An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

More GOP values in Nevada gov race

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No surprise at all -- reports of deviant behavior by GOP conservative candidates are almost a cliche now. This time it's Nevada gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons -- he's accused of sexual assault. (WaPo):
Nevada's race for governor was barely a contest at all until it took a scandalous turn a few weeks ago, when a cocktail waitress accused Rep. Jim Gibbons of trying to sexually assault her in a parking garage after a night of drinking just off the Las Vegas Strip.

The lurid allegations in the closing weeks of the campaign have put the race back in play and put the one-time Republican front-runner on the defensive. Policy issues have taken a back seat to dueling news conferences, a burgeoning criminal investigation and a mystery over what exactly is on the parking garage's surveillance video.

Gibbons, a conservative five-term congressman from Reno and the only member in the House to have served in both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, had held a nine-point lead in September over liberal Democrat Dina Titus, a state lawmaker and political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In a possible measure of how much damage the scandal has done, President Bush is headed to Nevada for the second time in a month, with a speech scheduled Thursday in Gibbons' solidly Republican congressional district.
Gibbons told the police that he merely walked 32-year-old Chrissy Mazzeo to her truck and "helped her catch her balance" when she tripped near the garage entrance. He said the videotapes would prove he did nothing wrong.


Rangel unloads on Darth


"I think that would be bad for the economy. I don't know if the stock market would like it. Charlie doesn't understand how the economy works."
-- VP Dick Cheney spouting off gloom and doom on the prospect of Dems taking the House


"He's such a real son of a bitch, he just enjoys a confrontation. When you have those sorts of problems, you're supposed to seek help. He acknowledged that he has problems with communication."
-- NY Congressman Charles Rangel, suggesting Darth needs professional help.
Do you think these guys might not like one another? This is all about drumming up more fear about Dems taking Congress. Quite frankly, I don't think drawing attention to propective Dem rule versus the actual record of malfeasance, corruption, scandal and legislative inertia on the Hill is a useful exercise, Darth. (NYP):
Many of Bush's 2001 tax cuts are set to expire in 2011 - meaning rates would jump back up again, boosting taxes by well over $1 trillion, unless Congress acts to continue the cuts.

"So if a man like Charlie Rangel were to be chairman of the committee, and sitting there with the gavel, all he has to do is not act, just don't call up the legislation, and there'll be a big tax increase," Cheney said.

The vice president's stinging comments were the latest in a series of White House statements intended to raise fears about Rangel, as well as other prominent Democrats, as a way to convince voters to stop them from taking over the House.
Around the same time last year, Charlie Rangel had this to say about Darth Defibrillator:
"Sometimes I don't even think Cheney is awake enough to know what's going on," Rangel (D-Harlem) said during an interview on New York 1 last night.

..."He's a sick man, you know," Rangel said of Cheney, prompting host Davidson Golden to point out that the vice president suffers from heart disease. Rangel retorted, "He's got heart disease, but the disease is not restricted just to that part of his body. He grunts a lot, so you never really know what he's thinking." Asked whether he thinks Cheney is healthy enough to do the job, Rangel said, "Why do you think people are spending so much time praying for President Bush's health?


Virginia's marriage amendment may nullify rights for members of military

This is what Virginians will see on the ballot next Tuesday:
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 bigots in Virginia didn't think about a glaring unintended consequence in their zeal to punish the homos in the Commonwealth -- unmarried couples (straight or gay), including members of the military, will see their powers of attorney, custody agreements, and end-of-life directives become unenforceable as a result. And this has a direct impact on servicemembers in Virginia, who put their lives on the line to serve. Shameful. (SLDN's Frontlines):
There are approximately 130,000 such couples in Virginia, including more than 115,000 opposite-sex couples. Approximately half of them are raising children, and many of these unmarried partners are in the military."

Military Equality Alliance Board Co-Chair Lara A. Ballard called on the Judge Advocate General of each service to "initiate an immediate, independent analysis of the likely effects of the Marshall-Newman amendment on the overseas deployment of military personnel stationed in Virginia."

In her letters, Ballard added that "If the Marshall-Newman Amendment becomes law, fairness to deploying servicemembers and their families requires that unmarried partners and heads of household be given a chance to sign powers of attorney and similar documents in a state other than Virginia. Otherwise, servicemembers will be left wondering about the validity of the deployment documents they are asked to sign."
Why do Virginia's homobigots hate America? Remember Victoria Cobb, executive director of the Family Foundation? Who was all torn up and didn't understand why gays might want to leave the state?
the goal isn't to drive gay people out. She said "extreme homosexual organizations" might be trying to frighten their members by circulating false information about the amendment. She said it wouldn't add new restrictions on gays but would simply underscore the ways their relationships are already restricted.

"I think it's extremely sad they would leave because of something they were never allowed to do anyway," said Cobb, who said she believed gays could go to court to defend themselves if a partner's family members challenged their right to own property in common, arrange powers of attorney or visit each other in the hospital.
How will she feel when unmarried het couples end up in the same boat? Ah, she probably won't give a damn since they are "living in sin."


Ken Mehlman gets a taste of his own medicine in 'call me' parody ad

I love it. BlogActive and Proud of Who We Are have produced an ad mocking the now-infamous 'call me' race-baiting ad meant to play upon bigoted fears of black men dating white women. The target, you all probably know, is Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford, who's in a tight race for the Senate race. (Raw Story):
The new ad uses the same format to reference Mehlman's widely-rumored homosexuality.

"[I'm] tired of people like Ken Mehlman using lies and personal attacks in an effort to manipulate elections," said BlogActive's Mike Rogers in a statement to RAW STORY. "If Ken Mehlman got the entire mainstream media to give precious air time and column inches to his race-baiting ad, I'm sure they will have no problem reporting the response."


I'm not crying for the homobigoted Dem Ford, btw -- he's basically gay-bashed his way to gain the white conservative vote, but the racist ad is so over the top -- and such a norm for the GOP when it has no other cards to play -- that the Rethugs have to be called out on it. Support getting this ad on TV.

Here's another video below, "GOP's "Southern Strategy" - Old Habits Die Hard," showing how Kenny Boy spent his time courting the black vote this year, only to unleash an ad showing a white woman saying she met Ford at "the Playboy party" and to call her. Gee, what message was Kenny conveying to voters?



***

Over at the Institute of Southern Studies blog Facing South, R. Neal strings together stories that weave the familiar tale of race-baiting in the GOP -- and the string of denials that they are doing it.
Although they write the checks to fund them, Ken Mehlman and the Republican National Committee continue to deny that they have any control over these ads while at the same time they continue to defend them. In response, the DNC asks:
“Why is it that Republican leaders continue to defend the tactics of the GOP's southern strategy?” asked DNC Communications Director Karen Finney. “Today Ken Mehlman not only refused to take responsibility for this despicable RNC ad, he continued to defend it. The truth is there is no reason Mehlman couldn't have called Terry Nelson, and no reason he couldn't have immediately denounced the ad publicly. Even Wal-mart fired Terry Nelson for his role in making this ad.
But big-time political consultants hired by the Republican National Committee are not the only players in the Southern Strategy.

Over the weekend, reports were popping up on a few Tennessee blogs that a wave of "push poll" calls was making its way across the state. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports today:
Several people receiving the calls characterized them as "push polling," a tactic in which a call begins as if a poll is being conducted and then shifts mostly to providing negative information about a candidate.

Among those getting the call was Georgiana Vines, News Sentinel political columnist.

The recorded call suggests to people who indicate they favor Ford or are undecided that the Democratic candidate favors higher takes and "foreign terrorists having the same rights as American citizens."


The Iraquagmire Football Analogy

One week before the election... and Howard Dean is on TV talking about middle class tax relief.

*Sigh*

When will these bumbling Democrats figure out that this election is about one thing and one thing only: The War. Imagine this scenario in contradistinction: Al Gore is serving his second term as president and we're bogged down in Iraq with almost 3,000 dead soldiers, 21,000 wounded soldiers, and 9,000,000,000 dollars, 400 tons of munitions, and 14,000+ weapons have just gone missing. Do you suppose Ken Mehlman's attack ads would say, "Americans really want middle class tax relief"?

Or do you suppose that every ad on radio, TV, and the internet coming from the RNC would pound pound pound away at President Gore's* failure in Iraq? (With, of course, a few homophobic anti-gay-marriage ads and a few race-baiting ads thrown in to satisfy the Talibaniacs and the rednecks.)

In Oregon, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron "I don't know nuttin' 'bout my illegal farm workers" Saxton has a campaign ad that starts with "We're all frustrated with the state of national politics these days. But this election isn't about Washington DC, it's about Oregon." He spouts off some more and closes with "I'm a Republican, but I'll agree with my party when it's right and oppose it when it's wrong." Now, yes, Oregon is a left coast progressive state, but still it's telling that Saxton is trying to distance himself from the Republican scandals and in a larger sense, Mr. Bush.

The Republicans know they're on the canvas looking at number "9" in the ten count. Not that the Democrats knocked them down; these bozos slipped too many times and punched themselves in the face. The Democrats have complained about the ref, complained that the Republicans' boxing gloves are loaded, complained that there's a slick spot in the ring, complained about the lights and the cameramen, and complained that the Republicans keep hitting below the belt... but they never get around to actually throwing a punch! So here's the GOP, weak-kneed and barely beating the "10" count, wobbly enough that the slightest uppercut of "where's Osama?" or "how's that war goin'?" would knock them out.

And Howard Dean and the Democrats keep letting them get in the clutch or rope-a-dope. I won't be surprised at all if they keep the House and the Senate... these Democrats aren't man enough to fight for it. They want the ref to call the fight rather than taking the fight to the opponent.

*Double sigh*

Anyway, speaking of sports-to-politics analogies, I found this one about the Iraq War on the Huffington Post's comment section. It made me laugh and I thought I'd share it.
Dig if you will, a picture...

Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, goes to Texas Stadium and pisses on the star. Well, Cowboy owner Jerry Jones won't stand for this and challenges the Denver Broncos to an exhibition game to be played at Texas Stadium. Jerry promises Cowboy coach Bill Parcells that he will have the best resources at his disposal to beat the Broncos. Jerry then hires Michael Jordan, David Beckham, Michael Schumacher, and Tiger Woods, at a cost of $350 billion dollars, to help the Cowboys beat the Broncos.

Game Day comes. Jerry arranges for the team bus to deliver the team to the Cotton Bowl instead of Texas Stadium. The Broncos figure, whatever, and go to the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys are ready to take the field, but to the crowd's amazement, the Cowboys are dressed in Dallas Mavericks uniforms! Plus, the Cowboys aren't wearing any shoulder pads, as Jerry gave the money earmarked for shoulder pads to Tiger Woods.

Bill Parcells decides that Drew Bledsoe can get the ball to Jordan and TO whenever he wants. The Cowboys streak to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter. Between quarters, Jerry Jones appears at the center of the Cotton Bowl, declaring that the game was over.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan remembers that a football game has 4 quarters and keeps playing.

Because the Broncos are well equipped and the Cowboys are playing in basketball uniforms, the Broncos start to take the game to the Cowboys. Jerry Jones instructs Parcells to start running David Beckham, playing HB, into a series of dives into the line. Becks doesn't gain much yardage. The score is 14-14 at halftime, 27-17 Broncos after three quarters.

"How could Jerry do this to our once proud franchise," Cowboy fans start thinking. A chant starts ringing around the Cotton Bowl.

JERRY MUST GO!

The fans are still Cowboy fans. They are just sick of losing a game against a team they didn't have to play in the first place and want a new owner.

Meanwhile, Dan Snyder laughs his ass off.
* I write "President Gore" just to see if Shakespeare's Sister is reading...


George Allen's peeps tackle man asking a question

Well here's a nice bookend for the Marilyn Musgrave video thuggery below.

Macaca Allen was appearing in Charlottesville with The Empty Wig this AM and staffers decided they didn't like a question a man asked of the Senator, so they threw him into a window and tackled him down to the floor. There's video (and it's now on YouTube):



[From Lindsay: The man attacked is Mike Stark, blogger of Calling All Wingnuts, a law student at the University of Virginia.]

Methinks these Rethugs are feeling a little too much electoral heat on their fannies. (NBC 29):
As Senator Allen was exiting a ballroom, coming to talk to the media, a protestor started yelling and asking, "Why did you spit on your first wife?". He wasn't able to get near the senator as he was tackled by three men wearing Allen stickers, presumed to be staffers. He was pushed and manhandled and ended up on the floor, near windows at the Omni.
What was Allen's response?

"Stuff like that happens."


Marilyn Musgrave, gay-bashing coward

Unbelievable. Homobigot Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) was approached by Ben Gelt of ProgressActionNow yesterday and was asked to respond to a question from an undecided voter in her district:

If you had the choice between saving a soldier's life and preventing a gay marriage, which would you choose, Congresswoman?

Guess what? She runs away, and her handlers/goons push at the camera, and rough up Gelt on a public street. What a class act she is.



He also asks her about her zero rating from the Disabled American Veterans. She just drove away.

Angie Paccione, Musgrave's challenger, has now taken a slight lead in the polls, despite a ton of GOP cash flowing into this race. Angie must win.

Hat tip, Andy K.


No boinking for you: government abstinence ed for adults

"They've stepped over the line of common sense. To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health."
-- James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education

It didn't take long for the trickle-down fundie policy to be put into place in Bushland -- no nookie for you 19- to 29-year-olds, says the Department of Health and Human Services, which recently revised its abstinence-only programs. (USA Today):
[T]he government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

...Abstinence education programs, which have focused on preteens and teens, teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease. They give no instruction on birth control or safe sex. The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse.

But Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children.

...Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says abstinence programs are among many messages that have helped reduce teen pregnancy rates. But "the notion that the federal government is supporting millions of dollars worth of messages to people who are grown adults about how to conduct their sex life is a very divisive policy," she says.

"We would oppose any program that stigmatizes unmarried people," adds Nicky Grist, executive director of the Alternatives to Marriage Project, a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, N.Y., that advocates for the rights of unmarried people.
We shouldn't be surprised at this of course. Government mouthpiece Horn, btw, turned up in a post in June 2005, claiming that it was a bad idea to teach about contraception or make it available to teenages that aren't sexually active.

...counseling only abstinence, preferably until marriage, is the best approach because it sends a clear, consistent message. Teenagers who are sexually active should have access to contraception, but making birth control available to teens who aren't sends a contradictory message, he said. The academy's recommendations "to some extent confuse prevention and intervention," Horn said.


Massachusetts legislature to mull banning SSM after election

A Constitutional Convention over whether to ban same sex marriage is planned for November 9th in the Bay State, and both sides claim that they are going to win. Opponents of marriage equality gathered 170K sigs petitioning to define marriage as "the union of one man and one woman."

To add to the excitement, we've got four of Ratzi's boys bleating away, as well as evangelical and black churches led by homobigoted pastors. Other religious leaders are chiming in to oppose the bigots. (Boston.com):
The bishops, including Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, are also urging Catholics to go to the State House Nov. 9, the date the vote is scheduled, to voice their support for restricting marriage to heterosexual couples. The letter asks Catholics to "pray for success on this critical vote."

But religious supporters of same-sex marriage are fighting back. They have printed thousands of copies of a brochure titled, "Why We Don't Vote on Civil Rights," for distribution in churches and synagogues. They are also preparing to publish newspaper ads signed by a group of lay Catholics declaring that O'Malley doesn't speak for them on the issue of marriage.

Supporters of the amendment need votes from 25 percent of the Legislature in two successive sessions to put the question before voters; some gay-marriage backers have discussed walking out of the convention to derail the amendment.

..."The archdiocese and the religious right who are trying to ban marriage equality are doing it from a religious perspective, and they're trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, who don't share them," said Rabbi Devon A. Lerner, executive director of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry.


Homobigot Duncan Hunter to run in 2008

Yesterday, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) announced that he's going to run for president. The House Armed Services Committee chairman, who is vehemently opposed to the repeal of DADT, has not even allowed a hearing on the the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would lift the ban.

Steve Ralls of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and The Frontlines blog had a run-in with Hunter in March (My Date with Duncan Hunter):
Last night, Hunter was saluting a group of California veterans, just returned from the war, and when he left the stage, I approached him and asked, "Congressman Hunter, when will you allow Marty Meehan's bill to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' out of committee?"

Hunter boastfully (at first) said service members did not want to serve with gays, and he would not mark up the bill. When I pointed out poll after poll showing overwhelming support for lifting the ban, he dismissed those polls as "not true." And when I asked him to tell me that he at least saluted the sacrifice of gay service members in Iraq, appreciated their service and acknowledged their sacrifice for his freedom, he refused to do so. Instead, he refused to take my business card, turned his back and walked away.

I walked right along behind him.

And when I left the event for the evening, I said to Congressman Hunter very loudly "Shame on you for disrespecting the service of gay men and women in Iraq. Shame on you."
What a piece of work this guy is. Troops getting blown away, day after day, but he won't let trained, ready, openly gay people serve.

Why does Duncan Hunter hate America?

Hunter's also the coauthor of the Secure Fence Act that was signed by the Chimperor last week -- which authorizes the construction of a 700-mile fence along the U.S. border with Mexico.


Chimpy on the road

Monday, October 30, 2006


Actual caption: President Bush reaches out to shake hands with supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Sugar Land regional airport, Monday, Oct. 30, 2006 in Sugar Land, Texas. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

BTW, he's spewing on the NJ ruling on the stump, a clear sign that the GOP is running out of gas -- they've got nothing left to toss out there. Keep it up, you losers.
"For decades, activist judges have tried to redefine America by court order," Bush said Monday. "Just this last week in New Jersey, another activist court issued a ruling that raises doubt about the institution of marriage. We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and should be defended."

The line earned Bush by far his most sustained applause at a rally of 5,000 people aimed at boosting former GOP Rep. Max Burns (news, bio, voting record)' effort to unseat a Democratic incumbent. In this conservative rural corner of eastern Georgia, even children jumped to their feet alongside their parents to cheer and clap for nearly 30 seconds - a near-eternity in political speechmaking.

...The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples must be given all the benefits of married couples, leaving it up to the state Legislature to decide whether to extend those rights under the structure of marriage or something else.

One alternative, civil unions, is an idea Bush supports. But he ignored that on the way to portraying the New Jersey decision as the kind of thing America should do without.

"I believe I should continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law and not legislate from the bench," the president said, earning more applause in the sweltering basketball arena at Georgia Southern University. He pointed to his nominations to the Supreme Court of Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
For all those professionally closeted homos in the GOP, how does it feel to be used all over again?


Gospel in the Halloween goodie bag

I'm trying to figure out why the fundies would participate in Halloween at all, given how freaked out they get about witches/paganism/satanic influences, etc. (AgapePress):
The American Tract Society's Donna Skell says Christians should give trick-or-treaters more than candy this Halloween. She suggests they wrap candy treats in gospel tracts that will grab children's attention with fun cartoons and games. Some of the tracts offered by ATS this year even glow in the dark. Skell says Halloween offers Christians a great chance to share the good news about Jesus Christ.

"Children are ringing your doorbell and asking you for something," the ATS spokeswoman observes, "and how great it is to give out a great candy bar but wrap it in a gospel tract -- a children's gospel tract -- that they'll enjoy reading and [that will help them to] understand the truth of the gospel."

Every year, she notes, the Society hears from people who have become Christians after reading the colorful ATS Halloween pamphlets, which are sold at Christian bookstores. "We saw three generations saved," Skell recalls.
***

I have to point you to a hilarious post from last year around this time, I'm not sh*tting you, Halloween edition, about the The Hell House Outreach Kit that you can order and stage "dramatic and timely messages on homosexuality, abortion, satanism and all the other wages of sin." Here are a couple of dramatic teaching moments that you can dramatize:
* Gay Wedding ($45) — This energetic scene will give you another powerful weapon in your arsenal against the homosexual stronghold and the born-gay deception. The demon tour guide conducts the ceremony that actually involves a young married couple. (The wife dons masculine make-up for the necessary male look.) The tour guide pronounces them “husband and husband”. Then the scene utilizes a time warp to move several years into the future with one of the partners dying of AIDS as demon imps swarm into a hospital room. This package comes with the originally produced rock-n-roll wedding march CD, the air of evil background music CD and the death drum track also on compact disc.

* Sex Scene Package ($45) – This scene deals with the out-of-control sexual appetite our youth are demonstrating in their dating lifestyles. The scene is portrayed in a tasteful, yet sizzling fashion by a young married couple playing two teens who have planned for this event and are in her parents' bed. Mom and dad are gone for the weekend, but what the teens don't realize is that they’re not alone! The tour guide has been a part of orchestrating this delicious temptation that will “execute the pearl of her virginity as she gives away what she can never regain”. A powerful underwater drowning sequence is utilized to illustrate the killing of her purity at the hands of the demon. This package includes the drowning video and the drowning background effects track on CD.


More on CNN's election night blog-a-thon

They are calling it an "E-lection Nite Blog Party" -- that's where I'll be next Tuesday representing you, Blenders! Hope you'll hang around to comment, post news and weigh in!
CNN is trying to incorporate bloggers directly into its coverage of next week's midterm elections by inviting them to an "E-lection Nite Blog Party," an event aimed at corralling some of the top online opinion makers in one place to provide instant reaction as the results come in.

The cable news network plans to host more than two dozen bloggers from across the political spectrum — including sites like RedState and Daily Kos — at a Washington Internet lounge where they can monitor the election returns on a slew of flat-screen televisions. (Each blogger will get his or her own monitor, which can be tuned to any channel.) There will be free wireless access — and plenty of food and beverages, natch.

CNN Internet reporters Jacki Schechner and Abbi Tatton have been assigned to cover the gathering and provide regular updates on the air about the topics that are generating the most chatter.
H/t Ablog.


Black fundies: Michael J. Fox wants to harvest babies

Here's a touch of class -- some group called the National Black Pro-Life Union is going on the Rush Limbaugh tip and drop-kicks Michael J. Fox for promoting stem cell research. President Day Gardner:
"Michael J. Fox is just another person with an 'everyman for himself mentality.' What makes his life so much more important that the life of a child? We need to remember that there are two different forms of stem cell research. Adult stem cells are available, Mr. Fox knows that. But even in light of that fact, he is still supporting the killing of children and then harvesting their little bodies for their stem cells.

"It is unfortunate that he and so many people suffer with debilitating diseases. We all have lost loved ones to horrible ailments and illnesses -- and we all want and pray for good health. But, we should never deny the reality of the living unborn child in order to save our own skins. No human being has a right to do this at the expense of another's life."
That doesn't even deserve a serious response. What about all those embryos dumped from fertility clinics each year? These people never address this.

An aside: if Dems assume that they will hold onto all of the black vote (or assume turnout) when you've got the above insanity plus the bevy of black homobigoted pastors cozying up to the white evangelicals and the Bushies, they are in for a rude awakening one day.

The WingNutDaily folks aren't any better.

What do you think of Michael J. Fox's political ads on stem cells?



Pentagon ratchets up surveillance of online habits of military personnel

Rummy's checking out where servicemembers are surfing. Clearly this makes sense if the Pentagon is concerned about classified information or troop positions that might be disclosed.
A Virginia-based operation, the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, monitors official and unofficial blogs and other Web sites for anything that may compromise security. The team scans for official documents, personal contact information and pictures of weapons or entrances to camps.
It's also a possible opportunity to find out the sexual orientation of soldiers. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has put out a release cautioning those in the military who are blogging that this heightened monitoring may lead to more DADT bootings.
"The military’s stepped up surveillance of online activity also means an increasing risk to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members who use online communities," said Kathi S. Westcott, deputy director of law for SLDN. “Service members must be especially cautious about posting any information online which reveals their sexual orientation. While online communities can be an important communication tool for military personnel, they can also lead to investigations and dismissals under 'Don’t Ask, Don't Tell.'"
SLDN's Steve Ralls, over at the organization's blog The Frontlines, offers a look at one man whose online profile was enough to get him into trouble.
Former Army Specialist Jeff Howe ... was dismissed shortly after his command discovered both a blog he was keeping about day-to-day life in his unit, and a (G-rated) online profile at a predominantly LGBT website.

Service members should be especially careful about what information they post on such sites as MySpace, Friendster and other online communities.
SLDN's Sharra Greer, Director of Law and Policy has a list of precautions for military personnel to help them navigate the online world up at Gay.com.

BTW, is this kind of witch hunt the best use of the Pentagon's resources when people are getting blown the F up over in Iraq and Afghanistan? Just asking.


Biblical creationist blasts tour of 'Lucy'

Bible-beating flat-earther Ken Ham, the head of Answers in Genesis, which plans to open its Creation Museum near Cincinnati next spring, is incensed that the skeleton of "Lucy", an early ancestor of humans, will be on a road show around the country to educate people. It offends Ham's world view that the earth is 6,000 years old and that this is disinformation that is attacking creationism. Yawn. (AgapePress):
Many American scientists are excited that "Lucy," an allegedly 3.2-million-year-old skeleton, will be coming to the United States next year. Creationists, however, are predicting that Lucy's tour will be much more about promoting the theory of evolution than about expanding real scientific knowledge.

Associated Press news reports announcing Lucy's visit state as fact that the fossilized remains are between three and four million years old and that "debate" still rages about how close an ancestor to man Lucy would be. But Ken Ham, president of the biblical creationist group Answers in Genesis, says those reports are only the beginning of Lucy's anti-creationism tour.

"When I see that they're bringing the most famous of the supposed 'human ancestor' fossils to America, and they're going to feature it across America, I can see this is a big push for evolution," Ham observes.

"There's a lot of evidence that goes against Lucy being upright and as a human ancestor and so on," the Answers in Genesis spokesman says. However, he has no illusions about the likelihood of those facts being brought out during the tour.
In an earlier post on his soon-to-open museum -- which I'm sure will set the record straight for us all -- it was reported that the Noah's Ark exhibit will show 12 animatronic characters hammering and sawing away while Noah shouts instructions to them. The bookstore will resemble a medieval castle inside, with a "Dragons and Dinosaurs" theme.


The Catholic Church debates new homo guidelines

The Vatican Homobigot Machine has released "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care," the latest screed that attempts to figure out how the Catholic Church deals with gays and lesbians. It's been 10 years since the church issued or debated the matter. Bishops will vote on it during the annual meeting in November. (WaPo):
The 23-page draft document affirms traditional church teachings on same-sex issues, such as forbidding the blessing of same-sex unions or marriages, and addresses some relatively new issues, such as discrimination against and harassment of gay men and lesbians.

...An early draft of the guidelines welcomes celibate gay men and lesbians to take part in parish life while asserting the church's "right to deny roles of service to those whose behavior violates her teaching." Public announcements of one's sexual orientation "are not helpful and should not be encouraged," the draft cautions, and it says church ministers must not bless same-sex unions or marriages or promote them in any way.
This should be entitled "Learn to Love the Closet, Gay Catholics." Ratzi's boys, according to the document, will allow children adopted by gay couples to be baptized, even though those adoptions are officially discouraged by the church.


SC homobigot stirs The Base for amendment vote

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Personally, I don't want to see a 55 percent or 60 percent vote. I want to see an 80 percent vote. That would represent South Carolina values."
-- Mike Wallace, missions development director for the York Baptist Association, on the upcoming amendment measure on the ballot in the state.
Now there's no doubt that the upcoming amendment vote in the Palmetto State, home to Bob Jones University, will result in bigotry enshrined into its constitution, but for the bible-beaters, they want a crushing victory to send a signal to the homos there.
Inside the York Baptist Association in Rock Hill, Park Gillespie is talking about gay marriage, activist judges, the "intolerant left," radicalization of the courts and social engineering.

...This is, after all, a state that already has a law against gay marriage, last voted for a Democrat for president 30 years ago, and is home to Bob Jones University, which had a ban on interracial dating until 2000.

...The group Gillespie is campaigning for -- the Palmetto Family Council, associated with James Dobson's Focus on the Family -- estimates it will spend $70,000 on the statewide campaign. Gillespie said the polling he has seen puts the number in favor of the amendment between 77 percent and 80 percent.

...Oran Smith, president of the Palmetto Family Council, said Upstate Baptist churches have been especially active."They have really been key," Smith said, adding that the council has provided sample sermons in favor of the amendment.
I feel badly for my Carolina neighbors to the south; not only do they have to deal with this crap (NC has managed to dodge amendment bullets so far, a fact mentioned in the article), but SC is home to the freaking Christian Exodus movement. Its Master Plan is to secede from the union and form its own Christian Nation.
ChristianExodus.org is moving thousands of Christians to South Carolina to reestablish constitutionally limited government founded upon Christian principles. It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christian Constitutionalists to protect our liberties in a State like South Carolina by interposing the State's sovereign authority retained under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Good luck with that -- can't wait to see how long it takes for the SC -- er, the new nation's economy to go in the sh*tter.


Blogger sux, again

Blogger is crapping out again, apparently it's affecting other blogs on the platform as well. Since I publish using the Google/Blogger APIs, even though my files are hosted elsewhere, posting is hosed. If you want to see fresh content, it seems to be publishing to the monthly archive, just not reliably to the index page. Click here to access the new stuff; if you see this post, then clearly that's not necessary; it's just hit or miss today on Blogger.

Since I will probably not be able to successfully post to the front page until the Blogger folks get their acts together, how about an open thread on what you would like to see in terms of a new platform for the Blend. Would you like to, for instance:

-- have users register to comment to reduce trolling
-- have readers be able to contribute diaries (like dKos)
-- see additional regular contributors (you got a taste of that while I was out of town)

What other features/functionality might be useful for the coffeehouse?

I don't mind switching publishing platforms (WordPress, Scoop, MT, though I'd hate to lose the existing comments, which are currently in Haloscan. I definitely couldn't do the migration myself (no time, likely to screw it up), so that's one hurdle -- unless we have some enterprising Blender assistance out there. :)


It's all about those orifices

Back in August, I did a stint guest posting at The Rude Pundit, and my contribution was entitled "It's all about the sex." That forum gave me the chance to use a few choice words that I refrain from using in this space, but the essay covered familiar territory I usually blog about on the Blend -- the Dobson/Sheldon/Wildmon/WingNutDaily fundies and their obsession with sex acts and perceived deviance, while the average queer person is thinking about doing laundry or getting that last trip to the grocery store in.

A snippet from my Pundit post:
These folks are engaged in a holy war about the cock and where it goes, how often it is in action and whether the baby Jeezus might be aware of the Satanic forces guiding the love missile where no good Christian man should take it. At least not during church service -- and only then in dark alleys, motel rooms with the curtains drawn, or trucker rest stops -- with a healthy amount of self-flagellation afterwards to get right with the Big Guy for that ill-conceived moment (or 100) of carnal sin.
A perfect example of a right wing head case who is thinking way more about sex than your garden variety homo is WingNutDaily columnist Kevin McCullough. I couldn't believe what I was reading -- it's almost as if he wanted to validate my RP post in his essay, Why homosexuals despise marriage. He's reeling by the NJ ruling on marriage and brings it right down to the orifices. Please have tissues handy as you laugh uncontrollably.
There are attributes of marriage that same-sex couples will never achieve. But in the minds of radical activists, getting the label and a piece of paper saying so will be close enough.

For instance, a woman who engages in lesbianism will never know the joy of lovemaking that creates within her the product of that union -- an actual human life. She will never know the security of a true man protecting her from the dragons of the world and providing for her an environment where she can nurture and give love to that little life once it arrives, or the stamp of approval that God puts on such an experience. And because she and her partner know this, they must defy reason, biology and sexual function to create children and experiences that serve as faulty substitutes for that God-ordained picture.

Likewise, a man who seeks his perverse kicks by depositing the seed of life in, shall we say, non-life-giving cavities, may know orgasm, but never complete union, as he uses anatomy in ways for which the Creator did not create it.

Married couples that love each other and practice monogamous, committed, life-affirming affection -- even through tribulation -- know a very different experience. A man can learn more about his role as a man because of the way his wife responds to him. Likewise, a woman who has a man who truly loves her for who she is, provides for her needs and encourages her constantly will never even think of finding solutions to those needs elsewhere.

The truth is radical homosexual activists know that these experiences are not theirs for the having. No matter how much they attempt to shut down voices that choose not to support their perverse bedroom habits, even if the entire world agreed with them to their face, they would no be able to escape the voice of their own conscience.
The Freepers ate it up and then burped up comments like these.

Actual Freeper Quotes

The homosexual agenda has shot themselves in the foot with gay marriage. Had they only stuck with civil unions, by now most every state would have them. But by demanding to equate their sick family with the normal family and demanding marriage, by the end of this year, most states will have gay marriage banned by constitution.

CNN runs the propaganda too. While eating lunch at Taco Johns on Fort Benning yesterday, CNN (covering this court decision story) showed over and over again lesbians exchanging kisses and fags kissing during their "marriage" ceremonies.

It is enough to make one up their food. Stereotypical ugly lesbians and loser fags kissing again and again. It should be rated R but CNN kept showing it and kept showing it.

I think the only reason the homosexual movement wants same sex marriage is to destoy the institution of marriage. It is the only way they can get society's stamp of approval for the way they want to live. Once they get society's approval in the form of government action legalizing same-sex unions, whether they are called marriages or something else, then they will be able to use the cudgel of government coercion to force society to put homosexuality on a par with heterosexuality in every way.

It will only be a short time before public school teachers are mandated by law to teach children that there the difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality is just a very minior technical one and they can find fulfillment in either one.

Gay marriage is not sustainable. it does not produce children. it promotes a lifestyle which is at odds with sustainable society, it promotes a lifestyle which is detrimental to society and erodes the value that society place upon marriage. Gay marriage is simply wrong.

Then why not limit marriage to fertile man-woman couples? I'm 50, have had a vasectomy, my girlfriend is also 50, and post menopause. Would anyone here limit our right to marry?

Rhetoric that says that homosexuals want to destroy an institution by joining it is bound to fail. Promiscuous homosexuals have no more interest in marrying than do confirmed bachelors. And I have yet to see any way that someone else's "marriage", or civil union, or domestic partnership takes anything away from a man and woman who want to live a traditional style of life. The fact that you can get a quickie marriage and divorce in Nevada does not take a single thing away from people who view and live marriage as a lifelong commitment between themselves and their deity.

Good points--and ones I am receptive to as well. Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not judges. Gays need to make their case in the court of public opinion--they could sway opinion to their side (but really--when you see a couple of guys at the altar, that's just sick (confirmed homophobe))

I have seen men with families who suddenly "discover" they are truly "gay" tear up the family

That is a sad situation indeed. What I find hypocritical are those who say men in that position were gay all along and cannot become heterosexual again. It's too bad we've slid so far down the slope.

I guess the answer is to not go to any homosexual weddings. I also feel that the people should decide, not the courts, but I can imagine that majorities in the blue states would be supportive of civil unions. What I would oppose is a Supreme Court opinion that legalized gay marriage throughout the land, but I think it's coming within five to ten years.

No matter what earthly legal label they put on their sin, it will never be acceptable by God, and sadly, they will stand before Him one day and be truly Judged. And so will the so-called churches that condone their sin. God help us.

It is really sad to see someone you care about sink into that hell hole of the hedonistic, live for today, physical pleasure at any cost queer lifestyle.

Yes it is. If you think he would be interested in watching a video on the story of 5 ex-gays, take a look at Dr. Throckmorton's video: I Do Exist. It's a 52 minute video that might help...

I disagree, and I've never seen any science supporting a hardwiring among gays. In fact, even homosexual activists and scientists have stated there is no hardwiring involved. It's quite a complicated subject.

You're nothing but a homophobic, Bible beating fool. Why, if these people have feelings of 'guilt', are they attempting to step out into the spotlight ? The 'sanctity' of marriage ? Over half of heterosexual marriages fail. How many of the half that 'succeeds' are happy ? Heterosexuals have PROVEN that they can't stay in a marriage. Why not let 'gays' take a crack at it ? Beacuse they might be better at it ? Go wave your silly book someplace else.

Whereas, 100% of homosexual couples are infertile as a result of their sexual preferences. They only way they can "have children" is to claim other people's, including a "womb for rent" and a baggie of some anonymous guy's jism.

The purpose of society in supporting the institution of marriage is to create an environment in which to perpetuate future generations.


Talk to Power: Sam Brownback

Yahoo has this web feature called Talk to Power, which is moderated by Judy Woodruff as part of "Generation Next," described on the site as a series of reports on 16-to-25 year olds and what sets them apart from their predecessors.

Killer 'fro: unretouched scan of Sam's Kansas State University 1977 yearbook
Her upcoming guest is homobigot, forced birth advocate and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. Woodruff is taking questions on the site, which Sam will answer on November 1. He's already been hit with some interesting questions in the comments of the background article.
One reader wrote: "Why is it so important to Christian Conservatives that I, a non-believer, live by your code of morals? Why isn't it enough for you to abstain from things that you feel are not moral, such as online poker and Howard Stern? Why do you feel it necessary that you force me to abstain from them as well?"

How can you possibly support the war in Iraq, where nearly a million fully formed human beings have been butchered and oppose embryonic stem cell research? You stance boggles the mind and astonishes anyone with even an ounce of decency, intelligence and compassion.

Could you please reaffirm the principle of the separation of church and state. As an atheist I am sickened by all this bible thumping by elected officials.

Why did President Bush's two service age children not serve in the military at a time when the President, as Commander in Chief, is responsible for ensuring proper staffing levels of the military? And would you tell your service age children it's their responsibility to serve?

I understand that the US is the most reasonable, fair-minded country regarding what is best in humanitarian terms, but is killing others the only way to change minds. Also, the US was set up as "One Nation Under God"--why are we moving so far away from God and Christian moral standards. Why are Christians made to feel like we have to accomodate every other belief and ignore how we feel? Will true Christians never be able to exist freely in the country our forefathers pioneered?

Senator Brownback, I once heard you speak on the floor of the Senate and you stated that fetuses should be protected under the Constitution. How could a fetus have rights? Do you think our Founding Fathers wanted pre-humans to have the same rights as real life humans? Its too bad that you disagree with a woman's right to decide when she and her partner will or will not continue an unwanted pregnancy, but to say a fetus should have rights protected under the Constitution is absurd. Please try to find a better argument for your anti-choice position. D. Selig

Dear Senator: If fetuses and embryos are equal to born babies, then why aren't pregnant women given two votes?

Aren't you ashamed that you have placed a hold on a judicial nominee because she attended a gay committment ceremony as a guest? Also, by what divine right do you expect her to tell you her feelings towards gay issues that may come before her as a judge? To tell you her feelings would obviously require her to disassociate herself from any cases regarding gays...

This countries "christian" values seem to be under attack daily by groups who seem to have lost sight of the "majority" and pushing for the one or rights for a "minority group". The one in the forefront is Gay Marriages. I find this so confusing. We celebrate "Gay Pride" in this counry and yet ther is no "Hetero Sexual Pride" celebations. And yet, on news, television programing, comercials and everywhere I turn it is being forced on the public. Now, do not get me wrong, I do beleive in tolerance, but this "acceptance" of a life style and as stated before, "the issue being forced down my throat" is making me wonder why elected officials are not doing more in defending Christiaqn values and the sanctity of marriage?
***

Back in January, Rolling Stone had a long profile of Brownback, God's Senator -- Who would Jesus vote for? Sam does indeed consider fetuses "citizens." You can't get much more batsh*t conservative than that.
...Casting Bush and the Republican leadership as soft and muddled, he regularly turns sleepy hearings into platforms for his vision of America, inviting a parade of angry witnesses to denounce the "homosexual agenda," "bestiality" and "murder."

He is running for president because murder is always on his mind: the abortion of what he considers fetal citizens. He speaks often and admiringly of John Brown, the abolitionist who massacred five pro-slavery settlers just north of the farm where Brownback grew up. Brown wanted to free the slaves; Brownback wants to free fetuses. He loves each and every one of them. "Just . . . sacred," he says.
Additional fun facts from the article:

* Brownback's chief of staff, Robert Wasinger, wrote in a campus magazine funded by the Heritage Foundation, that the "innocent sperm" of gay men are, "forced to swim into feces."

* Sam is working to defeat a measure that would stiffen penalties for violent attacks on gays and lesbians, saying the hate-crime bill would lead to the eventual criminalization of Christianity.

* Brownback has received money funneled through Jack Abramoff ($42,000) and blocked a casino that Abramoff's clients viewed as a competitor.

* Sam struggles to square that homosexuality may not be sanctioned by the Bible, but slavery is -- and that he believes Good Book is never wrong. His logic: "the Bible views slavery as a 'person-to-person relationship,' something to be worked out beyond the intrusion of government. But he quickly abandons the argument; calling slavery a personal choice, after all, is awkward for a man who often compares slavery to abortion."

* On same-sex marriage, which is legal in Sweden: Sam believes is it against "natural law" and has been made by "social engineering" into an outer ring of hell. "You'll know 'em by their fruits." (he later clarified this gem, saying he was quoting Matthew 7:16, because "it was pertinent to our overall conversation about faith and deeds.").


Open thread

Just a little video reminder to the fundies -- and Bush, and the MSM -- that he told Charlie Gibson in 2004 that he believed that gay and lesbian couples were entitled to the same benefits as het couples -- that's the position of the Supreme Court of NJ and sHillary.


"I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so."

As the clock winds down on this election cycle, he's bleating about the sanctity of marriage while he happily works with homos at the highest level of his administration -- and pals around with the "gay cabal on the Hill.

Hat tip, Wes.

***

Here's another interesting video...

Mike Rogers ran into RNC chairman and spokesbot Ken Mehlman at a GOP fundraiser. The result was interesting.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


Gay pastor feels he must step down because of bigoted congregation

Saturday, October 28, 2006



I'm sure the pressure for Rev. Benjamin Reynolds, the senior pastor of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church and a civil rights advocate in Colorado Springs, was intense when he came out to his flock. It's so sad that this man of faith, in his bid to create and "open and affirming" space for gays and lesbians to worship, knew that he would be rejected by those he led. This is the third-rail bigotry that the Democratic party is afraid to touch. (Gazette.com):
Reynolds, a longtime advocate for gay and lesbian rights, revealed his sexual identity during a church meeting last month. He announced his resignation during the same meeting.

“It’s not really a happy leaving,” Reynolds said Thursday. According to Deacon Kevin Hagans, Emmanuel’s director of operations, many church congregants feel that homosexuality runs counter to the Christian doctrines. “The church and Pastor Reynolds have a different view as far as homosexuality goes,” Hagans said.

...But Reynolds’ stance on gay issues — including making Emmanuel Baptist an “open and affirming” congregation for gays and lesbians — rubbed many of his congregants the wrong way, he said. That friction, not his sexual orientation, is what caused him to resign, he said.

Reynolds said it would have been difficult for him to remain once he revealed that he was gay, however.

I think the black church has a long way to go in this area,” he said. “The oppressed, when they feel a place where they’re free, they’ll find others who they’ll oppress.”
This is a tragedy. These people, these "Christians" cannot even stand to worship next to someone who is openly gay. In the end, Reynolds' personal act of courage also represents a giant step forward. For the black church, which by and large has put its head in the sand about homosexuality in the community, Reynolds has shown himself to be a true leader. He, unlike many gays in the pews and behind the scenes in the church who sit quietly as gays are demonized in sermons, is willing to take a stand and force his former flock to confront their homophobia.

The church members were willing to worship and follow this man of faith all this time, yet nothing about him will have changed except their awareness that he is gay and that he sought to have a welcoming environment. They need to think long and hard about their narrow worldview -- this won't happen until more among them find the courage to come out.

In September, he appeared at a rally at the Denver City Hall backing a referendum that would create civil unions.
"I don't think the Scriptures conflict - I think sometimes our interpretations can be too literal," said the Rev. Benjamin Reynolds, senior pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Colorado Springs. "At the same time, we make no concessions for where we are in the world, our culture, the context in which we live."
Reynolds says he would like to return to the pulpit some day, but he plans to step back and take doctorate level theology classes for now.

Hat tip, Barbie Ann.


Corzine: I prefer civil unions for NJ


"It's my own view that that's where our society is at this moment in time. I personally have a traditional view, but I believe that should be framed in equal rights for everyone, and that's exactly what the court argued."
-- Governor Jon Corzine on his preference that New Jersey enact a civil unions law for gay couples rather than allow them to marry.
Earlier this month, the NJ governor said that if the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, that he wouldn't sign legislation that would take away people's rights. However, that's not quite the same as endorsing "marriage." More tap dancing and confusion, as Garden State Equality felt he had endorsed "marriage" for gays and lesbians. (NYT):
A review of a dozens of newspaper articles about Mr. Corzine’s Senate campaign in 2000 turned up 10 that stated flatly he supported gay marriage. He is not quoted directly, however; he is simply described as supporting gay marriage during debates and on the campaign trail. Other articles from 2000 cite Mr. Corzine’s support for civil unions.

Mr. [Steven] Goldstein [of GSE] said Mr. Corzine had clearly stated during the Democratic primary in 2000 that he preferred gay marriage, but that he began openly embracing civil unions during the general-election campaign to appeal to the wider electorate.

Anthony Coley, Mr. Corzine’s spokesman, said the newspaper stories from 2000 indicating support for gay marriage were not consistent with Mr. Corzine’s responses to questionnaires to gay groups in 2000 and 2005, the year he ran for governor, or with other newspaper stories.

“It seems that some folks are confusing his opposition to a federal amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage with support for gay marriage,” Mr. Coley said. “The two are not the same. During his run for the Senate in 2000, Jon Corzine was for civil unions, and that remains his preference today.”
The article indicates that Senate President Richard J. Codey may do a little foot-dragging on this, placing it on the legislative back burner (it has 180 days to deal with the issue of altering existing marriage law, or expanding domestic partnership law.
“It’s much too early,” Mr. Codey said, pointing out that lawmakers already had a heavy schedule this fall dealing with the issue of property taxes.

Still, they seemed to have settled on the middle road that the majority of the court prescribed. They said they would not allow a vote to overturn the ruling with a constitutional amendment, but also discounted prospects for a law extending the term “marriage” to same-sex couples.

“I don’t see, at this point in time, a majority of both houses being in favor of marriage as opposed to civil unions,” Mr. Codey said. “It’s more likely to be civil unions.”
A "Marriage Equity Act" will introduced to the legislature by sponsor Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton); the next session of the state's Assembly is scheduled for Nov. 9. He doesn't appear to be optimistic about how it will fare:
“When you talk about civil rights, sometimes you have to do things incrementally, and that might have to do that another day.”
***

A couple of updates from other states...

* Indiana wingnuts continue push for a state marriage amendment.
Indiana state Republicans, hoping to hold on to control of the House, said Thursday they intend to push the second phase of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

The proposed amendment passed the House and Senate last year (story). It must pass a second time in 2007 before going to voters in 2008.
The proposed amendment would also deep-six civil unions, put domestic partnership benefits and legal protections for unmarried het couples in jeopardy.

* Alaska legislature is reconvening to address state partner benefits. Alaska already has a marriage amendment, so this is a positive development for gay folks living up there. Ironically, it places Alaskan couples in the same legal position as those in NJ -- a "separate but equal" path, despite the amendment.
Gov. Frank Murkowski is calling back the legislature for a special session to pass a benefits package for the same-sex partners of state employees. The session will begin Nov 13 Murkowski's spokesperson John Manly said on Friday.

Last year the state Supreme Court ruled the state must establish benefits to same-sex partners of its employees in response to an action filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and nine Alaska couples.

The high court ruled that because same-sex couples are prohibited from marrying in Alaska, denying them rights extended to married couples deprives them of equal protection guaranteed under the Alaska Constitution.


Not-so-independent testing of voting machines

"There has never been an attempt to hack into a voting machine on Election Day."
-- Brian Hancock, Certification Director for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, dancing on the head of a pin.
What difference does that statement make, when the machines can be hacked long before they are set up the day people go to the polls? As election day nears, we hear even more news that should make your stomach turn.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the body that reviews testing data provided by independent labs that are certifying e-voting machines, held a hearing yesterday, and during testimony by Hancock said it is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to ensure electronic voting machines meet federal standards. Isn't it a little late for this?
"NIST will address security and wireless access," Hancock noted. He said that focus will be in addition to the standards already in place on usability, performance, accessibility, etc.

...The tests being developed by NIST and performed by private test labs will be as transparent as possible, Hancock said.

The law requiring the voting machine certification also requires that the test results be posted on the Commission's Web site.

However, Ian Piper, representing the Election Technology Council of the Information Technology Association of America, expressed concern that such posting might reveal trade secrets.
The article later mentions that Piper works for Diebold. Surprise! Piper also things it is a problem to have duplicate testing or required frequency of the tests.

Gee, I wonder why?

By the way, did I mention that those "independent" labs are actually paid by the manufacturers for their work? If you tuned in to Lou Dobbs last night, a report by Kitty Pilgrim shows how f*cked up the whole damn system is. (CNN):
PILGRIM: But at this hearing in Washington, a clear demonstration of just how cozy manufacturers are with the labs who test their machines. Executives sat elbow to elbow on the same panel and testified together.

Electronic voting machines have proven reliability and security flaws. But the labs who test and certify those machines are actually hired and paid by the manufacturers themselves.

WARREN STEWART, VOTETRUSTUSA: The manufacturers contract directly with the laboratories and pay for the testing that is done. So the manufacturers essentially are the clients of the testing labs.

PILGRIM: Sure enough, testing labs at today's hearing refer to the manufacturers as their clients.

FRANK PADILLA, WYLE LABORATORIES: Independent test labs normally do not release test report data to any other source but the client and who the client directs us to release them to.

PILGRIM: Shouldn't the testing labs be more independent of the manufacturers? The government panel ducked the question.

BRIAN HANCOCK, ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMM.: If there are other ways of trying to do that, we would be more than happy to hear from anyone out there that would like to talk to us. Virtually every other governmental program does it that way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM (on camera): Manufacturers say their electronic voting machines are proprietary and the labs can't release the information publicly. But voters are demanding to know why the entire process is so secret, why the manufacturers and the testing labs are defending their relationship and most importantly, why voting machines are failing in elections all across this country -- Lou.

DOBBS: These manufacturers -- the entire government must think that the American people are the biggest fools on this planet. This is absolutely -- there's no other word for it. It is scurrilous, disgusting. It is ridiculous. Why in the world is anyone tolerating this relationship and this entire process?

PILGRIM: Well, many of the voters activists we've been talking to are delighted that some of this is coming to light, because the relationship has been so secret and so quiet that the public has not been aware.
As always, The Brad Blog has been following e-voting debacles closely...

* Touch-Screen Votes Reportedly Hopping to Republicans During Early Voting in Texas, Missouri and Arkansas

* Hart Intercivic Voting Machine Screen Displays in Texas Fail Like The Ones In Virginia. Candidate Names Truncated on 'eSlate' Review Screens…

* Bush's U.S. Elections Assistance Commission is Hopelessly Compromised, Misleading America and Has Utterly Failed in Their Job of Overseeing U.S. Elections. Current Chairman Paul DeGregorio Now Running a Desperate Misinformational Propaganda Campaign Just Days Before Election…

* WaPo Reveals Hidden Work by Diebold in Maryland as Thousands of System Boards Were Replaced in Secret! Multi-Partisan Group of Maryland Candidates Call for Use of Emergency Paper Ballots instead of the Machines in Wake of 'Lack of Confidence' After Latest Reports of Diebold Touch-Screen Chaos


Homo straw man appears in Indiana congressional race

Boy, this is tired.

In the one-minute radio ad paid for by Friends of Rep. John Hostettler, an announcer impersonating Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" character says a vote for challenger Brad Ellsworth would be a vote for California Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.

"Pelosi will then put in motion her radical plan to advance the homosexual agenda, led by Barney Frank, reprimanded by the House after paying for sex with a man who ran a gay brothel out of Congressman Frank's home," the narrator says.

Frank (D-Mass.) became the first member of Congress to voluntarily make his homosexuality public in 1987. In 1989, a gay prostitute and former companion of Frank's named Stephen Gobie alleged Frank knew that he ran a gay prostitution ring out of the congressman's Washington, D.C., apartment.

The House Ethics Committee rejected Gobie's charges as untrue in 1990. They did find that Frank fixed parking tickets accumulated by Gobie, and wrote a misleading memo for him. The House issued a public reprimand to Frank for those issues.

The ad, which debuted Saturday across southwestern Indiana, also accuses Ellsworth of wanting to "give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens with Detroit liberal John Conyers, and raise taxes with New York liberal Charlie Rangel."
Does he really want Foleygate slapped in his face?

Last year, this turd Hostettler decided to peep into heterosexual marriages as well.
U.S. Rep. John Hostettler told a gathering of clergy that divorce is as dangerous to society as gay marriage and that churches are essential to strengthening families.

The picture of marriage is the picture of Christian salvation,” Hostettler, R-Ind., said Tuesday. “Any diminishing of that notion – whether homosexual marriage or any other degradation of marriage – is something we must fight in public policy.”

Hostettler, who spoke to an Indiana Family Institute program at Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, also said religious faith needs to have a greater presence in public policy decisions.


Het man-on-dog round up

Friday, October 27, 2006

Avert your eyes or have a barf bag ready -- and get Rick Santorum on the horn pronto.

Het man-on-dog action captured by wife. So sick that I just can't print the more descriptive paragraph of the act (this happened in Tacoma, Washington) that is in the article.
A man accused of having sex with the family dog has been charged under the state's new animal cruelty law, which makes bestiality a felony, a prosecutor said. Michael Patrick McPhail, 26, of nearby Spanaway, pleaded not guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree animal cruelty in Pierce County Superior Court.
***

From Saginaw, MI, a story that, if you can believe it, tops the above.
A 44-year-old Saginaw man remains jailed today on charges of bestiality after he was seen engaged in sexual acts with a dead dog, Michigan State Police troopers said.

Ronald Kuch was arrested after police searched the area of Midland and Carter roads Friday for a man who ran away from a Bay County Animal Control officer. The entire incident was within view of a nearby day care center.
Other recent stories of citizens with a BIG problem:

* A man in Bainbridge, GA jumps a fence at a stockyard and porks a hog
* A Mesa, AZ fire battalion chief caught with his pants down in a barn assaulting a lamb
* A St. Gabriel, Louisiana seventeen-year-old was caught on tape committing unnatural acts with a horse.

Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Tennessee church boycotts Wal-mart over the homos

“We haven’t talked about picketing Wal-Mart. We just want Christians to take a stand. We want Christians to unite together and say that we’re not going to support Wal-Mart any longer if they’re going to take this stand with same sex marriages.”
-- Pastor Carol Jacobs of Trinity Family Church in Columbia, Tennessee. Wal-mart has taken no position on the state marriage amendment.
Wal-mart had the gall, according to these fundies, of partnering with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to do outreach into the community. The straws that broke the camel's back for these folks were the sponsorship by the big-box retailer of a LGBT diversity week at Boise State University in Idaho and the fact that the church claims the store now sells "gay and lesbian literature in their literature sections" (which the store rep denies).

The folks at Trinity Family Church have been staying away from the retailer for three weeks now. (Columbia Daily Herald):
Jacobs said her emotions for the situation won’t allow her to back down. “We may sound like a small voice, but we have to let our voice be heard. I can't keep quiet about it. I just can't.”

Trinity’s youth pastor Leslie Washington said the church found out about the partnership through an e-mail from the American Family Association. She said she feels this partnership is a message to Wal-Mart customers that it supports same sex marriage, a value the NGLCC has upheld in the past.
How long will they hold out? I'm sure this effort will fail miserably. Jacob has said "I won’t bow to a discount." We'll see...it sounds like the resolve is quite limited:
Jacobs said that there are some in her congregation who still work at Wal-Mart, despite the church’s boycott. "We have people right now who are employed there. I don’t know that they’re anticipating to leave the store, but they have voiced their opinion. ... We’re not encouraging them to leave, we’d like to see a turnaround (at Wal-Mart)."

According to Jacobs, the church had spend thousands of dollars at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club for supplies but has since been shopping elsewhere. And it’s been difficult, she said.

"Oh yeah, it's difficult, because it was first of all a familiar place, a comfortable place to go and get anything we needed in one place. We miss it, but we feel that these other issues are something we can't ignore."


"Radical" Russ: The Next Progressive Talk Radio Star?

UPDATE: You can listen to my contest entry here. I will also be on the Thom Hartmann morning show, AM 620 KPOJ in the Portland, Oregon area, at 7:20am PST this Monday, October 30. You can listen online at http://620KPOJ.com.

I had the most interesting morning yesterday. I had to teach an advanced course in Microsoft Project for a company in Bingen, Washington, which is just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon, which is 65 miles from my home. Class starts at 8:30am, so I had to be there by 7:30am to set up. I had been up since 5am, had my breakfast, and drove through morning traffic, listening to our local Air America affiliate, Portland's KPOJ AM 620.

By the time I reached Hood River the Columbia River Gorge turned the local Thom Hartmann show into static, so I turned off the radio. I get to the bridge between Hood River and Bingen and, lo, to my surprise, it is a toll bridge. In Oregon (New Jersey I would've expected, but Oregon?) Seventy-five cents to cross. Problem is, I didn't have a dime on me, nor a credit card, ATM card, or checkbook... not even pennies in the ashtray. I excitedly called my boss to tell her to call the client to tell them I'd be late because I was going to have to beg for change at the gas station just to go to work.

As I'm on the phone with my boss, a friend of mine calls on the other line. I pick it up and she says, "Well, congratulations! I'm sorry that I didn't win, but if someone else had to win, I'm glad it was you."

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"You're not listening to Air America? You just won the contest!"

The contest she's referring to is the talent search for the next progressive talk radio star. It's a nationwide search and to enter, I submitted a two-minute demo of what my radio show would sound like. The local contest winner gets $1,000 and is entered in the national contest. The two national finalists are flown to Washington DC to compete live to win a contract for a syndicated weekend progressive talk radio show.

That local winner, apparently, is me and they were playing my winning entry all morning in the Portland metro area. The funny thing is that my friend actually does a local talk radio show on the community media station here. Funnier still is the fact that I only entered after a prolonged bout of nagging from my wife and that I did the recording as a last-minute thing just to get her off my back. What's not so funny is now my wife has the perfect "I told you so" to beat me over the head with whenever I complain that she's nagging me.

Begging for the six bits got a whole lot easier after that news.

Then, after my work day, I drove home and stopped at the 7-Eleven for a vanilla Diet Coke. At the front counter is the December issue of High Times magazine. Being the stoner I am, I picked it up to thumb through it, and, whaddaya know, there's a picture of my smiling face in a sea of sativa and the article declaring me the "Freedom Fighter of the Month" for all my work with Oregon NORML. I told the clerk it should be free if my face is in it.

Finally, as I drove home, I witnessed a motorcycle accident and had to offer first aid and help divert traffic until the paramedics arrived. The guy lives three apartments down from me and his beautiful motorcycle was ruined. He's okay, though, and that's what matters. At home, there was a message for me from a potential new employer that will double my salary for a job that's half as hard.

Now that's a day.

(I'll post the two-minute demo on my web site, once I can get it back up. I'm just about ready to re-launch RadicalRuss.net and now this noteriety has lit a fuse.)


Musgrave tries to toss Michael Schiavo from audience at public debate

Angie Paccione needs to represent Colorado's 4th district.

Marilyn Musgrave is a disgrace and a vile human being, not only for her homobigotry, but because of her utter cowardice in defending her godawful, hateful positions. Read and keep your jaw off of the table as you read this excerpt from a DKos diary by Terri Schiavo's husband Michael, who came to attend a public debate between Musgrave and Paccione.
...minutes after taking my seat, I noticed a flurry of activity around my seat including about four uniformed police officers who were - I would learn later - called in by Musgrave staffers and asked to remove me from the building.

At this point, I had made no speeches, I had no signs, had made no attempt to disrupt or cause any commotion. I only came into the auditorium, spoke to a dozen or so reporters and took a seat.

To their credit, the police refused the Musgrave campaign's appeal to have me removed.

There's more to come, but I still can't get over even that part. A sitting member of Congress asked the police to remove me - a taxpaying citizen - from a public debate. Obviously, I misunderstand the concept of a political debate. I thought a debate was a place to share ideas, answer questions, defend your record and tell citizens what you've done and what you will do. Marilyn Musgrave believes, I have to gather, that debates are places to have the police remove people who don't agree with you.


After the police talked with obviously irritated Musgrave staffers and the debate organizer, the Musgrave campaign complained that my seat, next to the timekeeper, was inappropriate because - get this - Marilyn Musgrave would have to look at me. In an effort to appease the Musgrave camp, the debate organizers moved the timekeeper to the other side of the stage - about 15 seats away.

If you need to re-read that again, it's okay. A member of Congress who took to the floor of our Congress to speak about my wife, my family and my values made the debate timekeeper move so she wouldn't have to look at me. Just amazing.
Schiavo noted that Musgrave supporters circled around him as the debate wrapped, preventing him from asking a question, even shouting "We love you Marilyn" to drown Schiavo out. This is sick.
I will give her credit, though, Marilyn Musgrave may have been the first member of Congress with the courage to actually demonstrate for all of us what "cut and run" really looks like. Marilyn Musgrave's display was the sorriest excuse for Democracy I'm likely ever to see.

Angie Paccione, by contrast, acted like a Congresswoman and stayed on stage and in the room for nearly an hour after the debate talking to people and shaking hands.

But underneath it all I'm left with something I can't get past. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, as I said, had no problem at all in speaking about me and my family on the floor of Congress. Yet she can't bring herself to even look at me. She has to seek help from the police to have me removed from a public debate.


Open thread - the voice of the Base

I hadn't posted on Rush Limbaugh's asinine attack on Michael J. Fox (I was out of town when it broke). I don't think that you can go any lower than this Oxy-addled, Viagra-vacationing slimeball of a human being. Look at how he mocked the Parkinson's patients and the tremors they have to deal with on his show:



via Americablog.


More fundie blather over the NJ ruling


"I think what most Americans need to know more than anything else about this ruling is that the New Jersey Supreme Court just made a decision for each of us. And what they decided is that homosexual marriage will be legal in your state.
-- Don Wildmon, on those damn activist judges in the Garden State
Ah, it's nice to see the head of the American Family Association coming unhinged over Wednesday's decision that gay couples should have the same rights and benefits of marriage as het couples to the legal rights of civil marriage. He's hoping to energize the sheeple for another push at a federal marriage amendment. (AgapePress):
"In Massachusetts [which has legalized homosexual marriage]," Wildmon explains, "there's a law that says you cannot come into the state and get married. However, there is no such law in the Garden State, he adds, so "you can go from any state and get married in New Jersey."

In light of these facts, the pro-family leader thinks the New Jersey court decision is likely to galvanize pro-family forces into action.

