Saturday, February 09, 2008

More Saturday Male Beauty

The Nazi Pope Strikes Again

Once again Pope Benedict XVI has revealed his effort – whether conscious or not – to try to take the Roman Catholic Church back to the bad old days of the Middle Ages and to engender anti-Semitism. The man is, in my opinion, a freaking lunatic and this move clearly shows that he has not cast off his Hitler Youth training and mind set. The College of Cardinals must really have been unconsciously trying to destroy the credibility of the Church (or what’s left of it after the sex abuse scandals) when they elected Ratzinger as the Nazi Pope. Here are some highlights from Time Magazine on Benedict’s latest incredible idiocy (,8599,1710822,00.html):

Bringing back an ancient rite risked reopening ancient wounds. And so after Pope Benedict XVI introduced wider use of the old Latin rite last year, top Vatican officials promised to adjust a Good Friday prayer from the ancient liturgy that had called for the conversion of the Jews. The text of the updated version — released this week in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano — deletes offensive language referring to Jews' "blindness" and the need to "remove the veil from their hearts." But the substance is left in place: "Let us pray for the Jews," the prayer says, according to an unofficial translation from Latin. "May the Lord our God illuminate their hearts so that they may recognize Jesus Christ savior of all men."

The wounds, according to top Jewish leaders and rabbis, have been reopened. They say the prayer, which in reality had never been scrapped completely, recalls past centuries of forced conversions and a lingering incomprehension of their faith. Late Wednesday, having had 24 hours to absorb the news and study the text, the Italian Rabbinical Assembly announced they were suspending the decades-long Jewish-Catholic dialogue for a "pause of reflection" in light of the Good Friday prayer. Rome's chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni told reporters that the prayer brings Catholic-Jewish relations "back 43 years” . . . It raises questions about just what is the "image of the Jewish people for the Church," said Di Segni. "It's an old question: What are the Jews doing here on earth? If this [prayer] is the requirement for dialogue, it is intolerable. Evidently, the Church is having problems rediscovering the foundations of its orthodoxy."

Who Can Win In November

I have admitted before that I am a political junkie. Therefore, bear with me during this current primary and presidential campaign cycle. One reader even asked me what I would do with myself once the election is over. The truth is that living in Virginia which has off year state elections, there are ALWAYS campaigns in progress. It is one reason party activists get burned out in this state - I did it for eight years and it gets exhausting at times. Plus, in Virginia we have to stave off anti-gay initiatives every year. But I digress.
Former Reagan speech writer, Peggy Noonan, had another interesting column in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ( that looks at the Clinton-Obama contest, as well as her perceptions of what Obama would mean for the GOP in terms of restricting their dirty tricks campaign. I think she is right on the mark and once again cites factors that the Democrats MUST recognize if they want a victory in November. Readers should not assume I am a Hillary hater even though I am a former Republican. In fact, I watched a piece on Hillary the other night and I will admit, it left me thinking that perhaps she might not do badly as president (I’d feel even better about it if she had divorced Bill). The sad truth is that the deck is stacked against her and not wholly due to her own doing. Here are some column highlights:

Mr. Obama's achievement on Super Tuesday was solid and reinforced trend lines. The popular vote was a draw, the delegate count a rough draw, but he won 13 states, and when you look at the map he captured the middle of the country from Illinois straight across to Idaho, with a second band, in the northern Midwest, of Minnesota and North Dakota. He won Missouri and Connecticut, in Mrs. Clinton's backyard. He won the Democrats of the red states.

On the wires Wednesday her staff was all but conceding she is not going to win the next primaries. Her superdelegates are coming under pressure that is about to become unrelenting. It was easy for party hacks to cleave to Mrs. Clinton when she was inevitable. Now Mr. Obama's people are reportedly calling them saying, Your state voted for me and so did your congressional district. Are you going to jeopardize your career and buck the wishes of the people back home?

Mrs. Clinton is stoking the idea that Mr. Obama is too soft to withstand the dread Republican attack machine. But Mr. Obama will not be easy for Republicans to attack. He will be hard to get at, hard to address. There are many reasons, but a primary one is that the fact of his race will freeze them. No one, no candidate, no party, no heavy-breathing consultant, will want to cross any line--lines that have never been drawn, that are sure to be shifting and not always visible--in approaching the first major-party African-American nominee for president of the United States.

He is the brilliant young black man as American dream. No consultant, no matter how opportunistic and hungry, will think it easy--or professionally desirable--to take him down in a low manner. If anything, they've learned from the Clintons in South Carolina what that gets you. . . . With Mr. Obama the campaign will be about issues. "He'll raise your taxes." He will, and I suspect Americans may vote for him anyway. But the race won't go low.

Mrs. Clinton would be easier for Republicans. With her cavalcade of scandals, they'd be delighted to go at her. They'd get medals for it. Consultants would get rich on it. The Democrats have it exactly wrong. Hillary is the easier candidate, Mr. Obama the tougher. Hillary brings negative; it's fair to hit her back with negative. Mr. Obama brings hope, and speaks of a better way. He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof.

The biggest problem for the Republicans will be that no matter what they say that is not issue oriented--"He's too young, he's never run anything, he's not fully baked"--the mainstream media will tag them as dealing in racial overtones, or undertones. You can bet on this. Go to the bank on it. The Democrats continue not to recognize what they have in this guy. Believe me, Republican professionals know. They can tell.

Saturday Male Beauty

Meme: Why Do I Do This?

Real Euphoria ( has tagged me for the ‘Three Reason’s Why I Blog’ meme so I obviously have to participate (especially since he was tagged by Magic Bellybutton - - who no doubt would be most displeased with me if I broke the chain!): There are some rules: (1) list three reasons why I blog, (2) List da rulz, (3) tag three other bloggers. In any event, here goes:
Three reasons why I blog? If I thought about it at length, there’s no doubt some deep psychological aspect to it. But the first three reasons I can think of are the following:

1. Blogging gives me a way to express my feelings and to talk about my thoughts and my life in a way that does not readily present itself in everyday life. First, there are very few people that one comes upon with whom you feel at ease in spilling your guts and innermost thoughts. I know it perhaps seems strange that I often put everything out on the Internet for the world to see when I would not dare tell someone in person about it. Yet when I am writing my private thoughts, it does not feel as if I have any particular audience – it is more like I was merely talking to myself. Particularly, when I first began this project and had very few regular readers. Also, I can vent at any hour of the day or night when the need/urge presents itself. Likewise, I do not need to have a captive audience in front of me. It truly allows me to vent in a very helpful, therapeutic way (or so it seems to me).

