion]."
-- U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton, in his ruling dismissing a lawsuit by Maj. Margaret Witt regarding her discharge under DADT
This is a ridiculous ruling -- yet another reason why Massachusetts Congressman Marty Meehan's Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), which now has about 120 supporters, needs to pass. It has bi-partisan support. Witt was outed based on an anonymous tip that she was gay and in a relationship -- that led to an investigation which resulted in her discharge. (365gay):


A lesbian colonel, dismissed from the military because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has lost her bid for reinstatement in the Air Force Reserve.

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by Maj. Margaret Witt.

Witt, 42, of Spokane, had asked U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton to reinstate her, to find DADT unconstitutional. Her ACLU lawyers argued that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law prevented the military from using private consensual acts between two people of the same sex as grounds for dismissal.

Leighton ruled that the sodomy ruling had no bearing on the military.
***

Myspace becomes Pentagon recruiting ground

How sorry and desperate is this -- Marines trolling for recruits on MySpace. The Marine Corps MySpace profile is reaching out to its target audience with streaming video of recruits in boot camp and Marines storming beaches. (AP):
"It is where prospects are," said Louise Eaton, media and Web chief for the U.S. Army Accession Command. "We go to where they are to try to inform them of the opportunities we offer."

...Web surfers who open the Marines' MySpace page can click on a tab titled "Contact a Recruiter." This directs them to the Marines.com site where they are prompted to fill out a form with their name, address and phone number so recruiters can arrange to meet them.

So far over 430 people have asked to contact a Marine recruiter through the site in the five months since the page went up, including some 170 who are considered "leads" or prospective Marine recruits.
Obviously they need to try any and all tactics to get the warm bodies into uniform. After all, other branches of the military have resorted to lowering standards and recruiting people with antisocial personality disorder, autism, as well as welcoming in folks convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats.

***

Iraq vets coming home looking for work

And when the young veterans of Iraq eventually make it home, they have trouble landing decent jobs. It's a pretty cruel irony since all those recruiting commercials you see tout all the experience one is going to receive for serving, implying you'll be a marketable commodity once your active duty is completed. That was true in the past, but not now.
Last year, about one in six veterans between 20 and 24 was jobless, nearly double the rate for nonveterans their age. It was brighter in the second quarter of this year, when young vets had an 11.2 percent jobless rate, but that was still higher than the 8 percent for nonvets their age and more than twice the overall unemployment rate.

Labor and veterans officials are surveying young vets to try to find out why. But experts have some theories:

* Some veterans are entering the work force for the first time and aren’t adept at explaining their military skills to civilian employers.

* Some who saw combat in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which makes it difficult for them to work and makes employers leery of hiring them.

* Permanent jobs that offer middle-class wages and benefits are scarcer these days in some regions.
***

The new homeless vets

And in another kick to the gut, Iraq is generating a new generation of homeless veterans. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans notes the VA itself estimates 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and the government is not only doing precious little, it is cutting back services.

Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq War veteran (and founder and exec director of IAVA: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, wrote about the growing numbers of Iraq veteran homeless (400 and rising).
Without a comprehensive support system for returning vets, it's no wonder so many troops are failing to successfully transition from military to civilian life. Our troops are in Baghdad one week and Brooklyn the next. The shift from soldier to civilian in a matter of days is not an easy one to make. According to the Army's latest figures, approximately one-in-three Iraq veterans will have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental health issues. Throughout the war, that percentage has risen, and experts predict that trend will continue for decades, just like in Vietnam.

These veterans aren't getting the support they need because the Department of Veterans' Affairs is dangerously under funded. Despite outcry from every major veterans' organization in America, funding for the VA is still not mandatory. This means that every year, veterans' groups have to battle with politicians to get the funding they need. For 2007 alone, veterans' groups from Disabled American Veterans to the Veterans of Foreign Wars are urging Congress to increase the Administration's budget by more than $2 billion.

Faced with this budget shortfall, VA hospitals across the country are reducing their services -- even as 18,000 wounded Iraq vets will return seeking care, and hundreds of thousands are seeking mental health treatment. One IAVA member veteran from Virginia Beach seeking treatment at his local VA was told recently that he would have to wait three months for an appointment with a counselor because, "all of you guys are coming home."
Related:
* Facts and figures about homeless vets

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
333½ Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003-1148
E-mail: Emailnchv@nchv.org
Toll Free: 800.VET.HELP
Fax: 202.546.2063
Toll Free Fax: 888.233.8582

***

Meanwhile, in other, less-depressing military-related news...

Sir Ian McKellan breaks Pentagon DADT policy. Don't Ask, Don't Tell went out the window inadvertently when the openly gay actor was given the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in the National Guard while in Georgia for the press tour of The Da Vinci Code.


Those crazy, swingin' hets

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I actually had this post queued up to run a couple of days ago and forgot to release it. Reading it now, after the Washington ruling, it definitely has bitter irony attached to it.

Those judges told me today that marriage is all about procreation, right?

***

Paul wrote this tongue-in-cheek note when he sent this link in: "It's OK. They are straight and married."

When I read stuff like this, I want to know why Peter LaBarbera and his friends don't fly out to Vegas to see all of this debauchery and talk about safe sex and sinful behaviors to this crowd. I know, he'd rather slap on the leather chaps or head down to the local bathhouse.
Vera Rhodes has come a long way from her conservative upbringing in Pennsylvania's Amish community.

There she was a virgin until she married at age 30. Now, she is an enthusiastic 54-year-old member of the millions-strong "swinging" community who speaks openly of her encounters with multiple sexual partners.

"Last night it was really special," said Rhodes, who is divorced and makes a living giving massages in the Midwestern state of Iowa. "There was a couple from Mexico, a couple from Virginia and a couple from Ireland, from Australia."

"I like to participate in life as much as possible," she said with a broad smile.

Rhodes was among some 3,000 people gathered on Saturday at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas for the annual Lifestyles conference, a five-day, $700-per-couple event that offers a mix of seminars, socializing and sex.

Early on Saturday, Rhodes was back for more, joining the action in a suite where more than a dozen couples were having sex.

The conference organizer, Robert McGinley, 72, president of The Lifestyles Organization, estimates that there are 3 million swingers in the United States alone. He founded his group in 1969 and began holding the annual conferences in the 1970s.
To each their own, of course, but if I were these folks, I'd be looking in the rear view mirror, because they are next on the fundies' list of groups that need to be cured, controlled, or tossed in the clink.


Reactions to the Washington marriage ruling

The bible beaters and wingnuts are gloating, as expected. I don't like reading these, but we need to. It shows you that the bible-beating bigots will not rest until every one of us is back in the closet, with the door padlocked shut.
"This court has avoided becoming another example of judicial tyranny, properly recognizing that the state Legislature had already defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman when it passed the state's Defense of Marriage Act in 1998 by a wide margin. The five justices in the majority have respected the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives and have refused to usurp their role in the democratic process. Two of the four dissenting justices will face re-election this fall -- and the people of Washington will have the opportunity to express their disgust for these justices' arrogant attempt to engage in social engineering."
-- Focus on the Anus's James Dobson

"The court is to be applauded for exercising restraint and leaving determinations about life's most fundamental institution in the hands of the people,"
-- Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney at the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy

"The long and the short of it is, this is a decision upholding the separation of powers doctrine, recognizing that any rewrite of marriage laws should not come from the courts -- but if it's to come at all, it must come from the legislature...Our side needs to recognize that this battle is far from over. They are actually going out and attempting to target the grassroots citizens of America, trying to win over the moms and pops in Middle America with emotional pleas, putting forward their hand-picked kind of couple that will give the best, but a false kind of impression as to what same-sex marriage is all about."
-- CLP chief counsel Steve Crampton

"We praise the Washington Supreme Court for demonstrating judicial restraint and leaving this matter where it belongs - in the hands of the people and their elected representatives. The voters have spoken as these state amendments continue to pass overwhelmingly across the country. Recent rulings in favor of marriage have shown that the courts are not immune to the political reality that Americans are determined to protect marriage.

However, the narrow ruling emphasizes the need for vigilance on the part of the American people. The American people are prepared to defend marriage, so that it will not be destroyed by a select few.

In state after state, homosexual activists continue to take their attack on the definition of marriage to the courts, thus attempting to usurp the right of the people to decide this issue. Lawsuits still pending in several other states, demonstrate that marriage is in fact at risk, as long as the courts have the final say on marriage. Only passage of a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will take the future of marriage out of the hands of judges and bring these extremist lawsuits to an end."
-- Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins

"While we applaud today's court decision in Washington, radical activists will remain undeterred in their attacks on marriage in state and federal courts. It is important to remember that the battle to protect marriage is a marathon not a sprint, and AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment is clearly the only hope for the American people to determine the future of marriage under our laws...Most Americans believe that gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose. But they don't believe they have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society."
--Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage

"We are pleased that this latest attempt by the homosexual agenda to radically redefine our culture has been stopped dead in its tracks. . . Today's decision upholding traditional marriage is a devastating setback to same-sex marriage proponents. Today is a great day for marriage and the family."
--Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel
These folks will use homo straw man over and over politically, no matter how much Dems wish the issue of gay civil equality would go away. While this topic may not rank as high on the hit list as our military boondoggles, corruption at the highest levels of government, the environment or the economy, Democrats telling people to ignore these messages coming out of the Republican Base is lunacy. It didn't work in 2004, it won't work now.

When you don't take a strong position on this issue (one way or another), people in the middle who may be considering voting Dem notice and speculate anyway. It's easy to be against a federal amendment, but what is a candidate's position on all these state marriage amendments and now, the future legislative efforts to gain marriage equality as these cases in WA and NY have resulted in punts?

Is it A-OK that civil rights of a minority should be decided by popular vote? Candidates need to answer that simple question, because it's not a hypothetical situation. There's really no place for these pols to hide any more.

From supporters:
MassEquality campaign director Marc Solomon on Washington State Supreme Court ruling:

"The decision from Washington State is disappointing. Our thoughts are with those couples in Washington who have made a loving commitment to one another and deserve full equal protection under the law. We've always known that the path to equality would be marked by victories and setbacks. Today we experienced a setback, but we are confident that equality is a true American value that will eventually prevail."
-- MassEquality campaign director Marc Solomon

"One of the first fears a parent has when they discover they have a gay, lesbian or bisexual son or daughter is that their child will be denied the basic right to get married. While many gay and lesbian couples choose to have a commitment ceremony and start families, this decision leaves them continuing to lack the basic and essential legal protections for their children and for themselves that only legal civil marriage can provide."
-- Marcie Mathis, the Pacific Northwest Regional director for PFLAG

"While this might seem like a minor thing to some people, it is a vivid example of how the lifelong commitments of our loved ones are treated as second class. Today the Washington State Supreme Court effectively shut the door on equality, and we will be looking to the legislature to open that door to all families."
-- Kathy Reim, a PFLAG mom in Bellingham, WA

"A defeat like today is immensely disappointing. We learn from history that social change takes time ... and public support has been growing quite quickly."
-- Jennifer Pizer, senior legal counsel for gay rights group Lambda Legal
And local reaction:

"I continue to believe that marriage equality is a fundamental civil rights issue. I wish the court had ruled differently, but I respect its decision, and as a public servant I am committed to upholding the law."
-- King County Executive Ron Sims

"I don't see why gay people shouldn't have the right to commit themselves to a lifelong partnership the way anyone else does."
--Devin Booth, 27, of Seattle-Tacoma, outside the store off Broadway where he works selling books.

"My real emotion is bewilderment. Knowing my relationship with my partner – which is my miracle – can cause so much prejudice, I can't figure it out."
-- Jo Palm, 70, who's been in a relationship for 21 years.

"I'm confident the value of all marriage, especially gay marriage, will be both respected and valued for its benefits to both the community and family values."
--Buckley Wild, 52, an educator from Seattle

"Today's decision from the Washington Supreme Court is disappointing, not just for our neighbors to the north, but for all Americans who care about fundamental fairness and equality under the law."
--Frank Dixon, Basic Rights Oregon Interim Executive Director

"This is the right thing for our children, families and our communities. It is good public policy for the state to encourage marriage between a man and a woman."
-- Sen. Val Stevens, Lake Stevens Republican



Washington State rules against marriage equality

[UPDATE: I am adding more content and commentary as I have time.]

Here we go, folks -- the official venting thread. The ruling and dissent can be read here.

A key passage in the ruling cites judicial restraint -- clearly there are no "activist judges" at work here -- contrary to fundie belief. It's another NY-style setback/punt.
The two cases before us require us to decide whether the legislature has the power to limit marriage in Washington State to opposite-sex couples. The state constitution and controlling case law compel us to answer "yes," and we therefore reverse the trial courts.

In reaching this conclusion, we have engaged in an exhaustive constitutional inquiry and have deferred to the legislative branch as required by our tri-partite form of government. Our decision accords with the substantial weight of authority from courts considering similar constitutional claims. We see no reason, however, why the legislature or the people acting through the initiative process would be foreclosed from extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples in Washington.

...Perhaps because of the nature of the issue in this case and the strong feelings it brings to the front, some members of the court have uncharacteristically been led to depart significantly from the court's limited role when deciding constitutional challenges. For example, Justice Fairhurst's dissent declines to apply settled principles for reviewing the legislature's acts and instead decides for itself what the public policy of this state should be. Justice Bridge's dissent claims that gay marriage will ultimately be on the books and that this court will be criticized for having failed to overturn DOMA. But, while same-sex marriage may be the law at a future time, it will be because the people declare it to be, not because five members of this court have dictated it.
This court, as in the NY ruling, tosses it back to the legislature and the voters. This court also cites DOMA's constitutionality -- which upholds procreation as a factor limiting marriage. Horrible.
Under this standard, DOMA is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to survival of the human race, and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children's biological parents. Allowing same-sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature's view, further these purposes
I noted in the comments that the NY and WA courts carefully crafted their rulings so that Loving v. Virginia cannot be tossed back in their faces as long they cite procreation as the basis for the ruling. So, race trumps orientation when it comes to civil equality because interracial opposite sex couples can shoot out babies. That's BS.

I don't have time to write more, but I'm sure you all will have plenty to say. I'll update later.

The case is Andersen v. King Co., Nos. 75934-1, 75956-1

***

If you care, the Freepers are at it already.

***

Also, here's another viewpoint, over at AmericaBlog.
And finally, this "legalize marriage" court strategy looks increasingly like a runaway train, out of our control and stealing all the oxygen from the good work that's been done over the past decade on job discrimination and so much more. You pick your battles strategically. (Well, you do if you want to win, and have any political sense.) No one is saying we roll over and play dead. But I am saying that we only have so much time and so much money - we need to use those limited assets wisely. And blowing the entire wad on marriage strikes me as foolish and counterproductive. Someone in the community with some influence needs to stand up and say "enough already," and get our agenda back.
Any and all avenues have to be tried to move the discussion forward, and there will be wins and losses. John had a thread up yesterday criticizing the three gay rights orgs for placing a huge ad buy in papers around the country with a "Marriage Matters" campaign. He and many of his readers feel it was a waste of $250K, and that with the fall election three months away, gays groups need to sit back again, or lower the bar and go for "something attainable" like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which extend job anti-discrimination legislation to include gays and lesbians. Didn't we try this already? The wingers still steamrolled the issue while the Dems continued their silence. It's why all those state amendments passed without more than a whimper from national gay orgs.

What was sad to see in those comments at AB was a lot of near-gay-bashing, recalling the familiar cry after the 2004 election (if there are losses in the fall it's all about gays "pushing" for gay marriage). I responded in the comments:
With states under the gun with marriage amendments on the ballot, visibility is meaningful.

As others have said, the Republicans and the bible beaters are not going to leave this subject alone. They bring out the old saws of abortion and marriage equality out when they have nothing else to offer.

It's entirely possible that the failures of the Bush administration will result in a lot of Republican losses in the fall, it's equally likely that those marriage amendments will pass -- Democrats and moderate, particularly religious, socially conservative blacks, will cast a ballot for these amendments.

I'm thankful that my state of NC (as another Tar Heel stated above) has continually bottled up its marriage amendment bills in committee. For my neighbor states of SC and Virginia, they need the visibility of a campaign like this to educate voters who may be on the fence, or, more likely, don't even see it on their radar.
And that's still true, no matter what the rulings were in NY or WA.

***

In the same vein, while I'm eating lunch, an email pops in my box from the folks at beyondmarriage.org, which also argues for a different strategy.
Meanwhile, the LGBT movement has recently focused on marriage equality as a stand-alone issue. While this strategy may secure rights and benefits for some LGBT families, it has left us isolated and vulnerable to a virulent backlash. We must respond to the full scope of the conservative marriage agenda by building alliances across issues and constituencies. Our strategies must be visionary, creative, and practical to counter the right's powerful and effective use of marriage as a "wedge" issue that pits one group against another. The struggle for marriage rights should be part of a larger effort to strengthen the stability and security of diverse households and families.

...Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others. A majority of people - whatever their sexual and gender identities - do not live in traditional nuclear families. They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage.

...The current debate over marriage, same-sex and otherwise, ignores the needs and desires of so many in a nation where household diversity is the demographic norm. We seek to reframe this debate. Our call speaks to the widespread hunger for authentic and just community in ways that are both pragmatic and visionary. It follows in the best tradition of the progressive LGBT movement, which invented alternative legal statuses such as domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary. We seek to build on these historic accomplishments by continuing to diversify and democratize partnership and household recognition. We advocate the expansion of existing legal statuses, social services and benefits to support the needs of all our households.
This is not unlike the battle going on in Colorado, where Daddy Dobson supports domestic partnership legislation that enables "reciprocal beneficiary agreements," which allows any two parties excluded from marrying under Colorado law to have specific rights, "including but not limited to health care insurance benefits." This would accommodate senior citizens living together, adult caregivers of parents, etc. Both this measure and a marriage amendment ban will be on the Colorado ballot this fall.

Even the support of this measure got Dobson in a lot of hot water with his fundie colleagues, so even baby steps that aren't called marriage pose an uphill battle in many states where marriage isn't an option.

That's why visibility is so important, and certainly more effective than burying advocacy, discussion and debate when an election cycle comes up. The Right won't leave this puppy alone.


Red States elect first openly gay lawmakers


L: Todd, R: Webb

Last week we posted about Patricia Todd's election in Alabama. It's official -- the provisional ballots were certified (h/t Kathy) and Todd is heading to the state house to represent House District 54.

Arkansas can also celebrate the election of its first-ever openly gay elected official -- Kathy Webb will serve in the state house as well.

To round out the good news, here's what happened in Oklahoma.

Al McAffrey is poised to become the first openly gay member of the Oklahoma state legislature after winning his Democratic primary Tuesday night to represent District 88 in the Oklahoma State House. He faces no Republican opposition in the general election in November.

"Al's win is more proof that what fair-minded Americans care about most are issues that directly affect their lives," said Chuck Wolfe, President and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. "2006 is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for the Victory Fund. Smart, qualified LGBT candidates, backed by our national network of donors, are proving that we can add voices for equality everywhere," Wolfe added.

McAffrey, 58, is a member of the Choctaw Nation, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a former policeman, a father and a grandfather.
All received support from The Victory Fund, which has helped the number of openly LGBT officials in the U.S. grow from 49 to more than 300.


More GOP values

This upstanding member of the community, Thomas Adams, is the mayor of the Chicago area town of Green Oaks, and is a former chairman of the Lake County Republican Central Committee. He also spents time on the net trolling for and sharing kiddie porn pix. Nice.

Adams, 67, faces 11 counts of disseminating child pornography and two counts of possession. Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti set his bond at $100,000.

Prosecutor Patricia Fix said sheriff's and state's attorney's investigators first received tips on Adams' alleged illegal activities in March 2005. Adams allegedly sent child pornography, via attachments to e-mail, to undercover police in Clearwater, Fla.

The alleged pornography includes both still images and at least one explicit movie of a boy masturbating, Fix said.

...Defense attorney Thomas Briscoe argued for a minimal bond, saying Adams “has no criminal record, and these are all images, there are no live victims.” Briscoe added that Adams “has been involved with public service most of his life.”
Well that's a real mitigating factor, isn't it?


Black gays protest DMX at tonight's Chicago concert

Rapper DMX has a problem with gays. He has a serious problem, because nearly every track he produces contains out-of-control homobigoted vitriol. It's time for a little education for DMX and his fans, and it will take place tonight at 6 p.m. at the House of Blues located on 329 North Dearborn in Chicago.

This man earns a paycheck for churning out ignorant bigotry like this (via Jasmyne):
His most recent offense was in the Busta Rhymes remix of “Touch It,” where he says:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Niggaz ain't built for nothin' but frontin’
Come through, faggots it the security frontin' Get that do, What that do? How that do?
Fuck you faggot, I shot at you. And what?
You and you mans butt, in your man's truck
But your chance is up, now get up.


Other examples include the DMX hit “Where Da Hood At?”

Last I heard, y'all niggaz was havin’ sex, with the same sex.
I show no love, to homo thugs.
Empty out, reload, and throw more slugs
How you gonna explain fuckin’ a man?
Even if we squashed the beef, I ain't touchin’ ya hand.
I don't buck with chumps, for those to been to jail.
That's the cat with the Kool-Aid on his lips and pumps.
I don't fuck with niggaz that think they broads
.
If you are in Chicago and want more info on the protest, email sankofaway@sankofaway.org or call (773) 793-5211.

This protest follows the cancellation of the music industry’s AIDS education organization LIFEBeat's Reggae Gold Jumpoff concert. The event was deep-sixed after a large protest by black LGBT bloggers because of LIFEBeat's inclusion of homophobic artists Beenie Man and TOK on the bill. (My posts here).

When Spike Lee, Al Sharpton and Essence Magazine took on the ubiquitous misogyny and violence that occurs in a subgenre of hip hop music and videos, it caused a great deal of controversy. It will be interesting to see the support and coverage of the above effort, because it's one matter to take on a genre of music -- dance hall/reggae -- that represents a tiny fraction of music fans; going after a popular rap or hip/hop artist in the black community for their homophobia is likely to cause a sizeable fan backlash. But it's time to call it out.

***

A good companion piece to put this into perspective is Keith's post about homophobia at black radio stations.


Recording artist and Chicago native Jody Watley (remember "Looking For A New Love"?) performed at the opening ceremonies of the Gay Games. Since she was in town, Chicago radio station V103 asked her to do a live interview. This was just before she was to go onstage at Soldier Field. Guess what happened?

The interviewer told Watley that she could not mention or discuss her performance at the Gay Games, only her in-store appearance at a local Virgin Record Store.

Watley was shocked.
"I had been to another station the day before -- a pop station -- and that’s all we talked about," she said. But V103 is an urban contemporary station catering largely to the African American community. Perhaps that explains the differing responses at the radio stations. "I think that [decision to censor the discussion] did surprise me because [the Gay Games advertisement] was all over the city. It wasn’t like it was a secret or something to be ashamed of. The city seemed to embrace the fact that the games were there."

Sadly, this is not the first time someone has tried to censor Watley's pro-gay message. When she wrote the song "Affection" back in 1996, that song also drew some criticism for a line in the lyrics that said "it doesn’t matter if you’re straight or gay."

"Over the years it has been my experience – a unique one – because I obviously have [walked] parallel paths. One is with R&B and the other is with [pop]. And it’s always been interesting to me the differences between the two. Going back to when I did "Red, Hot and Blue" [an AIDS benefit compilation album], on the black side I would be apprehensive to talk about AIDS and HIV. On the pop side, it’s like tell us more."

Watley says she finds the attitude "disappointing." "It just sort of reaffirms a narrow mindedness and a close mindedness that I think is very unfortunate," she said in the interview.
It's tiring to see these incidents of homophobia in the black community go unchallenged. This kind of attitude is not called out widely when it comes out of the mouths of black media figures, politicians and religious leaders. While black gays can and do take this on, it's precious little pressure, given our numbers, compared to the effect of the gay population at large if it also got behind the effort to combat the bigotry. Gay rights organizations are silent, as are pols who would normally be our allies.

* Watch Jody Watley perform at the Gay Games
* Jody Watley's MySpace Page
*
Jody Watley's web site

V103 Information
WVAZ-FM V103
233 North Michigan Ave, Suite 2700
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 540-2000
http://www.v103.com/main.html

V103 is a Clear Channel Communications Property
Earl Jones, Regional VP/Market Manager
Angela T. Ingram, VP, Communications
Elroy R. C. Smith , Operations Manager / Program Director
Armando Rivera , Asst. Program Director / Music Director


Kansas B&B owner upbraided for flying rainbow flag

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It's almost a cliché now, but what's the matter with Kansas? A bed and breakfast owner in Meade, J.R. Knight, received a rainbow flag from his 12-year-old son, who purchased it at a museum about the Wizard of Oz because it reminded him of "somewhere over the rainbow."



Knight flew it proudly outside the historic Lakeway Hotel, Bed and Breakfast Inn, next to the American flag. Fortunately no one else in town knew about the alternate meaning until someone at the local paper figured it out and reported it. Ever since then, business has dropped and the batsh*t crazies in Meade have opened their pieholes to say the most ridiculous crap. (KWCH 12 Eyewitness News - w/video):
Knight says the local Meade newspaper is trying to put him out of business and was frustrated when it ran an article about the flag and did not even bother to contact him regarding why he put it up. In fact, most people we spoke to in Meade said they didn’t even know what the flag meant until the article ran. But once word got around, the reaction was harsh.

Knight says the radio station has called him threatening to remove the restaurant’s commercials if he does not remove the flag. A local pastor stopped by said it was equivalent to hanging women’s panties on a flag pole. When Knight jokingly said he might consider that – the preacher said he would have him arrested.

His business has suffered - down to only a few local customers. The folks in Meade who've boycotted say it's too offensive for them to eat there.

Local resident, Keith Klassen says the flag is a slap in the face to the conservative community of Meade. “To me it's just like running up a Nazi flag in a Jewish neighborhood. I can't walk into that establishment with that flag flying because to me that's saying that I support what the flag stands for and I don't," says Klassen.

Knight says it's not meant to be a gay pride symbol but he doesn't mind if that's how it's taken. Any gay or lesbian people that do stop by will be treated with the best service I can give you," says Knight.
Hat tip, Konagod


Lynn Swann, Little Ricky in trouble in PA

It's hard to be a winger running for office in Pennsylvania these days I guess; it was formerly very fertile ground. Look at this:
The survey of 1,200 voters by Strategic Vision, a Republican consulting and public affairs firm, found that Gov. Ed Rendell led Republican Lynn Swann, 49 percent to 36 percent, while Democratic challenger Bob Casey was ahead of Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., 50 percent to 40 percent.
Things are going so poorly for the former Steelers wide receiver Swann that Dear Leader is going to show up on the stump to raise some dough.

Actually, I don't know if cozying up to the 36% approval rating Chimperor is the kind of help Swann, who was appointed a while back as chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, needs. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
Rumors about Mr. Bush's Aug. 16 visit have circulated for weeks, but the campaign declined to confirm the event until an Associated Press reporter obtained a copy of the invitation yesterday afternoon.

Tickets for a private reception and photo opportunity with the president are $10,000 per person or couple.

Tickets for a subsequent general reception are $650 a person or $1,000 for a couple. Both events will be held at the Eden Resort Inn and Suites in Lancaster.

"We welcome the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with the commander in chief," Swann campaign spokesman Leonardo Alcivar said.
Yeah, well, you should see the fundie-kissing letter that is being emailed out to potential Swanny voters. Holly passed it along to me. Hold your nose for this snippet...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Dear Fellow Conservative,

I believe it is important that the next Governor of Pennsylvania share the traditional values that we hold dear. My faith and Christian values were instilled in me at a young age, and they continue to serve as my moral compass today. As Governor, these core conservative values will continue to guide the important decisions that I will make for the Commonwealth.

To spread my message of traditional values, I need support from conservative activists like you. That's why I'm asking you to please make a secure online contribution today.

I believe that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has an obligation to protect its citizens, including the most innocent among us - the unborn. I believe we should look for alternative measures other than abortion, and I support extending protections to the unborn. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, I will sign a bill the legislature sends me extending additional protections to the unborn.

Until that time, I will continue attempting to create a culture of life. I will work to reduce the numbers of abortions by encouraging alternatives, including adoption and abstinence.
Meanwhile, Little Ricky's ship is sinking...boo-hoo. He's getting desperate, and doing some entertaining push polls in his state; Maria at 2 Political Junkies received one of those calls.


The poll started out innocently enough, but I started to have my doubts when one of the initial questions was how likely would I be to vote for Carl Romanelli, the Green Party candidate, if I heard that he was the only pro choice candidate running for Senator.

Midway through the rather lengthy survey, they asked how do the following attributes accurately describe Santorum. There were about ten or so and only two were negative: "doesn't represent people like me" and "is out of touch." I guess not even Ricky's supporters think that associating these qualities with Tricky Ricky could put ideas in people's minds that weren't already there. There was no corresponding list for Casey (or Romanelli).

But of course, they saved the best for last. There were ten or twelve questions that were the real "push" as in "pushing" voters away from Casey. They would read a statement and you were to answer if that statement made you more likely to vote for Santorum or Casey. All of the statements were Rick-positive and Bob-negative along the lines of "Santorum wants to insure that terrorist don't creep across our border, but Casey wants to let millions of aliens in. Would knowing this make you more likely to vote for Santorum or Casey?"

Ugh!

After the second or third question like this, I interrupted the interviewer and said to her, Jesus! This is such a push poll! You know the definition of push poll, don't you?"

She responded with, "Ma'am, I'm just doing my job."
The post goes on to explain how the telepolling company, VentureData Telephone Collection Experts, claims it doesn't do push polling, something the firm was accused of doing in a recent Philly Inquirer article. Here's the update from 2PJ.

So, did Sugar Lips Dole as head of the behind-the-8-ball in fundraising National Republican Senatorial Committee, endorse and commission this poll for Man-on-Dog?


Breaking: Washington state marriage ruling comes down tomorrow

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting that Washington's long-awaited state Supreme Court ruling on whether gays and lesbians can marry is going to be issued tomorrow. I checked and the court's web site says so as well. Cross fingers, people...(Thanks for the tip, Gary):
The state Supreme Court is set to announce tomorrow whether Washington will become the second state to let same-sex couples marry -- a controversial issue that's left people on both sides waiting more than a year for an answer.

In a case that some have called the court's most significant in years, justices could decide Washington's law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman is unconstitutional, opening the door for same-sex couples to tie the knot.

A notice of the pending decision was posted today on the court's Web site.
This will come down at 8 AM.


Pharma Pushers & Petro Pimps

Dealing drugs is the greatest business in the world. They say prostitution is the oldest profession, but I say it was probably drug dealing. Actually, prostitution is a sort of drug dealing - endorphins that are released during orgasm are mighty addictive.

Why is it the greatest business? Well, every business requires two things to survive: a marketable product and repeat customers. Drugs and whores are the ultimately marketable product. Most products market themselves as something that will assist you in feeling good or getting laid; drugs and whores actually deliver. And repeat customers are a lock when your product will make the customer die or feel miserable without it.

Drug dealers and pimps have always been and will always be a part of our society. The question is: how much power do we want to give them?

I'm not talking about the street-corner pimp, the street gangs, or even the sophisticated drug cartels. Just end illicit drug prohibition and legalize prostitution and replace them with regulation and harm reduction and the profits dry up quickly for all the black marketeers. Seriously, it worked with alcohol (when did the last bootlegger gang make headlines?) and gambling (see anybody "running numbers" in your neighborhood lately?)

I'm more worried about the legal drugs and prostitution that are ruining our lives and poisoning our planet. I'm talking about our entire federal political structure being ruled by pharmaceutical pushers and petroleum pimps.

First let's look at the pushers of pills, and then we'll deal with the pushers of petro. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in their 2005 report: Drug Lobby Second to None - How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington:

The pharmaceutical and health products industry has spent more than $800 million in federal lobbying and campaign donations at the federal and state levels in the past seven years…

No other industry has spent more money to sway public policy in that period.

Most of the industry's political spending paid for federal lobbying. Medicine makers hired about 3,000 lobbyists, more than a third of them former federal officials, to advance their interests before the House, the Senate, the FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other executive branch offices.

The U.S. government contributes more money to the development of new drugs—in the form of tax breaks and subsidies—than any other government.

Annually, the industry spends nearly twice as much on marketing as it spends on research and development… In 2004, Pfizer spent almost $120 million for media ads for Lipitor, the world's number-one selling prescription drug, while companies promoting erectile dysfunction treatments Viagra, Levitra and Cialis spent $425 million.

A third of all lobbyists employed by the industry are former federal government employees, including more than 15 former Senators and more than 60 former members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nearly $87 million of the contributions went to federal politicians in campaign donations, with almost 69 percent going to Republican candidates. Top recipients of the industry's campaign money include President George W. Bush (upwards of $1.5 million) and members who sit on committees that have jurisdiction over pharmaceutical issues.

Does anyone else remember a time, not too long ago, when there were no ads for prescription drugs at all? At the time, we must have believed that if we had a sickness and our doctor knew of a medicine to treat it, he'd prescribe it to us. Now we are bombarded with ads for pills to treat restless legs, irritable bowels, droopy dick and balding head - we used to call that "getting old". Now we're supposed to "ask your doctor about" new prescription Fuqitol - it treats something you never thought you had with side effects worse than what it fixes!

But what if you don't take drugs, legal or illegal? What if you're perfectly healthy and organic and a vegan triathlete? What effect does pharma pusher lobbying have on you?

George W. Bush used his first-ever veto to kill a bill that would've given federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. It passed through both houses of Congress with support even within his own party. The majority of Americans favor stem-cell research.

The spin with the White House is filled with the usual junk about the "sanctity of life" (until it reaches enlistment age, I suppose, and as long as it is American) and that we mustn't "experiment" with human life. The fact that no one's head explodes from the sheer irony is testimony to the Orwellian state we now live in; those embryos wouldn't even exist had we not "experimented" with human life enough to come up with fertility clinics, and most of those embryos will be thrown away. Some sanctity, eh?

So what moved veto-less George to finally act? Sure, there are political points to be gained with the Women's Subordination, er, I mean, Religious Right crowd - "embryo" sounds like "baby" to them, and they'd much rather have these 150-celled Petri dish "babies" tossed in the medical waste than have some mean old, book smart, Bible-hating liberal scientists playing God with them.

But what I see moving George is that $1.5 million in campaign contributions, hush money paid from the pharma pusher to the beat cop to just look the other way. For what motivates a pusher more than protecting his turf?

See, there is some hope that embryonic stem cell research may lead to cures for paralysis and many diseases. Cures. Not prescriptions for drugs that you'll have to take for the rest of your life to manage the pain and effects of your paralysis or disease. Curing things removes the demand for the product. Pharma pushers don't want stem cell research like heroin pushers don't want methadone clinics.

You see the effect of the pharma pushers in efforts to fight medical marijuana. The federal government will not even allow researchers to acquire any medical marijuana* for the scientific trials that will prove its medical efficacy - because they know what the results will be and do not want to hear them.

According to the ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project:
MDMA (also known as Ecstasy), LSD, heroin and cocaine are all more readily available to researchers for medicinal studies than is marijuana. Through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the federal government maintains a monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research. Scientists who want to study the medical benefits of marijuana with the goal of developing it into an FDA-approved prescription medicine either cannot obtain marijuana for their research or receive from NIDA marijuana of inferior quality and insufficient potency* to meet the FDA's drug approval standards.
*The medical marijuana provided by NIDA is grown at the University of Mississippi and is still supplied to six federal patients in tins of 300 joints every month to this day. This marijuana is such low grade "ditch weed" that it cannot be used for true medicinal studies.

Even though 80% of Americans surveyed support medical marijuana and eleven states have passed medical marijuana laws, the federal government continues to squash research, fight state reform efforts, and imprison people using marijuana in accordance with state law.

Why? Again - protecting the pharma pushers' turf. Marijuana is an effective medicine for glaucoma, nausea, pain, seizures, asthma (yes, asthma!), anxiety, depression, stress. And best of all, you can grow it yourself, freely (or about $35-$50 an ounce, if you factor in the costs of indoor growing). What drug dealer is going to sit by idly and watch his market dwindle away as they all learn how to grow their own medicine?

Another area where we see the influence of the pharma pushers is at the end of life. Euthanasia is fought in every form in which it appears in the headlines - Terri Schiavo, Oregon's Right to Die law, and these New Orleans doctors and nurses being prosecuted for murder when all they did is ease the suffering of dying people who were left for dead by a government that "couldn't foresee the breach of the levies".

The concept driving the pharma pushers' business is that no matter what ails ya, they got a pill for it. At first there's a pill that will make you feel good, then there's a pill that at least will make you feel not-awful, and finally there's a pill that will just keep you going. But no matter what, you've got to keep going, you've got to keep living, because dead people are lousy customers.

If we set the precedent that death is a natural thing, something not to be feared but something to be embraced when the body has outlived its usefulness, then we remove one of the primary motivators for acquiring more pills. If we allow that painless death is an option you may consciously choose, we make the options of side-effect laden pills less attractive.

None of these points should be taken to express that all pharmaceutical drugs are awful. Certainly many more people are alive today thanks to the research and products of the pharmaceutical companies. What makes them pushers is the fact that they'll protect their hustle even at the expense of their customers.

Nowhere was that more evident than in the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan pushed through Congress. It specifically banned the federal government from letting Medicare collectively bargain for better prices for prescription drugs. Heck, that would be like letting the crackheads form a union and demand a group discount. It also specifically banned the importation of prescription drugs from foreign countries, like Canada, that do collectively bargain for cheaper prices. Once again, protecting the turf. Tony Montana of "Scarface"-fame couldn't have written friendlier drug pusher legislation.

Finally, there's the petroleum pimps, pushing the drug we'll gladly murder people for. Sadly, we all know we are addicts, we can see the smoggy haze in our cities, we can hear the wheezing of our children afflicted with asthma in greater numbers than ever before, and we can feel those summertime temperatures getting hotter and staying hotter longer. Our addiction is wrecking our home with mightier hurricanes, melting glaciers, extinct species, and oil-fueled wars.

The entire scientific community is convinced of the dangers of global climate change and that the human contribution to this change is undeniable. Meanwhile, our government says the "jury is still out on global warming", and they ain't too sure about evolution, either. Science is edited out of official government documents and our education system is being rigged to produce complacent test-takers rather than critical thinkers. China and India are overtaking us in science and technology and our government is considering mandating the Pledge of Allegiance and allowing school prayer. Our petro-pimps don't like the science, so they ignore it today and work to create an education system that produces fewer scientists and a society that de-values science in favor of mythology.

Our economy is hopelessly addicted to oil, and our petro-pimps in office want to keep it that way. Should we wean our way off the juice by increasing fuel-economy standards? No, junkie, now have a Hummer with a huge tax credit, you'll love it! Should we invest seriously in biodiesel and alternative fuels? No, junkie, biodiesel leads to hemp and our pharma buddies wouldn't like that! Should we require industries to adhere to stricter pollution controls? No, junkie, you'll burn fossil fuels as quickly and as much as you want to - cutting back is way too hard.

Is it a surprise we find our country in its current dire straits, when it is run from top to bottom by drug dealers? Look where our executives come from: Bush - failed oilman, son of successful oilman; Cheney - defense contracting to fight oil wars; Rumsfeld - drug company exec; Rice - former oil company board member with an oil tanker named after her! When $800 million in seven years is pumped into our government by drug pushers, when for five years the country is run by drug pushers, you should expect a country full of drug-addicts, full of low self-esteem, being slapped around and degraded, homeless or underemployed, unable to stand up to the pusher and throw the monkeys off their backs.

In recovery, it is said the addict has to hit "rock bottom" before he or she will be amenable to treatment. How many of us must die or suffer for a pharmaceutical company's profit before it is "rock bottom" in America? How corrupt must our political machine become before it is "rock bottom" in America? How many more American soldiers and Iraqi civilians must die before we hit "rock bottom"?


The Hill's 50 most beautiful

All I can say is that most of the guys on The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful People on Capitol Hill list set off my gaydar. You take a look and decide.

Most of the gals are from from the same DC thin, long straight hair, pale cookie cutter, but I wasn't surprised at that. Surely Santorum's out gay communications director should have made the cut.

BTW, House Majority Leader, Rethug John Boehner of Ohio managed to make the list, with this description:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"John Boehner is the Tan Man," The Cincinnati Post wrote breathlessly last March, putting the House's second in command and the teenage starlet in rare company as celebrities who endure constant scrutiny for their golden glow.

Boehner has earned accolades for more than just his beachside - or, perhaps, golf-course-side - skin color, with Fox News Channel's Brit Hume hailing the leader's "deep, booming voice" and one female conservative columnist swooning over his "electric blue eyes that can trump actor Paul Newman's."
Blurgh.

Poor Shakes Sis (who gets the hat tip) -- her favorite political sex god, the Tyrannosaurus of Turpitude, Denny Hastert, didn't make the cut.



***

Completely frivolous, shallow Q of the day:
Are there any pols who are really easy on the eyes?


[We'll disqualify S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom since he would be on almost everyone's list.]


***

The one thing I recall about my visit to DC a couple of months ago (to do the SLDN dinner liveblog) -- was that it seemed like the town is crawling with gay boys -- I saw then in couples, solo, in suits, running gear, all just way out and about. There was a severe lack of dyke visibility on my walk around town, or maybe I was just in the wrong neighborhood, lol.

How on earth can so much homobigotry on the Hill exist when there is a bumper crop of gay energy all over? Oh yes, it's the hypocrisy, stupid.


Sleazy corrupt Baptists going to the clink

"The truth is not determined by what this court said. Righteous people have spent time in jail before."
-- swindled investor James D. Porter, who still believes the friend that bilked him is innocent
The scam that landed these two fundies in trouble was a classic Ponzi scheme with a "Christian" twist.

Over 11,000 investors were drawn in with pious bible beating sales pitches, spun tales that money put into an enterprise were going fund the construction of Southern Baptist churches and they would deliver above-market returns. Of course William Pierre Crotts and Thomas Dale Grabinski didn't know what they were doing and soon the whole shell game was falling apart, with new investors needed to new pay off the skyrocketing debt.

They couldn't pray the debt away. I love how one of these clowns uses the Enron ("I didn't understand what was happening") defense. (WaPo):
Two former executives of a failed Southern Baptist foundation were convicted here Monday in what prosecutors said was the nation's largest fraud ever targeting members of a religious group.

William Pierre Crotts, who was president of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, and Thomas Dale Grabinski, the group's former chief legal counsel, were each convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of conducting an illegal enterprise in a scheme that lasted decades and cheated 11,000 investors across the country of about $585 million.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Former Baptist Foundation of Arizona president William P. Crotts thinks about how much he's going to love praying and bunking in with pals in the can. He faces a max 46 year sentence. (Tom Tingle/AP)


This is a very gay open thread

I almost fell out of my chair when reading this WingNutDaily headline:

NBC struts 'gay' jokes all over Miss Universe:
'Queer Eye' star Carson Kressley provides homosexual commentary

Apparently Carson was too gay for primetime for the WND crowd:
With some of the world's most beautiful women on display at tonight's Miss Universe Pageant in Los Angeles, viewers of the NBC broadcast were exposed to a celebration of homosexuality with continuous "gay" jokes and innuendo.

...At one point in the program, when Finnessey was promoting a beauty guide viewers could order, Kressley said, "It'll tell you how to be a true queen. A beauty queen."
And the people nutcases have spoken:



Gay rights orgs unite to run $250K marriage equality ad campaign

"Many of us remember a time when the marriages of interracial couples were not recognized in many states. Fortunately, that has changed. Now it is time that gay and lesbian couples have the same rights as all married couples; things such as refinancing a house or visiting a family member in the hospital. The right of gay and lesbian people to marry is fundamental to our equality and humanity."
-- Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, who, along with eight other mayors, signed on to the ad
Full-page advertisements in support of marriage equality will run today in 50 newspapers around the country -- a result of work by Freedom to Marry, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). It is the largest buy of print ad space by supporters of gay civil rights.


A portion of the full-page ad. The whole ad is here.

A significant note about this effort is that two-thirds of the signatories are non-gay allies -- community, civil rights, labor, and religious leaders as well as mayors of cities -- all endorsing civil equality. Some of the 50 papers slated to run the ad include the Raleigh News and Observer, Fresno (CA) Bee and the Olympian in Washington state. (WashBlade):
The ads feature photographs of five same-sex couples who have been together as long as 53 years and are endorsed by an array of organizations and individuals, including 11 religious leaders and nine mayors.

