Saturday, August 11, 2007

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America - Update

There was some encouraging news for LGBT members of the ELCA today. I am particularly pleased that the measure discussed below pasted by over a 100 vote margin. Here's part of a story on and also from the ECLA's web site:

(Chicago, Illinois) A national assembly of Evangelical Lutherans urged its bishops Saturday to refrain from defrocking gay and lesbian ministers who violate a celibacy rule, but rejected measures that would have permitted ordaining gays churchwide. Still, advocates for full inclusion of gays were encouraged, calling the resolution a powerful statement in support of clergy with same-gender partners. The conservative group Lutheran CORE, however, said bishops will now feel more secure in ignoring denomination policy. The 538-431 vote came on the final day of a week long meeting in Chicago - and after emotional debate over how the denomination should interpret what the Bible says about homosexuality.

In the adopted resolution, the assembly "urges and encourages" bishops to either refrain from or "demonstrate restraint in disciplining" ministers who are in a "mutual, chaste and faithful committed same-gender relationship." "This is huge," said Phil Soucy of Lutherans Concerned/North America, which lobbies on behalf of gays and lesbians. "More than half of the people in the Churchwide Assembly have said don't punish anyone for what is a simple violation of the policy, where the offense is simply that they have a partner."

In this area, there are a great many gay Catholics who no longer feel welcome in the Roman Catholic Church. In my view, the ELCA could be a great alternative for these individuals who want a familiar service and church setting, but who cannot bring themselves to attend a Catholic Church services since the Vatican finds gays "objectively disordered." As for conservatives in the ELCA who opposed this resolution, I ask them to ask themselves this question: does marginalizing gays make God happy, or does it make you feel better about yourself and make you feel superior?

More Saturday Male Beauty

France's Model Healthcare System

I have indicated previously that I support a sea change in the healthcare system in the USA. Some bloggers - such as the Pink Elephant - express worries about government run health care. Yes, there are issues for concern, but those issues should not be used to justify the continuation of a system that is seriously broken and that leaves millions with no effective healthcare coverage. This Boston Globe column (s hows that there a number of models that the USA would do well to look at:

MANY advocates of a universal healthcare system in the United States look to Canada for their model. While the Canadian healthcare system has much to recommend it, there's another model that has been too long neglected. That is the healthcare system in France.

Although the French system faces many challenges, the World Health Organization rated it the best in the world in 2001 because of its universal coverage, responsive healthcare providers, patient and provider freedoms, and the health and longevity of the country's population. The United States ranked 37.

The French system is also not inexpensive. At $3,500 per capita it is one of the most costly in Europe, yet that is still far less than the $6,100 per person in the United States. An understanding of how France came to its healthcare system would be instructive in any renewed debate in the United States.

That's because the French share Americans' distaste for restrictions on patient choice and they insist on autonomous private practitioners rather than a British-style national health service, which the French dismiss as "socialized medicine." Virtually all physicians in France participate in the nation's public health insurance, Sécurité Sociale.

Their freedoms of diagnosis and therapy are protected in ways that would make their managed-care-controlled US counterparts envious. However, the average American physician earns more than five times the average US wage while the average French physician makes only about two times the average earnings of his or her compatriots. But the lower income of French physicians is allayed by two factors. Practice liability is greatly diminished by a tort-averse legal system, and medical schools, although extremely competitive to enter, are tuition-free. Thus, French physicians enter their careers with little if any debt and pay much lower malpractice insurance premiums.

Nor do France's doctors face the high nonmedical personnel payroll expenses that burden American physicians. Sécurité Sociale has created a standardized and speedy system for physician billing and patient reimbursement using electronic funds. It's not uncommon to visit a French medical office and see no nonmedical personnel. What a concept. No back office army of billing specialists who do daily battle with insurers' arcane and constantly changing rules of payment.

Moreover, in contrast to Canada and Britain, there are no waiting lists for elective procedures and patients need not seek pre-authorizations. In other words, like in the United States, "rationing" is not a word that leaves the lips of hopeful politicians. How might the French case inform the US debate over healthcare reform?

National health insurance in France stands upon two grand historical bargains -- the first with doctors and a second with insurers.

Doctors only agreed to participate in compulsory health insurance if the law protected a patient's choice of practitioner and guaranteed physicians' control over medical decision-making. Given their current frustrations, America's doctors might finally be convinced to throw their support behind universal health insurance if it protected their professional judgment and created a sane system of billing and reimbursement.

French legislators also overcame insurance industry resistance by permitting the nation's already existing insurers to administer its new healthcare funds. Private health insurers are also central to the system as supplemental insurers who cover patient expenses that are not paid for by Sécurité Sociale. Indeed, nearly 90 percent of the French population possesses such coverage, making France home to a booming private health insurance market.

The French system strongly discourages the kind of experience rating that occurs in the United States, making it more difficult for insurers to deny coverage for preexisting conditions or to those who are not in good health. In fact, in France, the sicker you are, the more coverage, care, and treatment you get. Would American insurance companies cut a comparable deal?

Religious Investments - Faith-Based Groups Increasingly Turn to Wall Street to Push Their Moral Agendas

This article from the Washington Post shows that the fundies and far right Catholics are pushing their agenda in more ways than just boycotts and other demonstrations. Here are some highlights (the full story is at

Over the past decade, America's market for religious investment products has grown by more than 3,500 percent, according to data from fund-tracker Morningstar Inc. During the same period, faith-based mutual funds, which routinely agitate for social change in corporate board rooms or shun stocks they deem immoral, grew from about $500 million to more than $17 billion.