"This will increase the commitment of those of us who have been involved for three or four years now in the effort to strengthen our proposed Marriage Protection Amendment," Wildmon says. Meanwhile, he hopes the ruling will drive values voters to the polls next month in an effort to keep pro-homosexual liberals out of office and out of the judiciary.
Values voters. Is this not the most worn-out term? Just because we don't share his questionable, conditional values doesn't mean everyone else doesn't have any -- people are waking up to the fact that they don't want Wildmon peeping in their bedrooms and threatening to criminalize them.

***

Daddy Dobson is also quoted in another AgapePress bleating on the ruling, and the bombastic head of Focus on the Anus raises the level of hysteria.
"Nothing less than the future of the American family hangs in the balance if we allow one-man, one-woman marriage to be redefined out of existence," he says in a press release. "And make no mistake -- that is precisely the outcome the New Jersey Supreme Court is aiming for with this decision."


Daddy D in 2004: "Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage...It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth."
Small-time homobigot Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance, also gets a chance to have two seconds of fame:
"Our opponents have been saying all along that we don't need a marriage amendment because we already have a state law dealing with this issue," says Fischer. "Well, as Massachusetts and now New Jersey make clear, just having a state law is not enough to keep tyrannical judges from tampering with marriage." Passage of Idaho's marriage amendment, he says, will make sure that "what happened ... in New Jersey never happens here."
And I have no idea what Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America is talking about -- this is simply stupid:

“New Jersey has now given citizens greater reason to vote on November 7 to protect marriage in the 8 states with referendums on the ballot,” said Wendy Wright, CWA’s President. “The New Jersey Supreme Court has distinguished itself once again for imposing its own form of discrimination by arrogantly declaring that a woman is not needed to make a marriage, or that a man is not.

“The thirty-year experiment of treating marriage as expendable, by making divorce easy and children fatherless, has proven to be a disaster for women, children and society. This should provide enough evidence for courts and legislators to quit abusing marriage by pretending it is less important or demanding than it is. It’s utter discrimination to claim a woman is unnecessary, or a man is unnecessary, to make a marriage. We should not be forced, or children subjected to, another social experiment with marriage simply to make individuals personally satisfied.”
Wright, btw, also believes that criminal behavior in women is caused by the "feminist agenda."


Rolling Stone: The Worst Congress Ever

While I was in Newark Airport waiting for a delayed flight home, I picked up the latest issue of Rolling Stone. The cover story is a hilarious and on-point article by Matt Taibbi, The Worst Congress Ever: How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps.

You must read this. It's a chronicle of how Republican rule on the Hill has set the new standard of political inertia, corruption and indecency.
In the past six years they have castrated the political minority, abdicated their oversight responsibilities mandated by the Constitution, enacted a conscious policy of massive borrowing and unrestrained spending, and installed a host of semipermanent mechanisms for transferring legislative power to commercial interests. They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.

"The 109th Congress is so bad that it makes you wonder if democracy is a failed experiment," says Jonathan Turley, a noted constitutional scholar and the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Law School. "I think that if the Framers went to Capitol Hill today, it would shake their confidence in the system they created. Congress has become an exercise of raw power with no principles -- and in that environment corruption has flourished. The Republicans in Congress decided from the outset that their future would be inextricably tied to George Bush and his policies. It has become this sad session of members sitting down and drinking Kool-Aid delivered by Karl Rove. Congress became a mere extension of the White House."
Taibbi spends a good chunk of the "Step One: Rule by cabal" section on the outrageous behavior of James Sensenbrenner, chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
The committee is chaired by the legendary Republican monster James Sensenbrenner Jr., an ever-sweating, fat-fingered beast who wields his gavel in a way that makes you think he might have used one before in some other arena, perhaps to beat prostitutes to death. Last year, Sensenbrenner became apoplectic when Democrats who wanted to hold a hearing on the Patriot Act invoked a little-known rule that required him to let them have one.
Well, he let them have one, and he acted like a petulent child when the hearing actually drew quite a crowd, and those testifying dared question some of the elements of the Act. What did Sensenbrenner do?
Sensenbrenner kept trying to gavel the hearing to a close, but Democrats again pointed to the rules, which said they had a certain amount of time to examine their witnesses. When they refused to stop the proceedings, the chairman did something unprecedented: He simply picked up his gavel and walked out.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"He was like a kid at the playground," the staffer says. And just in case anyone missed the point, Sensenbrenner shut off the lights and cut the microphones on his way out of the room.
I blogged about this back in June.

My favorite part of the article -- it had me laughing so hard that I was crying in the airport -- was about the sad sack convicted ex-Congressman from Cali, Randy "Duke" Cunningham. This was the guy who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, tax evasion and wire fraud, and is serving eight years in the clink here in NC. He received at least $2.4 million in bribes, and notoriously had a handwritten bribe price list for his ability to steer business to defense contractors. In the RS article, it's clear the Dukester isn't playing with a full deck...or even a half of a deck. From prison, he scrawled out a letter to a reporter, Marcus Stern, who was one of the figures that exposed Cunningham's misdeeds, and the Dukester (also outed as having had sexual relationships with men -- and another Rethug with a zero HRC rating, btw) clearly isn't sorry for what he did. His level of literacy is mindboggling:
"Each time you print it hurts my family And now I have lost them Along with Everything I have worked for during my 64 years of life," Cunningham wrote. "I am human not an Animal to keep whiping [sic]. I made some decissions [sic] Ill be sorry for the rest of my life."

The amazing thing about Cunningham's letter is not his utter lack of remorse, or his insistence on blaming defense contractor Mitchell Wade for ratting him out ("90% of what has happed [sic] is Wade," he writes), but his frantic, almost epic battle with the English language. It is clear that the same Congress that put a drooling child-chaser like Mark Foley in charge of a House caucus on child exploitation also named Cunningham, a man who can barely write his own name in the ground with a stick, to a similarly appropriate position. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the former chairman of the House Subcommittee on Human Intelligence Analysis and Counterintelligence:


"As truth will come out and you will find out how liablest [sic] you have & will be. Not once did you list the positives. Education Man of the Year...hospital funding, jobs, Hiway [sic] funding, border security, Megans law my bill, Tuna Dolfin [sic] my bill...and every time you wanted an expert on the wars who did you call. No Marcus you write About how I died."

How liablest you have & will be? What the fuck does that even mean? This guy sat on the Appropriations Committee for years -- no wonder Congress couldn't pass any spending bills!
My god. Did the voters realize that they were sending a half-wit to sit on the Hill and make decisions on their behalf? It's beyond embarrassing. Is the GOP populated with morons like this?

And the answer is yes. Rolling Stone highlights the best of the bottom of the barrel with The 10 Worst Congressmen as well. Here's the list:

1. Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois): the highway robber -- and predator-enabler

2. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin): the dictator.

3. Don Young (R-AK): Mr. Pork -- for his bridge to nowhere.

4. William Jefferson (D-Louisiana): the bribe taker -- remember that money stored in the freezer?

5. Jerry Lewis (R-California): the king of payoffs -- from lobbyists.

6. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado): Mr. Bigotry. The list on this guy is a mile-long. His idea of counter-terrorism is to bomb Mecca.

7. Dick Pombo (R-California): Enemy of the earth. He wants to abolish the Endangered Species Act.

8. Curt Weldon (R-Pennsylvania): The conspiracy nut -- he still believes Saddam had WMDs.

9. Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky): Bin Laden's best friend -- he places airport security at risk with no-bid contracts to unqualified companies (and relatives) to develop security systems.


10. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colorado): The Christian Soldier. We know this vile beast well -- preserving marriage with a federal amendment is "the most important issue that we face today."


Darth hearts waterboarding

Kathy at Birmingham Blues posted part of the White House transcript of the interview. How is waterboarding not torture?
Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don’t torture. That's not what we’re involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we’re party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

And thanks to the leadership of the President now, and the action of the Congress, we have that authority, and we are able to continue to program.


An outing across the pond

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The self-loathing, closeted disease of conservative gays extends across the Atlantic. A homobigot PM in the House of Commons has been outed.

Greg Barker, a Conservative Party member, was a sure vote against any and all LGBT rights legislation, but it looks like he was doing quite a bit of pole smoking in the closet.

The Sun newspaper reports that Greg Barker split from his wife of 14 years in July and became sexually involved with a man hired to decorate the couple's home.

The paper says that the boyfriend, who it did not name, had accompanied Barker on official trips including a fact-finding mission on global warming to the Arctic Circle.

Barker refused to answer questions about the relationship with the interior designer saying that “it is a private matter.”
What kind of facts do you think these two found up in the Arctic?

Apparently after this affair, Barker had a change of heart about hating the homos and voted for the Civil Partnership Bill.


Oh my -- more GOP closet doors are flying open...

Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has a problem. He's denied that he's gay, but an alleged bedmate has a different story.
The GOP staffer, 21-year-old Jason Wetherington, told friends at separate social functions in August that he had sex with Crist, according to two credible and independent sources who heard Wetherington make the claim first-hand.

Wetherington, who recently worked as a field director for U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris and currently works for state representative Ellyn Bodganoff's reelection campaign, also named a man whom he said is Crist's long-term partner, a convicted thief named Bruce Carlton Jordan who also recently worked for Harris in her long-shot Senate bid.

...Crist, for his part, has been moderate on those issues and supports civil unions. "I'm a live and let live kind of guy," he told me. But the Palm Beach Post reported on Friday that Crist can be heard in recently recorded phone calls targeting voters saying, "I support a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriages, and I oppose adoption by gay couples."

...Wetherington recounted that he spoke with Crist about a campaign matter and "one thing led to another and they had sex."

"No birthmarks, moles, or such," said the source. "He also said that it happened on more than one occasion."
Yipes. Perhaps the denial is plausible because he's not gay, but bisexual. Interesting.

Bonus mind-blower from Shakes Sis. She reminded me about this endorsement of Crist from Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach.
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier said that before the dream he did not know Crist, nor had Crist made known his plans to run for governor.

"The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said 'There's something I want you to know,'" said Dozier... "'Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida.' ...I introduce to you, as the Lord Jesus has said, the next governor of the state of Florida, Charlie Crist."
Shakes Sis emailed me -- Does that mean Jesus has come out in favor of gay rights?

***

Meanwhile, Mike Rogers of BlogActive has busted the homo chief of staff for the anti-gay Rep. John Shimkus, Craig Roberts. Shimkus, you'll recall, is the GOP member of the page board who knew early on about the Foley emails and IMs and didn't bother telling the Dem page board member. He is another GOPerv enabler. Mike:
I have heard over and over from some of these guys how they are 'working from within the party to make things better for gay people.' In some rare cases, it's true -- and I don't report on those guys here. That clearly can't be the case with Shimkus' staff. According to the HRC Scorecard, his rating dropped eight percentage points from the 108th congress:



Thanks, for nothing, Craig.
Roberts, btw, confirmed in a phone call with Mike that Shimkus knows he's gay -- and clearly has no problem with Roberts working for him. Too bad Roberts has so little self-respect that he'd work for someone with a record like this.


Bush tries to play the 'sacred marriage' and tax cards

"I believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman," he said. "I believe its a sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and it must be defended..we believe in family values, we believe values are important and we believe marriage is a fundamental institution of civilization."
-- your President, bloviating today on the campaign trail about protecting marriage -- he declined to offer how it should be defended.

"I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others."
-- the Chimperor, back in 2004.
He's trying to raise the homo straw man for The Base, and quite frankly, I don't think it's going to work this time. Dear Leader's own statement in 2004 that he believes that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to legal protections and benefits, even if they don't fall under the term "marriage" has not been enough for the Don Wildmons or the Lou Sheldons.

The fundies realize that they are being played by the "gay cabal" on the Hill and in the White House and are hopping mad.

***

In what has to be a moment of high comedy, the Chimperor is so desperate to scare voters about the prospect of a Dem-controlled Congress, that he pulls out this tattered card -- A vote for Democrats on Nov. 7 is a vote for higher taxes.
"The lever you pull will determine the taxes you pay," Bush said at a $400,000 fundraiser for Republican congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti, running against Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell in central Iowa's 3rd District.

"Americans will cast their ballots on Nov. 7, but you're going to feel the results every April 15," the president argued.
Well sh*t, man, your administration's war follies and the Republican-led Congress have put us so far in the hole that there's no way out except to generate some revenue. Dems may have a tax and spend rep, but your clowns cut taxes and then spent our hard earned dollars like there's no tomorrow.


sHillary says she's 'evolved' on marriage equality

Last night, sHillary met with three-dozen LGBT leaders pulled together by the Greater Voices Coalition, and told those gathered that she had no problem with efforts by Eliot Spitzer, likely new governor of NY, to enact marriage equality in the state.

Gay City News covered the event, and Paul Schindler noted in his piece that once the pleasantries of introductions were over and the questions began, sHillary received the most grief over her past public positions and statements on marriage equality.
Doug Robinson, the co-president of the Out People of Color Political Action Club who with his partner of more than 20 years has raised two sons, spoke about the pressures his family faces in sending both to college without the benefits of marriage's economic advantages. In what began as a strong challenge to Clinton, Robinson said, "We need your support on marriage, we need you to look at that."

Yet, just as Robinson was about to yield the floor for Clinton's response, he offered her a bit of wiggle room.
"Even if you say civil marriage isn't as important as equal benefits, in my mind I don't care what you call it," he concluded. "But I need the same things that everyone does so I can sustain my family."
How did she respond?

"I believe in full equality of benefits, nothing left out," she said. "From my perspective there is a greater likelihood of us getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships and that is my very considered assessment."
Is she coming around, or does she simply thinks that it's safer to come out of the foxhole now? You decide. She appears to take the New Jersey Supreme Court's point of view -- how's that for cover?

Allen Roskoff, the president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, let her know that her she has been flat out against same-sex marriage, saying:
"It was right after you said that you were against same-sex marriage on moral, religious, and traditional grounds and I found that incredibly hurtful." He also criticized the senator for volunteering her support for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, even if not asked, and for not speaking during the Senate marriage amendment debate in June regardless of the work she did behind the scenes.

Clinton offered Roskoff some consolation regarding her earlier characterizations of marriage's history as an exclusively heterosexual institution, an argument that she made in an interview with this reporter as well during the 2000 campaign.

"Obviously my friends and people who spoke to me-we've had many long conversations and I think-and which I believe-that the way that I have spoken and I have advocated has certainly evolved and I am happy to be educated and to learn as much as I can."
I'm not sure what's left to learn. Either you believe that gay couples should have the exact same benefits at the state and fed level as het couples or not.

Back in March, Al Gore, who also supported DOMA, came around on full equality at an HRC gala. (IN Los Angeles mag)
It is that love, after all, that is at the heart of why everybody is here. That is what must be honored and respected. Your right to fall in love with who you fall in love with. And your right to expect that that will be recognized with the same dignity and honor that love is recognized for other couples. Love is transcendent and fulfilling and powerful and any force on earth that endeavors to make you feel that you should be ashamed for feeling genuine, deep love for another of your choosing is a form of oppression.

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

As I was on the way here, I reflected on why is there so much controversy about the question of equality for gays and lesbians. Why? This fight has been so long and so hard for something that is so simple and so right.


Amendment battles tighten up in Arizona, Virginia

A new poll in Arizona, conducted by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University for KAET-TV, has some good news:

56% of voters oppose the amendment, 14 percent of those surveyed are undecided.

365gay reports that over the last month, the opposition to the amendment has grown and the number of undecideds has dropped since the last poll.

In Virginia, the gap is closing. It should be a nail-biter:

42% oppose the amendment, 52% will vote for it.

The latter figure is down from 54% last month. In this battle for the undecideds, it's tough going for both sides -- how do you sway 6% and win over some who plan to vote for it?

Last Tuesday Governor Tim Kaine signed a declaration opposing the measure, becoming the the 200th lawyer Virginia to do so. He's alarmed -- as he should be -- that there will be an economic impact on his state if it votes for bigotry. That amendment will ban civil unions, partnerships or any legal status approximating the rights conveyed with marriage.

From my earlier post on this, Migrating out of legally gay-hostile Virginia, the fundies are trying to get out of the way of the anvil of blame that will fall on their heads if this passes. This disingenuous statement makes you want to hurl:
Victoria Cobb, executive director of the Family Foundation, the Richmond-based group that backed the 2004 law and the proposed constitutional amendment, said the goal isn't to drive gay people out. She said "extreme homosexual organizations" might be trying to frighten their members by circulating false information about the amendment. She said it wouldn't add new restrictions on gays but would simply underscore the ways their relationships are already restricted.

"I think it's extremely sad they would leave because of something they were never allowed to do anyway," said Cobb, who said she believed gays could go to court to defend themselves if a partner's family members challenged their right to own property in common, arrange powers of attorney or visit each other in the hospital.
***

And a side note from Washington State:
The state Supreme Court will stand by its endorsement of Washington's gay marriage ban, justices said Wednesday.

Gay and lesbian couples had asked the justices to reconsider their 5-4 ruling upholding the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1998 law limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

The court's denial, signed by Chief Justice Gerry Alexander, is the final word in the case. Further appeal is not possible because no federal legal issues were raised.


Fundie lawyer: Christianity should be 'advanced' by government

I love it when the "Christians" expose their bigotry toward other religions so boldly that it is mind boggling.

An attorney with the Thomas More Center, which is "a not-for-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life," is miffed because service members over in Iraq are given awareness training regarding Ramadan.

The problem? Edward L. White III believes that Christianity should be held above all other religions by our country's institutions.
White is convinced that Islam and other religions -- specifically, those that are not the dominant religions in America -- are constantly being allowed to do things that Christianity cannot. In other words, he says, they are given "a pass."

"The courts and the schools, in particular, look at [those other religions] as though this is something different [and] it's okay to do things that we would never allow you to do when it comes to Christianity," the attorney says. That attitude, he explains, has a snowball effect.

"The problem with that is that, all of a sudden, it starts running rampant," White continues. "It starts running through the public schools, even all the way to the military of sensitivity training with regard to various things that there's really no need for."

The attorney points out that America was founded on Christian principles -- so "that's the one that should be advanced," he says. But White is quick to point out that it is also good to know about other religions.
Oh, thanks, that cleared it all up. I wonder what all the Jewish folks who have been hopping in the political sack with the fundies think about this guy's remarks? Oh never mind; they probably are as bloated with the Kool-Aid as the black self-loathers at Project 21.

***

"Charisphobia" in Texas

Meanwhile, in the Lone Star State, you've got the fundies in conflict over speaking in tongues. I guess, given the above, there will soon be an internal holy war over which flavor of Christianity should be promoted.

One of our well-known homobigoted black pastors at the Blend, Pastor Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church, gave a speech in August at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he discussed experiencing "private prayer language." This didn't go over well with SBTS.
According to a recent Christian Post article, McKissick, who is also a newly appointed trustee at the seminary, was aware at the time he gave his sermon that many leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) disagree with speaking in tongues and a number of other charismatic beliefs. However, he has commented that he believes God gave him that specific message to preach that day.

...And now, some two months after the inciting chapel sermon, trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), have voted 36-1 not to tolerate any endorsement or promotion of the practice on the school's campus.

McKissick himself cast the dissenting vote and commented afterward on the "charisphobia" of the prohibition. However, he told the Christian Post he praises God for the "clear, forthright, honest" statement from SBTS, which he hopes will lead to further clarification of where the SBC stands on this issue.

...Paige Patterson, president of SBTS, defends the seminary's ban on private prayer language, saying it was important for the school to remain faithful to Baptist witness and distinctions. "We do believe in absolute religious liberty," he observes, "but we also believe that if you're going to be a New York Yankee, you shouldn't wear a New York Mets uniform."


Michele Bachmann tries to dig Pastor Mac out of an IRS hole

Minnesota homobigot Michele 'God called me to run for congress' Bachmann gave a mind-blowing interview on a radio show called "The Christian Worldview." Host David Wheaton, an evangelical who supports the unhinged pol, actually brought up the recent controversial incident at Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, where Pastor Mac Hammond clearly ran afoul of IRS guidelines by 1) only inviting Bachmann to speak -- as a candidate -- and 2) endorsing her in his introduction.

Michele takes a crack at explaining the mess, and she fails miserably. This was transcribed by Bill Prendergast of Dump Michele Bachmann, who makes the spot-on editorial comments within.
Bachmann: “Well, Mac was really clear. Mac said, that um, that their church—this is what he said to the congregation before he spoke, that their church is a 501(c) (3) organization, by law they can’t endorse, they won’t endorse, and they aren’t endorsing, and he said that I’m not here for a political reason, I’m here to share my faith, and that’s why I was there. And I made it clear in my remarks, too.

And then afterwards Mac had said that he—the church can’t endorse, but he personally, if he could vote for me, he’d vote for me. And there’s nothing illegal about that.

(Editor’s note: Senator Bachmann is misquoting Pastor Hammond. For example, Hammond did not say that “he would vote for her if he could.” Hammond was videotaped telling his congregation that he was indeed going to vote for Bachmann. As for whether her remarks were political: her testimony for Christ referred repeatedly to her politics and political career--including her fight to put a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution, and references to how God told her to run for the Minnesota state senate and to run for U.S. Congress.)

Bachmann: “When I’m a state senator, I’m there doing my job as a state senator. Am I a person of faith? Yes, I’m not ashamed of my faith. I’m not ashamed to hide my faith (sic). But I’m also not shouting from the housetops that everyone has to follow my view or my way of morality.”

(Editor’s note: Wow.)
The delusional rantings of Bachmann can be heard here. And if you want to judge for yourself as to whether she gave a political speech at Pastor Mac's holy pad, take a look:

"He created the male and female and he brought them together and that's what marriage will be...In the midst of that calling to me, God then called me to run for congress...In the midst of him making this calling sure, what's occured in this particular race is that this congresssional seat - one of 435 in the country - has become one of the top 5 races in the country and in the last week has become one of the top three races in the country and you may have seen now God has in his own will and in his own plan has focused like a laser beam after this scandal that came up about a week or so ago he has focused like a laser beam with his reasoning on this race.


Laurel Hester's commercial for marriage equality

This is the TV ad by Garden State Equality that will run every day for several weeks as New Jersey legislators decide how to define a civil marriage equivalent -- or redefine state laws regarding marriage -- after yesterday's ruling by the state's Supreme Court.

The late police officer Lt. Laurel Hester taped this shortly before she passed away.



H/t, Jay.


Kentucky lawmaker: gays can change orientation


This sad sack, Rep. Joseph Fischer, said he believes homos can change orientation -- and cites NARTH as a defense. Man, it's a wonder the reporter didn't laugh in his face. (Kentucky Post):
According to a Community Recorder article published Thursday, the Fort Thomas Republican said that it's obvious that homosexuals can change their orientation.

In an interview with The Post Tuesday, he didn't back away from that statement. "I've done a little research into that," he said, and referenced two Web sites, www.narth.org and www.couragerc.net.

The former is the Web site of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, whose primary goal is to give therapy to homosexuals who want to change. The latter is the site for Courage, a Roman Catholic group that helps homosexuals live a celibate lifestyle.

The Florence-based Kentucky Equality Federation, a gay-rights group, disputed that homosexuals can change, citing American Psychological Association policy. The association challenged Fischer to change his own orientation to homosexual for 48 hours, an invitation Fischer said he didn't intend to respond to.
H/t, Autumn.


Open thread -- the non-burning Bush

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kate and I just saw this commercial on CNN a couple of minutes ago. It simply and effectively addresses the mind-blowing failures of the Bush Admin.



***

Thanks for keeping the coffeeshop open for business

Now that I've had a few hours of sleep to recharge the brain cells, I wanted to take the time to thank these regular Blenders for providing readers with very fresh and very interesting Blend over the past week while I was out of town:

Konagod, Nancy Goldstein, Jay Lassiter (Lassiter Space), Terrance Heath (Republic of T.), Gloria Nieto (Miss Wild Thing), Jill Cozzi (Brilliant at Breakfast), Autumn Sandeen (Ex-Gay Watch), Mobeen Shirazi (Julien's List), Callie Leousis (Red State Exile), Kathy McMullen (Birmingham Blues), The Dark Wraith (Dark Wraith Forums), Daimeon Pilcher (Get the Skinny), Katie McKy (Holly Capote), Paul Barwick (Paul's Rants), and Fritz Liess (On the Fritz).

As always, thanks also to regular guest poster "Radical" Russ.

The voices were welcome additions that made me think, laugh and enjoy spending time in the coffeehouse. Many hugs to you all.


Equality comes to the Garden State

I'm finally back in town after 3 days in NYC and 3 more in NJ at a business conference.

When I took off from Newark Airport this afternoon, I left a state that has been profoundly changed by today's ruling by the State Supreme Court. Taxpaying, law-abiding gay couples in the Garden State are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples, and the legislature has 180 days to define and authorize a civil equivalent. From the court's ruling (PDF, Word):
Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

...Times and attitudes have changed. There has been a developing understanding that discrimination against gays and lesbians is no longer acceptable in this State. On the federal level, the United States Supreme Court has struck down laws that have unconstitutionally targeted gays and lesbians for disparate treatment. Although plaintiffs rely on the federal cases to support the argument that they have a fundamental right to marry under our State Constitution, those cases fall far short of establishing a fundamental right to same-sex marriage "deeply rooted in the traditions, history, and conscience of the people of this State." Despite the rich diversity of this State, the tolerance and goodness of its people, and the many recent advances made by gays and lesbians toward achieving social acceptance and equality under the law, the Court cannot find that the right to same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under our constitution.
The judges in this case may have split hairs over the word "marriage," but in doing so provide a ruling that goes out of its way to define fairness and equality under the law, which is the crux of this battle, which has often been muddied in blather over tradition, religions, procreation and all sorts of matters that are irrelevant to whether discrimination is occurring (see the NY decision on this for insanity over). Again, from the ruling:
The State does not argue that limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman is needed to encourage procreation or to create the optimal living environment for children. Other than sustaining the traditional definition of marriage, which is not implicated in this discussion, the State has not articulated any legitimate public need for depriving committed same-sex couples of the host of benefits and privileges that are afforded to married heterosexual couples. There is, on the one hand, no rational basis for giving gays and lesbians full civil rights as individuals while, on the other hand, giving them an incomplete set of rights when they enter into committed same-sex relationships. To the extent that families are strengthened by encouraging monogamous relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual, the Court cannot discern a public need that would justify the legal disabilities that now afflict same-sex domestic partnerships.
This is a legal slam dunk as far as I am concerned. You can argue over whether the timing of this ruling is a net positive or negative in terms of its impact on elections, but the reasoning is clear, and forces a debate about fairness under the law for gay and lesbian taxpaying citizens and their partnership rights. It takes matters out of the realm of the homo straw man destroying religious marriage or past traditions -- as the ruling states -- times and attitudes have changed.

The flat earth fundamentalists seek to wind the clock back, while the state of New Jersey is ready to accept the reality that its gay citizens do deserve civil equality. The bible beaters can bleat about activist judges all day long, but this ruling cuts these fundies off at the knees because the legislature (meaning the people's representatives) will now be in the position to authorize marriage equality.

We have to acknowledge the fact that this ruling is flawed because civil rights should never be granted or denied by "the people." The fact that New Jersey is a state with a legislature ready to grant those rights is a giant step forward, but it doesn't resolve the ongoing conflict with the cultural knuckledraggers that will, in the end, land at the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court because of the patchwork of laws at the state level.

What we must always point to is civil fairness and equality -- make the Right try to counter this, put them on the defensive. After all, their Dear Leader, the Chimperor himself, said that he believes in civil unions (back in 2004):
In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC, Mr. Bush said, "I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
According to an ABC transcript, Mr. Gibson then noted to Mr. Bush that the Republican Party platform opposed civil unions. "Well, I don't," Mr. Bush replied.

He added: "I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others."
How are they going to square their demi-god's opinion with the NJ ruling -- it's the same damn position.

While we can beat the fundies with this one, it's noteworthy that this ruling presents the national Democratic leadership with the perfect opportunity to reframe the debate, to reclaim the perceived high ground, and to take their heads out of the sand. Will they take advantage, or run and hide, as usual?

Also, we have to continue educating people that successes at the state level do not address the over 1000 federal benefits that convey with marriage, thanks to Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act. While on the road I encountered more progressive het folks who simply don't have this issue on their radar, and have no idea where marriage is legal (or not), or what state amendments like Virginia's mean, if they pass, to the legal rights of gay and lesbian families.

Over at BlueJersey.net, we have breaking news that legislation is already being proposed to address the issue in that 180-day timetable.
Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Wilfredo Caraballo, Assemblyman Brian Stack and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora plan to immediately introduce a bill to provide for full marriage equality.
Garden State Equality also says that it will begin airing a television commercial starring the late police officer Lt. Laurel Hester, taped shortly before her passing, to continue garnering support as this legislation moves forward. It will air every day and run for several weeks (it's here). GSE also notes that polls show New Jersey favors marriage equality 56-39 percent (Zogby-Garden State Equality Poll).

***

Ah, I see Daddy Dobson wasted no time; the Focus on the Anus clown is foaming at the mouth.
"The New Jersey Supreme Court has blatantly and arrogantly ordered the state Legislature to rip up what marriage has meant for thousands of years. The justices have made clear their disdain and disrespect for the true decision makers in our democracy -- the people -- as well as for the institution of marriage.

"This ruling once again highlights the need for voters to enact state marriage-protection amendments to keep marriage out of the hands of activist courts. We only hope that the residents of the eight states who will vote on such amendments Nov. 7 recognize that their state may be only one court ruling away from being forced to accept gay marriage - just as we've seen in Massachusetts and New Jersey. Nothing less than the future of the American family hangs in the balance if we allow one-man, one- woman marriage to be redefined out of existence. And, make no mistake, that is precisely the outcome the New Jersey Supreme Court is aiming for with this decision."
And lookee here, the Alliance for Marriage is wetting its diapers...
"This marks the second state -- after Vermont -- where radical activist groups have convinced state court judges to hold a gun to the head of the legislature," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage. "The legislature will now be compelled to choose between two bullets -- all under court order. Either they create so-called 'gay marriage' or they create a civil union scheme that is identical. Either way, the people of New Jersey lose the right to decide -- freely and democratically -- to choose the course that is best for them, their families and their children."

"Given the continuous attacks upon marriage in courts across the country, AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment is clearly the only hope for the American people to determine the future of marriage under our laws," Daniels added.


***


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

And I can't leave this bit of business out -- Colorado's anti-gay bleating Marilyn Musgrave is still on her marriage amendment hobby horse, performing in a debate against challenger Angie Paccione (give generously). Marilyn has made it her top priority to get another Federal Marriage Amendment up for a vote. (365gay):
"I think that's the ideal environment for children to be raised," Musgrave said, of opposite-sex marriage.

The remark got a smattering of applause but Paccione's response was quick earning her wide clapping and several cheers.

"You want to protect marriage, you know what's a threat to marriage? Divorce is a threat to marriage," she told the crowd of about 1,000

"You know what else is a threat to marriage? Infidelity is a threat to marriage. Domestic violence is a threat to marriage. Losing your job is a threat to marriage. Marriage is not a threat to marriage. I support equality."
This race is close: a poll of 600 likely voters in the district Paccione has a 45 to 42 lead. It also showed a slip in Musgrave's approval ratings (it's hard to believe anyone approves of this woman), a little more than a third of voters giving her favorable ratings.

Also see Blender (and NJ resident) Jay Lassiter's post downthread.


Save the cheerleader...uh, unless he's gay

[Fritz of On the Fritz]

Forgive the obscure reference to Heroes. But, when I read this story, I thought about the blonde cheerleader character with the power to instantly heal broken bones and run through burning box cars. Of course, the male cheerleader who was attacked by gay bashers will be recovering from his injuries for quite a bit longer.

Source: Gay News From 365Gay.com

Police Probe Gay Bashing At HS Football Game

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
October 24, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Malden, Massachusetts) Police have begun a hate crime investigation into the gay bashing of a cheerleader at a suburban Boston football game.

After Malden High School defeated rival Melrose High last month a female teen allegedly began harassing a 17-year old male Malden cheerleader, using anti-gay slurs.

A male teen who was with the girl then reportedly began punching the youth.

Malden football players who had boarded the team bus when the disturbance broke out rushed to the cheerleaders aid, but by the time they got there the assailants had escaped.

The victim, along with a female teen who fainted, was treated at an area hospital. Following the incident both high schools held what school officials called "Diversity Rallies".

Melrose school Superintendent Joseph Casey has declined to say whether the two suspects were believed to be students at the school.

More...

At least this is being investigated as a hate crime. I suppose that's an indication of progress in the area of law enforcement.


Gays in NJ go to the middle of the bus

Jay from Trenton, NJ

FromBlueJersey:

The NJ Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the marriage equality case, finding that New Jersey's State Constitution requires equal rights for all - but, left it to the legislature to decide what to call it.

You can read the NJ Supreme Court's entire decision here (well, once the site traffic dies down), but the short version is: New Jersey has become the 4th state in the nation to recognize that same-sex couples are entitled to all the same rights of marriage (joining Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut), but has come short (so far) of becoming the 2nd state (after Massachusetts) to recognize full marriage equality. That decision is in the hands of the legislature.

The decision had been eagerly awaited by gay rights groups and progressive supporters of equality, many of whom will be (sortof) celebrating tonight at 7p in Montclair NJ.


From Garden State Equality:
Those who would view today's Supreme Court ruling as a victory for same-sex couples are dead wrong. So help us God, New Jersey's LGBTI community and our millions of straight allies will settle for nothing less than 100% marriage equality. Let decision makers from Morristown to Moorestown, from Maplewood to Maple Shade, recognize that fundamental fact right now.
So today, without missing a beat, Garden State Equality announces that Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo, the Assembly Speaker Pro Tem, joined by Assemblyman Brian Stack and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, will introduce marriage-equality legislation. Thousands of us will now hit the streets, the phones and the hallways to get this legislation passed.
As the late Lt. Laurel Hester and too many other cases across New Jersey have shown, half-steps short of marriage -- like New Jersey's domestic-partnership law and also civil union laws -- don't work in the real world. Hospitals and other employers have told domestic-partnered couples across New Jersey: We don't care what the domestic partnership law says. You're not married.
That's why it wouldn't matter if the legislature added all the rights in the world to the current law without calling it marriage. Marriage is the only currency of commitment the real world universally understands and accepts.
We're not seeking marriage merely for some moral, ethereal victory. We're seeking marriage because New Jersey has proven that marriage is the only way a gay civil rights law will ever work in the real world.



What's next?
Garden State Equality will shortly rollout DOZENS OF MORE ACTIONS, including the next town meetings in our statewide town meeting series for marriage equality -- a series attended by more than 10,000 New Jerseyans and two-thirds of the state legislature since January 2003, and credited with transforming grassroots activism.

As you've seen from Garden State Equality's hundreds of events and thousands of e-mails over the past few years -- a breathless pace of activity that's not going to abate, so help us God -- we never give up and we never give in to those who tell us no.

Hell no. Over our dead bodies will we settle for less than 100% marriage equality. The people of New Jersey wouldn't want us to. According to the 2006 Zogby-Garden State Equality Poll, New Jersey favors marriage equality by 56% to 39%. Every other recent poll in New Jersey also shows a majority of voters favor marriage equality.

We will continue to exhaust our opponents until we win the marriage equality our families deserve. We will continue to outthink, outwork and outhustle the hatemongers every step of the way.


Boise, Idaho's Ten Commandments Vote

[RadicalRuss here. I'm the usual guest barista here, maybe even assistant manager on the night shift. Many thanks to all the guest baristas of the past few days - you are all excellent writers and thinkers and we love each and every one of you in a special and not-at-all pervy way... unless that's what you like...]

Regular Blenders (an oxymoron if I ever wrote one...) will recall my obscene fascination with Princess Barbie Talibania, a.k.a. Brandi Swindell, a young virginal pro-life female activist from my hometown of Boise, Idaho. She's the founder of "Generation Life", a group that believes all abortion is evil and will be undone through her work with the "post-Roe generation" (which, I believe, is a term for adult salmon, but I'll let it slide.) She also believes in that virginity pledge nonsense, protested to keep Terri Schaivo's brain-dead flesh-muppet body alive, protested giving condoms to Olympic athletes at Salt Lake City in 2002, protests the use of Zygote-Americans for stem-cell research, and appears from time to time on cable news when they need a pretty talking head from Taliban/Wingnut coalition.

My fascination stems from two sources: the fact that one of her cousins was a good friend of mine in high school and the fact that I can't resist the opportunity to think nasty thoughts about overtanned blonde hotties who wear crucifixes and hate female sexuality. You know how some guys think they can "cure" a lesbian if they only slept with a manly man like themselves? Same idea, but I want to "cure" Born-Again™ Christian virgins. Satan makes me do it.

One of Barbie's other hats is as a director for the Keep the Commandments Coalition (KCC). This group sprang up in protest of a decision by the Boise City Council to remove a stone decalogue from Julia Davis Park -- a public city park maintained by public money. The monument had been there since 1964 and no one had ever complained about it, and with Bush at a net +18% approval rating in the Gem State, you can figure out why (Idaho's the 2nd "reddest" state, trailing only Utah in Christ-flavored conservatism - the only blue spot in Idaho is Boise State's football field). To tell the truth, I lived in Boise from 1985-2000 and played many gigs at the bandshell just twenty feet from the monument, and I didn't even know it was there.

But then Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps found out there was a religious monument on public property and he went ballistic. He threatened to fly in and set up a "Leviticus 18:22" monument in the park and then sic his family of lawyers on the Boise City Council if they tried to stop him. (Personally, I was rooting for a monument to the entirety of Leviticus, so we could remind people that God thinks eating shellfish, wearing mixed-cloth garments, and talking to menstruating women are abominations, too, but the Association of Polyester-Uniform-Clad, Pre-Menstrual-Syndrome-Suffering Red Lobster Waitresses put the kibosh on that one.) So the Boise City council decided to avoid the fight and move the monument from the park to the entirely sensible location on the grounds of a church facing the Idaho Capitol. Quite a controversy that one; you know, following the First Amendment to the US Constitution and all.

That's where our story picks up. Barbie and the KCC circulated a petition in Boise asking voters to sign an initiative to force the Boise City Council to put the matter of the decalogue up for a public vote. Because, after all, majorities are always really good at protecting the rights of minorities, even when those rights oppose the will of the majority. Don't you remember when all those Southern states freely voted to end apartheid with no pressure from the rest of us? (Of course you don't.) If the majority decides they want Christian Scripture displayed and maintained by the State, well, then, tough nuggets, Mr. Hindu, Mr. Muslim, Mr. Buddhist, you get to pony up tax money to support a state-sponsored monument that says you're gonna burn in hell forever.

A sensible appeals court nixed that initiative, but then the Idaho Supreme Court, in a 4-1 decision, said that Barbie & the KCC do have the right to ask for a vote on this matter. Yes, that's right, 4 out of 5 Idaho Justices surveyed think voting on the First Amendment is okey-dokey. Now you know why I moved to Oregon.

So while we wait for that nail-biter of a vote (my prediction: it passes by a 70% or greater vote), the KCC and the opposition are mustering all the attention they can to present their side. Barbie's been calling for volunteers for weeks now and from the tone of her e-mails, they sound pretty desperate. I just received this e-mail where she complains that other religious groups actually agree with the separation of church and state:

The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and Interfaith Religious Leaders Network are opposing the Ten Commandments Initiative, saying that the Ten Commandments should not be posted on public property.

This is tragic!

The Ten Commandments have always strengthened and united communities, not divided them. To only place the them on church grounds, is to be exclusive of all those who may not attend Church. To prevent the public posting of the Ten Commandments is to exclude people of different denominations, and different faiths, and is in direct opposition to the religious freedom our nation embraces.
Try and wrap your head around that one. If you don't place the Ten Commandments on public property, people who don't go to church won't see 'em! They could actually go through life avoiding Biblical Scripture! And somehow, not allowing Christians to post Christian Scripture is an act of repression against Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.
The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and Interfaith Religious Leaders Network represent only a small portion of the people in our community. They do not represent the predominant viewpoint of the citizens of Boise. Scientific polling has shown that more than 60% of Boise residents did not agree with the removal of the Ten Commandments from Julia Davis Park.
Neat, huh, how she's quick to support scientific polling in this case, but when actual scientists give her scientifically-sound info on stem cell research, well, then it's no time for science. I wonder if 60% of Boise residents agree with black people marrying white people, or women having the vote, or the accused's right to not incriminate themselves. I hope so, or Idaho better start some initiatives to overturn those civil rights, too.
Last week, KCC held a Pastor's luncheon where local clergy from a variety of denominations gathered to show their support for the public posting of the Ten Commandments. These local leaders recognize the unifying impact of the Ten Commandments and embrace the opportunity for all members of our community to share in making Boise safer, healthier and stronger.

The Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and Interfaith Religious Leaders Network are holding an anti-Ten Commandments rally at noon today at Boise City Hall. Members of Keep the Commandments Coalition will be there to be available for comment in response to the remarks of the Interfaith Alliance of Idaho and the Interfaith Religious Leaders Network. If any of you get this e-mail in time, you are welcome to join us.
I don't know what else to say. There is no rational discussion with these people.


Hot off the presses

[Fritz of On the Fritz]

Source: NY Times/AP

N.J. Court Backs Rights for Same-Sex Unions

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 25, 2006

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- New Jersey's Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples, but that lawmakers must determine whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.



Here are the Freeper quotes:

its a real " statutory scheme " alright

Welcome to Bendover Acres.

All we need now is Rita Cosby to translate the opinion - any number of ways. ;-)

Massachusetts has become the number one state to which gay foreignors travel on tourist visas. I've heard they meet an American gay, marry him or her and become a legal permanent resident of the state

Let's just say I think Foley won't be on the news tonight...

There's a shock. The same leftist court that said Democrats could disregard New Jersey election law and replace the damaged Bob Torrecelli on the ballot in 2002.

No surprise there. We'll see what the good citizens of NJ have to say about this. This one is fortunate enough to be moving to the mountains of PA in a few months. I've lived in NJ for only 3 years, but I can't for the life of me figure out the politics in this state.

As expected, another blue state blesses the faggot/dyke agenda, which has no business in a courtroom, let alone a bedroom. Next, marry-your-goat-equal-protection rulings.

Even when the citizens vote to ban gay "marriage", the activist court rules it "un-constitutional", and subject the populace to the disgusting presence of sex deviates, who they now have to subsidize by medical insurance premiums skyrocketing with STD's and AIDS cases being provided by employer healthcare plans.

We MUST get out the Republican voters on Nov. 7, to get two more USSC conservative Justices to stop the insanity of these lower courts.

This is good news for Kean Jr. I see a backlash against the Dummies as a result of this being forced on NJ by the courts. What say you FF?

My reaction to these BS decisions is: How is it we didn't know our Constitution was intended to require gay marriage all these years? Obviously, it wasn't.

The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process. How generous of them to allow the legislature to call it what they want. I'm sick of living under a judicial oligarchy. And last I checked, I didn't get to vote for any of these bozos in black!

I think this will affect every race...



Thanks for the info James!

[Fritz of On the Fritz]

Want to know who to vote for in the upcoming election? Just visit The Conservative Voice and see who "ex-gay" James Hartline wants his readers to vote against!

Source: The Conservative Voice

Two Pro-Gay CA. Judges On Calif. Ballot


by James Hartline
October 24, 2006 12:00 PM EST


On Nov. 7, 2006, California voters will have another opportunity to make their position on the definition of marriage very clear. Two liberal California State Supreme Court Justices are up for reelection and whether or not the voters return these two women to the state's highest court will clearly determine the fate of marriage in California. Personal lifestyles and court rulings by these two radical women make it abundantly clear, that when the California Supreme Court hears the appeal of a current same-sex marriage case, both Joyce L. Kennard and Carol A. Corrigan will vote to legalize homosexual unions. California voters can do something about this impending moral catastrophe by voting NO on returning Kennard and Corrigan to the California Supreme Court on Nov. 7th...
One of the things that I found disturbing in Hartline's article (not that the entire thing isn't disturbing) is that he twice makes the point that these judges are women:

"...or not the voters return these two women..."

"...rulings by these two radical women..."

I don't think anyone could fail to recognize that judges named Joyce and Carol are probably women. However, gender seems to be as much of an issue to Hartline as the judges' supposed views on equality in marriage.

Pam posts about the bleatings of James Hartline every now and then. I doubt that she's considered using him to decide which candidates to support.


Buzzword of the Day from Buzzwhack.com

[Fritz of On the Fritz]

The Buzzword of the Day is a regular feature on my blog, On the Fritz. I've been contributing buzzwords to Buzzwhack.com for several years. Many of my nominations actually made it into "Buzzwhacker-in-Chief" John Walston's new book, The Buzzword Dictionary (a great addition to any reference library, btw).

Here's one I thought would be of particular interest to Blenders:

Extra Grace Required (EGR)
Term used by some churches to describe the handling of a difficult or troublesome member. Such a member also is sometimes referred to as an "Extra-Grace Person."

Nominated by Ken Adair

Nice, huh? I suppose there are quite a few "extra-grace" teens being sent to those anti-gay camps for brainwashing—er, I mean "extra grace".


Save the date: Women Comic Artists panel at NYC Jewish Museum November 16th



Nancy in NYC here.

There was only one piece of reading material that my mother ever banned during my entire time under her roof: an underground comics complilation with all women contributors called Wet Satin. It was edited by comix legend Trina Robbins, and its front cover featured a picture of a hot blonde in tight red clothing and high black boots passing a Marlon Brando look-alike as she zoomed down the street on a skateboard, eating (actually, fellating is more like it) a banana.

I can't remember what made my mother go into my room, read Wet Satin, and decide that it was worse for 15-year-old me than all of the Anais Nin diaries she kept leaving around the house, or Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (ditto) but she did, and she chucked it.




Clearly, my mother's decision to remove this piece of hot, mostly het erotica during my impressionable teenage years is what turned me queer.

This November 16th at 6:30pm New Yorkers will have a chance to meet Trina Robbins in person at the Jewish Museum's panel on Women Comic Artists. The panel will also feature Leela Corman (her graphic novels include the 2000 Xeric Grant winner Queen's Day, and Subway Series), Sabrina Jones (cartoonist and editor of World War 3 Illustrated and Girltalk, and creator of Prisoners of the War on Drugs), and my personal favorite, Joan Hilty of DC Comics.

After editing The OMAC Project, Joan became a fulltime DC Universe editor, whose current projects include Blue Beetle, Flash: Fastest Man Alive, Checkmate, Manhunter, and Outsiders. She is also the creator of Bitter Girl, a fabulous weekly B&W comic strip about cranky single dykes in the big city.

She's also my spouse. And even hotter than she looks in this photo. And her very first cartoon drawing class, which she took at the age of 10 at a local community college, was with...Trina Robbins.

See, mom: it all comes around.


T-shirt Hell homophobic promo video

[Fritz of On the Fritz]

Warning! The following video is very difficult to watch. T-shirt Hell, a business known for selling racist, homophobic, and sexist t-shirts of the worst sort is using this as a part of a spam promotion.

The interviewer [please note correction] named Ivan Youngblood (in disguise with a dreadlock wig) verbally abuses a "gay" artist, calling him a "faggot" and "a piece of shit".



Youngblood's bio on the T-shirt Hell site reads as follows:
Ivan Youngblood
Shirt Writer, Creative Consultant, Produce Manager


My name is Ivan Youngblood and I am one of the original writers for T-Shirt Hell. I am 6?2 and I weigh 27lbs. In other words, I am HUGE. I am also a gay nigger with AIDS. For 3 years in a row, I won the gay nigger with AIDS knock hockey tournament. In other words, I am HUGE. My favorite bands include: Jonathan Richman / Squeeze / 311 / Matthew Sweet / Insane Clown Posse / Cam’ron / Prince. I also like you. You make some of my favorite music. I also like tits and death. I have a negative attitude and I love life. I hate people and I want to die and I love life. I am a happy go lucky murderer. Sometimes, I spread my aids on a bagel and feed it to my children. My kids died in 1982 but sometimes, I wake them up, feed them the bagel and kill them again. Surprisingly, it’s not the AIDS that kills them. They are allergic to “everything” bagels and the aids kills them a little bit too I guess. Who knows? When I was 2 years old, my parents locked me in a closet with a live cow and a hammer. I made love to that hammer like a milk man with gingivitis. I wasn’t actually “born” until I was 27. My dad was the world’s 1st pregnant man and he gave birth to me while creating a #2 in a scat video. Also, I almost died in my sleep last night and I’m pretty sure that the world is going to end in 2012. Also, my shit isn’t as random as it seems. There will always be some real stuff in there. Dipset!!!

It is difficult to understand why people create filth like this. Sick. Perverse. Deranged.

We've all come across this kind of thing before. It is often the product of simple-minded people who are trying to be creative and edgy. They just don't have enough going on upstairs to realize that this kind of material can stoke the fires of hate and result in crimes against minorities.

This video had a two-star rating when I last visited YouTube.com. Let's see if we can get it down to one star, okay?


[Paul in SF here.]

The Malteze Falcon Chicken Hawk

Father "Why is he trying to ruin my life?" Anthony Mercieca has made the news again. The retired priest, who claims that his having sex with the then 12 year old Mark Foley wasn't abuse because the kid "liked it" is facing accusations from another former alter boy who claims that the priest seduced him when he was also a pre-teen. The accused priest is living out his retirement in the Malta island of Gozo. Let's hope that pretty soon this guy is gonzo.


Queer Neuters of the Bush Era?

[Fritz of On the Fritz]

"Today, somebody called me a Neuter. And you know what? I didn't mind. If neuter means 'normal,' I'll say it loud—I am Marge the Neuter and I'm proud!"

— Marge the Neuter, John Waters' A Dirty Shame, 2004
This is not a book review. I have not read Gay And Single... Forever?—I stumbled across the book description in some spam from Different Light Bookstore last night.

Gay And Single... Forever?: 10 Things Every Gay Guy Looking For Love (And Not Finding It) Needs To Know

By: Steven Bereznai

From: Marlowe & Company
Pages: 247
Softcover UPC: 9781569243565
Price: $15.95

Singledom is emerging as "the pariah status," and is the starting point for this unprecedented book. Author Steven Bereznai is a catch—and yet, at 31, he has never had a boyfriend. "Is Singlesville my final destination?" Bereznai wonders. Or does a partner await? And what does he really "want?"—to pair up, or to maintain the independence of a single life?

Now, in Single Forever, Bereznai compellingly investigates the basic question of whether there is room for him, and other single gay men, in a post-Stonewall era where the push to partner with a man has replaced the pressure to marry a woman. Through a mix of personal narrative, interviews with dozens of gay men, including Andrew Holleran and Michael Bronski, and acute social and psychological commentary, Bereznai has written a book that will resonate deeply among gay men, the majority of whom, even today, spend most of their lives unattached.

The truth is, I probably would have purchased this book a few months ago. Four years ago, I moved to Monterey from Southern California and entered a strange new world. Unlike Los Angeles, most of my gay and lesbian peers in my new city are either in the closet or coupled.

As an out and single gay man, I found myself to have that "pariah status" mentioned in the description of Bereznai's book. Unlike Bereznai, I'm not chronically single. I've been in relationships most of my adult life. Being single does not come naturally for me. It was beginning to change me in ways that reminded me of the cranky nuns back in Catholic school. I was determined NOT to become one of those pathetic neuters in John Waters' movie from a couple of years ago!

So, I placed an ad on an gay personals Web site. The messages started pouring in—over 75 of them! Wow! Who knew that there were so many gay men my age in the Monterey area?

Just so you know, I have standards for selecting a man. They evolved over 30 years of dating and two long-term relationships. Coincidentally, there are 10 rules you should know. The guy must:

1. Be out of the closet;
2. Be unattached;
3. Have a job;
4. Be well-educated;
5. NOT be a Republican;
6. Not be a liar;
7. Be clean and well-groomed;
8. Be geographically desirable (less than an hour drive);
9. Have a good sense of humor; and,
10. Not be a smoker or drug abuser.

How many guys from that list of 75 respondents do you think met all 10 requirements? How about just eight out of 10? I'll let you all have fun guessing in the comments.

Needless to say, it wasn't very many. I was forced to compromise a bit. I had to consider which of the 10 requirements could be ignored. I settled on overlooking #1 and #5. Yep. I'm dating guys in the closet and guys who are Republican—and while the ALL of the Republicans are in the closet, a couple of the closeted guys are very liberal.

No, "Singlesville" isn't MY final destination. I won't become a Queer Neuter of the Bush Era. However, I may end up sleeping with the enemy!

What would you do? Compromise? Buy a blow-up doll? Move back home?



The House Blend gets mail

[Paul In SF here.]
Rebecca Sawyer over at SLDN sends this along to PHB readers.
I wanted to let you know that Former Army Specialist Justin Fisher, who was convicted of conspiracy in the murder of PFC Barry Winchell, was recently released from prison. Barry Winchell's parents, Patricia and Wally Kutteles, who live in Kansas City, issued a statement on this news in a SLDN press release . That statement reads as follows:

"Army leaders gave Justin Fisher a shockingly lenient sentence in the first place, but just as importantly, they have also failed, every day since, to protect other soldiers from Barry's fate," said Patricia and Wally Kutteles, PFC Winchell's parents. "As a mother, I never want to see Barry's story repeated. As an American, I am outraged that our leaders have taken no action to make sure it never happens again. The most important step in curbing harassment is ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and sending a strong message that second-class citizenship is not tolerated in a first class military. But, until that happens, Pentagon leaders must, at the very least, step up the plate and take real steps to protect our troops."

Thought your readers might be interested. If you have any questions, just let me know!

Best,

Rebecca Sawyer

Communications Associate
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
PO Box 65301 ~ Washington DC 20035-5301

(Thanks to Daimeon for getting it to this guest blogger)


[Paul In SF here.]

OMG. Blogger is up and working for a second. Now I've got to find something to talk about. Hang on a minute... (While you're waiting, if you haven't done so yet, go read that great interview with Pam in "After Ellen".)

Fiji, which made Pam's list of "Worst gay travel destinations" is finally thinking about changing their laws to decriminalize us. Slowly things get better.


'Ex-gays' invite Foley to pray away the gay

Like Mr. Foley, many were taken advantage of sexually by adults when they were young teenagers. They never had a chance to fulfill their heterosexual potential and often feel guilty or at fault. But there is an alternative to unwanted same-sex attractions. No one is born gay. Thousands of ex-gay men and women have overcome their same-sex attraction. Sexual reorientation therapies and ex-gay ministries provide a safe place to talk about the painful past and receive help in overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions.
-- the open invitation from Regina Griggs of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays to the GOPerv to free himself of his homosexuality
You know, I'm surprised it took this long for one of these "ex-gay" groups to try and recruit Foley -- what a poster child he would make, huh? The PFOX folks are right on it. The press release is shameless and full of fact-free nonsense.

H/t Jeremy.

***

I'm finally on my way home from this conference!


Barney Frank's take on closeted gay GOPers

[It's Paul In SF here.]


Good morning Blenders. I can't think of a better way to wake up than a cup of hot java and a chance to watch a great slapdown of a Republican wind-up talking point robot, and Barney Frank is just the one to do the job. I heart Barney Frank. The video is from last Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher.


Panel Suggests Brown U. Atone for Ties to Slavery

[Nancy in NYC here, late night blogger]

From the New York Times:

Extensively documenting Brown University’s 18th-century ties to slavery, a university committee called Wednesday for the institution to make amends by building a memorial, creating a center for the study of slavery and injustice and increasing efforts to recruit minority students, particularly from Africa and the West Indies.

The Committee on Slavery and Justice, appointed three years ago by Brown’s president, Ruth J. Simmons, a great-granddaughter of slaves who is the first black president of an Ivy League institution, said in a report: “We cannot change the past. But an institution can hold itself accountable for the past, accepting its burdens and responsibilities along with its benefits and privileges.”

The report added, “In the present instance this means acknowledging and taking responsibility for Brown’s part in grievous crimes.”


I was very moved to see Brown step up to the plate, face its past ties to slavery, and make amends. There's going to be a lot of debate about whether their proposed amends are adequate, or the right ones, or even, from those in the "Hey but everyone owned slaves back then" camp, whether amends needed to be made at all.

But what Brown is doing is an important first step towards acknowledging a past that no other northeastern university has owned, even though, as the article notes:

Even in the North (sic), a number of universities have ties to slavery. Harvard Law School was endowed by money its founder earned selling slaves for the sugar cane fields of Antigua. And at Yale, three scholars reported in 2001 that the university relied on slave-trading money for its first scholarships, endowed professorship and library endowment.


Ruth J. Simmons is going where no other northeastern university president has gone. I hope that her actions spark debate and mobilize others to look into the sources that funded their educational institutions in the past.


How could the Madonna adoption story get any better for the tabloids?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

[Fritz of On the Fritz - not scheduled for tomorrow P.M. but testing it out to be safe]

Why, sprinkle a little fairy dust on it, of course!

If true, this news is sure to make conservative heads spin. That “nice Christian lady” who adopted a baby in Africa could be set to name Rupert Everett as the boy’s godfather.

Gay star to be godfather to Madonna’s boy - October 24, 2006 - pinknews.co.uk

Gay star to be godfather to Madonna’s boy

24-October-2006
PinkNews.co.uk writer

The tedium of the Madonna adopts African boy story continues as it is reported that
gay actor Rupert Everett is set to be the child’s godfather.

The actor, who appeared alongside the singer in comedy flop The Next Best Thing, has been asked to become involved in the life of David Banda, sources claim.

A friend told The Sun that Everett is an inspiration to the artist, “Madonna and Rupert have been pals for years and he is one of her closest friends. But more than that her trip to Africa was partly inspired by Rupert’s work out there.

More…

Let’s imagine some of the possible Freeper comments shall we:

Madonna is trying to recruit the child into the homosexual lifestyle!

She’s probably the secret leader of a child sex ring for British royalty.

I heard about what those rock and roll weirdos and homosexuals do to infants! She’s going to sacrifice that baby to Satan and usher in the Apocolypse. You can read it in the Bible. Word for word.



Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be princesses

[by Holly Capote]

There’s a magazine called Disney Princess Magazine. Here’s one of the reviews posted by Amazon customers:
“We just started receiving this magazine and my 4 year old loves it. If your daughter is obsessed with Disney princesses like mine, then this is the magazine for her. It has several princess stories, coloring pages, and a few activities. This month has one cooking and one sewing activity just to give you an idea.”

Now, whereas I know how tempting ‘money for nothin’ and tiaras for free’ are when you’re 4, do we want to encourage sparkly privilege in youngsters? This sort of unapologetically pink privilege is why Jane Austen always irked me, with her heroines marrying into money, so that they could then care for the poor: the same poor who built their manors, which enabled their men to be gentlemen.


Cyber-Verbal Violence

[by Holly Capote]

Consider these readers’ responses to an article about writer/director Nora Ephron in a recent profile posted at Salon:
“Christ, that article just wasted five minutes of my life I will never get back.”

“This woman is a complete asshole and a terrible director. She should be forced to watch ‘Bewitched’ on a permanent loop for trying to force that piece of shit on the public.”

“Nora Ephrom sucks. Her movies are horrible monuments to cutesy-poohism and are made for 5 yr olds. And I agree with the other guy who suggests she should be made to watch her own crap on a feedback loop. (Or something like that.) Anyone retarded enough to marry that Watergate news-hack asshole deserved heartburn.
I also don’t care about spoiled rich white women who are pissy because they are aging. Fuck that shit, at least they can afford the freakin’ wrinkle creme!
And she’s ugly too!”

“She should kill herself.”

So, why the cyber-verbal violence?

Some estimate that 70% of all our communication is nonverbal. This explains why there’s rarely sidewalk rage, even when one pedestrian tailgates another on Main Street’s sidewalk. Up close, we can see when we perturb another. But when we’re car lengths away, we miss the subtle signals that our behavior agitates another. Plus, we’re wrapped in steel, which steels us. Wearing an exoskeleton, we might not be brave, but with Ford-borrowed bravado, we can bug.

So it goes with the Internet. People will post things that they’d never dare say in person.

Regarding cyber-violence, there are certain patterns. If we’re attacking a woman, we’ll frequently attack her face. She won’t be sufficiently feminine…or she’ll be excessively feminine…or, in Nora’s case, she’ll be old. If it’s a guy, we’ll attack his hypocrisy, as if we’re not all hypocrites and attacking hypocrisy doesn’t punctuate our hypocrisy.

It’s often cyber-ugly because it’s easy to be ugly on the Internet. With monikers, we’re monstrously anonymous.

But there’s something about the Blend that makes it a more civil place. I’m not saying that we don’t succumb to hypocrisy, cattiness, and bluster, but there’s less here than in most other places where politics are discussed.

So, why? Why isn’t it as ugly here as it is yonder?


NJ Marriage Decision TOMORROW!!!

(jay from lassiter space, guest barista)

Stop the press!!!! The New Jersey Supreme Court will hand down its ruling in the marriage equality case TOMORROW Wednesday, October 25, 2006 at 3:00 pm. You can check out the NJ Court's website at 3pm for the verdict!

I'll be in Trenton all afternoon with updates and feedback and reaction, including pictures. So say a prayer for equality and get ready for the big announcement!!!!


Kathrine Harris Debates

[Daimeon, in the absense of Holly.]

And shows she's dumber than she looks.

In a televised debate yesterday with her opponent, incumbent Bill Nelson (D-Fl), spent half of the debate agreeing with instead of arguing her opponent. Obviosly she's disconnected on some reality to what Democrats really stand for.

She later whines that she didn't call him a liberal, and that the questions weren't about the issues that she differs on. (Where's my mini-violin?)


[Katherine] Harris said the type of questions asked by a panel of journalists during Monday's debate failed to pinpoint the differences between the candidates running for U.S. Senate.

"They didn't ask us tax questions — different night and day. Didn't ask immigration questions — different night and day. Didn't ask spending questions," Harris said. "Different night and day."

The candidates did have different thoughts on the future of the war in Iraq and also clashed over illegal contributions and oil drilling.

Nelson, 64, said Iraq needs a political solution because a military solution isn't feasible. He supports a proposal to divide the country into three ethnic enclaves — a Kurdish north, Sunni center and Shiite south. But he said it would not work unless the world community got involved and Arab neighbors enforced it.

"What's the best chance we have to stabilize Iraq? It's that political solution, but you can't do it alone cowboy-style," said Nelson, who is seeking his second six-year term in the Senate.

Harris, on the other hand, twice used a Republican catchphrase that the United States can't "cut and run."