"From coast to coast, millions of people and hundreds of organizations are working to protect gay and lesbian families by ending their exclusion from marriage," the ads say. "Along the way, there will be advances and setbacks, but we will not stop until every American family is treated fairly, with dignity and equality under the law."

..."There's no question the landscape is mixed," said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, one of the three organizers of the ad campaign along with the task force and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

"This is a long-term conversation," Wolfson said. "Our job is to make sure people hear about gay families and why marriage matters, and not be drowned out by the horse race of the moment."

Signatories of the ads included the mayors of Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Providence, R.I., Portland, Ore., West Sacramento, Calif., and Palm Springs, Calif.


Voinovich: a homobigoted gem

Monday, July 24, 2006

One of our Blend regulars, 'Bean, sent in a whale of a tale about the ignorant asshattery of Ohio Senator George Voinovich, and the shoddy treatment of one of his constituents, a friend of 'Bean's named Tim. Basically, Voinovich, in the name of all things holy regarding the sanctity of marriage, sent his constituent a letter lumping homosexuality in with the drug and criminal culture in America today.

That didn't go over well with Ohioan Tim...

***


Guest post by 'Bean of Julien's List

Today's winner of "The Biggest Fart of them All!?" -- Senator George Voinovich (R-OH)

Background

Who is Tim?

Just shy of 20 years ago, when I was 19, I lived in Dayton, Ohio where friends of mine introduced me to a pleasant young man named Tim (last name and present location withheld lest things get volatile because of what happened). The friends who introduced us were intent on fostering a budding romance and they were not disappointed. Despite my temper and both my acid tongue and pen, I was taken with Tim. He was kind, sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, intellectual, well-read, clean-cut, polite, and, most importantly, could tolerate (at least for a time) my abrasiveness.

Even a curmudgeon, or at least even a kinda-smart curmudgeon, knows a happy relationship is built on some consideration and understanding, not on acid words and actions.

In any case, we were no exception to most 19 year old couples: while we made the best go we could, the relationship did not last because, like most 19 year old couples, we were not mentally, emotionally, or socially ready for a life-long commitment. Time passed, as did words both bitter (mine) and kind (Tim's), and life took us other places. Tim and I had fallen out of contact for a good many years when I decided to find him and make right what I said and did because . . . well, frankly, because Tim well-deserved the apology. Let's be honest here: someone kind, sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, intellectual, well-read, clean-cut, and polite deserves in-kind in return. I owed him and I knew it.

Finding Tim to say "I'm sorry" reintroduced me to a man who is still very much kind, sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, intellectual, well-read, clean-cut, and polite. Today, I can also add well-educated, well-rounded, a children's book author, a children's librarian, a member of the prestigious children's book award committee, a homeowner, a taxpayer, a truly good citizen . . . and a good spouse to his life-partner, Trent, with whom he lives in the Hate State Ohio.

Time and experience have just enriched Tim's kind, contented nature. Today, Tim is a critically-thinking-ponderer of Buddhist Philosophy, an ethical vegetarian, a loving and indulgent uncle, and a quiet-but-passionate supporter of Ohio schools and libraries. In short, Tim lives a life one would expect to see of a children's author, a children's librarian, and a book award committee member.

Therefore, when Tim gets a bee up his bonnet and loses his temper? Even if you do not know Tim (because few if any of you will know Tim)? Take note: speaking for nearly 20 years of history, I have never seen Tim lose his temper. Really - I do mean "never." He is, as I have illustrated, just not "that kind of guy."

Tim gets a bee up his bonnet and loses his temper

What happened?

Given Tim is a thoughtful and mentally-collected gay man in a long-term, same-sex relationship within the borders of a Hate-State, he does pay attention to both Ohio and National politics. So when Tim, who can write circles around most people, got wind of the Federal Marriage Amendment going up for a vote, he typed out a thoughtful E-mail to Senator George Voinovich explaining that (a) Tim is a gay Ohio citizen, (b) he does not want to lose the precious-few rights he currently has,and (c) is actually a member working to CONTRIBUTE to, not just take from, his community.

A Voinovich staffer wrote Tim a smug E-mail where the staffer assured Tim that, in paraphrasing, "Voinovich will vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment because that Amendment is the proper, moral thing for Ohioans."

So the calm, rational Tim grew slightly irked and just deleted the E-mail.

After a day, Tim decided to write a letter (the kind on paper) to Senator George Voinovich explaining, still-politely, how the Federal Marriage Amendment will hurt people in Ohio. Tim also pointed out the E-mail he got from Voinovich's office was ham-handed.

This time, someone in Voinovich's office noticed that Tim was persistent. It seems that, from the ball-point-pen scrawl at the bottom of the page, Voinovich himself signed the letter (form letter, cut-and-paste letter, or dictated letter we never really will know) . . . but what Tim got in his mailbox was a letter where the Good Republican Senator both subtly and overtly implies that GLBT folk are somehow responsible for drugs, sex, and criminal activity in our culture. Voinovich is not so reticent, however, about overtly blaming certain family issues in our culture on GLBT people.

Hard to believe? You can read it by clicking the letter image (or these links: 1 | 2):



A snippet:


I guess Voinovich can assure us, given American parents are working longer hours for lower wages in a climate not fostering savings or job security - direct results of trickle-down Republican economics supported by people like Voinovich - there are no OTHER sources of family problems in this country, other than just having "some deviant, criminal gay people around?" For example, issues such as parents working long hours for less take-home wages; under-funded schools; few if any after-school enrichment programs; insufficient dollars for community activities . . . these issues don't have anything to do with the Good Senator's concerns about Families and Children?

Of course not because in today's climate, there are two givens: 1) The Republican is never wrong in the public persona and; 2) If things get ugly, blame the scapegoat.

Welcome to the Red-State role of GLBT citizens. I'm just waiting to hear Voinovich's office called Tim to say, "step to the back of the bus now, Tim: your job as whipping-boy is done for now. And stay quiet or we'll criminalize you people again like we did in the 1950 and slam your buggered, disease-infested ass in prison: no gay Ohioans on a prestigious book awards committee with US in charge!"

And then what happened?

Tim got mad. For the first time I can remember, in nearly 20 years, Tim got really, really, really mad. And he wrote this eloquent letter telling Voinovich off and he sent that letter to Voinovich.
July 14, 2006

Mr. George Voinovich
United States Senate
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-3504

Dear George:

Thank you for your letter of June 9th in response to my e-mails. Either you (and your staff) truly do not read the correspondence your constituents send you or you draw a perverse pleasure from insulting us. I wrote to you to urge you to vote against S.J. Res. 40. It is not only a useless piece of pandering politics, but passing it would be tantamount to writing prejudice into our nation's Constitution.

I did not expect my opinions to sway yours. I did expect you to respect my opinions. Instead you sent me an e-mail followed by a letter patting yourself on the back for voting against my urgings. Is that respectful? Is it respectful for you to send me a letter which states that my desire to marry is a root cause of an increase in the national crime rate? Is it respectful for you to send me a letter that intimates that people like my partner and I are not moral, hard-working, or responsible enough to enter into a marriage? I do not have a huge circle of Gay and Lesbian friends, but those I know are more respectful, moral, and hard working than their heterosexual counterparts. We have to be.

All of the statements you use to excuse your vote are asinine. What exactly does the current heterosexual divorce rate have to do with same sex marriage? It only brings to light the fact that American marriage is NOT between one man and one woman. It is between one man and one woman, and then another woman and then another woman. We are suing for the right to have the stable, monogamous, recognized relationships that half of heterosexuals can't seem to perfect. The majority decries our supposed promiscuity while indulging in serial monogamy themselves and denies us our right to marriage. 10% of the population is Gay or Lesbian. By not allowing us to marry YOU are keeping stable, legally recognized families from forming.

As a professional reviewer of Children's Literature, a lecturer, and a practicing Children's Librarian I spend my days educating future voters and helping them to choose what's best to read. You can be sure that I will teach them to discern between a politician who has their interests and the country's interests in mind and one whose record is so weak, his party's policies so failed, that he must wave his votes on manufactured hot-button topics in the air in hopes that it will appear he is doing his job.

I hope your children and grandchildren live in my service area. They will get a much more enlightened and all-inclusive world view from their gay Children's Librarian than they ever will from their bigoted, self-serving father and grandfather. And please, I don't need any more e-mails or letters laced with insults. This is what that feels like.

Sincerely,
Tim
Your Constituent
But Tim then went one step further - he contacted a variety of news outlets to let people know what Ohio Senator George Voinovich had to say, just as illustrated here, to a gay Ohio citizen because Tim is really, really, really, really mad.

And who can blame Tim?

When your own elected representative (1) says you, a citizen represented by that person in office, are a criminal, a deviant, and a threat just for being who you are and then (2) gloats in personally rubbing your nose in that assessment of you being a criminal, a deviant, and a threat; despite your respectfully illustrating you are NOT a criminal, a deviant, or a threat . . . . Well, even the most kind, most sweet, most gentle, most soft-spoken, most intellectual, most well-read, most clean-cut, and most polite person with a good education and a well-rounded perspective . . .. Even the best children's book author, the best children's librarian, and the top member of the prestigious Newberry Award Committee, who, despite being so damn busy, keeps the nicest house on the block and submits the neatest tax forms to the state, on-time, every year, would most assuredly lose his cool.

So what should I do?

Well, you can forward this link around to people you know. Let them come to the Blend and read Voinovich's asshattery first-hand.

You can also link to Voinovich's website (http://voinovich.senate.gov/contact/index.htm) and, via either the form or a letter, share the love a bit. After all, Voinovich made his views clear don't you think we should return the favor?

Makes me think the Senators Serbian background (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Voinovich) may have come from the school of thought that helped create another Serb with some wonderfully deep-seated prejudices, too (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slobodan_Milosevic).


Empty Wig, empty GOP coffers

My completely useless senator, Liddy "Sugar Lips" Dole, is tanking in her role as the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. All the air-kissing and southern belle "charm" in the world isn't helping rake in the buxxx for her party. Traditionally, the dark side has a bigger war chest, but the Empty Wig is faltering big time -- the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has raised $37.7 million, compared to the GOP's lame $19.9 million.

She's been a disaster for them - witness the NRSC's 'mandatory' survey debacle or the inability to find a sane candidate to unseat Florida Senator Bill Nelson -- the GOP has the self-destructing Katherine Harris up.

It's no wonder she's had no luck bringing home the bacon when she sends out mailings like this one that landed in my inbox last week:


We all know Washington Democrats are desperate to take control of Congress, and over the past few months we've seen them do some pretty outrageous things to achieve that goal. But in all my years in public service, I have never been more offended and outraged than by their latest campaign-season scheme.

Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent an e-mail fundraising plea to their supporters containing a video. That video featured images of flag-draped coffins containing the remains of fallen American soldiers, an image of a helmet perched atop a rifle stuck in the ground (a symbol for deceased soldiers), and a cryptic, yet unmistakable reference to September 11th. The despicable and deplorable use of our fallen men and women in uniform to raise money for a political campaign is beyond the boundaries of taste and credible discourse.

It is shocking that the Democrat leadership would think using deceased soldiers to raise money for their campaigns is acceptable. Their choice of images displays either a complete disconnect with reality, or worse, a disregard for the honor and memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The GOP has no business talking about the exploitation of the military for political gain. Dole's breathless "outrage" is about as convincing as George Bush's ability to lead.


Air marshals target innocent travelers for 'suspect' quota

Your government is out of control, part 4059.

Federal Air Marshals are hired to supposedly to keep us safe in the air; these workers are now under pressure to meet a quota of known "suspicious characters" that are added to a secret government document called a Surveillance Detection Report (SDR).

In fact, managers in Las Vegas are tying a quota of "suspects" to "performance evaluations" and raises of the air marshals.

You know what that means folks -- innocent people are getting added to the database for no reason at all, except that they are in the wrong place at the wrong time -- and an air marshal hasn't found anyone to add to the list that month. (DenverChannel):
You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal.

...What kind of impact would it have for a flying individual to be named in an SDR?

"That could have serious impact ... They could be placed on a watch list. They could wind up on databases that identify them as potential terrorists or a threat to an aircraft. It could be very serious," said Don Strange, a former agent in charge of air marshals in Atlanta. He lost his job attempting to change policies inside the agency.

That's why several air marshals object to a July 2004 memo from top management in the Las Vegas office, a memo that reminded air marshals of the SDR requirement.

The body of the memo said, "Each federal air marshal is now expected to generate at least one SDR per month."
Even as the agency denies having this quota system, some Las Vegas-based air marshals have produced documents linking performance evals to producing SDRs on people.

What grinds my *ss is that these clowns are joking about people being flagged for scrutiny that will be hard to undo and could affect them profoundly. Look at this flip BS criteria for writing someone up.
One example, according to air marshals, occurred on one flight leaving Las Vegas, when an unknowing passenger, most likely a tourist, was identified in an SDR for doing nothing more than taking a photo of the Las Vegas skyline as his plane rolled down the runway.

"You're saying that was not an accurate portrayal of a potential terrorist activity?" Kovaleski asked.

"No, it was not," an air marshal said.

"It was a marshal trying to meet a quota ..." Kovaleski said.

"Yes, he was," the air marshal replied.
Hat tip, Julien's List.


Two teens charged with homophobic vandalism of lesbian couple's home

"I came to the rally today to show my support on this issue. What happened here is not indicative of Maine people or Maine values."
-- Gov. John Baldacci, on the hate crime committed against two lesbian residents by teenagers.
This is awful. Anti-gay messages were scrawled on the walls of the small trailer in Poland, Maine owned by Keri Fuchs and Linda Boutaugh. Two young people, aged 12 and 14, broke into their home, smashed pictures, defecated on the floor of their bathroom, smeared it on the walls and completely trashed the house and a car.

You can see pictures and video of the horror here, on a site created by one of Boutaugh's sons.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"Hi Ass hole", as well as a figure of a penis crossed out and a vagina circled (implying that the owner's of the home are man haters and only love vagina."

What kind of homes do these young people come from? Fuchs even lost a box that contained her late father's ashes. Mike Tidmus has a some thoughts on what kind of environment breeds this level of hate.
Congratulations Christian Civic League of Maine.

Mission accomplished!
The Christian Civic League of Maine, directed by Mike Heath, is a distant and less successful kissin' cousin of Colorado's Focus on the Homo Family. Heath and company have harangued Maine voters with their jesus-coated homophobia for years. Maine has passed a gay civil rights bill not once but three times over the last decade. Each time, the CCLM has opposed the bill and the issue has been sent to Maine voters. Each time, following a bitterly-contested campaign, CCLM has lost, including most recently last November. Mike Heath and CCLM should accept their share of responsibility for what happened to Linda Boutaugh and Keri Fuchs. CCLM and its supporters fostered a climate of homophobia and, in doing so, created the perfect environment for hatred to fester and grow.
MaineToday.com has more on the background of these two young people.
The 12-year-old was arrested at his home Friday morning and taken to the Androscoggin County Sheriff's Office to be booked, said Capt. Raymond Lafrance.

The 14-year-old already was being held at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland for possessing property stolen in a separate incident, police said.

...The home off Route 122 was left in squalor, with a shattered television set, damaged paintings and human waste on the bathroom floor. A car parked in the driveway also sustained major damage.

...The two women were planning to move to East Millinocket even before their home was vandalized, in part because of the harassment, Fuchs said. They had found a buyer for their mobile home, but the sale fell through after the place was trashed, she said.
EqualityMaine has set up a Hate Crime Victims' Fund to assist Linda and Keri.


Blackwell can't get the Bush voters behind him

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
He's done his best to suck up to the anti-gay Ohio fundies, but it appears vile individual Ken Blackwell can't seem to get any traction with independents and, significantly, Bush voters. I wonder why...hmmm.

Look at how hard he pushes the gaybashing:
"I think homosexuality is a lifestyle, it's a choice, and that lifestyle can be changed. I think it is a transgression against God's law, God's will. The reality is, again, ... that I think we make choices all the time. And I think you make good choices and bad choices in terms of lifestyle. Our expectation is that one's genetic makeup might make one more inclined to be an arsonist, or might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do I think that they can be changed? Yes."
Even with that, Ken, a good number of Dear Leader's base in Ohio simply won't vote for you because you are b-l-a-c-k, no matter how hard you swing to the right, sorry to say. We're talking the Base of the GOP. A Columbus Dispatch poll showed that just 53 percent of the respondents who said they voted for President Bush in 2004 are lining up behind Blackwell.

I'm sure he knows this, thus the recent push to scare black voters into voting for him, pushing minstrel-worthy flyers in black areas.
Democrat Ted Strickland has surged to a surprising lead of 20 percentage points in the first Dispatch Poll on Ohio's Nov. 7 race for governor...Strickland's 47-to-27 advantage over GOP rival J. Kenneth Blackwell is fueled by a more than 3-to-1 lead among independent voters, combined with Blackwell's inability to sell himself to Ohio Republicans.

...Respondent Barbara Wardlow, a 70-year-old Republican from Clarksville near Cincinnati, said she's never voted for a Democrat, but that may change this fall. She said she doesn't like Blackwell but wants to learn more about Strickland before deciding.

Republicans' tepid response to Blackwell, despite the secretary of state's comfortable victory in the May 2 primary, shows up in several ways:

• Overall, 61 percent of Republicans are backing Blackwell, compared with the 81 percent support Strickland is receiving from Democrats.

Just 53 percent of the respondents who said they voted for President Bush in 2004 are lining up behind Blackwell. There are 28 percent who remain undecided, but 18 percent are ready to vote for Strickland. Less than a majority of those who said they voted for Republican Gov. Bob Taft four years ago want Blackwell in the office. Taft voters are split 46 to 28 between Blackwell and Strickland. Strickland is winning the battle among those who said they voted for Democrat Tim Hagan in 2002 by 81 to 3.
Related:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
* Ted Strickland's tip jar
* Ken Blackwell's outreach flyer
* Ken Blackwell is a vile individual
* Ken Blackwell is a vile individual, part 2
* Chris King's 1st Amendment Page on Blackwell
* More posts on Blackwell


NC cohabitation ruling sets Freepers off

And here I was thinking that the news about NC's anti-cohabitation law being ruled unconstitutional was an interesting tidbit, nothing particularly controversial. I didn't think it was going to cause the internecine warfare being experienced over in Freeperville right now.

Somehow, this managed to devolve into a discussion about ghetto babies and sex with skunks. What a way to start off the week!

Actual Freeper Quotes™

More idiocy from the bench. Constitutional for 201 years. Now suddenly, not. All hail our exalted black-robed leaders!

Oh, for pete's sake! How is society harmed by a man and a woman who are not married living together?

You evidently failed to read my post: "Anyone who wonders what happens in a society where cohabitation takes the place of marriage need look no further than the nearest ghetto." PS. I should say that in principle it doesn't matter, since in practice it obviously does matter.

There are too many variables in that situation to draw any conclusions as to the cause for the problems of the ghetto. Again, there are many unmarried people who live together in this society. Not all live in ghettos. So, show me the harm of that one, single factor. And, in case you wonder, I'm a married man.

The wisest response is often not the most appreciated. Obviously, some folks have the convenience of their desires and priorities ahead of the stability of their children, grandchildren and absolutely forget the society in general. You´re right.

Cohabitation isn't "taking the place" of anything here. This is a 40-year-old woman with no plans for marriage. The article doesn't mention any kids. Rent everywhere is expensive. The only thing cohabitation may be "taking the place" of in this instance is a 40-something couple still living with their parents. Not the end of civilization.

I heard about this this morning and it interested me because I am from NC and I cohabitate. I guess am damned for hell. I suppose if two cohabitators from the ghetto were to get married, they would suddenly be tranformed to a uppity Hamptons resident like yourself. Get off your high horse. Cohabitators are bad in your eyes. People with greater-than-thou attitudes are bad in mine.

I also doubt the right to fornicate is existent, let alone fundamental. ou think maybe it might be part of "liberty" and the "pursuit of happiness"?

So an unmarried coupel who live together are jewish? I don't get it. A ghetto is a jewish slum.

go check a ghetto. tell me how many co-habitaing couples there are. you're not gonna find many, you will, however, find single moms by the score. you wanna find cohabitation, look at middle class white people in the suburbs. most of the ones who have and raise kids are just fine. what you're pointing at is the breakdown of family values due to indiscriminate sex. people out "having fun" who end up as single parents.

BUT!!! Sometimes single parents raising kids alone is better than married couples raising kids if either of the married parents is abusive or otherwise sucks as a parent. I know a lot of really good, hardworking single parents, and some excellent unmarried couples raising kids together, and some really crappy married coupels raising kids. To say that married couples raising kids is always better, I'd have to disagree. OK, yeah, 60+ of the time or so, yeah, it's better.

I personally know many couples who live together. None of them are from a ghetto.

Family instability creates a ghetto--that is, a situation in which children end up raising themselves, and quite often, trying to raise their parents as well. People who put their own immediate and selfish desires above the welfare of children end up harming society, whatever their intentions when they decide that traditional values about marriage and family do not apply to them.

It's not the lack of marriage that is the problem, it's the lack of dedication and commitment to one's partner and offspring that creates the problem for society. A piece of paper from the church and government doesn't mean a thing without the commitment.

You do not have a God-given right to shack up.

Well, I guess I don't specifically have a God-given right to play chess either, but then in the God-given privacy of my home, neither you nor the state has a God given right to prevent me from doing so. Same for other activities between consenting adults.

"This decision was made because the judges ruled that whatever my living arrangements may be is nobody's business."

When the consequences of your "living arrangements" impact me or my family or nation adversely, it IS my business.

They made these decisions so that they wouldn't have to round up hundreds of thousands of couples who are hard working, taxpaying, law abiding Americans and throw them in jail. If what i am doing is morally wrong, (Morals that have obviously been established by the almighty doer-of-no-wrong, you.) then it is between me and me God. Not me and my government or my neighbor or you.

You aren't law-abiding if you are breaking a law and I'm not aware of any organized pogroms to round up fornicators or adulterers in America.

Is that so? OK, here's a scenario for you: You live in a twin. Your neighbor is into bestiality with skunks. As a result, your house smells like skunk 24-7 and you rarely get a good night's sleep. Are you violating his "right to privacy" by convincing your local town council to outlaw the keeping of skunks on private property within city limits?

The "right to privacy" is abstract and difficult to define--which is why it wasn't included in the BoR. The notion that local govenment doesn't have the power to enforce local standards of decency as agreed upon by the majority of citizens is a liberal-tarian notion which had its coming-out party in the 1960s. I reject it completely. For those of you who accept it, I reckon your "enlightened" notions of privacy will be extinct the second the skunk-lover moves in next door.


Feeble challenge to the church bigots

It seems like Sully just noticed the slow response of white gay activists and politicians to stand up to the bigotry of homophobic, influential black pastors that has lead to the significant rise in HIV/AIDS in the black community. I'd add to that the pretty feeble response of many black politicians to do the same.

There's certainly not a lack of news about those pastors, huh? There's no alternate framing being proposed on the part of establishment equality organizations, and black gays and lesbians continue to be demonized from the pulpit, driving them further into the closet.

Meanwhile, the GOP and the evangelicals continue their attempt to foster relationships with these churches based on opposition to marriage equality. The efforts on the political front by Mehlman haven't gone anywhere in terms of changing voting patterns (thanks to an administration that has proven itself no friend of minorities), but you often see common ground between black and white churches on state marriage amendments.

Is there any political will to take these bigoted black churches on?



Rove hotfoots it out of fundraiser for anti-gay House candidate Bachmann



Sleazebag Karl Rove dropped into Stillwater, Minnesota on Friday to appear at a fundraiser for homo-sex obsessed 6th Congressional District seat candidate Michele Bachmann. The man spoke and left before the food hit the tables. (You can see one of the actual invitations over at Is That All You've Got?)

Eva at Dump Michele Bachmann reports only 60 folks showed up to the event, which drew a sizeable number of protestors outside. From the AP article:
White House mastermind Karl Rove was whisked inside the Water Street Inn on the St. Croix River here Friday just as a handful of protesters spotted him. He was gone before they could say anything.

...Rove described Bachmann as "a fantastic candidate" and "a great common sense conservative."

"She wakes up in the morning and her values are ingrained in her heart," he said. "She doesn't need to read the newspaper or consult a poll or get a focus group to figure out what she believes. She knows what she believes and she stays in touch with the people she represents."

But his appearance to praise her and outline Bush's positions on the economy and terrorism may have given just as much ammunition to her opponents.


(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Several dozen protesters collected outside the Water Street Inn, including Stillwater accountant John Atkins, who wore a heavy black suit and a George W. Bush mask. Atkins said he wants voters to remember the ties between Bachmann and the Bush administration in November.
Bachmann, the running buddy of "ex-gay" Janet "rape causes lesbianism" Boynes, has said of homos: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay."

She's up against Democrat Patty Wetterling and the Independence Party's John Binkowski for the open seat.

Eva's got up more protestor pix here.


World Pride parade canceled due to Middle East conflict

But the rest of the festivities will be held. (JPost):
The contested parade, which was to have been the highlight of a week-long international gay festival in the capital, was nixed due to the security situation in the country, and the fact that police would not be able to allocate sufficient forces needed to secure such a major event, said Hagai El-Ad, the Executive-Director of Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center, which is hosting the event.

He added that the festival's other smaller indoor events, including a film festival and workshops, would take place as scheduled.

The organizer's dramatic decision to cancel the event for the second year in a row was made after police let organizers know that they could not allow the event to take place due to the current security situation in the country, and came amidst mounting concerns over violence at the event.
The Jewish, Christian and Muslim zealots united in the effort to stop the parade, even accusing gays of fomenting violence by simply wanting to gather for the parade (see More attempts to stop Pride in Jerusalem)


Open thread - not a pretty picture

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Just an aside, for pure speculation only -- what is going on with George Michael?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This man might have something to say about the matter.


Men of Purity

There's nothing like a good fundie advice column. I don't know how I ended up on this Pure Life Ministries web site, but what caught my eye was this "Ask Steve: Questions from Men" self-help section, and this very odd, non-specific question from a man who's desperately trying to deal with something.
> Q: I have had a sexual fetish for many years now. The closer I get to God the more depressed I get and I feel like he is removing it from me. But, I want God and the fetish. Where does this leave me?
Gee, can we learn more about what this man is talking about? No matter, Steve has a handle on things for the poor soul.
> A: This leaves you in the unhappy position of trying to "have your cake and eat it too." There is no person more miserable than the one who attempts to live the Christian life and hold onto his sin at the same time.

I cannot tell you how grateful to God I am for the phenomenon you are describing. The most unhappy period of my life was the two years after I came to the Lord and continued in my sexual sin. Like yourself, I wanted God without relinquishing the idol of sexual pleasure that had been the focus of my life for many years. Where would I be today had it not been for the misery that comes with sexual sin? I would probably still be living in defeat all these years later. "The pleasures of sin last for a season." After that, a person will begin to face the inevitable inward emptiness of sin. God used my misery to bring me into real repentance.
He has more advice for the hairy palm set in his article, The Dangerous Mindset of Lust.
For instance, if we are talking about a godly man who "walks with the Lord," but then-in a moment of uncharacteristic weakness-succumbs to temptation and lusts or masturbates, but repents and gets back on track, that would rightly be termed "stumbling." On the other hand, the word stumble would not be the appropriate term to use for the man who regularly indulges in lust or masturbation. His sin is causing him to fall away from the living God.

Many men I have dealt with over the years have deceived themselves about their sin. They like to say that they "struggle" with lust or masturbation, when the truth is that there really isn't any struggle going on at all: they regularly give over to the passions of their flesh. Peter described men like this in the Church of his day: "They have eyes full of harlotry, insatiable for sin. They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls. Their hearts are trained in covetousness (lust, greed)… Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray…" (II Peter 2:14-15 AMP)
Is it me, or are these folks having a problem dealing with sexual urges and they seem to be unable to pray them away, because it just keeps happening. I guess that's why Pure Life has something called the The Men of Purity Weekend, a three-day seminar on how to control the "little head" with the "big head."
These weekends are a time for men to address sexual purity head-on-all men. They are a great opportunity for fathers to bring their sons, even if they are young teenagers. The reality of our culture is that even boys as young as 12 and 13 are dealing with sexual temptation daily. They will often benefit as much as their dads will from the teachings that will be presented.
For those willing to shell out $875, you can buy your own Men of Purity "All-In-One" Teaching Package to hold the seminars yourself and invite 25 of your struggling friends to commisserate about sexual sin. The package includes:
Men of Purity Weekend on 4 DVDs
Session 1: Overcoming Lust Pt. 1, Understanding the Real Problem
Session 2: Overcoming Lust Pt. 2, Understanding our Enemy
Session 3: A Personal Testimony of Victory
Session 4: Understanding True Repentance

At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry
Counseling the Sexual Addict
How America Lost Her Innocence
Again, these people think about sex an awful lot. Has it ever occurred to them that if they stopped fixating on sex acts and who is doing what that perhaps they can concentrate on more important matters, like say, helping those less fortunate? You know that a good number of these Men of Purity are the ones out cruising in the shadows or caught with their pants down in adult bookstores/videoshops, etc. because they just can't stop thinking about sinning.

And we all know that this pathology manifests itself in strident homobigotry, womb control efforts and general sexual obsession about what other people's intimate lives might be like.


Concerned Women for America wants to smoke the porn out of Marriott's hotels

And to add to the hilarity, CWA compares the dangers of porn to second-hand smoke.
Concerned Women for America (CWA) says that if the Marriott hotels care so much about their customers, as indicated in their recent decision to ban smoking from hotel rooms, they should stop offering hard-core porn in their hotel rooms.

“Creating a smoke-free environment demonstrates a new level of service and care for our guests and associates,” said J.W. Marriott Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International. “Our family of brands is united on this important health issue and we anticipate very positive customer feedback. … Demand for nonsmoking rooms continues to rise with new information from the Surgeon General on the hazards of secondary smoke.”

“We’ve been after Marriott for years to stop providing pay-per-view porn,” said Jan LaRue, CWA’s Chief Counsel. “But their excuse is that some customers want it. What’s that percentage? If it’s only about 5 percent, they’ve lost that excuse. I’m guessing that their cut from porn is a lot bigger than their cut from cigarette machines in the lobby.

“Marriott has placed itself in a perplexing box by banning smoker-friendly hotel rooms, even though 5 percent of customers want a smoking room. If it’s about ‘health,’ why are they banning smoking only in hotels in the United States and Canada? What about former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s report on the dangerous consequences of viewing pornography? What about the mental and psychological health consequences related to dependency on porn?


Q of the day - Unfortunate interiors

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I put this book on my Amazon wishlist -- and my brother got it for me on my birthday, the sick puppy -- because we share a fondness for insane things like this. Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s (Crown, $23.95), is by James Lileks, a columnist for the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis. I was laughing so hard it hurt.

The pictures are mind-boggling, but Lileks' commentary has you losing it within seconds. From the book description:
James Lileks came of age in the 1970s, and for him there was no crueler thing you could inflict upon a person. The music: either sluggish metal, cracker-boogie, or wimpy ballads. Television: camp without the pleasure of knowing it's camp. Politics: the sweaty perfidy of Nixon, the damp uselessness of Ford, the sanctimonious impotence of Carter. The world: nasty. Hair: unspeakable. Architecture: metal-shingled mansard roofs on franchise chicken shops. No oil. No fun. Syphilis and Fonzie.

Interior Desecrations is the author's revenge on the decade. Using an ungodly collection of the worst of 1970s interior design magazines, books, and pamphlets, he proves without a shadow of a doubt that the '70s were a breathtakingly ugly period. And nowhere was that ugliness and lack of style felt more than in our very homes, virtual breeding grounds for bad taste, manifested in brown, orange, and plaid wallpaper patterns. This is what happens when Dad drinks, Mom floats in a Valium haze, the kids slump down in the den with the bong, and the decorator is left to run amok. It seemed so normal at the time. But this book should cure whatever lingering nostalgia we have.
The sad truth is that these interiors were commissioned by the homeowners. This means someone designed the rooms to look this way.

Q of the day: Did you ever have horrible decor in your home as a kid that dated this badly?

Oh, sweet god, yes we did.



Look at the black vinyl sofa, and the synthetic fiber avocado and mustard pillows my brother Tim and I are sitting on. ARGH!! This is our living room in NC, around 1972. And to add to the design misery, the room has Brady Bunch wood paneling. That is our dog Miffy as a puppy on my plaid-panted leg.

There is one picture in the book from a bathroom from the 70s that commits so many design crimes that someone needed to be in the slammer as a lifer. It looks like a spaceship interior. I cannot even begin to describe the horror -- looong white shag/furry carpet, just for starters -- in the bathroom. That's just gross. Here is a thumbnail of another horrible room (that didn't make it into the book, mind you). But it gives you an idea of what is in store -- and this is a tame one.


Click the image to go to Lileks' site for his description, which you must read.

***

Now that I am obsessed with Lileks' sick, brilliant observations on twisted Americana, I've added this one to the list of must-haves, which features classicly dated ads, magazine articles, and government parenting guides -- Mommy Knows Worst: Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice.
Ahhhh, the 1940s and '50s . . . a time when parents everywhere strove for the American Dream-manicured lawns, a shiny car in the driveway, and perfect children playing in the yard. Raising kids was simpler back then, or was it?

In Mommy Knows Worst, you'll be treated to a visual feast of past parenting neuroses-as well as insight into why concerned moms and dads were driven to buy "delicious" baby laxatives, douse their baby in oil and put him in the sun, and strap Junior into a car seat that bore a strange resemblance to scrap metal. If you're a baby boomer who lived through this childhood torture, well, we're sorry. But if humor really is the best medicine (rather than bicarbonate of curd and mustard plaster, as was previously recommended for childhood ailments), then Mommy Knows Worst is cheaper than therapy.
I sense that this work will bear a strong resemblance to Daddy Dobson's child-rearing and family counseling tomes.

I already have the orgy of bad recipes for "food" from actual cookbooks of the past, James Lileks' howler, The Gallery of Regrettable Food. There are jello molds with mystery meat products; supposedly enticing peppers stuffed with marshmallow sauce, an unholy preparation of hot dogs in hurl-worthy recipes, and uses for ketchup as a base and spice in ways that make you wonder what the hell Americans were eating in the 1950s. Betty Crocker was tripping.

Related:
* The James Lileks web site. Spend time at his Institute of Official Cheer.


Gay Games a success

The fundies couldn't rain on the parade of gay athletes getting together to celebrate friendly competition. Even the hot weather couldn't stop them. (365gay):
For organizers there was a collective sigh of relief - the games went off without a hitch despite near record breaking heat throughout the week. And these have been the most successful and profitable in the history of games.

The Federation of Gay Games Flag was slowly lowered and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley escorted it for the ceremonial transfer to an official from Cologne, Germany, the host city of the 2010 Gay Games.

Athletes from some 60 countries embraced one another - some may never see one another again, others made promises to catch up in 2010, and others said they would see each other in Montreal in a week's time for the first Outgames.
BTW. blogger and activist Keith Boykin snared a gold medal in wrestling.

Did anyone see Petey at Steamworks? Peter LaBarbera was supposed to put in an appearance at Steamworks in Chicago yesterday, proselytizing to folks in town who may have ambled over to the club. He invited a few friends, as you know. From his release:
The vigil will begin with a media availability tonight (Saturday) at 3246 Halsted St., at 5:00, directly in front of Steamworks, which calls itself a "gym" but is actually a sex club (bathhouse) where men go for anonymous sex with other men. Speaking will be two former homosexuals, James Hartline (who contracted HIV at a bathhouse) and Greg Quinlan; and Dr. John Diggs, addressing the health risks of homosexual behavior.

Steamworks and another gay bathhouse, Man's Country, were official sponsors of the Gay Games.

Following the media appearance there will be a night-long peaceful informational outreach in front of Steamworks. Pro-healthy-life volunteers will be passing out Christian tracts containing the story of former homosexual Steve Bennett, and a flier alerting men to the dangers of homosexual practices.

"We care about gay men enough to tell them to stop practicing degrading and potentially lethal behavior," said Peter LaBarbera, Executive Director of Illinois Family Institute.
You have to read the post up at Ex-Gay Watch about Pete's planned shenanigans for media availability at 5:30 for his little song and dance. Tim Kincaid's noted "it isn't clear to me why LaBarbera thinks that peak visiting hours would be at 5:30 but perhaps it's based on his history."


'Creationist' says IRS is out to get him

"I've taken a vow of poverty, which any minister can do...And everything I have here, everything I've ever earned in my life, has gone straight into God's work. So we're not breaking any laws. We haven't done anything wrong."
-- Florida fundie Dr. Kent "Dr. Dino," Hovind of Creation Science Evangelism ministry
I don't think I have a violin tiny enough for this fundamentalist blowhard. (AgapePress):
A Florida evangelist recently arrested on tax-evasion charges claims he's been targeted by the Internal Revenue Service because he's a creationist.

Last week a grand jury indicted Dr. Kent Hovind on 58 federal charges, including falsifying bankruptcy documents, filing a false and frivolous lawsuit and complaints against the IRS, destroying records, and threatening to harm IRS investigators. Twelve of the charges are for failing to pay employee-related taxes. The grand jury alleges Hovind failed to pay nearly half-a-million dollars in federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes on his employees at his Creation Science Evangelism ministry in Pensacola.

Hovind, who is known as "Dr. Dino," says even though the 30 people who work for him are paid in cash, he is not a tax protestor and is not violating any laws. "Nobody's an employee, and they all know that when they come. They come, they work," Hovind offers as an explanation. "The laborer is worthy of his hire -- we try to take the purely scriptural approach. We do the best we can with helping people with their family needs. There are no employees here."

Hovind claims his ministry does not have to "render unto Caesar" because it is not working for the government.
According to Wikipedia, Hovind is an American Young Earth Creationist (YEC) who is offering $250K to anyone who can prove evolution "is the only possible way" that the universe and life arose. He also believes that "UFOs are apparitions of Satan."

Hovind's creationism theme park called Dinosaur Adventure Land (featuring exhibits that teach dinosaurs roamed the Earth just a few thousand years ago) ran aground back in April when Hovind refused to get the necessary permits, saying he didn't have to because permits and paying fees violated his religious beliefs. (Pensacola Journal):
The judge also fined two church leaders $500 each per day for every day the building is used or occupied. If church officials continue to refuse to comply with local ordinances, the judge may decide that the building can be razed, Allen's ruling said.

County commissioners showed no sympathy to members of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry who spoke out Thursday night at a commission meeting about the county's actions.

"Scripture also says 'Render unto Caesar what Caesar demands.' And right now, Caesar demands a building permit," County Commission Chairman Mike Whitehead said. A building permit and inspection by county authorities is vital to ensuring the theme park is safe for the thousands of people who reportedly visit the park and museum every year, Whitehead said.

..."This is pure religious persecution," said Glen Stoll, who works closely with Hovind on legal issues.


Infamous 'online chat' mayor dies

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The former mayor of Spokane, James West, died today of complications from cancer surgery. (365gay):
The conservative former Republican state senate majority leader was diagnosed in early 2003 with colon cancer that later spread to his liver. A statement issued by University of Washington Medical Center said his family and pastor were at his side at the Seattle hospital.

Seven months after The Spokesman-Review newspaper began publishing results of a computer "sting" it conducted to track the mayor's online activities in a gay chat room, West was ousted from office on Dec. 6, 2005, on a single charge that he used his office for personal benefit.

West was the first Spokane city official to be recalled from office, ending a 27-year career in city and state politics. The former Spokane city councilman, Boy Scout leader and sheriff's deputy had frequently opposed gay-rights bills during his 20 years in the state House and Senate.

The newspaper alleged he offered to help someone he thought was an 18-year-old high school student get a City Hall internship during Internet chats that involved discussions about sex.

"I wish I had never gone online at all. I just wish I hadn't," West told The Associated Press in an Oct. 31, 2005, interview. "I scratch my head today. I can't tell you why."
He generated a LOT of press and blog postings over that scandal. You can read some of those here.

UPDATE: Shakes Sis had more to say than I did on Wild Wild West. Check it out. A snippet.
West was a divisive and infuriating figure—requiring the LGBT community and its supporters to mobilize in search of protection against his anti-gay agenda—but pathetic, too. There was, in the end, no one who could save him from himself. West died still trapped in a stranglehold of repression and self-loathing, never having given himself the chance to find real happiness, choosing instead to work toward denying of others that which he denied himself—as if perpetuating inequality would somehow, sometime, legislate homosexuality right out of existence, and take with it that part of himself he hated.


Impotence

An update about the complete chaos going on in the Middle East -- Kate (for new readers, my wife is half Lebanese) hasn't heard any more information about her relatives who live over in Lebanon. Her family members from the U.S. (and other Alabamians they know) who were caught over there made their way out a few days ago, over land by car to Jordan, flew from there to Paris, then on to the States.

For her relatives who live there, as Lebanese Christians, it doesn't look good. They are caught in the crossfire, their homes being obliterated as Hezbollah and Israel duke it out -- and the runways, bridges, ports in Beirut are being destroyed, preventing escape.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Lebanese men walk past the smoldering rubble and debris of destroyed buildings in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Issam Kobeisi)

The Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Lebanon, Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, met with Condi Rice to plead for some kind of intervention; he has since returned to Lebanon and is expected to chair an emergency meeting of the Maronite Bishops Council.

He couldn't have left this meeting with Rice feeling very confident about what was going to happen to the Christians there (they only make up about a 1/4 of the population) after this feeble exchange.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

SECRETARY RICE: I am so very pleased that you could join me and I am, of course, very concerned about the events in Lebanon. I'm very concerned about the people of Lebanon, about Lebanon's freedom and democracy and a Lebanon where all Lebanese can prosper. And we are, of course, working very hard to make certain that Lebanon retains its sovereignty. We're working very hard to try and minimize the impact of the current conflict on the Lebanese people. And I want you to know that we're not only working hard, but we're also praying for the people of Lebanon.

MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: Thank you. Thank you for the action you have taken in favor of this small country but there are many difficulties. The world says the Resolution 1559 will it be applied.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes.

MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: But it is not up to the Lebanese Government to apply it. It is so weak to do so. There is another way to apply this, but I do not know how. But our interest is that all the citizens will be equal (inaudible). When some are having arms and the others have not there is no equality and I've said this a long time that -- how to apply this I don't know. (Inaudible) perhaps, some other -- some pressure to (inaudible).

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, the international community has to help you.

MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: Exactly. Exactly.

SECRETARY RICE: I mean that's it, the international community must insist on the enforcement of 1559 which we, the international community, passed. And so we will work.

MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: There's a better way.

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, we will work.

MARONITE PATRIARCH SFEIR: Thank you.
Condi and Dear Leader plan to mind-meld about this on Sunday with his close family friend Prince ("Bandar Bush") bin Sultan, chief of the Saudi National Security Council. Now THAT will really be helpful. (AP):
Announcing plans earlier for a Sunday meeting that Bush and Rice will have with Saudi officials, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the idea was "to provide the president and Dr. Rice a chance to continue to strategize with a key partner in the region on a diplomatic solution that will address the root causes of violence and terror in the region."
The levels of complexity in this situation are so difficult to muddle through. It's difficult to watch, seeing how people who have no dog in this hunt -- and no real way to defend themselves -- get blasted away. The home of the abovementioned Maronite patriarch is among the towns shelled.
Among the Christian cities shelled is Junieh, north of Beirut along the Mediterranean coast, regarded as the "Jewel of Lebanon" due to its natural setting. A towering statue of the Virgin Mary overlooks the city, called "Our Lady of Lebanon."

...The Israelis argue they shelled the historic town because of concern over Hezbollah's use of the port to bring in arms or take out the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

Now, a predominantly wealthy Christian sector in Beirut has come under Israeli bombardment and the Israelis have shelled the small town of Zahle in the Bakaa Valley north of Beirut. During the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990, devout Christian residents in Zahle successfully repelled Syrians who sought to occupy the town. At the time, the Israelis were major supporters of the Christians.

Unlike Hezbollah, there is no Christian militia that can take on the Shiite terrorist organization.
There were air raids near that town of Zahle; this is where a branch of Kate's relatives live. One bombing this week destroyed trucks carrying only medicine and food. Kate, who is checking all the time for news on what is going on, hasn't heard any word about how those folks are doing.