2. Blogging has allowed me to “meet” wonderful, intelligent, witty and charming individuals from literally around the globe. It is not uncommon for me to receive e-mails or comments in any given day from Australia, Kenya, South Africa, Portugal, Canada, and assorted other countries. Through these new “friends,” if you will, I have found thoughtful people who I genuinely care about (as they likewise seem to feel towards me). Plus, they offer analysis of politics, current events, and simple aspects of life from multiple perspectives. Though scattered around the world, I have found that we amazingly have very much in common. If I am upset or depressed, I know I can receive constructive and caring support from the other side of the world, if need be.

3. While it may sound egotistical, I hope that some of what I talk about may help others, especially closeted gays who are trying to figure out how to move on with their lives. I readily concede that I have made countless mistakes in my life and with the benefit of hindsight should have done many things differently. If someone can learn from my errors or find some ray of hope that the coming out process can be survived later in life, then there will have been some meaning for my pain and tribulations. Moreover, I hope I can help them to know that they are not alone.

Who do I tag? Hmm – I guess:

Java Jones at:

Dave at:

Billy at:

Saturday Morning Open Thread

Hampton Roads Men’s Chorus: My firm is a sponsor for tonight’s fundraiser for the Hampton Roads Men’s Chorus. It should be a fun event and a good networking opportunity. The chorus was created over a decade ago to give voice to the LGBT community of the Greater Hampton Roads region. Over the years more than 75 men have been members of the chorus. Local readers interested in attending can buy a ticket here:

Obama Fever: I was speaking with my 80 year old generally Republican voting mother last night to find out about her medical test results and in talking she's all excited about Obama - as is my formerly reactionary Republican brother. Both intend to vote for Obama in Tuesday's Virginia primary. They will NEVER vote for Hillary, rightly or wrongly. My mother has particular concerns over how Hillary would ever control Bill if they were back in the White House. I believe there are thousands and thousands (if not millions) out there in the voting public like them. If the Democrats are foolish enough to nominate Hillary, they'd best get ready to live through another GOP administration under McCain, et al. My mother’s reasoning is that the current way politics is conducted is broken and, while there is uncertain as to what Obama would bring, it is worth taking the risk to attempt to achieve a real change. I plan on trying to make the Obama rally tomorrow in Virginia Beach.

Romance: Prince Charming, where are you? Please sweep me of my feet ASAP.

Friday, February 08, 2008

More Friday Male Beauty

Oral Roberts University May Improperly Funneled $1Billion a Year

The previously alleged financial improprieties at Oral Roberts University pale in comparison to the newest allegations that indicate that perhaps a billion dollars or more per year may have been laundered through the finances of the university. Unfortuantely, based on the other stories that have been reported to date, I would not be surprised if the allegations were true. Yet another example of the corrupt practices of the supposedly holier than thou set at ORU. Here are some highlights from Yahoo News (;_ylt=AvdtTbb5uKN4oHSLsRvrLhME1vAI):

TULSA, Okla. - A former senior accountant at Oral Roberts University alleges that more than $1 billion annually was inappropriately funneled through the school. Trent Huddleston claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that he discovered an "unrestricted" account used to funnel "unusually large" sums of money through the university each month — which would exceed $1 billion on an annual basis — that wasn't used for any legitimate university purpose.

Named as defendants are Richard Roberts, the school's former president, and his wife, Lindsay, along with former regents. Huddleston's lawsuit, the latest to hit the scandal-plagued university, amended a complaint he filed in late November against ORU.

The initial complaint alleged Huddleston was ordered to help Richard and Lindsay Roberts "cook the books" by hiding improper and illegal financial wrongdoing from authorities and the public. It also claimed that he was directed against his will to falsely list thousands of dollars as expenses rather than assets — which were spent remodeling the home of Richard and Lindsay Roberts — in order to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.

Anti-gay Hysteria in California

I have posted in the past about the Christianists’ unhinged reaction to California SB777 which was signed into law and is aimed at making non-discrimination laws applicable in California public schools. Now they seem to be outdoing themselves in terms of hysteria and the dissemination of wild untruths based on this article from World Net Daily (not an exactly balanced news source to start with) that makes all kinds of wild and untrue allegations about the law’s effect. Note the comments of Randy Thomasson who has made a career out of frightening the sheeple so that they will give money to his organization and make it so Randy doesn’t need to ever get a real job. Likewise, Phyllis Schlafly, the mother of a gay child (I guess as a result of her poor parenting skills if you believe the reparative therapy propaganda) cannot pass up the opportunity to chime in. Here are some highlights (

Only months after a new state law effectively banned "mom" and "dad" from California schools, 600,000 students soon could be following them out the door because of what has been described as the "repudiation" of 2,000 years of Christian morality, according to leaders of a new campaign assembling education alternatives.

The campaign is called California Exodus and is being headed by Ron Gleason, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Yorba Linda, who said while the country excels in social, economic, scientific and political accomplishments, it "gets low grades on the education of its children."

"First, the law allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality. Then, the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now, the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality to six million children in California government-controlled schools," said Randy Thomasson, chief of the Campaign for Children and Families and one of those who originally called for an abandonment of public schools.

Members of the coalition include the Exodus Mandate, which advocates Christian education for children, as well as Eagle Forum, whose president, Phyllis Schlafly, said there has been a great campaign to reform public schools, but it's been unsuccessful.

"Second, the open collaboration between homosexual activists and many school districts, together with the overall level of crime and violence in the public schools, makes the public schools an unsafe place for our children," he said.

