An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Pam's House Blend version 2.0 launches

Sunday, November 26, 2006





Come join folks at the new coffeehouse location!

There's still a bit of construction going on, but the fresh Blend will be posted there from now on.

Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls to  http://www.pamshouseblend.com.

Version Blend 1.0 is, as you can see, alive and well at its original location here, http://www.pamspaulding.com/weblog.

These are now the archives, which are searchable via the Google box here and at the new coffeehouse. The Best of the Blend links at the new pad point back to the files here.

Version 2.0 is no longer on Blogger (praise Jeebus), it is hosted by soapblox.net, which allows users to have diaries, a feature that I will roll out slowly as people get signed on.

Speaking of which, one small downside is that folks will have to register to comment, but folks do that all the time at my other haunt, Pandagon, without a lot of fuss. Please be kind as you toss tomatoes at the blogmistress for this inconvenience.

One of the nice new features at the new coffeehouse is a blogroll of the regular commenters. Without you all, it's not a community.


WND 2008 musings open thread

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Just wanted to pass on some hilarity to chew on from the always entertaining WingNutDaily folks...

Whom would you like to be the Republican nominee for president in 2008?



This column by may explain exactly where these folks are coming from.
The GOP is in serious trouble. All conservatives I know are furious that the pro-amnesty Mel Martinez will be the new RNC Chair. A GOP county chair recently said to me, "If the GOP continues to move to the Left, conservatives will have no choice but to vote third party in 2008."

...The GOP is peddling liberal candidates (John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Condoleezza Rice), and trying to silence potential conservatives (like Tancredo).

Despite what they may say to secure the nomination, McCain, Giuliani, and Rice are all pro-affirmative action, pro-choice, pro-homosexual, pro-interventionist foreign policy, pro-NAFTA superhighway, pro-North American Union, and support the third-world invasion of America.

Although Mitt Romney has tried recently to sell himself as a conservative, he has a very long track record of liberal causes. One can almost be certain that he is a liberal in disguise.

...Although only a rumor among bloggers, there is the hope that Lou Dobbs may seek the Reform Party nomination. Dobbs, a great patriot, is a life-long conservative, anti-North American Union, anti-free trade, and opposes the third-world invasion of America. Dobbs also is very popular nationally, potentially could sweep the general election, and would be an outstanding president. If Lou Dobbs runs, you should expect to see many defections not only from the GOP, but also from the Democratic Party.
Ah, if only they would go third party. We'd all breathe a sigh of relief.

***

And how about this poll, lol? They don't have their hearts in it to even speculate.

Whom would you like to be the Democrat nominee for president in 2008?



Oregon may ok civil unions next year

Cheers to another state moving in the right direction. The bill under consideration creates a registry for same-sex couples, and grants guarantees of inheritance benefits, pensions, property rights when a partner dies, and the right to make medical decisions for a partner.

The likely change is boosted by the fact that both houses of the state legislature are now Democrat-controlled. (365gay):
The Democratically controlled Senate last year approved a civil unions bill only to see it die in the Republican dominated House.


The GOP leadership first gutted the legislation and then House Speaker Karen Minnis refused to allow it to come to a vote. In an interview at the time, Minnis said Oregonians decided the issue in 2004 when they joined with voters in 10 other states in passing gay marriage bans.

The measure had the support of Gov. Ted Kulongoski who has pledged to support the reintroduction of the legislation. ...House Majority Leader-elect Dave Hunt said he believes the majority of Oregonians support civil unions and that the legislation will be passed.

"We are not talking about bringing up divisive issues. We're trying to follow positions that we think are very much supported by a majority of Oregonians on education, health care, public safety and civil rights."
The vile Minnis, by the way, survived a grassroots campaign to unseat her.

Also:
* Oregon's Karen Minnis: one-woman bigot crew against civil unions


US Airways sucks *ss.

This is the height of incompetence. Last night, my brother dropped us off in Philly to catch the 10:35 flight to RDU. This airport was DEAD. Hardly anyone there. More workers than passengers.

They lost not just one checked bag, but two.

The likely problem, though it's no excuse since we arrived so early, is that we checked in at the US Airways terminal (B), but our flight ended up leaving from terminal F. We checked them in and hiked the long way to F, and still had more than an hour before the flight left -- plenty of time for any sleepy US Airways drone to get the bags to F.

When we arrived at RDU around midnight, we watched ominously as each person came and retrieved their bag, and we sat there bleary eyed tired as the bags stopped coming out. We filed a claim -- the attendant said the bags would arrive on the next flight and they would deliver the bags, so we went home.

It's 1PM, and several flights have come in from Philly and still no email or phone call, so Kate went online in an online chat for an impersonal. completely useless dialogue with the customer service rep, who she mistakenly thinks can actually look up the last location of the bags. "I am unable to look the bags up. Please visit the web site and call our phone number. Thank you for flying US Airways." As automated as the answers were, she's doubting that this was even a human being in the chat.

Braving voicemail hell, Kate calls the number and the process was efficient yet unhelpful. She didn't stay on hold long, but there was no possibility of interacting with a human being. The voice recognition software was ass. Eventually the bot on the other end said "We cannot locate your bags at this time. Thank you for flying US Airways."

I guess the small consolation is that the bags were lost coming home as opposed to on the way to Delaware.

If you read the fine print on a baggage claim, the airlines do whatever they can to avoid reimbursing you for their screwups. US Airways is no exception. You have to produce original receipts for anything over $100, and get the claim notarized. It can take months for a reimbursement. Not exactly a barrel of fun if you've arrived and have nothing, particularly with the restrictions regarding carry-on baggage these days.

Related:
* Your rights if your bags are delayed
* US Airways baggage delay policy


Christian Coalition president-elect steps aside over hate agenda

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues; that's not our base.'"
-- Rev. Joel Hunter, on what the Christian Coalition board said to him, concerned that Hunter would rather focus on poverty and the environment instead of homos and abortion.
Via a DKos diary, we hear about the latest in the downward spiral of the bible-beating organization. You know it's bad when new prez of the Christian Coalition thinks its mission is too far out on the fringe. (Houston Chronicle):
The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Northland Church, a nondenominational congregation in Longwood, Fla., said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage. He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

The resignation took place Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

...A statement issued by the coalition said Hunter resigned because of "differences in philosophy and vision." The board accepted his decision "unanimously," it states.
Hat tip to Paul, who said "Gee, I wonder if Porno Pete is looking for a job. Seems like the perfect position for him. - Sorry. I guess I shouldn't use the phrase "perfect position" in regard to him. Brings up some really off putting images... "


Roadkill sickness in Minnesota

Nothing like a helping of Roadside America, only I don't think healthy minds think about a healthy helping of man-on-deer sex when you're traveling through Duluth, MN.

Superior, Wisconsin resident Bryan James Hathaway has an inventive public defender. Fredric Anderson, argued that the charge of "sexual gratification with an animal" should be dismissed because the deer was dead, so it was no longer by law "an animal."
"The statute does not prohibit one from having sex with a carcass," Anderson wrote.

The Webster's dictionary defines "animal" as "any of a kingdom of living beings," Anderson said.

If you include carcasses in that definition, he said, "you really go down a slippery slope with absurd results."

Anderson argued: When does a turkey cease to be an animal? When it is dead?

When it is wrapped in plastic packaging in the freezer? When it is served, fully cooked?

A judge should decide what the Legislature intended "animal" to mean in the statute, he said. "And the only clear point to draw the line in that definition, I believe, is the point of death."
He continues the legal gymnastics by claiming that the statute, which is under the umbrella of "crimes against sexual morality," was meant to protect animals, so this case simply doesn't apply if the carcass is no longer an "animal."

BTW, if Hathaway goes to the pokey on this one, it won't be the first time he was caught with his pants down engaging in sick behavior.
In April 2005, Hathaway pleaded no contest to one felony charge of mistreatment of an animal for the shooting death of Bambrick, a 26-year-old horse, to have sex with the animal.
Add it to the list of these cases of unbelievable animal abuse occurring in our Great "Christian" NationTM.

* A man in Tacoma, Washington accused of having sex with the family dog -- with the acts videotaped by wife.
* Michigan State Police troopers charged a Saginaw man after he was seen engaging in sexual acts with a dead dog.
* 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 goes to Coturnix, who passed on this quaint bit of business in the comments of another thread.


Ashcroft's boobie-free portrait unveiled at Justice Department

Friday, November 24, 2006

This is what it looks like:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Caption: Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, left, talks with artist John Howard Sanden, right, after the unveiling ceremony of Ashcroft's official portrait at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Nov. 17, 2006. Ashcroft, a former governor of Missouri and a U.S. senator, served as President George W. Bush's attorney general from February 2001 to February 2005. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Actually, I was thinking that a variation on the photo below would have been a more appropriate portrait, since he was so fixated on the boobage of the Spirit of Justice statue that he had fabric draped strategically on it to hide them while he held office.



You can read the sappy, fawning transcript of the unveiling here, if you can stand it.

Ashcroft, you might recall, ended up with the AG post after he suffered the embarrassment of losing a race for the Senate back in 2000 when he was on the ballot against the popular -- but dead -- Mel Carnahan, who perished in a plane crash.

***

It's open thread time...


Anti-gay Minnesota lawmaker charged with domestic violence has a history of abuse at the office as well

Avidor at Dump Mark Olson has passed along more information about the sleazy Republican Minnesota representative, who was recently seen boo-hooing for the cameras after being charged with two counts of domestic assault for shoving his wife to the ground several times. He says that he will not resign. Hear the audio of him begging for forgiveness in front of the reporters.

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Well, why should he resign when he has stellar defenders like this citizen:
I know Mark Olson personally. You are being judgemental and critical without knowing the facts of his marriage or situation. I do know the facts. Raising teenagers and in particular teenagers that are not your own is a very difficult job. You all make me very sick. You sound very hateful and vengeful and I am disgusted. I hope you will all have to eat your words someday. Don’t judge others when you don’t walk in their shoes. Isn’t that what you homosexuals are asking of others…You don’t want others passing judgement on you so why do you do it to others, you hypocrites.
Cute.

It seems the Big Lake, Minnesota legislator also landed in the Star Tribune in 1997 for abusing an aide.

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This thug was later reprimanded by his caucus leader for "work style" in dealing with his staff. because he is a "perfectionist" and has "high expectations," and had to attend sessions on ways of "improving employee relations."

Bonus: Rep. Mark Olson On Marriage Equality. He bleats on and on about God and family and government and how marriage is between a man and a woman. Is there anything in the bible about beating your wife, Olsen?



Purple America

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Here's a the map showing the distribution of Red and Blue in the 2006 mid-term elections. Regions perceived as Red bastions are actually quite Purple.

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Chris Kromm makes these observations at Facing South:
Note in particular the battleground of the South. There are the strong "red" or Republican patches running through such areas as northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia; the Georgia and north Florida coast; and southeast Kentucky.

But even more striking are the deep shades of blue, such as most of Arkansas and Tennessee; a belt slashing through the piedmont of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina (the South's fastest-growing area); and Appalachian counties in the Virginias.

The concentrations of red in the South are on par with the swaths of scarlet one sees in the Midwest/Plains (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma) and the upper West.

It's amazing to see so many blogs in the Democratic Party camp writing off the South in an attempt to position themselves as "realistic," when the reality of fierce party competition in the South couldn't be more clear.
The Dakotas are pretty surprising. They really kicked the GOP out in a big way. Also note how Blue Tennessee is -- yet it voted 80% for its marriage amendment.

Again, the DNC is content to remain silent while states determine the civil rights of gays and lesbians at the ballot box -- as long as they vote Blue.


T-day open thread

What's for dinner? Doing anything special?



The favorite standbys for us this year in Delaware:

* Leg of lamb (marinated with lots of garlic, worchestershire sauce, black pepper, celery and carrots)
* turkey
* homemade mac and cheese
* collard greens
* green beans
* sweet potatoes
* Waldorf salad
* apple pie and pumpkin pie

Tagamet will probably be necessary.

***

Kate and I were just laughing at a report this AM on CNN by Soledad O'Brien. There was a story about wild turkeys standing on a train platform caught on a webcam, and she made segue to the next segment and said "Speaking of turkeys..."

...and the cut to the next shot was of Bush with his usual sh*t-eating grin, walking down the White House steps.

Later in the shot they showed him with the turkey that he "pardoned" this year.


REUTERS/Larry Downing

***

And I cannot leave out this article I just came across:

'Kramer' apologizes, hires crisis expert. Really pathetic; actually the worst aspect of this is that his new specialty publicist, Howard Rubenstein, as part of his crisis management, gives as a piece of advice for Richards to get on the horn to self-aggrandizing and continued presumed leader of the black community by the MSM -- Jesse f*cking Jackson. At least Jackson called it out for what it was.
Jackson, reached by phone, said Richards called "expressing his remorse and his confusion."

"He's embarrassed. He got caught on tape. That's a big part of his anxiety now," said Jackson.
Damn. Richards is pissed because someone had the camera. Isn't that special?

***

Chat away about anything and everything...


Army recruiters selectively ignore gay ban - and sign up gang members

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

CBS4 in Denver, in an undercover investigation, found recruiters perfectly eager to enlist people who walked up and disclosed that they were gay.
The recruiters told people showing interest in being a soldier to keep their homosexuality to themselves.

Military policy states that if a potential service member discloses that he or she is gay, they are supposed to be immediately disqualified.

"We encountered one recruiter who said 'I'll pretend I didn't hear that. Is that right?" CBS4 asked the head of Army recruiting in Denver.

"Well, if what you say is correct, that is not right." Lt. Col. Reginald Cox answered. "We don't condone that behavior at all."
The video of the full report is here. If this is going on, there's no point in having DADT on the books, no?

>Hat tip to Steve Ralls of SLDN's The Frontlines, who said "We applaud recruiters for wanting access to the best and brightest, regardless of sexual orientation, but the best way to get there is for those same recruiters to speak out in favor of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."."

In an even more ridiculous development, in another report by the station, they looked at the military's use of 'moral waivers' to beef up its ranks. The waivers are written permission bypass certain rules, such as drug use or membership in a gang -- the applicant merely has to state that it's "in the past."

It's hit-or-miss whether the military will slip you in if you're a homo, but it appears gang membership is definitely not a disqualifier when there aren't enough warm bodies.
A CBS4 employee also went in with a hidden camera and this time suggested he was a gang member.

"Does it matter that I was in a gang or anything like that?" he asked the recruiter.

At first, he was told the Army doesn't accept enlistees who were gang members, but then the senior officer stepped in.

"You may have had some gang activity in the past and everything, ok, and that in itself does not disqualify you," he said.


The Rotting Cryptkeeper to picket funerals of teens killed in bus accident

The lowest of the low. I'm trying to figure out the fag connection to the accident in Huntsville (after all, we're to blame for everything in Fred Phelps's universe), but really, it's kind of hard to get into the minds of the freaks of hate at the Westboro Baptist Church. The Phelps machine plans to make its presence known at the funerals of Christine Collier, Nicole Ford, and Tanesha Hill.

WBC to picket the funerals of school children killed in Huntsville, Alabama, when their school bus from Lee High School plunged 30 feet off a highway overpass -in religious protest and warning: cc God is not mocked!" Gal. 6:7. God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates Alabama and America because they have gone the way of ancient Sodom and have become The Land of the Sodomite Damned,

"They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you." Jer. 23:17.

"Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly." Jer. 23:19-20.

"I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer." Prov. 1:26-28.

God has cursed Alabama and America: 'There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." Isa. 48:22.
Tom Moss of the Social Justice Commitee, Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville plans a counter protest, according to Blender Ken, who emailed me this.
I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, I believe that there should be a public outcry against Phelps' hateful homophobic agenda, and a clear message that Huntsville rejects him and his attempt to capitalize on personal tragedy.

On the other hand, I recognize that he is looking for media minutes, and the more counter-protestors there are, the more press Phelps and his hate group will get. He may bring 15 people to picket the funeral. We could organize a counter-protest of many times that number, but that would add to the circus and the stress for families and friends of the deceased.

Here's something that has been done successfully in other cities: collect pledges for a good cause for each minute that Phelps and his group demonstrate. The longer Phelps is there, the more money gets donated to local gay and lesbian groups. In this case, I think it would be appropriate to split donations between the fund for the students' families, and Aids Action Coalition.


Porno Pete cites me at his pad

Autumn and Jeremy emailed me to let me know that our favorite homosexual investigator, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, quotes me in one of his latest columns, 'Gay' Agenda...What 'Gay' Agenda?
When it comes to chutzpah, homosexual activists have it in spades. They work their lavender tushes off revolutionizing the age-old Judeo-Christian definitions of marriage and family; fight for "gay/straight" clubs in middle- and high schools, and homosexuality-affirming lessons for all students–even toddlers; lobby for open homosexuality in the armed forces; oppose marriage-preference adoption laws based on the absurd proposition that a child having two "gay daddies" is no worse off than one having a mother and a father; make outrageous claims that esteemed historical figures like Abe Lincoln were "gay"; and radically reinterpret the Bible to change homosexuality from an abomination to a "gift from God."

Then they turn around and ridicule the idea that there is a "gay agenda."

Here’s an entry from lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding:
"The Homosexual Agenda is an elusive document. We've been looking around for a copy for quite some time; the distribution plan is so secret that it's almost like we need a queer Indiana Jones to hunt the master copy down. The various anti-gay forces are certain that we all have a copy and are coordinating a attack to achieve world domination."
Pam Spaulding
Memo to Pam: you don't have to risk being chased by a giant boulder in the Amazon to find a copy of that elusive agenda; just click this link for the 1972 Gay Rights Platform. Note the last two demands under "States" in the 1972 document: "Repeal all laws governing the age of sexual consent" and "Repeal all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit."
Because he is much more invested in research on the Homosexual Agenda (after all, it's his full-time job), he kindly pointed us to what he believes are the master sources and plans for our domination of society. Sigh.
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"In recent weeks, homosexual activists have sought to ‘out’ various high-level GOP staffers and leaders as homosexuals, to highlight their hypocrisy in working for a socially conservative party. Now we in the pro-family movement are calling for full disclosure for a different reason: because homosexual GOP staff and pro-'gay' policies in the party are undermining the wholesome values Republicans say they support.”
-- undercover homosexual agenda investigator Peter LaBarbera, on the secret (and successful) plan by gays to destroy the GOP
Also:
* Letter from Peter LaBarbera


Daddy D to pontificate on Larry King

Since his movement is losing steam, it looks like James Dobson has to hit the airwaves again and bash the homos to fill the Focus on the Anus coffers on Wed.

Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., is scheduled to appear on Wednesday's edition of Larry King Live, airing from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST on CNN.

Dobson will be King's guest for the entire hour, and is expected to make his first televised comments about the results of the Nov. 7 election -- and what's next for the social conservative movement. He also hopes to talk to King about the growing threat of radical Islam to the United States -- and the necessity for the federal government to continue to take that threat seriously, regardless of the political power balance in Congress.


Today's fundie fun in the mailbag

From time to time I receive mail from fundies who clearly can't stop themselves from reading the Blend. They get so agitated that they bang out ignorant drivel like this on the keyboard.
Subject: re: you
From: "P. BELL"
Date: Wed, November 22, 2006 3:39 am
To: pam [at] pamspaulding.com

Why should you get the same privledges as we married couples do? I am not here to judge you. Love the person, hate the sin. But about you and Bush? I pray that law will be passed so you will NEVER be recognized in the US. Your beef will him is because he actually wants us to be more like we were when we first started this country-Chrisitian roots and all. I am not talking about the nutso Chrisitians out there who make a fool of themselves to be seen, I am talking about the people who really have a relationship with God, living the truth.

Did you know that homosexuality is specifically mentioned in the bible? Listed as ABNORMAL, DISCUSTING, and an ABOMANATION. You were not created to be this way, and so when you SLANDER a person who is againist you, mock their beliefs, and try to screw up this nation even more than it is for my children's future, than you will deal with me.
These letters are so similar that I believe there must be some "Anti-Gay Fundie Letter Generator" out there. Oh wait, doesn't Dapper Don Wildmon have one? It's called his Action Alert.

At this point, I don't even bother answering these barely literate numnuts; it simply encourages additional correspondence because they are so attention-needy.


Soulforce Greensboro DADT sit-in activists receive minor charges

Blender and local activist Matt Hill Comer of Right to Serve passed on great news to report, a follow-up on the organization of and participation in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell sit-in recently at an Army Recruiting Center in Greensboro.
The nine Soulforce Right to Serve Campaign activists arrested during a sit-in after four youth attempted to enlist in the Army as proud, able-bodied, openly gay Americans on September 21, 2006, at the Army Recruiting Center in Greensboro attended their scheduled court appearance this morning in Guilford County District Court. The eight youth and one adult supporter were charged with Class 2 misdemeanor trespassing and were originally scheduled to appear on October 23, 2006, but the matter was then postponed for a month.

Soulforce activists Jessica Arvidson, Alex Barbato, Matt Hill Comer, Cris Elkins, Jacquelyn Hernandez, Danielle Hoffman, Leslie Hughes, Alex Nini, and Caitlin Stroud each signed statements agreeing to not break any laws and not to return to the Army Recruiting Center for 90 days. District Attorney Doug Henderson has agreed to drop all charges after 90 days if the nine activists uphold their court agreement. The nine activists were represented by Greensboro attorney, Samuel Johnson. The Honorable Susan Bray was the presiding judge.

"We are extremely happy and grateful that Guilford County District Attorney Doug Henderson has been willing to recognize the right of citizens to challenge the actions of its government in non-violence and civil disobedience," said Soulforce City Organizer Matt Hill Comer, "We thank District Attorney Henderson for recognizing the commitment these youth and supporters made in honoring the great American tradition of change through non-violent, civil disobedience, as set by four brave and committed NC A&T State University students right here in our own City of Greensboro more than forty years ago."


Today's Unintentional Comedy

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

...brought to you today from the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush:
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Former President George H.W. Bush took on Arab critics of his son Tuesday during a testy exchange at a leadership conference in the capital of this U.S. ally.

"My son is an honest man," Bush told members of the audience harshly criticized the current U.S. leader's foreign policy.
...can't... breathe... must... stop... belly laughs...
"We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," a woman in the audience bluntly told Bush after his speech.

Bush, 82, appeared stunned as others in the audience whooped and whistled in approval.

A college student told Bush his belief that U.S. wars were aimed at opening markets for American companies and said globalization was contrived for America's benefit at the expense of the rest of the world. Bush was having none of it.

"I think that's weird and it's nuts," Bush said. "To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy. I think you need to go back to school."
...Gawd, you're killin' me!... Make it stop!...
"This son is not going to back away," Bush said, his voice quivering. "He's not going to change his view because some poll says this or some poll says that, or some heartfelt comments from the lady who feels deeply in her heart about something. You can't be president of the United States and conduct yourself if you're going to cut and run. This is going to work out in Iraq. I understand the anxiety. It's not easy."
Like, say, changing his view on Don Rumsfeld staying onboard through the end of the Cheneyburton Maladministration?
"He is working hard for peace. It takes a lot of guts to get up and tell a father about his son in those terms when I just told you the thing that matters in my heart is my family," he said. "How come everybody wants to come to the United States if the United States is so bad?"
Mr. Bush, the United States is the greatest country in the world, that's why people want to come here. That's also why we hate your son so much - he's screwing up a good thing.


In Delaware

Kate and I are in Newark, Delaware for the holiday and it was an interesting flight in, to put it mildly.

The first sign of trouble was that we pulled out of the gate, made it to the runway and then the pilot said that the paperwork from maintenance on one of the emergency exit doors wasn't signed off, so we had to taxi back to the gate and get it inspected and approved.

After that delay, we back out of the gate and the pilot says that there will be no beverage service because there's going to be a lot of turbulence during the flight and everybody, including the flight attendants, have to stay buckled in for the duration.

OK, so we finally take off and hit turbulence almost immediately. We were bucking and swaying the whole way. Believe it or not, both of us went to sleep.

The next level of fun began about 20 minutes before we were to land in Philly. The pilot comes on and says
"Some of you may be smelling a burning odor. We think it is one of the electrical units under your seats overheating that is used to power your electronic devices like iPods or laptops. We've been cleared for priority landing in Philadelphia. You may see a lot of fire trucks on the ground when we land; there's no need to be alarmed."
I burst out in uncontrollable laughter at this (as does the woman next to me), Kate stares at me, clearly disturbed at the latest development. I simply found the whole thing absurd.

Anyway, we bounce our way down through more turbulance into a smooth landing. I don't see the fire engines, though the pilot mentions them again (perhaps you could see them from the other side of the plane), and we de-plane without incident.

We're settled in at my brother and sister-in-law's house and we're having a good time.


No use for Holy Joe



First it was this: Lieberman won't rule out GOP caucusing. Senator Holy Joe Lieberman, the self-proclaimed "Independent Democrat" (he referred to this countless times on a recent Meet the Press; it should have been a drinking game) pontificated that he would make a change if the Dems made him feel "uncomfortable" with his up-the-Chimpster's-posterior positions.

Today it's this development: Lieberman hires former Christian Coalition spokesman as new communications director.
Two weeks after winning reelection as an independent due to losing Connecticut's Democratic primary, Joe Lieberman has hired a former spokesman for the Christian Coalition as his new communications director, RAW STORY has learned. The new hiree also formerly served as a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a legislative director for the conservative Heritage Foundation, and as communications director to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Fifty-two year old political pundit and activist Marshall Wittmann is very popular with Washington journalists because he often "gives good quote," according to a Washington Post profile from earlier this year.

...At his blog, Bull Moose, Wittmann has accused liberal and Democratic critics in the blogosphere of comprising "a left wing Cult of Bush Hatred."

H/t, Laurel, Ms. Julien
.


Tazers: 50,000V crap shoot with death

By now you've seen the video of the UCLA campus police tazering a young man who refused to show ID when asked. He sat down and went limp in the tradition of many who've practiced civil disobedience before him. For this protest, the UCLA campus police repeatedly shocked him with a Tazer, an allegedly non-lethal form of submission of an unruly arrestee.

The cops in question brought out the Nuremberg defense -- we were only following orders. Now, courtesy of AMERICABlog, we find that they weren't kidding (emphasis mine):
301.24 PAIN COMPLIANCE TECHNIQUES
Pain compliance techniques may be very effective in controlling a passive or actively resisting individual. Officers may only apply those pain compliance techniques for which the officer has received Departmentally approved training and only when the officer reasonably believes that the use of such a technique appears necessary to further a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Officers utilizing any pain compliance technique should consider the totality of the circumstance including, but not limited to:

(a) The potential for injury to the officer(s) or others if the technique is not used,
(b) The potential risk of serious injury to the individual being controlled,
(c) The degree to which the pain compliance technique may be controlled in application according to the level of resistance,
(d) The nature of the offense involved,
(e) The level of resistance of the individual(s) involved,
(f) The need for prompt resolution of the situation,
(g) If time permits (e.g. passive demonstrators), other reasonable alternatives.

The application of any pain compliance technique shall be discontinued once the officer determines that full compliance has been achieved.
OK, first off, this tazer issue is one that's near and dear to us in Stumptown. We've had a high profile case of a 42-year-old schizophrenic man named James Chassee Jr. One of my friends, Don DuPay, is a former Portland police officer who ran for county sheriff last election, made elimination of tazers one of his campaign platforms, and with only $420 and no name recognition to run against the incumbent's $60,000 war chest, he garnered about half as many votes. We don't like tazers out here in Little Beirut.

The problem, you see, is that the tazer is a crap shoot with 50,000V behind it. If you have a heart defect, a pacemaker, poor health, or are wacked out on amphetamines, a tazer can very likely kill you. Aside from that, it is also incredibly painful -- I know, my cousins are cops and I asked them to tazer me so I could know what it feels like. Lesson learned: don't ask anyone to tazer you unless you love pain and have a change of underwear.

What I fail to see is how a student offering passive civil disobedience deserves to be tazered. He wasn't a danger to the officers (point a above), there's no way they could have known whether or not the tazer would kill him and certain that it would hurt him (b), there's little control over tazer-applied pain (c), the kid wasn't behaving violently or harming property (d), he didn't resist arrest at all (e), there was no big rush to get the library closed (f), and there were two of them who could've easily carried him away (g).

This is the natural result of our emphasis on violence and torture. It is too easy for the tactics that we use on evil terrorists to slip down into the realm of disagreeable students. Tazers should be outlawed!


This and that - open thread

This AM Kate and I are off to Delaware for T-Day. I'll post while I'm away, just not as frequently.

Did you all catch some of these news items:

* Out gay student from Fargo named Rhodes Scholar. Ryan Thoreson, who attends Harvard and serves as co-chairman of the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporter Alliance, is one of 32 people in the nation selected as a Rhodes scholar for 2007. He will use the scholarship to study social anthropology for two years at Oxford University in England. He plans attend law school and will specialize in gay and lesbian civil rights. Bravo.

* More gay and lesbian couples are tying the knot in Canada. According to 365gay, prior to June 10 just over 10,000 marriage licenses were issued to gay and lesbian couples, but the number jumped over the summer as 2,300 couples obtained licenses. Ontario's summer spike was 17%, Quebec's 35% and Alberta, one of the most conservative areas, 40%. The article notes that Conservative PM Stephen Harper is still planning to re-open debate on marriage, but most members of Parliament have no desire to revisit the issue.

* Lambda Legal announces that gay Miami University employees will keep their domestic partner benefits. Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-OH) and the winger Alliance Defense Fund felt compelled to try and punish the homos at Miami University because they receive partner benefits -- and that Ohio provides ten percent of the university's income. Ridiculous. From the release:
[T]he Butler County Court of Common Pleas today dismissed a lawsuit brought by a legislator seeking to take away the domestic partner benefits of employees of Miami University. "The court has affirmed that Mr. Brinkman's daily life is unaffected when the domestic partners of lesbian and gay university employees have health insurance and he therefore has no standing to bring a lawsuit," said James P. Madigan, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. "Lesbian and gay employees and their families' health were at stake and today the court has granted them freedom from being a pawn in politically motivated lawsuits."
* Alaska's homobigot legislators stall on partner benefits bill. After Gov. Frank Murkowski called the body into session to grant the commissioner of administration the authority allow gay and lesbians access to a new benefits plan, the Senate passed a House bill to prohibit the commissioner from taking action on the plan by the court-imposed deadline of Jan. 1. The vote was 11-6, with the excuse given by the homobigots it should be up to the Legislature to mold a benefits plan or to put a constitutional amendment before voters.

* And finally, a Tweaker Ted update -- Report: Haggard Will Be Watched Closely.
The rehabilitation of former superstar pastor the Rev. Ted Haggard may not include urine tests or ankle bracelets, but he will have to undergo lie detector tests and confess his failings.

It may sound like parole, but the big difference between Haggard's case and a court-ordered recovery plan will be that he can quit anytime. "He can stop at any time. A guy on parole can't stop," the Rev. H.B. London of Focus on the Family told The Gazette. London will serve on Haggard's counseling team.

London, who said he has taken part in many rehabilitations of pastors, said Haggard's case is similar in that he only admitted his failings when he was caught...."The end goal is to have that person healthy again," said Tom Pedigo, a Colorado Springs man who wrote a manual on restoration after losing his own ministry for marital infidelity.
Poor Ted still hasn't surfaced from spiritual lockdown to comment on his "restoration."


Batteries not included

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Do you wonder what the toy designer was thinking about while sketching ideas for the Dora Aquapet...limited edition? From the promotional page at Wild Planet Toy Store:
Talk to her!
Laugh and play together!
Share your secrets with her!
Give her love!
Discover her songs and dances!

She also plays and interacts with the Boots too!
Have an adventure with Dora the Explorer, your interactive friend!
Not. Sh*tting. You.

Someone please alert Daddy D! Amazon has a SpongeBob SquarePants "collector's edition" up.

The hat tip goes to NDT.


Mitt is clearly losing sleep at night thinking about the homos

I'm really tired of talking about fundie suck-up Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. The man whose Mormon faith makes him suspect with The Base is practically foaming at the mouth trying to prove how much he hates gay folks to gain some traction as a 2008 Rethug candidate.

He really doesn't need to try any harder; he's looking quite desperate. Mitt's latest move is a call for those activist judges to force a ballot initiative on marriage. (NYT):
Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts said on Sunday that he would ask the state’s highest court to order a question banning same-sex marriage onto the ballot if legislators did not address the issue.


Mr. Romney, a Republican, said he would file a request this week for a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court to direct the secretary of state to place the question on the ballot if lawmakers do not vote on the issue on Jan. 2, the final day of the session.

The governor, an opponent of same-sex marriage who decided not to seek re-election as he considers running for president, made his announcement to the cheers of same-sex-marriage opponents at a rally on the Statehouse steps. Supporters of same-sex marriage staged a protest across the street.
Mitt fully believes that civil rights should be voted on by the people and he's dead wrong.
"One of the tenets of the Constitution is that you do not put the rights of a minority up for a popularity contest," said Mark Solomon, campaign director of Mass Equality, a group that supports same-sex marriage. “It is one of the very principles this country was founded upon."
I see konagod is a tad riled up at the blow-dried governor.


Pat Boone on Sam Walton

Mr. Sam was determined that his stores would always be "family friendly"; and suddenly, the millions of families he always catered to are seriously pondering the mixed messages coming out of Bentonville. I think he would have remained benignly neutral and non-condemning toward homosexual groups – but would never have donated to their causes.
-- Fifties singer and long-former teen heartthrob Pat Boone on the Sam Walton he knew
Another has-been celeb plucked to be a WingNutDaily columnist (see Chuck Norris), Pat Boone has equal cred with the grey hair set.

He spents a lot of column time (The Grinch, the 'gays' and Wal-Mart) telling us about his relationship with Wal-mart's founder, the late Sam Walton, and how the poor guy must be spinning in his grave if he could see what his company is doing now.

Pat's particularly proud of being able to offer his services to counteract the bad PR the big box retailer for "problems," you know, like how it treats its workers.
...years later, when other people began to complain about the size and prices and almost unbeatable competition Wal-Mart displayed, and stories kept popping up in publications charging the juggernaut with "unfair competition," non-union employees, of not treating employees right – all kinds of bad publicity, whether well-founded or not – I called the top brass at Wal-Mart and offered my services, my name and reputation, if they could use them, to help counteract these negatives. And they took me up on it, adding me to a sizable group of volunteer citizens who confer from time to time, sharing ideas about how to keep Wal-Mart's family friendly image strong and true. I still love the Sam Walton I knew, and I feel protective toward him, since he's not here to personally direct his own business.

This year, instead of bowing and kowtowing to militant atheist and super liberal "political correctness," so-called, I'm thrilled to see that Wal-Mart has banished "the Grinch" that threatened to steal Christmas, and will be advertising Christmas sales and playing Christmas music – and not conforming to the total "Holiday" imagery and advertising of other milk-toast wimp marketers. Again, the family friendly vision of Sam Walton lives on! I believe he's smiling somewhere, possibly in the presence of the One whose birth Christmas celebrates.
You really have to read the whole thing. It's appalling.


The flip-flopping Tool on choice

John McCain's giving his opponents plenty of flip-flop ammo. In 1999, he held the position that women have the right to choose:
...in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.
Yesterday, on This Week, he has decided that he needs to wrap up the fundie vote with this reversal. (Think Progress, which has video):
MCCAIN: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’d be for that?


MCCAIN: Yes, because I’m a federalist. Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states, so do I believe that we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return to the states. And I don’t believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v. Wade.
BTW, The Tool holds the same position on marriage equality as a lot of the Dems jockeying for position for 2008.


A further confirmation that McCain is sucking up as hard as he can to the bible beaters is that he's hired Rev. Tinkywinky's debate coach at Liberty University, Brett O'Donnell to be a communications strategist. I guess he's going to help out The Tool on messaging.
O'Donnell, who helped prepare President Bush for debates and joint appearances during the 2004 campaign, will do the same for McCain. He said he also will help McCain with his overall communications strategy.

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, chancellor of the Lynchburg university, said he has not endorsed a candidate, and O'Donnell's appointment should not be interpreted as a signal that he is backing McCain.

...O'Donnell, 42, has been Liberty's debate coach for 17 years. He said he accepted McCain's offer because he viewed it as a good career opportunity and because he wants to see the senator elected president.


Headline of the day

Monday, November 20, 2006

U.S . Catholic Church seeks to find root of priest sex abuse. I laughed out loud at this one, but look at how the AFP article starts off with a knee-slapper...
The US Roman Catholic Church has asked a criminology school to delve into the darkest pages of its history by probing the causes of a priest sex abuse scandal.
Asked a criminology school? OMG, it's too much.
The Church wants to "look at what is unique" in the priest sex abuse crisis, he said.

The first part of the study would be completed in 2008 and made public, although the names of suspected priests would be omitted.

In the second part, the university will evaluate the Church leadership's response to sex abuse cases.

"We want to see where we failed and made some mistakes, and learn from those who handled it well," Aymond said.

..."Our goal is to ascertain the causes of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and if we need to change any method we have now," said Teresa Kettlekamp, the executive director of the bishops conference's Office of Child and Youth Protection, which was created in 2002, in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.
The church needed to put effort into figuring this out long ago; instead they just kept covering up, intimidating families and paying out when the going got tough. And then they still kept shuffling their molesting brethren around to damage more lives. It's sickening.

Does anyone think Ratzi's boys are going to do anything more than quietly file the report away?


I never watched Seinfeld anyway

[UPDATE: Larry King and Alec Baldwin were discussing the self-immolation of Richards on tonight's program. I have a transcript of the exchange below.

UPDATE 2: I think Michael Richards is insane. Take a look below at his "apology" that references Katrina victims...]

Michael Richards, aka Kramer on Seinfeld must have been drinking whatever hopped-up booze that Mel Gibson imbibed. The comedian went on a racist tirade at a comedy club, referring to lynching and all sorts of batsh*ttery. (SF Examiner):
A video posted on TMZ.com shows that the tirade apparently began after two black audience members started shouting at him that he wasn't funny.

Richards retorted: "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f------ fork up your a--."

He then paced across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities.

"You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now mother------. Throw his a-- out. He's a n-----!" Richards shouts before repeating the racial epithet over and over again.
Clearly the man doesn't have a grasp on how to handle hecklers intelligently. Has-been status doesn't wear well, huh?

Most of the audience left after the tirade, and the comedian's reps aren't commenting. The article goes on to say that he "felt sorry for what had happened and had made amends." I'm still trying to figure out how he was able to extract his giant foot out of his mouth.

You know it's bad when Jerry Seinfeld has to release a sad statement on the Richards.
"I'm sure Michael is also sick over this horrible, horrible mistake. It is so extremely offensive. I feel terrible for all the people who have been hurt," Seinfeld said.
Uh, yeah -- all of that racist sh*t just spilled out as a "mistake." LOLOLOLOL.

You know, it's as ridiculous as Mel blaming criticism of Passion of the Christ for calling a police officer "sugar tits."

***

Here's what Alec Baldwin and Larry King had to say about Michael Richards' career path. Larry starts out asking him what he thought about the whole thing.

AB: I have to think sometimes that people in that line of work...that maybe they think that was funny. Maybe he thought he was joking...and obviously it wasn't funny, but it's just breathtaking to me to see in this business, how some people...I mean in a single day, you've just flushed yourself right down the toilet...

[At this point, Kate and I are crying with laughter; we rewind and play this about three times till we are in pain from laughing -- the first two times we actually missed this priceless next line by Larry.]

LK: Yeah, let's watch this...watch a career -- end (snaps fingers)...it's wild...watch this.

And then they cut to the infamous video and it's as bad as you can imagine.

***

And now, why I believe there is, at the very least, a temporary or perhaps, permanent chemical imbalance at play here. Look at what Michael Richards said today in his apology that will air on David Letterman...
Richards: "...You know, I’m really busted up over this and I’m very, very sorry to those people in the audience, the blacks, the Hispanics, whites – everyone that was there that took the brunt of that anger and hate and rage and how it came through, and I'm concerned about more hate and more rage and more anger coming through, not just towards me but towards a black/white conflict.

There's a great deal of disturbance in this country and how blacks feel about what happened in Katrina, and, you know, many of the comics, many of performers are in Las Vegas and New Orleans trying to raise money for what happened there, and for this to happen, for me to be in a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, you know, I'm deeply, deeply sorry. And I'll get to the force field of this hostility, why it's there, why the rage is in any of us, why the trash takes place, whether or not it’s between me and a couple of hecklers in the audience or between this country and another nation, the rage – "
Someone please tell me what the f*ck he is saying here? I really don't understand WTF he is supposed to be conveying with this unhinged statement. [Kate is here rolling with laughter.]

Maybe this is what it is all about, via Kevin Allman:
Yeah. If there's one thing everyone affected by Katrina needed, 16 months later, it was to have a white Brentwood millionaire standing on a stage in Hollywood screaming:

"Throw his ass out. He's a nigger! He's a nigger! He's a nigger! A nigger, look, there's a nigger!"


Caption this - open thread

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From the Daily Mail:
They may be among the most powerful men in the world, but George Bush and Vladimir Putin looked more like a couple of Harry Potter's masters at Hogwarts school.

The American and Russian presidents were wearing traditional silk Vietnamese robes to mark the end of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hanoi, along with the leaders of 19 other countries.


Please, god no part 3

This is the third of my series of posts on the horror show that is the clueless John Kerry. He continues to fantasize about a comeback and utters batsh*t statements like this:
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry insisted on Sunday his "botched joke" about President Bush's Iraq policy would not undermine a possible White House campaign in 2008.

"Not in the least," Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, said when asked if the furor over his comment had caused him to reconsider a 2008 race. "The parlor game of who's up, who's down, today or tomorrow, if I listened to that stuff, I would never have won the nomination."
He really needs to hang it up. It's embarrassing. Remember this from my first "Please god, no" post:
Kerry: I'm prepared to kick Swift Boat's ass. Jeebus on a cracker. Yeah, man. It's a little late for action on that front, isn't it? Read the delusion.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) doesn't believe that Hillary Clinton has the inside track on the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and says he would vigorously defend himself against new attacks by the Swift Boat team, according to an interview with The Examiner.

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"I’m prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other," said Kerry, in a strong hint that he intends to run for president once again.
Stop. It. Now.
In my second PGN post on Kerry's inner circle floating rumors of a 2008 run, Blenders ripped him a new one in the comments. Kerry's toast if he runs.


Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance

There are vigils being held around the world, in over 250 cities to remember those who were murdered simply because of their gender identity or expression. (365gay):
Vigils, services and a variety of other events are being held in 250 cities around the world today to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance - the day set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

The first Transgender Day of Remembrance was organized by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 in San Francisco to honor the memory of Rita Hester who was murdered on November 28th, 1998.

Smith's candlelight vigil spread nationwide and then around the world. But Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Gwen Araujo was a transgender teen from Newark, CA. who was murdered in 2002. Defense lawyers used the "gay panic" defense -- claiming that their rage and actions stemmed from having sex with Araujo and later learning she was born male.


Araujo was only 17 when she was killed.

The Lifetime cable channel aired "A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story" this year. The film, which stars J.D. Pardo and Mercedes Ruehl, was a sensitive portrayal of Araujo's struggle.
Imagine feeling like you're trapped in the wrong body, that there's been some sort of mistake — that you're supposed to be a girl instead of a boy. How would you tell your family and friends that you wanted to change genders? Would you bring it up with someone you had a crush on? And what would you do when society not only refused to accept the new you, but was violent toward you? Well, Eddie Araujo didn't know the answers, but he did know he was supposed to be female, so he began to dress as a girl and changed his name to Gwen.
In September, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed The Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, which limits the use of that defense.


NC Baptist 'people-loving pastor' bans gays to protect his peeps

"When we take God out, what's God going to do? He's going to spank our hind. We've got to stand for what we believe. Otherwise our nation is going down the tubes."
-- "Pastor Bill" Sanderson of the Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell, NC. His motion to ban gay-friendly churches (and gay parishioners) from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina was passed last week
Take a look at this guy. The Kentucky native's face is splashed on the front page of the Raleigh News and Observer with the headline "Anti-gay pastor sees role as shielding flock from sin." Personally, I think he needs to take his bigotry back to his home state.
"We've got to fight for our children's lives," he said. "When they start saying in school that a man and a man is just like a man and a woman, well no, it's not."

On Tuesday, the state Baptist convention approved the so-called Sanderson motion, expelling churches that welcome practicing gays as members. The motion passed by more than two-thirds of delegates, known as messengers, and will allow the convention to investigate churches suspected of countenancing active gays. The action put North Carolina's Baptist group ahead of most of its peer organizations in other states by defining membership on the single issue of homosexuality.

...At the North Carolina Baptist convention, Sanderson's motion was opposed by several hundred pastors, including the Rev. Don Gordon of Yates Baptist Church in Durham. Gordon agrees that homosexuality is a sin, but he said he doesn't think the Bible singles it out.

"Is the homosexuality movement of the 21st century more pervasive than the [pro-] slavery movement of the 19th century?" Gordon asked. "I would contend the slavery movement was more evil, and caused more damage to people's lives than this movement."
Unfortunately for Rev. Gordon, the bigots like Sanderson are in the majority in the Baptist State Convention.

The article notes that Sanderson, who was taught by his father that the Bible is God's inerrant and infallible word, failed his New Testament class at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, because its teachings were considered more moderate at the time. The faculty of the school since that time has been filled with strict biblical literalists.


"Radical" Russ live interview in Portland

Howdy! I just finished a live interview on Thom Hartmann's local radio show here in Portland. We were on from 7:35am-7:45am, smack dab in the middle of Portland's morning commute. When asked "what will you show be focusing on?" I mentioned "personal privacy and civil liberties, with an eye toward so-called 'fringe' topics not getting a lot of radio airplay. Take gay marriage, for example. Many hosts don't want to tackle it because it won't sell well in the red states, like my home state of Idaho. Well, guess what, there are gay folks in Idaho, too, and discrimination is discrimination no matter if it's color, religion, or sexuality. Those red states need to be having a discussion about these issues, and need to understand that in America, we don't treat people differently just because they are different."

I also gave a massive plug to the Blend - watch that hit counter and see if we get any eyeballs from Stumptown. (That's Portland to the rest of you -- hey, Portland, represent! Leave a comment!)

Wow. I'm an "L"-list celebrity. With determination and hard work, I might make my way to Kathy Griffin level someday!


Ex-Gay Watch: 'Does Exodus sanction forcing people into ex-gay programs?'



Autumn and Daniel of Ex-Gay Watch passed on the above video, which includes some interesting statements of "ex-gay-for-pay" Randy Thomas of Exodus, who recently appeared on Adam Carolla's radio show. The pray-away-the-gay advocate claims Exodus won't take anyone forced into its de-gaying programs. Daniel:
That's total BS because you'll recall 16 year old Zach in Tennessee who was forced into a straight-camp last year. There's more to the story than just that so I made up a little YouTube video that examines the issue of people being forced into exgay programs and Exodus appearing to sanction it.


Michael Savage: 'the homosexual mafia will not stop until we all bend our knees to the homosexual agenda'

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Is this guy mental? I mean really. Does radio bleater Michael Savage, who's on 300 radio stations with over 8 million listeners, seem fatally fixated on hating homos. (Media Matters):
Days after telling his listeners that the "radical homosexual agenda ... threaten[s] your very survival," on the November 16 edition of his radio show, Michael Savage asserted that a "society that embraces homosexuality is a society that will not last much longer." Savage then predicted his remarks would "wind up tomorrow in several of the blogs run by gays -- and they think only of that 'cause they're like drug addicts." Later in the broadcast, Savage claimed, "There is not a mean bone in my body," and concluded: "With God's will and your listenership, we shall nuke Iran."

As Media Matters for America has noted (here, here, and here), Savage has often referred to "the homosexual mafia" and made other vitriolic attacks on gays.
Here is part of the transcript. He really seems unbalanced, in the same category as Lou Sheldon.
This cuts across all religious lines -- it doesn't matter whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim. It doesn't matter whether you're from America or abroad. We will tell you that 20,000 years of evolution, of societal evolution, has taught us the same thing: that a society that embraces homosexuality is a society that will not last much longer. Anybody who's studied history knows that.

So, why does that make me wrong for me to tell you this? Why do the people who are promoting this, this death-style, think that the people are that stupid?

... I didn't tell you to hate gay people, did I? I told you to be aware of the homosexual agenda; how powerful the homosexual movement is in this country as witness the fact that you never hear any criticism of them. You see? So, now let's move on. I don't even want to talk about it. I'm giving it to you as an example, and I know it's going to wind up tomorrow in several of the blogs run by gays -- and they think only of that 'cause they're like drug addicts.
Oops. It's on my blog. F*ck him.

Hat tip, blogenfreude.


Wrap-up on the International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference

The purpose of the International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference is to give openly LGBT elected and appointed officials a chance to hear war stories about running for public office, and share ideas and approaches on how to run successful campaigns.

There were about 200 in attendance at this conference, a record, according to Denis Dison, the VP of communications for the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute. This year, there were 67 Victory Fund-endorsed candidates who were elected to federal, state and local offices, and several of the folks at this conference were the first openly gay or lesbian candidates ever elected in their cities, states or legislative bodies.

I was at the con to serve on the Election Analysts Roundtable (see the description here). It was a 90 minute session, but we really only had about a half-hour at the end of the slot, because of Howard Dean's speech and a segment on stats about the election from two pollsters from Zogby.

First, let's talk about what Howard Dean had to say. Here's the MSM view of it. (AP):
Howard Dean said the Democratic Party needs to look beyond its dated goal of getting gays and minorities a place at the table and instead work toward getting them on the ballot.

...Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said little about issues such as same-sex marriage or civil rights, and instead addressed broader Democratic agendas such as raising the minimum wage.

Flush from big Democratic gains in last week's elections, Dean emphasized that the "new Democratic Party" reaches out to all citizens, even those less likely to vote for them.
He's right on one major point, we need more minorities...and OUT gays on Dem tickets. And by out, I don't necessarily mean candidates running on gay issues alone. The voters need to see out, proud candidates whose primary concern at the local level is, as a prospective elected official, to address issues their constituents care about, be it potholes, education, jobs, family issues. The candidate just happens to be gay -- but those issues are ours as well.

That's how you win over voters, particularly in states where there are no openly gay officials -- trailblazers like the ones I met on Saturday who were elected in red states. They weathered the blows, but in the end it was their ability to connect with the common interests of the voter. If you're in a state where an amendment exists -- such as Alabama and Texas -- the only way to change the public tide is to be out of the closet, unafraid and force the establishment to deal with openly gay and lesbian elected officials.

Patricia Todd, in the women's roundtable later in the afternoon, said it best when describing a seemingly innocuous event -- filling out information forms for newly elected officials. There was a line on the form for "spouse" and "children." She noted that this was an historic act in Alabama - she placed the name of her partner and child on the form. The folks in the legislature will now have to deal with that in its public communications, such as its web site (let's see what they put up there, once she's in office).

But I digress, back to Dean's speech -- here's coverage from the Houston Chronicle:
"My advice to - not just this community, but every community that plays an important role in the Democratic Party, and this one certainly does - is to try not to do everything at once," he said.

"We need a careful, narrow, targeted agenda to make it clear what the difference between the Democratic Party and Republican Party is before we go into the next election."

Dean, like other national politicians at the four-day International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference, said the political shift should make life easier for gays and lesbians.