Sigh. It's all a big mess, and quite frankly, the U.S. looks impotent, because, well our government really can't stop what is, at its root, a longstanding conflict over religion and territory.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
A shopkeeper talks on the telephone as blood is seen on the floor at the scene of a rocket attack in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, Israel. REUTERS/Yonathan Weitzman


The wingers have a boner for Glenn Greenwald

How Would a Patriot Act

That has to be one of the explanations for the right-wing blogosphere's fixation on the ace blogger and author, with all the attempts to sling mud and investigate Glenn's private and professional life. Perhaps it's because Glenn has continually reported and analyzed, in great detail, the malfeasance going on in the Bush Administration -- enabled by the political establishment and MSM -- that has resulted in the shredding of the Constitution. The obsessive level of the attacks suggests the former, IMHO. ;)

Glenn decided to take on the charges (good for you!), which involved addressing the swirling, incorrect speculation and accusations about his law practice, where he lives, where and how he comments on other blogs -- even his sexual orientation (they accuse him of being closeted, when in fact he's out).
I've read repeatedly that I'm a closeted homosexual and even that I sued to keep my sexual orientation a secret. And needless to say, a central part of the ad hominem attacks from pro-Bush bloggers has now become a homophobic concentration on such matters.

I've been openly gay for 20 years. Despite the claims that I have tried to hide this and even sued to keep it a secret, the way the investigative geniuses of the right-wing blogosphere "discovered" that I was gay was that my partner and I commenced a lawsuit in 1996 which, among other things, sought a ruling that the "spousal communication" privilege statute in New York -- which bars compelled disclosure of the marital communications between spouses in litigation -- applied equally to gay spousal couples, on the ground that the plain language of the statute compelled that meaning and, alternatively, that it is unconstitutional to deny gay couples the same right heterosexual couples have to not disclose their marital communications in lawsuits. As a result, there are online judicial decisions from that case detailing that we commenced the litigation based upon claims of equivalency between our spousal relationship and those recognized by law.

I just did my multiple-city book tour with my partner on every stop and there are newspaper stories about the book which reference that. I don't believe the state has the right to use its coercive power to promote heterosexual relationships over homosexual ones, and I've consequently done substantial gay rights work in the past, primarily in law school, and there was ample media coverage of some of that work. I don't write much about gay issues because I don't really have a lot to say that I think is particularly unique -- although I have written about gay issues on my blog several times before -- but the last thing I have done is tried to conceal my sexual orientation.

Having said all of that, I have been surprised -- although I probably shouldn't be -- at how quick and pervasive is the attempt to make all sorts of gay slurs when responding to my posts now that they "discovered" these facts. Despite all the lip service that is paid by Bush supporters to not subscribing to anti-gay bigotry, it is striking how widely acceptable those sorts of attacks are.
I get all kinds of mail from bible beaters, wingers and right-wing nutcases all the time, certainly the Blend doesn't generate blogosphere back talk at the level or "quality" Glenn experiences (for good reason -- his work is really hitting the political nervous system). It all makes you wonder about the psychological stability of the right wing blogosphere.

What's frightening is that too many people of the LGF/Red State/Powerline mindset are actually running the damn government.

Check out these other recent posts of Glenn's:
* Journalists: It's time for some articles on the pro-Bush blogosphere
* Extremism in the right-wing blogosphere - con't


NC's anti-cohabitation law ruled unconstitutional

In February 2004, a Pender County woman named Deborah Hobbs lost her job as a 911 dispatcher in that county's sheriff's office because she lived with her unmarried boyfriend. That violated a 201-year-old law on the NC books at the time that made it a criminal offense for partners of the opposite sex to live together out of wedlock.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Hobbs was "living in sin," and was told to to marry her partner, move out of the house they shared, or leave her job. Sheriff Carson Smith said at the time that it was a moral issue as well as a legal question, and that he tries to avoid hiring people who openly live together, but he doesn't send out deputies to enforce the law. The law, which ironically doesn't apply to same-sex couples (ha ha!), stated:
"If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit together, they shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor."
That ban on cohabitation was challenged by the state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, and this week the law was overturned this week in a ruling issued by North Carolina State Superior Court Judge Benjamin Alford. citing the landmark 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the Texas sodomy law.
"The Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas stands for the proposition that the government has no business regulating relationships between two consenting adults in the privacy of their own home," Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement.

She added that "the idea that the government would criminalize people's choice to live together out of wedlock in this day and age defies logic and common sense."
Other states with cohabitation laws include: Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia.


Straight allies standing with us

Surf over to Austin-based Atticus Circle, an organization of focusing on bringing straight allies into the battle for equality for parents and partners through education, policy development and legal advocacy.

The group was founded Anne Wynne, who was appointed by Texas Governor Ann Richards as the first woman to serve on both the General Services Commission and Texas Transportation Commission. In spring 2005, Wynne testified against against HJR-6 (the Texas marriage amendment bill) in the state's legislature.

While that amendment passed, she wanted to continue the fight for equality, realizing that success won't happen without the numbers and support of straight allies.

From the site:
It is time for us to stand up and stand with our gay and lesbian friends who are being systematically denied the most basic rights and recognition – the very things we, in the heterosexual world, take for granted day after day.

It is time for all children, regardless of their parents’ sexual orientation, to share the same rights and protections.

And it is time for our country to acknowledge that the right to love a partner, be a parent and build a family is a fundamental, equal right for each and every one of us.

Today we need your help to win this "civil rights battle rooted in love." We need you to add your voice to the growing number of our friends who say, "This just isn’t right." We invite you to come into the Atticus Circle and stand with others who say, "I’m ready. What can I do?"
Atticus Circle Field Director Marti Bier dropped me a line to get out the word.

You can join the circle of supporters here.


Open thread - Friday night insanity

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nothing like checking out a WorldNetDaily poll for a laugh...



What's up? Anyone doing anything interesting this weekend? Unfortunately I'm working this weekend on a database upgrade at the day job. No rest for the weary...


Mitt the sh*t abolishes G/L Youth Commission


Homophobe.

And you know what? The fundies still won't vote for you in '08 because you're a Mormon, Mitt. Public homo-hating isn't enough to sway them. (365gay):
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney issued an executive order Friday abolishing the state's 14-year old governor's commission on gay and lesbian youth.

The moves comes after a long protracted battle with legislators over the commission. In May he attempted to kill the body over its support for gay pride parades in the state but quickly reversed himself.

The attempt to disband the commission sparked an uproar from lawmakers and supporters of the commission. The legislature then passed a bill a bill creating a new commission out of the reach of the governor's office.
Related:

* Mitt extend$$$ his bigotry to SC
* More bad news for Mitt as he sucks up to the fundies


Embryo enthusiasm

"President Bush is advancing ethical research, while standing firmly against exploiting living members of the human family as sources of spare parts."
-- Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee on Bush's first veto
You know, the bible beaters/forced birth advocates care so much about eggs, feti and frozen embryos, but never seem to cough up the equivalent amount enthusiasm for the welfare of babies born into poverty, disease and violence. Once they've been shot out of the womb, all bets are off.

This is why Dear Leader's first veto, preventing the use of federal funds to do research on embryonic stem cells is an unbelievable bit of BS. We're talking about degrading frozen embryos that were going to be tossed away at fertility clinics for goodness sake. Researchers working on cures for spinal cord injuries, Alzheimers, Parkinson's and other diseases will now have to rely on private funds in this area, thanks to Bush's fundie inclinations.
After bitter exchanges over faith and morals, the House has failed to override President Bush's veto of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. Needing a two-thirds majority to overcome that veto, the vote fell considerably short (235-193).

Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is pleased the president stood his ground in defending the sanctity of life...."His unswerving commitment to the cause of the unborn underscores the lack of conviction displayed by the supposedly pro-life members of the House and Senate who voted to pass this barbarous legislation."
I'm with Bob Geiger over at HuffPost. The wingers should adopt 400,000 embryos.
Senate and House Democratic leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) need to call these guys on their pious claims and immediately propose legislation that would fund an adoption program for all 400,000 of the frozen embryos stored throughout America. The first people who should step up to the plate and adopt one of these microscopic entities are the 37 Senators who voted against the stem cell research bill on Tuesday and the 193 members of the House who refused to override Bush's veto of the bill yesterday. Heck, the Bush family alone could probably adopt a couple hundred of them.

That leaves only about 399,500 of the little cells to find homes for, which is where Bush can start a faith-based, Christian program and enlist the help of James Dobson, at the ultraconservative Focus on the Family, who called the stem cell bill "barbarous legislation" and lauded the veto, calling Bush "a man of his word and a champion for the pre-born."

With the 1.5 million listeners they claim for their daily radio broadcast and the combined circulation of about 2.3 million subscribers for their magazines, Focus on the Family alone should be able to provide cozy little Petri dishes for the remaining cells by the end of July.

But if, by any chance, they turn out to be a bunch of hypocrites who don't really see these as living beings or who just don't give a damn enough to help them, Bush can always hit up those God-fearing -- and science-fearing -- people at the Family Research Council (FRC).
You know, what about saving the sperm, while we're at it? I think the fundies should push legislation banning men from masturbating, because that's spilled seed that could have been used to create a precious life as well.


NC Rep. receives 'Defender of Marriage' award

"Congressman McIntyre exemplifies courage and moral conviction by defending the values of the American people as embodied in AFM’s Marriage Amendment. He stands with the vast majority of Americans – of every race, color and creed – who want our laws to send a positive message to children about marriage, family and their future."
-- Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage

NC Seventh District wingnut Representative Mike McIntyre voted for the House marriage amendment last week, and this week the fundies gave him a little award for his troubles, with a dash of racial harmony for the photo op.
McIntyre says his Christian faith would not allow him to fall under the pressure to follow the majority of his fellow Democrats. "To me this is not an issue about party or about geography or about economic or social division or class," the congressman says. "It's an issue that affects all people of all ages, of all backgrounds, of all races."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
McIntyre was also saluted for his homobigotry by Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Reverend Sam Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).

Because of his stand, he was given a "Defender of Marriage" award on Tuesday by the group Alliance for Marriage. "I was blessed when I received [that award] that one of the groups sponsoring that was CORE -- the Congress on Racial Equality, a group that has been traditionally a strong civil rights group," he shares. "And we had African-American pastors and a Hispanic pastor, in fact, there."
Civil rights, of course, has a different meaning for this crowd.


This and that

* Hillary and Julie Goodridge, the lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, the ground-breaking case that established the right of same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts, have separated after two decades together. Sad news, but they will always be remembered for their role in history. Expect the wingers to grab ahold of this one, despite the mile-long list of minute-long failed het marriages.

* Blender Tom S. wrote in about a documentary that he and his partner are taking part in, Through Thick and Thin, about the unfair immigration laws for binational gay couples. He said:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
We're kind of in a pretty bad crossroads now with the marriage issue and the immigration issue.

We've decided to move to Canada and get the hell outta here after spending $15K to try and get him asylum in the US. He's still in deportation proceedings. We realized it's not worth the fight any longer to remain here with the wingnuts when we can be safe, happy and equal there.
This is a f*cking shame. But can you blame him?! I have several friends in the same predicament, on pins and needles worrying about visas and being separated due to our government's ignorance and hostility towards loving couples who merely want to stay together.


* Chris at Law Dork blogs about Holy Joe and the potential Dem in-fighting this fall if Lieberman loses to Lamont and goes Indy. He echoes the netroots' call for incumbent crybaby Joe to allow Lamont to run against the Republican nominee unimpeded if the primary goes south for the Connecticut senator.

* Check out Mad Kane's Ode To The Groper...

* Just so you know, here are the 33 members (all Republicans, btw, no surprise) who voted against the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act -- it passed 390-33.
Jo Bonner and Terry Everett of Alabama; Trent Franks and John B. Shadegg of Arizona; Wally Herger, John T. Doolittle, Edward R. Royce, Gary G. Miller, Dana Rohrabacher, John Campbell, all of California; Joel Hefly and Thomas G. Tancredo of Colorado; Tom Price, John Linder, Lynn A. Westmoreland, Charlie Norwood, Nathan Deal and Phil Gingrey, all of Georgia; Dan Burton of Indiana, Iowa’s Steve King, Richard H. Baker of Louisiana, Roscoe G. Barlett of Maryland, New Jersey’s Scott Garrett; Virginia Foxx and Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina; South Carolina’s J. Gresham Barrett, John J. Duncan Jr. from Tennessee and six from Texas: Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton, K. Michael Conaway, Mac Thornberry and Ron Paul.

Not voting were Julia Carson, a Congressional Black Caucus member from Indiana; Jo Ann Davis of Virginia, Lane Evans of Illinois, Missouri’s Sam Graves, Michael McNulty from New York, Annie M. Northup from Kentucky, Pete Sessions of Texas, Louise McIntosh Slaughter of New York and Todd Tiahrt of Kansas.
* Foreclosures are going up (you knew this was coming; h/t R. Neal, Facing South). Foreclosure.com's 2006 Mid-year market analysis shows that Georgia ranks highest among states in foreclosure rates this year, followed by Indiana, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Utah. The reason? In many cases, predatory lending is an issue with overextension in the form of "suicide loans", or "piggyback mortgages":
Typically for people with little or no down payment, the amount for the first mortgage is set so it does not exceed 80% of the home's value. This allows the borrower to avoid paying Mortgage Insurance (MI). The remaining loan amount is financed as a second mortgage by way of a Home Equity Loan or a Home Equity Line of Credit and "piggybacked" onto the first.


Bring out the tiny fiddle for Repent America

Boo-hoo, the whackjob fundies of Repent America got put in the paddy wagon for proselytizing at the Gay Games. As you might imagine, they are portraying themselves as harrassed Christians. Here's the Wildmon "news organ" spin on the story. (AgapePress):
Volunteers with a Philadelphia-based Christian ministry claim they were harassed by authorities in Chicago, Illinois, for sharing the gospel with homosexuals who were in town for the city's "Gay Games," an Olympics-style sports event series for homosexuals. Three people with the evangelical group Repent America say they were handcuffed and arrested by Chicago police officers for passing out Christian literature to homosexuals and holding up signs with Bible verses near Navy Pier.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The evangelists had been warned that they would be arrested if they were caught handing out literature outside of certain designated "free-speech zones." But even after they moved across the street from Navy Pier as directed, the police returned and told the Christians they could not stay in that area and then arrested them.

Repent America filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order. Consequently, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority -- the government agency that runs Navy Pier -- agreed to allow the Christian group to continue their activity there. However, Chicago attorney John Mauck says the arresting officers had made it clear, at least one of them in profane language, that Repent America's message was not welcome.

It is not unusual, Mauck notes, for evangelical ministry workers and other believing individuals to encounter this kind of response. "There's a level of antagonism among some people against the Christian message, that it's politically incorrect or somehow insulting," he says.


Q of the day - HS music

What records/musical artists were popular in your high school when you attended?

I attended NYC's Stuyvesant High School from 1977-1981 (more on that below). We were an eclectic bunch.

All of these were released on glorious vinyl, youngsters (I picked some of the ones that really date me)...

1977
* Boston ("More Than a Feeling")
* Fleetwood Mac (Rumours)
* Billy Joel (The Stranger)
* Earth, Wind & Fire (All 'n' All)
* The Clash (The Clash)

1978
* Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack)
* Blondie (Parallel Lines)
* Bruce Springsteen (Darkness on the Edge of Town)
* The Cars
* The Police (Outlandos D'Amour)
* Chic (C'Est Chic)
* Elvis Costello (This Year's Model)
* Funkadelic (One Nation Under a Groove)

1979
* The Police (Regatta De Blanc)
* Michael Jackson (Off The Wall)
* The B-52's
* Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Damn the Torpedoes)
* Donna Summer (Bad Girls)

1980
* Pretenders
* Dexy's Midnight Runners
* Adam and The Ants (Kings of the Wild Frontier)
* Devo (Freedom of Choice)

1981
* The Human League (Dare!)
* The Police (Ghost in the Machine)
* Daryl Hall and John Oates (Private Eyes)
* Squeeze (East Side Story)

Eventually some kids -- the ones with dough -- started bringing boom boxes [!] to school when they became popular. I saw my first Walkman when I was at Stuy, btw.


This one cost about $200 in 1980 dollars. Everyone's mouths dropped open when this kid brought it to class, because we knew his dad spent a mint on that thing. How cool was this to have a personal stereo that small (now you can get a knockoff of the little guy for $10 in your local drug store).


***

I thought about this topic because my 25th reunion is coming up in October.

Stuy is one of the specialized high schools in the NYC Public School system (you had to take a test to get in; the focus of the schools is math and science). Stuy is now located in a new, hi-tech building in the Battery Park City area (and the school served as one of the bases for rescue and recovery workers in the days after 9/11); back in my day Stuy was located on 15th Street near 1st Avenue in Manhattan.


This is my Stuy. I can't believe it has been 25 years. Right: Big...hair...must...be...stopped. Taken outside of Carnegie Hall, where our graduation was held.

* Wikipedia entry for Stuyvesant


Parents

Blender Andrew R. sent this one in, saying "when my partner and I see these articles we always say but we cant have kids. Amazing how low the bar is for hets when it comes to raising kids."
A 17-year-old girl, in the U.S. on a visa, stands accused of dumping her newborn baby near a retention pond in Marysville, leaving him for dead.

The baby boy with the umbilical cord still attached was found in a plastic garbage bag Saturday night, apparently after being tossed over a fence, police said. The newborn was covered in blood and appeared to be no more than a few hours old.

The baby suffered a mild case of hypothermia and was taken to Providence Everett Medical Center; at last report, the infant was doing OK.

And you also have the John and Linda Dollars of the world. They are the Florida couple who tortued and starved their children, then fled, eventually being caught and charged. The kids were beaten with belts, paddles, switches and whips, kicked, and at least once struck with a cattle prod. [The Dollars surrendered their parental rights in June 2005.]

Of course, whipping your son with a belt enough to hospitalize him is not a crime in Ohio. At least not according to the judge in Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone's case.


He told his son that he was going to "whip the black off you."

Parenting is the hardest job in the world - and way too many people are parents that probably shouldn't be, but they do have the right to procreate, of course. Then you have gay people that desperately seek to be caring parents who live in states that make it hard or impossible to foster or adopt.

The world is screwed up.


Fundie activists target bookstores, gay culture with protests and intimidation

Thursday, July 20, 2006

“We're out here preaching the gospel and warning the sodomites that are part of this gathering that if they don't repent they are going to hell. We have an objection to [homosexuality] because God has an exception to it. It's an abomination in the sight of God. It's the most accepted tolerated sin in America right now, I think, besides abortion, and the church is way too quiet about it."
-- Pastor Billy Ball of the Faith Baptist Church of Primrose, Georgia, who has picketed Atlanta's Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, often intimidating patrons
AfterElton has an article by David Leone up on the efforts of the bible beater set to have gay-related books banned from libraries, to demonstrate in front of gay-owned stores to drive away business, and encourage boycotts of sponsors of gay events.

By and large, most of these efforts fail, but there is a chipping away with small victories here and there that have a chilling effect in areas where there isn't enough critical gay mass to counter the well-funded fundamentalist machines.
Philip Rafshoon is a success story. As owner of the Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse in the heart of midtown Atlanta for 12 years running, Rafshoon has created not only a comfortable place to read, relax and shop, but has also become something of a focal point for Atlanta 's gay and lesbian community.

Perhaps this visibility--and Outwrite's proximity to the Atlanta Pride parade--is what brought a group of anti-gay Christian activists to picket in front of his store.

According to Rafshoon, on three successive Saturdays before, during, and after the June 24 Pride celebration, 15 to 20 people congregated in front of the Piedmont Avenue establishment, holding up signs citing Old Testament Bible passages and shouting hateful messages through a bullhorn.

...Writer Brent Hartinger is concerned that people not look at this three-weekend protest as a single incident, but as part of a burgeoning effort by Christian activists to undermine gay rights and other progressive issues nationwide.

The 41-year-old author has personal experience with such protests. His books, Geography Club and Order of the Poison Oak, have been openly challenged or secretly banned in communities across the U.S. In these cases, Christian activists put enormous pressure on school boards, principals and libraries to weed out material they find objectionable.
This is a great article with a lot of choice quotes from the unhinged Pastor Ball (what about that name, folks...). Read the rest.


'I understand that racism still lingers in America'

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
U.S. President George W. Bush gestures at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual convention in Washington July 20, 2006. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Talk to the hand, man. What about your spokesbot Tony Snow, who insists that "racism isn't that big a deal any more" and "it's rapidly becoming an ugly memory."

Besides, actions speak louder than words for the folks attending the NAACP's annual meeting today as the President bleated a few vague statements about how blacks should come home to the party of Lincoln, and how it's time to trust the GOP.
Bush lamented the GOP's rocky relations with blacks. He pledged to improve that relationship and work with the NAACP's new leader to achieve common goals.

"I understand that racism still lingers in America," Bush told more than 2,200 people at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's annual gathering. "It's a lot easier to change a law than to change a human heart. And I understand that many African-Americans distrust my political party."

That line generated boisterous applause and cheers from the audience, which generally gave the president a polite, reserved reception.

"I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historical ties with the African-American community," Bush said. "For too long, my party wrote off the African-American vote, and many African-Americans wrote off the Republican Party."
Good grief, does he think the public's memory is that short?


This is the same president who was briefed about the gravity of Katrina, yet he told the nation that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" and that based on his review of the next day's imaginary newspapers, that he thought that New Orleans "dodged the bullet." An awful lot of poor folks of color were left behind.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
It was all bullsh*t
.

In his speech today, he didn't mention Iraq, the disproportionately high unemployment in the black community (9% in June versus the national jobless rate of 4.6%). He apparently did mention No Child Left Behind, neglecting to mention that his pet program has been underfunded. Given this was his outreach speech, he could have phoned this one in and sent Ken Mehlman out to tap dance for him.

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

***

UPDATE: via Echidne; Bush can't stop manhandling people. I guess we should be lucky he didn't rub his head for good luck.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
U.S. President George W. Bush playfully slaps U.S. Congressman Al Green (D-TX) as he greets delegates following his remarks at the annual convention of the NAACP. REUTERS/Jason Reed.

Related:


* WTF is wrong with him?

Dome tip to Ross K., who asked for this thread.


Open thread - carp-a-lot


A Silver Asian carp one leaps out of the water in the wake of a fishing boat traveling up the Illinois River near Henry, IL. (David Schaper, NPR)

No real reason for posting this other than it is amusing. See the video of these fish 'flying.' Apparently the swelling population of the bighead and silver carp in the Illinois River has fisherman turning to this fish as a marketable commodity -- "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em."

Holly, sent this one in, saying: "I foresee lots of gefilte fish!"

[Sorry for the less frequent posts and slower email responses this week -- I'm drowning in several non-blog-related big projects in the real world for the next couple of weeks -- have to pay the bills...]

Carp away...


Holy Joe's GOP dough

lieberman-bush.jpg
Graphic: Russ.
"It doesn’t mean much to us. If people give us money because they support us, that’s great. But Joe Lieberman is under no obligation to support them. We’re just trying to keep up with the money machine that Lamont is."
-- Sean Smith, Lieberman’s campaign manager
Joe will simply turn his back on all the donors who have been backers of Republicans and Washington incumbents -- it's just bipartisan appeal, mind you, nothing to do with his record. I'm really convinced, aren't you? (NYT):
Anyone looking for evidence of Mr. Lieberman’s bipartisan appeal can find it in his roster of recent contributors, which includes organizations that traditionally give more to Republicans. They include engineering and construction firms, some with contracts in Iraq. Those firms include Bechtel, Fluor International and Siemens, which support Republicans 64 to 70 percent of the time, according to data compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign and lobbying activities.

Florida Power and Light, which supports Republicans 84 percent of the time, gave $5,000 to Mr. Lieberman. Areva Cogema, a builder of nuclear power plants that gives 70 percent of its contributions to Republicans, contributed $1,000.

An Ohio law firm that directs 80 percent of its donations to Republicans gave $1,000. SRA International, a technology consultant that favors Republicans 66 percent of the time, gave $1,000. America’s Health Insurance Plans, representing health insurers, gives to Republicans 71 percent of the time and donated $2,000 to Mr. Lieberman.
Also:
* DSCC to Holy Joe: you're on your own
* Holy Joe collecting signatures for independent campaign
* Holy Joe vs. Ned Lamont on LGBT rights
* Holy Joe: Bombs away on Iran
* Holy Joe on-air meltdown
* Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Holy Joe has got to go!


A tortuous wait in Washington

Washington high court justice says gay marriage ruling imminent. I guess it depends on what "imminent" means, since it has been predicted that there would be a ruling on SSM months ago.
State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens said Wednesday she believes the court's long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban will be issued before this September's primary, contrary to speculation that the justices would hold off because of the topic's sensitivity.

...Many people have speculated recently about when the court would rule. Chief Justice Gerry Alexander told reporters in January that he hoped the court would be able to issue its opinion during the 2006 Legislature, but lawmakers adjourned in March. He declined to comment Wednesday. In early June, Gov. Chris Gregoire reflected a widely held opinion when she guessed the ruling wouldn't come before the November elections.

...The primary is scheduled for Sept. 19. Owens said she could not say with any more specificity when the ruling would come. As of Wednesday afternoon, the court had not listed any rulings to be issued Thursday.
You have to believe that the State Supreme Court in Washington is simply trying to do the right thing on its decision on SSM by carefully looking at the state constitution and whether there is room to interpret that marriage is open to gays and lesbians. (365gay):
The case hinges on how the nine justices interpret 34 words in the state constitution. The key passage is Article 1, Section 12, which says, “No law shall be passed granting to any citizen ... privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.”
Hat tip to Paul in SF, who said: "I'll be jumping on my bike and motoring up to Olympia on Friday. If this should happen to come down during the week I am there I will give you updates from on the scene."


Fundie: Wicca is demonic cult of rebellion

Have mercy, do these people realize how ridiculous they sound? Nevermind.
Tom McMahon is the president and executive director of The Berean Call, a ministry that encourages spiritual discernment among Christians. McMahon, co-author of The Seduction of Christianity, says Wicca is a pantheistic cult dedicated to the achievement of spiritual power through nature worship, spells, and rituals.

According to the ministry leader, Wicca is one of many such cults around the world -- and they all have a common source. "They have a common denominator, they have a common idea -- even their rituals are the same. Yet these people have never been connected to one another," he comments. "There must be an intelligent source that promotes this throughout the world; and the scriptures call him the adversary, the god of this world. It's really Satan." McMahon says many teenagers -- and even professing Christians -- are drawn to Wicca because it offers power and has a rebellious aspect.
McMahon's co-founder, Christian author Dave Hunt has gone off the deep end before, with his book (sold on the BC web site), Yoga and the Body of Christ. His thesis is that by relaxing and getting into a few poses, you'll be taken over by demons -- "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."

He also has the latest information for true believers about the satanic nature of psychic powers.
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.


Radio show host suspended for homoasshattery

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"And I don't mean gay fag, I just mean the way when you're a sophomore, juvenile, in grammar school and somebody would say you're like a sissy boy fag. I don’t mean gay fag. I mean like sissy boy. He’s a little sissy boy. Wife wears the pants."
-- the wit and wisdom of WRKO (Boston) wannabe shock jock wannabe John DePetro, referring to Big Dig honcho Matt Amorello, who he called "Fag Matt" on the air.
WTF is this guy saying up there? Man, if you're going to gay-bash on the air, at least be coherent.

Boston's WRKO is an AM talk radio station, and it features the above intellectual heavyweight John DePetro along with your garden variety, popular right-wing hosts, including Viagra-Oxy Rush, Queen Drudge and that knobend Michael Savage.

In his zeal to lambast Matt Amorello, whose head is on the chopping block after last week's Big Dig tunnel collapse/fracas, DePetro unleashed that verbal homobigot diarrhea over the airwaves.
But the radio host's comments incensed gay advocates. "It's extremely offensive. It's childish. It's incendiary," said Emily Pitt, ofFenway Community Health.

"As far as I know, Matt Amorello is not a gay man, but even if he were, it's just ridiculous," said Pitt, who didn't hear DePetro's show but received e-mails about it.

"It's pathetic," added Massachusetts Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios (D-Cambridge), who is openly gay.

...DePetro, who is suspended and off the air today and tomorrow, did not return a call. It's unclear whether he will be docked two days' pay.
Ah, let the guy hang himself on the air. The ratings will tank and sponsors will pull out in that market.


Open thread - not ready for the heat

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Visitors cool off with a sprinkler on the Champs-de-Mars facing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tuesday, July 18, 2006. French authorities issued an orange alert, the third-highest in a heat measuring scale ranging from the lowest green to highest red, as temperatures soared to 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 Fahrenheit) in many parts of the country. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Is it so cool most of the year in London that no one thought the Underground would ever need A/C? Record temperatures -- 97 degrees, maybe even 101 in coming days -- and people are sweltering in the tin cans below ground. I remember riding the NYC subway back in the 70s when the A/C was hit or miss on the old cars of the C and A lines. Nothing was worse than riding in a hot car, crammed like sardines, stuck in the armpit of someone who 1) didn't bathe and 2) didn't put on any deodorant.

On NPR today, the reporter said that the conditions people were exposed to in the Underground would be illegal to transport livestock under. (AP):
Lions licked blood-flavored ice blocks in the zoo, judges went wigless in court and guards at Buckingham Palace ducked into the shade. Britain faced the hottest day ever recorded in July on Wednesday as a heat wave swept much of Europe. Temperatures hit 96.6 degrees south of London — so hot some road surfaces melted.

...London's Underground has no air conditioning and the Evening Standard newspaper measured temperatures in the train system at 117 degrees. Operator Transport for London takes no measurements but did not dispute the figure.

"I don't even want to talk about it," said Jean Thurgood of east London, fanning herself frantically on a stuffy bus. "It feels like the hottest day of the century."
Thousands in Europe died from the heat a few years ago. From the look of these stats, the dearth of A/C is going to result in more deaths:

* Two people died in Spain -- temps climbed above 104 degrees
* It reached 97 degrees in Paris on Wednesday (over 15,000 died in 2003 from heat-related factors)
* The mercury rose to 95 degrees in Berlin, 93.9 in Brussels, Belgium, and 95.5 in the Dutch city of Utrecht.
* In the Netherlands, the Nijmegen 4-Day March was canceled after two participants died in the heat. Some 300 people taking part in the popular walk became ill Tuesday in temperatures that reached 95 degrees and 30 were hospitalized.

This is insane. The article quoted an Australian man living in London for the summer and he said that not only is A/C a rarity, but many people don't even have fans.

Any overseas Blenders out there -- why don't people have either fans or A/C after that 2003 nightmare? It's not like the global warming situation is going to get any better.

Related:
* Past Q of the day: could you get by without air conditioning where you live/work?


How many minutes until the AFA calls for a Wells Fargo boycott?

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Wells Fargo have announced a call for applicants for the for Second LGBT Business Owner of Year Award.
"We are proud to again partner with an industry leader like Wells Fargo and Company to recognize excellence in LGBT business," said Justin G. Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president.

One outstanding LGBT business owner will be recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit as demonstrated by their companies' business performance, innovation, growth, and personal service to the community. NGLCC and Wells Fargo, both dedicated to supporting LGBT small business needs, began their partnership in 2005 with the NGLCC/Wells Fargo LGBT Small Business Award, making 2006 the second year of the award.
I predict that the Wildmons will have their own press releases out shortly. Daddy Dobson and Focus on the Anus severed banking ties to WF last year over its support of gays.

Wells Fargo has long been friendly to the homos:
* Wells Fargo has embraced the GLBT community for over 20 years.
* Since the 1980s, Wells Fargo has given more than $14 million to organizations serving the GLBT community nationwide.
* The company has donated to several local non-profits and national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
* 2004 and 2005 HRC Corporate Equality Index: Perfect score of "100"
* 2003 Diversity Inc.com: #7 Top Companies for GLBT Employees
* 2000 GLAAD Fairness Award
* 2000 Advocate Magazine: Top 10 Workplaces for GLBT Employees


A film leather-tailor made for LaBarbera

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

As Shakes Sis said about Illinois Family Institute's Peter LaBarbera when sending me this link -- "She'll be the phone to preorder tickets from Fandango in no time!"

Gay-themed film "Mr. Leather" coming out.
Leather fans will hit the big screen early next year in "Mr. Leather," a documentary that examines an underground gay subculture.

Specialty distributor Here! Films has roped in worldwide rights to Jason Garrett's directorial debut, which follows nine men with a dream: to be crowned Mr. Los Angeles Leather.

In addition to following the black-clad contestants to the 2003 contest, where tastes ranged from police uniforms to metal-studded G-strings, Garrett interviewed sex experts, psychologists and doctors about the leather-fetish phenomenon.
What a bounty of perversion for him to "investigate"! Perhaps he'll wear his chaps to the screening (in the name of all things holy and family oriented of course). I can't wait for the review so I know what I'm missing.

Perhaps the DVD will be on Petey's pre-ordered or end up on his Amazon Wish List.


WingNutDaily: Middle East crisis caused by the homos

We queers are a powerful lot! Look at the mayhem being caused by the homos that want to get together for World Pride in Jerusalem. Instead of partying on, apparently the fags and dykes have been secretly working in concert with Hezbollah to create all the havoc. Who knew? (WND):
Are Israel's troubles in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and the Hezbollah rockets slamming daily into major Israeli population centers here a result of the Jewish state's tacit support for a homosexual parade slated for next month in Jerusalem?

Some rabbis seem to think so, and they are attempting to block the event from taking place in Judaism's holiest city.

"Why does this war break out this week, all of sudden with little warning? Because this is the exact week the Jewish people are trying to decide whether the gay pride parade should take place in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv," Pinchas Winston, a noted author, rabbi and lecturer based in Jerusalem told WND.

..."This [parade] is an attack against God himself," Winston said. "God has told the Jewish people, 'If you are not going to fight for my honor, you will be forced to fight for your own honor.'"
H/t to Eliot of News Fit to Post


Ken Blackwell's outreach flyer

Another post in the "Ken Blackwell is a vile individual" series...

How about this flyer, which went out residents in Cleveland's East Side suburbs (which has a high minority population). It's a not so subtle message that black folks should be worried about the prospect of Democratic candidate Ted Strickland winning the race for governor.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Blackwell's camp says it's simply "humorous and informative."

Related:
* Ken Blackwell is a vile individual
* Ken Blackwell is a vile individual, part 2
* Chris King's 1st Amendment Page on Blackwell
* More posts on Blackwell


Alabama may have elected its first openly gay legislator


Hell has frozen over, huh? This is amazing news (hat tip to Kathy of Birmingham Blues for the update) about Patricia Todd, who just may have won the House District 54 runoff race in Birmingham. Cross your fingers, because the win is slim (59 votes!) and provisional ballots are being tabulated today.
With 100 percent of boxes reporting Tuesday, the unofficial count showed Todd had 1,173 votes, or 51 percent, to Hendricks' 1,114, or 49 percent. Hendricks had held a large lead earlier in the evening and appeared to be heading to victory, but Todd moved narrowly into the lead as late votes were counted. The final outcome of the race may not be certain until election officials count provisional ballots on Wednesday.
While we were down in Birmingham last weekend, I asked Kate to drive me around one of the known gay-friendly areas there, Crestwood (it has its own Pride Parade), to take a look. Patricia Todd lawn signs were everywhere. It gives you hope.

UPDATE: The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has a release up...
Patricia Todd made history Tuesday when voters in Alabama's 54th legislative district voted to send the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever that legislature will include an openly gay Representative. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation's largest gay and lesbian political action committee, endorsed Todd and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help fund her campaign. Todd has no Republican opponent in the general election in November.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Denis Dison of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute sent this pic in of Patricia Todd with Victory Fund staffers: Meighan Mahaffey, Patricia Todd, Brett Johnson, Jason Mida.

"The road to equality in Alabama is a mile shorter today," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "Gays and lesbians in Alabama will now have what all Americans deserve -- a voice and a vote. Alabama knows well what a single voice can accomplish. We applaud Patricia's courage in stepping up to be heard," Wolfe said.
***


And in equally interesting 'Bama news, political newcomer Luther Strange defeated Alabama Public Service Commissioner George Wallace Jr., in the GOP vote for lieutenant governor.
Wallace, the only son of Governors George and Lurleen Wallace, began making speeches for his father when 6 years old and spent 16 years in elective office. But when the 54-year-old candidate conceded Tuesday night, he indicated the days of following in his parents' footsteps are over.

...Strange, a 53-year-old lawyer and lobbyist from Mountain Brook, was making his first race for public office, and he said voters liked it. "People really want to see change in Montgomery. The fact I'm not part of the Montgomery establishment and have not held office before is an advantage for me," Strange said at a victory party in Birmingham.

Another famous name in Alabama politics is next up for Strange. Folsom, the son of two-time Gov. James E. "Big Jim" Folsom, said he will run on his accomplishments as lieutenant governor and governor, including recruiting the Mercedes auto plant to the state. Folsom said the race will be "about what is best for the average Alabamians, not the special interests."
Wallace sadly didn't fall too far from his father's political tree. last year he welcomed the delegates of the "uptown Klan", the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) to its convention, saying "There is nothing hateful about those people I've seen."

Why he felt the need to suck up to the bigots, even in Alabama, makes no sense if you want to garner votes. However, his hysteria over undocumented workers on the campaign's Issues page is a sign of the Wallace times.

Also:
* Skies brighten a bit for gays in Alabama


Ralph Reed hits the skids in Georgia primary

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


No Lieutenant Governorship for you, boy wonder (and former head of the Christian Coalition).

52% of precincts reporting:

Cagle 55.9%
Reed 44.1%

Ralphie's got cement Abramoff shoes on.

UPDATE (10:15 PM): He's conceded.

* Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff and a plan for "mortgaging old black people" (Salon)
* Wingnut 'choirboy' Ralph Reed tied to DeLay ally

(H/t Holly)


Open thread - right wing crybabies

Waaah. Too flippin' bad, huh? They are ready to go after the "no" votes on the amendment. This is what they wanted.

Dr. Don Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association, says most members of the U.S. House of Representatives believe that homosexual marriage should be outlawed. Those who believe otherwise, he insists, need to be held to account. "We want to identify these 187 members of Congress who believe that homosexual marriage should be legal," Wildmon says. "Every one of them will be running for re-election this fall," he explains, "and we want to let their constituencies know how they voted."

See the roll call vote on H.J.Res. 88


Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council described today's vote as a failure on the part of a House minority to do its duty by representing the American people. And just as happened in the Senate, he laments, just because the two-thirds majority needed for the amendment to go forward was not there, the House chose to "turn a deaf ear" to the wishes of the vast majority of those they are sworn to represent.
Let's take a look at Freeperland...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

This is absurd! Poll afer poll after polls tells you the public at LARGE doesn't want GAY MARRIAGE!

This should be and will be dealt with on the state level, AND it can only help us in the election. And yes, this election IS that important. 4 posted on 07/18/2006 11:49:55 AM PDT by Darkwolf377

I have an idea. Let's create a government for the people and by the people.

Well this can work another way. The House can get itself off the hook by saying let the states do it themselves--amend their own state constitutions. (local pols will look like the baddies to the gays and lesbians)

Wonder how much money has been raised by both sides on this issue? Really, how is this going to change the average American`s life?

O.K., gang, there's another way to do this. Article V provides an alternative way to send a Constitutional Amendment to the States. If 2/3 of the State Legislatures pass a resolution favoring the creation of a Constitutional Convention, then the Congress must call one. Said Convention can then propose (by a 2/3 vote of the delegates voting by states) Constitutional amendments that are then forwarded to the States (bypassing the Congress) for affirmation by a 3/4 vote. There are already more than 2/3 of the states that have gay "marriage" bans.

Unbelievable! And these jerks say they represent the people. They're an embarrassment.

My rep voted "Present"?! WTF does that mean? I'll have to ask him.

It means he is a coward.

A Constitutional Convention is a bad idea... the convention won't be limited to the Gay Marriage question... we'll also have every left-wing, fuzzy-thinking, spendthrift, Commie, pinko liberal issue on the table. I shudder to think what might happen.

It won't be dealt with at the state level if the Supreme Court decides to force it on everyone just like they did with Roe. In fact, unless we act, that's what will happen, at least with the current Robed Rulers. You cannot read Lawrence honestly without knowing that. This is an amendment to curb government overreach by the judicial branch.

The problem is that no matter what states do, if the SCOTUS says equal protection covers gay marriage, that is it. The purpose of a constitutional amendment is to block the supremes from doing that. It would be preferable not to have an amendment and a conservative court.

I'd expect this from godless demoncrats but THIS MANY Republicans - appalls me to no end!

Melissa Bean (D-IL) voted against the ban even though She Represents the most Conservative district in Illinois. SHE IS TOAST!!!!

LOL..Harold Ford, Jr. voted for it. He must be running for another office. Don Imus and Chris Matthews are deeply saddened.

There must be a TON of gays in the House!!

The usual suspects, pantywastemarkkirk, littlerichboycharliebass, limpdickchrisshays, etc.

Gay Wanna-bes.

Interesting that Ohio's Sherrod Brown (running against Mike DeWine for a senate seat) and Ted Strickland (running for governor in Ohio) were both MIA for the vote. Seems like a convenient way to avoid controversy.

But you know the STUPID party (GOP) won't make this a campaign issue. They don't like to talk about those on "controversial lifestyles{ for fear of being vilified. Too often the GOP has NO BACKBONE and this "big tent" crap fuels it.

David Dreier and Mary Bono go Rainbow. The rest of our California (R) contingent voted Yea. Of course, the California Dems all voted Nay.

The Log Cabin Republicans belongs to the LGBT community. A federal political action committee working to build new alliances in the gay and lesbian community in the Republican Party.


Marriage amendment fails to get 2/3 majority in House

"We have just won several important court decisions in the past few weeks...but the amendment's proponents are still playing 'Let's make a deal' with the liberals and the homosexual lobby."
-- Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty, who was glad the amendment effort tanked because its language could have opened the door to civil unions.
As expected, the Marilyn Musgrave-sponsored measure went down 236-187, failing to achieve a two-thirds majority (290 votes). Last year, the vote was 227-to-186.

The fundies are either moaning or convincing themselves that they have the wind at their backs. (AP):
"The overwhelming majority of the American people support traditional marriage," said Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., sponsor of the amendment. "And the people have a right to know whether their elected representatives agree with them."

...The White House, in a statement Tuesday, urged passage of the measure. "When activist judges insist on redefining the fundamental institution of marriage for their states or potentially for the entire country, the only alternative left to make the people's voice heard is an amendment of the Constitution."

"Our momentum in the states is extremely strong and Washington is playing catch-up," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage.
The Senate already tossed out its version when it came up for a vote in June, 49-48. The AmTaliban had predicted over 50 votes; they only managed to garner one more (the tally was 48-50 in 2004).

This vote was the third piece of this year's election strategy extravaganza, the House Republican American Values Agenda. How about this quote from the Tyrannosaurus of Turpitude, sex machine House Speaker Denny Hastert:

"For thousands of years the definition of marriage has been the union between one man and one woman. Marriage is the very foundation of our society where families are formed and communities are established. Today we are seeking to protect this vital institution as it is under attack by activist judges across the nation. Forty-five states have passed laws or constitutional amendments defining marriage between a man and a woman, yet non- elected, liberally motivated judges have overturned the voice of the American people time after time. It's unfortunate that more than a majority of democrats today have sided with these liberal judges and voted against this measure. Be assured that this issue is not over and that we will continue to send a message to the American people that preserving and protecting marriage is a priority and we will continue to fight for the American family on this front and others.
Good As You has clips of some Tar Heel House Bigots -- Rep. Robin Hayes, Rep. Virginia Foxx, and Rep. Patrick McHenry, all bleating away during the debate.

Here's brain-dead Robin Hayes (check out coverage on this clown at BlueNC):


"Heterosexual unions have a biological potential to provide society with a tangible benefit -- children."

***


Angie Paccione (l) has a chance to unseat the unforgivable bigot Musgrave.

By the way, Marilyn Musgrave's challenger is State Rep. Angie Paccione. Gay-supportive Paccione just announced that she has actually outraised Musgrave by $60,000 in the second quarter of this year. Buxxx to Marilyn's coffers have dropped $34,000 since last quarter.
Paccione noted that while Musgrave receives the vast majority of her money from special interests outside of Colorado, her own donations come from Coloradans who give less than $100. Ninety percent of Paccione’s donors come from Colorado, and 87 percent of donors gave less than $100.

