Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bonus Saturday Male Beauty

Abstinence makes the lust grow stronger

My blogger friend over at Magic Bellybutton has a great parody of the abstinance only education crowd. Rather that cut and paste her work, check it out on her blog site: She and I are definitely of like minds when it comes to the Christianists and Chimperator Bush.

Roommate Wanted

I know that some readers are local. Hence I am posting this notice that I am looking for a roommate for my house: two bedroom (the third bedroom is used as a large closet), one bath (updated), living room, dining room, updated kitchen, nice yard. Front and back porch. Near Old Dominion University and minutes from Ghent. Off street parking. $450 and portion of utilities. The front door and side panels have been replaced from those in the above photo. Also, the porch railing has been completed and painted. E-mail me if anyone is interested.
For those who say that the photo is not loading, here is a link to another photo:

Final Saturday Male Beauty

Author John Grisham: Bush administration built around 'bad people with evil intent'

I do not know John Grisham - my brother does - but have read many of his books, which are very insightful in terms of the legal profession and the workings of the legal system. Similarly, I think he is on target about the administration of Chimperator Bush:

Best-selling author John Grisham, taking his first major public step in presidential politics by planning to host an event Sunday near his home in Charlottesville, Va., for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, said the current administration is built around "bad people with evil intent" and contends President Bush played politics as thousands died in Iraq. Grisham talked about this weekend's event during an interview Thursday to discuss his new book, "Playing for Pizza," a fictional account of a Davenport and University of Iowa football player trying to revive a fractured career in Italy.
The war is an immoral abomination that we'll pay for for decades to come," Grisham said near the end of a 40-minute telephone interview with The Des Moines Register. (

One need only listen to the delusions and lies of Darth Vader Cheney to realize these guys are not the guys in the white hats.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Newark Triple Murders -- Another Laramie in 2007?

Several blogs and new sites, including the Washington Blade (, are now reporting that the triple execution style murder of Newark teens earlier in the summer may have been motivated by the sexual orientation of the victims. For some reason, the City of Newark does not seem to even want to even look into that angle of the crime. Here is a report from Blue Jersey (
Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower are gone, a loss which rips at the soul of the city of Newark and staggers us all with the brutality of it. Natasha Aeriel was tortured. What hell she's lived through we can only imagine. What's left for all of us now is to come to terms about how and why all this came to be. To face it. And then to rise to the challenge to protect all vulnerable youth, and make sure this doesn't happen ever again.

Some leaders in Newark's LGBT community are calling on mayor Cory Booker, the City Council and police to answer the question: "Why is the recent execution style slaying of three young people in Newark not being investigated as a hate crime?"

We are told that friends of the victims have come forward to ask why the identities of the murdered teenagers, and the lone survivor, have been suppressed, claiming that "at least one or more of the victims were gay". Media reports indicate that two of the victims were sexually molested before being killed. Though authorities suggest robbery was the motive, some in the community say they were targeted because they were gay.
Whether this particular case is a hate crime remains to be determined by the courts, but there is a well-known and largely unspoken epidemic in Newark of gays being targeted for their sexual orientation. The homophobia in parts of the black community makes this a politically unpopular issue for leaders to address. But it's a real problem and pretending it's not there only perpetuates the cycle of hate. There are well-meaning and deeply caring people who don't want any of this public.

Feds target Blackwater in weapons probe

More trouble for Blackwater USA, based in Moyock, North Carolina, just south of the Virginia state line from here. As the Virginian Pilot is reporting (, it appears that Blackwater employees may have been involved in weapon sales to terrorists (as if these mercenaries do not get paid enough already - i.e., in some cases $1,000+ per day). I have a real problem with the USA using what are basically hired mercenaries. Here are some story highlights:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.
The officials could not say whether the investigation would result in indictments, how many Blackwater employees are involved or if the company itself, which has won hundreds of millions of dollars in government security contracts since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is under scrutiny. In Saturday's editions, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that two former Blackwater employees - Kenneth Wayne Cashwell of Virginia Beach, Va., and William Ellsworth "Max" Grumiaux of Clemmons, N.C. - are cooperating with federal investigators.

Cashwell and Grumiaux pleaded guilty in early 2007 to possession of stolen firearms that had been shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, and aided and abetted another in doing so, according to court papers viewed by The Associated Press. In their plea agreements, which call for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the men agreed to testify in any future proceedings.
The News & Observer, citing unidentified sources, reported that the probe was looking at whether Blackwater had shipped unlicensed automatic weapons and military goods to Iraq without a license. The paper's report that the company itself was under investigation could not be confirmed by the AP.