What's emerging, observers say, is a market-based response to popular demand for ways that people of faith can make their voices heard on issues closest to their hearts. And people of faith -- especially social conservatives -- are seizing what they see as a new opportunity to make a difference.

Religious conservatives are mobilizing to attach a voice to the cash they have on Wall Street. For example, the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association is for the first time urging its 2.8 million online members to purge their investment portfolios of companies that support a "gay agenda" or "anti-family" practices.

For socially conservative activists, the process of engaging corporations has evolved gradually over two decades. Until now, the American Family Association, for instance, has focused on consumer action, such as a successful 2006 boycott that led to the demise of NBC's racy "The Book of Daniel." Consumer pressure is easier than investor pressure to explain and to use in rallying a broad base of supporters, according to AFA President Tim Wildmon. But he says his organization has been remiss in letting agenda-driven investing be the near-exclusive province of left-leaning mutual funds with a "socially responsible" label. "We just dropped the ball on that," he said. "We haven't been very smart in that regard. But now that's about to start changing."

I guess the moral is that if the fundies are engaging in this investment strategy, the LGBT community needs to make sure that it focuses its financial resources to offset the attempts to push corporations to heed the far right's culture war agenda.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Endeavour Mission Hit by Apparent Shuttle Damage

I have continualy felt that NASA has placed more concern on keeping flights of the shuttles going forward than on crew safety. Hopefully, this "gouge" in the heat protective tiles will not lead to another disaster. Here's highlights from RawStory:

NASA said it has detected an apparent gouge on shuttle Endeavour's heat shield during a routine inspection Friday, after the orbiter docked with the International Space Station (ISS). A piece of ice struck the shuttle shortly after Wednesday's liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, leaving what appears to be a three square inch (19 square centimeter) gouge near the hatch of one of the shuttle's landing gears, a NASA official said.

Mission manager John Shannon told a news conference that NASA was trying to determine the extent of the apparent damage. "What this means, I don't know at this point," he said. The possible damage was detected Friday after ISS crew members took 296 pictures of the shuttle's underside while it performed a backflip during its approach to the station. The pictures were analyzed by NASA experts on Earth. Astronauts on Sunday will use a camera attached to a robotic arm to closely inspect the area of concern, Shannon said.
The mission comes amid a spate of scandals that have plagued the National Aeronautics and Space Administration this year, from the arrest of an astronaut on charges of attempted kidnapping to reports of astronauts drinking on the job. As Endeavour headed towards the orbiting laboratory hundreds of miles above the Earth, NASA chief Michael Griffin Wednesday moved to tackle troubling reports of drunken astronauts in the run-up to the mission.

Saturday Male Beauty

Is Bush Mulling Return To Draft?

Having a draft age son, I truly would not like to see the draft return, particularly so that Bush can throw away the lives of more young Americans in his fool's errand in Iraq. On the other hand, if others in the GOP blindly follow Chimperator Bush on this, it might finally make the moronic soccer moms wake up and look beyond the next PTA meeting and kiddie sporting event. Here's part of's take on the issue:

(Washington) Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday. "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." "And I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another," Lute added in his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June.

In the interview, Lute also said that "Today, the current means of the all-volunteer force is serving us exceptionally well." Still, he said the repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan affect not only the troops but their families, who can influence whether a service member decides to stay in the military. "There's both a personal dimension of this, where this kind of stress plays out across dinner tables and in living room conversations within these families," he said. "And ultimately, the health of the all-volunteer force is going to rest on those sorts of personal family decisions."

Knowing a number of military families personally in this area, the repeat deployments are taking their toll on families.

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Friday Male Beauty

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Punts on Gay Clergy Decision - Gays to remain Second Class Members for Another Two years

As a member of the ELCA, I truly had hoped that the Churchwide Assembly meeting in Chicago this week would finally take action to address the role of gay clergy and end the second class status of gays within the Church. Sadly, the Assembly took the easy way out and deferred any decision until 2009. Here's a portion of the news release from the ELCA web site:

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The 2007 Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA voted 733-278 to refer memorials on the blessing of same-sex relationships to the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. The Task Force is engaged in developing a social statement on human sexuality to be presented to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

It was a gutless cop out by those unwilling to take on the reactionary bigot element within the Church for the sake of "unity," even if that means being united in wrong decisions. My local pastor continues to be supportive and displeased with the result. My fear is that even if a decision is deferred for two years, unless and until some assembly members grow spines, nothing will change and an opportunity to minister to the LGBT community will be lost. How many individuals must be driven from faith and involvement in the Church, merely for the sake of placating closed minded, loveless, self-righteous, homophobic bigots?? In my view, the loss of the element would be a huge gain for the ELCA.

More Friday Male Beauty

18 face death sentence for homosexual activities in Nigeria

Iran and Iraq are not the only countries where gays are executed for merely being gay. Nigeria, home of Anglican Archbishop "Homo Hater" Peter Akinola, is another country where the Muslim extremists confuse civil laws with religious laws. Here's a story on this issue (

Eighteen men have been arrested in northern Nigeria for alleged sodomy, which carries the death sentence under Bauchi state's Islamic sharia law, the official NAN news agency reported Thursday. Judge Malam Tanimu ordered the 18 remanded in prison until a further hearing on August 21 following their arrest on Sunday in a hotel in Bauchi city.

The court on Wednesday heard that the men, who were wearing female clothing, had come to the city from five neighbouring states to celebrate a gay "marriage". Prosecuting police officer Tadius Boboi said the men's actions had contravened the sharia penal code adopted in Bauchi and other states in Muslim northern Nigeria eight years ago following the end of military rule.