Harris, who is far behind Nelson in the polls and doesn't have nearly as much money as her rival, choose to wander away from her lectern throughout the debate as she answered questions, but didn't seriously attack Nelson.

In the past she has often referred to him as a "do-nothing liberal," but didn't mention that during the debate. "How could I have missed not calling him liberal?" Harris said afterward.

Is "cut and run" starting to get as annoying to anyone else as it is to me?

She also tried to defend herself and attack her opponent but then Nelson bitchslaps her with facts.

At one point, Harris, defended herself over $32,000 in illegal campaign contributions she received from a defense contractor, saying that she couldn't have known the money was tainted.

But she said she at least made an effort to return the money. She said Nelson didn't do the same after he took illegal contributions from Riscorp Inc. when serving as insurance commissioner in the 1990s.

Nelson, however, shot back that he did more than return the $62,800 he received from Riscorp. "Not only did I return all of that, I put the company out of business. I shut them down," Nelson said.

After Riscorp was caught giving nearly $400,000 in illegal contributions to 27 Florida politicians, including Harris, who was a state senator at the time, Nelson forced the insurance company to refund the amount to policy holders and to pay the state back for matching campaign contributions.

I would feel sorry for her, if it wasn't so entertainting.

Cross Posted at Get-The-Skinny



Mind Games: Will the military own up to the war's psychic toll on its troops?

[Nancy in NYC with a little shameless self-promotion here.]


Raw Story just posted the first part of my 4-part series on mental health disorders among active and returning troops. I think that everyone knows by now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a terrible toll on the men and women fighting them. They are being exposed to the kinds of combat conditions that put them at risk for developing serious mental disorders on an increasing scale, not only because the fighting in both countries is intensifying, but also because they are increasingly being held, or re-deployed, against their will for multiple terms of service.

A recently released report from the Veterans Administration shows that nearly one-third of the nearly half-million vets of these two conflicts are seeking treatment from VA facilities. Of these, a full 35% received a diagnosis of a possible mental disorder — a tenfold increase in 18 months.

This first part, titled "The things they carry" (after Tim O'Brien's great book) questions whether the military, which is now in the midst of a recruiting crisis and with no end to the war in sight, is looking hard enough for signs of mental illness in prospective and active service members. A terrific Hartford Courant piece from earlier this year suggests that they are not.

Once in the theater, and in violation of the military's stated policies, "some unstable troops are kept on the front lines while on potent antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, with little or no monitoring or counseling," and despite the fact that their superiors are aware of their mental condition.

In 2005, these practices contributed to the suicides of 22 soldiers in Iraq, or nearly one in five of all Army non-combat deaths--an all-time high.

In the war zone, commanders rather than medical professionals decide whether to retain troubled soldiers. Ann Scheurman's son, Pfc. Jason Scheurman, was referred for a psychological evaluation and stripped of his gun after he wrote her a suicide note. Shortly thereafter he was "accused of faking his mental problems and warned that he could be disciplined, according to what he told his family." The Army gave Jason his gun back.

Three weeks later, he killed himself with it.


In parts II, III, and IV, which will be published on a Tuesday/Thursday schedule this week and next, I go on to argue that the mental health system that these men and women are returning to is deeply inadequate to their needs. The piece includes interviews with 6 different veterans' advocates, and the author of a May 2006 Government Accounting Office report that concluded that the Department of Defense could not give "reasonable assurance" that all returning troops who might need referrals for further mental health evaluation are getting them.

This series details the multiple barriers to care that exist despite the military’s insistence that it values our troops and is doing all it can to provide high-quality care for them at all stages of their lives.

I know that this makes for tough reading, but I think, regardless of your views on the war, that the neglect of servicemembers and veterans is a scandal — one that all of us should be more knowledgeable and vocal about.


Gay Marriage in NJ, an up-to-the-minute update

Jay from Lassiter Space here with a pot of (decaf) Garden State Blend

This note arrived in my email box, an update on the NJ gay marriage ruling from Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality:
The New Jersey Supreme Court will be handing down its marriage-equality decision after Chief Justice Poritz's last day on the Court -- her last day being tomorrow, Wednesday, October 25th.

Conventional wisdom has been that the decision would have to come down by the last day before the Chief Justice's retirement. But according to the Court's spokespeople, and as some news organizations have now reported, the Court can hand down rulings after a particular justice's last day without nullifying her participation or vote.

In fact, the Court even allows a retired justice to continue participating in deliberations in a particular case, so long as she had sat on the bench in that case, after her retirement.

So this much is clear:

1. There is no deadline for the Court to hand down its decision.

2. There is no correlation between the time it takes a Court to deliver a decision and the outcome of a decision. Our brothers and sisters in Massachusetts went through a similar situation with their marriage equality case. Throughout 2003, the year their case was argued before the court, conventional wisdom had been that the decision would come down by a certain date. The decision came down afterward.

3. It is far from unprecedented for the New Jersey Supreme Court to hand down rulings this long after oral arguments. In fact, the Court is announcing today, Tuesday, October 24th, a decision in a death-penalty case in which the Court heard oral arguments on November 29, 2005.

So that's the latest. One thing is clear: NJ activists are prepared for any outcome. We want a win, of course, but we are prepared for anything. Hey, that's what forward-thinking activists have to do!


Decrying Distortion With Distortion

[Daimeon one last time for a refill, then my shift is up. (blogging and working are like oil and water, but both blogging and oil are sooo much more fun)]

The always entertaining overly super-zealous Concerned Women for America's Janice Crouse is using distortion to accuse the New York Times of distortion. While they report the numbers correctly from the US Census Bureau and assert that marriage will be safe if given some TLC, Janice uses, of course, queer folk as the scapegoats for the numbers being as low as they are.

While it would be easy to counter the report's major finding with their assertions that the "total number of married couples is higher than ever" and that "most Americans eventually marry," the trends toward singleness and cohabitation present serious and profound social and economic ramifications. According to the Census Bureau, the number of unmarried heterosexual couples living together has increased 14 percent since 2000. There is ample evidence, too, that couples are waiting longer to get married [I thought this was a good thing, meant people were thinking it through]. And the continued high rate of divorce is equally troubling. In addition, the exaggerations about the numbers of same-sex couples are troubling; according to the ASC, they constitute under one million couples - total! [Ahhh! Run! The homos are coupling!]

These trends are nothing to celebrate, but exaggerations and distortions are just as alarming.

One ramification is that the misinterpretations give fuel to the liberal scholars who claim that marriage is overrated in its impact on communities and nations [Huh? no it doesn't]. Many of them believe that any household arrangement works; that "change" doesn't necessarily mean "decline" or "breakdown" of the family. For instance, Andrew Cherlin, a family expert, states, "The central place of marriage in our family system is eroding." However, Cherlin doesn't believe that this is a "cataclysmic change." Other scholars argue that the changes are "superficial" differences that merely reflect the age we live in.

I would argue that current trends toward changing the family structure are profoundly reshaping American society and that the ramifications of these changes are especially detrimental to the well-being of women and children, who ultimately bear the brunt of such social trends.

When news media distort a report like the ACS, they add fuel [Redundant, no?] to the myths about marriage becoming irrelevant. In fact, researchers across the philosophical, ideological and theological perspectives have come to the same conclusion: any other household arrangement is inferior to marriage. Typically, non-traditional arrangements leave in their wake broken relationships, unstable homes, at-risk children, domestic violence, poverty and a weakened society. These researchers also agree regarding the family structure that is best for children. The whole truth put simply is: marriage is not merely good for kids; it is best for them.

Marriage, while weakened by cultural trends, is still the relationship of choice for most Americans. Even couples who are "living together" typically plan to get married at some point in the future. The trends that undermine marriage are deeply troubling and should not be minimized; I speak and write about these challenges and the impact that they have had in America since the 1960s. The data is clear about the benefits of marriage and its important role for individuals, communities and the nation. As the old saying goes, a little learning is a dangerous thing ['Listen to me, sheeple! Do as I say! Put down that book. Sign off that website.']. There is a mass of honest reporting and research evidence pointing to the fact that family structure is vitally important. One researcher estimates that if family structure had not changed between 1960 and 1998, black child poverty would have been 28.4 rather than 45.6 at the end of that time frame and white child poverty would have been 11.4 percent rather than 15.4 percent.

Wow! Where does this woman get her information? She has no links to references and blames 'non-traditional' families for poverty levels in black kids?

She bloviates that "researchers across the philosophical, ideological and theological perspectives" have done studies? In other words 'Our people have stated their opinions based off of information they pulled out of their own a*ses and don't care what you think.'

So if marriage is what's best for people, why does she and her institute insist that we remain legally single?

Question to the straight female allies: Do you feel detrimented by 'non-traditional' families? Are your relationships in jeopardy?

Question to everyone else: Since 'non-traditional' families have surfaced have any of you seen any trends where your straight neigbors and friends are suddenly impoverished, beating on eachother, or the children spraypainting the sides of your lawns? Oh wait, that last part was not because of gay people, but because of bigoted straight parents teaching thier views to children and the children turning that hate into action.

In the words of Eek the Cat "When does the hurting stop?"



e-Homony

[Daimeon One lump or two?.]

Everyone knows e-Harmony's stance when it comes to 'mos.

Conservative, Christian gays everywhere were disheartened, upset, and without a way to find the love match of their life without succumbing to the 'hook-up' sites and then wading through the trolls till they found one that would hopefully be the "LTR ISO Same" for them.

While conservatives have "HanniDate" and Christians have "e-Harmony" there was nothing for gay and lesbian conservative Christians (read: Log Cabin Republicans).

Now there is! It's called GayHarmony.net which appears to use the same 'engine' as Sean Hannity's "HanniDate."

Gayharmony.net is the Internet’s only devoted gay Christians matchmaking site and already boasts almost 1800 members from more than 50 different countries and is growing daily! One member raves, “Gayharmony.net is awesome! I signed on and found a guy who lives right in my hometown. And the matchmaking service really did help…we have so much in common!”

Justin Cannon, 22 years old, graduated May 2006 from Earlham College majoring in French & Francophone Studies with minors in both Religion and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Raised in the Episcopal Church, later interest in Catholic, Orthodox, and Quaker theologies have him led towards an ecumenical perspective that recognizes a deep sense of unity among Christians that transcends the walls of denominations. He is currently attending seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California (USA) as he pursues priesthood within the Episcopal Church.

Eventually the CCC (Crazy Christian Conservatives [Kah Kah Kah]) will recognize that they don't hold the patent on Christianity and morality.



Change in Strategy or 'Stay the Course': Which Is IT?

[Daimeon is now serving a free refills.]



The White House can't seem to make up it's mind whether it's going to loose the slogan or continue down the same path of destruction. In the same article the Snow says the Presidunce doesn't use 'stay the course' because it sends the wrong message that we don't adapt our strategies on the battlefield but when asked about what changes will be made he simply says "no."

I don't even thing Faux News could spin this one. Though correct me if I'm wrong.

AP article from this morning:

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President
George W. Bush has retired his "stay the course" slogan
for Iraq, worried about its use as a
weapon against his Republican Party in November elections, the White House said.

"He's stopped using it," said spokesman Tony Snow. "It allowed critics to
say, well, here's an administration that's just embarked upon a policy and not
looking at what the situation is, when, in fact, it's just the opposite."

Opposition Democrats, hoping the unpopular conflict will help them take
control of the US Congress in the November 7 legislative elections, have used
the refrain in political advertisements accusing Republicans of sticking by a
failed policy for waging the war.

...

Bush, in a CNBC interview, said, "Well, I've been talking about a change in
tactics ever since I — ever since we went in, because the role of the commander
in chief is to say to our generals, `You adjust to the enemy on the
battlefield.'"

Showing progress in Iraq is critical because the approaching elections are
widely viewed as a referendum on the war.

Rumsfeld, in remarks at the Pentagon, said U.S. government and military
officials were working with Iraq to set a broad timetable for Iraqis to take
over 16 provinces still being controlled by U.S. troops. But he said officials
were not talking about penalizing the Iraqis if they don't hit certain
benchmarks.

...

"Are there dramatic shifts in policy? The answer is no," Snow said.

He acknowledged, however, that Bush no longer is saying that the United
States will "stay the course" in Iraq.

"He stopped using it," Snow said of that phrase, adding that it left the
impression that the administration was not adjusting its strategy to realities in Baghdad.

So with that we learn that the real change in strategy is just simply dropping the "Stay the Course" slogan Dear Leader has been using for the last 2 years while the country grows more and more disgruntled. Thanks! That clears things up.

The real question is will the sheeple notice this contradiction or will they suddenly all fall back on the side of the Bushians?

Last week Crooks and Liars had video of Tony Snow banging his head on the podium when one of the reporters asked him then what the difference beteween "tactics" and "strategy" were. Apparently to the White House there's a big difference but it's not quite clear.

From Dictionary.com:

Tac*tics [tak-tiks]
noun

1. (usually used with a singular verb) the art or science of disposing military or naval forces for battle and maneuvering them in battle.
2. (used with a plural verb) the maneuvers themselves.
3. (used with a singular verb) any mode of procedure for gaining advantage or success.
4. (usually used with a singular verb) Linguistics. a. the patterns in which the elements of a given level or stratum in a language may combine to form larger constructions. b. the study and description of such patterns.

Synonyms - See STRATEGY

Quick someone buy Tony a dictionary!

In other related news: Even Bush can't keep his story straight (pun intended, check out the flag behind him, well, sort-of, but it's still funny.)




Lehmkuhl Earns His 'Stripes'

[Good morning blenders, This is Daimeon of Get-The-Skinny and I'll be your barista this morning serving up a hot cuppa joe.]



You may remember that recently Reichen Lehmkuhl was honored with a "Visibility Award" from the Human Rights Campaign along with his recently out and proud partner Lance Bass, formerly of N*Sync fame. On ABC's Sunday edition of Good Morning America, Reichen was peddling his new autobiography, Here's What We'll Say: Growing up, Coming Out, And The U.S. Air Force Academy.

In the book he recalls what life was like in the military being gay. He also talks about the alleged sexual assault that happened to him at the Air Force Academy and why he never reported it until essentially now.

Reichen Earns his "Visibility Award" with this book and his interview.

Here's a snippet from the GMA interview:

While the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibited military personnel to question fellow soldiers about their sexual orientation, Lehmkuhl said it offered little protection for a gay captain hoping to maintain his privacy and his dignity.


"There was definitely an institutionalized acceptance of people being homophobic and telling gay jokes and making homophobic remarks — really, really mean homophobic remarks to the point of, 'Kill gay people,' " he said.
Speculation grew about Lehmkuhl"s sexual orientation until one night, when he said he was sent a message. He said he was sexually assaulted by the people he served beside everyday.


"A bag was put over my head," he said. "I was stripped of my clothes. I was forced to do things sexually with two other male cadets."

Lehmkuhl said that night he hit rock bottom and considered ending his life.

"That's when you start having suicidal thoughts, and that's when you start saying, 'Oh my God. I am so stuck in this situation. I can't go to anyone,' " he said.

He kept silent about the incident, and served out his commitment to the Air Force.

I'd say [in the tone of "Ricky"] 'Somebody's got some 'splainin' to do!' The Air Force, the branch that I served 4 years under needs to get an investigation going. This is unacceptable behavior even with the 'DADT' policy in place. The artlice later asserts that "[he] hopes his story will help prompt the military to take a more critical look at the policy on gays — a policy, he said, that is simply failing."

I can't wait for the fundie response to this one.



This and that

I really should be sleeping. I have a another full day at this conference and I am dead tired, but my insomnia has me up.

A few headlines...

* Denny may testify about the Foley matter. Hastert's roommate and chief of staff, Scott Palmer, told his side of the story yesterday.

* The lowest of the low: I know that Mr. Hillbilly Heroin on Viagra is a low life, but how on earth can you explain Rush of accusing Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's, of FAKING his tremors in a political ad? Crooks and Liars has the transcript and the commercial.

* No ammo left: I guess sHillary's opponent in the Senate race, John Spencer, has no issues left to run on. Terminally Centrist sHill's got plenty to slam in her record. But Spencer's smart plan is to go after her looks. Nice campaign strategy, dude.
"You ever see a picture of her back then? Whew," said John Spencer of Clinton's younger days. "I don't know why Bill married her," he said of the Clintons, who celebrated their 31st anniversary this month. Noting Hillary Clinton looks much different now, he chalked it up to "millions of dollars" of "work" - plastic surgery. "She looks good now," he said.
* Folks in Chicago can't feel good about this: Voter Database Hacked by Civic Group. The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, a non-profit that is trying to uncover and correct problems affecting the vote, was able to hack and obtain the records of 1.35 million voters in the city of Chicago (including SSNs). Even better, if this had been a hacker with a purpose, he/she could have changed a voter's status from active to inactive -- and that would prevent them from voting. You have to wonder what other voter dbs are vulnerable.

* NPR had Jasmyne on to discuss the death of Michael Sandy, a black gay man who died after being hit by a car trying to flee a gang of white men who robbed and beat him.

* More upstanding priests. Francis Guinan and John Skehan are pieces of work. Guinan's been on the run, avoiding arrest, er, on an "extended vacation" in Australia, according to officials. The two of them stole over $8 million of funds from St. Vincent Ferrer parish (FL), using it for Vegas gambling trips, vacations in the Bahamas and a posh condo. Guinan even had the balls to use some of those funds to pay private school tuition for the kid of a woman he was boinking. Nice.

* Another tired, bigoted imam opens his piehole to declare gays should be executed.

***

Today's guest posters on the Blend will be...
AM: Daimeon Pilcher (Get the Skinny)
PM: Katie McKy (Holly Capote)


The end of all things
by: Dark Wraith

Monday, October 23, 2006

In the span of a few months, I have seen three family members put to their final rest. It has been almost enough to take from me the will needed to write, but not quite. The posts I had planned to publish here at Pam's House Blend seem now, as I write this, bereft of the substance a worthy writer should convey as the passing ripples of grief move by.

As such, today I shall publish one post, a story that will be put nowhere else. It is, of course, nothing more than a story, the story of a man I have known for many, many years. His name is Al.


When Al was in the fourth grade, during the time when his father was dying from the twin killers of lung cancer and the butchers people called doctors, he began to have problems. Mental things, mostly. He couldn't do a standardized test worth a darn, and the apparently rather noticeable lisp in his speech convinced caring school officials he should be designated as educably retarded. 'Moron' was the specific term for him, based upon his score on an IQ test. 'Imbecile' was worse, but Al wasn't quite that stupid.

His mother—ever the loud, bat-crazy, dead-smart she-beast—found out only when Al let it slip that he'd been put in a "special" class, and then all Hell broke loose at the school. Al was put back in with the normal kids, even though the caring school administrators knew very well that Al would have been better off being left with those more like him. They were right.

It got worse as the next few years passed. Al's father died, and the bills were too just too much for Al's mom to bear. Blue Shield had cut off the medical insurance months before the doctors were finished with their monstrous work.

The house got sold, and there were periods when a big old station wagon was more or less home. Sometimes, food was what could be slipped out of the grocery store where Al worked or out the back door at the all-night diner where his mother worked. But a few times, a little extra money was on hand, usually from some relative who would hand over a roll of dollar bills along with a lecture. Al got the brunt of some of that: learn how to be a man was the basic theme.

One evening, Al's mother bought him two pairs of pants at an outlet store. To anyone else, the pants were simply awful looking; but to Al, they were just wonderful: polyester, dark blue with thin, vertical black stripes. They were so cool.

The kids at school didn't think anything about Al was cool: "pussy," "faggot," "fat-ass"—the usual stuff Al didn't quite understand but knew was humiliating. He got the occasional slam into lockers and other physical violence. Once, he tried to push his way past a couple of jocks, but just as he made it through, he was nearly knocked unconscious by a blow between his shoulder blades from the football coach/health teacher who said he was "fighting."

Lesson learned: hierarchies are not to be subverted.

It just got worse, and school was a miserable Hell on Earth. But at least Al could wear those pants he loved. Every two nights, he'd wash them by hand so he never had to have any others.

One afternoon, he had finished phys ed and went to the locker room to lie down. The athletic types didn't seem to understand that running a paper route and working at a grocery store were more than enough "exercise," and all that silly stuff where the alpha-male types got to shove everybody else into the ground just took Al down.

He couldn't have had his eyes closed for more than a few seconds when he heard something like a snicker and then a match being lit. He saw the match come over his head and land on his leg near his groin.

Even though it's sort of combustible, polyester doesn't really burn. It melts; and it does so in an expanding sort of way. Those pants Al loved so much became a tormenting wrap of molten patches sinking into the skin on his legs.

The pain was so unusual that Al didn't scream; he just jumped up gasping. No one was around, and his pants were nearly gone: it was like black glass in splotches all over his thighs. He ran out the back door of the boys' locker room and started running for home. That was across a field and then down a sidewalk, where everyone could see him almost naked from the waist down, by this time crying, with tears all over his face and snot running down his nose.

Maybe two blocks from his house, he told himself to stop sobbing. There was no purpose in it. It just made the embarrassment worse.

He had, for the first time, heard a voice inside him bidding him to be strong. Not to "be a man"—just to be strong. This was important because, when he got home, he had to go upstairs and take care of what had happened to him.

Alcohol and merthiolate. Pour it on, rub it in, push forward. The black stuff would roll up and wash off. Pour more on, rub it in, push and push. More of the black stuff would roll out.

Don't scream. Don't cry. Just take care of it.

Stop shaking. Don't get sick in the stomach. Such things serve no purpose.

Just take care of it.


After the burning, his mother put him in a private, Catholic school. Even though the family had no Catholic background, the head mistress took pity; and for the next two years, Al flourished as he never had before. The boys were all horny as Hell and ready to take anyone as a new friend. The girls were naughty when the nuns weren't around, but they were always sweet; and they never once gave Al a cruel note telling him how much they they were in love with him just so they could laugh at him as if he believed it. The nuns were sometimes mean as dirt, but they were deeply, powerfully intellectual, constantly hammering home lessons about "unjust wars," or even "bad" Catholic policies. At the end of the last year Al was there, the archdiocese broke up this enclave of liberation theology. Two of the nuns left the convent and told the class that they were lovers.

Such a time.

But the end of that enclave meant the end of the free ride for Al, so he had to go back to public school, to the high school where all of those old monsters were waiting.

Al had been sent back to Hell, and he began to live his punishment. Drab, black clothes, a heavy overcoat worn at all times, just so the world couldn't touch him. Long hair over his face so no one could see him: that would make it harder for people to laugh at him for being ugly.

Obsessive/compulsive behaviors ruled his life. A thread falling from his overcoat had to be tucked in a pocket; otherwise, it would be lost and lonely. Tap one finger on a desk and the same finger on the other hand had to do the very same tap. The taps then went to patterns, more and more complex. Accidentally do something in the pattern, and the whole pattern had to be done.

Then came learning about a shower. Twice a day, six latherings; rinse completely between each. Wash the world outside away. Wash the sins inside away.

Then came the exercises. It had to go on until it hurt, until it hurt until Al wanted to cry. But Al had to be strong.

No more could anything hurt enough for tears: not burns, not self-inflicted pain, not even death of people who couldn't stay any longer.

Just don't lose anything. Put it in a pocket. It would be sad if it had to be alone.


Time went on, and Al grew up. For a very long time, he forgot some of the lessons he had learned. He still had mild quirks, but most of them he could hide. He figured out how to look and act so tough that only a fool would call him a bad name. He learned how to live in a world where pain hurts and death happens.

Then one night, something awful occurred. It was late, and Al was in his usual light sleep. He rarely slept for more than a couple of hours at a time, anyway, and that night was like most, until he opened his eyes.

There in the darkness, he had a real, honest-to-goodness vision: it was a revelation indescribable to anyone else. Al saw the end of all things, and it was simply breathtaking in its horror. And there was nothing he could do about it.

The writer Thomas Paine wrote in his essay "Age of Reason" that a revelation is such only to the one who has had it; to all others, it can never be more than a mere story. Only that which is personally experienced rises to a level above where reason alone can justify belief or acceptance. All else is nothing more than the poetry of prophets, false or true as they might be in some sense larger than mortals could hope to grasp.

Al had no idea what to do of himself. He had seen something that just completely redefined his life, and yet it would mean nothing to anyone else, even if he were stupid enough to say something about it to another living soul.

Nothing in the world had changed; yet for Al the world had changed for the worse. All of the animating forces that had given him life and put distance between him and his bad years were so irrelevant: hope, love, faith, and so many others, some without names, were now moot.

The end of all things would always be waiting, patiently resting as the permanent and eternal backdrop against which life in all its joys and sorrows played itself out.


Al spends his remaining time on this good Earth running from that place where all things end, even as he runs headlong into it, as all people do. It's probably a little better not to know just how awful that place is, that place where hope, love, and faith become nothing more than meaningless revelations.

The end of all things comes, and it comes yet again and again, marking the years and the days, measuring each person for frailty in the face of pain and humiliation, then smiting each.

But a person should be strong. Crying does no good; neither does running from the end of all things.

Yet still, Al runs.



The Dark Wraith now rests.


Open thread - eBay one-of-a-kind

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It's about 6PM now, and you've got 4 hours left to bid on this little item...

He's holding a Blackberry, ready to cruise.


Racial Separation Prevalent in Masonic Groups

[via konagod]

I frequently see debates in other comment threads about racism being a factor in elections these days. I brought it up myself in a piece by Litbrit over at Shakes’ place regarding Barack Obama possibly making a White House run in 2008.

Lest there be any doubt that racial divides still exist, particularly in the deep south, digest this:
Nationwide, Masonic groups operate in a separate-but-supposedly-equal system in which whites typically join one network of Masonic groups, called Grand Lodges, and blacks typically join another, called Prince Hall.

But in the South, it goes further: White-controlled Grand Lodges in 12 Southern states do not even officially recognize black Masons as their brothers — the Masonic term is "mutual recognition" — and in some cases, black lodges have taken similar stands.

[...]

In Alabama, some dissident whites have split from the lodge system, and Republican Gov. Bob Riley's membership in an all-white lodge has drawn fire in his campaign for a second term. In North Carolina, white Masons recently voted down a bid to recognize members of the black group as fellow Masons.

"Only the states of the old Confederacy, minus Virginia and plus West Virginia, don't have mutual recognition," said Paul Bessel, a Maryland Mason who wrote a book on the topic. "There are, I'm sorry to say, some Masons who are racists. But the vast majority don't feel that way."

[...]

The whites' refusal to reciprocate "raises the ugly head of racism, segregation, all over again," said the leader of Prince Hall Masons in North Carolina, Milton G. "Toby" Fitch Jr., a state judge and former majority leader in the North Carolina House.

"The best analogy I can give is Baptist churches: You have black Baptist churches, and you have white Baptist churches. But they both recognize each other as being Baptist. We are talking about accepting the fact that `you practice Masonry and I practice Masonry.'"

I experienced this church segregation while growing up. My church was in "colored town" but never did we have a black family attend. Nor did any of the other white churches. The same could be said of the black churches.

Voting patterns in the deep south are very similar. Blacks overwhelming vote for the Democratic candidates, and whites overwhelmingly support the Republicans -- moreso in the rural areas.

While I have no evidence whatsoever to suggest whether white Masons (and non-Masons) would be willing to support a black presidential candidate, let's just say I'm quite comfortable with my unscientific hunch.


Follow-up: Transpeople And Port Authority Toilets

[Autumn Sandeen]

(Re: the Bough Down And Pray? reference of NYC transpeople's use of Port Authority administered toilets)

In the article NYC toilets in transgender ruling, 365Gay.com reports
New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has reached agreement with a transgender advocacy group and will implement new regulations allowing people to use MTA public restrooms consistent with their gender expression.

The agreement ends a complaint filed with the New York City Commission on Human Rights involving a 70-year-old transsexual who was arrested three times by transit police for using the women's restroom at Grand Central Terminal.

Helena Stone, 70, said an officer called her "a freak, a weirdo and the ugliest woman in the world" and warned her, "If I ever see you in the women's bathroom, I'm going to arrest you."
Hopefully, this will also end the legal problems for the three women's room using transyouth.

That said; however, there still is the problem of the language used by the Port Authority Police. Having police call transpeople thing, freak, weirdo and the ugliest woman in the world doesn't say too much positive about Port Authority police, or Port Authority police training on gender variant people.

We as a society don't find the use of racial or gay epithets by police officers acceptable these days -- we shouldn't find the use of transgender epithets by police officers acceptable either.

-----CORRECTION-----
ChrisNYC pointed out that the MTA Transit Police are a distinctly different force from the Port Authority Police. I mixed these two agencies up as identical agencies when they're not. That said, I'd say the police at transportation hubs in NYC have choise-of-language issues that need addressing. Both sets of police agencies, in my opinion, need training on how to treat gender variant people like people.

--
And with this I'm done posting here for now too. Thanks Pam!

Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Schadenfreude Is Sweet

[Kathy from Birmingham Blues here. I'll sign off with this post. Thanks, Pam! And thanks to all the other guest bloggers who keep the coffee brewing here.]

I figured Bush was in serious trouble in the red states when the Mobile Register published this editorial cartoon on Sunday. Now MSNBC is reporting that 65 active duty soldiers are calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq.

If Bush has lost south Alabama and the soldiers in the field, he really ought to pack up and go home to Crawford. With a (not so) brief stop in the pokey on the way, of course.



Wallowing In Sleaze

[Hi! It's Kathy from Birmingham Blues, shaking out the cobwebs and sucking down the caffeine.]

Republican groups around the country have been embarrassing themselves with tacky, stupid, and misleading campaign ads - but the Alabama Republican Party may have outdone them all. The party chairman, Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh (yes, that really is her name, and yes, she wants to be called "chairman"), recorded an attack phone call targeting several Democratic incumbents in state House races by calling them pro-gay. The reason? They belong to the same party as Patricia Todd, unopposed candidate for House District 54 and soon to be Alabama's first openly gay state representative.

Twinkle trots out the usual suspects, implying that "pro-gay" is a bad thing, and accusing Patricia of going to Montgomery to push the "gay rights agenda". (Pam, how do you think she got a copy? I know I didn't give her one.)

The taped phone messages, delivered by state GOP Chairwoman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, targeted House Speaker Seth Hammett of Andalusia and Reps. Joe Carothers of Dothan, Terry Spicer of Elba and Lea Fite of Anniston. Each of the Democrats has a Republican opponent.

According to the script used against Carothers, Fite and Spicer, the phone message says each of the targeted lawmakers "has pledged his support to gay rights advocate and openly lesbian House candidate Patricia Todd. Patricia Todd will push to legalize same-sex marriage and gay adoptions." It urges the voter to "vote no on the gay rights agenda" by voting against the Democratic incumbent.

...A portion of Democratic Party bylaws, cited by Republicans, states, "Any elected public official who attained office as a nominee of the Democratic Party in Alabama ... shall not be permitted to qualify as a candidate for public or Party office as a Democrat in any elections if, while holding such public or Party office, he or she did not support the nominees of the Democratic Party in all Special or General Elections during the past four years ..."


Sadly, state Republicans are standing behind the ads and seem to quite proud of their party chairman. And the targeted Democrats, rather than stepping up and saying, "Hell, yes, I support my party's candidate in District 54," seem almost as horrified as the Republicans that they've been associated with a *gasp* lesbian. Rep. Joe Carothers' response? "I don't even know Miss Todd, I've never even met the lady, and I'm damn sure I haven't signed any pledge." Nice.

Patricia remains calm, classy, and focused.

"I mean, it's just ridiculous," [Patricia] said. "It's obvious that they're desperate and using me to try to get people stirred up.

..."I'm going down there to represent the people in my district who need a lot of help and we need to deal with the poverty rate in Alabama," she added.


Wow! That sounds really scary, doesn't it?


I'm the Denier, and I Deny

[Hi again; it's Kathy from Birmingham Blues]

George W is unhappy with Poppy for even mentioning the possibility that the Democrats will take back Congress in November.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush gently admonished his father for saying he hates to think what life would be like for his son if the Democrats win control of Congress in the November 7 election.


..."He shouldn't be speculating like this, because -- he should have called me ahead of time and I'd tell him they're not going to (win)," a smiling Bush told ABC "This Week" in an interview broadcast on Sunday.


...Earlier this month, the elder Bush was reported to have told a Republican fund-raiser in a Philadelphia suburb that "if we have some of these wild Democrats in charge of these (congressional) committees, it will be a ghastly thing for our country."


Okay, first, I doubt W even knows what "admonish" means. Maybe Laura can help him look it up in the dictionary.


Second, I won't be popping any champagne corks over the election till the results are certified, but Bush's pretense that everything is hunky dory in Republican Land is getting creepy. Doesn't he have any advisors who tell him the truth? I don't expect him to be weeping and wringing his hands, but the "inexplicably upbeat" attitude makes me think he's using some really good drugs. Or he thinks the Deibold fix is in.


Third, I don't share Poppy's opinion that a win by the "wild" Democrats would be ghastly for the country, but it certainly would be ghastly for W. We'd see an end to his de facto dictatorship, and he wouldn't get to be The Decider anymore. That might be unimaginable for him, but it would be the best thing that could happen for what's left of our democracy.


Cross-posted at Birmingham Blues.



Hypocrisy? What Hypocrisy?

Hi! This is Kathy from Birmingham Blues. It's an honor to have the opportunity to guest-post at one of my favorite blogs. For the insomniacs and/or international readers, here's something to get started. This story broke at the end of last week, but it's an ongoing concern for those of us who want to see equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.


Republicans on Capitol Hill love to play the gay card, but according to gay staffers, most of them don't mean a word they say.

...many gay men are key aides to Republican legislators, powerful silent partners in winning elections by pledging allegiance to religious "values voters" ever on the alert against "the homosexual agenda."

This dichotomy -- or hypocrisy, depending on who's doing the labeling -- has been forced out of the closet by the page scandal, just as surely as [former Congressman Mark] Foley.

"You have to separate the marketing from the reality. The reality is, these members are not homophobic. For the most part, they're using this marketing to play to our base and stay in power. They have to turn out the votes," said David Duncan, once a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Congressional Staff Association and a former top aide to Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), who last week pleaded guilty to corruption charges linked to the Abramoff scandal.

Dichotomy or hypocrisy, depending on who's doing the labeling? The only ones who wouldn't label it "hypocrisy" are the Republican congress members who play this little game and the staffers who go along with it in order to stay in power.

Andrew Sullivan, the openly gay conservative columnist, calls the Republican leadership "closet-tolerant."
"They're tolerant of gay people but they have to keep quiet about it because their base would go crazy if they ever express it. That's the bottom line," Sullivan said. "They have this acute cognitive dissonance, which is a polite way of saying hypocrisy."

No need to be polite, Andrew; it is hypocrisy.

In their day-to-day dealings, even the most conservative Republicans can display an ease with normalizing relations with gay people. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) ranks No. 3 in Senate leadership and has likened homosexuality to bestiality. A rumor erupted in summer 2005 that his chief spokesman, Robert Traynham, was gay. When Traynham confirmed the rumor, Santorum promptly rushed to his defense, issuing a release calling his aide "a trusted friend . . . to me and my family."

Gee, that Rick is a great guy, taking up for his gay staffer. It sounds a lot like "some of my best friends are black". Too bad he didn't consider his staffer's feelings -- or those of the LGBT citizens of Pennsylvania -- before he raised the specter of man on dog sex.

A Republican strategist [speaking anonymously, natch, out of fear for his job] who has served in several key positions during his 17-year career on the Hill said: "Most of these Congress members would be perfectly happy if they didn't have to vote on another gay issue. For some it is an issue. For some . But the truth is, a lot of members are more tolerant than their voting records would have you believe. Look at [Rep. Roy] Blunt [R-Mo.], [Rep. Eric] Cantor [R-Va.], [Rep. Adam] Putnam [R-Fla.]. They know gay people. They have gay friends. But they speak out against gay rights. They have to. That's where the votes are." All three voted to amend the Constitution to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.

"They know gay people. They have gay friends. But they speak out against gay rights. They have to. That's where the votes are." But gay staffers continue to work for and support people like this, people who publicly call them dangerous perverts who must be stopped, people who validate every gay-hating nut out there who thinks it's just fine to kick the shit out of the queers.

David Duncan, Ney's former aide, says, "My boss's public position didn't bother me at all. If that's the sacrifice that I have to make to keep my party in power, so be it." That's nice, David, but you're not the one making the real sacrifice. You were safe in your cushy job while millions of LGBT citizens lived in fear of losing theirs -- no federal employment protection for them, remember, David? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. You kept your powerful position by refusing to challenge the party's public antipathy toward, uh, you, while so many of your LGBT brothers and sisters and their allies in the straight community spoke out and gave their time and money to guarantee an equality that you don't consider important. Shame on you and all the other staffers like you.

And shame on the Republican congress members who publicly bash gays for gain while benefiting from their political expertise.


Foley's 'hot boys'


"You could always stay at my place. I'm always here, I'm always lonely, and I'm always up for oral sex."
-- more smooth moves from GOPerv Mark Foley in 2002 to a former page who was simply asking for the then-congressman's advice on area hotels
I'm sorry for decloaking again while on the road, but, I had to post this because I was scanning some headlines before bed and this just about gave me a migraine. This predator clearly felt comfortable being so brazen with his lame-ass, nasty pick-up lines.

Foley even cruised the pages while on the House floor:
At times, Foley seemed to speak suggestively to boys before they left the program. A female former page remembers becoming uneasy one day in 2000 as she watched him talk "a little too much" on the House floor to a boy she knew. Right afterward, she asked what Foley had said. The boy, she recalled, told her Foley had admired the page's "very big hands" and boasted about his "glorious" home in Florida. The boy added: "Eighteen. Eighteen's that magic number." The girl was appalled at what seemed to her to be a come-on that the boy did not fully understand.
Isn't nice to see our tax dollars at work -- Foley looking for a future screw on our dime?

If that isn't enough to creep you out, how about this behavior...
They talked perhaps a dozen times. Then at his page graduation ceremony that June, in 2002, he was excited when Foley appeared, uninvited, and dictated his personal e-mail address for the boy to jot in his memory book. "I started contacting him right away," the young man recalled. "I knew a congressman that I . . . talked to online. That was pretty cool."

...The messages were innocent at first. But after the young man moved home, he recalled, Foley started asking about "my roommates, if I ever saw them naked." Within months, the congressman was dangling a job offer, "because I was a hot boy," he said.
The party of values.


Something to Think About

Sunday, October 22, 2006

[Howdy from Callie aka Red State Exile. Just a quick thank you to Pam for giving me this chance. I've been so excited about this and quite scared I'd screw something up. Fortunately, the blog still stands. Have a safe trip home, my friend!]

This is a story that should make anyone on the fence on their state amendments think twice. For those who are on our side, you should feel as sick and disgusted by this as I do.

Our local paper The Tennessean ran an opinion article by Rev. Jerry Sutton of Two Rivers Baptist Church. This is the same church that hosted the Justice Sunday events and Dobson's anti-gay rally here this past Monday (Stand for the Family). Of course, being who Rev. Sutton is his editorial was scathing of our relationships.

Our paper allows comments online to the articles and one gentleman retold a touching story. He's 72 years old and had a partner for 30 years. They had had good relations with their families. However, when his partner died, the partner's family came in and took all of their possessions and took this man to court to get the property they jointly owned. He and his partner had done all of the legal paperwork they could to try to protect themselves and their property. Unfortunately, he spent $300K on legal fees and court costs to try and get their possessions and property back. He won the battle for the property but never got their possessions back. He even had to get a court order just so the police would listen to him.

The story many that oppose us tell is that we can get the legal protections we need through a lawyer and that as long as we do that we don't need to get married. As the story above clearly states, this is a bald-faced lie. I've asked several lawyers this question and all say that we can't have any guarantee no matter how much legal paperwork we do. Marriage is the only sure way we are guaranteed to be recognized as "next of kin" and rightful inheritor of our jointly owned property.

If it was this hard before the amendment, imagine how hard it will be AFTER!

The public has been lied to and duped. The allegations of our opposition are FALSE. These amendments are not just about placing us in a second-class status but a NO CLASS status! They don't leave doors open for civil unions or domestic partnerships, but are intended to block recognition of anything that provides similar benefits and privileges of marriage. That includes legal documents. Do not be fooled!

Fortunately, there is a great grassroots movement started here in TN for support of our relationships. I'm pleased to report that even The Tennessean came out in opposition to the anti-gay amendment. In time, these discriminatory amendments will be undone, just like we've undone discrimination in the past. It'll be a long road until then, but let's do our part to make sure we're on the right side of the street by Voting NO!!!


What Do You Use?

[Callie here brewing up some Joe trying to keep us going on a Sunday evening. Don't know about you, but I think I need to go put another pot on!]

My partner and I had a recent debate on this. It's mostly for the gay folks out there, but anyone can answer.

What do you call yourself? Gay, lesbian, homosexual, queer, bisexual, nothing (one of those don't believe in labels people)?

In everyday conversation or when coming out, I'm inclined to call myself gay or lesbian. However, when I'm feeling particularly aggravated and political, I'll use queer.

Personally, I don't have a problem with queer, especially if it's used by one of us or an ally. To me, queer connotates challenging or questioning the status quo. In that sense, anyone can be "queer."

What are your thoughts?


They All Said We'd Take Over!

[The Red State Exile again.]

According to a new study, Tennessee has seen a 33% increase in gay couples since 2000.

The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law found the number of same-sex couples in the United States increased more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2005. The national population, by comparison, increased 6 percent in that period.

According to the study released earlier this month, 13,570 same-sex couples were living in Tennessee in 2005, a 33 percent increase over 10,189 same-sex couples in 2000.

Approximately 2,033 of those couples were living in Nashville-Davidson County, including domestic partners Ben Papa and Brad Bullock.

"My initial reaction is that there are more people admitting to being gay and living as a couples," Papa said. "I do agree, though, that society is slowly becoming more open."

Same-sex couples increased by more than 30 percent in six of the eight states that have proposed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage this November.
"It appears that one of the consequences of the referendums is that instead of gays and lesbians feeling less willing to be open, our data suggests the reverse," Gates said.


One of our dimwitted state Senators, David Fowler, R (of course)-Signal Mountain, who has given up his senatorial seat to head the nonprofit organization Family Action Council of Tennessee, an advocacy group that supports the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, claims

He said he had not seen a marked increase in same-sex couples in his district and did not expect the new data to influence voters' decision.

"I think the beliefs of the vast majority of Tennesseans are strongly held and years in the making," Fowler said. "I just don't see it changing their opinion."


I doubt there is a plethora of gay couples living openly around Signal Mountain anyway. How can he make such an idiotic statement? Oh, wait, he's a fundie that's how!

Do you think these amendments have caused more people to come out? Have you been more outspoken since these amendments have started popping up?


Who Says Gays Can't Procreate?!

[This is Callie, your temp barista, hoping your java and your karma never collide!]

I can't put a pic up an easy way, and the night is passing us by, so we'll go straight (no pun intended) into a hearty Congratulations!

Melissa Etheridge and her partner, Tammy Lynn Michaels, obviously can. They are parents of new twins, a boy named Miller Steven and a girl named Johnnie Rose. Is it just me or do those names sure set those kids up to be rock stars? Coincidence? Melissa previously had two children, Bailey Jean and Beckett, with her then partner Julie Cypher.

Congratulations to Melissa and Tammy!


Voter Tampering?

[Good Evening from Callie (aka Red State Exile) in the state with a name as long as it is--Tennessee!]

Our local organization Vote No on 1, which has been working on defeating our state anti-gay amendment, have been receiving reports that voters are being misled about Amendment 1 to our state Constitution. Evidently, a voter in one county was told that he should vote no if he wanted "two men or three women to be able to marry."

Vote No has been in contact with our Division of Elections and been assured that the counties have been notified that poll workers are not to discuss the amendment with voters, and if anyone has questions, they are not to summarize it but simply tell the voter to read the amendment.

Could these actions be considered voter tampering? I think so. What do you think?


Iran, Islam, and gays: openness equals death, but relief in Europe is possible.

This will be my last post for today - and I just want everyone (and Pam, especially) to know how very much I enjoyed one day's worth of blogging!

Because of my own unusual ethnic background (Persian - what is today Iran and Iraq), I have gone 'round and 'round a few times with my fellow liberals about the whole "Islam" versus "Other religions" issue as well as "Islamic nations" versus "Israel" issue a number of times. In so doing, I have shared some images with Pam and others - images smuggled out of some Middle Eastern countries - showing exactly what it means to be remotely open about one's orientation in Islamic nations.

The most gruesome image I have seen is one where family members flayed the flesh off off their own son, executed by the state via a bullet to the head, for "Crimes Against Islam." The goal of such an action? Protecting family "honor" by making it impossible to identify the young man's remains. I don't mean just peeling the skin off the body - I mean stripping the skull down to the bone. The picture, which I am not posting here at this time, shows clearly-visible, heme-rich tissue still sticking to the bones of the skull and cervical spine . . . and the eyes are still resting in the sockets. But the bulk of the tissue on the young man's face and neck is utterly stripped away.

Given the harsh reality of being a gay person in a Muslim country, I was immensely pleased to see this article on Yahoo News: clicking anywhere on this paragraph will take you to that article and, perhaps, give you a bit of hope for our future as GLBT folks in the world.

The Advocate is running a similar article on this heart-warming development.

Have a great week - and thanks for being such great guests!


Your blogmistress drops by for a brief visit

A big thanks so far to my guest bloggers! They are doing a terrific job. I have a lot of reading to do -- you all have been prolific.

Boy, the email box is full. Anyway, I am typing this from the exciting city of Parsippany, NJ, where I am here for a day job-related business conference that begins tomorrow. I finally have access to the internets, to the tune of $9.95/day at the Embassy Suites hotel. I think that's highway robbery. I can't stand being on the road for so long (I miss Katie!). Three more days of living out of a suitcase -- I will be back home Wed and back to blogging on Thursday.

My 25th HS reunion was on Saturday and we had a good time -- I am getting old, but so are all these folks, lol. I'll make a separate web page with all the photos to spare you all from that, but I thought I'd post a couple of interesting ones with background.

Earlier on Saturday we were taken on a tour of the new Stuyvesant HS, which is located down on Chambers Street, just a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. The school was a staging area for rescue and recovery after the buildings collapsed. The facilities are beautiful, with all the amenties and features we could have only dreamed about in the old building on 15th Street and First Avenue. The new Stuy is 10 floors, has a swimming pool, lots of computer labs, a huge auditorium and a nice campus. Despite the much larger building, the graduating class size is about the same -- 800-plus.

Our tour guides were four Stuy students. My group's guide, Victor, was extremely knowledgable, and gave us information about resources on each floor. A shocker for us is that one of our French teachers is STILL teaching at Stuy, 25 years later. Also, he said the cafeteria food still sucks, though I'd take the sucktitude of the food to be able to have this view from the cafeteria:



Back in the day on 15th Street, all we got to see the side of a dirty building.

One nice touch is that they took desks (they had inkwells!) from the old school -- which is now an adult education center and is under renovation -- and made a "museum" classroom. Some of us sat down and had our picture taken:



They replicated the classroom quite well, though I they didn't match the pukey green industrial wall paint color.

As far as the reunion itself, it was a great turnout, and I saw a lot of people that I hung out with, many more that I attended classes with, and a good number of people I couldn't recall by name or face. It is possible that, in a class of 800+, I didn't cross paths with some of them. Or maybe dementia is settling in...

Big thanks to Neal W. and Co. for wrangling a fine reunion.

***

Controversy

Kids attending Stuy around 9/11 were, many believe, returned to the school too soon -- some are now coming down with respiratory illnesses and cancer. (NY Sun):
At least one former Stuyvesant student, Amit Friedlander, has developed Hodgkin's disease, a type of cancer, since September 11. An honors student at the school renowned for its science program, he researched the literature on his condition after he was diagnosed and discovered "exposure to toxic pollutants"is a major risk factor for the disease.

"You could smell smoke both inside and outside the building for months," another Stuyvesant graduate who is leading the student response, Lila Nordstrom, said. Ms. Nordstrom is attempting to organize all of her old high school classmates to determine the extent of the health problems, but she said it has been difficult because the college-bound students have scattered across the country. Among the graduates Ms. Nordstrom has been in touch with, "there are a lot of respiratory problems," she said, adding that her own asthma has gotten worse.

The Board of Education spent $1 million to rehabilitate Stuyvesant in the weeks following September 11. During the 2001-02 academic year, however, toxic waste was transported by trucks up West Street past the school from ground zero 24 hours a day. Cranes would then transfer the material to barges anchored in the Hudson River on the north side of the school. "Every time the crane took up a load of debris, they would drop it in the barge and a huge dust cloud would be kicked up," Ms. Nordstrom said.
***

Curve Magazine interview

Guest poster Miss Wild Thing noted in one of her entries that an interview with me appears in the latest issue of Curve magazine. I haven't been able to get a copy yet, so I have no idea how it turned out. I don't think that they post those articles online.

***

What's this about CNN?

OK -- I know you all want to know what the deal with CNN is -- first mentioned by Russ here the other day when I was incommunicado and without the internets in NY.

John Aravosis was trying to get in touch with me to, in turn, get me in touch with CNN Internet Reporter Jacki Schechner. I had Katie go in and check my email and sure enough, Jacki had emailed me to invite me to an election day event that the news network is holding. Kate emailed her (and John) back to let them know I was actually alive and simply offline.

I received an invite today when Jacki finally got me on my cell and I spoke to her about the event. I don't have full details, but basically CNN is inviting a variety of bloggers on the left and the right to participate in its live election coverage (Nov. 7-8) from a DC coffeehouse, to blog about races, the issues that are of importance to us, and what we see the impact of the results on those issues. I'm not sure of the logistics, but I just need to bring my laptop and blog away, she says. There will also be interviews and such as well. I'll definitely want to track amendment votes in the states that have them on the ballot in November: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. We need to dig up the latest polling data to see how things are going in states where the vote is close.

Now I just have to ask my boss to let me have the time off to do this. Please...please...please... That said, I can't keep burning up my paid time off on this stuff (at least CNN is flying me there and paying for the hotel -- though it doesn't look like there will be much sleeping if the coverage starts at 4PM and goes to 2AM!).

***

Pack the bags again...

I forgot to post about this, but it's related to the elections as well -- I'll be in Houston on Nov. 18 at the 2006 International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference, which is Nov. 16 to 19. I was invited to be on a panel, Election Strategists Roundtable, to "discuss the current state of LGBT politics, give a recap of the 2006 elections and look ahead to the critical 2008 races." It's moderated by Ari Shapiro of NPR. On the panel with me are: Dem pollster Celinda Lake, Patrick Guerriero (formerly of LCR), executive Director, Gill Action, Richard W. Murray, Ph.D. Director, Univ. of Houston Center for Public Policy; Professor, Political Science, Univ. of Houston; and Donna Daskow, Senior Vice President, Environics Research Group Limited. Thank goodness that's on a Saturday.

Howard Dean and Barney Frank are to speak on Saturday. Maybe I can diplomatically nail Howard down on that whole equality thing that the Dems are squishy on. :)

***

Thank you friends...

And finally, many thanks to all of you who wrote or posted comments of condolences regarding Tonka's passing. You are all so kind, and I know so many of you have "been there" and know what that hurt feels like when you have to put your pet down. I can't wait to return home to hug Bailey and Chloe. Hug your pets and love on them...




Some heartening news, for a change

'Bean, formerly a regular contributor to Julien's List, is a Cranky-and-Irritable member of the Democratic arm of the Democratic Party. An anti DINO (Democrat In Name Only) member of the New York Liberal Citizenry, he and his life-partner Eric share a home in a Rochester, New York where 'Bean cooks like phrenetic Jewish Mother and Eric gardens his skinny butt into oblivion. Given Eric and 'Bean's green tendencies, we thought to share this promising, if perhaps "not useful today" news with you.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Apparently, Blogger is still having some issues. If you want to see the imbedded images relevant to this post, just click towards the top of the empty frames in the post. The images (including the groovy-looking green machine) will open in an independent window when you do.

Apparently, the recent "green" films (Who Killed the Electric Car and An Inconvenient Truth)are faring pretty well in public eyes.

In a way I am surprised by this news - and, in a way, I am not.

I am surprised because we, as a society, like our petroleum-derived, throw-away plastic packaging. We, as a society, promoted the Luxury SUV not as a specialty vehicle for, say, madly-rich-out-of-all-sense farmers and ranchers. We promoted the Luxury SUV as a "reasonable and roomy alternative" to the midsized car. We like to run the air conditioning instead of opening windows. We have been known to waste in the extreme, as illustrated by the rather-famous cases of both the late Richard Nixon and the current Ahhhh-nuld Schwartz-an-egger, both notorious for cranking the air as cold as possible to allow for the pleasing aesthetic of a crackling hearth . . . during sweltering August heat.

I am not surprised, at the same time, because, as any news-junkie knows, the side-effects of Global Warming are growing patently visible. This is no longer a debate about "if global warming is even real." Even many of the nay-sayers, most recently Pat Robertson, have changed their tunes. Rising sea-levels, flooding in some areas, drought in others (happening right now) and the subsequent, predicted food shortages - seemingly on the horizon - can put the "Fear of God" in anyone; even those who claim to understand All His Ways because The Great and Holy Batphone that rings into His Office is hardwired into Robertson's den (or so it seems Robertson would have all of us believe).

And yet, Robertson has embraced the idea that Global Warming is a bad thing. While I dislike the man, I respect his change of heart given the data and his own experience - something I, a liberal gay guy who converted to Judaism NEVER thought I would say about the likes of Robertson.

But, even in this twisted culture - a culture where (1) loathing knowledge, science, skill, "intellectualism," and ability BUT ACTUALLY RESPECTING (2) "belief," Churches of Hate, The Dollar, and All Things Material - I see moments of hope beyond Robertson's environmental conversion.

Granted, this particular hope happens to have a foot in both (1) and (2), above. But in BushWorld, I'll take whatever hope I can get.

Meet the new, 2007 Tesla Roadster, the world's first, true, balls-to-the-wall, zero-emissions, fast-as-the-dickens, long-range, high-performance, utterly-sexed-out, totally-electric sports car.

That's right: a real, live, high-speed, stylish, green-machine. The car Detroit said nobody could build . . . and nobody would buy.

There is a downside to the car: it's about $100,000. The upside is, given the "mad-hot, mad-fast, mad-sexy-as-hell" factor with this particular green-machine, the first allotment of 2007 Tesla Roadsters has already completely sold out before hitting a dealership showroom: if you want one and really can afford it, you have to wait for the next build cycle.

Given the Tesla Roadster manages equivalent carbon emissions and energy use averaging to an overall value that, in gasoline terms, is about 125 miles per gallon (for the nay-sayers who claim "electric cars pollute just as much as gasoline cars") and only costs about one cent per mile to operate, I think Tesla Motors (a cooperative project between some wealthy California gearheads and British performance carmaker Lotus) may just have the answer. Granted that "answer" currently only applies to very RICH liberals.

If you want to visit the official Tesla Motors website, click here. The site has more information and some really stunning photos of the mean-green-machine.

If you would like to see the wealthy California gearheads interviewed and the car in-action on you-tube, click here. The in-action video includes the Roadster tooling around, funky electric, turbine-like whine included.

If you would like to read the Wikipedia entry about Tesla Motors and the Lotus-bodied Tesla Roadster, click here.

If you want to see the Tesla Roadster debut at the Pebble Beach Concours, courtesy of MSN, click here.

Here's hoping that in ten years or less, we lowly folk can find affordable electric vehicles as nice as the Lotus-built Tesla.


Groggy Good-Morning from Rochester in Blue New York

'Bean, formerly a regular contributor to Julien's List, is a Cranky-and-Irritable member of the Democratic arm of the Democratic Party. As a GLBT healthcare-professional-in-training, he is passionately devoted to liberal politics and to his evolving career in the operating room. He also possesses a deep-seated passion for dark chocolate and snazzy cars. 'Bean and his life-partner Eric (a professor at a New York State university) live in Rochester, New York.

Good morning blenders.

I'm already behind schedule as I woke at 0100 and 0400 because poor Hubby's congested sinuses rumble when he lies on his back. I needed a bathtubfull of Java in my brain before trying to type - mostly to ensure I pay at least some attention to things like "grammar" and "spelling" and "a little coherence."

It's VERY nice to be back at the blend, as briefly as I will be here: I love my work in the operating room as I am finishing this particular phase of my education (and, hence, rarely visit any blogs because I have no life, at all, of any kind) . . . but I confess I miss the intensity, stimulation, and some of the personalities here.

That said, I wanted to start my part of the Guest Blend Experience with a gripe.

Yep - a gripe: I'm genetically cranky as the long-time regulars know. I just ain't one of those liberals who wants to hug a single damn thing and I don't ooze "caring" and "warmth" from my pores. I never have been "cuddly" and, in truth, I doubt I will ever be.

Anyhow . . . .

Yesterday, while watching the local 11-o'clock news in Blue New York State, I noted the following:

(1) Republican Tom Reynolds, Pedophile Supporter and Enabler (henceforth, PS&E in place of "Pedophile Supporter and Enabler"), airing attack ads stating, "Millionaire Jack Davis will cut Medicare, Medicaid, and job growth programs. Millionaire Jack Davis will raise taxes. Millionaire Jack Davis is just another tax-and-spend liberal New Yorkers don't need." Republican Reynolds, PS&E, and his attack dogs include taped, out-of-context statements right from Davis's mouth to "support" Reynold's claims.

I'll be blunt - these ads by Republican Tom Reynolds, PS&E? These ads are good. They're very good.

These ads are, not surprisingly, also profoundly dishonest and misleading - but what can one expect from a Republican more vested in protecting his own job, his party, and the most high-profile child molester of this Shining New Century to-date?

(2) Democrat Jack Davis is airing the most pathetic "It's time for a change" rebuttal to Republican Reynolds, PS&E, I have ever seen: Davis would have a better rebuttal if he hired a bunch of high school drama students and gave those students a cam-corder and 20 bucks.

Worse, Davis and his ads ignore that Republican Reynolds, PS&E, has dutifully followed Dear Leader's policies (Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, other social-service and retiree program cuts), all the while filling his fat pockets (and astoundingly-large belly) along the way.

(3) An ad supporting sHillary Clinton, Republican-Lite, with an interesting mix of words and imagery. I don't remember specifics, but phrases resembling "Hillary Clinton voted to prevent further terror attacks on New York and supports legislation protecting the symbols or our great nation," juxtaposed with images of sHillary, surrounded by a forest of American flags; "Hillary Clinton supports legislation protecting mothers and their children," juxtaposed with images of sHillary and an African-American mother holding a newborn baby.

(4) A news report following these commercials stating that Republican Reynolds, PS&E, is now ahead in the polls - and this in a DEMOCRATIC state.

I think what I am seeing here, in my own small part of the nation, reflects the problems of the Left in the nation as-a-whole.

Specifically, these problems:

(1) Republicans are better at playing a clean-faced game of very dirty pool than Democrats. As proven by going back to Nixon, playing dirty pool with the guise of a gentleman (or gentlewoman) just plain works.

Voters like tough politicians.

(2) Democrats taking the "moral high road" because "we are better and above that sort of thing" does not work.

Proof?

The fact that a man, Republican Tom Reynolds, PS&E, who knowingly aided, abetted, and protected a known child molester for years, is LEADING in polls . . . and worse yet, he's leading in polls in a DEMOCRATIC state.

There is the mirror-side to this issue, too: whenever Democrats jump on Republicans for the Republican's misbehavior, the Republicans shriek "Unfair! Unfair! Partisan politics! Partisan politics!"

Ironically, those same Republicans, such as Tom Reynolds, PS&E, are the first to attack - even when the Democrat has done nothing.

Democrats need to take a lesson from this particular tactic.

Voters like tough politicians.

(3) No matter how far right ANY Democrat steps (ESPECIALLY sHillary Clinton), NOBODY Right-of-Center will vote for that Democrat: the Right-of-Center will always vote for a Republican.

Proof?

By pandering to (1) The Base, (2) the business community, and (3) the Protestant Christian community, Republican Tom Reynolds, PS&E, is a few points ahead of the Democrat . . . and this lead is in a BLUE state.

Voters just plain like tough politicians.

Which leads me to a second, related gripe.

On this particular issue of Democrats pandering right . . . sHillary's ad is an utter joke. Mind, that ad is polished, professional, slick-as-hell, and stylish. sHill's Madison Avenue friends (i.e. Rupert Murdoch - who helped her raise funds earlier this campaign season, as you may remember) served her well.

The irony is that, with the imagery in the ad, sHill's makes overt allusions any political junkie will recognise. And those allusions are actually why I don't remember the ad as vividly as I would like: these allusions were so well-done, so right-pandering, and so unexpected I went into cognitive shock. I really could not believe this was an ad for a Democratic candidate. That moment, I instantly realized the ad was NOT targeting New York Democrats. SHill's ad is targeting center-right political junkies, who will catch and understand the imagery.

The images in sHill's ad (1) point towards her vote for the Iraq war; (2) her cheerleading for Bush Administration policies in Iraq; (3) her co-sponsoring of anti-flag-burning legislation; (4) her willingness to "compromise" on abortion; (5) her continued support of both DOMA and a Federal Marriage Amendment; (6) her pro-Reganomics stances (stances she shares with her husband Bill) supporting both tax cuts and pro-business, not pro-worker and pro-New-York-Citizen, policy.

In light of all I have shared this morning, I just have one question I want answered (ouside of, "When is sHill getting the hell out of New York to return, permanently, to Arkansas?").

Where are the strong Democrats?

Feingold, who regrew his testicles after losing them during the 2000 Ashcroft debacle (Feingold cast the deciding vote in favor of Ashcroft, an "Olive Branch" to the Bush administration: it seems Feingold has since seen the error of his ways), does anyone outside the (1) net-roots, (2) minorities, and (3) GLBT folks have a spine out here in Democrat Land?

Are there any strong Democrats around who can fight - especially given we don't need to spin-and-lie like Republicans to win at hardball given both the facts and issues (and, one would hope, our ethics, too)?

I will vote this November.

I will, for the most part, vote Democratic this November.

I surely will not vote for sHill this November: I will vote for her Green Party or Socialist Party of Communist Party opponent.

But I have to confess, in more cases than I would like, when I cast my vote this November? I will also worry that my vote is being wasted on the lesser of two evils.

So, anyone know? Democrat with a spine? Seen one lately? Or are we, The People, The Party Backbone, and The Party Checking Account screwed yet again?

Will we, once again, not win by fighting for anything - but rather win because people have grown disgusted with Republicans?

Comments?


The Transgender American Veterans Association

Saturday, October 21, 2006

[Autumn Sandeen]

The GLBTQI community is pretty diverse, isn't it?