Saturday Male Beauty

Ministers who have brought scandal to the Southern Baptist Convention

In follow up to my post yesterday about the sex abuse issues being ignored by the Southern Baptist Convention, I stumbled upon the following website ( that goes into great detail on this issue. Here is a quote:

These are just SOME of the men who have brought scandal to the Southern Baptist Convention. Many other Baptist clergy have turned a blind eye or helped to cover up clergy sex abuse, but the list would get way too long if we included those...and yet that conduct is also scandalous. Write to the SBC Executive Committee and urge them to keep a database of ALL ministers convicted, confessed, or credibly accused.

Daniel Earl Allmond* (FL)
Dale "Dickie" Amyx (TX)
Andrew Argent* (TX)
Donald Chrisler Batson* (SC)
John Bonine** (CA)
Mark Lewis Brooks (MO)
Lonnie Broome (FL)
Timothy Neal Byars** (TN)
Jerry Dale Carver** (TX)
Ollin Collins+ (TX)
Shawn Davies* (MO, KY, MI)
Gregory Dempsey* (TN)
Charles Dickerson**(CA)
Garett Dykes* (AL)
Stephen Lee Edmonds**(deacon)(FL)
Jermey Patrick Gable**(FL)
Andres Garcia* (CA)
Luis Federico Garcia* (AL)
Tommy Gilmore (FL, GA, TX)
Brian "Doug" Goodrich, Jr.* (NC)
Robert Gray (FL)
James Griffin** (LA)
Steven Haney** (TN)
Jeffrey Hannah* (IL)
Roy Mace Honeycutt** (NC)
John Hubner* (ME, SC)
Joshua Ross Hyles* (TX)
Fritzner Jean**(FL)
Michael Lee Jones* (TX)
Joel Dean Joslin* (TX)
John Lau* (NY, Army)
Stephen Livingston** (TX)
John O. McKay* (TX)
Mark Woodson Mangrum** (TN)
Leslie Mason* (IL)
Doug Myers* (FL, AL, MD)
Larry Nuell Neathery* (TX)
Kevin Ogle* (GA, SC)
Kenneth Payne* (VA)
Larry Reynolds (TX)
Robert N. Riddle (AL, FL)*(fraud on elderly)
Morris David Roberts* (TX)
Frank Sizemore* (TX)
Phillip Glenn Terrell** (GA)
Sam Underwood (TX)
George "Tom" Wade, Jr.* (AK, Int'l Mission Bd)
Kenneth Ward* (TX)
Stephen Lyle Whittaker*** (FL)
Paul Williams (TN)
Charles "Rick" Willits* (TX)

** Charged
+ Not only a pastor, but board chairman of Southern Baptists' largest seminary

Friday, September 21, 2007

Final Friday Male Beauty

More Friday Male Beauty

The gay voter's guide to the GOP

Today's issue of Salon Magazine ( has a a funny article with the above title that is worth a look for some humor and good analysis as well of the GOP presidential field. While somewhat tongue in cheek, it does hit home on various issues. I hope my fellow blogger, The Pink Elephant (see my blog roll),enjoys the piece. The following excerpts give an idea of the article's tone:

How should a right-wing homosexual vote in the upcoming primaries and caucuses? Salon rates the Republican candidates for gay friendliness.

Sept. 21, 2007 WASHINGTON -- Imagine this: You are a gay man or a lesbian woman who just can't stand Democrats. Maybe you are rich and you don't want anyone to raise your taxes. Perhaps you are just determined to stay the course in Iraq, privatize Social Security, and drop oil wells into the Alaskan wilderness. Jack Abramoff might even be an old drinking buddy.

It doesn't really matter. Whatever the cause, you are in a quandary. Your only viable choice in the coming presidential election is to vote for a Republican, and that means voting for a party that has spent much of the last decade casting you and your way of life as an assault on the wholesome goodness of the American family. "Homosexuality is incompatible with military service," declared the 2004 GOP platform. "Attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country."

What is a right-leaning homosexual to do in this presidential election? Start by taking a closer look at the candidates in the Republican field. There is substantial variation, and not just in their positions on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Call it the Giuliani-Keyes Spectrum of Gay Friendliness. On one end, there is Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor who has lived with gay friends, favors gay domestic partnerships, and sometimes dresses in drag. At the other end, there is Alan Keyes, who calls lesbians "selfish hedonists," even though his only daughter is a lesbian. There exists, shall we say, a veritable rainbow of variation in between.

German bishop apologises over paedophile priest

Yet another instance of the Catholic Church not being sufficiently vigilant in protecting children from predator priests ( I have not seen any scientific research that has found that pedophilia can be cured. It would be most interesting to know who gave Kramer a "clean bill of health." A Catholic Church affiliated clinic like the ones in the USA that failed to cure pedophile priests? If past behavior is any indication, the Vatican will no doubt refrain from commenting. Here are the details:

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German Catholic bishop apologised on Friday for reinstating a convicted child molester priest who was charged with a similar crime last month. Peter Kramer, a priest in the Bavarian town of Riekofen, was arrested on August 30 on suspicion of sexually abusing a minor. He was convicted of child molestation in 2000, but underwent therapy, received a clean bill of mental health and was reinstated by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller in 2004.