Friday Male Beauty

Christo-Fascist Dobson Endorses Huckabee

Apparently, in an effort to underscore his hubristic hissy fits over John McCain, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, has now endorsed Mike Huckabee for president. As Commentary Magazine notes (, the endorsement is basically meaningless in terms of Huckabee winning the GOP nomination. In my view, Dobson has always been having a tempestuous love affair with himself and has an ego that knows no bounds. He surely does not follow the example of Christ in his treatment of vast numbers of groups and people. Here are some highlights:
Focus on the Family’s James Dobson has decided to endorse Mike Huckabee in a truly senseless gesture, the timing of which can only be compared to the Battle of New Orleans. (Didn’t he hear the war is over?) Just to be clear: Huckabee has 196 delegates of a required 1191. There are approximately 1165 delegates (actually fewer since California and Illinois delegates are not yet fully allocated) still outstanding. (Huckabee is not likely to get more than 85% of the remaining delegates, you think?) Coming after McCain’s remarkably successful CPAC speech and just before President Bush’s expected nod to the new nominee, the decision to endorse a man perhaps even less beloved than McCain among the conservative base will, I think, be largely ignored, if not mocked. (The anti-Coulter chorus is growing so he will have stiff competition in the voting for “least sensible conservative in a comedy” category.)

As with the anti-McCain talk show hatred-fest, the decision reveals far more about the intentions and priorities of the aggrieved McCain opponent than of the relative merits of either Huckabee or McCain.

Obama Will Speak at Virginia Beach Rally on Sunday

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama will speak at a "Stand for Change" rally Sunday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, his campaign announced today. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with the program to begin at 7:30 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public. The convention center is at 1000 19th Street near the Oceanfront. For security reasons, no bags, signs or banners will be permitted.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

President Huckabee

From Magic Bellybutton

More Thursday Male Beauty

Lutherans Prepare Sexuality Statement

As a gay member of the ELCA, I obviously am waiting with interest to see what the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality releases on March 13, 2008. I participated in the local parish discussions back in 2005 and hope the ELCA will do the right thing in terms of fully accepting gays as full members of the clergy and the larger church. Here are some highlights form (

(Chicago) The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will soon release a draft of its social statement on human sexuality, including proposed teaching on gay relationships. The document "Free in Christ to Serve the Neighbor: Lutherans Talk about Human Sexuality" is scheduled to be made public on March 13 by the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality.

Like many other Protestant groups, the ELCA has been struggling for decades to reconcile different views of what the Bible says about same-gender relationships. Current church standards require clergy to "abstain from homosexual sexual relationships." But last year the Churchwide Assembly adopted a resolution that "urges and encourages" bishops to refrain from disciplining clergy in "faithful, committed" same-sex relationships.

The task force has been working on the issue for years. The final version of the document is expected to be on the agenda for the next Churchwide Assembly, Aug. 7-13, 2009, in Minneapolis.

Information about the ELCA Studies on Sexuality is at on the ELCA Web site.
For information contact:John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or
ELCA News Blog:

More Thoughts on Presidential Politics

Mitt Romney is suspending his Presidential campaign according to the latest information from CNN ( From his perspective, I can understand the reasoning – why throw millions of dollars more down a black hole. The scary prospect is that now McCain may do the unthinkable and ponder Mike Huckabee as a possible VP running mate to placate the Christianists in the GOP and bring some forced unity to the party. To me, that is a frightening prospect - given McCain’s age, there would be a distinct possibility that Huckabee would become president at some point. Canada here I come if that ever happens. Lest you forget, here are Huckabee’s views on gays via Pam’s House Blend (;jsessionid=CA091B47D15C3C117B3CA045F9136B3E?diaryId=4422):

"It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations--from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia." and this:

"I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle. That's millions of Americans." and...

"Lawrence v. Texas is an extreme example of judicial activism. It could, in fact, be inappropriately used to attack our marriage laws nationwide." plus...

"I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal."

I can only hope that McCain will give some thought before doing anything so damaging to the prospects of the nation. Huckabee is a menace to everything the Constitution stands for.

Meanwhile, starting tomorrow evening and continuing over the weekend , Obama volunteers will be phone banking from my office phones. With a McCain-Huckabee now being a distinct possibility, it is CRITICAL that the Democrats wake up and nominate the candidate that can be victorious in November.

Thursday Male Beauty

The GOP's Ideological Civil War

E. J. Dionne, Jr., has some interesting reflections on the presidential primaries in today’s Washington Post ( and he evaluates the difficulties faced by the leading candidates. He places particular emphasis on the splintered GOP and the civil war raging within that party. He also looks at the relative weaknesses of Hillary and Obama and notes the risk of losing young Obama supporters if Obama does not get the nomination. The one thing he does not mention is the one issue that could suddenly re-unite the GOP: Hillary as the Democrat nominee. George Will in contrast DOES focus on this reality. I cannot stress enough how important it is for the Democrats to focus on this reality. I suspect even James Dobson who has again reiterated that he will not vote for McCain ( might reconsider if the choice was between McCain or Hillary in the White House. Here are some highlights from Dionne:

Clinton and Obama face different challenges. Democrats have declared in poll after poll that they like both of them, but the two have reached parity in part because of difficulties each has with important constituencies. Obama is the overwhelming favorite of voters under 30, and he has inspired a disciplined army of youthful organizers who helped him win decisive victories in caucuses in Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota and Alaska. If Clinton is the nominee, how many of these young voters will walk away from a process that thwarted their hopes?

Sisterhood has certainly been powerful for Clinton. But does her weakness among male Democrats -- she lost men by 20 points in Delaware, 21 points in Connecticut and 39 points in Georgia -- portend problems in a general election?

For his part, Obama has consistently lost badly among white and Latino voters who are over 65. Outside his home state of Illinois, he has yet to make serious inroads among white working-class voters who were central to Clinton's victories in states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey. Obama will need a larger share of these voters in the Ohio showdown in March and, possibly, in Pennsylvania in April. And he would need them in November.