However, the DNC chairman added, Democrats have only two years to prove themselves before the presidential election, which he called "the big enchilada," and said effective governing could mean putting some issues before others.
As you can see, there's a running suggestion here that LGBT folks need to be patient and to wait, lest there be a backlash of some sort in two years if we push too hard for pro-gay legislation that has languished under Republican rule. This, of course, was after he mentioned more than once during his speech that no Dems who took a position against the federal marriage amendment lost -- a real disconnect, huh?

I hate to say it, but the room was also full of too much backslapping during Dean's speech over the Dem takeover of the House and Senate; I couldn't believe it when Chairman Dean positively glowed over the fact that a third of evangelicals crossed over to vote Dem in this election. I hate to break it to him, but in the states with amendments on the ballot, those evangelicals, even as they crossed over because they were digusted with the GOP, still chose to vote for a marriage amendment. Is he ok with that? While that crossover might bring on cheers in another venue and encourage the party to further court The Base, for LGBT folks that's not exactly comforting.

What we can celebrate is that the changeover in Washington and many state houses means no active legislation further eroding our rights, but whether we will see actual gay-positive legislation passed is another matter with the historically gun-shy, spineless Democratic Party that has run from serious discussion of gay issues as fast as it can in the past. As we've said before here on the Blend, Dems at the national level will only advocate once the coast is clear, having had their fingers in the wind to see which way it's blowing. Leading isn't a strong suit in this area; they've been content to take our money and do zero as amendment after amendment has passed.

Dean cited the Arizona amendment as a victory for the community, not mentioning of course that the organizations responsible at the grassroots level for successfully defeating the ballot measure, almost immediately released a statement saying it received no help from national organizations. It's hard to take credit for a "win" when they had to work in isolation.
The big national gay organizations have been notably absent there, and the campaigns have been smart about attracting voters from both conservative Phoenix and liberal Tucson with targeted messages and tactics. "We did this with no national help," says [Cindy Jordan, chair of No on 107], "this grassroot's effort was local."
The amendment failed because of a couple of factors, which I mentioned while at the conference: 1) the voters were targeted about how the amendment would affect unmarried seniors and heterosexuals, and almost completely ignored the "fairness" argument, avoiding the use gay couples in promotional materials, and 2) Arizona has a libertarian, government-out-of-my-business streak that further eroded support for the amendment. The latter is one of the reasons that the amendment nearly failed in South Dakota.

The fairness argument was used extensively in Wisconsin; gay families were prominently featured by Fair Wisconsin, and the anti-amendment forces were well-funded and organized, yet the measure easily passed. The difference? -- people vote their self-interest. Sad, but true, fairness really isn't enough of an argument unless you have a critical mass of het allies who are well-informed and motivated to do the right thing -- our movement, desperately needs to educate our allies; way too many straight folks simply don't have equality issues on their radar even in states like Wisconsin, where people thought there was a chance to defeat an amendment.

Which brings me to the other matter that Dean didn't talk about -- the party's "endorsement" of putting the civil rights of gays and lesbians on the ballot -- Howard Dean giddily mentioned how "the voters have spoken" in tossing out the GOP control of the Hill. Unfortunately, the voters have also spoken on our rights because both the Democrats and the Republicans at the national level have no problem with "leaving it to the states."

This is morally wrong, and the responsibility for the strategic political decision to punt on the civil rights of gays and lesbians by allowing candidates to hide behind a position of "leave it to the states" lies at the Democratic Party's door. We have 27 states that now have marriage amendments in place, many that precluding any civil unions or domestic partnerships. Those measures profoundly affect the lives of everyday, working class gay families who don't have any political power aside from their vote -- and they are in the minority.

The overarching view from the establishment perspective is that the patchwork of rights granted will end up in SCOTUS and eventually be resolved there, which is true OK, then what do you say to gays in Tennessee, for example -- its amendment passed with 80% of the vote? Move? "I'm sorry, but it's too damn bad?"

Black homophobia

I hated to be a wet blanket on all that "good news" and high-fiving/Dem Kool-aid drinking going on in the ballroom, but when moderator Ari Shapiro of NPR asked me to discuss black homophobia and how it manifested itself in the election -- and the lack of discussion about it -- I took the opportunity to talk about the above in context.

The irony of this election is that the GOP's tactics on turnout by placing these amendments on the ballot backfired in some respect. It brought out many voters who might have stayed home -- and a lot of them voted Dem because of their dissatisfaction with the failed Bush administration. (Advocate):
The effort to defeat Virginia's proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage apparently pulled thousands of progressive voters out to the polls, sending Democrat James Webb to the U.S. Senate by the thinnest of margins and handing the upper chamber to the Democrats for the next two years. A 10-to-1 spending edge by gays and their allies depressed the final majority in favor of the amendment to 57%, a far cry from the 75% support that has typified amendment election results in the past.

A glance at the six most populous left-of-center counties and urban areas tells the story. Roughly 588,000 people voted on the marriage amendment in these regions, with nearly 60%, or about 350,000, people voting no. The other two relatively uncontroversial ballot measures passed handily. But they passed without the participation of roughly 25,000 voters who weighed in on the marriage amendment but took no stand on the other questions one way or another.

Did those voters also vote for James Webb? It appears they did. Webb won the six regions 64%-36%, taking 377,000 out of 593,000 Senate votes cast in these locations.
However, there is a disturbing trend hidden in those numbers. In the case of amendments in Virginia and Arizona, a majority of blacks voted for them. Celinda Lake, a pollster who was also on the panel, chimed in to concur and added that the data shows religious black women are particularly hardcore in their views in opposition to marriage equality and Latino men are an equally troubling demographic in this area. The GOP saw big losses in the Hispanic vote this election cycle; while the Dems see an opportunity in this demo, silence on the homophobia that exists in this groups comes directly at our expense when our rights are placed on the guillotine of the ballot box.

I put this into context by pulling quotes that Blenders are quite familiar with and read them out loud right there in the ballroom.


Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Baptist Missionary in Atlanta, Georgia. "Woman is the soul of man. She is his flesh consciousness. In essence, God made Eve to help Adam replenish the earth. Woman has the canal…everything else is an exit."

and


Willie Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church in D.C.: "When you get down to this thing, women falling down on another woman, strapping yourself up with something, it ain't real. That thing ain't got no feeling in it. It ain't natural."

"Any time somebody got to slap some grease on your behind, and stick something in you, it's something wrong with that. Your butt ain't made for that. You got blood vessels and membranes in your behind. And if you put something unnatural in there, it breaks them all up. No wonder your behind is bleeding."

Yes, I actually read those quotes. And I pointed out that Falwell and Robertson would have been held accountable for these unbelievable statements -- but black pastors like those mentioned have been given a pass time and again in the MSM. I explained that the reason for the radio silence by Democratic establishment and political figures of any stripe is because, as we've discussed here -- race is a third rail topic -- whites are afraid of being called racist, blacks are defensive. It leaves everyone unable to address basic, common sense issues of accountability.

Instead of calling these bigoted pastors out, no one wants to talk about the matter for fear of offending a significant voter base. How cowardly is this? For those out there who believe they are "not qualified" to talk about race, there is no reason on earth that anyone should be afraid to call out naked bigotry and homophobia, no matter the color of the person uttering it. These men are in charge of large churches and I only wish I had time to read more quotes I have from other black homobigots in the pulpit (if you click here or here).

After that I waited for the tomatoes for lobbing that bomb -- there actually was applause. Whew. I was asked about how can these issues be addressed openly, particularly because for many blacks, the use of "civil rights" to describe the LGBT struggle is a landmine. It is, and shouldn't be, but it must be addressed nonetheless -- the rights of an oppressed minority are not a zero-sum game. There isn't a measure of how oppressed a minority should be to be worthy of using the term civil rights. Ultimately, what other minorities need to understand is why it matters that what gay families want are simply the same rights they take for granted -- and it has nothing to do with religious marriage. Blacks can understand why rights of a group shouldn't be on the ballot, but no one has bothered to reframe this argument for fear of the race landmine.

I actually had a lot of folks come up to me after the panel to thank me for raising the issue, or to say that it was "something the group needed to hear." I even had more than one person say that they it made them think and realized that they needed to call it out when they saw it. I certainly didn't expect a positive reaction from it all, but any way to get this on the radar of establishment politicians, gay or not is a good thing. Alexander Robinson of the National Black Justice Coaltion, which does stellar work in this area, also came up to me afterwards. The org is holding its 2nd Annual Black Church Summit for pastors in March in Phily, and hopefully I can attend -- that's surely a place where there may be fireworks.

This is an all-hands-on-deck issue, because it's clear that the only thing keeping religious, socially conservative blacks (or Latinos) from crossing over to vote Republican is the GOP's addiction to using race when the chips are down (see the Harold "Call Me" Ford ads), and brain dead policies (see Katrina). Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove had the right idea to target the black social conservative vote. This is fertile ground, and right now the Dem party seems content to look away as long as this demo votes Democrat, even if they vote marriage amendments.

LGBT folks (and allies), watch out on this front, don't drink the Kool-Aid. They want our votes and our money, but it's clear that they LGBT vote is not the demographic that matters -- to either party -- when they are strictly counting votes. We have to prove we have the numbers to make it worthwhile for them to act, not simply listen and then pat us on the head, whether or not they are in power.

What it does mean is that we have to organize, lobby strategically, and educate widely in order to continue to push public opinion our way -- and the message is still that we are still largely on our own when it comes to changing hearts and minds (and votes).

It's sad to say that, but our strongest ally has been corporate America, which does realize the value of the LGBT market and employees. Our elected representatives and instutions at the national level are definitely not leading the way.

**

At lunch I met Virginia Delegate Adam Ebbin (Blend posts here), who worked tirelessly with many others on fighting the marriage amendment that recently passed in the Commonwealth. (we've corresponded but not met before). He and fellow delegate David Englin (a straight ally that I interviewed on the Blend) must find it difficult working in a legislature with so many fringe right delegates.

Barney Frank gave an interesting speech during lunch about the election results, and the likely legislation that will be pursued in the next Congress. Both he and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (I spoke with her for a good while after my panel was through) believe the strategy of holding extensive hearings on ENDA -- since it is anti-discrimination legislation about fairness in the workplace, will provide greater understanding and reasoned debate, bringing forth witnesses to put a face on what it is like to be fired because one is gay. This, they believe, will then pragmatically lay the groundwork for hearings on the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (which would repeal DADT). It's certain that the federal hate crimes legislation will pass this time, but we all know Chimpy may choose to veto.

Lengthy hearings give everyone on all sides the chance to bring people forward to testify, in a sane setting, and allow the American people, legislators, and the Pentagon hear the stories, discuss and -- and ultimately build support for the legislation by contacting their legislators and letting them know that their gay constituents and allies are looking to them to act on our behalf to effect change. Rep. Frank noted that the Right has been excellent at preparing and mounting grassroots campaigns on this front, and we cannot be complacent -- simply winning back control of the Hill and thinking the legislation will pass itself on merit alone is a big mistake.

***

There was a women's roundtable in the afternoon, where a wealth of experience in running successful campaigns was shared by the panelists there,



Back row: Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, Co-Secretary General, International Lesbian and Gay Association; Elena Guajardo, City Councilwoman, District 7, San Antonio, TX; Patricia Todd, House District 54, Birmingham, Alabama; Robin Brand, senior VP for Politics & Strategy, Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. Front: Sue Lovell, Councilmember At Large Position 2, Houston, TX; Hon. Annise Parker, City Controller, Houston, TX; panel moderator Neda Ulaby, reporter, NPR.

It was a lively session, and I had the pleasure of finally meeting Patricia Todd and her partner Jennifer. Patricia recounted the rollercoaster ride she's been on to be elected to serve district 54 (see Blend posts here).

Howard Dean mentioned in his speech that he had to intercede with a few phone calls in this race, which had unbelievable combination of race-card playing (by black kingmakers who wanted to overturn the results of the primary), homophobia, gentrification and Southern politics that threatened to tear apart the community and undermine the democratic process (see my post Gentrification is at the heart of the Alabama House 54 debacle). Fortunately, Patricia and her supporters, trusted the process, lobbied for fairness and ultimately prevailed.

One of the interesting points I raised in the discussion about the Todd race was the role blogs played in raising the profile of the dust up. Local blogs, such as Blender Kathy McMullen of Birmingham Blues played key roles in getting the story told from a local perspective (see a couple of her posts here and here). Kathy was on-site at the hearings in Montgomery and saw the inside politics first hand as matters played out during the debacle, and even kindly cross-posted items here on the Blend. Kathy's work was picked up by Americablog, and plenty of mainstream media descended on Alabama to cover the race.



While we're down in Birmingham for Christmas, we're going to get together with Patricia and Jennifer -- and Kathy to celebrate a job well done -- the people of House 54 will be in good hands.

Also on the panel was rising star Houston City Controller Annise Parker, who may just be Houston's next mayor. She and Elena Guajardo discussed the problems openly gay lesbians have in terms of image-making -- everyone has an opinion about what you should wear, the amount of makeup you need, the kind of haircut you must have in order to lower the "fear factor" with potential voters -- it can be ludicrous. One interesting thing about all of the women on the panel -- they won in Red states, none of them hiding their orientation, all of them stressing the competencies that they would bring to the position -- and voters listened.



Parker later asked me about blogs, campaigns and the impact on elections. It's hard to say -- either from the bloggers or pol's perspective, what it all really means. It's clear that blogs can help -- and hurt campaigns because the turnaround is so fast, and reaches so many. There's no set of standards for blogging -- anyone can mouth off about anything, of course, but it's clear that the new medium cannot be ignored altogether. It's safe to say that over time, politicians, gay or straight, have to engage the blogosphere. There are no standards, no guidelines other than the principles of the blogger and their reputation, if one reads them over time.

***

It was inspiring to see all the pols -- at all levels of public office, who put themselves out there, particularly in Red states. They are trailblazers for choosing to be out and proud -- and savvy about it, even as they knew the lumps they were going to take from opponents. What everyone can agree on is that we need more openly gay representation (in both parties, mind you) and the numbers are steadily growing.

I'm know I've left out a lot, having met so many folks in the whirlwind of the last 36 hours, so apologies, even though this is a lengthy post.

I didn't get to see much of Houston, of course (since I flew in Friday afternoon and left Saturday PM), but it was quite funny that for a city with the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport, there was a good bit of griping about the Chimperor that came up unprovoked. My shuttle bus driver to the airport was going off on the current White House occupant, saying "the man has destroyed the country." I asked him jokingly if they (Texans) were looking forward to having him back full-time in Crawford, and he said "the idiot spends half his time on vacation here anyway."

We pull up to a traffic light, and outside on a median are people with placards on that have a picture of George Bush sitting on Dick Cheney's knee with "Democrats: Impeach them now!" Wow (I noted in the comments that pursuing impeachment would be a disaster for Dems). And I thought Austin would be the only place I might see something like this in the Lone Star State.

[I also wanted to mention that it was good to see fellow North Carolinian Mark Kleinschmidt, who attended the conference and has blogged about it. He kept me calm before going up on the panel, lol. Mark serves on the Chapel Hill Town Council and is one one of five openly gay Tar Heels to be elected in the state.]


WingNutDaily denizens latest whinefest

The latest daily poll is entertaining. I feel the Rapture coming...

Why do you think there's such antagonism against Christianity today?



***

I'm writing up my wrap of the International Gay and Lesbian Leadership Conference today, so blogging will be light. I got in late last night.

Feel free to use this as an open thread.


Crazy Pat: other religions worship 'demonic powers'


Graphic: Mike Tidmus

A reader wrote in to Pat Robertson to ask a simple question: whether evangelicals believe their way is the only way to heaven; since those who are Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim have a relationship with God.

Pat's response:
No. They don’t have a relationship. There is the god of the Bible, who is Jehovah. When you see L-O-R-D in caps, that is the name. It’s not Allah, it’s not Brahma, it’s not Shiva, it’s not Vishnu, it’s not Buddha. It is Jehovah God. They don’t have a relationship with him. He is the God of all Gods. These others are mostly demonic powers. Sure they're demons. There are many demons in the world.
People for the American Way's blog, Right Wing Watch, has the video.

Even the White House caught on that Crazy Pat is unhinged. David Kuo, author of Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction, and former number two at the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, said that administration officials referred to "Pat Robertson as 'insane,' Jerry Falwell as 'ridiculous,' and that James Dobson 'had to be controlled.'"


Repeal of DADT to be considered in next Congress

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell needs to die, and Massachusetts Rep. Marty Meehan plans to hold congressional hearings (he's likely to serve as chair) to discuss its repeal.

This was not possible when the GOP was in control of the House, when homophobe Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA), was chair of the House Armed Services Committee -- he bottled the bill up. (Boston.com):
"We will have hearings, and then we can have an honest dialogue with members of Congress," Meehan said.

"I believe, and have always believed, that once people see the facts, it will become clear that this is a policy that actually hurts national security and hurts the military."

Meehan said the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, Representative Ike Skelton of Missouri, is considering him to lead the new subcommittee on oversight. Meehan would bring the issue before his subcommittee and could press for the full committee to examine it as well.

Meehan's proposed change was backed yesterday by Representative Barney Frank, a Newton Democrat who is openly gay.
It will be interesting to hear Frank speak on this topic (he's here in Houston at the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute's International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference).

The naysayers are already expecting a brawl and bigotry over this, despite the desperate condition the military forces are in regarding recruiting, retention, and loss of specialists who are canned because of DADT. The old hoary arguments will surface again.
Republicans, some Democrats, and the Pentagon are likely to fight Meehan's plan. They argue that "don't ask, don't tell" protects morale and maintains the cohesion of military units.

Democrats would be better off shelving the issue until legislative hearings on broader military personnel issues, such as expansion of the recruitment field and retention of soldiers, said Michael O'Hanlon, a defense specialist at the liberal Brookings Institution.

"You don't want it to be 'Democrats against the military,' " O'Hanlon said. "People don't like the military being the laboratory for these sort of things. This is not the same kind of civil rights issue as racial integration. "
Oh it isn't? And what, pray tell, are the differences that will affect the ability of our military to use its best and brightest servicemembers? The public is ready for change.

According to SLDN, 4 out of 5 Americans support gays serving openly in the military. There are Republicans and Democrats on board for the repeal of DADT -- 123 members of Congress have co-sponsored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act.


PA school board VP: gay-straight alliance is 'sex club' and 'faggots'

When the vast majority of Pennsylvania students report hearing homophobic remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" (82%), or the expressions "that’s so gay" or "you’re so gay" (93%) from other students while in school, you'd think the school board wouldn't partake in the bigotry, but in Pennsylvania, one has no problem uttering slurs in a meeting. (Beaver County Times):
Mary Jo Kehoe of Economy told the board Wednesday she couldn't believe her ears so she jotted down what Ambridge School Board Vice President William Scherfel said when he referred to the high school's new Gay-Straight Alliance group as a "sex club" during a Nov. 8 work session. She said when two board members tried to correct Scherfel's politically-incorrect blunder by telling him the club's formal name, Scherfel replied, "OK, the faggots."

"I personally found it very offensive," Kehoe said.

Adam Smith of Ambridge, the senior who founded the club, also found Scherfel's words distasteful. He said the club's mission is to promote diversity and confront discrimination and homophobia. He invited Scherfel to a club meeting. He also asked for a written apology and Scherfel's resignation.
It's amusing that in this article, the reporters and editors have taken to calling faggot "The F Word."
Scherfel didn't deny he used "the F-word," but blamed the controversy on politics.
Needless to say, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GSLEN) condemned Mr. Ignorance. The Pittsburgh branch has called for Scherfel's resignation; however, he's defiant and has no plans to step down.
According the Beaver County Times, Scherfel said he grew up in a different generation when certain terms were acceptable in referring to gays and other groups [Oh, please.]. Two other members of the board, including the president, downplayed the severity of Scherfel’s actions.

"People need to understand that this kind of language means something and it hurts people," said GLSEN Deputy Executive Director Eliza Byard. "In fact, it has a very negative impact on school climate for all students. There is no place for this sort of language anywhere, let alone by an education official at a public meeting."
Hat tip, Val and Right Wing Watch.

Also:
* PA wingnuts: ban Gay-Straight Alliance or face God's wrath
* Georgia wingnut equates Gay-Straight Alliance club with pedophile, gambling orgs
* Rowan County, NC schools ban gay-straight alliance
* PFOX's "Ex-Gay" & "Everstraight" Student Clubs


AIDS group calls for end of marginalization of the black gay population

"It is a national tragedy that the AIDS crisis has continued unabated in the African-American community for so many years."
-- Beny Primm, M.D., chair emeritus, National Minority AIDS Council
A new report released Thursday by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), "African Americans, Health Disparities and HIV/AIDS: Recommendations for Confronting the Epidemic in Black America," examines and makes recommendations on how to close the gap on the sorry statistics in the black community regarding HIV/AIDS.
Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic 25 years ago, African Americans have been overrepresented among those living with and dying from AIDS. The disease continues to affect African Americans more than any other racial/ethnic group in the United States. Today, African Americans comprise only 13% of the U.S. population but account for over half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Over 200,000 African Americans have died of AIDS, half a million are now living with HIV and blacks are 10 times more likely than whites to have AIDS. Confronting this national health disparity is a paramount concern.
NMAC put out this document in advance of World AIDS Day, which is on December 1; it makes strong recommendations to tackle the problem, and some big names -- 30 leaders in the black community -- have signed on to this report. Their voices are sorely needed to address the silence -- and outright homophobia -- that is exacerbating the spread of HIV. The list includes:

* Delegate Donna Christensen, (D-U.S. Virgin Islands)
* Representative John Conyers, (D-MI)
* Robert E. Fullilove, Ed.D., report author, Columbia University
* Representative Barbara Lee, (D-CA)
* Representative Juanita Millender, (D-CA)
* Dr. Beny Primm, M.D., Chair Emeritus, NMAC
* Representative Maxine Waters, (D-CA)
* Phill Wilson, Founder and Executive Director, Black AIDS Institute

One of the five policy solutions targeting the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS is having on the black community addresses the long-standing homophobia that drives black men deep in the closet about their often unsafe, same-sex encounters, while in relationships with women completely unaware that their health are placed at risk.
* Eliminate marginalization of, and stigma and discrimination against, black gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM). African-American MSM is the population hardest hit by HIV, with diagnosis rates twice that among white MSM. Yet currently there is only one HIV prevention program that has been specifically designed for black MSM. Investing in research to implement interventions for black MSM is essential to reversing the epidemic in this population. Promoting leadership among black MSM and sustained capacity-building investments in the organizations that serve them is critical. Efforts to address homophobia and related stigma, discrimination and violence - all of which increase HIV risk among black MSM - are also needed.
The other recommendations:
* Reduce impact of incarceration as driver of new HIV infections. - AIDS cases among incarcerated persons are more than three times that of the general population, and African Americans are disproportionately represented in U.S. prisons. Outdated and inconsistently implemented HIV prevention policies have failed to reduce risk behaviors among prisoners while incarcerated and after their release. Providing routine, voluntary HIV testing for prisoners upon entry and release; making condoms available in correctional facilities; expanding re-entry programs to help prisoners transition back into society; and ensuring that their HIV prevention, substance abuse, mental health and housing needs are met prior to release are key to stopping HIV's spread in the African-American community.

* Reduce role of injection drug use in sustaining the AIDS epidemic. - Among blacks, one in five (19%) new HIV infections is attributed to the sharing of contaminated needles through injection drug use. Reducing the role of injection drug use in the spread of HIV will require an increased investment in education and substance abuse programs designed to prevent people from using injection drugs in the first place and help current users to quit, and establishing needle-exchange programs to minimize the risk of infection from sharing needles.

* Expand proven HIV prevention, diagnosis and care programs. - Far too many African Americans lack accurate information about how HIV is transmitted, prevented and treated. Approximately 250,000 Americans - many of them African American - are unaware that they have HIV. These individuals are not receiving life-saving medical care and may unknowingly transmit HIV to sex- and needle-sharing partners. In addition, African Americans are diagnosed at later stages in the disease more often than other racial/ethnic groups, diminishing medications' effectiveness. Many African Americans also distrust the medical establishment, which only adds to the problem. Establishing and expanding corps of community health workers is a proven, effective and critical bridge between physicians and patients where mistrust of the health care system exists.

* Stabilize communities by increasing affordable housing. - The scarcity of affordable housing faced by many African Americans is at the center of a web of interconnected socioeconomic problems affecting the black community, such as residential segregation, school failure for children and a lack of access to health care, including HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment services. Stabilizing black communities by expanding federal housing programs, such as Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), is central to stemming the African-American AIDS epidemic.
The full report is here.


Thank You, Blend!

I just got the chat transcript and thank you to everyone who tuned in and supported me. I thought the criticisms the judges made were legitimate - my goal going in was "I'm going to show them as many sides of me as I can", figuring that they can train me on the mechanics of radio programming later.

I guess I figured right.

Also, my wife gives everyone big hugs for the PayPal donation. You don't realize how desperate we've gotten, going from 2.5 incomes to .5 incomes, struggling to get by. I hope to give a voice for all the regular working poor folks like us.

I'm also going to be regularly featuring gay issues, probably in an interview segment with a prominent lesbian blogger. If anyone has any nominations... It's criminal that Democrats and alleged Progressives aren't more vocal and unambiguous about supporting gay civil rights.

I had a line that I didn't get to deliver, no thanks to my audience question about Murtha (in my head: "Guess what? I don't care that much!") that ate up three minutes. I was going to talk more about how this straight white guy from the Pacific Northwest writes for black Southern lesbian's blog, and how that's what makes America great, how we have more in common than not, that as Americans we share common values, one of which is (or should be): mind yer own f*#&in business.

Also, how the issue is very dear to me because I'm at least 1/8th gay. My grandfather was gay, my mother is gay, and my youngest brother is gay. No, wait, I mean "left handed". Yeah, that's it, Grandpa, Mom, and Li'l Bro are all left handed. Sorry, I confuse the two because both are about as relevant to me when I'm judging someone.

Think about it. 10% of the population is left handed. When my mom and grandpa were growing up, that was considered "unnatural". Schoolteachers forced my mom to write with her right hand through most of her early years because "that's what is normal". Eventually we realized as a culture that left handedness was just a naturally occuring flip of a genetic switch that really doesn't impact the potential or character of a person

We don't try to force left handers to be righties anymore. They get along just fine, they make a few adjustments to fit within a right handed world, and it is no big deal.

I was then going to go into the Oregon stories of Debbie & Christie Ross and Henrietta Beigh & Andrea Uhreah (I think that's the name). Debbie used to be Donald, and married Christie, and then went M2F transsexual. Their marriage is still recognized and legal in all fifty states. Henrietta and Andrea used to be Henry and Andrew, and both became women, but not at the same time, and during the time Henry was still Henry but Andy was Andrea, they got married, and their marriage is legally recognized in all fifty states.

So, what this really comes down to is a one penis at the altar requirement. After the vows are exchanged, you can dispose of the penis. Or, I suppose, add another penis. Or are only male-to-female lesbian marriages okay?

By the way, Henrietta & Andrea's Oregon license plate is 2M2FTS.

Love you all, thanks for all your support!

--"Radical" Russ
Changing the world, one person at a time...


Papa Ratzi reaffirms priest celibacy rule

Friday, November 17, 2006


Pope graphic by Mike Tidmus

The Prada Pope had to put yet another fire out today. First, it was the homos, who he had to set straight (so to speak), letting them know that they were welcome in the church, but they cannot take communion and are disordered. Win some, lose some.

This time around, he's having to slap down an excommunicated bishop who called for a review of the celibacy rules for priests.
A Vatican summit led by Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed mandatory celibacy for priests Thursday, rebuffing a high-profile crusade by a married African archbishop who has been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

In a statement after the three-hour meeting, the Vatican said: "The value of the choice of priestly celibacy, according to Catholic tradition, has been reaffirmed."

In announcing the summit earlier this week, the Vatican said it would examine "the situation created by the disobedience of Monsignor Emmanuel Milingo."

Milingo, of Zambia, incurred automatic excommunication in September when he ordained four married American men as bishops in defiance of the Vatican. He already had drawn the Vatican's ire in 2001, when he took a South Korean woman as his wife in a group wedding ceremony of the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
The mini uprising sounds like it will continue, challenging Ratzi's edict. One of the married priests says that the charismatic Milingo, who still has the ability to ordain bishops and priests, may continue, causing a schism in the church.

BTW, according to the article, there are an estimated 100,000 married priests worldwide -- 25,000 of them in the U.S.


This and that in the mailbag - open thread

The traveling sucked today. My flight was delayed for two hours, so I sat in RDU flipping through the election issue of Newsweek, walking around, killing time. I was on Continental for the first time in years; it is the only airline that still serves more than a tiny sack of trail mix these days. I got a little tray with some parmesan/gouda cheese food spread and some table water crackers (that was fine), a vacuum sealed package of nasty looking salami slices (no way I was eating that), trail mix (ok), and plain M&Ms (nope).

Oh -- they confiscated my tube of Vaseline lip gloss during the liquids and gels sweep in security. I forgot it and it was in one of my carry-ons. That reminds me of the last trip and a story I forgot to tell you all.

When I went to DC for the CNN gig, I had a ludicrous experience in the airport on the way there -- the new TSA rule is that you can bring liquids and gels on only if they are 3 oz or less and can fit in a ziploc bag.

I had a couple of items in there since I was traveling light, and I think I had a gallon size ziploc bag in my carry-on with: a stick deodorant, a small tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a 3 oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap, and hand lotion. The Dr. Bronner's I had in a separate, really small ziploc (smaller than quart size) within the larger bag, just in case it might leak.

I get to the counter where you're supposed to show them any liquids or gels and I pull out the ziploc. The TSA worker says "you can't take that." I ask why. He says only quart-size ziplocs are allowed. I stare at him dumbfounded and point to the bag and said "the items I have would fit in a quart bag." He tells me it doesn't matter.

So I take out the tiny ziploc with the Dr. Bronner's in it and add the toothpaste and hand lotion, leaving only the toothbrush and deodorant in the gallon bag and hold it up to him and ask "will this work?"

He then lets me through. Insane.

***

Anyway, a lot has piled up in the mailbag while I was in transit here to Houston.



* Soulforce is looking for young folks to participate in round 2 of its Soulforce Equality Ride. Earlier this year, the project visited 19 Christian and military universities who ban the enrollment of LGBT students. I was contacted by Katie Higgins, Director of Operations for Soulforce Young Adult Activism, and she described the effort.
We seek dialogue at each of these schools and that process has already begun for the 2007 Ride. Last week over 100 letters were mailed to the presidents of schools we could possibly visit and their responses have started to come back in: Yellow Baptist College in Montana wrote back, 'No thank you.' , Union University in Jackson, TN told us that our attempt to visit their school last year has sparked many debates and discussions on the issue and that there is no room for us to come on their spring schedule this year. Well, I say to them that there is no room for their bigotry on my schedule, so we'll see you soon. Not all of the schools have had that same reaction though, some have already started the process of building a day with us that will host school-sponsored Equality Ride events.

We need Equality Riders. I am asking for 50 of my peers to step up and answer the call to activism that has been twitching in the back of their minds. The Soulforce Equality Ride is an all-expense paid journey into the hearts and minds of America that will bring the Riders and the students of these schools to a deeper understanding of themselves and their surrounding world. Equality Riders are quite often the first open and affirming LGBT and allied voices that have ever been heard on thess campuses.

We will fly Riders out to Austin, TX at the start of 2007 for a five day training and then back out to Minneapolis, MN in March for the start of the Ride. One bus will travel east (and to the deep south) and the other west, covering more ground than 2006 and talking to even more students.
Here's how you can apply to be a rider.

* Peterson Toscano alerted me to bleatings by "ex-gay for pay" Randy Thomas, Exodus International's Director of Membership on the Adam Carolla show. Apparently Thomas is claiming that no one is forced into these pray away the gay camps.
Randy: We provide help for those who have unwanted homosexuality live their lives in a way congruent with their faith.
Carolla: So you have to not want to be gay. You can't be wrestled in by a family member. You have to want to be in this program.
Randy: Absolutely. We respect a person's right to self-determination.
You might recall the story of sixteen-year-old Zach, who was forced last year by his parents into Exodus's Love in Action/Refuge program. How does Thomas square that with his comments?

* Daniel at Ex-Gay Watch passed on this batsh*t insanity about Crazy Pat Robertson's "Bible-Based Foreign Policy Expertise."
Now how about this as a solution? … Why not, if George Bush wants to get clever, why not go to the Syrians and say 'OK, Mr. Assad, we're going to work out a merger between Syria and Iraq. The only requirement is that you make peace down here with Israel, that you get your hands off Lebanon, don't try to interfere the affairs of Lebanon. And in the process, you're going to have access to these huge oil fields in the north and in the south [of Iraq]. And to the Iraqis, you're going to have a port on the Mediterranean that you don't have, and you will have a big territory … This could isolate Iran.
* The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy has a new report up, "And Justice For All? Litigation, Politics, and the State of Marriage Equality Today," by Suzanne B. Goldberg of Columbia Law School, that you can download.

* Autumn points to a new slur that's sure to catch on with the transphobes -- transvestitutes. Apparently this was coined by Atlanta's Midtown Ponce Security Alliance, the security council of the Midtown Neighbors Association. The group's president, Peggy Denby, defends the term, saying she simply wants trans prostitutes out of the neighborhood. From Diana Bagby's editorial in the Southern Voice:
Even the security alliance's official October 2006 safety report states: "Sgt. Miller stressed that the transvestitutes on our streets are dangerous and one should exercise caution around them. Most of them are doing so to support a drugs habit, making them irrational and potentially violent. They also carry blades and pepper spray, and are quick to attack residents when challenged or observed (especially when taking pictures or observing with binoculars)."
* Joe My God has a post up thanking escort Mike Jones, who took exposed hypocrite Ted Haggard -- and there's a way to PayPal to hat tip Jones, who is, as you know, unemployable since that outing. The unlikely hero's also received death threats (probably from some of those "good Christians) because of what he's done.

* Wingnuts launch a campaign against Library of Congress for accepting papers of pioneer gay activist Frank Kameny (see Towleroad). Apparently Porno Pete got his knickers in a twist over it as well. Look at the hysterical title of his screed: 'Gay' Hero Frank Kameny Calls Believers "Christianofascists"; Library of Congress Honors "Gay Is Godly" Atheist.

* Speaking of the leather-loving one, Peter is trying to help out a petition effort to stop a screening of Brokeback Mountain at Seton Hall University, a Catholic institution. The TFP Student Action group's "urgent action" item directed to Msgr. Robert Sheeran, the president of Seton Hall is sad; it's almost as if PP wrote it himself.
Dear Msgr. Sheeran:

I am shocked the Seton Hall Arts Council plans to show Brokeback Mountain on November 20. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops classified this pro-homosexual film as "morally offensive."

The film approves same-sex relations, adultery, nudity, profanity and drug use. It is a blow to the Catholic identity of Seton Hall University, to America's Christian roots, the institution of the family and very foundations of morality and society.

I will be deeply hurt as a Christian if Brokeback Mountain is not canceled at Seton Hall University, a Catholic institution. Together with thousands of TFP Student Action members, I prayerfully urge you to cancel the film. Thank you.
* A couple of you sent in this one: Homosexual Animals Out of the Closet. The University of Oslo's Natural History Museum, in Norway, has an exhibit of 51 species of of animals where homosexuality has been documented (out of 1,500 species where it has been observed). In the same vein, a gay penguin book blows a few minds in an Illinois school (it also sets off the Freepi).


Pentagon: homosexuality a defect -- just like bet-wetting and fear of flying

Good night. This "upgrade" is so asinine that I can hardly believe it. The military is jumping through hoops to avoid releasing any guidelines that view homosexuality as normal.
The new rules are related to the military's retirement practices. The change does not affect the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex lives of service members and requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

The revision came in response to criticism this year when it was discovered that the guidelines listed homosexuality alongside mental retardation and personality disorders.

Mental health professionals said Thursday they were not satisfied by the change.

"We appreciate your good-faith effort to address our concern that the document was not medically accurate," James H. Scully, head of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "But we remain concerned because we believe that the revised document lacks the clarity necessary to resolve the issue."
Among other conditions, homos are compared to those suffering from stammering or stuttering, dyslexia, sleepwalking, motion sickness, obesity, and insect venom allergies. It simply has to end. Are any of the above-mentioned grounds to disqualify one from serving? I hardly think that motion sickness precludes anyone from serving either. This is BS.

The Michael D. Palm Center (formerly the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military) released a statement.
Congressman Marty Meehan and the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association sent letters to the Defense Department this week protesting a recently-revised military instruction which now suggests that homosexuality is a defect. Meehan (D-MA) is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the APA's are professional associations whose members, combined, include more than 185,000 mental health professionals.

...In this week's letter, the American Psychological Association asked the Pentagon to revise the instruction again so as to "eliminate the continued stigmatization of homosexuality as a defect." Meehan said that, "it is my strong belief that homosexuality is in no way a defect and that there is no scientific reason to include it in such a list." And the American Psychiatric Association, which declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, noted that, "homosexuality is not a defect...but could be construed as one by its inclusion in this section."

Some military observers suggested that the regulatory revision looks like an effort by the Pentagon to stigmatize gays, since the modification adds the word, "defects" to what had previously been classified as "conditions." Dr. Aaron Belkin, Director of the Michael D. Palm Center, a research institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said he was surprised by the move. "It is inconsistent with scientific evidence to suggest that homosexuality is a defect," he said. "That the Pentagon would classify homosexuality this way in 2006 may raise questions about its motives or understanding of gay and lesbian service members."
Remember, all branches of the military have resorted to lowering standards, including recruiting people with antisocial personality disorder, autism, as well as welcoming in folks convicted of aggravated assault, robbery, vehicular manslaughter, receiving stolen property and making terrorist threats.

Meanwhile, able and ready gay and lesbian servicemembers are stigmatized and marginalized in a time of need.

Also:
* Military mess


WND columnist: Republican Party + homosexuals = anti-life

Oh lord, here we go again. This time it's the bleatings of Jill Stanek, "one of the 30 most prominent pro-life leaders of the past 30 years," according to World Magazine. She's got a column up at WingNutDaily that the Homosexual Agenda and "pro-abortion" forces are teaming up to destroy society. Peter LaBarbera makes a guest appearance in the column with some unhinged rantings.
...the homosexual and abortion lobbies are evil twins with the same agenda. Both want the freedom to commit illicit sex without physical or moral consequences.

...Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth explained, "What unifies the abortion and homosexuality lobbies is selfishness: One says their right to kill unborn children is based on control over 'their own body.' The other says their right to practice homosexual behavior takes precedence over moral-based laws such as sodomy laws. They are now pushing the debate toward 'sexual freedom' rather than rights based on 'sexual orientation.'"
Good grief. How does that square with gays who might be "pro-life," for instance? Oh geez, why am I bothering with that one. The insanity continues.
Homosexual activists push comprehensive sex ed, too, which promotes gay sex. The goal of the gay/abortion lobbies here is the same: Talk up sex to titillate kids to enter into promiscuous hetero- or homosexual lifestyles while calling the behavior normal. Gays get fresh meat, and pro-aborts get customers.

The groups have parallel talking points. For instance, most abortions are simply methods of birth control used after illicit sex. If there were no illicit sex, there would be hardly any abortions. But the abortion lobby focuses us on the "hard cases" – rape, incest, handicapped babies, life of the mother – to legitimize all.

Likewise, AIDS is a disease usually transmitted via unnatural sex that causes tears in mucosal lining by which a killer virus enters into the body. If there were no homosexual sex, AIDS would not be pandemic.
Jesus, what about Africa or Asia where het sex is the primary means of transmission of HIV -- is she simply blind to what is occurring? Oh that's right, I guess those continents with "colored people" don't rate in a discussion on the pandemic -- those people don't matter. It's all homos, all the time.

***

Porno Pete weighs in on the Transgender Agenda

Speaking of the Americans for Truth honcho, I see Peter LaBarbera's broadening his scope of practice, and has established a TG Agenda to fight. According to Pete we have formed a conspiracy to destroy the sanctity of marriage through "gender confusion." (AgapePress):
The New York City Board of Health is considering a radical new proposal that would allow people to change their gender on paper, without regard to their God-given anatomy and without the necessity of any surgical or other physical alterations. One pro-family advocate believes same-sex "marriage" activists have an ulterior motive in pushing this plan. New York City is moving forward with the proposal, which would let people alter the sex listed on their birth certificate, even if they have not had sex-reassignment surgery.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, says this new approach to sex-redefinition has a purpose. "The transgender agenda may be the way that the homosexuals secure so-called gay marriage," he suggests. "What they're doing is they're saying gender is what you want it to be instead of what it's biologically created to be by God."

It is preposterous, LaBarbera contends, for a person to simply decide what his or her gender is when "for the vast, vast majority of people, they have biology to tell them." The Americans for Truth spokesman says he believes this campaign to redefine gender "is the most radical movement, I think, in the whole agenda." The New York City Board of Health is expected to vote on the proposal in December, and it is expected to pass.


Off to Houston

I was asked to serve on a panel at the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute's International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference a little while back, to discuss the election. This was actually booked before the CNN gig.

I'll be landing in Houston when this panel starts on Friday; too bad I'll miss it (here's the sched):
beyond foley: the future of the closet
Perhaps Gov. Jim McGreevey said it best recently; "The closet is a sick place." Revelations about politicians and pastors have put the issue of the closet in the spotlight, and voters may be primed to favor openly LGBT cnadidates and public officials over those who are unwilling to be honest about their lives. Panelists will discuss coming out in the public arena, the future for openly LGBT officials and fallout from the Mark Foley scandal.
As far as my panel goes, one can only hope that I have something interesting to contribute on Saturday morning along with these folks...
election analysts roundtable
In our Election Analysts Roundtable, nationally renowned political commentators, strategists and consultants will discuss the current state of LGBT politics, give a recap of the 2006 elections and look ahead to the critical 2008 races.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Governor Howard Dean
Chairman, Democratic National Committee

PANELISTS
Celinda Lake Democratic Pollster
Pam Spaulding Pam's House Blend
Patrick Guerriero Executive Director, Gill Action
Richard W. Murray, Ph.D. Director, Univ. of Houston Center for Public Policy; Professor, Political Science, Univ. of Houston
Donna Dasko
Senior Vice President, Environics Research Group Limited

MODERATOR
Ari Shapiro
Justice Report, Washington Desk, National Public Radio
Three topics I suggested to Ari Shapiro that we cover --
* the defeat of the Arizona marriage amendment
* the dust-up over Patricia Todd's primary victory in the Dem race for Alabama House District 54 (long story, read these posts)
* addressing black homophobia the impact of the silence by Democratic party at all levels, something that reared its ugly head in the Todd race (I figured if I didn't bring it up, it probably wouldn't be discussed).

***

On my first trip to Texas I visited Arlington, which wasn't a very thrilling city, lol. I did visit Dallas briefly to see the Sixth Floor Museum. I'm flying home Saturday, so I won't get to see much of Houston. I still have not had the pleasure of visiting San Antonio or Austin.

So are there Texan Blenders out there to tell me what there is to see and do in Houston that I'm going to miss out on?


You can't even bleeping curse in the fundie universe

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I think this level of batsh*t wingnuttery is going to drive me over the edge. The fundie campaign to stop outright cursing has now escalated to a need to shield bible-beaters ears from bleeps, their ability to lip read profanity and to digest a double-entendre. Commercials are simply getting too racy for the flat earth society and it is, according to experts in decency, something we should all be concerned about because of "the Bible's warning concerning seduction and deception getting worse and worse."

From Don Wildmon's "news" organ, AgapePress:
Dodge, Comcast, and Volkswagen have all run recent ads utilizing the "bleep" technique to indicate profane words banned by FCC regulations from television and radio between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. In a Dodge commercial for its Caliber model, for example, a Muppet-like character shares that the car "scares the [bleep] out of me." An official with Dodge tells USA Today the marketing ploy for its "Anything But Cute" car is an attempt to "straddle good taste and getting attention." He then adds: "We think we've straddled it quite well."

A Comcast ad promoting high-speed Internet service portrays a man who, after getting a "power boost" from the cable line, blitzes through a kitchen clean-up chore at lightning-fast speed -- to which his wife exclaims: "Holy ...." A spokeswoman for Comcast says the end of the ad is not for shock value but merely to support the idea of making fast Internet performance even faster.

How about a Volkswagen ad promoting the built-in safety features in one of its models? Passengers in a new Passat blurt out "Holy ..." after surviving a crash. Instead of hearing a profanity, viewers hear a voice-over saying "safe happens." VW's general manager for creative content tells USA Today that it was critical in the commercial that both the dialogue and scene be "extremely natural." He contends that "... anyone who's been in an accident, one of the first things you do is curse."
In order to analyze this decline of society, they turn to an expert.
It is unlikely that Bill Johnson, president of the American Decency Association (ADA), would agree with these companies' rationale behind the commercials. Besides pushing the legal and ethical limits, Johnson believes the advertising approach is designed to desensitize the general population.

"This degradation, this desensitization leads to an accommodation and causes an erosion of our ability to recognize the difference between what is pleasing to God and what is not pleasing," says Johnson... "Our nature is being changed and so, therefore, when we are exposed to innuendo and subtleties and deception and seduction, we want to have nothing to do with it," he explains.
Hand this guy the remote control.


Police taser state at UCLA

What the hell is going on in this country? Police were doing a routine check of student IDs at the UCLA's Powell Library computer lab. Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, didn't have his ID with him, so police were called to escort him from the building. He was already leaving when they arrived, but then all hell broke loose.



Without this video, taken with a camera phone, it would have been just another tale of crazy students making sh*t up. You have to see this whole video to see the full flowering of a police state. The screams are blood curdling.

From the Daily Bruin.
By this time the student had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, at which point the student told the officer to let him go. A second officer then approached the student as well.

The student began to yell "get off me," repeating himself several times.

It was at this point that the officers shot the student with a Taser for the first time, causing him to fall to the floor and cry out in pain. The student also told the officers he had a medical condition.

Video shot from a student's camera phone captured the student yelling, "Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power," while he struggled with the officers.

As the student was screaming, UCPD officers repeatedly told him to stand up and said "stop fighting us." The student did not stand up as the officers requested and they shot him with the Taser at least once more.

"It was the most disgusting and vile act I had ever seen in my life," said David Remesnitsky, a 2006 UCLA alumnus who witnessed the incident.

As the student and the officers were struggling, bystanders repeatedly asked the police officers to stop, and at one point officers told the gathered crowd to stand back and threatened to use a Taser on anyone who got too close.

Laila Gordy, a fourth-year economics student who was present in the library during the incident, said police officers threatened to shoot her with a Taser when she asked an officer for his name and his badge number.
An act of civil disobedience -- going limp as police try to force you out of a building, is now grounds for getting you tasered multiple times by campus police? Have the campus police never dealt with a civil protest before, or are they just power-mad with these weapons?


B-1 Bob: homos are "a cancer in my party"

Batsh*t insane former California Representative Bob Dornan is frothing at the possible slate of 2008 GOP hopefuls and sees only a moral cesspool. Even more hilarious, he's toying with the idea of a Constitution Party prez bid since his party is full of homos.


"I can't stand the thought of my party having as its three front-runners three open adulterers, Newt Gingrich, Giuliani, and McCain," Dornan said.

..."We need a fresh face if the Republican Party is going to appeal to an Orthodox Jewish, Evangelical or practicing Catholic."

Aside from adultery, Dornan's other issue is homosexuality, which he called "a cancer in my party."

...Dornan said he'd toyed with the idea of running as the Presidential nominee of the Constitution Party, which holds its New England meeting in Concord on Dec. 1, but is leaning against it after seeing how poorly third parties did in last week's election.
Fun Dornan quote: "Every lesbian spear chucker in this country is hoping I get defeated." - to a Los Angeles television reporter in 1992.

H/t, Americablog.


Our own Russ is America's Next Great Progressive Talk Star!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
We need a new pic of him behind a mic, lol.

And all the Blenders are beaming like proud parents, too. Blend Barista "Radical" Russ Belville did a fantastic job under pressure, edging out fellow contestant Curtis Hannum by one vote -- the tie breaker was cast by progressive radio star Ed Schultz.

I just sent Russ the online chat from the Blend Coffee Klatch, where regulars were following the event live on talkprogress.org.

Check out Russ's "diary" from yesterday as he was prepping for his big event.

If you Paypal a few smackers (see the icon in the right-hand column) by 6PM, I'll pass on the proceeds to Russ so he can enjoy a good night on the town with his wife in celebration of his big win. If it wasn't for her, Russ wouldn't have entered the contest to begin with. She deserves a big thank you.

Onward and upward Russ!


Well, here we go!

Ten minutes to air! Here we go! You can listen live at http://talkprogress.org.


Toys for Tots will now distribute the proselytizing Jesus doll

The fundie uproar clearly had an effect.
The program run by the Marine Corps Reserves had initially decided not to take the 12-inch tall religious figures from a California company because they didn't want to take a chance that the dolls would end up going to someone who might be offended by them.

Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., said Toys for Tots doesn't know anything about the religious affiliations of the children who receive its gifts.

"We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family," Grein said Tuesday. "Kids want a gift for the holiday season that is fun."

But a spokesman told CBS4 Wednesday they changed their minds and decided to accept the dolls from the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co.. Toys for Tots refused further comment.
The Jesus doll with the kung-fu grip sells for $20 and features "63 seconds of Scripture, recorded in an easy-to-memorize style," such as
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me.
There's video at CBS4Boston.

Hat tip, Paul.

***

In an unrelated, kind of oddball story that I post here from time to time, on the same page as the above Jesus article, there is a link to this (men, grab your "boys" for this one).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What is the explanation for that picture, lol?


Lone Star fundies fail to stop alcohol sales

This is really old school hopelessness. A bunch of pastors and churches in Burleson, Texas held a 40-day prayer and fasting protest over a ballot initiative to allow the sale of beer and wine in convenience stores.

They were shocked and disappointed that the measure passed.
Reversing a vote in 2004 on the same question, more than 3,100 voters approved the sale of alcohol in convenience stores in Burleson. Local supporters and city officials hope the change will bring in much-needed revenue and incentivize grocery and convenience store chains, spurring them to move into the area.

...Lighthouse Church Pastor Gloria Gillaspie, a member of the Alliance, says her group wanted to show observers in the community that they felt the move to reauthorize the sale of alcohol was wrong, for moral reasons. In an effort to encourage "no" votes in the referendum, the ministers called for a 40-day period of fasting and prayer, which ended November 7.

"We as ministers and pastors got together and said we must take a stand," Gillaspie notes. She says the group wondered, "What are the young people going to think if the church doesn't say anything? Will they think that we're approving of them drinking?"

...At the very least, Gillaspie says, the Alliance feels good about having called the community's attention to the dangers involved in selling beer and wine in convenience and grocery stores. And in the meantime, she adds, although the warning has not succeeded in stopping the alcohol sales, there are still many opportunities for Christians in Burleson to witness to people concerning the Bible's statements about drinking.
Imagine life in this town with these bible beaters watching everything that you do.


Mitt Romney to attend anti-marriage equality rally


On his knees for the 2008 fundie vote, outgoing Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will appear at a rally at the State House to demand that the legislature vote on a marriage amendment initiative.