Residents of Riekofen were angry that they were not told about Kramer's criminal history and the town's mayor accused Mueller of covering up the priest's past, German media reported. The Catholic Church has faced abuse allegations around the world in recent years. In Britain, the United States and Ireland, Catholic bishops have admitted to mishandling cases of sexual abuse by priests in their diocese. The Vatican could not immediately be reached for comment on the Kramer case.

Friday Male Beauty

Federal Appeals Court: Transsexuals Have No Civil Rights

Unfortunately, this 10th Circuit Court of Appeal ruling should surprise no one. Unless and until the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is passed by Congress, neither transsexuals nor others in the LGBT community have civil rights protections in the majority of the states within the USA. In Virginia, except for state agency employees purportedly protected by an executive order of the Governor, LGBT individuals can be fired at will based solely on their sexual orientation. Meanwhile, rabid Christianists who work ceaselessly to keep gays as second class citizens or worse DO have non-discrimination (as well as hate crime ) protections based on their religious beliefs. Here are a few high lights from's coverage:
(Denver, Colorado) A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that found transsexuals are not covered by federal discrimination laws. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Krystal Etsitty had no legal recourse in fighting her firing by the Utah Transit Authority in 2005.

Following her dismissal she sued under federal sexual discrimination laws. In court judge David Sam referred to Etsitty as "she" but dismissed the suit saying that because Etsitty had been born male the federal law did not apply.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Final Thursday Male Beauty

SNAP Calls for 'Open and Transparent' Study of Sex Abuse by Baptist Clergy

It looks like the Southern Baptist Convention has not learned much from the Roman Catholic Church clergy abuse scandal/disaster. A victims' advocacy and support group on Monday asked Southern Baptist Convention leaders to seek input from outside experts and victims in developing a denomination-wide response to sexual abuse by clergy:

In June SBC messengers referred a motion to the SBC Executive Committee requesting "a feasibility study concerning the development of a database of Southern Baptist clergy and staff who have been credibly accused of, personally confessed to, or legally been convicted of sexual harassment or abuse and that such a database be accessible to Southern Baptist churches."

"Baptist believers have spoken, and it is time for their leaders to listen,"
Christa Brown, Baptist outreach leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said in a sidewalk press conference outside SBC headquarters in Nashville, Tennesse.

Brown and Clohessy said there have been "far too many" reports over the last year of Baptist clergy sex abuse combined with church cover-ups, indicating that both victims and churches need help. SNAP has been urging the SBC to establish an objective review board to determine credible accusations and warn churches about predator preachers and respond compassionately to wounded victims.

Brown, a victim of sexual abuse by her Southern Baptist youth minister when she was a teenager in Texas, said afterward she was discouraged by the tone of the discussion. "It's very hurtful," she told "I wish people could know my motivation. I wish they could get the e-mails I get and the phone calls I get."

Since starting a
Web site, Stop Baptist Predators, Brown said she has talked to "well over a hundred" survivors of clergy sex abuse, most who didn't know where else to turn. With her volunteer-produced and unfunded Web site getting such a response, she wondered how many more victims would come forward if the SBC put its influence and funding behind a similar project. Clohessy said it was "very sad" to hear "people that have tried to turn their personal pain into child protection so mischaracterized."

Based on the Catholic Church's conduct, it appears that the greater the resistance to standards and transparency, the greater the amount of abuse being hidden. Does the SBC have similar secrets that it is hiding? For more see:

More Thursday Male Beauty

Pennsylvania Caregivers of 7 Held in Home Charged

Here's another case of wingnut "Christians" I suppose reflecting Christ's love. ABC News has the story here: What is amazing is that social services or some governmental agency was not monitoring this couple who were receiving $9,000 per month for caring for the individuals they victimized. Here are a few highlights:

Five children and two disabled women were locked in a basement cell, fed meager food and rarely allowed to bathe, by a couple facing criminal charges over their care, authorities said. The couple were paid $9,000 a month to care for the seven. The unlit 4-foot-by-5-foot cinderblock cell was called the "toy room," according to a police affidavit.

The Dickinsons' house rules kept the seven from the basement refrigerator without permission, required them to drink water from the sink, limited radio and television to Christian stations, banned going outside without permission and punished noisemaking with spankings using a spatula or wooden paddle, police said. In general, they were not allowed upstairs.

Breakfast for the seven consisted of peanut butter sandwiches and dinner was a crock pot meal prepared by Stephanie Dickinson, including a dish known as "doggie dew stew," police said. Only two of the victims were allowed to shower about once every week or two. The others would wash or be washed in the basement sink. Two older boys took care of everyone when they were not in school, according to police. During the day, one of the women was in charge.

The seven victims had unsupervised access to prescription medications and rat poison, and one of the older children was forced to empty the basement's portable toilet daily by hauling a bucket upstairs, according to the affidavit.