But the larger challenge is to a Republican Party that faces, simultaneously, an insurrection and a lack of enthusiasm in the ranks. Super Tuesday anointed McCain as the favorite for nomination. It did not make him the favorite of his party's most important wing.
Here are highlights from George Will's column which is exactly on target (
Tuesday's voting armed Democratic voters with the name of the candidate that their nominee will face in the fall. Will their purblind party now nominate the most polarizing person in contemporary politics, knowing that Republicans will nominate the person who tries to compensate for his weakness among conservatives with his strength among independent voters who are crucial to winning the White House? Perhaps. The Republican Party's not-so-secret weapon always is the Democratic Party, with its entertaining thirst for living dangerously.
The surest way to unify the Republican Party, however, is for Democrats to nominate Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama, the foundation of whose candidacy is his early opposition to the war in Iraq, would be a more interesting contrast to the candidate who is trying to become the oldest person ever elected to a first presidential term and who almost promises a war with Iran ("There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear-armed Iran").

McCain Talks to Falwell's Son ahead of Virginia Primary

I was less than pleased to see this article in this morning’s Virginian Pilot ( about John McCain kissing the Ring of Jerry Falwell’s son, Jonathan Falwell. It is precisely this pandering to the Christian Right and those who seek to undermine separation of church and state by today’s GOP that makes it impossible for me – and many in my family – to any longer support the GOP. Unfortunately, no one in the GOP has the guts to tell these theocrats that they need to get a life and read the Constitution and documents written by the founding fathers (e.g., Jefferson’s statute for religious freedom which STILL is the law in Virginia ( that condemn the very actions of people like the late Mr. Falwell. Here are some story highlights:

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) -- Conservative Christian leaders in Virginia have been fairly quiet about the state's presidential primaries Tuesday, but the Republican candidates haven't forgotten them. The Rev. Jonathan Falwell, son of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, said Wednesday that he had talked with John McCain within the past 24 hours. Falwell said he wasn't ready to endorse a candidate, but wanted to hear more from the Arizona senator on the issues. McCain's phone call to him resulted from discussions he's had with the candidate's campaign staff over the past couple of months, Falwell said.

"I look forward to seeing what McCain's plan is to unite the party," Falwell said, "and to see what he has to say in the coming days on the social agenda." Falwell, who succeeded his father as pastor of Lynchburg's Thomas Road Baptist Church, said he wanted to hear McCain's ideas on national security, the economy and "how to protect human life and traditional marriage." He also said he was interested in the Arizona senator's ideas on Supreme Court nominees.

His brother, Jerry Falwell Jr., endorsed Mike Huckabee in November when the former Arkansas governor visited Liberty University. Falwell Jr. is chancellor of the school his father founded.

Rules for Virginia's Presidential Primary

The February 12, 2008, primary is open to all registered voters, but each voter can only participate in either the Republican or the Democratic primary.

The Republican primary will produce a clear winner. Whoever receives the most votes statewide gets all 63 of the state's delegates to the GOP national convention.

The Democrats will allocate 83 of their 103 convention delegates on the basis of returns in the Tuesday primary. Fifty-four delegates will be apportioned to candidates roughly in proportion to the primary returns in each congressional district; another 29 will be apportioned based on statewide vote totals. To qualify for any delegates, a candidate must receive at least 15 percent of the vote. The other 20 delegates - mostly party leaders and elected officials - will be officially uncommitted and free to make their own choice.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Final Wednesday Male Beauty

Mike Huckabee Still Wants to Legislate Who is a Family

According to his statements on CNN's American Morning on Monday, February 4, 2008, Mike Huckabee - or Mike Fuckabee as per my Aussie friend at Magic Bellybutton - STILL cannot grasp the concept of separation of church and state. Likewise, he cannot seem to grasp that the Constitution was never intended to allow the Christianists to impose their religious views on all other citizens. Moreover, while he makes meally-mouth statements about the "intrinsic value of each human life" (both on CNN and during the last GOP debate), gays are somehow in actuality excluded from being so valued. We somehow do not merit such valuation based on Huckabee's past clearly stated anti-gay positions.
In short, he needs to be honest and flat out state that in his view, gays are not fully human and stop the platitudes that he doesn't really believe in or support. Of course, if he did that people would recognize that Huckabee is not a very nice person notwithstanding his "aw shucks" nice guy routine. The guy is a menace and it is scary that he did as well as he did in yesterday's primaries. Here is a short summary via PageOneQ (
GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee reiterates his stance on amending the Constitution to reflect his values. Having previously expressed a desire to align the country's values with "God's standards," to the delight of anti-gay pundit Tony Perkins, Huckabee stresses the "sanctity of life" and the desire to officially adopt the "traditional" definition of marriage on a national level.

"States," says Huckabee, "are enacting laws that, in fact, really create a confusion about whether same-sex marriage is legal or not." He goes on to call the "human life amendment" a "defining issue for our civilization and culture." "Are we going to be a culture of life," Huckabee asks, "or a culture of death?" Americans should recognize the intrinsic worth of each human life, he continues.

New Life Church Cuts Last Ties with Haggard

In a step long overdue, New Life Church has cut its last ties with “I’m cure of homosexuality in a three weeks” Ted Haggard. Try as I might, I find it hard to have much sympathy for Haggard give his duplicitous double life leading New Life Church and preaching an anti-gay message while meanwhile paying for gay sex on a regular basis. If he had any remaining integrity, he’d be honest with himself and his family. Being gay doesn’t mean he cannot be there for his children and still be a concerned and involved parent. In contrast, I do feel sympathy for his wife and children, although I question how she can buy into the bogus “I’m cured” routine. Either she wants to believe it out of denial or she hopes Ted will find a new way to make money while peddling Jesus. Here are some highlights from the Denver Post (

The relationship between Ted Haggard the Colorado Springs mega-church he founded is over, according to a statement from New Life Church this evening. Haggard was fired from the church in November 2006 after he admitted to "sexual immorality," presumably the allegations made by a gay Denver escort who said Haggard paid him for sex over a period of three-years. The statement notes that Haggard agreed to "a process of spiritual restoration" in January 2007, but now has asked to end his relationship with the church. Haggard could not be reached for comment.