The likely GOP prez candidate is of the mind that civil rights should be determined at the ballot box, and hasn't gotten the memo sent by voters (who just elected a governor, Deval Patrick, who supports marriage equality).
Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said the fight won't be over until the people vote.

"Legislators made a serious miscalculation," he said. "Their action strikes at the very heart of democracy. No matter how you may feel about the marriage issue, people have a right to participate in their own government."

Arline Isaacson of the Gay & Lesbian Political Caucus said Romney is using a rally for a lost cause to boost his prospects with conservatives as he weighs a presidential run.

"We're done, we won, it's over," Isaacson said. "No one wants this to continue except for the zealots on the other side and Romney because it helps his race."
Romney can't force the legislature back intp session, so this is another PR stunt. You folks in Massachusetts have to be glad this clown is leaving. Too bad he'll be foisting himself on the rest of us.

Also:
* More bad news for Mitt as he sucks up to the fundies


Russ officially spills the beans on the radio contest

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I just got off the phone with Russ -- he's preparing his set for tomorrow's big event as a finalist in the search for America's Next Great Progressive Talk Star! It's down to the final two and it will all be decided on the air -- live -- tomorrow.

In his zeal to jet to DC, he forgot his cell phone charger, so he asked me to call in and give his hotel phone number to his wife because his cell went dead, tee-hee.

Since Russ was too modest in his earlier non-sequitur posts -- and too cryptic -- to post the details of great news, I'm putting up emails that he sent the other night and today -- he gave permission to "pass it on to anyone who might care" -- so Blenders clearly qualify.
Here I am in a $500/night hotel room on K Street in Washington DC, asking myself, "How the hell did I end up here?"

It's all my wife's fault.

See, one day my wife comes running up the stairs to our apartment, breathlessly telling me about a contest on our local Air America radio station. It's some "American Idol" thing where they are looking for "The Next Great Progressive Talk Radio Star". I had heard the commercial and figured, "Eh." Not so with my wife. She nagged, cajoled, begged, demanded, and insisted that I enter the contest. "This is so YOU," she explained, "I just know you'll win this thing. You've got to do it. It's an opportunity of a lifetime! You've prepared your whole life for this. I'm not going to let you put this off. I'm going to remind you every day..." ALL RIGHT, ALREADY, I'LL DO THE DAMN CONTEST!

So I go in the day before the contest entry was due and laid down two minutes of an audition - little riff on the stupid "War on Christmas" meme. I e-mailed it in and figured, "Eh."

Well, to my surprise, out of over fifty entrants I was chosen to represent Portland in the national contest. Two weeks ago I went head-to-head, live across the nation, against the other seven quarterfinalists. Some were good, some were bad, I figured I was somewhere in the middle. "Eh."

Last week they called to tell me I made the semi-finals. I went in again to face off against the three remaining contestants. The judge on the broadcast said, "Radical Russ just had the show of his life. He nailed it." I was beginning to get a bit nervous about this whole thing. If I win, this would be disastrous - my wife could legitimately say "I told you so!" for the rest of my life!

That leads me to now. I made the Finals. Out of over five-hundred entrants nationwide, myself and Curtis Hannum of Denver are the last two. Clay and Reuben, as it were. This Thursday we go on at 10am Eastern live on The Bill Press Show (check local listings) and on http://talkprogress.org. (I think it will be on Saturday at Noon in Portland on AM 620, and perhaps some live "look-ins" on Thom Hartmann's show Thursday morning). The winner gets a contract with Clear Channel Broadcasting and The Center for American Progress (CAP) for a one-year, nationally-syndicated, weekend progressive talk radio show.

"Eh?... Eh!"

Today I flew from Portland to Minneapolis to DC. I met Curtis - he's a great guy and very funny, and an independent filmmaker. We had dinner with Bill Press, his engineer, and Theo from CAP in Georgetown at a Italian cafe where an entree is twice my entire per-diem and desserts cost $14 and arrive on plates three times larger than the dessert. (Fortunately, dinner was on CAP). Tomorrow morning it's breakfast with Clinton's former Chief of Staff John Podesta, then some studio time, then lunch with Christie Harvey from CAP, then a tour of the Capitol (and perhaps some meetings with freshman congressmen), then dinner with the ThinkProgress.org team. Thursday it's go-time, then press interviews, then a flight home.

And maybe the title of "America's Next Great Progressive Talk Star."

Please pass this on to anyone who might care -- I don't have everyone's e-mail addresses out on the road. And mucho thanks to everyone who encouraged me, supported me, and congratulated me -- you've all been the self-confidence I sometimes lack.

--"Radical" Russ Belville
***

Here's today's update, now that the cat is out of the bag. Russ revealed more details about his adventures in Washington.
Washington is just awesome, and that's a word I try not to misuse. Today we had breakfast with John Podesta (Clinton's former chief of staff and head of Center for American Progress [CAP]). I got to learn some interesting things about the President and a great story about one of his trips to Pakistan.

Then it was off to the studio to record some bits for the show tomorrow. I managed to get a Radical Russ show intro done, a commercial skit about anti-gay Republican hypocrisy, a menacing soundbite about the War on Drugs, and an opening for a spot I'm calling "The God Squad". The engineer was a genius; we managed to lay all of that down in one hour.

While the other contestant, Curtis Hannum from Denver, recorded his hour, I walked four blocks down K street to the offices of NORML. I got to meet Erin, the coordinator for all the state branches (read: our champion and cheerleader at National), which was fun since she wrote the paragraphs about me for High Times magazine this month (page 32, on your newsstands now).

Then it was off to lunch with Christie Harvey (from CAP; you've heard her on Franken's show), Theo (our host), and Grant from MicCheckRadio.org (a daily news source for talk radio pros) to discuss more about the show and talk Washington politics -- it's much more interesting when you know they know these people personally (interesting fact: Robert Novak is, indeed, a douchebag).

Afterwards we went to the Capitol for a tour - wow, what an amazing experience. I stood where John Adams' desk was. Great story: the original House chamber is an elliptical parabola. Adams' party's desks were on one side, the opposition on the other side of the room. Adams, understanding the acoustics, used to sit nonchalantly at his desk while his opposition stood on the other side of the room discussing strategy. The echo in a parabola is such that if a speaker is at one point and a listener is at the other, the listener can hear the speaker as if he were standing right next to him (the tour guide demonstrated this effect). So guess who was in charge of positioning the desks just exactly so Adams could eavesdrop on all their conversations? The opposition never even realized this until Adams had a stroke at his desk. When a few of them rushed over to help, they couldn't help but hear their buddies still across the room... and the secret was out.

We had three hours to kill until dinner, so I walked down the Capitol Mall. Do you realize it is three miles from the Capitol to the Washington Memorial to the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial? Neither did I, but now me and my feet will never forget. I took all the touristy pictures, thought about Dr. King's epic speech, and just stood in awe of Lincoln.

Then I headed to the Vietnam Memorial. I was too young to even remember Vietnam. No one in my family, to my knowledge, ever served there. Other than the medical marijuana patients I work with, I really don't know any Nam vets. And yet, as I walked down that wall, watching the black slabs grow taller and taller, representing the years of the war, seeing all those names of husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons who never came back, I began to sob. Not misty; I mean full-on Old-Yeller-just-shot tears streaming down my face. I grew angry as I thought about how 58,000 names looked back at me, asking "What for?" I grew sad as I thought about how we'd create the next memorial for the Iraquagmire. How tall will it grow? How many names are going to scream out for eternity "What for?"

My walk back to the hotel took me past the south lawn of the White House. Still angry, I defiantly raised my hand, made half of a peace sign, and screamed, "Fuck you, George Bush!" Free speech always makes me feel better.

We just got back from an Indian restaurant and dinner with five of the twenty-somethings who work for CAP, writing the ThinkProgress blog, and so forth. Once again, any item on the menu was priced higher than my wife and I's budget for dining out for a month and the food was tiny little portions on plates bigger than my head... and I gots a big head! Curtis and I then walked back up D street, took pictures at Ford's Theater and the House Where Lincoln Died, and returned to our rooms, where I'm now writing this.

Tomorrow I'm on the show. I'm 2nd, so my segments will be on between 11:08am - 11:38am Eastern. You can listen live at TalkProgress.org. The show is rebroadcast in the Portland area at Noon Saturday on AM 620 KPOJ. And, if luck holds and there are no breaking stories on The Hill, C-SPAN may be broadcasting the show live.

Marrying that persistent redhead was the best thing I ever did in my life.
***

Besides being entertaining and well-informed on the air, Russ, you have a great sense of timing and pacing, which is critical on radio. From the perspective of the judges, it's clear you have the chops that they can work with to develop into a new progressive talent on the air. We're pulling for you here in the coffeehouse!


This wife beater is not a t-shirt

More GOP family values; pull out the tiny violin for a pol in Minnesota.

Apparently Rep. Mark Olson shoved his wife to the ground several times, leaving bruises, which were observed by sheriff's deputies called to the home at the time of the incident.
With a Bible in his hand and looking haggard from two nights behind bars, Rep. Mark Olson, R-Big Lake, walked out of the Sherburne County jail Tuesday seeking forgiveness from his wife, the public and God after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of domestic assault after an incident Sunday at his home.

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Olson, 51, who was just elected to his eighth term in the Legislature, stopped short of acknowledging guilt for the charges.

"I have failed terribly in my family affairs. I'm grateful for my wife's strength to speak up. First of all I need God's forgiveness and I need my wife's forgiveness and my family's. Then I need the public's forgiveness and all other officials I've done harm to." Olson was released without bail. He was ordered to stay away from his wife and children and from their home.
Olsen said he has not considered resigning.

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There's audio of this sad sack begging for forgiveness in front of reporters. Perhaps he should have though about anger management and responsibility before he worked over his spouse.

Fun fact: Mark Olson is also listed in the Minnesota Young Republicans' Hall of Fame.

For more on this, including copies of the police report, head over to Dump Mark Olson.


Karl knows what's in the White House closets

Apparently even though Turdblossom laid a big smelly one this election cycle by engineering the loss of the House and Senate with his overconfidence, he'll be staying on with Dear Leader till the end of his term.

White House insiders are calling for Rove's head, and the master is displeased, but Rove's not going anywhere.

Why? Bush is afraid he'll do a tell-all.
Administration sources said Mr. Rove has sought to stay with Mr. Bush until the end of his presidency. The sources said despite pressure on the president to reshuffle his staff for 2007, Mr. Bush wants Mr. Rove by his side.

"He knows too much," a source said. "The last thing the president wants is another published memoir and book tour of life inside the White House."

The sources said Mr. Bush was unhappy with the failure of Mr. Rove's election strategy, which focused on national security. They said the GOP defeat would probably lead to a different relationship between the two men.

For his part, the president appeared to blame Mr. Rove for the Republican Party’s election strategy, based on the notion that there would not be a significant swing vote. In a jocular tone that accompanied a steely gaze, Mr. Bush portrayed himself as working the campaign circuit while Mr. Rove sat in the White House strategizing.

"I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he was," Mr. Bush said of Mr. Rove.
Ah, here's a thread for wild, unadulterated speculation -- what does Karl Rove know that scares the Chimpster?


Noms are open for the 2006 Weblog Awards

It's that time of year again...

Wizbang is sponsoring the 2006 Weblog Awards and you can nominate your favorite blogs in 46 categories, including Best LGBT Blog, which, thanks to all of you out there, the Blend won last time around. The icon for the awards is over on the sidebar.

There will be 10 or finalists for each category (it depends on the category). Just leave a comment in the associated nomination post with the blog name and URL, for example:

Pam's House Blend
http://www.pamshouseblend.com
http://feeds.feedburner.com/PamsHouseBlend

One nomination is enough, according to the rules (Miss Wild Thing said she already nominated PHB in the LGBT category so we're off the hook!). Nominations close November 24. Voting will begin the first week of December.

The most interesting part of the nomination process is to see all of these blogs listed that you've not heard of -- it gives you a chance to read really interesting points of view that are out there. Surf over and take a look.


Polish exchange student: 'My Half-Year of Hell With Christian Fundamentalists'

Poor Polish student Michael Gromek. The 19-year-old came here to North Carolina on a student exchange, and he was placed with a fundie host family. For six months, he was trapped in their world, learning about sin and being on the receiving end of attempts to cleanse his soul of satanic influence.

This is not the first impression of the U.S. that you want to give someone from abroad. Even worse, this is a heinous first impression of the South. We're not all a bunch of fundie crazies, but what else would you believe after an experience like this? (Spiegel Online):
"When I got out of the plane in Greensboro in the US state of North Carolina, I would never have expected my host family to welcome me at the airport, wielding a Bible, and saying, 'Child, our Lord sent you half-way around the world to bring you to us.' At that moment I just wanted to turn round and run back to the plane.

Things began to go wrong as soon as I arrived in my new home in Winston-Salem, where I was to spend my year abroad. For example, every Monday my host family would gather around the kitchen table to talk about sex. My host parents hadn't had sex for the last 17 years because -- so they told me -- they were devoting their lives to God. They also wanted to know whether I drank alcohol. I admitted that I liked beer and wine. They told me I had the devil in my heart.
OK, see what happens when you cannot release that pent up sexual tension in a productive, healthy way -- it makes you nuts. Gromek knew that he had to get out of there -- these folks had plans for him.
Then, seeing as we were already on the topic of God's will, the religious zealots finally brought up a subject which had clearly been on their minds for a long time: They wanted me to help them set up a Fundamentalist Baptist church in my home country of Poland. It was God's will, they said. They tried to slip the topic casually into conversation, but it really shocked me -- I realized that was the only reason they had welcomed me into their family. They had already started construction work in Krakow -- I was to help them with translations and with spreading their faith via the media.
He finally requested a new host family after 4 months of this, and lo and behold, his fundie family started acting less-than-Christian towards him.
From that moment on, I counted the days. The two months that followed my decision were hell. My host parents detested me. There were constant rows. I could sense that they just wanted to get rid of me. They didn't know what to do with me any more.
His new host family -- still in NC -- proved to be a good, sane match -- whew.

Many thanks to coturnix to pointing me to this first-person tale of horror.


Non Sequitur of the Day, Part III

Clinton's former chief-of-staff John Podesta is a very nice fellow.

Washington DC is unseasonably warm lately.

Christie Harvey from the Center for American Progress is about to do a live spot on Al Franken's show.

So I'm told. I, of course, would have no way of knowing these things personally. Portland, Oregon, is a long way away from Washington DC.

These non sequiturs brought to you by my inability to keep a friggin' secret...


Poll shows Iraq, not the homostraw man, was focus of voters

No surprise. Fundies and the Rove Machine, it's time to put away the bibles and the homostraw man. While Dear Leader was f*cking up Iraq -- and you were focusing on everyone else's bedroom proclivities -- the swing voters you needed for a GOP win slipped from your slimy grasp. The voters are simply not in sync with what your "moral issues" when it comes to priorities.

An exit poll, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, has been released, and it shows where faith voters stand on major issues -- and the priorities would like to see addressed in the new Congress. Punishing gays and lesbians is not at the top the agenda, no matter how hard you are bleating to the sheeple already in your camp.

Some of the findings:
-- Faith groups urging people to vote according to kitchen table moral issues had a 20-point higher national favorability rating and a 20-point lower unfavorable rating than religious groups urging people to vote according to abortion and same-sex marriage. This difference was even starker between Catholic groups.

-- In Ohio -- an epicenter of faith organizing -- religious groups urging people to vote according to kitchen table moral issues had a 25-point higher favorability rating and a 26-point lower unfavorable rating than those urging people to vote according to the wedge issues.

-- Iraq was considered the "moral issue that most affected your vote" by 45.8 percent of voters, almost 6 times as many voters as abortion and almost 5 times as many as same-sex marriage.

-- Poverty and economic justice topped the list of "most urgent moral problem in American culture."

-- Asked to name the most important value guiding their vote, 67 percent of Catholics chose "A commitment to the common good -- the good of all not just the few" while 22 percent chose "Opposing policies such as legal abortion, gay marriage, and embryonic stem cell research."
How will this shape the candidates the GOP will field in 2008, or are they going to stick to the usual boogeymen of the "brown menace", sexually wanton women aborting their fetuses (so they can f*ck), and the gay predator to scare up votes?

***

What we can learn about Arizona's marriage ban failure
?

The always excellent Glenn Greenwald has a piece up at Salon talks about the libertarian streak in the state and how, even the result wasn't a clear message of support for marriage equality, those casting a ballot against the measure sent an equally important message -- get out of my bedroom and stop trying to control our lives.
...the successful campaign to defeat the Arizona referendum was based on a generalized libertarian aversion to governmental intrusion into the private sphere, rather than support for gay marriage per se. And therein lies the most significant lesson to be drawn from the weakening support for these referendums in 2006 -- namely, the rejection by Western states of the activist social conservative agenda that has fueled the Republican Party's dominance of the South.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that evangelical social conservatism as a political doctrine sharply conflicts with the libertarian political ethos of the Mountain West. In South Dakota, for example, only 17 of 66 counties voted against the gay marriage ban, but 11 of those counties were west of the Missouri River, where the Great Plains begin to become Badlands and the Midwest turns into the West. "As you move west, voters tend to be less evangelical and more libertarian," said Jon Schaff, who teaches at Northern State University in South Dakota. "They're saying they simply want government to leave them alone."
The fundies simply don't understand why they lost, particularly in Arizona (and in South Dakota on the abortion ban). Take a look at the comments by some of the Concerned Women for America activists.
We in Arizona do not feel that the defeat of the Protect Marriage Amendment is a victory for the homosexual agenda. Our state law recognizes marriage as only between one man and one woman. Nevertheless, we will continue to educate our fellow citizens on the fact that judicial actions, such as in Massachusetts and New Jersey, can happen here in Arizona if the sanctity of marriage is not protected in our state constitution.
-- Sally Mikesell, CWA of Arizona State Director

All I can say is that if this election is any indication of the moral state of this nation, then the church has a whole lot of work to do! I'm so glad I know that partisan politics is not the solution to our nation's problems. As always, prayer is the essential element to restore this nation to its roots.
-- Maureen Richardson, CWA of Washington State Director

The abortion ban lost 55 percent to 44 percent. I believe that the practice of abortion has been entrenched in our culture for 33 years. A whole generation has grown up under this culture of death with the assumption that if it is legal it must be right. It's difficult to change that mindset. Looking on the positive side, we raised awareness. We educated citizens to the fact that abortion kills a unique human being, and it hurts women and families. Women who have kept the secret of their abortion for years have felt comfortable to come forward to tell their story of regret. This has initiated the healing process of their emotional pain.

The marriage amendment passed with a 52 percent to 48 percent vote. That margin is very embarrassing. The other side confused the voters regarding the language of the amendment. They falsely claimed that it would deny benefits and protections, such as domestic violence protections and legal protections to non-marital persons, homosexual and heterosexual. They touted the discrimination line, too. However, in the end, we still won, and for that we are grateful.
-- Linda Schauer, CWA of South Dakota State Director

Republicans suffered many casualties in 2006 election, but the wounds were self-inflicted. They abandoned the moral issues that brought them victory in 2002 and 2004. Yet, these issues continue to win at the polls. Voters passed bans on "same-sex marriage," and voted against legalizing marijuana. Voters proved they are not beholden to any party, but values will be upheld!
-- Tamara Scott, CWA of Iowa State Director

Tuesday was a wake-up call. We must rebuild and regroup as we look ahead to the legislative session, educating the electorate and encouraging our grassroots to stay in the important battle for our children. We stand on solid ground. If we unwaveringly hold to our principles, we will ultimately prevail.
Cathy Gibson, CWA of California - Southern Counties Area Director
I do hope they continue on this clueless path; it will serve reality-based people well in the next election cycle.


Lou Sheldon: full steam ahead for the Homosexual Agenda

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We tried to warn voters what would happen should liberals gain control of Congress in January. We fear our predictions will be correct—and religious freedom and free speech will die by a thousand cuts—beginning in 2007. Fortunately, the people can change course in 2008, after they’ve seen the horrors to be offered them by the sick ideology of homosexual activists and liberals. My hope is that the damage done to our cultural foundations will be minimal during these next two years of liberal occupation. With Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House and Harry Reid as Senate Majority leader, God help us.
-- Rev. Louis "Unhinged" Sheldon, Chairman, Traditional Values Coalition
Hooboy, I feel a fundraiser coming on for the folks at Traditional Values Coalition.

Lou Sheldon is out...of...control in this column. The loss of the House and the Senate is simply too much to bear; he's preparing for a political Armageddon -- an army of homos (and enablers, of course) is about to descend on Washington, ready to order its elected slaves to do our legislative bidding. It's time for payback (haven't we heard this already?).

Lou is truly an oracle to behold.
With the Democrats taking control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives this January, we can expect the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and its pro-homosexual surrogates newly elected to Congress, to begin an aggressive push for passage of a “hate crimes” bill designed to provide federally protected status to the behavior of homosexuality. This hate crimes bill is likely to be a re-engineered version of the old Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (LLEEA). The pro-homosexual, anti-Christian Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is another bill that will be revived as part of the homosexual agenda.

Americans voted for a change in Congress. They obviously have not seriously considered the kind of changes they may have to cope with once the homosexual agenda goes into full swing in the Senate and House.
Have you armed yourself with a copy of the Homosexual Agenda, ready to press into the hands of all those pro-homosexual elected officials? Lou already has you pegged. How on earth does he have this inside dope?
The homosexual goal is to create protected minority status for homosexuality as though it were equal to such immutable characteristics as race. The side-effect of this effort will be to criminalize criticism of homosexual conduct and to violate religious freedom and freedom of conscience. It is also likely that all attempts to pass a constitutional marriage amendment will be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Newly-elected Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) who defeated pro-family Senator Rick Santorum (R) has already indicated his plans to push for a hate crimes bill that includes “sexual orientation” and "gender identity." Casey’s announcement is payback to HRC for its strong support of his race for the Senate. Gender identity, for those unfamiliar with the term, is code for an individual who thinks he is the opposite sex. (This includes cross-dressers, transvestites and transsexuals.) Sexually confused individuals will be a protected minority if Casey and his minions in the Senate have their way.
My god, Blenders. Rev. Lou is so well-informed, such advance intel is in his possession!

Dammit, who is the leak? We have to put a stop to this right now.
With both the Senate and House now under control of Democrats and dozens of pro-homosexual lawmakers, all Americans must be prepared to endure serious threats to their freedom of speech, their right to make employment decisions as business owners, and their religious freedom in the business world.
Jeebus, I think we need to call in the Sodomy Squadron to ensure maximum effectiveness in implementing the Agenda; force may be necessary.


Graphic: Shakes Sis.

Hat tip, Autumn.

***

Warren blows Sheldon's missive apart over at his pad, with "Get Thee Behind Me, Paul*"


Non Sequitur of the Day, Part II

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I've heard it said that Georgetown is a very beautiful place. Lots of fine restaurants and you're just minutes from all the sights in Washington DC.

They even have progressive talk radio in Georgetown. All in all, that sounds really keen. What's even better is that many of these talk stations even broadcast their feed live over the internet. Even on Thursdays between 10am-12pm.

Which, of course, is apropos of absolutely nothing. Just random thoughts bouncing around in my head. Carry on with more caffeinated Blend goodness...


Daddy D scraped up someone to tackle Tweaker Ted

The latest press release from Focus on the Anus provides details on the sucker volunteer slated to step up from Daddy D's organization to tend to the "restoration" of male massage enthusiast, meth acquisition specialist and ex-pastor Ted Haggard.
Focus on the Family Vice President of Church and Clergy H.B. London has accepted an invitation from the New Life Church Board of Overseers to join the team of Dr. Jack Hayford and Pastor Tommy Barnett in overseeing the spiritual restoration of Ted Haggard. Focus Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., issued the following statement today about Rev. London's participation.

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"Rev. London is an excellent choice for this important duty. He has vast experience as a pastor to pastors; he understands the unique spiritual needs and challenges of those who serve in the ministry. As I've said, I wanted to assist Ted and New Life Church personally through this difficult period, but there was no way I could devote the kind of time and attention to the process that it deserves. With H.B. joining the team, Ted's care and restoration could not be in more capable hands."
Remember, London said just a few days ago that Ted would need hands-on work for about three to five years -- "godly men who are clean themselves insert themselves in the life of the one who is struggling."


Ratzi's bishops decide how to deal with the homos

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting in Baltimore to decide how to handle ministering to gays and lesbians in the flock. They are attempting to reach gay Catholics alienated from the church with new guidelines -- and the effort is a complete failure.

The document, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," ensures that there's no good way to reconcile being gay and Catholic without feeling shame and guilt. The missive purports to be supportive of gays, condemning outright discrimination, BUT...

* gays must be celibate
* gays should not disclose their sexual orientation "outside of a close circle of parish friends and advisers" [stay in the closet!]
* the church reaffirms its opposition to marriage equality
* the church disapproves of adoption by gay couples.

Well, that's a real bundle of spiritual sunshine. It's kind of hard to believe the big guy upstairs called down to the Ratzi hotline to give him clarity on the subject of coming out of the closet. Doesn't he have more urgent matters to attend to, like famine, natural disasters, and all those rogue pedophile priests?
DignityUSA, an advocacy group for gay and lesbian Catholics, called the draft document on gay ministry "deeply flawed."

Maintaining secrecy about sexual identity fuels shame among gay Catholics and allows others to dehumanize them, the group said. Bishops should acknowledge that committed gay relationships "have the same potential for holiness" as heterosexual marriage, the group said.

Anticipating the criticism, the bishops who drafted the document said they must be honest about sinful behavior to be truly supportive of gays.
One bishop realizes that he's about to be put in an untenable position by these new guidelines.
A few bishops voiced concern Monday that the guidelines, on which a final vote is expected Tuesday, would not help them reach out. Bishop J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, Ga., said the distinction between calling homosexuality a disordered inclination and insisting that gay people are not disordered would be lost on gay men and lesbians.

"I think that is quite reasonable for the heterosexual, but for the person with the inclination it will be very hard to accept," Bishop Boland told the conference. "To apply it pastorally can be quite difficult."
I see no hope for gay Catholics as a result of Papa Ratzi's rule, only more angst and grief. The church is slipping into a moral, illogical hole as it turns up the hate machine on homos. BTW, the bishops are going after the hets as well, redoubling efforts to communicate to you fornicators out there about the church's ban on the use of artificial contraception.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the gathering took up the matter of authorizing more funding to study the clergy sex abuse crisis. Good god.

***

N.C. Baptist delegates approve anti-gay policy

An update from yesterday's post. The Baptists followed through on their promise to demonize queer people. The vote at the Baptist State Convention occurred today. (N&O):
The vote changes the convention's long-standing laws, which previously only required its members to support the convention through cooperation and financial contributions. Now any churches that "knowingly act to affirm, approve, endorse, promote, support or bless homosexual behavior" will be barred from membership.

"This action does not mean that you should avoid ministry to the homosexual community," said convention executive director Milton Hollifield Jr. "Even though we believe that homosexuality is wrong, we still love and engage those in this lifestyle."

...Sixteen churches in North Carolina will come under immediate scrutiny under the policy, Jameson said. Those churches are associated with the Alliance of Baptists, a Washington D.C.-based group that welcomes gays as equal members. They contribute just $185,000 to the Convention's $36 million budget, Jameson said.

The Alliance of Baptists said the new policy is stronger than a similar policy adopted by the Nashville, Tenn.-based Southern Baptist Convention - the nation's largest Protestant organization. The Southern Baptists changed their constitution in 1993 to say that "churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior" are not eligible for membership.

"But the Southern Baptist Convention didn't go around trying to meddle with and investigate churches," said Jeanette Holt, associate director for The Alliance of Baptists. "This new policy sounds to me like an interfering witch hunt."


Open thread


(AFP/File/Tim Sloan)

Do you think he has agita?

Today Bush met with U.S. automakers, who were there to whine about the state of their industry. Here's a useless quote from the Chimperor:
"We will work to make sure that this industry is as vibrant and solid as possible," Bush told reporters after an Oval Office meeting with top executives of U.S.-based automakers General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit.
While those guys were whining, get a load of Poppy Bush, unloading on BLOGGERS, of all people, blaming them for the current political climate, lol... (Think Progress also has the video). He was on Faux News, of course.
GRETA: Why do you think it's gotten so adversarial? Tonight is literacy. Everybody comes in from all different sides and wants to help. It seems like oftentimes in Washington, you know, on something we all want to work towards it’s not necessarily so civilized. It's not so pleasant.

H.W. BUSH: It's true but that's not new really. I mean, you go back in history and you’ll find that there was always adversarial politics. There was always gut fighting. And it's probably a little worse now given the electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things. But I don’t despair about it. I think things — there is a pendulum at work at times so you swing away from the incivility back to more normal climate.
Gee, you mean the uncivil tone had nothing to do with Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman? What a laff riot.

Links and blogwhore away...


Toys for Tots: talking Jesus dolls need not apply

The fundies are drop-kicked again, this time for trying to foist a talking Jesus doll on Toys for Tots, which rejected the offer.
A Los Angeles company offered to donate 4,000 of the 1 foot-tall dolls, which quote Bible verses, for distribution to needy children this holiday season. The battery-powered Jesus is one of several dolls manufactured by one2believe, a division of the Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co., based on biblical figures.

But the charity balked because of the dolls' religious nature.

Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations," said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Virginia. As a government entity, Marines "don't profess one religion over another," Grein said Tuesday. "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."

Michael La Roe, director of business development for both companies, said the charity's decision left him "surprised and disappointed."

"The idea was for them to be three-dimensional teaching tools for kids," La Roe said. "I believe as a churchgoing person, anyone can benefit from hearing the words of the Bible."
Why is it so hard for these folks to understand that not everyone is Christian? Would they find it acceptable for one of their little fundie-raised children to receive a talking Mohammed doll? Just asking.

The $20 Jesus doll is button-activated, with a hand-sewn cloth garment and little sandals.

The doll utters these phrases, in, as the web site puts it "63 seconds of Scripture, recorded in an easy-to-memorize style."
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but
have eternal life.
Mark 12:30 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
strength.
Mark 12:31 - Love your neighbor as yourself.
John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me
you can do nothing.
John 20:29 - Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
John 3:3 - I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
See pictures of the doll here.

And of course you want to know what the Freepi thought of this development.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Jesus is such a threat. His whole "Love one another as you would love yourself," is just utter, cultural terrorism is totally against our pagag way of life. Next thing you know, they will pull the late-night "Girls Gone Wild" commercials. "WARNING....."

Screw Toys for Tots! If Jesus isn't good enough for them and they reject Him, I reject them without apology.

Donate to the Salvation Army instead. They don't reject Christ in any form.

Yeah, but the salvation army rejects any used furnishings or appliance that appear to have been, well, used. We must not live in a very poor nation when I had furniture rejected for donation because it was no longer in style (and FORGET about a used baby car seat).

UH....WHAT is CHRISTmas for? This is crazy.....they said they can't chance a Jesus doll going to a Jewish family? How crazy is this? I've just about decided I don't celebrate CHRISTmas with ANYONE who does NOT believe in JESUS birth.....although, that rules out many of the people around me.

time to scatch another "charity" off my list

The main thing is to make sure our Marines are devoid of any religion. That way, when they have no conscience, they are more effective killers, although it will be harder to "turn it off" to cool down a firefight in Iraq. That's okay though, because while in court-martial there will be no need for a bible to swear on. Thus, they can lie like the dickens and have a restful sleep in their cell.

NO!!!! It's Christmas, not the "holiday season". Any idea who's birthday that is????? (The AP and CNN should never be allowed to inbreed)

Has anyone tried to see if buddha dolls or Muhammed dolls get the same sort of treatment? What about Hare Krishna dolls?

Problem is the Mohammed doll has a certain smell and the cat keeps trying to bury it.

The muhammed dolls had to be recalled. They kept beating Barbie, chopping off Ken's head, having sex with "Baaa" the stuffed lamb, and then blowing up. As such, they were a safety hazard.

Yeah, even though Jesus WAS a jew. Maybe T.F.T thinks Jesus may be Palestinian....hmmmmm...an interesting theory. Might explain that whole "missing years" between 12 and 30.

Why would Jewish families or Muslim families accept Christmas presents?

WHAT kid wants a Jesus doll? "Mommy, Daddy, Can I get a Jesus Doll for Christmas...I hate GI Joe....he's a facist." Flame away....

I respectfully submit that if you would be offended by a Jesus doll, then you should not accept any Christmas presents. Please. This PC crap is ridiculous!

I smell a set up by a company trying to make trouble and move product..."hey let's offer them a Jesus doll (a toy no kid is gonna want anyways) and then when they REJECT it, we'll get press coverage and SELL MILLIONS of 'em....yeah...that's the ticket. "Intolerance=millions of dollars." I bet Britney Spears Crack Ho' dolls are okay.........

Sigh. This is just BS. The issue is simple - it's simply rude to give a Jewish kid a Jesus doll for Christmas. Come on people, have some sense. This has *nothing* to do with Jesus being a threat. It's just that they can't guarantee delivery of these toys based on religion.

A talking Jesus doll seems sacreligious to me. You want some kid tossing it around a mud puddle? Bad idea altogether. Good for Toys for Tots (I don't really know their motives and don't care)
H/t Matthew and Mena.


Carol Channing: 'I was misquoted'

Via Towelroad, it looks like Carol Channing publicist is quite concerned that she was misquoted in a phone interview with Kaizaad Kotwal for the Gay People's Chronicle. In that interview, Kotwal said that Channing quoted the bible, condemning gays.
"I don't think about them. I'm grateful that they seem to like me. They're terribly loyal to me. But I'm knee-deep in the Bible and you know what it says about that."
Her publicist, Harlan Boll, shot off a press release. A snippet:
FYI - what she actually said when asked about gay marriage was that she wasnt necessarily pro gay marriage, because why would we want the government involved in our business and most of her gay friends were in agreement - this include myself. She thought civil unions and civil rights were more important, but "if this is what gay men really want then its their business and I dont care, they can take care of themselves."

With reference to the Bible - she said about gay marriage "You know what the Bible says about it ... Nothing." The interviewer failed to add that last comment in the quote to the interview.

Her history of support speaks for its self. As a gay man myself, who has worked for her for years, she has supported my 7 year relationship from the beginning and of her other gay friends and colleagues agree. For example, longtime friend, Mr. Blackwell, says that she was one of the first to be there for he and his partner Spencer and continues to be for what will soon be their 58th anniversary."
Kotwal's article is still up, with no correction or clarification, so it remains to be seen whether he will have a response to this.

PerezHilton also covers this.

Hat tips to Mike and Lisa.


Reports: Iran hangs gay man on sodomy charge

The killing of gay men continues in Iran, with little or no coverage by the MSM. This is from Iran Focus.
A gay Iranian man was hanged in public on Tuesday in the western city of Kermanshah on the charge of sodomy.

Shahab Darvishi was charged with organising a "corruption ring", deliberate assault, and "lavat", which means homosexual relationship between two men or sodomy, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Darvishi was hanged in the evening in Kermanshah's "Freedom Square" in front of hundreds of people, the report said.
Activist Michael Petrelis is organizing a vigil in S.F.

This was also reported by the Agence France-Presse news agency, which said the execution "drew hundreds of cheering people."

H/t, Paul.


Lesbian and gay military vets appeal ruling on DADT

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has passed on word that the 12 gay and lesbian vets are continuing their challenge (Cook v. Rumsfeld) of the the constitutionality of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," filing a brief in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts.

"These twelve patriotic gay Americans continue their proud traditions of service to our country by fighting to topple 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. "The military's gay ban is not only unfair, but it also contradicts many of the freedoms envisioned in our nation's constitution. We should honor lesbian and gay patriots who serve our country, not deny them the very freedom and dignity they fight to protect. We are optimistic that the First Circuit will grant these twelve men and women their much-deserved day in court."

...Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are:

* Former Navy Lieutenant Jenny Kopfstein. Kopfstein, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, patrolled the nation's borders in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. LTJG Kopfstein's command declined to discharge her for two years after learning she is a lesbian.
* Former Army Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez. Vasquez served nearly ten years as an Army paralegal and was one of the top recruiters in the Army. Vasquez was discharged after being outed by a fellow service member's wife.
* Former Air Force Sergeant David Hall. Hall, who served for five years as an enlisted member of the U.S. Air Force before joining the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Alaska, was ranked first in his ROTC class. After serving in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Hall was fired when a fellow cadet and friend outed him to his command.
SLDN's Frontlines blog has a statement from David Hall:
One of the questions I always get is why I decided to be a part of the lawsuit. My initial reason still holds true today: I deserve to be treated like any other American who wants to serve his or her country. I want to continue my family’s history of service by following in the footsteps of my grandfather, father, and stepfather. My grandfather served in the United States Army during WWII. My father and stepfather both retired from the United States Air Force (USAF) after 20+ years of service. I, too, had hoped to retire from the USAF but was denied the opportunity because of this law. With the brief filed yesterday—only possible with the hard work of SLDN and the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP—in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, I am one step closer to having our date in court so we can prove how harmful this horrible law is.
Go read the rest.

Good luck to all of you and thank you for serving your country and for choosing to be out and proud and for fighting this unjust law.


Missouri House report: abortion to blame for immigration problem

"Suggestions for how to stop illegal hiring varied without any simple solution. The lack of traditional work ethic, combined with the effects of 30 years of abortion and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work."
-- report by the Republican-led Missouri House Special Committee on Immigration Reform
For these folks the "brown menace" streaming across the border represents a sordid salvation to American companies looking for workers -- because the employers have no one to hire -- all the prospective American workers were aborted, dont'cha know.

My god, there is a serious a grey matter deficit going on there. It should be noted that all the Rethugs signed the report, and the six Dems refused. (STL Today):
The report from the Special Committee on Immigration Reform also claims "liberal social welfare policies” have created a disincentive for Americans to work and an enticement for foreigners to cross the border illegally.

..."There's a lot of editorial comment there that I couldn't really stomach," Rep. Trent Skaggs, D-Kansas City, said Monday. "To be honest, I think it's a little delusional."

The statements about abortion, welfare policies and a recommendation to abolish incomes taxes in favor of sales taxes all were inserted into the immigration report by the committee chairman, Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar.

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..."We hear a lot of arguments today that the reason that we can't get serious about our borders is that we are desperate for all these workers," Emery said. "You don't have to think too long. If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it's not too surprising we would be desperate for workers."
Aside from that batsh*ttery, we have a candidate for "most engaged" committee member, Billy Pat Wright.
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Although he had signed the report, Republican Rep. Billy Pat Wright, of Dexter, said Monday that he didn't recall it including the connection between abortion and illegal immigration and wanted to first read the report before commenting about it.
I can understand (if not agree with) a reasoned pro-life position, but people like Emery don't do anything to help their movement.

H/t A.J., and Paul.


South Africa approves marriage equality

It's the fifth country to do so, further shaming the U.S. (365gay):
The government made last minute changes to the bill, removing language which created separate categories for same and opposite sex unions. It passed the National Assembly 230 to 41.

The new law allows the "voluntary union of two persons, which is solemnized and registered by either a marriage or civil union".

The government had originally proposed allowing only civil unions for same-sex couples - something that LGBT rights groups and constitutional law experts said created a "separate but equal" status that would be challenged in the Constitutional Court.

..."In large part, the Act signals a rejection of previous attempts to render lesbian and gay people as second-class citizens. It demonstrates powerfully the commitment of our law-makers to ensuring that all human beings are treated with dignity," said Fikile Vilakazi, a spokesperson for 17 LGBT groups.
The other countries where marriage equality exists are Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and Spain. Many more countries recognize a patchwork of separate but nearly equal civil unions, domestic partnerships or registered partnerships.


Pennsylvania wingnut says 'pro-homosexual payback' is in the works

Man-on-Dog Santorum's loss to Bob Casey last week has the head of the state's chapter of the American Family Association wound up. Tee-hee.
One day after the election, Casey announced that one of his priorities in the Senate will be to secure passage of a federal hate crimes law that includes "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." In a press released issued on November 8, Casey acknowledged that the nation's largest homosexual lobby group -- the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) -- had been a "tremendous help" during his campaign, calling the group's energy and commitment "extraordinary." He then stated he was looking forward to working with the HRC staff to advance hate crimes legislation.


Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, believes the incoming senator -- who soundly defeated the Republican incumbent, pro-family and pro-life stalwart Rick Santorum -- is doing a favor for the HRC. "HRC gave him over $100,000 towards his campaign," she notes. "They endorsed him [and] they had a setup on their website where you could give directly to Bob Casey's campaign." Gramley says there is "no doubt that ... it's payback time -- and Bob Casey's paying HRC back by his support of such legislation."
Casey, who is pro-life, according to Gramley isn't pro-life or pro-family enough. She goes on to say that she's glad Casey's father isn't alive "to see the direction his son is headed."


Who voted against the Arizona amendment

It looks like the historic thumping of the Arizona marriage amendment, Prop 107 will hold. This is the first state to turn away a bigoted amendment, and I was curious about the voter demographics. CNN's exit polls broke it down this way:

Against the amendment:
* moderates
* college grads
* white men
* white women
* voters earning over $50K
* younger voters
* city dwellers

Split:
* Hispanics

For the amendment:
* majority of blacks
* seniors
* conservative Republicans
* folks in the stix

Other interesting info:
Vote counts from the Arizona Secretary of State's office show that 107 was defeated in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff and supported in rural parts of the state. The ban was supported by evangelical Christian groups, failed gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil and the Catholic Church. Its failure in the state could show Arizona is moving toward the political center.

The measure was opposed by labor unions, the Arizona Democratic Party, gay rights groups, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and some business groups including the Scottsdale Area and Tucson Metropolitan chambers of commerce.
Could this success be replicated elsewhere, or is there something unique about Arizona (as opposed to Wisconsin which easily passed its ban, despite conventional wisdom it would go down) that is responsible for defeating this amendment?

Read the refreshing reader comments accompanying this AZStar article.


The Empty Wig: 'I worked my head off' to hold the Senate



What an unfortunate quote. Sugar Lips Dole, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, presided over the loss of control of the body to the Dems, so I'm not sure why she is patting herself on the back for the pathetic job she did shilling for candidates (see Katherine Harris, Conrad Burns) and raising money.

All I know is, I want to see her on the unemployment line (she's up for re-election in 2008).
As the chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, it was Sen. Elizabeth Dole's job to keep the Senate in GOP hands. She couldn't.

...Dole said she's satisfied with her performance.

"I can sleep well at night knowing we did everything possible to hold the Senate," she said in a telephone interview Thursday. "All I know is I worked my head off, and that's all you can do."
She raises the question that is on a lot of minds -- why Bush dumped Rummy after the election. She lays the blame for the loss of the Senate on Dear Leader, who she sucked up for time and again in endless NRSC press releases.
Throughout the campaign, Dole was steadfast in her support of Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. On Sunday, she said on a network talk show that Rumsfeld didn't need to leave.

Bush ousted Rumsfeld on Wednesday.

Dole said she didn't know that a Pentagon switch was in the works, but she said that if Rumsfeld had departed earlier, it might have made a difference for Republican candidates.

"It could have," she said. "It very well could have."


Rudy, Rudy

Monday, November 13, 2006

AP: Giuliani takes step toward '08 bid. Some folks got ahead on this story in another thread.
The former mayor filed papers to create the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc., establishing a New York-based panel that would allow him to raise money to explore a White House run and travel the country.

...The former mayor is a moderate who supports gun control, same-sex civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion rights — stands that would put him at odds with the majority of the GOP conservative base.

Giuliani enjoys strong name recognition and a recent AP-AOL News poll conducted in late October found that among Republicans Giuliani was essentially tied with
Condoleezza Rice and McCain on who they would most like to see elected president in 2008.

Rice has insisted that she will not run.
The Freepers have been talking up Condi for months.

Rudy's not going to be a hit with the fundies, after all, he's got an extremely messy private life (divorces); he roomed with his gay friends when his life was falling apart, etc. But the icing on the cake has to be the photos below, which will be plastered all over the winger sites early and often as proof he's been co-opted by the queer agenda:



Actually, an even better laugh is this pic:


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

Rudy lauded the now-defeated homophobic Senator at the time:
"Sen. Santorum is a remarkable political leader," Giuliani told a receptive crowd of elected Republican officials, GOP candidates and first-responders and their families. "He is not just a U.S. senator, not just a political figure, but a leader."
Not any more, praise Jeebus!


Baptists voting to deep-six gay-tolerant churches

"While we fully recognize that other sins assail our members, there is no other sin that has a national advocacy group where people march and try to change laws and cultural mores to gain approval for itself. This particular sin is creeping its way into acceptability by virtue of this group's advocacy, and it is time for us to take a stand."
-- Baptist State Convention spokesman Norman Jameson, as the body moves to vote to further demonize its LGBT members of its flock by expelling tolerant churches
You know, I thought that the Baptist State Convention had voted on this one already -- there will be no gay clergy, no gay parishioners and, of course, no public statements affirming gay civil rights. They are meeting in Greensboro to officially adopt the policy, which will result in some non-compliant churches getting booted from the organization. (News14Carolina):
The measure, to be voted on during the convention's three-day meeting that starts Monday, requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

Opponents of the policy aren't optimistic.

"I don't think we're going to get heard, I don't bear any illusions about winning," said the Rev. Robert Ferguson of Emerywood Baptist Church in High Point, one of 40 pastors who signed a letter opposing the change. "But if we're going to start asking everybody about everything going on in their lives ... where are we going to stop? What about divorce? Are we going to narrow it down so only the 'righteous' can come?"
And what a low bar it is to be called out by these folks; under the policy, it only takes two people to make a complaint against a church "with which they are familiar" citing it is too homo-friendly, to bring the hammer down.

The Alliance of Baptists is opposed to the measure and leadership expects that it will be expelled from the Convention, and that as others meet the same fate, there will be an re-alignment of Baptist churches (in much the same way that we see the tug of war in the Episcopal church).


Ground broken for Dr. King memorial

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Caption: Rev. Jesse Jackson, top center, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., leaning on shovel, become emotional as Amb. Andrew Young, top right, speaks about the significance of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during the breaking ground for the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall in Washington Monday Nov. 13, 2006. Consoling Rep. Lewis are former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, center, and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, second from left. At lower right, Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister Christine King Farris. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Also at the moving ceremony was Dr. King's daughter, motivational speaker Bernice King, who has made it clear that civil rights, in her mind, do not extend to LGBT citizens.
"I know deep down in my sanctified soul that he did not take a bullet for same-sex unions."
It's too bad that she hasn't taken to heart the message of inclusion that her mother did.


Homobigot to slide into Ken Mehlman's seat at the RNC *

This should do wonders for the GOP -- naming another Rethug homophobe to the RNC. I guess the step up is that he's a hetero homo-hater instead of someone the far-right thinks is part of the homosexual cabal that infiltrated the GOP to orchestrate its overthrow, lol.

Florida Senator Mel Martinez employed two gay advisers for his campaigns John Dowless and Kirk Fordham -- yes, the same Kirk Fordham who was former chief of staff to page predator Mark Foley. Fordham also served as Foley's babysitter when the ex-congressman was cruising the bars -- to make sure he didn't hit on pages. Unbelievable.

Some fun facts on Martinez, from HRC:
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* Scored a zero on the Human Rights Campaign 2006 scorecard measuring support for equality and fairness in the 109th Congress.

*An ardent supporter and co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Martinez has been on the record opposing Republican Senator John McCain's states-rights stance on the issue saying, "it isn't good enough to say, 'Leave it up to the states. If we leave it up to the states we will see the erosion of marriage that we've seen by activist courts, which we otherwise will not see if we protect the institution of marriage at the federal level."

* Attacked his 2004 Republican primary opponent for supporting hate crimes legislation accusing him of catering to the, "radical homosexual lobby."

* Ran a 2004 campaign that was so anti-gay and divisive that Florida's Republican Governor, Jeb Bush, called on him to stop the attacks. Also because of his anti-gay tactics, the St. Petersburg Times revoked their endorsement after Menendez sent a mailer against his opponent calling him, "the new darling of the homosexual extremists."
Way to go, Rethugs! See you next election cycle.

* Hope it's not painful.


Nigg*r vs. Qu**r

First off, I only *'ed the "e"'s in the title to get it past any web filters. MNESD-forbid that we use any harsh language in our free speech. Oh, and because I'm a white guy and Chris Rock tells me my N-word privileges have been revoked. Not that I'm just itchin' to use the word (it's the second-worst slur in America in my opinion*); I just feel it's hypocritical to stand up for free speech and then say some words are a little too free to be spoken

This is the title of a post up by John Ridley at Huffington's place that deserves a read. It's about the assumption that black folks can't dare hear the dreaded "N-word" and how left-wing political correctness helps feed right-wing racism. Ridley also gives props to how gay people handled a similar linguistic challenge with far different results (emphasis mine):
The left wants to wield the righteous sword of politically correct censorship in a hamfisted attempt to protect what they perceive as the otherwise "weak" and "helpless" black man. They wish to neuter the word nigger so that it will not shatter blacks' fragile nature. You do not see the word in print in mainstream media. And though entertainment companies make serious bank pimping "niggaz" to middle America, you do not hear the word associated with true discourse in the media.

Yet, how many media executives or newspaper publishers who made the decision to amputate nigger into "the N-word" are people of color themselves? Or is it merely "them" deciding what's best for "us?" ...

There is not one individual on this planet who can make a black into a nigger. We can only do that to ourselves. Yet aided and abetted by fear of the right and largess from the left some are all too happy to be accomplices in their own demise.

This is where gays got it right. There was a time when queer was a harsh pejorative for homosexual. But instead of trying to force people into using convoluted phrases such as "the Q-word," they embraced the word queer. Gays stole it from their enemies, waved it like a captured war flag which they then strung from the standards of pop culture: Queer as Folk. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. By flogging it endlessly they took away its intended sting. So, then, go on and call a gay queer. At worst they will laugh and shake their heads. At the least they may say: "yes, thanks."

Acceptance of the word does not end homophobia. It does not stop the hate mongers from trying to inject bigotry into the Constitution. However, unlike some in the black community, upon mention of the once dreaded word gays will not drop into a fit of histrionics.
Too true. I once joked about how the language morphed from "Negroes" to "people of color" to "blacks" to "African Americans" and that if it kept on evolving, we might find ourselves at a place where black folks decide to really mess with our heads and tell us white folks to call them "nigg*rs" once again... and then change the directive only a week later. You know, at the monthly meeting or something. ;)

* And the #1 winner: c*nt. But y'all knew that already, didn't you?


Operation Save America goes after banks promoting homo 'lust fests'

This effort is particularly feeble, because there's no way on earth SunTrust, Bank of America, or Wachovia are going to turn away the gay market.

I hate to break it to Flip, but his peeps just can't accept that they've lost their grip on corporate America when it comes to The Homosexual Agenda." He should hook up with Don Wildmon and his action alerts. The over-the-top scare tactics are so tired.
OSA director Philip L. (Flip) Benham said Bank of America, Wachovia Bank and Sun Trust Bank have bankrolled "celebrations called 'Gay Pride' events ... in public parks across our nation. These public lust fests promoted homosexual sodomy" in defiance of God's laws.

Benham said corporations in America "feel under no obligation to do what is right. Their bottom line is making money, and their sometimes immoral actions carry no direct accountability." That is why OSA is challenging Christians to consider whether they should do business with banks that support the homosexual agenda.