With all of Nigeria's huge problems and abject poverty, worrying about homosexuality should be far down the list of issues that the government concerns itself with. Yet further proof of the dangers of mixing religion with the civil laws. Why the international community, including the United Nations, doesn't make pariahs out of such nations for human rights abuses is mind boggling. Oh, I forgot - these are oil producing countries, so they get a free pass.

Biggest Gaffe at LOGO Candidate Debate

Gov. Bill Richardson effectively shot himself in the head last night when the following exchange took place between the Governor and Melissa Etheridge:

MS. ETHERIDGE: Thank you. Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?

GOV. RICHARDSON: It's a choice. It's --

MS. ETHERIDGE: I don't know if you understand the question. (Soft laughter.) Do you think I -- a homosexual is born that way, or do you think that around seventh grade we go, "Ooh, I want to be gay"?
GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I -- I'm not a scientist. It's -- you know, I don't see this as an issue of science or definition. I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I see it as a matter of love and companionship and people loving each other. You know I don't like to categorize people. I don't like to, like, answer definitions like that that, you know, perhaps are grounded in science or something else that I don't understand.

While Richardson's track record on LGBT issues has actually been pretty positive, that statement was simply insane and no doubt turned off the majority of the viewers. One would think he was affiliated with Focus on the Family if all they heard was that exchange. I still have not decided which candidate I prefer.

Friday Male Beauty

Church Cancels Funeral After Discovering Decorated Vet Was Gay

Here's another example ( of loving "Christians" who will not provide a funeral for a Navy veteran who died while awaiting a heart transplant after learning he was gay. If you ask me, Pastor Simons, pictured at left, looks pretty gay himself.

Sinclair was not a member of any church. His brother was a member of High Point Church and when Sinclair's health began to fail members of the congregation prayed for him. The nondenominational church is led by the Rev. Gary Simons, the brother-in-law of televangelist Joel Osteen.

When Sinclair died High Point offered to host a funeral. But the offer suddenly and at the last minute was rescinded, the Dallas Morning News reports, when the church discovered Sinclair was gay. Sinclair's sexuality came to light, the paper reports, when the family submitted photographs of Sinclair's life that it wanted to display at the funeral. Among the pictures where photo's of Sinclair hugging and his partner, Paul Wagner.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Thursday Male Beauty

A Widening Credit Squeeze?

Both Newsweek ( MSNBC ( have stories today about the growing fallout from the expanding sub-prime mortgage melt down and possible related coming attractions. On the mortgage front, the Federal Reserve and other regulators have done an abysmal job at controlling the growing web of damage as reviewed by Daniel Gross:

If the containment policy of the Cold War worked as well as this subprime-mess containment policy, we'd all be speaking Russian and living on collective farms. So far, the subprime catastrophe has been "contained" to the growing list of subprime lenders that have failed. And to some pretty big hedge funds in New York, Boston, and Australia that traded the toxic junk produced by the subprime lenders. And to the investment banks that managed some of those hedge funds and lent money to them. And to some nonsubprime lenders, the biggest of which, Countrywide Financial, last month reported declining earnings because of rising defaults. And to smaller nonsubprime lenders like American Home Mortgage, which just five weeks after assuring investors it would stabilize, filed for Chapter 11 this morning. And to the more than 6,000 laid-off American Home Mortgage workers, who, before last week, were utterly insulated from the ravages of the subprime market. And to a German bank. And to the career of Warren Spector, the former heir apparent at Bear Stearns. And to publicly held homebuilders—downscale ones like Beazer, and upscale ones like WCI Communities, the builder of "amenity rich" condos whose board in April dismissed a $22-per-share takeover offer as inadequate. Now the stock trades at about $6.60.

The fallout, as it usually does, may now be starting to move into credit card rates and other credit segments which could put further pressure on already strapped homeowners and consumers:

That raises an important question: is Cap One’s rate increase the start of a widening credit squeeze? If so, it would be a direct result of the home-mortgage crunch, currently roiling financial markets worldwide. “We’re not in the same world as we were five or six months ago,” says Keith Leggett, senior economist at the American Bankers Association. “There is a growing risk aversion among market participants.”

As home prices across the United States have stagnated or fallen and consumers have tapped out the equity in their homes, banks have gotten more cautious about lending and have tightened their standards for new mortgages and home-equity loans. As a result, more Americans are shifting debt onto credit cards. This week, the Federal Reserve said non-real estate consumer-credit usage rose at about twice the rate than economists had predicted for June. And revolving credit usage (which includes credit-card debt) was up by 8.7 percent at an annual rate for the month. That boost helped bring total consumer credit, both revolving and not revolving (like auto loans), to a record $2.459 trillion.
Meanwhile, continued concerns about a credit crunch in the stock markets may be putting pressure on credit-card companies to tighten standards and raise rates. (Wall Street fell sharply again on Thursday after a French bank said it was freezing three funds that invested in U.S. subprime mortgages because it was unable to properly value their assets.) The market “has changed the psychology of the situation,” says Smith. “Now they’re saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to get into the same trouble these mortgage companies are getting into, we’d better tighten standards too’.” He predicts that evidence of tightening—and a resulting increase in consumer interest rates—could show up as soon as next week, when the Federal Reserve releases its quarterly survey of loan officers.