New Life has been at odds with its former pastor since he left. In its statement Tuesday night, church officials said, "New Life recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future."

In August, Haggard told a Colorado Springs television station that he would be joining the counseling staff of The Dream Center, a drug-addiction halfway house affiliated with Phoenix First Assembly. The job, however, never materialized, officials with the Phoenix church said after Haggard's proclamation.

More Wednesday Beauty

Obama Bullish; Clinton Looks to March

Out of curiosity, I called an old friend of mine who is the former head of a local Republican City Committee to get a feel on the lay of the land from the GOP perspective after yesterday’s primaries. We served on the City Committee together for almost 8 years and ended up talking for over an hour and a half. While my friend is a conservative but not a social conservative. My friend thinks that McCain will be the nominee for the GOP, not that various factions in that party will be all that happy about that result.
While my friend not surprisingly tried to argue why I should “rethink my position” and come back to the GOP fold, my friend also wanted to know why I am supporting Obama. I explained my views and reasoning, we discussed health care issues and other issues at length and it was a cordial conversation even if we did not agree on everything. My friend wasn’t happy When I mentioned Hillary, the response was that Hillary as the Democrat nominee would do more to reunite the fractious GOP than anything else. Like GOP pundits, my friend is almost hoping Hillary is the Democrat nominee if only because Hillary will be the trick needed to get otherwise disaffected members of the GOP out to the polls come November. Thus, my thoughts on Hillary’s unifying effect for the GOP were yet again confirmed.

Despite Hillary’s wins in New York and California, I still believe that Obama is the better candidate to go up against McCain. Moreover, I believe he may be in a position to gain more traction over the next rest of the month based on the latest Yahoo News story ( which confirms that Hillary has had to make a loan to her own campaign. In fact, I believe in Obama so strongly that I am meeting with the local Obama field organizer tomorrow and will offer the use of my office phone lines for making get out the vote calls. Here are some highlights from the Yahoo News article:

WASHINGTON - Super Tuesday's mixed outcome has set up at least four weeks of frenzied delegate hunting for Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, pitting his well-financed all-terrain campaign against her big-state strategy. In a sign of Obama's growing financial advantage, Clinton acknowledged Wednesday that she loaned her campaign $5 million late last month as Obama was outraising and outspending her heading into Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests. Some senior staffers on her campaign also are voluntarily forgoing paychecks as the campaign heads into the next round of contests. Buoyed by strong fundraising and a primary calendar in February that plays to his strengths, Obama plans a campaign blitz through a series of states holding contests this weekend and will compete to win primaries in the Mid-Atlantic next week and Hawaii and Wisconsin the following week.

Clinton's personal loan illustrated her financial disadvantage and her desire to pick her targets with care. She sent an e-mail appeal to donors Wednesday seeking $3 million in three days — an effort, that if successful, would match the fundraising rate Obama averaged for the entire month of January. Obama, riding a wave of fundraising both from large donors and small Internet contributors, raised a stunning $32 million in January. Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe said last week the Clinton campaign raised only $13.5 million for the month. The $5 million loan was in addition to that amount, Wolfson said. Clinton advisers were stunned by Obama's January fundraising and have marveled at his ability to raise small-dollar amounts from a vast field of donors.

Privately, her strategists also have largely written off her chances of winning the so-called Potomac primary Feb. 9, given the large black populations in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. They also played down her chances in the following week's major primaries — Hawaii, where Obama grew up, and Wisconsin, which has virtually sealed the nomination for other Democrats in years past. Wisconsin's Democratic electorate is largely liberal and college educated, and its open primary allows independents to vote — all factors that favor Obama. Clinton faces significant fundraising obstacles ahead, raising the possibility that she might have to dip into the family's wealth again. The Clinton's financial disclosures, which reveal only broad ranges of assets, place their wealth between $10 million to $50 million.

Heath Ledger's Death Ruled Accidental

As one who at one time was on various anti-depressants and two types of sleeping pills (to offset the insomnia side effects of the anti-depressants) at the same time, I unfortunately can see how an accidental overdose could happen. One anti-depressant in particular made it nearly impossible for me to sleep without both types of sleeping pills (and on occasion, alcohol too) and the lure of a self-prescribed stronger dose to get needed sleep was attractive. If drugs are taken together - especially if different doctors have prescribed some of the medications without knowledge of other drugs for which you have prescriptions - the combination can be fatal as in this unfortunate case. Often, people underestimate the importance of telling your doctor EVERY medication you are on or might likely take while taking the prescribed drugs. Heath Ledger's death is a tragic loss. Hopefully, people - including gays coming out of the closet and on strong anti-depressants like I was - will be more careful in combining drugs in the future. Here are some story highlights (

NEW YORK (AP) - Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of painkillers, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication and other prescription drugs, the New York City medical examiner said Wednesday. The cause of death was "acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine," spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said in a statement.

The drugs are the generic names for the painkiller OxyContin, the anti-anxiety drugs Valium and Xanax, and the sleep aids Restoril and Unisom. Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller. Borakove wouldn't say what concentrations of each drug were found in Ledger's blood, or whether one drug played a greater part than another in causing his death. "What you're looking at here is the cumulative effects of these medications together," she said.
In a statement released through Ledger's publicist, the actor's father, Kim, said Wednesday: "While no medications were taken in excess, we learned today the combination of doctor-prescribed drugs proved lethal for our boy. Heath's accidental death serves as a caution to the hidden dangers of combining prescription medication, even at low dosage."

Wednesday Male Beauty

Presidential Candidates’ Net Worth

I happened across these figures on and thought it somewhat interesting. While Barack Obama is not what one would call of modest means when compared to most American households, of the past and current candidates listed, he and his wife have far more in common with the average voter than any of the other candidates. To me, it surely would make it easier for them to understand the plight of the typical family (be that family a gay or straight household). As much as Bill and Hillary claim to be the champions of the common man or woman, they are not living in the same world financially as the rest of us.
Mitt and Ann Romney $202 million
John and Elizabeth Edwards $ 54.7 million
Rudy Giuliani $ 52.2 million
John and Cindy McCain $ 40.4 million
Hillary and Bill Clinton $ 34.9 million
Fred Thompson $ 8.1 million
Barack and Michelle Obama $ 1.3 million**
** The information on Salon did not include Mike Huckabee.