Transgender veterans exist; the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) was formed in 2003 with transgender veterans in mind.

Why TAVA? TAVA was formed to address the growing concerns of fair and equal treatment of transgender veterans and active duty service members. As the population of gender-different people increases, then so does the population of veterans and active duty service members who identify as such. TAVA serves as an educational organization that will help the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense to better understand the individuals they encounter who identify as being gender-different. As veterans, transgender people have served proudly -- and will continue to do so. TAVA exists to help where the organization can help.

In efforts to expand organization, TAVA has begun forming Chapters in various states across the country. This not only gives a chance for transgender veterans to meet and discuss the issues facing each other when dealing with the local VA facilities, but a chance for TAVA to help in encouraging transgender veterans to take up leadership roles in their city or state.

Twenty-three people met in Arkansas tonight (October 21, 2006) in a multi-state TAVA organizational effort. Attendees represented five states: Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, and Tennessee.

Monica Helms, president of the Transgender American Veterans Association, said of the meeting "I'm absolutely thrilled to have attended the first ever TAVA regional meeting for chapters. The people are just fabulous. If other TAVA chapters have members like this, then we're going to have a very strong organization."

Ann Marie Knittel, the chapters director, added "Getting these chapters together -- it's the members -- it's the people. They're the ones who make TAVA thrive."

The GLBTQI community is pretty darn diverse. I'm glad to be here, and part of the diverse mix of really interesting, wonderful people.

--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


AFA Wants It Both Ways

Konagod here with some fresh Wildmon meat for the Blenders...

The American Family Association is overcome with glee after NBC pulled the plug on a segment in an upcoming Madonna concert set to air in November. The AFA seems to be taking credit for the decision after 750,000 email messages were sent in protest to NBC from AFA "supporters."

Backing away from a confrontation with religious groups, NBC says it has decided not to show pictures of Madonna mounting a Crucifix when it airs her concert special next month. During her song "Live to Tell," Madonna sings from a mirrored cross wearing a crown of thorns.
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Dr. Don Wildmon, chairman of the AFA, said:

"We appreciate the fact that NBC has seen the power of the pocketbook and decide to cancel [that] scene from the Madonna special," says Wildmon in a press release. "The network should never have even entertained using the scene, but we appreciate their removing it from the special."

Apparently, the AFA is just pleased as punch at their power to stifle free speech in having NBC censor a portion of an artistic performance which they deemed offensive. However, they are not so supportive of an employer in Virginia allegedly firing a human resources employee for having a "vote for marriage" message handwritten on the window of his truck:
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Photo by Nikki Fox, Courtesy of Daily News Record)


Luis Padilla was reportedly terminated from his employment at a Cargill Foods plant in Harrisonburg because of a written message on the rear window of his pickup truck that read: "Please, vote for marriage on Nov. 7." That is the day when voters in Virginia will be considering a proposed amendment to the state constitution protecting traditional marriage.

According to the Daily-News Record in Harrisonburg, Padilla -- who worked in Cargill's human resources office -- was dismissed for insubordination when he refused to remove the message, which company officials could be considered harassment. He apparently had removed the sign when first requested, then later posted it again and parked his truck outside the company parking lot.

"This action exposes the hypocrisy of people who claim to stand for 'tolerance' but who instead do all they can to silence all opposing views," says Dean Welty, [a spokesman for the Family Foundation-affiliated Valley Family Forum.]
The AFA is trying to push a one-sided agenda down both lanes of a two-way street. If Padilla should be allowed to display his message so prominently even though Cargill employees who are proponents of gay marriage might feel uncomfortable with it, why strip Madonna of a portion of her message?

Those offended by Madonna's stage props are not required to watch. Employees, on the other hand, are required to show up for work.

I must be honest here though. Armed with the information I have thus far, I'm not comfortable with Padilla being fired for having a political message on his truck. It's not as though he tried to hold a pro-marriage (or anti-same-sex marriage) rally on company property. If I had a bumper sticker on my car encouraging a vote against the marriage proposition, I'd be absolutely livid if asked to remove it in order to keep my employment. Unfortunately, that is the nature of ”at-will” employment and it is legal.

Here's a link to The Daily News-Record piece. (Embeded link not working)
http://www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?AID=6909&CHID=1


Transman Robert Eads

[Autumn Sandeen]

Reading this in the Houston Voice today sent shivers down my spine:

It’s hard to speak powerfully about being a lesbian when you’re sitting on an exam table, naked except for the equivalent of an ill-fitting paper sarong.

But for butch women and trans men who were born female, the process can be even worse.

The 2001 film “Southern Comfort,” named for the national transgender conference held annually in Atlanta, documented the last year of the life of Robert Eads, a female-to-male transsexual who died from ovarian cancer in 1999 after some 20 doctors refused to treat the male-appearing Eads for a woman’s disease.
Southern Comfort is a hard watch -- I tear up every time I even think about rewatching it; I'm tearing up now. But, I highly recommend this documentary to anyone who wants to learn about trans community in general, and transmen in particular.

--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Key player in Gwen Araujo Justice For Victims Act passage interviewed

[Autumn Sandeen]

On TransFM, Christopher Daley, Director of the Transgender Law Center (TLC) and the one of the key players behind the passage of the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, was interviewed for the show The Radical Trannies (an MP3 of the podcast is here -- for me, even with a high speed connection the podcast was a slow download). The actual interview by Ethan St. Pierre begins at point 1:37 in the podcast.



Chris Daley quote from the interview:
I can't emphasize enough just the amount or good that [Gwen Araujo's] family has done and have created out of this tragedy. And, you know, I always feel I have to emphasize when I say stuff like that there's not a person in this state that would not trade every positive thing that happened out of Gwen's murder to have her back and not be murdered. But I do think what's powerful out of the reality that she was murdered was the way in which people responded.
The TLC press release on Gov. Schwarzenegger's signing the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act is here.


Intersexed Bass And ... More Intersexed Children?

[Autumn Sandeen]

From Recent discovery of 'intersexed' bass raises new environmental fears:
Ten years after Congress ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to develop tests to see if pesticides could be disrupting human hormone functions, no chemical has been tested under the program.

The EPA has not even decided which pesticides will be tested first.

Scientists fear that by mimicking, blocking or otherwise altering the activity of natural hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, pesticides and other substances may pose subtle threats not only to animals but to humans as well.

Earlier discoveries have linked the presence of endocrine disrupters to genital deformities in alligators and endangered panthers in Florida, polar bears in Alaska, river otters in Oregon, barn swallows in Louisiana, loons in Maine and other creatures.
Eric Vilain, chief of medical genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, stated in the article Gender Blender: Intersexual? Transsexual? Male, female aren't so easy to define:
Intersexuality is defined as the presence of "ambiguous genitalia," making it impossible to tell easily whether the newborn baby is a boy or a girl. It occurs at a frequency of 1 in 4,000 births.
Anyone want to take the bet against there being more intersexed childern in the next generation? -- And what will be the effect of that on the next generation's "same sex marriage" debate?

--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Bough Down And Pray?

[Autumn Sandeen]

Tree limbs fall and form a cross on a Jesus statue.



Is it blasphemous to evaluate potential miracles based on entertainment value? I mean, this isn't Jesus showing his face on a tree trunk or via an x-ray vision, or even the Virgin Mary in a chocolate mini-statue or her face on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Having bad weather cause falling boughs to form a cross on a statue of Jesus doesn't seem entertaining; this potentially has a serious undertone of Jesus taking on fresh burdens during difficult times.

What's next -- Jesus suggesting we sell our possessions and then give the money to the poor? Oh that's right, Jesus was already quoted as saying that.

Watching people get excited about the miracle of seeing Jesus' face in a potato chip, or the Virgin Mary's image in a piece of french toast is always kind of sideshow funny; it's a little less entertaining see an image of Jesus that reminds me that I personally need to expend energy and resources on burdens -- such as working with others to alleviate poverty and homelessness within the transgender community.

--
Btw, there is a recent article about how homeless transgender youth are actually treated in public spaces. In New York, three transyouth were arested at a Port Authority bus terminal near Sylvia’s Place, a homeless shelter. The three transyouths were charged with trespass for using the women’s room.

Kate Barnhart, director of Sylvia’s Place, had this to say in the article:
“One of the cops, an Officer Robles, said to [three transgender youths], ‘I wouldn’t want my wife in here with you things.’”
Imagine not being able to use a public restroom without being harassed by police -- housing and employment issues take on a lot of importance when the lack of a home or job means literally no welcome place to pee.

Why do I feel a burden to help alleviate poverty and homelessness within the transgender community? Solutions to transgender poverty and homelessness will take more than a bough down and prayer.

--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Exodus's Randy Thomas: Gays "mortified" by gay activism

[Autumn Sandeen]

From Ex-Gay Watch contributing author Dan Gonzales' Ex-gay Lobbyist Thomas Claims Gays Mortified at Gay Activism:
The leadership at Exodus seems to have come up with a bizarre and totally unsubstantiated new talking-point claiming "most" gay people don't care much for the work of gay-rights groups. In Exodus' book "God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door" Randy Thomas is so kind as to oversimplify all gays and lesbians into three "groups of homosexuals." From page 126 describing the "moderate" type of homosexual:
Perhaps to your surprise, I can say that most people who identify as gay or lesbian are like these women.

...Most moderate homosexuals are grateful to live in the United States and will challenge the gay establishment's "groupthink" regarding gay activism. Many are also mortified by what the militant gay activist community proposes on behalf of everyone else in the gay community.
"Alan Chambers was spouting the same thing on NPR two weeks ago. Both Chambers and Thomas cite "personal experience" as justification for this nonsense. Where Exodus hasn't, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force actually bothered to do a survey to determine that gay people are in-fact interested in laws that protect them.

Really, why bother justifying your claims when you can just operate under the declaration of "proclaiming the Biblical truth" about "homosexuals?"
--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Insanity Partially Abated In Minnesota

[Autumn Sandeen]

Well, the insanity was partially abated in Minnesota. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the bus company takes back stand on ads:
Metro Transit issued a statement Friday expressing regret for its decision to accommodate a Minneapolis bus driver who had asked to drive buses free of gay advertising.

...

"In attempting to accommodate a driver's religious beliefs, we inadvertently sent the wrong message about tolerance," read a statement issued Friday by Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons.

The statement went on to say that the bus company would be "reluctant to make similar accommodations in the future."
No s*** it was the wrong message about tolerance Bob!

And Minnesota, what about the rest of the insanity?

--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Stop digging, dammit!!

[Jill]

Remember when the Idiot-in-Chief was being lauded by the media as being "steadfast" and "resolute" and "unwavering"? Haven't heard that old adage that "a foolish consistency of the hobgoblin of little minds" in a while, now, have you?

Well, maybe it's time to start dragging it out again:

President Bush conceded Friday that "right now it's tough" for American forces in Iraq, but the White House said he would not change U.S. strategy in the face of pre-election polls that show voters are upset.

"We are constantly adjusting our tactics so that we achieve the objective, and right now it's tough, it's tough," Bush said in an Associated Press interview.

[snip]

Bush met with Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, at the White House for a half-hour Friday afternoon. The White House said Abizaid already was in town and Bush asked him over. The president also will consult by video conference on Saturday with Abizaid at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., and with Gen. George Casey, who leads the U.S.-led Multinational Forces in Iraq, to determine if a change in tactics is necessary to combat the increasing violence.

Despite calls for change, Bush said, "Our goal has not changed. Our goal is a country that can defend, sustain and govern itself, a country that which will serve as an ally in this war. Our tactics are adjusting."

[snip]

Presidential spokesman Tony Snow said that while Bush might change tactics, he would not change his overall strategy.

"He's not somebody who gets jumpy at polls," Snow said of Bush.


Nor does he get jumpy at reality, it seems.

Bush won't change strategy because he CAN'T change strategy. So convinced is he of his own infallibility, so determined is he to NOT meet the same failed presidency fate as his father, that he is willing to completely destroy what remains of America's future and as many thousands of soldiers it takes to prop up this sinking ship long enough for him to get outta Dodge and leave the problem for someone else to clean up -- just as he's been doing his whole life.

But why should this surprise anyone? If you have a kid who keeps wrecking every car you buy him, do you keep buying him ever-more-expensive cars? Of course not. So why did anyone think that if you give this guy the most powerful position in the world, he'd handle it any differently than he has any of the businesses in which he's been involved?

Again, he called the Democrats "the party of cut and run", indicating that his buddy Karl Rove is similarly unable to change strategies. But this is interesting, considering what some Republicans have said.

Sen. John Warner,, 10/6/06:

"It seems to me the situation is simply drifting sideways It was a markedly different trip from ones before. We just did not have the freedom and ability to travel where I have been before."


Warner says we should set a timetable of 60-90 days and if things don't improve, a "change of course" is appropriate.

Rep. Chris Shays, 8/24/06:

"My view is that it may be that the only way we are able to encourage some political will on the part of Iraqis is to have a timeline for troop withdrawal,"


Sen. Chuck Hagel, 8/21/05:


"We should start figuring out how we get out of there...I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."


Even Krazy and Korrupt PA Rep. Curt Weldon favors withdrawal:

The second-ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, who is a strong supporter of the U.S. military mission in Iraq, has drafted a resolution that would give military commanders — instead of President Bush or Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld — decision-making authority over when American troops should return home.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), the vice chairman of the Armed Services panel and chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, told Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) Monday of his plans to introduce the resolution shortly.


I guess those Republicans are cut-and-run cowards too.

The real question is how much Americans should be asked to sacrifice in the name of salvaging George W. Bush's legacy. Because given that the Iraq war has destabilized the Middle East, recruited terrorists, turned Iraq into an Al Qaeda haven, bankrupted our treasury and mortgaged our future, Bush's legacy is the ONLY thing that can be saved by remaining.

(cross-posted at Brilliant at Breakfast)


Dinesh D'Souza would be right at home with these guys.

Jill here, from Brilliant at Breakfast here. I'm thrilled, humbled, and honored to be asked to guestblog at one of the blogs I respect most. I can only hope to do the privilege justice.

Those not familiar with my blog know that I'm what I think of as a lapsed Jew. Raised in an only marginally observant at most family, I don't observe any holidays, don't attend synagogue, I don't even like lox. The extent of my "Jewishness" is limited to a refusal to "try to pass", figuring that my grandparents didn't go through pogroms in Poland and Hitler's camps so that I could pretend to be something I'm not, despite the fact that I am now going through adulthood with an Italian last name.

This is all by way of explaining that this post adheres to the "It's OK to knock your own team" rule, and to provide context to what I'm going to call a "shandeh far di gayim". "Shandeh far di goyim" is a Yiddish expression meaning "a disgrace, shame, embarrassment, in front of the gentiles". It was uttered by Abbie Hoffman to Judge Julius Hoffman (no relation) during the Chicago 7 trial which followed the Democratic Convention in 1968. I've chosen to change this expression by "Yinglishizing" it as a way of expressing my disgust and outrage at the response of those ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel who protested in Sabbath Square in Jerusalem earlier this week about holding the 2006 gay pride parade in the city:

“The war in the north broke out as soon as the parade was announced,” a Mea Shearim resident told Ynet.

The parade was canceled due to the war, but gay rights groups acted to set another date for the parade since the fighting has ceased.

“Rabbis are fearful of another war,” the haredi said, adding that a special request has been forwarded to Diaspora Jews “so they too would protest and act for the preservation of Jerusalem’s sanctity.”

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, the head of the Eda Haredit rabbinic court, said during the rally, “We did not succeed in Lebanon due to the obscenity and promiscuity in the Holy Land.”

The rabbi quoted Rabbi Wasserman, who said during the Holocaust that “Zionism has destroyed the Land of Israel’s sanctity; this is how the troubles of the Shoah began, and this is why we must act to wend the promiscuity.

“There is no greater disturbance than the disgraceful parade,” Rabbi Sternbuch said.


Is there anything more repulsive than a group of people, living in a country that was formed after WWII as a means of assuaging the guilt of the U.S. and Europe over its failure to respond while millions of Jews were being gassed in Hitler's concentration camps, using the same hyperbolic language against gays, who were ALSO rounded up and gassed by the Third Reich?

For all that I rail against the tiptoeing into the waters of anti-Semitism that I see in some progressive blogs where Israel is concerned, this kind of ignorant, bigoted behavior reinforces what I've been saying for years: that we do not prevent another Jewish holocaust by acting like Nazis.

My larger view on Israel is that there is plenty of blame to go around, and frankly, when dealing with squabbling children, sometimes you don't want justice -- you want quiet (cf: Bill Cosby). But this post is not to get into arguments about Israel vs. Palestine, which are too large and too contentious to really accomplish much.

But to blame the recent battles with Lebanon on a gay pride parade is just too much. When Israelis, even if it's only the most Orthodox fringe, are choosing to blame gays instead of Hezbollah for the recent violence, something is terribly, terribly wrong.

Dinesh D'Souza's new book. The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, posits the notion that if we would only run our country more like the way the Taliban and other Islamists in the Middle East ran theirs, particularly where sexual behavior is concerned, those two lovely towers in lower Manhattan would still be standing, Heath Ledger would still be that blond guy who was in A Knight's Tale, There would be no such thing as Project Runway, and those pain-in-the ass women from Jersey would still be in the kitchen where they belong.

James Wolcott deconstructs here and here, and posts the following excerpt from D'Souza's book:

"The left would like to have Mapplethorpe's photographs and Brokeback Mountain seen in every country. In short, the left wants America to be a shining beacon of depravity, a kind of Gomorrah on a hill."


So gee, doesn't that mean that these ultra-Orthodox are not only right in tune with D'Souza, but also with the Islamists who claim to be their enemy? Then why the hell are they fighting?

This kind of scapegoating and blamemongering is no more attractive when it's done by people who shame the names of the millions of Jews and gays who died in Hitler's camps with their tactics as it is when done by the original perpetrators of the crime.

I say march away. If the Orthodox don't like it, let them stay home that day.


Another one

[Miss Wild Thing.]

Apparently there has been another complaint filed with the Ethics committee about another page problem with another member of Congress. HuffPo has it here.


Paging Ms. Spaulding...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Oh, dear blogmistress...


I know you're on vacation and all that, but if you happen to be scanning your blog, please contact John Aravosis at AMERICAblog. CNN is looking for you...


More Kibbles

[Miss Wild Thing, guest blogger.]

So while I have this cyber soapbox, I thought I would mention a couple of great guys who are running for local office here in the Santa Clara Valley.

Both are openly gay men, Evan Low and Clark Williams. Both have been endorsed by the Victory Fund.

Evan is running for Campbell City Council. His web site is here. I have been doing really glamorous work for him like helping with mailings. He is running in a city that is much more conservative than the rest of the Valley. Lately he has been getting hit by a number of snarky pieces in the small weekly press.

Clark is running for San Jose City Council for a seat that has been held for the last six years by another openly gay man. Here is Clark's web site. I have been helping with his campaign with computer input, mailings and various odd jobs. Ah yes, campaigns are so glittery it is a wonder more people don't do more of it.

One more thing. I got my Curve magazine today and there is a lovely picture and great article about our own Pam Spaulding. I know she mentioned it before here but it is nice to see her in print and recognized for the important work she is doing here. The article on Pam isn't up yet on the electronic version but I am sure it will be there soon.


Can't stop!

[I can't stop!.]

OOOOH, I'm gonna tell momma!

Here's an update on the Republican Vietnamese immigrant who is running against Democratic incumbent Loretta Sanchez in Orange county, California. You may recall that he has been accused of sending out intimidating letters to voters with Latino last names, um, like me. The letters, written in Spanish, say that they could be arrested if they try to vote.

The California Attorney General is in the house and is going through his office, computer, files and garbage looking for evidence that the candidate was responsible for this incredibly moronic letter. What, did he think my folks wouldn't say anything? We are really big gossips and somebody tries to mess with us like that, we'll all be talking crap about it. He is not going to last the weekend after the Rethugs in Orange county disowned him. No, really, they disowned him.

Too bad, sucka. This is what you get for not playing nice. Now take your Barbies and go home.


Bitch Fight!

[Miss Wild Thing.] I see a major league bitch fight coming up in DC soon. Not the Congressional elections although I am feeling as though the asthma attack of the last 6 years is finally endng. No, this one involves Senator Tom Coburn and Paul Kawata, E.D of the National Minority Council (NMAC).

According to the Blade, Senator Coburn wants to know why the annual conference that NMAC puts on, the US Conference on AIDS, spends so much money for this conference. And why did Paul K get a giant suite looking over Miami Beach, complete with a baby grand piano and whirlpool bathtub.

Please, the list is long why the hotel would have given him a suite like that. Apparently the Senator is not familiar with this type of quid pro quo - bring in a ton of guests and you get free luxury rooms. Isn't he is a Republican, and familiar with golf trips to St. Andrews golf course in Scotland, the most prestigious course in the world? Or wait, how about trading contracts for money to buy antiques? How about bribery in his party for which at least two members are going to or are in jail. Noooo, the government needs to spend time investigating why Paul Kawata had a baby grand piano and a view of the ocean.

Yeah well maybe the Dems can let him have the same basement room we were forced to use for hearings this year. In the meantime, people are still dying of AIDS.


Kibbles and bits

Miss Wild Thing again.] Blogspot sucks today so my apologies for the duplicate blizzards. Also, in order to get ont this page, I had to create a fake blog so my real blog address is the one up here. I hope some of you will stop by some time.

In the meantime, I want to point you to an only in San Francisco moment. My buddy, Bevan Dufty, who is on the SF Board of Supervisors and represents the Castro, recently had a child with a lesbian friend of his. A local newscaster thought that was just awful. Needless to say, this cause a major blow up in the media for the newscaster saying what his his inner voice was thinking. "I don't like non-traditional families." What? In San Francisco of all places you would say something so monumentally stupid and then wonder why your job was at risk?

Here's the whole story from the SF Chronicle and the Bay Area Reporter.


And in another hit from the BAR, Jim McGreevey was in town last week for a standing room only crowd to discuss his book. Boy, talk about a tough audience. He was peppered with all kinds of questions about his coming out, his lies to his wife and daughter, his continued privilege after coming out. Not what he had imagined, I'm sure, going to the Castro. Maybe he got to do a little shopping at All American Boy to make up for the bad afternoon. Came home with a tight little tank top with matching undies. EEWW, now I have to wash my brain out with soap.


A blizzard

[Miss Wild Thing here again.]

In perusing the Washington Blade, I saw what looked like a hopeful article about the homosexual agenda post-November 7. Barney Frank would become chairman of the Financial Services Committee among other changes in the forecast. Barney is now the ranking Democrat on that committee so he would become the chair.

However, while reading the article I couldn't help but notice the lack of diversity among the people interviewed. All white, almost all men with the one exception, HRC's straight woman.

So what about the rest of us? Is my hope for the future included in those discussions and plans? How about addressing all those gay bashings of African American and Latino men in New York? How about immigration legislation that doesn't make immigrants into the identified problem of the day? And could we deal with some lesbian health issues?

As long as the landscape remains blindingly white, there is continually a message of who is in charge and who gets to make the decisions. That is why I am eternally grateful for Pam opening up this space for more people of color to be able to make our observations, together. We are just the messengers, expressing sentiment we have heard and shared for decades.

I must give a shout out, too, to my brother Andres Duque in Nueva York for his help in the blogoshpere and continual good mood to my raving lunacy. You can find him here.

I feel like we all want social justice in our lifetimes, we just get there on different paths.


John McCain Swings Both Ways


[Terrance here, from The Republic of T.]


Ladies and Gentlmen, the Maverick on gay marriage.




That's just a clip, but there's more on the full video from Hardball, including this quote.


"On the issue of the gay marriage, I believe if people want to have private ceremonies that's fine. I do not believe that gay marriage should be legal."


Thus the wannabe presidential candidate tries to have it both ways on gay marriage, coming across as anti-gay but not anti-gay at the same time.


John, you fucking idiot. You just don't get it, do you?



Gay people have been "having ceremonies" since there have been gay people. (In other words, forever.) There's nothing stopping us from "having ceremonies." There are even churches that will welcome us and clergy who will happily officiate. (And some of those clergy are gay too.) Fortunately, nobody is trying to bad churches and clergy from hosting or officiating at same-sex weddings. (Yet.) So, that's not the problem. (Yet.)


The problem is that those ceremonies have no meaning beyond the wedded couples and the people attending in support of their unions. Outside of that, they carry no weight in the courtroom, or the hospital room, or in any number of areas in American life where a marriage certificate makes a huge amount of difference. At the risk of repeating myself, met me remind you of some examples of what a walk down the aisle doesn't get us, and how that plays out in real life.


It isn't about having a ceremony, John. And, despite your dismissive comments about "if you want to call it that" we're not fucking playing house, John. We're making commitments to one another, and building lives and families together. The question is, are we "real" families or not, and do we get treated like "real" families? Or is the distinction now between "nonfamilies and "state sanctioned families"? The sad part, John, is that you're trying to have it both ways — coming across as a "nice guy" who's not anti-gay while at the same time not pissing off your friends at Liberty University and Bob Jones University — but you fail miserably because even your pseudo attempt at least appearing not to be anti-gay falls on its face. It's not about whether we get to walk down the aisle or not John. It's about whether we have the same rights and protections as other families after that walk.


Actually, John, your remark reminded me of an interview I saw years ago when some sweet little old lady was asked about a law prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. I guess she wanted to preserve her image as a sweet old lady when she said of the proposed law, "Oh, I'm against discrimination. I just don't think we need a law against it. It's a nice sentiment, but even then I knew the reality was that in the absence of a law there was no way to prevent discrimination, no possible penalty for those who did the discriminating, and no legal remedies or recourse for those who were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation to fight it.


In her mind, that little old lady got to have it both ways by personally opposing discrimination, but at the same time supporting it by supporting a status quo that at best took a "do nothing" approach to anti-gay discrimination that left people no better off. But she got to feel good about herself, and remain a sweet old lady.


I guess you feel good about yourself too, John. You're still an SOB too. And by that I don't mean "Sweet Ol' Boy."



Why I heart Patti Smith

[Nancy in NYC here: the true insomniac's blogger of choice.]

From the New York Observer:

“Is this a funeral for punk rock?” a reporter asked Patti Smith. She was conducting a kind of press-conference-slash-sound-check from the stage of CBGB & OMFUG Sunday night. It was the club’s last night.

“That is too much of a fuckin’ stupid question to even answer,” said Ms. Smith.


Down and Dirty in South Dakota

[Nancy in NYC here. I figured that with Jay covering the evening, I would take care of all you truly late-night folks just logging in after watching the Mets/Cards game.]

Things sure are getting ugly in SD. The hot item at the polls there this November is a ballot measure on Referred Law 6, that draconian anti-abortion bill that was passed by the SD legislature soon after Alito took his seat on the Supreme Court. It bans all abortion in SD except for cases where a doctor can prove that a woman’s life is at risk. (More about why that isn’t really very comforting in just a second.)

If South Dakotans vote “yes” on 6, the measure will go into effect as law, at which point the wingers are hoping it will be contested in court, make it up to the Supremes, and overturn Roe. v Wade. It they vote no, SD will continue to implement the pre-HB 1215 law in place: in theory, it allows a pregnant woman to obtain an abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, though in this case it does so in a state where so few doctors perform abortions that Planned Parenthood flies someone in from Minnesota once a month.

It’s no real surprise that the Vote Yes for Life campaign has been up to Lee Atwater-style dirty tricks all this past week. After all, one of their leaders is Leslee Unruh, a a longtime anti-choice, pro-abstinence activist. Her accomplishements, Cristina Page reminds us, include having started a "crisis pregnancy center" in Sioux Falls, S.D., “about which there were so many complaints that the governor had her investigated. Unruh pleaded no contest to unlicensed adoption and foster care practices as part of a plea bargain in which 19 charges, including four felonies, were dropped. The charges resulted from Unruh's promises to pay teenagers if they remained pregnant so she could put their babies up for adoption.”

Just last week Vote Yes for Life released a honey of an ad called “South Dakota Physicians Tell the Truth About Referred Law 6” that features 9 white-coated men and women who disperse misinformation like “Science now proves that life begins at conception” and “Ninety-six percent of all abortions performed in South Dakota are for birth control.” But the real kicker comes from a guy named Dr. Mark A. Rector, who tells the complete lie that “Referred law 6 does provide exceptions for a woman’s life and health.”

Thanks to the blogosphere, we now know that Rector turns out to be Unruh’s son-in-law (who else would risk a lawsuit like that?), and that 3 of the 9 “South Dakota physicians” who are “telling the truth about referred law 6” aren't licensed in SD (hat tip to an anonymous Feministing reader).

As Ann at Feministing notes, the good news is that an article in yesterday's Rapid City Journal calls the Vote Yes for Life liars on their bullshit. Pressed to explain the ad’s claims, Dr. Don Oliver, a Rapid City pediatrician who appears in the advertisement, is forced to offer the tortured logic that “the law would protect women’s health by preventing the physical and long-term emotional damage caused by abortion.”

But when some brave soul pressed on and asked if Referred Law 6 would allow a pregnant woman with serious health problems who wasn’t in immediate danger of dying to obtain an intentional abortion:

Oliver wouldn’t answer directly. “I’m not an obstetrician,” he said. “I can’t address specific medical conditions, other than to say they’re extremely rare … exceedingly rare.” When asked the same question again, Oliver said: “I’m not going to get backed into a corner for something that hardly even exists.”


Of course, abortions for health reasons are not rare at all. The Guttmacher Institute, which is well known for doing real research with real data, one in 14 abortions is sought for health reasons. Unfortunately, the number of hospitals that will refuse a health-related abortion to a woman is growing (nearly 20 percent of hospital beds are in facilities with religious affiliations).

These statistics from an excellent recent article from the July 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal that real doctors read and write for, and it gives us a glimpse of the kind of treatment South Dakota’s women can expect from the Dr. Olivers of the world if their fellow citizens do indeed vote “yes for life” on referred law 6.

In 1998, the Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport refused to provide an abortion for Michelle Lee, a woman with cardiomyopathy who was on the waiting list for a heart transplant, despite her cardiologist's warning that the pregnancy might kill her. Hospital policy dictated that to qualify for an abortion, a woman's risk of dying had to be greater than 50 percent if her pregnancy was carried to term; a committee of physicians ruled that Lee did not meet this criterion. Since her cardiomyopathy made an outpatient abortion too dangerous, she traveled 100 miles to Texas by ambulance to have her pregnancy terminated.


I betcha that Dr. Oliver—he is a doctor, right?—is well acquainted with these facts. But who cares if you lie and kill women for the unborn, right?

But, as Ann also notes, per the web site of the pro-choice South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, the dirty tricks just keep coming.

* Vote Yes campaign operatives are destroying literature from candidates that don’t agree with the abortion ban and replacing it with their own literature (Yankton)

* Abortion ban supporters are misdirecting voters to a bogus website called www.sdhealthyfamilies.net that says ‘We Support the Abortion Ban!’ in the hopes of confusing people with the Campaign for Healthy Families REAL website, www.sdhealthyfamilies.org.

* Vote Yes volunteers have been blocking traffic in several church parking lots and continuing to distribute literature after church leaders asked them to leave (Rapid City)

* Vote Yes signs have been placed on people’s property without their permission or illegally on government property (Sioux Falls)


And the bad news may get even worse. There’s a rumor going around that the very same Rapid city Journal that calls the Vote Yes for Life people out today has, per Clean Cut Kid, accepted a deal to send out pre-election newspapers in “yes on 6” wrappers:

Oh, if only Stephanie McMillan had the energy to draw one of her brilliant cartoons every time some asshat opened his mouth in South Dakota.


I knew I was gay when.....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

(Jay Lassiter, guest barista at the Blend)

Back in highschool, I was a ballkid for the pro tennis tour stop in Washington D.C., near my childhood home. I got a chance to be on court with the brightest lights of the tennis constellation, including Hall of Famers Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles anong others.

I pretty much knew I was gay when I saw Chris Evert's panties, and it did nothing for me. But tennis skirts are very short. And when you're down on the court with the players, and they're bending and lunging, you can't help but get a panty shot or ten. I've seen some pretty famous panties.

The name of the tournament was Virginia Slims of Washington. Thinking back, the idea having a cigarette maker sponsoring sports seems crazy. But it was a lot less politically correct back then and frankly I never saw the irony.

The players did have a canned answer for the press if asked about the obvious contradiction between a smoker and a tennis champion. According to Martina's autobiography the players responded, "I don't smoke. But if I did, I'd smoke Virginia Slims." Nowadays the tour's title sponsor is Sony, which doesn't have the same P.R. issues as a tobacco company.

Anyway, the tournament came around each February, and it was a huge thrill to take part. Growing up in a military community in Southern Maryland, I was starved for an urban fix, and hanging out in Washington (an hour away from where I lived) was fun and exhilirating. Anyone who remembers their first time in the big city, knows what I'm talking about.

As I write this, the memories are flooding back, but one stands out. One year, a player named Natalia Zvereva asked if I knew how to find Tower Records, which was a few blocks from the event. I ended up walking over her over, and we chit chatted along the way. I don't speak Russian, and her English was dodgy at the time. When we got to the record store, she thanked me and I wished her luck in her next match, at which point we went our separate ways. Needless to say I was buzzing.

I went over to the "listening station" to check out the (latest) 1980's hits and was jamming out, when all the sudden someone tapped me on my soldier. I turned took off my headphones and turned around to find two burley, mustaschioed men wearing black overcoast and dour expressions. They looked really out of place. And really pissed.

"What did she say to you?" one demanded in a Russian accent, clearly refering to my chat and walk with Ms. Zvereva. Keep in mind this was the 1980's and the Cold War was still in full swing. Natalia was from the USSR, and the guys accosting me were her "minders." I was convinced they were KGB agents.

I was still young and fearless at this point, and I simply told them "she asked for directions" and went back to listening to my Depeche Mode, and that was that. Thinking back, it seems a little creepy. Fact is, the tournament I was ballboy'ing was at George Washington University, just a few blocks from the Soviet Embassy. There were agents and spies trolling all over in that neighborhood.

Such was the life of a teenaged ballboy: fun, rich glamourous people, geopolitical intrigue, free Reebok from head to toe, a week off from school, a chance to flirt with cute GWU guys, I could go on and on! Anyway, thanks to Mom for sending me the badge from the 1990 tournament which got me thinking back. She found the badge while cleaning out her attic.

So like I said, when I was unmoved by Chrissie's panty shots, it was clear to me that I was queer. Did you have a similar epifany when you knew what team you'd be batting for? Tell us about it!

For more about Natalia Zvereva and her dramatic struggle with Soviet system, check out this article.


Virginia is for (heterosexual) lovers (who smoke)

(Jay Lassiter, guest blogger)

Surely by now ya'll know all about the GOP masterplan to get out the vote by putting one referendum or another with the word "Gay" on the ballot. Think back to Ohio 2004 where Bush eeked out a narrow victory over Kerry thanks much to the fundies flocking to the polls to vote to relegate gays and lesbians to the back of the (marriage) bus.

Sooner or later the republicans will run out of states to pull this scheme, but for now there are still some places where voters will choose whether to ammend their state's constitution to ban gays from marriage. Virginia is one such state in the current election cycle and the state's attorney general Bob McDonnell and Pat Roberton are working like hell (and in cahoots) to ban gay marriage in Virginia.

One progressive Virginia delegate, Adam Ebbin, is crying foul:
It is disappointing that Attorney General McDonnell continues to use the imprimatur of his office to mislead Virginia voters regarding the scope and consequences of the proposed amendment to Virginia's Constitution. Three former Virginia Attorneys General and more than 150 attorneys and legal scholars signed a legal memorandum that warns of unintended consequences from this proposed amendment (which) would also constitutionally bar the establishment of civil unions for unmarried couples, which a majority of Virginians favor. Including a denial of rights to an entire class of people would undermine the original meaning of the Virginia Bill of Rights and add discrimination to our most fundamental governing document."
Delegate Ebbin was speaking on the heels of McDonnell's scheduled to visit Pat Robertson's Regent University yesterday to discuss "Marriage and the Commonwealth." McDonnell was the recipient of more than $55,000 in contributions from Rev. Pat Robertson in his 2005 campaign for Attorney General and is a graduate of Regent University Law School.

All this nincompoopery aside, the polls suggest that this ballot initiative is damn close. yesterday's Washington Post front page describes the polling on- this question as a statistical toss-up.

And while it's still considered a long shot for the gays to triumph on election day, the pulse of Virginia may be changing. WaPo:
The poll also found that Virginians are virtually split over whether gay couples should be able to form civil unions, which would give them health insurance, inheritance benefits and other legal rights of married couples. The poll found that 48 percent believe gay couples should be allowed to engage in civil unions and 47 percent do not.
So maybe the policy makers and religious leaders in Virginia are still in the dark ages, the body politic of the commonwealth seems more enlightened.

Anyone out there from Virginia or another state (Wisconsin, etc.) with a similar ballot question this election cycle? What's the word from your persective?


A very gay distraction from the midterm election

(jay lassiter, guest blogger)

Howdy everyone, and greetings from the Garden State where we're quivering with anticipation awaiting the state Supreme Court ruling on Gay Marriage.

This year's session is winding down. Fast. In fact, on Oct 26th our esteemed Chief Justice, the Honorable Doborah T. Poritz turns seventy. Judges here in the Garden State retire at 70. So sometime between now and, ummm, Tuesday all the cases in the hopper will be decided. This includes the Gay Marriage ruling. Hard to believe that after all this time waitin' and wonderin' the decision is upon us any minute now. You've been warned.

Arguments were heard back in February. (I was there, read here)

It's also hard to believe that gays like me may have the right to marry at any time. Or maybe not, who knows. Living in sin is cool too, so long as it's a choice. All I know is this: one way or another, we'll know soon.

Live in Jersey or closeby? For the whirlwind of events surrounding the ruling, check out Garden State Equality's website!

So fellow Blenders, what's your prediction for the ruling?


A Nifty Way to Avoid a Texas Execution

Just kill yourself.
A [Texas] death-row inmate slit his own throat with a makeshift knife early Thursday, committing suicide about 15 hours before he was scheduled to be executed, a prison official said.

As an opponent of capital punishment, I say bravo for his success at circumventing the system. Ironically, his appeal was still pending before the US Supreme Court. Knowing the conservative tilt of the court, I'd say he made the correct choice.


(guest posted by konagod. Just slipping another one in before the afternoon bloggers arrive!)


MLK Being Cast as a Rupublican in Ads

(guest posted by konagod)

Just when you think you've seen every distasteful dirty trick imaginable in an effort to influence voters, here's a real gem.

The National Black Republican Association, a conservative group, has been running ads in DC, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania claiming that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a Republican.
Frances Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association, said "They've called me Aunt Jemima, a sellout, a traitor to my race."

"I absolutely do not regret the ads," said Rice, 62, a native of Atlanta, King's hometown. He "absolutely was a Republican," she insisted. "We were all Republicans in those days. The Democrats were training fire hoses on us, siccing dogs on us."

Obviously, the Republican Party has changed significantly in the past 40 years, as has the Democratic Party. Tying King to the present-day Republican Party to influence black voters is sickening.
"To suggest that Martin could identify with a party that affirms preemptive, predatory war, and whose religious partners hint that God affirms war and favors the rich at the expense of the poor, is to revile Martin," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which the slain civil rights leader helped establish.

The spot, which ran for a time in the District, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania, will soon run again in those areas, as well as in Miami, Orlando and Tampa, according to Rice.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R), who is running for the U.S. Senate, denounced the King ad, and Donald E. Scoggins, president of Republicans for Black Empowerment and a former member of the association, said it was a terrible idea.

Black Republicans railed against the radio ads, with the sharpest criticism coming from former members of the black Republican association.

"The vast majority of black Republicans I know would not have approved of the ad," Scoggins said.

Dissatisfaction within the ranks of the National Republican Association has been brewing for awhile. Several members have resigned since last year after disagreements with Frances Rice, notably her support for President Bush in the Katrina aftermath.

What's with her blind allegiance?


Priest Admits Early "Relationship" with Foley

(guest posted by konagod)

Here we go. Rev. Anthony Mercieca, now living in Italy, was interviewed by the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, and spoke of his intimate two-year relationship with Mark Foley -- at the time an altar boy at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lake Worth, Florida.

Excerpts from a WaPo article:
Mercieca told the newspaper that he took overnight trips with Foley, skinny-dipped and sat naked in a sauna with him and massaged Foley while the youth was undressed, the article says. Foley was 12 or 13 at the time.

The priest told the newspaper that he believed there was one explicitly sexual encounter with Foley, during an overnight trip when Mercieca was in what he described as a drug-induced stupor.

"I have to confess, I was going through a nervous breakdown," he is quoted as saying. "I was taking pills -- tranquilizers. I used to take them all the time. They affected my mind a little bit."
Good Lord. Just a "little bit?" I thought tranquilizers were meant to calm you down.

There are more juicy tidbits from the Herald-Tribune article:

Mercieca said he taught Foley "some wrong things" related to sex, though he wouldn't specify what he meant. He also said they were naked together in a sauna twice.

Mercieca said that, at the time, he considered his relationship with Foley innocent. But he now says he could see how his actions could be labeled inappropriate.

Aww, come on. "Innocent?" Does he seriously expect anyone to (ahem) swallow that?

hat tip to Paul for the link to the Herald-Tribune article.


Another Potential Election Debacle Looms

Good morning! Konagod here, guest posting from Austin, Texas...

What a surprise.

Aside from some new voting machines in one California county with a faulty audio program for the hearing impared only working in Vietnamese, there are a host of other problems lurking for American voters on November 7.

From the New York Times:
In Maryland, Mississippi and Pennsylvania, a shortage of technicians has vendors for new machines soliciting applications for technical support workers on job Web sites like monster.com.

Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania are among the states considered most likely to experience difficulties, according to voting experts who have been tracking the technology and other election changes.

Election officials in many of the states are struggling with delays in the delivery of machines before the election as old-fashioned lever and punch-card machines are phased out. A chronic shortage of poll workers, many of them retirees uncomfortable with new technology, has worsened matters.

Tova Wang, who studies elections for the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan research group, said: “We also have the greatest potential for problems in more places next month than in any voting season before.”

The article also cites Boone County, Missouri where 600 poll workers have not yet been trained. To compound the problem, the software coding to print training manuals has yet to be provided.

Newly enacted and very questionable voter identification laws in several states pose a potential problem as well.
“We’re expecting arguments at the polls in these states that will slow everything down and probably cause large numbers of legitimate voters to be turned away or to be forced to vote on provisional ballots,” said Barbara Burt, an elections reform director for Common Cause.

Meanwhile, votes in about half of the 45 most competitive Congressional races, including contests in Florida, Georgia and Indiana, will be cast on electronic machines that provide no independent means of verification.

In North Carolina, Wake County, which includes Raleigh, is expecting 350,000 voters on election day, a huge increase from the 30,000 voters in the May primary. Cherie Poucher, elections director for the county expressed concern over the scan machines in use. Twelve new machines had to be replaced during the primary due to a failure to boot up.

Not all officials are pessimistic and let's home they are correct. After the presidential election issues in 2000 and 2004, each being decided by one state, one would hope the public mood will not tolerate widespread snafus again. We shall soon see.

For map and chart geeks such as myself, follow the link to a nifty map showing counties which have had voting equipment changes since 2000.

Crossposted at konagod


Now serving the next Blend customer is...

...a nice, varied assortment of talented folks who volunteered to guest post here at the Blend while I am out of town starting tomorrow AM.

I'll return to the coffeehouse next Thursday.

Serving up fresh Blend until that time:

Thurs 10/19
AM: Konagod
PM: Nancy Goldstein
PM: Jay Lassiter (Lassiter Space)

Fri 10/20
AM: Terrance Heath (Republic of T.)
PM: Gloria Nieto (Miss Wild Thing)

Sat 10/21
AM: Jill Cozzi (Brilliant at Breakfast)
PM: Autumn Sandeen (Ex-Gay Watch)

Sun 10/22
AM: Mobeen Shirazi (Julien's List)
PM: Callie Leousis (Red State Exile)

Mon 10/23
AM: Kathy McMullen (Birmingham Blues)
PM: Dark Wraith (Dark Wraith Forums)

Tues 10/24
AM: Daimeon Pilcher (Get the Skinny)
PM: Katie McKy (Holly Capote)

Wed 10/25
AM: Paul Barwick (Paul's Rants)
PM: Fritz Liess (On the Fritz)

***

Many thanks in advance to the folks above!

If all goes well, I may try this experiment again during the holidays, so other Blenders may get a shot if you drop me a line.

In the AM I am off to NYC to visit family and to attend my 25th HS reunion on Saturday (Stuyvesant HS), and a business trip in exciting Parsippany, NJ. Not feeling much like traveling, given Tonka's passing, but off I go.

It's unlikely that I'll be online until late Sunday, so anyone expecting an email response is SOL. Apologies.


So. Baptist Theological Seminary President: A person can't be Christian and Transgender

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Moher has spoken on behalf of God regarding gender confusion (one of the conservative religious organizations watchwords for transgender people):
Christians must look to persons struggling with what the therapeutic community now calls "gender dysphoria" with genuine compassion. This has to be an excruciating struggle. Nevertheless, we cannot accept the assumptions that support this concept of gender, sex, and the self. These assumptions are antithetical to the biblical worldview, and can only be explained by a deep rejection of God's gift of sex and gender -- a gift that is for His glory and for our good.
Per Timothy Kincaid (a contributing author to the Ex-Gay Watch) in a recent The Advocate article:
...the most damaging and difficult lie of all is that you cannot be gay and Christian.
I believe it's also a damaging and difficult lie to say that one cannot be transgender and Christian.

--
Autumn Sandeen is the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) Secretary, a Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego Planning Group Member, and is a contributing author for the Ex-Gay Watch.


Rainbow bridge time

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



What horrible news to report tonight; I'm heartsick -- and about to go out of town for six days. Sigh.

Tonka had an gastrointestinal obstruction, another tumor that had progressed quickly (he was diagnosed with lymphoma a short time ago). We took him to the emergency vet, and we could have put him on prednisone, which would only prolong the inevitable. We chose to let him go, and held him as the life slipped from him; he drifted off to the Rainbow Bridge.


Tonka
1996-2006

We had about a year and a half with the Big Boy; he was a wonderful Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue. There's nothing more gratifying than bringing an adult dog into your life. So many end up in shelters and are never adopted, yet they can provide so much love and affection if given the chance. He fit right in with Bailey and Chloe.



While we know he's gone, Bailey the alpha mom dog doesn't understand why Tonka didn't come home. She was so down for weeks when Red, our last Ridgeback, passed away, so she needs some TLC.


The homo agenda's latest tool of conquest: chambers of commerce

"The vast majority of people involved in homosexuality are projected by many studies to be people that are employed sporadically, because of their lifestyle. They are more unstable."
-- Linda Harvey of Mission[ary Position] America, on the "myth" of gay economic power. She cites no studies to prove her point.
It appears that gay chambers of commerce are the latest secret weapon of The Homosexual Agenda. According to this article, there are 45 gay chambers out there, and for the bible-beaters, one is too many.
Cleveland resident Charles Giunta said such gay chambers are part of homosexual activists' drive for special status under the law.

"That way," he said, "they can access federal funding, state funding, local funding as a behavior-based minority."
David Miller, the VP of public policy at Citizens for Community Values bleats away as well, worried that this is part of the plan to mainstream the homo community .
"It's another opportunity to desensitize Americans, first of all to the destructive nature of same-sex behavior," he explained. "It is a very effective way for the homosexual community to normalize same-sex behavior and to help the public put it on the same par as heterosexuality."
Hat tip, Scott.


Open thread

Dear Leader has parachuted into the Tar Heel state to raise money today-- but he won't appear with any Republicans here who are running for office. Hmmm. Guess they were all too busy to get face time with the President. Hey, why isn't Chimpy doing a photo op with the black Jesse Helms, Vermin Vernon Robinson?

Look at how interested these local folks are at his appearance at a BBQ joint in Greensboro.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Actual caption: President Bush, center, stops to talk with patrons at Shamey's barbecue restaurant before having lunch with community leaders, not pictured, in Greensboro, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


The General asks: 'What's the matter with Idaho?'

And he sends a letter to "Radical" Russ's favorite chickadee, Brandi Swindell, founder of Generation Life and co-chair, Keep the Commandments Coalition of Idaho. He brings up Senator Larry Craig as only Jesus' General can:
And then there are the reports that Sen. Larry Craig is homosexual. I don't believe a word of it. Sure, maybe it's true that some guy put his little soldier into the senator's mouth a couple of times in train station restrooms, but that doesn't mean Craig's a homosexual.

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Being a woman, you might not know this, but that kind of thing happens all of the time to good, Godly, heterosexual men, sometimes as often as four or five times a week. You'll be crawling on the restroom floor, looking for something you dropped when you had your pants down and, bam, somebody will accidentally stick his little soldier into your mouth. Of course, you'll naturally mistake it for a cigar and puff on it for awhile before it starts to taste funny, but it's all very innocent. I'm sure that's what happened to Sen. Craig.
Oh, I'm laughing so hard it hurts...


More fundies go ape over Condi's affirmation of AIDS coordinator's partner

"I think it's a tragedy to have a sodomite living with another man and being the AIDS coordinator, because we all know that if we do away with sodomy we'd almost eradicate AIDS."
-- Pastor Wiley Drake, second VP of the Southern Baptist Convention
It's like the dam broke, and the bible beaters are riding the wave, trying to drown each other out over Condi's remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Dr. Mark Dybul as the Global AIDS coordinator, acknowledging his partner and mother-in-law (see my earlier post for Freeper commentary). AgapePress has collected some more wailling about this.
Drake is convinced that the GOP is alienating evangelical Christians, the party's core support group, by making overtures intended to attract homosexual voters.

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"Even as second vice president, I can't speak for the [Southern Baptist] Convention," the long-time Baptist concedes. "But I certainly ... believe most Baptists would be like me; they would be appalled at what Condoleezza Rice has done, and in general [with] what the Republican Party is doing with things like Log Cabin Republicans and other sodomites [in] trying to get their vote."
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins sees a conspiracy afoot -- an intentional slight against evangelical bigots -- ya think?
One Capitol Hill observer is suggesting that Secretary Rice's comment can be assumed to be intentional because, as he puts it, "the U.S. State Department is in the business of diplomacy and avoiding faux pas." And in the "world of protocol," says Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, "verbal miscues are anathema."

"The question arises," states Perkins, "what guidelines to the State Department and the White House follow? Neither federal law (the Defense of Marriage Act) nor District of Columbia law recognizes a marriage between Dr. Dybul and his partner." That said, notes Perkins, Secretary Rice's comment is not only "morally provocative" but also "linguistically improper."
WingNutDaily rounds up more seething commentary in its piece, "Rice's approving 'gay' remarks rankle GOP base."
The Foley scandal has highlighted the number of homosexual staffers working for Republican lawmakers, USA Today noted, causing some family advocates to wonder if this influence has anything to do with the party's lack of action on conservative social issues.

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins framed the question this way: "Has the social agenda of the GOP been stalled by homosexual members or staffers?"

Dybul is the nation's third openly homosexual ambassador, Agape Press noted, pointing out that in all three cases the homosexual partners held the Bible on which the oath of office was taken.
As I said above, I've already trolled through Freeperland's swamp, but these folks can't stop jawboning about it. There have been four different threads of hand-wringing. I couldn't resist putting in a few more...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Who's saying they shouldn't be treated with respect? But talking about "mother in laws" is more than respect, it's kowtowing.

Suppose you knew someone with a bestiality fetish. Naturally such a person deserves the respect that every human being is due. But his mental illness/dysfunction is not respectable. The same thing goes for any sexual deviant. Sounds like Rice and Mrs Bush are going out of their way to be supportive of the "gay" agenda, and this does not go over well with actual conservatives.

It's time for a new American Nationalist Party, where we can focus on securing the rights of european americans and Christians.

[And I think we've found an "ex-gay Freeper...]

It is political activist "gays" that gave turned what should be a private sexual matter into a political issue by:

1. stopping the psychiatric treatment of homosexuality, convincing people that it is not a problem of psychological development (the best definition possible), that it cannot be treated, thereby leading thousands of young men to their deaths

2. spreading the ridiculous falsehood that homosexuality is "biological" or "genetic"

3. forcing the agenda of "gay" marriage unto the public.

This is an issue that is going to affect the very foundation of our society. Soon "gay" marriage will become a reality putting the final nail in the coffin of the american family (if everything is marriage then nothing is marriage); thousands of young people are going to die of AIDS because they believe they have no choice but to be "gay"; it is not trivial.

Like it or not it is a HISTORICAL FACT that the "Gay" population was the breeding ground for the spread of AIDS in this country. And homosexual sex is still the most common way by which the virus is spread in the United States.

Conservatives should be concerned about fostering a society that upholds traditional values. Who else will speak up for Western Civilization and the family? The Mainstream Media?

I have seen the "Gay" life more up close and personal than you ever will. Fortunately, I got out of it with my health intact. We need more people like Little Jeremiah; it's people like Little Jeremiah who were willing to speak the truth who saved my life.


MN cabbies seek religious exemption to discriminate against customers

[UPDATE: received an email with more insanity -- a bus driver refused to drive a bus with an ad for a gay paper on it. Scroll to the end of the post for more.]

This makes me think back to the good old days, the quaint "hailing a cab while black" phenomenon. Now people in the Twin Cities have to worry whether their cabbie will be allowed to refuse service based on gender identity or orientation, for instance, because it conflicts with the driver's religious beliefs.

This is insanity. The first example is the refusal to transport someone carrying a bottle of wine. (Star Tribune):
But when the driver spots your wine, he shakes his head emphatically. The Qur'an prohibits him from accepting passengers with alcohol, he tells you. OK, so you'll take the next cab. But the next driver waves you off, and the next.

Scenes like this have played out hundreds of times at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport over the last few years. About three-fourths of the 900 taxi drivers at the airport are Somali, many of them Muslim. In September, the Star Tribune reported that one flight attendant had been refused by five drivers, because she had wine in her suitcase.
How to solve this problem? Those who refuse a fare have to go to the back of the cab line, resulting in a long wait for an "acceptable" fare. A proposal by the Metropolitan Airports Commission to provide color-coded lights on cab roofs to indicate whether they would accept people with alcohol was proposed, but that didn't fly with the public.

What has already come to pass in other cities is that cabbies now use the excuse of religious beliefs to justify rejecting a potential fare for all sorts of reasons.
Muslim cab drivers elsewhere, for example, have refused to transport blind customers with seeing-eye dogs, which they say their religion considers unclean. On Oct. 6, the Daily Mail of London reported that two cab drivers had been fined for rejecting blind customers. In Melbourne, Australia, "at least 20 dog-aided blind people have lodged discrimination complaints" after similarly being refused service, the Herald Sun reported.

In Minneapolis, Muslim taxi drivers have repeatedly refused to transport Paula Hare, who is transgendered, KMSP-TV, Channel 9, reported this month.
You can see where this is going, right? Any fundamentalist Christian cabbie could also cite similar justifications for refusing service to a "group" it deems objectionable to their beliefs as well. In this case the concern is about the state endorsing accommodation that is discriminatory.
Government sanction of a two-tiered cab system would amount to an acknowledgement that Shari'a, or Islamic law, is relevant to a routine commercial transaction in the Twin Cities. The MAC, a government agency, would be officially approving a signal that differentiates those who follow Islamic law from those who don't.

And what if Muslim drivers demand the right not to transport women wearing short skirts or tank tops, or unmarried couples? After taxis, why not buses, trains and planes? Eventually, in some respects, our society could be divided along religious lines.
I hate to break it to the Star Tribune's Katherine Kersten, but we already are divided. "Christian" pharmacists in some parts of the country are allowed to refuse filling a prescription if they object on religious principles to the use of the drug.

These kinds of battles can only escalate if we don't nip it in the bud.

***

UPDATE: The insanity continues, again from this AM's Star-Tribune (h/t Dave B.):
A city bus driver who complained about a gay-themed ad got official permission not to drive any bus that carries that ad, according to an internal memo confirmed Tuesday by Metro Transit.

Transit authorities call it a reasonable accommodation to the driver's religious beliefs.

...The ad at the center of the Metro Transit flap is for Lavender, a local magazine for a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) audience. It runs periodically on 50 city buses and carries a photo of a young man with the slogan, "Unleash Your Inner Gay."
Hat tip, Autumn.


Michael Steele's bad unreal campaign strategy

Whoever is advising Michael Steele needs to hang it up...now.

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Actual caption: Former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson proudly displays a shirt bearing the name of his brother-in-law Michael Steele, who is running for the Senate in Maryland, following his news conference in Cleveland, Ohio, October 16, 2006. Tyson is scheduled for a four-round exhibition bout in Youngstown, Ohio on October 20. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz (UNITED STATES)

I don't care if Mike Tyson is your brother-in-law, he's a flipping ear-muncher, rapist and head case. What an endorsement. And Steele even said this (don't fall off of your chair):
"Let me tell you about Mike Tyson," Steele said. "He is one of the most engaging and smartest guys I have ever had a chance to go toe to toe with in a debate."
But wait, there's more...
At a news conference at an Italian restaurant, Tyson said he would likely go just four rounds and that future stops on the tour might include bouts with women, possibly professional boxer Ann Wolfe.

...When asked if he was joking about fighting women, Tyson said, "I'm very serious."

...The man who vowed to eat Lennox Lewis' children and bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear has said he's in no mood for a comeback.
But wait, there's even more...why stop at Tyson -- Steele scored promoter Don King to campaign for him:
"Yeah, Michael Steele, y'all, the next United States senator of the great state of Maryland," King bellowed as he descended the stairs of the Republican nominee's big blue campaign bus and set foot on Pennsylvania Avenue. "He cares about Jesus."

...King, 75, served about four years in prison for manslaughter for stomping a man to death in 1966, according to news reports. In 1954, he shot another man - King said the victim was a burglar - and was acquitted.

"He is brilliant, charismatic, hardworking and totally amoral," said Thomas Hauser, author and lead writer for the boxing Web site Secondsout.


Michael Sandy's killers charged with murder

You can't take that for granted when a gay man dies at the hands of thugs. Michael Sandy was beaten and chased into an oncoming vehicle by men who used a chat room to lure Sandy to the location in Brooklyn where he was assaulted. (365gay):
John Fox, 19, and Ilya Shurov, 20, were formally indicted late Monday on second degree murder charges. They are also charged with second degree manslaughter, assault and robbery as hate crimes. The third suspect, Gary Timmins, 16 is charged with assault and robbery as hate crimes. His charges could be upgraded to include murder a police spokesperson said.

A fourth man man accused of being an accomplice is cooperating with police and reportedly led investigators to the other three.

...Police allege that Sandy arranged to meet Fox on a street corner in Sheepshead Bay. The two then drove the short distance to the beach where the other three were waiting.

When the gang began beating him Sandy bolted for the nearby Belt Parkway with his attackers in close pursuit. They caught up with him in one lane of the highway and as Sandy broke free he was struck by a car, sustaining massive injuries.

The attackers were last seen rifling through Sandy's pockets before fleeing. The car did not stop and police earlier this week appealed for the driver to come forward.
Andre Duque has pictures of the City Hall rally held yesterday (h/t Keith).

Jasmyne Cannick notices that HRC and NGLTF have failed to issue a single press release about Sandy.


Gerry Studds' partner denied federal pension

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"This is maybe a moment of education for Congress. Now they have a death in the congressional family of one of their distinguished members whose spouse is being treated differently than any of their spouses."
-- Gary Buseck, legal director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, on Gerry Studds' partner being denied benefits because of DOMA
When the first openly gay member of Congress, Gerry Studds, died on Saturday, he left behind a legal spouse, Dean Hara -- they married in Massachusetts. However, because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the federal benefits normally due to a spouse have been denied to Hara. (Wash Blade):
Hara, unlike the spouses of other members of Congress who have died, won't be receiving any portion of Studds' estimated annual $114,337 pension. The 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act blocks the federal government from recognizing the 2004 marriage between Studds and Hara.

Peter Graves, a spokesman for U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which administers the congressional pension program under federal law, said same sex partners are not recognized as spouses for any marriage related benefits.

He said Studds is the first case of its kind as far as the office could determine.

"Our office could not think of a similar situation having occurred," he said.
This is why a state-by-state proposition regarding marriage will not work.

It should be noted that anti-gay Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who was decloseted by Mike Rogers today, voted "yes" on DOMA.


Mary Cheney supports effort to fight Virginia's marriage amendment

Better late than never. Darth's daughter finally found a reason, albeit a personal one (since she lives there), to donate to The Commonwealth Coalition, which opposes the horrid amendment that will be on the ballot next month.
"We are feeling very positive about where we are, and it's very clear that the momentum continues to move in our direction," said campaign manager Claire Guthrie Gasta?aga. "We are continuing to raise money to do everything we need to do. Every informed voter is a no voter."

Mary Cheney of Great Falls, the openly gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney and author of a recently published political memoir, gave $1,000 to the coalition, the report shows.
She's clearly done a little reading since that CNN interview with Larry King where she had no clue what the laws were in her state.

Former governor Mark Warner, who recently announced that he would not run for president in 2008, donated $25,000 through his PAC.
Gastanaga said contributions from Warner and Cheney are morale boosters for the Coalition. Warner, a Democrat, gave $25,000 through his political action committee, One Virginia.

...“It’s a strong statement about the credibility of the argument lots of people have made, that this amendment goes too far,” Gastanaga said.

Ellen Qualls, a spokeswoman for Warner, said the former governor believes the proposed amendment is so broadly worded that it would interfere with the legal rights of any unmarried couple.
If she really wanted to be effective, Cheney could appear in some commercials with her partner Heather Poe to put a face on this issue in her state. This is what the citizens of the Commonwealth will vote on:
BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER 1

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."?


A hypocritical senator's closet bit the dust today

[Read the August 27, 2007 post on the Craig scandal here.]

Another senator who sleeps with men yet casts votes for legislation that discriminates against LGBT citizens has been revealed, courtesy of Mike Rogers. He reported it on The Ed Schultz Show today.

Who is it?

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Idaho's Larry Craig.

Craig on the issues:

* Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
* Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
* Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
* Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

Craig has a 0% rating in HRC's 2006 Congressional Scorecard.

Mike Rogers' sources, in multiple cities around the country, have confirmed "characteristics" of the senator that only those who have been intimate with Craig would know. Craig's office was contacted repeatedly in advance of the outing and refused to confirm or deny whether he has had same-sex intimate encounters.

[UPDATE: Of course, now that it's blowing up all over the blogosphere...more below.]