Besides locking these two up, it would appears some heads need to roll in the supervising agencies.

Thursday Male Beauty

Episcopal Bishops in Key Meeting on Gays

I have been following the fight within the Anglican Communion for some time now and I hope that the US Episcopal Church will decide that it is better to stand alone and be right than remain in communion with others who distort Christ's message and turn it into a message of exclusion. Here are highlights( on a meeting that could have significant impact on gay Episcopalians and other gay Christians:
The Rev. Frank Wade, a veteran of the brawling theological debates in the Episcopal Church, said the denomination was once filled with people like him: "old white men." It was the church of the establishment, the spiritual home of more U.S. presidents than any other denomination. Now, the head of the church is a woman who says the Bible supports gay relationships. Many Episcopal priests believe that accepting Jesus isn't the only path to salvation. And V. Gene Robinson, who lives openly with his longtime male partner, is the bishop of New Hampshire.
Episcopalians are hardly alone among mainline Protestants in their liberal turn, but they have been tested like no others for their views. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the U.S., and many Anglican leaders overseas are infuriated by Episcopal left-leaning beliefs.

Starting on Thursday in New Orleans, Episcopal bishops will take up the most direct demand yet that they reverse course: Anglican leaders want an unequivocal pledge that Episcopalians won't consecrate another gay bishop or approve official prayers for same-gender couples. If the church fails to do so by Sept. 30, their full membership in the Anglican Communion could be lost.
"I think the bishops are going to stand up and say, `Going backward is not one of our options,'" said Wade of the Washington diocese, who has led church legislative committees on liturgy and Anglican relations. "I don't think there's going to be a backing down."
The 2.2 million-member Episcopal Church comprises only a tiny part of the world's 77 million Anglicans. But the wealthy U.S. denomination covers about one-third of the communion's budget. Within the Episcopal Church, most parishioners either accept gay relationships or don't want to split up over homosexuality. However, a small minority of Episcopal traditionalists are fed up with church leaders.
I believe that history will judge harshly those parishes and diocese that leave the Church. Their intolerance will look akin to allegedly Christian denominations that supported slavery and later segregation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

War President - NOT

I cannot state it any better than Andrew Sullivan has here ( as to why I believe Chimperator Bush will go down in history as one of the nation's worse presidents:

"Previous war-presidents have gathered opponents into their cabinets, reached out to estranged former allies, engaged in aggressive diplomacy to maximize effectiveness and rallied the whole country for the fight. What does this one do? Gets a bunch of right-wing "journalists" into the White House to spread some partisan talking points. What a fucking disgrace this man and his journalistic lackeys are. Excuse my language. But I can't take this any longer. We're at war; and he's still playing Rove's game."

I may not garee with Andrew on evry topic, but on this one he is right on the mark.

Final Wednesday Male Beauty

Maryland's Gay Marriage Ruling: Can You Spell Confused?

Here is an interesting review from the Washington Post on this week's Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that held that the Maryland Constitution did not require that gays be allowed to marry (

In a narrowly reasoned ruling that acknowledges that social change is happening at a faster pace than legal change, the Maryland Court of Appeals today said it will not be the tool by which gay marriage becomes legal in Maryland. That may happen someday, the court said, but it will have to be elected legislators who make that decision--not the courts. For now, said a majority of four justices on the seven-member court, marriage remains a legal arrangement between a man, a woman and the state--a deal made expressly for the purpose of encouraging procreation.

But three justices said the majority is willfully ignoring both social and legal change, including a long string of moves by Maryland's legislature to assure that gays receive the same guarantees of fundamental rights as other citizens.
The 244 pages of opinions break down like this: The court decided there is no constitutional claim to gay marriage in Maryland, but three of the seven justices said the state should provide people in committed gay relationships the same legal rights as men and women who are protected by marriage laws.

Two justices, Chief Justice Robert Bell and Irma Raker, said that while there is no right to gay marriage, gays must be granted the same rights of marriage as any other citizen. The dissenters said they would have adopted the conclusion of New Jersey's top court, which ruled that "to comply with this constitutional mandate [of equal rights for all], the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes to include same-sex couples or create a parallel statutory structure, which will provide for, on equal terms, the rights and benefits enjoyed and burdens and obligations borne by married couples."
But the majority says those laws were never intended to deal with sexual orientation. The purpose of the state's Equal Rights Amendment was "to prevent discrimination between men and women as classes," the court ruled, looking back at old Washington Post articles from the 1972 debate over the ERA for guidance on the original intent of that law. And the court concludes that the state's marriage law does not "separate men and women into discrete classes for the purpose of granting to one class of persons benefits at the expense of the other class."
To me the issue is simple: all citizens are to have equal rights. Not similar or parallel rights, but equal rights.