Paccione added that a recent CD4 poll showed her and the incumbent Musgrave in a virtual tie, with 51 percent of voters wanting someone new, and with only 34 percent voting to re-elect Musgrave.
Angie has a post up at DKos, "Marilyn Musgrave's last attack on the Constitution."


Wayne Besen responds to 'Porno Pete'

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Parody in the mailbag: Peter's well-worn Steamworks bathhouse membership card. He has first-hand experience researching the establishment to tell us that it's "a perversion center where men engage in despicable and dangerous acts with other men."

Yesterday I posted Illinois Family Institute honcho and "research porn" connoisseur Peter LaBarbera's unhinged letter to activist Wayne Besen (LaBarbera's up late at night thinking about The Homosexual Blogosphere).

Wayne relished the opportunity to respond with Rebutting Porno Pete's Propaganda. A snippet (you have to go read the whole thing, it's a slam dunk):
[Peter:] On my side of the issue, we think porn use/addiction is a big problem; hopefully some gays will agree with us, but regardless, the endless effort to portray ME as a gay perv because I try to expose the wrongs of your movement makes about as much sense as saying GLAAD supports the Federal Marriage Amendment because they write about it a lot.

[Wayne:] (Pete we, love the sinner, but you must admit, your sins are a tad weird. What the GLBT community is fed up with is that you brazenly exploit us for political gain with no conscience. You are a right wing lobbyist who bears false witness and uses distorted depictions of our lives to pass hateful legislation. If you cared about fairness, you'd attend a PFLAG meeting or take pictures of gay veterans during pride parades. Why not attend the GLAAD Media Awards or an HRC black tie dinner? No, you just want to slither through the tubs at unGodly hours - in the name of God. What you do Peter, is produce pure, unadulterated propaganda and hate. You have made it difficult for kids in school and torn families apart.

Most disturbing, is that LaBarbera has seen his pet "ex-gays" fail three times in a row - yet he tragically keeps beating this dead horse. First, he backed John Paulk, until I photographed him in a gay bar. Then, he touted Wade Richards - a man he now unfairly attacks. Then, he jumped on the Michael Johnston bandwagon, before I exposed him as a fraud. You would have thought Peter would have learned something by now. But, he has no interest in the facts, even as his tired strategies have repeatedly failed. This is profoundly immoral and unBiblical behavior on the part of LaBarbera.


WTF is wrong with him?

I really don't understand what is going on in Dear Leader's mind. It's an endless stream of inappropriate behaviors by a head of state. Here he is "joking" with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel by either grabbing her on the shoulders to startle her, or as John says, to give her an uninvited neck massage.


There's video as well.

Either way this is BS. I'm sorry, but if Bill Clinton was up there behaving this way, you can only imagine what would be said...

Also:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
* A touch of class part 73


* We can't send him abroad


* Bush's dome-rubbing fetish


* Bush using a woman's shirt to wipe his glasses (video)


DNC dances around the closet for the winger press?

There was an article in the WashBlade last Friday that has the wingnut press buzzing away about the Democratic Party's "five-point plan" to combat upcoming state marriage amendments.

The article reported on the NY ruling and Howard Dean's statement on it, as well as the DNC's contribution of $10,000 to assist Equality Illinois in its efforts. DNC spokesperson Damien LaVera outlined the plan, for what it's worth. Here's what was said.
LaVera said the DNC's five-point plan for fighting state ballot measures calling for banning same-sex marriage includes a number of actions the DNC has already put in place.

The first calls for labeling the anti-gay ballot measures "divisive" ploys by the Republicans and others to deflect voter attention from other important issues, including "the Bush's administration's failed policies."

Another consists of the state "party-building" operation that Dean started, LaVera said, which includes specific training for state party operatives in all 50 states on how to campaign against anti-gay ballot measures.

The other elements of the plan, he said, include working closely with the gay group National Stonewall Democrats to "develop strategy and talking points" on the anti-gay ballot measure issue; working cooperatively with campaign organizations fighting the ballot measures in each state where they surface, providing campaign advice, expertise, and logistical and financial support; and to "empower and organize GLBT communities around the country" through the help of the DNC's new gay outreach organizer Brian Bond.
I guess some strategy is better than no strategy (see: the GOP). However, I love that lame-o "there are more important things to think about" strategy instead of explaining why the discrimination itself is wrong. I'm afraid of what those DNC talking points are going to look like.

The winger press, including Daddy Dobson's CitizenLink, and BP News were all over the $10K contribution and five-point plan. Both of the outlets contacted LaVera (who can't confirm the contribution because of DNC policy), but look at the tepid, and strangely constructed statements, telegraphing to the fundies that civil equality issues are practically radioactive. This is hardly reassuring if the DNC hasn't formulated a better response than this to the winger press.

First, from Daddy D.'s CitizenLink (look who turns up with a quote...):
In addition, the publication reported the DNC also contributed money - to the tune of $10,000 - to opponents of a proposed initiative in Illinois. DNC spokesman Damien LaVera told CitizenLink the Democratic Party would not comment directly on whether it contributed that money. "I'm not going to confirm or deny or discuss our strategy on that," LaVera said.

"With respect to issues surrounding marriage," he added, "we understand that our country is involved in an important conversation right now, about the best way to ensure equal rights and protections for all American families. We believe that as that conversation continues, we shouldn't scapegoat groups of people or use marriage as a political wedge issue for political gain. We oppose those efforts and we have not made it any secret."

..."FDR would be turning over in his grave right now, if he knew what today's Democratic Party was engaged in, when it comes to marriage," said Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, and a key backer of the Protect Marriage Illinois movement. "Marriage is not a Democratic issue or a Republican one. It's an American issue," he said. "To see a political party kowtow to homosexual activists like this makes it a really a sad day."
Gee Petey, it doesn't look like serious kowtowing to me. It should be noted that an unnamed RNC rep was asked by CitizenLink about party initiatives to support marriage amendments at the state level, and the comment was "we don't, as a course of policy, financially contribute to or take part in state-level initiative campaigns."

And this from BP Press -- LaVera won't even confirm there's a plan here, and speaks "mostly on background."
LaVera refused to confirm or deny the Blade's report -- which was attributed to him -- that the Democratic National Committee has devised a five-point plan for fighting ballot measures, but he spoke briefly to Baptist Press about some of the actions the committee is taking in regard to marriage amendments.

"We're calling those efforts what they are, we're working to strengthen our state parties, we're consulting with advocates on the ground," he told BP.

...LaVera spoke mostly on background to Baptist Press except to say the DNC opposes "mean-spirited efforts" against "gay marriage" and to refute Baptist Press' characterization of marriage amendment supporters as "pro-family."

"Democrats believe that the best way to support families is by working to address our nation's serious problems," LaVera said. "Democrats are fighting for our nation's families every day by pushing to make healthcare affordable for all Americans, by demanding that we raise the minimum wage, by working to create good jobs in America, by fighting for good public schools and by demanding accountability from elected leaders about the war in Iraq and about corruption in government. These are the real challenges facing America's families, and they are the challenges we are working to meet."
Again, no arguments about fairness, about how marriage equality is stabilizing and positive for gay and lesbian families, more of just "think about the really important matters" families are facing. They step a single toe in the water of support, feel it's cold when the fundies react, and they jerk it out.

The DNC is being asked specifically about the party position and measures of support it's willing to give gay folks and the generalities that come out sound weak and purposely unfocused. If "our country is involved in an important conversation" about equal rights now, it's not all that helpful if the Dems can't even discuss the issue on the record or get its act together about whether the powers that be want there to be a public plan supporting equality.

Jeebus, it makes you think that we're still the crazy granny in the attic to the DNC, and they're letting the AmTaliban press confirm it.


The minimum wage in NC goes up

I almost forgot to mention this bit of news from last week. There's a long way to go to a living wage, but when the feds can't do the right thing, something has to be done -- even in a Red state. Legislators finally came on board, due to hard work by a lot of folks, including North Carolinians for Fair Wages.
Gov. Mike Easley Thursday signed into law a bill that will increase the state's minimum wage by $1.

House Bill 2174 raises the hourly minimum pay rate from $5.15 to $6.15 per hour and also ties North Carolina's minimum wage to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

If the federal minimum wage is raised, employees in North Carolina will receive whichever wage is higher. The federal minimum wage is currently $5.15 an hour and has not been raised in nine years.

At a news conference Thursday, Easley said the bill is just one step in changing the state's economy.

"We are not trying to build a low-road economy based on low wages and low skill. Those days are gone," Easley said.
Tennessee's legislature recently voted down a similar proposal. FS's Chris Kromm noted back in June that the regions that benefit most from NC's boost in the minimum wage are also the most politically conservative; proving this was a win for those still just scraping by in this economy, who aren't served by the business interest lobby:
The NC Justice Center has released a brief (pdf) on who would benefit most from the dollar hike in North Carolina -- and it turns out workers in the mountains and coast, as opposed to the urban areas in the center of the state, stand the most to gain:
Eastern and western North Carolina would benefit the most from a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage. About 5% of workers in eastern North Carolina and 4% of workers in the far western part of the state would see a bump up in wages, compared to about 3% of workers in most of the piedmont.
It's sad, but not surprising, to find out this information, to put it in perspective:
All but six states have minimum wage laws separate from Federal law. Eighteen of those states set a higher minimum wage than the Federal standard. Tennessee is one of the six that does not have its own minimum wage law. Four of the other five are also in the South (Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana). Arkansas has a state minimum wage law, but currently sets it the same as the federal standard.
Hat tip, R. Neal, Facing South


Zimbabwe's homobigot: same-sex handholding now a crime


The 82-year-old "elected" brutal dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has a fixation on gay male affection of any kind, as he is expanding sodomy/"sexual deviance" laws to criminalize any "act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act".

Falling into this category are hugging and hand-holding -- anyone can call those acts out as indecent and men could be arrested. (365gay.com):
Mugabe has a long history of homophobia. He regularly refers to gays and people he suspects to be gay as "less than pigs and dogs".

Earlier this year the 82 year old went on a tirade calling homosexuality "a white disease". "Leave whites to do that," he declared.

Mugabe told the cheering throng that same-sex marriage is a threat to mankind and condemned churches that bless gay unions. He said his government would jail and clergy who performed a blessing ceremony for gay couples in Zimbabwe.
Lesbians, of course, aren't the real target in this hostile-to-women country since "women are not thought of as possessing a sexuality."

Women in general suffer in Zimbabwe. Only now is there a domestic violence bill under consideration (there is currently no such offense). Look at the laundry list of what's still considered "private family matters" --
The Bill seeks to widen the scope of domestic violence to include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, entry into complainant's place without consent where the parties do not share the same residence.

It also includes depriving or hindering the complainant access to his or her place of residence, depriving the complainant of a reasonable share of the use of facilities associated with his or her place of residence.

In the Bill, also considered as domestic violence is the abuse derived from any cultural or customary rites or practices that discriminate or degrade women such as forced virginity testing, female genital mutilation, pledging of women and girls for purposes of appeasing spirits, abduction, child marriages, forced marriages, forced wife inheritance and other such practices.


Q of the day

Monday, July 17, 2006

What are some of the worst films you've seen with A-list actors?

Clearly one recent one has to be The Forgotten, with Julianne Moore, Gary Sinise and Alfre Woodard. OMG, this was a piece of sh*t. There was some serious, probably intentional, deceptive marketing for this movie. She was really slumming in this crappy flick. The first third of it was a psychodrama (which is what the previews suggested) where Moore's character is told that their child never existed, then her husband, and so on. It quickly devolved into a low-rent X-Files episode with people getting sucked into the sky by aliens.

I normally find Oliver Stone films interesting, but I nearly walked out of Natural Born Killers.

Probably near the top of the all-time list of offensively bad films is Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Jar Jar Binks. Need I say more? Actually, yes. I didn't need to see the resurrection of Stepin Fetchit as an alien. And can you believe George Lucas cast the unfortunately untalented child actor Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker, passing over Haley Joel Osment?


No gay Oprah today

This should clear things up for the gossips out there, right? Oprah and Gayle Still Just Friends.
"I understand why people think we're gay," Winfrey said in the article. "There isn't a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it--how can you be this close without it being sexual?"

The platonic pals said they have been friends for more than 30 years and still talk to each other on the phone "three or four times a day." They have seen each other through failed relationships, diets, career highs and lows and much more, but in the end, they say they're still "more or less the same people."
I'm more interested in this odd quote later in the piece about her longtime beau Stedman Graham (who I'm distantly related to on my father's side; I've not met the guy).
The talk show host has been together with her longtime partner Stedman Graham for more than 20 years, but has said she has no plans to wed. The twosome were engaged at one point, but called off the wedding.

"I do believe that had we gotten married, we would not be together today," Winfrey told Extra last year. "The traditional role of marriage would not work in this relationship."
And what would that mean? It's like a Tim Robbins/Susan Sarandon deal or something more open? Who knows...


sHillary's Dem opponent speaks out

“Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination and Hillary Clinton obviously does not get it. By continuing to triangulate and mouth poll-tested reaction to the discriminatory ruling by the State Court of Appeals, my opponent is actively encouraging the continuation of blatant discrimination against gays and lesbians. I support marriage equality, with no equivocation and no twisting of language because discrimination of any kind is a stain on the soul of our state and our country.”
-- New York Senate candidate, Democrat Jonathan Tasini, on sHillary
He's got almost zero chance of stopping her juggernaut, but Jonathan Tasini's blasting sHillary away on her lack of support for her gay constituents. He needs needs 15,000 valid signatures to qualify for the Dem ballot, and he has to deliver his petitions by Thursday. (The Villager):
Tasini called on the State Legislature to immediately enact legislation to legalize same-sex marriage and for the U.S. Congress to follow suit.

“Only civil marriage can provide such vital protection and security to lesbian and gay families as granting the right to visit a hospitalized partner, custody and visitation rights for families, Social Security benefits to a surviving partner, immigration rights for international same-sex couples and hundreds of other legal protections and responsibilities,” noted Tasini.


Open thread - a touch of class part 73

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Jeezus. The embarrassing asshattery on the world stage just doesn't stop. He let his lips flap again over an open mic -- with his mouth full at the above luncheon. He said the above while chewing on a buttered roll, which adds that special touch of American class. (AP).

Image via Think Progress, which has more.

Related:

* We can't send him abroad


Navy discharging service member who attended NY marriage rally

What was that about a recruiting problem and preparing for an essential skills draft? I guess the Navy has nothing better to do than kick out a ten-year veteran for appearing at an equality rally. (SLDN):
Rhonda Davis, a petty officer first class journalist in the Navy, attended the rally and subsequently gave an interview to local radio station 1010WINS where she identified herself as a member of the Navy. Davis also endorsed same-sex marriage and indicated in her interview that she was looking forward to someday marrying her partner of more than three years. On June 5th, Davis's command informed her that, after being made aware of the interview by callers to the office where she is stationed, they were forced to discharge her under the law, which prohibits openly lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel from serving in the armed forces.

"Petty Officer Davis's case highlights the double-standard 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' forces gay men and women to serve under," said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which is representing Davis. "While heterosexual military personnel can proclaim their love from the San Francisco Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge without consequence, lesbian or gay service members who do the same are sent packing because their proclamation is about someone of the same gender. As a result, the Navy is now losing the talents and dedication of a ten-year veteran simply because of federally sanctioned homophobia."

The Department of Defense has discharged more than 11,000 service members since 1993 under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), more than 800 of those service members were trained in skills deemed 'mission-critical' by the Pentagon. A Blue Ribbon panel recently estimated the cost of the ban at more than $363.8 million.


LaBarbera's up late at night thinking about The Homosexual BlogosphereTM

Here it is, the latest bleating in the inbox from Peter LaBarbera, though I was merely copied on it. It looks like he's miffed at PlanetOut's blog for picking up on Wayne Besen's new moniker for the Illinois Family Institute activist, "Porno Pete" and his library of "research porn."

I'll just post this for your amusement, as it were. Read and weep (my emphasis)...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

From: "Peter L." PeterLaBarbera@comcast
Date: Mon, July 17, 2006 2:50 am
To: feedback@planetout
Cc: WBesen, Pam Spaulding
Subject: FOR RAY DELGADO...Ray, before you reported that I "earned" Wayne's nasty nickname...

... ("Porno Pete"), why didn't you contact me first? Or do you always run with the most vicious smears just because a prominent gay activist uses them? Usually I get fair treatment in the gay press; not this time.

Yes, I once researched gay events, and still do occasionally, by attending them to get firsthand info. I sometimes went undercover so as not to get kicked out by "tolerant" gay activists (what are they trying to hide?), but other times I went openly, such as at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Ass'n, where I once spoke at a panel debate opposite gay journalists dealing with whether the media has a pro-gay bias.

No, I do not "collect" porn--never have--and I am not interested in or enjoy gay pornography. Frankly, it's pretty sick stuff, in my view. And no, I am not a homosexual nor did I ever struggle with those desires. (Isn't it funny how gay activists accuse their opponents of being homosexual as if that's the biggest slur they can come up with?)

Wayne Besen relied on the false testimony of a former "ex-gay," Wade Richards, who worked a while for Americans for Truth before we (foolishly) urged him to speak at a press conference. Besen attended the event and apparently helped to recruit young Wade back into the gay life. [Gee, Wayne has some serious powers of persuasion, doesn't he? LOL!] Wade knew full well that my interests were as a critical researcher, but he wanted to strike back at me, so he accused me of collecting gay "porn."

Yes, I have purchased numerous gay magazine subscriptions and books over the years as part of my efforts to research the movement--just like some gay researchers peruse the writings of the Family Research Council or Dr. James Dobson. (Should we accuse "Ex-Gay Watch" of secretly supporting Christian conservatives because they spend a lot of time and energy researching them?)

But, no, I don't "collect" gay porn. [OK, "purchase"..."subscribe to"..."archive"...which fits the bill?] Wade lied to smear me, and Wayne never bothered to check his new recruit's "facts" because that would have gotten in the way of him slamming a right-winger, I suppose.

The fact is, porn is a prominent part of the gay male world, and some magazines I collected had pornographic content (surprise!). (Most were simply gay publications like the Washington Blade.) On my side of the issue, we think porn use/addiction is a big problem; hopefully some gays will agree with us, but regardless, the endless effort to portray ME as a gay perv because I try to expose the wrongs of your movement makes about as much sense as saying GLAAD supports the Federal Marriage Amendment because they write about it a lot.

I'll cc this to Wayne Besen for publication (full letter only, Wayne), but I'm quite sure it won't deter him from spreading lies about me in his crusade to nail the "religious right."

Best--Peter LaBarbera
Please. This is so sad. What is LaBarbera doing up in the middle of the night worrying about what Wayne Besen posts on his blog?

I've already addressed this "all (male) homos/all the time" - fixated fundie in an open letter to him some time ago to which he never responded. A snippet:
Peter: Dare I say that you, too, would be highly offended at some of the activities that are "tolerated" there-such as a booth for the "Waterboys"-men who urinate on and in one another for sexual pleasure?

PHB: Quite frankly, I don't think much about this stuff unless I read it on bible-beating moralist news sites, why do you? While I personally don't find the idea of this particular practice appealing, I don't have to partake in it, nor do you or your fellow good Christians. This is about adult, consensual behavior (despite your attempt to pre-empt the use of this as a counter-argument). Why is this not a persuasive argument? Are you saying you would like to criminalize golden showers? How, exactly, would that be enforced? Hetero or homo participants or both?

If the issue is about the decline of public morality or that our society has an unusual and unhealthy preoccupation with sex, that's a different matter worthy of debate, but I don't see what this has to do with sexual orientation or private consensual acts.

When you make multiple trips to "uncover" deviant acts by "going undercover" to gay pride events (or International Mr. Leather), this kind of effort doesn't tell your audience anything about the entire gay community, any more than heading to hetero swingers clubs, a frat house or the local meet-market bar tells me about straight sexual culture. Sexual subcultures exist along the entire orientation spectrum. Why are you so fixated on the sex? Is it because it is non-procreative? Explain this need to place yourself in these situations.
Seeing as I've not heard from him since December, I guess he doesn't have anything to say. There's no need to make anything up about LaBarbera's activities anyway; since it's all out there to see on his own web site -- and the record speaks for itself.


The Blend cited on fundie 'ex-gay' blog

Oh, how exciting! What a sweet day it is to be linked from San Diego-based fundie and "former homosexual" James Hartline's pad. The Blend came up in a post on his efforts to proselytize at the Gay Games, "flying to Chicago to make his stand for righteousness." He will be traveling into the fires of persecution to save gay athletes from sin. From his press release:


There is no question that Hartline and the other members of this historic evangelism outreach will be risking their lives for the cause of Christ during the Gay Games. The level of hatred that is rising up against the team is already accelerating on many anti-christian homosexual websites such as Ex-Gay Watch, the lesbian blog "Pam's House Blend", and 365gay.com. The fires of persecution against traditional Christians are burning ever hotter inside of gay communities around America and they may be at their most intense during the Chicago Gay Games. That has not deterred Hartline or the other brave souls who are laying down their lives for the cause of Christ in America.

Hartline told some of his fellow church members at Mission Valley Christian Fellowship in San Diego, California (www.mvcf.com) as they prayed for him this Sunday prior to his departure for Chicago, "For all of the moms and dads, their little boys and little girls, I must go and represent them and fight for their values." Hartline is asking Christians from around the United States to go to war in prayer, fasting and intercession for the Love & Truth Team as they make their historic stand. Not since this country was founded has there been a greater need for spiritual warfare on behalf of the church.

"I don't know if I will be assaulted or spit on, but one thing that I will do, is I will press on in Christ Jesus to that higher calling until He takes me to my heavenly home," Hartline stated as he prepared for Chicago on this strange journey in this most strange life granted to him by the living God.
Oh yes, I was also copied last night on a letter from Peter LaBarbera (what was Pete doing up typing at 2:50 AM?) to Wayne Besen, his knickers in a twist over being called "Porno Pete" in Wayne's post last week. More on that fun later...


Will the draft make a comeback?

"We must consider the point at which we confuse 'volunteer to become an American soldier' with 'mercenary.' "
-- Lt. Gen. James Helmly, the commander of the Army Reserve, in a memo to senior Army leadership
How bad is the manpower shortage in the military? Go over and read a piece in Rolling Stone, The Return of the Draft. We already know about the Pentagon's desperation, lowering standards to recruit white supremacists/skinheads, people with antisocial personality disorder, autism, as well as those convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats. Stop-loss orders are keeping weary servicemembers out there in endless deployments, and there's no end of potential conflicts to further drain resources to a critical state.

Our government has continued to target minority communities shamelessly to make recruitment quotas. Blacks make up 13% of the population, but account for twenty-two percent serving in the armed forces.
In December, the National Guard nearly doubled its enlistment bonus to $10,000, and the Army is trying to attract urban youth with a marketing campaign called "Taking It to the Streets," which features a pimped-out yellow Hummer and a basketball exhibition replete with free throwback jerseys. President Bush has also signed an executive order allowing legal immigrants to apply for citizenship immediately -- rather than wait five years -- if they volunteer for active duty.
I asked former Marine Corps Sergeant Brian Fricke, who now works with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, about the possibility of a draft in an interview prior to my liveblogging of SLDN's annual dinner back in May. If the military's numbers reach critical levels, his status as Individual Ready Reserve means he would be get the call before a full draft was reinstated -- even though he's out of the closet.

Q: Can they, in theory, recall you into service now that you're out since you are individual ready reserves?

A: They could, but it's not likely. Typically they call active reservists. We have an active component of active reservists. Those are the ones that you hear are being deployed. IRRs are there on-call, if needed. A lot of IRRs don't PT, don't maintain their uniforms any more, and when they get a phone call, they might not be eligible anymore...Really, the only reason I could see them needing me is if they were fighting on several fronts and they really scraping the bottom of the barrel, because we are the last folks, and then after us, then it's the draft.

Q: You're out now. So would they still call you up?

A: They would call me up regardless. I think that if we're in that situation, where they need to call us...I don't think they would be picking and choosing who they are calling back if we're really in that situation.
[You can read a great profile of Brian by Sean Bugg that appeared in Metro Weekly.]

In the end, the major problem is that the Pentagon is also bone dry on high level skills. What is more likely to happen is a skills-based draft, since the military is running short on medical personnel, translators/linguists, etc. Of course they been discharging gay linguists and medical personnel, so start playing the tiny fiddle on that one. But the modification of Selective Service is well on its way:
Richard Flahavan, spokesman for Selective Service, tells Rolling Stone that preparing for a skills-based draft is "in fact what we have been doing." For starters, the agency has updated a plan to draft nurses and doctors. But that's not all. "Our thinking was that if we could run a health-care draft in the future," Flahavan says, "then with some very slight tinkering we could change that skill to plumbers or linguists or electrical engineers or whatever the military was short." In other words, if Uncle Sam decides he needs people with your skills, Selective Service has the means to draft you -- and quick.

...Michael O'Hanlon, a military-manpower scholar at the Brookings Institute, believes a return to a full-blown draft will become "unavoidable" if the United States is forced into another war. "Let's say North Korea strikes a deal with Al Qaeda to sell them a nuclear weapon or something," he says. "I frankly don't see how you could fight two wars at the same time with the all-volunteer approach." If a second Korean War should break out, the United States has reportedly committed to deploying a force of nearly 700,000 to defend South Korea -- almost half of America's entire military.
The RS article posits that the best solution out there to bolster the sinking numbers overall is one that won't go anywhere -- that the children of the elite will join up, giving Americans reason to believe that the sacrifice is shared.
Charlie Moskos, a professor of military sociology at Northwestern University, says the volunteer system also limits the political fallout of unpopular wars. "Without a draft, there's really no antiwar movement," Moskos says. Nearly sixty percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq was a mistake, he notes, but they have no immediate self-interest in taking to the streets because "we're willing to pay people to die for us. It doesn't reflect very well on the character of our society."

Even military recruiters agree that the only way to persuade average Americans to make long-term sacrifices in war is for the children of the elite to put their lives on the line. In a recent meeting with military recruiters, Moskos discussed the crisis in enlistment. "I asked them would they prefer to have their advertising budget tripled or have Jenna Bush join the Army," he says. "They unanimously chose the Jenna option."
By the way, fewer than a dozen members of Congress have children who are serving.


This and that

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lots of goodies came in the mailbag while I was away...some items for you (I am still going through a lot of it):

* Anyone interested in some rabble rousing against a homobigot running for office? If you're in DC, here's a great opportunity to demonstrate outside of a reception for the unhinged Michele Bachmann, who has benefited from Darth's and Turdblossom's cash-raising efforts (h/t Eva):

Bachmann on homos: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay." Image: Michele Bachmann Fun Page.

July 20, 2006
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Please Join Senator Norm Coleman, The Honorable Gil Gutknecht, The Honorable Mark Kennedy, The Honorable John Kline, and The Honorable Jim Ramstad at a reception for State Senator Michele Bachmann (Candidate for MN-06 Kennedy open seat)
Capitol Hill Club: 300 First St., SE Washington, DC
$5,000 Steering Committee-Raise or Contribute/$2,500 Host and $1,000 PAC/$500 Personal
* Check out this parody site: Connecticut For Lieberman!

* What is wrong with Ohio? Or rather, why do Ohioans only have these choices for governor. It's sad. (H/t Holly):
Ohioans have never heard so much about God and faith from their candidates for governor.

Republican Ken Blackwell has been seen often at campaign events toting the Bible under his arm, he delivers Sunday morning sermons at evangelical mega-churches and counts Ohio's most high-profile pastors of the "religious right" among his closest friends.

Democrat Ted Strickland reminds voters often that he is an ordained United Methodist minister, tells the listeners of Christian radio stations he will be guided by "biblical principles" as governor, and points to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount as the best guide for making public policy.

* Alert to Blenders out in the LA area: one of our favorite straight allies, Virginia Delegate David Englin, is going to be appearing at a grassroots fundraiser in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 27. With a marriage amendment coming up in the fall election in Virginia, David is devoting his Team Englin "Vote Strong" grassroots army to get the word out to defeat it at the polls. Read David's speech that shows lazy, scared Dems how to support gay rights, as well as my exclusive interview with him.

* In contrast to David Englin, look at this turd -- Kentucky State Sen. Richard Roeding. (H/t Jimmy L).
A day after calling gays "the wrong kind of people," State Sen. Richard "Dick" Roeding continued his verbal barrage on homosexuals, calling a Republican group that advocates gay and lesbian rights "a bunch of queers."

After learning that the Kentucky Log Cabin Republicans had called for Roeding's resignation, the Lakeside Park Republican used the derogatory term to describe the group in an interview with The Post. The Log Cabin Republicans called for Roeding's resignation after he said that the University of Louisville was wrong to offer health benefits to gay and lesbian domestic partners as a way to make the university competitive and attract talent.

"I don't want to entice any of these people into our state," Roeding told the Louisville Courier-Journal in a story published Friday. "Those are the wrong kind of people."
* Kathy at Birmingham Blues has a nice post up about our visit with her on Saturday. Thanks for the kind words about the situation in Lebanon with Kate's family.


Question of the day - air hell

What was your worst-ever experience on a flight?

Doesn't matter if it's nature related (storms), passenger related (the five-year-old kicking your seat the whole flight) or airline service related.

Today's flight home wasn't too eventful, btw. It takes two flights to get to RDU from Birmingham (change planes in Charlotte). The second flight was notable for the lack of air conditioning. US Airways, you receive the suck-*ss award for putting a jackhole plane like that into service today.

Thank god that leg of the flight was only about 30 minutes; I should have known something was up when we got on the plane and it was positively steamy and all the window shades were pulled down. Oh, and this plane was o-l-d. No wonder the sh*tty AC was inadequate.

Just before we take off there is an announcement that it's "a little warm in here" and that once we're airborne, it will "get a little better" if we make sure all the air vents are wide open. Well crap, it should be a bit cooler at 29,000 feet. All I could feel was lukewarm air pumping into the cabin. Once all the bodies were in place it was a sauna. Once we landed at RDU, the flight attendant (poor guy) instructed all of us in window seats to shut the shades because it was going to load up with another full flight of victims passengers.

Remember how I said it was hot as hell in Alabama? When I stepped out at RDU the wall of heat almost knocked me down. I thought I was going to pass out waiting at the bus stop for the shuttle to take passengers to the remote parking lot.

***

Sorry for the lack of LGBT-related news posts; I've got to unpack, read a ton of email and do some actual day job homework this evening, I probably won't have more fresh Blend up for a bit.


In the B'ham airport

On the way home...there is free wireless here, so I'm on for a few minutes. Had a great time here, seeing my new niece (Kate's sis had a baby just a few weeks ago), though it was quite stressful watching all the goings-on in Lebanon. I step away from the TV only to return and see things have deteriorated more.

Here is a story in the Birmingham News that describes what's happening to locals caught up over there.

It's interesting that on CNN this AM they were focusing on this mother in Des Moines, IA whose daughter (another Missing Blonde BeautyTM) is in the mountains somewhere in Lebanon, having escaped Beirut with the family she was staying with. They have had no contact (no cell service) with her for some time. This was yet another example of trying to get Americans to identify with someone who looks more "American" than, say, you know, browner people who are also U.S. citizens over dealing with exactly the same circumstances. How sorry is this? Argh. I won't keep ranting...

If folks have info on what the U.S. government is/isn't doing, post in the comments. I don't have much faith that they'll get folks out before Israel completely obliterates the remaining Lebanon infrastructure. This whole regional situation seems so hopeless and ridiculous, and always it's the poor people in all of these countries, trying to live day to day, who pay the price for this.

***

To lighten the mood, why not watch "hot military stud" Jeff Gannon "perform" for the Log Cabin Republicans (NY chapter), last Thursday. His attempts at humor were snooze-inducing. (H/t Towelroad).

***

Also, Kate and I met up with Kathy of Birmingham Blues yesterday at Joe Muggs in The Summit for a couple of hours and did a ton of political gabbing. Did you know there is a move to draft dumb as a rock Jeff Sessions to run for president in 2008? Kathy filled me in on that bit of insanity. Jeebus. Kathy's post is here. We also laughed at Larry (stop the "Judeo-Marxists"/Holocaust denier/ex-athiest/pro white-supremacist) Darby, who sadly garnered over 40% of the vote in the AL Dem primary for AG.



UPDATE: Kathy's post on our visit is up now.

Oops...gotta catch the plane...


Middle East Madness, part 2

I haven't been online much; I fly home today and Kate returns to Durham tomorrow.

We met up after dinner last night with some of Kate's family here and received an update that two of her relatives did get out of Lebanon yesterday, I'm not sure how, but it involved changing cars three times, making it to Jordan where they were going to fly out of there to Paris and then back to the States at some point.

There are 20 members of her church (Maronite Catholic) here in Birmingham who are stuck there. We don't know when or if they will find their way home.

She has many other relatives who are Lebanese citizens (living just 40 miles from Beirut) and they are obviously in harm's way along with thousands of American citizens visiting who have no easy way of getting out now, since the airport, major roads and ways out have been bombed.

There are thousands trying to escape the violence who have walked to the Syrian border to cross over to safety.


Question of the day - roof over your head

Saturday, July 15, 2006

What percentage of your household income goes toward housing?

It's quite apparent, from the folks I talk to around the country, that it's all over the map, with the usual suspect cities completely out of control in terms of affordable housing (to rent or buy).

According to Habitat for Humanity, more than 13 million households pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development web site says that the generally accepted definition of affordability is for a household to pay no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing.

In a place like NYC, it usually means that it's mandatory to have a roommate if you don't want to live in a hole or shoebox. Blenders out in Boston, SF and NYC will probably tell me that affordable housing these days means you live in a shoe box whether you have a roomie or not and you're still paying more than 30% of your income.

The housing situation is a real crisis for the working poor, according to HUD:
An estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more then 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing, and a family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
In New York, it seems like an emergency to me; look at this article, Rising ‘Stabilized’ Rents Threaten New Yorkers’ Housing. It reports that the median monthly rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is about $1,360, $940 in Boston and $760 in Chicago. Two thirds of New Yorkers live in rental housing, with the figure rising to 80 percent in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, and 29 percent of New York City renters spend more 50% of their income on housing, up from about 25 percent in 2002.

For those of us outside the big cities, it's better, though I can report that home prices here in the Triangle are starting to swell and something unheard of only a couple of years ago -- bidding wars on homes going over the asking price -- is not uncommon now. That's nuts. I think this is being driven by all the people in more expensive markets cashing out and coming here with big bundles of money to buy twice the house for half the relative cost.

Kate drove by some new development in Cary that had houses starting in the $500Ks (these have to be McMansions). What?! That is outrageous, though Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill are way more expensive to buy in than Durham -- by a lot. Mostly because the schools in the other areas have better reps. I remember several years ago when it was possible to buy a nice in-town bungalow for under $70K. No more. Since we bought long before the insanity began (and live in a modest place, not a huge McMansion), the percentage is actually quite favorable - 21%. Who can afford to heat and cool these places except the RTP exec programmer types.

A housing ratio calculator is here (renters can plug in your rent in the PITI field). Feel free to post as Anonymous in the comments if you wish.


Drink as I say, not as I do

Ooops. What a PR nightmare for a brewing company: Pete Coors Faces DUI Charge.
Pete Coors, chairman one of the world's largest beer brewing companies and a former candidate for U.S. senate, was arrested in May on a drunken driving charge, 7NEWS learned Thursday.

Coors, 59, was driving a 2004 Jaguar when he was pulled over in Golden by a Colorado State Patrol trooper just before midnight on May 29, according to officials in the Jefferson County District Court clerk's office.

He faces charges of driving under influence after registering a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08 percent. He also was cited with failure to obey a traffic control device.

...In a statement Coors said, "I made a mistake by driving myself home after a friend’s wedding celebration. I should have planned ahead for a ride. For years I've advocated the responsible use of our Company's products. That's still my message, and our company's message, and it's the right message. I am sorry that I didn't follow it myself."

"Coors Brewing Company is committed, more than ever, to the responsible use of our products, and so am I," he said.


Middle East Madness

Is this WWIII? Jeez, I had been in a news blackout until last night and it seems all hell has broken loose in Lebanon.

It's not a small deal in Kate's family - she has extended family members (U.S. citizens) trapped over there who were visiting as well as relatives who live in that country. Since Beirut's airport has been bombed, no one's getting out that way. BTW, her family isn't Muslim, but Maronite Catholic -- a minority in the country.

Think positive thoughts for all concerned.


In Birmingham

Friday, July 14, 2006



We're here and it's hot as hell in Alabama.

We're meeting up with fellow blogger Kathy of Birmingham Blues tomorrow AM.

Consider this a wide-open thread for blogwhoring, rambling and link posting.

Related:
* Meeting Kathy in Birmingham (Jan. 2006)
* Hello from Alabama (May 2005)


NARAL backs Holy Joe over Lamont

Did you hear the news about NARAL? The organization endorsed Holy Joe over an actual reproductive freedom advocate, Ned Lamont. Remember, the Connecticut Senator said this:
Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so.

"In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital."
Jane at FDL is steaming.
NARAL has it all under control:


That having been said, from time to time, it does occasionally occur that a pro-choice elected official will take a position against our recommendation - and when that happens, it’s always a disappointment.  Senator Lieberman’s vote (and the same votes of other fully pro-choice senators) for cloture on the controversial Alito nomination is one case in point. And his comments about emergency contraception caused us concern, as they undoubtedly did you as well - but he has since clarified his position, to our satisfaction.
He has "since clarified his position, to our satisfaction."  How exactly did he do that?   Did he do an about face?  Because that would be some news, considering Holy Joe is Mr. Faith Based Initiative.  Or did NARAL just decide that it was okay for Joe to deny emergency contraception to the 22,000 women who become pregnant each year after having been raped?  I really don’t see a lot of hairs to be split here.
That wisdom came in an email to Jane from Elizabeth J. Shipp, NARAL's Political Director. With friends like these...

***

Here's a related blast from the political past...

B-1 Bob on choice

I was wondering where this bozo was hanging out. Dornan was guaranteed to be a great unhinged interview when he was in Congress. Now he's shilling for the forced birth advocates.
Former California Representative Bob Dornan says there is plenty of room for hope that Congress will continue to act positively on sanctity-of-life issues. Dornan, a consultant for the American Life League, believes the outlook in the U.S. legislature is solid for pro-lifers and their issues.

He says some of the pro-life, conservative men and women who have been elected to Congress in 2000, 2002, and 2004 "are as strong as any of the pro-lifers I've ever served with." That fact, the former lawmaker notes, "gives you a little hope for the future that maybe we can turn some of this around." Dornan is unhappy with the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to revisit the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in America. The court's attitude makes no sense, the pro-life activist says.


Even though legalized abortion has "coarsened American life," he asserts, "even though it's introduced a violence into our country that the youngest of our children are introduced to as soon as they begin to leave the house with some independence, those precedents that are so ugly and anti-Christian ... we're going to leave in place." Dornan says he wants to see U.S. Christians step up pressure on elected officials and the courts to remove what he calls the disastrous fruit of judicial activism.
WTF is he talking about?


Gavin Newsom in Rolling Stone: Dems lack of moral courage on SSM

An interview with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is featured in the National Affairs Daily section of Rolling Stone.com, and he bluntly takes on the spineless position of establishment Dems on SSM. He hits the nail on the head -- what is the problem with coming out for civil equality when most people don't believe these hair-splitting non-positions these Dems take on the issue anyway? A perceived lack of conviction won't win any votes -- and certainly no votes will be gained in The 700 Club demo no matter what they do.

That’s why this issue was not seen by the Kerry campaign in 2004 in a positive light. Because people saw through John Kerry. They didn’t believe that he was only supportive of civil unions. Because here he was, running as a Democrat on all those proud traditions where we never fell short on equality. And so — even though his position was exactly the same as Dick Cheney’s — the American people questioned that. I don’t think the American people believe us. And that’s a big problem.

...As long as we allow this to be dangled in front of us because of our unwillingness to say publicly what so many of us are saying privately, it will haunt the Democratic party. And it will be used as a wedge issue just as it is being dangled in front of congressional candidates in the November election.
Thank you Gavin.

Also:
* sHillary won't touch SSM with a ten-foot pole on her SF road trip


What's wrong with sHillary?

After reading the earlier post with Gavin Newsom's comments on Dems, here is an illuminating piece in the WaPo about sHillary's fortunes. She's a prime example of the kind of Dem many voters believe favors SSM no matter what she says, yet she dodges making statements, only increasing their suspicions about her.

"Beyond the Poll Numbers, Voter Doubts About Clinton," shows you how feeble and illogical the sheeple are when judging the merits of her as a candidate. It's confirmation that the Rovian principles of campaigning, sorry to say, are the way to go.

I'm definitely no sHillary supporter, but why must people fixate on her hair, her image, her marriage, even their "bad vibes" about her, but not her biggest liability -- her craven lack of scruples, the easy ability to toss aside core Dem values (and with that, the support of her base, as we've discussed here many times) in order to suit her personal political ambitions?

Look at some of these comments by people who aren't sure about voting for her.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"She may be strong, but at the same time, if you're driven sometimes you're perceived as not having sympathy. And perception is reality for most of us." (Anna Shelley, a mother of three from Utah)

"The reason I am not able to say I am strongly supportive of her is because -- and this is just vibes -- she does not project a sense of what is inside of her like her husband did."(Sam Hack, 59, a self-described liberal Democrat from St. Louis)

"There's no question she's competent and very intelligent, but people want to see authentic human beings, and she has overly managed herself."
(Peter Brooks, 68, a professor of English at the University of Virginia and a liberal Democrat who has an unfavorable view of Clinton)

"It seems that her public image is different from her private image. It bothered me when I read she was verbally abusive to employees."
(Brian Tripplett, 47, a Democrat and a United Parcel Service manager from Kentucky)
What pray tell, can someone running her campaign do when you've got his sort of image problem to combat? Cripe, is Bush an "authentic human being"? Does he "project a sense of what is inside of him?" Scratch that, I really don't want to go there...you get what I mean. Rove created an image that sold, no matter how wickedly awful the source material was.

According to the article, 54% percent view sHillary favorably, give her high marks for leadership (68%), strong family values (65%), and being open and friendly (58 percent).

Even with all of that, only 37% of Democrats are willing to vote for her.

Question: What are your reasons for opposing a possible sHillary presidential candidacy?


Open thread - we can't send him abroad

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Actual caption: Imaginary herring : German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) look on as US President George W. Bush (R) poses with a barrel of hering that he received from a local at the market place of Stralsund, north-eastern Germany. (AFP/DDP/Johannes Eisele)

It's so embarrassing. Jeebus.



House to vote on its version of the marriage amendment



It will be homo-obsessed Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's day in the sun next week as the House debates her version of a marriage amendment -- its language precludes any consideration of civil unions.
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only 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."
The Senate already tanked its chance to pass a Marriage Protection Amendment; it failed to garner the 60 votes needed to keep the measure alive. The fundies expected to increase the yea votes to 52, but only managed a 49-48 showing. Boo-hoo.

The House vote will no doubt be a stronger showing for the fundie-beholden wingnuts, but since amending the Constitution requires 1) a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to send the MPA to the states, and 2) it must be ratified by a minimum of 38 state legislatures, this is a purely political ploy to show the Daddy Dobson crowd that the pols know how to flog the homos for support (and to help the right wing raise buxxx).

***

In other homobigot Marilyn news, she's getting a fire lit under her ass by Terri Schiavo's husband Michael, who delivered a letter that scorched Musgrave (see video of him dropping it off at her office!), citing her "lack of respect for my rights and my family's rights." He also endorsed Musgrave's Dem opponent, state representative Angie Paccione.

Musgrave made a fool of herself on the floor of the House, bleating about Terri Schiavo's condition, based on nothing more than "facts" pulled out of her posterior.
In a March 20, 2005, House floor speech, Musgrave said she was "offended" others were calling Terri Schiavo a vegetable, adding Schiavo was smiling at visitors and crying when they left. Musgrave supported congressional efforts to get Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted.

"What we do in this chamber tonight is as important as anything we have done in defending our nation, in doing the things that we do as members of Congress," Musgrave said during the March 2005 floor speech.

Wednesday, Michael Schiavo said Musgrave "had no clue" about Terri Schiavo's medical condition, noting that his wife's autopsy showed her brain was half the size of a normal woman her age.
And Angie Paccione didn't hold back either, zeroing in on Musgrave's bloviating...
Paccione called Musgrave a supporter of the "most overreaching government we've seen."