"Should a person, business or church who believes the Bible to be the Word of God deposit their money in banks that use the return on our money to support immoral agendas?" Benham asked. "Are we aiding and abetting immorality?
It might be more helpful if Flip produced a list of banks that support his homophobic agenda in order to direct the money to the right place. At this point, I'm sure the list is quite short.

I'll give Flip some free advice. It looks like the Riverview Community Bank in Otsego, Minnesota (pop. 6,500) fits the bill. The Christian Examiner article says bank founder Duane Kropuenske had a vision of opening the business based on Christian principles...
[Senior vice president Chuck] Ripka told religionjournal.com he believes a revival is happening at Riverview Community Bank.

He and at least two other employees, including one who opens checking and savings accounts, regularly pray for customers when they feel God prompting them to do so. Ripka, who approves or disapproves the bank's individual and business loans, often prays during meetings with customers, including those he turns down for loans.

God has opened people's hearts through the prayers, Ripka said. As a result, 31 people—customers, employees, employees' spouses, and a few neighborhood waitresses—have become Christians, he said, and two employees have been healed of diseases.

... Another unusual aspect of the bank is its loan-collection policy. If a customer were struggling to make payments on time, the bank would not send out collectors. Instead, it would call the customer "to ask how we can pray for their situation," said Ripka, adding that that situation has not yet arisen.


Non Sequitur of the Day

Y'know, one of my favorite actors of all time is Jimmy Stewart. What's your favorite Jimmy Stewart movie? I know what mine is. Maybe you could email me at radicalruss at gmail.com and we could arrange to discuss it over coffee.


Freeper is anthrax hoaxer

Well, well. Looks like a little knuckledragger in the swamp has been the one sending letters with white powder -- and threats -- to the likes of Jon Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. (Raw Story):

Chad Castagana, a 39 year old Californian named as the FBI's prime suspect in the case, is due in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles today, where procecutors are expected to file criminal complaint against him for sending threatening letters through the U.S. mail. Castagana has an extensive online history, often writing about science fiction and conservative politics, and many bloggers are convinced that he is also a contributor at the conservative activist Free Republic website under the name Marc Costanzo.

Earlier today, users at the liberal websites Democratic Underground and Daily Kos brought to light the similarities between Castagana's Internet footprint and Costanzo's writings at Free Republic, and RAW STORY has found a series of eyebrow-raising connections between the two men.
Note, there's not much bubbling up from the swamp right now.

From Reuters:
The document, filed on Friday in United States District Court in Los Angeles, said multiple people in various cities, including New York and San Francisco, received letters over the past three months that contained an unknown white powder and various written threats.

In some cases, the threatening letters included expressions such as "Death to Demagogues" and references to Alan Berg, a Jewish talk radio host murdered by white supremacists in Denver in 1984, the document said.
More here and here, on DU.

H/t, Blogenfreude.


Wisconsin legislator seeks to void section of state marriage amendment

The Badger State may be going through a little buyer's remorse -- it passed an extremely restrictive marriage amendment last week (by a surprisingly large margin, 59%-41%), and there is already a legislative effort to change it.

365gay reports that Wisconsin State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) is drafting a proposed amendment that would limit the measure that passed on election day to cover marriage only, so that civil unions could be allowed.
The state was one of seven which passed amendments to their constitutions to ban same- sex marriage. Wisconsin's goes further, also barring civil unions and possibly used to fight domestic partner benefits.

During the campaign to fight the proposed amendment LGBT rights groups, lawyers and business groups argued the measure was so broad it would affect all kinds of non married relationships and hurt businesses trying to attract skilled workers.

...The ban on gay marriage would stand, he says, but provisions negating domestic partner benefits for straight and gay couples would be removed.
It's not clear how far this legislation will go, since the House remains under GOP control in the state.


This and that - open thread

* Guess what? Blender and activist Paul Barwick has been chosen by SFGate to post as a community blogger. Check out Paul's Rants 2.0, over at SFGate. Congrats, Paul!

* Received a little "love mail" from a fundie yesterday:
I just happened on to your website, and I read your comments against Manuel Scott, jr. you also refered to him as being homophobic. With all due respect, what Dr. Scott came from the Bible. I don't believe it was simply his personal opinion, homosexuality is an abomination to God.

You seem to indicate that what Scott said was inappropriate for such a setting. That may or may not be true. But Dr. Scott is also a man of God and it is his duty to speak out against such sins (especially homosexuality) because it is all the work of the devil.
Who is Scott? He's an evangelical pastor who made derogatory remarks about gays when he gave a keynote address at the Berkeley High School African-American Studies Department Celebration of Excellence back in June. Here's what Scott said:
"Homosexuality, bisexuality, they are sins according to the word of God...I understand that the climate (in Berkeley) is a climate that values political correctness, but that’s not my concern. I'm concerned with biblical correctness."
-- Rev. Manuel Scott Jr. explaining the message he delivered during a keynote address to Berkeley High School Af-Am department students
What I said then applies now -- who wants to hear this crap during a time when you are focusing on students' academic achievements?

* Daddy D.'s "ex-gay" roadshow is afraid of the gay press. Dyana Bagby, Southern Voice news editor, was tossed out of a Love Won Out conference for no reason other than the organization didn't want her there. Never mind that after refusing to accept her presence as a legitimate member of the news media, she went ahead and paid to attend the public event, and they still made her leave. (h/t Ex-Gay Watch).


Frontline: the hidden life of Spokane Mayor Jim West

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Before there was Mark Foley and his abuse of power to prey on pages for his sexual needs, there was the double life of anti-gay Jim West, Spokane's Republican mayor. There are plenty of Blend posts about the late mayor, who was voted out of office in a landslide in the city's first-ever recall election.

PBS has a Frontline documentary, A Hidden Life, that premieres on Tuesday at 9pm, covers the whole sordid mess.
On May 5, 2005, the residents of Spokane, Washington, awoke to one of the strangest headlines in the town's history: "West Tied to Sex Abuse in '70s, Using Office to Lure Young Men." The popular, socially conservative Republican mayor of Spokane, Jim West, had been outed by the town's newspaper The Spokesman-Review. The paper told the sordid story of a man with two lives: in public, he had once sponsored legislation forbidding gays from teaching in public schools, while in private, the paper alleged, he was trawling for young men online, using the trappings of his office to lure them into sexual relationships. But as bizarre as the revelations were, so too were the newspaper's methods. For months, a middle-aged "forensic computer specialist" had posed as an 18-year-old boy online, engaging the mayor in a relationship that became more and more intimate, ultimately exploding on the front page of the newspaper. In a media climate where sexual scandals dominate the headlines, FRONTLINE producers Rachel Dretzin and Barak Goodman investigate the complex relationship between politics, sexuality, fear, and judgment in one all-American town.
On the taxpayers' dime (and town computers), West cruised online, preying on young men, including making a pass at a state senator's 18-year-old son ("I want to do to your son what no mother would want to know"). His online chats hit the news. His pickup lines, in this case, were so lame that he struck out. This victim was Ryan Oelrich, one of West's pursuits, who also received a job from the Spokane mayor, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Ryan Oelrich, 24, was appointed to the Spokane Human Rights Commission by West, and later complained the mayor harassed him for sex.

In a detailed timeline released Thursday to the newspaper, Oelrich said he was first contacted by RightBi-Guy in August or September of 2003 on Gay.com and later by Cobra82nd, who said he'd changed screen names. Both were computer names used by West. Oelrich was a Gonzaga University student at the time.

After learning he was corresponding with West, Oelrich said the mayor promised to help him find a job, offered him a City Hall internship, and continued to pressure him for sex.

...West dropped by Oelrich's home, offered him $300 cash to swim naked with him and continued to press him for dates, Oelrich said

Oelrich used the online names "GonzagaRy" and "HappyCollegeGuy" in the conversations.

During Memorial Day weekend in 2004, Cobra82nd said he'd been working on his house.


"Now I'm looking for some cuddle bunny to nuggle with. You game?" Cobra82nd asked.

"You will never score with me," HappyCollegeGuy replied.

Later in the same conversation, Cobra82nd said he was getting a new Lexus convertible.

Cobra82nd: "You think? Maybe I'll have to give you a ride? Maybe give you a lil more."

Cobra82nd said he was buying the car because of a "midlife crisis."

"Is it over?" asked HappyCollegeGuy.

"No, just starting.haha.need a sports car and a new mistress you interested in being the latter?"

HappyCollegeGuy: "hmm, no. but best of luck anyway."
West was also accused of molesting underage boys, which was never confirmed (FBI cleared him of the charges), but he admitted to an abuse of his office, offering rewards and benefits and even jobs in return for sex.

The PBS web site will have extended interviews with West (who died of cancer in July), as well as copies of his IM sessions and emails.

Hat tip, Spot4Me.


Houston fundie landscapers turn down working for gays -- and gain business

I read about this and several of you passed on information about Garden Guy Inc., owned by a "Christian" couple -- Sabrina and Todd. The firm, located in Houston, sent an email to a gay couple telling them that they don't do business with homos.

Of course this news traveled around the blogosphere, and in response, the company lost two clients, but actually picked up $40K worth of business from Houston bigots wanting to take a stand in favor of discrimination. Nice. (NYT):
"I'm not saying that to gloat," said Mrs. Farber, who described the frenzy as ugly and emotionally draining. But she said they would not do it differently and deserved credit for not masking their refusal with excuses.

"Why can't people handle it when you say the truth?" she said.

One of the two gay clients, Gary Lackey, said, "We're hoping things would die down," and declined to comment further in a telephone interview. The other member of the couple, Michael Lord, did not return a call.

The law appears to be on the Farbers’ side, said Lisa Graybill, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. "The federal law of public accommodations says if you hang out a shingle or open your door you don't get to say, "Only to whites," Ms. Graybill said. But sexual orientation is not protected. And while some localities, like Seattle, have adopted ordinances extending antidiscrimination protection to gay men and lesbians, she said, Houston has not.
And yes, the Farbers clearly do have the right to do it, but it doesn't make it the correct thing to do. The kicker is that the company's slogan is "Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation." Apparently it matters whether the landscaper's clients are partnered with the biblically approved gender. Last time I looked, the grass they cut doesn't have an orientation, but hey. I'm glad these people made it clear what their priorities are. It's sad that they picked up business because of their homophobia, but perhaps this will energize the gay community in Houston to address this kind of discrimination with an ordinance.

What the article mentions, and what the Farbers seem to be clueless about, is that they probably deal with LGBT citizens every day, and they don't know it -- yet another reason for gay folks to come out of the closet. These are the bigots that don't want to believe their mailman, their auto mechanic, teacher in the classroom, or pray tell, their pastor might be gay. Their world is shrinking, and they deserve all those clients whose homophobia leaves them looking like the horse's ass.
In addition to the criticism of the Farbers, there was also widespread support. Mrs. Farber cited one e-mail message from "Eric in St. Louis," who wrote: "Life to the Farbers who have planted themselves like solid oak trees against these strong winds of perversion."
The Association of Professional Landscape Designers, which condemned the Farber's actions, has instituted an instituted an anti-discrimination clause for members in good standing (Garden Guy's membership had expired).

You might want to surf over to Dan L.'s pad, Move On and Shut Up; he actually addresses my anti-blogger LaShawn Barber's take on this.

***

Quite frankly, who wants to give your hard-earned dollars to bigots who are so flagrant? Hey, if I'm going through the yellow pages and see the "Fish," I keep on flipping. Down here, you see cars flying by with all varieties of fish, families of fish, and Kate's favorite, which she saw on the highway plastered on a minivan:



Of course, I already have this on the back of my homo-loving F-O-R-D Focus (hi Don Wildmon):



I may look at getting a few more.





Russ Feingold announces he won't run for prez

The candidate who was 100% in favor of marriage equality says he's not throwing his hat in the 2008 ring. It's clear that the Dem sweep on the Hill has made it easier for him to make this decision. (From his web site):

I'm sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate. In other words, if I really wanted to run for President, regardless of the odds or other possible candidates, I would do so. However, to put my family and all of my friends and supporters through such a process without having a very strong desire to run, seems inappropriate to me. And, yes, while I would strongly prefer that our nominee in 2008 be someone who had the judgment to oppose the Iraq war from the beginning, I am prepared to work as hard as I can through the Progressive Patriots Fund, and consistent with my duties in the Senate, to maintain or increase our gains from November 7 in the Congress and, of course, to elect a Democrat as President in 2008.
You can't blame him for not wanting to deal with a candidacy that was a likely losing proposition, but his voice in the debate would have ensured that a sane, honest discussion on equality would have occurred.

The AP article on Feingold's announcement mentions some of the other likely 2008 candidates, and there's not a name among them that has been unwavering and consistent in support of marriage equality:
U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is widely considered the front-runner for the nomination. Others considering or positioning themselves for a run include U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic nominee; former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the vice presidential nominee two years ago; U.S. Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Joe Biden of Delaware and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Let's look at their positions of late, if any:

* sHillary (see the post, " sHillary says she's 'evolved' on marriage equality"): her current public position -- at least when she's speaking in front of a group of homos -- "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." Who knows what she would say if asked about this in front of a group of citizens in flyover country. Positions: Supports ENDA, adoption rights, repeal of DADT. Not clear on: ENDA w/gender identity and expression (she dodged it in this article), hate crimes legislation, FMLA extension, same-sex immigration parity.

* John Kerry: he opposed the Federal Marriage Amendment and supports civil unions. He's another "leave it to the states" guy, and supported a marriage ban in his home state of Massachusetts. While running for prez 2004, he didn't show up for the cloture vote on FMA that would have forced a direct vote on the bill (it was defeated 50-48). That was so he wouldn't have to defend his vote on the campaign trail. Coward. It should be noted that Bush is for civil unions at the state level, but is favor of FMA. Not a lot of space between them, is there? 2004 Positions: Supports ENDA, adoption rights, repeal of DADT. Kerry not clear on: ENDA w/gender identity and expression included, hate crimes legislation, FMLA extension, same-sex immigration parity -- H.R. 832, the Permanent Partners Immigration Act.

* John Edwards (see Kerry) He skipped in 2004 cloture vote as well. 2004 Positions: Supports ENDA, adoption rights, repeal of DADT. Edwards not clear on: ENDA w/gender identity and expression included, hate crimes legislation, FMLA extension, same-sex immigration parity -- H.R. 832. Edwards, of course, was disingenuously scorched by the Cheneys for simply pointing out in the debate with Darth, that the VP loves his lesbian daughter.
I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.
***

I have to go offline for a bit, so if folks want to look up some of the other Dems in that list to add to the post, post the info and links in the comments and I'll update later.


Vote for Russ!

Russ was on the air for The Next Great Progressive Talk Radio Star and he was fab. Blenders, you should listen to the streaming audio of the broadcast (he airs last out of the four finalists), and post a comment; the judges read them to help them decide who goes to the final round.

Here's what I left there, in a thread, Blenders for Russ.
I think the final two will be Sarge and Russ. Both showed great command of the medium, and Russ was, without a doubt, the voice we need to have representing next-gen progressive radio. I'm biased of course, because Russ is a contributor to my blog, Pam's House Blend, but as a listener of talk radio, I look for an entertaining, engaging, informed, and quick-on-their-feet thinker to combat the Right.

Russ showed all the chops in this round, yet again -- and he had to deal with 3 callers, which added to the mix and demonstrated how well he handles off-the-cuff, unhinged folks. Jack, the right wing nut who called in, made a great foil for Russ (love the "magic rock"), poor Jack didn't have a prayer in trying to make the case that the Democrats would be aiding and abetting the terrorists.

The caller Chris from Madison asked about Rumsfeld being tried for war crimes in Germany, and Russ quipped "Rumsfeld won't be going to Octoberfest any time soon." That was great.

The "red state refugee" really has a great edge and grasp of the issues -- he expresses himself well on my blog, and it's gratifying that he can transfer that energy and thoughtfullness to radio. He's got great timing. Bill Press and one of the judges, Paul Woodhull clearly were impressed with Russ's timing, choice of topics, and handling of callers as well.

I know you're going on to the next round, Russ!
The two finalists will be flown to DC to compete in-studio. Folks, go over, listen and leave a comment for our "red state refugee."


Weak GOP field for 2008

The horse race has begun. There are rumors swirling about Tool McCain setting up an exploratory committee for a 2007 bid, but he shot it down today.
John Weaver, McCain's political advisor, tells CNN that "there will be no formal announcement this year," but acknowledged, as has McCain, that the senator is seriously considering a White House bid. Weaver did say McCain and his political team did meet in Phoenix on election night and the following day.

On its website Friday afternoon, ABC News reported that the exploratory committee "will be set up this month -- perhaps as early as next week." Weaver said the creation of the exploratory committee is inaccurate.

"We are doing the same thing today on Nov. 10 that we were doing on November 6, before the midterm elections," Weaver said. "We are gauging interest. We are talking to a lot of people. But when John and Cindy gather with their children for the Christmas Holidays, as a family they will make a decision.
How much of a tool is McCain? Take a look at what he said about Ken Mehlman, upon learning of the RNC head's departure.
Calling his tenure "a remarkable success," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, praised Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's contributions to the GOP Friday and said he took the party to "new heights."

"As chairman, he brought a badly needed civil tone to our political debate- one I hope our next chairman emulates," McCain said in a statement "Taking the GOP to new heights, Ken dramatically improved the 'get out the vote' machine and created the most efficient system we've seen for spreading a cohesive Republican message."
Man, the Kool-Aid must be tasty to the Arizona senator.

Anyway, here is the latest CNN poll on the horses at the gate.

CNN POLL
October 27-29
Registered Republicans'
Choice for Nominee in 2008

Giuliani -29%
McCain-27%
Gingrich-12%
Romney-7%
Frist-6%
Pataki-5%
Allen-2%
Brownback-1%

Sampling error: +/-5% pts

How Brownback had enough recognition to even land on that list is pretty funny. And how on earth did video diagnostician Frist even manage to grab 6%?!

Check out a nice roundup of Dem and Repub 2008 contenders in Congressional Weekly, "The '08 Race for the White House Begins."


Support the 'Defense of Britney's Marriage Act'

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jon Swift wants to underscore the sanctity of marriage by saving the Spears-Federline union. Part of the howler:
I'm beginning to think that this story may actually be more important than the election because what is at stake here may be our most fundamental and sacred values. When Republicans tried to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment last summer, their aim was to protect the institution of marriage, which is the basic building block of our society, from being destroyed by gay marriage. But if Republicans really want to save the institution of holy matrimony, they should start by saving Britney's marriage.

...Many young people across the country see Britney and K-Fed as role models because they prove that anyone, no matter what their backgrounds are or how much talent they have, can become successful in America. As a singer, a mother and a die-hard supporter of President Bush and the Republican Party she has been an inspiration to young people. What kind of a message would we be sending to our youth if we allow her to dump her husband just because sales of his album have been a little sluggish?

...If Republicans really want to protect the institution of marriage, and were not simply trying to ban gay marriage to use it as a wedge issue in the campaign, then they should prove their dedication to this cause by introducing the Defense of Britney's Marriage Act as the first order of business in the lame-duck session of Congress and President Bush should sign it.


This probably won't be on your holiday shopping list

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Not a joke - get 12 months of Prada Papa Ratzi to hang on your wall. (Times Online):
Competing for space on the newsstands with siliconed starlets, muscular football players and the cats of Rome later this month will be a new calendar: 14 full-colour photographs of the Pope in leisurely poses.

All were taken in a day’s shooting at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s magnificent summer residence in the hills east of Rome.

This is not the first papal calendar — those illustrated with photographs of the late John Paul II during his travels or audiences were popular — but it is believed to be the first time that a pope has agreed to pose for one.

Benedict XVI, who succeeded John Paul II last year, has already earned a reputation for stylishness and attention to the aesthetic details of papal attire. There are sunlit views of the pontiff, dressed in a long white habit, reading a book (we are informed it is a German edition of the Epistles of St Paul), and in his library perusing the many ancient volumes.
And in an I'm-not-sh*tting-you moment, here's another photo form the calendar (Mr. June) with its actual caption:

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In this handout picture made available Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006 by Italian Catholic weekly Famiglia Cristiana (Catholic Family) shows one of the photos from the Pope's Benedict XVI 2007 calendar. He has already been spotted as a fashion follower, from his signature shades and shoes, to his ermine trimmed velvet robes, but now Pope Benedict XVI is trying his hand at modeling for a 2007 calendar to come out later this month. For each calendar sold, 1 euro (US$1.28) will go to the charity. (AP Photo/Famiglia Cristiana, Giancarlo Giuliani, HO)

I wonder if the calendar comes with snippets of his anti-gay speeches as well to accompany the shots, so we can enjoy them throughout the year.


Trial balloon: Dean replacement at DNC?

This may not have any truth to it whatsoever, since it's the usual anonymous "big name Democrats" cited (save *sswipe Carville), but if you thought Howard Dean's leadership wasn't what you wanted, take a look at this flippin' trial balloon up at The New Republic. (TNR's The Plank):
Some big name Democrats want to oust DNC Chairman Howard Dean, arguing that his stubborn commitment to the 50-state strategy and his stinginess with funds for House races cost the Democrats several pickup opportunities.

The candidate being floated to replace Dean? Harold Ford.

Says James Carville, one of the anti-Deaniacs, "Suppose Harold Ford became chairman of the DNC? How much more money do you think we could raise? Just think of the difference it could make in one day. Now probably Harold Ford wants to stay in Tennessee. I just appointed myself his campaign manager."
Jeebus H. Christ. The man who carries business cards with the Ten Commandments on them? The homophobe who bleated his head off about the evils of the NJ marriage ruling? No f*cking way. And that goes for any other anti-gay "centrists" they want to put on a short list.

Yes, that rumor sounds like that pathetic, yet highly desired (anti-gay) move to the center-right of the "big name Democrats" in the party that I discussed in my post yesterday, "Folks, where do we go from here?"


Real Time funnies

From Real Time with Bill Maher, his take on the election (via A Revolution of One).



Pastor Ted's plight led many people to ask, 'is it genetic'? I mean, can a man actually be born a hypocrite?

People of too much faith just don't see reality. Bush not seeing Iraq for what it is, is not that different from Reverend Ted's followers still think he's not gay...in their world, there are not gay people, only straight people -- who are sinning. They don't want to do it, but the devil makes them. He targets people like Reverend Ted, that's how it happened. The devil got a hold of Reverend Ted, and Ted said, 'Get thee behind me Satan...and put it in gently'...The man was anointing people with Astroglide..."


Maher, btw, didn't out anyone on his show, as he promised on Larry King this week. After CNN censored his outing of soon-to-depart RNC head Ken Mehlman, perhaps he got a little gun-shy. The numnuts at WND hilariously weighed in on the outing.

What do you think of Bill Maher's outing of RNC chief Ken Mehlman?



***

Blend update: I've freshened up the Best of the Blend list (in the column to your right, scroll down a bit) to include more recent posts. [Hey Russ, if you want to look through the archives for a list of yours to add, please do so and let me know so I can put links up.]


Blackface on video: another Tony Snow teachable moment

It's time for another lesson on the end of racism. The White House press spokesbot and former Faux News talking head has done a great job of educating me on the state of racism in this country today, but I have a bit of bad news to break to him, coming from the campus of Texas A&M. (ABC Blotter):
At the same moment, Pres. Bush was introducing Texas A&M Pres. Robert Gates as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, hundreds of students at the university were protesting a videotape featuring a white student wearing black shoe polish on his face, acting as a slave.

It is an example, some professors say, of the unfinished business Gates will leave behind at Texas A&M: ending racial hostility on campus. "It is institutional and has permeated the university for a long time," says Zulema Valdez, a professor of sociology at Texas A&M.

Just before leaving for Washington, Gates condemned the blackface video as "so utterly disgusting that, regardless of race, religion, or background, I believe virtually any member of our Aggie family would be outraged and ashamed if they viewed it."

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...On the tape, the white student in blackface is disciplined by a second white student playing the role of a slave master with a belt. Professors say the white student is carrying a "12th Man Towel," a symbol of how Texas A&M fans help the football team. In the three-and-a-half minute tape, the student in blackface is put through a mock whipping and sexual assault.

In a letter to students on Tuesday, Gates wrote, "The hateful video is not simply an example of poor judgment and insensitivity; it appears to have been purposefully produced to insult and demean."
ABC has the video here. You need to surf over and take a look at some of the comments on this story at The Blotter.


Graphic: The fabulous Mike Tidmus for the Blend


Carol Channing condemns gays, citing the bible

The Gay People's Chronicle's Kaizaad Kotwal had an interview with 85-year-old Broadway legend Carol Channing, and he got an earful of shocking comments from the actress, who has a big gay following, and who, in the past, spoke adoringly of her gay fans. A snippet:
Kaizaad Kotwal: You seem to have a very large gay following. Have you ever thought about why?

Carol Channing: I don’t think about them. I’m grateful that they seem to like me. They’re terribly loyal to me. But I’m knee-deep in the Bible and you know what it says about that.

KK: Alright.

CC: Oh, dear. Is this for a gay publication? Have I offended you?

KK: Yes. For the Gay People’s Chronicle. Right now, it’s really not my job to be offended or not be offended. I am just asking questions and reporting answers. I read that you have fought for gay rights. Do you think that the things gay people are fighting for are important?

CC: I don’t think about it. If they can’t take care of their own problems, why should I bother. It’s not my problem.

KK: I see.
Kotwal said that about a third of the way through the interview, Channing asked him, “Oh, dear. Is this for a gay publication?" He reconfirmed this and she still continued on with the bible beating.


Porno Pete: George Allen's gay cabal sabotaged the GOP

Friday, November 10, 2006

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"In recent weeks, homosexual activists have sought to ‘out’ various high-level GOP staffers and leaders as homosexuals, to highlight their hypocrisy in working for a socially conservative party. Now we in the pro-family movement are calling for full disclosure for a different reason: because homosexual GOP staff and pro-‘gay’ policies in the party are undermining the wholesome values Republicans say they support.”
-- undercover homosexual agenda investigator Peter LaBarbera, on the secret (and successful) plan by gays to destroy the GOP
I see that Peter LaBarbera has weighed in on the election in a truly unhinged fashion. It's quite delicious, actually. I always look to the head of Americans for Truth to provide a unique homo-centric perspective to political events, and this screed is no exception.
Americans For Truth President Peter LaBarbera today called on the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to rescind its “sexual orientation” policy as inconsistent with the GOP’s professed pro-family values, and said pro-“gay” Political Correctness contributed to Sen. George Allen’s narrow loss for re-election in Virginia.

LaBarbera also called on all homosexual staff in both major parties to be open about their lifestyle in the interest of full disclosure to the public and each Member's constituents.

Allen's defeat—after failing to strongly embrace Virginia’s successful marriage amendment—led to the GOP’s loss of the Senate. Allen is widely reported to have homosexual staff. Jay Timmons, a senior Allen aide and former director of the NRSC, is among those being targeted for “outing” by homosexual bloggers, as is Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

..."George Allens lukewarm support for Virginia’s marriage amendment cost him his Senate seat," LaBarbera said. "Now we are left to wonder: did the stealth influence of gay Republican staffers move him toward this course that would ultimately turn the Senate over to the Democrats?"
This friends, is an example of why the Bush admin referred to the bible-beating homo-obsessed fundies who dropped in the West Wing behind their backs as "insane," "ridiculous," and that they "had to be controlled." That was revealed by David Kuo, the evangelical Christian and former number two at the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and author of Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.

Aren't we powerful? Oh wait, our cabal didn't stop any of those amendments did it?

Also:
* Letter from Peter LaBarbera
* LaBarbera heads to the bathhouse with a 'Love and Truth Offensive' at Gay Games
* LaBarbera's up late at night thinking about The Homosexual BlogosphereTM

Hat tip, Paul


Crazy Lou Sheldon: we knew Haggard was gay

Isn't this interesting. It's an article in the The Jewish Week, "Christian Right Agenda In Shambles After GOP Defeat," which contains a lengthy interview with barely-sane fundie Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition.

Apparently he and others in the bible-beating leadership knew of Ted's "proclivities" but felt powerless to do anything, hoping that the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals hypocrite wouldn't be exposed and destroy their movement.
For a man witnessing a debacle in real time, Rev. Louis Sheldon, a leader of the Christian Right political movement, sounded amazingly sanguine Tuesday night – even as an early AP exit poll indicated that almost one-third of white Evangelicals chose a Democrat for Congress.

...The scandals have come one after another for the political party he and others in the Christian right consider theirs: Reps. Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.), who pleaded guilty to bribery last November; Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who pleaded guilty to corruption and conspiracy charges last month after accepting lavish gifts for favors; Jack Abramoff, the convicted fundraiser and briber who provided many of those gifts — and to whom Sheldon himself was linked through payments he received from an Abramoff client, an Internet gambling firm; and, perhaps most upsettingly for the author of The Homosexual Agenda to Change America," Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), who was forced to resign his seat after the disclosure of his uninvited sexual communications with male congressional interns.

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Then, as if things could not get worse, there was the disgrace of Sheldon's own friend and colleague, Rev. Ted Haggard, the Colorado mega-church leader and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an even bigger pillar of Republican support on the Christian right. Sheldon disclosed that he and "a lot" of others knew about Haggard's homosexuality for awhile ... but we weren't sure just how to deal with it."

Months before a male prostitute publicly revealed Haggard's secret relationship with him, and the reverend's drug use as well, Ted and I had a discussion," explained Sheldon, who said Haggard gave him a telltale signal then: He said homosexuality is genetic. I said, no it isn't. But I just knew he was covering up. They need to say that."
Hoo-boy, he's a piece of work. They hid their "little problem" rather than expose their hate movement's shortcomings to the faithful for political reasons. What a surprise.

Hat tip, Patrick.


Folks, where do we go from here?

Daddy Dobson had an assortment of far-right bleaters on his radio show to do a post-mortem on the GOP defeat in the election -- Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, and Focus on the Anus's Tom Minnery and Carrie Gordon Earll. (WND):
"In 2004 voters handed them a 10-seat majority in the Senate and a 29-seat advantage in the House. What did they do with this advantage? Very little that values voters are concerned about," Minnery said.

"We thought there finally was a Congress that was going to nail down the definition of marriage. It was like pulling teeth (to get them to talk about it)," he said.

...Dobson noted that the U.S. economy is as high, and unemployment as low as ever, so it couldn't have been reaction to economics.

"There are people who have these values, values voters haven't vanished," said Minnery. "What they're looking for is someone who will articulate their values, and then really importantly, to get them to come back, to act on those promises they made during the campaign."

Perkins said exit polling showed two-thirds of the voters expressed concern over Iraq, but three-fourths of all voters said scandals were a major concern. "That's the values gap, the values voters. The values voters of 2004 have become the integrity voters of 2006. Values are not something you can just talk about at election time. They should guide your conduct. The Republicans failed to do that and they lost," he said.
The next point raises an issue that should concern the gay community, though it has little to do with "values" (a word neatly co-opted by the fundies):
Earll noted the divide was stark in Colorado. Voters chose a Democratic governor and constitutionally protected marriage between one man and one woman and at the same time torpedoed a "gay partnership" proposal that that same gubernatorial candidate endorsed.

"The way it's being spun by the media, and some Republicans, is that this is a rejection of the pro-family agenda, the values voters perspective," said Dobson. "That's simply not true when you look at the individual races. What is happening is we're seeing values embraced and the parties being rejected."
While the Right is licking its wounds overall, there's no other way to see that vote on domestic partnerships Colorado as anything other than hatred for gays expressed in full flower. It was a measure separated from the concept of "marriage" meant to support partnership rights for gay and lesbian couples. Colorado voters -- or at least the ones who bothered to show up -- decided G&L couples are not entitled to those rights.

That's a big problem when Democrats can win at the same time homophobia is enacted by law -- particularly when the win ushered in the new breed of socially conservative pols who were elected Tuesday. What message does that send to the party? Dems at the national level will now feel that they can continue to avoid gay rights issues, refuse to talk about them, or worse, pander to the center-right for votes. The sHillary factor.

Even with control of the Hill, it's going to be a hard road ahead to convince the notoriously spineless Democratic Party work on our behalf -- we all know that they are already thinking of the next election cycle and maintaining power. We are going to be asked to be an ATM for the party and sit quietly at the back of the bus, or, worse, be tossed under it once again.

Without a doubt, gay advocacy organizations need to step up and fight for what is attainable on the civil equality front because even if Dems listen, there's no guarantee that they will legislatively act on our behalf.

The most important issue to move forward on is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). It offers an opportunity to open debate on fairness -- no one should lose their job because they are out of the closet. One of the main issues that has proven to be contentious in the past is transgender inclusion in the legislation. The conventional wisdom from timid Dems in the past was that ENDA is likely to pass without protections for the transgendered and it would fail if that language is included, though now with control of the House and Senate, this would be the time to push for passage. From a pre-election article in the WashBlade:
Democratic and Republican members of the House and Senate will introduce a new version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, early next year that for the first time will include protection for transgender persons, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said this week.

Frank, who has been a lead sponsor of ENDA in the past, said he believes a carefully drafted trans-inclusive ENDA would likely receive the same if not more co-sponsors than the earlier version did in 2004.

Known as the nation's federal gay civil rights bill, ENDA has called for banning employment discrimination in the private sector workplace based solely on someone’s sexual orientation. The revised version would also ban employment discrimination based on a person's "gender expression and identity," the term used to cover trans people, according to activists familiar with the proposed bill.
The Right already has its bigoted talking points ready and will pull them out of mothballs again to oppose ENDA. Here are just a few from the unhinged, penis-possessing head of Concerned Women of America's Culture and Family Institute, Robert Knight. According to Bob, ENDA would:
* Make people’s sexual temptations a source of material for federal lawsuits. The law properly deals with actions, not beliefs. ENDA creates a new class based on the fuzzy grounds of perception and intention. This is far removed from laws designed to end racial discrimination, because not only is race evident but also it has no moral aspect. Sexual behavior is fraught with moral consequences.

* Elevate multiple-sex-partner relationships into a federally protected "right." By including "bisexuality" in the definition of sexual orientations, the government would go on record supporting the practice of having sex with more than one person. This is a direct challenge to the intent behind the Defense of Marriage Act and other laws designed to protect marriage.

* Put the federal government in the position of adopting a view of sexuality utterly at odds with that propounded by the major faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. All major faiths support marriage and oppose homosexual conduct. The U.S. government would be placing people with traditional views of morality into opposition to their own government. King George never intruded this deeply into Americans’ lives.

* Lead to further demands by homosexual activists to force others to celebrate abnormal and unhealthy sexual behavior. Many corporations that adopted "sexual orientation" policies soon found themselves besieged by demands for outright "gay pride" celebrations. Anything less than open promotion is regarded by many homosexual activists as "discriminatory."
So much for sanity. I hope they play this card over and over for our sake.

On another front, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is another feasible win, given the sorry state of the military thanks to this administration. When qualified, available, highly-trained professionals are not able to serve their country simply because of their orientation -- while others are serving second and third tours of duty in Iraq -- we have a broken system and change must occur

According to SLDN, 4 out of 5 Americans support gays serving openly in the military. There are Republicans and Democrats on board for the repeal of DADT -- 123 members of Congress have co-sponsored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. It's certain that more will come on board in the 110th Congress.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a ludicrous law -- we already have openly gay men and women serving in the military. It's not their colleagues that are the problem, it is the Pentagon.
A recent Annenberg Survey also found that a majority of junior enlisted personnel support their gay colleagues serving openly.

Statistician Gary Gates has estimated that at least 65,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans are on duty in the armed forces today, and another 41,000 would possibly enlist if the official ban on their service were repealed. Since 1993, more than 11,000 men and women have been dismissed under "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell," including nearly 800 with skills deemed 'mission-critical' by the Department of Defense. The Pentagon fires an average of 2-3 people every day because of sexual orientation.
With Democrats in charge on the Hill and looking for a way out of the quagmire of Iraq, repealing DADT is a chance to make a difference in support of the military -- and fairness.

***

All things considered, what I said on National Coming Out Day, rings true in light of the election results. It's clear what gay folks and allies need to think about -- and work on -- in order to continue progress on civil equality.

* 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.

* 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, make it known. 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.

I can respect a pol who says they truly don't believe in civil equality for LGBT citizens. What I can't tolerate are pols who want you to donate time and effort to their campaigns and won't defend you in public or commit to voting for equality.

* 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.


TalkProgress Update

Howdy! Just a note to let y'all know I got the call -- I'm now a semi-finalist in the TalkProgress.org Nationwide Progressive Radio Talk Show contest. The Final Four. In the country. Me!

Anyway, I record live 6am-8am Pacific (9-11 Eastern), the show airs on my local Clear Channel Progressive Talk Station (AM 620 KPOJ) at Noon Pacific; I don't know when or if it's on in your neck of the woods, but you can listen live or on-demand at talkprogress.org.

If I make the Finals, me and the other finalist will be flown to Washington DC to compete live on Thursday, Nov 16. If I win, I get a year's contract for my own syndicated weekend progressive talk radio show.

So... anybody have any talking points, good insight, or suggestions for my show tomorrow? I think I'm going to focus on the gay marriage amendments, the 33% of evangelicals who voted Dem, and how the gay bashing may have worked against Repugs this time around (since those 1 out of 3 of the fundies they courted voted against them). I wanna look at how Colorado's Anti-Gay Marriage won with about the same margin as the Pro-Domestic Partnerships failed. I want to compare and contrast us versus Spain, Mexico City, and South Africa. Anyone got the historical data and vote tallies from all the previous anti-gay marriage initiatives?

Again, any help will be appreciated -- I've got to be loaded for bear and ready to be bright, witty, incisive, humorous, and energetic at 6am... help!


Mike Jones spills more beans on Haggard

You'll have to surf over to RadarOnline for the full interview with Jones; I'm only posting a couple of interesting tidbits.
Do you think he was doing meth before you met him?
You know what's interesting? He acted stupid when he first got it, like, "How should I do it? What do I do with it?" And I was like, jeesh. I would fall into the trap and show him, like he was this innocent guy who was curious. But you know he is not stupid. That's the thing, he's not a stupid man, he just screwed up.

...This is something I have always wondered about: closet cases with wives and children ...
I have no doubt in my mind that they fantasize about men. That's the only way they can get it up.

Is it safe to assume that Haggard's a bottom? Maybe a power bottom, but a bottom nonetheless.
When people see him, the first impression is, Oh my god, he looks gay. When they were having the service at his church and reading his apology letter, all the reporters that were there came back to me and said, "You know what, Mike? It's really strange. All the guys that were up on stage were young, good-looking men."

...What did you think of Haggard's apology letter?
The problem with his apology letter—and he is a brilliant writer, there is no doubt—is that he gives so little specifics. It's all generalities and all to tug the heart strings of his followers. I don't even know what he is talking about with his demons and dark side and dirt.
Author Jack E. Jett interviewed Jeff Gannon, of all people, prior to Jones, and said the White House cub "reporter" wanted to ask Jones, now that the marriage amendment in CO passed, whether Jones might "feel badly about destroying the lives of Ted Haggard and his family for nothing?"

Oh please, look at who's moralizing? You all can shred that statement in the comments.

Jones deserves kudos for exposing Haggard as a fraud and hypocrite who not only preached intolerance but worked to successfully legislate it into his state's constitution. Jones put himself out there with nothing to gain -- he's not been able to perform any work as a legitimate massage therapist since this all blew up; in the interview he said been faced with so many threats that he's afraid to let anyone in his home.


Threat of violence from religious crazies forces Jerusalem pride parade cancellation


"This is not the homo-land, this is the holy land. Today is a great victory for religious power. The sodomites are back in the figurative closet. They are not free to provoke."
-- Unhinged bigot Rabbi Yehuda Levin on a gay pride parade that was canceled in Jerusalem; instead, there will be a rally inside a closed stadium
The hatemongers of all faiths stirred up the violent freaks, threatening a dangerous situation in Jerusalem. It's sad. (Reuters):
There have been nightly protests in Jerusalem's religious neighborhoods against the parade.

"Why are they pushing us back in the closet? There is more than one way to be a Jew," said Yossi Gilad, 36, from Tel Aviv, who works for a non-governmental organization.

...Police said they arrested several religious youths near the venue who were carrying knives and brass knuckles. There were also a few minor scuffles between right-wing opponents of the event and gay rights activists in the city but little violence.

...Some 3,000 police deployed to secure the event and set up checkpoints on all routes to the stadium to prevent ultra-Orthodox Jews and other protesters entering. Many roads were also blocked.
It should be noted that the Vatican and evangelical Christian groups also asked for the Israeli government to cancel the parade. Unity in bigotry.

Since when has it been acceptable for people of faith to be so intolerant that they foment violence over a simple parade of people? These crazies deem out gays as an attack on on their religious freedom. How familiar does that sound?


Rangel: moving the S.O.B. Darth out of his Hill office

Sweet!
Charles Rangel, the incoming chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, revealed yesterday that he's got his eye on Capitol Hill office space now held by the man he recently called a "son of a bitch" - Vice President Dick Cheney.

"Mr. Cheney enjoys an office on the second floor of the House of Representatives that historically has been designated for the Ways and Means Committee chairman," explained Rangel, who vaulted to the top slot of the tax-writing panel - one of the most powerful in Congress - when Democrats rolled over the GOP to take control of the House.

"I talked to [future House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi about it this morning," a giddy Rangel crowed during a news conference at his Harlem office.

..."I'm trying to find some way to be gentle as I restore the dignity of that office," chuckled Rangel. "You gotta go, you gotta go."
Here's the priceless S.O.B. quote:

"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.


Crist a 'rising star' in the GOP

Chris Kromm over at Facing South is blogging about the gubernatorial contests around the region. This one caught my eye...
Charlie Crist's (R) seven-point victory in Florida firmly established him as a rising star for a beleaguered GOP. As The Buzz notes, Crist's strong showing over Jim Davis (D) is now getting talk going about Crist being VP material in 2008. The Buzz also quotes Jim Davis on how, despite a late surge in the polls, he thinks money had a big impact on the race:
"I salute Charlie Crist on his win, but the amount of money spent in this campaign was dramatic. Governor-elect Crist and the Republican Party raised and spent almost $50-million in the general election and despite that, finished with just a 7 point margin," he said. "Yesterday was a day that many Floridians stood up and said, "This is about us; it's not about the money.' But it just wasn't a majority."
He's a rising star? VP material? Well, I wonder how long before it plummets once the word gets around to the fundie set about his closet? Or, perhaps, we're going to see a remaking of the GOP as an "out and proud" party and just didn't get the memo yet.


More positive news items

Just a few updates:

* Mexico City approves civil unions. More good news in a very Catholic nation. Ratzi's boyz can't be happy.
Mexico City's assembly on Thursday voted for the first time in the country's history to legally recognize gay civil unions, a measure that will provide same-sex couples with benefits similar to those of married couples. The mayor was expected to sign the measure into law.

The bill, which does not approve gay marriage, allows same-sex couples to register their union with civil authorities, granting them inheritance and pension rights, as well as other social benefits. Lawmakers were still finalizing the details.

...Mexico City is a federal district with its own legislature, and the law will apply only to residents of the capital, with a population of 8.7 million. This is the first time any state legislature has approved such a law anywhere in Mexico.
* Massachusetts legislature votes to delay debate and vote to end marriage equality. From Bay Windows:
Lawmakers voted to recess the ConCon until 2 p.m. Jan. 2, 2007 by a 109 to 87 vote, which is the last day of the legislative session. Technically, lawmakers could reconvene to take the issue up, but it’s extremely unlikely. Which means that the amendment has died by procedural maneuver. The significance of the recess vote as opposed to an adjournment vote is that Governor Mitt Romney cannot call the legislature back into session.
* We won't have this guy to kick around anymore. Want to see Man-On-Dog's concession speech?



So will his out gay communications director go to work for him in the private sector or move on to another gay-bashing elected official?

* Daddy D is pissed at the GOP:
"The unfortunate thing is that Republican leaders still don't appear to get it. Sen. Arlen Spector, R-Pa, said on Wednesday that the election results represented a 'seismic earthquake' and that his party must become 'a lot more progressive and a lot less ideological.' Dick Armey emerged from four years in the wilderness to blame conservative Christians for Tuesday's defeat. They were, he said, 'too involved' with the party. He can't be serious! Someone should tell him that without the support of that specific constituency, John Kerry would be President and the Republicans would have fallen into a black hole in '04. In fact, that is where they are headed if they continue to abandon their pro-moral, pro-family and pro-life base. The big tent will turn into a three-ring circus....Values Voters are not going to carry the water for the Republican Party if it ignores their deeply held convictions and beliefs.
Boo-f'n-hoo.

* Hispanic voters flipped the bird at the GOP on election day. Boy, the party really kicked itself in the posterior on this demo. So much for outreach.
Republican gains among Hispanic voters evaporated in Tuesday's election, and some party leaders are blaming harsh rhetoric on immigration for the reversal. Cutting into the Democrats' traditional advantage among Hispanic voters was a key to both of President Bush's election victories. In 2004, when the president was at the top of the ticket, 44% of Hispanics surveyed after they cast their ballots said they voted Republican.

This year, the figure dropped to 29%.


GOP staffers heading for the unemployment line

Thursday, November 09, 2006

[UPDATE: Ken Mehlman's tired, sorry, losing *ss will be polishing, er, his resume.]

As the power shift in DC occurs, a flood of GOPers are going to be pounding the pavement. It's all about those economic principles of supply and demand, huh? (Roll Call):
The hundreds of Republican staffers — not to mention more than a few Members — who will lose their jobs in the next few weeks are going to face a hostile marketplace on K Street as unemployed Republicans flood the market.

...Jack Quinn, a Democratic lobbyist who runs Quinn Gillespie & Associates, said his firm is not looking to add Republicans, even if it meant getting them for a discount.

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...Rich Gold, who runs the lobbying practice at the law firm Holland & Knight, said he has sent word out to his team that "we're hiring for our needs, not to give people jobs who are going to need jobs."

Another Republican lobbyist who heads a firm said he was preparing "to get inundated with résumés" and wasn’t looking forward to it.

...Said one GOP leadership aide who plans to enter lobbying, "I don’t know what I’m going to do."

According to the WaPo, the rumor is that RNC is looking at replacing Ken-bot with failed Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele (who, ostensibly, would look more credible wrangling in black voters).
Steele would not challenge current RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, but chatter among Republican insiders is that Mehlman has made clear for months that he might not return to his current post.



"Chairman Mehlman will be making an announcement regarding his future at the RNC in the coming weeks," said RNC communication director Brian Jones.
Hat tip, BlogActive.

***

Blogenfreude has an idea about where some of these job hunters can seek employment.


Open thread

Some news:


* Macaca Allen finally throws in the towel and concedes.

* CBS's Ed Bradley died.

* That Wisconsin amendment backfired on the GOP in one respect -- it brought out too many Dems, causing big gains in the state house. They voted for the amendment, but they also tossed out the Republicans.

While this is good for Dems overall, it poses a problem for gays because it teaches them the Democratic Party that all it has to do is court the center-right while continuing its aversion to addressing LGBT rights -- as long as they can win. Comments?

Feel free to chat live in the Blend Coffee Klatch, blogwhore and leave links!


Massachusetts Constitutional Convention debate over marriage equality

New England LGBT paper Bay Windows is blogging the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, called to decide on whether a gay marriage ban can be placed on the ballot. Check it out.

What will it take? Fifty of Massachusetts' 200 lawmakers must vote to approve the measure in two consecutive legislative sessions. According to the Boston Globe, ban supporters said they have close to 60 votes for today's ConCon.
House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and others on his leadership team who support same-sex marriage are rounding up votes to derail a proposed ban on gay marriage scheduled to be discussed today in Constitutional Convention, sources said yesterday.

...Opponents of the proposed ban need 150 votes to block it, but DiMasi's strategy changes the equation. He would need to muster just 101 votes to recess, far fewer than the 150 he and other gay marriage supporters would need to kill the proposed ban. If the lawmakers recess before voting or if the measure fails to win 50 votes in this legislative session, the petition dies.
There are vocal demonstrations by both sides going on outside the state house.

A current poll on the site:
Should a gay marriage ban be put on the 2008 state ballot?

62.1% No. This is a civil rights issue and the majority shouldn't be able to vote to take rights away from the minority.

37.9% Yes. Voters should have a say on whether gay marriage can continue in Massachusetts.

Here is photoblogging of the ConCon from Bay Windows.


NJ polls: more support civil unions over marriage

After last month's ruling by the NJ Supreme Court that gay and lesbian couples must be given all the rights married couples have, polls have shown that civil unions, rather than expanding the definition of marriage, is polling better. (365gay):
The leadership in the Legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine (D) have said they favor civil unions, but have indicated they are in no rush to proceed with legislation despite the time limit imposed by the court.

The Quinnipiac survey asked people if they thought the legislature should enact a marriage law for same-sex couples found 50 per cent were opposed. Forty-one percent were in favor.

The poll also found that support for gays and lesbian couples marrying varied with age. Slightly more than three out of five people between the ages of 18 and 34 supported same-sex marriage. Among voters over 65 support was only one in five.
At this point, it's a matter of semantics in my opinion. If all rights granted to married het couples are also given to same-sex couples in the form of civil unions, then that's a battle won at the ground level.

Why? Because neither solution grants gay and lesbian couples the federal rights extended to married couples, or deals with the legal status of the arrangement outside the state -- that's something the states have no control over. It's all going to end up at the U.S. Supreme anyway, and that could take years.

For same-sex couples, they need those rights now. It's better, given the amendment battles, to have legal equivalance at the state level when it is possible, than murkiness for years to come while children are taken away from the non-birth parent if there is a dispute after a death, or hospital visitation and powers of attorney are challenged, etc.

The rub is that while all of this in flux, little can be done to protect gay and lesbian couples who live in states that have passed amendments that nullify/preclude domestic partnerships and civil unions. Those couples are simply going to have to decide whether to hunker down in hostile territory (by choice or circum$tance) or make it a priority to relocate to a state where they are not in legal jeopardy.

Marriage equality must be fought for, but not to the exclusion of legal gains in the right direction that will make a huge difference in the lives of same-sex families now.

Until it ends up in SCOTUS, there's going to be a patchwork or rights granted and taken away based on bigotry -- and education. It's clear, particularly with the passage of an amendment in Wisconsin by such a large margin (59%-41%), that allies are woefully undereducated about the impact of such a measure. There's a lot of work ahead.

Where do you stand, given the progress and setbacks so far?


SLDN's annual dinner to honor 'The L Word'

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Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's 15th Annual National Dinner will honor the cast and writers of Showtime's The L Word, which features a Don't Ask, Don't Tell storyline in its upcoming season.

Dismissed Arabic linguist Bleu Copas will also be featured at dinner on March 24 at the National Building Museum in DC. Tickets are now on sale.

Rebecca Sawyer of SLDN has kindly invited me back again to liveblog the event (see last year's coverage here).

H/t, Frontlines.


Whiny Rush's blame on the GOP

Poor Rush. The GOP simply didn't listen to him, and that's why they lost. Sniff...sniff...
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"We all know that there's very positive things happening out there, but it was not trumpeted by the people who should have been shouting it from the rooftops because they were proud of it," Limbaugh said. "They should have been shouting it from the rooftops, 'Look what we've done! Look how America can improve. Look how your future is brighter!' ... instead of allowing the template to be set by its critics. ... You have a defensive, Gee-I'm-afraid-of-my-shadow Republican Party."