I truly hope my fears are wrong, but I suspect not based on what I am seeing in the real estate market even here in Norfolk which is usually somewhat insulated by the huge military presence which tends to create a steady flow of people moving into and out of the area. Currently, it is largely the real estate investor clients who are fueling the current sales that are occurring. To be candid, I and business partners are working to focus on and establish an in depth network of service for investors who will be able to pick up attractive properties as foreclosures increase and the number of lender owned repossessed properties increase.
Other suggest that Hillary Clinton likewise realizes that the negative economic fall out will be huge: If the bottom drops out between now and November 2008, this could be a huge political issue.

Thursday Male Beauty

National Memorial for LGBT Hate Crime Victims Launches

This story from from Towleroad will surely get the fundies foaming at the mouth - they never want to admit that the hate and intolerance the disseminate has consequences and costs people their lives as in the case of the victims shown at left:

Scott Hall, longtime activist Frank Kameny, US. Representative Barney Frank and Amazing Race winner and activist Chip Arndt are spearheading the launch of Gay American Heroes, a national memorial to honor LGBT people murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporting them are a large number of gay and straight public figures who have lent their names to the project. The memorial's goal is to honor and remember LGBT people who have been murdered in anti-gay hate crimes, engage and inform the public about LGBT hate crimes, and "inspire compassion and greater appreciation for, and acceptance of, diversity," according to Arndt.
Founder and president Scott Hall, a hate crime victim himself, came up with the idea after hearing about the brutal homophobic killing of Ryan Keith Skipper, a 25-year-old from Polk County, Florida. Hall contacted pioneering gay activist Frank Kameny, whose extensive collection of gay rights papers and memorabilia was recently donated to the Library of Congress, and noted writer and historian James T. Sears. Several others, including Arndt, and Fort Lauderdale's Stonewall Library and Archives executive director Jack Rutland came on board and the project gained steam.
Said Hall: "We want to reach out to communities as soon as possible following a deadly anti-gay hate crime. We want to support the family and friends of the victim, as well as to work with local officials, law enforcement and service organizations to provide counseling and outreach." Several high-profile figures have thrown their support behind the project as an "Honorary Board of Directors" including U.S. Representative Barney Frank, Matt Foreman of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, the first American wounded in the war in Iraq, actors Alan Cumming, Chad Allen and Bobby Gant, former professional baseball player Billy Bean, political strategist David Mixner, and novelist Christopher Rice. I have also agreed to serve on the Honorary Board.

Cyndi Lauper and T.R. Knight have also expressed a desire to help in whatever way they can.
Elke Kennedy, whose son Sean William Kennedy was killed in a homophobic attack in May in South Carolina, has joined the group's Board of Advisors.

Minneapolis Bridge Hero Turns Down Photo-Op with Bush

Kudos to this young guy!! Let's face it - Chimperator Bush has no real interest in this guy of any of the victims of the bridge collapse. The Chimperator was only out looking for a PR opportunity that involves ANYTHING other than Iraq and other misdeeds of his regime. Here are highlight's on the bridge hero's story:

When President Bush’s staff contacted him to request a photo opportunity, “He was just, like, ‘Nope,’ ”

On a positive front, it looks like some things may be looking up for the young hero, 20-year-old Jeremy Hernandez (pictured above left):

Within a day, news outlets across the country were repeating the story of the school bus, along with a sad footnote — that Mr. Hernandez had recently been forced to drop out of an automotive repair program because he could not afford the $15,000 tuition. That has changed. On Saturday, Mr. Hernandez learned that Dunwoody College of Technology had offered him a full scholarship toward a degree in applied science. He has also received offers of help from dozens of strangers across the country, said Molly Schwartz, communications director for Pillsbury United Communities, which employed him as a gym coordinator for one of its summer programs.

Thursday Male Beauty

Michigan Young Republican Pleads Guilty in Sex Case

What is it with these "family values" Young Republicans? They go way beyond being freaking horny and just try to take whatever they want, apparently. On the other hand, I guess they are merely following in the hypocritical foot steps of the older generation in the GOP like Florida State Representative Bob Allen who is now trying to use a "fear of black dudes" defense in his gay-sex solicitation case. Talk "family values" but do not walk the walk. Here's some highlights from the latest Young Republican debacle:
The former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans admitted today that he sexually abused a colleague during a national convention here last summer. Michael Flory, a 32-year-old attorney from Jackson, Mich., pleaded guilty to sexual battery on the day he was to stand trial for rape. The teary-eyed college student he overpowered in a downtown hotel room gasped and dabbed her eyes as Flory replied to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Peter Corrigan's question, "Are you indeed guilty?"
"Sure - yeah," Flory said. Corrigan set sentencing for Sept. 13. Flory faces a sentence that ranges from probation to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Flory is also a licensed insurance broker; Corrigan warned him that the guilty plea places both professional licenses in jeopardy of revocation.
Flory gained some notoriety at age 18 when he gave a televised speech to the Republican National Convention in the Houston Astrodome in 1992. The Michigan Young Republicans' Web site once hailed him as "one of the rising stars of GOP politics in America" and declared that "Mike has earned a great name for himself."

Flory, the victim and other members of Michigan's delegation to the national Young Republicans convention were partying in the Warehouse District last July 6, police and prosecutors said. The victim became so intoxicated that she headed back to her hotel room. Flory escorted her. But when she lay down to sleep, he "violently forced several sex a cts upon her," Skutnik said.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Parenting and the Love for One's Children

I had lunch with my youngest daughter yesterday and had a very enjoyable time. She will be heading off to college in a week and a half and I hope we can get together another time before she heads out of town. I am very proud of her accomplishments in high school and am proud and honored to have such a poised and beautiful young woman as my daughter.
In fact, I am very proud of all three of my children and hope that in time my relationships with the other two will improve once the divorce is finally over. I believe that time is on my side and that someday they will all better appreciate how hard it was for me to come out, but also that it was something I had to do, not to be selfish, but to keep my sanity and go on living. Do I regret the turmoil that they experienced as a result? Definitely. Would I have preferred a less hostile divorce process? Again definitely.
Despite the Hell the process has involved, I continue to believe that not continuing to live a lie and not living my life to meet the expectations of others is the strongest testimony I can ever give them in how they should live their own lives.