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Grateful Mother and Accepting Dear Abby

This Dear Abby column is from the Chicago Tribune (,0,6392896.column?coll=chi_home_xpromo) and illustrates why parents should accept their LBGT children. It is a touching story and hopefully parents of gays who are still in the closet to their parents can take a lesson from this mother's experience if and when their children do come out to them:
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I raised our two sons and two daughters. One son and both daughters married well. Our other son, "Neil," is gay. He and his partner, "Ron," have been together 15 years, but Neil's father and I never wanted to know Ron because we disapproved of their lifestyle.
When I was 74, my husband died, leaving me in ill health and nearly penniless. No longer able to live alone, I asked my married son and two daughters if I could "visit" each of them for four months a year. (I didn't want to burden any one family, and thought living out of a suitcase would be best for everyone.) All three turned me down. Feeling unwanted, I wanted to die.
When Neil and Ron heard what had happened, they invited me to move across country and live with them. They welcomed me into their home, and even removed a wall between two rooms so I'd have a bedroom with a private bath and sitting room -- although we spend most of our time together.
They also include me in many of their plans. Since I moved in with them, I have traveled more than I have my whole life and seen places I only read about in books. They never mention the fact that they are supporting me, or that I ignored them in the past.
When old friends ask how it feels living with my gay son, I tell them I hope they're lucky enough to have one who will take them in one day. Please continue urging your readers to accept their children as they are. My only regret is that I wasted 15 years. -- GRATEFUL MOMDEAR GRATEFUL
MOM: You are indeed fortunate to have such a loving, generous and forgiving son. Sexual orientation is not a measure of anyone's humanity or worth. Thank you for pointing out how important it is that people respect each other for who they are, not for what we would like them to be.
You could have learned that lesson long ago, had you and your husband contacted Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) when you first learned that Neil was gay. Among other things, the organization offers support groups and education for parents who need to learn more about gender issues. (The address is 1726 M St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.)

Wednesday (Mormon) Male beauty

Bush To Take Lead on Blackwater

Personally, I cannot help but wonder why the USA has been pushed to the point where it must depend on private security contractors as opposed to relying on the military and US security personnel. Was it some failed brain storm to save money or was it a mechanism to spread money among Bush loyalists and supporters? I would truly be interested in an complete answer. Here's Time's look at the current Blackwater USA mess:

But Maliki offered his own solution on Wednesday, recommending that the U.S. embassy in Baghdad change the company it uses to provide security. "This crime has generated a lot of hatred in the government and the people against Blackwater," Maliki told reporters. "For their own interests, the Americans should hire a new company to protect their people so they can move freely." The Iraqi premier also ordered a full investigation into Sunday's fire fight. Maliki has made it clear that he will raise the subject with Bush during their New York meeting, saying he won't tolerate "the killing of our citizens in cold blood." A U.S. government report of the incident that first appeared on, says that Blackwater guards shot back only in response to small arms fire. The company has said its employees killed and wounded armed insurgents, not civilians. Yesterday, Iraq's Ministry of the Interior released an account of the incident that differed substantially from the U.S. report. The ministry said that Blackwater initiated the firefight, killing as many as 20 civilians.

Having met some of the special forces types, I can only imagine what the private security personnel are like. They are today's equivalent of Rome's mercenaries in the ancient world.

Mormon Beefcake Calendar - Men on a Mission

I happened to see a brief comment about this fund raising catalogue last night on MSNBC and thought I'd see if I could find out more about it online. Sure enough, I found the web site ( I am sure Mitt Romney is happy that the LDS is doing something to losen up the view of Morons as staid and not fun loving. These boys are rather cute too, so I will post separate missionaries in future posts. This information is from the web site:

The 2008 Men on a Mission calendar features twelve handsome returned Mormon missionaries from across the United States who, for the first time ever, have dared to pose bare-chested in a steamy national calendar.

While the fact that twelve young returned missionaries are posing shirtless will certainly raise eyebrows, it may also help to sort out some common misconceptions of Mormons by celebrating the beautiful bodies, great looks and amazing stories of service of these deeply spiritual men. Intended to be a light-hearted spin on a social taboo, the Men on a Mission calendar is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the selfless servitude of missionaries.
Each of the twelve missionaries will have the opportunity to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the calendar to a cause in the area he served. Some of the charities supported will include the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NJ Site Loses Tax Exemption After Refusing Civil Unions

I completely agree with the result in this matter ( once you take public, taxpayer derived funds, you lose the right to discriminate against others based on your religious views. This is the same principal that has lead to the Boy Scouts losing the free use of public taxpayer supported property. If you want to discriminate, do not take public funds or expect public venues to be provide for free:

(Trenton, New Jersey) A scenic pavilion on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, N.J. that refuses to allow same-sex couples to have civil union ceremonies has lost its tax exempt status. The pavilion is owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist group. While it is frequently rented out for marriages, two lesbian couples were turned down when they tried to hold their civil unions there. The association told the couples that the pavilion is a religious structure and the denomination rejects same-sex union ceremonies.