In answering questions about how he feels about the election results, Limbaugh said, "I feel liberated. ... I no longer am gonna have to carry the water for people who I think don't deserve having their water carried. ... If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future both in Congress and the administration are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. ...


Oh boy -- I made The Daily Show...



Yipes! I was probably gabbing away with you all in the Blend Chat Room. (via Atrios, h/t TRex)


Maher: Mehlman's a homo

[UPDATE: CNN, via YouTube, sent John Aravosis (who posted this clip) a cease and desist letter, if you can believe it. John's planning to load up a 10-second version of the video, which is fair use. CNN also edited the transcript (see what was removed below.]

I must post the screeching headline exactly as it appears on WingNutDaily this AM:



Delicious.
Appearing on CNN's Larry King Live, Maher said it's an open secret in Washington that RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is a homosexual and that he has "never denied" it.

Maher added that he plans to out at least three other closeted Republican officials – including "chiefs of staff" – on his HBO political show Friday night to show their hypocrisy in supporting traditional family values. He is host of "Real Time with Bill Maher."

King asked Maher if the charges have appeared "in print," and Maher responded affirmatively.

Rumors of Mehlman's sexual orientation first appeared last year in GQ magazine. The RNC denied the charge. "Ken Mehlman is not gay," said then-RNC official Steve Schmidt. However, when asked directly by "gay" publications, Mehlman has dodged the question.
I wonder if Mike Rogers (who's been all over this story for years) will get on Maher's show to talk about this.

Here is the portion of the transcript that CNN later excised (via HuffPost, which still has the video):


Partial transcript of Bill Maher's Live appearance on Larry King Live:

BM: A lot of the chiefs of staff, the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party, are gay. I don't want to mention names, but I will Friday night...

LK:You will Friday night?

BM: Well, there's a couple of big people who I think everyone in Washington knows who run the Republican...

LK: You will name them?

BM: Well, I wouldn't be the first. I'd get sued if I was the first. Ken Mehlman. Ok, there's one I think people have talked about. I don't think he's denied it when he's been, people have suggested, he doesn't say...

LK: I never heard that. I'm walking around in a fog. I never...Ken Mehlman? I never heard that. But the question is...

BM: Maybe you don't go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.


Winger -- and Freeper -- reaction to Arizona

In my search for bible-beating reaction to Arizona's defeat of a marriage amendment (48.6% yes, 51.4% no with 100% of the votes in), I nearly came up with a goose egg from the usual suspects.

AgapePress was quite muted on the matter, choosing to focus on the victories, with a toss-away sentence on AZ.
...it appears Arizona is the first of more than two dozen states that have considered such measures to defeat a move to constitutionally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

...On an election day in which voters may have been sending any number of messages to President Bush or to the Republican-controlled Congress, their message to homosexual activists was clear and overwhelmingly unified.
Ha ha ha. Nice try.

Alliance for Marriage doesn't even mention it, chose to talk about the seven states that passed one.
"Yesterday, Americans overwhelmingly demonstrated once again at the ballot box that the future of marriage transcends political party and partisan politics," said Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage. "Radical activists know this truth too well and thus will continue sue in court to destroy the common sense definition of marriage in America -- against the will of the vast majority of Americans."

Voters in Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, overwhelmingly approved state marriage amendments on the ballot. Twenty seven states have now approved marriage amendments to their constitution protecting marriage as a man and woman. This brings to forty-five the total number of states with either statutory or constitutional protections for marriage.

"Given the ongoing attack on marriage in courts across the country -- most recently in New Jersey -- AFM's Marriage Protection Amendment is clearly the only hope for the American people to determine the future of marriage under our laws," added Daniels.
Daddy D.'s Focus on the Anus CitizenLink got up something, and they are practically in tears over the fact that, aside from the landslide votes in the South for those amendments, the others that passed didn't have a satisfactory margin of victory.
"This is not 2004. Some people said there would be no difference in the votes, but they're not the ones fighting this," said Julaine Appling, president of Vote Yes for Marriage, the Wisconsin advocacy group. "This time, there's more money, more time and more organization. We could have had our initiative on the ballot in April 2005, but in that 18 months, the other side got their message really refined and raised more money. That happened in all eight of these states. So I think if we all could have done this in 2004, we'd have numbers that looked more like the ones in 2004. I think we have to sit down and talk about why this is happening."

..."I still think the big issue is going to be at the federal level with the Marriage Protection Amendment (to the U.S. Constitution)," said Regier. "But I think it gets harder as time goes along, because, to borrow a phrase, we are, as a culture, slouching toward Gomorrah. The way (we've) operated (in South Dakota) is, this is a spiritual battle. It's time that the church wakes up. If it boils down to political will every election, eventually we're going to lose, if we don't have an awakening in the Church. We always said in South Dakota, we'd sacrifice some of the political capital we had to minister to homosexuals and encourage pastors to talk about the sinfulness of homosexuality and offer that message of hope and healing. We used this amendment as a vehicle to preach the truth in love."
The article also begins the doomsday scenario over the prospect of losing the Senate to Dems (which has now occurred), and with it the Senate Judiciary Committee. Boo-hoo.

Something finally turned up in Freeperville on Arizona.

Actual Freeper Quotes (and more)

As for Arizona(51-49), favorite son Barry Goldwater was pro-homosexual agenda, also the Missouri stem cell initiative was also a sqeaker, while it was winning overwhelmingly two weeks ago.

OK liberals..let's party....experiments on human embryos, kill those babies and let's sanctify the union of perverted same sex. I love this country.....(src) My toilet bowl has more honor than the cesspool of filthy values espoused by these insipid liberals. God help this nation.

I'm in AZ and voted yes on Prop 107 banning gay marriage. The anti-107 forces here were successful in fooling people to thinking this was not about gay marriage, but about domestic partners losing their benefits. The anti-107 ads I got in the mail had NO pictures of people of the same sex in them, just nice ordinary, heterosexual couples with children living together, or a senior heterosexual couple living together who don't want to get their social security cut.

Any bets on how long it will be until "the will of the people" is forced on us here in AZ by the courts?

If homosexual marriage becomes legal in AZ, we're out of here.

Unfortunately, look for the pro-gay marriage to use the result of Prop 107 to say that it's the will of the people that gay marriage be legal in AZ - hey, Prop 107 lost, right?

What has happened to Arizona ? The last time I checked, they were a Red state.

They have become the first state in the union NOT to ban gay marriage in a referendum. Even California and Hawaii banned gay marriage.

Is it because conservatives opted to stay home ? If so, this is a lesson -- YOU GET WHAT YOU DON'T FIGHT FOR.

It's also because there was a part of the Proposition that involved domestic partnerships. This was the oppositions selling point. No where in all the commercials or anything was there anything about this being about homosexual unions.

The Arizona "gay marriage ban" also denied benefits to non-married HETEROSEXUAL couples. So it was unpopular with a lot of people who would have otherwise voted for an up or down definition of marriage.

It's also because there was a part of the Proposition that involved domestic partnerships. This was the oppositions selling point. No where in all the commercials or anything was there anything about this being about homosexual unions.

We have lots of "Snow Birds" who fly in during the winter months to cohabitate in relative comfort (80+ degrees) compared to more inhospitable climes. These sexy-genarians didn't wan't to lose their benefits (or so the demagoguery went).

Lawyers for the homosexual lobby will find that the previous ban is unconstitutional given the election results, judges will rule in favor, and AZ will have gay marriage. I pray this doesn't happen, but we all know how the homosexual activists work.

Maybe all those Californians moving to AZ are bringing their crackpot ideas with them. Kind of like what the people from Mass. did to New Hampshire.

Yeh...the blue tide on cancerous metastasis spreading. Looks like Montana has some of that too. Time to carve out and move to the separate 'nation of Jesusland'.


First openly transgender person elected to state-level office in the US

This election cycle has brought with it plenty of great news, including this milestone in Hawaii.
A Hawaii woman won a seat on the state Board of Education and, according to national advocacy groups, a place in history as the nation's highest-ranking transgender elected official.

Kim Coco Iwamoto, a 38-year-old attorney, did not tout her gender status in the campaign but has advocated for transgender youth and related issues. She came in third Tuesday in the competition for three seats on the 14-member board, which governs the islands' 285 public schools.

Iwamoto would be the highest-ranking openly transgender person elected in the United States, said Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, a Washington-based group that tracks lesbian, gay and transgender candidates and helps fund their campaigns.

Iwamoto, who was born on the island of Kauai and attended a Catholic boys school in Honolulu, did not respond to requests for an interview.

Previously elected transgender candidates in the United States were primarily limited to local seats such as city alderman or council members, Dison said.
Iwamoto is a member of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
"This is a truly historic win and marks an important first in the American political landscape. Kim Coco Iwamoto is an outstanding individual with a long history of pro bono legal work and volunteerism benefiting her home state. She will serve the people of Hawaii well."
-- Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality
The hat tip goes to Autumn, who passed along another interesting item to discuss:

New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice. The Empire State is seeking a rule change to allow residents to alter the sex listed on their birth certificate -- even if they have not had sex-change surgery. This is drawing controversy, as one might expect. (NYT):
Transgender advocates consider the New York proposal an overdue bulwark against discrimination that recognizes an emerging shift away from viewing gender as simply the sum of one’s physical parts. But some psychiatrists and doctors are skeptical of the move, saying sexual self-definition should stop at rewriting medical history.

“They should not change the sex at birth, which is a factual record,” said Dr. Arthur Zitrin, a Midtown psychiatrist who was on the panel of transgender experts convened by the city. “If they wanted to change the gender for all the compelling reasons that they’ve given, it should be done perhaps with an asterisk.”

The change would lead to many intriguing questions: For example, would a man who becomes a woman be able to marry another man? (Probably.) Would an adoption agency be able to uncover the original sex of a proposed parent? (Not without a court order.) Would a woman who becomes a man be able to fight in combat, or play in the National Football League? (These areas have yet to be explored.)
For an opposing take, check out The American Thinker. Autumn notes about the critic of the possible change:
I imagine the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) might disagree with his genetics theory. In the ISNA's How common is intersex? [here's an FAQ], there is a significant number of people who don't fit into the sex bianary of xx or xy.


Dems take the Senate!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The nightmare -- on the Hill anyway -- is over, with this breaking news.
Democrats wrested control of the Senate from Republicans Wednesday with an upset victory in Virginia, giving the party complete domination of Capitol Hill for the first time since 1994.

Jim Webb's squeaker win over incumbent Sen. George Allen gave Democrats their 51st seat in the Senate, an astonishing turnabout at the hands of voters unhappy with Republican scandal and unabated violence in Iraq. Allen was the sixth Republican incumbent senator defeated in Tuesday's elections.

The Senate had teetered at 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans for most of Wednesday, with Virginia hanging in the balance. Webb's victory ended Republican hopes of eking out a 50-50 split, with Vice President Dick Cheney wielding tie-breaking authority.

...The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes.

An adviser to Allen, speaking on condition of anonymity because his boss had not formally decided to end the campaign, said the senator wanted to wait until most of canvassing was completed before announcing his decision, possibly as early as Thursday evening.


Lay your hands on Pastor Ted

In another thread, Blender Laurel pointed to an article in the Houston Chronicle about Pastor Ted's rehabilitation, a follow up to my post on Dobson dropping out of the recovery team.

Maybe this is a verbal Rorschach, but I think H.B. London, VP for church and clergy at Focus on the Family has more on his mind than saving a soul when he describes the kind of healing Pastor Ted is going to experience. BTW, they say Ted's "restoration" could take three to five years.
"I see success approximately 50 percent of the time," said H.B. London, vice president for church and clergy at Focus on the Family, the conservative Christian ministry in Colorado Springs. "Guys just wear out and they can no longer subject themselves to the process." Those who fail "end up selling cars or shoes or something, and being miserable and angry the rest of their lives," London said.

..."From the Christian perspective, we think in terms of prayer, we think in terms of what we call godly counsel, where godly men who are clean themselves insert themselves in the life of the one who is struggling," London said.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
..."I'm sure there will be those who lay their hands on Pastor Haggard as an act of faith, calling on the act of God to restore and heal," he said. "The prayer can be therapeutic, the laying on of hands can be ceremonial."
Laurel's comment: wasn't it insertion and the 'laying on of hands' that started the whole mess for Ted? i recommend instead a laying on of hands by some godly women, boys, or poor Ted is just gonna keep comin, but never will come clean.


Mind-boggling blame for the GOP loss

The president of Human Life International, Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, has an unhinged view of who is to blame for the GOP's meltdown last night. I couldn't believe what I was reading -- it's so...out there.
"If the Republican Party truly wants to know why they lost, they need only look in the mirror. The most vulnerable seats in both houses were those held by politicians who had abandoned the pro-life and the pro-marriage principles that first brought them to power.

"In many states, voters turned out in large numbers to defend traditional marriage, but voters were not willing to support those who would not support their values. Some so-called conservative senators were all too happy to water down or jettison their 'unwavering' defense of the unborn in the name of political expediency and now they have paid the price. Self-described Reagan conservative George Allen bragged about owning stock in Barr Pharmaceuticals-the manufacturer of Plan B-and President Bush's shameful support of this deadly drug being sold over the counter deflated conservatives' support of many candidates.

"In Missouri, Sen. Jim Talent fearfully refusal to come out against the state's cloning initiative not only resulted in its passage, but the loss of his Senate seat. Sen. Rick Santorum's race in Pennsylvania is also telling. Those who espouse 'conventional wisdom' will tell you that issues like abortion never decide a race. That's a lie, as evidenced by the fact that the Democrats purposely picked a pro-life candidate, recognizing that it would neutralize the greatest advantage Santorum had in his re-election bid.

"The Giuliani-McCain-Romney wing of the Republican Party is responsible for this overwhelming defeat. If the GOP truly wishes to regain the trust of pro-life, pro-family conservatives, then they must look to leaders like Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) -- who has never wavered on his principles or his defense of the innocent unborn -- as their model."


You're outta there, Rummy

Last time I was on an airplane, the breaking news was the NJ ruling on same-sex marriage. This time, I'm sitting in Reagan National Airport and I hear Rumsfeld resigned. What timing! I see Russ posted on this as well.

The funny thing was, about a half hour earlier, I stopped on my way to the airport for a quick brunch with the Americablog folks and friends, and we were flipping between channels looking at the recent developments (Pending Senate results for Virginia -- in flux -- and Montana, which has now been called for Dem Jon Tester), and we heard that Bush would have a "special announcement" at his 1PM press conference. I immediately said that it was going to be about Rumsfeld, and a few folks laughed. Heheheheh.
The Iraq war was the central issue of Rumsfeld's nearly six-year tenure, and unhappiness with the war was a major element of voter dissatisfaction Tuesday - and the main impetus for his departure. Even some GOP lawmakers in Congress became critical of the war's management, and growing numbers of politicians were urging Bush to replace Rumsfeld.

Bush said Robert M. Gates, 63, who has served in a variety of national security jobs under six previous presidents, would be nominated to replace Rumsfeld. Gates, currently the president of Texas A&M University, is a Bush family friend and a member of an independent group studying the way ahead in Iraq.

"Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that sometimes it's necessary to have a fresh perspective," Bush said in the abrupt announcement during a postelection news conference.
After all, Chimpy got his Iraq agenda's butt kicked last night in the elections; the situation in Iraq is so FUBAR that change is absolutely necessary -- what that change will look like, working with the Dems in control, remains to be seen.

The big question I have is why now? Yes, a change was needed to try to get the spotlight off of his "stay the course" policy and the incompetence of Rumsfeld was a big open sore on the administration, but Bush is a political animal. It made no sense to dump Rummy now; he should have done it a couple of weeks ago when candidates in his party -- feeling heat on the campaign trail about Iraq -- were calling for change, including Rummy's head on a platter to show the president was serious about a fresh policy. Also, since he clearly had a replacement in mind -- Robert Gates -- this decision didn't happen overnight.

The whole sequence of events is weird -- last week Bush lied to the MSM, saying he had full faith in Rumsfeld (and Cheney) and that they would "remain with him until the end of his presidency" (see the video of the lying liar here), yet today he drop-kicked the man out the Pentagon door.

Did Bush intentionally not tell Republican Iraq critics running for office that he planned to replace Rumsfeld, when that news could have stopped some of them from losing? It...makes...no...sense.


Ding, Dong, the witch is dead!

Apparently Mr. Bush does understand the word "mandate".
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush announced Wednesday that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down from his post.

"The timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon," Bush said at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

Rumsfeld has been heavily criticized for his policies in Iraq, and exit polls taken during Tuesday's midterm election showed strong voter dissatisfaction -- 57 percent -- with the Iraq war.

"I recognize that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made" in Iraq, Bush said.
I got yer "political capital" right here, Shrubby!


Great election night... unless you're a gay pothead

7 of 8 anti-gay amendments pass, a DP law fails, 2 MJ legalization refs failed, and a MedMJ ref fails.

The problem with both issues is that we're asking people to vote on morality. (Well, in a sense, every vote is a vote about morality on some level.) I don't think, really, that when most people vote against gay marriage they're consciously thinking, "Yeah, now the fags can't visit their partners in the hospital or inherit their partner's property." What they're voting against is the San Francisco Pride Parade in their hometown.

Similarly, when people vote against marijuana initiatives, they're not thinking, "Hooray, now we'll get those dangerous potheads off the streets." They're voting against dirty Patchouli-scented hippies and the Summer of Love in their hometown.

I used to think the key to turning both of these issues in progressives' favor is to change the frame from "defending virtue" to "attacking fairness". I used to think that would entail using "civil unions" to sneak equal rights under the moral radar. Before you flame me, I don't like the separate-but-equal solution, either, but too many people equate marriage with good-ol-fashion Christian values and "gay marriage" is perceived as too much an oxymoron for the actual morons to handle. I figured that a rose by any other name... you know, let the fundies have the word "marriage", just as long as they extend the same rights as marriage (for now). However, with Colorado's DP failing at about the same rate Colorado's Anti-Gay passed, I'm not so sure anymore.

And the fairness meme worked in Denver when they legalized pot by saying it's safer than alcohol, so if alcohol's legal, illegal pot is unfair. But statewide, it fails because your rural cowboy type just hates hippies. Hell, chances are that cowboy has smoked some reefer at least once in his life, but, see, that was just "youthful experimentation", he wasn't a damn hippie.

So my new tack is this: use the opponent's hatred in our favor. In the pot arena, it would work like this: point out that marijuana is a billion-dollar industry that supports the livelihood of potheads and criminals -- why are you letting those potheads get away with all that income, tax-free? And the potheads are seducing kids with pot since they don't check ID! And the drug dealers are using pot to get kids hooked on harder drugs! So let's tax the potheads and take their black-market business away from them!

See, this idea allows the red state rube to feel like he's punishing a sinner -- tax the bastards! -- and saving the world at the same time. Of course, to tax something, it must be legal (thank you Dr. Leary!). I imagine a commercial with scenes from Seattle Hempfest or Oregon Country Fair, shots of topless painted-boob hairy-armpit hippie chicks and scraggly bearded Birkenstock-wearing dudes playing hackeysack, with that foreboding music and ominous voice intoning, "These people live a criminal lifestyle, never paying a cent in taxes, never contributing to our society, and seducing our children into a lifestyle of easy sex and dangerous drugs. How do they do it? Simple - we let them smoke marijuana and sell it tax-free." Now, cut to a shot of a liquor store and a clerk refusing to sell to some minors. "Al Capone and the bootleggers once lived the same sort of lifestyle, funding it with the tax-free proceeds of illegal liquor. We got smart and took away their livelihood by tightly regulating and controlling the sales of liquor, and took away Capone's freedom for tax evasion." Focus now on shot of typical white bread family playing in a park. "Some people are always going to smoke pot and for seventy years we've spent billions futilely trying to stop them. So let's stop spending billions and instead reap billions by taxing the potheads. We can protect our kids and eliminate crime at the same time. Vote YES on the Tax & Regulate Marijuana Initiative." Force the opponents to oppose protecting kids, punishing dirty stinky hippies, and making some money off it.

Now, how would that idea play out for gay rights? How can we use some rhetorical judo to use the seemingly consistent hatred against gays in this nation in our favor? My first inclination in this matter is to attck it like we attacked marijuana legalization -- by starting with medical marijuana. Maybe that means creating initiative after initiative to grant rights piecemeal until we've got de facto marriage.

For example, take the case of Laurel Hester. Those New Jersey freeholders wanted so badly to deny her the right to leave her pension to her partner, but when the story broke, public sentiment forced the freeholders to change positions. Why? Because nobody wanted to look like the Grinch who votes to punish a sick and dying person -- just like nobody wants to deny pot to a wheelchair-bound cancer patient (except, I guess, 52% of South Dakotans).

So, perhaps an "Inhertitance Rights Initiative" to start with. Frame it like the righties frame "the death tax", like this: "Politicians in Washington want to tell you what you can do with your money. After your death, they want to restrict your right to leave your estate to the person you choose. If you don't want to leave it to your family, they won't let you pick another person. Support the Inheritance Rights Initiative - it's your money." See, no mention of gay in there anywhere and we make the rubes feel like they're being slighted.

Or, perhaps a "Personal Medical Decisions Act". "Politicians in Washington are always quick to butt into our private affairs. In the Terri Schaivo case, they ignored the wishes of a family to play politics with a woman's life. Shouldn't your personal medical decisions be entirely up to you? Should Washington politics override your wishes about who can care for you in your final hours? Vote YES on the Personal Medical Decisions Act - Tell Washington to mind their own business." Again, no mention of gay, and we frame it as if we're protecting everyone's rights and beating back the gub'mint.

Anyway, that's my 1/5000th of a Benjamin. What do I know, anyway, I predicted Boise would pass the Ten Commandments initiative withg 70% of the vote, and it lost 47%/53%.


VA editorial: Hatred's last frontier

Openly gay Virginia Delegate, Adam Ebbin, the Commonwealth Coalition and so many people worked tirelessly to defeat the bigoted amendment, but it passed. Here's a Staunton News Leader editorial that lays it on the line.
We cannot help but feel we have seen the beginning of another round of civil rights battles similar to those that were waged on behalf of black citizens during the 1950s and 1960s. We believe that will be the case and we believe that Virginia will eventually be as reviled in this instance as it was during the 1967 Supreme Court hearings ironically known as Loving vs. Virginia.

For those with short memories - and Virginia appears plagued with that malady - Loving vs. Virginia was about what used to be called "miscegenation."

That's a nasty-sounding word, as it should be.

It's a word that was used at one time to separate people who loved one another because they had differently colored skins. It implied that, if they dared to breed, that the gene pool would be polluted. The verdict issued in Loving vs. Virginia ended all of that.

Black Americans, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, the whole polyglot bunch of what constitutes racial America these days, has nothing more to fear from discrimination, even if they dare to fall in love with and marry (or, God forbid, cohabit with) a white person.

But there is one remaining Last Frontier of Hatred: It involves homosexual men and lesbian women.

Virginians affirmed that Last Frontier of Hatred on Tuesday when they voted Ballot Issue No. 1 into law. Virginia proved it is ready for another round of hatred such as that it unleashed on black citizens when it affirmed "Massive Resistance" to keep little black boys and girls out of Virginia's lily-white perfect public schools.

So be it. We will deal with this as we have dealt with all the rest of our sins: Breaking away from the Union, race hatred, Massive Resistance.

But we will be a smaller and more narrow-minded place because of it.

If you're OK with that, we're not. The majority of you voted for it. Now go to bed and say your prayers. And pray you are right and Christian and not just hateful and wrong.
As Adam said in his email, "When the counting is over, more than one million will have voted no." That's heartening, and not insignificant as people forge ahead. The fundies, however, will now say "the people have spoken."

Whether the people should be "speaking" with a ballot on civil rights matters is another issue, but it's a hard road ahead for voices of equality in the Commonwealth.


GOP feeling the agony of defeat

I can't wait to find out what Bush has to say in his 1 PM presser. I'll be heading onto a plane back to NC at that time, so folks let me know what he bleats.

The smell of victory...look at the WingNutDaily poll up now. The faithful haven't learned anything from the rejection of the fringe element.

What's your reaction to the results from Election Day?



***

Some of the good news...

* Arizona, ARIZONA!

* Openly gay members of Congress who easily retained their seats: Barney Frank (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

* I have to post this again:



Buh-bye, Man-On-Dog.

We are thrilled, ecstatic and overjoyed that Rick Santorum has been thrashed at the polls. His extreme and gratuitous homophobia will no longer pollute the Senate. Good riddance."
— Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.

* Patricia Todd is officially the first out lesbian in the Alabama state house, after a nasty primary battle involving a sad public display black homophobia in the Dem party, she ran unopposed in the general election.

* Deval Patrick's gubernatorial win in Massachusetts not only marks the state's election of its first black chief executive, but Patrick represents the first governor to wholeheartedly support marriage equality. Mitt, we won't miss ya.

* The first out state senator in NC, Julia Boseman (NC09), handily won in her re-election bid. Incidentally, the NC state house increased its Dem representation, which almost ensures that any amendment bills will die in committee. NC is now surrounded by states with marriage amendments (NC, SC, TN).

UPDATE: I missed this article last night from Katherine Harris's defeat. Hysterical.:
Republican U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris lost her long-shot quest for the Senate on Tuesday after a gaffe-prone campaign that saw the former Florida election official shunned by her own party chieftains.


...She called the separation of church and state "a lie" and told Baptists, "If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin." Staffers deserted her campaign in droves, then portrayed her in newspaper interviews as prone to shrieking fits over minutia such as botched coffee orders.

...Bloggers ridiculed her bosom-flaunting wardrobe and the Palm Beach Post called Harris' candidacy "one long-running freak show" that did nothing to shake her image as "a partisan banshee."

"It has been painful and embarrassing to watch the meltdown of Katherine Harris' campaign for the last 18 months," said the Bradenton Herald, which is published in her Republican-leaning congressional district.
***

That said, along with the passage of the amendments in seven states, it smarts that that the Colorado horror known as Marilyn Musgrave defeated the deserving Angie Paccione, and that the unhinged Michele Bachmann was elected in Minnesota. Bachmann in her victory speech said she would fight for "life, marriage and family life" in Congress. Jeebus.

***

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund released additional great news and interesting stats.
"This is the tipping point election for openly gay candidates," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "We're proving that qualified, well-prepared candidates matched with committed donors means gays and lesbians can move from having a stake in policy to actually making policy. There's no reason to sit on the sidelines with our fingers crossed anymore."

10 Key victories in 2006:

--Patricia Todd, who will represent District 54 in the Alabama State House. Todd is the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in the state.

--Kathy Webb, who will represent District 37 in the Arkansas State House. Webb is the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in the state.

--Henry Fernandez, who won a seat on the Lawrence Township School Board, making him the first openly gay person ever elected to any office in Indiana.

--Al McAffrey, who will represent District 88 in the Oklahoma State House. McAffrey is the first openly gay person ever elected to the Oklahoma state legislature.

--Jolie Justus, who will represent District 10 in the Missouri State Senate. Justus is the first openly gay state senator in Missouri history.

--Ed Murray, who will represent District 43 in the Washington State Senate. Murray, a former state representative, is the first openly gay state senator in Washington history.

--Matt McCoy, who becomes the first openly gay candidate ever elected to the Iowa legislature. McCoy, a sitting state senator, came out during his last term.

--Ken Keechl, who won a seat on the Broward County Commission in Florida, beating an appointee of Gov. Jeb Bush.

--Jamie Pedersen, who becomes the third consecutive openly gay person to be elected to represent District 43 in the Washington State House.

--Judge Virginia Linder will join Rives Kistler on the Oregon Supreme Court, making it the first state ever to have two openly gay Supreme Court Justices, according to preliminary results.

Key Statistics About Victory-Endorsed Candidates in 2006

Total Victory-endorsed candidates: 88 (55 non-incumbents, 33 incumbents)

Total Victory-endorsed winners: 67

Total Victory-endorsed winners running as openly LGBT for the first time: 36

Percent of Victory Fund bundled money spent on non-incumbent candidates: 80%

Percent of Victory Fund PAC money spent on non-incumbent candidates: 91%

States that elected their first-ever openly LGBT officials: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana

States that elected their first-ever openly LGBT state legislators: Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma

7 States that still have no openly LGBT elected officials at any level of government: Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia

13 additional states that still have no openly LGBT state legislators: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming
***

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network looks forward to a Congress more receptive to the repeal of DADT.
"We now know that every co-sponsor of legislation to repeal Dont Ask, Don't Tell' who sought re-election appears to have been successful, with just one outstanding race in Connecticut yet to be decided. And we also know this: Support for lifting the ban did not cause voters to reject any candidate. According to Gallup, nearly 4 out of 5 Americans support gays serving openly in the military. America is ready for change.

The new doors that have opened, however, do not necessarily translate into certain, or fast, victory. Much work remains to be done, to educate both new and returning lawmakers. Consensus on important issues comes through bi-partisan efforts and smart strategy that brings together both sides of the political aisle SLDN is proud that 123 Members of Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – have co-sponsored the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, an amazing number for any bill’s first introduction. Tuesday's vote provides a significant opportunity to bring new allies from both parties into that coalition.

The new leadership in the House of Representatives will provide new opportunities to educate our elected leaders about the importance of repealing the military’s �Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel. Legislation to repeal this unfair and un-American law will be re-introduced in the 110th Congress, and SLDN looks forward to working with the new leadership for its passage.

SLDN congratulates our allies who won election on Tuesday, and we look forward to building new bridges and working with new leaders in Congress to fight for the freedom to serve."


Yes! Arizona first state to reject marriage amendment

"First and foremost, I'm exceptionally proud to be an Arizonan today. This outcome speaks volumes about Arizona's commitment to families. Arizona voters saw through Prop 107's rhetoric and knew that the intent of 107 was to take away domestic partner benefits from thousands of Arizona families."
-- Kyrsten Sinema, chair of Arizona Together
This is the first state to say no to enshrining bigotry in its constitution.

After an evening of watching seven other states -- Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin decided to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying (some banning civil unions or legal arrangements approximating similar rights to marriage), one state got it.

And Arizona gay grassroots activists are letting everyone know that they did it by themselves.
The big national gay organizations have been notably absent there, and the campaigns have been smart about attracting voters from both conservative Phoenix and liberal Tucson with targeted messages and tactics. "We did this with no national help," says Jordan, "this grassroot's effort was local."
See the complete results here.

Many. many congrats to the folks at AZTogether and No On Prop 107.

From Blender NerdGirl:
As a member of AZTogether, I am proud to report: Arizona has defeated the Proposed Marriage Amendment!

AZTogether and No On Prop 107 were successful tonight in taking down the evil and meanspirited AZ Prop 107 that would have amended the AZ constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and ban all domestic partnership benefits.

We are the first (and red) state to defeat such a proposition. Hopeful this will stop the domino effect across the nation.

Thank you to anyone who helped support this effort.

We won the Pima County (Tucson) vote by 30,000 votes. This carried the election throughout the state and the prop failed by 31,000 votes! Thank you to No On Prop 107 for bringing in the Pima county vote!

We are now going on the offensive and hope to take the Know Your Neighbor campaign statewide to fight for full equal benefits. Any donation to this effort are much appreciated and can be made at www.NoProp107.com.

Stay strong: we are proof that even red states can turn this all around if we stick together and talk to people locally to raise awareness nationally.

Thanks also to former Sen. Kolbe for showing up to support the community.
***

Gay.com on some of the other amendments.
Colorado voters were favoring the same-sex marriage ban by a 56 percent to 44 percent vote with 77 percent of precincts reporting. They also defeated a measure that would have created a domestic-partnership registry for unmarried couples, by a 55 percent to 46 percent vote.

In Idaho, 64 percent of voters condemned marriage equality.

South Carolina slammed same-sex marriage 78 percent to 22 percent, with nearly all votes counted.

Tennessee voters were favoring the marriage ban 80 percent to 20 percent, with 41 percent of precincts reporting.

In Virginia, with nearly all precincts reporting, the vote was 57 percent in favor of the ban Tuesday night.
Wisconsin's amendment results (59 percent to 41 percent) were shocking, since that was the state many predicted would defeat the amendment. Alas, it didn't happen. South Dakota was close, but no cigar -- 52-48.

The real message here is that civil rights should never be determined by popular vote. As Callie said in the chat thread earlier -- about a quarter of voters in Tennessee weighed in on that amendment -- that small slice of the entire state's population decided the legal fate of all gay and lesbian couples in Tennessee. That's BS.

***

[UPDATE: Read voter reactions to the passage of VA's amendment at the Virginia Pilot Online.]

And one more word about Virginia, which passed a heinous amendment that bans civil unions, domestic partnerships, and places legal arrangements between unmarried partners at risk. That state should pay dearly for its decision to make gay Virginians second-class citizens. The gay exodus will escalate shortly, and the Commonwealth will pay a steep economic price for its choice. That business community already knows it, as does Governor Tim Kaine.


Election 2006 Blend coverage

*** Join the LIVE Blend Election Chat ***


CNN's official E-lection Blogger Party site is up, with the full roster of participants.

All of the evening's results threads are by poll closing times (EST, links below); races to watch are posted in each, and updates will occur there.

States with links also have marriage amendments on the ballot. Those threads contain the amendment language and the impact if they pass, along with links to equality organizations working to defeat the measures.

* 7:00 PM: Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.
* 7:30 PM: Ohio, North Carolina and West Virginia.
* 8:00 PM: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. (8:30 PM: Arkansas.)
* 9:00 PM: Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
* 10:00 PM: Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.
* 11:00 and beyond: California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. Alaska polls close 12/1 AM.


Election Updates

guest posted by konagod...

[Pam: NBC (12:36): George Allen is on CNN; hasn't conceded (he's at 49%, Webb 50%); waiting on absentee ballot count tomorrow. ]

[Pam: NBC (11:00): DEMS TAKE THE HOUSE!!! Prepare for Speaker Pelosi!]

[Amendment update from Pam (10:45): All the measures in the South have passed (TN, VA, SC]. It's not looking good in WI, CO, SD. Arizona is the surprise, it's losing 57-43.]

9:52: CNN projects Democratic win in Rhode Island, beating incumbent Lincoln Chafee, giving the Democrats three of the six pickups they need to take control of the Senate.

Sherrod Brown has been projected to defeat Mike DeWine in Ohio in a significant senate race. Per CNN, this is one of six seats needed to regain the senate.

Bob Casey, needless to say, but pleasurable nonetheless, has been projected the winner over Rick Santorum.

Pam's editorial comment:


Buh-bye, Man-On-Dog. (9 PM, AP)

Pam: You MUST read the NGLTF release on Santorum's defeat.

"We are thrilled, ecstatic and overjoyed that Rick Santorum has been thrashed at the polls. His extreme and gratuitous homophobia will no longer pollute the Senate. Good riddance." — Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.
2 new seats. This is a good start. DeWine hasn't conceded yet but the atmosphere in his camp is muted.

Take a deep breath.

The pain in the pro-Santorum camp is laughable. J.C. Watts said "we've lost a real champion in Rick Santorum."

William Bennett added "but he's not finished; his political life is not over. You will see a movement to draft Rick Santorum to run... for president of the United States."

J.C. Watts continued... "Rick Santorum is the type of guy I could hang my hat on."
Right. This one must have hurt.

Update: Sheldon Whitehouse (D) has been projected to defeat Lincoln Chafee (R) in Rhode Island.

That makes 3 gains in the senate. Ken Mehlman doesn't look too happy right now!

VA Delegate Adam Ebbin released a statement on the passage of that state's amendment.


Dobson 'doesn't have time' to counsel Haggard

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Daddy D's busy schedule precludes him from treating former pastor, massage enthusiast and meth head Ted Haggard.
Citing a lack of time, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson withdrew Tuesday from the team overseeing counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard, the evangelical pastor who was fired amid allegations of gay sex and drug use.

"Emotionally and spiritually, I wanted to be of help - but the reality is I don't have the time to devote to such a critical responsibility," Dobson said.

...The counseling process, called restoration, could take years, said H.B. London, vice president for church and clergy at Focus on the Family.
My my, I'm sure you all have much to say.


K-Fed and Brit: It's over - praise Jeebus



News that really matters. Consider this the bitching special sanctity-of marriage-heterosupremacy-moment thread.

Shall we shed tears that Britney Spears, on try #2, managed the feat of beating out her first hitching (55 hours) -- while gays and lesbians cannot marry at all?


At the E-lection Blog Party

4-6PM: Some pix and comments as we settle in at Tryst Bar/Coffeehouse, which is buzzing with activity. I arrived around 4PM; there are couches and tables all around. I settled on a table near the bar (no, I'm not imbibing, just Diet Coke for me). We do in fact, have a monitor that we can tune to other channels, mine is on closed captioning, since it would be insane if we all had the audio on. Wireless took a while to set up, but I'm online.

Lots of cords, wires, techie types scurrying around. Our table has been on camera a couple of times as they scan the room. CNN Internet reporters Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner warmly greeted everyone. Below is Jackie with Duncan.



I was by myself there for a while, but was joined by folks on the Right side of the spectrum, Kevin Aylward and Lori Byrd of WizBangBlog, Betsy Newmark of Betsy's Page, and Scott Johnson of Powerline.

Even though I'm outnumbered at this table, the earth did not open and no one fell in. Sorry folks. Perhaps we'll have a food fight once returns start coming in. :)

Yes, there's a real mix in the room, Look at who was one of the first people I had my picture taken with -- someone who's probably perceived as my "anti-blogger" on the Right La Shawn Barber (she just told me that Stacy Harp, of all folks, commented at La Shawn's pad: "Tell her this 'fundie' as she’s referred to me on her blog, says "Hi and I hope the Dems lose."). Oh, this is fun. :)



I met, but haven't yet gotten a picture with Americablog's John and Joe; I'll try for that later. Here's one of John:



Christy of Firedoglake and Jeralyn of TalkLeft are directly behind me at another table, with TRex, also of Firedoglake, is off to my left on a couch.



Argh. They allow smoking in this joint! WTF!? I think I'm going to choke to death before the evening is over.

6 PM: Most bloggers are socializing and schmoozing; I'm the geek, sitting here getting my election result threads up for you all before seeing what kind of food they've got because there won't be any noshing once things heat up as polls close.

That's all for now...


11 PM and beyond states - Election 2006 - open thread

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Polls close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. Alaska polls close 12/1 AM.

States in bold have a marriage amendment on the ballot.

***

11:00 PM Eastern

Idaho
Governor (now R): Jerry Brady (D) vs. C. L. "Butch" Otter (R)
1st District (now R): Larry Grant (D) vs. Bill Sali (R)

Iowa
Governor (now D): Sec. State Chet Culver (D) vs. Rep. Jim Nussle (R)
1st District (now R): Bruce Braley (D) vs. Mike Whalen (R)
3rd District (now D): Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) vs. Jeff Lamberti (R)

Montana
Senator (now R): State Sen. Jon Tester (D) vs. Sen. Conrad Burns (R)

Nevada
Governor (now R): Dina Titus (D) vs. Rep. Jim Gibbons (R)
Senator (now R): Jack Carter (D) vs. Sen. John Ensign (R)
2nd District (now R): Jill Derby (D) vs. Sec. State Dean Heller (R)
3rd District (now R): Tessa Hafen (D) vs. Rep. Jon Porter (R)

North Dakota
Senator (now D): Sen. Kent Conrad (D) vs. Dwight Grotberg (R)

Oregon
Governor (now D): Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) vs. Ron Saxton (R)

Utah
Senator (now R): Pete Ashdown (D) vs. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R)

12:00 AM Eastern

California
Governor (now R): Treasurer Phil Angelides (D) vs. Gov. A. Schwarzenegger (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) vs. Dick Mountjoy (R)
4th District (now R): Charlie Brown (D) vs. Rep. John Doolittle (R)
11th District (now R): Jerry McNerney (D) vs. Rep. Richard Pombo (R)
50th District (now R): Francine Busby (D) vs. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R)

Hawaii
Governor (now R): Randy Iwase (D) vs. Gov. Linda Lingle (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Daniel Akaka (D) vs. Cynthia Thielen (R)

Washington
Senator (now D): Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) vs. Mike McGavick (R)
2nd District (now D): Rep. Rick Larsen (D) vs. Doug Roulstone (R)
5th District (now R): Peter Goldmark (D) vs. Rep. Cathy McMorris (R)
8th District (now R): Darcy Burner (D) vs. Rep. Dave Reichert (R)

1:00 AM Eastern

Alaska
Governor (now R): Former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) vs. Sarah Palin (R)


Idaho amendment Election 2006 open thread

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Here is the amendment:
"Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Idaho: That Article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and designated As Section 28, Article III, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho and to read as follows: SECTION 28. MARRIAGE. A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."
Polls close 11PM.

This amendment will "prohibit recognition by the State of Idaho, or any of its political subdivisions, of civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any other relationship that attempts to approximate marriage, no matter how denominated...(and) prohibit the State of Idaho, or any of its political subdivisions, from granting any or all of the legal benefits of marriage to civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any other relationship that attempts to approximate marriage."

Links:
* CNN's state page
* Idaho Secretary of State
* Idaho Votes No


10 PM states - Election 2006 - - open thread

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Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

RACES TO WATCH: (Republican v. Democrat)

10:00 PM Eastern

Arizona
Governor (now D): Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) vs. Len Munsil (R)
Senator (now R): Jim Pederson (D) vs. Sen. Jon Kyl (R)
1st District (now R): Ellen Simon (D) vs. Rep. Rick Renzi (R)
5th District (now R): Harry Mitchell (D) vs. Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R)
8th District (now R): Gabrielle Giffords (D) vs. Randy Graf (R) Colorado
Governor (now R): Bill Ritter (D) vs. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R)
3rd District (now D): Rep. John Salazar (D) vs. Scott Tipton (R)
4th District (now R): Angie Paccione (D) vs. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R)
5th District (now R): Jay Fawcett (D) vs. Doug Lamborn (R)
7th District (now R): Ed Perlmutter (D) vs. Rick O'Donnell (R)

Louisiana
3rd District (now D): Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) vs. Craig Romero (R)

Minnesota
Governor (now R): Atty. Gen. Mike Hatch (D) vs. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R)
Senator (now D): Amy Klobuchar (D) vs. Rep. Mark Kennedy (R)
1st District (now R): Tim Walz (D) vs. Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R)
2nd District (now R): Coleen Rowley (D) vs. Rep. John Kline (R)
6th District (now R): Patty Wetterling (D) vs. Michele Bachmann (R)

Nebraska
Governor (now R): David Hahn (D) vs. Gov. Dave Heineman (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Ben Nelson (D) vs. Pete Ricketts (R)
3rd District (now R): Scott Kleeb (D) vs. State Sen. Adrian Smith (R)

New Mexico
Governor (now D): Gov. Bill Richardson (D) vs. John Dendahl (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) vs. Allen McCulloch (R)
1st District (now R): Atty. Gen. Patricia Madrid (D) vs. Rep. Heather Wilson (R)

New York
Governor (now R): Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer (D) vs. John Faso (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) vs. John Spencer (R)
3rd District (now R): Dave Mejias (D) vs. Rep. Peter King (R)
13th District (now R): Steve Harrison (D) vs. Rep. Vito Fossella (R)
19th District (now R): John Hall (D) vs. Rep. Sue Kelly (R)
20th District (now R): Kirsten Gillibrand (D) vs. Rep. John Sweeney (R)
24th District (now R): Mike Arcuri (D) vs. Ray Meier (R)
26th District (now R): Jack Davis (D) vs. Rep. Tom Reynolds (R)
29th District (now R): Eric Massa (D) vs. Rep. Randy Kuhl (R)

Rhode Island
Governor (now R): Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty (D) vs. Gov. Don Carcieri (R)
Senator (now R): Sheldon Whitehouse (D) vs. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R)

Wisconsin
Governor (now D): Gov. Jim Doyle (D) vs. Rep. Mark Green (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Herb Kohl (D) vs. Robert Gerald Lorge (R)
8th District (now R): Steve Kagen (D) vs. John Gard (R)

Wyoming
Governor (now D): Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) vs. Ray Hunkins (R)
Senator (now R): Dale Groutage (D) vs. Sen. Craig Thomas (R)
At Large House Seat (now R): Gary Trauner (D) vs. Rep. Barbara Cubin (R)


9 PM states - Election 2006 - open thread

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Polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

(States with links have their own threads because of marriage amendments)

RACES TO WATCH: 9:00 PM Eastern

Arizona
Governor (now D): Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) vs. Len Munsil (R)
Senator (now R): Jim Pederson (D) vs. Sen. Jon Kyl (R)
1st District (now R): Ellen Simon (D) vs. Rep. Rick Renzi (R)
5th District (now R): Harry Mitchell (D) vs. Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R)
8th District (now R): Gabrielle Giffords (D) vs. Randy Graf (R)

Colorado
Governor (now R): Bill Ritter (D) vs. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R)
3rd District (now D): Rep. John Salazar (D) vs. Scott Tipton (R)
4th District (now R): Angie Paccione (D) vs. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R)
5th District (now R): Jay Fawcett (D) vs. Doug Lamborn (R)
7th District (now R): Ed Perlmutter (D) vs. Rick O'Donnell (R)

Louisiana
3rd District (now D): Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) vs. Craig Romero (R)

Minnesota
Governor (now R): Atty. Gen. Mike Hatch (D) vs. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R)
Senator (now D): Amy Klobuchar (D) vs. Rep. Mark Kennedy (R)
1st District (now R): Tim Walz (D) vs. Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R)
2nd District (now R): Coleen Rowley (D) vs. Rep. John Kline (R)
6th District (now R): Patty Wetterling (D) vs. Michele Bachmann (R)

New Mexico
Governor (now D): Gov. Bill Richardson (D) vs. John Dendahl (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D) vs. Allen McCulloch (R)
1st District (now R): Atty. Gen. Patricia Madrid (D) vs. Rep. Heather Wilson (R)

New York
Governor (now R): Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer (D) vs. John Faso (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) vs. John Spencer (R)
3rd District (now R): Dave Mejias (D) vs. Rep. Peter King (R)
13th District (now R): Steve Harrison (D) vs. Rep. Vito Fossella (R)
19th District (now R): John Hall (D) vs. Rep. Sue Kelly (R)
20th District (now R): Kirsten Gillibrand (D) vs. Rep. John Sweeney (R)
24th District (now R): Mike Arcuri (D) vs. Ray Meier (R)
26th District (now R): Jack Davis (D) vs. Rep. Tom Reynolds (R)
29th District (now R): Eric Massa (D) vs. Rep. Randy Kuhl (R)

Rhode Island
Governor (now R): Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty (D) vs. Gov. Don Carcieri (R)
Senator (now R): Sheldon Whitehouse (D) vs. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R)

Wisconsin
Governor (now D): Gov. Jim Doyle (D) vs. Rep. Mark Green (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Herb Kohl (D) vs. Robert Gerald Lorge (R)
8th District (now R): Steve Kagen (D) vs. John Gard (R)

Wyoming
Governor (now D): Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) vs. Ray Hunkins (R)
Senator (now R): Dale Groutage (D) vs. Sen. Craig Thomas (R)
At Large House Seat (now R): Gary Trauner (D) vs. Rep. Barbara Cubin (R)


9:30 PM Eastern

Arkansas
Governor (now R): Atty. Gen. Mike Beebe (D) vs. Asa Hutchinson (R)


Arizona amendment Election 2006 open thread

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Here is the amendment, Proposition 107:
AN INITIATIVE MEASURE PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; BY ADDING ARTICLE XXX; RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF MARRIAGE

Be it enacted by the People of Arizona: 1. Article: XXX. Constitution of Arizona is proposed to be added as follows if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the Governor: ARTICLE XXX. MARRIAGE TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT MARRIAGE IN THIS STATE, ONLY A UNION BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SHALL BE VALID OR RECOGNIZED AS A MARRIAGE BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND NO LEGAL STATUS FOR UNMARRIED PERSONS SHALL BE CREATED OR RECOGNIZED BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS THAT IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF MARRIAGE. 2. The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election as provided by article XXI, Constitution of Arizona.
Polls close: 9 PM EST.

This amendment bans civil unions and domestic partnerships. Unmarried heterosexual couples would also be affected.

Links:
* CNN's state page
* Arizona Secretary of State election page | Candidates
* Arizona Human Rights Fund
* No on Prop 107


Colorado amendment Election 2006 open thread

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A state reeling from Pastor Ted Haggard's Big Gay Meth Adventure, Colorado is a bit more complicated because there are two items for voters to consider on the ballot.

First, the marriage amendment:
Amendment 43: Marriage
"An amendment to the Colorado constitution, concerning marriage, and, in connection therewith, specifying that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado.

The ballot title and submission clause as designated and fixed by the Board is as follows:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution, concerning marriage, and, in connection therewith, specifying that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado?"
Referendum I authorizes a domestic partnership act.
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes to authorize Domestic Partnerships, and, in connection therewith, enacting the "Colorado Domestic Partnership Benefits and Responsibilities Act" to extend to same-sex couples in a Domestic Partnership the benefits, protections, and responsibilities that are granted by Colorado law to spouses, providing the conditions under which a license for a Domestic Partnership may be issued and the criteria under which a Domestic Partnership may be dissolved, making provisions for implementation of the act, and providing that a Domestic Partnership is not a Marriage, which consists of the union of one man and one woman?
Full text is here (PDF). Referendum I provides basic legal rights and responsibilities, such as hospital visitation, freedom to make end-of-life decisions and the ability to transfer and inherit property.

This state has the Marilyn Musgrave/Angie Paccione matchup in the 4th district.

Polls close: 9PM.

Links:
* CNN's state page
* Colorado Secretary of State Elections Center
* Yes on I


South Dakota amendment Election 2006 open thread

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Here is the amendment.
Full Text of Constitutional Amendment C:

Section 2. That Article XXI of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

§ 9. Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in South Dakota. The uniting of two or more persons in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other quasi-marital relationship shall not be valid or recognized in South Dakota.
Polls close: 9PM.

This amendment's ban on civil unions or DPs would have other unintended consequences, such as nullifying domestic violence protections for unmarried people, straight or gay.

Links:
* CNN's state page
* South Dakota Secretary of State
* South Dakotans Against Discrimination


Wisconsin amendment Election 2006 open thread

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Here is the amendment:
"Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?"
Polls close 9PM.

This amendment would ban civil unions, domestic partnerships and affect unmarried het and gay couples. See Fair Wisconsin's feature, 20 Effects of the Civil Unions and Marriage Ban.

Links:
* CNN's state page
* Wisconsin State Election Board
* Fair Wisconsin


8 PM states - Election 2006 - open thread

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Buh-bye, Man-On-Dog. (9 PM, AP)

Statement from the NGLTF on Santorum's defeat:
Rick Santorum, the third-ranking GOP senator, compared same-sex marriage to “man on child, man on dog” sex. He supported allowing faith-based service providers to discriminate in hiring based on religion with federal dollars and to proselytize. Casey opposes a federal marriage amendment that would ban same-sex marriage and he supports civil unions.

Statement from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.

“We are thrilled, ecstatic and overjoyed that Rick Santorum has been thrashed at the polls. His extreme and gratuitous homophobia will no longer pollute the Senate. Good riddance.” — Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.
Post news, voting shenanigans and comments about these states...

Polls close in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Arkansas polls close at 8:30.