"We've got serious work to do for the country and Colorado, and that's not being done because we're focusing on invading people's privacy, forcing moral views onto individual private citizens," Paccione said.
Also:
* text of Michael Schiavo's letter
* KKK has homobigot Marilyn Musgrave's back


The Rotting CryptkeeperTM fined $5K for not showing up to protest

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Green Knight pointed me to this howler. Fred and his band of family bigots were slated to picket a soldier's funeral in Genesee County, MI. The "church members" asked for a local police detail (they received one when they graced Durham with their presence), but then they didn't end up coming. Westboro Baptist got slapped with the $5K tab. Oh, that's sweet! (WTOL):

An anti-gay Kansas church has been slapped with a $5,000 bill for not showing up for a military funeral in Genesee County. Mundy Township police say the group asked in advance for special police protection, but never arrived for a July 1st memorial service for Marine Lance Corporal Brandon Webb.

A church member says the bill is a joke and will be ignored. She says the Holy Ghost told them at the last minute to stay home.
Do you think that church member could have been the colorful Shirley Phelps-Roper (below)?


Blast from the recent past: Shirley's rant in Greensboro at the Southern Baptist Convention.


LIFEbeat issues reality-based press release

[UPDATE: Frank León Roberts has a post up with a timeline of the events in this saga.]

Black gay bloggers and activists, as promised, held a press conference this AM in front of the offices of LIFEbeat, the music industry's non-profit AIDS education arm, to discuss the issues at hand surrounding the cancellation of its concert. The event was to feature Beenie Man and TOK, two performers who called for the killing of gays and lesbians in their lyrics.

Today's conference featured some of the bloggers in the campaign, and, it should be noted, members of the Caribbean American community. LIFEbeat, in its unfortunate press release yesterday, tried to drive a wedge between the gay black and Caribbean communities by suggesting that the bloggers campaigning to stop the homophobic performers from appearing were somehow inciting potential violence at the concert. Keith:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Jamaican-American poet and activist StaceyAnn Chinn (shown above) rejected LIFEbeat's attempts to use the issue as a ploy to divide black gays and lesbians from the Caribbean community. Chinn said that the protest was not a demonstration against Jamaican culture or Caribbean culture but a reaction to extremely anti-violent messages by a select group of homophobic artists.

Clarence Patton, executive director of the New York Anti Violence Project, invoked the names of Candice Williams, 20, and Phoebe Myrie, 22, a black lesbian couple murdered in Jamaica only weeks ago. Colin Robinson, former executive director of the New York State Black Gay Network, highlighted the Caribbean American involvement in the protest against LIFEbeat, Beenie Man and TOK.
Later in the day, LIFEbeat backed off the "bloggers/activists fomenting concert violence" tip with a much more humble, concilatory, and factual statement that held out an olive branch to effect change.
LIFEbeat - The Music Industry Fights AIDS, wants the Caribbean American, AIDS activist and gay communities to know that we remain deeply committed to utilizing the power of music and the music industry to fight AIDS and we have learned many lessons while organizing the Reggae Gold Live concert. "In our desire to do something positive within the Caribbean American community, we didn't realize the depth of the hurt in the GLBT community around the lyrics of these artists," commented John Cannelli, Executive Director of LIFEbeat. "Once we saw how deep and real it is, it became very clear that canceling the concert was the right thing to do. We want to extend a heartfelt apology to those we offended and thank the individuals who raised their voices and helped us to see a more effective way to realize our mission. We also want to clarify the concerns of violence we felt. Those concerns didn't stem from any threats from activists or members of the Caribbean American community. They stemmed from threatening phone calls our office received from random individuals that led to concerns for the safety of our staff and others."

Moving forward, the concert is cancelled but the issue still exists. * " We're not giving up and are continuing our commitment to this community," Cannelli adds. "The issues of homophobia, sexism, racism and poverty, key factors in the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS, need to be addressed openly. In looking at the bigger picture with the lessons we've learned, this concert wasn't the right forum for this important topic. Over the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to key members of the Caribbean American community and to AIDS organizations to join together in creating an appropriate forum, where our individual strengths as activists and the power of coming together under one important cause can make a real difference in this community."

* LIFEbeat will have no involvement in nor benefit from any attempted resurrection of the Reggae Gold Live concert by any parties.
If only the organization had put in half the thought and resources into this when organizing the benefit concert that it has put into its damage control, imagine what could have been accomplished.

Maybe the organization can put this behind it and truly reach out to understand how it is indeed possible to tackle HIV/AIDS education and outreach -- with positive messages that affirm life, tolerance and hope without endorsing bigotry and calls for violence.


Guess who this is

Who could this be?
"I am glad to have known ___ and glad that he was willing to reach down and touch people like me."

"He had a strong faith in God, and I know he's in heaven. I'm glad he's not in a position anymore to be whipped by his enemy."

"____ was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because ___ was the victim of a lynching."
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ken Lay. (ad parody via Larry Flynt)

That last outrageous quote was by Rev. William Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

James Byrd was dragged to his death by pickup truck in Jasper, Texas in 1998; sadistic thugs tied him up and rode along, watching as his limbs were torn from his body.

Ken Lay = James Byrd. That's beyond offensive.


More heat for Mr. GOP 'gays=pedophiles'

Guilford County Republican Party Chairman Marcus Kindley's in hot water. Groups are coming out to blast him after he refused to apologize when asked by the North Carolina Advocacy Coalition to apologize for his remark that being gay is "as natural as pedophilia."

He tried to take to the airwaves to clarify matters and simply stuck his bigoted foot firmly in his mouth. He appeared on 107.5 WKZL's conservative "Murphy In The Morning Show" along with Rollin Kibbe, president of the Triangle chapter of NC Log Cabin Republicans. Kindly showed no indication of regretting his original remarks, and the NCAC reports that Kindley really did make an ass out of himself.
...although he did arrogantly state on the morning talk show that he would say he was sorry to any person if you read his writings and "offended yourself." During the show, Kindley also compared the "lifestyle choice" of homosexuality to the choice of being overweight.

...Kibbe also pointed out that Kindley had later compared homosexuality to being as un-natural as a "fish riding a bicycle."

At the end of the segment in which Kindley appeared, talk show host Jack Murphy stated, "To compare any gay person to a pedophile is just wrong" and "You can't insult them for what they are and expect them to want to join the party."
Another local group has had enough of this ignorant man.
The Catawba Valley LGBT Community Center joins with the North Carolina Advocacy Coalition and a list of other organizations, individuals and professionals from around North Carolina, in firmly believing that such derogatory, anti-gay remarks are harmful and dangerous to LGBT North Carolinians. Chairman Kindley's remarks are also perfect examples of political scare tactics playing on the fears of parents and a larger society.

Brandon Greeson, Center founder and director made the following comments at press time:

"Chairman Kindley's comments represent a gross disregard for humanity and is a perfect example of anti-gay prejudice and ignorance surrounding the issues of the law, human sexuality, and mental health. These comments degrade LGBT North Carolinians who are peaceful, law-abiding and community-minded, by comparing them to mentally ill individuals responsible for the sexual, physical and mental abuse and exploitation of children, the most vulnerable and precious members of our society.


Ex-boy bander Bass and his open closet door

The WashBlade's Kevin Naff has a column up on the latest news about ex-N*Sync member Lance Bass, who has long been rumored to be gay. Apparently the NY Post's Page Six as well as gay bloggers Andy Towle and Cyd Zeigler sighted Bass in P'town over the July 4th weekend with his boyfriend Reichen Lehmkuhl of the "Amazing Race" (lord, I don't know who this guy is -- is this a reality TV show)?

Also, a not-so-tongue-in-cheek New York Daily News article goes on at length about the gayness of Lance and Reichen sharing clothes, and Perez Hilton posts about the coupling with a picture as well.
Last week, online gossip Perez Hilton caught wind of a stunning discovery about two of his favorite mudslinging targets, former 'N Sync boy-bander Lance Bass and "Amazing Race" winner Reichen Lehmkuhl: They've begun Man Sharing.

Photos surfaced on his site of the pair sporting the same Air Force T-shirt, giving many pause - and not simply because only Lehmkuhl was once in the service of Uncle Sam. It's that, even though the pair say they are platonic friends (Lehmkuhl is openly gay, but Bass has repeatedly emphasized his heterosexuality), the simple fact is: Men don't share clothes.
Anyway, Kevin revisits the topic of the quasi-closet in his piece; the netherworld that many gay celebrities inhabit where everyone except the general public knows that they are queer. In some cases, even the gaydar-deficient folks even know it. What makes these folks openly closeted is the media blackout on covering the "story," as it were. Remember, we're in an age of Brangelina and Jen and Vince and who's boinking who, yet the same media outlets that cover het couplings ad nauseum, suddenly get queasy themselves about privacy when covering these quasi-closeted types, even in death (see Luther Vandross).

Kevin:
With this more public quasi-outing, Bass joins a growing list of openly closeted celebrities and politicians who play transparently coy games with their sexual orientation. Bass, CNN's Anderson Cooper, Fox News' Shepard Smith, actress Jodie Foster, singer Ricky Martin, Congressman David Dreier (R-Calif.), actor Sean Hayes, and too many more to mention are doing a disservice to their fellow gays by choosing the security of the closet over the integrity of living an honest life.

It's the same song and dance perfected by Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell for years before they finally came clean.

These public figures need not march in a parade and trumpet their sexual orientation. But all those listed above have been asked directly about their sexual orientation and, rather than give an honest answer, choose to obfuscate, perpetuating the damaging myth that there is something shameful or wrong about being gay.
As I said back when Vandross's sexuality was carefully avoided by MSM outlets, the coverage bends over backwards, straining any sense of credibility, to avoid any fact-finding about the subject in question that might reveal celebrities are/were gay, even if the person was openly gay in their social circles, but not to their fan base. Why is there such a need to preserve a straight public fantasy?

The real issue is the complicity of the MSM in participating in the charade by refusing to ask the very same questions they ask of many interviewees about who they are dating, boffing, marrying, etc. It would be a breath of fresh air if these figures could just come out of the closet and help us out here -- if asked the question, they should honestly answer, given their otherwise uncloseted lives. However, it doesn't look like they'll be asked the question, leaving the door wide open to be outed by gossip rags/paparazzi -- hell, just plain observant people -- when these folks hit the town in gay mode.


The fundies' Jesus was a hard-ass homobigot

A little bit ago I blogged about the tolerance campaign being launched by Faith in America. In Indiana, the effort is on billboards that ask "Would Jesus Discriminate," calling for Christians to denounce discrimination by churches against LGBT people. From the web site:
Just last year, Indiana's legislature initiated a four-year process to amend our State Constitution to ensure that gay couples never gain access to the same legal rights as straight couples. This is the first time since the slavery era that Indiana's legislature has singled out a specific group of people for exclusion from Indiana's Equal Protection Clause. The practical effect of the proposed amendment would be to deprive gay couples of basic rights -- such as being able to visit each other in a crisis in the emergency room or inheriting property from each other.

Since so many churches are invoking the name of Jesus to justify their assault on the rights of gay and transgender people, we invite thoughtful people everywhere to ask this simple question:

What would Jesus do?
Well if you're a local Baptist church and the Indiana branch of the AFA, Jesus was a hard-ass bigot.
An independent Baptist congregation along a major thoroughfare posted the message "God discriminated at Sodom'' on its sign board. A Christian conservative group, the American Family Association of Indiana, distributed radio ads saying, "Not only did Jesus discriminate; he is going to discriminate again.''

The MCC and the campaign's benefactor, furniture designer Mitchell Gold, are undeterred.

Gold, the North Carolina-based purveyor of chic furniture sold by the likes of Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, is underwriting much of the $100,000 US media campaign through Faith In America, a national organization he founded to fight intolerance.

``I've suffered a good amount of discrimination by people holding up their Bible,'' Gold said in an interview. ``The clock is being turned back, and I want to stop the clock from being turned back.''


It's the end of the campaign world as she knows it

Katherine Harris's Campaign Staff To Resign. This isn't the first time we've heard about victims staffers bailing on her. And those on the way out aren't mincing words about what the problem is on the tanking campaign:
The high command of Rep. Katherine Harris's FL Senate bid plans to resign by the end of the week, two people familiar with the campaign tell the Hotline.

The departing staff includes Glen Hodas, Harris's campaign manager, her spokesperson, Chris Ingram, and Pat Thomas, her field director. The status of Harris's chief fundraiser, Erin Delullo, is not clear. The resignations will take effect by Friday, according to the sources. TooConservative, a Virginia-based blog, first reported this afternoon that several staffers would quit.

One person involved in the campaign said there was no single precipitating factor. "She's just very difficult to work with. It's all the same stuff. The more than we put her out there, the more she shot herself in the foot," this person said.

This slate of staff lasted just three and a half months; in April, Harris lost her campaign manager, Jamie Miller, and strategist Ed Rollins. Both have since become outspoken critics of Harris's.
Remember this howler?

"Let me tell you what the truth is. I’m staying. I’m in this race. I’m going to win. And let me tell you how. I’m going to put EVERYTHING on the line. Everything, not just my future and my reputation, my father’s name. I’m gonna take his legacy… Everything that I have and I’m gonna put it in this race. I’m going to commit my legacy from my father, $10 million… This is everything that I have.”
-- Katherine Harris to Sean Hannity on 3/15 -- declaring how she's going to spend it all to win.
Her campaign spokesbot had to come out and "clarify" that message. What a thankless job.

Why is she prolonging this agony? Mind you, it's great that she's staying in because it's an easy win for Bill Nelson, but after being abandoned by her party (especially after what she did for Bush as Florida Sec of State in 2000), what is the motivation for continuing this train wreck of a campaign?

Related:
* Spending all her money isn't working


Photo of the day

From yesterday's Bay Windows' Blogging the ConCon (constitutional convention) in Boston:

5:30 p.m. -- In a 100 to 91 vote, lawmakers voted to recess the constitutional convention until Thurs., Nov. 9. After Senate President Robert Travaglini announced the vote count, there was audible applause in the chamber.

5 p.m. -- Arline Isaacson, head lobbyist against the amendment and co-chair of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, told Bay Windows the lobby team had worked with House and Senate leadership to postpone the vote on the amendment as long as possible. She said over the past couple of weeks the lobby team has worked with lawmakers to persuade them to take up items at the ConCon as they appear on the calendar, rather than to vote to move the marriage amendment to the top. She said legislative leadership agreed to follow the calendar.
You'll also find a ton of pictures in the liveblogging article, including one amusing winger with a sign that says "No Special Rights for Sodomites."


Fundie: evangelicals wrong to endorse anti-torture statement

It's nice to know that sometimes, you just have to let them hang themselves.


This and that - open thread

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Some things that came in the mailbag...

* Pastordan at Street Prophets snared an interview with Barack Obama and asked him a few questions about his Call To Renewal speech about faith and politics and the Democrats. A snippet:

I think the advantage that progressives and Democrats have is that we have the facts on our side, and if we just speak as truthfully and as factually as we can, and if we are willing to tolerate ambiguity and dissent in our own camp, and if we're willing to look critically at our ourselves, and reflect and remain open-minded to other points of view, over time, that's where the American people are. I recognize that there are folks who think that view is naive, but that's something I feel fairly strongly about.
* Jay at Lassiter Space updated me about that ridiculous Sony Black/White ad. The company pulled it. I guess the lightbulb came on over in the marketing department that it was a bad idea. Jay also has a really interesting post, "Black is beautiful, African American is not!" , something we've discussed here before. I use "black" -- I don't see A-A as accurate. both Jay and I perceive it to be a politically correct term for white folks (and some blacks) to feel culturally sensitive. It makes no sense - actress Charlize Theron was born in South Africa so, based on that definition, she's African American.

* Richard Cranium at All Spin Zone is calling for contributions to the tip jar of independent journalist Dahr Jamail, who is trying to raise funds to return to Iraq. Richard:
Dahr has made several journeys into the country since the beginning of the war, each one more dangerous than the last. To read his dispatches from the past few years is to understand how the quality of life for the average Iraqi has deteriorated since the overthrow of Saddam. From his first journey into Iraq, which documented hope (as well as fear for the future), to his last, which chronicled despair, danger, and hopelessness, Jamail is one of the few independent reporters who has fearlessly walked into the den of the lion and come out a survivor. We are all richer in knowledge because of his efforts.
* Take a click over to Born Different, which illuminates facts and stats about the evidence that continues to mount that suggests sexual orientation has a strong biological component.

* Alyson M. points to the freakshow known as MonthlyCallForLife.com. The braindead forced birth advocate blogger thought a satire piece in The Onion (I'm Totally Psyched About This Abortion!) was a serious article. The dimbulbs living among us...after this dolt figures out the article wasn't real, this is posted.
Do you see how they slip their agenda into a "satirical" piece? Oral contraceptives cause abortions too, just at an earlier stage than hospital abortions. Contraception is the direction of the pro-abortion movement, because they know America is waking up to the fact that abortion kills human beings and it should not have been decriminalized by the Supreme Court.
* News from Redbone Press...on Friday, July 14, 2006, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Spirited co-editors G. Winston James and Lisa C. Moore will be reading and signing at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th St., room 312. New York City area contributors reading are: Alaric Wendell Blair, Mona de Vestel, Kenyon Farrow, Daniel Alexander Jones, Tawanna Sullivan, Linda Villarosa and Eva Yaa Asantewaa. This event is co-sponsored by Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD).

* Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry has an interesting analysis of last week's N.Y. marriage ruling up.


* And last, but not least, a big one year blogoversary to Kathy McMullen over at Birmingham Blues! She's also a contributor these days over at a fellow B3 contributor's home base, The Green Knight. In related news, Kate and I will be heading down to Birmingham this weekend -- we'll meet up with Kathy again for a cup of java and catching up (and trashing Roy Moore, lol).


Guilford GOP chairman says his gays=pedophiles comments were 'out of context'

What is in the water, people? First LIFEbeat's lame damage control, now this knob-end. Matt Hill Comer at the North Carolina Advocacy Coalition called for Guilford GOP Chairman Marcus Kindley to apologize for his remark that being gay is "as natural as pedophilia." Today he received a non-denial denial from Kindley:
Dear Matt:

I appreciate your letter of this date.

I believe if you read the referenced material you will see I never compared homosexuals to pedophiles. You have apparently taken out of context what was written.

I quote,"In America today our churches have degraded their beliefs so much that the ordinary citizen sees no need to attend a worship service, because he sees and hears the same thing on Opra and Dr. Phil everyday. We now say that homosexuality is ok. That it is natural. Yes it is as natural as pedophilia."

I never attacked Homosexuals, I only made an observation about what is natural and what is not.

I take offense to you taking out of context what was written for your own political agenda.

Thank you again for your response.

Sincerely,
Marcus Kindley
That's completely disingenuous and well, dumb. And it didn't go without a reply. A release today from the NC Advocacy Coalition:
Mr. Kindley's remarks were not taken out of context by the NC Advocacy Coalition or its Executive Director Matt Hill Comer. American society sees pedophilia as an extremely immoral, repulsive and illegal perversion. Pedophilia is the cause of the mental, physical and sexual abuse and exploitation of children

Homosexuality, on the other hand, consists of relationships of two consenting adults, just as in heterosexuality. In normal adult relationships, neither party is harmed, abused, exploited or forced to engage in sexual acts against their will, as what occurs with pedophilia.

By stating homosexuality is as "natural as pedophilia" Mr. Kindley's effect is to persuade the public into thinking homosexuality is as immoral, repulsive and perverse as pedophilia and the abuse and exploitation of children.

The concepts, phenomena, effects and realities of homosexuality and pedophilia are not comparable in any way. Major social and psychological associations, including the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America, claim that homosexuality and pedophilia are in no way linked or similar.

In much the same way that people compared African-American men to rapists by saying black men wanted to "rape your white women" fifty to one-hundred or more years ago, Mr. Kindley is now comparing gay people to pedophiles. The effect is to instill fear and prejudice into the minds of his followers and the public. Within the same writing where his anti-gay remarks are found, Mr. Kindley states how it is no longer safe for children to walk the streets. By later setting homosexuality and pedophilia side-by-side, Mr. Kindley's effect is to say to parents, "Homosexuals want to rape your children." This tactic is an old one. Intolerance and fear of the minority becomes that less difficult when it becomes easy for leaders such as Mr. Kindley to compare peaceful, law-abiding and community-involved gay people to perverse, mentally ill criminals.

Mr. Kindley should be ashamed of his out-dated, unscientific, derogatory and prejudiced comparison between gay people and pedophiles. His claim that his comments were taken out of context is an easy excuse with which he hopes to get "off the hook" and with which he will try to sweep his prejudice and ignorance under the rug.

The North Carolina Advocacy Coalition still firmly insists on an apology and retraction from Mr. Kindley and the Guilford County Republican Party for the harmful and dangerous anti-gay remarks.

The North Carolina Advocacy Coalition is a state-wide political action committee focused on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allied supporters. More information on NCAC is available at www.ncadvocacycoalition.org, by phone at 336-391-9528 or by email at ncadvocacy@gmail.com.


LIFEbeat cuts and runs, cancels concert and blames activists

The new spelling for cowardice is L-I-F-E-b-e-a-t.

LIFEbeat has decided to cut-and-run and blame people who called for the organization to address its invitation of artists who advocate violence against gays -- Beenie Man and TOK -- to their benefit concert. Look at this press release:
LIFEbeat Cancels Reggae Gold Live Jumpoff

LIFEbeat - The Music Industry Fights AIDS, has collectively decided to cancel its Reggae Gold Live concert, scheduled for Tuesday, July 18 at New York’s Webster Hall. While the organization’s staff and board believe very strongly in the positive purpose and intention of this event, the possibility of violence at the concert from the firestorm incited by a select group of activists makes canceling the event the only responsible action. Dialogue is important and LIFEbeat’s staff and board respect the opinions of those who came forward to make their feelings known. We have always and will continue to support the GLBT community.

It is very unfortunate, however, that the intended good that could result from bringing this community together around this potentially ground breaking event will not be realized. The Caribbean American community needs our help in bringing attention to this unspoken and often stigmatized illness. We hope in the wake of this decision that those who came forward and spoke out will now come forward again to do something positive for the Caribbean American community and help bring attention to the devastation this disease has wreaked in that community so awareness, prevention and healing can follow.
People who care about the link between encouraging homophobia through music, driving gays into an environment of closeted unsafe sex (therefore encouraging the spread of HIV) are the cause of potential violence. Right. This is ridiculous and represents cowardice of the highest order.

It is a sad state of affairs when an organization with a mission to educate and advocate for tolerance regarding HIV/AIDS has to smear those in the gay community who asked that they not endorse artists who foment the spread of homophobia in the name of "outreach."

There are many ways to choose to reach the Caribbean American community on HIV/AIDS, including holding the concert with artists who don't advocate the killing of gays and lesbians. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

In this case the answer is, the folks at LIFEbeat couldn't answer the serious questions about the organization's poor judgment to invite Beenie Man and TOK. Beenie Man has shown that he doesn't take the calls to stop promoting homophobia seriously. As I said earlier, when faced with a boycott in the UK, he agreed to stop singing "death advocacy" songs, then broke that truce and began performing the same old hate-filled music calling for the deaths of gays all over again.

LIFEbeat couldn't reconcile its position, so it canceled the whole event and blamed it on people who actually care whether a public venue is given to those who are clearly not friends of the community. Even worse, the organization's above statement attempts to drive a wedge between the LGBT community against the Caribbean American community as it scrambles to do damage control. Sad, sad, sad.

If LIFEbeat truly wanted to show that it cares about the power of music in educating the Caribbean community about HIV, it could put on a gay-affirming event and donate the proceeds to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, AllSexuals & Gays (J-FLAG).


AFA still Ford-bashing on LGBT support

Dear old Don Wildmon is at it again, taking credit for Ford Motor Company's slump in U.S. sales, sending out one of his fundie alerts. Blenders Paul and Tedi are on Don's email blast list, so they passed on the latest screecher.

Remember the American Family Association is happy dancing at Ford's misery choosing to believe its boycott is accomplishing this. It's worth reminding Don and Tim Wildmon that the automaker's sorry fortunes have little to do with supporting equality in its advertising and treatment of its LGBT employees, and more to poor sales of behemoth gas-guzzling trucks and cars that its bottom line has depended on for far too long. [Incidentally, the company's fortunes are picking up abroad -- sales in China have doubled, rising 101.8 percent.]

That said, the AFA machine continues to mail out drivel like this to fill its coffers. The bible-beaters are harping on Ford's decision to meet with local dealerships, with the AFA hoping that any discussions will center on "poor sales are caused by The Homosexual Agenda."

Ford Motor Company continues to support the homosexual agenda despite a steady drop in sales and the price of their stock. The latest Ford support for the homosexual lifestyle came in the July 4 issue of The Advocate, a homosexual magazine. Ford placed two full page ads in the publication featuring all their brands of automobiles, just as they did the previous month. This issue promoted Lambda Legal, a homosexual organization pushing the homosexual agenda in the courts. Lambda has been at the forefront:

* in promoting homosexual marriage
* in changing birth certificates for people having sex-change operations
* allowing homosexuals to adopt foster children
* striking state sodomy laws
* forcing schools to allow homosexual student clubs
* forcing Boy Scouts to accept homosexual adult leaders

Ford has repeatedly said that they will not stop funding the homosexual groups.

Ford has been very generous in their support of the homosexual agenda, providing hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Chicago Motor City Pride, The Advocate, Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center, Out magazine, GLOBE, Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Lesbian & Gay MBA Conference, Reaching Out MBA Conference, PFLAG, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Witeck-Combs, Michigan Gay Pride March, Gaywork.com and many other homosexual groups, events and publications.

Tom Addis, Chairman of Ford's National Dealer Council, explained in a letter to dealers Ford's policy of supporting homosexual publications: "Ford Motor Company advertises in publications that are aimed at various affinity groups. Among them are boaters, hikers, fishermen, campers, ranchers, gardeners, contractors, several ethic and cultural groups and yes, alternative lifestyles." Mr. Addis refused to use the term "homosexual," using the homosexual preferred "alternative lifestyle."

The boycott is having an impact. Ford sales dropped 5% in March, 7% in April, 2% in May and 6.8% in June. Their stock has dropped 13% since we began the boycott. AFA has learned that Ford has scheduled a meeting for Ford regional managers July 16 & 17 to discuss how to deal with the boycott.

[And the critical part...] If you think our efforts are worthy, would you please support us with a small gift? Thank you for caring enough to get involved.

Sincerely,

Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association


Catholic homobigot's knickers are in a twist

The St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis has a web site that features comments from a Bible study teacher that have sent one conservative group over the edge because the commenter says that the Bible is not "the inerrant Word of God" on reproductive freedom, the rights of women and LGBT people. To add insult to injury, St. Joan holds an annual "GLBT prayer service" and is in favor of adoption rights for gays. That, was just too much to handle.
Stephen Brady, founder of the group Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), says there is "nothing Catholic" on the church's website.

"The real scandal, the biggest scandal in all of this, is the fact that Archbishop [Harry] Flynn would allow this priest to do this," says Brady. "And the fact that this priest feels enough courage, enough gumption to put something like this on the Internet for thousands if not millions to see, shows that he has no fear of his bishop."

The parish, states the RCF spokesman, is a "disgrace" for promoting the homosexual agenda. "And the homosexual agenda is the acceptance of homosexual activity, of homosexual sex -- nothing else," he says, "because there's nothing the homosexuals want -- outside of a recognition of gay marriage and homosexual sex -- that they can't have with the blessing of the [Catholic] Church."


Freeper: a 'Gay Marriage tidal wave'

I had to post this nonsense because it made me laugh out loud this AM. Despite the recent setbacks for us on the marriage equality front, the Freepi are concerned that SSM is right around the corner.
Anyone else concerned about a Gay Marriage tidal wave?

Posted on 07/10/2006 11:03:45 AM PDT by NorthEastRepublican

I don't know if its just me, but I'm getting worried that we may be in the calm before a storm of a gay marriage tidal wave. I think that states like New York and Massachusetts will legalize it and that there will be a domino affect that goes throughout the country. I think it is concievable that 15 states would legalize gay marriage.

NY and MA currently have two strong anti-gay marriage governors who would not allow the legalization. But with the likely election of a Democrat to succeed Romney and the inevitable election of Spitzer combined with the state legislatures, its only a matter of time in my opinion.

Soon after that you could see states such as my state, NJ follow suit.

Also if Arnold loses, CA will follow too.

I think this is a major societal and moral problem. As each day rolls along we are more and more becoming like the secularist welfare states of Western Europe.
And here are some of the knuckledragging, belly laugh responses...along with some common sense tossed in. Methinks some of the Freepi are tiring of the issue and the ultra-strident haters among them.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

I'm not worried about the gay tidal wave, its Gods response that worries me.

It is impossible for people of the same sex to marry. It is impossible for a person to marry an animal or a knothole.

Of course the people who accept the corrupted meaning of gay might also accept the corrupted meaning of marriage.

I sort of welcome some state legalizing gay marriage. Given the threat of a court decision holding that "the full faith and credit clause" would impose those marriages on all fifty states, the minute one state legalizes gay marriage, you'll see the rest of the country suddenly DEMANDING their GOP Senators sign on to the defense of marriage amendment.

It would lead to a morally devoid society which I would be a part of.

Can't speak for other states,but here's the situation in MA as I understand it.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court,by a single vote,declared homosexual "marriage" to be a right here.The deciding vote was cast by the Chief Justice,a South African Maoist married to Anthony Lewis (yes,*that* Anthony Lewis). We,like some other states,have an initiative petition process in our Constitution.There's a move afoot to put the question to a vote of the people.Homosexual "rights" groups and several slimey state legislators are doing their best to prevent this because poll,after poll,after poll here show that it would be *soundly* rejected. Yes,it's true boys and girls....the same voters that send Kerry and Kennedy to Washington time after time wouldn't approve it.

Here's your leading edge, maybe. Now gays will have the wonderful opportunity to be like lot of straight people... locked in loveless marriages just to keep the cash stream and benefits package intact.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1662230/posts

Some gay folks will soon be recalling the "be careful what you wish for" saying. And they'll wonder "is this the liberation we lobbied for?".

Why do we care? Seriously. How is gay marriage going to ruin my life? Will the gay people tell me that I can't stay married to my wife of 12 years? Let's not get all upset over the gay people.

Get government OUT of marriage!

I'm against Gay marriage but, I'm also sick of hearing about it. We've got some other pressing issues that need our attention. (Survival comes to mind)

It's another step down the slippery slope. What is really going on here is forcing society to accept their behaviour. That includes Christians who believe the behaviour to be sinful. They will tell you that it's about insurance and wills but that's bunk. You can will your assets to anyone and name anyone on life insurance. Health insurance is a different matter. There are serious health risks with this sexual behaviour. They want the consequences to be paid for by others.

Can't you find another broken record to screech at us?

How is gay marriage going to ruin my life?

You don't understand. It's not about marriage at all, except as a wedge to further destabilize society. Homosexuals don't really care about marriage, the goal is a show of force for their side. They will NEVER be satisfied with any gains that they make - typical of the liberal mindset. Any advances will further enrage them.

Canada and the Netherlands are a peek into the future of what state-endorsed same sex marriage will bring. People are going to jail for merely speaking their conscience regarding this lifestyle, in the privacy of their own congregations.

I'm worried about the younger generation only being fed one point of view. Where will we be in 30 years on this issue? The thing is that if the sexual libertines get their way and all is permitted, people aren't going to be happier. We'll have too much social chaos, too many confused/addicted/lonely people; sexual predators getting whatever they want. People need a certain amount of structure. Freedom occurs within structure. The gay marriage folks don't understand that. They're pushing their agenda against the backdrop of stability that traditional marriage still manages to provide. In 30 years...??

Freedom is good, including marital freedom.


Make LIFEBeat do the right thing



More on LIFEBeat, which continues to publicly defend its decision to allow homobigoted recording artists Beenie Man and TOK to perform at its HIV/AIDS education and information benefit concert. These performers have called for the killing of gays and lesbians in their lyrics. Remember, executive director John Cannelli knew about the artists and their lyrics but booked them anyway, citing that he wanted to reach out to that segment of the community by using artists who could "connect with them."

LIFEBeat and its supporters are continuing to spin in this AP story. Particularly amusing is the comment from VIBE magazine's Rob Kenner, who suggests it's simply a translation issue, a misunderstanding...
John Canelli, LIFEbeat's executive director, said he felt strongly that the performers' presence would "create dialogue around AIDS and the Caribbean-American community" and an "opportunity for groundbreaking change and good to come from it." The artists aren't being paid, he said.

...Rob Kenner, editor-at-large at Vibe magazine, said dancehall lyrics suffer from "quick and sloppy translations" by detractors. The lyrics, Kenner said, go beyond homosexuality and address issues of spirituality, empowerment and family unity. [Yes, it goes on, after they call for the murder of fags and dykes. How is that a mitigating factor?]

"When you become versed in the music form that they practice then you start to understand what the words they're saying really mean," Kenner said. "If Beenie Man and T.O.K. were really the monsters the protesters portray them to be, their music careers would've ended long ago and they would've been locked up long ago."

The protests come less than a week after scheduled concerts by Beenie Man and Buju Banton, another dancehall performer, were canceled in Britain after activists said the artists had reneged on an agreement they made last year to stop using anti-gay lyrics.
Guess what? Gay activists have died from the homophobia fomented by these folks. The Brits canceled those abovementioned concerts -- did they have a problem with translation of the dance hall lyrics? In fact, U.K. activists are supporting the effort to drop the performers from the LIFEBeat concert:
In a separate email sent from London, British black gay activists Topher Campbell and Ajamu wrote to LIFEbeat, "We stand with our U.S. Black Gay Cousins and strongly urge you to either ask the artists to make a statment supporting the gay community or cancel their appearance at the concerts." The email continued, "Whilst we support a person's right to express anti-gay views we cannot and do not support the right of anybody to advocate the death and beating of gay and lesbian people."
Caribbean nations such as Jamaica have the highest incidence of HIV infection outside of Sub-Saharan Africa. We should care about this, and the culturally ingrained homophobia and denial that helps the virus spread. LIFEBeat cannot understand that the two cannot be separated.

Human Rights Watch released a report, Hated to Death: Homophobia, Violence, and Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic, that suggests Jamaica cannot win the battle against AIDS until it confronts the virulent forms of anti-gay bigotry that runs through the country's popular culture, its police force and much of its medical system. The report concludes that a pervasive anti-gay bias is driving the epidemic by forcing people at risk to avoid hospitals, and by making it difficult for them to acquire condoms and other things that would help them remain free of the infection.
Jamaican dancehall music, a powerful cultural force in Jamaican society, reflects and reinforces popular prejudices against lesbians and gay men. Many dancehall musicians perform songs that glorify brutal violence and killing of men and women who do not conform to stereotypical gender roles, and celebrate their social cleansing from Jamaica.

High-level political leaders foster an atmosphere of violence toward men who have sex with men. During the 2001 elections, for example, the Jamaican Labour Party (the main opposition party) adopted “Chi Chi Man,” which celebrates burning and killing gay men, as its theme song. The ruling People’s National Party responded by adopting as its campaign slogan for the 2002 national elections “Log On to Progress,” a reference to a popular song and dance (“log on”) involving kicking or stomping on gay men.
Take a look at some of the "mainstream" views of gays in Jamaican media, from Ian Boyne in the Jamaica Gleaner -- it makes you sick.
If culture, custom and the democratic will of the people stand opposed to homosexuality, by what moral authority does the homosexual assert the inviolability of his sexual practice? If the majority of Jamaicans want homosexuality to remain criminalised, on what philosophical or political ground do you as a gay person demand its repealing? The natural world (human and animal) is overwhelmingly heterosexual. Civilisations and cultures throughout history have been universally heterosexual (in terms of being predominant). So what gives you, the gay person, the inalienable right to the expression of a sexual orientation which the majority deems unacceptable?

...Gays just want to have sex and lots of it like most of us heterosexuals. They feel it's unfair that we should have it and they should have none. When you really press them (oops!), they have no intellectually unassailable defence. It goes back to the sovereignty of their irresistible desires. They are just helpless slaves to their passions. Their reasoning violates every rule in even naturalistic ethical construction.
What more does LIFEBeat need to know to inform them that its decision to keep these homobigots in the lineup is a mistake?

Blogger and activist Jasmyne Cannick did an interview on Access Hollywood last year on the anti-gay dance hall and reggae genres. See that video here. The LIFEBeat folks might want to take a look at that as well.

Mike Tidmus has a post up, Death beat, which sums it up well.
As a gay man who has been deeply involved in the “AIDS community” for 25 years, I take tremendous offense at LIFEbeat’s inclusion of murder music perpetrators Beenie Man and TOK in their upcoming fundraiser.

...Allowing scum like Beenie Man and TOK to perform is condoning and promoting their disgusting, deadly and unrepentant homophobia. This isn’t about dialogue opening doors or looking to the future. That is bullshit rhetoric to mask LIFEbeat’s lack of sensitivity, self-serving greed, or, more probably, their own homophobia. There can be no solidarity with those who advocate the murder of GLBT people nor with the organizations that enable them.
See Mike's other posts (from back in 2004 -- this is not a new issue about these artists), stop jamaican hate now ! and jamaican hate update; these performers called a truce back then to stop performing songs with anti-gay lyrics, when faced with a boycott in the UK. They later broke that truce and began performing the same old hate-filled music calling for the deaths of gays all over again.

The spin won't work, LIFEBeat. The homobigot paper trail on these guys is a mile long.

***

Keith Boykin, other LGBT bloggers, and concerned citizens will be holding a press conference in front of LIFEBeat's offices in Manhattan (630 9th Avenue, between 44th & 45th Streets) at 10 AM on Thursday to demand that these two musicians are dropped from the performers slated at the Hearts and Voices Benefit Concert.


LIFEbeat Board of Directors

Mitch Slater
Board President
Senior Executive VP / Chief Operating Officer, CKX, Inc.
650 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Tel. No.: (212) 838-3100
Send email through company website

Daniel Glass
Founding Board President
CEO and President, Artemis Records
130 5th Avenue, 7th Flr.
NY, NY 10011
Direct: 212-624-1458
Phone: 212-433-1800
Fax: 212-414-1703

Robert Reicher, Esq.
Board Secretary
50 E 42nd St Fl 17
New York, NY 10017
917-365-4600 cell
212-697-8777 home

Emil Wilbekin
(Openly Gay)
Former Editor-In-Chief, VIBE Magazine
(917) 593-4538
ewilbekin@aol.com

Jerry Blair
Partner, The Fuerte Group
73 Spring St, Suite 406
New York, NY 10012
(t) 212.219.2525
(f) 212.219.8915
info@fuertegroup.com

Mel Cheren
President, The Colonial House
318 W. 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011
212-243-9669
800-689-3779
houseinn@aol.com

Gary Dell'Abate
Producer, The Howard Stern Show/SIRIUS
SIRIUS
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
212-314-9230
212-584-5100
888-927-7465 (Call In Number for "Howard Stern Show")

Lisa Ellis
General Manager, SONY Urban Music
Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
550 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10022-3211
212-833-8000 - General number for SONY BMG
212-833-5047 - SONY BMG Corporate Press

Bruno del Granado
Maverick Entertainment
Arthur Fogel
(Madonna's Tour Promoter)

President, The Next Adventure
President, Live Nation
Global Music Division
9348 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA, 90210
(310) 867-7000 phone
(310) 867-7001 fax

Donna Futterman, M.D.
(Openly Gay)
Department of Pediatrics
Division of Adolescent Medicine
3514 Wayne Avenue
Bronx, NY
718 882-0322
futterma@aecom.yu.edu
http://www.aecom.yu.edu/home/Pediatrics/futterman.htm

Burton Goldstein
(Contributes to Democratic Party candidates)
Burton Goldstein & Co.
Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP)
156 W 56th Street #1803
New York NY 10019
212-582-7622 Phone
212-582-8273 Fax

Stephen Hill
Senior Vice President, Music Programming, BET
1515 Broadway Fl 46
New York, NY 10036
(212) 697-1060

Vince Pellegrino
Pellegrino Entertainment Group, Inc.
Street Information Network/S.I.N.
1674 Broadway, Suite 7C
New York, NY 10019
212-956-2188 work
212-956-2632 fax

Denise Rich
(Big contributor to DNC; Ex-husband Marc Rich was pardoned by President Clinton)
(Wrote hit song "Don't Waste Your Time" sung by Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige)
Songwriter, Denise Rich Songs
785 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Tim Rosta
(Openly gay; former executive director of LIFEbeat)
Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing, MTV
1515 Broadway, New York, 10036
(212) 258-8000

Paul Schindler Esq.
Partner, Greenberg Traurig
MetLife Building
200 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10166
(212) 801-6785 phone
(212) 805-9254 fax
Send email to Paul Schindler

John Shea
Senior Vice President, Strategic Programming, MTV Networks
1515 Broadway, New York, 10036
(212) 258-8000

Van Toffler
(Executive producer, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'")
President, MTV: Music Television & MTV2
1515 Broadway, New York, 10036
(212) 258-8000

Veronica Webb
Model/Actress/Author
Ross Zapin
Vice President of Promotions, SIRIUS Satellite Radio
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(212) 584-5100



LIFEbeat Board of Advisors

Hilary Rosen
(Openly gay; former head of the Human Rights Campaign)
Berman Rosen Strategies
607 14th Street NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
202.354.8210 work
202.354.8201 fax
http://www.bermanrosen.com/aboutus.html



LIFEbeat Contributors

To see the U.S. Tax Returns, Schedule B, Form 990, click here (PDF file)

Denise Rich
785 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10021
$15,500 in person

Capitol Records Group
1750 N. Vine Street, 8th Flr
Hollywood, CA 90028
$26,000 in person

Infinity Broadcasting
40 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
$15,000 in person

Universal Music Group
2220 Colorado Ave., 6th Fl
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$24,000 in person

Warner Music Group
75 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10019
$27,750 in person

Irving Plaza Concerts
17 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
$41,625 in person

Delsener Slater Enterprises
650 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 100022
$18,500 in person

1445 Washington LP
1445 Washington Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139
$14,030 in person

Remote Productions, Inc.
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
$67,275 in person

Sony Music Entertainment
550 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 100022-3211
$20,000 in person

Trojan Brand Group
Church & Dwight Co., Inc.
Princeton, NJ 08543-7744
$174,080 in noncash (condoms)



LIFEbeat Staff

John Cannelli, Executive Director, x101, jcannelli@lifebeat.org
Sarah Peters, Manager, Operations, x119, speters@lifebeat.org
Aly Panichi, Coordinator, Hearts & Voices, x109, apanichi@lifebeat.org

Ben Godwin, Program Assistant, Hearts & Voices, x112, bgodwin@lifebeat.org

LIFEbeat, Inc.
630 Ninth Avenue (between 44th and 45th Streets)
Suite 1010
New York, NY 10036
http://www.lifebeat.org/
Telephone: 212.459.2590
Toll-free: 800.AIDS.411
Fax: 212.459.2892


Top 10 Fundie Power Brokers

Head over to PageOneQ for a fantastic reprint of an article by Americans United for Separation of Church and State's Rob Boston on the top ten radical religious organizations in the U.S. (with a hat tip to Scott).

Here's the list, but the full article is an essential click. We often make fun of these clowns here on the Blend, but the sorry truth is that these organizations are cash cows of bigotry, pulling in $447 million a year -- and spending in excess of a half a billion on anti-gay initiatives. I've included a link to prior Blend posts on each.

1. Christian Broadcasting Network
Founder, CEO and Director: The Rev. Pat Robertson
Blend posts

2. Focus on the Family
Founder and chairman: Dr. James C. Dobson
Blend posts

3. Coral Ridge Ministries
Founder and President: The Rev. D. James Kennedy
Blend posts

4. Alliance Defense Fund
President, CEO and General Counsel: Alan Sears
Blend posts

5. American Family Association
Founder and Chairman: The Rev. Donald Wildmon
Blend posts

6. American Center for Law and Justice
Founder and President: The Rev. Pat Robertson
Chief Counsel: Jay Sekulow
Blend posts

7. Family Research Council
Founder: James C. Dobson; President: Tony Perkins
Blend posts

8. Jerry Falwell Ministries
Founder and Director: The Rev. Jerry Falwell
Blend posts

9. Concerned Women for America
Founders: Tim and Beverly LaHaye
Blend posts

10. Traditional Values Coalition
Founder and Chairman: The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
Blend posts


Jesus H. Budweiser

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I wholeheartedly condemn vandalism... except when it is funny like this:
(7/11/06 - KTRK/HOUSTON) - Sophisticated graffiti artists have left their mark near downtown Houston.