Craig's office issued a statement.
Senator Craig's office flatly rejected the claims. "The Senator says this story is absolutely ridiculous – almost laughable," said press secretary Sid Smith. "It has no basis in fact." Rogers said he has talked to three men unknown to each other who all reported in detail their sexual encounters with Craig over the last four years. The men were of legal age, Rogers said. (Audio of Rogers on the Ed Schultz show is available here.)
The Right, of course, is losing its cookies and missing the big picture, about this (who'd a thunk it?). It's not about the sexual orientation of Craig, it's the hypocrisy, stupid. The GOP and the fundamentalist Base have done nothing but play the gay demonizing card over and over, and the fact is that, at least inside the Beltway, it's a Castro district on the Hill where gays are in power as long as they keep their orientation professionally under wraps.

Craig represents a textbook case of hypocrisy. He also voted "yes" on the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It should be noted that when the first openly gay member of Congress, Gerry Studds, died on Saturday, he left behind a legal spouse, Dean Hara (they married in Massachusetts). However, because of DOMA, the federal benefits normally due to a spouse have been denied to Hara.

Glenn Greenwald has pulled a ton of righty indignation from the past over the Clenis. These are the same people braying now about "privacy" for Craig. Too f*cking bad.
.As should be painfully obvious, the issue with Larry Craig — or with pointing out the wildly promiscuous recreational-drug-aided sexual behavior of Rush Limbaugh, or Newt Gingrich's multiple, overlapping broken marriages — isn't to apply our moral standards to their private lives, but is to apply their own publicly claimed moral standards, as well as the core tactics of the GOP, to document that they live in utter contradiction to the sexual morality they relentlessly embrace for political gain…

...Watching Bush followers angrily objecting to the use of sexual behavior and homosexuality for political gain — or listening them oh-so-solemnly lament how the Good People are being driven away from politics because of the personal, invasive treatment to which they are subjected — is about as jaw-droppingly astonishing as any spectacle one can fathom. This is a political movement built upon claims of moral superiority in the sexual and private realms. It is truly difficult to express the level of contempt and scorn that is merited when the most fervent supporters of that same political movement pretend to be offended and angry when it is revealed that the lives being led by their political leaders are grossly inconsistent with the sexual and moral values they claim to monopolize.
These wingers can bleat about the Dem slime machine all they want, but they need to look in the mirror. These are the people who gladly take that call on the batphone from Uncle Karl, the master of taking out the other side using whatever means necessary to stir the Base.

This act of outing Craig is simply pointing out legislators (and enablers) who are more than willing to legislate against those who wish to live their lives openly. If they are going to play the gay card they can't run once they are caught with a stacked deck.

Shakes Sis gets it:
I would absolutely not support the public outing of a private citizen whose sexuality had no bearing on his/her ability to do his/her job, and whose job had no association with perpetuating public discrimination against the LGBT community. That covers just about every private citizen in the country. Public officials, however, are actively involved in making decisions that affect the LGBT community, and if there's a public official who consistently votes to limit their rights, but is only afforded his/her position to do so by virtue of the protection of a closet, that's a real problem.
After all, some of our fundie friends are at least intellectually consistent, calling for a "pink purge" — and even then, many know this would blow up in their faces (LA Times):
"The big-tent strategy could ultimately spell doom for the Republican Party," said Tom McClusky, chief lobbyist for the Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy group. "All a big-tent strategy seems to be doing is attracting a bunch of clowns." …A recent incident that upset social conservatives involved remarks by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. With First Lady Laura Bush looking on, Rice swore in Mark R. Dybul as U.S. global AIDS coordinator while his partner, Jason Claire, held the Bible. Claire's mother was in the audience, and Rice referred to her as Dybul's "mother-in-law."

"The Republican Party is taking pro-family conservatives for granted," said Mike Mears, executive director of the political action committee of Concerned Women for America, which promotes biblical values. "What Secretary Rice did just the other day is going to anger quite a few people."

Some social conservatives deny they are interested in removing gay staffers from the party.

"We're not calling for what I've heard referred to as a pink purge," McClusky said. "We're asking that members [of Congress] might want to reflect on who's serving them: Are they representing their boss' interest?"
Well, gee, isn't that asking them whether they should be employing those homos? And what about Craig? Should he resign? In the fringe fundie world, he would be disqualified as unfit to govern based on their "moral values." Even worse, Craig would fit into Cliff Kincaid's (of Accuracy in Media) conspiracy theory that the Homosexual Agenda is being accomplished through the GOP (Homosexual Blackmail on Capitol Hill) because of the public meltdown.

My, we are powerful.

***

Blogactive's post with video: Senator Larry Craig…. What's with the gay bashing?.

Labels:



Open thread - special reservations

Seen in New Orleans...



Porta-Potty for POTUS.

Blogwhore away and drop in good linkees...

Hat tip, Miss Wild Thing.


More pages and more charges -- and it's not Foley

"It was about other allegations and I'd like to leave it at that...Let me just say, not about Mr. Foley. It's only been allegations."
-- Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), the sole Dem on the page board about new charges involving other members of Congress and improper conduct toward teen pages
Perhaps another shoe is about to drop, or more accurately another nail is about to be hammered into the GOP coffin. (AP):
Rep. Dale Kildee, the only Democrat on the House Page Board, would not elaborate on whether the discussion involved lawmakers. He said, however, that none of the allegations discussed have been proven.

Kildee testified Monday on the Foley matter before the congressional ethics committee as it continued to investigate Republican leaders' responses to the sex scandal that has marred the party's prospects just three weeks before nationwide elections.

...Kildee has said previously, and repeated again after his testimony, that he was not informed about Foley's e-mails and instant messages to former male pages until the scandal became public in late September. Kildee is the lone Democrat on the Page Board.


Thomasville, NC City Council passes 'marriage protection' resolution 5-1

As expected, last night the wingnuts of the Thomasville City Council approved a resolution to urge our state's General Assembly to debate and pass a marriage amendment.

The NC Advocacy Coalition's Matt Hill Comer was in attendance at the meeting, and reports that five people (including Matt) stepped up during the public portion of the hearing to express their view that the resolution not pass because it promotes discrimination.

One Thomasville resident who stepped up, Barney Hill, a self-described "heterosexual Baptist," said this against the measure:
I hope it's legal for a heterosexual Baptist to be against this because I am… I speak in opposition of [the resolution]...Miss [Marie] Culbreth [City Council, Ward 2] had this one nailed: It is nothing more than a scheme to hijack the North Carolina Constitution to make a political statement about sexual preferences. I already sat through this movie one time. The resolution in front of you tonight differs in two ways from the one the County Commissioners rejected: number one, it's more long winded and number two, it doesn’t say what it really means. I can excuse verbosity, but not dishonesty.

I'm 56 years old and single for all that time. I don't want to marry a man and I don't want to marry a woman, I'm already married to a leaky roof the size of Texas... and I'd like to be married to enough money to get it fixed, but I don't look to government for my salvation. I recommend for marriage...that it be divorced from government and that it be taken out of politics...If the secular were separated from the sacred, the demagogues would have to find a new hobby horse.
Say it, brother.

Speaking in favor of the resolution was Reverend Ron Baity of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC. He has taken this little road show around the state, attempting to get other local bodies to pass measures of this type to put pressure on the state legislature. As I've said before on the Blend, NC is the only southern state not to pass a marriage amendment (they've all died in committee). But Baity soldiers on...
This Constitutional amendment that we’re talking about this evening is necessary to give the people of North Carolina an opportunity to decide on marriage. Every major issue in our country – prayer, the bible...prayer at ball games, Roe v. Wade – all of those issues have been settled and ruled upon by the Judiciary. We believe that its time that the people of this country have the opportunity to make the final decision...

We are asking the state of North Carolina to allow the people of this state the opportunity to decide what marriage is and we don’t think that's asking too much. We think that the judiciary has made too many of these decisions for too long and that its time that the General Assembly to allow the people of the state of North Carolina to make that decision. I'm amazed how often it is said we have hate speech. That is not what we have.

The truth of the matter is the Lord Jesus Christ said marriage was between one man and one woman… You can't make anything else out of that. God had an urban renewal program for Sodom and Gomorrah because they were caught up in that, but that's not the issue here this evening. The issue this evening is to allow the people of North Carolina the freedom to vote on what marriage really is and what it consists of... We believe it is time the legislators of the state of North Carolina allow the people of North Carolina the opportunity to decide what marriage is. Thank you.
When the vote was held, all of the council members (save the sole woman serving, Mrs. Maria Culbreth) voted for the measure.

Matt said that this received great coverage, including The Winston-Salem Journal and WFMY News 2.

Read more at The NC Advocacy Coalition site or Matt Hill Comer's blog.


Supreme Court won't review CA city's move against Boy Scouts

The anti-gay position of the Boy Scouts is coming home to roost, as the U.S. Supreme Court turned away a California case brought by the Berkeley Sea Scouts after the group was denied the use of a public boat slip by the city because of the nonprofit organization's policy of rejecting atheist and gay members in its ranks. (Advocate):
The leader of the Sea Scouts argued that forcing the group to pay for a berth at the marina violated the group's free speech and freedom of association rights. The U.S. high court ruled in 2000 that the Boy Scouts have the right to bar openly gay scout leaders, a decision that rested on the Scouts' First Amendment rights.

Even so, the California supreme court said in March, local governments are under no obligation to extend benefits to organizations that discriminate. Berkeley, home of free speech protests since the 1960s, adopted a nondiscrimination policy on the use of its marina in 1997 and revoked the Sea Scouts' subsidy a year later.

The Sea Scouts is a branch of the Boy Scouts that teaches sailing, carpentry, and plumbing. City officials had told the group that it could retain its berthing subsidy if it broke ties with the Boy Scouts or disavowed the policy against gays and atheists, but the Sea Scouts refused.

Eugene Evans, who leads the Sea Scouts, has been paying $500 a month out of his own pocket to berth one boat at the Berkeley Marina; the group removed two other boats because it could not afford the rent. The group has about 40 members, down from as many as 100 before the subsidy was removed.
You've got to pay to play, folks.


'Ex-gay' proponent group NARTH's schism over bigoted columns

When the ex-gay groups start melting down, everyone benefits. The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is in a lot of hot water over comments made by two prominent "professionals" in its ranks and some are calling for a re-evaluation of the purpose of the organization.

The schism has made the mainstream media, and it makes the ex-gay movement look like bogus, dangerous entity that it is. (LA Times):
One psychiatrist called for allowing schoolchildren to shame and ridicule classmates who don't act according to stereotypical gender roles. Another board member, a therapist, asserted that slaves may have been better off in chains than in "savage" Africa.

One of NARTH's scientific advisors has quit in protest, and a prominent therapist has canceled his presentation at the group's annual conference next month. Alan Chambers, who leads the nation's largest support group for "ex-gays," urged NARTH's members to "think long and hard about the mission of the organization."
Here's one of the bleatings that got the organization into trouble.
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"There is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle... Life there was savage ... and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off."
-- Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee.
Canadian psychiatrist Joseph Berger unloaded a truckload of crap that is equally mind-blowing:
The notion that a person is really someone of the opposite sex "trapped in the wrong body" is poetic stupidity. It doesn't exist in reality. A person wishing to change their external manifestations to appear to be a person of the opposite sex is someone very unhappy with being their "real" sex and/or believing in some idealized fantasy of how much better it is to be of the opposite sex.

...I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex -- but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don't interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary."

-- The wisdom of NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member Joseph Berger, M.D., who feels that society is causing gender identity confusion among children -- and the cure includes letting kids be bullied for being different.
When the sh*t hit the fan on sites like Ex Gay Watch (here and here) and Wayne Besen's Truth Wins Out, NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi not only didn't apologize (he said some of the comments by Berger and Schoenwolf "were poorly phrased"), he kept both of these NARTH members on the board. That's not going to fly.
"This puts a real spotlight on what we're dealing with…. This organization is incredibly reckless and irresponsible," said Wayne Besen, a gay-rights activist who founded a nonprofit, Truth Wins Out, to keep tabs on the ex-gay movement.

NARTH's premise that homosexuality is a disorder that can be overcome through therapy is routinely cited by activists pushing to get the "ex-gay" perspective into public schools. Besen said he hoped the controversies would slow that movement by discrediting the Encino-based organization — and its claim to take a scientific approach to homosexuality. "This is a group of people with some very peculiar, if not dangerous, views," Besen said.
Note that Daddy D and Exodus are still on board with NARTH.
The two groups that regularly stage conferences on "overcoming homosexuality" — Focus on the Family and Exodus International — have both affirmed their support for Nicolosi. But Chambers, the president of Exodus, made clear he disagreed sharply with how NARTH has handled the controversy.
Wait. What kind of non-statement is that by Chambers? He's saying he supports the president of the organization, but only the spin was bad? How could you successfully spin the bigoted, ignorant rants of Berger and Schoenewolf, Alan?

Former NARTH committee member David Blakeslee, resigned in protest; and Warren Throckmorton pulled out of NARTH's annual conference, further diminishing the organization. Tiny violin anyone?


Radar: America's 10 Dumbest Members of Congress

Ah...I'm sure you can guess some of these, both parties got skewered -- and you won't like all of the selections. I included some colorful snippets.
10. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)

9. Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)

8. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) Casting his myopic gaze toward terrorism this summer, Burns offered a helpful clue to law enforcement officials: Be wary of "faceless" Arabs who "drive taxicabs by day and kill at night." But this minor bit of sociological skylarking actually represents progress, of sorts, considering his 1999 outburst blaming "ragheads" for rising gas prices and additional episodes in 1994 in which he delivered a casual joke from the podium about "niggers" and told another audience that living in Washington with so many blacks "is quite a challenge."

7. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
6. Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
5. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
4. Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)

3. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) Inhofe is best known for his categorical claim that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"—a rhetorical flourish he recently refined by likening climate change theories to Nazi propaganda.

2. Representative Donald Young (R-AK)

1. Representative Katherine Harris (R-FL): If dumb Congress members were the X-Men, Harris would be their Wolverine—a mutant possessing fearsome skills, the product of a demented government experiment gone horribly wrong.
Hat tip, Holly.


GOP writes off Ohio Senate race

As the clock winds down, Mike DeWine is tanking in Ohio, so the GOP is yanking precious funds from his race to help save other incumbents from going down the crapper too. Desperation has set in and the "firewall" strategy is in play. (NYT via Raw):
Senior Republican leaders have concluded that Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a pivotal state in this year's fierce midterm election battles, is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators, party officials said.

The decision to effectively write off DeWine's seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign's final three weeks -- signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success.

Republicans are now pinning their hopes of holding the Senate on three states -- Missouri, Tennessee and, with Ohio now off the table, probably Virginia -- while trying to hold on to the House by pouring money into districts where Republicans have a strong historical or registration advantage, party officials said Sunday.
I guess they'll leave matters up to Diebold in Ohio. In Time Magazine, it's clear the GOP is running scared -- and they assume Little Ricky is going down hard as well.
The Mark Foley scandal alone has tossed anywhere from two to six formerly safe Republican House seats into play and increased the likelihood of a Democratic takeover. That has allowed the Democrats to target Senate races with new funds, and forced Republicans to concentrate on defending their 10-seat majority there.

...In private Republicans admit that at least three Senate seats — Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Montana — are likely to switch to the Democrats. The Foley scandal and bad news from Iraq has hurt Republican incumbent Mike DeWine in Ohio. But to make up the remaining two seats, Democrats need to win the toss-up race in Missouri and the open Republican seat in Tennessee, or stage a surprising win in Virginia. At the same time, two seats in Maryland and New Jersey are likely to go to Democrats but are still in play and must be defended.
Virginia, polls show, is virtually a dead heat as Macaca Allen's self-inflicted wounds have left an opening for Jim Webb. It's important for Virginians to get out to the polls, not only for this race, but because there is a heinous, highly restrictive marriage amendment on the ballot, which should bring out the fundies.


Family Research Council blasts Condi for recognizing partner of AIDS Coordinator

Monday, October 16, 2006

[UPDATE: The Freepi are squirming, added at the bottom.]

I was eagerly waiting for the goons at the American Family Association to go after Condi for her purposeful acknowledgment of the partner of the new Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul during his swearing in ceremony (my post here). Don Wildmon's "news" organ AgapePress reports on the Family Research Council's apoplectic fit over it:
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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"I am truly honored and delighted to have the opportunity to swear in Mark Dybul as our next Global AIDS Coordinator. I am pleased to do that in the presence of Mark's parents, Claire and Richard, his partner, Jason, and his mother-in-law, Marilyn...You have a wonderful family to support you, Mark, and I know that's always important to us. Welcome.
-- Condi, in remarks as she administered the oath of office to openly gay physician Mark Dybul, the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
Oh, the eruption is so sweet. You can feel the strain as the word homosexual was tapped out on the keyboard.
The ceremony involved Secretary of State Rice and the swearing in of Mark Dybul, an open homosexual, as the nation's new global AIDS coordinator -- a position that carries the rank of ambassador. An Associated Press photo of the ceremony also shows a smiling First Lady Laura Bush and Dybul's homosexual "partner," Jason Claire. During her comments, Rice referred to the presence of Claire's mother and called her Dybul's "mother-in-law," a term normally reserved for the heterosexuals who have been legally married.

...Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, says the secretary's comments were "profoundly offensive" and fly in the face of the Bush administration's endorsement of a federal marriage protection amendment, though that backing be less than enthusiastic.

"We have to face the fact that putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse," says Sprigg. "But even beyond that, the deferential treatment that was given not only to him but his partner and his partner's family by the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is very distressing."

Sprigg says in light of the Foley scandal, "it's inexplicable that a conservative administration would do such things." He also notes that Rice's comments defy an existing law on the books protecting traditional marriage. "So, for her to treat his partner like a spouse and treat the partner's mother as a mother-in-law, which implies a marriage between the two partners, is a violation of the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act," the FRC spokesman states.
I sloshed over to Freeperland for the reaction...


Actual Freeper Quotes™

Well, I guess she can kiss higher office goodbye—at least, as a Republican. She seems rudderless, in many ways. The Peter Principle would seem to have struck again.

It seems obvious that the Democrat's last minute push for this election cycle is all about homosexuals. First Foley, then the sainted Gerry Studds, and now this Dybul thing (I'm sure the MSM will spin this one into something beautiful). Homosexuals are 2% of the population, but they have great power in Democrat circles.

It does disturb me that the President's wife, mother and Secretary of State are all pro-aborts and therefore suspect on all issues of traditional morality. I can't imagine that a Pelosi-run Congress will do anything to change that.

Wow, how dare a homosexual work in government. And to play nice nice at a ceremony! The gall!

There is nothing in common with Christianity and a homosexual. Or an adulterer, or a fornicator, or a drunkard, or a blasphmemer, or a liar, or a cheater, or a thief, etc. etc. etc. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

This is really stupid. If we're all lucky he'll quickly succumb to aids himself.

What a hateful unchristian thing to say. I know in my heart that Jesus would never utter your words.

She should probably set her sites on getting that job as commissioner of football.

Wishing somebody a deadly disease is not very christian of you. Homosexuals are sinners as are adulters, those who lie, bear false witness and other sins that we are forgiven of if we repent. Homosexuality and Christianity are common. It is through christ that a homosexual will refrain from the behavior. Your attitude disgusts me. We will not save souls by being un christ like. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Do not wish AIDS upon the sinner. Please pray on this.

The Republican party Needs to choose once and for all: Either to side with the view that homosexuality is natural and normal (and a very tiny minority among the population) or That homosexuality is abohorant (even though homosexuals are to be respected) it is an abnormal behavior, and should be rejected as radical-evil, liberal. And they can choose to side with the Millions of Christians in America that believe as such..

Current news coverage is aimed at suppressing the Republican vote. Get the base to stay at home. This story runs, and what are the comments here? They are negative and indicate that Republicans are not conservative, Rice would not be a good candidate, and that Republican leadership is rudderless. The MSM puts out the bait, and some folks can’t wait to snap it up. The goal is to convince at least a few Conservatives to stay home in disgust on election day.

The question is was he the best person for the job. I'm assuming he is. Isn't that we always say? I can't believe I belong to a forum that doesn't believe a homosexual should have a job. Isn't that what you're saying?

I am sure Fan of Fiat was joking; but, yes, you do belong to a forum where there are people who believe homosexuals shouldn't exist, much less have a job.

We seem to have a lot of members of the Westboro Baptist Church here at FR.

You'd think the math would be easy for them, moral issues aside. If I were starting a political party for the future, I would want to appeal to those who were going to increase in number, not those who can't procreate and die young (though they do aggressively recruit).

Maybe Condi actually acts on principals. Maybe she is not calculating how her actions affect her future electoral prospects. Despite the opposition to gay marriage and other gay agenda items, should Republicans discriminate against homosexuals? I say no. There are gay conservatives. There are plenty of talented gays who want to serve our country. If they are Republicans and support our platform, they are welcome in my party.

What do they want Condi to do? Stand at the podium screaming "GOD HATES FAGS!" ????

Exactly. The Republican party needs to decide. Just ignore those who start calling us names for standing by our principals...they usually support abortion and homosexual rights. This will begin to affect the Conservative voter if the Republicans keep doing things like this.

I sure wish she was actually running! It would seem that both the appointment, and the comment, seem pretty appropriate for the situation :~). I'm not the type to get my knickers in a knot over 'them gays' though. I didn't know "mother-in-law" was a highly exclusive and revered title.

Is there anyone here who knows one or more gay men well who thinks that they all chose homosexuality? Not me. I'm sorry, but some men are just GAY. I tend to observe that many lesbians are such by choice, either due to emotional trauma, avoidance of (or by) men, or politics, or a blend. All that said, saying "mother-in-law" is hardly a policy statement.

No, God will handle it. Perhaps it is not very "Christian" of me but I find homosexuality as repulsive as God does from a mere human perspective. There's something DIFFERENT about homosexuality. Male to male, female to female utterly denies what God designed us for and to whom. THAT kind of union is the ULTIMATE slap in the face to God. THAT is why He singles it out in the Bible. Now they adopt and corrupt little kids with their emotional issues. Read what God has to say about THAT. Also notice gay males WANT little baby BOYS. Lesbians want little baby GIRLS - Gee, I wonder WHY ... surely even YOU can figure that out.

Adultery isn't good either but I certainly don't EQUATE the two sins as the SAME. At least they know who they are designed to be with. Unfortunately they lack self control and at times good judgment but at least the parts fit together.OTOH, Homosexuality is PERVERSE. It's sadistic on its face as well as physically unhealthy. I wouldn't be shocked if AIDS was their punishment while they are still on this earth.

No one said anything about hating homosexuals, I know this hits close to home for you, but no one said anything about hating homosexuals. Hate is not a Christian value, but we also do not want them in positions of power within a Republican administration.


Caption this

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Actual caption: President Bush, right, stands with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., before the start of a campaign fundraising event for congressional candidates Peter Roskam and David McSweeney in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Open thread as well...


Big Tony on 'homosexual sodomy' and SCOTUS



I thought that I'd have something substantial to say about these remarks, but really -- he's just an *sswipe. Raw Story:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia insists that the constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, or "homosexual sodomy," in this video clip from the Associated Press.

..."My job is simply to say if those things you find desirable are contained in the Constitution," he explained. "Nobody ever thought that they were contained in the rights – in the bill of rights. Which is why abortion and homosexual sodomy were criminal for 200 years."
Remember this winner?



"State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers' validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today's decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding."
--Antonin Scalia, on the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court ruling


NC Rethugs promise to roll back gay-inclusive anti-discrimination law if elected

Three progressives on the Charlotte-Meckenburg (NC) County Commissioners are up for re-election, and they are fighting wingnuts who intend to turn back the clock if the Republicans gain control.



Jennifer Roberts, Parks Helms and Wilhelmenia Rembert hope to retain their seats on election day. Roberts intends to present and discuss adding domestic partnership benefits after re-election. This has further incensed the right wing.

The Republicans have promised that one of the first matters they will attend to is to remove sexual orientation from the county human rights ordinance, effectively rolling back time in CharMeck County to reflect their bigoted values.

The of the Republican candidates are mounting TV ad campaigns -- Jim Puckett and Dan Ramirez. This is how serious they are -- the homo card gets played right away. Look at this ad:

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If the Dems lose control, the man who would be chair is none other than the anally-fixated homophobe Bill James. Long-time Blenders know Bill James well. He is an egomaniac fixated on gay sex acts instead of the people's business.

Last year, James, who has appeared on Hannity and Colmes, sent out an incredible, sick and obsessive email -- brazenly in his capacity as County Commissioner. Read and weep that this is a public official who ran unopposed in his district.


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

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

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

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

Commissioner Bill James
Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners
Matthews, North Carolina
http://billjames.org

***

Or this gem:


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

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

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

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

Bottom line (a term homo's seem to "understand"). The Democrats promotion of sodomy and other perverse activities including "gay marriage" will be used against them in the next elections.
You can see why it is important that Roberts, Helms and Rembert need to be re-elected, since Puckett, McGarry and Ramirez share Bill James's "conservative values." Someone has to counter this insanity.

Check out Jennifer Roberts' video on equality and justice and the progressive, inclusive work the CharMeck board has accomplished during her term. More power to these incumbents.

Related:
* CharMeck votes to expand anti-discrimination law to protect gays
* Homo-bigot Bill James shares the love via email
* Blend Exclusive: interview with Jennifer Roberts on CharMeck gay rights initiatives
* Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Parks Helms: 'The time for same-sex issue is now'


Tennessee church holds rally opposing marriage amendment

On Sunday I received a nice letter from a reader, Charles J. in Tennessee, who wanted to pass on word about a rally held at his church in opposition to the marriage amendment, which will be on the ballot next month.
Hi, Pam!

I go to the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, and I thought you would like to know that we had an event today to spread the word: We want our neighbors to vote NO on Tennessee's anti-gay marriage amendment.

We wrapped the church in purple and white ribbon to declare it a "discrimination-free zone." We chose purple to represent courage; white for its association with marriage and purity of spirit. We had a great event with fine speeches from our minister and a representative from the Tennessee Equality Project's "Vote NO on 1" campaign. A local television station, WVLT channel 8, dropped in to get coverage of the event, and you can see the script for their report at:

http://www.volunteertv.com/home/headlines/4406011.html

There was a rumor we would have some protestors from a local Baptist church, so we prepared cookies, hot chocolate, and a large poster/sign that said: WELCOME NEIGHBORS. The pastor's speech even included a wonderful line about our opponents standing up for some families, while we were "standing up for ALL families in Tennessee."
Oak Ridge UUC has its resolution against the marriage amendement on its web site. A snippet:
We oppose any such discriminatory amendment to the Constitution for the following reasons:

* All people should have the same right to make a legally-recognized commitment to love and family. Such commitments benefit our society.
* Many same-sex couples have taken on the commitment and responsibilities associated with marriage. These families would be permanently denied almost 200 legal rights and protections that civil marriage provides under Tennessee law, and over 1000 under federal law.
* Writing such discrimination into the Constitution jeopardizes any previously existing legal recognition of unions between same-sex couples.
* This amendment is harmful to the children of same-sex couples, jeopardizing protections such as legal custody, insurance coverage, Social Security benefits, and inheritance rights.
* Our Constitution should never be amended to discriminate against any particular group of citizens.
Thanks to all of the parishioners at Oak Ridge UUC for being such great allies.


Kuo on the Right: 'it’s not a war for God, it’s a war for politics'

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"I have this burden on my heart that the name of God is just being destroyed in the name of politics. I felt like I had to write this...People are being manipulated. Good well-meaning people are being told, ‘Send your money to this Christian advocacy group or that.’ And that’s the answer. It's just not the answer. It’s not the answer."
-- David Kuo, on 60 Minutes, author of Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, on the use of the use and abuse of fundamentalists by the White House
Oh, it's too good, and a completely necessary act, thankfully taken by someone on the inside. You have to check out the Crooks & Liars video from 60 Minutes. David Kuo, the evangelical Christian and former number two at the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives blasted the phony, bible-beating Bush Administration away in an interview with Lesley Stahl.

Here is some of the transcript, where he explains how the White House laughed at the fundies who darkened their door, lobbying for the President to give them what they wanted on the "moral values" agenda.
Asked if that was really the attitude, Kuo tells Stahl, "Oh, absolutely. You name the important Christian leader and I have heard them mocked by serious people in serious places."



Specifically, Kuo says people in the White House political affairs office referred to Pat Robertson as "insane," Jerry Falwell as "ridiculous," and that James Dobson "had to be controlled." And President Bush, he writes, talked about his compassion agenda, but never really fought for it.
Kuo believed that Bush really meant that this office would address issues of poverty and fund religious charities to do so, taking him at his word during the 2000 campaign that a "compassion agenda" was on its way. He was very wrong.
After the election, to much fanfare, President Bush created the office of faith-based initiatives to increase funds to religious charities.

But Kuo says there were problems right off the bat. For one, he says the office dropped very quickly down the list of priorities.

Asked how much money finally went to them, Kuo says laughing, “Oh, in the first two years, first two years I think $60 million.”

"When you hold it up to a promise of $8 billion, I don't know how good I am at math, but I know that's less than one percent of a promise," says Kuo.
Kuo, welcome to the Bush era of initiatives without funding (but plenty of tax cuts).

It gets better -- Kuo not only unloads on the Bush Admin, he turns his barrels on the hypocritical fundies, who didn't seem to have the poor on their agenda either:
Part of the problem, he says, was indifference from "the base," the religious right. He took 60 Minutes to a convention of evangelical groups – his old stomping ground - and walked around the display booths, looking for any reference to the poor.

"You’ve got homosexuality in your kid’s school, and you’ve got human cloning, and partial birth abortion and divorce and stem cell," Kuo remarked. "Not a mention of the poor."

"This message that has been sent out to Christians for a long time now: that Jesus came primarily for a political agenda, and recently primarily a right-wing political agenda - as if this culture war is a war for God. And it’s not a war for God, it’s a war for politics. And that’s a huge difference," says Kuo
Of course the White House is pissed and is scrambling to discredit Kuo's book, the problem is that Kuo knows where the bodies are buried on this one.
The White House calls Kuo’s book "ridiculous," and Kuo’s old boss, Jim Towey, who ran the faith based office until this past June says Kuo is "naïve and simplistic."

"I think it's dangerous to take a snapshot of a few months or even a year and draw conclusions," Towey says. "Ya know, I can look you in the eye and say the president did what he could do." Kuo says Towey and the White House were embarrassed when the Washington Post ran an article in September 2002 saying they were using the faith office to woo voters, even though the president had repeatedly pledged it was not political.

The White House shot down the Washington Post story, but now Kuo reveals it was all true, and what’s more – he’s the one who thought up the idea.

"This is your idea to tie this office, that was supposed to be non-partisan, you come up with this idea to tie it to the campaign?" Stahl asks.

"Uh-huh," Kuo affirms. "I want this initiative to work."
Related:
* Beltway GOP: evangelicals are 'nuts, ridiculous, out of control'


Yawn...Liberty Sunday fundies gay-bash

And that includes Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a 2008 presidential hopeful, who appeared in person at the Family Research Council event in Boston last night, which was designed to drum up The Base. (Worcester Telegram & Gazette):
Gov. Mitt Romney displayed the enthusiasm of a preacher last night at a Baptist church as he addressed an anti-gay marriage rally of conservative religious leaders who argue their rights to religious expression are being threatened.


...“Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization — the family,” the Republican governor and likely presidential candidate said to an applauding crowd of about 1,000 people, some of whom responded “Amen.”

Romney, pounding his fist during his speech inside Tremont Temple Baptist Church, criticized the state’s highest court for its 2004 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

“What (the judges) ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults, marriage is about the nurturing and development of children ... every child deserves a mother and a father,” he said.
MassEquality issued a statement about Mitt's grandstanding.
"Mitt Romney has come home for one day to Massachusetts for one reason only -- to continue courting the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. It's ironic that, adjacent to Boston's Freedom Trail, Mitt Romney is teaming up with the most right-wing voices in the country to demonize and belittle loving couples and families who live in the state he purports to govern. It's heartless, divisive politics at its worst. Everyone in Massachusetts but Romney has moved on and we just wish he'd finally bite the bullet, move out and drop this pretend game of governing."
Too bad Mitt is wasting so much time with these evangelicals; most of them think his Mormon faith is a sham -- but he's got a hard head.

Tony Perkins of FRC continued the drumbeat, using the 2006 Homo Whipping Boy Talking Point that gays are responsible for the loss of the right to practice religious beliefs:
“When we look at what has happened with same-sex marriage, as it began in this state and threatens to spread across the country, we’ve seen in its wake the loss of religious freedoms and the ability to speak out based upon one’s moral convictions,” Tony Perkins, the organization’s president, said Sunday.
Related:
* More on 'Liberty Sunday'


Open thread - random stuff

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It looks like a lot of people have been hitting the Blend when searching for Foleygate stories. Here are the top 20 keywords that land folks here.



Cynthia Ore is the mistress who accused Rep. Don Sherwood of choking her.

I looked at my Webalyzer stats, which show an average of 7461 unique visitors to the coffee house each day.

***

Paul rounded up a lot of interesting headlines and shot them my way...

* Church removes bust of accused priest. A bust of the Rev. Louis Toma, an icon at the East Boston church where he served for 50 years, has been removed by the Boston Archdiocese at the request of parishioners who said the late cleric sexually abused children.

* From Crime to Arrest, by Way of Computer. Information found on Michael J. Sandy's computer, which was left on after he left his apartment has helped investigators figure out the trail of bogus online seduction that resulted in the gay man's death at the hands of teen thugs. Keith Boykin has excellent follow-up posts on this story here and here. A rally is planned at City Hall in NYC tomorrow to demand an end to hate violence in the city.

* In Pennsylvania, Questions About War Erode a Traditional Republican Advantage. Uh oh. The average Republican voter is turned off by the endless, fruitless, senseless military action in Iraq. One Dem candidate, Joe Sestak, was actually advised not to run on the war debacle by the party. He ignored them and now he's made it a competitive race. What was that about useless Dems?

* Texas students trained to fight back if gunman invades school. A major in the British Army reserve is instructing teachers and students in Burleson, TX to "react immediately to the sight of a gun by picking up anything and everything and throwing it at the head and body of the attacker and making as much noise as possible. Go toward him as fast as we can and bring them down."

* Resident finds burned cross in yard. Yet another lesson for Tony Snow.

Graphic: Mike Tidmus

The 6-foot-by-5-foot cross was on the far edge of the 5-acre property on Lacebark Pine Road, surrounded by scorched earth. To Drayton, who is of Jamaican and Chinese descent, it was a sign that what she described as years of vandalism and foul words by rowdy thugs had worsened into something far more serious.
And this interesting one should be a challenge for the fundies...

* It's Official: To Be Married Means to Be Outnumbered.
The American Community Survey, released this month by the Census Bureau, found that 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation's 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples — with and without children — just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier.

...A growing number of adults are spending more of their lives single or living unmarried with partners, and the potential social and economic implications are profound. "It just changes the social weight of marriage in the economy, in the work force, in sales of homes and rentals, and who manufacturers advertise to," said Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research group. "It certainly challenges the way we set up our work policies."

While the number of single young adults and elderly widows are both growing, Professor Coontz said, "we have an anachronistic view as to what extent you can use marriage to organize the distribution and redistribution of benefits."
***

Fun email of the day

What on earth is this person thinking? A mind in a ball of confusion:

Subject: HELLO
From: "missy neff"
Date: Sat, October 14, 2006 5:53 pm
To: pam

i thank you are a very impolite and rude and and not very american woman to be acting the way you are.and you will go to hell for the way you rasie your children.look at your self i dont see that you are problaly 100%AMERICAN.


Oh, btw, that "fan site" I posted about last week, "White people are better than black people," seems to have been yanked from Blogger or deleted by the head case who put it up. It went down shortly after the guy loaded up a post that Tonka was going to die soon -- and that I would eat the remains. Nice.


6.6 earthquake in Hawaii

(AP):
The Pacific Tsunami Center reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, while the U.S. Geological Survey gave a preliminary magnitude of 6.6. It was followed by several strong aftershocks, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.8, the Geological Survey said.

Blakeman said there was no risk of a Pacific-wide tsunami, but a possibility of significant wave activity in Hawaii.

On Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, there was some damage in Kailua-Kona and landslide along a major highway, said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Center.

...Power at least partially knocked out on every island, said Civil Defense spokesman Lani Goldman. On Oahu, 95 percent of customers were without power, he said. Authorities said some of the power outages may have been due to heavy rainfall.

Airports were functioning despite the power outages, though slowly.

Heraga said that inbound flights were being allowed to land, but outgoing flights were not taking off because the TSA doesn't have enough power to screen passengers.
One of the things I am noticing in the reporting on cable news so far is that they are relying heavily on information coming from bloggers who are posting about conditions by hooking up their laptops to their cell phones to transmit. I heard it on CNN and Faux News.

***

I have friends over at the University of Hawaii Press, which is in Honolulu (on the island of Oahu), so I'll be checking in to see how they are doing.

Visit the US Geological Survey website for maps and information on the quake.

I've traveled to both Oahu and the Big Island (in 1987 and in 2002). Some of those roads on the Big Island have to be unpassable if there were rock slides. Below is a panoramic view of the point on the Hilo side of the Big Island; click to enlarge.



Dear Leader's ridiculous shifting reasons for why we are in Iraq

Quite frankly, when I read this AP piece by Tom Raum, I felt my blood pressure going up. Not because Bush's reason-of-the-day for why we invaded Iraq, but that roughly a third of the people in the country, no matter what poll is cited, seem to buy any and all lines of BS that spill from the lips of our lying leader.

A recap:

#1: we have to remove Saddam because he had WMDs.
Oops, none were found.

#2: the U.S. is helping to spread democracy through the Middle East.
That's working out nicely, isn't it?

#3: the U.S. was liberating Iraqis from a brutal ruler.
So that they can slide into civil war with rapes, killings and kidnappings.

#4: "We can't tolerate a new terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, with large oil reserves that could be used to fund its radical ambitions, or used to inflict economic damage on the West," -- this is what he said last week in his press conference.
Iraq wasn't a terrorist state before we went in there.

#5: We are confronting terrorists in Iraq "so we do not have to face them here at home," and "making America safer."
Do you feel safer now that we have destroyed Iraq?

The latest, bombastic reason from the Chimperor:


"We're in the ideological struggle of the 21st century. It's a struggle between good and evil."

Darth gives us an even darker vision:


"The hopes of the civilized world ride with us."


Rate the homoerotic factor of this calendar

Ah, Sunday. Time to toss out some of the frivolous posts along with the meat and potatoes, or rather, beefcake.

Below is a screenshot from Freedom Is Not Free.com, a charity offering a 2007 calendar of miltary men (ostensibly for the het ladies, right?). The proceeds go to "wounded heroes and their families as directed by those who have been awarded the Purple Heart."

SFGate's Culture Blog asks: The gayest military calendar ever?

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freedomisnotfree.com

I'll leave it up to you all to be the judge -- on a scale of 1-10 (1 being don't ask, don't tell, 10 being something you'd see on the cover of a gay skin mag). how homoerotic is this calendar? :)

Dual-purpose marketing could actually rake in the dough for the cause.

I see Matt found this as well, lol.

***

I'll take a wild guess that they don't have a calendar with military gals out. Sorry, gals.


Frank Rich: the GOP's gay hypocrisy

Several of you sent in links to the slam dunk column in the NYT by Frank Rich today, The Gay Old Party Comes Out (Times Select sub req'd). He breaks it all down -- the Republicans have both demonized and embraced the gays they work with -- at the highest levels of government, and have gotten away with this for too long.
The split between the Republicans’ outward homophobia and inner gayness isn’t just hypocrisy; it’s pathology. Take the bizarre case of Karl Rove. Every one of his Bush campaigns has been marked by a dirty dealing of the gay card, dating back to the lesbian whispers that pursued Ann Richards when Mr. Bush ousted her as Texas governor in 1994. Yet we now learn from “The Architect,” the recent book by the Texas journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater, that Mr. Rove’s own (and beloved) adoptive father, Louis Rove, was openly gay in the years before his death in 2004. This will be a future case study for psychiatric clinicians as well as historians.

So will Kirk Fordham, the former Congressional aide who worked not only for Mark Foley but also for such gay-baiters as Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma (who gratuitously bragged this year that no one in his family’s “recorded history” was gay) and Senator Mel Martinez of Florida (who vilified his 2004 Republican primary opponent, a fellow conservative, as a tool of the “radical homosexual agenda”). Then again, even Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania senator who brought up incest and “man-on-dog” sex while decrying same-sex marriage, has employed a gay director of communications. In the G.O.P. such switch-hitting is as second nature as cutting taxes.
The sad truth, of course, is that these ambitious gays willingly allowed themselves to be used as long as they received a paycheck and access to power in exchange for being professionally closeted. The fact that their world is crashing down on them is just too damn bad. At least one Log Cabinette is waking up from the coma.
“The hypocrisy, the winking and nodding is catching up with the party,” says Mr. Tafel, the former Log Cabin leader. “Republicans must welcome their diversity as the party of Lincoln or purge the party of all gays. The middle ground — we’re a diverse party but we can bash gays too — will no longer work.” He adds that “the ironic point is that the G.O.P. isn’t as homophobic as it pretends to be.” Indeed two likely leading presidential competitors in 2008, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, are consistent supporters of gay civil rights.
It will no longer work only if gay Republicans working for the homophobes finally stop enabling their leash masters from continuing the gay bashing. Staying in their professional closets clearly hasn't done the GOP any good -- working "from within" for change hasn't resulted in anything except gay Republicans looking like ridiculous doormats as the party plays the gay card when it's has nothing else to run on.

***

Blast from the past: here's Inhofe playing that infamous gay card during the Senate FMA debate:


INHOFE: As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we’ll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of homosexual relationship.
Inhofe also famously said that he didn't hire any gay people for his staff. He had to qualify himself after Mike Rogers pointed out that Inhofe, in fact, did employ a socially out homo, Jonathan Tolman, as a senior staffer.
Rogers last week alerted Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a leading proponent of the amendment, that one of his aides was openly gay outside the office. Inhofe said the aide isn't on his personal staff and that he does not hire openly gay staffers "due to the possibility of a conflict of agenda."
Jesus, the hair splitting is truly pathological. Tolman, btw, is no wallflower -- he was Coverboy Confidential in the May 2001 issue of DC gay publication Metro Weekly.


Kenny to surface on 'Late Edition'

Where is Ken Mehlman?

It looks like the hard-to-find RNC head is finally going to come out of hiding and appear on CNN's Late Edition on Sunday.

Do you think Ken's going to answer any questions about the Foley matter, or discuss how Mehlman manipulated the Office of Faith Based Initiatives for political gain, a charge leveled by the former #2 guy, David Kuo in his new book:
Kuo alleges that then-White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman knowingly participated in a scheme to use the office, and taxpayer funds, to mount ostensibly "nonpartisan" events that were, in reality, designed with the intent of mobilizing religious voters in 20 targeted races.

According to Kuo, "Ken loved the idea and gave us our marching orders."

Among those marching orders, Kuo says, was Mehlman's mandate to conceal the true nature of the events.


Kuo quotes Mehlman as saying, "...(I)t can't come from the campaigns. That would make it look too political. It needs to come from the congressional offices. We'll take care of that by having our guys call the office [of faith-based initiatives] to request the visit."


Minnesota homobigot Michele Bachmann: 'God called me to run for congress'

Minnesota Republican congressional candidate Michele Bachmann must be drinking the same Kool-Aid that Katherine Harris is tossing back. Dump Michele Bachmann has video of her delusional rantings at the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

She said that she fasted and prayed over her decision to run, btw.

"He created the male and female and he brought them together and that's what marriage will be...In the midst of that calling to me, God then called me to run for congress...In the midst of him making this calling sure, what's occured in this particular race is that this congresssional seat - one of 435 in the country - has become one of the top 5 races in the country and in the last week has become one of the top three races in the country and you may have seen now God has in his own will and in his own plan has focused like a laser beam after this scandal that came up about a week or so ago he has focused like a laser beam with his reasoning on this race.
As unhinged as this appearance is, Andy of Eleventh Avenue South pointed out a much bigger problem with the event at this church, run by Pastor Mac Hammond.
Churches that are tax exempt and file as a 501(c)3 organization are subject to most of the same rules that all other 501(c)3 nonprofits are subject to concerning political involvement: you must not show support for a candidate or political party. Just bringing a candidate for election to speak is risky business for nonprofits and churches. The best way to avoid the appearance of endorsement is to invite all candidates to the event or series of events. Equal time should be paid to all candidates to ensure implicit or explicit endorsement doesn't occur. Bachmann's opponents told me that they were not aware of any invites from Living Word having been sent to their campaigns.

If a church or nonprofit does only invite one candidate to speak, the individual speaks only in a non-candidate capacity, and should not be referred to as a candidate for office.
Here are the IRS guidelines:
The church or religious organization must ensure that: Neither the individual nor any representative of the church makes any mention of his or her candidacy or the election, and no campaign activity occurs in connection with the candidate’s attendance. In addition, the church or religious organization should clearly indicate the capacity in which the candidate is appearing and should not mention the individual’s political candidacy or the upcoming election in the communications announcing the candidate’s attendance at the event.
Oops. As you saw above, Michele speaks at length about her candidacy in that video. But that's not all. Pastor Mac does the unthinkable in a bible-based IRS blunder -- he actually endorses Michele in his introduction.
Michele Bachmann is with us and I’m going to ask her to come in in just a moment, and of course many of you know Michele, know of her pursuit of the United States Senate seat vacated by Mark Kennedy or Congressional seat vacated by Mark Kennedy’s run for a United States Senate seat. Keeping all this straight gets to be challenging. But ya know we can’t publicly endorse as a church and would not for any candidate but I can tell you personally that I’m going to vote for Michele Bachmann, because I’ve come to know her, what she stands for, and I want her to share her testimony with you tonight. Would you give her a warm welcome as she comes to share?
Go to Andy's pad for more detail. Someone needs to put the IRS on this pastor's posterior.

***

Marilyn Musgrave gets trounced at candidate forum

Michele's role model, the execrable FMA author Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, is currently about 10 points ahead in her race against spunky Angie Paccione. Musgrave is still getting hammered at debates and deserves to go down hard. This woman has said that banning gay marriage is the most important issue facing the country today.

Angie needs to pull this one off. See her blast Musgrave in this video (Marilyn was in the audience, h/t Andy K.). They both appeared at the Longmont Candidates Showcase and while the camera is trained on Musgrave throughout this other YouTube video, look at her face and listen to the audience response to Paccione's speech:



From coverage of the event:
"Do you think our country is on the right track, or do you think we need a new direction?" said Paccione, the Democrat who's challenging Republican incumbent Musgrave in the 4th Congressional District, as her supporters in the crowd cheered.

Paccione then connected budget deficits, a growing national debt and even the congressional page scandal surrounding former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley to Musgrave and her fellow Republicans. "Marilyn is listed as one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress..."If you want to change Congress, you have to change the people you send to Congress," Paccione said.


Blogactive: chief of staff for another anti-gay congressman is gay

Blogactive is reporting that Jim Brandell, the chief of staff for Michigan's 4th District Congressman, Dave Camp, is gay.

For all those arguments folks make that having gay staff opens the hearts and minds of their bigoted elected masters, it's clear that they may hire and personallly like their homos on a leash, but when the rubber hits the road, it's the vote that counts. How much more self-loathing can you get when your boss votes like this:

* Camp has earned a 0% rating on Human Rights Campaign's 2006 Congressional Scorecard. What does this mean? It means Camp took anti-gay positions on legislation including the Federal Marriage Amendment (H.J. Res. 88), the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), which would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 3006), which would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the same immigration benefits legal spouses of U.S. residents enjoy. Nice work, supporting your man, Jim.

* Camp is rated 92% by the Christian Coalition

* Camp received a 100% rating from Concerned Women for America.

Is Brandell proud of his work on the Hill facilitating and promoting the passage of legislation that hurts the lives of everyday, taxpaying gay citizens? Maybe he'll step forward and explain how he can cash that paycheck and sleep like a baby at night.

***

Bonus! From Congressional Quarterly's PoliticalMoneyLine, look where Brandell's support goes.

1 . Brandell, James
6/16/2003 $250.00
Washington, DC 20009
US House/Chief of Staff [Contribution]
FRIENDS OF MARK FOLEY


George Bush, fashion critic

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Does the man have anything better to do than pick on people in the press corps who don't wear designer suits? Apparently not. I supposed we should be relieved that he's paying attention to something. Or maybe these are just tired pick-up lines on his part. Who knows. (LAT):
Even as he talked about North Korea's nuclear ambitions and other weighty matters, President Bush on Wednesday returned to his occasional role as fashion critic to the White House press corps.

"If I might say, that is a beautiful suit…. And I can't see anybody else that even comes close," the president told NBC's Kevin Corke, who was wearing pinstripes, in the course of a Rose Garden news conference that focused on North Korea-related diplomacy and the Iraq war. Corke responded that he would convey the president's comments to his tailor.

...By the time Bush called on Jim Axelrod of CBS, the reporter felt compelled to start with a defensive comment: "My best suit's in the cleaners," Axelrod explained to the president. "That's not even a suit," Bush retorted, eyeing Axelrod's sport coat and slacks.

Bush, who has suits made by Georges de Paris, the tailor to presidents since Lyndon Johnson's time, has teased reporters about their appearance in the past. In June, he poked fun at CNN's David Gregory for his loud pocket scarf. "Gregory, fine-looking scarf — not scarf, what do you call that thing?" said Bush. "It's strong."

In August, while discussing the war in Lebanon, Bush took note of a suit worn by Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers, saying: "By the way, seersucker is coming back." Later in the news conference, Bush again referred to the suit, calling it "that just ridiculous-looking outfit."

Asked about the president's commentary, White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino called Bush "a personable man," saying that "although he's president and that's a serious job, he does like to reach out to others in friendly ways."
Speaking of designer suits, Charles in the comments brought up the infamous lump on Bush's back during the debate with Kerry that was first explained away as a "bad tailoring":



I guess we can add this to the list of ways Dear Leader brings a touch of class to each and every occasion...


"Joking" with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. There's video as well.

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)


ConvergeSouth 2006 wrap

It was a wonderful event; as it is with most conferences, you wish you could clone yourself so that you could attend all the sessions.

To back up a bit, I arrived in Greensboro on Friday and stayed with the gracious conference co-organizer Sue Polinsky and her husband David. Sue, Ben Hwang, along with Greensboro journalist and blogger Ed Cone (and I'm sure "a cast of thousands") did a great job pulling the event off.

Also bunking in at Chez Polinsky Friday night were tech blogger guru Robert Scoble and his equally charming blogger spouse Maryam, who were session leaders at ConvergeSouth. Last night at the Aycock BBQ, hosted by the Hoggards, Robert and Maryam received the key to the city. Unfortunately the Scobles received a different kind of surprise from their airline as it lost their luggage. Sue's husband David was on the horn most of the night trying to locate the missing bags.

At the BBQ I had a nice long chat with U.S. Congressman Brad Miller (D-13th district), who is running for re-election against the unhinged self-loathing black homobigot Vernon Robinson.


Brad is one of the handful of pols who "gets it" about blogs; he's posted diaries at DKos.

Alas, I cannot vote for Miller to spite freakshow Robinson; my congressman is very decent David Price. I also spoke at length with gay rights activist Matt Hill Comer, who was responsible for that fabulous DADT protest and Right to Serve sit-in at the Greensboro Army Recruiting Center that resulted in arrests (pic).

FYI, it was flipping freezing out there at the BBQ once the sun went down. It bottomed out at 30 degrees last night.

We headed back to Sue's place for a lot of good blog conversation with the Scobles, and Maryam worked on her presentation for today, waiting up for their bags, which the airline finally said would be delivered by midnight. They arrived around 1:30 AM.

Conference co-founder (and hard-working sleepyhead this AM) Ben Hwang stopped by to pick us up Saturday AM around 8AM, and Maryam and Robert were just rousing, so they got dressed in a flash and we headed over to NC A&T, which hosted the event (and provided excellent facilities). Saw Anton Zuiker, Bora (Coturnix), and spent time with ae of Arse Poetica, who earned her Westboro battle scars with us when the Phelps hate machine came to Durham.

The opening session featured a talk and discussion about blogs and community building with Elizabeth Edwards, who is an entertaining speaker. She's been involved with internet community for years, certainly much longer than her husband, former Senator and presidential and VP candidate John Edwards.

Back to Brad Miller for a moment, before I forget this little bombshell -- one of the founders of the conservative RedState blog/community, Mike Krempasky, during the Edwards session today actually endorsed Democrat Miller. Here's what he said (h/t Anglico and Southern Dem of BlueNC):
One thing that I've certainly never done is endorse a Democrat. Ever. I am actually quite willing to say this when it comes to politics that we should (a little fuzzy) all just step back a little bit. If there's an uglier time in Washington than right now, I don't know. But Brad Miller ought to be re-elected.
That should tell you how unhinged Vernon Robinson is when the right abandons him. Buh bye, Vermin.

***

The Scoble's presentation was "10 Ways to a Killer Blog," which actually turned into 15 useful suggestions. I wholeheartedly agree with them, and chimed in during the talk.

No. 1: Blog because you want to.
No. 2: Read other blogs.
No. 3: Pick a niche you can own (be different).
No. 4: Link to other blogs.
No. 5: Admit mistakes.
No. 6: Write good headlines.
No. 7: Use other media.
No. 8: Have a voice.
No. 9: Get outside the blogosphere.
No. 10: Market yourself.
No. 11: Write well.
No. 12: Expose yourself.
No. 13: Help other people blog.
No. 14. Engage with commenters
No. 15: Keep your integrity

Xarker has a good live blog of this session if you want to see what folks were saying.

Jim Rosenberg (aka Mr. Sun) led an excellent discussion, The Big Bang II: Learning to Love Chaos, which covered some of the challenges of blogging and how to work with your "community." A significant chunk was devoted to dealing with trolls and combative commenters -- and the options open to bloggers to managing them. There's no hard and fast rule on what one chooses to do about people who come to purposely inflame, engage in repetitive, unproductive bloviating, or insulting fellow commenters. Some feel that completely open discussion, arguing and written comment combat is A-OK, others have no comments at all, because they don't want to deal with managing or moderating. Take a look at some of the strategies:

1. Welcome
2. Ignore
3. Moderate
4. Limit
5. Rate
6. Mark
7. Warn
8. Ban

Jim asked me about how I deal with trolls, and what kind of comments I find worhy of deletiony. As you all know, I'm probably more tolerant of a wide range of commenting on the Blend that some of you out there (based on emails I've received asking for a particular person to be banned), but I won't tolerate personal attacks on other commenters, and I've only banned a couple for repetitive, draining commentary that didn't add to the debate. We're a pretty civil community here. I tend to warn via email before banning, when possible. I've tried #2, ignoring, but it seems reader threshold for ignoring is pretty low, lol.

I'll also point you to one Wikipedia entry that he linked to in his presentation. It won't be hard to identify the verbal fallacies of some of our former trolls on the Blend.

I was a slacker and didn't take many pictures, but it looks like Sue and Matt already have a bunch up.

Read other entries about ConvergeSouth via Technorati.

This evening there were blogger dinners held in downtown Greensboro, but I had to get home to the doggies.


Fundie PR campaign to blame gays for Foleygate flops

HRC has released a new nationwide poll that shows the anti-gay PR campaign by the likes of Dobson and Perkins isn't gaining traction in terms of branding Foleygate as a "gay issue."

A majority of Americans failed to take the bait that all gay men are Mark Foleys, no matter how breathless and hysterical the press releases and pitiful punditry coming from the Right has been.
The new, nationwide poll shows that, by a 2-to-1 margin, voters believe that “this type of behavior is typical of politicians” over “this type of behavior is typical of gay men.” The poll also showed support for either civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples at 66 percent, which is consistent with other polls on the same question.

“Some right-wing leaders and politicians have tried to divert attention from the congressional leadership’s failure to investigate Mark Foley’s abhorrent behavior, and their cover-up in order to hold on to power, by insisting that his being gay was the central issue,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Conservative politicians have tried to promote prejudice against gay Americans, rather than push for accountability in this scandal. Today’s poll shows that Americans reject their outrageous claims.”
You can download the results here (PDF).

The press release also supplies some of the "Best of" quotes from the unhinged right wing over this scandal. Read and weep with laughter at the ridiculous, ignorant, and insulting BS that was intended to lay the blame for Foley's behavior at the door of gays. Thank them all for the mind-boggling overreaching.


"The news is the Republicans have formed a circular firing squad, and they're firing away. It's just insane, this atavistic spirit to find blame just before an election. They'd be better to say, ‘Well, this man's gay, he does what gay people do, and so don't worry about it.'"
— Pat Robertson on "The 700 Club," Oct. 5

"If the Republican House leadership is guilty of anything, it is of being too tolerant, of allowing Political Correctness, a fear of being called homophobic, to trump common sense. Whether we admit it or not, many male homosexuals have a thing for teenage boys, which is why so many of them wind up with black eyes when they try to pick them up."
— Pat Buchanan, Oct. 6

"Democrats seeking to exploit the resignation of Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) are right to criticize the slow response of Republican congressional leaders to his communications with male pages. But neither party seems likely to address the real issue, which is the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse."
— Tony Perkins, Message to Friends of Family Research Council, Oct. 2

"We are very concerned that the early warnings of Mr. Foley's odd behavior toward young male pages may have been overlooked or treated with deference, fearing a backlash from the radical gay rights movement because of Mr. Foley's sexual orientation."
— The Arlington Group in a statement, Oct. 3

"For the sake of honest and open government, not to mention protection of the children, the secret Capitol Hill homosexual network must be exposed and dismantled."
— Right-wing blogger Cliff Kincaid, Oct. 9

"Where does post-modern American ethics place Mark Foley's homosexuality on a scale of 1 to 10 — a 1 being just another gay guy and a 10 being a compulsive, predatory sex offender?"
— Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor, Oct. 6

"The fact that Americans find former Rep. Foley's alleged conduct reprehensible shows we have not bought into the false ideology that 'all sex should be celebrated' or that age of consent laws should be reduced as some special interest groups demand. Not all 'diversity' should be accepted and not all conduct or beliefs should be 'tolerated.' In the real world, there is such a thing as right and wrong."
— Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, Oct. 3

"Here is the real problem. It has been known for many years that Congressman Foley was a homosexual. Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex."
— Paul Weyrich on "All Things Considered," Oct. 4

"I think that this -- there's an indication, there's clear research that shows that homosexual men are more likely to abuse children than straight men. And when it comes to government, yes, I have a concern that any type of sexual deviancy is a problem."
— Tony Perkins on "Hardball," Oct. 3

***

To continue the positive momentum, it looks like 'protecting marriage' isn't a priority for voters now, either.

Hat tip, Holly.


Gerry Studds, involved in earlier page scandal, dies

Former Rep. Gerry Studds, 69, died today in Boston, Massachusetts. His name has been invoked recently because of Foleygate. Studds was sexually involved with a male page in the 70s; when it came to light in 1983, he was censured by the House, went before the voters -- and was re-elected to five more terms. (NYT):
In 1983, Studds acknowledged his homosexuality after a 27-year-old man disclosed that he and Studds had had a sexual relationship a decade earlier when the man was a teenage congressional page.

The House of Representatives censured Studds, who then went home to face his constituents in a series of public meetings.

At the time, Studds called the relationship with the teenage page, which included a trip to Europe, ''a very serious error in judgment.'' But he did not apologize and defended the relationship as a consensual relationship with a young adult. The former page later appeared publicly with Studds in support of him.
PageOneQ made note of Studds' accurate observation about the Hill back in 1993.
...Speaking at the 1993 March On Washington for gay rights, Studds turned to the crowd of almost one million people, pointed back at the Capitol behind him, and urged every gay person inside to come out and be open and honest about who they are. If they stood up and walked out, he told the crowd, the work of the government would stop.


NC gay and lesbian PAC urges city council to vote down call for a marriage amendment

The North Carolina Advocacy Coalition (NCAC) calls for the Thomasville City Council to vote "No" on a proposed resolution urging Tar Heel state legislators to amend the constitution to prevent marriage equality.

The City Council will meet on Monday to vote on the resolution, which is being presented by Councilmembers Dwight Cornelison and Raleigh York, Jr. The familiar language is all there. (NCAC):
The resolution, in part, reads: "the undersigned members of the Thomasville City Council ask the North Carolina General Assembly to allow the citizens of our state...the opportunity to amend our State Constitution to protect the institution of marriage in the state of North Carolina and define the type of marriage to be recognized as valid in our state."

The resolution is being pushed and backed by the Reverend Ron Baity, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC. Baity was also involved in pushing a similar resolution which failed in a 4-3 vote by the Davidson County Board of Commissioners last year.

"This resolution calls for voting on an amendment that is pure discrimination directed squarely at gay and lesbian citizens of North Carolina" stated NCAC Executive Director Matt Hill Comer, "Other than writing discrimination into our precious state Constitution and discriminating against thousands of its citizens, there are more important issues to be dealt with by state and local legislators."
No kidding. Matt and I were talking about the issue at the ConvergeSouth Aycock Barbecue last night. Cornelison and York need to spend more time urging the legislature to address issues people really care about in this state -- health care, drop-out rates, the spiraling costs of higher education (and maintaining the quality of our university system). These councilmembers have warped priorities -- they seek to demonize taxpaying citizens who contribute to the local and state economy. If they cannot properly lead, then they need to step aside and let better-qualified citizens with better judgment to step forward to run the show.

NCAC will attend at the Thomasville City Council meeting during the public comment portion of the agenda. More information on NCAC is available at its web site. Support the good work of NCAC, which focuses on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allied supporters. and motivates young people to work at the local level for change.


This and that

Friday, October 13, 2006

A few links that came my way...feel free to blogwhore, leave links, chat away...

* Jeremy of Good As You posts about CBS's asshat filtering out of the word "gay" on its blogs. WTF?