More Male Beauty

American Bar Association Convention Set to Criticize Bush on Interrogations Order

I often disagree with the American Bar Association on issues and, in fact, am not a member because I believe the membership cost far exceeds any usefulness I receive from membership. However, on this issue, the ABA is on the right track and sincerely I hope the resolution passes. What Chimperator Bush and his Christianist regime has done to civil rights of American citizens and the USA's standing in the world is a travesty. Here are some highlights on this issue from Raw Story (

The American Bar Association will gather its membership for an annual national convention next week. One topic on the agenda will be President George W. Bush's July 20 executive order on interrogations and torture, which the body may criticize in a proposed resolution. "The resolution concludes that the Executive order is 'inconsistent with US obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions,'" said Michael Posner, the President of Human Rights First, a nonprofit organization that was formerly known as the Lawyers' Committee on Human Rights.

"This resolution will be debated and voted on by the House of Delegates next Monday or Tuesday at the ABA’s annual meeting in San Francisco," the human rights attorney said. "It is noteworthy that the resolution has been endorsed by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security, which has been supportive of many of the Administration’s post-9/11 policies and actions and traditionally has favored broad executive authority on matters of national security."

The rebuke of Bush's executive order by the top national organization for attorneys comes in an indirect manner. The resolution calls on Congress to pass legislation that supersedes the July 20 executive order. It also calls on Congress to ensure that wherever detainees are held by US government agencies, including the CIA, they are protected under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Common Article 3 guarantees basic rights of humane treatment for individuals caught up in armed conflict, regardless of their status. In a report accompanying the proposed ABA resolution, the president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York described why corrective action was needed.

"The actions urged by these recommendations are necessary to protect American troops who may be detained by other nations that would be disinclined to honor their treaty commitments in light of the U.S. government’s failure to honor its own," stated Barry W. Kamins. "Furthermore, these actions are necessary to re-establish the nation’s credibility in asserting the rights of people everywhere. The world’s most powerful nation must exercise its power while demonstrating its respect for the rule of law."

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Arlington County Public Schools Update

Pam Spaulding posted my letter to the Arlington County School Board on both her blog ( and on ( in connection with the lawsuit settlement whereby PFOX will be allowed to distribute ex-gay conversion propaganda to middle school students. Both stories have a number of interesting and witty comments. One I liked is as follows:

In accordance with the School Board Policy on Printed Materials (attached), the APA can submit materials for posting/distribution in the same manner as other non-profit organizations.

Sincerely yours,

MICHAEL KORFFJ. Michael Korff, Ph.D. Executive Staff Assistant to the Superintendent Arlington Public Schools 1426 N. Quincy Street Arlington, VA 22207
703.228.2497 JMKorff@Arlington.K12.VA.US

While the post is no doubt a joke, I sincerely hope that other organizations such as Wayne Besen's Truth Wins Out ( will utilize the school board policy to disseminate truthful information to students. Again, I believe the school division has created a nightmare for itself.
Also, thanks to all who sent me kind messages concerning my letter either via my gmail account of via my offices contact page. So far, no death threats from fundies.

Wednesday Male Beauty

GOP "Rising Star" Glenn Murphy Steps Down Over Gay Sex Assault

I realize that this story has been reported on a number of other blogs and new sites already, but I could not resist adding my own additional commentary. I don't know what it is about these Republicans, but they seem more into gay sex than most gays. It certainly sounds like it is NOT safe to fall asleep around Mr. Murphy (pictured at left). Here are some highlights from Towleroad and Pam's House Blend:

The Young Republican National Federation acted quickly to scrub any mention of their recently elected leader Glenn Murphy from their websites, according to DailyKos, after several Indiana websites broke the news that Murphy, a "rising star" in the Indiana GOP and the leader of the Clark County Republicans, had stepped down after police charged him with "Criminal Deviate Conduct", a class B felony, for sexually assaulting another man following a Young Republicans party."

In a shocking police report filed by the Clark Co. Sheriff's office, Murphy is accused of sexually assaulting another man on Saturday, July 28, 2007, while he lay sleeping in his bed. The alleged assault of the 22-year-old man took place in the Jeffersonville, Indiana home of his sister following a Young Republican party in which both Murphy and the 22-year-old man had been in attendance. The victim's sister had urged both men to spend the night at her home because of the amount of alcohol the two had consumed during the party. The victim awoke in the morning to find Murphy performing oral sex on him according to the report. When the victim asked Murphy what he was doing, he responded: "He was holding his dick with one hand and sucking my dick with his mouth." The victim then pushed Murphy away, gathered his personal belongings and left. Murphy was later confronted with the charges by the victim's sister according to the report. The sister says Murphy admitted to her that he performed the sex act on her brother."

Taking Down Words, an Indiana blog, has been following this guy for some time. And guess what? Apparently this isn't the first time his mouth has ended up on someone's privates while they were asleep. Glenn Murphy has a prior arrest for sexual battery. Here's the 1998 Clark County police report (

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday Male Beauty

Was America Complicit in Some of Saddam's Crimes?