In a letter to the Camp Meeting Association terminating its tax free status Jackson said that "it is clear that the Pavilion is not open to all persons on an equal basis." "The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association has only itself to blame for what will now be the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars," said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality. "The question is, how much more hell will the Camp Meeting Association, and its national right-wing extremist backers, put the good people of Ocean Grove through?"
By way of background, the church affilate received significant tax payer assistance in the renovation the pavillion and in order to get tax breaks the pavillion was to be open to use by all members of the public.

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Another Flawed Study That Will Be Used to Justify the "Choice Myth"

Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse have authored a new study on the alleged effectiveness of ex-gay programs entitled "Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation" that was unveiled at a press conference in Nashville. It was funded by Exodus International, which obviously has an interest in finding that a "cure" from homosexuality can occur. A very detailed review of the study, its methodology and flaws can be found here at the Box Turtle Bulletin (

Suffice it to say, the study has numerous draw backs that raise questions as to its findings ranging from (a) the small size of the study group, (b) the failure to follow up with those who dropped out of ex-gay therapy, (c) the researchers' failure to stick solely with those just beginning the ex-gay program process, and so on. Had the study been properly and consistently done, the "success rate" would no doubt be even lower that the 1/3 who found some "change."

Here are a few comments on the study from Box Turtle Bulletin:

While Jones and Yarhouse's study appears to be very well designed, it quickly falls apart on execution. The sample size was disappointingly small, too small for an effective retrospective study. They told a reporter from Christianity Today that they had hoped to recruit some three hundred participants, but they found "many Exodus ministries mysteriously uncooperative." They only wound up with 98 at the beginning of the study (72 men and 26 women), a population they describe as "respectably large." Yet it is half the size of Spitzer's 2003 study.

Jones and Yarhouse wanted to limit their study's participants to those who were in their first year of ex-gay ministry. But when they found that they were having trouble getting enough people to participate (they only found 57 subject who met this criteria), they expanded their study to include 41 subjects who had been involved in ex-gay ministries for between one to three years. The participants who had been in ex-gay ministries for less than a year are referred to as "Phase 1" subpopulation, and the 41 who were added to increase the sample size were labeled the "Phase 2" subpopulation.

Remember, Jones and Yarhouse described those "experiencing difficulty with change would be likely to get frustrated or discouraged early on and drop out of the change process." And so assessing the dropouts becomes critically important, because unlike the Add Health study, the very reason for dropping out of this study may have direct bearing on both questions the study was designed to address: Do people change, and are they harmed by the process? With as much as a quarter of the initial population dropping out potentially for reasons directly related to the study's questions, this missing analysis represents a likely critical failure, one which could potentially invalidate the study's conclusions.

Even with these significant flaws, the results broke out as follows (25 dropped out and were not interviewed or included in the results):
* 33 people reported change (moving from homosexual, bisexual or other at Time 1 to heterosexual at time 3; or homosexual at Time 1 to bisexual or other at Time 3)
* 29 reported no change
* 8 reported "negative change" (moving from heterosexual, bisexual or other at Time 1 to homosexual at Time 3; or from heterosexual at Time 1 to bisexual or other at Time 3).
* 3 reported uncertain change (moving from bisexual to other, or the reverse)

Given Exodus' constant opposition to laws giving gays equal rights, I can only view any study Exodus sponsored with suspicion, particularly since it gets much of its funding from violently anti-gay "Christian" organizations. I suspect that these groups will use the 33 individuals reporting "change" as proof that homosexuality is a choice and therefore no legal protections are needed. Anyone want to make a bet?

Good Sex, a Source of Good Health

More bad news for the fundies. As this Washington Post story indicates (, a good sex life equates with good health. Maybe that explains in part why a story I noted in a prior post said that fundamentalist Christians were the most obese of any religious group. In any event, here are a few highlights of the story which will no doubt not be well received by Daddy Dobson or the frigid women of Concerned Women for America (or the gay sex obsessed men at CWA):

Sexual satisfaction contributes to overall health, experts say. It may not be on par with, say, eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but it's right up there. Couples who enjoy sex together fight less often and relax more easily. If they have children, family life runs more smoothly. A good sex life "helps build the bond of family and makes up for things that wear and tear on the family," says David Scharff, a Washington psychiatrist and former president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. Carolyn Shaffer, a Bethesda psychologist, has seen this pattern among her clients as well, particularly men. "A man can have all these problems with his wife, but when we fix the sex life, the other things go away," she says.

In the Chicago study, women reported more problems with sex than men, with almost half having experienced lack of desire. For some, that may have been for physical reasons such as pain during intercourse. They may be quite happy simply spending a quiet evening together watching a movie.