(States with links have their own threads because of marriage amendments)

RACES TO WATCH:

Alabama
Governor (now R): Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley (D) vs. Gov. Bob Riley (R)

Arkansas (8:30)
Governor (now R): Atty. Gen. Mike Beebe (D) vs. Asa Hutchinson (R)

Connecticut
Governor (now R): Mayor John DeStefano (D) vs. Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R)
Senator (now D): Ned Lamont (D) vs. Alan Schlesinger (R) vs. Joe Lieberman (CFL)
2nd District (now R): Joe Courtney (D) vs. Rep. Rob Simmons (R)
4th District (now R): Diane Farrell (D) vs. Rep. Chris Shays (R)
5th District (now R): Chris Murphy (D) vs. Rep. Nancy Johnson (R)

Delaware
Senator (now D): Sen. Tom Carper (D) vs. Jan Ting (R)

District of Columbia
Mayor (now D): Adrian Fenty (D) vs. Dave Kranich (R)

Florida
Governor (now R): Rep. Jim Davis (D) vs. Atty. Gen. Charlie Crist (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Bill Nelson (D) vs. Rep. Katherine Harris (R)
13th District (now R): Christine Jennings (D) vs. Vern Buchanan (R)
16th District (now R): Tim Mahoney (D) vs. former Rep. Mark Foley (R)
22nd District (now R): State Sen. Ron Klein (D) vs. Rep. Clay Shaw (R)

Illinois
Governor (now D): Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) vs. Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R)
6th District (now R): Tammy Duckworth (D) vs. Peter Roskam (R)
8th District (now D): Melissa Bean (D) vs. David McSweeney (R)
10th District (now R): Dan Seals (D) vs. Rep. Mark Kirk (R)
17th District (now D): Phil Hare (D) vs. Andrea Lane Zinga (R) Kansas
Governor (now D): Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) vs. State Sen. Jim Barnett (R)

Maine
Governor (now D): Gov. John Baldacci (D) vs. State Sen. Chandler Woodcock (R) vs. Barbara Merrill (Indpt.) vs. Pat LaMarche (Green)

Maryland
Governor (now R): Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) vs. Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R)
Senator (now D): Rep. Ben Cardin (D) vs. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R)
3rd District (now D): John P. Sarbanes (D) vs. John White (R)
6th District (now R): Andrew Duck (D) vs. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R)

Massachusetts
Governor (now R): Deval Patrick (D) vs. Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) vs. Ken Chase (R)

Michigan
Governor (now D): Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) vs. Dick DeVos (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) vs. Mike Bouchard (R)
8th District (now R): Jim Marcinkowski (D) vs. Rep. Mike Rogers (R)

Mississippi
Senator (now R): Erik Fleming (D) vs. Sen. Trent Lott (R)

Missouri
Senator (now R): State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) vs. Sen. Jim Talent (R)

Nebraska
Governor (now R): David Hahn (D) vs. Gov. Dave Heineman (R)
Senator (now D): Sen. Ben Nelson (D) vs. Pete Ricketts (R)
3rd District (now R): Scott Kleeb (D) vs. State Sen. Adrian Smith (R)

New Jersey
Senator (now D): Sen. Robert Menendez (D) vs. State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R)
5th District (now R): Paul Aronsohn (D) vs. Rep. Scott Garrett (R)
7th District (now R): Linda Stender (D) vs. Rep. Mike Ferguson (R)

Oklahoma
Governor (now D): Gov. Brad Henry (D) vs. Rep. Ernest Istook (R)

Pennsylvania
Governor (now D): Gov. Ed Rendell (D) vs. Lynn Swann (R)
Senator (now R): State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) vs. Sen. Rick Santorum (R)
4th District (now R): Jason Altmire (D) vs. Rep. Melissa Hart (R)
6th District (now R): Lois Murphy (D) vs. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R)
7th District (now R): Joe Sestak (D) vs. Rep. Curt Weldon (R)
8th District (now R): Patrick Murphy (D) vs. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
10th District (now R): Chris Carney (D) vs. Rep. Don Sherwood (R)

South Dakota
Governor (now R): Jack Billion (D) vs. Gov. Mike Rounds (R)
At Large House Seat (now D): Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D) vs. Bruce Whalen (R)

Tennessee
Governor (now D): Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) vs. Jim Bryson (R)
Senator (now R): Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) vs. Bob Corker (R)

***


8:50: CNN projects Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez will win the New Jersey Senate race, defeating Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr.


Tennessee amendment Election 2006 open thread

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CNN: Tennessee amendment passes: 83% to 17% (8:30 PM, 1% of precincts reporting)

Here is the amendment.
The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman, is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.
We have the Harold Ford/Bob Coker Senate race going on here. No allies in this contest.

Polls close: 8PM.

This amendment bans civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Links:
* CNN's state page
* Tennessee Department of State
* Vote NO on 1


7:30 PM states - Election 2006 - open thread

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CNN (10:45): Shuler defeats Taylor in NC! Don't let the door hit you, Charles....

Ken Blackwell's in the toilet: Strickland wins.

CNN projects Democrat Sherrod Brown will win Ohio Senate Race, defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine

***

Post news, voting shenanigans and comments about these states...

Polls close in Ohio, North Carolina and West Virginia.

North Carolina
11th District (now R): Heath Shuler (D) vs. Rep. Charles Taylor (R)
8th District (now R): Larry Kissell (D) vs. Rep. Robin Hayes (R)
13th District (now D): Rep. Brad Miller (D) vs. Vernon Robinson (R)

Ohio
Governor (now R): Rep. Ted Strickland (D) vs. Sec. State Ken Blackwell (R)
Senator (now R): Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) vs. Sen. Mike DeWine (R)
1st District (now R): John Cranley (D) vs. Rep. Steve Chabot (R)
2nd District (now R): Victoria Wells Wulsin (D) vs. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R)
6th District (now D): Charlie Wilson (D) vs. Chuck Blasdel (R)
12th District (now R): Bob Shamansky (D) vs. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R)
13th District (now D): Betty Sutton (D) vs. Craig Foltin (R)
15th District (now R): Mary Jo Kilroy (D) vs. Rep. Deborah Pryce (R)
18th District (now R): Zack Space (D) vs. Joy Padgett (R)

West Virginia
Senator (now D): Sen. Robert Byrd (D) vs. John Raese (R)

***


Virginia

[From Daimeon/Get-The-Skinny]

Virginia polls closed at 7:00 pm tonight.

Per MSNBC:
As of 9:00 pm 66% of precincts reporting with George "Macaca" Allen in the lead.

This is not necessarily a bad thing since the reporting precincts are all from southern and southwestern Virginia. The majority of Northern Virginia which is traditionally a very "Blue" section is not yet reported.

*Update: Breakdown of vote so far by Income. One can see that the lower the class (people affected by the economy the most) and the upper class (the top 10 percent of the population) agree more with the Democrats and Jim Webb on economical issues. People in the middle class (like me) for some reason have drank the Kool-Aid and believe that the GOP will save them money.


Per CNN:
Virginia vote by income

**Update 10:00pm: According to Yahoo! 76% of precincts have reported and Jim Webb (D) is behind by approximately 11,000 votes. This is a slim number as he is only at 49% to Macaca's 50%, with 1% of the vote gone to the Independent candidate.

With almost a quarter of precincts left to report there is still a chance for Webb to pull ahead. Fingers crossed everyone!

***Update 10:15pm: The Virginia Marriage Amendment, according to MSNBC, is at 58% in favor and 42% opposed. This is sad but not entirely unexpected news. Socially, Virginia is a very conservative state. Also, with 91% of the precincts reporting in Virginia, George "Deer Head in the Mailbox" Allen is still at 50% ahead of Webb's 49% but is pulling ahead further slightly now leading by about 30,000 votes. *Adam Ebbin makes a statement on the amendment

****Update 10:30pm: George Allen is sadly still only ahead by 1% with 50% of the vote and only 32,000 individual votes after 93% of the precincts reporting.

*****Update 10:45pm: Senator Harry Reid to Kieth Olbermann: There will automatically be a recount to determine the winner between "Macaca" and Webb. The precincts inside the "beltway" are still reporting; there's still a chance!

******Update 11:17pm: The gap is closing as the "beltway" votes come in. The difference between the two now is only about 13,000 votes, still in favor of Allen. The reporting is at 97% now.

*******Update 11:50pm: Webb is ahead, according to CNN by 3,000, however MSNBC is reporting 2,300 in favor of Allen Webb. Keep your fingers crossed blenders!

********Update 1:14am: With only 2,726 votes separating the Virginia Senate candidates, a recount is automatically guaranteed. We will find out in a day or so what the actual numbers are. Faux News' own closeted homo-rethuglican has already conceded the election for Allen to Webb. "Our team of experts have re-crunched the numbers and it they add up correctly. Historically recounts only re-affirm the results."

Tomorrow, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the screaming talking heads like Sean Hannity, Bill "I simply cannot tell the truth" O'Reilly, and Rush "Oxycontin & Viagra" Limbaugh as they try to spin this so much their heads explode. Remember, Hannity will blame his listeners.


7 PM states - Election 2006 - open thread

*** Join the LIVE Blend Election Chat ***


Post news, voting shenanigans and comments about these states...

Polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

(States with links have their own threads because of marriage amendments)

Georgia
Governor (now R): Lt. Gov Mark Taylor (D) vs. Gov. Sonny Perdue (R)
8th District (now D): Rep. Jim Marshall (D) vs. former Rep. Mac Collins (R)
12th District (now D): Rep. John Barrow (D) vs. former Rep. Max Burns (R)

Indiana
Senator (now R): Richard G. Lugar (R), unopposed
2nd District (now R): Joe Donnelly (D) vs. Rep. Chris Chocola (R)
7th District (now D): Rep. Julia Carson (D) vs. Eric Dickerson (R)
8th District (now R): Brad Ellsworth (D) vs. Rep. John Hostettler (R)
9th District (now R): Baron Hill (D) vs. Rep. Mike Sodrel (R)

Kentucky
3rd District (now R): John Yarmuth (D) vs. Rep. Anne Northup (R)
4th District (now R): Ken Lucas (D) vs. Rep. Geoff Davis (R)

New Hampshire
Governor (now D): Gov. John Lynch (D) vs. State Rep. Jim Coburn (R)
2nd District (now R): Paul Hodes (D) vs. Rep. Charlie Bass (R)

South Carolina
Governor (now R): State Sen. Tommy Moore (D) vs. Gov. Mark Sanford (R)

Vermont
Governor (now R): Scudder Parker (D) vs. Gov. Jim Douglas (R)
Senator (now Indpt): Rep. Bernard Sanders (Indpt) vs. Rich Tarrant (R)
At Large House Seat (now Indpt): Peter Welch (D) vs. Martha Rainville (R)

Virginia
Senator (now R): Former Navy Sec. Jim Webb (D) vs. Sen. George Allen (R)
2nd District (now R): Phil Kellam (D) vs. Rep. Thelma Drake (R)


South Carolina Election 2006 open thread

*** Join the LIVE Blend Election Chat ***


CNN: amendment passes: 72% to 28% (8:30 PM, 7% of precincts reporting)

Here is the amendment.
Article XVII of the Constitution of this state would be amended by adding:

A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This State and its political subdivisions shall not create a legal status, right or claim respecting any other domestic union, however denominated. This State and its political subdivisions shall not recognize or give effect to a legal status, right or claim created by another jurisdiction respecting any other domestic union, however denominated. Nothing in this section shall impair any right or benefit extended by the State or its political subdivisions other than a right or benefit arising from a domestic union that is not valid or recognized in this State. This section shall not prohibit or limit parties, other than the State or its political subdivisions, from entering into contracts or other legal instruments.
Polls close: 7PM.

This amendment would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships as well as common law marriage will be eliminated. Domestic violence laws will be in flux for unmarried people in relationships.

Links:
* CNN's state page
* South Carolina – Election Resources (including all candidates)
* SC State Election Commission
* SC Equality Coalition


Virginia amendment Election 2006 open thread

*** Join the LIVE Blend Election Chat ***


See Dameion's thread for more updates.

The marriage amendment has passed.

Delegate Adam Ebbin's statement on the amendment's passage just hit my inbox:
We are, of course, saddened that Virginians voted to write discrimination into the our Constitution. Virginians are much more mainstream and fair-minded than this amendment – and we're becoming more so everyday. It won't be long before Virginians acknowledge that we've embarrassed our state by having written exclusion into our Constitution.

We've always said an informed voter was a NO voter. We simply ran out of time needed to reach enough voters before the election.

One of our biggest obstacles was that many thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The other side was saying from the beginning that they expected to win 70%-30%.

Well tonight's vote is not a defeat. It is a setback, because we will not be defeated. Students of history know that what is right will eventually triumph. And I stand here to tell you that we are on the right side of history.

While our Constitution has been stained with today's vote, I remind you it was Jefferson who said: "A little patience…and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles." It is difficult to be patient in the face of today's vote, but I want to assure you: Our day will come!

This Commonwealth once embraced slavery, and we woke up and renounced it. Sadly, this Commonwealth not long ago refused to desegregate its schools, and we woke up and did the right thing. This Commonwealth did not allow women to vote for more than three hundred years, and we woke up and rejected sexism. It is only a matter of time until Virginia once again resoundingly chooses equality over discrimination.

I know that you join me in committing to fight those who seek to limit the rights of the any community, whether because of their race, national origin, gender or sexual orientation. We will not be satisfied until the amendment is repealed and our laws and institutions reflect the true diversity of 21 st Century Virginia.

The alliances that the Coalition has built will provide the foundation for future action to undo the inequity done today.

That makes us even more grateful to the hundreds of organizations and thousands of Virginians from across the political spectrum and all walks of life who took a stand and joined this campaign.

Thanks to the hundreds of clergy who took a moral stand with us.

Thanks to Governor Kaine and former Governors Warner, Wilder and Holton for your leadership.

Congressman Jim Moran has been an unwavering ally and Congressman Bobby Scott stood with us and made a difference – a difference that we will not forget.

Please join me in showing your appreciation to the staff and volunteers of the Commonwealth Coalition.
***

Here is the amendment:
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."?
Polls close: 7PM.

The amendment bans civil unions, DPs, and places legal arrangements between unmarried partners at risk.

Big race to watch here, of course, is George "Macaca" Allen (R) and Jim Webb, Jr. (D)

Links:
* CNN's state page
* Virginia State Board of Elections
* The Commonwealth Coalition


Closet-loving Craig and gay-bashing Macaca haven't figured it out

These GOP hypocrites haven't learned from Haggard or Mark Foley. Playing the tired homo card really only draws attention to yourself. In Larry Craig's (R-ID) case, the recently outed senator is trying to deflect attention from his predicament as a anti-gay queer boy by coming out, so to speak, for his state's marriage amendment on the ballot today.
Idaho Senator Larry Craig said today that he will be voting "Yes" on HJR 2, the proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Craig wanted to clarify his position after a mass-mailing from a group called "Families for a Better Idaho" was sent to voters over the weekend, suggesting that he does not support the amendment.

"A statement of mine has been quoted out of context to suggest I am opposing the proposed marriage amendment to Idaho's constitution," Craig said. "On the contrary, I intend to vote in favor of HJR 2, consistent with the longstanding position I have taken in the U.S. Senate that the appropriate definition of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. The misquoted statement only reflects my belief that each State should be allowed to make its own decision on the definition of marriage, instead of being forced to accept another State's definition."
And in Senator George Allen's case, it's apparent that this turd thinks he's going to gay-bash his way to victory in Virginia (another state with an amendment). He was on TV proclaiming that those activist judges were taking away "his rights" in the popular zero-sum game of granting civil rights to gay citizens. John:
Lots and lots and lots of George Allen's top Senate staff have been openly gay. Even the staff Allen hired to run the committees he's on - gay. And when George Allen was governor of Virginia, who were some of his senior staffers? Gay. I knew them.

George Allen has a de facto affirmative action policy for hiring attractive young gay men. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's more than a bit hypocritical (not to mention extremely odd) that a guy who spends so much time worrying about gays (rather than, say, Iraq?) has had such a strong penchant for hiring young gay men as his most senior staff over and over for the past decade.
I hope all of these GOP hypocrites crash and burn tonight.

Who do you most want to see crying and conceding at the podium tonight? Santorum? Musgrave? Allen? Bachmann?


Getting out and protecting the vote

[I'm in DC now.]

[UPDATE: Blender Paul passed on "irregularities" in Daggett County, Utah and a GOP ad "emergency broadcast" error in California below...]

Russ ably posted about the "glitches" experienced at the polls (both in early voting and today) that threaten to "miscount" or deep-six votes. Imagine how many votes today are going to disappear (or, if you saw Hacking Democracy, materialize via Diebold chip).

High-tech monkey-business with votes is not the only factor that will affect outcomes today, how about simple issues that affect the vote -- arriving to find out you're not registered or have been stricken from the rolls, or, as what happened in my town (Durham, NC), voters came to the polls in the AM only to find them closed. (Facing South):
With precincts being staffed by volunteers, often elderly, many voters flock to the polls before work only to find the buildings aren't open. Research shows that these turned-away morning voters, juggling hectic schedules, often don't make it back to vote. In 2000 and 2004, horror stories flooded in across the country of precincts that opened hours late, but didn't offer any alternatives to time-strapped voters.

Durham County, North Carolina showed a better way this morning: when one poll opened an hour late, county election director Mike Ashe declared that results for the entire county would be delayed an hour, while Precinct No. 23 at The River Church remained open an hour after the rest of the polls closed, to accommodate those turned away in the morning.

To get a sense of how many votes could have been lost, over 100 voters -- at just one precinct out of 56 in Durham County -- were waiting at the doors of the locked church, which was supposed to have opened at 6:30 a.m. Who knows how many gave up and left.
Sue Sturgis of Facing South had a good post up yesterday about the measures being taken by the Election Protection (a collaboration of the NAACP, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and People for the American Way) to field questions and monitor the shenanigans at the polls today.

The coalition also has a hotline, staffed by actual people, not canned messages, trained to provide state-specific assistance to voters with questions or concerns:
Call center operators will inform voters and solve problems on issues such as voter identification requirements, voting machine malfunctions, problems at the polling place, and voter intimidation. National call centers will be located in Washington, New York, Baltimore, and San Francisco. Local call centers will be hosted in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Minnesota.

While the toll-free hotline will be available to voters nationwide, EP’s ground operations will be concentrated in precincts most at risk for disenfranchisement, including low-income communities, African American and Latino communities, and areas with a history of voting irregularities. The coalition will operate in Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Minnesota.
The number to call:

1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)

Malfunctions, "glitches" and any hindrances to voting are being compiled in an Election Incident Reporting System database. Lawyers will track the issues in real time and the information gathered will support the coalition’s efforts to file lawsuits across the country as necessary in order to protect voter rights.

Learn more here.

Have you seen or heard of any trouble with access or the voting process in your precincts?

***

UPDATES...

From Paul, these two gems...

Signal snafu broadcasts political ad.
Northern California radio stations got something extra Monday with the monthly emergency alert system test transmitted by fellow station KFBK _ and at least one of them was none too happy about it.

The test, complete with raspy alarm and tone, didn't end with the familiar words, "This concludes the test of the Emergency Alert System..."

Instead, it segued into a political advertisement by former state Sen. Dick Mountjoy, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein, and another spot for a mortgage company.
And how about a strange growth in population in Daggett County, Utah:
Daggett County has registered 947 voters for Tuesday's election. According to the most recent Census figures, that's four more than the county's population in 2005.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says complaints of vote-stuffing in the county are being investigated. Democrats suspect County Clerk Vickie McKee is letting outsiders swell the Daggett County registration rolls to give Republicans an advantage. The Democrats also say the father of a Republican deputy running for sheriff has 14 adults registered at his household.
The Brad Blog, as usual, is keeping up with the mounting problems...

Pennsylvania Tops List of Complaints So Far Coming in to Election Incident Hotline as of Noon ET
Right-Wing Talk Show Host Encourages Listeners to Jam Voter Complaint Hotline…

Diebold Voting Machines Failing to Start Up in Utah, Voters Being Turned Away…
Smartcard Encoders Reportedly Not Working…Paper Ballots Not Available Everywhere…

Myriad Problems Reported to Local News Outlet in Chicago…
From machines not working or being available when the polls opened, to votes flipping on touch-screens and more…

Missouri Election Integrity Org Says More Reports of Touch-Screen Vote Flipping…

USA Today Reports 'Voting machine problems bedevil multiple states'
Trouble With Machines in Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Illinois


***

An aside -- is anyone going need a hankie when this guy gets his tush whipped tonight?



Glitches my ass!

Glitches, glitches, we're beset by glitches!
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Voters put the Republican congressional majority and a multitude of new voting equipment to the test Tuesday in an election that defined the balance of power for the rest of George W. Bush's presidency.

About a third of voters were using new equipment, and problems in several states were reported right out of the gate. The government deployed a record number of poll watchers to the many competitive races across the country.

Glitches delayed balloting in dozens of Indiana and Ohio precincts, and Illinois officials were swamped with calls from voters complaining that poll workers did not know how to operate new electronic equipment.

In Delaware County, Indiana, officials planned to seek a court order to extend voting after an apparent computer error prevented voters from casting ballots in 75 precincts.

Florida officials, working to avoid a repeat of the vote-counting debacle of 2000, fielded extra voting machines, paper ballots and poll workers.

In the Jacksonville suburb of Orange Park, Florida, voters were forced to use paper ballots after an electronic machine broke.
Glitches my ass! First of all, a "glitch" or "bug" is an unexpected result of poor software coding. These "bugs" are often uncovered by computer scientists when impartial, peer-reviewed tests are run on the software. That's not allowed on voting machines, however, as the software is all proprietary - a secret - and no one but the voting machine company is allowed to inspect it.

Second of all, when you have "glitches", they usually behave in a predictable manner. For example, maybe every time I run a particular spreadsheet and do a particular action, the machine freezes up. However, the speadsheet doesn't take a "500" I typed into cell A5 and turn it into a "5000" typed into cell B6. That is to say, "glitches" and "bugs" usually cause an application to fail, they don't cause an application to work perfectly yet manipulate data incorrectly.

When touch screen voting machines take a straight party line vote and convert it into a straight party line vote for the other party, that might be a "glitch". If they only convert Democrat straight tickets to Republican, but never the other way around, that's not a "glitch", that's purposeful design.

I'm still amazed that the citizenry hasn't risen up and demanded paper trails with the fervor found at a midnight pre-Christmas sale at Macy's. Even the average Joe who doesn't know a microchip from a tortilla chip has two basic experiences with computers: 1) an ATM machine that's never incorrect and always gives a paper receipt, and 2) a Windows PC that often locks up, has to be rebooted, and loses important data. That should be enough to teach him that 1) computers can be reliable and auditable, and 2) computers can't be trusted. Either conclusion should cause a demand for paper trail voting.

Maybe most people just think their vote really doesn't matter. The corporations bought and sold this country years ago, and their votes are the only ones that count. Well, sure, let the corporations control counting the vote and those people are absolutely correct.


Caption this: Mr. Excitement

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photo: Jason Reed / Reuters: Chimpy on his barnstorming tour to motivate the faithful -- this is a bored crowd in Iowa. (Hat tip, Ms. Julien.)

Check out the stories on the GOP robo-call scandal. It's happening all over.

Open thread for dishing, links and blogwhoring, while I travel to DC.

Don't forget that you can live chat amongst yourselves...


Exodus pimps 'Truth and Tolerance Outreach' propaganda to youth

The "ex-gay" machine has created a slew of materials to for young fundies to perform "outreach" to their LGBTQ peers in school. The free resource is for "Christian clubs and student organizations who want to share Jesus Christ's message of redemption with those who identify as LGBT." Here is a portion of one of the postcards available to spread the word.



There are a lot of other shameless tracts of misinformation up at the site, including Stories of people who have left homosexuality.

I see a future at Exodus for disgraced hypocrite ex-pastor Ted Haggard. Look at some of the "ex-gay" stories being promoted on the Outreach web site (surf around and you'll also see ex-gays-for-pay are well represented).
A Dream Come True
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, grew up amidst the same confusing struggles many of Exodus' clients experience. His passion for this ministry began with his own journey from brokenness to wholeness through an Exodus support group, ultimately leading him to the fulfillment of his dream of being a husband and father.

A Changed Life, A Changed Man
Mike Goeke didn't know why homosexuality invaded his life. In an effort to 'fix' himself, he married Stephanie. When their marriage didn't bring the transformation he'd hoped for, it seemed like all was lost.

Feelings of Closeness
Carlton was taught from an early age that the only way he could experience intimacy was through homosexual acting out. After living for years with this secret life, could his marriage survive an honest confession?

The Roads I've Traveled
Early exposure to pornography taught Nate that sex equals love. So, as he grew up feeling an intense longing for male relationships, homosexuality seemed like the best course of action.

I Desire to Return to the Gay World
What does a man do when he desires to seek freedom from homosexuality in Christ, but same-sex attractions keep cropping up?

The gals have a page all to themselves...
What I Found Waiting for Me
When Kristen finally embraced a lesbian relationship, she felt euphoric. But she also felt conflicted; she couldn't rationalize her sexuality with her Christianity. Hurting and angry, she cried out to God, "Can't I enjoy the same love as everyone else?"

Secure in my Feminine Identity
Anne grew up a classic "tomboy" figure. Her insecurity in her femininity stemmed from lies she believed about herself, God, and what gender was. Living far from the God she was so angry at, she found herself in consuming relationships with other women.

Letting Others Help on the Journey
Brenna Kate struggled with lesbianism from early adolescence. A friend threatened her with an eternity in hell if she didn't change, and soon she felt hopeless as her prayers failed to defeat the feelings. What would it take for her to trust God again?

The Seeds That Grew
From early childhood, Melissa felt there was something very wrong with her. Later, living as a very "butch" lesbian, she found acceptance and affection, oddly enough, among senior citizens in a small church. [Melissa, by the way, is paid "heterosexual" for Daddy D, Melissa Fryrear.]
I have to tell you, one of the saddest (but most insightful) tales is that of "D. Freeman," The Souls of Black Folk, the Souls of All Folk. His "ex-gay" essay while he's clearly fighting against his homosexuality, provide a good look at what the internal struggle is for blacks to come out.
I have also grown to understand the voice that longs to be loved by a man. And, this voice has embedded itself in my soul through the years. I never asked for things to be this way – but I am an African-American who happens to struggle with homosexuality. To be sure, it is different to be Black struggling with homosexuality than it is to be White – or Asian, or Hispanic, or what have you. There seems to be so much more acceptance of gay culture in the white community (at least in the progressive metropolitan areas across the U.S.). In Black culture, “being gay” is traditionally not a subject we discuss – especially not in church. There are no great counselors to talk to in the Black church (by and large).

Sure, there is a nice fire and brimstone warning coming from the pulpit every once in a while, but little else is said. Unless of course you happen to attend one of the more “open-minded” churches, where there is a sort of understanding that homosexuality is wrong, so they will simply ignore the fact that half the men in the choir are sleeping with each other.

Outside the church is not much better. In African-American culture, we simply do not embrace a gay identity as a thing to be celebrated. Again, that type of gay pride is more common in the larger American culture. Yet despite the ambivalence – and sometimes, outright hatred – expressed towards homosexuality in Black America, the gay agenda has made inroads in our community. What has traditionally been an identity not worthy of celebration is quickly becoming an identity to be proud of! Yet, there is a fundamental quest we are all on. Whether you are an African-American or not, whether you are a same sex struggler or not, you understand double consciousness. You may not fathom it in racial terms, but at the very least in spiritual terms. And we have all cried out in some way, shape, or form “Who will deliver me!”
This man has chosen to bury himself, to deny who he is, seeking "hope to answer my desperation" to be straight. Or, perhaps more accurately, not act on his same-sex attractions. It's sad that he turned to the manipulative and hurtful ex-gay movement, which has convinced him that he is "broken," and that his life will be an eternal struggle against his orientation.

Such is the path for all of these people who choose to pray away the gay. You wish them well in their quest to reconcile their faith and homosexuality, but the professional heterosexual movement is not the answer.

Hat tip, Ex-Gay Watch.


An ally calls out the anti-gay fundies on marriage

Fellow Bull City resident Frank Hyman, a former member of the Durham City Council -- as well as a garden designer, sculptor and writer, wrote me a few days ago, and sent me a piece he wrote for a local paper that he thought you all might like to read.
Grab your helmets! Head for the bunkers! The institution of marriage is under attack!

Ooops. False alarm. Contrary to data based on reality, ministers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and our royal President Bush believe that the sanctity of marriage is under attack by a tiny percentage of the US population that wants to have a nice wedding with a ceremony, witnesses and some music. And gosh, maybe some dancing. Very threatening stuff--if they're gay or lesbian.

Recently, a couple of my lady friends went to Canada to get hitched. They were in Canada partly because that nation has approved civil unions for gays and lesbians. They were also there to enjoy a honeymoon at Niagra Falls. So conventional.

James Dobson, a leader in the movement to outlaw such marriages and the head of a group called Focus on the Family, claims on his website that such marriages, or even civil unions, for gays and lesbians are part of a "deeply disturbing reality" and surprisingly says that "Most gays and lesbians do not want to marry each other. That would entangle them in all sorts of legal constraints. Who needs a lifetime commitment to one person?", he asks. He goes on to say, "The intention here is to create an entirely different legal structure. With marriage as we know it gone, everyone would enjoy all the legal benefits of marriage (custody rights, tax-free inheritance, joint ownership of property, health care and spousal citizenship, and much more) without limiting the number of partners or their gender. Nor would "couples" be bound to each other in the eyes of the law. "

If you feel like you need to re-read that paragraph to understand it better, you're not alone. Even if you read the whole article I think you will find an incredible lack of internal logic. Best I can make out, Dobson worries that if gays and lesbians have the same rights as heterosexual couples it will somehow lead to old-style Mormon polygamy. Which we already have now thanks to heterosexual pedophiles. Polygamy is illegal and that shows no signs of changing despite Dobson's nail-biting. He also somehow thinks gay marriage will lead to the collapse of Social Security and the health care system. But he offers no explanation for how this will happen, especially since homosexuals compose as little as between one and five percent of the population, depending on whose numbers you believe.

Another conservative pundit, Stanley Kurtz, claims--with a bit more coherence, but just as much innaccuracy--that the European countries that have allowed civil unions are destroying marriage. An article in the on line magazine Slate by M.V. Lee Badgett dismantles his analysis and shows that in all 9 European countries that allow civil unions, the rate of marriage has risen. Denmark has allowed civil unions the longest--since 1989-- and according to Badgett, "heterosexual marriage rates are now the highest they've been since the early 1970's....Furthermore, in the 1990's divorce rates in Scandinavia remained basically unchanged...Even the conservative governments that came into power have not tried to repeal rights for gay couples in France and Netherlands."

I think that Falwell, Robertson, Bush and Dobson are right to be concerned about the sanctity of marriage, but the threat comes from our heterosexual brothers and sisters in the form of divorce. In other words, not only has the marriage "horse" has already bolted, but they are trying to shut the door on the wrong barn.Divorce rates among heterosexuals have been on the rise nationally for forty years. Divorce rates have almost doubled just in the last few years among officers returning from Iraq. Even among enlisted men, divorce rates for Iraq vets have gone up 28%. Interestingly, the highest US divorce rates are found in the Red states. Blue states have the lowest rates. And according to a think tank called the Barna Group, two studies have shown that born-again Christians divorce at the same rate as those not born-again.

Which brings us to the question: "What would Jesus say?" About homosexuality Christ is mum. Paul is against homosexuality, but then he also opposes women cutting off their hair and expects them to wear veils in church. I guess there is no law that says a fundamentalist can't pick and choose which fundamentals to obey and which to let drop. But what Christ does oppose is divorce. Perhaps Christ would suggest that the whole fundamentalist worry about the state of marriage needs to be born again.

Frank Hyman is a lapsed Southern Baptist and is happily approaching his second wedding anniversary.
Thanks, Frank; it's the kind of awareness and support that is sorely needed.


I detect Ken-bot shrinkage

Monday, November 06, 2006


"Democrats ... vocally fought - and then voted against - Justices Roberts and Alito. Why? Because they depend on activist judges to hand them the victories they can't win at the ballot box."
The RNC robot is churning out his tired talking points with his back against the wall. If he thinks the Dems are impotent at the ballot box, well, we'll see, Little Miss Sunshine. (Raw Story):
Mehlman repeats Republican themes heard often in the closing days of the mid-term election season, touching on the "war on terror" and tax cuts, along with typical cutdowns of the Democratic Party, seen as having the upper hand in the most recent polls.

"Americans will have the opportunity to choose between a party that wants to use every tool to keep us safe, or one that would take those tools away; between a party that wants to let you keep more of your own hard-earned money, or one that believes that money belongs to Washington; between a party that understands judicial restraint, or one that wants activist judges to fight its battles," Mehlman says in the op-ed.
And this paragraph alone must have been taken out of the deep freeze, it's so laughable.
Voters face another choice Tuesday: Republicans have cut taxes every year since George W. Bush was elected president. Democrats, on the other hand, have said outright that they plan to raise your taxes. If you're a typical American family with two kids earning $30,000 a year, the Democrats would raise your taxes by more than $2,000. They'd raise your gas taxes just as gas prices are finally coming down. Where would it end? Well, the man who would be in charge of tax policy in a Democrat-controlled House came right out and said it: No tax increase will be out of bounds.


Tooting my own horn, again

Howdy! I know it's election eve and there are more important races out there. But I wanted to remind the Blend that I am a quarterfinalist for a nationwide progressive talk contest (American Idol for liberal talk show hosts). There's been a bit of a dust-up on the message boards about me being a one-trick anti-drug-war pony, even though my audition had nothing to do with the subject.

If you could be so kind as to surf over and leave some comments, that would be cool. You can hear my audio at http://talkprogress.org/contestants and then youcan surf to the Message Boards. You'll see a few threads about me. Create an account (they only need username, password, and e-mail, I think) and you can let them know I care about more than just legalizing the herb. The judges (one of whom is Ed Schultz) are watching...

This is so weird, reading what people think of you when they've never met you.

I'll be back on the air this Saturday on your local Clear Channel Progressive Talk Station, live from 9AM-11AM Eastern, or you can catch it online at talkprogress.org.


More than I ever wanted to know about Haggard

Here I was, surfing around for political news and I stop by Americablog and saw this. John has part of an interview that Michelangelo Signorile did with escort Mike Jones, who exposed Ted Haggard's "other life."

I had to quit reading after this passage because I was beginning to feel nauseous.
Michelangelo Signorile: Did he use the term "hook up?" I mean, what did he actually say he wanted to do?

Michael Jones: He said he wanted an appointment with me. He came to my apartment. And the clothes came right off. The first time it was pretty much mutual masturbation, then in time oral sex. He was really pretty vanilla. Only once in three years did we try anal sex.

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MS: Was he a top or bottom? What was he interested in?

MJ: When I was on the radio show in Denver, the question was asked: Did you practice safe sex? I said, 'We used a condom once." The talk show host goes, "You mean he wore the condom once?" I said, "Uh, no, I did."

MS: What about with oral sex. Was he the passive partner or the active partner?

MJ: You know, it kind of went back and forth --- and I can't say he was very good at it.
Also, today on The Situation Room, CNN played part of a documentary with Haggard, who was talking about how great his holy rolling sex life was (I take it he wasn't referring to rent-boy sex).
TED HAGGARD: We say marriage is better than no marriage. We say moral purity is better than immorality. We say telling the truth is better than telling a lie.

You know all of the surveys say that evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on.

CALLEBS (voice-over): Disgraced evangelical Ted Haggard talking to HBO for a documentary, "Friends of God," set to air in January. Now listen to Haggard's words read by the Reverend Larry Stockstill, as Haggard falls on his sword telling the congregation he's guilty of betrayal and more.


CNN's E-lection Blog Party site is up

I happened to stumble upon CNN's site for E-lection Blog Party just a bit ago; it must have gone up today. It has the full list of participating bloggers.
On Election Night, Tuesday, November 7th, CNN is hosting prominent bloggers from across the country - and across the ideological spectrum - to watch returns, blog alongside one another, and share political insights during its live election coverage. Parts of the event will be streamed live on CNN Pipeline and broadcasted live on CNN's Election Night coverage starting at 7 PM E.T. Blogging begins at 4 PM and may continue into the early morning hours.
Oh well, should I be nervous?

***

I look forward to getting insights from you out there, Blenders -- hang around, chat and comment and post links and updates to races you're watching throughout the evening. Right now I have queued up threads for each state with a marriage amendment, as well as threads for each poll closing time across the country:

7 PM: Polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia.

7:30PM: Polls close in Ohio and West Virginia.

8PM: Polls close in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

8:30PM: Polls close in Arkansas and North Carolina.

9PM: Polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

10PM: Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

11PM: Polls close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington.

This will hopefully keep it all sane.

***

FYI on the chat feature: I tooled with it and now I have a link over in the right column that opens it into a separate window so you can chat and surf without having to refresh your browser. I'm pasting it here as well:

*** LIVE ***
Blend Election Chat


How retro! WND on the elections and communists

Did we get into the DeLorean and go back to the fifties?

***

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This, friends, is unhinged, foaming-at-the-mouth hysteria.
Why does the Communist Party believe it is so important that Democrats win?

...Just so there could be no mistake about the party's intentions to support a Democratic Party victory, Judith LeBlanc, national vice-chairwoman of the CPUSA, added: "The Democratic Party and its candidates are only as strong politically and economically as the mass movements behind them. The greater participation of the Party and Left, the more effective the movements are, the more likely we can deliver a blow to the Right in November."

The terrorists told WorldNetDaily an electoral win for the Democrats would prove to them Americans are "tired." They rejected statements from some prominent Democrats in the U.S. that a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency, explaining an evacuation would prove resistance works and would compel jihadists to continue fighting until America is destroyed.


Chat your heads off

It looks like John and I had the same idea. Last night I was surfing CNet looking at digital camera reviews and on the front page was a feature highlighting Chat Creator, which you can integrate into your blog.

I was going to launch it tomorrow during election coverage, but we might as well test it out now and see if it can take some traffic.

I've loaded it up in the column to the right. Give it a test drive and leave comments about how it works with IE, Firefox and other browsers.

Here's what it looks like embedded in a post, which I could leave up and running at the top of the blog on election night. What do you think?

UPDATE: Nice tip from the comments -- click in the chat window and right click -- if you're using Firefox in a new tab or preferably a new window. You can then resize the window so you can surf and chat. You can do this in Internet Explorer as well.

UPDATE 2: You can now click to open the chat in a separate window so you can read, surf and chat without worrying about refreshing.

UPDATE 3: I've taken the chat box off the post. You can open it up in a separate window by clinking the link below.

*** LIVE ***
Blend Election Chat


VA fundie: George Allen endorsement will hurt marriage amendment


Here's a novel theory -- Macaca's public support of his state's marriage amendment measure will hurt its chances of passage because he's perceived as a bigot, and therefore casting it as a partisan issue. Huh? It wasn't before?
The Virginia-based Family Policy Network's president, Joe Glover, says he believes Senator George Allen's endorsement of the proposed Virginia marriage amendment will hurt rather than help that measure's passage.

Glover believes that accusations from Allen's opponents that the senator is a racist has turned the marriage amendment into a partisan issue. "In every other state where the marriage amendments have passed, the criticism has been it's a form of discrimination to not allow homosexuals to marry, and that's fallen on deaf ears," Glover observes. "But suddenly," he says, "it makes some sense because George Allen, the racist -- so they say -- has embraced the marriage amendment, and suddenly it's a partisan issue in a split Democrat-Republican state like Virginia."

Neither of the U.S. senators from Ohio endorsed that state's marriage amendment, the Family Policy Network spokesman notes. And in Ohio, he points out, the marriage protection measure passed by a 60-40 margin. Glover believes it would have been better for pro-family supporters of the Virginia marriage amendment if Allen had said nothing about the issue one way or the other.
Joe Glover has made the Blend before with this knee-slapper:

"The homosexual activists in Washington, DC, have outed several members of George Allen's staff as being homosexuals. In fact, they call George Allen's office the gayest place on Capitol Hill. Now we didn't say that; the homosexual activists in Washington, DC, did."


Holy Joe soaks up support from anti-gay forces

Is this a surprise at all? (New Haven Independent):
A group of New Haven Latino clergy known for virulently opposing gay rights measures threw their support behind U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's reelection campaign Thursday in a speech that focused on family values and faith. The group said the senator's opposition to gay marriage contributed to their endorsing him: "We will not support a candidate that will go against the values of the traditional family as we know it and the Bible teaches us."


...The event was a match between two parties with histories of visible opposition to gay rights causes. The ministers organized a vocal crowd to denounce a proposal to establish a New Haven "domestic registry" for gay couples in committed relationships, for instance, denouncing homosexuality as a sin in an hours-long public hearing. Lieberman voted for a measure proposed by Republican then-Sen. Jesse Helms (Senate Amendment no. 2434 to bill number 1513) to deny federal funding to schools that counsel students, even suicidal gay students, that it's OK to be gay.
How about that? Even better, Joe Lieberman's campaign blog touts the support from these folks. What a winning team; we won't forget it.

Note: HRC has endorsed Holy Joe.

Also:
* Holy Joe vs. Ned Lamont on LGBT rights


Lunchtime funnies: Chuck Norris on the election

Meet WingNutDaily's newest columnist, the king of blowing sh*t up onscreen, and superpatriot, Mr. Delta Force himself -- actor Chuck Norris, with "The battlefields for freedom."
At the heart of this war is a head-on clash between traditional and ''secular-progressive'' camps. Will we become a country, in which licentiousness and lawlessness reign? Or will we maintain being a traditional nation, based upon the values and philosophies that our forefathers established?

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I am an unashamed traditional warrior. What that means to me is that I believe our country was founded upon conservative faith and values, and that it will only be sustained by them as well.

...With the culture wars at full tilt, it is somewhat surprising that expected voter turn out is forecasted as low as 35 percent. This is particularly troubling since Democrats only need to pick up six seats to gain a majority in the 100-seat Senate. They need only 15 seats out of the 435-seat House to achieve their first majority since being swept out of power in 1994.

To not vote is simply a vote for the opposition. As British statesman Edmund Burke once said, "Evil flourishes when good men do nothing."

...I figure if the media can rally behind an actor when he takes a stand for stem-cell research, they can equally back me when I support the war and our troops, increasing border control or voting for Governor Rick Perry in my home state of Texas.
Lord, voting for governor homo-hating Blow Dry...that's all I need to know. What would Jesus blow up for family entertainment?


GOP desperate dirty tricks as the clock runs out

[UPDATE: Some nice Rethug tactics at early voting sites in Chapel Hill below.

UPDATE 2: N.H. makes GOP stop some automated calls.]

I guess this is Karl and Co.'s 72-hour plan, since the GOP can't win on the issues.

Actually, there's no need to guess because the National Republican Campaign Committee admitted that it is robo-calling voters in key states identifying themselves as a supporter of the Dem candidate. The voter is called over and over if they hang up before the message terminates, harassing them with the intent of pissing them off. Talking Points Memo has been following this latest tale of GOP corruption -- and lawbreaking. From an AP article on robo-calling.
FCC rules say all prerecorded messages must "at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call." During or after the message, they must give the telephone number of the caller.
Here in North Carolina, it's happening out in the 11th Congressional District, Dem Heath Shuler's campaign said voters have had the calls harass them as late as 2:30 in the morning.

At last count this is also happening in New York, Connecticut, Philly, NH and Kansas. Nancy Boyda (D-KS) is so incensed that she actually has a message up at her campaign site about the 'bot fake calls.
Someone is flooding homes with harassing robo calls. They are making it sound like many are coming from the Boyda campaign. These calls are part of the dirty tricks funded by billion dollar lobbyists from back East.

Our campaign made only one call last week and it was a positive message. Please download this message and pass it one to your email contacts and ask everyone to vote for Nancy Boyda. Nancy will expand the privacy no call list to stop political robo calls. Ryun voted to allow these political calls and is now using them in this campaign.
Hat tip, A'blog.

***

Also in NC, my area's airwaves are being flooded with incredible ads for black homobigot Vernon Robinson, who is attempting to unseat Dem. Brad Miller in the 13th District. One has him bleating about security and actually uses shots of the planes crashing into the twin towers. It's batsh*t insane and offensive.

The other is humorous, though misleading because it asserts Brad Miller has received a 0 rating from the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and a host of other wingnut organizations -- clearly a badge of honor. What Vernon is counting on is by putting that out there, he's hoping to get the attention of people who have no idea what these outfits are about -- and with "family" in their names, well certainly that means Vern is pro-family and Brad is not.

***

In Chapel Hill, the News and Observer reports that Dems are being handed "voter guides" as they enter for early voting with a slate of Republicans. As we all know, it's not apparent in judicial races, unless one is paying attention, which party the candidates are affiliated with, so this tactic preys on voter ignorance. These deceptive practices are indicative that the party has serious a problem with being straight up with voters. I wonder why...
On Monday morning, when Chapel Hill lawyer Bob Epting approached the early voting center at Morehead Planetarium, he had every intention of casting his ballot and heading to the office.

...By Epting's account: He walked to the side entrance and was approached by a female college student who asked whether he was a registered Democrat.

"Yes I am," he said.

She replied, "Good, here's a list of our judicial candidates."

Epting thanked her, folded the piece of paper without looking at it and put it in his pocket. As a lawyer who is fairly active in politics (his law partner is longtime Rep. Joe Hackney), he didn't need a list to tell him who to vote for, especially among the judges.

But after exiting the poll, he remembered the piece of paper and removed it from his pocket. Standing at the top of a dozen or so marble steps, he scanned the list in disbelief. It was a list of Republican candidates.
He contacted local media and Dan Siler of WCHL went over to the site, and the woman was still there misrepresenting herself and her "list of good candidates." Siler asked her six questions before she would admit it was a list of Republican candidates, and she walked off rather than identify herself.

Siler, btw, recorded the exchange.


Mike Rogers and the fundie Capitol Hill prayer vigil

The Christian Defense Coalition, a group of evangelicals whose director, Rev. Pat Mahoney, complained last week that the faithful 'feel used, taken for granted' by GOP, went to the Capitol last night for a vigil. There was guitar strumming, songs and prayer "to seek God's blessing, guidance and direction for the most important mid-term elections in many years."

Mike Rogers of BlogActive and Proud of Who We Are decided to stop by and hand out flyers on hypocrites in the Republican Party to the gathering.

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See side 2 here.

Check out this Faux News report. One of the vigil leaders there bleated "folks are not to take some literature, I would ask that you not take it." That, of course, guaranteed that people took the flyer, as the video shows.



The reporter said the group told her that the "faith and values vote cannot be counted on."

Related:
* Pull out the tiny violin for the fundies -- they feel like GOP doormats


Open thread - hunting with Darth and Mary

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Nope, it's not a joke. Raw Story:

Vice President Dick Cheney plans to go hunting on Election Day for the first time since he shot a friend last February -- and this time he's taking his daughter, Mary Cheney...AP didn't identify what Cheney would be hunting.


Klansman serving life for civil rights murder dies

No tears will be shed for this man. Samuel H. Bowers was not convicted for the bombing death of Mississippi civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer until 1998. (AP):
Former Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard Samuel H. Bowers, who was serving a life sentence for the 1966 bombing death of a civil rights leader, died Sunday in a state penitentiary, officials said. He was 82.

He died of cardio pulmonary arrest, said Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman Tara Booth.

Bowers was convicted in August of 1998 of ordering the assassination of Vernon Dahmer, a civil rights activist who had fought for black rights during Mississippi's turbulent struggle for racial equality.

"He was supposed to stay there until he died. I guess he fulfilled that," Vernon Dahmer's widow, Ellie Dahmer, told The Associated Press on Sunday. "He lived a lot longer than Vernon Dahmer did."

...Two carloads of Klansmen arrived at Dahmer's Hattiesburg-area home in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 10, 1966. Dahmer was able keep the Klansmen at bay with a shotgun while his family fled, according to court testimony during a four-day trial in Forrest County Circuit Court in 1998. He died in his wife's arms about 12 hours after the attack.
Dahmer was targeted because he dared to try to register black voters, an irony since in many ways, nothing much has changed. Voting is considered such a subversive act by those who stand to lose their grip on power, that they will do anything to prevent certain groups from being able to participate in the process. From a white paper by Demos, a national, non-partisan public policy center:
Organized misinformation campaigns often target minority communities in the run-up to Election Day.

-- 14,000 Latino residents in Orange County, Calif., received a letter in October warning that it was a crime for immigrants to vote and cautioning that they could be jailed or deported if they went to the polls in November. These are naturalized citizens eligible to vote, as guaranteed by law.

-- A fictitious "Milwaukee Black Voters League" distributed fliers intended to suppress black voters in largely African- American neighborhoods in 2004. The fliers claimed that voters could not cast a ballot if they had already voted that year or if any family member had been found guilty of a crime. "If you violate any of these laws, you can get ten years in prison and your children will be taken away from you," the flier warned.

-- A memo on bogus letterhead of the Lake County, Ohio, Board of Elections was sent to local residents in 2004, stating that registrations submitted through the Democratic Party and the NAACP were invalid.

-- A bogus advisory purported to be from the Franklin County, Ohio, Board of Elections in 2004 advised that Democrats were being asked to vote on the day after the November election at their regular polling places, due to heavy voter registration. Republicans would vote on the actual election date. The targeted area, Columbus' near east side, is predominantly African American.


$500 reward for every queer killed during Jerusalem Gay Pride

That's the bounty offered by an unidentified extremist Jewish group bent on preventing a Pride parade in the Holy City. Religious whackjobs unite, no matter what their differences, to gang up on the homos and the result is that it foments violence in the batsh*t population. This is sick. (Time):
In a Holy City fissured by faith, finding a consensus on anything among Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics is a near-miraculous occurrence. Yet Jerusalem's rabbis, priests and imams have united, however briefly, to stop the city's Gay Pride parade.

...The tension over the Nov. 10 march may have erupted even sooner had the Lebanon war not forced the cancellation of a World Gay Pride Procession that had been planned for Jerusalem this summer. Even then, one extremist, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, from the Eda Haredit rabbinic court, blamed the failure of Israel's campaign in Lebanon on "the homosexuals' obscenity and promiscuity in the Holy Land."


The anti-gay bandwagon has even attracted support from abroad. Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Orthodox Rabbinical Alliance of America and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada, has been carrying out a three-year campaign against what he calls "the homosexualization of the Holy Land." It was Levin who crossed the boundaries of religious and ethnic hostility and recruited the support of prominent Palestinian Islamic cleric Taisser Tamimi against the parade. Evangelical Christian groups were also upset by what they saw as the deliberate flaunting of sexuality in Christendom's most sacred place.
Hat tip, Paul.


Pastor Ted: I have a 'lifelong' sexual problem

No you don't Ted; you like to do it with men. The problem isn't sexual, it's your inability to psychologically reconcile your desires with your relentless internal self-loathing and your hypocritical public pious, judgment against people who don't have an issue with their orientation. From this morning's letter from Haggard, delivered at the 9 AM and 11 AM services at New Life Church.
But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life.

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For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I've sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me.
You can't pray away the gay, but feel free to keep on trying. If it vexes you so much, please get yourself to the nearest ex-gay facility, where you will learn those desires simply won't go away.

The bottom line -- stop hurting your wife and kids. Or, more appropriately, get real counseling if you want to explore what really motivated you to throw your life away for some pole-smoking and meth. Accept that you can, in fact, be gay and there's nothing wrong with that -- until you start hurting others with your deception, lies, and unethical behavior. Where is the confession about his purchase of illegal drugs?