Someone covered up a billboard on La Branch at Winbern with a poster featuring a picture of Jesus Christ holding a Budweiser can. The company that leases the billboard believes vandals made the poster at home and then pasted it on top of the ad that's supposed to be there.

It shows Jesus holding a Budweiser in between the phrases "Jesus, King of Jews" and "Jesus, King of Beers."
Click the link for the photo.


Gannon to 'entertain' at NYC Log Cabin meeting

Why do the NY LCRs really want to be associated with this guy? The former Talon News "reporter" will address the group on Thursday. John has more.
It's clear that the gay group thinks Gannon represents them as a "gay conservative," which is quite sad. Gannon only recently acknowledged being gay, he has a long history of writing incredibly anti-gay stories for far-right publications, he has been accused of repeated cases of plagiarism, and sometimes he just makes stuff up (like he did in a recent article claiming I ran an advertiser boycott of the local gay paper - totally untrue, but hey, facts are for liberals). Oh yeah, and his 8, or was it 9, male prostitution Web sites were uncovered where he was selling himself to men for $200/hr and $1200/weekend. Not that I have any problem with that, but don't go playing the homophobe during your day job and then be gay-for-pay at night. Not to mention, there's a difference between being an expert on gay sex and gay rights.

Jeff in the good old Bulldog days. And today.


LIFEbeat continues its support of homobigoted performers



LIFEbeat issued a statement regarding the invitation of Beenie Man and TOK to its benefit concert -- the organization will not back down from supporting performers who call for the murder of gays and lesbians in their lyrics. It's all about outreach, you know.

The ignorance -- and arrogance -- take my breath away.
LIFEBEAT STATEMENT ON REGGAE GOLD:

LIFEbeat's mission is to utilize the power of music to raise awareness and educate in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Caribbean American community has been tremendously affected by the HIV/AIDS virus and has long kept silent about the epidemic's effect on their community for fear of being stigmatized.

When planning the upcoming Hearts & Voices Reggae Gold concert, LIFEbeat's staff and board knew this event might raise concerns by some in the gay community and required careful consideration before proceeding. LIFEbeat's staff and board do not condone anti-gay lyrics or violence against anyone; they are an organization dedicated to promoting life. The staff and board also strongly believe that dialogue opens doors, creating the opportunity for enlightenment, growth and change amongst all involved. We all have an opportunity to look to the future, not the past, and join together in solidarity to educate, enlighten, be a part of positive change and save lives.

Jody L. Miller
JLM PR, Inc.
580 Broadway, Ste. 1208
New York, N.Y. 10012
p: 212.431.5227
f: 212.431.6818
e: jody@jlmpr.com
Stirring up controversy and getting press trumps doing the right thing. They have no problem giving a platform to those who spew hate and advocate violence? Priorities are clearly not in order here.

Keith Boykin heard from openly gay board member of LIFEbeat, Emil Wilbekin, and his take was that since the vast majority of artists in the reggae genre are homophobic, so it is too difficult to find performers who aren't bigots. Come on. That doesn't excuse booking people to play who make a living singing about killing gays and lesbians.

Terrance spells it out for the empty heads at LIFEbeat:
There is an undeniable connection between that violence and music that celebrates shooting gays in the head, hanging them, or burning them alive.

These artists have not repudiated the violence in their lyrics. They have blood on their hands, and LIFEbeat has blood on its hands by association if they promote these artists and doesn't use its influence to encourage the artist to repudiate the violence in their lyrics.
This is not a game LIFEbeat; gay AIDS activists have been killed. No one is saying that Beenie Man and TOK don't have the right to sing about whatever they want -- but your organization doesn't have to endorse the spread of bigotry at an event that is supposed to promote education and tolerance.

Why is this contradiction so difficult to understand?

And where is LIFEbeat advisor Hilary Rosen on this? I hear crickets chirping...

Hilary B. Rosen
BermanRosen Consulting
office 202.354.8210
fax 202.354.8201

Remember, no one would let a right-leaning organization off the hook for doing something egregious like this. These folks are supposed to be our allies.

Where are HRC...GLAAD? Don't they have any comment?

HRC Press Resources

Luis Vizcaiño
Communications & Marketing Director
202/216-1547
e-mail Luis

Jay Smith Brown
Director for Communication Strategies
202/216-1580
e-mail Jay

Brad Luna
Director of Media Relations
202/216-1514
e-mail Brad

Michael Cole
Senior Communications & Media Center Manager
202/216-1553
e-mail Michael

GLAAD's "incident report" form:
http://www.glaad.org/action/report.php
phone: (212) 629-3322
fax: (212) 629-3225

More coverage:
* DKos
* Why Straight People Should Care about Gay Rights

See my earlier posts here and here.


LaBarbera heads to the bathhouse with a 'Love and Truth Offensive' at Gay Games

Miss LaBarbera has been prepping furiously for the Gay Games (July 15 - 22). It's an exciting time -- he's planning to work the bathhouse area, "educating" folks who happen to be walking by about "sexual perversions." Is this more "research"? From his press release:
LaBarbera said the Love and Truth Offensive will conclude Saturday night, July 22, with an informational Christian outreach in front of the homosexual bathhouse Steamworks in Chicago's Boystown (gay) neighborhood. Steamworks, where men go for anonymous sex with other men, is an official sponsor of the Gay Games. Steamwork's sponsorship is evidence of the unhealthy "extracurricular" activities that surround this event and the homosexual lifestyle in general, LaBarbera said.

"Because we care about gay men, we will be in front of Steamworks urging them not to engage in destructive and highly dangerous behavior," he said.
Wayne Besen has a few words about Peter's plans...
However, it is clear that Porno Pete is the one playing the gay games, as he once again finds himself in a homosexual den of iniquity. This anti-gay leader has regularly gone "undercover" at S&M leather balls, circuit parties and porn palaces. Now, he plans to conduct what he calls "informational outreach" in front of a Chicago gay bathhouse. The rest of us call what he is doing twisted voyeurism.

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."

Look at some of the "ex-gay" and fundie luminaries participating in the harrassment of Games attendees.
-- Linda Jernigan, founder of "RescuingHomosexuals.org," who lived 19 years in the lesbian lifestyle

-- Janice Couture, whose daughter is a practicing lesbian: "How to love your gay or lesbian child without loving their behavior"

-- Linda Harvey of Mission America, speaking on, "How the gay movement endangers and corrupts children"

-- James Hartline, former homosexual and Christian activist in San Diego;

-- Rev. Al Cleveland, an African American minister, on "Why homosexuality is not a civil rights issue"
Also on that list is "ex-gay" Greg Quinlan, who says in his bio that he has worked for HRC in the past. Wayne wonders when on earth Quinlan was there.
Interestingly, I worked at HRC for five years and nobody had ever heard of Mr. Quinlan - either at the national office or in Ohio. It appears that he is either falsifying his credentials or his role with HRC was so inconsequential that it left no identifiable footprint. I would urge Mr. Quinlan to either stop identifying himself as a former HRC official or prove that he was once part of the group. (Licking stamps once as a volunteer 20 years ago doesn't count and certainly doesn't justify making it into the bio).
Related:
* Fundie 'Action Plan' for the Gay Games


Open thread

This and that...

* Hilarious: "Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis" -- over at Shakes Sis.

* Ratzi's long arm punishes gay Hoosiers: Catholic Church Lobbying Succeeds In Defeating South Bend Gay Rights Ordinance.

* Take part in the Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census! (h/t, Paul)

* Want to participate in the Erase Racism Carnival? You might also want to check out the Austin American Statesman's "America's Hidden History of Racial Expulsions" series.

* From Blender Rick in Idaho: "Salt Lake City's Mayor, Rocky Anderson, is urging people to protest President Bush's visit to SLC the last weekend of August. It should be noted that Mayor Anderson is NOT Mormon, just in case Blenders get the impression he's just a Romney with a spine. He's also been influential in GLBT rights in a very conservative location."

* Gene Stone doesn't mince words about Gay Republicans in his Huff Post piece, "Still More On Gay Morons." Almost 70 comments already...

* Perrspectives' "What Does 'GOP' Stand For?" contest is over. See the winners.


Holy land extremists: kill gays for reward

An anonymous flyer, the work of the religious extremists, is being posted around Jerusalem and placed in mailboxes that cuts right to the chase -- kill the fags for cash. It's nice to know what the price on a homo head is in the Holy Land these days. (YNet):
In protest of the 2006 WorldPride Parade, scheduled to take place in Jerusalem on August 10, hundreds of letters, advocating "death to Sodomites", were distributed to Jerusalem mailboxes on Tuesday morning. They promised NIS 20,000 [about $4,500] to "anyone who brings about the death of one of the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah."

...The letter appeals to residents of the capital: "don't let them teach our children their impure ways."

..."During this parade, 300,000 corrupt animals are anticipated to march through the holy city of Jerusalem, waiting avidly for the chance to put themselves on display before our children and our sacred Torah. They will try as hard as they can to defile as many of our innocent children as they can."
Hat tip, PageOneQ.


NC County GOP head: being gay 'as natural as pedophilia'

We now say that homosexuality is ok. That it is natural. Yes it is as natural as pedophilia. If it were natural then we wouldn’t be having a conversation about it, because there would be no procreation. It really is that simple. All the other studies and written articles are the justification for the actions of this group of individuals.
-- Marcus Kindley, chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party
[Welcome, Raw Story readers...]

It's nice to know that Guilford County Republicans are well represented by a grade A, batsh*t-emitting, homobigots like Kindley. Any guesses as to whether he has a freshly washed sheet in his closet as well?

Kindley posted the above in a diatribe entitled "Morals, Church and the American Society" on his blog, The Chairman's Corner. He takes a swipe at gays, but as the leader of his county's GOP, Marcus also takes the opportunity to pontificate on issues of the day in a way that simply brings tears to my eyes.

On the right to choose...
Look at the issue of abortion. The North Carolina Democratic Party will not take a stand for life. It advocates the freedom to kill an unwanted child in the womb at your pleasure. There is no stigma of right or wrong associated with this action by our media and many of our churches and society as a whole. They say it is a personal decision. Well with that rational so is murder, rape, sposal abuse, pedophilia, incest..
On the decline of the church (apparently the bible-beaters aren't flogging hard enough):
Our churches in trying to be everything to everybody has failed to discriminated between right and wrong. If there is no right and wrong, but only gray, then there is no need for God or Laws....In America today our churches have degraded their beliefs so much that the ordinary citizen sees no need to attend a worship service, because he sees and hears the same thing on Opra and Dr. Phil everyday.
Someone please contact the Holy Joe campaign. We have another articulate endorsement from the GOP:
Look at Joseph Lieberman. He is an old time Democrat who loves America and believes we should protect our people. Yet, the new left and the media want him thrown overboard. I could work with Joe Lieberman, I believe he is a basically honest men. I could disagree vehemently with him on some ways to handle certain social ills, but we could talk. Look how he is being treated. Instead of respect for his opinions his own pillars him.
Matt Hill Comer of the NC Advocacy Coalition passed on this gem of a party leader. I noticed, as he did, that a commenter left a note at Kindley's blog that the pol's post "resonates" with him and that he "longs for simpler times."

Cue up "Dueling Banjos"...

More fresh Blend here.


Unite against homophobic artists



[UPDATE: as media coverage picks up, I'm adding the links.]
[UPDATE 2: see my latest post, LIFEbeat continues its support of homobigoted performers.]

The campaign has begun. The folks at LIFEBeat won't know what hit them, since the organization has decided that inviting artists that advocate killing gays and lesbians to a concert for HIV/AIDS prevention and education is A-OK. Beenie Man and TOK must renounce their homobigoted ways or be removed from the bill of the Hearts & Voices Concert Series concert slated for July 18 in New York. See my earlier post.

LIFEBeat's executive director John Canelli actually told Keith Boykin that his "organization wanted to reach out to that segment of the community by using artists who could connect with them" and that it's "not his job" to encourage artists to repudiate their homophobia. That makes it perfectly clear where LIFEBeat's coming from, doesn't it?

Here is a list of bloggers currently participating in educating LIFEBeat that it's not OK to promote reggae artists who gay-bash in their lyrics. The campaign is open to everyone -- you're welcome to join in by running the above banner:

Donald Agarrat: www.anzidesign.com
Keith Boykin: www.keithboykin.com
Clay Cane: www.claycane.blogspot.com
Jasmyne Cannick: www.jasmynecannick.com
Steven Claiborne: http://saclaiborne.blogspot.com/
Terrance Heath: www.republicoft.com
Andre Lancaster: http://journeyintolight.blogspot.com/
Frank Roberts: www.brooklynboyblues.blogspot.com
Pam Spaulding: www.pamspaulding.com/weblog/
Bernard Tarver: www.bejata.com

Here is the media coverage so far:

* UKGay.com
* GCN Ireland
* PlanetOut's Politics & News Blog
* Google News Listing of "Beenie Man" LIFEbeat stories
* PlanetOut: Black gays protest homophobe AIDS concert
* New York Blade: Anti-gay rappers headline HIV fundraiser
* Houston Voice: Anti-gay rappers headline HIV fundraiser
* Southern Voice: Anti-gay rappers headline HIV fundraiser
* Washington Blade: Anti-gay rappers headline HIV fundraiser


Send in the fundie clowns

It looks like we missed out on some fun at Kansas City's Pride this year, because there was a fundie clown named "JM" (for "Jesus' Messenger") out there doing a little proselytizing. According to AgapePress's Dwight Widaman the rainbow shirt-clad (it actually had "Jesus is still SettingCaptivesFree.com" on it) JM had a rip-roaring time at Pride. A snippet:
During an interview, our clown says he encountered no resistance as he blanketed better than 200 windshields with business cards announcing the website "PeopleCanChange.com" and a peppermint candy kiss attached.

Q: Why would you even try to penetrate such an event? [There goes that penetration stuff again...]

JM: Well, why not? Would you refuse to share Jesus at a state fair?

Q: Well, no. But the state fair isn't promoting and glamorizing sin.

JM: True. So are you saying you might consider passing out tracts in a bar, but you would never enter a gay bar? Have we forgotten that without Jesus, none of the nice people at the state fair is sheltered from the wrath of almighty God against sin? People aren't lost because they engage in sex with a same-sex partner. We all do that which grieves and breaks the heart of God because we are born in a compromised state, thanks to Adam.

...Q: Do you believe there is a gay gene?

JM: Nonsense. If the Word of God was silent on this issue, we might want to line up with the rest of them and "wait and see." But there is no gay gene waiting to be discovered. Nor ever was. Neither are there little green men on Mars.


Fighting the 'Judeo-Marxists' in Alabama

Monday, July 10, 2006

Boy, Kathy at Birmingham Blues has a live one for you. We all know that the average Deep South wingnut politician has to demonstrate fundie credentials, but Montgomery, AL lawyer and failed attorney general candidate Larry Darby takes the cake for originality.

Darby is an atheist, but he felt abandoned by atheist community in the primary, so he has decided to turn to Jesus.
Alabama's most prominent atheist is no longer an atheist.

Larry Darby, a former candidate for attorney general who lost in the Democratic primary but won most of North Alabama, said he is embracing Jesus as he crusades against "Judeo-Marxism."

"Contrary to expectation, many atheist member organizations or many groups that allegedly represent free thinkers were quick to jump on the Judeo-Marxist bandwagon and dis(a)ssociate themselves from me," Darby wrote.

...In his announcement Darby also called the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, which often takes on racist or anti-Semitic groups, "agents of Judeo-Marxism."

...Darby said he changed his views on atheism "based on experiences or understanding of the world around me." He didn't respond directly when asked if he was renouncing atheism to position himself better politically.
Alrighty then. Check out Kathy's smackdown.

Oh, yes, and there might have been a couple of other teensy reasons besides the "Judeo-Marxist bandwagon" that Darby's candidacy tanked -- the fact that he questioned whether the Holocaust occurred, and that he embraced Neo-Nazi groups -- even speaking at a white supremacist conference in May.





Tobacco will kill 1 billion in 21st century

WASHINGTON - If current trends hold, tobacco will kill a billion people this century, 10 times the toll it took in the 20th century, public health officials said Monday.

Tobacco accounts for one in five cancer deaths, or 1.4 million deaths worldwide each year, according to two new reference guides that chart global tobacco use and cancer. Lung cancer remains the major cancer among the 10.9 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year, according to the Cancer Atlas.
And tobacco will continue to be sold as not-a-food and not-a-drug (what is it, an office supply? an automobile?), so the FDA doesn't regulate it, so it doesn't have to list its contents. They have to tell you how many grams of sodium are in your Lucky Charms, but what's in your Lucky Strikes* remains a mystery.

Dangerous drugs are regulated under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970... but, remember, cigarettes are not a dangerous drug. Oh, sure, they kill around 450,000 per year, and thousands more who don't use the cigarettes die from the second-hand smoke. So they're a dangerous not-a-drug, I suppose.

Meanwhile, a cancer patient who smokes a doobie to regain an appetite after a lengthy bout of chemotherapy is using a prohibited, dangerous, Schedule I substance that may not even be prescribed by a doctor. He can prescribe you morphine, OxyContin, cocaine, and methaphetamine (seriously, it's in Schedule II), but not marijuana.

Nevermind that marijuana killed exactly ZERO people in the 20th century... and the 19th, and 18th, and 17th, and all the way back to the beginning of time. Sorry, doesn't matter, you can't have it.

Have a cigarette instead. Oh, yeah, sorry, I forgot about the cancer**... that cigarette is why you need the doobie in the first place!

* Lucky Strikes? What is this, 1942?

** While I'm on the subject, recent studies show that cannabis does not cause lung cancer. Regular pot smokers have the same cancer rates as non-smokers, and much lower than cigarette smokers. Furthermore, cigarette smokers who also smoke weed have lower cancer rates. Finally, it has been shown in rats that marijuana actually has tumor-inhibiting and brain-cell-protecting properties. That's why Willie Nelson's still around and Merle Haggard (whoops!) Waylon Jennings ain't...


Football players gang-raped girl, 11, police say

The good news: No new female child rape atrocity to report in Iraq.

The bad news:
FRESNO, California (AP) -- The rape of an 11-year-old girl may have involved as many as 10 men, most of whom are football players at local community colleges, police said.

Police arrested two men in connection with the rape Saturday night, and officials said they identified eight others as persons of interest in the case. Most or all are students at either Fresno City College or Reedley College, police said.

The victim, a runaway from a group home, went to a Fresno apartment complex Saturday night to visit an acquaintance, said police spokesman Jeff Cardinale.

While she was inside one of the units, she allegedly was sexually assaulted multiple times by several men, he said.

The girl then fled the apartment and sought help from a couple on the street who called police, Cardinale said.
What's the descriptive adjective that is missing from the story? If you guessed "as many as 10 heterosexual men", you win the prize.

Not that I think rape is any better or worse if it's done by heterosexuals or homosexuals. It's just that if this were a gang rape of, say, the team's waterboy, the newspaper may not print "as many as 10 homosexual men", but that's where the discussion would go in the talking head cable shows and the fundie-friendly newspaper articles. We'd hear all about the "homosexual agenda" and how these vile pedophiles were trying to lure the poor waterboy into their debauched lifestyle.

So... were these 10 football players trying to recruit the 11-year-old girl into the heterosexual lifestyle? Were they promoting a heterosexual agenda? For if we were to crunch the numbers, the vast majority of violent crime, rape, and pedophilia is perpetrated by heterosexuals, above and beyond their proportional representation in the general population.

But you never seem to hear anything about open displays of heterosexuality causing all these dreadful harms, do you?

Just a thought for the day. I mean, wouldn't it be interesting if sexuality was always referred to in news stories? "Openly heterosexual Enron swindler Ken Lay died today..." "President George W. Bush, a heterosexual, today signed a bill..." "Alleged heterosexual Ann Coulter..." "Ambiguous-sexual Congressman David Dreier voted for..."


AIDS charity LIFEBeat sponsoring concert featuring homophobes

I couldn't believe what I was reading when Keith Boykin emailed me about this. There is desperate need to educate minorities about HIV/AIDS, but why on earth would the music industry's non-profit arm LIFEBeat -- which is supposed to combat ignorance and homophobia surrounding HIV/AIDS with education -- sponsor an event featuring two artists who sing about killing gays and lesbians?

LIFEbeat's sixth Hearts & Voices Concert Series benefit concert is a landmark event because it is bringing reggae artists together for the first time to face the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS next week, on July 18. This is a wonderful opportunity to reach an audience that needs a positive message, yet LIFEbeat is KNOWINGLY participating in the promotion of homophobic performers.

Beenie Man calls for hanging lesbians with a long piece of rope in his lyrics, and TOK encourages the burning and killing of gay men. From TOK's "Chi Chi Man":

From dem a par inna chi chi man car
Blaze di fire mek we bun dem!!!! (Bun dem!!!!)
From dem a drink inna chi chi man bar
Blaze di fire mek we dun dem!!!! (Dun dem!!!!)

The folks at LIFEBeat have lost their minds.

This is how bad it is. Keith emailed LIFEBeat's executive director John Canelli to see whether some how, some way the organization just missed the boat and was unaware of what it was promoting. You won't believe the answer...
Canelli admitted that his organization knew that Beenie Man and TOK were homophobic artists but decided to do the concert anyway. "We didn't make the decision blindly," he told me. "We knew there would be controversy." So why did they do it, I asked. Canelli told me his organization wanted to reach out to that segment of the community by using artists who could connect with them. Perhaps that makes sense, but why not use LIFEBeat's leverage to encourage the artists to repudiate their homophobia. "It's not my job to do that," Canelli said flatly. I strongly disagree.

When asked why he couldn't use his influence to get the musicians to renounce their homophobia, Canelli said that all the performers at the concert are performing for free, and because of the nature of the event, "I'm not in a position to make a demand like that."
Let's see, using homobigots of color who sing about killing gays and lesbians to connect with the masses on HIV/AIDS is a damn fine goal, isn't it? And I beg to differ -- Canelli does have a role to play. The religious zealots aren't our friends, but if an organization that is purportedly on our side is tolerating -- and sponsoring -- hateful, bigoted messages, that's not acceptable.

But wait, there's more.
"It's a tough decision," Canelli told me. "Look at the numbers of people getting infected," he said. "My job is to save lives." I doubt it. If your job were really to save lives, you would never give a platform to two artists who encourage their fans to take the lives of innocent gays and lesbians.
Can it get any worse? Try this -- on the board of LIFEBeat sits the former ed-in-chief of VIBE mag, Emil Wilbekin (who's openly gay), and one of its advisors is out lesbian Hilary Rosen, former head of the Recording Industry Association of America (and HRC). These people should know better. The gay community doesn't need "friends" who can't see the big picture of the impact of tolerating performers like Beenie Man and TOK at an event LIFEBeat is putting on.

Clearly the folks in need of education are the folks at LIFEBeat, and these artists should not perform at the concert.

After all, The Brits didn't put up with this madness. Beanie Man and equally homophobic Buju Banton were given the boot when the artists tried to bring their filth to a concert there. We can do the same on our turf.

Information you can use to politely contact LIFEBeat...

Tell them that these two performers must be off the concert card or make a public statement disavowing their anti-gay messages. We've had enough of this.

Concert Details

REGGAE GOLD LIVE 2006 SUMMER JUMPOFF
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street between 3rd & 4th Avenues
Doors open at 9pm

Promotional support provided by BET, Vibe magazine, Music Choice and Power 105.1

LIFEbeat, Inc.
630 Ninth Avenue (between 44th and 45th Streets)
Suite 1010
New York, NY 10036
http://www.lifebeat.org/

Telephone: 212.459.2590
Toll-free: 800.AIDS.411
Fax: 212.459.2892

John Cannelli, Executive Director, x101, jcannelli@lifebeat.org

Sarah Peters Manager, Operations, x119, speters@lifebeat.org


SC gay org begins billboard campaign to fight amendment at the polls

If South Carolina residents look into their lives, they'll see that there are people who they know and love who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, and those people need their support...There is an important vote in November, and those individuals will be drastically affected by that vote."
-- Warren Redman-Gress, Alliance for Full Acceptance's executive director
There will be not only a billboard campaign -- which will feature three messages rotating before November, but the Alliance will use direct-mail, radio and television ads, bumper stickers to help educate South Carolina voters about why it's important to vote against the amendment. (The State):
A Charleston-based gay-rights group has started the campaign to defeat a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. The Alliance for Full Acceptance is paying more than $1,100 a week for a billboard on Interstate 26 encouraging people to vote no in November.

"Someone you know, someone you love ... is gay. They need your help in November," the billboard says.

Same-sex marriages are prohibited by state law, but supporters of the amendment say it is needed to prevent a judge from declaring that law unconstitutional as happened in Massachusetts, the only state where gay couples are allowed to marry.
The SC wingers, of course, take a different view (Post and Courier):
Leaders with Columbia-based Palmetto Family Council, which promotes fundamental family values, said they are planning an active campaign to encourage people to vote to prohibit same-sex marriages. Executive Director Oran Smith said the council's advertising will celebrate traditional marriage while being respectful of homosexual friends and neighbors.

"We are encouraging people to vote yes for marriage as an institution between men and women," Smith said. "We all have friends who are gay and lesbian, but it's our belief that only opposite genders should be afforded the privileges associated with the term 'marriage.' "
Hat tip to Blender Kevin, who said: "Guess Oran forgot to mention that...oh yes....our good friends, the gays, are expected to pay taxes to support our privileges, too....and we expect them to continue enjoying their special status in society as our hairdressers, interior decoraters, and landscapers for the plantation. Special rights, indeed."

Kevin also added this good old rant as an aside:
You know, I don't know how you or the other blenders react to this, but I'm increasingly wary of the way some media covers this issue - (I'm not talking about these examples) - it seems to me to be increasingly a heterosexual debate about our existence while we are occasionally allowed to make a POLITE remark if addressed by the heterosexuals. I've noticed this in some ways for a long time - a fundy can throw a tantrum in an op-ed, quote junk science, declare us unhealthy, filthy, vile, a threat to the universe itself. . .but we are NEVER allowed to respond to them in kind - or to question their chosen faith.

I don't think I've EVER seen a passionate column by gays in any mainstream newspaper - just the usual repeated talking points which obviously aren't getting anywhere in these amendment battles. That just pisses me off - either our organizations are acting like house faggots who know their place but hope that, if they give the mistress a good hair day, she might ask the massa for a crust of bread for our families - or they are almost apologetic (like in the case of Georgia Equality) for bothering the heterosupremacist court system with something as upsetting as the right to make health decisions for our partners. Something just seems...well, increasingly WRONG about our approach in handling this issue. Why the hell CAN"T our organizations point out that. . .gosh. . .our rights are being decided by heterosupremacist legislatures, governors, and courts - and yet the Right contends this is how DEMOCRACY works. . . and that the majority has the right to put us back into our place.


Open thread - Papal bat

Sunday, July 09, 2006



Some quotes from Papa Ratzi's trip to Spain...Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero did not attend the mass; his absence pissed off the Vatican.

"This is the best way to counter a widespread hedonism which reduces human relations to banality and empties them of their authentic value and beauty." (telling politicians to honor the "traditional family")

"All of us received from others both life itself and its basic truths, and we have been called to attain perfection in relationship and loving communion with others. The family, founded on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, is the expression of this relational, filial and communal aspect of life."

"In contemporary culture, we often see an excessive exaltation of the freedom of the individual."

"At the origin of every human being there is not something haphazard or chance, but a loving plan of God." (then gay people must be part of the loving plan, eh?)


Turdblossom Elvis to campaign for homobigot Bachmann


Actual caption: Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser and deputy chief of staff, wears Elvis style sunglasses and sideburns as he walks from Air Force One after Bush returned from a tour of Graceland with Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Friday, June 30, 2006, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Just last week, Darth Defibrillator darkened the door of Minneapolis's well-heeled Republicans to raise money for the homo-obsessed, anti-gay Michele Bachmann, the GOP candidate in the 6th Congressional District race. The Tyrannosaurus of Turpitude, Dennis Hastert was in town last weekend to pump up the dough for Michelle, the running buddy of "ex-gay" Janet "rape causes lesbianism" Boynes. (WCCO):
The event will happen at the Water Street Inn in Bachmann's hometown of Stillwater, with lunch costing $250 a plate and photos with Rove going for $1,000 per couple.

Bachmann, Democrat Patty Wetterling and the Independence Party's John Binkowski are running for an open seat in the 6th District. The Republican incumbent, Rep. Mark Kennedy, is running for the U.S. Senate.

Democrats attempted to tie Bachmann to Rove -- who engineered Bush's 2004 re-election -- at their 6th District endorsing convention in May, with Wetterling saying, "I refuse to let Karl Rove or anyone else define me or define what we all as Democrats believe in."

...Bachmann needs money to win one of the state's two open seats in Congress, and bringing in national figures like Cheney helps even if they come with some political baggage, said GOP strategist Tom Horner. Bachmann is well-known as a social conservative.

"That's who she is and she's made no bones about it," Horner said.

Bachmann on homos: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay." Image: Michele Bachmann Fun Page.

Hat tip to Eva of Dump Michelle Bachmann, who also has a Bachmann counterpoint up at Pioneer Press.


Huckabee bashes gay families for '08 votes


That's troubling that we would use children as apolitical tool to enact something that has nothing to do with the best interest of a foster child."
Ordained Baptist minister, advocate of covenant marriage, governor of Arkansas and likely 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee came right out of the homobigot box in a stop in Iowa on Saturday while courting the fundie vote. He's miffed that his state's supreme court upheld the ability of gays and lesbians to become foster parents, after the Child Welfare Board's '99 ban was tossed out in a ruling last month. (365gay):
Huckabee said that while the ruling accused the Board of overreaching it did not rule on the merit of banning gays from fostering.

"Our attorneys read into that that if it was legislation it would likely stand, that we could in fact say that only married couples could be foster parents," Huckabee said. "We think that if we go back and codify that into law that probably takes care of it." He also said that the law would incorporate a ban on gay adoption.

Huckabee said the legal battle brought by gays over the Board regulation had little to do with the welfare of children. "What I feared was going on was that the plaintiffs in this case were not as interested in foster children as they were in making the political point of homosexual activism."
As you'll recall, on the side of the state in the fostering case was Kathy L. Hall, attorney for the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, who used brain-dead arguments in favor of the ban such as "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." Right.


Novakula: Rudy's in

Rudy will make it an interesting 2008 GOP primary, to say the least, but he'll have to compromise, says the Prince of Darkness.

Well-connected public figures report that they have been told recently by Rudolph Giuliani that, as of now, he intends to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

The former mayor of New York was on top of last month's national Gallup poll measuring presidential preferences by registered Republicans, with 29 percent. Sen. John McCain's 24 percent was second, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich third at 8 percent. National polls all year have shown Giuliani running either first or second to McCain, with the rest of the presidential possibilities far behind.

Republican insiders respond to these numbers by saying rank-and-file GOP voters will abandon Giuliani once they realize his position on abortion, gay rights and gun control. Party strategists calculate that if he actually runs, he must change on at least one of these issues.
So which of these issues do you expect Rudy to bail on first?

PollingPoint shows these figs, showing Republicans prefer Rudy Giuliani, and Independents prefer John McCain...(h/t, Eva):



And there are clearly a few dunce responses to this poll, since some actually think foreign-born Schwarzenegger is eligible to run for prez.


NYT's Brooks: Dems are scared of the netroots

David Brooks also seems to have some sort of sorry professional complex (akin to having a small pee-pee complex) about the rise of the netroots and a that fear its influence may eclipse old media when it comes to politics. How else can you explain his sad defense of Holy Joe as a "victim" of the netroots, and the inside baseball alerting of the public that establishment Dems are quaking in fear of teeing off the blogosphere? I sense way too much projection here. (via Raw Story):
To Brooks, Lieberman represents one of a few "heterodox politicians who distrust ideological purity, who rebel against movement groupthink, who believe in bipartisanship both as a matter of principle and as a practical necessity," offering former Mayor Giuliani and Senators McCain and Clinton as examples.

..."I can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the Internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate," Brooks adds.

..."Over the past few years, polarizers have dominated Congress because people who actually represent most Americans have been too timid or intellectually vacuous to stand up," writes Brooks. "Even today many Democrats who privately despise the netroots lie low, hoping the anger won't be directed at them."
Raw references an earlier Brooks column as well, where he blasts Kos as The Keyboard Kingpin who "commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way." How is the blogosphere any more influential (or damaging) than old media at shaping politics? Do you sense a whiny media baby here?

It is quite amusing that Brooks is lobbing bombs out there on behalf of the apparently scared sh*tless Dems who are worried about being slammed by the netroots for supporting faux Dem Rape Gurney Joe.
"Because in my conversations --we're talking about the netsroots [sic], who are the real problems for Lieberman, people generated by the Daily Kos and other web sites-- I find privately most of the Democrats despise those people because of the way they practice politics so viciously that they don't want to get in the crosshairs," said Brooks, according to a transcript in a Daily Kos diary.
lieberman-bush.jpg
Graphic: Russ.

Brooks goes on to mention the heat (justified heat, IMHO) that Barbara Boxer and Joe Biden received for stumping for Holy Joe. MBNA "bankruptcy bill" Biden isn't even worth the time of day, but reproductive freedom advocate Boxer has no business standing up there for Lieberman (who said that hospitals should be able refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons," even if they receive public funds). What dirt must Joe have on her?

Brooks is so off-base -- calling out a politician who has sidled up to this administration on so many issues, and who has announced that he'll attempt an Independent effort if he loses his primary to a more progressive Dem is hardly "a liberal inquisition."

Jane at Firedoglake reports that Maxine Waters (chair of the "Out of Iraq" caucus) has announced that she'll campaign for Ned Lamont, countering Brooks's assertion that this "inquisition" is driven only by "the highly educated, highly affluent, highly Caucasian wing of the Democratic Party" turning on Holy Joe to "purge a battle-scarred warhorse on the grounds of insufficient moral purity." God, Brooks is insufferable.

Also:
* DSCC to Holy Joe: you're on your own
* Holy Joe collecting signatures for independent campaign
* Holy Joe vs. Ned Lamont on LGBT rights
* Holy Joe: Bombs away on Iran
* Holy Joe on-air meltdown
* Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Holy Joe has got to go!


Open thread

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I forgot to mention this update from an earlier post -- the Statue of Liberation Through Christ monstrosity was finally unveiled/de-burquaed in Memphis:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It has its own web site, though it's in need of an update: lordsladyliberty.org. You can read about the outlandish "Vision And Meaning" behind the statue as well.


Openly gay Mauresmo wins Wimbledon

I guess with this positive news, the earth should start shaking, according to High Desert State Prison chaplain, Bill Ashmore. (365gay):
So much for Amelie Mauresmo's reputation for getting tight and failing to win big matches. The openly gay tennis star rallied from a set down and held firm down the stretch to beat Justine Henin-Hardenne, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to win the Wimbledon title for her second Grand Slam championship.

Mauresmo became the first French women's singles champion at Wimbledon since Suzanne Lenglen won the last of her six titles in 1925.
It should also be noted that tennis (and gay rights) legend Martina Navratilova ended her Wimbledon career on Thursday. She will retire from all play at the end of 2006.


sHillary won't touch SSM with a ten-foot pole on her SF road trip

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

sHillary flew to San Francisco to offer her support to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, and for some reason didn't have anything to say about marriage equality. Hmmmmm. What do you think is up with that? (SFGate):
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton -- widely considered a 2008 Democratic presidential favorite -- was surrounded in San Francisco on Friday by Democrats outspoken on the issue of same-sex marriage: a mayor who issued a landmark city decision to declare same-sex unions legal, a state assemblyman at the forefront of same-sex marriage legislation, and the party's pro-gay marriage candidate for governor.

But even standing alongside San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and state Treasurer Phil Angelides, the Democratic candidate for governor, on the morning after New York's highest court upheld a state ban on same-sex marriage, Clinton steadfastly ignored questions about the issue.
Angelides, in contrast is right out front on the issue, saying he would sign a bill for marriage equality without hesitation.
"I consider one of the great blessings in my life that I grew up in a wonderful, stable, loving family. I believe every Californian, every American ... ought to have the right to grow up in a loving family. And I would sign the marriage equality bill, because I believe that if we get behind people ... being in loving relationships, that's a good thing for this society. And I'd sign the gay marriage bill because I'd hope that every child would have the opportunity to grow up in a loving family.''
The article does get a dig in at the wish-washy NY senator by pointing out that on a 1996 book tour in the area, she had no problem articulating her position on SSM.
"Children are better off if they have a mother and a father,'' Clinton said in the San Francisco interview with the then-Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner. "My preference is that we do all we can to strengthen traditional marriage ... and that people engaged in parenting children be committed to one another.''
That view, it is noted, echoes the majority ruling of the Empire State's highest court the other day, which ridiculously intimated that children are better off raised in traditional mother/father families.

***

An interesting blog post to check out is "The End Of Gay Marriage" over at thatcoloredfella.com. He's taking the position that we should set aside the fight for marriage equality (in this political round) to focus on civil unions, anti-discrimination measures and fair housing to name a few.
The majority opinion by the New York Supreme Court against gay marriage presumed ‘societal goals’ were grounded solely in the ‘argument’ that straight parents are better than gay parents, although no studies have measured any difference in the development of such children raised alternatively, at this point. However, given that the legal setback is disappointing, TCF believes there’s finally a sliver lining to the decision.

Those of us on the Left should now spin this as an end to this costly wedge issue and concede that, for the time being, the American people - through the independent judicial branch that reflects their values – have spoken on the issue.

Gay Marriage may never happen in my lifetime and I really don’t care to perfectly honest. As a gay man, I do have other priorities and causes that would improve my life, rather than focusing on having the right to have such an elusive commitment as recognizable and lawful.
I politely disagree, simply because backing off is precisely what the fundamentalists (as well as the "Class of sHillary" Dems) want. The horse of anti-gay political activism has been out of the barn for some time now, and if gays and allies don't pressure their purported political allies at high levels to speak up (as Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy have; the list is sadly short), the media and "voter education" vacuum will be filled by the intolerant bigots who have a well-worn game plan.

These state amendments are passing because of political inaction by Democrats to counter the frame set by the religious right and Karl Rove, period. The fact is that the Rovian Right will not stop their campaign to demonize and legally discriminate against LGBT citizens; they will continue to try to appeal to the ignorance and homophobia in religious minority communities that may not vote for a Republican candidate, but they can be guided to vote for marriage amendments and provide obstacles against other anti-discrimination legislation by electing local officials who toe the fundie line.

SF Assemblyman Mark Leno was right when he said:
"there are unfortunately few national leaders who wish to address the subject and even fewer who wish to embrace it as the civil rights issue that it is...I believe that those of us who support marriage equality and the issue itself suffer due to the lack of leadership,'' he said. "We'd be making greater progress if we had some folks speaking up.''
We can do the heavy lifting of being out and living our lives to show our friends and neighbors that gay equality is not a threat to their families, marriages or any of the homo nightmares being spun by the bible beaters. However, without a significant number of vocal political allies, we will continue to see anti-gay legislation pass, despite our significant equality inroads in the corporate arena in terms of anti-discrimination policies and courting of the gay market. Progress in both avenues is essential.

Hat tip, Paul


Brits nix concerts of Jamaican homobigots

Keith Boykin blogs about the deep-sixing of upcoming concerts of dancehall recording artists (and anti-gay bigots) Buju Banton and Beenie Man.

There were sizeable protests by gay rights groups against the artists, who haven't stopped singing about killing gays ("batty boys"), after The two performers appearing to agree to cease singing the gay bashing crap. But they haven't stopped, and so the concerts will not go on. The lyrics are inexcusably violent.
Listen to Buju Banton in "Boom Bye Bye." He says, “Anytime Buju Banton come, batty boy get up and run, ah gunshot in ah head man … Boom, bye bye, in a batty boy head.” The phrase "batty boy" is Jamaican patois slang to refer to a gay man. The lyrics to the song, loosely translated by the British press, mean the following: “Anytime Buju Banton comes along, gays get and up and run. A bullet in the head … Bang, bye, bye, in the gay man’s head.”

In Beenie Man's song "Han Up Deh," he says, “Hang chi chi gal wid a long piece of rope.” The term "chi chi" is a Jamaican reference to homosexuality. The term is often used to refer to "chi chi men" but can also refer to lesbians (chi chi women or chi chi girls). Loosely translated, the lyrics mean, “Hang lesbians with a long piece of rope."
These cretins have a right to sing whatever they want, but promoters don't have to give them a venue to perform and profit from spreading filth like that. Keith asks a good question about the obligation on our shores to call out the artists who don't mind spewing out homophobic rants in song.
It's good to see the British are active, but why aren't we speaking up with the same outrage here in the United States? The black gay community in the U.S. is much larger than the community in Britain. So why aren't black gays and lesbians leading the charge against homophobic music in black America?

...It's 2006, and it's time for gays and lesbians on this side of the pond to wake up and get involved in stopping the homophobic music in our own country. Yet when Buju Banton performed in May at the UCLA Jazz Reggae Fest, there was hardly even a whimper of protest. We need a public education campaign to let people know about some of the homophobic music and artists out there. And we need to teach some of the anti-gay artists a lesson. If you mess with us, we'll mess with you.


Fundie paper: gays, abortion-rights advocates cause earthquakes

Christopher O'Brien @ Northstate Science uncovered a gem in a local paper, The Lassen County Times. It's an opinion piece by High Desert State Prison chaplain, Bill Ashmore. It's an opinion piece called "Signs of the Times, Judgement of America" and it's off the hook. The op-ed is not online (scan is below), but Christopher tells you all you need to know.
...take three guesses as to what this is all about. In a sentence: major earthquakes and environmental disasters (most notably hurricanes) are increasing because of gays and abortion-rights proponents. In effect, earthquakes are God's warnings that America is going to hell in a handbasket until we kill all the gays (I guess - he doesn't really offer a solution) and prevent all women from making any kind of reproductive decision. He cites frequently from John McTernan's book, God's Final Warning to America, and basically quotes bible verses supposedly foretelling coming disasters and points to not only increasing numbers of natural disasters but also the exact or close occurrence of these disasters with major abortion rights or gay pride rallies (apparently God's pissed off at the First Amendment...).


Ashmore then cites the following data to bolster his assertion:

* April 23, 1992 - Supreme Court hears the abortion case, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey - a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes southern California;
* April 25, 1992 - during a counter protest in Buffalo, NY against Operation Rescue - a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits California (God has bad aim);
* June 28, 1992 - during Gay Pride Day the fourth and ninth most powerful earthquakes hit California;

Needless to say, Christopher, an adjunct professor of anthropology at Cal State University, did a little research and wasn't impressed with Bills "facts."
Well, if God is angry with gays and abortion rights activists and He's trying to show it with earthquakes not only is He a bad shot, but He also can't seem to get the magnitude right. I looked up major earthquakes to see what some of the patterns might be. Ashmore seems to point to somewhere around 1960 as to when everything in American started to go to hell. According to this table, 19 of 26 (73%) of the largest magnitude earthquakes in the US occurred prior to that date. Also interesting, I see that Gay Pride Day is held on the last Sunday in June (didn't know that Bill Ashmore, so thanks for prompting me to look it up...) - only one of the top 26 actually occurred in June - the one in 1992 cited above. So apparently God doesn't keep great track of Gay Pride events.

...Also, you would think that if God wanted to make a point about abortion, He'd at least try to strike on the anniversary of Roe V Wade (January 22)...but the God that people like Bill Ashmore believe in once again proves to be a complete ignoramous when He tries to send a message.
Christopher actually wrote a letter to the editor about the above nonsense, which is worth the read. The paper actually ran it and there's a follow up post. A snippet:
A number of people have suggested to me that Ashmore’s piece has no place in the Lassen County Times. I would disagree. It’s much better to slay ignorance out in the open for all to see. It is, however, unlikely that the Times would allow a decent rebuttal of the same inordinate length as the Ashmore opinion. Fortunately, the “blogosphere” is filling the gap. I would suggest readers look at Scienceblogs.com, or my personal favorite, Northstate Science. Blogs offer an opportunity to bypass the editorial controls of local papers like the Times and provide a chance for coherent rebuttal.
Big hat tip to Eva at Lloydletta.


Happy birthday to me.

On this day...