New York Times to end paid Internet service

I am glad that the New York Times has finally come to its senses ( While I enjoy many of the Times columnists, I refused to pay for opinions when I could get so many other views for free (and often get the Times columns a few days later in other publications. The blogosphere is changing how people get both the news and commentary. Here's some of the Reuters story:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times Co said on Monday it will end its paid TimesSelect Web service and make most of its Web site available for free in the hopes of attracting more readers and higher advertising revenue. TimesSelect will shut down on Wednesday, two years after the Times launched it, which charges subscribers $7.95 a month or $49.95 a year to read articles by columnists such as Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman.

The trademark orange "T's" marking premium articles will begin disappearing Tuesday night, said the Web site's Vice President and General Manager Vivian Schiller. The move is an acknowledgment by The Times that making Web site visitors pay for content would not bring in as much money as making it available for free and supporting it with advertising.
Figuring out how to increase online revenue is crucial to the Times and other U.S. newspaper publishers, which are struggling with a drop in advertising sales and paying subscribers as more readers move online. "Of course, everything on the Web is free, so it's understandable why they would want to do that," said Alan Mutter a former editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and proprietor of a blog about the Internet and the news business called Reflections of a Newsosaur.
"The more page views you have, the more you can sell," he said. "In the immediate moment it's a perfectly good idea."

Tuesday Male Beauty

August Foreclosures Zoom

Those in the real estate industry and others need to perhaps fasten their seat belts in preparation for a bumpy ride based on this CNN Money article (

NEW YORK ( -- Late summer brought no relief from soaring foreclosures. The number of homes in some stage of default jumped 36 percent month-over-month in August, according to a regular monthly survey. Delinquencies and defaults more than doubled year over year to 243,947, according to August figures released Tuesday by RealtyTrac, a marketer of foreclosed properties. RealtyTrac's forecast is for total foreclosure filings to exceed 2 million this year.

"The jump in foreclosure filings this month might be the beginning of the next wave of increased foreclosure activity, as a large number of subprime adjustable rate loans are beginning to reset now," James Saccacio, chief executive of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.

October is expected to be a peak month for hybrid adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) to reset, with the interest rates on some $50 billion worth of loans poised to go up dramatically. In the past few months, the foreclosure story has become a tale of two regions. Some of the hardest hit states have traditionally been in the Midwest, where plant closings and job losses have hit the economy there hard.

The other region is the Sun Belt, which is showing even more significant foreclosure growth as out-sized price increases in the first half of the decade led to virtually unchecked real estate speculation. Nevada led all the other states in the rate of August foreclosure filings: one for every 165 households for a total of 6,197. Other hard-hit, sun-belt states were California (one in 224), Florida (one in 243), Georgia (one in 271), Arizona (one in 289), Colorado (one in 312) and Texas (one in 532).

I truly do not believe that our elected politicians understand how much of a drag this will be on the economy or how devastating this situation will be for thousands and thousands of families. Oh course, I suspect the Chimperator Bush is off in la la land when it comes to appreciating the magnitude of the problem.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Final Monday Male Beauty

Iraqi government vows to expel Blackwater over shootings

This article from the Virginian Pilot ( is interesting because (1) Blackwater is based in Moyock, North Carolina, about 20 miles south of here, and (2) it illustrates the crazy amounts of money (obscene in my opinion) being paid to private contractors in Iraq, often without any competitive bidding for the work. Here are a few highlights:

The Iraqi government says eight Iraqis who died at the hands of Blackwater USA security contractors Sunday were innocent civilians. Blackwater says they were armed insurgents. Either way, the bloody incident in the streets of Baghdad promises to be a flashpoint in the brief history of Blackwater and, more broadly, in U.S.-Iraqi relations. In the wake of the gunfire, the Iraqi government vowed to expel the Moyock, N.C.-based company from Iraq and prosecute any contractors found to have used excessive force. But it was unclear Monday to what extent, if any, Iraq would be able to deliver on either pledge.

Expulsion from Iraq could be a devastating blow to Blackwater, a 10-year-old company that has rocketed to the forefront of the private military industry primarily on the strength of its diplomatic security contracts in Iraq. Those State Department contracts, which have surpassed $700 million, make up the bulk of Blackwater’s revenue. The company has about 1,000 contractors deployed in Iraq.

Iraq promised immediate action against Blackwater. “We have canceled the license of Blackwater and prevented them from working all over Iraqi territory,” Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said. “We will also refer those involved to Iraqi judicial authorities.” Accomplishing either of those objectives is problematic, however. It wasn’t even clear that Blackwater has an operating license from the Iraqi government, or that one is required for the company’s diplomatic protection work.

In any event, any ouster of the company from Iraq likely would require the support of the State Department, which depends on Blackwater for security. The State Department did not comment on Blackwater’s status. Diplomatic security used to be provided by military personnel, but that is one of many tasks that have been farmed out to the private sector in recent years. By one count, some 180,000 civilian contractors are now working in Iraq – more than the number of U.S. combat troops.