Anyway, Pastor Ted's not off to a good start; look at who he's seeking counseling from.
The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family.
Here's the full text of his letter to the New Life Congregation.

While there's absolutely nothing wrong with being gay and evangelical, or even closeted/conflicted about your sexuality, it is a problem when religious leaders, particularly ones in positions to affect legislative policies, start demonizing LGBT citizens who simply want to have their solid relationships legally recognized and the right not to be discriminated against.

For all those griping out there that another mighty homo hypocrite has fallen as a result of "outing," don't blame the openly gay folks like Mike Jones. No one can make a horny conflicted pastor hop in the sack with a male sex worker for three years or do meth. No one can entrap a man to chase 16-year-old pages and compulsively IM them about randy, nasty acts. These are men at war with themselves, serious head cases who don't belong in positions of power when they are clearly conflicted in their private and professional lives regarding core issues about their sexuality and perceived morality.

This isn't about Satan taking over anyone; this is about denial and an attempt to punish others for feelings that you wish to punish yourself for.

As we've discussed here in the comments of other threads, and as John points out today, looking at video of some of the leadership of Pastor Ted's church who stepped forward for make statements, it looks like a relative twink parade out there. Here's a link to pix of these guys; there's a lot of denial and hypocrisy in these evangelical circles. Is your gaydar going off?

Again, where are the closeted/"ex" lesbians in all of this? MIA -- only the gayboys seem to be in the mix. About the only one you see surface in all things anti-gay is Focus on the Anus's Melissa Fryrear.


MSNBC poll: the GOP is in trouble

And Little Ricky shall lead them into the waste treatment center. A MSNBC/McClatchy poll shows that the races are going to be nail biters, but there will be dancing in the streets of homo havens everywhere as Man-On-Dog hasn't managed to scare enough bigots into supporting him.

* Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum still trails challenger Bob Casey, now by 13 points -- he's outta there -- unless he's on a Diebold savior list.

Some other Senate races:

* Rhode Island: Chafee (R) 46%/Whitehouse (D) 45%.

* Missouri, McCaskill (D) 46%/Talent (R) 45%.

* Montana: toss up, 47% for corrupt Sen. Conrad Burns (R) and Jon Tester (D). Five percent undecided.

* Ohio: Brown (D) 50%/Dewine (R) 44%. 5 percent undecided.

* Virginia: Webb (D) 46%/Allen (R) 45%. Will "Macaca" go down, or will the fundie marriage amendment turnout keep him afloat?

* Maryland: Cardin (D) 47%/ 44% Steele (R). 9% undecided -- Steele has desperately tried to distance himself from Chimpy

* Tennessee: playing the race card has been fruitful for the GOP here, as Rethug Bob Corker has a 12-percentage point lead over Harold Ford Jr., 50% to 38% with 9 percent still undecided. The polls had been within the margin of error in late October. With Ford strongly on the record as a homophobe, this is a lesser-of-two-evils vote, or an abstention. A marriage amendment is on the ballot here.

The trend:
* Four Republican incumbents essentially tied with their challengers: Allen, Burns, Chafee and Talent. Four toss-ups that could turn into Democratic gains.
* Three Democratic incumbents with leads: Cantwell, Menendez, and Stabenow.
* One Republican incumbent ahead of his challenger: Kyl.
* One Republican open seat with the Republican leading, Tennessee.
* One open Democratic seat virtually tied: Maryland.
***

UPDATE: To add to GOP misery, Time's new poll shows Republicans are less enthusiastic about voting than Dems. And better yet, the evangelicals are abandoning ship.
Another challenge facing the GOP is a stark dropoff in support among what is usually a core constituency: white evangelical Christians. According to TIME's poll, only 54% of people in this group favor Republican candidates, with 5% undecided. Thirty-eight percent of white evangelicals polled say they'll support Democrats.
Let's pile on with more findings -- the poll shows white men are slipping away as well.
Males provided much of the Bush victory margin in 2004: the President took 55% of the male vote while John Kerry won 44%, according to exit polls. For the 2006 midterms, the TIME poll suggests men are almost evenly split, with 43% supporting Republican candidates and 47% Democrats.


Black conservative welcomes support of KKK on initiative to end affirmative action in Michigan

California-based Ward Connerly is one of the reasons black conservatives have little credibility. He's the founder of an outfit called the American Civil Rights Institute, which has as its mission to educate the public "about the need to move beyond racial and gender preferences."

People can engage in meaningful discussion about the pros and cons of affirmative action as a policy, however, Connerly finds no problem that his largest ally in support of a ballot initiative in Michigan to amend the state constitution to end AA policies in public government is the Klan. He has made himself a joke, and undercuts any serious arguments he could bring to the table.

In the 39-second clip posted on YouTube.com, Mark Bernstein of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission says Connerly's group has no support from notable civil rights groups.

"In fact just to illustrate how extreme and radical this group is," Bernstein says, "the only large organization that's endorsed the MCRI is the Ku Klux Klan." Then the clip cuts to Connerly.

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"If the Ku Klux Klan thinks that equality is right, God bless them," Connerly says. "Thank them for finally reaching the point where logic and reason are being applied, instead of hate."

...David Waymire, a spokesman for One United Michigan, which supports affirmative action and opposes Proposal 2, doesn't accept Connerly's explanation of his statement.

"Do you think anybody really believes the Ku Klux Klan supports equal rights?" Waymire said. "The Klan deserves to be rejected at every turn, not embraced. They have been playing the race card from Day One."
This isn't the only time Connerly has found friends in organized bigotry -- last month he shook hands with the chair of the Michigan chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white separatist group. Unhinged.

Hat tip, Think Progress.


Saddam sentenced to death by hanging

If you thought there was chaos in Iraq before, just wait. 6AM: CNN is reporting that Saddam and two others (his half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Hassan) received death by hanging. (CNN)
The 50-minute session was dramatic. Hussein entered with a Quran in hand, as he had in the past. He began screaming Allahu Akhbar -- God is great -- as the verdict and sentencing was read.

He also argued with the chief judge and shouted, "Damn you and your court." As the judge ordered him taken away, Hussein said, "Don't push me, boy."

...Another defense attorney, Ziad al-Najdawi, angrily told reporters as he left the courtroom, "That's the American justice."
Towns with large Sunni populations were under curfew, while those provinces with Shiite and Kurdish populations were not. The Baghdad airport has been closed until further notice. In the AP story on this:
Some feared the verdicts could intensify Iraq's sectarian violence after a trial that stretched over nine months in 39 sessions and ended nearly 3 1/2 months ago. Clashes immediately broke out Sunday in north Baghdad's heavily Sunni Azamiyah district. Elsewhere in the capital, celebratory gunfire rang out.

"This government will be responsible for the consequences, with the deaths of hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands, whose blood will be shed," Salih al-Mutlaq, a Sunni political leader, told the al-Arabiya satellite television station.


Neil Patrick Harris comes out

The former star of Doogie Howser, MD kicks open the closet door. (People):
"The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships.

"So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love."
Maybe I missed something, but was a tabloid about to out the 33-year-old actor?

According to the Washington Blade, his publicist issued a denial a couple of days ago. How old school is that -- Harris needs to dump that flack.


This and that

Just some random things from the mailbag, with plenty on Pastor Ted...

* In the latest Time magazine, David Kuo, the former staffer in the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and author of Tempting Faith had some interesting observations about the perversion of the evangelical movement by folks like James Dobson in light of the Pastor Ted debacle -- it's less about God, and all about politics.
"Jim Dobson's response was particularly telling," Kuo says of leading evangelical James Dobson. "He basically blamed the controversy on gays and Democrats. When evangelical leaders can't see beyond Tuesday on any question, what on earth is happening?"

..."The evangelical obsession with homosexuality makes this especially ironic. For many evangelical leaders, anything related to homosexuality is this special, dark sin. But that's not what the Bible says," says Kuo. "Really it's a sin like gossiping to your neighbor. Jesus doesn't even mention it at all."
* In the same vein, check out the Salon piece, The GOP's dwindling anti-gay parade. Marilyn Musgrave comes off like the sorry, hateful hag that she is, but the article focuses on the over-the-top homobigotry by candidates, and the fact that it is turning off voters. Some of the GOP's stars that hitched onto the homo-obsessions as a career path are floundering.
The reason for this turnabout may signal a transformation of the national debate over homosexual relationships, which have been a defining issue in recent election cycles. Across the country, candidates who have built their careers fighting homosexual rights now find themselves on the losing side of the polls. In Pennsylvania, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who once compared gay sex to "man-on-dog" relations, appears sure to lose his campaign for reelection. In Ohio, the polls are equally grim for Ken Blackwell, a Republican candidate for governor, who once said gay marriage "defies barnyard logic." In Minnesota, Republican state Sen. Michele Bachmann, who called gay matrimony a "ticking time bomb" because "little children would be forced to learn that homosexuality is normal," is fighting a tight battle for an open Republican seat.
* Take a musical journey through the six f*cking disastrous years of the Bush Administration, a montage set to George Michael's "Freedom." It will fire you up. Hat tip to Michael Stickings of The Reaction.



* Check out Blender Nancy Goldstein's ace series of articles (called Mind Games) for Raw Story on how the Department of Defense has royally screwed the men and women who serve this country. The latest is Big Money: The Compensation Angle, on how veterans' pre- and post-war health conditions are not being documented by the Department of Defense (DOD), despite Congress passing legislation requiring this in 1997. When they come back, what they are guaranteed is difficulty receiving benefits.
But one thing is for sure: A solider who at the time of his demobilization has no documentation of his condition on the post-deployment health assessment form (the 2796) that he may or may not have filled out is going to have a hell of a time later when he tries to get free treatment from the VA or collect compensation for a service-connected disability.
Previous pieces in the series: Part I - The Things They Carry, Part II - To Hell and Back: Spinning the Downward Spiral, and Part III - Full Metal Lockout: The Myth of Accessible Health Care)

* The Harper's article Soldiers of Christ - Inside America's most powerful megachurch with Pastor Ted Haggard" came up again in an email from Paul, who strung a few excerpts together for your amusement:
Your preacher might be a light-in-the-loafers meth snorting tweaker if:

"He doesn't strut... he gushes ."

"(H)e believes he foresaw Internet prayer networks before the Internet existed." (Come one now, everyone knows that was Al Gore)

he can transform a church where "The pulpit was three five-gallon buckets stacked one atop the other, and the pews were lawn chairs" into the spectacular described here: "Two fog machines on each side of the stage filled the sanctuary with white clouds. Pod-shaped projectors cast a light show across the ceiling, giant spinning white snowflakes and cartwheeling yellow flowers and a shimmering blue water-effect. Across the stage teens began leaping straight up, a dance that swept across the arena: kids hopped, old men hopped, middle-aged women hopped. Spinners wheeled out from the ranks and danced like dervishes around the stage. The light pods dilated and blasted the sanctuary with red. Worship Pastor Ross roared: "Let the King of Glory enter in!" Ushers rushed through the crowds throwing out rainbow glow strings... the music and video quickened as the camera rose to meet the new sanctuary. Images spliced and jumped over one another: thousands of New Lifers holding candles, and dozens skydiving, and Pastor Ted, Bible in hand, blond head thrust forward above the Good Book, smiling, finger-shaking, singing, more smiling. (His nose is snubby and his brow overhung, lending him an impishness crucial to the smile's success; without that edge he would look not happy but stoned.)

he suffers from paranoia..."He was always on the lookout for spies." and "evil forces that dominated Colorado Springs—and every other metropolitan area in the country—"Control." Sometimes, he says, Control would call him late on Saturday night, threatening to kill him. "Any more impertinence out of you, Ted Haggard," he claims Control once told him, "and there will be unrelenting pandemonium in this city."

"He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church..."

he installs in his church "a massive bronze of a glowering angel, its muscular wings in full flex," and "another bronze warrior angel, a scowling, bearded type with massive biceps and, again, a sword. The angel's pedestal stands at the center of a great, eight-pointed compass laid out in muted red, white, and blue-black stone. Each point directs the eye to a contemporary painting, most depicting gorgeous, muscular men—one is a blacksmith, another is bound, fetish-style, in chains—in various states of undress." and "a print of The Vessel , a tall, vertical panel of two nude, ample-breasted, white female angels team-pouring an urn of honey onto the shaved head of a naked, olive-skinned man below. The honey drips down over his slab-like pecs and his six-pack abs into the eponymous vessel, which he holds in front of his crotch."
* Wes passed on a link to another Haggard YouTube video, this time from an interview with evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. While as you might imagine, the irony meter breaks when you watch Pastor Ted leading his flock into religious ecstasy. I saw a lot of twinks jumping up and down in that crowd. Maybe these were some of the pastor's "outreach" successes.


Dawkins: "My biggest concern is that evangelicals like Haggard are foisting evident falsehoods on their flock. The evangelicals are denying scientific evidence just to support Bronze Age myths." Ouch.


Tax-evading 'Dr. Dino' creationist going to the clink

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dr. Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, Florida fundie who is the head of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry, faces a maximum of 288 years in prison for refusing to pay employee-related taxes at his Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, among other crimes, including falsifying bankruptcy documents, filing a false and frivolous lawsuit and complaints against the IRS, destroying records, and threatening to harm IRS investigators.

Hovind claimed that he didn't have to pay taxes (citing paying them violated his religious beliefs), and that he was being persecuted for being a creationist (see my earlier post).

His wife Jo is also going to do hard time. (Pensacola News):
Pensacola evangelist and tax protester Kent Hovind winked at his wife and gave her a reassuring smile as he was led away to jail. Jo Hovind clutched the necktie he had been wearing. She kept her eyes on her husband until he was out of sight.

A 12-person jury deliberated for 2½ hours on Thursday before finding the couple guilty of all counts in their tax-fraud case. Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, was found guilty of 58 counts, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes. He faces a maximum of 288 years in prison.

...Kent Hovind, whose life's mission is to debunk evolution, says he and his employees are workers of God and therefore exempt from paying taxes. He pays his employees in cash and does not withhold their taxes or pay his share as an employer.

"There's a difference between wrong and committing a crime," Richey said in his closing argument. "You can do all the wrong things you want and still not commit a crime."
Hat tip, Steve.


Naked man arrested for concealed weapon

I'm tired. I had to read the headline for this AP story twice before I realized that if he's naked, then he had to hide it...OMG...
A man was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon after police found him outdoors — naked — and he told them he had a tool in his rectum, authorities said.

The man was lying on a tree stump, masturbating beside a nature path, near a Bay Area Rapid Transit station Thursday, police said. John Sheehan, 33, of Pittsburg, was initially arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure. But when asked whether he was carrying anything police should know about, Sheehan mentioned the tool, said El Cerrito Detective Cpl. Don Horgan.

"You can't get much more concealed than that," Horgan said.

Officers drew their weapons and firefighters were called to the scene. Sheehan removed a 6-inch metal awl wrapped in black electrical tape without incident.
You really can't make this stuff up.


Russ is a finalist in the search for America's Next Great Progressive Talk Star

Today Blend co-blogger "Radical" Russ Belville passed through the fire once more and it's down to the last eight contestants in the national contest to find the next big progressive radio talk show star!

Smooth-talking, absolutely smashing Russ was on at 10:40 AM Eastern today, broadcasting from AM 620 KPOJ in Portland, Oregon. He was given five minutes to convince the judges (including Ed Schultz) that he has the mojo to win. He talked about Pastor Ted, the e-voting debacle, and he had a great rant about our rights and responsibilities as citizens to get out and vote.

You can hear the program over at TalkProgress.com. On the site's message board, he garnered great reviews (here and here).

Woohoo, Russ! The group whittles down to four contestants next week.


Buh-bye, Pastor Ted: church boots him for 'sexually immoral conduct'

Ted Haggard was on leave pending an investigation by his church; it didn't take long. After all, how could anyone reconcile the list of lies and half-truths from Pastor Ted's own mouth as he floundered to explain his hypocritical actions? The church's press release, hat tip, A'blog:
November 4, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Life Church
Colorado Springs, Colorado

We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.

The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has "demonstrated immoral conduct" whether we must "remove the pastor from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary."

In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal.

In addition, the Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard's offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin.

Pastor Haggard and his wife have been informed of this decision. They have agreed as well that he should be dismissed and that a new pastor for New Life Church should be selected according to the rules of replacement in the bylaws.

That process will begin immediately in hopes that a new pastor can be confirmed by the end of the year 2006. In the interim, Ross Parsley will function as the leader of the church with full support of the Overseers.

A letter of explanation and apology by Pastor Haggard as well as a word of encouragement from Gayle Haggard will be read in the 9:00 and 11:00 service of New Life Church.
Gee, what do you think will be in the "letter of explanation" regarding his "massage"?

Also, as John mentioned -- where is Colorado's Marilyn Musgrave in all of this? Has she made any comment?

I can't wait for Daddy D to weigh in, since he's Pastor Ted's good friend and all.


Boston talk show host booted for homophobic remarks

Sometimes I wonder whether people like WRKO-AM's John DePetro have gray matter issues. He first got into hot water last year when he referred to the head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority as a "fag" on the air.

You'd think that he may have realized that tossing out gay slurs might be hazardous to his career.

Nope.

He called Green-Rainbow gubernatorial candidate Grace Ross a "fat lesbian" on the air yesterday and well, he just must have had a brain fart and forgot about that last incident. It must have been a shock when he was given his walking papers.
John DePetro was immediately removed from the air and WRKO-AM management notified him Friday morning he was fired. "This corporation has zero tolerance for this type of nonsense,'' said station spokesperson George Regan. "It will not be tolerated."

...DePetro made the remark during a discussion of the previous night's gubernatorial debate during which Ross had complained the media was ignoring her in favor of the major party candidates.

"Big, fat? I guess that's supposed to be his way of saying he doesn't like somebody," she said. "It's not news to anybody that I'm a lesbian. This is supposed to be about an election, not name-calling," Ross told the Boston Herald.
Related:
* Radio show host suspended for homoasshattery


Why can't Haggard get his story -- ahem -- straight?

If you've been following the Ted Haggard debacle, it's hard not to notice that the former pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and departed president of the multimillion-member National Association of Evangelicals (and one of Time's 25 most influential evangelicals in America) has told a shifting story that doesn't make a lot of sense.

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Pastor Ted, who bragged that he teleconferences weekly with White House on policy, hasn't gotten his story straight since sex worker Mike Jones came forward to tell the tale of Haggard's monthly appointments over three years for paid sex -- and meth use.

Just a recap of Haggard's lies version of events...

Set up: Mike Jones goes on KHOW talk radio and alleges he had sex on a monthly basis with Haggard over three years using the name "Art" and he used meth before the two had sex.

Lie #1: The story breaks -- Pastor Ted denies it all, and states that he didn't know Mike Jones.
This denial is accompanied by a careful statement "I've never had a gay relationship with anybody. ... I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife." He denies using drugs. On video that has that aired widely, he even actually asks a reporter what Jones's name is, as if he doesn't know the guy.

Well that lie had a short life.
* Jones provides media with recordings he says are Haggard (requesting a meth buy), which a voice identification expert hired by KUSA found nine of 12 words were “perfect matches. Haggard fesses up.

Haggard on tape: "Hi Mike, this is Art. Hey, I was just calling to see if we could get any more. Either $100 or $200 supply."

Haggard's response to the above: "Yeah, I did call him. I did call him."

Lie #2: Ted admits buying meth from Jones but says he never used it -- he threw it away.
"I bought it for myself but never used it. I was tempted but I never used it."

This ludicrous statement just doesn't wash, it's a sorry statement that Pastor Ted is floating that he thinks is going to fool everyone. Even worse, on the recording, Haggard asks if he "could get any more" -- that suggests he's either been doing meth before -- or he likes to buy it and throw it away for recreation. Not.

As Blender Fritz pointed out in one of the threads, when your average person goes for a massage, who casually brings up a drug buy?
If you consider this logically, it is quite a leap to go from getting a legit massage to buying meth. There had to be some degree of intimacy in order for that to happen. Think about it. Was he on the massage table -- a minister -- and the conversation casually turned to meth?

And, why would anyone use a false name to get a legitimate massage?

"I'm going to massage your upper back now, Art. Just let me know if it hurts."

"Oh, it feels great. By the way, do you happen to know where I can buy some meth, Mr. Masseur?"

"Sure do. All legitimate massuers sell meth. How much do you want?"
Likely Lie #3: Pastor Ted simply wanted a massage, not sex. He said he had received a referral at a hotel for a massage with Jones, but he did not say which hotel.

Based on what's been reported so far, no one can prove Ted had sex with escort Jones -- unless there's some DNA of Haggard's or video that Jones has under wraps, but Pastor Ted's on really shaky ground here. At some point he's probably going to parse this one and tell us he received a massage everywhere except his privates. Fellow commenter Mark noted:
Jones says he always met Haggard at his home, NO HOTEL clerk gave Haggard Jones's name (as he claims), and Jones ONLY advertised in gay magazines and gay websites. So already Haggard is shown lying AGAIN.Then the question arises why is Haggard reading gay magazines, or visiting gay websites? Why does a straight man seek out a gay massuer? Why does a straight guy need to go through all that much trouble to just buy meth, which he claims he didn't use?
Pastor Ted, btw, hung around gay bars to recruit homos to come to his church back in the day. Maybe he was doing outreach...

Isn't telling a string of lies about his behavior unseemly for a the spiritual leader of a mega-church who believes in the sanctity of marriage and warns everyone about the evils of homosexuality?



Related:
* Lying liar Falwell: 'I never met Haggard'
* Escort reveals more details on GMA, fails initial polygraph
* Pastor Ted admits to some of the escort's allegations
* That was fast -- Haggard resigns (w/Freeper commentary)
* Daddy D's simply outraged that Ted Haggard is being accused of homosex
* Mega-church leader denies 'sexual business relationship' with male escort


Military paper editorial: Rumsfeld must go



Jesus. How can Dear Leader ignore this, which will be published on Monday in Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times. (via SFGate):
One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

...Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.


"Radical" Russ - Quarterfinalist: America's Next Great Progressive Talk Star

Remember last week how I told y'all I won the Progressive Talk Radio Contest on Portland's local Air America affiliate, AM 620 KPOJ?

Well, I have just been informed that I made the cut for the national quarterfinals. I'll be on the air live tomorrow this morning (I forgot it was already Saturday on the Blend), competing against 7 other contestants nationally, at 10:40am Eastern / 7:40am Pacific. I get five minutes to "rant about whatever I want". I'll be glad to take suggestions here. I'll probably give the Blend a shout-out.

You can listen on your local Clear Channel progressive talk station (but not here in Portland, I don't think), or you can listen over the web at TalkProgress.com.

This is all happening very fast... so fast I haven't had time to get really excited about it yet. That's probably a good thing.


Lying liar Falwell: 'I never met Haggard'

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fundies are fleeing from Haggard like roaches scurry when the lights come on. Rev. Tinkywinky claims he never met Pastor Ted Haggard. (CNN/Paula Zahn):

REV. JERRY FALWELL: Well, I don't know him. I haven't met him, and he's been rather critical of activists like Dr. James Dobson and myself. In pastors' meetings, he's said we shouldn't be aggressive as we have. I certainly sympathize with his family and the great congregation that he pastors there.

FALWELL: He'll no be longer able to pastor his church or lead the evangelical movement. He doesn't really lead the movement. He's president of an association that's very loosely-knit, and I have never been a member of it. Most of people that I know have not, and no one has looked to them for leadership.
Oops...(CSIndy via C&L):
Attending the private meeting with the President were Rev. Jerry Falwell from Liberty University, Janet Parshall, author and host of the nationally syndicated radio broadcast "Janet Parshall's America," Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Dr. Jack Graham, former SBC President Dr. Adrian Rogers, American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, National Religious Broadcasters President Frank Wright, and President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Dr. Richard Land.
H/t Blogenfreude.

Related:
* Escort reveals more details on GMA, fails initial polygraph
* Pastor Ted admits to some of the escort's allegations
* That was fast -- Haggard resigns (w/Freeper commentary)
* Daddy D's simply outraged that Ted Haggard is being accused of homosex
* Mega-church leader denies 'sexual business relationship' with male escort


Open thread -- two peas in a pod

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Think Pastor Ted is calling Dear Leader for advice?

Post updates and dish in this thread, since juicy developments are coming fast and furious. I'll be offline for a little while.



Let's not forget the Florida closet case

Shakes Sis reminds us about good old anti-gay gubernatorial candidate for governor of Florida, Republican Charlie Crist who denied having an affair with a male GOP staffer, Jason Wetherington. It looks like Crist's story is falling apart at the seams.
Evidence, however, is piling up that he and Jordan, whom the GOP candidate claims not to remember ever having met, had a relationship and that his Republican opponent Tom Gallagher knew about it prior to the September 5 primary vote.

Much of the information surrounding the relationship came, unwittingly and somewhat ironically, from the Harris U.S. Senate campaign, where Jordan worked as the congresswoman's personal travel aide not long after his release from jail in February.

It was while he was employed in that capacity that another traveler on the Harris campaign, Dee Dee Hall, befriended him. In a videotaped statement that I obtained over the weekend, Hall swears that Jordan confided to her that he had an ongoing romantic relationship with Crist.

…"He said that he was involved with Charlie," she says on the tape after she was sworn in by a court reporter. "I was like, 'OK.' He just stated his first name. He said, 'Maybe you've heard of him.' He said Charlie Crist."


Haggard: 'I bought meth'

Guess Pastor Ted couldn't get out of that drug charge by escort Michael Jones -- the recordings tell the story -- and he admitted today that was him on the tape.

Even better, he uses a variation on Clinton's "I didn't inhale." He says he threw the meth away. (KUSA):
Pastor Ted Haggard came out of his house Friday morning and admitted to 9NEWS that he bought meth from a gay escort in Denver.

Haggard says he bought the meth from a gay escort, 49-year-old Michael Jones, after contacting him for a massage.

Haggard says he never used the meth and instead threw it away. However, Haggard could not remember where he threw the meth away.
He also said he received a massage from the buff Jones. Was that anywhere in the nether regions, Pastor Ted?

Hat tip, Autumn.

Related:
* Escort reveals more details on GMA, fails initial polygraph
* Pastor Ted admits to some of the escort's allegations
* That was fast -- Haggard resigns (w/Freeper commentary)
* Daddy D's simply outraged that Ted Haggard is being accused of homosex
* Mega-church leader denies 'sexual business relationship' with male escort


Polls show South Dakota marriage amendment a toss-up

Wow. Who knew this would be close? An Argus Leader/Mason-Dixon poll shows that 47% of voters would vote against the measure, 46% would vote for it, and 7% are undecided.

This amendment bans civil unions, domestic partnerships or "other quasi-marital relationships."

I just received an email from John Marble, Communications Director of National Stonewall Democrats, and he passed on the good news that it looks like support for a marriage amendment in South Dakota is plummeting. The ground forces of South Dakotans Against Discrimination have done a tremendous job of getting out to educate the public about what this amendment will mean if it passes.
I have been here for a couple weeks working with South Dakotans Against Discrimination (HRC is also on the ground). We got into this race because South Dakota has never had an organized LGBT community before, and we thought we could help build that here. --- Once we got in, we started to realize that the local organizers here had a chance of winning.

SDAD has run a tremendous campaign (hell, the are pulling 34% support from Republicans in the reddest of states). All the other side talks about is Scandinavia and the fall of marriage there.

The YES side is moving money from the abortion ban to Amendment C and we are trying to match them in ad buys (and are almost there!)
You can donate to SDAD here.

The fundie South Dakota Policy Council is hard at work and feels confident the measure will pass.
South Dakota Family Policy Council Executive Director Rob Regier, whose group supports the measure, said his group is galvanized by the tightening of the poll numbers.

"I think when people get in the voting booth and see those words, 'Marriage is a union between a man and a woman,' they'll feel compelled to vote yes," he said.


Escort reveals more details on GMA, fails initial polygraph

The sleazy, sad saga continues. Mike Jones, the escort who alleges megachurch pastor Ted Haggard paid him for sex over a three-year period is featured in a good long piece on Good Morning America (via Ablog).

Jones charges that Haggard not only did meth with him, but that Haggard said he did the drug before having sex with his wife. The segment includes the phone calls where Haggard asks Jones to obtain a "$100 or $200 supply" for him.



What is somewhat problematic for Jones is the breaking news that he failed the first polygraph that he initiated, though a lack of sleep could have affected the results. (Rocky Mountain News):
The polygrapher, John Kresnik, said the results "indicated deception" but he also believed the results may have been skewed because the accuser, Mike Jones, was suffering from a migraine and didn’t get much sleep.

"I'm disappointed with myself," Jones said on Peter Boyles' morning talk show on KHOW radio after taking the 90-minute polygraph. "I feel like I've disappointed a lot of people. I initiated it and I'm willing to accept the consequences of it."

However, Jones said he "would not back down" from his original accusations. He also said — at the prompting of Kresnik — to take two more lie detector tests after he got some sleep. Jones said he only got two hours of sleep.
Since Pastor Ted has already admitted to "indiscretions" involving Jones, and there's been a voice match to the phone messages to Jones, it's clear something is true; Haggard hasn't yet disclosed what he did.

***

Meanwhile, PageOneQ located the web page of sex worker Jones. These are some of the services Mike has to offer on his web site. Perhaps Ted only needed a massage...
MASSAGE BY MIKE
Voted best massage and personal trainer for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 by readers of the community newspaper Out Front Colorado. Former state bodybuilding and powerlifting champion.

I offer a deep tissue and swedish style massage with the pleasure of the man in mind. If you like a strong muscle man to bring pleasure to you then please call me. I am a muscle stud with a friendly personality and a caring heart. When the Broadway shows play in town the cast and crew call upon me for massage.

I am 5"8 and weigh 190 lbs.
My arms are 18 inches.
My chest is 47 inches.
My waist is 32 inches.
My thighs are 24 inches.
I have brown hair and blue eyes.

My rates are as follows:

In calls at my place in Capitol Hill of Denver: $70.00 per hour $90.00 1 1/2 hrs.

Out calls start at $100.00.
Oh wait, this is what Jones claims Haggard really had on his mind:

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Hat tip, Nelson.


Alabama officer wastes taxpayer dollars on 'Misadventures of Super Sheriff' video

Jeebus. And I thought I'd never have to blog about this clown again.

Marshall County Alabama Sheriff Mac Holcomb is in hot water for using department resources to produce a parody video, "The Mis-Adventures of Super-Sheriff."

WAFF 48-TV uncovered this waste of taxpayer dollars.
What do a Valley sheriff and superman have in common? Both are invincible in an eye-opening video the WAFF 48 Investigators uncovered. It was video nobody on the outside was supposed to see. And now it leaves a community full of questions and one Valley sheriff with some explaining to do.

Welcome to "The Mis-Adventures of Super-Sheriff." Its star, Marshall County Sheriff Mac Holcomb, uses his superhuman sheriff powers to fight crime and save the day. The video's outraged some residents like Gayla Wynn, who calls this spoof unprofessional and embarrassing.

"You also see them using the sheriff's office, you see them in the sheriff's cars, they are using the facilities," she said.
Old Mac, a Republican, says the dust up is just a political plot -- but the guy's not even up for re-election this year. His defense, from the Sand Mountain Reporter:
"Although I am certain there may be those who question the need to participate in this sort of activity," he said, "I felt it would be something helpful in reducing some of the daily stress we in law enforcement are faced with every day.

"Why someone has felt it necessary to make this public at this time I can only guess at. I believe this video should be of no real interest to anyone other than someone who is attempting to embarrass me and members of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Holcomb first made the Blend when he ran a quaint retro racist, homophobic diatribe on his department's web site ("Homosexuality was very queer and a despicable act... an abomination."). He later moved to a personal page when the matter blew up in the media).

Hat tip, Allison J.


Tool McCain shills for AZ marriage amendment

It's not enough to work the leg of Dear Leader, Humpty McCain's self-esteem is so low and his presidential ambitions so high that the pandering bastard is practically sucking off the fundies two years in advance for their 2008 vote. I hope he's ready to continue performing to go the distance...

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AZ Central reports that McCain appears in two new television spots for Proposition 107, the marriage amendment that will be on the ballot on Tuesday, sponsored by Protect Marriage Arizona. The measure would ban civil unions -- and prevent any municipalities from extending domestic partner benefits to any unmarried couples. The commercials are airing in the Phoenix market.


Ad 1: Proposition 107 - It's about Marriage!


Ad2 :Don't let judges redefine marriage in Arizona!

Hat tip to John, who notes:
The really sick part is that McCain has always had gay staff in high-level positions, going back to the early 90s at least, and yet he's still an anti-gay bigot. His staffers even had long-term partners, and McCain had no problem with that. But now he does. Well, again, to be fair, it's Friday, so TODAY McCain is an anti-gay bigot because he's now wooing the religious right. The past five years, McCain was actually pro-gay (though before that time, he was again anti-gay). So, we might get lucky, by the time McCain runs for president in 2008 he may be pro-gay again. Just need to catch him on the right day.


Hacking Democracy - what did you think?

Did anyone see the documentary last night? Comments?

Bev Harris of Black Box Voting has been called a conspiracy theorist by people for talking endlessly about Diebold's hackable system. I agree with Liz at Blondesense -- these critics need to to just STFU after seeing HBO's Hacking Democracy.

I watched it and could barely control my anger at how easy the hack is. No wonder Diebold is hopping mad - there are rampant denials and stonewalling by the company, as well as by election officials who are defensive and obstructionist. When BBV attempts to legally access public voting information when they go through trash an election board dumpster -- and find poll tapes with tabulations from the voting machines that are not supposed to be discarded.

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The freaking removable memory cards in these machines, which should only contain voter data, has an executable program on it that can change totals to whatever someone wishes it register in advance of a vote. It's as easy as editing a spreadsheet, people. This means the outcome is predetermined regardless of what the voter eventually selects on either an e-machine, or worse, even an optical scan machine where you actually have a marked up paper-trail ballot. Even on the latter Diebold machines, the vote is verified by officials by the poll tape that is printed out and compared to the software that tabulates the totals. If they match, then that machine's results are considered verified. If the result is preordained on the memory card, it doesn't matter what a voter filled in on their ballot.

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Who's going to know that they need to reconcile that printed tape to all of those ballots to find the discrepancy?

Hacker Harri Hersti was engaged by Black Box Voting to prove this hack (his report here), and an example of the fraud is all filmed.
In Florida, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho presided over a trial "mini-election" to see if the vote could be hacked without being detected. Before votes were actually cast, computer analyst Harri Hursti "stuffed the ballot box" by entering votes on the computer's memory card. Then, after votes were cast, the results displayed when the same memory card was entered in the central tabulating program indicated that fraud was indeed possible. In other words, by accessing a memory card before an election, someone could change the results - a claim Diebold had denied was possible.
John Kerry would not be happy with the way he came off in this doco, but he deserves it. He knew about the irregularities but folded a mere 12 hours after the polls closed with all the problems going on in New Mexico and Ohio. From an interview with Bev Harris (TV Guide):
TVGuide.com: Why did John Kerry concede in 2004, when there was evidence pointing to "negative vote" tampering [in which a hacked memory card directs a tabulator to subtract votes]?

Harris: You know, that was something that I was baffled by, because he had specifically promised, and collected money, to fight for every vote and get to the bottom of any issues that arose. It was very disappointing to a lot of people.
Why should he get a second chance to screw over the American public? You're left angry over the fact that this hasn't been story #1 in the MSM since the 2004 election as the ample evidence of vote manipulation, fraud and "malfunction" of the machines all over the country surfaced. Someone should be doing time in the clink for the assassination of our democratic process.

***

Familiar page in Karl's playbook: vote suppression through intimidation

It's already surfacing in Maryland (WaPo):
A recently distributed guide for Republican poll watchers in Maryland spells out how to aggressively challenge the credentials of voters and urges these volunteers to tell election judges they could face jail time if a challenge is ignored.

Democrats said yesterday they consider the handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, evidence of a Republican effort to block people from voting Tuesday.

"The tenor of the material is that they are asking folks, if not directing them, to challenge voters," said Bruce L. Marcus, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. "It's really tantamount to a suppression effort."


Pastor Ted admits to some of the escort's allegations

So much for the wingers hoping that conservative hypocrisy on the gay issue stays out of the mainstream media, thanks to anti-gay Pastor Ted Haggard's alleged rent-boy/meth adventures. I woke up this AM and Miles O'Brien had all the video of Haggard up there giving his very parsed denial as the top story.
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"I've never had a gay relationship with anybody. ... I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife. I don't know if this is election-year politics or if this has to do with the marriage amendment or what it is," Haggard said.
The latest bombshell is that Acting Senior Pastor Ross Parsley says Haggard, former head of the 14,000-member New Life Church and the National Association of Evangelicals actually admitted to some of the allegations when meeting with his church board to step down. CNN also played the tape of Parsley's statement. (News Channel 13):
Pastor Ted Haggard is now admitting that some of the allegations by former gay escort, Mike Jones are true.

In an e-mail obtained by NEWSCHANNEL 13, Acting Senior Pastor Ross Parsley says Haggard confessed to the board of overseers. Parsley told members of New Life Church; " He has willingly and humbly submitted to the authority of the board of overseers, and will remain on administrative leave during the course of the investigation."

The e-mail goes on to say the leadership team is strong and untied. We remain resolute in our commitment to serving New Life Church and the people of our community. It also asks members to continue to keep Ted and Gayle and their family in your prayers.
Parsley said that Pastor Ted admitted to "indiscretions" of an unnamed nature. Maybe this is some of what he's talking about, as Mike Jones, the 49-year-old male escort, has recordings of the evangelical moral leader soliciting meth. Ted Haggard's middle name is Arthur, and the caller refers to himself as "Art." (9News):
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Jones provided two voice messages to the local news channel, 9News, claiming they include the voice of Haggard calling him.  A voice expert told 9NEWS that the messages left for the male escort matched the voice of Pastor Haggard.  Jones claims Art is really Haggard and is referring to methamphetamines in the messages.

August 4, 2006 2:18 pm
"Hi Mike, this is Art. Hey, I was just calling to see if we could get any more. Either $100 or $200 supply. And I could pick it up really anytime I could get it tomorrow or we could wait till next week sometime and so I also wanted to get your address. I could send you some money for inventory but that’s probably not working, so if you have it then go ahead and get what you can and I may buzz up there later today, but I doubt your schedule would allow that unless you have some in the house. Okay, I’ll check in with you later. Thanks a lot, bye."

August 4, 2006 5:10 pm
"Hi Mike this is Art, I am here in Denver and sorry that I missed you.  But as I said, if you want to go ahead and get the stuff, then that would be great.  And I'll get it sometime next week or the week after or whenever. I will call, though, you early next week to uh, see what's most convenient for you.  Okay?  Thanks a lot.  Bye." [Here's the audio.]

Mike Jones said he met Haggard after he advertised on the internet as a male escort and Haggard replied calling himsel Art.  Arthur is Haggard's middle name.  Jones said he has more recordings and more will be played on a Denver radio station tomorrow.
News 9 had nationally known voice recognition expert, Richard Sanders, who worked on such the Oklahoma City bombing trial, the Columbine High School shootings, the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, and the Kobe Bryant case, listen to the voice mails and he found that of nine of 12 single words on the recordings were perfect matches to Haggard.

Video from 9News:
* A voice expert tells 9NEWS messages left for a male escort match the voice of Pastor Ted Haggard -- from 11/2 10PM newscast

* Reactions from members of New Life Church from 11/2 10PM newscast

***

Here is a man who has made a career pontificating the sanctity of marriage and condemning homosexuality. I haven't heard whether he's preached an anti-drug message as well, but it's probably safe to say that he's performed a hat trick on this bible-beating front. And it's all come crashing down, in charges as depraved for a person of his public persona as Mark Foley heading up a committee to protect children on the internet.

I feel sorry for Haggard's immediate family -- he has a wife and five children. What must be going on in that marriage right now? What about the children?

Pastor Ted has been working hard to define marriage with an amendment in Colorado as between a man and a woman -- not a man, a woman and a rent boy toting meth. How's he supposed to square that in his mind? Just like the rest of the religious leaders like Haggard who get caught in hypocritical messes like this. They, along with the GOP professional closet cases running wild on the Hill and in the White House, are in the same moral boat. They therapize by hiding their kinks in the closet and work out their own demons by trying to hurt out and proud law-abiding, taxpaying gay citizens.

Have voters had enough of this crap yet?

In this Denver Post article, it's hard to say what the impact will be in Colorado.
The allegations regarding Haggard, a key member of the coalition that drafted Amendment 43, raise what Smith called "the H-question: hypocrisy."

"I'm not sure how that plays out in ballot issues, but as one of the proponents and drafters, it's the scarlet letter H that can affect that campaign," said Smith, who tracks ballot issues nationwide.

"The story will have legs carrying it through the election and, whether the allegations are born out or not, it will have the effect of moving attention away from that ballot issue," he added.

Focus on the Family, which has pushed and helped finance the campaign for the marriage amendment, had no comment on how the Haggard situation might affect the outcome of the gay-marriage ban on Election Day, said Gary Schneeberger, the group's public policy media director.

"The situation appears to be very fluid, so we're going to keep our eyes open, and if we have anything to say in the days to come, we'll say it," he said.
I thought I'd post something from ex-gay advocate and minister Stephen Bennett, who has a unique take on the matter. He's obviously primed to help Pastor Ted out with advice on praying away the gay in his time of need -- if he so chooses -- but Bennett offers a sobering assessment of the hypocrisy coursing through the Republican party that should worry Uncle Karl about The Base.

"I WAS gay for over 11 years, dated two male prostitutes from New York City and was a cocaine dealer in Connecticut back in the 1980's -- until Jesus changed my life," said Stephen. "Today, my life is totally different. I am no longer gay. I'm happily married for over 13 years to my beautiful wife Irene, and I'm the father of two little children - a boy and a girl.

..."If these allegations are true about Rev. Haggard - America's Top Evangelical Christian - I am completely disgusted and dismayed. After being in major Christian circles for many years, the hypocrisy that I have found and personally seen in main stream Christianity is unfortunate and heartbreaking.

..."Will this affect the elections next Tuesday? Are Republicans disenfranchised with the hypocrisy within their own party - especially the hypocrisy within the driving force - the Christian Conservative base? You better believe it.

"The more and more hypocrisy I see each day, the more I realize next Tuesday we are going to get EXACTLY what we deserve. Yet I must NEVER forget where I came from and always remember 'But for the grace of God, there go I.'"
Between this and the choked mistress pre-election payoff by Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA) -- the other top story -- it's a conservative hypocrisy meltdown of epic proportions that cannot be ignored.

As I mentioned yesterday, the WaPo article containing a laundry list of GOP scandals is basically a rap sheet of instructions to toss the bums out.

Related:
* That was fast -- Haggard resigns (w/Freeper commentary)
* Daddy D's simply outraged that Ted Haggard is being accused of homosex
* Mega-church leader denies 'sexual business relationship' with male escort


Rep. Don 'mistress-choker' Sherwood paid her $500K to keep quiet until after election

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Recipient of an 84% rating from Christian Coalition, Don Sherwood's "backrub" was actually a chokehold, according to Cynthia Ore.

Values, values...

As you might remember, the Pennsylvania Republican agreed last year to settle matters his mistress of five years, Ms. Ore, after she slapped him with a lawsuit for trying to throttle her. Now we learn that the terms of the agreement were designed to hush Ore up until after the election.
The settlement, reached in November 2005, called for Cynthia Ore to be paid in installments, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is confidential. She has received less than half the money so far, and will not get the rest until after the Nov. 7 election, the person said Thursday.

A confidentiality clause requires Ore to forfeit some of the money if she talks publicly about the case, according to this person and two other people familiar with elements of the case.

...Even before Ore settled, the congressman tried to keep a tight lid on the case. His lawyer asked a judge to prohibit disclosure of materials from the case, warning that Sherwood's opponents might try to use the information to harm him politically.


Daddy D comes out strong for homobigot Ken Blackwell in final stretch

Daddy D and Focus on the Anus have been all over the news today, defending good friend, alleged rent-boy procurer, meth user -- and on-leave pending investgation evangelical leader -- Ted Haggard, bleating about yanked marriage amendment commercials in Colorado, and now this -- a hail mary endorsement and pimping of Ken Blackwell, who's swirling the bowl in Ohio as election day nears. (AgapePress):
A powerful Christian pro-family leader is throwing his support behind Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell. Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson has announced his personal endorsement of Blackwell, the Republican candidate who is running against Democrat Ted Strickland in the Ohio governor's race. Dobson is featured in a new radio ad in which he calls Blackwell "the champion of Ohio's marriage amendment and a lifelong pro-life leader."

In the ad, the Focus on the Family chairman emphasizes that he is "speaking as a private individual and not on behalf of any organization" as he urges values voters to cast their ballots for the GOP candidate as Ohio's next governor. "Ken Blackwell has stood for our values," Dobson observes, "and it's our turn now to stand with him. Help elect a great leader who shares our values." Blackwell's campaign has accused Strickland of wanting to keep God out of public life by voting to let liberal judges prohibit prayer in school and remove Ten Commandments displays from public buildings.
A group working for fundie butt-kissing homobigot Blackwell's defeat, Blacks Against Blackwell, is doing all they can to make sure he goes down hard. This is from an interview by NewsChannel5 anchor Leon Bibb.
Blacks Against Blackwell has intensifed its push against Blackwell with language so strong that the group said: "Ken Blackwell is our color, but not our kind."

Lang Dunbar of Blacks Against Blackwell: "Mr. Blackwell was tied to the president George Bush hand and foot. Anytime a person is almost to the right of Clarence Thomas, we have a problem."

Bibb: "What do you think? How do you respond to that?"


Blackwell: "Oh, look, I received about 40 percent of the vote in the African-American community in the last three elections. We're going to do just fine in the African-American community."

Dunbar: "He's against affirmative action although affirmative action probably helped him further back."

Bibb: "Traditionally, blacks in Ohio have voted Democrat. But early on, Republican Blackwell predicted he would garner 40 percent of the black vote. But the group -- Blacks Against Blackwell -- said it does not believe that can or will happen."

Blackwell: "Many blacks, if not most blacks, will vote for me, not because of the color of my skin, but because of my competence and my agenda."

Larry Rush of Blacks Against Blackwell: "If I have anything, I'm trying to keep it down to 4 percent and that'd be just his personal family and friends."


That was fast -- Haggard resigns

I step out for dinner and return to find out that another gay-bashing fundie with a closet door kicked open bites the dust.
The Rev. Ted Haggard resigned as president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals on Thursday after being accused of paying a man for sex in monthly trysts over the past three years.

Haggard also stepped down as head of his 14,000-member New Life Church, which he founded, pending an investigation by a church panel, saying he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations."

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..."I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity," Haggard said in a written statement. "I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance."
Right. I can't wait for all the details to unfold.
Jones said he had advertised himself as an escort on the Internet and that a man who called himself Art contacted him. Jones said he later saw the man on television identified as Haggard.

He said he last had sex with Haggard in August. He said he did not warn him before making his allegations public this week.

Jones said he has voice mails from Haggard as well as an envelope he said Haggard used to mail him cash.
Let's take a look at Pastor Ted tell about the evils of homosexuality.



I think Pastor Ted and Peter LaBarbera should team up and launch an private investigation firm specializing in undercover work exposing the Homosexual Agenda in gay bars and bathhouses. It would probably be quite a fulfilling mission for them.

I knew you'd want to see what the Freepi are saying about this...


Actual Freeper Quotes™

This gay prostitute claims he has voice mails and letters from Haggard that prove the relationship. It's a mess. If he did it or not, my prayers to Ted Haggard. He has a wife and five kids, and 14,000 members of his church who look to him for guidance.

This smells like a Foley-esque smear.

If it's true, and I'm doubtful, but if it is, he owes it to all his supporters to fight this until after the election. No matter the cost, ANY cost.

Ironically, it could help the pro-family agenda because of people being shocked about a minister having a male prostitute. Who knows how it plays out?

So what does Musgrave do now...comment or not comment?

She has to comment. All she has to do is show compassion, concern, saying she hoping it isn't true, hoping he changes his ways if true, and commenting on how lovely his family is. In a press release. The media vultures though would decend in a pack on her with a press conference though. Musgrave should just write a good statement.

IF, IF, this is true it will impact th election here in CO. He OWES those of us he has hurt (IF IF it's true) and he needs to pay ANY PRICE to minimize the impact on this election. ANY PRICE

May be. If not, we should still be thankful that the Lord is exposing hypocrisy in the body. First Paul Cain (leader of the health and wealth gospel), then Paul Cain (founder of the "prophetic" ministry) and now Haggard (who is a leader in the five fold "covering" movement, John Bevere is one of his members. All are representative of the popular modern charismatic movement which is long overdue for a purging and purifying that it might become a tree that bears fruit for the Lord. We should of course pray for Haggard's restoration. We're going to see more and more of this as this age draws to a close I believe.

Why is it so hard to believe that preachers and politicians are any different from the general population? Some of them like gay sex!

Only an idiot. But then you have to have some kind of mental defect to get involved in this sick lifestyle anyway. If he is innocent he should fight tooth and nail, if guilty he should go away and never show his face again. Prayers to his wife and children. A man should never do something to shame his family.

It has everything to do with the election. I watched a Denver newscast online. This prostitute came to the Denver Post two months ago. They researched his claims, believed him, and then came out with this 5 days before the vote on same sex marriages. Politics has everything to do with it. That being said, IF and I repeat IF, a minister of a congregation of 14,000 is paying a gay hooker for sex, it is news.

it's nobody's business but the congregation and his family. That the MSM and RATS are trying to influence the election with this is despicable, but not surprisng. They'll stop at nothing.

I suspect that a long term homosexual relationship while married with children and professing to be Jesus' representative to a congregation.....well, this guy has committed a mortal sin and needs to worry about his salvation. He has done more then to merely sin or miss the mark. He has serious issues that he needs to clear up with God himself.

There are levels of sin though. Sin is much more than missing the mark. It is a deliberate choice. It is a deep level of depravity that would cause a man to engage in a homosexual affair (of course Haggard is innocent until proven otherwise). It is not on par with stubbing one's toe and saying "damn". Exactly.

He doesn't have time. He resigned from his church, the NAE, and they canceled the press conference to support him. He's guilty in the eyes of the public. If he's innocent, he has made all the wrong moves to show that.

That's a great point...you just don't step out of a committed, godly marriage and into a homosexual relationship without taking many small steps of rebellion which lead (eventually) to something like this. Adultery starts with lust. (And some people think flirting is always harmless...)

I am a New Life member. A couple of things:

1. Pastor Ted's temporarily stepping down is the procedure for any Pastor accussed of a serious moral breach. It does not imply guilt.
2. An outside body will investigate the truthfulness of these allegations.
3. Very curious timing again, very late October surprise.
4. Satan is alive and well and wants to win. He will smear, lie, attack and destroy what he can. Why would he not attack an effective man of God.
5. The truth will come out.

AND HERE'S A SANE COMMENT SURE TO GET THE WRITER BANNED FROM FR:

First off, to be clear, nothing is proven, and the Rev. Haggard should be allowed time and space to defend himself. But with that disclaimer ... it's the hypocrisy, stupid. I know most FReepers are more hostile to homosexuals than I am, and I'm not picking that fight. As far as I'm concerned, consenting adults can do what they want in private, as long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.