* 1776: the Liberty Bell was rung to summon citizens of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the reading of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress.
* 1831: Dr. John Pemberton (inventor of Coca Cola) is born
* 1889: Wall Street Journal first published.
* 1908: Nelson Rockefeller is born
* 1947: Reports are broadcast that a UFO has crashed at Roswell.
* 1952: actress Angelica Huston is born.
* 1952: journalist/writer Anna Quindlen is born
* 1958: actor Kevin Bacon is born
* 1970: Beck is born
* 2005: The Oregon Senate passes a LGBT civil rights bill (including civil unions and addition of gays and lesbians to the state's nondiscrimination act; it later dies in the House.

and in 1963, your blogmistress was born...



43 years old.





More bad news for Mitt as he sucks up to the fundies


Homophobe.

The Massachusetts governor thinks that he can carve out support from the Republican Base, but Romney's Mormon faith is going to deep-six him, if this LA Times/Bloomberg poll holds true. Some of the findings (based on a nationwide survey of 1,321 adults):

* 37% polled would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate
* 54% said no to a Muslim candidate
* 21% won't vote for an evangelical Christian
* 15% thumbs down for a Jewish prez candidate
* 10% would not vote for a Catholic candidate

And here's why Mitt's got an uphill battle.
Romney is reticent about his religion, citing privacy and contending that candidates should not be judged on their "brand of faith." But he regularly describes himself as a Christian, saying, "Jesus Christ is my savior."

Some branches of Christianity do not embrace the Mormon Church. On its website, the Southern Baptist Convention includes Mormonism in a section called "cults, sects and new religious movements." Kenyn Cureton, a vice president of the Baptist convention, says his church does not regard Mormons as Christians.

"They are not orthodox in their beliefs," Cureton said. "They have additional books that they add to the Bible, which evangelical Christians believe is God's word. They believe that there are many, many gods and that you too can become a god in your own world. It sounds good, but unfortunately it is not based on sound teaching."


AFA attempts to take credit for Ford's slipping sales

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gee, and I thought that it was the automaker's lack of foresight and dependence on selling giant-ass SUVs and trucks to make a profit. We're wrong, the bad sales are all due to Don Wildmon's American Family Association boycott of Ford, due to its "pro-homosexual" policies -- in his mind.
The boycott against Ford was called after company officials reneged on an agreement to stop advertising in homosexual publications, the AFA spokesman notes. He says the sales slump the company is now experiencing is a direct result of its decision to continue promoting a family-unfriendly, pro-homosexual agenda.

"It's regrettable," Wildmon says, "but it appears that chairman Ford is willing to take the corporation into bankruptcy to pacify a handful of homosexual leaders." [And just this little aside...] Of course, the pro-family activist acknowledges that other factors are probably having an impact on Ford's declining sales figures, including a difficult economic climate and high gas prices.

"Is the boycott responsible for all of this? No," Wildmon admits. "The economy does play a role."
It's nice to see that the AFA is taking such glee in Ford's misery. How "Christian" of them.


Pentagon is tossing the homos out, letting the skinheads in

"Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists are joining the military in large numbers so they can get the best training in the world on weapons, combat tactics and explosives."
-- Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, on the real Homeland Security threat
It's nice to know the brainiacs at the Pentagon have excellent screening methods these days, lowering standards to recruit people with antisocial personality disorder, autism, as well as those convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats. All while tossing out servicemembers who happen to be gay, of course.

Is this development any surprise? (SPLC):
Under pressure to meet wartime manpower goals, the U.S. military has relaxed standards designed to weed out racist extremists. Large numbers of potentially violent neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists are now learning the art of warfare in the armed forces.

Department of Defense investigators estimate thousands of soldiers in the Army alone are involved in extremist or gang activity. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," said one investigator. "That's a problem."
And in a NYT article, it's clear that it's beyond an estimate. The military absolutely knows these sick bastards are among the brave men and women serving and don't give a sh*t. Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, lays it on the line.
"Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members."

Mr. Barfield said Army recruiters struggled last year to meet goals. "They don't want to make a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military," he said, "because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."
This is bad, but it gets worse. In the white supremacist magazine Resistance there was an article that actually called for skinheads to sign up and get training to be prepared for "the coming race war." The article was written by a former Special Forces officer named Steven Barry. A snippet:
"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.'
Jeezus. How is this protecting the Homeland, Dear Leader? What is happening to this country?

Gay Arabic translators: no, race warriors: step right on up.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network had this to say on its blog, The Frontlines, about this news.
Why should we stoop to recruiting these individuals when we can have talented and qualified Americans, like former Marine Sergeant Brian Fricke, serving our nation? Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will allow our most qualified and talented Americans to serve, regardless of sexual orientation.
Hat tip, 'Bean.


First switchblades, then guns...

...now it's power saws as the urban weapon of choice?
A Bronx man was arrested Thursday in connection with a portable power saw attack on another man in a Morningside Heights subway station early this morning.

Investigators say 33-year-old Tareyton Williams has been charged with attacking a man at the Cathedral Parkway and 110th Street station around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

According to police, 64-year-old U.S. Postal Service worker Michael Steinberg was attacked as he came through the turnstile by Williams, who was yelling and waving two power saws in the air. The attack was apparently unprovoked.
As a former NY resident (in the 70s and 80s), I lived there in the heydey of the crime and grime, but this is clearly more colorful than anything I experienced -- aside from the chaos of the 1977 blackout, of course.


Open thread - papal lizard

Sent in by Blender Val...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Australian frilled neck lizard vs. Pope - a field guide

A little update: Pope travels to Spain in campaign in defense of traditional family. Same-sex marriage is legal in Spain, so he's not preaching to the choir on this journey.
Pope Benedict XVI travels to Spain this weekend as part of his campaign to defend the traditional family, visiting a predominantly Roman Catholic country that allows gay marriage, divorce and abortion.

For months Benedict has been denouncing gay marriage and other challenges to church doctrine in Europe and elsewhere - recently summed up by the Vatican as the "greatest threat ever" to the traditional family based on marriage between a man and a woman.

...Relations have been so strained between the Holy See and Madrid that a meeting between Benedict and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was only confirmed a few weeks before the trip. The meeting is scheduled to take place in Valencia on Saturday afternoon on Benedict's turf - the residence of Valencia's archbishop.

Benedict, a German, has made combating a Europe of empty churches and religious apathy a priority of his papacy. Vatican officials have declared that such former Catholic bedrocks as Spain are in need of what they call a "new evangelization."


Q of the day - regional stereotypes

What regional stereotypes do you hold about folks in an area of the U.S. that you've never been to?

If you've subequently visited that area, was the stereotype confirmed, blown away or both?

***

One side of my family is N.C.-based, the other is N.Y.-based, so I claim "dual citizenship," having lived both places for good chunks of my life. Some in my Big Apple clan hold familiar stereotypes about the South, you know, that the Stars and Bars flies all over, everyone moves at a snail's pace, the majority are uneducated hayseeds in overalls and are sheeple of Bush, etc.

I tried mightily to refute the negative stereotypes when one of my cousins visited a couple of years ago. Kate and I took her around town, showed her all the progressive areas, Research Triangle Park, etc. We were returning home, and we turned into a block about a 1/4 mile from my house and we passed a tired Craftsman bungalow in need of painting that I saw every day when driving home from work and I never saw any activity there.

On this hot day, however, a family right out of a Southern stereotype was on the front porch, disheveled, kicking back (one in overalls with no shirt), and to add icing to the cake, a pit bull was playing, swinging from a towel in its mouth that was tied to a tire hanging from a tree.

My N.Y. cousin roared with laughter. Continuously. For ten minutes. She enjoys telling this story whenever we visit up North. Sigh.

***

One more story -- when my brother was living in Arlington, TX for a short stint last year, we came down to visit for Thanksgiving. I was expecting to see guys walking around in cowboy hats, to get a feeling of being, you know, Out West.

Boy was I wrong. Other than it was flatter and hotter than NC as I expected, "Fun City," as it is known for some odd reason, was just series of strip malls and 60s/70s suburban ranch homes. Boring, no cowboys, lol (sorry to the Arlington folks out there). Only saw one guy in a cowboy hat. We also drove into Dallas. Still no cowboy culture, not even urban cowboys, to photograph. :: Sniff ::


NEA endorses civil unions and SSM

Some good news that is driving the fundies over the edge. The National Education Association (NEA) adopted a resolution that recognizes SSM and civil unions despite a move by the Alabama Education Association to refer the measure to committee.

Its passage has the fundamentalists in despair and ready to leave the union.
California teacher Jeralee Smith, past chairman of the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus, says she is considering leaving the union. "People who share our values, which is traditional family and a few other things, can have no integrity unless they are either active on the inside to try and change things, or they leave the union and take their money out of the union's hands," says Smith.

Smith acknowledges that Christian members of the NEA are faced with a decision. "I just think it's time for Christians to really pray about their relationship to the union and do some real soul-searching on their loyalty," she says. And if they find their loyalty is still with the union, Smith suggests they ask themselves "just how much loyalty does the union deserve at this point?"

Smith says she is outraged the NEA is pushing for "gay," lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues to be required content for teacher credentialing. The union's Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification issued a report stating "that the NEA advocate for the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues in the 'National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education' teacher education program review process."
***

In other NEA convention news, the bible-beater "ex-gay" there, who set up a table to share the benefits of praying away the gay is complaining about harrassment by "ex-gay" debunker Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, who was there to counter the nonsense being shopped about by Pro-Family Network's Greg Quinlan. Take a look at the AgapePress coverage of the incident.
Homosexual activist Wayne Besen was in Orlando on Friday (June 30) at the NEA convention, protesting a booth hosted by the NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus. Besen, a former spokesman for the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign and author of the book Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, tells the Orlando Sentinel that ex-"gay" groups pose a threat in schools because they "misinform people" about homosexuality.

Greg Quinlan is a former homosexual who was invited to the NEA convention by the Ex-Gay Educators' Caucus. Quinlan reports Besen was taking pictures of the group's booth at the convention and harassing a former lesbian who believes no one is born a homosexual. According to Quinlan, Besen refused to leave when asked to leave the area.

"He started waving his finger in my face. He called me a bunch of superlatives that I can't repeat. He also called me a 'Nelly fairy' and a few other things," Quinlan shares. He explains that security was called after Besen, again, refused to leave when asked. "He kept harassing us. We moved him away from our booth. We logged some witnesses to what all happened, and then the security for the Convention Center and the Orlando police escorted him away."
You can read Wayne's coverage here.

Also:
* The 'ex-gay' machine goes after Wayne Besen


Ken Blackwell is a vile individual, part 2


Just when I think that fundie butt-kissing homo-bigot Ohio Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor Ken Blackwell cannot be any lower than the belly of a slithering, poisonous viper, he tops himself.

Several voter registration groups have filed a lawsuit against Blackwell and other Ohio public officials, claiming that the their efforts have been critically hampered by rules put in place by a Republican-controlled legislative panel and implemented by Blackwell's office. (Cleveland Plain Dealer):
The suit will request an injunction, claiming a reform law passed by the General Assembly last year, followed by rules Blackwell's office drafted, have all but ended the groups' voter-registration activities in Ohio.

"At this point, the effects are chilling," said Donita Judge, a staff attorney at the Advancement Project, a Washington-based voter-education group, and co-counsel in the suit being filed in Cleveland. "It's just killed voter registration," she added, resulting in an all-but-certain "dilution of the minority vote."
Gee, what a surprise.

Blackwell's opponent, Congressman Ted Strickland is leading Blackwell in the polls (50-37), so Bush's boy hasn't completely snowed the voters; I guess Ken will try to win by Diebolding it. From Rasmussen:
Strickland has improved his support throughout the year; he's been at 50% or above in every survey since March. Blackwell has attracted as many as 40% in individual polls, but the gauge has fluttered around 37%-38% in each of our three-poll rolling averages.

Strickland attracts 82% of Democrats, whereas Blackwell attracts only 66% support from GOP voters. Unaffiliated voters and moderates prefer Strickland by a margin of two-to-one or more.

Strickland is viewed favorably by 53%, unfavorably by 32%. Blackwell is viewed favorably by 44%, unfavorably by 45%; 25% have a "very unfavorable" view of him.
Related:

* Ken Blackwell is a vile individual


Thanks for nothing, Kolbe

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Queer Arizona Congressman Jim Kolbe (R) has a boyfriend from Panama, and co-sponsored the Uniting American Families Act, which, if passed, would allow him to sponsor his foreign born partner for citizenship. However, the retiring legislator won't work on behalf of the act. He said in an interview that it would "add baggage" to the immigration issue before Congress. (NY Blade):
"The immigration debate is so heavily laden and so fraught with so many issues that adding one like this into it is not terribly practical," said Kolbe, one of the leading congressional Republicans setting immigration policy. "It adds baggage. It doesn't help the debate."

...But the proposal still needs an influential champion. As a leading Republican with the ear of White House policymakers, and as a gay man in a bi-national relationship, Kolbe has been viewed as perhaps the ideal public official to lobby for UAFA.

But Kolbe, who was first elected to Congress in 1984 and came out publicly in 1996, has rejected the notion that he is a "poster boy" for gay issues.

"Being gay was not — and is not today — my defining persona," he said in 1997 during his first speech to the Log Cabin Republicans. Kolbe first acknowledged his sexual orientation publicly after he believed the Advocate was ready to publish an article "outing" him after he voted in favor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Hell, the man's retiring, what's he got to lose politically if he stands up for his partner's ability to stay in the country!? It's the ideal time to put a face -- a Republican face -- on the issue of immigration equality and he's passing up the opportunity.

This is a crazy, self-loathing man.


I'm looking for Amanda Laycock? Amanda Laycock?

I'm just finishing up with an Excel class. I'm writing up the certificate for one of the students when I notice her name (I'm not making this up) is Amanda Laycock.

Now, certainly, that's got to be a married name, right? Everyone knows the Bart Simpson joke, right? Bart calls bartender Moe and asks to speak with "Ms. Hugginkiss, first name, Amanda," and then Moe makes an ass of himself calling for "Amanda Hugginkiss! I need Amanda Hugginkiss!" ("a man to hug and kiss" if you're still not getting it.)

I also just remembered a business card I once got from the owner of a stereo shop in Boise. His name was Dick Large (seriously, the driver's license was Richard B. Large), and he made sure that it was written as Large, Dick.

Now I'm wondering about the funny, actual names of people you've met. I know we've already got an open thread going, but heck, let's play a little. Let's play a little Joe McCarthy and name names, shall we? The comments are a-waiting...


Open thread


Biden: 'You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have an Indian accent'

Jeebus H. Christ, what a moron.

Anything else moronic going on out there?


VA: no memorial for Wiccan soldier

More ignorance about religion, this coming out of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where the concept of someone practicing Wicca conjures visions of witches on brooms, warlocks casting spells, demon worship and all kind of BS.

The WaPo article notes that 38 religions are recognized and acknowledged on the memorial markers for fallen soldiers' graves. But there won't be one for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart because the VA is freaked out by the pentacle.
Wiccans still suffer, however, from the misconception that they are devil worshipers. Some Wiccans call themselves witches, pagans or neopagans. Most of their rituals revolve around the cycles of nature, such as equinoxes and phases of the moon. Wiccans often pick and choose among religious traditions, blending belief in reincarnation and feminine gods with ritual dancing, chanting and herbal medicine.

Federal courts have recognized Wicca as a religion since 1986. Prisons across the country treat it as a legitimate faith, as do the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. military, which allows Wiccan ceremonies on its bases.

...Department spokeswoman Josephine Schuda said VA turned down Wiccans in the past because religious groups used to be required to list a headquarters or central authority, which Wicca does not have. But that requirement was eliminated last year, she noted.

"I really have no idea why it has taken so long" for the Wiccan symbol to gain approval, Schuda said.

The department declined repeated requests from The Washington Post to speak to higher-ranking officials about the issue.
What is the VA's problem, then? Some fundie in charge? Shakes Sis echos my thoughts.
Just how much of our country are we going to sacrifice to protect the delicate sensibilities of the willfully ignorant?

Reproductive rights, LGBT equality, the Voting Rights Act, science education, stem cell research, right to die, religious freedom (for some), the separation of church and state, multiculturalism, energy independence, environmental protections—all of these are fights we shouldn’t be having, but must perpetually engage because of the deliberate and obstinate ignorance of one portion of the population who can’t be bothered to learn about or empathize with anything outside of their carefully constructed bubbles, and an opportunistic ruling political party that cynically exploits their ignorance to retain their stranglehold on power brokerage.


More reactions to NY marriage ruling

[My original post on today's ruling is here.]

Howard Dean's statement:
"As Democrats, we believe that every American has a right to equal protection under the law and to live in dignity. And we must respect the right of every family to live in dignity with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law. Today's decision by the New York Court of Appeals, which relies on outdated and bigoted notions about families, is deeply disappointing, but it does not end the effort to achieve this goal."

"As that essential process moves forward, it is up to the State legislature to act to protect the equal rights of every New Yorker and for the debate on how to ensure those rights to proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue."
That's nice to have a statement of public support out there, but then I think: "Howard, what is the goal?" Is he calling for marriage equality or is it still "leave it to the states?" [And what, pray tell, is the position if the NY legislature fails to do the right thing?]

The latter approach is why we've got rulings like today's in NY, yet full equality determined by the high court in Massachusetts, and amendments barring gays and lesbians from civil marriage in other states. How will this all be reconciled? What is the Dem equality plan? Since this ruling blows away the "activist judges" meme, what comment does the party have on that as it affects the civil rights of a minority population?

It would be more helpful, given the climate, if the Dems would use these opportunities to be specific regarding what the party believes in as well as what it is going to do regarding marriage equality along with the vague, feel-good statements everyone needs to hear from those in leadership positions.

***

In contrast to the lack of clarity that you see above, you get this definitive response from Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council:
"Today, the high courts in New York and Georgia fulfilled their duty by upholding state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud today's rulings, which recognize the right of the legislature and the people to regulate marriage for the good of children and society.

"The New York court reasonably concluded that the legislature has a legitimate interest in promoting responsible procreation and can 'rationally' believe that children need both a mother and a father. The court's well-reasoned ruling is a shining example for other courts across the nation. As we await rulings in several other states, we can only hope that other courts will exercise similar judicial restraint and avoid substituting their own social policy preferences for those of the legislatures and the people.

"We also affirm the Georgia Supreme Court for its decision upholding the validity of a state constitutional amendment defining marriage, which was approved with 76 percent of the vote in a 2004 referendum. The unbroken success of such amendments makes clear that there is a popular consensus that marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman. However, the only sure way to protect the country against more rogue decisions like the one in Massachusetts in 2003 -- including ones at the federal level -- is through passage of a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution."
***

Meanwhile, perhaps Howard might take a look at the reaction of Equality Ohio, working for fairness in a state that has an onerous marriage amendment that has rendered its taxpaying gay and lesbian citizens second-class citizens. Is it fine that they are left legally adrift?
Equality Ohio expresses disappointment in the decision by the New York State Court of Appeals to deny equal rights and protections to all New York families. "We are very disappointed in today's decision and offer our support to the families in New York State who now continue to wait for their relationships to have the legal protections they deserve," said Lynne Bowman, Executive Director of Equality Ohio. "The court opinion made it clear that the role of the legislature is to bring state laws in line with what most New Yorkers believe, that discrimination against same-sex couples and their children is wrong. We look forward to seeing the legislature protect all New York families equally."

Equality Ohio commends the hard work of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA). Their efforts at educating New Yorkers about same-sex couples and their families has helped create a climate where a majority of the state's voters support equal access to the right of marriage. The work in the Legislature has now taken on new significance and ESPA will continue toward the ultimate goal of marriage equality despite this decision.

Equality Ohio looks forward to continuing the education process on the impact of recognition of same-sex relationships in Ohio. Just this week the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report on how state-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples harms the children in their care. As the fair-minded people who live in Ohio continue to learn about their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors, we will continue to see support grow for equal recognition of their loving and committed relationships.
The support may grow, but the amendment is in place, no thanks to Dems, who hid from the issue in 2004 while the fundies worked to make it pass.


'Pro-homosexual all the way'

That's MassResistance/Article 8 Alliance unhinged honcho Brian Camenker's assessment of the state's legislative leadership, and he's not happy about it at all.
A pro-family group in Massachusetts is hoping to help derail the state legislature's plan to quadruple funding for homosexual programs in schools. The Article 8 Alliance says the Massachusetts Legislature is about to increase funding for homosexual school programs from $425,000 to $2 million. A new Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth would oversee the spending of the money. Article 8 director Brian Camenker says no government in history has attempted to do what the legislature plans.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"This is the first year that they've had a Speaker of the House who is pro-homosexual all the way, and the President of the Senate is," Camenker explains. "And they figure that they can go and get anything they want." Elected officials who advocate homosexual rights are "very bold, very arrogant," he notes. "And even in Massachusetts they've never done anything like this -- two million dollars and probably more that we haven't even been able to uncover," Camenker adds.

The Article 8 leader, however, believes Republican Governor Mitt Romney will veto the funding increase. The challenge, he says, will be making sure that the veto sticks. "Unfortunately the ... Republicans don't have enough members in the legislature by themselves to uphold a veto. That's how pathetic that is," he says. "And so it's going to be up to us, not the Republicans, to be able to make sure that the veto upholds. Last time, we didn't work fast enough and hard enough and it just steamrolled through." Last year the legislature raised funding for homosexual programs by 70 percent.
More of Camenker's antics:
* Gay.com billboard in MA comes down
* Boston Macy's deep-sixes Pride mannequins


I don't know what to say...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And neither did nubian at Blac(k)ademic, where I picked up this image. (Hat tip, Sarah in Chicago).

A real loss for words on this one. It's also up at Pandagon.

What was Sony thinking? You can ask:

Sony Computer Entertainment America
PO Box 5888
San Mateo, CA 94402-0888
800-345-7669 (800-345-SONY)
M-SAT 6:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. PST
Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m

***


Let's go for a double dose.

How about this fun from a sheriff down in St. Tammany Parrish in NOLA. Jack Strain shares these loving thoughts about the crime fighting, pickaninny style, on camera.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"Now I don't get into calling people names and all that fact, but if you're gonna walk the streets of St. Tammany Parish with dreadlocks and "Chee Wee" hairstyles, then you can expect to be getting a visit from a sheriff’s deputy."
See the video (via Crooks and Liars, H/t, Paul).

What was that about spokesbot Tony Snow and his bleating that racism is "rapidly becoming an ugly memory?"

Also:
* Cross burnings - always in style


NY State Court of Appeals punts on SSM

[UPDATE: HRC's statement added at the end.]

A disappointing 4-2 decision, but the ruling merely states that the right to marry isn't guaranteed in the state's Consitution, so SSM will ultimately be decided in the Empire State's legislature. (PageOneQ):
New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, has ruled against granting full marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples, PageOneQ has learned. Chief Justice Judith Kaye, an appointee of former Governor Mario Cuomo (D) and one other justice dissented in the opinion.

"We hold that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex. Whether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the Legislature," the seventy page ruling begins.
The ruling is here.

PageOneQ also reports that the Empire State Pride Agenda will hold rallies at seven locations in NY, kicking off a campaign for marriage equality via the state's legislature.

***

NJ's Garden State Equality is unfazed (H/t, Lassiter Space).
Today's decision in New York has zero impact on -- and is no indication of -- how the New Jersey Supreme Court might rule on marriage for same-sex couples. Not even the slightest.

On LGBT rights as well as on other social issues, New Jersey law has long been different from New York State's and the laws of other states. Additionally, New Jersey courts have been among the most fair-minded in the country, from allowing same-sex couples to adopt jointly to holding that the Boy Scouts may not discriminate against a gay scoutmaster.

All of us at Garden State Equality salute our colleagues at the Empire State Pride Agenda, who have done a magnificent job in their public education campaign in New York, and have laid the groundwork for achieving marriage equality there legislatively. They have our deepest admiration.
***

More less-than-positive news (though not unexpected): Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment.
The Georgia Supreme Court Thursday overturned a lower court ruling and reinstated the a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

In a unanimous ruling the court said that the ban did not violate the state's single-subject rule for ballot measures.
***

HRC's statement:
The Court's majority opinion ruled that the Legislature had a rational reason for denying marriage, saying it's more important to promote stability in opposite-sex relationships than same-sex relationships and insinuating that children do not do as well with lesbian and gay parents.

"The Court's archaic reasoning is rooted in ignorance and completely contradicted by the facts of today," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The Court threw the expert advice of child welfare professionals and years of scientific evidence out the window with its ruling against fairness. We commend the work of Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the plaintiff couples who had the courage and resolve to bring these cases forward."

Solmonese continued, "This case raised the issue of fairness and equality for all New Yorkers who saw first-hand the real people fighting for their families. Thanks in large part to these couples and the hard work of the Empire State Pride Agenda, now a majority of New Yorkers support marriage equality and we will work with our allies in the state to ensure that the Legislature hears their voices loud and clear. As we move forward, we will continue to work with Empire State Pride Agenda and allies in the state to engage elected officials about why all Americans deserve the protections and responsibilities that only marriage provides.

"Every couple in a loving and committed relationship should be able to obtain the legal protections that only come with marriage," added Solmonese. "We know that the struggle for equality is never quick or easy, but history has taught us that with determination, debate and devotion - the side of progress ultimately prevails. We will continue to move forward."


Arab Knesset member in denial - 'no Muslim gays'

"I have never had to participate in such a discussion, because in Muslim society we don't have this problem."
-- MK Ibrahim Sarsur, claiming there's not such thing as a gay Muslim
And that's why, he says, there would be no problems quashing deviance like a World Pride Parade in Jerusalem. Right.

This occurred at a Knesset Internal Affairs Committee. When he uttered the above nonsense, the room erupted in laughter.
Sarsur told participants, including members of the gay community, "I respect all those present here, despite significant disagreements. As Muslims, we are obligated to religious law and it (homosexuality) is an unacceptable and condemned phenomenon, which should not be given any opportunities. Every person has the right to do as he wishes as long as he does it in his own home."

...The heated debate started in the hallways, even before participants entered the meeting hall.

"Jerusalem is not yours. I will do anything I want in my house. We didn't come to have sex in the streets or run around the streets of Jerusalem in pink underwear. We are having the march so people know we have equal rights," a representative of the parade said. Opponents of the march hurled at him: "You won't desecrate Jerusalem."

MK Yitzhak Levy opened the discussion by presenting a public opinion poll he commissioned last week, which revealed the following data: Among secular Jews, 63 percent oppose the parade; 81 percent of conservative Jews are opposed, 99 percent of National Religious are opposed; 100 percent of Orthodox are opposed; and 92 percent of Arab Muslims and Christians are opposed.

MK Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) said that the poll just proves the parade needs to take place in Jerusalem. "Majorities never need to hold protest marches, the Israeli elites don’t need to march in protest. But women, Arabs, Orthodox, and disadvantaged populations do need to march. This community's struggle isn't about sexual orientation. It is a political struggle for legitimization," Yechimovich said.


WingNutDaily not happy with Rush

Creative headline of disapproval...



Wacky-ass friends of Randy 'Duke' Cunningham



[UPDATE: Check out this fun story: Cunningham adjusting to life at North Carolina prison. I bet he is...]

Whew -- the gift that keeps on giving. I just don't want to hear about any more deviance on the left when we've got this going on in the world of the disgraced, corrupt, Republican former congressman Randy "Duke Cunningham and the "party of values".
"What these revelations provide is a window into Babylon or the last stages of Rome," explains a source with knowledge of the multiple ongoing investigations. "Many felonies went undetected because in the Defense Department a lot goes on in secret, and these crimes grew in the shadow of both 9/11 and one-party rule—with little scrutiny. So what you're looking at is a world where money, secrecy, sex, and indulgence were all in play. Where everyone is guilty of something."


...[Randy friend, lobbyist and military contractor Brent] Wilkes also introduced [fellow contractor Tom] Casey to [CIA sleaze] Dusty Foggo, who often passed through Washington. Around 1994, during a visit to a Washington strip club, Casey says, Foggo wore a gun in a shoulder holster and flashed his identification at the club doorman. He was promptly seated by the stage. "Foggo sits there the whole night telling me how he likes to fuck girls in the ass," Casey recalls. "He sees a girl there, he jabs you and says, 'She's ready to go—let's double-team her.' The weirdest combination of sex and domination! And Wilkes, he's just laughing the whole time." (Through an attorney, Foggo says that this incident never happened. According to his lawyer, Wilkes denies visiting strip clubs in adulthood.)
As Wonkette notes, the Vanity Fair piece suggests that Duke had fun with paid escorts, "but those escorts are again maddeningly non-gender-specific."

Cunningham plead guilty to receiving at $2.4 million in bribes in the form of checks totaling over $1 million, along with cash, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.

Related:
* Cunningham's co-conspirator and his 'hospitality suite'


LaBarbera: 'good is bad and bad is good'

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Illinois Family Institute leather queen unleashes another gem for your consumption. He's currently smarting because his Illinois marriage petition effort has failed (therefore it won't be on the ballot), so I guess he's turning his attention to this story in Maryland.
LifesiteNews.com recently reported that Governor Robert Ehrlich appointed 47-year-old Judge Christopher Panos -- who with his homosexual partner of 17 years is raising a young daughter -- as special master to the Baltimore City Circuit Court Family Division. A week earlier Ehrlich fired Washington Transit Authority Board member Robert Smith who, during an appearance on a local TV show, described homosexuality as a "deviant" lifestyle.

Peter LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Institute has been a longtime defender of traditional family values against the attacks of the homosexual agenda. He laments that the governor's actions seem to reflect a culture that tends towards political correctness.

"Governor Ehrlich fires a Catholic man who simply voices mainstream thought that homosexuality [behavior] is a deviant practice ... and then the governor turns around and appoints a pro-homosexual judge for family court as if traditionalists are going to get a fair hearing in that court," LaBarbera observes. "Political correctness is now coming down to the point where good people are getting harmed or getting fired in this rush to embrace homosexuality in our culture."

And that culture, says the Illinois activist, is an "Isaiah 5:20 culture" where good is bad and bad is good.

"You have excellent groups -- good groups like the Boy Scouts -- that are being criminalized, and yet the liberals are trying to have the state grant full protection and celebration to sinful behavior, [to] homosexuality," LaBarbera notes. "I mean, we're at the point now where our kids are getting scholarships at colleges for being homosexuals."
***

I forgot to post a link to this, but here are Petey's pictures from Chicago Pride.
WARNING: OFFENSIVE PHOTOS. Here are about three dozen photos from Chicago's 2006 "Gay Pride" parade, which included a float for Steamworks, a 24/7 bathhouse in the city's "Boystown" neighborhood. "Gay" men go to Steamworks to have anonymous sex with other men. Is there any other parade that so blatantly celebrates perversion as this? Note the participation of Chicago's major media, who have given up on objective reporting in favor of becoming cheerleaders for homosexuality.
You have to read his colorful captions. They are a scream. My favorite, under a picture of the governor:

Gov. Blagojevich works the crowd at Sunday's bawdy "gay pride" parade in Chicago. It appears he has gotten quite good at keeping his Eastern Orthodox faith, which condemns homosexual practice, "in the closet."


DSCC to Holy Joe: you're on your own



Heh heh heh. Raw Story's John Byrne has spoken to a senior Dem party official who says Holy Joe's going to be left out in the cold if he goes independent after losing to Ned Lamont in the primary.
In a serious blow to Sen. Joseph Lieberman's (D-CT) reelection campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is likely to back the winner of the Democratic primary in Connecticut, meaning that Lieberman may be left without national allies for campaign money.
In even more ridiculous related news, cut and run Joe is calling in his favors, and he's lined up Sens. Joe Biden (DE), Barbara Boxer (CA) and Ken Salazar (CO) to shill for him. I love Jane's comment about "Bankruptcy Bill" Biden:
Joe Biden will bring his bleached teeth and hair transplants to Connecticut to campaign for Holy Joe.
Boxer's presence on the stump is quite disturbing; she believes Holy Joe opposition is "'all about the war' and that on women’s issues, he was great."

Oops.
The women of Connecticut don’t think so.  Before Boxer steps in the deep doo-doo Lieberman has created for himself with women in this state by his stance on Plan B and publicly funded Catholic hospitals, she might want to educate herself on his history.  I’ll quote the great Connecticut Bob here:


Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn’t be forced to do so.

"In Connecticut, it shouldn’t take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said.



Pace Salsa slams homos in ad


"That's the guy who gets his salsa from New York City."

Unreal. Augusto at Queer Beacon pointed me to this bone-headed ad for Pace Salsa (owned by Campbell's Soup). Apparently, real cowboys eat salsa from Pace, and fey horsemane hairdresser cowboy fags get theirs from the Big Apple -- you know, where all the queers are.

Hat tip to Queerty for the video:



The level of humor harkens back to the "silly little fairy" Dodge/Daimler Chrysler ad a while back.

You can let Pace know how you feel.



Open thread - prez cake


President Bush blows out the candles on his birthday cake presented to him during his lunch with military personnel and their families at Fort Bragg, Tuesday, July 4, 2006. Bush turns sixty on Thursday. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


What is Bush wishing for (aside from the ability to keep the cake upright)?


Jewish family forced to move because of lawsuit over aggressive 'Christianity'

Several of you wrote in about this one. It's heinous. Good coverage and commentary on the entire situation can be found at Bartholomew's notes on religion and The Green Knight.

A short version: the Indian River School District (IRSD) school board in Sussex County, Delaware, opened its meetings with an invocation "in Jesus' name." A Jewish family objected, but asked only that it be changed to "God's name".

That didn't go over well.
...hundreds of people showed up at the district's August board meeting at Frankford Elementary School urging members to keep prayer in the school.

Many begged the school board not to take Jesus away from their children. Others read scriptures from the Bible citing instructions given by Jesus.
That's insane. But it gets worse. The family, the Dobriches, through the ACLU, filed a lawsuit over this, and then the fun began. (Jews On First):
Classmates accused Alex Dobrich of "killing Christ" and he became fearful about wearing his yarmulke, the complaint recounts. He took it off whenever he saw a police officer, fearing that the officer might see it and pull over his mother's car. When the family went grocery shopping, the complaint says, "Alexander would remove the pin holding his yarmulke on his head for fear that someone would grab it and rip out some of his hair."
These are "Christians" defending their faith, mind you. And yes, it gets even more horrific. The Stop The ACLU organization, in its righteous zeal to put the Jews in their place did this (Jesus' General):
It isn't easy to run a Jewish family out of town in these politically correct times. Usually, they just hunker down, hiding behind antiquated interpretations of the Constitution and the good will of those who wrongly believe that non-Christians are entitled to all of the benefits of citizenship.

But this time, the family fled, and I think you deserve partial credit for making that happen. After all, you did publish their name, address, and phone number on your web site...
Jesus, indeed. The Christofascism march continues.


Louisiana UMC delegates reject homobigoted petition

"What other sins then don't have to be repented of for membership? You know, if someone's in an adulterous relationship [or] unrepentant about having a lifestyle of lying or thievery or whatever -- where are you going to draw that line?"
-- pastor Woody Hingle, shocked that his proposal was slapped down by Louisiana UMC delegates

I think it's time for a tiny violin...(AgapePress):
The petition submitted by New Orleans pastor Dr. Woody Hingle would have affirmed that "local church membership in the United Methodist Church is open to all persons and requires repentance of sin, which includes racism, heterosexual sexual relations outside the marriage bond, and the practice of homosexuality." However, the measure was overwhelmingly rejected by delegates from the Louisiana UMC Annual Conference.

Hingle believes the petition failed because United Methodist delegates were uneasy about declaring that homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching." But if they balked at that, he wonders what other biblical standards will be called into question.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

..."We have this statement in the Book of Discipline from General Conference, that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," Hingle points out. But to the delegates at the Louisiana UMC gathering, he notes, "it is as though those authorities didn't matter."

Apparently, what mattered to the delegates instead, the New Orleans pastor asserts, was their own experience and reasoning. It is the idea that "those authorities trump scripture and what we have in our Discipline that concerns me," he says.


It's all spiraling down


You all probably heard about U.S. soldier, Steven D. Green, who has been charged with the rape a 15-year-old Iraqi girl. He and others in his unit then killed her and three members of her family. (AP):
A former Army private accused in the horrific rape and killing of a young Iraqi woman and the execution-style slaying of her family had been discharged because of an "antisocial personality disorder," U.S. military officials told The Associated Press.

Previously, in a federal court affidavit, investigators said only that 21-year-old Steven D. Green had been given an honorable discharge for a "personality disorder" this spring before the murder case came to light.

But U.S. military officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case said late Tuesday it was an "antisocial personality disorder." They did not elaborate.

Investigators say Green and other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division plotted to rape a young Iraqi woman they first saw at a traffic checkpoint in the village of Mahmoudiya. Green is accused of rounding up three family members in a room of the woman's house and shooting them before raping and killing her.
***

He had an "antisocial personality disorder"? How did he pass the military psych screening? Medline definition:
Antisocial personality disorder is a psychiatric condition characterized by chronic behavior that manipulates, exploits, or violates the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.

A person with antisocial personality disorder:
* Breaks the law repeatedly
* Lies, steals, and fights often
* Disregards the safety of self and others
* Demonstrates a lack of guilt
* Had a childhood diagnosis (or symptoms consistent with) conduct disorder
Is the military trying to make the case that Green developed this mental illness while serving?

Freepers desperately wanted this whole matter to go away, to blame it on the liberal MSM, that these incidents were hoaxes.

Almost too unfortunate to be believed -- the Army News Service recently featured Green's photo in a story on his unit, Coalition forces keep streets of Iraq safe.


Soldiers from Task Force Baghdad, alongside Iraqi forces, constantly search the streets and alleyways of Baghdad and surrounding communities for weapons, insurgents and anti-coalition propaganda. The searches are thorough, yet the Soldiers still respect people's rights and property.
Energy dome tip to Steve @ The News Blog.

UPDATE: It looks like the good General has it up as well.


No Big House for Ken Lay

Heard on radio...convicted Enron exec and Shrub friend "Kenny Boy" Lay faced life in prison, but he just died of a heart attack. He was scheduled to be sentenced on October 23.

***

And this news:
Lynn Stanley, chairwoman of the Protect Marriage Arizona Coalition, died in a crash on Interstate 40 while returning to Phoenix from Las Vegas, where she was visiting two sisters.

...The group planned to submit its petitions today, with Stanley on hand to celebrate the accomplishment. Her death has led the initiative to delay its submittal until Thursday, the deadline to turn in signatures.
The measure will be on the ballot. Stanley was one of the activists John McCain cozied up to regarding that state's amendment.


No ruling on SSM in NY court

365gay reports that there will be a ruling, but not today.
The Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York State, failed Wednesday to issue its widely expected ruling on same-sex marriage.

The court issued decisions in a number of cases on Wednesday, and several other rulings are expected on Thursday. The gay marriage decision could come then, or the court could wait until later in the summer. The ruling will definitely come before Labor Day lawyers in the case say.


'A cancerous lump'

That's what the Anglican Communion's Church of Nigeria called progressive churches that support SSM and election of gay bishops. The battle is getting ugly, and a split looks inevitable. At this point, that seems A-OK, because the two factions will not see eye to eye on this one.
Rejecting a proposed "two-tier" Communion to accommodate the liberals, the Nigerian church said Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams should try to bring those churches back to orthodox Christianity rather than accommodate them.

...He suggested that after the US Episcopal Church (ECUSA) declined last month to repent for naming an openly gay bishop in 2003. Other churches, mainly in Africa, reject openly gay clergy as un-Biblical and condemn the ECUSA for acting unilaterally.

"A cancerous lump in the body should be excised if it has defied every known cure," the Church of Nigeria, second-largest Anglican province after the Church of England, said in a statement posted on its Web site. "To attempt to condition the whole body to accommodate it will lead to the avoidable death of the patient," it said in a response to Williams.
Read Wayne Besen's thoughtful piece on the mess, "Anglican Caste System."


Big Three automakers see sales plummet

They aren't making what we want to buy, plain and simple.
U.S. sales fell for all three big American automakers in June, led by a 26 percent drop at General Motors Corp. (GM), while Japan's Toyota Motor Corp. surged.

Higher gas prices, slower sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles and a lack of deep incentives compared to last summer -- when GM rolled out employee-level pricing -- hurt the Detroit-based automakers in a weaker U.S. auto market.

... Toyota has taken a bigger share of a weakening U.S. market on the fuel efficiency of its line-up, which trails only Honda Motor Co. in average fuel economy among major manufacturers.

...Toyota has only a 9-day inventory of the Yaris, and an even tighter 4-day sales inventory of its Prius hybrid, essentially making both vehicles sellout hits.

Meanwhile, sales of Ford's Explorer, a best-selling SUV, dropped by 36 percent in June while sales of the larger Expedition were down 46 percent. "There's no question that higher gas prices have hurt demand for these products," said Ford sales analyst George Pipas.
Kate and I have been complaining how Subaru has been behind the curve on hybrids (we have an Outback wagon). It's an otherwise smart -- and gay-friendly -- automaker, but it really missed the mark by going for the SUV market with the stupid, fuel-inefficient and ugly Tribeca. Last year we went to see one in the showroom out of curiosity and it was disappointing that they wasted development time on this instead of a hybrid. The automaker was obviously shooting for the upscale family SUV demo already targeted by the Big Three.

Incidentally, Subaru reported its best June sales in company history -- even the Tribeca posted double-digit gains --and total sales are up 3 percent for the year so far. More pain for the U.S. car makers. Driving around town I never see any Tribecas on the road (or even the sedans), but I see a ton of new Outback wagons, mini-SUV Foresters and Outback Sports (the 5-door hatchback) out there. And let me tell you, the number of Toyota Prius hybrids sailing around Durham is substantial.

Apparently Subaru is pairing up with Toyota to use its hybrid technology, though nothing is expected until 2008. All Subaru has now is a concept car, the B5-TPH:



I cross-posted this at Pandagon, and a reader pointed to this enlightening article, GM hides fuel-efficient small cars and trucks -- in Brazil. It proves how brain-dead GM is -- they've got fuel-efficient small cars that they will not sell here in the U.S. Big mistake.
Specifically, it is the fault of GM's North American marketing department and unions, which, for a variety of reasons and through myriad machinations, have kept highly desirable small GM vehicles out of the U.S. market at a time they are very much needed.

The truth, as evidenced by a sampling of GM of Brazil cars and trucks at the company's Cruz Alta Proving Ground here, is that GM can make small vehicles as well as anyone else. But the company is hampered by a North American marketing belief that American consumers won't buy those models, and by labor politics that prevents the U.S. entry of those little cars and trucks because they are not assembled by the United Auto Workers union.

For the record, that's my take. GM officials are loath to be so blunt. They proffer seemingly palatable excuses, such as the high cost of retrofitting their Brazilian models to comply with U.S. safety and emissions rules.

I reject that argument. I refuse to believe that a GM that could make a huge Chevrolet Tahoe sport-utility vehicle meet stringent U.S. safety and air-quality standards can't do the same thing for the car-based, subcompact Chevrolet Montana pickup truck sold here. It just doesn't wash.
How will the Big Three address this?


Open thread - my big gun

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


U.S. President George W. Bush poses with U.S. soldiers during his Independence Day visit to Fort Bragg in North Carolina July 4, 2006. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

Dear Leader graced us with his presence today. This imagery is way too phallic to ignore. Caption away.

Links and blogwhoring appreciated, of course.


NYT: State's highest court to rule on SSM tomorrow

It looks like big news will be coming from the Empire State tomorrow. Its high court will rule on whether gays and lesbians can marry.
There are several directions the Court of Appeals could take, lawyers said. The most sweeping would be a clear affirmation of a constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry, which would make New York the second state in the nation after Massachusetts to allow such marriages. In that case, the court could order the Legislature to rewrite the state's marriage law.

...The New York court could also reach a compromise position by finding that the current law is a violation of equal protection, but ruling that establishment of civil union, rather than full-scale marriage, for same-sex partners would be enough to cure the violation.

..."On the one hand, if there is a victory in the case, it would be a great and historic day," said Roberta A. Kaplan, one of the lawyers who argued for gay marriage before the high court in May. "On the other hand, I'm sure we'll all look at this issue five years from now and say, what was the big deal? Because there is a clear line of authority now moving in our direction." One "friend of the court" brief arguing against same-sex marriage said that opposition "is not rooted in animus towards gay and lesbians," but in the conviction that "only opposite-sex unions can both create the next generation and connect those children to the mother and father who made them."

The court could also take a more administrative tack, by simply ruling that words like "husband" and "wife" in the marriage code should be changed to gender-neutral words like "spouse."
Hat tips to Chris and Holly.