* The gay-bashing victim in NYC has died. Michael Sandy, a 29-year-old black gay man, was beaten and chased into the path of an oncoming car on Sunday had been on a respirator in a coma. His family chose to remove him from life support. Three Brooklyn men have been charged in the attack. Keith Boykin announces that a rally is planned for Monday:
Black LGBT organizers and activists vowed to hold a rally on Monday to demand an end to hate violence in the city and to hold city leaders accountable. The rally is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. on Monday at New York City Hall. The rally is being sponsored by People of Color In Crisis, the New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent, the New York City Anti-Violence Project and the National Black Justice Coalition.
* Kathy @ Birmingham Blues on Wesley Clark:
I had the opportunity to hear
Gen. Wesley Clark speak
today.· He did a wonderful job, and I was thrilled when he started talking about equality of all people, regardless of….and had sexual orientation on his list.· He got huge applause from a bunch of business people in their suits and ties (and of course our table, where I was sitting with Patricia Todd and with nephew Zach).
* Laff-a-minute from LaBarbera: Porno Pete weighs in on Cliff Kincaid's unhinged conspiracy column Republican Gays are Closeted Dems, with this winning commentary (h/t Autumn):
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This column by Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media is a gold mine of information on the Mark Foley scandal. Note House Speaker Denny Hastert's close friendship with ("outed") homosexual Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and the tragic effects of the GOP's flirtation with 'Log Cabin Republican' homosexuality. Did you know that Hastert flew to Arizona to campaign for Rep.Kolbe against a conservative, pro-family Republican primary opponent? (Since then, Kolbe has announced his retirement from Congress.)

The Republican Party's "Big Tent" strategy can never work: you can't be pro-homosexuality and family-friendly at the same time. How ironic that a scandal arising in part from a "pro-family" party's toleration of homosexuality (with the added baggage from its sordid cousin, pederasty) may bring down the GOP next month.

At Americans For Truth, we pledge to put principles over politics every time. God does not approve of Republican homosexuality anymore than the Democratic variety! Thanks for standing up unapologetically for the truth in your daily life.
* New Orleans now "Rats Paradise." Argh! (H/t Paul):
Alligators have been dragged from abandoned swimming pools. Foxes had to be removed from the airport. Coyotes are stalking rabbits and nutria (a sort of countrified rat) in city streets. And armadillos are undermining air conditioning units.

In the year since Hurricane Katrina drove out many of the people of New Orleans, wild animals have been moving in. Some were blown in by the winds or redistributed by the floodwaters. Others were drawn by the piles of rotting garbage and by the shelter afforded by all the abandoned homes and tall weeds.

Marilyn Barbera said opossums are living under her home and in her garden, and one moved into her house, a white 1859 Greek Revival in the city's Riverbend area. "It was about the size of a big cat and it just made itself at home," she said.
* Warren of The Indigestible wrote an open letter to "Christians that's a slam dunk.

* Piss-Poor Policing In San Francisco. A lawsuit against cops accused of gay-bashing moves forward. Paul sent along this comment:
Years ago in Seattle some friends and I were hassled by a cop because of our sexuality. We complained but the cops covered it up, saying that they "could not believe the witnesses, because they too were gay" and asserting that the cop in question, despite the fact that we had copied down both his badge and his vehicle license number, was in an entirely different part of town when the incident occured. Hope these folks have better luck, but I doubt it.
* Birds and bees may be gay: museum exhibition. This is sure to set the fundies off. (h/t Bill K, Mena):
The birds and the bees may be gay, according to the world's first museum exhibition about homosexuality among animals. With documentation of gay or lesbian behavior among giraffes, penguins, parrots, beetles, whales and dozens of other creatures, the Oslo Natural History Museum concludes human homosexuality cannot be viewed as "unnatural."

"We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear -- homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature," an exhibit statement said.
* AfterElton has a great interview with playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America), and it has his take on Foley:
“Oh, great, thanks! It's good for you [Foley] to take this moment to come out of the closet now that you have been revealed as a sexual predator...All this really does is that it reminds us over and over again that the closet is a horrendous place,” Kushner says of the Foley scandal. “People who really need psychological help don't seek it. When you pathologize your entire sexual being, you are making it more likely that you aren't going to openly seek the kind of psychological help that you actually need.”
* What is Republican Rep. Christopher Shays smoking -- Abu Ghraib abuses were sex ring.

* A world gone insane. In Minnesota, black mothers are upset that a teacher read a book about a girl with lesbian parents, as part of diversity training curriculum called "Families All Matter." The Cucking Stool has more.

* View the trailer for The History of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders.


Another Papa Ratzi eruption


Pope graphic by Mike Tidmus

"May the Eternal One, our Father in heaven, bless every effort to eliminate from our world any misuse of religion as an excuse for hatred or violence."
-- the pedophile-enabling, gay-bashing Pontiff, to a delegation of the Anti-Defamation League
Is he really that oblivious to the hypocrisy of his statements? Can anyone be this arrogant and dense? Oh, never mind...(AP):
The comments came a month after Benedict's speech at a German university sparked anger in the Muslim world when he quoted a medieval text that characterized some of the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman" and called Islam a religion spread by the sword.

Since the uproar over the speech - which has raised a cloud over his planned visit next month to predominantly Islamic Turkey - Benedict has expressed his regrets for offending Muslims.

He has stressed that the quote didn't reflect his own opinion, saying his address was intended as an invitation to frank dialogue between religions.
H/t, Steve.


Bloggercon in Greensboro on Sat.


I'm in Greensboro to attend the second annual ConvergeSouth, a bloggercon held at NC A&T University.

It looks like there will be a much larger gathering than last year, as there are 125 more people coming than organizers expected (here's the attendee list).

Tonight there's a Friday Night Aycock Neighborhood Barbecue for attendees. I'm looking forward to meeting other bloggers (and NC Blenders, if you can make it to the con). Here's the schedule.

Many thanks to the gracious Sue Polinsky (co-organizer of ConvergeSouth) for letting me crash her pad -- the non-virtual one.


"These People Are Nuts"

Did anyone out there catch "Scarborough Country" last night? I usually don't tune into former Representative Joe "What Dead Intern?" Scarborough's show, but it was right after KeithO's show and they teased me in with a piece on Stephen Colbert.

Anyway, Lawrence O'Donnell was on a three-headed panel along with Republican Strategist Terry Holt discussing the Mark Foley imbroglio. As an "A Positive Christian Atheist", I was stunned and giddy with glee to hear O'Donnell call the fundamentalists what they are: "nuts".
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST: I don‘t think they‘re going to land very strongly on President Bush. He‘s going to be able to take to his pulpit as preacher in chief [Ooh, I like that one!] and sound very convincing, which I think he actually is, to evangelicals. I think the good news here is that people working in the White House think that Pat Robertson is nuts. They should. Pat Robertson is nuts.

It would be much worse if they paid lip service to these people publicly and privately actually believed what people like Pat Robertson believe. I mean, these are people—these are millions of people in these movements who believe that every Jew is going to burn in hell forever because they have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

...Look, listen, Joe, you know that each side believes that they have interest groups coming at them who are nuts. There are Democrats who are fairly liberal who believe that there are environmental extremists who lobby them, and they pay lip service to them and they nod during the meetings, and when those people leave, they‘re talked about as nuts. Same thing with these people in the White House. The good news is the White House thinks they‘re nuts. That‘s good news.

TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I‘m continually stunned by the comments of the last commenter. In fact, this is one of the most conservative countries in the world and it‘s highly religious. [Unfortunately true] So to pick on religious people I think is a loser....

O‘DONNELL: Exactly. Listen, everybody in the Democratic Party thinks Al Sharpton‘s a nut, OK? He‘s a nut. That‘s the way he‘s talked about behind his back when he leaves the room. They don‘t like dealing with him. He represents a crazy end of the party, and that‘s the way he‘s talked about. Now, when they‘re in Al Sharpton‘s presence and they‘re on a stage with him, they shake his hand and they put their arms around him, but they think he‘s a nut. And that‘s the good news because he is. He‘s a convicted felon. He‘s nuts.

I mean, this is really good news, that the adults in the White House think that Pat Robertson and these Christian fundamentalists who are demanding so much from them are nuts. ....
Now this goes back and forth for a while. The third head got some back and forth with Joe "I Served With Foley, I Knew Him Well, But I'm Totally Shocked" Scarborough. Then O'Donnell sets his sights on Holt and demands an answer to a question Holt is wayyyy too politically savvy to answer honestly:
O‘DONNELL: Is there anyone on this panel who believes that every Jew on earth is going to burn in hell forever if they do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior? Do any of us believe that?

HOLT: But you‘re attacking Christians. You don‘t have a reason to attack Christians!
O‘DONNELL: Do you believe that? Do you believe that? Because if you do, you‘re a nut!

HOLT: And you‘ve used the word “nut” probably a hundred times in the last seven-and-a-half minutes, and I don‘t know why.

SCARBOROUGH: And I will just say that I go to church with people that believe that you need to be a Christian and you need to have faith in Jesus Christ to enter the kingdom of heaven. It‘s in the Bible. Maybe that‘s a radical philosophy for you, Lawrence, but I certainly...

O‘DONNELL: No, I think it‘s insane, Joe. I don‘t think it‘s radical. I think to say that most of the people on the face of the earth will burn in hell forever is insane.
Ah, it does my skeptical secular humanist atheist heart good to hear someone on national TV call fundamentalist Christianity "nuts". Of course, I figured that out at age eight when I questioned the logistics of Noah's Ark, the ability of Jonah to live in a whale, the alchemy required to turn Lot's wife into salt, and, as O'Donnell notes, the idiocy of believing that the many-billions of people who have ever lived on Earth throughout history face an eternity of torment and hellfire just because they were unlucky enough to, for example, be born a Chinese slave building the Great Wall or an Clatsop Indian warrior fishing for salmon in pre-Columbian America, and thereby unable to know that a middle-aged Jew was tortured to death two-thousand years ago so George W. Bush (and others) can go to Heaven just by saying "I believe".


O'Reilly: Dem majority means the end of Christmas

My we're starting this early, Bill. He's right up there with Don Wildmon prepping early for saving the "Christ" in Christmas by claiming a secular conspiracy to attack religious freedom will result if the Dems gain control of Congress. He was on Faux's "Your World with Neil Cavato" (via Raw Story):


Secular progressives, O'Reilly claims, want "No more Christmas, no pledge of allegiance to God. No more Christmas – 'this is pulling us down, because it's too judgmental.'"
Somehow, I'm not sure what's to save at this point, considering how crass and commercialized the holiday has become, it has so little to do with the baby Jeebus that these faux Christians throwing their hands up in the air and bleating sounds shrill and ridiculous.


DC's gay GOP is hitting the bottle over Foleygate

Not one ounce of pity for these professional closet cases. The blowback from Foleygate has these warped Republicans heading for the sauce. From Michael Crowley at The New Republic, "Gay GOP Misery":
Until recently, says one gay Republican lobbyist, his counterparts on the Hill "had reached a point where you come to your work, you do a good job [working your ass off to legislate bigotry], you don't cause problems for your boss, and you go home." But then along came the Mark Foley scandal, with its rightwing anti-gay moralizing, liberal snickers about closeted hypocrisy, and a merciless wave of Internet gossip and "outings." The lobbyist says he assumes every gay Republican staffer is "terrified right now." And that has been enough to drive some of them to the bottle.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
One gay Washingtonian recalls running into an aide to a senior House Republican at a gay bar soon after FoleyGate broke: "He went out to get shitfaced, because he was so stressed out." Chris Crain, a blogger and former editor of the Washington Blade, a gay weekly in Washington, D.C., also says such encounters have become typical. "This weekend, I noticed that the gay Republicans I saw were notably more inebriated than usual. I think they were self-medicating--and I can't blame them."...
It's so much hard work protecting that closet, isn't it, you losers? None of these gay Republicans actually fears losing their jobs -- their homo-hating bosses up until this scandal blew wide open would never throw them under the bus. All of this agita stems from the anti-gay hypocrites starting to worry that the winds are shifting -- they've bedded down with politicians who prize self-preservation over loyalty -- and they aren't sure where they stand if the closet door gets flung open because of this scandal.

This is a terrific piece (well worth the registration), covering some of the past pathological GOP anti-gay closet cases like Roy Cohn, the outing of Steve Gunderson (including the infamous bar confrontation with activist Michael Petrelis), and the differences on the left regarding outings in light of Foleygate -- there are interviews with John Aravosis and Mike Rogers as well.

A priceless passage recounts a recent Washington dinner party -- with both Dem and Republican gay movers and shakers -- and apparently a gay former Clinton aide let into one of these gay hypocrites working in the Bush administration and said what we've all said in our minds (and on our blogs) a million times --
'What you do for a living is hurting me, and my family, and my daughter I have with two lesbians. I personally view Bush as the most corrupt, vile politician in the world, and if you're working for him, to me you're one and the same.' People were horrified." But, he adds, "I refuse to be cordial or friendly or polite to these people. I think they are our mortal enemy. They ask the gay community to indulge them when they want a social life, but when they punch the clock they are trying to tear apart our families. They want it both ways."
Amen. The free ride is over when you work to deny rights to taxpaying LGBT citizens for a flipping paycheck, willingly and publicly sucking up to the evangelical homophobes. These boozers would be better off spending the money that they are drinking away on a good therapist.

***

You should also check out Michelangelo Signorile's op-ed in the LA Times, "Media Should Have 'Outed' Foley."
By not reporting on Foley's deceitful life for more than 15 years — during which he portrayed himself as a heterosexual politician — the media enabled a man overwhelmed by the destructiveness of the closet to ultimately implode in the halls of Congress. By looking the other way on something that made them uncomfortable — reporting on closeted gay public figures, particularly those who are hypocrites — and by deluding themselves that it's a privacy issue, reporters, producers and editors took part in perpetuating a fiction, one that may well have led to an ugly outcome.

...Foley's closet wasn't just about protecting his political career. He seemed to be filled with shame. According to one gay man quoted in the Washington Post last week who challenged Foley on his voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, Foley justified marginalizing gay marriage by saying, "I could never compare any relationship I have ever had to the nature of my mother and father's relationship."

For Foley, homosexuality meant second-class status.
Again, people in this mental state of self-loathing have no business holding public office -- where they can determine the rights of other people. Foley -- and others like him -- are head cases. In this instance he was a powerful elected official who was protected time and again by those who should have known better.

Hat tip, Holly.


Homobashing in GA governor's race

Sonny Perdue -- what a card he is. The Republican governor of Georgia, fighting for re-election, decided to toss the gay card at his Democratic opponent Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor saying that Taylor places "the interests of the radical homosexual lobby ahead of our Boy Scouts."

What is Sonny talking about? In 2001, Taylor received kudos from the gay community for thwarting multiple attempts by wingnut legislators to pass bills designed to prohibit legal challenges to the ability of the Boy Scouts, which discriminates against gays, to meet in public facilities. (SoVo):
As lieutenant governor, Taylor had the final say on which bills made it to the Senate floor for a vote, and “adjourned the [Senate] session before the measure came to a vote,” according to a March 2001 Southern Voice report.

“Gay lobbyists praised Taylor’s actions, while the state legislator [state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs)] who initiated the bill accused Taylor of ‘placating the extremists in the homosexual lobby,” the article stated.

Taylor held the bill until the next session because of "constitutional and legal questions," David Sutton, press secretary for the lieutenant governor, told Southern Voice at the time, citing an opinion from General Assembly legislative counsel Sewell Brumby.
That was all Perdue needed to send out a direct mailer with this message.

"When the Boy Scouts were being harassed by the radical homosexual lobby who wanted them ousted from public buildings, the ‘Defense of Scouting Act’ was introduced,” the direct-mail piece reads. “Instead of standing up for our values and our boys, Democrat Mark Taylor killed this important piece of legislation by refusing to even allow a vote in the state Senate."
This is after Perdue said that he said there would be "no negative campaigning in the race." Right.


More on 'Liberty Sunday'


"I believe it's from the pit of hell itself, that this movement is inspired, that it has a satanic anointing...The civil rights movement was inspired and given by the Holy Spirit, birthed in the church and bathed in prayer...But the gay rights movement, I believe, was birthed and inspired by the Antichrist."
-- Rev. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, on The Homosexual Agenda at FRC's last wingnut gathering, the "Values Voter Summit"
With the "Liberty Sunday" event coming up this weekend, the religious liberty watchdog group Americans United, reminds us of the kind of drivel we're likely to hear at this Tony Perkins event. This is the gathering that will feature welcomes from Mitt Romney (via tape) and his wife.

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, AU's executive director, sees these events as a perversion of faith.
"This event is not about liberty," said Lynn. "The religious right's crusade is designed to curtail liberty, not expand it. It's sad to see an entire event built around fear-mongering and hatred -- especially in Christian churches.

"What's truly frightening is the extreme agenda of the religious right and its ongoing campaign to literally demonize an entire class of Americans," Lynn continued. "That is disgraceful."
One of the speakers slated to bloviate on Sunday is Wellington Boone, who will probably bleat away on how his religious freedom is being jeopardized by the homos.
Another speaker, the Rev. Wellington Boone, called gay people "sodomites" who, he said, "are really nasty about trying to stop us from taking away their perversion."

Boone, of Norcross, Ga., went on to refer to gay men as "faggots" and "sissies."

FRC President Tony Perkins and other religious right leaders insist that gay rights presents a threat to America's houses of worship, but AU's Lynn said this is nonsense.

"Perkins and his supporters love to frighten pastors with Halloween scare stories about how their churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriages or admit gays as members," said Lynn. "All Americans know that the First Amendment protects against that ever happening. All congregations are guaranteed their free exercise of religion."
At the Values Voter Summit, Boone touted a flyer, "The Rape of the Civil Rights Movement," featuring details on how "sodomites" have co-opted the civil rights movement to "promote perversion." He graced the Tar Heel state with his presence in support of a state marriage amendment bill (which, of course, went nowhere).

Boone was also one of the tokens selected to appear at Justice Sunday III:


Daddy Dobson, Dr. Alveda C. King, Bishop Wellington Boone (The Father's House), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Rev. Herbert Lusk (Greater Exodus Baptist Church), Senator Little Ricky Santorum, Rev. Tinkywinky


NC city councilman calls for state marriage amendment

Here in the Tar Heel state we've halted efforts to pass a marriage amendment bill -- it's been killed in committee three times now. This irks a Thomasville city councilman to no end. He wants the civil rights of a segment of taxpaying citizens determined by popular vote, so on Monday he's encouraging the city council to pass a resolution on the matter to alert the legislature to "protect marriage."

Dwight Cornelison says he could accept it if voters turned an amendment away at the ballot box. It's actually not a particularly courageous statement to make, since it's likely that a measure would succeed if put to a public vote. (News14Carolina):
“I think it is an issue that should be decided by our culture, by our society,” said Thomasville City Council member Dwight Cornelison.

On Monday night, the council will vote on a resolution that, if passed, would encourage state lawmakers to allow North Carolina residents to decide on the definition of marriage.

“I favor marriage being defined between one man and one woman, however if the citizens of North Carolina voted a different way, I would not like it, but I could live with it knowing we the people decided it,” Cornelison said.
He's worried about those activist judges, you know.

Matt Hill Comer of the NC Advocacy Coalition is on the case. NCAC also announced that Matt and will be appearing at a community forum at the The Triad Business and Professional Guild's October meeting on the 19th, co-sponsored by Equality NC (www.equalitync.org) and the Guilford Green Foundation (www.ggfnc.org).

The subject sounds like it will generate a lot of discussion -- Is it OK to be gay? And Republican? Participants: Patrick Sammon (Executive Vice President of the national Log Cabin Republicans and The Liberty Education Forum), Rollin Kibbe (President of Triangle Log Cabin Republicans), Matt Hill Comer (student at UNCG and member of UNCG PRIDE as well as Executive Director of the NC Advocacy Coalition) and Andrew Spainhour (Board Member Equality NC and Legal Counsel Replacements LTD). Also invited to attend is Guilford County Republican Chair Marcus Kindley.

It will be held at the Greensboro/High Point Marriott. More details at the EqualityNC site.

I'd like to know how any gay person could be Republican in this state. Look at the party platform:
We believe homosexual behavior is not normal and should not be established as an acceptable "alternative" lifestyle either in public education or in public policy. We do not believe public schools should be used to teach children that homosexual behavior is normal. We do not believe that taxpayers should fund benefit plans for unmarried partners. We oppose special treatment by law based on nothing other than homosexual behavior or identity. We support federal and state constitutional amendments to ensure that marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman. We oppose attempts to legitimize homosexual relationships by placing such relationships on an equal footing with marriage. We oppose the adoption of children by same sex couples.
So, to answer the question those at the community forum will be debating, being gay and Republican is an unbelievably tough sell in this state if you actually believe in equality.

At last year's NCPride, I stepped over to the Triangle Log Cabin Republicans table to honestly ask one of them what kind of progress they are making since the NC GOP is beyond hostile. Here's a snippet of what I posted then.
I went up to Jami Taylor, secretary of the LCR chapter. She's on Equality NC's board of directors, and a PhD student at North Carolina State University, her research focused on transgender related public policy. I asked her what kind of progress they are making, given the hostility with which the party hierarchy despises homos. We're talking about a party that wouldn't even allow the LCR to set up a table at the state convention last year or this year. N.C. GOP Chairman Ferrell Blount was famously quoted as saying:
"I reviewed what the Log Cabin national Web site was advocating and promoting and in my opinion, it is diametrically opposed to the values of the North Carolina Republican Party... As state party chairman, I support the definition of marriage as being a union sanctioned by God between a man and a woman. That is what the Republican Party talks about in its platform and will talk about this weekend."
Jami did manage to find a positive note on the slight by saying that the LCR aired a 30-second response commercial in Asheville where the convention was held this year to spur discussion by challenging the party not to "follow Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan and Rick Santorum's lead by dividing the GOP with an intolerant social agenda based on fear and exclusion."

...I told her that the LCRs have a LOT of work to do in NC, since there are zero prospective GOP candidates worth backing in 2006 that aren't good-old-boy homophobes. Her last attempt to convince me of any meager progress to bring the party from the twilight zone of wingnuttery is that Republican Senator Stan Bingham of Denton signed on to a bill in March which would add sexual orientation to the protection from discrimination employees of the North Carolina General Assembly would receive. The LCR site notes that two other Republican senators signed on that day, but later withdrew their support.


Desperately unhinged with a melting tin foil hat

Thursday, October 12, 2006

When Holly sent me this link earlier today, I thought it was to the last screed by Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media, Homosexual Blackmail on Capitol Hill, which I blogged about here.

In that piece, he tossed out the conspiracy theory that there is a gay cabal that has infiltrated the GOP to advance The Homosexual Agenda, and it is "working behind-the-scenes to sabotage a conservative pro-family agenda in the Congress." He folded the neatest tin foil hat we've seen in a long time.

With Cliff's latest column Republican Gays are Closeted Dems, I think the radioactivity has penetrated the tin foil asshat, and his brain is completely baked. As he continues developing his theory that somehow, our fight for rights was being helped along by the professionally closeted, anti-gay staffers and congressmen, he takes it further with statements like these:
The mystery man at the center of the scandal, Jeff Trandahl, is supposed to be a "lifelong Republican" who is gay. But Trandahl, who supervised the congressional page program as House clerk and knew about the controversial Foley emails many years ago, has a strange way of showing his Republicanism.

Trandahl is so much of a Republican that he joined the board of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, another gay political action committee that commits most of its funds to electing Democrats. Its latest list of "winning candidates" is all Democrats, except for Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee, who admits not voting for President Bush in 2004.

If you are getting the idea that gay Republicans may be closeted Democrats, then you are beginning to understand how the Mark Foley scandal could have been a Democratic Party dirty trick.

...Only now are House Republican leaders like Dennis Hastert beginning to understand the trap they may have gotten themselves into. They thought they were being tolerant and diverse and constructing a "big tent" when they were giving gay Republicans important positions of power. It is now apparent that this power has been used to sabotage the party from within.

...It seems appropriate to note that one of the few Republicans financially supported by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the pro-Democratic group to which Trandahl made his contributions in 2000, was Rep. Jim Kolbe. Was the first "openly gay" Republican member of Congress a closeted Democrat as well? It's certainly the case that he started acting more like a Democrat once his secret life was exposed. He has, for example, become a prominent advocate of gays in the military and has denounced the proposed federal amendment protecting traditional marriage.
Ah, now we're getting to the heart of it gay=Democrat. Therefore, Log Cabinettes cannot possibly be Republicans.

Folks, Cliff has just declared the GOP a homo-free zone. I can't wait for the next LCR press release on this.

***

Dapper Don Wildmon of the American Family Association is equally incensed, calling for a gay purge in the GOP, in a great piece by Max Blumenthal in The Nation. He is in full foaming-at-the-mouth mode:
Wildmon is convinced that a secretive gay "clique" boring within the Republican-controlled Congress is responsible for covering up Foley's sexual predation toward teenage male House pages. Moreover, Wildmon calls on the Republican Party leadership to promptly purge the "subversive" gay staffers.

"They oughtta fire every one of 'em," Wildmon told me in his trademark Mississippi drawl. "I don't care if they're heterosexual or homosexual or whatever they are. If you've got that going on, that subverts the will of the people; that subverts the voters. That is subversive activity. There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto."

Wildmon claimed that an investigation by Congressional Republican leaders into the gay menace lurking in their midst will clear House Speaker Dennis Hastert of allegations that he repeatedly ignored warnings about Foley's behavior. "I think the identification of the members of the homosexual clique is going to come out," Wildmon declared. "I think it's going to come out whether or not Hastert knew what he says, and at this point I'm inclined to believe he's telling the truth. I'm beginning to think that the homosexuals shielded their former Congressman Foley and that Denny Hastert did not know the depth of what's going on up there."
Meanwhile, Daddy Dobson sounds like he's distancing himself from the AFA honcho's call for blood. He's at least conscious of how unhinged his colleagues appear to the public at large. He says something interesting here:
"She [the reporter] said, 'I heard late yesterday that Dr. Dobson had asked House leadership to fire all gay staffers,'" Dobson recalled in a voice brimming with indignation. "That's crazy too. That, first of all, would be flat-out illegal. You can't fire people just because somebody says so, and they're certainly not going to do it because James Dobson says so. That's crazy! They're trying to make us look like extremists and people who do ridiculous things, and there's absolutely no basis in this."

With Wildmon brandishing The List and demanding a gay purge, which in Dobson's words would be a "crazy," "flat-out illegal," "ridiculous thing," the chaos and panic among the House leadership has spread to the Christian right. As Election Day draws nearer, the movement's most influential leaders are markedly off-message, contradicting one another, and on the defensive.
Hold the phone, Daddy D. Is he saying that he agrees with the 1998 Clinton executive order allowing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to interpret the law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in regards to federal workers? Because of Focus on the Anus's fine and dandy influence and bigotry, I would think he'd like the ability to fire homos at will, which private employers can still do.

Oh, the irony -- Daddy D's fearless leader, the Chimperor, back in 2005, had his stooge Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, try to ignore that executive order. Bloch claimed that it didn't apply:

"The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection."

If a federal manager fires, reassigns or takes some other action against an employee simply because that employee is gay, there is nothing in federal law that would permit the Office of Special Counsel to protect the worker, Bloch testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.

...When Levin asked if Bloch would recommend that Congress clarify the law so that protections for federal employees extend to sexual orientation, Bloch declined to take a position.
Bloch, who took the oath of office from Clarence Thomas in February 2004, later landed his ass in hot water in October of last year for failing to investigate claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Bloch has been under fire for more than a year. The Office Of The Special Counsel is the agency that investigates complaints of discrimination by federal workers, but, Bloch has refused to take on complaints of discrimination based on sexuality.

...Bloch's stonewalling complaints of discrimination by LGBT federal workers dates to February 2004 when he ordered references to sexual orientation removed from the Office of the Special Counsel website.


Quote of the day -- the shaft


"Have I done something to offend the White House? ... I am always getting the shaft."
-- Mark Foley, in a letter to Gov. Jeb Bush on September 29, 2004.
Foley was whining because he wasn't asked to accompany Dear Leader on a tour of page predator's district -- other local lawmakers had been invited, so he felt snubbed.

Michael Petrelis on Foley's ego:
With the release of emails from Jeb, we learn that Foley bragged to the governor about his attempts to always cast a positive light on Dubya, despite the president never doing something truly positive on gay issues. Foley seems to have been overly concerned with getting his photo taken with the president during his Florida visits.

There's nothing like a queen desperate to have her image with the country's leader broadcast on local TV and printed in the papers. Indeed, I've heard that if you wanted to live and not get trampled to death, it was always best to NOT stand between Foley and TV cameras.


I forgot this Bush 'pearl of wisdom'

Yesterday I posted some choice quotes from Bush's rare press conference, where he dished out one brain-dead statement after another.

I missed this one, and it's a whopper. (Think Progress):
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN: Thank you, Mr. President. Back on Iraq, a group of American and Iraqi health officials today released a report saying that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war. That figure is 20 times the figure that you cited in December at 30,000. Do you care to amend or update your figure and do you consider this a credible report?


PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't consider it a credible report, neither does General Casey and neither do Iraqi officials. I do know that a lot of innocent people have died and it troubles me and grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there's a level of violence that they tolerate.
What? As "liberators" the U.S. came in and blew up the country, killed thousands, and set up a breeding ground for terrorists and sectarian violence. This man is a sociopath.

It reminds me -- on a smaller mind-boggling scale, mind you -- of an incident at one of those vanity Social Security road shows of his (with the carefully selected audiences). In Omaha, Nebraska, the Chimperor goofed on a woman, an average citizen, who came on stage. She told him that she had to work three jobs to make ends meet and he said this:
MARY MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)


Debunking the Foley myth machine

Media Matters does an excellent job of countering the GOP spin and talking points lies in a special report.

A few choice ones blown away with facts:
* Democrats and their allies orchestrated the Foley scandal as a political dirty trick
* Hastert did not learn about Foley's alleged behavior until September 29
* Alleged Foley emails that House Republicans possessed were merely "overly friendly"
* Foley scandal has not affected voters or Congressional races
* Hastert and the GOP leadership forced Foley to resign after they learned of the lurid instant messages
* Gay Men are More Likely Than Heterosexual Men to Sexually Abuse Children


Virginia marriage amendment opponents threatened with arrest

It's getting down to the wire in Virginia, and people canvassing homes in Warrenton trying to educate voters about the impact of an extremely restrictive marriage amendment are being threatened with the clink by law enforcement, citing an ordinance meant to deter sales solicitation. (365gay):
Police officers pointed to a town ordinance meant to control door-to-door salespeople. It does not specifically mention political campaigns, and it is believed candidates running for office have not been threatened.

On Wednesday the ACLU of Virginia began sending out letters to police chiefs throughout the state to make them aware of the rights of political canvassers. “Door to door canvassing for political and religious purposes is carved so deeply into the American landscape that one hardly needs to invoke the Constitution to justify it,” said ACLU of Virginia executive director Kent Willis.

“Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Supreme Court has struck down every local ordinance that attempts to interfere with this basic First Amendment right.”

...Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and former US Sen. John Edwards have voiced their opposition to the amendment. In addition a number of communities and business groups, mainly in northern Virginia have stated their opposition to the amendment - mainly over its provisions that would potentially affect domestic partner benefits.
See a prior Blend post, "Migrating out of legally gay-hostile Virginia," for insight on the in-progress gay exodus in anticipation of the amendment's passage. According to the 365gay article, a recent Mason-Dixon poll showed 54% in favor of the amendment, 40% planned to vote against it.

Here is the language that will appear on the November ballot:
"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.?"


Significant shift in out gay voting power?

ABC has an interesting bit up about the effect of out gay citizens as a voting bloc, since visibility has increased, mostly because anti-gay amendment efforts have motivated more people to come out.
The report from the Williams Institute at UCLA examines recently released census data, documenting a 30 percent increase in the number of same-sex couples in the United States over five years, from nearly 600,000 couples to almost 777,000 in 2005. The increase is five times the rate of growth in the U.S. population, according to the study.

According to the study, the states with the biggest increases were also states that endured recent political slugfests over gay marriage, battles the gay community lost. M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, said that instead of those losses driving "gay men, and lesbians and bisexual people back into anonymity and silence... the campaign against gay rights may have the opposite effect."
The thinking is that in close races, out gay (and angry) citizens may play a key role in close races, voting for pro-equality candidates, or, absent a decent choice, turn away rank homophobes.

I'm not too sure -- ~20% of LGBT folks actually voted for the clown in chief last time around; I don't think we're as cohesive a group as the MSM may think, and certainly not numerous enough, absent additional voter support from allies, to turn an election in most states.

What do you think?


Beltway GOP: evangelicals are 'nuts, ridiculous, out of control'

It's not been a good week for the AmTaliban. They are getting no respect. I hope that they like being the GOP's doormat.

A new book coming out written by the former second-in-command of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives reveals that the establishment GOP enjoys wiping its dung-laden boots over the Dobsons, Falwells, Bauers, and Schlaflys -- and then puts the boot in their asses for good measure.

Keith Olbermann snared an advance copy of self-described conservative Christian David Kuo's Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, and if any of these fundies have received one, they are probably hopping mad right now.

Kuo says what most of us already knew -- the Bushies and the Rove machine are just using the holy-rolling bigots to organize, get out the vote and rally the troops by dangling red meat social issues out there that the establishment GOP has no interest in acting upon.

I'm loving it. (MSNBC):
Kuo, who has complained publicly in the past about the funding shortfalls, goes several steps further in his new book.

He says some of the nation's most prominent evangelical leaders were known in the office of presidential political strategist Karl Rove as "the nuts."


Gee, do you think they were referring to the likes of Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition?

"National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as 'ridiculous,' 'out of control,' and just plain 'goofy,'" Kuo writes.
Kuo worked for Bill Bennett and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, so he's got full wingnut cred.

Let's see how long it takes for the bible-beaters to go after him.

This comes on the heels of last week's eruption by Tucker Carlson who unloaded on the air to Chris Matthews about the Republican establishment's distaste for the evangelical Base.
CARLSON: The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in…

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?

CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.

MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?

CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out.
***

In his book Kuo also confirms that the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives has been shamelessly used for politicking and cronyism -- by none other than Ken Mehlman.
Kuo alleges that then-White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman knowingly participated in a scheme to use the office, and taxpayer funds, to mount ostensibly "nonpartisan" events that were, in reality, designed with the intent of mobilizing religious voters in 20 targeted races.

According to Kuo, "Ken loved the idea and gave us our marching orders."

Among those marching orders, Kuo says, was Mehlman's mandate to conceal the true nature of the events.


Kuo quotes Mehlman as saying, "...(I)t can't come from the campaigns. That would make it look too political. It needs to come from the congressional offices. We'll take care of that by having our guys call the office [of faith-based initiatives] to request the visit."
Do you think Ken will surface in the MSM (he's been MIA since Foleygate broke) to defend himself against these charges?

***

I decided to go wading in to see what the Freepi think about Kuo's book...

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Yawn. Another "tell all book" just in time for the election. Predictable.

Why is it predictable? It does not appear to be predictable to me -- according to his own words --

"I served in the White House for two-and-a-half years as a Special Assistant to the president and eventually as Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative. I have deep respect, appreciation, and affection for the president. No one who knows him even a tiny bit doubts the sincerity and compassion of his heart. Likewise, the people around the president are good and caring people. I know this firsthand because I experienced it during a health crisis in my own life when their kindness was evident.

That is why writing this is difficult.
"

This is from what David Kuo wrote here --
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/160/story_16092_1.html

Yet he somehow struggled through, just in time for the scheduled "suppress the vote" campaign.

Does one really expect people in the know to take all these Bush bashing books seriously as they're released at election time?

Who is Kuo?

Hey, this will work. Lets convince the evangelicals to stay home on election day.

Huh and MSNBC's so called "conservative" Tucker Carlson is saying the same thing. How convieient for a such a book to come out before an elction for howard dean & co.

It's fair, Democrats just use blacks, and poor welfare slobs

True...every four years throw them a bone....

Oct. 11: "Countdown" has obtained a copy of new book that suggests the White House repeatedly uses evangelical Christians for their votes, while consistently given them nothing in return.

Well, ah, then all the hyperventalating by the left about Bible studies in the White House can now be ignored, huh?

"Christian Reconstructionists Don't Get Their Wish to Run Every Aspect of the Bush Adminstration"

Has it ever occurred to the Dim-wits that evangelicals are "using" Republicans, just as surely as Republicans are "using" them? What on earth are they thinking, that religious people, who care about morality, are going to help them regain power and undo what has been accomplished thus far? The faith of evangelicals is not drawn from political belief but the other way around, unlike the secular left. Until they understand this, the Dims will flounder. And when they do understand this, they'll understand that they've plotted and planned for nothing.

I truly believe President Bush through his faith and prayer life is walking with God. If I can be even a small part of that walk then I consider it both an honor and a blessing. There's a great line in the old country song by Tanya Tucker that goes "step back non-believers or the rain will never come." We would be out of this WOT a lot sooner if the non-believers would get out of the way!

I am a christain and I don't feel used by President Bush. I support him 150%

Asking you a totally serious question, have you ever heard of the term "sellout", especially with the timing of the release of the book and it's "praise" at MSNBC.

I had the same thought. Hopefully he will get one more chance to do "nothing" for Christians with a Supreme Court appointment.

Wuo is Kho?

Alito and Roberts are "nothing". Give me a break!

No. But they are open questions. I won't thank Bush for either of these guys until the first Kulturkampf case comes before this court. If they rule incorrectly on abortion or homo marriage, all bets are off.

Not only did BUSH do "nothing" for Christians with the Alito and Roberts appointments he did "nothing" for originalists and conservatives as well.

No another tell all book...it is another SUPRESS the VOTE attempt.

And illustrates the point by a lovefest with Keith Olbermann. Daily Kos panic notwithstanding, I never understood admin policy to include establishing a theocracy.

JMO, Kuo is a democrat mole.

They are really hoping Christians stay home and don't vote. Olbermann is just horrible. I heard his diatribe. I do not in one second believe this trashy book. Can the USA not produce any great literature anymore.

Dems trying to surpress the vote. Why trumpet it for them? Really, why?

Wait a minute, here they have been telling us that President Bush has NO nuance. Sure wish they would make up their minds cause these sybils are hard to keep up with.

I think Kuo is interested in social programs and wants to see them increase, whether by "faith based initiatives" or whatever else is convenient. He appears embittered by Bush's so called Katrina "failings".

It appears that he's been an assistant *directly* for the President himself -- and *still* -- he's writing this book about *failed promises* and the Evangelical group simply being "used". This is *not* from the Democrats...

That's why it was (and will) become clearly apparant that Reagainite (Christian Conservatives) will become active..in a big waaaay in Repubo Primaries. In the next couple election cycles..it's through primaries that we get "Good people" elected, and kick out the "moderates"..End rant!

These men are both Conservative Catholics. Conservative Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals see eye to eye on many issues. BUSH is a considered a Conservative Evangelical. He appointed two Conservative Catholics to SCOTUS. I have not heard of one complaint from any Conservative Evangelical that Alito and Roberts were no good because they are Conservative Catholics.

From what I have read after this story was posted, Kuo was a Miers supporter and skeptical of Roberts. That says quite a bit.


Open thread - my eyes

Foley's high school photo. The actual caption -- no kidding:

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Mark A. Foley. Noted for — being a ladies man.

Check out this other photo of the future predator of pages, as he modeled for Fountains department store in 1973:


Polyester level: maximum tactile unfriendly.

From the Palm Beach Post article, "The Mark we knew."

Hat tip, Shakes Sis (via Arlen)

***

Mike Tidmus must have known all about fashion plate Foley. Look at what he came up with:

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Warner's not running


Dem and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner says he's not running in 2008. Ho hum. He seemed to be doing a dance with the blogosphere by appearing at Yearly Kos (MyDD's Jerome Armstrong was hired on by Warner), but he decided that he won't make the run because he wants to have "a real life."

Now the jockeying for the not-sHillary centrist position begins. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) thinks he's got the edge and wasted no time issuing an air-kiss statement about Warner's bow-out. (ABC):
"Governor Warner is an exceptional public servant, a great leader, and an influential voice in the Democratic Party. I know how tough a decision that this must have been. Mark Warner has much to contribute to the national debate and I look forward to working with him to make our future everything it can be," said Bayh.

Bayh and Warner were often competing for a similar sphere of donors and activists as representatives of the centrist wing of the Democratic Party.

...Warner's withdrawal from the 2008 "Invisible Primary" is also, no doubt, welcome news for former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM). All four of those Democrats would certainly like to assume the role as the main alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic nomination fight throughout 2007 and into 2008.
As governor, Warner added sexual orientation to state employment protections.


Page: Foley patted male page's behind on House floor

Folks, that's not IMs or emails. That's damn nasty and brazen if perv Foley thought touching ANYONE on the posterior in a work environment is acceptable, let alone a teenage page who is not in a position of power to challenge. (The Michigan Daily):
A former House page said he witnessed inappropriate contact between former Republican Congressman Mark Foley and another page in the back of the House floor in early 2001.

The page, Richard Nguyen, a first-year student at the University's Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, said he saw Foley pat a male page's behind.


Foley's attorney did not return calls for comment.

Nguyen said he was not sure during which month the incident took place. He was a page between January and June of 2001. Nguyen did not report the incident to authorities. At the time, the then-16-year-old thought it was "questionable activity," but he was unsure how to interpret it.

"I wasn't sure if it was a social norm I wasn't accustomed to," Nguyen said. "I mean, you see athletes patting each other's asses all the time on the field."

...Nguyen said many of the pages in his class were suspicious of Foley.

"We always saw that Mr. Foley was very friendly to male pages," he said. "There were signs, for an observer like myself, but I never knew what I know now."
And Nguyen can't possibly be the only page -- or member of Congress or staffers -- who knew that Foley was cruising teens on the taxpayers' dime -- and on the House floor.

Also:
* Have you visited Blogactive today?
* How not to do it, perv
* You can't make this up
* Former staffer to testify drunken Foley cruised page dorm
* Try again, Cliff Kincaid (a gay cabal infiltrated the GOP to advance the Homo Agenda)
* Evidence of FBI coverup on Foleygate
* Mike Rogers on O'Reilly and two more anti-gay closets kicked open
* Reynolds drops out of fundraiser for mistress-choker
* TVC's Lou Sheldon's spittles over Foley
* Lawrence O'Donnell on closeted gay Republicans
* Page self-identifies, to speak with feds
* Kolbe saw Foley messages in 2000
* Daddy Dobson lies, blames teen pages and liberals for Foley debacle
* Foley's power trip
* O'Donnell: what's up with Hastert's roomie/chief of staff?
* On the hit list of the fundies, the gay GOP continues to protect its closet
* Trouble in GOP House seats
* Mike discusses outing gay hypocrites on Tucker Carlson's show
* Time for the GOP hole card to turn up
* You knew it wouldn't take long for this to show up
* Watch Pat Buchanan play the NAMBLA card; UCC takes on Perkins
* Three more pages speak to ABC about Foley's 'approaches'
* Insane defenses
* Caption this - Tom Reynolds and Laura Bush
* Thursday AM Foley roundup
* Hastert: I'll resign if it will help the GOP
* Gingrich: Dems' sex scandals are worse / Drunk Foley showed up at page dorm
* The List
* Kirk Fordham's the first to go
* dKos Cheers & Jeers on Foleygate
* Qs of the day - who's going down/career advice for Foley
* Glenn's on Foley fire...
* Wednesday AM Foley update
* How low can you go -- Tom Reynolds hides behind children
* Foley's attorney: he was molested by a priest as a child
* OK, enough. Hastert has to go NOW.
* Dear Leader speaks...
* Foley interrupted floor vote to have cybersex with page
* Page threatened, Foley still using AOL screen name
* Eating their own - Boehner drop kicks Hastert
* Tuesday AM Foley roundup
* More GOP family values: Foley aide tried to cut a deal with ABC's Ross
* More info on Foley's well-known predator rep among pages
* They knew about Foley in 2001
* There should not be silence
* GOP leadership: spinning for the election home stretch, but nowhere to run on Foley
* More Foleygate
* Foley blasted 'vile' Clinton in 1998 for his 'sad sexual addiction'
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?


Maybe the 55 dismissed gay Arabic linguists will get a phone call

The FBI has only 33 agents in its ranks with limited proficiency in Arabic. This kind of puts a damper on our effectiveness fighting Chimpy's war on terror. (WaPo):
Counting agents who know only a handful of Arabic words -- including those who scored zero on a standard proficiency test -- just 1 percent of the FBI's 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language, the statistics show.

The numbers reflect the FBI's continued struggle to attract employees who speak Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and other languages of the Middle East and South Asia, even as the bureau leads a fight against terrorist groups primarily centered in those parts of the world.
It's nice to see our tax dollars protecting us so well. Did I mention the CIA has the same problem? In the FBI's case, recruiting and clearing qualified people resembles a Keystone Kops operation.
Special agents, for example, must be U.S. citizens. They also must undergo background checks that are much more difficult to pass if the candidate has relatives or friends overseas.

"It is easier to get a security clearance if you don't have any interaction with foreigners, which is not what you want if you want better interaction with foreigners," Byman said.
How inept is this government overall in this regard? It extends to our federal prisons as well.
...A study released last week, for example, found that three terrorists housed at a federal prison in Colorado were able to send more than 90 letters to fellow extremists overseas, in part because the prison did not have enough qualified language translators to understand what was happening.
Hat tip, Shakes Sis.


Have you visited Blogactive today?

There's a lot of activity going on over there...


On one post Mike asks: Missing Person Alert! Where is Ken Mehlman? He's been MIA since Foleygate broke. Hmmmmm.

Mike also appeared on KABC radio yesterday, and discussed David Dreier and Ken Mehlman during drive time.

I spent almost the entire half hour educating the entire Los Angeles region about David Dreier's life as a closeted gay man. What a sea change from two years ago, when Los Angeles stations barred me from mentioning Dreier's name.

The host of the show, Al Rantel is a gay conservative. We had a blast.
He does a great job explaining why anti-gay, publicly closeted homos need to be reported on. Mike pointed out, in Dreier's case, he's a gay man who voted against the repeal of DADT -- that's clearly an anti-gay position, and that makes it relevant to voters and gay citizens. He drew an analogy to abortion rights that the host didn't challenge -- before a woman passes a law affecting the rights every woman in the country, voters have a right to know whether she herself had an abortion.

Listen to the whole interview (mp3).

The day before that, Mike caused a ruckus -- Ed Schrock, former Congressman (and current Congress staffer) receives new attention re: the Foley scandal from Mike Rogers. From a letter sent to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct:

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The former Virginia congressman (with a 92% Christian Coalition rating), was caught on tape cruising for sex with men via the MegaMates/MegaPhone Line (earlier post here). When that bit of business blew up, he dropped out of his re-election bid and later became a staffer.

The comments are rollicking in that Blogactive thread over the other person named.

Mike's even getting interviewed by the fundies. (CNSNews.com):
"It's [because of] those kinds of things that it's time to say 'enough, it's over,'" Rogers said. "Those who equate being gay with immorality will be surprised just how diverse the House Republican Caucus is when it comes to sexual orientation.

"The party is over for these guys who think they can be gay and beat up gay people, and there are a lot of them in the Republican Party," Rogers added.

But the Log Cabin Republicans, the group that represents homosexual Republicans, indicate that they oppose the so-called practice of "outing."

"I am unaware of a single forced outing that led to passage of one piece of pro-gay legislation," Patrick Sammon, executive vice president of the Log Cabin Republicans, said in a statement. "Coming out on your own terms with courage is a positive catalyst for change."
Yawn on the LCR party line (aka "protect the closets").

As far as changing votes after being outed, the disgraced, disgusting Foley didn't stop consistently voting anti-gay until the outing talk swirled. Same with Arizona's Jim Kolbe. From a December 2005 column in the Washington Blade (my post here), on that matter.
Things went differently for two gay Republicans in Congress who showed the courage to come out, albeit under pressure. Jim Kolbe, who announced his retirement this week, and Steve Gunderson, who quit in 1996, both came out because they believed they were about to be outed involuntarily.

Neither had been particularly friendly to gay rights while still in the closet. Kolbe had scored a 43 and a 67 on HRC's report card, while Gunderson managed a mediocre 57. Once they no longer were living their own double-life lies, their voting records followed suit. They both scored a perfect 100 in the term after they came out, and Kolbe went on to score perfect or near-perfect scores every term since.



The same could be said for Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who traveled openly within gay circles with his long-term partner until he went back into the closet for a U.S. Senate run in 2004.

Like the others, the closeted Foley scored a dismal 44 on HRC's scorecard, but during his 1996 re-election bid he was outed by local activists in his South Florida district. Since then, he's scored in the 80s or higher on HRC's report card and played an active role on several important pieces of gay rights legislation.
Note that Dreier has been outed at various times in local media and on blogs, but that revelation hasn't gained traction in the MSM, and his voting record remains anti-gay.


Bush's pearls of wisdom

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Quotes from your leader. He held a rare press conference lasting about an hour today...

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"The United States affirmed that we have no nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. We affirmed that we have no intention of attacking North Korea."

"I believe the commander in chief must try all diplomatic measures before we commit our military."

"If we were to leave before the job is done [In Iraq], the enemy's coming after us."

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"I think the speaker's strong statements have made it clear to not only the party ... but to the country, that he wants to find out the facts...Denny's very credible as far as I'm concerned."

And the winner -- and I don't know whether to laugh or cry, this is so sad and embarrassing:

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"Well, they [the Dems] may not use "cut and run," but they say "date certain" as to when to get out before the job is done. That is cut and run. You know, I -- nobody's accused me of having a real sophisticated vocabulary. I understand that. And maybe their -- their words are more sophisticated than mine, but when you pull out before the job is done, that's cut and run as far as I'm concerned. And that's cut and run as far as most Americans are concerned. And so yeah, I'm going to continue reminding them of their words and their votes."


Aircraft crashes into Manhattan building

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(AP Photo/Courtesy WCBS-TV)

How could the pilot be so far off course? The plane plowed into the 20th floor. (AP):
A small plane crashed into an Upper East Side high-rise Wednesday, shooting flames out the windows, raining debris on the sidewalks below and rattling New Yorkers' nerves exactly one month after the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Police confirmed 2 people are dead.

Christine Monaco, a New York spokeswoman for FBI, said there was no indication of terrorism, but that officials "have been sent to the scene as a routine." FAA spokesman Jim Peters said all three New York City-area airports were operating normally.


The homobigots behind the Wisconsin marriage amendment

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That's Julaine Appling above. She's executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin ("preserving marriage and family, life and liberty"), and serves as president of Vote Yes for Marriage.

I guess we could call her Wisconsin's Daddy D (would that make her "Momma A"?). She's the queen of the homobigot soundbite, as she works the final stretch to try to pass a marriage amendment in her state. Her organization is affiliated with Focus on the Anus, the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defense Fund, so these folks are part of the machine.

All of these organizations know that Wisconsin is a battleground. It has the best chance of being the first state to turn away a marriage amendment at the ballot box. Current polls show 51% back the amendment barring same-sex marriage and civil unions, 42% are opposed -- 7% are undecided. Turnout will be key.

Fair Wisconsin has put together a page of Appling's "Greatest Hits," and they are as unhinged as the best of the AmTaliban (the site includes audio clips). Here's a taste from Behind the Ban:
"We're no Missouri; we're no Mississippi; we're not Alabama and Georgia... we live in the shadow of Madison. With heavy pockets of people engaged in the behavior of homosexuality in Madison, Milwaukee, La Crosse, and other major population areas as well."

"What they're telling us is they are really much more interested in destroying marriage than in redefining it to include their perversion."

"I think we've been extremely tolerant in allowing [homosexuals] to live wherever they choose."
On this page you can also learn more about the legislators behind a marriage equality ban, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Rep. Mark Gundrum (R-New Berlin).

A recent Daily Press editorial scorched the amendment -- Why a civil union ban is bad for business.

You can give to Fair Wisconsin here.


Condi recognizes partner of new AIDS Coordinator at swearing-in ceremony

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(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"I am truly honored and delighted to have the opportunity to swear in Mark Dybul as our next Global AIDS Coordinator. I am pleased to do that in the presence of Mark's parents, Claire and Richard, his partner, Jason, and his mother-in-law, Marilyn...You have a wonderful family to support you, Mark, and I know that's always important to us. Welcome.
-- Condi, in remarks as she administered the oath of office to openly gay physician Mark Dybul, the new U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
This will send some of The Base over the edge. Not only did Condi take time to recognize Jason Claire, the partner of Dybul, but Laura Bush was there for the ceremony, in which Dybul's partner, who held the bible used during the oath.

Dybul is the nation's third openly gay ambassador. (WashBlade):
"I know you'll bring great skill and enthusiasm to the fight against AIDS," Laura Bush said. "Congratulations, ambassador."

...Dybul, a nationally recognized expert on AIDS care and prevention, had been serving as acting Global AIDS Coordinator since January, when Bush appointed his predecessor, pharmaceutical industry executive Randall Tobias, as head of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Rice's public recognition of Jason Claire as Dybul's domestic partner and her reference to Claire's mother as Dybul's "mother-in-law" is certain to delight gay activists while raising the eyebrows of conservative Christian leaders.
Tee hee.


How not to do it, perv

Barenaked Joe's post, Mark Foley: Worst Coming Out Story Ever, hits the mark (no pun intended). A snippet:
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Dear Mark Foley,

It really is a shame that as an out gay man you are spending your first National Coming Out Day today in "rehab" (wink, wink). But really, Mark, perhaps it's best that you stay out of the limelight for now, because besides the fact that gays don't want to claim you, your coming out story is a tragic tale.

...The ultimate point is you used the government page program that asks parents to entrust their kids' well being in congress as your own personal farming operation to find underage guys you perceived to be gay, hot, or interested. Then you contacted them once they got home and hoped to hook up with them when the became "legal." While it's still a question whether you've done anything illegal, it's pretty creepy, man, and certainly conduct unbecoming anyone who uses the word "The Honorable" in his title. (I mean I knew there were chickenhawks in congress, but still.)

Mark, THAT ISN'T HEALTHY SEXUAL BEHAVIOR. You must have been begging to get caught. That amount of hubris either comes from a feeling of absolute power or self-destruction. Were you crying out to be able to be out? Were you so desperate to not disrupt your Republican Lifestyle on the surface that you had to unconsciously risk everything in order to be who you really are?

Because uptight fundamentalists are bugged by actually acknowledging reality, they've manipulated their religion into an oppressive weapon. Along the way, Republicans like yourself sold out their conservative party to these fundamentalists and have risked turning America into a theocracy during one of our most trying times as a country. It must have been getting tough on you, Mark, to pick up that gay-bashing weapon to win votes. Was that weapon getting so heavy on your shoulders that you were willing to get caught in a scandal that will end up being the nails in the Coffin of Republican Congressional Rule? Wow! Talk about self-destructive behavior. You've brought the whole government down with you!

It was when you started to be called "disgraced" and "a pedophile" that you were willing to say, through your lawyer, that you are "a gay man." Well, Mark, I guess it's a start. It's a horrible start following possibly the worst gay coming out story ever, but it's a start.
Just go read it all.

***

A must-view -- Wanda Sykes on Foley and his "alcohol made me do it" defense (via Left Behinds, thanks MXM!).



"He's giving alcohol a bad name. People are blaming their nasty habits on alcohol...leave alcohol out of this...I've been really, really, drunk...I haven't gone and bought Girl Scout cookies...'Come here baby....' (audience is roaring)..."

***

A walk on the wild Foley side

Mike Tidmus on Foley, with a Lou Reed twist...

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Visit Mike's pad for the reworked lyrics for "Take a walk on the wild side."


Fundie luminaries going to Boston for 'Liberty Sunday'

More marriage protection from Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council -- with help from the Romneys. The bible-beaters are gathering on October 15, bringing the hate agenda to Boston.
I am pleased to announce that Ann Romney, the First Lady of Massachusetts, will join us for Liberty Sunday, a nationwide FRC simulcast that will air from Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston, Massachusetts. She will introduce her husband, Gov. Mitt Romney, who will join by video to discuss the legal battles over marriage taking place in Massachusetts.

Governor Romney has seen the impact that these battles have had not only on marriage but also on parental rights, the well-being of children, and the free speech rights of citizens in his state. Liberty Sunday will broadcast to churches nationwide on Sky Angel satellite system, on Christian television and radio and via webcast at www.libertysunday.com. I invite you to log onto www.libertysunday.com to find out how you can join us for a simulcast that will signal a warning to people of faith across the country about the threat the radical homosexual agenda poses to our first freedom - freedom of religion.
I went to the Liberty Sunday web site. The anti-gay event's focus is much more explicitly spelled out in Tony's "patriotic" mission statement, the Freedom Watch Project.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." So begins the Bill of Rights with the first amendment to our Constitution--one that guarantees a God-given freedom. For over 200 years the light of the church has illuminated this freedom, but now a radical agenda seeks to extinguish that flame. The expansion of non-discrimination laws to include homosexuality inevitably constricts our right to express and act on our religious beliefs.

FRC is tracking these occurrences as they occur throughout the country. We need your help as we compile stories from across the nation on how the homosexual agenda has threatened religious liberty. You can help us show America that government sponsorship of the homosexual agenda is a threat to the freedoms we value the most. .

Have you been forced to attend pro-homosexual "diversity" training at work? Have your children subjected to pro-homosexual rhetoric in school? If your religious liberties have been affected in these and other ways, we want to hear from you. Send us your stories. Then, join us as we address these issues at Liberty Sunday: Defending our First Freedom.
The usual suspects who will be bleating away with Perkins: Bishop Wellington Boone, Wellington Boone Ministries; "former homosexual" Alan Chambers of Exodus, Daddy Dobson, failed former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, Alan Sears, Alliance Defense Fund; Don Wildmon of the American Family Association; paid columnist for the Bush Admin Maggie Gallagher and unhinged William Donohue of The Catholic League.

Massachusetts fundies will be pleased as punch. Will MassResistance/Article 8 Alliance honcho Brian Camenker show up?


You can't make this up

In Hour of Need, Hastert Turns to -- Nut-Job Evangelist? (TPM Muckraker):
You're trying to save your own skin, much less the skins of your loyal staff, while multiple investigations are digging into your side about who knew what, when, and what they did or didn't do about it.

So you decide to take a meeting with a globe-hopping, PR-happy evangelist who (if accounts can be believed) faked his own leper colony?



After the 30-minute meeting between Hastert and Indian-by-way-of-Houston Christian evangelist K.A. Paul today, Hastert had no comment for the press. Paul, however, was downright chatty.

"I am humbled with his humility and simplicity," Paul told the Associated Press.
Some of the charges leveled against this evangelist are so bizarre and outrageous that you wonder why on earth Denny Hastert would want to be anywhere near this guy; Paul has been accused of:
- claiming another minister's leper colony as his own, and videotaping said lepers for a promotional video
- transporting children in an airplane one former crew member called a "flying death trap"
- interfering with a murder investigation in India, earning the wrath of that country's National Council of Churches
Talk about needing a PR makeover.

***

After this blew up, Denny claimed he was scammed, lolololol.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, with his job on the line because of the spiraling Mark Foley cyberspace page sex scandal, was duped Tuesday into letting a stranger into his Plano home -- a serious security breach.

...Hastert was led to believe he was meeting with a supporter. He was surprised to find out otherwise, the Sun-Times has learned. Paul said he asked Hastert to resign. He also said he prayed with the speaker and "laid hands" on him after a 40-minute meeting.
I'm trying not to visualize anything related to "laying hands" and the Speaker.


Today is National Coming Out Day



[NOTE: Shakes Sis has a great ally post up.]

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. The theme is "Talk About It."

The big news this year is information that should put fear into the hearts of The Base -- 70% of heterosexual adults in the United States said that they know someone who was gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

And -- those with an out gay or lesbian family member raises the typical American's support for full marriage equality by 17 percentage points.

The above results are from two studies being released by HRC, one by Harris Interactive and the other, "'Coming Out' and Americans' Attitudes on Gay Rights," from the Hunter College Center for Sexuality and Public Policy.

Additional findings:
* 92% of self-identified gays said they are out to close friends
* 78% said they are out to their parents
* A majority are out to other people in their lives, including grandparents, cousins, acquaintances and casual friends, and coworkers and colleagues.

***

The Foley scandal has shown us that there are a whole lot of GOP closet cases working on The Hill who desperately need to kick those doors wide open. What these people often fear are the fundamentalists controlling their party -- who like gays to be self-loathing and closeted because it doesn't suit their message.

The irony is that these Republican professional closet cases don't really fear being fired by their Republican masters -- look at Rick Santorum's communications director Robert Traynham -- he's out and suffers no consequences working for an ace homophobe who would restrict his rights. Intolerance of gays on the Hill has merely been a GOP front, a play to the Base, and it's a game that has now blown up in their faces (see Amanda's post -- Tucker Carlson states the obvious about the Beltway GOP and what it thinks of the AmTaliban).

While closeted gay hypocrites in the GOP work to legislate away rights for out and proud LGBT citizens, companies are realizing the value of a diverse workforce.

* 51 percent of the Fortune 500 offer domestic partner benefits, up from less than 20 percent in 1999;

* Among Fortune 1000 employers who offer such benefits, 75 percent offer health coverage for a partner's dependents, 55 percent offer adoption assistance, and 61 percent allow workers family and medical leave to care for a partner.

In the 2006 HRC Equality Index:

* A record 138 companies scored 100 percent, which is attributed to a sharp increase in gender identity non-discrimination policies. In 2002, only 13 companies earned a perfect rating.
* 75 percent more companies than in 2005 prohibited discrimination against transgender employees in employment practices;
* 64 percent more companies than in 2005 implemented at least one wellness benefit for transgender employees;
* 35 percent more companies than in 2005 extended COBRA, vision, dental and dependent medical coverage to employees’ same-sex domestic partners; and
* 14 percent more companies than in 2005 engaged in philanthropic or marketing activities directed toward the GLBT community.

Almost all of the companies rated — 436, or 98 percent — include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination polices.

***

Despite all that good news, not everyone has the option of coming out --
* gays can still legally be fired from a job
* gay folks can most certainly get the crap beaten out of them or worse in many parts of the country
* and it goes without saying if you have anti-gay parents and you're not yet 18 (or are dependent on them for support), coming out is probably a really bad idea unless you are prepared for the consequences of them not taking the news well.

That said, coming out is the most powerful thing one can do, but it cannot be done in isolation; straight allies have to be willing to publicly defend their gay friends and acquaintances. People are coming out and it's scaring the bigots.

The homophobes would love nothing more than to reclaim "God's country", and shuttle gays, brown people of any sort, and probably anyone of a religion other than fundamentalist Christianity off to distant areas of Blue.

North Carolina, for the third year in a row, is the only state in the Southeast to face a marriage amendment bill and stop it in the legislature. That's a bright spot in a Red state.

***

To make even more progress, it's important to...

* Support Equality organizations in your state, especially if it is at risk for an amendment challenge. Give your time and money, if you can spare. In North Carolina, the organization at the grassroots level is Equality NC.