This column on the Huffington Post ( and the books it references raise serious questions about the manner in which Saddam Hussein was tried and quickly executed. Did he deserve the death penalty - in my opinion, clearly yes. However, during much of the 1980's Saddam's biggest supporters were in Washington, D. C., when he was courted and assisted as a counterbalance to Iran after the fall of the Shah (whose supposed misdeeds paled compared to Saddam's or those of the mullahs how now run Iran). Here are a few highlights:

The trial of Saddam Hussein ended in disarray and disaster. Who can forget the grainy footage of hooded henchmen taunting the former dictator as he approached the gallows? The most cataclysmic moment in many Iraqis' lives was reduced to a thirty-second clip on YouTube. But while the ending to that sorry chapter in Iraqi history will be long remembered, its beginnings have been too often overlooked.

The answer, suggests Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group and author of the new book, A Poisonous Affair: America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halbja. There were fears in Washington that politically damaging information might be unearthed about America's role propping up Saddam during the 1980s. "Once Saddam's regime was overthrown," he recently told Ken Silverstein of Harper's Magazine, "the Bush Administration made sure that instead of an international (or even a mixed Iraqi/international) tribunal, a purely Iraqi tribunal was established under strict U.S. control, with statutes written, essentially, in Washington." The perceived miscarriage of justice had a disastrous effect on Iraq, not to mention the larger global effort to try dictators and other war criminals. "The tribunal's evident partiality," Hiltermann continued, "along with other serious procedural problems, undermined its credibility and thereby also undermined the cause of justice and stability in postwar Iraq."

So what was Washington trying to hide? Donald Rumsfeld, as special envoy to President Reagan, visited Baghdad twice, in 1983 and in 1984, and met with Saddam Hussein ostensibly to reaffirm American support for Iraq against the Iranians during their eight-year war. According to a March 2005 article by Ari Berman in The Nation, Washington supplied Baghdad with landmines while "American companies, with the government's approval, sold the chemical agents used against Iranian troops and Iraq's own Kurdish population." Or as Hiltermann puts it, "Rumsfeld reassured the Iraqi leadership that it had broad latitude in prosecuting the war against Iran, including by using poison gas. Along with the Reagan administration, he thereby helped build up a state that terrorized its own citizens and turned a tinpot dictator into a tyrant threatening the region."

Do not forget who else was in the Reagan administration - the Chimperator's daddy. Might he have had something to hide as well?

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Langley General (and others) Could be Punished for Role in Christian Video

I have been increasingly alarmed by the manner in which high ranking military officers have been recruited into the Christianist ranks and then seem unable to distinguish between the fact that this is a secular nation, not a theocracy. This story in the Virginian Pilot involves one general - Maj. Gen. Jack Catton (pictured at left) - almost literally in my back yard ( Here are some high lights:
A general at Langley Air Force Base could face discipline for violating regulations by wearing his uniform in a fund-raising video for an evangelical Christian group, according to a government report. Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, a director at Air Combat Command, improperly promoted Christian Embassy, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense concluded after a seven-month investigation. Seven Air Force and Army officers appeared in video segments filmed in the Pentagon, according to the 45-page report.

Catton remains at his job, which includes planning for planes and parts, said Maj. Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for the command. He said Catton announced July 5 that he will retire on New Year’s Day after 31 years of service. According to the report, released late last month, the Pentagon Chaplain’s office sponsored a group from Christian Embassy in 2004.

The nonprofit group is dedicated to evangelical Christian teachings and relies on donations, according to its Web site. It hosts weekly prayer meeting at the Pentagon and is affiliated with Campus Crusade For Christ International.

The group filmed at the Pentagon over several months, despite receiving permission for a single day of shooting, inspectors found. The video showed various military scenes, emblems and symbols, spliced with interviews of uniformed officers in Pentagon offices. Appearing in the video, the report said, were Catton, Air Force Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton, Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Army Brig. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr. and retired Army Chaplain Ralph Benson.
I urge every reader in the USA to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to take action that will firmly punish service members who endorse religious organizations while in uniform. This phenomenon is only one of many which has been allowed - if not encouraged - by Chimperator Bush's regime. Meanwhile the Chimperator threatens to veto legislation providing health coverage to poor children and gays in the military need to live in the closet.

Tuesday Male Beauty

School System Allows Group To Promote 'Gay Conversion' To Students

The Washington Post ( and are reporting that the Arlington County Virginia School Board will allow PFOX - a puppet of Christianist organizations like Focus on the Family - to distribute materials in middle schools. School Board Chairman David Foster is pictured at left. Anyone wishing to provide their comments to the school board my do so via this e-mail Here are some high lights of the Post story:

McLEAN (AP) -- An organization that advocates therapy to convert gays has settled a lawsuit with Arlington County school officials over their refusal to distribute its fliers to high-school students. As a result, the group is now considering targeting its message to even younger students in middle schools.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, or PFOX, sued school system administrators and board members earlier this year in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, claiming that they improperly blocked their request to send out fliers to high school students.

A settlement, reached last week, specifically states that PFOX will have the same access given to other groups and can submit fliers for distribution to middle and elementary school students if it wishes, said PFOX's lawyer, Timothy Tracey.

PFOX, based in Fairfax County, has been controversial for its support of conversion or reparative therapy, which many mental health experts say is harmful. It has also opposed sex-education curriculum in Montgomery County, Md., and elsewhere that it believes advocate a homosexual agenda. Tracey said Monday that PFOX is considering distributing its fliers at middle schools but has no plans to do so at elementary schools.