Pull the plug now


Shreveport Paper Considers Dropping Coulter.
Craig Durrett, editorial page editor of the Shreveport (La.) Times, revealed in a column in his paper that he is considering dropping Ann Coulter as a columnist, and in fact, has "come close" before.

It's a matter of style, not ideology, he explained, and if she got the boot he would replace her with another conservative columnist.

"My opinion: She is more about entertainment and self-promotion, understanding that shock and outrage translate into publicity that feeds into her quest for media airtime and column space," he wrote. "Her comments about several women who were made widows on Sept. 11, 2001, is a prime example."
Hey, what about her abundant plagiarism? That should be reason enough for the 100 newspapers that run the she-beast's column to dump it.


North Korea sets off its 'fireworks'

"We are urgently consulting with members of the Security Council."
-- John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations


"North Korea has gone ahead with the launch despite international protest. That is regrettable from the standpoint of Japan's security, the stability of international society, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
-- Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe
Well, damn. They just didn't see that coming, huh? While the looney tunes North Korean dictator is launching missiles into the air -- including one that could potentially reach U.S. shores -- Dear Leader has pissed away billions on his Big Iraq Adventure, and depleted our military.
State Department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the long-range missile was the Taepodong-2, North Korea's most advanced missile with a range of up to 9,320 miles. Experts believe a Taepodong-2 could reach the United States with a light payload.

The launch came after weeks of speculation that the North was preparing to test the Taepodong-2 from a site on its northeast coast. The preparations had generated stern warnings from the United States and Japan, which had threatened possible economic sanctions in response.
Meanwhile, the White House's probably not doing the happy dance over this story:
President Bush's stalwart foreign friends are fading fast.

Most of the leaders who defied criticism at home to stand with him on Iraq and win his friendship are no longer players on the world stage, or are on their way out. And it was a small band of brothers to begin with.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he'll step down before the next national election and is coming under increasing pressure from his own party to do it sooner. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi paid a farewell visit to the United States last week. He is leaving office in September.

Italy's Silvio Berlusconi resigned in early May after his party's election losses. Spain's Jose Maria Aznar was earlier forced out of office, the first casualty of supporting Bush on Iraq.

"It can be a little lonely at the top. And to have stalwart friends like Koizumi or John Howard in Australia or Prime Minister Blair matters a lot," said Michael Green, a former Bush national security aide.


The space shuttle Discovery is safely off


The Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on mission STS-121 Tuesday, July 4, 2006. It was the third attempt at a launch since Saturday. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

[UPDATE (11 PM): Debris falling from shuttle after liftoff caught on tape.]

Just watched it; I don't know how those astronauts put their lives into the hands of NASA, given the serious problems this program has had.
The majestic shot — NASA's first on Independence Day — was only the second shuttle flight since the Columbia was brought down 3 1/2 years ago by a chunk of insulation foam breaking off the fuel tank.

The foam problem resurfaced during last July's flight of Discovery and again Monday, keeping the space agency debating safety all the way up to the eve of liftoff.

...A slice of foam, no bigger than a crust of bread, fell off an expansion joint on Discovery's external fuel tank following Sunday's delay. Shuttle managers concluded Monday night after intensive engineering analysis that the remaining foam on that part of the tank was solid.
Their drive to go into space clearly supercedes any fear of incompetence of mere mortals on the ground and limitations of our technology. May they return safely.


Cross burnings

In Athens, Tennessee, the FBI will join the local and state investigation into a cross burning at the home of a gay man. The feds are being brought in to help the locals determine whether the burning was a hate crime. (365gay):
If it is, said Sheriff Walter Hickman, it could warrant federal charges.

"Right now we are looking at all angles," Hickman told the The Daily Post-Athenian newspaper. "It's a concern because it's a crime."

The flaming cross was discovered by Brandon Waters on his front lawn. Waters said that the cross was about 7 feet tall and a hate message bearing homophobic epithets was found nearby.
Down in Florida, we've got another "classic" burning, if you want to call it that -- an elderly black couple returned home to a cross burning in a bed of flowers. (Local6):
Another story noted that this is the only incident of its kind in recent years that the Sheriff Hickman recalled happining in Meigs County.

A burning cross left in an senior black couple's front yard in Volusia County, Fla., has prompted a FBI investigation into the apparent hate crime, according to Local 6 News.


John Biven, 75, said he returned to his Oak Hill, Fla., home located on Flamingo Road and discovered the 4-foot-high burning cross planted in a flower bed. "Nobody is afraid," the victim's brother, Jiles Smith, said. "Fear is the farthest thing. You can't frighten people who have been frightened and run off all of their life. Those days are gone forever."

..."Who would be running around burning crosses and things like that, but people who are uneducated and don't have common sense and are just plain fools?" Smith said.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, this was the second cross burning this year. The first was on the lawn of an interracial couple in New Smyrna Beach, burned on MLK day. The cross had "KKK" scrawled on its side.

And how about this in Sumpter Township, Michigan:
Around 3:30 a.m., the family of six was asleep when they heard a loud noise outside. They looked out the window and saw what they thought was the mailbox across the street on fire. The 34-year-old woman's husband grabbed a pitcher of water and went outside to take care of it, but found something terrifying.

"As he got outside it wasn't a mailbox, it was a cross that somebody had built, put it on a stand facing towards our house," said the woman who did not want to be identified...."Wooden cross, looked like it was made out of 2 by 4's. It was like 5 foot tall, had varnish on it. All nailed together. Stand built underneath it so it would stand," said the woman.

Family members believe they were targeted because they are a mixed family; one child is white, one is black and three are bi-racial. "Just ignorant people is all I can think of. I don't understand why they would bother us. We don't bother anybody. We're the only mixed family right here in this area. We've got a good mixture going on and obviously somebody doesn't like it," said the woman.
Oh wait, look at what happened recently in Cottondale, Alabama...
Three people riding horses found the cross off Clements Road in Cottondale at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The cross, which was between 12 and 13 feet tall, appeared to have been wrapped in burlap and set on fire.

Whoever did it left the cross in an open area overlooking Interstate 59 and in sight of several truck stops, NBC 13's Jennifer Hale reported.

"It appears the people who erected that cross meant for it to be seen by a lot of people," said Lt. Lloyd Baker of the Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Office.
Meanwhile, here in the Tar Heel state, in Nash County, there's a weird, apparently escalating situation that started off with a cross burning. (Rocky Mount Telegram):
Another harassing phone call and sugar-filled gas tanks on Monday plagued a Middlesex family that had a cross burned in its yard two weeks ago. Ed and Mary Few told police that a white man called their home at 2 p.m. Monday cursing them and telling them he had put sugar in their gas tanks.

The incident marks the latest in a series of bizarre occurrences since the Fews found a cross burning in their yard June 6 and "KKK" spraypainted on their house the next day. Middlesex police found a white substance around the gas tanks of the cars of Ed Few and his nephew, 18-year-old Jeremy Richardson.

Ed Few said the caller Monday admitted to the cross burning and further threatened the family. "He said he'd burn my house down," Few said. "He got ill like a wild man."
There's a lot of tension in this particular investigation; there has been a focus on Richardson, however it also appears that the Police Chief, Charles Ferrell, initially quickly ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, citing "the cross did not look professional" enough to be a product of the Ku Klux Klan" -- whatever that means.


Slimed


The genius of Mike Tidmus. The original Time cover is here.

Mike's July 4th offering:
Yes-man, bootlicker, brown-noser, toady, lickspittle, lapdog, flatterer, flunky, lackey, spaniel, doormat, poodle, stooge, cringer, suck, punk, suck-up, sycophant.

They say a man is judged by the company he keeps. This company of sycophantic toadies and their leader ought to be frog marched to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and judged.
Visit his pad for his other great "Slime" covers.


Mitt extend$$$ his bigotry to SC



How did Massachusetts ever elect this turd governor? As Mormon Mitt continues his likely futile efforts to win over bible-beating whackjobs with his pronouncements on the evils of Teh Gay, we learn that he's now actually giving cash to South Carolina's marriage homobigots to prove to them that the common enemy is really homosexuality. (365gay):
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, fighting for an amendment to the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage has become the biggest contributor to a similar campaign in South Carolina a Boston newspaper reports.

The Boston Globe says that Romney's political action committee has given SCformarriage.org $5,000.

...The extent of his involvement with the South Carolina group is seen as the beginning of an attempt to build a national coalition of conservative groups - something he will need if he goes ahead with his quest for the GOP presidential nomination.
More on why his battle to nail a chunk of the fundie vote is an uphill one because he's a Mormon:
But moderate Republicans aren't the ones who could derail a Romney candidacy. His obstacle is the evangelical base—a voting bloc that now makes up 30 percent of the Republican electorate and that wields particular influence in primary states like South Carolina and Virginia. Just as it is hard to overestimate the importance of evangelicalism in the modern Republican Party, it is nearly impossible to overemphasize the problem evangelicals have with Mormonism. Evangelicals don't have the same vague anti-LDS prejudice that some Americans do. For them it's a doctrinal thing, based on very specific theological disputes that can't be overcome by personality or charm or even shared positions on social issues. Romney's journalistic boosters either don't understand these doctrinal issues or try to sidestep them. But ignoring them won't make them go away. To evangelicals, Mormonism isn't just another religion. It's a cult.
South Carolina anti-gay freaks don't need Mitt's money; sadly, at this point, a marriage amendment would pass. The folks at SC Equality Coalition are doing all they can to work for a defeat of the measure, and they have a good message:
The single most important thing you can do for LGBT equality is to talk to people: family, co-workers, friends, grocery store clerks, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, old high school buddies, any- and everyone. A survey by HRC tells us that less than 50% of us have talked with our own family members and asked for their support for our equality. The time to have that talk and ask for that support is right now.
***

In other amendment news, Blender Kevin pointed out that Miss LaBarbera is smarting because his petition effort has stalled. The election board in Illinois disqualified the referendum from a vote based on its random sampling of the petitions. The board found that there were not enough valid signatures to place the question of a proposed amendment on the November ballot. (Chicago Sun-Times)
The requirement is that more than 95 percent of the sample's signatures be valid and gay marriage opponents had 91 percent, White said. It was the board's second check of a sample of signatures.

Peter LaBarbera, executive director of a conservative group pushing to get the gay marriage advisory referendum on the state ballot, said they would challenge the review's findings.

He said they knew it would be close and he said he believes gay marriage opponents will prevail in the end.

"It's far from over," LaBarbera said.
Kevin: "Poor Miss LaBarbera - we should hold a special leather festival just for him."


Open thread - July 4th plans

Monday, July 03, 2006



Blender Sarah B. suggested an open thread for folks to share their July 4th plans.

We're doing the boring cookout deal -- steak, summer squash/zucchini on the grill, with baked spuds. Fruit for dessert. It's going to be hot as hell; it was supposedly 100 degrees today, and the humidity is heinous.


More attempts to stop Pride in Jerusalem

The zealots are relentless, pressuring officials to cancel an international gay pride slated to be held in the Holy Land.
Jewish, Christian and Moslem groups and conservative politicians have joined to denounce the festival in almost daily press conferences and media statements.

Jerusalem City Council member Mina Fenton has collected a petition with 100,000 signatures calling for the parade and festival to be cancelled.

"To hold [World Pride] in Jerusalem is a provocation and a declared mockery of all that is precious and sacred in the Holy city of Jerusalem in the eyes of the entire world," the petition says.
The funny thing is, these bigots pull out the same old hoary quotes from last year's protests against a Pride celebration in the Holy Land. Take this loser Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Orthodox Rabbinical Alliance of America and Jews for Morality. (365gay):

At a weekend news conference he called the gay parade the "spiritual rape of Jerusalem." "This is not the homo-land, this is the Holy Land," he declared.
He apparently is recycling this golden oldie from 2005, bleated by fundie Rev. Leo Giovinetti of San Diego's Mission Valley Christian Fellowship on the same topic.
[It's] "the spiritual rape of the Holy City. This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land."
Hey, if they can do it, I can too. Here's the band of bigots, united last year at a press conference to oppose the Pride march in Jerusalem:



"We can't permit anybody to come and make the Holy City dirty. This is very ugly and very nasty to have these people come to Jerusalem."
-- Abdel Aziz Bukhari, a Sufi sheik (2005)


"They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable. It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."
-- Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi (2005)


"We ask your Excellency to issue an emotional, strong, and unequivocal call against this horrible phenomenon, in the hope that the amalgamation of protests being voiced by religious leaders... will prevent the willful wrongdoers to damage and corrupt the ways of humanity."
-- wrote Rabbi Amar in a letter to Papa Ratzi this week


Bombs away



Kim Jong-Il's ready to party on if Dear Leader keeps up the dick wagging. From one nut case to another...

N. Korea warns of nuclear war if attacked.
The North Korean threat of retaliation, which is often voiced by its state-controlled media, comes amid U.S. official reports that Pyongyang has shown signs of preparing for a test of a long-range missile.

"The army and people of the DPRK are now in full preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear deterrent," the report said. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.


Bring on the Sodomy Squadron!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

[Welcome Wonkette, PageOneQ and Raw Story readers.]

We have a new Homosexual Agenda weapon out there that I didn't know about -- The Sodomy Squadron.

I was educated about this hidden resource by Joe Murray's AgapePress column, Have We Lost the Culture War? Tears of laughter streamed down my face as I read, astonished at the total domination of this country that we are achieving in such short order!

Dammit, we are powerful (and flying high while we're at it, according to Joe).
...Washington's America is no longer the America of today. The Judeo-Christian compass that once guided our leaders and citizens has been displaced. A new moral order, one fueled by hedonism and a mutated form of individualism, has taken its place. Translation: Christians have become strangers in their own country.

...If one digs deeper into the cultural psyche of America, he will find that Christianity no longer sets the standard for proper human behavior. The Sodomy Squadron has been flying high, for the Supreme Court has deemed sodomy a fundamental right, the Federal Marriage Amendment was DOA, and Massachusetts strong-armed the Catholic Church into ceasing its adoption program when it demanded that a Catholic agency allow same-sex couples to adopt children under the care of the Roman Catholic Church.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In the political sphere, traditionalists have been hit even harder. Despite the fact that the GOP has control of Congress and the White House, this year's "America's Values Agenda" has failed to spread its wings. While the Flag Burning Amendment was only narrowly defeated, the bill to protected the words "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance became a political Hindenburg. As reported by Associated Press, "Republicans could not muster a simple majority on the issue in a committee where they outnumber Democrats by six."

And the final nail in America's cultural coffin? The American public. In a poll recently conducted by Gallup, just 48 percent of Americans believe that the federal government should "be involved in promoting moral values." Another 48 percent believe the feds should mind its own business. Thus, we have become a nation home to two different peoples, and we Christians constitute the counter-culture.
Murray's bio states that he is a former staff attorney for the Wildmon whackhouse, the American Family Association. Bonus points for also having served as national director of correspondence for Pat Buchanan's failed 2000 presidential bid.

UPDATE: Shakes Sis has cooked up a graphic for the ages for this one...



Click here for more fresh Blend.


Holy Joe collecting signatures for independent campaign

[UPDATE: C&L has video of Joe escaping from reporters peppering him about his tanking poll numbers.]

I almost lost my lunch when I came across this.


U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, facing a stronger-than-expected Democratic primary challenge and sagging poll numbers because of his support of the Iraq war, will collect signatures for a possible independent run this November, a Democratic party source with knowledge of the decision said Monday.
Nedrenaline's got him down, so crybaby's ready to take his balls and go home. Polls show Bush's friend would win in a three-way race.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Feel the Joementum

The real news is whether the DSCC will back Holy Joe over Ned Lamont, a real Democrat.

More at Firedoglake.

UPDATE from Jane Hamsher (via Christy Hardin Smith) at Firedoglake. Holy Joe was said this telling statement at the press conference.:
I have loyalties that are greater than those to my party.
That closes the information loop, huh? That's all we needed to hear.

I wonder what Chuck Schumer and Co. at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have to say about who they'll be supporting...DCSS: 202-224-2447 or email here.

Also:
* Holy Joe vs. Ned Lamont on LGBT rights


Open thread - this is f*cked

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This monstrosity, called the "Statue of Liberation," is being erected in front of the 12,000-member World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church at Winchester and Kirby Parkway in Memphis. A cross AND the Big Ten in her arms. Inscribed on the crown is "Jehovah."

World Overcomers Outreach spent $260K on this thing. Apostle Alton R. Williams said the seven spikes in the original's crown (which represent the seven seas of the world) now signify the seven redemptive names of Christ:
"People don't talk about Christ anymore and our morals are gone...People cannot drive by our statue without thinking about their relationship with God."
It's 72 feet tall, and as Sister Novena notes, the actual Statue of Liberty is 151 feet.

***

Q of the Day: Does this "Christian" art beat Ohio's Touchdown Jesus?


The Jesus statue in Monroe, Ohio, is 62 feet tall and weighs eight tons.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Freeper: 'Move the United States out of San Francisco'

You have to read through this unhinged insanity by knuckledragger "EndWelfareToday" in Freeperland. Bear with this nonsense...we have a treat of a response to it.
Move the United States out of San Francisco
Self | 06/30/2006 | Self
Posted on 06/30/2006 4:13:00 PM PDT by EndWelfareToday

...Last weekend I was in San Francisco with two of my children when I noticed the massive amounts of congestion caused by a few loudmouthed, deviant perverts from the homosexual community. I had forgotten that this is their "Gay Pride" week and much to my chagrin and the embarrassment my sons experienced when those less modest sodomites gleefully strolled down the streets and sidewalks, I couldn't help but wonder why this nation continues to support this corrupt, vial city with our tax dollars. I mean... all any normal human being need to convince him or herself of the need to pull out of San Francisco all together is the memory searing image of a sodomite with ungodly amounts of make up on walking down the street with his boyfriends in a see-through summer dress and a thong holding on to each boyfriend's crotch while they fondled his a** and kissed his neck. I think my sons are scared for life. Haven't these animals ever heard of reticence? The sites and sounds of last weekend have kept me awake every night since and I have to tell you, I can understand why some nations of the world don't want anything to do with our country. They hear all about San Francisco and swear that they would rather die than let their city or country turn into another San Francisco. This is a city that spits in the faces of our military personnel. The flaunt their uncorroborated superiority over the rest of their state and the Union by electing and supporting a mayor that spits on the US Constitution and the California Constitution almost on a daily basis.

Oh I know. Many of you probably think I'm making this up, exaggerating or over reacting but I have to tell you, I haven't even come close to describing what I saw in just one hour as I tried to get through the civic center of that city. Disgusting! I have to tell you and I have never been considered a stuffed shirt or a snob by anyone that knows me. It is one thing to see snippets of this event on the television but to be trapped in traffic as every form of decadent activity materializes around you is another. And to think that we pay for the military protection these perverts take for granted. Since when is the mayor of a city more powerful that the people of a state? Since when does a city mayor and his bed fellows have the power to make an entire nation pay for his programs and policies especially when those "progressive" policies are anti-American and stomp all over our Constitution?

He and his girly-men violate the Second Amendment by banning firearms. They give away billions of dollars to countless free-loadering indigents on the planet and WE have to pay for it.

Please forgive my inability to articulate my frustration in a clearer and more defined manner but hey... I haven't really slept in a week.

I've come to the conclusion that we need to pullout of San Francisco. They think they have all the answers then I say great. Build a 100 foot wall around the city and shoot anyone that tries to escape back into the United States. After we remove all support and military protection from their hollowed presence there is to be NO escaping over or around the wall. Turn the other cheek I say. When the Islamic Jihad slips into their city and starts to rape, torture and murder all those idiots that let this perverted mayor disarm them I say that we keep our cheeks turned and let the Jihadist's do their job. Then, when it's time to exterminate the radical Muslims from our continent we can drop a little nuke on that city and treat it to the same treatment God treated Sodom to.

This is harsh I know. Please forgive me. The frustration is setting it.

Maybe we can just wall off the city and turn it into the country of San Francisco and let them be responsible for their own welfare systems, transportation, military and city maintenance or... Perhaps we can just sit back and let China annex San Francisco. We can watch and see how the real Marxists behave towards such open decadence. Remember Tiananmen Square? How long do you think it will be before the Chinese ship over a few thousand tanks and grease the tracks of those tanks with the blood of those sodomite dissenters and anti-military, anti-American, anti-God protestors?

Here is my thinking in a nut shell guys. The Vatican is a country unto itself. It has almost 1 billion Catholics that support it. They have their own security. They have their own military. They have their own hierarchy. And they have been around for thousands of years (almost two thousand to be exact.) They are a city and a country that lives peacefully within a much larger city and country and they have a wall that separates them from the others.

If San Francisco in all it's arrogance believes that they are so right and so much better than we are; and they believe that the rest of us are here for their pleasure then why not? Why not build one hundred foot wall around their fine < gag > city and pull out all Federal and State support including our military? Let them fend for themselves? Tear down the Golden Gate Bridge and leave them no means back into the United States of America.

Hey! They honestly believe that 10% of the world's population are homosexuals don't they? Let that 10% support them the way the Catholic's support the Vatican (Please don't for a minute think that I am comparing San Franciscans to Catholics. I'm not.) Do you realize how much money California and the United States of America would save by building such a wall and seceding from the all powerful nation of San Francisco?

There's no way I was going to respond to this when we have a Blender who is the perfect person to address the concerns of EndWelfareToday.

I sent this bleating on to Paul in SF of Paul's Rants, and he had this to say... :)
Banish San Francisco from the Union?

Dear Sir,

I'm sorry to hear that our fine city didn't live up to your expectations on your recent trip. As I understand it, you and your sons were caught up last Sunday in our Gay Pride Celebration, in as you so colorfully put it "...massive amounts of congestion caused by a few loudmouthed, deviant perverts from the homosexual community".

Gee. Homosexuals in San Francisco. Who woulda thought?

Let me guess. A few would be OK. You could put up with a mincing guy with a lisp behind the counter of the world class hotel in which you and your family were staying, maybe even a bellhop who looked a "little light in the loafers", but to stumble out of the lobby, bleary eyed, coffee yet to kick in, on a sunny Sunday morning to find "Gawd Almighty, hang on tight boys", 750,000 grinning, waving, screeching dykes and fags. Must have been what David Duke would feel like if he had stumbled out of a Washington DC hotel into the middle of the Million Man March, eh?

I do understand and share your frustration with the traffic situation. It does get pretty hairy, especially on Sundays, when worshippers at many of the hundreds of churches we have here in our little 49 square mile city are allowed to double park on the streets nearby. Throw in a parade or celebration and traffic does slow to a crawl. Believe me, I know. We San Franciscians party at the drop of a hat. We have the Chinese New Year's Parade, the St. Patrick's day Parade, Veterans Day Parade, St. Francis Day Parade, The Blessing of the Fleet, the Blessing of the Pets, New Years Parade, Carnival, Cinqo de Mayo, Oh the list just goes on and on. You know us liberals. Everyone gets their day. Inclusive and all that.

I do have some encouraging news for you. You said that your sons, after wending their way through throngs of homosexuals were "scared for life". Well, Sir, the fear of homosexuals is a known and treatable condition. It is called Homophobia. Children these days, unlike their fathers before them, no longer have to face a lifetime of shame and fear. If caught and treated early young people infected with this affliction can outgrow it and become healthy, well rounded adults. I am sure that you will be happy to receive this news.

As far as kicking us out of the United States. Please Brer Fox, not the Brier patch! Seriously. You are going to remove the burden of sending our tax dollars to support the middle states (yes, Dear, the flow of tax dollars does go from the coastal states to the middle states, despite what you may think or claim), remove from us the burden of Messrs Bush and Cheney, free us from the responsibility of paying not only for this failure we call "Operation Enduring Freedom" but from the burden of helping maintain the most expensive military in world history, this over bloated, life sucking killing industry, for which we pay more than the total military budget of all the rest of the world combined. - That's right. If all the countries in the world joined together and pooled their weapons against us, we would still have more than they would. And we keep churning them out... Free us from an administration run amok, listening in to our phone calls, reading our email, poking through our credit card receipts and bank records. Oh no, Brer Fox.

Now when you talk about the second amendment and the city banning handguns in one's own home, I admit that I have to agree with you. I and many of my friends have no intention of obeying that particular city ordinance.

But I am surprised that you are so supportive. Picture last weekend again, only this time imagine that when you stumbled out of the hotel that it was a crowd of 750,000 angry, well armed queers facing you. You really want to go there?

Anyway, you win. We lose. Please ask Congress to declare San Francisco independent from the United States of America. Let us know when your mission is accomplished. The sooner the better.

Oh. I think that you were misinformed about the spitting on the military. Many of us are former members of the US military. I, for example, am just one of thousands of gay Vietnam veterans. We certainly hold no disrespect for those who serve our country. We don't spit on them. Although many of us have exchanged spit with those in uniform, and that may be where the confusion arises.

I certainly hope that while you were here last weekend you got done whatever it was that brought you to San Francisco. You see, once we gain control of our own borders the standards of who may or may not enter will be substantially higher than they are now.

If you are serious about building that wall, you all might want to reconsider your stand on illegal immigration and guest workers. - Think about it.

Finally, When planning your travels next June, you will want to avoid the following cities. This is just a partial list of places where you will find gay pride parades and celebrations:

Madison, Wisc
NYC
Dallas,TX
Allentown, PA
San Jose, CA
Oakland, CA
Atlanta, Ga
Columbus, OH
Olympia, WA
Houston, TX
Chicago, IL
Washington, DC
Seattle, WA
Minneapolis, MN
Conway, AR
Des Moines, IA
Oklahoma City, OK
Denver, CO
Wichita, KS
Boston, MA
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
Pittsburgh , PA
Westport, CT
Indianapolis, IN
Oklahoma City, OK
Los Altos, CA
Dayton, OH
Los Angeles, CA
West Hollywood, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
New Paltz, NY
Port Townsend, WA
Kansas City, MO
Santa Cruz, CA
Fresno, CA
Staten Island, NY
Portland, OR
Nashville, TN
San Antonia, TX
Amarillo, TX
Tulsa, OK
New Orleans, LA
Cincinnati, OH
Anchorage, AK
Bismarck, ND
Montgomery, AL
Cheyenne, WY
Boise, ID
Rockland, NY
Birmingham, AL
Miami, FL
Fairbanks, AK
Memphis, TN
St. Petersburg, FL
St. Augustine, FL
Most excellent! I have to add Durham, NC to the list -- we are the host city of the statewide NCPride celebration, which will be on September 30 this year. I don't expect to see EndWelfareToday around these parts, either.


Discriminating Boy Scouts find friends in the Georgia legislature

Two wingnuts are proposing a bill to withhold state biz from companies that choose to decline to make charitable contributions that violate its anti-discrimination policies.

House Rules Committee Chairman Earl Ehrhart and Sen. John Wiles were teed off when the Bank of America Charitable Foundation wrote to the Alapaha Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America to alert them it was denying the organization's request for a charitable contribution. In the correspondence, the BOA cited the Boy Scouts stance that gays in leadership positions cannot belong to the organization violated BOA's non-discrimination policy.

In response, the Georgia lawmakers have decided that any companies that feel the same way need to be punished.

According to the action alert by Larry G. Sherman, Southern Regional Director of the great organization Scouting for All (founded by straight ally Eagle Scout Scott Cozza), it's just bigotry, plain and simple:
Wiles and Erhart said they will draft legislation that will bar state government from doing business with companies that cite such "non-discrimination policies" when dealing with youth organizations. This ban would include Bank of America and its subsidiaries BA Merchant Services LLC, BA Venture Partners, Banc of America Investment Services Inc. and Banc of America Securities LLC.

"Our duty as elected officials is to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens," Ehrhart said. "When a large, out-of-state corporation tries to use its resources to stifle those rights and obligate certain behavior, we have an obligation to act. Georgians' and scouting's values are not for sale and should not be subject to extortion by any entity."

"Bank of America, like any company, has the right to support whatever causes it chooses," Wiles said. "However, the State of Georgia also has rights -- the right to stop doing business with corporations who refuse to support organizations who exercise their right to freedom of association."
Does this sound "impossible" in the 21st Century? Want to make your voice heard? Write the Congressmen at the addresses below! Pass on comments to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation by e-mail.

You may wish to raise some of the following points in your e-mail or letter:

* The Supreme Court determined that the BSA was a "private organization" in the 2000 Dale decision. The BSA decided to bar gay and atheist youth and adults from membership in the following year. In other words, the BSA elected to discriminate against gays and atheists.
* The BSA is the only youth organization in America that practices discrimination that is not run by a religious group.
* Federal, state and local governments, as well as most major corporations, have adopted anti-discriminatory policies in dealing with their workers, which include sexual orientation and religion.
* Private foundations frequently enforce anti-discrimination policies in determining which organizations to receive grant funding. It is up to the agency requesting funding to comply with the requirements of the foundation if it wishes to be considered to receive a grant.
* The "freedom of association" of Boy Scout units is totally unrelated to funding supplied by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.
* The proposed legislation effectively discriminates against corporations that enforce anti-discrimination policies in dealing with youth organizations. The proposed legislation amounts to extortion and is probably illegal.
Bank Of America stands by its policies. (Valdosta Daily Times):
"We believe these policies reflect and respect the diversity of beliefs among our associates," Alex Liftman, spokesperson for Bank of America, said.

Liftman also added that the bank also respects the beliefs and values of their associates by matching any charitable donation to a non-profit organization made, even if that organization has been denied financial support by the foundation.

The policy was implemented Jan. 1 of this year after the bank's foundation merged with the Fleet Foundation and the two policies were reviewed and joined. The bank's rejection letter added that if the Alapaha Area Council, Boy Scouts of America departed from the current "discriminatory practices" of the national organization, placing the organization in line with the current policy, the request for funding could be reconsidered.
Contact Information:

Senator John Wiles
john@johnmiles.com

Representative Earl Ehrhart
eaeh@facilitygroup.com

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Hat tip, Paul.


McCain's 'new bond' with the Chimperor

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Get a room already. via Mike Tidmus.

[UPDATE: The NYT article is up.]

Raw Story is reporting that tomorrow's NYT will have a front-page story on the 'new bond' that Dear Leader and Humpy McTool have formed, despite the history of Bush's sh*tting repeatedly on McCain.
"After years of competitive and often contentious dealings, President Bush and Sen. John McCain of Arizona are building a deepening if impersonal relationship that is serving the political needs of both men," Jim Rutenberg and Adam Nagourney write for The Times.

"Either way, it could prove valuable to McCain in his efforts to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 by sending a signal to Bush's conservative base and fundraising network that, at a minimum, the White House will not stand in the Arizonan's way," the article continues.
After the way Bush's 2000 team put the screws to him back in the SC primary in 2000, using push polls to attack McCain to exaggerate his role in the Keating S&L debacle, planting false rumors of his fathering of a "black baby" out of wedlock and a full-out blast of his wife's struggle with painkiller addiction, a man of principle wouldn't have anything to do with Bush. Not McCain. He's practically blown the current Oval Office occupant's johnson with as much eagerness as Ms. Lewinsky did the Clenis.

We've gone on at length here at the Blend about the disgusting doormat that McCain has become, but Shakes Sis said it best a while back:
On McCain's slavish devotion to Dear Leader: [P]erhaps McCain is actually a Real Doll, as it occurs to me that the owners of Real Dolls and the Bush administration have approximately the same needs-loyalty, compliance, someone who looks real enough but doesn't ask too many questions, a realistic body with no brain to help convey one's basest urges. And I don't think McCain is the only Real Doll floating around the Beltway. He's certainly not the only GOP hack willing to get repeatedly fucked while never saying a word.


Coulter = plagiarist



Graphic illustration: Mike Tidmus

Lord, if only this she-beast's fish-wrapping book of plagiarism was selling as poorly as Mary Cheney's. It deserves to, because the NY Post, no lefty paper, is reporting on Ann's paragraph-lifting ways.
John Barrie, the creator of a leading plagiarism-recognition system, claimed he found at least three instances of what he calls "textbook plagiarism" in the leggy blond pundit's "Godless: the Church of Liberalism" after he ran the book's text through the company's digital iThenticate program.

He also says he discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column, which is syndicated to more than 100 newspapers, including the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel and Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle.

Barrie, CEO of iParadigms, told The Post that one 25-word passage from the "Godless" chapter titled "The Holiest Sacrament: Abortion" appears to have been lifted nearly word for word from Planned Parenthood literature published at least 18 months before Coulter's 281-page book was released.
Ron Brynaert at Raw Story and Rude Pundit (with more here) were all over this ages ago, but it's nice to see more exposure of this fraudulent winger mouthpiece of bad taste.

Also:
* Blogenfreude: What If Coulter's Publisher Had To Pull The Book?


Rasmussen polls on sHillary, gay pastors, SSM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Not enough are buying what she's selling, according to Rasmussen Reports' latest polling.
Our latest Hillary Meter survey finds that only thirty-one percent (31%) of Americans would definitely vote for Senator Hillary Clinton if she were the democratic nominee for President. Meanwhile, 37% would definitely vote against her and 27% say it would depend on who she is running against. In our last Hillary Meter the number that would definitely vote against her was virtually the same. However, in this poll she did show a four point improvement in the percentage of Americans that would vote for her. (see trends)

...Today, 46% view Clinton as politically liberal, 33% see her as a moderate, and 8% say she’s conservative. While a plurality of Americans view the Senator as politically liberal, she has encountered criticism from liberal activists recently for her position on the war in Iraq.
***

Rasmussen also has this poll up:



In this case, self-identified Evangelical Christians who were polled opposed gay and lesbian pastors 80% to 15%, and other Protestants opposed it by a 2-to-1 margin. Catholics are about evenly divided on the matter.
Opinion is more evenly divided in churches with declining attendance. Forty-four percent (44%) of those in declining churches say it is appropriate for gay and lesbian leadership appointments. Forty percent (40%) disagree.

Those who believe the Bible is literally true strongly oppose gay and lesbian pastors. Those who do not view the Bible as literally true strongly favor the appointment of gay and lesbian pastors.

On a related topic, 68% say "marriage" should be defined as a relationship between a man and a woman (and 83% say that's what most people think); 29% say marriage should be so defined to include any two adults. Again, Evangelicals and regular churchgoers tend to be most supportive of traditional views on this question.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) think that voters, not judges or elected officials, should decide the fate of an issue like gay marriage.




Meeting Ms. Julien


Your blogmistress, Ms. Julien, and her cute pooch Verdell.

We finally got the chance to get together with fellow B3 bloggrrrl Ms. Julien in Miami and her wonderful partner Alix today. We met up at a nice local coffeehouse, Bean Traders, here in Durham. It was no trouble at all to get into good rants about Diebold, Florida politics, and frustrations with Dem establishment in a short space of time. :)

We were supposed to meet yesterday, but they spent most of the day rolling slowly in horrid traffic on the interstate. They are on the way back to Miami. Safe travels home, gals!

Q of the day: how many of you with blog friends have met them in person?

I went back to think about who I've met so far...local bloggers include Chris Kromm of Facing South, coturnix and ae of arse poetica.

Outside of my area, I've met: Kathy of Birmingham Blues, Jill of Brilliant at Breakfast, Atrios, Spindentist (and some of the other All Spin Zoners), Jay of Lassiter Space, Mike Rogers of BlogActive / PageOneQ, David Byrne of The Raw Story...and Raw columnist Nancy Goldstein. I've talked to John Aravosis on the phone, but I've not met him.

I'm sure that I've left a few folks off. Still hoping to meet Shakes Sis some day, though the likelihood of swinging by Portage, IN is pretty remote. If I hit Chicago we can meet up (along with other Blenders in that area).


Countering Daddy Dobson on CNN.com

CNN either had Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solomnese's "Progress on gay rights leaves politicians in the dust" planned as a column to balance Daddy Dobson's outrageous anti-gay piece this week, or the news network simply posted it later in response to Dobson's foaming rant -- I don't know which is the case.

Solomnese's piece touches on the advances LGBT citizens have made at the state and local levels and in the corporate arena. He also points out what we've all be watching closely -- the lack of support from political "leadership."
America's workplaces and schools are a microcosm of the country. They are places where people from different walks of life -- all religions, races, income levels, sexual orientations and gender identities -- are thrown together and told to make it work. They're doing just that and these policies and benefits are helping employers and employees succeed.

We have also seen wins in anti-discrimination and benefits policies at the state and local levels. Our survey found that seven states prohibit discrimination in private sector employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity -- California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. Ten additional states ban workplace discrimination based exclusively on sexual orientation.

Unfortunately, many political leaders are far behind business leaders in promoting and implementing fair and equitable policies for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Sadly, we see some politicians attacking our families and exploiting anti-gay prejudice for political purposes -- which results in fueling that prejudice and dividing our country.
He tosses out a Homosexual Agenda, and it's not the one the fundies want to hear.
But I would be lying if I said that we don't have an agenda -- we do, and this is it:

1. A good job, where workers are respected for the work they do, are treated fairly and offered equal benefits

2. A safe home. So that we and our families can live in a community without fear of hate crimes and persecution

3. Fair and quality health care so that we have the ability to take care of our loved ones

4. And the right to be in a committed and legally recognized relationship that includes the same legal protections and rights offered to every other American -- no more, and no less.

And that, my friends, is not a radical gay agenda -- it's the American dream.
Now if HRC could start endorsing only politicians who support full marriage equality, regardless of party or incumbency, then they'd have more overall credibility (see Firedoglake: Ned Lamont Deserves Enthusiastic LGBT Support).


Myths and realities about same-sex families raising children

This is a really interesting quiz put out by the Council on Contemporary Families. prepared by Gary Gates, Ph.D, a senior research fellow at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. The organization notes that:
Media images of lesbians and gay men create the impression that most of them are white urban dwellers who have high incomes and whose main preoccupations are shopping for expensive clothes, preparing gourmet food or eating at upscale restaurants. As a result, a variety of stereotypes and misconceptions exist about lesbian and gay families with children.
So, with that in mind, take this quiz and see how you do...

I. What percentage of same-sex couples are raising children in the United States?

-- a. 3 percent
-- b. 11 percent
-- c. 27 percent

II. In which state are same-sex couples most likely to be raising children?

-- a. California
-- b. Massachusetts
-- c. Mississippi
-- d. South Carolina

III. What percentage of children being raised by same-sex couples are non-white?

-- a. 10 percent
-- b. 30 percent
-- c. 45 percent

IV. The median household income of different-sex married couples aged 25 - 55 with children in the U.S. is $60,700. What is the comparable figure of similarly aged same-sex couples raising children?

-- a. $96,200
-- b. $77,100
-- c. $51,900

V. Which of the following statements are true?

-- a. Most children being raised by same-sex couples are adopted.
-- b. Most research finds that children raised by gay and lesbian people fare as well as children from other families on a wide variety of child well-being measures.
-- c. Most children being raised by same-sex couples live in states where their parents can automatically obtain joint parental rights.
-- d. None of the above statements is true.

The answers are here.


Open thread

Saturday, July 01, 2006



Kate and I just came back from seeing Superman Returns. Enjoyed it a lot. A couple of impressions:

1) Singer was extremely reverent and faithful to the vision of the'78 Donner movie -- pic of "father" Glenn Ford on the mantle of the Kent home; the opening titles and music, incorporation of Brando's footage. It really helped with a sense of continuity.

2) It felt like Routh was channeling Chris Reeve when he was playing Clark Kent. He isn't a ringer for him really, it was his voice and mannerisms -- completely the same take on the portrayal. It was oddly comforting.

3) Kate Bosworth had to grow on me; I had a hard time warming to her Lois Lane, I also had a hard time with Margot Kidder in the role, so I guess I'm not sure who I would find an adequate Lois. The TV series Lois, Noel Neill, had a cameo here, btw, as did Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen - he's "family").

4) Kevin Spacey was a good Lex Luthor. He also did a fair take on Gene Hackman's Luthor.

That's it for now -- we're out for the evening. Feel free to blogwhore and ramble continuously.


Ark. Gov Huckabee: gays shouldn't be foster parents

I'm very disappointed that the court seems more interested in what's good for gay couples than what's good for children needing foster care.–
-- Governor of Arkansas (and Baptist minister) Mike Huckabee, cruising for The GOP Base votes for '08
These are not surprising words coming out of Huckabee's mouth, after all he attended the April "high-energy, two-day Christian boot camp" Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Fort Lauderdale to stir up the faithful.

Now he's hopping mad that gays can now be foster parents in his state and wants it reversed pronto.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday he hopes the Legislature considers reimposing a ban on gay foster parents, struck down a day earlier by the state Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court decision that threw out a ban on gays and lesbians serving as foster parents.Four people sued after the policy was put in effect in 1999. The state Child Welfare Board dropped the policy after losing a court fight in 2004. Arkansas Health and Human Services spokeswoman Julie Munsell said the four who successfully challenged the policy have not applied to be foster parents.

Thursday's court ruling left open the possibility that legislators could enact a ban by law or possibly give a state board authority to do so.
This is the same knobend who said "We’ve seen our country go from ‘Leave It to Beaver’ to ‘Beavis and Butt-head,’ from Barney Fife to Barney Frank.”

Huckabee's also a big proponent of covenant marriage, instituting it in Arkansas. Too bad his fellow "Christians" aren't taking advantage of it.
Although Arkansas has one of the nation's highest divorce rate at 6.5 per 1,000 population, the number of Arkansas couples signing up for a covenant marriage is very small. The national average for divorce in the U.S. is 4.2 per 1,000 population.


Happy anniversary, baby!

Kate and I married on July 1, 2004, a eleven o'clock in the morning at the Apricot Cat and Black Dog Bed & Breakfast in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Fundies -- don't look!

We love Vancouver; we have to get back there some day. We did a lot of sightseeing the day of and day after the ceremony.


Where the gay travel dollars go

More interesting data on the gay market, this time on travel habits and demographics, from Community Marketing, Inc., a San Francisco-based firm.

This information is from the organization's annual Gay & Lesbian Community Survey, which analyzed responses from over 24,000 gays and lesbians.

It highlights why the travel industry can't afford to buckle to the pressure from the right. It's bad for business.
* 98% of respondents indicated that a destination’s gay-friendly reputation influenced their decision to visit there.

* 59% said gay welcoming hotels were very important.

* Gay and lesbian travelers took an average of six overnight trips in the last 12 months, including an average of three short (three or fewer nights) and two long (four or more nights) trips for leisure, and one trip for business.

* 96% of respondents took at least one short leisure trip in the last year, compared to 56% of mainstream travelers. 33% took five or more short trips.

* 87% took at least one long leisure trip; 16% took five or more long trips.

* 55% of respondents took three or more overnight trips in the last 12 months where they traveled to the destination by air. 33% took five or more.

* October, September, and February (in that order) were the top vacation months chosen by survey participants, demonstrating the non-peak seasonal preferences of gays and lesbians.

* 15 is the median number of hotel nights. Five was the median for car rentals in the last year.

* 51% of respondents had taken a cruise vacation. 31% had cruised in the last two years.

* 28% extended a business trip for leisure; 25% traveled for a pride festival; 22% took a casino vacation.

* Top US destinations: 30% visited New York; Las Vegas 25%; San Francisco 24%; Los Angeles/West Hollywood 24%.

* 36% had visited Canada in the last year. 33% had visited Latin America or the Caribbean. The most visited other North American destinations: Toronto 9%, Puerto Rico 9%, Puerto Vallarta 9%, Montréal 8%,Vancouver 8% US Virgin Islands 7% and Cancun 7%.

* 29% visited Europe in the last 12 months. Top European destinations: United Kingdom 12%, France 9%, Italy 8%, Germany 7%, Netherlands 7% and Spain 6%


Demographics...

* Median household income of US respondents is $87,500; 2000 US Census indicates a $41,994 household income.

* Median age of US respondents is 44 years. Median age of Americans (from the 2000 US Census) is 35.

* 84% of US respondents hold a valid passport, as of CMI’s 2003 report (national average is 23%).

* 73% belong to a frequent flyer program, up from 67% in 2003. National average is about 27%.

* 53% spent $5,000 or more per person on vacations in the past year.

* 72% are college/university graduates (national average is 29%); 34% continued on to achieve post-graduate degrees.

* 24% of the population had obtained a bachelors or higher degree, according to 2000 US Census.

* 76% of those who took the 2005 survey are gay men, 20% are lesbian.

* 62% are in a committed relationship; 6% have children at home; lesbians are almost three times as likely as gay men to have children at home. 33% of all US households have children under 18, according to the 2000 US Census.