Thoughts on DignityUSA

A reader asked me what I thought about DignityUSA, an organization with the goals of uniting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Roman Catholics, as well as their families, friends and loved ones in order to (i) develop leadership, and (ii) be an instrument through which LGBT Catholics can be heard by and promoting reform in the Church.

As a life long Catholic up until 2001 or so (I was an altar boy for 10 years growing up, went to daily mass for many, many years, and was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus), I applaud DignityUSA’s goals which can be found here ( ). In fact, in my opinion EVERY Christian denomination should have such goals towards providing fair spiritual treatment to gays. However, for me personally, I decided to leave the Church rather than remain a member of an institution that at present (1) describes homosexuality as “a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder," and (2) would condemn gays to a life of celibacy, devoid of any possibility of physical love with another human. Given the Church’s history, on the issue of homosexuality one can expect the Church to lag decades, if not centuries behind modern science and mental health advances in understanding the causes and natural nature of same-sex orientation.

As a result of my decision I left the Catholic Church for first the Episcopal Church and then ultimately the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (“ELCA”) whose sister churches in northern Europe are moving rapidly towards acceptance of partnered gay clergy and church commitment ceremonies for gays. While not perfect and still having a distance to go, the ELCA offers a much more accepting church experience for me. Plus, there is the sense of hope that in my lifetime (perhaps even in just a few years) gays will be fully and officially accepted by that church. If I am going to work for change, I would rather do it in an institution where there is some nearer term hope for success.

The other huge component in my decision to leave the Roman Catholic Church was/is the utter moral bankruptcy of the Church leadership from the Pope on down. Were these high clerics married with children of their own instead of prissy celibates, I believe that there would have been much greater institutional outrage arising from the clergy sex abuse scandal and related cover ups. I suspect that bishops and cardinals would have been sacked. Instead, the main focus was on trying to cover up the scandal and ignoring the needs of the victims. Given the current institutional structure where the laity has no formal power and the Pope, cardinals and bishops are treated like potentates by much of the laity, no change will likely ever occur.
The bottom line is that unless and until there is accountability on the part of the bishops, cardinals – and yes the Pope - in my view the Roman Catholic Church as an institution is too morally bankrupt to merit anyone’s allegiance. I truly do not see the Church changing unless and until large numbers of Catholics (1) leave the Church and/or (2) stop giving money on a massive scale and cite the need for reform as the reason why they are leaving or withholding funds. To date, far too few Catholics have demanded that the hierarchy be cleaned up by voting with their feet and/or their pocketbooks.
Ultimately, each of us must make our own decision as to where we feel spiritually comfortable. For myself, in the ELCA I have found a church that offers in essence the Catholic mass, a sense of spiritual fellowship, and a far more accepting and non-judgmental atmosphere.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Attorney General Reverses Curbs On Gay Group at Justice Department

Thankfully, the Washington Post is reporting ( that some of the Christianist policies of former U. S. Attorney Generals Ashcroft and Gonzales have been reversed by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. Fortunately, Mukasey seems more capable of separating the civil laws and basic concepts on non-discrimination from fundamentalist religious views. What a refreshing concept. Here are some story highlights:

Five years after a gay advocacy group was told that it could no longer use the e-mail, bulletin boards and meeting rooms at the Justice Department, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey has reversed that decision and issued a revised equal-employment-opportunity policy barring discrimination against any group.

Mukasey informed leaders of DOJ Pride last week that the department would give it the same rights as all other DOJ employee organizations, said the group's president, Chris Hook. In a statement, Mukasey said the department will "foster an environment in which diversity is valued, understood and sought" and maintain "an environment that's free of discrimination."

DOJ Pride and its 110 members had been barred from holding an annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Month celebration since 2003, when then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft told the group that the Bush administration observed an unwritten policy of not sponsoring events without a presidential proclamation, Hook said. The group also was told it could not post notices of general meetings and events on department bulletin boards, he said. The policy continued under Ashcroft's successor, Alberto R. Gonzales, Hook said.

"I do not know of any other employee-recognized groups that were denied access under these same conditions," Hook said. As a result of "what some would term a hostile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, the membership rolls have suffered."

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr declined to respond to the specific allegations made by Hook. He said that Mukasey now will permit DOJ Pride to use bulletin boards, easels and the department's e-mail system.

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Florida School Attempts to Ban Pro-Gay Speech

I Previously did a post about Ponce de Leon High School, a high school in Florida, where the principal, David Davis, was trying to stamp out any reference to or support for fair treatment of LGBT students. Initial reports were bad enough, but reading portions of the school board’s response to the ACLU – which has since filed a lawsuit against the school division – and the allegations contained in the ACLU complaint evidence a school system out of control in terms of ignoring the law. Moreover, the district seems well on the road to overt anti-gay actions that would give James Dobson and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee ecstasy filled wet dreams. I can only think that Christ must be shaking his head in dismay over the actions of this Pharisee like bigots. Anyone who would like to express their thoughts to Principal David Davis can e-mail him here: Here are some highlights on situation via Dispatches from the Culture Wars (

The ACLU has filed suit against Ponce de Leon High School in Florida on behalf of several students who have been forbidden from any form of expressive support for gay rights - t-shirts, buttons, even a rainbow symbol on a bookbag or a notebook. The school board is taking the bizarre position that any such symbol is evidence that students belong to an "illegal organization" and that all pro-gay speech is inherently disruptive. According to the legal complaint, this all began in September when a lesbian student at the school was harassed by a group of students. She complained to a teacher about it and was then called into the principal's office and harangued for being gay:

Upon information and belief, at the end of the school day on Monday, September 10,2007, Defendant Davis called Jane Doe into his office to discuss the incident on the previous Friday. Defendant Davis asked Jane Doe if she had told the teacher's aide that she was a lesbian. Jane Doe answered "yes" in order to give context to the taunting. He then asked, "are you a lesbian?" Jane Doe answered yes. He explained that Jane Doe should not be gay and she should not tell people she is gay. Mr. Davis then instructed Jane Doe not to talk with the "middle school" girls. Defendant Davis also told Jane Doe that "gay pride" was a disgrace to the school.