Not surprisingly, I beleive the School Board decision was idiocy and potentially harms numerous students and opens the school system up to potential law suits. In fact, here is the letter that I sent to the members of the school board and superintendent of schools:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It was with great distress that I noted your decision described in the linked article ( As one who has studied the fraudulent nature of these “conversion” programs in depth and helped expose “ex-gays for pay,” I believe that you have opened a Pandora’s Box of potential liability on the part of the school division in respect to youth who may be harmed by these programs and/or pushed to suicide.

In 2006, the American Psychological Association issued a stinging rebuke of the so-called ex-gay movement following a demonstration by members of several organizations that claim homosexuality is a choice that can be cured. In fact, the APA is now considering a total ban on conversion therapy under the APA’s ethical and clinical guidelines. In short, if the school division gets sued, the legitimate mental health experts will testify against these programs. I hope you have discussed this issue with the school division’s liability insurance carrier. I suspect your carrier will not be pleased. Whether or not you endorse these programs, the fact that the school division allows the materials to be distributed will give them an appearance of legitimacy that they do not deserve. Unsuspecting youths and/or parents may be misled accordingly to their detriment.

I know I would happily represent a youth in your school division or his/her family who is harmed as a result of these fraudulent programs. Perhaps Arlington County will have the opportunity to provide the “test case” that will put these bogus “ministries” out of business once and for all.

I truly hope you will rethink this extremely foolish decision.

The Clerk of the School Board confirm receipt of my letter and that it would be distributed to the baord members.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday Male Beauty

Putting In The Hard Work to Let Go the Past

I have posted several times recently on the issue of not continuing to allow oneself to be a victim or trapped by one’s past and the need to take affirmative steps to make changes in one’s outlook and mind set to accomplish this goal, be it through therapy or other spiritual means. With this background, I came across a post on a friend’s blog about two people in his life that perfectly illustrated the choices we all are confronted with in deciding which path we choose to follow (I have modified the language slightly):

“He is someone who has traveled a pretty harsh road, but he is so determined to not let his past and not let those experiences impact negatively on his present and future. I have no doubt that it’s a difficult path and I can even see the struggles at times in his eye’s. However he keeps powering ahead. He is so willing to put in the hard work. That’s a quality I admire in people.
It’s interesting because in contrast, I see another friend who refuses to deal with the difficult situation before her and just dwells on the past. Even though to fix things would be difficult, if the effort was put into the endeavor, she would come out happier and healthier. I hope she decides to take this path at some point because she truly deserves to be happy.”

I realize that I myself have not always put the needed effort into escaping the wounds and old paradigms of my past - it is ever so easy to wallow in being a victim – but overall I believe I have made significant progress in not allowing this baggage to continue to control my present and future. Has it been an easy process? Most certainly it has not. Has it been worth the effort? Most definitely.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Gay Self Esteem

I came upon this post consisting of a book review today ( on Superbbluewren' s journal (out of Australia), but thought that some of what it says is relevant to gays anywhere. I recommend that you read the whole post, but here are some highlights:

"It is really important to recognise a simple and basic truth. A person who is nasty to you, who is arrogant, distant without reason or is angry at a level much greater than you deserve, always, absolutely always dislikes himself. He doesn't dare recognise his own self-dislike; instead he thinks he sees it in your eyes and then responds to you the way he sees you, not the way you are." That unequivocal statement answers a question that I have been asking myself for the last few years. The statement comes from a book called: An Intelligent Life: A practical guide to relationships, intimacy and self-esteem by Sydney psychiatrist Julian Short.

Poor self-esteem and the resulting depression is one of the major problems of western society today. In particular, self-esteem is one of the greatest challenges to gay men. We may be paranoid at times, but there are significant sections of the community who are out to get us. Self-esteem is not the same as self-confidence. Being able to perform for one person (sexually or otherwise) or thousands has nothing to do with self-esteem. There are many politicians, rock stars and other celebrities who can perform, sometimes for a world audience, but they are not necessarily people who like themselves. A self-respecting person likes himself but it is visible in openness, not confident certainty. Short comments that "If you're a superstar it might be easy to have a high self-opinion, but if you live your life intelligently you can learn how to be insignificant, how to fail, make a mess or just be plain wrong and still like yourself, because happiness is about more than achievement or status." So how do we live our life intelligently?
People are not mind readers! They judge us by what we do and say. They are most influenced by our recent behaviour. If we change our behaviour for the better and persist with the change, we earn the respect of others and build our own self-respect. We may think that we are still not much good and that we are just acting but we tend to judge ourselves by the same criteria that others use. Our judgement of ourselves aligns eventually with the judgement of others. Again Short comments that "the way you feel today is far more influenced by the way you handle the present than by what happened in your past". That is true, even if we were the cause of what happened in our past.
It is what we do in response to our feelings that makes the difference. Short summarises the behaviour of self-respect in these points:
1. Behave as the person you would like to be and to be seen to be.
2. Behave like a person who likes himself.
3. Act with kindness and dignity as often as you can.
4. Treat everyone you meet as worthy, equal adults.
5. If in doubt, administer love.
6. Follow the golden rule for building and preserving your self-esteem: always treat other people as if you believe they like you.

Final Sunday Male Beauty

Conscious of Their Community's Financial Clout, Gay Activists Want Action on Equality Issues, Not Just Talk.