* If you are gay and if it is at all possible for you to safely come out, DO IT. No one ever regrets throwing open that closet door, even if the path is difficult for a while. The more that people realize we are your neighbors, co-workers, teachers, police officers and leaders in the community, the less effective the "fear and loathing" demonization campaign by the Right is. We're usually living average, boringly normal workaday lives like the average American and no threat to life as we know it.

* Make states that pass marriage amendments and anti-gay legislation know that our gay dollars can go elsewhere. If a state has determined that civil rights for a group can be determined at the ballot box, we can speak with our feet and our wallets.

* If you are straight and an ally, COME OUT. Support your gay friends and loved ones when you hear intolerant conversation, politely engage ignorance with information.

* Make the Democratic establishment get off of their asses on this issue. Too many are DINOs, ready to sacrifice all principles for a vote as a career politician. Courage is in short supply, apparently, so these losers need to be threatened with the electoral boot. Party hacks need to be held accountable. Write them and call them out in emails and in the blogosphere.

* Don't assume potential allies are educated on the issues. I find that a lot of sympathetic straight allies are woefully undereducated about gay rights issues. Kate and I had a conversation with an otherwise politically progressive woman who thought: 1) same sex marriage was legal in several states (only in Massachusetts; Vermont and Connecticut have civil unions); 2) we could marry in Massachusetts (out of state same-sex couples cannot if their home state doesn't recognize gay marriages); 3) a Canadian marriage is legal here in the U.S. (nope); 4) states aren't successfully passing marriage amendments (every one that has made it to the ballot has passed so far). The patchwork of domestic partnership laws adds further confusion. Until we can educate people who would support us and get this issue on the radar for them, how can we expect to fight the Right wing?

* Don't give a dime to candidates or parties unless they are willing to take an actual position, not a punt of "marriage is between a man and a woman" so there's no need for a constitutional amendment, "unless the courts see otherwise." Here's a simple question for candidates: Are gay and lesbian couples entitled to benefits at the local, state and federal levels that currently automatically convey with civil marriage? If not, why not. Political figures need to be on the record on whether they believe -- and would legislate -- that we are entitled to those rights, whether or not it's called "marriage." We already know we have closeted allies who believe in equality, but won't fight for it until they feel it's "safe" politically. Those days are over.

* Hold gay advocacy organizations accountable when they don't support candidates that are the most equality-positive on the issues, regardless of incumbency. That's what advocacy means at a time when compromise has allowed state amendment after amendment to pass.

***

Questions of the day -- for the gay folks out there:

Are you out to...
-- your friends?
-- your immediate family?
-- your extended family?
-- any/some/most of your colleagues at work?
-- your boss?
-- your doctors?
-- your neighbors?

I'm happy to say that I can check off all of those today, but it took years of constantly coming out, choosing when "the right time" would be to come out to any of the above groups. It's a seemingly endless process, never easy, almost always awkward (since I'm an introvert to begin with). It's clearly not something that comes up in casual conversation, nor do you really want it to. But eventually kicking the door open beats life in the closet.

Questions of the day -- for straight readers:
-- are you "out" as an ally?
-- are you able to talk about gay friends or relatives with others?
-- are you comfortable shooting down homophobes when they spout off during a conversation?

***

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has a great release out today, "As Nation Observes National Coming Out Day, Growing Numbers of Military Personnel Serve Openly." Those who come out to their colleagues in the military do so at risk of being discharged, but more are coming out anyway. Brian Fricke's story:
Former Marine Sergeant Brian Fricke, who served a tour of duty in Iraq, recently told SLDN's national dinner in Washington that "My fellow Marines in my squadron knew me as Corporal Fricke, and all that came with my follower-ship, leadership and friendship. I recall, while once on night crew, standing inside the fuselage of one of our aircraft, trouble-shooting an electrical issue with a friend. All the repeated talk about dating girls, and messing around with girls and having sex with girls finally pushed me. So I said, 'You know I’m not attracted to women, right?'"

After a few seconds, Fricke said, "I heard him say, 'Oh really?'! That’s no big deal.'" "Despite the hype about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'" said Fricke, “and the trouble gays would cause in the ranks, it wasn’t that big of a deal. And it wouldn’t be today. I remained Corporal Fricke, and I happened to be gay."
***

HRC has a couple of projects on tap for National Coming Out Day. One is the Snapshot Project, on online public art project encouraging Americans to talk about coming out. Also featured is this effort:
In preparation for Coming Out Day on October 11th, HRC's
Religion and Faith Project offers two imaginative and scripturally-grounded Coming Out Rituals, one written from the Jewish tradition by Jay Michaelson and the other from the Christian tradition by Dr. Scott Haldeman. Read the full story here .
These other resources are available as well:

* Resource Guide to Coming Out (online version is here).
* Resource Guide to Coming Out for African Americans
* Guía de Recursos Para Salir Del Clóset
* Living Openly in Your Place of Worship

Here is HRC's official National Coming Out Day video:



Former staffer to testify drunken Foley cruised page dorm

On Thursday, this bit of sleaze will come out in committee. A page came forward with the tale of toasted predator Foley. Former House clerk (and gay man) Jeff Trandahl, who alerted Kirk Fordham (gay man and former chief of staff to Tom Reynolds), who then told Hastert chief of staff (and roommate) Scott Palmer. Hmmmm. (ABC):
ABC News has learned that one former staffer who worked for the GOP leadership will tell the House Ethics Committee Thursday about an incident several years ago in which he was alerted that an apparently inebriated Foley had tried to gain access to the pages' dormitory.

A source with firsthand knowledge of events says that this coming Thursday, Kirk Fordham — former chief of staff to both Foley and more recently Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y. — will testify that a few years ago he was told by then-House clerk Jeff Trandahl that Foley had been stopped while trying to enter the pages' dorm in an apparently intoxicated state. The source said Fordham will testify that he recalls this being the event that convinced both him and Trandahl to warn Hastert's office, with Fordham designated to have the conversation with Hastert's chief of staff, Scott Palmer. The source said that both aides had been watching Foley's behavior with pages and that Fordham had counseled Foley to watch his behavior.

The source tells ABC News that Fordham will testify that he alerted Palmer that Foley had a pattern of displaying inappropriate behavior toward pages.
Palmer says Fordham is lying. Should be interesting.


Report: over 650K Iraqis have died since U.S. invasion

Even if this is only half that figure, that is obscene. And the violence and kidnappings continue unabated. This will be pooh-poohed by the administration in short order, since Bush's proclaimed estimate is 30K. (Raw Story):
"A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred," David Brown reports for the Washington Post in Wednesday's edition.

The Post notes that this figure, "produced by interviewing residents during a random sampling of households throughout the country, is far higher than ones produced by other groups, including Iraq's government."

"It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December," Brown writes. "It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.


Elect fair-minded Ocean County NJ Freeholders

Remember the brave story of Laurel Hester, the late NJ police officer was told by the all-Republican Ocean County Freeholders that she cannot couldn't leave her pension to her partner? She eventually won that right shortly before she died of cancer, but it left a lot of people wondering what kind of callous, heartless people were sitting on that Board.


The county's five (conservative, "pro-family") Republican freeholders who repeatedly denied Hester's request: John C. Bartlett, John P. Kelly, James F. Lacey, Gerry P. Little, and Joseph H. Vicari. At the time, Kelly said that if Hester's request was granted it would "violate the sanctity of marriage."

Well it's election time, and a reader, Chris Cooper, asked for me to remind folks to support fair-minded people who are running this year.
Ocean County Democrats need your help to break the Republican stranglehold on the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Ocean County democrats are fielding two excellent candidates for Freeholder: Tamar Sherer and Karleen Spano, and an extremely qualified candidate for County Sheriff, Vince Greene. Our Democratic volunteers are energized and working hard to elect these candidates and break the insidious, republican stranglehold in Ocean County...but we need your support.

You can learn more about our candidates and help fight the Ocean County republican machine by making an online contribution www.VoteSherer.com.


This and that

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

* Michael Petrelis has a mind-blowing, must-read piece up, Time's Gay Writer John Cloud Protected Foley's Closet in '03.

* The military has met its recruiting goals for the year -- but only by lowering standards.

* Desperate times call for desperate measures: Katherine Harris touts the results of a straw poll of elementary school age children on her web site "Harris Beats Nelson -- Leads 54% to 45%". Chris of Facing South couldn't believe it:

when one visits the Katherine Harris for Senate website, one finds a press release that suggests the Harris campaign places much more stock in the "results" of the "straw poll" that Rachel and her kindred grade-schoolers, having only recently mastered the alphabet, participated in.
* How low can he go? Ken Blackwell campaigns with a white supremacist. That boggles the mind.

* Hear Mike Rogers on The Ed Schultz Show (MP3). The blurb: "Mike Rogers of Blog Active dot com comes on the show to talk about his plan to out hypocrites in power". H/t Nelson G.

* A forced birth propaganda tool used by Operation Rescue, the "Truth Truck" was seized, and its drivers arrested, in Oklahoma City after it was seen driving in front of a well-known abortion provider's home. These inflammatory trucks are covered with billboard-sized, graphic, full-color images of aborted fetuses.

* LGBT groups are fighting wingers who are suing a school because the children's book King and King (two men marry) was read in class, was "attempting to indoctrinate their children about an'"immoral lifestyle'."


Marijuana may help fight Alzheimers

Talk about irony! Didn't they always tell us that marijuna would make you lose your memory? It seems now that marijuana may actually save your memory, if you have Alzheimers Disease:
CNN) New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the progression of the disease by preserving levels of an important neurotransmitter that allows the brain to function.

Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from breaking down more effectively than commercially marketed drugs.

THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

The researchers said their discovery could lead to more effective drug treatment for Alzheimer's, the leading cause of dementia among the elderly.

Those afflicted with Alzheimer's suffer from memory loss, impaired decision-making, and diminished language and movement skills. The ultimate cause of the disease is unknown, though it is believed to be hereditary.

Marijuana is used to relieve glaucoma and can help reduce side effects from cancer and AIDS treatment.

Possessing marijuana for recreational use is illegal in many parts of the world, including the United States, though some states allow possession for medical purposes.


Try again, Cliff Kincaid

Another conservative is blaming all gays for the closeted sick minds operating in DC. Numnut Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media, bloviates at length, angry at the GOP for tolerating homos in their midst.

Put on your winger tin foil hats, friends.

In his mind, a gay cabal infiltrated the GOP to advance our Agenda, and House leaders had the wool pulled over their eyes while these GOP homo culture bandits manipulated "the party apparatus while they publicly postured as friends of family values and traditional marriage."

Oh this is fun.

Kincaid uses Mike Rogers' appearance on Tucker Carlson the other day as proof of this gay GOP cabal secretly working for our Agenda.
During a Thursday appearance on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show, radical gay activist Michael Rogers declared that "the greatest kept secret for the GOP for the past six or seven years has been the extraordinary number of closeted men who have been helping to facilitate that anti-gay agenda. And I know that there are a lot of my friends on the Republican side who are fed up and have been feeding me information on people like Mark Foley for well over a year." Rogers has a blog identifying secret GOP homosexuals.

What Rogers is saying is that secret Republican homosexuals are working behind-the-scenes to sabotage a conservative pro-family agenda in the Congress. They are acting more like Democrats than Republicans, if indeed they are Republicans. Whatever their actual party affiliation, these operatives are using the liberal media, homosexual publications, and radical bloggers like Rogers to accomplish their objectives.
Clearly the GOP closeted homo cabal had a purposeful plan to self-destruct by setting up the Foley case, hoping to take the far-right hypocrites down with them. Brilliant! Hahahahahahahahaha.

We WISH these Republican gay hypocrites were working on our side, Cliff. Unfortunately the GOP closet cases are only about the acquisition of power and money, and have no interest in what you perceive as The Homosexual Agenda.

The self-loathing, closet-protectors have zero interest in being out and proud either; they don't mind working for legislators whose aim is to deny LGBT taxpayers their rights. You aptly prove why God's Own Party has deservedly turned on them.
For the sake of honest and open government, not to mention protection of the children, the secret Capitol Hill homosexual network must be exposed and dismantled. But only Republican leaders can do that. Their failure to do so suggests that the network may go higher and deeper—and have more power—than even the New York Times article indicated.
I agree with him there -- yes, it should be dismantled, but to save law abiding gays and lesbians from having to clean up behind these sleazy, depraved closet cases from standing in the way of progress for the rest of us.

They've had that free ride for far too long. May all the closet doors be kicked wide open to let the place air out.

***

Also:
* Evidence of FBI coverup on Foleygate
* Mike Rogers on O'Reilly and two more anti-gay closets kicked open
* Reynolds drops out of fundraiser for mistress-choker
* TVC's Lou Sheldon's spittles over Foley
* Lawrence O'Donnell on closeted gay Republicans
* Page self-identifies, to speak with feds
* Kolbe saw Foley messages in 2000
* Daddy Dobson lies, blames teen pages and liberals for Foley debacle
* Foley's power trip
* O'Donnell: what's up with Hastert's roomie/chief of staff?
* On the hit list of the fundies, the gay GOP continues to protect its closet
* Trouble in GOP House seats
* Mike discusses outing gay hypocrites on Tucker Carlson's show
* Time for the GOP hole card to turn up
* You knew it wouldn't take long for this to show up
* Watch Pat Buchanan play the NAMBLA card; UCC takes on Perkins
* Three more pages speak to ABC about Foley's 'approaches'
* Insane defenses
* Caption this - Tom Reynolds and Laura Bush
* Thursday AM Foley roundup
* Hastert: I'll resign if it will help the GOP
* Gingrich: Dems' sex scandals are worse / Drunk Foley showed up at page dorm
* The List
* Kirk Fordham's the first to go
* dKos Cheers & Jeers on Foleygate
* Qs of the day - who's going down/career advice for Foley
* Glenn's on Foley fire...
* Wednesday AM Foley update
* How low can you go -- Tom Reynolds hides behind children
* Foley's attorney: he was molested by a priest as a child
* OK, enough. Hastert has to go NOW.
* Dear Leader speaks...
* Foley interrupted floor vote to have cybersex with page
* Page threatened, Foley still using AOL screen name
* Eating their own - Boehner drop kicks Hastert
* Tuesday AM Foley roundup
* More GOP family values: Foley aide tried to cut a deal with ABC's Ross
* More info on Foley's well-known predator rep among pages
* They knew about Foley in 2001
* There should not be silence
* GOP leadership: spinning for the election home stretch, but nowhere to run on Foley
* More Foleygate
* Foley blasted 'vile' Clinton in 1998 for his 'sad sexual addiction'
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?


Evidence of FBI coverup on Foleygate



CNN's report talks about CREW's submission of emails to the FBI back in July that identified the pages in question. The FBI claims it couldn't follow up on any investigation because the page contact info was redacted. CREW says the FBI is lying.

Hat tip, Americablog.

***

Consider this an open thread. What's going on out there?

***

Laff headline of the day:

Speaker vows to fire anyone involved in Foley cover-up.

Does that mean Denny's going to fire himself?


GOP pundits: show's over

You have to check out the Washington Monthly's cover story, Time for Us To Go, a collection of essays by well-known GOP pundits who have decided that the current clowns in the big tent need to get on the train and leave town.

Blogger and activist Michael Petrelis had this to say about the piece:
If the writers were willing to pen these sorts of columns prior to Foley resigning and touching off a Congressional crisis, I can just imagine, with absolute glee, what they'd write today.
I agree with Michael that the opening of the essay penned by MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, a former Congressman from Florida himself, sums up the mood.
When The Washington Monthly reached me at my office recently, a voice on the other side of the line meekly asked if I would ever consider writing an article supporting the radical proposition that Republicans should get their brains beaten in this fall.

“Count me in!” was my chipper response. I also seem to remember muttering something about preferring an assortment of Bourbon Street hookers running the Southern Baptist Convention to having this lot of Republicans controlling America’s checkbook for the next two years.
Conservative icon Richard Viguerie's contribution is not nearly as humorous, but is equally stabbing.
Conservatives are as angry as I have seen them in my nearly five decades in politics. Right now, I would guess that 40 percent of conservatives are ambivalent about the November election or want the Republicans to lose. But a Republican loss of one or both houses of Congress would turn power over to the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Dare we risk such an outcome?

The answer is, we must take that chance. If Big Government Republicans behave so irresponsibly and betray the people who elected them, while we blindly, slavishly continue backing them, we establish that there is no price to pay for violating conservative principles. If we give in, we are forgetting the lesson that mothers teach their daughters: Why buy a cow when the milk is free?

And it may take a Republican defeat to bring about a complete change in the GOP leadership in Washington. Without such a change, real conservatives will never come to power.
He shoots off a warning to "liberals" that any win will result in a conservative "insurgency" -- and he's probably right, given how powerful some elements of the opposition party GOP became under Clinton.
Sometimes a loss for the Republican Party is a gain for conservatives. Often, a little taste of liberal Democrats in power is enough to remind the voters what they don’t like about liberal Democrats and to focus the minds of Republicans on the principles that really matter. That’s why the conservative movement has grown fastest during those periods when things seemed darkest, such as during the Carter administration and the first two years of the Clinton White House.

Conservatives are, by nature, insurgents, and it’s hard to maintain an insurgency when your friends, or people you thought were your friends, are in power.
The columns are definitely an interesting read. The timing, given the breathtaking incompetence, moral failings and corruption the GOP leadership have shown since the Foley scandal, even more strongly makes the case that the GOP deserves to lose at the ballot box.

H/t, Paul.


Big boy Tonka

Back in March of last year we adopted an adult dog from Rhodesian Ridgeback Rescue named Tonka after our other big boy, Red, died suddenly under anesthesia.

Tonka is a sweet, gentle giant (125 lb.), now 10 years old. Here he is with Bailey, our Lab mix.



It only took him a day or so to get used to his new home, and he regularly takes his place firmly on the sofa while we are at work.



We noticed that he was slowing down a bit last week, sleeping more than usual (and Ridgebacks love snoozing), so took him in a little early for his annual exam and they did blood work.

I received a call this AM and he has lymphoma, fairly advanced.

He's eating, drinking and playing just fine when he's not snoozing, but it's likely he only has a short time with us, maybe weeks, it's hard to say. I'm very down -- none of my Ridgebacks have made it past 10 (he's my third). They are a wonderful breed, but like most large breeds, they don't have long lifespans.

What we do know is that we have given Tonka a comfortable home, love and companionship, and buddies in Bailey and Chloe.


Tonka, Chloe, Bailey.

We will care for him and love on him for as long as we have him; we know that he will let us know when it is time to go over the Rainbow Bridge. It breaks our hearts that we have only had a short time with this big wonderful boy who snores like a train.

Related:
* Ridge pics of Tonka


Analyst: Ohio's Blackwell losing because of MSM and 'Republican apathy'

OMG. I'm in stitches over this one.


Fundie homobigot Ohio Secretary of State and Republican candidate for governor, Ken Blackwell, is trailing Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland in the polls, despite strong support from Russell Johnson, founder of the Ohio Restoration Project, bible-beating Talibangelist Rod Parsley of Reformation Ohio, and a few black homobigot pastors.

Somehow, for some reason, he's just not catching on with the wingers, despite a strong stand on the sanctity of marriage and stumping from Dear Leader.

Now, a political analyst in the Buckeye State takes a crack at why, and it's laughable. (AgapePress):
An Ohio-based political analyst says Republican apathy and the left-wing media could be behind Republican Ken Blackwell's continuing low poll numbers in his race for governor. But those polls could be misleading, he notes. Dr. Peter Schramm is executive director of the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, and a professor of political science at Ashland University. Schramm says a recent Columbus Dispatch poll did not bode well for the Ohio secretary of state who is opposing Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland.

The political analyst thinks there could be a couple of reasons Blackwell is not getting any traction. "[Republicans are] just not paying close attention to the race yet. That's one reason why he's down in the polls," he contends. "And the other is the media, of course, has given Strickland ... visibility. They're just excited by the prospect of him running." But Schramm thinks that the Dispatch poll may be underestimating Blackwell's strength among black voters, where he is only polling at 15 percent. "He's never gotten, according to the lowest estimates, less than 22-23 percent of the black vote for any statewide race he's ever run for -- and I think the more rationale estimate is about 33 percent," says Schramm. "Well, if he gets about 33 percent of the black vote, he's going to be doing very well indeed. I think he will." Schramm says even though things might look bleak for Blackwell right now, he still believes the pro-family candidate can pull it out.
I'm sure some voters are apathetic, but Blackwell's been getting plenty of press.

The bigots are simply not going to turn out for the black Republican. Do the math.

Related:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
* Homobigot Ken Blackwell going nowhere with GOP voters in OH gov race
* The friends of homo-bigot Ken Blackwell
* 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


Mike Rogers on O'Reilly and two more anti-gay closets kicked open

[UPDATE: I moved this post back up because the video is now up. ]

I watched The O'Reilly Factor last night and Mike Rogers of Blogactive and PageOneQ took on the beast.

Mike announced is that he is going to release the names of other gay hypocrites on the Hill before election day, heh, heh.
Rogers told O'Reilly that he will be releasing more names of closeted members of the Senate and House before election day. O'Reilly advised Rogers to "get [them] on the issues," to which Rogers replied, "I am... and their hypocrisy."


***

Oh my -- Mike has something very interesting that just went up at his blog -- two more anti-gay closet cases have been revealed in a letter sent to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct


Marriage equality moves forward in South Africa

Another nation recognizes that it's time to move forward and give gays and lesbians the right to marry. (365gay):
The African National Congress has voted to support the government's same-sex marriage bill. The governing party had been split on the issue but the vote means that all ANC MPs will likely support the measure when it comes before Parliament.

The party decision also is seen as a stiff rebuke to Jacob Zuma who last month was forced to apologize for calling gay marriage "a disgrace to the nation and to God". The former Deputy President is seen as a likely contender for president but the party vote to support same-sex relationships is seen as throwing that into question.

The full party support came after members of the national executive committee reminded party members that the ANC had fought for human rights, which included gay rights, and equality for all.

With the party's full support there is little chance the bill will be defeated. The bill is currently undergoing public hearings across the country. The government expects the legislation to be enacted before a court imposed deadline. Last December the Constitutional Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.
***

And in Ireland...

Same-Sex Parents No Impediment To Child Development Court Told.
Ireland's Supreme Court has been told that there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and those brought up by opposite-sex couples.

The High Court is hearing a challenge to Irish law that denies gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

Testifying by a video link, UCLA professor Richard Green said decades of studies of children brought up by same-sex couples has found the children are equally well adjusted, in terms of gender identity, self-esteem, peer relationships and academic success as those children reared in traditional families.

Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone, who had been together for 20 years, were married in British Columbia in September 2003 within months of the legalization of same-sex marriage there. At the time both women were working in Canada.

When they returned home and tried to file a joint income tax return the Revenue Commissioners refused to recognize the marriage citing Irish law and ordered the women to file separate returns. That would result in paying higher taxes,

The couple went to court. In 2004 a judge found there was enough reason for the case to advance. "[This] "isn't simply about tax bands,'' said Justice Liam McKechnie in his ruling, noting that in a country where homosexuality itself was outlawed until 1993, any move to accord gay couples the same legal rights as husbands and wives would have "profound ethical, cultural and religious'' ramifications.


Mom uses infant to beat boyfriend

Add this one to the "These women do not deserve to be mothers" series of posts... (Boston.com):
A woman used her 4-week-old baby as a weapon in a domestic dispute, swinging the infant through the air and striking her boyfriend with the child, authorities said. The baby was critically injured in the attack early Sunday, said District Attorney Bradley Foulk.

"Never, never, never. I can never remember anything like this," Foulk told the Erie Times-News.

Chytoria Graham, 27, of Erie, was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and simple assault. She was held Monday in the Erie County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
The baby suffered a fractured skull along with bleeding in the brain.

Hat tips, Paul and Dan.


Exodus' Alan Chambers lies on NPR -- 'gays don't care about discrimination'


"One of the greatest myths...is that the majority of gay people are interested in...ordinances that would protect them from being discriminated against."
-- the Exodus International president, on NPR's Fresh Air (10/9/2006). He presented no statistics to back this up.
Guess what? Daniel at Ex-Gay Watch (with assistance from Jason at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) found actual facts to debunk this crap.

Why, oh why are these "ex-gay-for-pay" propagandists and fundies allowed to spout off lies without having to back their statements up?

Scratch that. Alan was caught with his pants down on this one because he didn't event bother citing any gibberish. The slicker ones are smarter than this, like Family Research Center's Tony Perkins, who turns up time and again in the mainstream media, folding in "facts" based on junk science that the interviewer doesn't question.

In any case, look at and listen to Alan Chambers as he pulls facts out of his ass for NPR's Terry Gross -- and the real statistics on whether gays and lesbians care about discrimination.



Reynolds drops out of fundraiser for mistress-choker

Monday, October 09, 2006

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), the honcho of the NRSC, continues his cutting and running from the Foley scandal. After unexpectedly skipped an appearance on ABC's This Week yesterday, today he had a "scheduling conflict" that kept him from appearing at a fundraiser for fellow Republican.

Of course the fellow Rethug with his own issues -- Rep. Don Sherwood landed in court for choking his mistress. (NYT):

Rep. Tom Reynolds, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was scheduled to appear at an event Thursday night in Williamsport, Pa., for Rep. Don Sherwood. A spokesman for Reynolds said he canceled because of a scheduling conflict.

...Sherwood's opponent, Democrat Chris Carney, has issued statements calling on Sherwood to cancel the fundraiser with Reynolds. Democrats have accused Reynolds of doing too little to protect a male teenage page from Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican who resigned Sept. 29 after disclosure of his inappropriate electronic messages to former congressional pages.

When asked whether the statements from the Carney campaign were a factor in the decision for Reynolds to not appear Thursday, Jake O'Donnell, a spokesman for Sherwood, said, ''It is mostly about the travel schedule, but there is that other issue.''

...The four-term Sherwood, who represents parts of central and northeast Pennsylvania, was considered to have a safe seat until it came to light last year that police had investigated a report of an altercation in 2004 between Sherwood and Cynthia Ore in his Capitol Hill apartment. Criminal charges were never filed, but Ore later sued, alleging Sherwood had choked her. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum.
Hat tip, Holly.


TVC's Lou Sheldon's spittles over Foley



Just. Plain. Deranged. I was waiting for Crazy Lou Sheldon, who spends most of his waking hours thinking about homosexuality, to weigh in on Foleygate.

The Traditional Values Coalition honcho's essay, "Homosexual Activists Use Mark Foley Scandal For Political Gain," is par for the fact-free course for Lou. He spends the first half of the article going over the old saw, already denied by ABC, that gay activists "sat on" all the emails and IMs of Foley preying on teen pages and that Mike Rogers, John Aravosis, George Soros and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was behind all of it.
The exposure of Foley as a closeted homosexual and his fantasies about young boys, was timed to do maximum damage to the Republican Party just weeks before the November election.

...In a March 2005 post, [Mike] Rogers said: When we get closer to the mid-term elections, I am sure more will surface" about Foley.

Investors Business Daily asks the question of Democrat leaders: "…what did Democrats know, and when did they know it?"

The paper notes that it didn't take the Democrats long after Foley's resignation to begin to "call for an investigation of the entire Republican leadership in the House." ...Is this the scandal the Democrats' own 'October Surprise,' meant to throw the GOP into a tailspin shortly before the vote?"
I was disappointed to see that there wasn't any reference to The Clenis as another suspect.

Sheldon, who has to be one of the most virulent homo-haters out there, seeing homo pedophiles around every corner. He has whole papers and portions of the TVC site dedicated to junk science and hysteria-generating screeds tying gays (men, of course) to child molestation.
To understand Rep. Mark Foley's attraction to teenage boys, one must realize that pederasty, the act of a homosexual to engage in sex with a teenage male is part of the overall homosexual lifestyle. Media reports have incorrectly referred to Foley's attractions to teens as pedophilia. Pedophilia is sexual attraction to pre-teenagers.

Foley's attraction to teenage boys is not considered abnormal within the homosexual activist community. In fact, efforts are being made by homosexual groups around the world to lower or abolish the age of sexual consent. In addition, homosexual web sites keep track of the age of consent for children in different countries where they travel to have sex with kids: Age of Consent - Sexual Consent Ages From Around The World.


From TVC's site, a banner complete with a green-tinted pedophile for added effect.

TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon has observed: "Pederasty is an accepted part of homosexuality around the world. Most homosexuals will tell you that they were brought into homosexuality by an older male. This is evident in the Catholic priest scandal. There were plenty of other Catholic priests for illicit sex, yet they targeted children for seduction and recruitment.

"How do we prevent such socially unacceptable acts in our culture against children? Everyone knows that to eliminate such behaviors, you must not feed it with positive support. Unfortunately, the politically correct view is to accept homosexuality. If you oppose homosexuality, you're considered a bigot. Mr. Foley did not think pederasty was wrong because it was part of the overall homosexual lifestyle.
This is so over the top that it you wish someone would put this man on the air so that he could self-destruct. All someone has to do is debunk this clown with actual facts.

Hat tip, Autumn.


Please, god no, part 2

In my last installment of "Please god, no," I entered a time warp when Kerry surfaced in the media to say he was "prepared to kick Swift Boat's ass" two years after the fact.

Now comes the news that his "inner circle" insists he is going to run in 2008. (Boston.com):
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Yesterday , Senator John F. Kerry was in Iowa. Tomorrow and Wednesday, he'll be in Nevada. On Friday, he'll be in New Hampshire. After that, he'll visit 11 more states, including South Carolina, before the Nov. 7 election.

With a frenetic pace of barnstorming and fund-raising on behalf of Democratic candidates, Kerry's moves over the last several months have convinced his inner circle that he intends to launch another run for president.

Kerry himself insisted he has not decided whether to run. But more than a dozen longtime loyalists interviewed for this story said they had no doubt that Kerry would attempt what a host of Washington doubters think unimaginable: become the first Democrat in half a century to lose a general election and be renominated four years later.
Question of the day:

Which is worse for Dem prospects, a sHillary candidacy or a retread Kerry?

Or are both so awful that we'll need barf bags at the ready during primary season?

Related:
* Please god, no


I have fans

I am frequently asked how I deal with the hate mail that I receive. I laugh it off because the level of intelligence behind them is, well, limited.

This is a good example of someone with way too much time on his hands.

I was reminded by ck in the comments -- that site isn't work safe.

Be sure to visit the main pages of the site for more entries of the anonymous wisdom.

How do I rate so much love and affection?


Advisor to NARTH: Africans were better off as slaves

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"There is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle... Life there was savage ... and those brought to America, and other countries, were in many ways better off."
-- Gerald Schoenewolf, a member of NARTH's Science Advisory Committee.
The "Ex-gay" advocates of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) have not denounced the above comments from Schoenwolf, a NYC psychotherapist and author of The Art of Hating, ("Many people talk about hate, but few know how to hate well.")

An excellent account of this debacle can be found in Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report.

It's notable that NARTH ally Focus on the Family has not called for an apology for the above comments. Daddy D, never a man to shy away from a press release, is silent on the matter.

The outrageous comments appeared in a report on the NARTH web site back in 2005; Schoeneworf's wrote "Gay Rights and Political Correctness: A Brief History,", and the man goes off the deep end and suggests that those working in the human rights movement are intellectually lacking/stunted.
Schoenewolf stood by his comments on the intellectual inferiority of civil rights movement supporters. "The civil rights movement has from the beginning and today seen itself as good and others are evil, like slaveowners are evil," he said.

During the interview, Schoenewolf lambasted civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights. "All such movements are destructive," he said. He also claimed the American Psychological Association, of which he is a member, "has been taken over by extremist gays."
Gee, would that apply to the fundamentalist wackjob movement as well -- Lou Sheldon, for one, should step right up, along with the folks at Exodus and the rest of the "ex-gay" movements to affirm heterosupremacy.

H. Alexander Robinson, executive director of black LGBT advocacy org the National Black Justice Coalition, called for NARTH to apologize -- to no avail (all they did was pull the article from its web site) From Robinson's letter:
"In the name of propriety, respect, common decency and professional integrity, the National Black Justice Coalition strongly urges NARTH to issue a public apology on the front page of its website for publishing such an outrageous and offensive article. We also hope that you reevaluate your relationship with Dr. Schoenewolf, whose peculiar views have no place in civilized discourse."
Even some well-known supporters of NARTH distanced themselves from the organization in light of its inability to apologize for the filth spewed by Schoenewolf. Former NARTH committee member David Blakeslee, resigned in protest; Warren Throckmorton pulled out of NARTH's annual conference, where he planned to present.
"This was a slam dunk. They should have said, 'These are not our views.' People have asked them to clarify what they meant by this and [instead] they've in fact defended it," says Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology at Grove City College and a former member of NARTH.

..."This stuff about political correctness and slavery is very far outfield," he said. "I'm appalled by it, and a lot of people within NARTH are as well, but they don't have the authority to speak out on it. And those who do have the authority aren't."
Read more at Ex-Gay Watch.


Lawrence O'Donnell on closeted gay Republicans

The truth, uttered on The McLaughlin Group by O'Donnell, via Blogactive.



Related:
* O'Donnell: what's up with Hastert's roomie/chief of staff?
* On the hit list of the fundies, the gay GOP continues to protect its closet

***

Open thread folks...share links and blogwhore, please.


Page self-identifies, to speak with feds

One of the former pages on the receiving end of Foley's predatory communications has come forward and identified himself, according to CNN.
A former congressional page who was reportedly told in an instant message from former Rep. Mark Foley to "strip down and get relaxed" likely will talk to federal agents investigating the scandal next week, his lawyer said Friday.

Jordan Edmund, now a 21-year-old aide to Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Oklahoma, was among the pages to whom Foley wrote e-mails and allegedly sent lurid instant messages.

...Edmund is one of the former pages referred to in the ABC News report that triggered Foley's resignation. The network reported that Foley sent sexually explicit instant messages to a page now identified as Edmund, and other pages.

In one message, the user Maf54, whom ABC News identifies as Foley, asked the teen: "You in your boxers, too?"

The teen replied, "Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late."


"Well, strip down and get relaxed," Maf54 wrote back.


Time for another unhinged Hartline moment

San Diego anti-gay, "former homosexual" activist James Hartline has finally moved on from his multi-month diatribe about his city's Pride celebration to a grade-Z imitation of Don Wildmon and the AFA. He is now confronting the powers of darkness represented by...gay rodeo.

This sad man has launched a protest of Christian Radio Station KKLA because one of its sponsors is auto dealer Galpin Ford, which is also sponsoring the Los Angeles Gay Rodeo. From James's breathless release (please ready yourself for uncontrollable laughter, friends):

In one of the greatest examples of hypocrisy that the James Hartline Report has ever seen, JHReport has now discovered that a major Christian radio station in California is continuing to take advertisement money from one of the biggest sponsors of a deplorable homosexual event: the Los Angeles Gay Rodeo. KKLA 99.5fm, a southern California Christian radio station, bills itself as "America's Number One Christian Talk Station". In true Judas-style fashion, KKLA isn't talking about one topic with its listeners: the fact that the station is continuing to advertise Galpin Ford, one of the biggest sponsors of a homosexual rodeo, on its station. Can you say, "Brokeback Christianity?"

Galpin Ford was the focus of a major national news scandal earlier this year, when the James Hartline broke the story that Galpin Ford was sponsoring the notorious Los Angeles Gay Rodeo (http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/4/182006d.asp). Feeding into the controversy, has been the fact that the American Family Association has been leading a nationwide boycott against the Ford Motor Company due to its overt promotion of gay marriage and other aspects of the radical gay agenda (http://www.afa.net/Petitions/IssueDetail.asp?id=213).
The ex-gay battle axe takes special umbrage at the fact that the principal owner of Galpin Ford, Bert Boeckmann, considers himself a born-again Christian.
Apparently, Boeckmann seems to have left out the degradation of homosexuality as part of his porfolio of "not to do's" when lining up his business practices. The idea that a professed Christian would allow his car dealership to sponsor one of Los Angeles' most anti-family, homosexual events, the Los Angeles Gay Rodeo, is a clear barometer of how broken California's moral compass really is.
Yes, it goes on and on, asking the "7,400 Concerned Citizens Strong" on his mailing list to write and call KKLA to "tell them to stop taking Gay Rodeo sponsor Galpin Ford's money, until Galpin Ford gets out of the Brokeback Rodeo business!"

Also:
* Hartline STILL fixated on San Diego Pride
* Six Years In Sodom: From The Journal Of James Hartline
* The Blend cited on fundie 'ex-gay' blog

Hat tip, Autumn.


Kolbe saw Foley messages in 2000

Jim Kolbe, the out gay retiring Arizona congressman from Arizona was given some of Foley's predatory, sexually explicit emails that were received by a former page back in 2000. Kolbe even confronted Foley about it, according to the WaPo. Foley didn't stop harrassing the pages.
A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline.

...Hastert and his top aides have been sharply criticized by Democrats and some conservative Republicans for failing to act promptly after receiving warnings that Foley had been sexually predatory in dealing with pages and former pages. Ron Bonjean, the speaker's spokesman, said yesterday: "Allegations of inappropriate conduct by members of Congress towards pages need to be fully reviewed by the ethics committee and law enforcement."

In addressing the revelation about Kolbe, Bonjean said, "This allegation reiterates why the speaker has also called for a full review of the House page program to ensure that it is as safe and secure as possible."
Right. Meanwhile, your boss looked the other way.

Hat tips, Autumn and Holly


Now what?



North Korea says nuclear test successful. Sanctions didn't deter Kim Jong-Il from underground testing of actual weapons of mass destruction; I'm sure he'll laugh at any dick-wagging threats by Dear Leader.
The United States, Japan, China and Britain led a chorus of criticism and urged action by the United Nations Security Council in response to the reported test, which fell one day after the anniversary of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's accession to power nine years ago.

The Security Council had warned North Korea just two days earlier not to go through with any test, and the Pyongyang government's defiance was likely to lead to calls for stronger sanctions against the impoverished and already isolated country.

White House spokesman Tony Snow called for "immediate actions to respond to this unprovoked act" and said that the United States was closely monitoring the situation and "reaffirms its commitment to protect and defend our allies in the region."

...South Korea said the test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (9:36 p.m. EDT Sunday) in Hwaderi near Kilju city on the northeast coast. South Korean intelligence officials said the seismic wave had been detected in North Hamkyung province, the agency said.
According to The Guardian, punitive measures being considered are tighter economic sanctions (N. Korea's already under these), naval stop-and-search operations and the withholding of development aid. I doubt any of these will be a deterrent to this madman.
South Korea - which has previously pursued a softly softly policy with its bellicose neighbour - threatened to "respond sternly" to the provocation. A foreign ministry spokesman said Seoul would support the matter being referred to the UN security council and warned the North that its troops were prepared for any possible aggression.

Analysts said the South Korean president, Roh Moo-hyun, would come under pressure to drop the "sunshine policy" of engagement with North Korea.

"This represents a greater threshold than previous crises," said former foreign minister Han Seung-joo, chair of the International Policy Studies Institute of South Korea. "It will be very difficult for South Korea to continue with the policy it has pursued for the past eight years. I expect there will be a greater common front with the US and Japan.
Countries/allies in the region would be wise not to rely on anything productive coming out of the U.S. in terms of a response.

Check out Warren's take on this, Of Bush, North Korea, Hypocrisy and Stupidity.


Papa Ratzi on hedonism


Montage : Mike Tidmus. Photos : Peter Tatchell (UK Gay News), Papa Ratzi (Jerry Lampen/Reuters).

"May Christian couples build a family that is open to life and capable of handling, united, the many, complex challenges of our times...There is a need for families who won't let themselves be swept away by modern cultural currents that are inspired by hedonism and relativism."
When the pedophile-enabling Prada Pope opens his mouth, you expect lunacy and hypocrisy. It's no different this time around. (USA Today):
Pope Benedict XVI spoke in support of Christian marriage and traditional family values on Sunday, urging couples to resist modern cultural currents inspired only by a search for happiness and pleasure.

...Benedict has made the defense of traditional family values a major goal of his papacy and has often challenged moral relativism, or the view that there are no absolute values. He said he also hoped that leaders would support the institution of marriage, which he called "of fundamental importance for society."


'Security moms' may drop-kick the GOP

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The the party of Grand Old Perverts should not be surprised that the security moms/soccer moms have had enough. Whether the Democrats can capitalize on this by doing more than hoping the Right stays home is another matter. (AP):
An Associated Press-Ipsos poll this month found that support is now evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans among married women with children in the house. Republicans won this voting group by 18 percentage points in 2002 and Bush won it by 14 percentage points in 2004.

...For years, the GOP has held a slight advantage with this group of voters. Republicans made additional gains leading up to and through the 2000 presidential election, in part because, according to analysts and exit polls, married moms were attracted to Bush's emphasis on social conservatism and had a general fondness for the man himself.

In the 2002 congressional elections, more than half of married moms sided with Republicans while only 35 percent voted with Democrats. Two years later, in a presidential election year, married moms preferred Bush over Democratic Sen. John Kerry by 56 percent to 42 percent.

That GOP advantage has evaporated.

..."Married moms, like Americans in other demographic groups, are much more critical of President Bush, are angry at Washington, are concerned about Iraq and are worried about many other things," said Andrew Kohut. He is director of the Pew Research Center, an independent public opinion organization that also found married moms breaking even.
What are the driving issues for these women? Health care, the economy and Iraq. The latter ranks higher on the concern meter than taxes, Social Security and gas prices.

Now what do the Dems have to offer this demo? Two of the women interviewed for the article make it clear that without a clear vision, the Dems won't pick these votes up. One says she would consider voting Democrat "if they fit my values," (without defining what those are), and another's comment indicates Democrats are still not reaching these women.
Laura Hall of Pewee Valley, Ky., has three kids, including a high-school-aged son who is considering joining the military upon graduation. The owner of a child- and elder-care placement service, the 46-year-old Hall worries about immigration, border security and threats from North Korea.

..."I never see them explain how they could do it better," Hall said. "If somebody could explain how they could do it better, then I think I'd be more open to their ideas."


Destroying the junk science spewed by FRC's Tony Perkins

Big kudos to Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, who spent a day at the library investigating some of the questionable statistics being bleated by Family Research Council's Tony Perkins all over the mainstream media in the wake of the Foley scandal.

Jim noted that Perkins has been on CNN's The Situation Room, MSNBC's Hardball and MSNBC Live, Fox's The Big Story -- and all three nightly network newscasts (gee, Tony's got nothing better to do), spouting crap from the FRC web site like this:
Although homosexuals and bisexuals are less than 3% of the male population, male-on-male abuse accounts for about a third of all child molestation. The Archives of Sexual Behavior reported that “eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual.”
Jim dug around and quite easily debunked this.
This is a very poor choice of support for such a broad contention. That 1988 study (Erickson, W.D.; Walbek, N.H.; Seely, R.K.; “Behavior patterns of child molesters.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 17, no. 1 (1988): 77-88; abstract available here) consisted of a convenience sample of only 63 convicted molesters against male victims. The brief sentence of “eighty-six percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual” is the only mention of sexual orientation. There was no attempt to follow up on whether any of these predators had any adult relationships, or if so, what kind of relationships they were. There was no description of how they may have measured these predator’s sexual attractions. There was no attempt to quantify their erotic age preference. Just one single sentence in passing, with no further explanation or support.

This is important. As you can imagine, it’s much easier to label oneself as a homosexual than as a pedophile. Members of the Aryan Nation, for example, call themselves Christians instead of bigots, a claim which most Christians would vehemently disagree.

I’m sure the “researchers” at the Family Research Council had to dig long and hard to find that statistic, because it runs completely counter to what the most respected experts have to say about the subject – Dr. Carole Jenny, Nicholas Groth, and the late Kurt Freund, for example. They have all found that this supposed connection between homosexuality and pedophilia simply don’t exist.
Surf over to Box Turtle Bulletin for more of Jim's exposé of this junk science.


Daddy Dobson lies, blames teen pages and liberals for Foley debacle

I love seeing the mask drop on these hypocrite evangelical leaders. Daddy Dobson's Focus on the Anus is scrambling to defend the politicians they've bedded down with over the years, and I'd like him to keep on defending their behavior. Bring it on, Daddy D.

James Dobson, it's now clear, has no idea what the character is of the Republican House leadership that he has counted on to support his hate agenda. Please stay the course, Daddy, because you're going to go down with this ship.

In his FoTF CitizenLink release, he just can't understand why the AmTaliban is being held up as partly to blame for this cesspool. Waaah, Waaah.

"Somebody is going to have to tell me what in the wide world this indiscretion by a member of Congress has to do with evangelical Christians. And in my case, especially me," he said. "What in the world is the connection there? And yet the media is trying to link us somehow."
He continues the lie that it was liberal activists that released the information, even after ABC confirmed that it was a Republican staffer who passed on the emails. Isn't lying a sin, Daddy D?
"(It was released by liberals on) the last day of the session of Congress, when it couldn't be responded to do — the last day," he said. "It is the day you would not want something like this to break. And they've known it for years. They've held it for years, and then they threw it out there on the last day of the session demanding that the speaker of the house resign."

"What they really want to do is to convince (value voters) that 'all of Washington is wicked and evil, and there is no sense in your even voting, because one's as bad as another,' " he said, "and to impugn the character of those who are trying to live a righteous life, even if imperfectly.

..."If the values voters come out again," he said, "it will turn the direction of this country, and maybe forever."
I guess the inability to protect teen boys -- sent by some of his "values voters" --- from a 52-year-old Congressman sexually preying upon them is just a little imperfection in House leadership.

And in his Focus broadcast, he said this:
As it turns out, Mr. Foley has had illicit sex with no one that we know of, and the whole thing turned out to be what some people are now saying was a -- sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages.
Another lie that was debunked by ABC's Blotter last week -- after the original charge of a "prank" was lobbed by Queen Drudge. Daddy D's on a roll. You can hear Dobson's bleating over at Media Matters.

***

In other news, weasel Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) unexpectedly canceled a scheduled appearance on ABC's This Week today.
Reynolds' office "canceled without explanation and arranged for a substitute guest, Rep. Adam Putnam, R-Fla.," an ABC spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

...On the day after Foley resigned, Reynolds said he had told Hastert months ago about concerns that Foley had sent inappropriate messages after Reynolds became aware of them last spring.

Hastert since has insisted he was not aware of the charges until more recently. Reynolds, meanwhile, now says he cannot remember exactly when he learned of Foley's e-mails or when he told Hastert about them.


Foley's power trip

More details about Foley's predatory pick-up lines have turned up in today's LA Times. A former page, who had a sexual encounter with Foley in 2000 (after he turned 21), has come forward to describe that incident, as well as lurid observations that power pervert Foley made about teen pages in IMs.
In the messages, Maf54 described how years earlier, he had looked to see whether the former page had an erection in his tight white pants while the then-teenager was working near the congressman. Maf54 also speculated about the sexual attributes of other males in the same page class, including the observation that one young man was "well hung."
Foley knew exactly how to use his position to get what he wanted -- and pursued the page, as he did with others, even after they left the program.
Foley's flirtations made the young man feel important at a time when he was struggling with his emerging sexuality. "It seemed cool that he was taking an interest," he said. "I knew he was gay, and he was attracted to me."

After leaving the program, the former page began receiving messages from Foley. He is uncertain how Foley knew his college instant-message name, but assumed the congressman had access to a directory listing former pages' whereabouts.

The exchanges quickly became provocative. In one 2000 message, Maf54 inquired about the length and direction of the youth's erection.

...Foley was really two very different people: a legislator "really devoted to his cause," and a sexual being.
The page also remarked that he was surprised it took so long for Foley to get busted for his activities, and that he had a well-known rep among the pages, earning the nickname "Triple F" -- Florida Fag Foley.

He was allowed to abused his position of power for sexual gratification, operating unchecked in those two worlds of DC that I described in an earlier post.
The first is the one we read about in the MSM's coverage of government -- full of stuffed shirts, major egos and jockeying for power, with a lot of waste, fraud and abuse of the taxpayers' money.

Then there is the other DC that appears when the sun sets -- an over-sexed, bacchanalian, orgiastic hotbed of god-knows-what that we hear about in rumors and whispers (in blogs or in private emails). It occasionally peeps into public view when a major scandal erupts, and then the wagons eventually circle and the latter DC quickly "disappears" from public view.
***

I just walked into the room and CNN's Late Edition is on, and the bleating GOP head defending Denny Hastert today is none other than anti-gay deputy GOP whip and Republican NC Congressman Patrick McHenry (10th district). BTW, that's in the western part of my state, including the town of Mooresville, "home to several NASCAR teams and drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Jr.," according to Patrick's web site.

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Keep an eye on this one.

***

Catch up on Foleygate and the GOP closet:
* O'Donnell: what's up with Hastert's roomie/chief of staff?
* On the hit list of the fundies, the gay GOP continues to protect its closet
* Trouble in GOP House seats
* Mike discusses outing gay hypocrites on Tucker Carlson's show
* Time for the GOP hole card to turn up
* You knew it wouldn't take long for this to show up
* Watch Pat Buchanan play the NAMBLA card; UCC takes on Perkins
* Three more pages speak to ABC about Foley's 'approaches'
* Insane defenses
* Caption this - Tom Reynolds and Laura Bush
* Thursday AM Foley roundup
* Hastert: I'll resign if it will help the GOP
* Gingrich: Dems' sex scandals are worse / Drunk Foley showed up at page dorm
* The List
* Kirk Fordham's the first to go
* dKos Cheers & Jeers on Foleygate
* Qs of the day - who's going down/career advice for Foley
* Glenn's on Foley fire...
* Wednesday AM Foley update
* How low can you go -- Tom Reynolds hides behind children
* Foley's attorney: he was molested by a priest as a child
* OK, enough. Hastert has to go NOW.
* Dear Leader speaks...
* Foley interrupted floor vote to have cybersex with page
* Page threatened, Foley still using AOL screen name
* Eating their own - Boehner drop kicks Hastert
* Tuesday AM Foley roundup
* More GOP family values: Foley aide tried to cut a deal with ABC's Ross
* More info on Foley's well-known predator rep among pages
* They knew about Foley in 2001
* There should not be silence
* GOP leadership: spinning for the election home stretch, but nowhere to run on Foley
* More Foleygate
* Foley blasted 'vile' Clinton in 1998 for his 'sad sexual addiction'
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?


Georgia mom wants Harry Potter books removed from library

Why? Because the tomes are indoctrinating children into Wicca. It seems to me that she needs to be more concerned about what her kids are doing on the Internet than reading Harry Potter.
Officials are being urged to ban books from the Harry Potter children's book series from school libraries. Suburban Atlanta mother Laura Mallory has pleaded with a hearing officer for Georgia's State Board of Education to remove the Harry Potter books by British author J.K. Rowling from school libraries statewide, calling the popular fiction series an attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.

In making her point, Mallory notes that teachers do not assign "other religious books," such as the Bible, as student reading. Referring to the rash of deadly assaults at schools in various parts of the U.S., the Georgia parent says books that promote evil -- as she claims Rowling's books do -- help foster the kind of culture where school violence happens.

But Victoria Sweeney, an attorney representing the Gwinnett County Board of Education, responded that if schools were to remove all books containing references to witches, they would have to ban literary mainstays like Macbeth and "Cinderella" as well. The hearing officer will make a recommendation to the state board, which will decide the case at its meeting in December.


Open thread

Saturday, October 07, 2006

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Actual caption: (L-R) U.S. President George W. Bush, former President George H.W. Bush and Northrop-Grumman sector president Michael Petters watch as Doro Bush Koch christens the USS George H.W. Bush at Northrop-Grumman's shipyard in Newport News, Virginia, October 7, 2006. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Bush actually said this at the event, referring to the ship:

She is unrelenting. She is unshakeable. She is unyielding. She is unstoppable. As a matter of fact, probably should have been named the Barbara Bush.
***

Meanwhile, a Newsweek poll shows the Chimperor's approval is at a near-record low again: 33% percent, down from 36 percent in August.

***

No shame

Here's Tom Reynolds and his fresh new feeble propaganda to NY constituents re: Foleygate -- "to let you know the facts...I trusted that others investigated." Oh, it's sad.



O'Donnell: what's up with Hastert's roomie/chief of staff?

As more facts are revealed on this Foley matter, it's becoming clear to me that there are two Washington DCs -- the first is the one we read about in the MSM's coverage of government -- full of stuffed shirts, major egos and jockeying for power, with a lot of waste, fraud and abuse of the taxpayers' money.

Then there is the other DC that appears when the sun sets -- an over-sexed, bacchanalian, orgiastic hotbed of god-knows-what that we hear about in rumors and whispers (in blogs or in private emails). It occasionally peeps into public view when a major scandal erupts, and then the wagons eventually circle and the latter DC quickly "disappears" from public view.

I don't know what to make of this, but I'll leave it to you Blenders to analyze, comment and speculate about Lawrence O'Donnell's column at Huff Post on Denny Hastert and his chief of staff, Scott Palmer. You might recall that Palmer denied that Kirk Fordham told him about Foley's predatory emails and IMs to teen pages, so he's a crucial figure in this matter. My emphasis:
In Hastert's brief, evasive press conference on Thursday, sharp reporters immediately zeroed in on Palmer's role in the Foley information flow. Did Hastert leap to the defense of his chief of staff's honor in the crucial credibility contest with Kirk Fordham? Did he say I know Scott Palmer and I know he's telling the truth? No. He avoided every question with Palmer's name in it. Hastert obviously does not want to talk about Scott Palmer.

If Fordham did warn Palmer about Foley a long time ago, what are the odds that Palmer did not tell Hastert? As close to zero as you can get. Many chiefs of staff are close, very close, to their bosses on Capitol Hill. But none are closer than Scott Palmer is to Denny Hastert. They don't just work together all day, they live together.

There are plenty of odd couple Congressmen who have roomed together on Capitol Hill, but I have never heard of a chief of staff who rooms with his boss. It is beyond unusual. But it must have its advantages. Anything they forget to tell each other at the office, they have until bedtime to catch up on. And then there's breakfast for anything they forgot to tell each other before falling asleep. And then there's all day at the office. Hastert and Palmer are together more than any other co-workers in the Congress.
Oh god. I hope O'Donnell is ready for the assault on this one. The two DCs are on a direct collision course if someone follows up in a Hastert press conference and asks the right questions.

Hat tip, Phil.

***

This is up at ABC News:
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's chief of staff met with disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley to discuss the time and attention Foley was giving House pages years before the speaker's office admits becoming aware of the issue, a current House staffer told ABC News.

The staffer, who asked not be identified because of the ongoing FBI and House Ethics Committee investigations, told ABC News of learning in November 2005 about an earlier meeting between Hastert Chief of Staff Scott Palmer and Foley, R-Fla.

November 2005 was around the time Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., head of the House Page Board, and then-House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, who was administrator of the page program, met with Foley about an e-mail exchange Foley had with a former page sponsored by Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La.

"At that time, I became aware that there was a previous meeting" between Foley and Palmer, the House staffer told ABC News.
Kirk Fordham, who recently stepped down/was pushed out as chief of staff for Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y) has also said that he met with Palmer to ask for something to be done by the Speaker's office about Foley's back in 2003.

Palmer in recent days has flat out said "what Kirk Fordham said did not happen."

Is Palmer lying, and what does his roomie know?


On the hit list of the fundies, the gay GOP continues to protect its closet

You're seeing a lot of tepid -- but still interesting -- MSM stories about the gay Republican subculture of DC running now, including this one in the NYT, that is politely skirting what we all know is a depth of knowledge about who is and isn't gay in this scandal that the media is withholding.

I'm not arguing that they should or shouldn't out anyone, but that if it turns out to be relevant that a lot of lies about the Foley scandal are being told because some powerful closet doors are going to get blown open, the GOP has a big problem here because we're talking about elected officials preying on children and abusing their positions of power in order to do so.

This may be more about protecting GOP closets than it is about gay Republicans in top positions of power trying to save their jobs (though with one, probably comes the other at this rate in the scandal).

The MSM stories are going right up to the line and you can almost tell they are straining not to reveal what they know.
The presence of homosexuals, particularly gay men, in key staff positions has been an enduring if largely hidden staple of Republican life for decades, and particularly in recent years. They have played decisive roles in passing legislation, running campaigns and advancing careers.

Known in some insider slang as “the Velvet Mafia” or “the Pink Elephants,” gay Republicans tend to be less open about their sexual orientation than their Democratic counterparts.

..."You learn to compartmentalize really well," said one Republican strategist who, like many gay Republicans interviewed for this article, would talk only anonymously for fear of adversely affecting his career.

...Mr. Fordham's history illustrates the potential tensions between private life and professional rhetoric. After leaving Mr. Foley's office in 2004, he worked as finance director for the campaign of Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida. In that race, a Martinez campaign flier accused a political rival of favoring the "radical homosexual lobby" by supporting hate crimes legislation that included protections for gay men and lesbians.

One of the inevitable facts, said Mr. [Brian] Bennett, the former aide to Mr. Dornan, is that "there are just going to be some days when it's hard to be a gay Republican."

When asked why he remains in the party, Mr. Bennett gave an answer common to gay Republicans: he said he remained fundamentally in sync with the small government principles of the party and was committed to changing what he considers its antigay attitudes.
***

It sure sounds like the wingers are ready to toss these gay Republicans under the bus, based on a couple of other recent articles.

ABC: Conservative Activists Considering Role of Gay Lawmakers

and

National Journal: A Calamity For Gay Republicans

Hmmm...is it time for an "I told you so" yet? And I'm not opposed to a stronger gay voice in the Republican party. However, until the moderates have tired of the party being run by amoral moralists beating on a bible for political gain, gay folks aren't welcome (unless they are self-loathing enough to continue to support efforts to legislate their rights away). That's the current GOP -- and they are tossing you under the big wheels. Will the moderate remnants of the party come to your defense?

First, ABC's piece:
Conservative activists are beginning to discuss the Mark Foley scandal as indicative of a GOP that has become too tolerant of gays in their midst.

Regardless of the party's efforts against gay marriage, the argument goes, the fact that Republican officials accept gay congressmen, such as Foley, and staffers will mean the party will have problems.

...Richard Isay, a Weisll Cornell Medical College professor of psychiatry and author who has studied gay men and women, says his psychiatric studies show that closeted gays who work for organizations that are inhospitable to them may be more prone to "doing things that are going to get themselves into trouble."
Again, it's not about homosexuality = pedophilia, no matter what these right wing nutcases are bleating on the MSM.

The closet is really a short-hand term to describe a coping mechanism many gay people have developed because of our heterosupremacist society and the homophobic religious upbringing that too many of us have been immersed in. Anyone who tells you that either of these factors has no impact on the mental health of an individual would be lying. That's like Tony Snow saying racism doesn't exist or have any impact on the life, health or self-perception of a person of color in this society.

What one can and should point out -- and what seems to have been lost in much of the debate -- is it matters how one chooses to deal with the factors that create the need for the closet.

You can seek help to develop self-awareness and acceptance over time, or you can be forced into a dark place.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who publicly acknowledged his gay orientation in 1987, has said that a sex scandal in which he was embroiled in the 1980s was at least partly a result of his secret life.

"Two and a half years after I voluntarily acknowledged being gay, a hustler with whom I had been involved tried to become rich, not only by publicizing our relationship but by luridly fictionalizing it," Frank wrote in the gay magazine The Advocate in 2002. "I was able to deal with the fictional parts by refuting them in front of the House Ethics Committee. As to what I had done wrong " paying him for sex " I noted that trying to live a closeted life while being publicly prominent proved to be emotionally, physically, and in every other way more difficult than I had anticipated, resulting in extreme emotional stupidity."
And he's a Democrat, in a party that at least acknowleges its gay base, not demonizes it (even as it still has to be dragged kicking and screaming to advocate for our full equality).

Look at former NJ governor James McGreevey, for crying out loud. Now openly gay, he discussed how the paranoia of the political closet made him oppose marriage equality in order to keep his homosexuality under wraps.
"I did not want to be identified as being gay, and it was the safe place to be," McGreevey said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I wanted to embrace the antagonist. I wanted to be against it. That's the absurdity."
Imagine, then, the pain and pathology of the GOP closet, where your alleged political allies are fire-breathing bible beaters who capitalize on your internalized homophobia to fundraise and legislate to make you the second-class citizen you believe yourself to be.

Nothing above excuses or mitigates anything Foley did, or, for that matter, any bizarre, criminal behavior we've seen by politicians or religious leaders (gay or straight) involved in scandals -- it seems people in positions of power and influence are capable of some of the most incredible, arrogant misjudgment and deviance imaginable. They have so much to lose -- in the public eye, no less -- and they do it anyway.

Actually, for most of us out there, we can't even imagine some of these things sick people are capable of until we read about them.

From the National Journal piece, a tale of lost gay GOP souls, surprised and angry at their predicament, yet still protective of their professional padlocked closets:
Less than 24 hours after Rep. Mark Foley resigned in disgrace, some 50 gay Republicans gathered at a friend's house in Virginia. They were in a brittle mood. Foley -- one of their own, in terms of sexual orientation and party ID -- had, by his misconduct, exposed them to personal and even professional recrimination. And they feared a backlash. A close friend of Foley's summed up the situation this way: "It is a disgrace. It's a disgrace for the party, and it's a disgrace and a disaster for all of us."

...Many choose not to publicly disclose their sexual orientation because they're afraid that they would face retaliation from their employers. Others believe that their employers might face retaliation from their constituents. Still others try to strike a balance, confiding in a select group but maintaining a safer, though ambiguous, public identity.

Contacted by National Journal, many declined to comment, and those who did speak asked that their names not be used. A few expressed the fear that any article about powerful gay Republicans could trigger a witch hunt. Indeed, in the wake of Foley's resignation, an e-mail purporting to identify gay Republican staff members circulated on Capitol Hill. Some presumably heterosexual Republicans whispered to reporters that a "gay subculture" had penetrated the highest ranks of the party and had protected Foley at the expense of their majority.

One well-known association lobbyist, speaking of his own situation, lamented, "It's really poisonous to be a gay Republican right now." Most Republican leaders took pains, in their initial public comments, to avoid the topic of Foley's sexual orientation. But others, particularly those identified with the party's culturally conservative wing, including Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, breezily conflated Foley's conduct with his sexual identity.

"You don't need 'gaydar' to understand he has certain dispositions," Cannon remarked to the Deseret News.
Yes, this is the party of ignorance and head in the sand. But we still have LCRs chugging effort into the denial machine:
Patrick Sammon, the executive vice president of the gay Log Cabin Republicans, said he doesn't anticipate any sort of purge of gay Republicans from Hill offices. "The fact is, the anti-gay groups are losing momentum," Sammon said. "And momentum is on our side, so they're going to use any desperate tactic to turn the tide. Most people are intelligent enough," he added, to know that Foley's behavior isn't typical of gay men.
Uh, no. Jesus. First, any positive momentum on the gay rights front is, sadly, not occurring in your party, Sammon. The bible-beaters you've bedded down with for years have your party in a death grip, as they see themselves losing control of the society at large.