17. Upon information and belief, during the days after the assembly, Defendant Davis called in about a dozen students to interrogate them about the "GP" and "Gay Pride" writings that some students were displaying on their arms and school materials and about the rumored walkout of the assembly. During those meetings, Defendant Davis instructed students not to wear a rainbow belt and or to write "Gay Pride" or "GP" on their arms or notebooks.

18. One of the students that Defendant Davis called into his office during the days after the assembly is Heather's cousin, who is also a student at Ponce de Leon High School. Upon information and belief, Defendant Davis interrogated Heather's cousin about her sexual orientation and about the sexual orientation of other students at the school. Defendant Davis also stated something to the effect of being gay was not right and that being gay is against the Bible. He further stated that he hoped that Heather's cousin would not "go down that road" of being gay. He then instructed her not to discuss her sexual orientation with any students at the school, not to say "gay pride" or write it on her body or school materials, and not to wear gay themed clothing, including her rainbow-colored belt. Defendant Davis explained to Heather's cousin that if she were to do any of these things, he would suspend her from school.

19. Upon information and belief, on or about Friday, September 21, 2007, and Monday, September 24,2007, Defendant Davis suspended a handful of students, including Heather's cousin, for five school days each for expressing their support for the fair treatment of gays and lesbians.

Christo-Fascist Seeks to Sway GOP Vote

Number one Christo-fascist, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, apparently tried to sway the GOP primary voters and released an anti-McCain statement this morning. In my opinion, the man is a hate mongering nut case with a serious case of megalomania. He is anything but Christian and certainly never heard of the saying “pride goes before fall.” His ego would be difficult to contain in the Super Dome. Of course, given Dobson’s hate based religious views, I suspect he would not vote for Jesus Christ if he reappeared and did not subscribe to Dobson hate filled agenda. In any event, here are highlights of his statement via (

"I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.
"I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has sounded at times more like a member of the other party. McCain actually considered leaving the GOP caucus in 2001, and approached John Kerry about being Kerry's running mate in 2004. McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Given these and many other concerns, a spoonful of sugar does NOT make the medicine go down. I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.

"But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life.

Tuesday Male Beauty

Why Obama Will Be Stronger than Hillary in November

I was speaking to a client today about reviewing some documents for him and somehow in the course of our conversation, he asked me to guess who he was backing in the presidential primaries. Since my client is a retired military officer and a conservative gun owner type who in the past has voted solid Republican, my response was "I am almost afraid to ask." He laughed and said, that I'd be surprised and that we were in agreement. He then told me that he is backing Barack Obama because he is sick of all the dirty politics and that it is time for a real change in the direction of this country. He said everyone else has been in politics for years and it would be just more of the same if either McCain or Hillary were to be elected. I think the pundits have truly underestimated how strongly the American public wants something truly different - or at least to try to grasp something different for a change. That is why Obama has been surging.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Final Monday Male Beauty

Obama Opens a Norfolk Office

For any local readers who are interested, Barack Obama has opened a Norfolk campaign office in advance of Virginia's February 12th primary. Here is the pertinent information:

Where: 549 Brambleton Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia

The e-mail address is

I intend to start volunteering time this Saturday and work to make a difference.

Conveniently Timed Election Eve Tears

As the father of two highly intelligent and talented daughters, I am all for women’s rights and believe that a woman should be able to hold any public office in the land. In fact, I could easily see my younger daughter running for office – she’s smart, tough at times and surely can hold her own a debate and argument (she’s debated her parents on just about everything since age 4 or younger). Nonetheless, I have to look at Hillary Clinton’s second bout of tears with great cynicism. Through all the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment hearings, Hillary remained dry-eyed. Now, facing the possible prospect that Obama will catch or pass her in tomorrow’s primaries, she shows up conveniently crying on camera again. What gives? If elected, is she going to be in tears in the White House when faced with a difficult situation or is this a campaign stunt? I agree with much of Andrew Sullivan’s analysis ( and agree that Hillary needs to either run on her own without Bill’s meddling or give it up. If she cannot rein him in, nobody can. Here are some highlights from Andrew’s remarks:

The second bout of public tears just before a crucial primary vote - after no evidence that Senator Hillary Clinton has a history of tearing up in front of the cameras - provokes the unavoidable question: should feminists actively vote against Clinton to defend the cause of female equality? What marks a true feminist is a woman who gains democratic office through strictly meritocratic means.

Think of Margaret Thatcher: a woman who came from lowly beginnings to master a chemistry degree and a legal career in the 1940s and 1950s, who won a seat in parliament single-handedly and eventually became a three-term prime minister for the Conservative party. Yes: the Conservative party. You think she didn't have to deal with prejudice and chauvinism? More than Hillary Clinton will ever know. But she never engaged for a second in the gender politics and nepotistic shenanigans that Clinton has. Thatcher had a rich husband but he was not a stepping stone to politics. She had two children, but never used them for public attention or photo-ops. She did it all - indisputably - on her own merits. Hillary Clinton could have done the same.

But it became clear pretty soon that the Senate was indeed merely a stepping stone back to the White House. It also became clear that she had absolutely no qualms about using her husband's former office, unrivaled party clout and acute political skills to advance her current, long-planned campaign. Bill was wielded as an attack-dog, in an unprecedented abuse of the prestige and honor of the Oval Office in the service of a campaign proudly dealing in blatant nepotism. It was an act of corruption by a corrupt dynasty fearful they couldn't win re-election without pulling every lever they had.