More Monday Male Beauty

Corporate Equality Index 2008

The sixth annual Corporate Equality Index put out by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation shows an unprecedented 195 major U.S. businesses earned the top rating of 100 percent, up from 138 last year - a 41 percent increase. Apparently, the wingnut boycotts led by the likes of "Rev." Wildmon are not having the deterant effect the fundies claim. Given my profession, I check to see how law firs ranked. The following law firms rank a perfect 100 score:

Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP 100
Alston & Bird LLP 100
Arnold & Porter LLP 100
Bingham McCutchen 100
Bryan Cave LLP 100
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP 100
Crowell & Moring LLP 100
Dewey Ballantine LLP 100
Dickstein Shapiro LLP 100
Dorsey & Whitney LLP 100
Faegre & Benson 100
Foley & Lardner LLP 100
Foley Hoag LLP 100
Heller Ehrman LLP 100
Holland & Knight LLP 100
Jenner & Block LLP 100
Kirkland & Ellis 100
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP 100
Latham & Watkins LLP 100
McDermott Will & Emery LLP 100
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo 100
Morrison & Foerster LLP 100
Nixon Peabody LLP 100
O'Melveny & Myers LLP 100
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe 100
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP 100
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 100
Powell Goldstein LLP 100
Sidley Austin LLP 100
Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal 100

Other worthy also mentioneds are as follows:

Baker & Daniels 95
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft 95
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP 95
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP 95
King & Spalding 95

Littler Mendelson PC 95
Seyfarth Shaw LLP 95
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP 95
Stoel Rives LLP 95
Weil, Gotshal & Manges 95
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP 93
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi 93
Debevoise & Plimpton 90
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP 90
Fenwick & West LLP 90
Kilpatrick Stockton LLP 90
McCarter & English 90
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP 90
Troutman Sanders LLP 90

Baker & Botts 85
Gordon & Rees 85
Howrey Simon Arnold & White LLP 85
Katten Muchin Zavis 85
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP 85
Perkins Coie 85
Proskauer Rose LLP 85
Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP 85
Steptoe & Johnson 85
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP 85
Thompson Coburn 85
Willkie Farr & Gallagher 85
Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati 85
Winston & Strawn 85
Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll 80
Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin LLP 80
Covington & Burling 80
Duane Morris 80
Dykema Gossett 80
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP 80
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP 80
Hogan & Hartson 80
Kaye Scholer LLP 80
LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae 80
Lord, Bissell & Brook 80
Quarles & Brady 80
Schulte, Roth & Zabel LLP 80
Stinson Morrison Hecker 80
Vinson & Elkins LLP 80
White & Case LLP 80
Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon 80

Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn 75
Fish & Richardson 75
Haynes and Boone 75
Hunton & Williams 75
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton 75
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz 75
Chadbourne & Parke 70
Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP 70
Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP 70

Andrews & Kurth LLP 65
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice 65

Howard & Howard Attorneys PC 48
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner 40

Hunton & Williams, based in Richmond, Virginia, was the only Virginia based firm to make the list (Troutman Sanders has Virginia offices, but is based in Atlanta). Not surprisely, no Norfolk law firms made the list at all. What is instructive is that the firms on the Corporate Equality list are among the most illustrious firms in the USA. One would think that firms that aspire to such lofty levels would get the message: granting full equality to LGBT employees makes semse - EVEN in Norfolk.

Inasmuch as all the Virginia top law schools (naturally not Regent or Liberty) require interviewing law firms to commit to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, perhaps schools like UVA need to do some better monitoring of compliance. I can name some local firms that should be barred from interviewing.

Monday Male Beauty

Hampton Roads Pride Update

Out in the Park yesterday had a very big turnout - far, far larger than in previous years. In addition, the number of vendors was significantly larger as well, led by Wachovia Bank and the Sheraton Waterside (which also donated the room and all food for HRBOR's seminar on Saturday) in terms of companies recognizable to readers outside this area.

I had one somewhat funny experience: After being liberated from the HRBOR booth, I was walking around handing out HRBOR information in the beer tent when low and behold, I see a you gay wearing a Tee-shirt with the distinctive logo of the Alanton-Baycliff swim team in Virginia Beach. The logo is the word "BOLTS" with a lighting bolt passing through the "O."

For newer readers who have not read some of my earlier posts about my closet years, I was on the board of directors and for two years the president of that organization in the closet phase of my life. My oldest daughter is currently the head coach at the pool for the swim team. I was most curious to see what neighborhood kid might be at Pride. However, when I did ask him, he said he had bought the shirt at a thrift shop because he thought the logo was "cool." Too bad!! It would have been interesting if it had been a former swim team member.

All in all, it was a great function and I am sure the freepers would go crazy if they had seen so many gays in one place. Given the number of HRBOR flyers distributed, it will be interesting to see how big the HRBOR Third Thursday event is later this week on Thursday evening.