I will admit that I am impatient by nature and like immediate results as opposed to a slow steady progress approach - especially on gay rights issues. I am also pretty direct by nature - as you may have guessed from some of my commentary - and I agree that it is time for our supposed political allies to deliver. On the issue of gay rights, my desire for action my stem in part from my many years in the closet and my desire to see needed changes in my lifetime. In addition, changes in federal legislation are critical for those of us living in backward states still largely controlled by politicians with a Christianist mindset. The issues I want resolved are the following: (1) hate crimes based on sexual orientation, (2) an employment anti-discrimination act including sexual orientation, (3) a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and (4) same-sex marriage/domestic partnerships.
With the upcoming Democrat debate on gay issues hosted by HRC and Logo, Newsweek has two articles worth checking out. Are they wonderful articles? No, but at least they are appearing in a widely circulated national magazine, thereby hopefully causing potential straight allies to understand why these laws are needed. Here are the links: and Here are a few highlights:

Aug. 5, 2007 - In a crowded primary field, every vote counts. So it’s probably not surprising that six of the eight Democratic presidential contenders for 2008 plan to participate in the first debate devoted entirely to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues on Aug. 9 in Los Angeles. (Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd declined to attend, citing scheduling conflicts) Still, the event’s sponsors, the Human Rights Campaign and Viacom’s Logo cable TV network, are touting the event as an historic opportunity for the gay community to raise its issues on a national stage. The forum, moderated by Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News, will run from 9-11 p.m. ET on Logo and (The sponsors say they invited GOP candidates to participate in their own gay debate, but that none signed on.)
While gay and lesbian voters have largely been a reliable voting bloc for Democrats at least since the ‘80s, some activists say their community is taken for granted by the party. Privately, political strategists say candidates walk a fine line between being progressive on gay issues and possibly alienating some conservative voters, including some Democrats. NEWSWEEK’s Kendyl Salcito spoke with John D’Emilio, a historian of gay history and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, about the upcoming event. Excerpts:
Only about four percent of the voting population is gay. Is the focus of a “gay debate” too narrow? Well, four percent self-identified as gay or lesbian or bisexual. There are two points to make about that. First, there are still people who won’t self-identify, so the figure is probably a little bigger—maybe six percent. And we know that the six percent is not equally distributed around the country. Urban areas are more likely to have a higher percentage than rural ones. You’re going to have larger populations in the state of Massachusetts than you’re going to have in North Dakota. So in some states this forum might make a bigger difference than in others.

More Sunday Male Beauty

Christian Post: America's "pro-gay" Culture Affects Iraqi Christians

I am taking this article written by Pam Spaulding verbatim from Americablog ( - the photo is my contribution. It shows how loony the fundies are that now gays are indirectly being blamed it would seem for the kidnapping (and likely murder) of Iraqi Christians:

The Homosexual AgendaTM is a powerful thing, isn't it? I carry mine in my trusty lesbian fanny pack 24/7, with my secret decoder ring on ready to conspire with my allies to destroy not just civilization here at home, but the whole planet, as Daddy Dobson knows ("Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth." [The Daily Oklahoman, Oct. 23rd, 2004]).Western culture ("freedom" is apparently defined as "pro-gay") is now being blamed for the persecution of Christians in Iraq, according to Rev. Canon Andrew White -- vicar of the 1,300-member St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad.

White spoke about Western culture and values and their detrimental effects on Iraqi Christians...."It is seen as an immoral tradition. It is seen as a tradition that does not uphold values. It is seen as a tradition that does not uphold the respect for the kind of issues that the Islamic religion holds as very significant to them,” said the Anglican priest who has worked in Iraq for over a decade.
White said that the previous day he had received an email from some of the Christians in Baghdad asking him if it was true that the Church in America supported homosexuality...."These positions often held by Western Christians are not held by Iraqi Christians," emphasized White. "They are very, very different. My people say the Creed and they believe it. My people live a very upright, courageous and respectful life," said the pastor who had 36 of his congregants kidnapped with only one returned in the past month.

Pam goes on to say: I'm sorry, but blaming gays for the criminal behavior of others is outlandish and offensive. It's akin to a cultural/ religious "gay panic" defense for bigotry and violence between people of different faiths. If The Homosexual Agenda is all-powerful and all-consuming, why are we still second-class taxpaying citizens in our own nation? We do not have marriage equality, in many places we can still be fired from a job for being gay, we cannot serve openly in the military; in some states, such as Florida, we cannot adopt or foster children, the list goes on and on.

I love Pam's directness and no holds barred approach to calling out the fundies. If I ever get down Raleigh way, I'd love to look her up.

Sunday Male Beauty

Church Leaders Join Stockholm Gay Pride March

Would that the Lutheran Church in this country was as progressive on gay rights as its Swedish cousin. Don't get me wrong, the ECLA has taken some very pro-gay stances, but until gay clergy can be in committed relationships, there is still more ground to cover. Here are highlights from

(Stockholm) Swedish political and church leaders marched in Stockholm's LGBT pride parade Saturday, drawing large cheers and applause from thousands of people lining the streets of the capital. About 30 members of the Swedish Lutheran Church, including the deans of the cathedrals of Stockholm and Uppsala. The Church is the largest denomination in the country.

In a statement the church said it wanted to "break the masses' big silence" regarding gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. Representatives of the governing coalition and major opposition parties in Parliament also marched. The group included three cabinet ministers.

Earlier this year an international study of attitudes towards gays found Sweden the most the most welcoming country for gays. Early next year it is expected Parliament will approve a same-sex marriage bill. Sweden already has civil partnerships under a law enacted in 1995 that gives most of the rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples who register. But the country's LGBT community and moderate politicians have stepped up lobbying to have the law amended to permit gays and lesbians to marry.

A parliamentary committee studying the issue last year called civil partnerships outdated and has recommended Parliament allow same-sex marriage. It also would allow gay couples to marry in churches.