The progress for tax-paying gay and lesbian citizens has not come from a party run by wild-eyed, flat-earth society bigots, it has come from Corporate America recognizing and valuing gay employees and customers, and by the teachers, doctors, clerks, neighbors and friends who have come out of the closet.

The LCR's motto is "inclusion wins." Get back to me when you see real progress on that front in today's GOP.

Second, perhaps you need to speak with the religious wing of your party about the intelligence level and general beliefs out there about gays. The fact that the religious homobigots are ready to toss you out of the party pretty much says it all. Your former friends on the Hill are now trying to figure out how to save and explain themselves, because they allowed a sexual predator to continue having he e-way with House pages from within God's Own Party. They were in charge and they tried to keep a lid on it by not even telling the Dem on the page committee -- that is something they are now going to have to live with.

There aren't easy ways to undo the damage the House leadership did by letting Foley run amok -- and now the AmTaliban is looking to the gay GOP as the fall guy. See ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

***

I like what Eugene Robinson said in his column in the WaPo. It cuts to the heart of why the gay GOP is tied up in knots by the reaction of their straight partymates. The realization that the party faithful is full of rabid homophobes seems to shock them for some reason, because too many straight folks (in both parties, actually), particularly religious conservatives are woefully undereducated about average LGBT lives because gays around them continue to protect their closets instead of coming out. Who would come out if you faced demonization by family, friends and colleagues? It's why many gays and lesbians don't come out until they move away from the bible belt.

In the absence of information, disinformation from the likes of batsh*t insane people like Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition (who also has the White House's ear) fills the void. He sees predatory gays (men, of course) around every corner trying convert youth to the Homosexual Agenda. Mark Foley represented the embodiment, the "proof" to them that this is the face of "gay." Deviant sexual activity for the Right, yet again, is conflated with orientation -- and, quite frankly, most of these so-called leaders know exactly what they are doing.
The basic story line -- powerful man exploits children -- would be the same if Foley were straight and underage girls had been the subject of his lurid attentions. But would the intensity of the scandal be the same? Would there be all this unseemly finger-pointing and hand-washing among the House leadership? Would Dennis Hastert be fighting to keep his job; would Christian conservatives be so apoplectic; would the whole Republican Party look as if it were on the verge of a nervous breakdown?

I doubt it. There would still be a scandal, but I think Foley's now-acknowledged homosexuality was crucial in turning a crisis for the party into a potential catastrophe.

...I don't think hypocrisy alone is enough to explain why the Foley mess is such a big deal. I think it goes deeper.

One of the central tenets of anti-homosexual doctrine is the notion of "recruitment" -- that adult gay people lure young people into homosexuality as a way of increasing their numbers. The most extreme anti-gay activists perceive a full-fledged conspiracy. The Traditional Values Coalition, a group whose homophobia can only be called rabid, goes so far as to claim that, after being enticed into sexual acts, the "young 'initiates' into the strange world of homosexuality are to be trained to reject the moral beliefs of their parents."

This is complete bunk, of course -- most new research has tended to support the idea that homosexuality is more a matter of nature than nurture, and in any event the notion of an organized "recruitment" drive is far beyond ridiculous.

...In any event, the recruitment myth helps explain why social conservatives, who make up perhaps the most loyal and energetic segment of the Republican Party's base, are so up in arms. And that outrage, in turn, helps explain why the party has been so frantic all week, so uncharacteristically slow to come up with a game plan for responding to the scandal. Social conservatives were already grumbling that the Republicans talk a good game but never get around to addressing their core issues. Now comes this.
What the fundies want is a return to the good old days when the lines of tolerance were clearly drawn and homos knew their place -- and were punished severely when their "secret" was out. Honest, law-abiding gays and lesbians were officially terrorized by our own government not that long ago. This is what folks want:
From the U.S. Senate Naval Affairs Committee's "Report on Alleged Immoral Conditions and Practices at the Naval Training Station, Newport, RI" in 1921, to the Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department's report "The Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government" in 1951, bureaucrats have long been studying and grappling with whether homosexuals should work in government at all.

Largely the justification for such discrimination came in the argument that gays were more likely to become spies because they were susceptible to blackmail.

In 1953, President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, resulting in the termination of more than 600 federal employees for "sexual perversion."

However unjust gay and lesbian rights groups might consider the America of 2006, it is nothing less than astounding to realize how much matters have changed not just since Ike, but in just the last few decades.
And that's what they are mourning.

To close, I have to go to the brilliant Glenn Greenwald, who summed up why the GOP's endless obsession with placing themselves on the morality pedestal has now come back to haunt them. In the end, these folks are now wringing their hands raw, going into complete shock and denial (my emphasis):
The Wall St. Journal's Henninger yesterday asked: "Is this Mark Foley thing really happening?" Hennginger can't believe that with so many Important Things going in the world, our country would really be focused on what he dismissively refers to as "Congressman Foley's 1995 email traffic." Henninger is the Deputy Editor of the WSJ Editorial Page -- the same Editorial Page that spent much of the 1990s focusing on the spots on Bill Clinton's penis, Hillary's affair with Vince Foster, and semen stains on a blue dress.

The same people who impeached a popular, twice-elected President of the U.S. over a sex scandal involving consenting adults, who caused our country's political dialogue for several years to be composed of the filthiest and most scurrilous speculation peddled by some of the lowest bottom-feeders and dirt-mongers, and who constructed a political movement based in large part on sermonizing about private sexual morality and demonizing those who deviate, are now protesting -- without any irony -- the fact that a sex scandal is distracting from the Truly Important Issues our country faces and that Mark Foley's sexual pursuit over many years of 16 and 17-year-old Congressional pages is nothing that really matters.

It is as though Republicans are being punished for all of their serious political sins at once, in one perfectly constructed, humiliating scandal designed to highlight their crimes and exact just retribution for them. The Foley scandal is shining a very bright light on their conduct, not just in this one incident but with regard to how they have been governing the country generally over the last five years.
It's really hard to pull Jeebus out of the back pocket for the Foley scandal. They have no cards to play except desperate ones that attempt to shift the focus from the issue at hand, turn on one another, to say what happened was a prank gone awry (Drudge), or, in this case, let the religious nut cases blame the gay Republicans in their midst and call for a purge.

Feel the love.


Caption this

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Actual caption: President Bush, right, is seated next to Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Borbon, center, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, left, as they watch a musical performance in the East Room of the White House marking Hispanic Heritage Month Friday, Oct. 6, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

It's an open thread...


Trouble in GOP House seats

Uh, oh. Foleygate isn't going away for The Base.
"The social conservatives are frustrated with what's going on," said Saulius Anuzis, the chairman of the Republican Party in Michigan, where, he said, one-third of his volunteers are social conservatives. "We have heard disappointment and disenchantment. The level of commitment isn't as fierce as it ought to be."

...George Rasley, an aide to Representative Deborah Pryce, Republican of Ohio, who was linked to Mr. Foley in a Democratic advertisement that began running Friday, said the Foley investigation further soured an already tough environment for Republicans in Ohio, a state hammered by corruption investigations this year.

...In Pennsylvania this week, Representative Don Sherwood, a suddenly endangered Republican, bought time on television to offer an apology in response to allegations that he had abused his mistress. Analysts for both parties said the sweep of outrage over Congressional misbehavior had weakened Mr. Sherwood and forced him to deal directly with the issue.


Recipient of an 84% rating from Christian Coalition, Don Sherwood's "backrub" was actually a chokehold, according to Cynthia Ore.

Democratic advertisements are linking Mr. Foley to both Ms. Pryce of Ohio and Representative Mike Sodrel of Indiana. Ms. Pryce once described Mr. Foley as a friend, one advertisement says, while Mr. Sodrel is criticized as taking a campaign contribution "from the House leadership, who knew about it but did nothing to stop sexual predator Congressman Foley."

A fund-raiser for Mr. Sodrel headlined by Mr. Hastert was postponed this week. Mr. Sodrel's campaign manager, Cam Savage, said that was only because of a scheduling conflict.
Right. Please, dear readers, keep from falling out of your chair with laughter at this bit of sad spinning in the article.
Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he believed that Republicans turned a corner when Mr. Hastert accepted responsibility for the mishandling of the page scandal after days of being pressed to take action by restive Republicans.


"I'm looking at every single bit of public and private data," Mr. Mehlman said. "So far, I have seen a minimal effect of this particular situation, which is not to say that I don't take it seriously."


Washington state high school production of 'The Laramie Project' postponed 'indefinitely'

Yakima's A.C. Davis High's production of The Laramie Project has been canceled, because the play "could be perceived as promoting homosexuality." (KIMA):
There was shock among several students after learning their fall play would be postponed until next spring or possibly indefinitely.

"We'd brought it up in the meetings...there might be issues we never really expected it was going to be the school district," said drama club president and Davis senior Kristie Prescott. Prescott and several drama club students decided to do the Laramie Project last month at the start of the school year. It's a play about the aftermath of a young Laramie, Wyoming man brutally murdered by two men for being gay.

But soon after, controversy erupted in the high school's community with students, their parents and even staff. "When I read the play I didn't have a similar reaction," said Lee Maras, principal of Davis High School. "But the ones I did talk to didn't even want to read it, didn't even want to look at it - just felt it was inappropriate for our school."

...Now several students are upset, even setting up a myspace page urging for support to go through with the play. They wrote: "the school district cannot allow this play to be produced because it is 'too controversial for a town this conservative.'"
Jesus' General strikes the appropriate tone in his letter to Yakima County School District Superintendent Dr. Benjamin A. Soria.
But the play is the least of the problems emanating from A.C. Davis High School. The greatest threat to our values stands in the school's courtyard. I'm referring to the statue of the Yakima County School District's most infamous student, Justice William O. Douglas Jr. Its presence mocks every value in which we believe. To stand before it is to stand before some demonic apparition whose long-ago-uttered words continue to reverberate off the courtyard's walls. Indeed, Douglas seems to speak through his bronzed likeness, reminding us:
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Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.
...The statue represents a bygone era, a time when men like William O' Douglas were cheered for such libertine ideas as the right the voice unpopular ideas and to be the person you are rather than who others compel you to be. As such, the statue must be brought down. It must be brought down in a very public way through a well-managed photo op involving flags, military vehicles, and cheering crowds of patriots.
Go read the rest.

Recently, in Des Moines, IA, parents railed on about a Laramie HS production because "it's too vulgar for students."

And, of course, we had our own incident here in Durham -- though there was no local objection to the play's staging at a HS -- we had the Phelps machine turn out to protest the excellent production.


Mike discusses outing gay hypocrites on Tucker Carlson's show

Friday, October 06, 2006



Mike Rogers of Blogactive and PageOneQ was on Tucker Carlson's program last night to discuss the business of outing anti-gay homo politicians. He talks about the experience over at his pad.

A snippet of the transcript:
CARLSON: But doesn‘t—I mean, look, don‘t the people have a right, A, to lead private lives of their own choosing, and B, to have their own political opinions without being harassed about their private lives by other people?

ROGERS: Absolutely, Tucker. And the only thing that I come into in terms of my reporting on hypocrisy is when those private lives are in direct conflict with the public lives and the public persona that they lead.

For example, if you are a gay man and you vote for the Defense of Marriage Act and refuse to support a repeal of Don‘t Ask Don‘t Tell, and serve as a Boy Scout leader—this has not been known, that Mark Foley is listed on the Boy Scouts Web site as a Boy Scout leader. And when that happens, you have to realize that these closets are just—they‘re perpetuating all of this.

And I think that what we‘ve seen is, time and time again, there is no—the lies—clearly someone is not telling the truth. There are so many stories, the spinning that goes on.

...ROGERS: I think this is a serious, serious problem for the Republican Party. I think that what we‘ve seen happen today is that the House will flip to the Democrats. That‘s my prediction.

CARLSON: Yes. I mean, this clearly hurts the Republican Party.

I—you know, there‘s a lot of talk about how the Republican base, the fabled base is so intolerant of homosexuality. I don‘t know. I‘m not sure that‘s exactly right.

ROGERS: I agree.

CARLSON: There are a number of conservative members of Congress who have gay staffers, openly gay staffers, and that doesn‘t seem to be a problem for them or for the staffers.

ROGERS: And Tucker, there are a number of gay Republicans and Democrats in Congress who I have not identified because they don‘t spend their days beating up lesbian and gay individuals. There are Republicans and Democrats that I have no interest on reporting on whatsoever because they‘re not hypocrites.

It‘s not about being gay. It‘s about being hypocritical. It‘s about saying I want to live by a different set of rules than everyone else. And that to me and I would hope to the American people, be it whether or not you‘re hitting on 16-year-olds online...
BTW, the Freepers jumped on this interview, and for some reason, a number of them think Tucker is queer.


Katherine Harris: Bill Nelson doesn't act like a Christian

You know, she's the gift that just keeps on giving. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) shouldn't lose any sleep over this unhinged, batsh*t crazy opponent.
Six weeks after urging voters to elect only "tried and true" Christians, Senate candidate Katherine Harris is questioning her opponent's faith by saying he "votes completely contrary" to Christian principles.

In an interview published by a Christian news service, Harris said incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson "claims to be a Christian" but supports policies "completely contrary to what we say we believe."

In the item, Harris did not identify specific policies, but she has blasted Nelson for supporting abortion rights and for opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed gay marriage.

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Actual caption: Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., gestures during a news conference Wednesday morning Oct. 4, 2006 outside the regional office of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in Tampa, Fla. Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, went on to attack her democratic opponent Sen. Bill Nelson. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

...In late August, she angered some Christians and non-Christians with comments she made to the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention.

Harris said that God did not intend for the United States to be a "nation of secular laws" and that failure to elect "tried and true" Christians would allow lawmakers "to legislate sin."

She also said "God is the one who chooses our rulers" and suggested non-Christians "don't know better."


Time for the GOP hole card to turn up

With all the crazy tomFoleyry threatening to decapitate the GOP congressional leadership and turn the keys over to the Dems, I can't help but think, "how's Karl Rove going to rescue the Grand Old Pervs of God's Oil Party this time?"

Then I surfed over to Kos's place and watched one of Tester's ads against Burns (R-MT). The subject is Burns' support of the USA unPATRIOTic ACT and Tester's tag line is "Why do you think we're the enemy? And where's Osama bin Laden?"

Ah, yes. There's the hole card. That scenario I dreaded back in October 2004. What if BushCo knows exactly where Osama is and could produce him at any moment? Pervez Musharraf was just in town -- did he and BushCo work out the details for the ultimate October Surprise?

What do you think? Is the damage from Foleygate and the Iraquagmire enough to sink the GOP in the face of a freshly captured Osama? (or better for BushCo, a freshly killed and unable to make statements in a courtroom Osama... not that they'd actually allow the trial to be open, but...)


Sam Brownback stalls judicial nom over same-sex ceremony


Killer 'fro: unretouched scan of Sam's Kansas State University 1977 yearbook.

A true believer in fomenting homobigotry ahead of more important matters, Sam Brownback (R-KS) has decided to hold up a judicial nominee, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Janet T. Neff, to the U.S. District Court in Michigan's Western District, over the fact she lead a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple in 2002. (AP/NYT):
''It seems to speak about her view of judicial activism,'' Brownback said. ''That's something I want to inquire of her further.''

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved Neff's nomination for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Michigan's Western District. Her nomination is now pending before the full Senate. A single senator can block a nomination from moving forward by placing a hold on it.

...Brownback said Republican activists in Michigan expressed concerns about Neff after seeing her name in a September 2002 New York Times ''Weddings/Celebrations'' announcement. It said Neff led the commitment ceremony for Karen Adelman and Mary Curtin with the Rev. Kelly A. Gallagher, a minister of the United Church of Christ.

While commitment ceremonies marking the union of same-sex couples have grown increasingly common, they are largely symbolic and carry no legal benefits. Brownback said he wanted to find out whether Neff may have presided over ''an illegal marriage ceremony'' that skirted Massachusetts law, which did not recognize gay marriages at the time.
What on earth is he talking about? Good night, he's deranged. That didn't go unnoticed.
Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said commitment ceremonies ''have nothing to do with the law. This was a symbolic expression of love between two people.''

''This is nothing more than Sam Brownback looking for another opportunity to rear his bigoted head and find a way to attack gay people,'' Solmonese said.
Look no further than the opinions of Sam's chief of staff to see how far from the mainstream a 2008 campaign would be -- Robert Wasinger, wrote in a Heritage Foundation-funded magazine that the "innocent sperm" of gay men are, "forced to swim into feces."

The masses are going to have to overlook the above nonsense along with the other elements of his fringe view of the world, particularly the fetus.
He is running for president because murder is always on his mind: the abortion of what he considers fetal citizens. He speaks often and admiringly of John Brown, the abolitionist who massacred five pro-slavery settlers just north of the farm where Brownback grew up. Brown wanted to free the slaves; Brownback wants to free fetuses. He loves each and every one of them. "Just . . . sacred," he says.
Hat tip, Holly.


Bible-beating criminal masterminds

How about these Arizona flim-flam geniuses?

Or so they thought they were, untill their investment scheme collapsed, affecting more than 11,000 people -- mostly senior citizens -- who lost money. These clowns didn't profit, they simply hid the fact that the whole enterprise was going bust. (KVOA):
A heavy sentence has been handed down to two men who squandered the life savings of thousands of Arizonans.

It marks the end of the scandal surrounding the defunct Baptist Foundation of Arizona. In the 1990's, the Baptist Foundation collected more than $550 million from 11,000 investors, mostly elderly people. When the foundation collapsed in 1999, all that money was gone.

Earlier this month, former executives, Bill Crotts and Tom Grabinski were found guilty of fraud and operating an illegal enterprise. Crotts and Grabinski were sentenced for their crimes. Crotts will serve 8 years in prison and is ordered to repay $159 million to investors.
***

Alabama pastor charged with forging checks

The pen of Reverend Stephen Hudson, pastor of Greater Sardis Missionary Baptist Church must have had the devil in it -- it signed the names of church members on the house of prayer's benevolent fund checks.
Police said the Rev. Stephen Hudson, 55, turned himself in to the Ozark Police Department on Monday after a warrant was issued for his arrest last month. Hudson is accused of signing the checks in the names of Carl Crittenden and Nellie Traylor for payment at two utility companies and a convenience store. Crittenden filed three different police reports for each check.

Hudson, who is charged with three counts of possessing forged instruments, could face one to 10 years in a prison if convicted.

...Former church clerk Julie Jones said the checks were given to Hudson by someone after the death of the man in charge of the account.
***

Youth Pastor Convicted In Phony Mortgage Scheme

Boy, do we see a trend here? This one's from White Plains, NY.
Israel Pena faces decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines after a federal jury in White Plains convicted him Monday on conspiracy and fraud charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Pena and other unidentified co-conspirators arranged bogus loan applications to buy various properties in Westchester and New York City - which they didn't own.

One case involved a property in Yonkers that was bought with a mortgage secured by a fake letter showing that the buyer had received a $50,000 gift and a $50,000 certified check that was never negotiated but instead returned after the closing was complete.

In another instance, Pena and the others sold a Manhattan property that they never owned, leaving the buyer with a mortgage but no property.


You knew it wouldn't take long for this to show up

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Foley IM Generator.


Watch Pat Buchanan play the NAMBLA card; UCC takes on Perkins

This is sickening, but wholly expected from toadies of a party going down in flames. They can't stay away from trying to tie Democrats to deviance to shift the focus.

The latest effort comes from the mouth of Pat Buchanan, who turned up on Scarborough Country to bleat about Nancy Pelosi marching in gay pride parades alongside NAMBLA, intimating she supports these perverts -- and without any proof, of course. He carefully qualifies it later in the video with "I believe," but he accomplished his goal -- floating that filth out over the airwaves. This has to be countered.



Thanks, Paul, for posting the video. An official transcript isn't up yet, but Blender Patrick tapped away and provided this rough one for us:
Joe Scarborough: ... again, Denny Hastert remembers nothing of that conversation. But the speaker did have his wits about him when it came to assailing the Democratic Party in assigning blame, telling the Chicago Tribune "the people who want to see this thing blow up are ABC news, and a lot of Democratic operatives, people funded by George Soros."

There's little doubt tonight, as this GOP paid sex scandal expands few voters are going to buy into the speaker's vast left wing conspiracy when figuring out who to punish next month at the polls. If this is the best that my Republican Party can do. We're doomed.

Here now, Michael Crowley, he's a senior editor for the new Republic, Rachel Sklar, she's media editor for the Huffington Post.com and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, Michael, let me begin with you. What you make of the events tonight. Three new pages coming forward saying Mr. Foley offered lodging for sex...(skipped that part)

Joe Scarborough: Pat Buchanan in the end, the fact that all of these Republicans have come forward saying that they warned Denny Hastert three years ago, one year ago, nine months ago, and he says he can't remember any of it and has said.. decides to assign blame to George Soros certainly hurts his cause within the Republican party and with voters in a month, doesn't it?

[The above video picks up here...]

Pat Buchanan: Well, there's no doubt about it he's been hurt but so have these leaders I mean, Mr. Blunt didn't help himself by saying I would have handled it differently and Boener got the dime on him, none of them look like loyalists. Let me say this Joe. I mean, look, we are now hearing that this flamer Mr. Foley was going after kids as early as nineteen..I mean two thou.. I mean 1998. I mean you knew Foley, did you know he was this kind of flamer who was after pages. I mean, certainly you knew him better than Hastert did, and apparently this was not known by the folks in the Republican caucus.

Joe Scarborough: Now well well, I certainly didn't know anything about it but, this flamer as you call him, this flamer's Chief of Staff went to Mr. Hastert in 2003 and started warning them as early as 2003 that Mr. Foley had serious problems, and they didn't act on it.

Pat Buchanan: Alright, but look, Hastert got a point.

Joe Scarborough: I will tell you this pat, if a chief of staff came to me, if Mark Foley's chief of staff came to me in 1998 and told me that this was going on I'll tell ya, I and most decent people, you would've gone to the speaker and if he didn't do anything you would have held a press conference.

Pat Buchanan: Alright, that's my point apparently ABC knew this a year ago, if the reporters knew this a year ago and they didn't report it, they don't care about those kids, they're waiting to drop it in the fall election. In this case, Hastert's got a point, if people give a hoot about the kids and they know about it and they wait for a year to dump it, do they really care about these kids? I don't think so. Let me may make one more point. Ms. Pelosi has marched in gay pride parades with the North American Man Boy Love Association, NAMBLA. Which, who are pedophiles who are trying to get the laws repealed for sex between men and boys. If she's been marching with pedophiles, is she credible standing up there saying I'm shocked, shocked that some Republican is after 17 year old pages?

Joe Scarborough: Rachel Sklar in the end will a blame ABC news, George Soros, Democratic Party strategy work?

Rachel Sklar: No, it definitely will not. We have to go back to the original principle which is the fact that, a predator, and I don't think his sexuality is germane here, whether or not he's quote unquote a flamer, I'm not too down with that language. He's a predator, that's the issue here. He's a predator he was preying on kids who are working on Capitol Hill, and his party enabled him.

Joe Scarborough: Well and Rachel apparently if you look at these latest reports out. It looks as if Mark Foley, a guy I knew since 1994 and liked personally was using this page program as a sex farm. I mean, it was a farm system, where he was waiting for these people to become 18 and then set up these sexual trysts with them, right?

Rachel Sklar: Precisely, he was a predator, and his party enabled him. His party did not address it and that's where the blame lies.

Pat Buchanan: now wait a minute Joe let me interrupt right there. I agree anybody that knew this guy was a predator didn't turn a man and get rid of them should be out of the Congress. But they should also be out of journalism, if they knew this predator was running all over the place, they say we don't care about that lets let's wait till October and dump it on the Republicans.

Joe Scarborough: Rachel is that fair?

Rachel Sklar: I don't think that's a fair characterization. From my understanding is that there there was information, kind of out there and people needed to put it together.

Pat Buchanan: we'll that's exactly what the Republicans are saying we needed to put together, for heaven sakes. If ABC who knew it and they say we need to put it together, if they are innocent, why aren't Republicans who say we didn't put together either?

Rachel Sklar: one party had information the other part had to find the information. One party sat on at the other party ferreted it out.

(Joe to Michael Crowley segment skipped)

Joe Scarborough: Pat Buchanan, if I'm on the campaign stump. I would much rather defend the Iraq war and defend the fact that the speaker is being seen as somebody who's covering up for a pedophile and look at this Herald Ford quote. He was being attacked, somebody said that he hung out with Playboy bunnies and Harold Ford said this "I'm not going to take a lecture on morality from a party that took hush money from a child predator." Pat Buchanan that his gold. That's a quote that will work in Tennessee, and will work around the country.

Pat Buchanan: yeah will, let me tell you something. Two national figures, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Rodham Clinton, marched in gay pride parades in New York, in which I believe that NAMBLA floats were moved right along.. and these are child predators who are arguing for getting rid of laws between men and boys they're marching with that, that will go into...

Joe Scarborough: Alright, but Pat that will not have resonance this fall in the elections.

Pat Buchanan: Not this fall, 2008 it's going to be very very big because of this Joe.

Joe Scarborough: and Rachel Sklar, final prediction, where do we go from here in this media scandal?

Rachel Sklar: well, I think we just sit back and watch it unfold. You know, you try and find as much information out as possible and figure out who knew what when and what their motives were in presenting the information or in deliberately holding it back.

Michael Crowley: Joe and no serious elected official in America supports NAMBLA...I mean, maybe they want up in the same place..

Pat Buchanan: but if they march with them.. Look if I march with the Klan. I have to answer whether..

Michael Crowley: Not intentionally. There's no way. Pat, come on.

Pat Buchanan: if they march with NAMBLA they're going to have to answer it. Now they are.

Joe Scarborough: Alright well they may have to answer that in 2008, but I'll tell you in 2006 a month from now the Republican Party is going to have to answer for the events of the past three years, where Mr. Foley's former chief of staff, said he told the speaker's office that Mark Foley was preying on young children as early as 1998. Thank you, Michael Crowley Pat Buchanan
Has anyone from Pelosi's office released a statement about this?

***

The United Church of Christ's Rev. John H. Thomas steps up to counter Family Research Council's Tony Perkins

It's welcome to see allies fighting the Am Taliban:
"Perkins recent remarks are destructive to gay and lesbian persons and their families and distract the nation's attention from the real issue at hand, which is protecting young people from sexual predators," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC's general minister and president.

On October 2, Perkins issued a statement claiming "the real issue" in the Foley scandal was a "link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse." On Oct. 3, Perkins made similar accusations on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," where he likened homosexuals with "sexual deviants."

Thomas said the former congressman's sexual orientation should not be part of the public debate. The American Psychological Association, in addition to numerous other reputable medical and scientific groups, has found that "gay men are no more likely than heterosexual men to perpetrate child sexual abuse."

"To suggest that gay and lesbian persons should be barred from public service, as Perkins has implied, is akin to suggesting that white, straight males should be kept out of politics because of Bill Clinton's sexual misdeeds," Thomas said. "To attach this debate to sexual orientation is not only ludicrous, it's dangerous. Many gay and lesbian persons serve honorably in public office."

...Thomas said the church's support of the gay and lesbian community is in keeping with its concern for the safety and well- being of young people.
***

A MSNBC poll is up: Is "outing" an acceptable political practice?

***

Also:
* Three more pages speak to ABC about Foley's 'approaches'
* Insane defenses
* Caption this - Tom Reynolds and Laura Bush
* Thursday AM Foley roundup
* Hastert: I'll resign if it will help the GOP
* Gingrich: Dems' sex scandals are worse / Drunk Foley showed up at page dorm
* The List
* Kirk Fordham's the first to go
* dKos Cheers & Jeers on Foleygate
* Qs of the day - who's going down/career advice for Foley
* Glenn's on Foley fire...
* Wednesday AM Foley update
* How low can you go -- Tom Reynolds hides behind children
* Foley's attorney: he was molested by a priest as a child
* OK, enough. Hastert has to go NOW.
* Dear Leader speaks...
* Foley interrupted floor vote to have cybersex with page
* Page threatened, Foley still using AOL screen name
* Eating their own - Boehner drop kicks Hastert
* Tuesday AM Foley roundup
* More GOP family values: Foley aide tried to cut a deal with ABC's Ross
* More info on Foley's well-known predator rep among pages
* They knew about Foley in 2001
* There should not be silence
* GOP leadership: spinning for the election home stretch, but nowhere to run on Foley
* More Foleygate
* Foley blasted 'vile' Clinton in 1998 for his 'sad sexual addiction'
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?


When all else fails, hack the election

Considering the current drain-circling of GOP fortunes, it's probably a good time to ask this again -- what about Diebold? This Congress have nothing to run on, the administration is a failure, and they are dealing with a sex predator scandal of epic proportions that simply won't go away, so you have to wonder whether the desperate denials, backstabbing, and flat out lying by House leadership will matter at all when people go to the polls where Diebold equipment is in place.

People may, in key races, vote to toss the bums out, but is the fix already in? Robert Kennedy revisits the monkey business of Diebold in his Rolling Stone article, Will The Next Election Be Hacked? Kennedy has already documented the "foul-ups" and monkey business of the GOP and Ken Blackwell to keep more than 350,000 voters in the Buckeye State from being about to vote -- or have their 2004 votes counted in Was the 2004 Election Stolen? my post (here).

In the "Hacked" article, it's pretty clear that the barn door has been left wide open in too many states, and Diebold's criminal behavior has gone unchecked. Your vote may not count.
Chris Hood remembers the day in August 2002 that he began to question what was really going on in Georgia. An African-American whose parents fought for voting rights in the South during the 1960s, Hood was proud to be working as a consultant for Diebold Election Systems, helping the company promote its new electronic voting machines. During the presidential election two years earlier, more than 94,000 paper ballots had gone uncounted in Georgia - almost double the national average - and Secretary of State Cathy Cox was under pressure to make sure every vote was recorded properly.
Diebold was shortly awarded a $54 million contract to provide Georgia with 19,000 touch-screen voting devices -- and only five months to fulfill the order. Kennedy looks at the series of decisions that made it easy to compromise the system. It's unbelievable.

Chris Hood explains how the limited time window to ready the equipment resulted in Secretary of State Cathy Cox signing away oversight of the process.
There was only one way, he adds, that the job could be done in time - if "the vendor had control over the entire environment." That is precisely what happened. In late July, to speed deployment of the new machines, Cox quietly signed an agreement with Diebold that effectively privatized Georgia's entire electoral system. The company was authorized to put together ballots, program machines and train poll workers across the state - all without any official supervision. "We ran the election," says Hood. "We had 356 people that Diebold brought into the state. Diebold opened and closed the polls and tabulated the votes. Diebold convinced Cox that it would be best if the company ran everything due to the time constraints, and in the interest of a trouble-free election, she let us do it."

Then, one muggy day in mid-August, Hood was surprised to see the president of Diebold's election unit, Bob Urosevich, arrive in Georgia from his headquarters in Texas. With the primaries looming, Urosevich was personally distributing a "patch," a little piece of software designed to correct glitches in the computer program. "We were told that it was intended to fix the clock in the system, which it didn't do," Hood says. "The curious thing is the very swift, covert way this was done."

Georgia law mandates that any change made in voting machines be certified by the state. But thanks to Cox's agreement with Diebold, the company was essentially allowed to certify itself. "It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it. I received instructions directly from Urosevich. It was very unusual that a president of the company would give an order like that and be involved at that level."

According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way." Hood personally patched fifty-six machines and witnessed the patch being applied to more than 1,200 others.
I think you get the idea here. Our elected and appointed officials, in charge of protecting your vote, for the sake of expediency (and clearly with either a political motive or no technical aptitute to make a sane judgment call), let the Diebold the inmate, run the asylum.

Kennedy's article is a long must-read. And he's not the only one concerned about this. Last month I posted about election officials who are getting "cold feet" about these touch-screen black box systems.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who dealt with touch-screen debacles in 2004, is going back to a paper ballot.
We became one of the laughing stock states in the country because we had these technological machines that were not working, that in several counties were defective, were slow, were unreliable, and I basically said to myself I'm not going to go through this again. And I just think that the paper ballot system, as untechnical as it seems, is the most verifiable way we can assure Americans that they're voting and their vote is counting.
The ballots that will be used are electronically scanned and counted.

You've been warned:
"It would have been very easy for any one of us to take a contaminated card out of our pocket, put it into the system, and download some malicious code that would then end up in the server, impacting every other vote that went in, before and after," says Hood. "We had absolute control of the tabulations. We could have fixed the election if we wanted. We had access, and that's all you need. I can honestly say that every election I saw with Diebold in charge was compromised - if not in the count, at least in the security."

..."With electronic machines, you can commit wholesale fraud with a single alteration of software," says Avi Rubin, a computer-science professor at Johns Hopkins who has received $7.5 million from the National Science Foundation to study electronic voting. "There are a million little tricks when you build software that allow you to do whatever you want. If you know the precinct demographics, the machine can be programmed to recognize its precinct and strategically flip votes in elections that are several years in the future. No one will ever know it happened."
As always, if you want hard news on all things related to vote-rigging, the place to surf is The Brad Blog.

Hat tip, mykull.

***

UPDATE: check out the lovely Litbrit at The Last Duchess, who points to American Blackout, which covers on voting irregularities/disenfranchisement in the Cynthia McKinney race.


NJ Gov Corzine would override legislative ban on marriage equality if court rules in favor

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here's a signal to the legislature that's hard to miss. A ruling on marriage equality in New Jersey is expected soon, and Jon Corzine has declared that if the state Supreme Court ruling enables gays and lesbians to marry, he won't tolerate wingnut bills to ban it. (365gay):
At the legislature Thursday hundreds of religious conservatives staged a noisy rally demanding the legislature move to block same-sex marriage no matter what the court decides.

The only way that could be done would be through a constitutional amendment. Several Republican lawmakers have sponsored a bill to begin the amendment process but it has never received a hearing.

"If the Supreme Court rules that gay marriage is constitutional, the governor would not sign legislation to take away people's rights,'' said Anthony Coley, the governor's spokesperson.

...New Jersey is one of only five states without a specific ban on gay marriage.
Conversely, if the court ruled against same-sex marriage and legislation is introduced to authorize it, the article notes that Corzine would then have to reconcile his position that marriage is only between a man and a woman -- no one knows whether he would sign such a bill.


The AFA Ford boycott needs a jumpstart, Don

Don Wildmon's been bleating endlessly about the impact of the American Family Association's bible-beating boycott on Ford's "support of homosexual marriage," but it seems like the Action Alert effort must be running out of gas (ha, ha):
Ford's September U.S. sales totaled 238,848, up 5 percent compared with a year ago.

* Car sales totaled 92,111, up 26 percent as demand for Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, and Lincoln MKZ and Mustang remain strong.

* Truck sales totaled 146,737, down 5 percent, but F-Series, Explorer and Expedition post higher sales, reversing recent trends.
Blender Patrick wrote, "I think Don may need to send out another email reminding the sheeple about the boycott."


Pandagon -- one of Playboy's top 10 political blogs

Pandagon, one of the other virtual abodes that I contribute to, has been named one of the Top 10 Political Blogs by Playboy Magazine.

Amanda, jedmunds and I are in great company in the November 2006 issue, which is available on newsstands tomorrow.

The list:
The Daily Dish, Power Line, Captain’s Quarters, Daily Kos, TPM Café, Hit & Run, Unclaimed Territory, Pandagon, Tapped, The American Scene

We definitely had no idea this was coming; we received emails today with the announcement.

Playboy says this about Pandagon (tee-hee):
"The don't-give-a-fuck spirit of blogging is alive and well at Pandagon, where three fierce, funny, pro-sex feminists disguise their almost frightening intellect with thick layers of attitude. Their favorite targets are blowhard moralists."

© 2006 by Playboy. All rights reserved. (Click image for all the blurbs).

[Thank you Playboy Publicity Manager Theresa Hennessey for passing on the PDF of the Top 10 page for me to post -- so I could show that I wasn't BS-ing you all, lol.]

Amanda's post is up now.


Three more pages speak to ABC about Foley's 'approaches'

"I was seventeen years old and just returned to [my home state] when Foley began to e-mail me, asking if I had ever seen my page roommates naked and how big their penises were."
-- one of three former pages who came forward to ABC about the smooth online moves of sexual predator Mark Foley.
Argh. The stories about the former congressman and grade-A dirtbag just keep on coming. You almost need an air sickness bag at the ready for each new development. (ABC Blotter):
Three more former congressional pages have come forward to reveal what they call "sexual approaches" over the Internet from former Congressman Mark Foley.

...The former page also said Foley told him that if he happened to be in Washington, D.C., he could stay at Foley's home if he "would engage in oral sex" with Foley.


...The second page who talked with ABC News, a graduate of the 2000 page class, says Foley actually visited the old page dorm and offered rides to events in his BMW. "His e-mails developed into sexually explicit conversations, and he asked me for photographs of my erect penis," the former page said.

...The third page interviewed by ABC News, a graduate of the 1998 page class, said Foley's instant messages began while he was a senior in high school. "Foley would say he was sitting in his boxers and ask what I was wearing," the page said.
***

8:30 PM UPDATE: Kate and I were watching Headline News and Jane Velez-Mitchell just announced that the AP is reporting a young man from Kentucky who is serving in Iraq has come forward to say that Foley had also had lurid communications with him and would be reporting this to military officials.

Also running in the crawl is that victims rights' advocates are demanding Foley come forward with the name of the clergyman who molested him.

The AP has a chronology of events up.


Insane defenses

Both of these items are utterly desperate attempts to shift blame; they are so ludicrous that when I read them, I just closed the browser window and walked away for a while.

* Official: Hastert to take responsibility. That headline sounds fine, right? Denny's going to step up to the plate. Well, the story goes off the deep end when you get to this section about half way down.
Hastert asserted Wednesday that any Republicans urging his ouster were playing into the hands of Democrats and blamed his problems on the media and Democratic operatives, even suggesting former President Clinton might somehow be involved.



"All I know is what I hear and what I see," he said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune on the eve of the ethics meeting. "I saw Bill Clinton's adviser, Richard Morris, was saying these guys knew about this all along, If somebody had this info, when they had it, we could have dealt with it then."

...Hastert said "people funded by George Soros," a liberal billionaire who has plowed millions into this and other election campaigns, want to see the scandal blow up. And he warned that when the GOP "base finds out who's feeding this monster, they're not going to be happy."
They have to work the Clenis into everything. Not to be outdone in the conspiracy department was Queen Drudge, who lobbed this out into the middle of the room.

* CLAIM: FILTHY FOLEY ONLINE MESSAGES WERE PAGE PRANK GONE AWRY.
According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

According to one Oklahoma source who knows the former page very well, Edmund, a conservative Republican, goaded an unwitting Foley to type embarrassing comments that were then shared with a small group of young Hill politicos. The prank went awry when the saved IM sessions got into the hands of political operatives favorable to Democrats.

The primary source, an ally of Edmund, adamantly proclaims that the former page is not a homosexual. The prank scenario was confirmed by a second associate of Edmund. Both are fearful that their political careers will be affected if they are publicly brought into the investigation.
Jesus, this is brain-dead. Miss Drudge was quickly b*tch-slapped by ABC...(Raw Story):
Faced with claims by the conservative political website The Drudge Report on Thursday that lurid instant message exchanges between disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) and the former page who was outed on a conservative website yesterday were the result of an elaborate prank, insiders at ABC News say the network stands behind its story.

...Sources inside ABC News tell RAW STORY that the evidence of widespread misconduct by Foley is overwhelming and rules out the possibility that the entire scandal is based on a prank or a sting.

"This couldn't be a prank," one high-placed insider said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the story. "Everything I've seen indicates that it can't be. Clearly there's been an effort on the part of this gentleman [Drudge] and another blogger...to come back at us."

"[Drudge] doesn't say anything about the fact that there's more than one conversation out there," said another source.
Hat tips, Holly and Paul.


Obscene

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Caption: U.S. troops arrive at the site of a bomb blast in Baghdad's Camp Sara, a mainly Christian neighborhood, in a Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006 file photo, after a series of bomb blasts went off in rapid succession in a shopping district in a mainly Christian neighborhood of Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding 87, police said.

Given Russ's post below, this is obscene:
The military’s top generals have warned Iraq is on the cusp of a civil war and that U.S. troops must remain in large numbers until at least next spring. But if the winds suddenly blow a different direction, Congress is ready to celebrate with a $20 million victory party.

Lawmakers included language in this year’s defense spending bill, approved last week, allowing them to spend the money. The funds for “commemoration of success” in Iraq and Afghanistan were originally tucked into last year’s defense measure, but went unspent amid an uptick in violence in both countries that forced the Pentagon to extend tours of duty for thousands of troops.

Republicans have yet to claim responsibility for the provision.


Happy Blogiversary to Shakes Sis

Fellow bloggrrrl and super ally Shakespeare's Sister celebrates two years of sticking it to the Right. She and her stable of contributors were very deserving of the Koufax for Best Group Blog this year.

We met (virtually), when she came over to the Blend in 2004 to frankly discuss race and hair -- something most commenters tiptoed around before the blog become well-known as a place to have open discussion on the topic.

Fun fact: Shakes Sis designed the Blend's spiffy logo above. Many thanks, friend.

And hey -- how can you not love a graphic like this:



It's "The Shakespeare's Sister Hairy Balls of Hypocrisy Award" that she just gave out today for Newt the Craptacular's dumb*ss comment that Dem sex scandals are worse. Hahahahahaha.

***

Many more kick-*ss blogging years ahead for you, grrrl.


Oh, yeah, there's a war going on...

Just a little reminder that ephebophilic emails by congressmen to pages isn't the only story in the news...
(WaPo) BAGHDAD, Oct. 4 -- Thirteen U.S. soldiers have been killed in Baghdad since Monday, the American military reported, registering the highest three-day death toll for U.S. forces in the capital since the start of the war.

The latest losses -- four soldiers who were killed at 9 a.m. Wednesday by small-arms fire -- are part of a recent spike in violent attacks against U.S. forces that have claimed the lives of at least 24 soldiers and Marines in Iraq since Saturday, the military said.

The number of planted bombs is "at an all-time high," said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, a military spokesman, defying American efforts to stanch the vicious sectarian bloodshed in Baghdad that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.

Seventy-four soldiers and Marines were killed in Iraq in September, representing the highest monthly toll since April, when 76 died, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

Army Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of the Multinational Division Baghdad, said two weeks ago that attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces in Baghdad had reached an average of 42 a day -- with about six causing casualties or equipment damage -- up from 36 or 38 attacks.
Don't worry, folks. Those 2,738 dead American soldiers are "just a comma".


Caption this

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Laura campaigns for predator-enabler.

Actual caption (left photo): Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., talks with first lady Laura Bush at a fundraiser in Amherst, N.Y., Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2006. Reynolds Tuesday denied knowing what his top aide might have done on behalf of a disgraced lawmaker Mark Foley in the days before Foley resigned following revelations of sexually explicit messages sent to underage male pages. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

***

It's an open thread...


Thursday AM Foley roundup

UPDATED

Boehner blams the victims for not coming forward

John Boehner takes the cake. ABC's The Note printed the letter the House Majority sent out to "The Gang of 500" that basically says anyone who knew or had possession of the sick Foley instant messages or emails should have known better and come forward. That obviously includes the victims of the predator. That's balls. (h/t, Ablog)
Also any individuals who had prior knowledge of these instant messages and provided them to the media instead of alerting the proper authorities must answer questions about their motives and the possibility that they put others at risk.
The Note also points to a must-read Chicago Tribune article.
It includes no huge news, but. . .

1. An interview with Hastert in which he renews his accusations that ABC News, Democrats, and George Soros are the real culprits here.

2. A rare on-the-record interview with Hastert's powerful deputy chief of staff Mike Stokke.

3. A quote from an anonymous Republican with close ties to the White House:

"'This is a disaster. It's undermining our base. And it's been handled terribly,' said a Republican official with close ties to the White House. 'Quite frankly, right now, everybody's circling the wagons.'"
***

FBI to question former aide about Foley scandal. I don't think Denny or Tom will be happy. (H/t, Holly)

***

Scrubbing Alert

* Shakes Sis documents web sites that are scrubbing away photographic evidence of Foley, including the House Clerk site, which contained a gallery of images highlighting the Republican predator's work with young people.

The Log Cabinettes completed their Foley web scrubbing a few days ago (before/ after).

***

Here comes the "ex-gay" commentary...

Ah, yes. You knew the "ex-gay for pay" loons would surface. Ex Gay Watch is covering the statements as they trickle in.

-- Stephen Bennett Ministries: "Stephen is available to provide expert commentary on the Foley story in regard to homosexual molestation..." (Autumn)

You might recall this quote from Bennett:
"We keep in contact with many of those active homosexuals who are curious [about Stephen's "deliverance from homosexuality"]. But in most cases, they will tell me I was never "gay" in the first place. And I tell them, "Yeah, you go and ask my 100-plus partners how 'gay' I was not." I was "gay."
-- Exodus Reacts to Foley Teen Sex-Messaging Scandal (Mike Airhart)

***

The circular firing squad continues

Yesterday, Kirk Fordham, the former Foley aide (chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds of NY, and Foley's bar babysitter), who was the first predator-enabler sacrificed for the cause, said Scott Palmer, Hastert's chief of staff, and "senior staff at the highest level of the House of Representatives" were told more than three years ago about Foley's email "problem."

It didn't take long for the denials on that one. (AP):
Palmer said through a spokesman, "What Kirk Fordham said did not happen."
Hastert is still claiming that he first learned about Foley's sick, torrid, predatory IMs to male congressional pages when the story broke last Friday. It looks, however, like insiders are eyeing a step-down plan for Hastert, and a few more lower-level heads to roll in order to stop the bleeding.
"Looks like right now he will keep his job for a maximum of one and one-half months," said a top party aide, adding that in the meantime Hastert may fire some staffers. Other aides said it remained unclear how long he would stay.
Please. Trying to hold on to power through the election is going to make this story stay alive as the investigations, clearly, are going to go on all the way up until election day. As more information comes out in the media, Hastert, Boehner and the rest of these stooges are going to have to respond to each salacious development.

I hate to break it to them, but that is going to be the death of a thousand cuts unless the entire leadership involved step aside.

***

Republican was the source of the emails

So much for blaming that on the Democrats. These folks are so desperate, and each time they search for a way out, it keeps blowing back on them. (The Hill):
The source who in July gave news media Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-Fla.) suspect e-mails to a former House page says the documents came to him from a House GOP aide. That aide has been a registered Republican since becoming eligible to vote, said the source, who showed The Hill public records supporting his claim.

The same source, who acted as an intermediary between the aide-turned-whistleblower and several news outlets, says the person who shared the documents is no longer employed in the House. But the whistleblower was a paid GOP staffer when the documents were first given to the media.

...These revelations mean that Republicans who are calling for probes to discover what Democratic leaders and staff knew about Foley’s improper exchanges with under-age pages will likely be unable to show that the opposition party orchestrated the scandal now roiling the GOP just a month away from the midterm elections.
***

GOP -- unfit to govern if they cannot even handle the administration of the page program.

That's the only conclusion one can draw if what Republican Ray LaHood means what he says. (PJ Star):
U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood on Monday called for the termination of the House page program at the end of this semester until it can be reviewed in the wake of the scandal over a House member's inappropriate Internet chats with teenagers who were in the program.

The Peoria Republican said he e-mailed his recommendation to House Speaker Dennis Hastert's staff Sunday, but hasn't received a response.

..."We should terminate the program until it can be re-evaluated so we don't subject these young men and women to someone like Foley who obviously lost his moral compass and preyed on these kids," LaHood said. "This program is flawed and it should be terminated until we can figure out how to fix it."
What a nice theme he's delivered for Democrats running commercials around the country -- "The Republicans had to shut down the page program...because they didn't know how to protect your children. Is this who you want running the country?"

***

And what can only be described as a surreal downward spiral of hypocrisy, some of the filthy slime in Freeperland have come to the conclusion that Mark Foley's actions really aren't that bad after all. Jeebus H. Christ. These are the folks who obsess about the Clenis and floats in Pride parades -- but a Republican sexual predator, who cruises teenagers who come to the Hill to learn about Congress is A-OK?

Even some of the fellow knuckledraggers in the swamp can't believe this. This link should be preserved for whenever the next Dem sex scandal emerges (and we know, with politicians of any political stripe, it will occur).


Actual Freeper Quotes™

From what I have read so far, I have yet to see any crime, he was just exercising his free-speech and if the 16 year old boy didn't like it all he had to do was hit the "block" button on AOL, takes less than 2 seconds.

My how far we've come. Now ephebophilia is ok and salacious talk with minors is fine and dandy as long as it doesn't proceed to actual contact.

Are we having Internet sex yet?

They weren't minors.

It was after they left D.C., so they would have been at least 17.

The victim of Foley's electronic overfriendliness was not a pre-adolescent, but a 16-year-old; above the age of consent in D.C., and an age at which the average American moves from explicit IM exchanges to the real deal. A 16-year-old is neither a defenseless child nor an adult

Hmm.. I think I would still have a problem if a 54 year old man was going after my 16 year-old son or daughter. But, maybe that's because I'm just out in flyover country and not in swinging DC.

A sexless homosexual sex scandal. This type of scandal would bore Rep. Barney Frank whose used to homosexual sex scandals with plenty of sex !!!

Exercising his free speech? LOL That's one way to put it.

D.C. can have whatever laws they want on the books but Americans don't think 16 year olds are adults. They barely think 18 year olds are adults. This was immoral. It was sick. And, frankly, I'm not interested in seeing anyone trying to contend otherwise.

I feel myself moving into a slow burn. It astounds me how some are trying to trivialize the entire matter. They want to make it into a backroom joke. They are for the most part those who see this merely as a political dispute. I realize they just don't get it. On the other hand some like yourself understand this is not about politics. It is about ethics and morality. Both sides will pay a terrible price if they attempt to exploit this matter politically.

Amen. I find the whole counter-attack counter-intuitive and counter-productive. This is a time for soul-searching and house-cleaning. Republican leadership in Washington has failed miserably. They will pay and the talk about fearing the democrats will fall on deaf ears. Four republicans have had to resign this year. FOUR. It isn't the fault of democrats, liberals, the clintons, daily kos or sixteen year old adolescent males.

"I think I would still have a problem if a 54 year old man was going after my 16 year-old son or daughter"

Read what this child, ( as the Democrats call him) wrote back-often and happily to Foley and see if you agree with me- if this little perverted page had written the same stuff to my 16 yr old daughter-I'd have his head. And his parents. A pox on Foley, the page and the parents.

Well you voice a controversal opinion there lol. I actually think it has some merit. At the end of the day I am more upset at the abuse of trust and authority than the im thing in and of itself. But I agree. There is some kinda of silly that Foley could have verbally asked a 16 year old male for sex and that is ok but if he text messaged it its illegal. It doesnt make much sense if you ask me and if indeed that is the law its pretty stupid. I know there is also a issue of State lines that make it all the more complicated.

We need to fight back hard on this. DISTANCE the Repub Party from Foley, and put this whole thing BACK onto the GAY AGENDA.

Part of me says that I don't care if Foley had sex or didn't. He sounds like a problem we don't want to keep. Another part of me says that he deserves due process and he either broke the law or didn't; had sex or didn't. In that case, the evidence will tell the story, and he's innocent until proven guilty.

I guess all of the dirty old men who liked Britney Spears back in 1999 are going to jail.

So, I take it you're PRO THE HOMO AGENDA.

It is no more appropriate for Foley to ask a 16 year old page to have sex than it is for a teacher to ask the same of a student. You know it really does appear that we may not be getting it. This is a really a significant matter, a big deal. It appears conservatives are becoming a little impatient with the lack of maturity being shown by Republicans. Especially those who are trying to make this merely a political dirty trick that can be easily blown away.

I think it's a big distinction - being attracted to post-pubescent youths is probably a fairly normal physiologic reaction*; however being attracted to pre-sexual, pre-pubescent children is a whole different thing.

*Not that it makes it right, ethical or healthy. I agree it is and should be illegal.

I think hastert had to know. Boehner is now throwqing Hsaty under the bus and distancung huimself from them.I also think we will learn more about Foley's activities. I suspect the IM's are not the worst of his actions with adolescent males

Actually the IM I saw showed he was bumped off and choose to click back on and continue the sex talk. I think what happened was disgusting but the boy certainly shares a part in this imo.

His resignation says he is not innocent. And the attempt to claim the democrats are worse are,to me, irrational. I don't vote for democrats.

"But as it turns out, the Mark Foley pedophilia sex scandal lacks two things: pedophilia and sex."

Makes you wonder why he resigned if he didn't have any physical relationship with any Pages. Perhaps we haven't yet got to "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say.

"The same cannot be said for Democrat deviants"

I am not responsible for them. I am responsible for myself and what I believe in and what I choose to be associated with. This is my problem and I and other conservatives are responsible to fix it. If you waste your time blaming Democrats you are not doing your share.

"The Democrats have been playing politics about this matter from Day 1, without waiting for the facts to come out."

If they are they will pay a price. It is time for us to fix what is ours. This is about morality and ethics. Repair the wound and conservatives will be so much stronger because of it.
***

Also:
* Hastert: I'll resign if it will help the GOP
* Gingrich: Dems' sex scandals are worse / Drunk Foley showed up at page dorm
* The List
* Kirk Fordham's the first to go
* dKos Cheers & Jeers on Foleygate
* Qs of the day - who's going down/career advice for Foley
* Glenn's on Foley fire...
* Wednesday AM Foley update
* How low can you go -- Tom Reynolds hides behind children
* Foley's attorney: he was molested by a priest as a child
* OK, enough. Hastert has to go NOW.
* Dear Leader speaks...
* Foley interrupted floor vote to have cybersex with page
* Page threatened, Foley still using AOL screen name
* Eating their own - Boehner drop kicks Hastert
* Tuesday AM Foley roundup
* More GOP family values: Foley aide tried to cut a deal with ABC's Ross
* More info on Foley's well-known predator rep among pages
* They knew about Foley in 2001
* There should not be silence
* GOP leadership: spinning for the election home stretch, but nowhere to run on Foley
* More Foleygate
* Foley blasted 'vile' Clinton in 1998 for his 'sad sexual addiction'
* Resolution for ethics probe over Foley passes 410-0
* Denny Hastert must resign for doing nothing about Foley
* Foley drops out of re-election campaign
* What the heck was Mark Foley thinking?


AC 360: the rape of the women in the Congo

While we sit in the comfort of our homes and offices, laughing at the idiocy of the clowns running our incompetent, corrupt government, we are worlds away from this kind of unimaginable violence, pain and suffering. Anderson Cooper's series, Africa's Misery, is doing what most of the television news media refuses to do -- cover the atrocities going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan in graphic detail. (CNN):
The level of everyday violence here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been simply unfathomable over the last several years. Guns and machetes, of course, are common. But the most ruthless weapon that has been used here is rape, tens of thousands of women, children have been attacked, mostly by gangs of soldiers and bands of outlaws.

According to Doctors Without Borders, an estimated 40 percent of the rape victims are under the age of 18. Often, there are multiple assailants. It is something that's hard to report on, but is something that is fact. And this story may be certainly hard to watch, but we can't avoid it. It is part of life here. And the world should know what the women here are facing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): At a busy hospital in Goma, a silent little girl sits on a stoop. She is 5 years old now, but still cannot speak of the terrible thing happened to her. Two years ago, when she was just 3, she was gang-raped by soldiers.

COOPER (on camera): Children as young as 3 years are getting raped?

DR. LUC MALEMO, HEAL AFRICA: Yes, 3 years old, yes.

COOPER: That's -- it's -- it's crazy.

MALEMO: Very crazy. And we -- it's difficult to understand the -- the social causes of these events.

But we think that people are so disappointed, and they have been in a dictatorship for 40 years, that now the war came. So, they lost all the hope. And they start behaving like animals.

COOPER (voice-over): Dr. Luc Malemo has a hospital ward full of girls and women who have been raped and developed fistulas, holes in their vaginas or rectums that make it impossible to control bodily functions.

(on camera): Why do so many rape victims here develop fistulas?

MALEMO: We -- we think that -- that the -- the first reason, that the rape is too violent. Some of them, they will use, after -- after raping the lady, they will use maybe -- they may use a weapon, a knife, or even a piece of wood. And some of them have been shot on after being raped.

COOPER: So, women aren't just getting raped, and they're not just getting gang-raped; they're -- they're often being shot internally afterward, or -- or -- or people putting objects inside them, knives, clubs?

MALEMO: Yes. Yes.
I saw the whole report, and it's hard to watch and comprehend the tragedy and horror of what human beings can do to one another. There is no rule of law to help stop the violence, and all the aid workers can do is to help at the most basic level in terms of food, shelter and medical care.

The men who rape these women are not prosecuted; the women are forced to leave their villages because of the stigma of rape (it's also assumed by neighbors, family and spouses that they will contract HIV, so their husbands kick them out). Many of them are raped repeatedly by bands of soldiers and show up at Dr. Malemo's clinic time and again. The level of the raping is beyond belief.
ROMAIN GITENET, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: We have -- we are curing something like 100 raped women a week now, which was the -- which was not exactly like this before. Like, this, in -- in -- in July, we were just curing 200 raped women by month. And now it's -- it's on a weekly basis.

COOPER: Do -- do the rapists, do the men ever get brought to justice?

GITENET: I don't think so. Really -- really, it's -- those women are just living in the forests at night. They are scared to be at risk, scared to be looted. And, I mean, they have no -- no way to go to justice. They are just trying to live, to survive. That is all. This -- this type of justice is not there for the moment. And they're not even thinking about it. They could -- they could get trouble to go to justice.

COOPER: Because the -- the rapists are still living in the communities, and -- and there -- I mean, there is no place to put them. There's no jails. There is no law. There is no nothing.

GITENET: Yes. I -- I don't know, actually. There is many problem in the country. This is just one of the problem, but what is our preoccupation and what is shocking us, actually, is the level of violence against the civilian population.

We are talking about sexual violence. Actually, I can tell you that women sleep in the forest at night. All the people are looted. There is malnutrition because they have no more money, no more food. And there is just all those armed groups around and doing whatever they want with impunity.

...GITENET: Last week we have around 100 case of rape, and among them, you had four people coming back for the -- they were raped for the second time. We cure them one month before, and they come back again for a second case of rape.

COOPER: In traditional African society, there's a strict moral code and sort of village system. That seems to have completely broken down here. I mean, it's been decades of corruption and war, and there just -- it seems like there is no -- there's no responsibility.
What can you really say after reading this? It puts our pampered lives in perspective, and begs the question -- if the U.S. put a fraction of the money it is burning in waste, fraud and abuse toward problems around the world like this, what a difference it could make. It's raw reporting and Cooper has used the reach of CNN to present this international shame to a wide audience. Well done.

The AC360 blog serves as a journal for Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta's personal impressions of what they are seeing on the ground.

For aid:
UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, World Food Programme, UNHCR, Action Against Hunger.

For more information on the conflicts in the region, go to the International Crisis Group.


Hastert: I'll resign if it will help the GOP

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

But, he says, stepping down won't actually help. Falling...on...sword...nope. (CQ):
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told a leading conservative Wednesday that he would resign as the top congressional leader if it would help the Republican Party stave off defeat in November.

But conservative activist Paul Weyrich said Hastert has rejected calls for his resignation because he believes it would prompt “a feeding frenzy” that ultimately would lead to the downfall of other GOP leaders as well. [Got that right.]

“He said if he thought that resigning would be helpful to the Republicans maintaining the majority, he would do it. But he did not think it would be helpful for Republicans,” Weyrich said in an interview after holding what he described as an emotional telephone conversation with Hastert, who is home in Illinois campaigning and trying to deal with the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal.

“He said he thought his resignation would just lead to a feeding frenzy where they would go after (Majority Leader John A.) Boehner, then (Rep. Thomas M.) Reynolds, then (Rep. John) Shimkus," Weyrich added. "And he said we would have the story running right up to the election.”


Gingrich: Dems' sex scandals are worse

How about this laugher --
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday that Democratic sex scandals have been far worse than the suggestive Internet messages sent to teenage congressional pages by former Rep. Mark Foley.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"What we don't have to do is allow our friends on the left to lecture us on morality," Gingrich said at a party fundraiser in Greenville. "There's a certain stench of hypocrisy."
This is the best he can do at this point in the meltdown? No one was claiming Dem politicians aren't capable of sleaze. God's Own Party claimed to be the holy-rolling, clean living, pious guard of all things pure and holy.

***

Report: Drunken Foley showed up at page's dorm

Oh lord, what else...
A senior House Republican has asked the House clerk to look into allegations that then-Rep. Mark Foley was turned away from the congressional page dorm on Capitol Hill after arriving there intoxicated one night.

U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, is calling for a further investigation of the dorm report. “Congresswoman Pryce contacted the clerk and asked her to look into this rumor,” said Geoff Embler, a spokesman for Pryce.

Rep. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, asked Pryce and other House leaders, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, about the alleged incident during a conference call Monday evening, Embler said.

Foley’s attorney, David Roth, could not be reached for comment.


Focus on the Anus drops into St. Paul

Eva and Avidor of Lloydletta are brave. They dared to attend Daddy Dobson's "voter education" rally in St. Paul, Minnesota last night (it was held at the Xcel Energy Center) and brought back video from the rally (posts here and here). Some of the highlights of the insanity, courtesy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
"Marriage between a man and woman has been the norm. It has been designed by God in the Garden of Eden," [WTF?] Dobson said from the main stage of the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, standing before a two-story American flag. "That is the definition of family, and that is the way God himself the creator designed it at the dawn of mankind."

It was the last topic, primarily, that drew a group of about 350 protesters, who congregated across from the Xcel Center just as attendees were entering. Family Action organizers estimated almost 3,000 people attended the rally, which also included speakers Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.
Dobson has been squawking about filling the seats, but lookee -- the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul's official capacity is 18,834 and only 3,000 showed up. A repeat of Pittsburgh, where the Focus on the Anus master only drew 3,000 to a 17,000-seats venue in Pittsburgh.

Here's the video selection, for your viewing pleasure

See Dobson Speak about His "Disappointment" over Foleygate


Gary Bauer bleating on Foleygate at the rally


More video:
Dobson uses fuzzy math to frighten his flock
Demonstrations against Dobson



Related:
* Daddy Dobson's dropping by to rally the fundies


Donohue: 'Only'