But the real issues are these: 1) it takes a an unparalleled lack of character to spend your days decrying homosexuals and your nights trolling for guys; and B) anyone leading that kind of double-life is a blackmail target served up on a silver platter with a sprig of parsley. Why bribe someone you can blackmail? The latter is harder to detect, more certain and far cheaper.

I hate to say it, but I have a lot more respect for Barney Frank as a man than I do for Mark Foley. Frank was, for want of a better word, frank about his sexuality. Foley did his best to hide it. One is arguably immoral but honest; the other, self-righteously moral in public while being immoral in private, which is fundamentally dishonest.

Count on it: closeted gay Republicans will be outed, one by one. Those gloves are off.

When Tom Foley took over as Speaker, a Republican group put out a release titled "Tom Foley: Out of the Liberal Closet." The release listed how often Foley had agreed with Frank on key votes. Frank, who was already in the open and had little to lose, offered to dish on which Republicans were gay, and that campaign stopped hard on its heels.

The point is, allegations of freaky sex don't hit the Democrats very hard, because they don't campaign against freaky sex. As long as the Republicans oppose freaky sex, they're going to take a much tougher hit when one of their own is caught in the act. They sow what they reap.


Anti-gay marriage ad pulled from Colorado airwaves

Focus on the Anus is boo-hooing in a press release that KUSA-TV in Denver and KKTV-TV in Colorado Springs have stopped running ads by Colorado Family Action Committee supporting Amendment 43 (marriage) and in opposition to Referendum I (which would enact domestic partnerships).

A Denver attorney challenged the accuracy of the ad, called "Price We Pay".
"This underhanded tactic by those ultimately seeking the redefinition of marriage in Colorado is no surprise," said Jim Pfaff, co-founder of Colorado Family Action. "Instead of answering the substance of our ad -- which outlines the social and economic cost for our state if Referendum I passes -- the domestic-partner proponents are demanding our ad be withheld from voters in the last few days before the election.

"There is no coincidence that this ad has been attacked -- three recent polls have shown support for Ref. I slipping. We are seeing desperation as it becomes clear that Colorado's voters agree with the 20 other states that have protected marriage from redefinition."

The complaint alleges as untrue statements in the ad that Referendum I is really about redefining marriage; will require a "special legal team" and "compliance officers"; and is bad for businesses because employers will be forced to provide the same insurance and benefits to domestic partners as already provided to spouses.

"Our political opponents dislike this ad because it's accurate, effective and, most of all, because it exposes details of the referendum hidden in the Fiscal Impact Statement unknown to most voters," said Carrie Gordon Earll, director of issue analysis for Focus on the Family Action. "The statements in this ad are based on actual language in the referendum and from its fiscal statement.

"Colorado's voters deserve to have all the facts before they go to the polls to vote on Amendment 43 and Referendum I. Our state now faces a choice: whether marriage will be the union of one man and one woman, or whether marriage ultimately will be redefined by rogue judges to include same-sex couples."
***

An aside -- Daddy D's simply outraged that Ted Haggard is being accused of homosex.
"It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man's accusation. Ted Haggard is a friend of mine and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday's election -- especially the vote on Colorado's marriage-protection amendment -- which Ted strongly supports.

"He has shown a great deal of grace under these unfortunate circumstances, quickly turning this matter over to his church for an independent investigation. That is a testament to the character I have seen him exhibit over and over again through the years."


WaPo: GOP scandals may take their toll on election day

We all know that, but it's nice to read more about the downward spiral.
With just five days left before Election Day, allegations are springing up like brushfires. Four GOP House seats have been tarred by lobbyist Jack Abramoff's influence-peddling scandal. Five have been adversely affected by then-Rep. Mark Foley's unseemly contacts with teenage male House pages. The remaining half a dozen or so could turn on controversies including offshore tax dodging, sexual misconduct and shady land deals.

Not since the House bank check-kiting scandal of the early 1990s have so many seats been affected by scandals, and not since the Abscam bribery cases of the 1970s have the charges been so serious. But this year's combination of breadth and severity may be unprecedented, suggested Julian E. Zelizer, a congressional historian at Boston University.

For more than a year, Democrats have tried to gain political advantage from what they called "a culture of corruption" in Republican-controlled Washington. Republican campaign officials insist the theme has not caught on with the public, but even they concede that many individual races have been hit hard.

"So many different kinds of scandals going on at the same time, that's pretty unique," Zelizer said. "There were scandals throughout the '70s, multiple scandals, but the number of stories now are almost overwhelming."
Some examples of GOP values:
* Rep. Curt Weldon (Pa.) is being investigated regarding charges that he steered lobbying contracts to his daughter.
* Rep. Don Sherwood (Pa.) -- he's still sweating over the scandal that he strangled his mistress -- she sued him.
* Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) "knocked her around" his wife during a late-night argument.
* Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), another pol in Abramoff's pocket is in so much trouble that Chimpy is flying in to help out (?!).


U.S. President George W. Bush walks to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base November 2, 2006. Bush is flying to Montana and Nevada for Congressional mid-term election rallies. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

A lot of good that will do.

The list of the misdeeds goes on and on in this article, it's a delicious meltdown of GOP corruption. Take the time to click over.


Mega-church leader denies 'sexual business relationship' with male escort

[UPDATE: The escort also says Haggard used meth in his presence. WWJD?

UPDATE 2: Time named Haggard one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America, and he has a hotline to the White House see below. Also, Lindsay finds a choice quote about Ted cruising gay bars for research.]

Oh my. Why on earth would something like this happen to Ted Haggard, the head of a huge church and president of the National Association of Evangelicals? A male sex worker says Ted was a regular customer for three years. (Denver Post):
Haggard, the founder and senior leader of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the multimillion- member National Association of Evangelicals, denied the accusations raised by the prostitute to KUSA- Channel 9. But the pastor said he is prepared for his own church to investigate the claims.

Male escort Mike Jones of Denver started talking to 9 Wants to Know two months ago, making claims that he has had a three-year sexual business relationship with Haggard, the station reported.

Jones went public about their alleged relationship Wednesday morning on talk radio.

"People may look at me and think what I've done is immoral, but I think I had to do the moral thing in my mind and that is expose someone who is preaching one thing and doing the opposite behind everybody's back," Jones told 9News.
Haggard, who is married with five kids, denied the allegation and said the accusation may be connected to his support of Colorado's marriage amendment:
"I've never had a gay relationship with anybody. ... I am steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife. I don't know if this is election-year politics or if this has to do with the marriage amendment or what it is," Haggard said.
Ted worked hard on a federal marriage amendment, and he was on the batphone with the White House on a regular basis.
Every Monday he participates in the West Wing conference call with evangelical leaders. The group continues to prod the President to campaign aggressively for a federal marriage amendment. "We wanted him to use the force of his office to actively lobby the Congress and Senate, which he did not adequately do," says Haggard. He is also working to broaden his group's agenda. A document issued last fall offered a theological justification for civic activism by U.S. Evangelicals, calling on them to protect the environment, promote global religious and political freedom and human rights, safeguard "wholesome family life," care for the poor and oppose racism.
Another choice update -- Pastor Ted, back in the day, apparently hung around gay bars to recruit homos to come to his church (Harper's):
He was always on the lookout for spies. At the time, Colorado Springs was a small city split between the Air Force and the New Age, and the latter, Pastor Ted believed, worked for the devil. Pastor Ted soon began upsetting the devil's plans. He staked out gay bars, inviting men to come to his church; his whole congregation pitched itself into invisible battles with demonic forces, sometimes in front of public buildings.
[UPDATE 3: the escort says he'll take a lie detector test and that he has voicemails and a letter from Haggard to back up his story. Ooops.]

Also: Blogenfreude points to a great Ted entry over at Little Green Fascists.


Have you seen "Stop the Homosexual Agenda"?



A snippet of the description: "If you were gay, and in politics, would you be comfortable fighting against equal rights for other gay people, or exploiting anti-gay hatred and bigotry to help your party win elections? Believe it or not, that is surprisingly common in the Republican party."

Hat tips, PageOneQ and Paul.


Wal-mart's homosexual agenda causes fed-up fundie worker to quit

"Sam Walton was such a moral man, he wouldn't even allow music to be sold in his stores if it had bad language. When it comes to moral values, first of all they started selling smutty magazines, then they brought in nasty music and videos, even ones others refused to sell, like 'Brokeback Mountain.'"
-- former worker Janet Baird, who loved Wal-mart so much in the past that she married at one of its events -- but then our agenda corrupted the big box retailer
The WingNutDaily sub-headline says the worker "urges Christians to take stand because most people 'unaware.'"
The Ohio woman, after hearing the shocking confirmation directly from the mega-corporation's international headquarters that the company is, in fact, contributing to the financial and moral agenda of the nation's "gay" chamber of commerce, she quit. And she's not a bit worried.

"I got God backing me. That's where I stand on it," she told WND in an interview.
Baird initially contacted corporate HQ, concerned about the evil Brokeback development and the partnership of Wal-mart with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. and didn't get the answer she wanted to hear.
She called the corporate office for its response. "The lady said, 'Yes.' When I asked if the money I spent shopping at Wal-Mart would go to support same-sex marriage, she simply responded, 'Sales are sales.'"

"I let her know how long I had worked at Wal-Mart and told her that I would no longer work for this company and never spend another dime there. She replied, 'I hope you don't mean that.' I did mean it. The next day I went to the store and quit. The manager that signed my exit papers had no idea about what had been going on in the leadership of Wal-Mart."

......"Today Wal-Mart is not the same company Mr. Sam started. I think he would rather see it go under than to see what it has become. Mr. Sam loved God – the store he began does not!"

Actual Freeper Quotes™

Now this is a woman with principals! We should be more like her and this agenda would be defeated. God bless her.

One of the companies top executives led the dialogue with NLGC, I understand. I don't have his name handy but it is probably worth mentioning at some time in the future. I think a lot of people are experiencing a deep disappointment with the company that Sam Walton built on higher standards than people like Lee Scott have.

I personally used to love shopping at WalMart, but when they put up all their signs in English AND Spanish, I rarely go there now. Our community has Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese and several others beside Mexicans.

I hope Sam is turning in his grave! I've been a very ardent supporter of Wal-Mart for 30 years! I will not buy from there again, unless they drop this agenda now.

One must wonder why so many companies feel it necessary to announce and implement programs and support for such a small segment of the population at the expense of alienating a much larger segment. Silence on this issue retains the good will of the population that views homosexual behavior as undesirable without antagonizing homosexual practitioners and their supporters. Therefore, it would seem the smart business move for stockholders, customers, employees and everyone else would be "no comment."

So once more, the assault by the leftists has succeeded in 'taking down' yet another corporation that was formerly based on family values vs. on leftist 'no values'. How sad.

The answer is clear and obvious. WalMart is trying to get the socialist, anti-Corporation leftists off of it's back. The only way to do that is to donate to their leftist causes and to embrace the ideology of the left. I bet the DemRats/leftists are celebrating everywhere over this.

So...Wal-Mart is run by perverts now....

Homosexuals are *not* "ordinary people" nor are they or ever will be "normal". They are biological, genetic, sexual, and cultural, defectives.

So... gay people are the best and brightest among us? Genetically better or are they smarter because they have figured out new and exciting uses for their pee pees?

Silence on this issue retains the good will of the population that views homosexual behavior as undesirable without antagonizing homosexual practitioners and their supporters. Therefore, it would seem the smart business move for stockholders, customers, employees and everyone else would be “no comment.”

I think the GayLesbo crowd is doing shakedowns with these companies. Like Jesse Jackson did. Some stand and will not fall, many cave and pander.

It makes me so angry that gay and lesbian people have this need to fully define themselves by their sexual preference. Is there nothing else about their lives that is worth talking about? Honestly, most homosexuals I have known are the most creative, energetic people. Can't they think of themselves as something other than "gay?"

[Ding ding ding! Had to go a bit downthread to find bestiality reference...]

Why on EARTH does any company (aside from one making sex toys, etc) need to create an entire marketing division focused on attracting people with a certain sexual preference? They did not hire a "heterosexual marketing" group, or a "beastiality marketing" group. Where is the "pedophile marketing" division? What other sexual preferences can they create an entire marketing division for?

[HERE IS A SHORT BREAK IN THE INSANITY -- the next commenters are likely to get tossed out of Freeperland for these observations...]

Why don't people stop paying their taxes since a hell of a lot more money from taxes goes to gays than does Wal-Mart money. Come on, Janet Naird, put your holier-than-thou money where your holier-than-thou mouth is. The government gives milllions to these groups. What do you intend to do about that? You could always move to A Middle Eastern country.....please?

===

"I got God backing me. That's where I stand on it," she told WND in an interview.

Let me know how much he pays. The people on these threads are pathetic. If you all boycotted every company that gave a few grand to some gay group, you'd be living out in the woods in a log cabin, chasing rabbits with a stick. Forget all the good Wal-Mart does and has done, all the people they employ, all the money they save Americans, they **GASP** gave a few thousand bucks to a gay group! The media has FReepers number with this story. It would be kind of funny were it not so sad.

===

Two reasons. One, the gay community isn't that small, only 2% of the population self-identifies as gay on surveys but the real numbers are somewhat bigger. (4% wouldn't surprise me.) More importantly, there are a lot of people who find they have a gay relative or an old friend who turns out to be gay, or gay colleagues. They realize that gays are ordinary people and are no threat to them. So there are plenty of straight people who are sympathetic to gay people now.

But the other reason these companies cater to the gay lobby is that if you want to recruit technical and creative talent for your company, you'd best not be allergic to gay people. And the ones who are straight that you've already hired might be very sympathetic to gay people, and would bolt if you transmitted the message that gay people are not welcome at your firm or might be poorly treated at your firm. (I'm a math professor, so I know a lot of these kind of people. The academic culture at even small red state schools is now very pro-gay, if you are uncomfortable around gay people you're going to be an unhappy camper. It doesn't bother me. My point being that the technical and creative people come from the university environments, and share the same culture.)

[END OF SANITY BREAK...That last commenter raised the ire of another Freeper, who responded at length (I love the use of "homosexual practitioners")]:

Silence on this issue retains the good will of the population that views homosexual behavior as undesirable without antagonizing homosexual practitioners and their supporters. Therefore, it would seem the smart business move for stockholders, customers, employees and everyone else would be “no comment.”


… the gay community isn't that small, only 2% of the population self-identifies as gay on surveys but the real numbers are somewhat bigger. (4% wouldn't surprise me.)

Let's see… your own figures mean that 96 percent, or more, of the population is not homosexual. Other sources claim that over 80 percent of the population is Christian. Christianity holds that homosexual behavior is sinful and should be avoided. Therefore, even if only half of those who are identified as Christian sincerely hold those beliefs, the proportion of the population that takes offense at homosexual agenda support from a major corporation is many times greater than the proportion you cite as homosexual. Therefore, the logic of my statement continues to stand unrefuted.

More importantly, there are a lot of people who find they have a gay relative or an old friend who turns out to be gay, or gay colleagues. They realize that gays are ordinary people and are no threat to them. So there are plenty of straight people who are sympathetic to gay people now.

Unfortunately, I have a relative who claims to be a lesbian. Such does not make me sympathetic to her in any sense other than sincere regret for her choice and earnest hope for her reform. There is no reason to assume that the majority of others who have a relative in similar circumstances view the situation any differently.

But the other reason these companies cater to the gay lobby is that if you want to recruit technical and creative talent for your company, you'd best not be allergic to gay people.

Again, let's examine the question raised by the logical implication of your statement. Are you claiming that the distribution of “technical and creative talent” is some how restricted to the homosexual segment of the population? Perhaps, you are implying that there is not an adequate distribution of “technical and creative talent” among those individuals who are not homosexual?

Assuming that “technical and creative talent” follows a Gaussian distribution in the population (as do nearly all other traits), then there is no reason to assume that even if a company actively refused to hire homosexual practitioners, they would exclude more than 2 percent of the potentially available pool of “technical and creative talent.” Stating that position in the reverse, these companies would still have access to 98 percent of the available pool of qualified resources.

And the ones who are straight that you've already hired might be very sympathetic to gay people, and would bolt if you transmitted the message that gay people are not welcome at your firm or might be poorly treated at your firm.

Conversely, those who are straight that you have already hired might be very offended and might bolt if you transmit the message that you support the homosexual agenda… to wit, the individual cited in the article posted at the beginning of this thread.

I'm a math professor, so I know a lot of these kind of people. The academic culture at even small red state schools is now very pro-gay, if you are uncomfortable around gay people you're going to be an unhappy camper.

I served as adjunct faculty for both graduate and undergraduate courses in engineering, forensics and simulation (a field, no doubt, with which you are familiar) at two different universities for a number of years. Amazingly enough, I do not ever recall asking any of my fellow instructors, my students, or the organization administrators about their sexual preference, nor do I recall them volunteering such information. It would seem that silence concerning such personal items was not only appropriate etiquette, but was also conducive to good working relationships. Why would the situation be any different for good business relationships?

It doesn't bother me. My point being that the technical and creative people come from the university environments, and share the same culture.

I don't think you realize how insulting and condescending your comments appear. No technical and creative people come from other sources than university environments? All of those who come from university environment have the same opinion concerning homosexual practitioners? Because you do not have a problem with this issue, no one should?


Facing South on the election

There's an excellent series of posts over at The Institute of Southern Studies blog Facing South that I wanted to point to that provide interesting perspectives on what will have an impact on Tuesday.

* Will African-American voters decide the election? The Democratic Party has rightfully assumed that blacks will always "come home" to the party on election day, reliably voting Dem despite a sizeable chunk of the constituency supporting marriage amendments and opposing abortion. The Republicans are THAT bad.
The last two weeks of the campaign have only helped Democrats, with racial controversies surrounding such high-profile GOP candidates as senate candidates Bob Corker and George Allen undermining GOP overtures to cross race lines. As columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee argues on Black America Web:
[The racially-coded ads against Harold Ford in Tennessee] ought to bug the hell out of black GOPers. Because while Democrats may take the black vote for granted, unlike Republicans, they rarely, if ever, stoop to exploit racial prejudices to get votes when the going gets tough.
The question is whether these controversies will quell or merely deepen what New York Times reporter Ian Urbina described as "disillusionment" among African-American voters.
Will black voters simply stay home in key states where there were voting shenanigans (issues with registration, broken machines, long lines after polls had closed -- can we say Ohio?). That NYT article cites a Pew Research Center finding that blacks were twice as likely to have little or no confidence in the voting system, that figure was 15% in 2004, 29% now.

* Poll finds opposition to war growing in the South, which documents the shift in support for the military action in Iraq. It explains why we're seeing the race-baiting, the homo-bashing and general desperate thuggery by Republicans as election day draws near.

The GOP's support is hanging by a thread when the real issues come to the fore.
*** 57% of Southerners believe the U.S. "should have stayed out of Iraq," compared to 44% who think the U.S. "did the right thing" by taking military action. Nationally, 58% of the public believes the U.S. should have stayed out and 43% now agree with military action.

*** By at least one measure, Southerners are more frustrated with the war than their counterparts in other regions. Asked if they were "proud" or "sad" about Iraq, a surprising 62% of respondents in the South said they were “very sad” about the course of the war, compared to only 56% in other regions of the country. Only 10% of those surveyed in the South say they are "somewhat proud" or "very proud" of the Iraq mission –- slightly less than those polled in other states.
* In Another reason to watch the South, Chris Kromm brings up a less-discussed but highly relevant aspect the election that can have profound effects on equality -- 6,000 legislative seats are up for grabs in 46 states this year. Republicans control both chambers in 20 states; the Democrats, in 19 states.

The states with a narrow GOP majority in the state legislature: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Democrats have narrow majorities in Colorado, Maine, Montana, Kentucky and North Carolina.

That's a frightening thought for gay folks in the Tar Heel state, because our Dem majority is all that sits between us and a marriage amendment. If the GOP gained control, a amendment bill wouldn't die in committee (as it has three times), it would pass and get on the ballot.


Open thread -- safe and dangerous cities in the U.S.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Here's a list of the safest and most dangerous cities based on crime figures from the FBI. Check the AP article to see the full list.

Ten Safest Cities

1. Brick, N.J.
2. Amherst, N.Y.
3. Mission Viejo, Calif.
4. Newton, Mass.
5. Troy, Mich.
6. Colonie, N.Y.
7. Irvine, Calif.
8. Cary, N.C. (Raleigh was 162, Greensboro 269, Durham 272)
9. Greece, N.Y.
10. Coral Springs, Fla.

Bringing up the rear...the most dangerous

362. Gary, Ind.
363. Youngstown, Ohio
364. Oakland, Calif.
365. Cleveland
366. Birmingham, Ala. (will have to break it to Katie)
367. Camden, N.J.
368. Compton, Calif.
369. Flint, Mich.
370. Detroit
371. St. Louis

If your city is on the list, are you surprised at its ranking?


Daddy D's 'ex-gay' road show cruises into Georgia on Saturday

The parade of professional "ex-gays" continues its mission to prey upon gays struggling with coming to terms with their sexual orientation and family members convinced their loved ones can pray away the gay.

Focus on the Anus's Love Won Out extravaganza pulls into Woodstock, Georgia, on Saturday, November 4 (8AM-5PM) and will set up its disinformation pageant at the First Baptist Church. Here's AgapePress's take on it:
Melissa Fryrear, a Love Won Out speaker and director of Focus on the Family’s Gender Issues Department, says she and other LWO speakers will be presenting the truth about homosexuality, showing "that change is possible for people who are unsatisfied living as a gay or lesbian." And for the family or friends of homosexuals who attend, she adds, "We want to show that it is possible to love a gay family member or friend without compromising your Christian faith."


Professional heterosexual Melissa Fryrear.

The LWO conference will feature a panel of experts and speakers, many of them former homosexuals. Sessions will address the root causes of homosexuality, the debate over same-sex "marriage" and methods of combating pro-homosexual activism in public schools. Protestors, led by the homosexual-activist group Soulforce, are expected to demonstrate outside the event, as they have done in the past. "We just hope they will be sensitive to those who come to hear our message of hope," Fryrear observes. "We know protests will likely generate media coverage," she adds, "and we hope the coverage is balanced and reflects what we say, in the manner we say it.” Most LWO events are open to the public, and a noon press conference is also scheduled to take place.
Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out will hold a press conference with Soulforce about the danger of "ex-gay" organizations and will stage a peaceful protest at the LWO event on Saturday.
United for Truth, a coalition of groups supporting fairness and equality, will hold a press conference on Friday and a peaceful protest rally on Saturday against Love Won Out, a so- called "ex-gay" conference hosted by Focus on the Family. This anti-gay organization has already placed offensive, untruthful and misleading billboards on Atlanta's highways to advertise for the conference.

The controversial event will take place in Woodstock, Georgia at First Baptist Church, the spiritual home of Gov. Sonny Perdue. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who leads the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). This organization recently caused a firestorm when an article that justified slavery was discovered on its website. Still, Focus on the Family proudly stands by Dr. Nicolosi and supports NARTH's insidious and dangerous message.

... In August, the American Psychological Association specifically condemned NARTH and Focus on the Family by name at their annual convention.

"For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the position's espoused by the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."

The ex-gay founder of Love Won Out, John Paulk, was photographed in a gay bar in 2000 and eventually left the organization. The co-founders of the ex-gay group Exodus International, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, fell in love, left their wives and held a commitment ceremony. The enormous failure rate of these groups is usually not discussed and is often concealed from Love Won Out participants.
Wayne is also the author of the excellent Anything But Straight, an expose of the "ex-gay" movement.


Pull out the tiny violin for the fundies -- they feel like GOP doormats

Christian Defense Coalition: Many evangelicals 'feel used, taken for granted' by GOP. (Raw Story)

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Have you drawn out your hankie to wipe away the profuse tears yet?
"If Republicans lose the House or Senate, they only have themselves to blame," said the group's director, Rev. Pat Mahoney, who was formerly with the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. "They have failed to energize and empower faith and value voters which provide a critical base of support for the Republican Party."

Rev. Mahoney claims that many evangelicals believe that the Republican Party "courts them during elections and then abandons and ignores them after the election is over."
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By the way, how did it feel to learn that your party of values was filled to the brim with professionally closeted ho-mo-sex-u-als -- some of them even running the GOP and offices of your elected officials at the highest levels -- all with the blessings of Republican leadership? These are the same people who told you that they'd never hire a homosexual, but then you found out that they had. These are the same people who would vote for a federal marriage amendment, but cruised for sex on a gay phone dating service.

It had to feel like a kick in the blessed posterior to learn it was a burgeoning morals- and ethics-free circuit party on the Hill, complete with crude cruising for House pages on the taxpayers' dime.

Maf54 (7:58:59 PM): but it must feel great spirting on the towel

[redacted screenname] (7:59:06 PM): ya

Maf54 (7:59:29 PM): wow

Maf54 (7:59:48 PM): is your little guy limp...or growing

[redacted screenname] (7:59:54 PM): eh growing

Maf54 (8:00:00 PM): hmm

Maf54 (8:00:12 PM): so you got a stiff one now

[redacted screenname] (8:00:19 PM): not that fast

[redacted screenname] (8:00:20 PM): hey

[redacted screenname] (8:00:32 PM): so you have a fetich

What's wrong with this picture of the party of responsibility? Why didn't the GOP protect the pages?

I hope you all prayed on it. How used do you feel?
"Comments I often hear are thing like; 'Why should I pass out literature in the freezing cold or the pouring rain?'" Mahoney said. "'Or, spend hours manning a phone bank for candidates that deliver so little.'"
Tears are simply streaming down my face at the thought of your rain-soaked and ruined biblically-based flyers on the evils of homosexuality and the preservation of marriage as well as precious pamphlets about the sanctity of the holy egg and sperm -- and how to keep them from co-mingling until a proper heterosexual marital bond is established.

It appears that the GOP is a party without a moral compass, with a gubernatorial candidate accused of sexual assault, a Senate candidate allowing supporters to physically assault citizens, and a House member who beats his wife -- and that's just surfaced in the last couple of days.

While you are faithfully supporting the troops, a Republican House leader blamed those same troops for Iraq mess. What are you going to do?

You've been had, folks. They thought they were going to be able to fool you once again with the boogeymen of election cycles past -- the promiscuous, amoral homo, the wanton woman ready to abort her fetus so she can party hard, and the godless heathen spouses and family members salivating at the idea of pulling the plug on their brain-dead relatives.

Maybe you should take a look at the Constitution Party.


Zogby: Dems gaining ground in House races

The chart below from Zogby is good news overall. Dems are ahead in 12 of 15 key races where the seats are held by Republicans.
Since the last round of Reuters/Zogby polls in early October, when Democrats led 11 of the 15 races, Democrats improved their standing in nine districts and Republicans gained ground in six.

Three districts switched leaders, with two Democrats, Ken Lucas in Kentucky and Bruce Braley in Iowa, and one Republican, Rep. Thelma Drake of Virginia, moving into the lead after trailing in October.

"Democrats are getting very close to that magic number of 15," pollster John Zogby said. "Republicans are really on the ropes."
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The glaring stat up there is that homobigot Michele 'God called me to run for congress' Bachmann has a ten-point lead over challenger Patty Wetterling.

How on earth could there be that many deluded wingnuts prepared to vote for this woman?

"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.
Related:
* Michele Bachmann tries to dig Pastor Mac out of an IRS hole


Ladies, rape ain't rape in Maryland if you initially said "yes"

As a straight dude, I was inculcated with two opposing theories of female sexual response. One theory, advocated by sane, sensible humans with a modicum of ethics, states that "No means no", and that applies even if at first she said "yes" but later on realized she didn't like it and then said "no". Sure, it leads to the proverbial "blue balls" and sometimes we guys get very frustrated and take it very personally when we hear that "no", but hey, tough luck fella, she changed her mind - get thee some Jergens and Kleenex and deal with it.

The other theory is that old saw about how "her mouth says 'no' but her eyes say 'yes'", usually accompanied by "girls want a manly man to 'take' them". It's a long tradition in many primitive societies and religions that when Tarzan wants Jane, he just takes her, but most of us with IQs above room temperature and hearts bigger than an acorn realize that those pretty humans with the soft skin and appealing mammalian protuberances* are people, too, deserving of respect and bodily sovereignty.

Well, that old theory is alive and well in Maryland today, where an appellate court has ruled that once a woman has said "yes" and the man has penetrated her, she can't revoke her consent. "No" only means no before insertion, I guess. The feminist blogs are going nuts over this (I'm not sure if that's a pun or not, but pardon it anyway). Here's the review from The Happy Feminist, with my own emphasis:

Yesterday a mid-level state appellate court in Maryland interpreted Maryland's common law in such a way as to preclude women from withdrawing consent to sex after penetration has occurred. The court itself admits that this ruling is predicated on ancient views of women as chattel whose value is lost upon penetration, rather than independent human beings whose suffering matters. The court took the position, however, that under the law of stare decisis (the obligation of a court to follow precedent), only the Maryland Supreme Court or the legislature could alter this outcome.

The case is Baby v. Maryland, __ A.2d ___ (Md.App. 2006). According to the young woman's testimony, the defendant asked to have sex with her and she consented on the condition that he would stop when she told him to. She testified that the penetration hurt "so I said stop and that's when he kept pushing it in and I was pushing his knees to get off me." After she told him to stop, he continued to "keep pushing it in" for about "five or so seconds."

For reasons that I won't get into in this post, the prosecution's theory in this case was that the whole situation was coerced and that her consent was not freely given in the first place. The jury, however, asked this question during their deliberations: "If a female consents to sex initially and during the course of the sex act to which she consented, for whatever reason, she changes her mind and the man continues until climax, does the result constitute rape?"

The trial court declined to answer the question other than to refer the jury back to the original jury instructions, which did not specifically address this concern. The jury convicted the defendant and the defendant appealed. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland held that the trial court erred by failing to answer the jury's question. The court further held that there is no rape under Maryland law if the woman consents to sex prior to penetration and then withdraws the consent after penetration. I should note that this interpretation of the law would apply regardless of whether the man kept thrusting for five seconds or ten minutes after the woman said to stop.
Why is it that I have this mental picture of certain GOP congresscritters scanning the multiple listing services for new homes in Bethesda?

Here's an odd bit of trivia - Maryland's State Motto:
Motto: "Fatti maschii parole femine," loosely translated "manly deeds, womanly words," but more accurately translated as "strong deeds, gentle words."
They may need to change that to "Manly deeds, womanly words don't mean squat."

* "It's wet t-shirt night!" -- God, I miss Frank Zappa.


NAACP's Julian Bond blasts VA marriage amendment


"I'd always thought Virginia was for lovers, not against them. We believe it is always wrong to use a constitution to single out one group for discrimination."
-- National NAACP chair Julian Bond at a University of Virginia forum
Thank you. Why can't we clone him and send him around to some of these homobigoted churches? Maybe have him put Harold Ford over his knee and spank his fanny over the Tennessee candidate for the U.S. Senate's anti-gay stance?

What was key was that this event was co-sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs and the LGBT Resource Center of the Office of Student Life -- a first. Talking about who is entitled to civil rights under the law is not a zero-sum game. (365gay):
"Marriage is a civil right," he said. "If you don't want gay people to marry in your church, good for you. But you can't say they can't marry in your city."

Bond is a longtime supporter of LGBT rights. This weekend he will receive the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will present its National Leadership Award at a ceremony in Miami.

The number of well known Virginians opposing the amendment because of its breadth - it would affect all non married couples - is growing. Last week Gov. Tim Kaine became the 200th noted attorney to sign a statement opposing the proposed amendment.
The article also noted that the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics went on the record opposing the marriage amendment this week. The organization stated that it would create two classes of children, since the law would only recognize a birth or adoptive parent. The other person in the same-sex partnership would not have any legal connection to the child.


Must-see: HBO's 'Hacking Democracy'

I know that watching this is going to make me start throwing things and get an ulcer, but I've already got the DVR set to record HBO's Hacking Democracy, which begins airing tomorrow night, November 2 at 9 PM. Filmmakers Simon Ardizzone, Robert Carrillo Cohen and Russell Michaels spent three years working on the film.

Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog is the place to go regarding election shenanigans, and he has seen the documentary and reviews it for ComputerWorld. A snippet:
If HBO's new documentary gets even a fraction of the eyeballs it deserves, it's hard to see how it could miss having a profound effect on the electoral process.

Then again, with the overwhelming evidence already available, it's unimaginable that next week we will actually be heading to polling places nationwide where more than 80% of America's votes will be tabulated by hackable, inaccurate, unreliable electronic voting machines using 100% secret software to record and tabulate our votes.

..Setting a tone of partisan dread early in the film are the fruits of a Dumpster dive early in the film outside the McKinney, Texas, headquarters of Diebold Election Systems Inc., where BBV's Harris discovers a line item and unexplained accounts receivable from the "8th District, Republican Committee." But another segment reveals a Republican candidate from Louisiana going from touch-screen machine to touch-screen machine in the bowels of a county elections warehouse demonstrating that on each one, her attempts to vote for herself result in a vote registered at the bottom of the screen for her opponent. That e-voting is not a partisan issue is one of the film's most powerful messages, counteracting one of the false and divisive impressions defenders of these indefensible machines have put forth.
And it's the reason that everyone who has access to HBO should get the word out to folks before the election -- people need to monitor what's going on at their polling places. BTW, the NAACP plans to monitor elections in 10 states.

Brad has a follow-up post at his pad about Diebold's screeching over this documentary. The wrecking-ball-of-democracy vendor put out an unhinged, inaccurate release. Brad:
Diebold seems to be embarrassing itself yet again by issuing a statement calling for HBO to pull the documentary, or at least run disclaimers before, after and throughout the film. I've seen it. If I were them, I'd try to do everything I could to keep America from seeing the film, as well.

"Truth and accurate reporting are the biggest casualties of the film," Diebold Election System President David Byrd is quoted as saying in the media release.

But ironically, as The Hollywood Reporter is reporting tonight, Byrd has not only never seen the film, but his claims that the film is "Riddled With Errors and Slipshod Reporting" apparently refer to a completely different film!
You have to read the rest of Brad's post. David Byrd of Diebold must have been experiencing hallucinations when he wrote that release.

Here's a preview of the film that has Diebold wetting its diapers (via Brad; HBO's site also has a clip):



Do You Believe in God?

Do you believe in God? I don't, unless "God" is shorthand for "the universe is an infinitely complex place governed by marvelously simple laws and contains powers, entities, and systems so far above my limited human understanding that to ruminate about them is as reasonable as an ant trying to understand the jumbo jet fying overhead." I don't think there is a single Creator-force that sits around making up lists of laws for humans to obey and gets petulant if they try to put their ding-a-lings in the "wrong" hole.

But for years I've been pestered by the Talibaniacs of the Religious Wrong who like to spout off that 90% of Americans believe in God. Like I'm the one with irrational superstitions or something. Well, it turns out that the 90% figure is just another one of the talking point lies:
Americans are often thought of as people who believe in God. But results of a new Harris Poll show that may be changing.

The poll found that 42 percent of all U.S. adults said they are not "absolutely certain" there is a God, including 15 percent who are "somewhat certain," 11 percent who think there is probably no God and 16 percent who are not sure.

Not everyone who described themselves as Christian or Jewish said that they believed in God. Only 76 percent of Protestants, 64 percent of Catholics, and 30 percent of Jews said they are "absolutely certain" there is a God. However, most Christians who described themselves as "born-again" (93 percent) said they are absolutely certain there is a God.
And there's where they're trumpeting the 90% figure. Sheesh, that's like proclaiming that 90% of the residents of Green Bay are Packers fans.
About 35 percent of all adults polled said that they attend religious services at least once a month, including 26 percent who said they attend every week or more often than that.

Nearly half of all adults polled (46 percent) said they attend services a few times a year or less frequently, while 18 percent said the never attend religious services.
Aha, maybe that's why they're so intent on posting the Ten Commandments in every courthouse, school, and public park. People go to those places more often.
Is God Male Or Female?

The public is almost equally divided between those who think of God as male (36 percent) and "neither male nor female" (37 percent), with 10 percent saying "both male and female." Only 1 percent thinks of God as a female.
Weird. With all their worship of the creative power of a woman's uterus, you'd think they'd ascribe creation to femininity. Who "birthed" the Universe, after all. No, wait, I forgot - women are just breeding vessels of the man's creativity. You know, Adam's rib and all that. My bad.

Does God Control Events On Earth?

Only 29 percent of those polled said they believe God "controls what happens on Earth." Of those believers, 57 percent were born-again Christians. And 44 percent of respondents said they believe that God "observes but does not control what happens on Earth."
So 71% believe God doesn't control earthly events, or at least He could, but doesn't want to. Makes that whole "National Day of Prayer" seem kind of fruitless, don't you think?
Do We Worship The Same God?

Poll results show that about 51 percent of all adults, including a majority of Catholics (63 percent), believe that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God. One-third (32 percent) said they believe they do not and 16 percent are not sure. On this question, as on the others, the views of born-again Christians are different -- a 54 percent majority believes they do not worship the same God and only 34 percent believe they do.
My infinite omniscient omnipresent deity is bigger than your infinite omniscient omnipresent deity, nyah nyah nyah! Sure is easier to bomb those brown-skinned Muslims into eternal damnation when their God is a not-God.

On the issue of the declining numbers of people who believe in God, there is an interesting nugget of polling procedures that are of note to the GLBTQXYZPDQ community...
Are Believers Declining?

Three years ago, in an identical survey, 79 percent of adults said they believed in God and 66 percent said they were absolutely certain that there is a God. In this new survey, those numbers declined to 73 percent and 58 percent respectively.

Why The Changes?

There are some important differences between telephone polling and those conducted online, as this survey was. Several surveys find that people are more likely to admit potentially embarrassing beliefs of behaviors when answering online surveys than to admit these behaviors when talking to an actual interviewer on the phone.

According to Harris, people are three times more likely to say that their sexual orientation is gay, lesbian or bi-sexual online than over the phone. Researchers called this unwillingness to give honest answers to some questions in telephone surveys a social desirability bias.
Is this why we think the GLBT population is 10% of the whole and they think it is only 3%?

---

Speaking of the infinitely complex universe... I'm a big fan of NOVA, Cosmos, Discovery Science, and any show that takes eleven-dimensional quantum physics and reduces it to an entertaining show my liberal arts brain can handle. But last night there was a show, "Monster of the Milky Way", that discussed the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

I'm fine with black holes - they are a point of infinite density that warps space-time into a "hole" of gravitation so powerful not even light can escape. I get that... I think.

What I don't get is that they started discussing "supermassive black holes" - black holes many millions of miles in diameter. What the heck is a "supermassive" black hole? How can one infinite density be more massive than another infinite density? Are there any physics whizzes that can explain that to me?


Ten shot at Halloween street party in Castro district

Violence erupted at the Halloween street party in the Castro district of SF last night, resulting in at least 10 people being shot. (365gay):
The shootings occurred around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, as authorities began dispersing thousands of revelers under a new curfew that was aimed at controlling the traditionally raucous event.

Two people were being questioned early Wednesday in the shooting, though it was not immediately clear if they were suspects or witnesses, said police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens. No arrests had been made, and the motive was unknown, he said.

...At least some of the victims were innocent bystanders, according to witnesses.

The once-spontaneous and unsanctioned party was taken over by the city four years ago after police recorded five stabbings and a number of assaults in a crowd of 500,000.

Officials and members of the district's gay community said the party began attracting gay bashers along with colorful costumed characters, and many gays and lesbians stopped coming.
The jury's still out as to what exactly went on, but that last bit about gay bashings is what was on Blender and gay activist Paul Barwick's mind late last night. He sent me this piece and gave me permission to post it. Paul:
All day Tuesday people were asking me if I was going to the Halloween party in The Castro.  My answer was the same to each.  "Hell no.  That's the last place I want to be.  I'll be home where it's safe".

Why would I avoid San Francisco's most lavish gay party? It's because that for the past few years gay bashers, emboldened by the chance to hide their cowardly faces behind masks, have been streaming into our city from suburbs far and wide for their chance to do a little fag bashing. The problem is so bad that the simple assaults are rarely mentioned in the press. It is only when weapons are wielded and large amounts of blood are spilled is the story considered newsworthy. Two years ago 5 people were stabbed by an individual or individuals who worked their way through the crowd. That made the news.

This year not only were there multiple stabbings, but as the press says "at least" 7 people were shot in the middle of the crowded street party.

Now call me old fashioned but when I hear of masked assailants shooting and stabbing multiple victims in a queer neighborhood where fag bashing is considered a year around sport by some, and where every Halloween known anti-gay assaults take place, I am going to assume Hate Crime until it's proved otherwise.

It makes me want to pull what little hair I have left out by the roots when I read comments such as these left over at Dailykos.
Don't be so quick assume hate crime

the annual Castro Halloween bash has been increasingly plaqued by crowd control problems and assaults. It's not just a gay event either. Many San Franciscans of all persuasions attend. Assumptions of any kind are as yet premature...


--What, it's not gay bashing because this party is always plagued by assaults? Yes, people of all persuasions do attend. That is the problem. Some of them are of the anti-gay persuasion.

Not Likely Gay-Bashing

Violence in general has been on the upswing in SF and I doubt that this was an anti-gay action.

--Because just why? Because it's easier to think that those kind of things don't happen?

Well

Beyond that, it's not likely gay-bashing because so many straights come to the official Castro Halloween. I've been in years past and some really disreputable people who don't really have much to do with the Castro show up.


--I think that many folks who live in or near the Castro assume that folks from out of town know what we do, which is that many gays avoid the party because it has turned into the day when its OK for out of town straights to come drink and get obnoxious. Hey, just because you and I know that there are more hets than gays in the crowd, doesn't mean that Frank Fagbasher from across the bay is up on all the nuances of gay social life in the city. The f*cks are assuming that everyone in the crowd is gay and that it is OK to come into town and do what their preachers, coaches, and the President are all giving them a wink and a nod to do.

probably a robbery gone wrong

Any time you have a crowd of approx. 200,000 people, it's going to attract some predators & parasites out to rob and steal, pick pockets, and so on. Also in a big city you're going to get gang members.

I suspect this was just a typical mindless dumb-fuck street criminal, who started shooting because the victim didn't hand over the loot, or other people tried to intervene, or something of that sort.

If there were organized righties out to do hate-crime terrorism at an event like this, they would not stop at five victims. Think of a few hand grenades or molotov cocktails or an automatic weapon, in a crowd like that.


--What, do you think that the only hate comes from those who think large? Naw. We're talking about the losers here. There is a hell of a lot more of them than there ever will be of the organized mass murderers. Most of the hate crimes that occur aren't committed by organized groups. We are getting beaten, stabbed and shot by groups of two to three. Read the gay press, the stories from around the country and beyond our borders. Occasionally it is individuals, but most often small groups are committing these crimes.
So maybe I'm wrong to assume that these are hate crimes, but that's OK. It makes up for all those cops I read about who refuse to even entertain the idea of a hate crime in cases that obviously are such. I've had to face down those who would do me injury because of my sexual orientation more than once. (God I'm glad my shotgun was close at hand that one time...). That's probably why I've given up on that whole "Turn the other cheek" thing too.
Discuss and debate -- does an assumption of "urban violence" when the facts aren't yet clear make it easier for law enforcement to avoid considering it as a possible hate crime?


Who's coming to the CNN blogger bash on election night

I don't have a guest list for the CNN's E-lection Nite Blog Party in DC, but it looks like Radar snared one.
Wonkette's Alex Pareene and the Huffington Post's Bob Cesca will be in attendance (Cesca, in a bit of meta overkill, will be blogging about his experience blogging from the CNN center—which CNN reporters will then presumably report on).

The L.A. Times reported that the DailyKos (run by power-blogger Markos Moulitsas Zùniga) was coming, but CNN says he backed out. Kos himself tells Radar he declined the invite as soon is was offered, adding "It's not my sort of thing."

Also RSVPing (hopefully with beer) are the brains behind blogs RedState, TalkLeft, Crooks and Liars, Ankle Biting Pundits, Lost Remote, Captain's Quarters, Townhall, Wizbang, La Shawn Barber's Corner, Power Line, Betsy's Page, Eschaton, Think Progress, AmericaBlog, Washington Note, Firedoglake, Mydd, and Pam's House Blend.
I've not met any of these folks, save Atrios, so it should be interesting to say the least.

If you subscribe to CNN Pipeline, you'll be able to monitor the goings-on through one of the online channels dedicated exclusively to the bloodbath fun at Tryst in Adams Morgan. :)

A CNN press release with more info is here.

***

As far as what's going on here at the Blend during election night, I plan to put up threads for each state with a marriage amendment on the ballot (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin), and some regional threads to cover states with races that are worth watching, particularly those involving LGBT rights and homobigots who have been beating the gay straw man all election season long -- won't it be nice to see Ohio's Ken Blackwell swirl down the bowl?

The threads will also provide an excellent opportunity to report on e-voting shenanigans that you know will occur.

Ace Blenders have stepped up as volunteers to monitor some of the threads -- Laurel (MA, WA), Miss Wild Thing (NM, CA) and Callie (TN). We'll need more -- West Coast Blenders and folks who are night owls clearly have the advantage on this one, so Blend guest posters drop me a line if you're up for it.

Some key races to monitor:

Missouri: Senate Key Race
Senate
Jim Talent (R) - incumbent
Claire McCaskill (D) - challenger

Pennsylvania: Senate Key Race
Senate
Rick Santorum (R) - incumbent homobigot
Bob Casey Jr. (D) - challenger

Tennessee: Senate Key Race
Senate (open)
Bob Corker (R)
Harold Ford (D) homobigot

Ohio: Senate Key Race
Senate
Mike DeWine (R) - incumbent
Sherrod Brown (D) - challenger

Maryland: Senate Key Race
Senate (open)
Michael Steele (R) Mr. Oreo Pelt
Ben Cardin (D)

North Carolina: Key House race
11th District
Charles Taylor (R) - incumbent
Heath Shuler (D) - challenger
no gay-positive choice here; but Taylor is an corrupt ace homobigot.

Oh, can't forget the Minnesota 6th -- Bachmann vs. Wetterling.

Ohio: Governor Key Race
Governor (open)
Kenneth Blackwell (R)
Ted Strickland (D)
Blackwell needs to go down hard.

California: Governor Key Race
Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) - incumbent
Phil Angelides (D) - challenger


Wisconsin bigots launch unbelievable amendment ad in home stretch

[UPDATE: there's a good post on the amendment battle up at CampusProgress.]

The good folks at Fair Wisconsin have long said that this is the state that could be the first to turn away a marriage amendment at the polls.

With only days before the election, the homobigots of the Coalition for America's Families are desperately trying to rally The Base and are running a heinous ad (partially funded by Daddy D's Focus on the Anus). Talk about using children as a political weapons and human shields of bigotry...


"If my dad married a man, who would be my mom?"

"God should have created Anna and Eve."

"I'm confused."

"If we change the definition of marriage, our kids will be taught a different way of thinking. Marriage means a man and a woman. Vote 'Yes' to keep it that way."

As 365gay reports, the Vote Yes campaign is run by the former head of the Wisconsin GOP and the Coalition for America's Families has given $385K for the cause, with Daddy D chipping in $25K to spread this filth around in the Milwaukee and Green Bay markets.

Jeremy of Good As You has much to say about the anti-gay ad:
::sniff, sniff:: Alright, who fearted? ::sniff, sniff:: Seriously, someone must have ripped a rancid feart, as all of a sudden the putrid stench of extreme bullsh*t is making us nauseous! ::sniff, sniff:: Smells like a mix of cute kid exploitation, flawed logic, and dogma. ::sniff, sniff:: And somehow, just catching whiff of the odor makes us feel that we won't be needing a costume tomorrow, as a large portion of society views us as demons already. ::sniff, sniff:: Ugh, just vile, that feart!
Fair Wisconsin's tip jar is here.

***

If these bible-beaters really care about the children, perhaps they might want to look at Fair Wisconsin's ad, featuring the story of Lynn and Jean and their adopted daughter Katy. Jean was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and Lynn was not recognized as Jean's next of kin.



Because they couldn't marry, they had to take the limited legal steps that they could while Jean was in the hospital to protect their family, but Lynn still didn't have a legal right to Jean’s pension, nor was Lynn entitled to the final medical report after Jean passed away (Jean's out-of-town relative had to sign for it).

Related:
* Fair Wisconsin's ad shows why fairness matters
* Wisconsin's nail-biter marriage amendment battle
* Reading between the lines of upcoming state marriage amendments


The Empty Wig blames Dem for attack by Allen's goons on blogger


"I found the entire incident disconcerting and it left me uncomfortable with the level that Jim Webb has sunk to in this campaign."
-- Liddy Dole, blaming George Allen's opponent for Macaca's thugs tackling blogger Mike Stark at a political event in Charlottesville yesterday
Elizabeth Dole's incredible charge is just one more reason why I can't wait until she can be tossed out on her posterior in 2008. She's ineffective, corrupt, unresponsive, and a ridiculously incompetent party hack. (Raw Story):
In a statement issued by the National Republican Senatorial Committee concerning a confrontation between Senator George Allen (VA-R) and a blogger who was tackled by his campaign staffers, Senator Elizabeth Dole (NC-R) laid the blame on the Democratic candidate James Webb for setting the tone, due to the level he has "sunk to."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

...The video shows Stark being tackled by campaign staffers, put in a chokehold by one, and tossed to the floor.

Stark reported the incident to the Charlottesville Police, the Washington Post reports, and the police said that they are investigating whether assault charges would be warranted.
Here's more of what Sugar Lips said -- note that she makes no mention of the beastly behavior of the Allen knuckledraggers; it's as if Stark was a raving, dangerous lunatic for asking a question of the Senator.
"As George and I were making our way from the ballroom, a young man approached Senator Allen in an aggressive way and took an uncivil tone shouting highly offensive and inappropriate questions," Dole's statement says. "As we continued to leave the ballroom, the young man pursued us outside and continued to shout in the same manner."
Please.

***

NC GOP spends $26K on a gay-baiting ad -- in a county commissioner race

Speaking of unhinged North Carolinians, you should see the desperation of the GOP even at the local level. The NC GOP is spending a significant amount of money trying to unseat a county commissioner who is a ally for civil equality.

Parks Helms, a Charlotte/Mecklenburg commissioner, is being gay-baited in a commercial getting play on local stations. Last year, the CharMeck commissioners voted to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination law after a very bitter and public battle with the bigots, so this attack was not a surprise.



This is the same county commission that anally-fixated Bill James sits on. (Charlotte Observer):
The gay marriage ad takes aim at county commissioners Chairman Parks Helms, who is running for re-election. Helms said he believes in dignity for everyone, including gay and lesbian couples. He said he isn't surprised the ad was posted anonymously.


"These people, they're not willing to tell you who they are or why they are so judgmental," he said.

In response to an e-mail from the Observer sent through the Web site, Meckconservative -- identified online as a 26-year-old conservative Republican -- declined to be interviewed. "I am just a person putting public-domain video on YouTube.com. Just like millions of other people," the person responded.

County commissioner Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat running for another term, said she's not planning to respond directly to the ads.

"We're in the Internet age. These things happen," she said. Roberts said sites like YouTube -- where anyone can post information -- "promote democracy. There are good things and bad things about it. It's much harder to ... verify information and to sort of sift through it all."
Republican commissioners, by the way, deny having anything to do with the ad. Sound familiar?