There were also, of course, the now famous New Hampshire tears - to evoke sympathy. And the blunt appeal on gender grounds alone. And the refusal to disavow the use of her husband for her own political purposes, even as he told lies and cast racist aspersions about her opponent. And, on the eve of Super Tuesday, the tears again. Can you imagine a male politician breaking down in public the day before a crucial vote - and expecting it to help? One day, there will be a woman worth electing to the White House. But not this one.

Virginia Beach Cretins to Drop Charges Against Abercrombie

I guess having accomplished their goal of making the city of Virginia Beach a mockery world wide (apparently a number of TV networks, including Fox picked up the story), the powers that be in Virginia Beach are dropping all obscenity charges against Abercrombie & Fitch.
It is perhaps instructive that Abercrombie’s Norfolk store had the same posters and no one appears to have had a hissy fit. I guess we have fewer of Pat Robertson’s Kool-Aid drinkers in Norfolk. Some of these folks would do better examining their own twisted mean spirited souls than policing the rights of businesses. Not surprisingly, the Virginia Beach Chief of Police was not available for comment. The guy is a dope, in my opinion. Meanwhile, here is the latest from the Virginian Pilot (

Deputy City Attorney Mark Stiles said police will seek to drop the public obscenity charges filed Saturday against a Lynnhaven Mall Abercrombie & Fitch department store manager. Similar images are posted in all A&F stores, including at MacAuthur Center in Norfolk.

Stiles said Monday afternoon that the city concluded that, the photos might technically meet the nudity portion of the City Code that makes it a crime to display "obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles." But they thought it would be difficult to meet the other standards of the law, which say the display needed to appeal to prurient interests, have no redeeming artistic merit and be offensive to the prevailing standards in the community.

Stiles said, of the photo with the men "You might see that typical vision walking down a street." Itzel Vargas, a resident of Panama, [shopping at the mall] said the Abercrombie & Fitch ads didn’t offend her. “I don’t mind if they want to show naked guys because they show naked women everywhere,” she said, pointing down to the Victoria’s Secret store. “What about the Victoria’s Secret commercials on television? That is much worse than the Abercrombie & Fitch ads.” Nikki Hawickhorst, a 18-year-old senior at Kellam High School, said the ad was a little bit risqué because of the semi-nudity. “There’s a lot of worse stuff out there,” she said.
I would also add that the comments posted by Pilot subscribers took the VB police and city management to task in no uncertain terms. Here's a sample comment:
Congrats to who(m)ever decided to complain about the A&F pictures. You launched us into the national spot light and made VB look like a bunch of idiots!! And you probably just helped A&F have a great start to their February sales with the publicity you just generated for them. I see nothing wrong with Abercrombie or their advertising. The problem I have is with people wanting to control every bit of my life from what I wear to what I buy. I have more problems with uptight, conservatve holy rollers that think a little bit of skin is the end of morality and uprising of the devil. Get real!

More Monday Male Beauty

Afghanistan Says it "Appreciates" Efforts to Save Student Journalist

I have previously posted about the student journalist in Afghanistan [pictured at left] who has been sentenced to death for offending the lunatic Islamic fundamentalists who appear to have more power than the Chimperator’s puppet, Hamid Karzai. That Karzai’s government hasn’t overturned this kangaroo court ruling is a travesty and if the Chimperator had any brains (a huge assumption, I know) and guts, he’d be on the phone to puppet man Karzai and make it clear that this sentence needs to go away NOW. Instead, the USA – that supposed beacon of freedom and liberty and advocate for human rights – has done little or nothing to help the young journalist and other foreign powers have moved to pressure for his release. Now, it appears that the situation is even dirtier than first suspected and may involve retaliation for exposing corruption and human rights abuses. The retaliation also has a gay twist to it - I guess the Islamic fundies are like the GOP homophobes who like their boys secretly on the side and get upset when outed. Here are highlights on the story from CNN (

(CNN) -- Amid international outrage over a student journalist sentenced to death for blaspheming Islam, the Afghan government Saturday said it was "fully aware of the gravity of the case." Afghanistan "appreciates the concern expressed on his behalf," the government said in a statement released by the Afghan Embassy in Washington. "The office of President [Hamid] Karzai is closely monitoring the case and working with Afghanistan's judicial system to find a just solution in accordance with Afghan law and our nation's international obligations."

Parwez Kambaksh, 23, was sentenced to death after he was tried and convicted in a Mazar-e-Sharif court on January 22 for distributing an article that commented on Quranic verses that deal with women. Part of the article discussed whether a Muslim man should have the right to marry more than one woman, and prosecutors deemed the work offensive to

The United Nations has also condemned the sentence, and the United States last week expressed concern. The Independent, a British newspaper, has taken on Kambaksh's cause and has started a petition to free the student, said Anne Penketh, the newspaper's diplomatic editor. "Three days ago, we launched our petition, which as of this morning has 38,000 signatures," she said. Penketh lauded Mozafari's statement as a sign that the newspaper has already achieved "a measure of success," but said the newspaper was still calling for Karzai to pardon Kambaksh. "We're pressing our government to put more pressure on President Karzai," she said. "We've been trying to get hold of him -- in fact, if you're watching, President Karzai, do call."

Penketh said the issue is not just about a journalist. "It's about human rights, and particularly women's rights in Afghanistan." Some media groups, including
Reporters Without Borders and the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, allege the charges against Kambaksh are in retaliation for his brother's investigative journalism articles, which detail human rights abuses at the hands of political and paramilitary factions in northern Afghanistan. Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, Kambaksh's brother and a leading independent journalist in the region, has named government officials who extort money from locals in some articles, said Jean MacKenzie, country director of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. In another piece, which is among the articles he is best-known for, Ibrahimi describes the "dancing boys," teenage boys who dress up as girls and dance for male patrons at parties thrown by some commanders in northern Afghanistan, MacKenzie said.

Ongoing Discrimination - Virginia's Less Than Proud Heritage

Although not a native Virginian (I first moved to the state from Central New York to attend college at the University of Virginia), I have lived in the state long enough to recall much of the lingering mindset that followed desegregation and the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia that ended the ban on inter-racial marriage a few years before my arrival. In checking some of my usual blog reads, I came across a post supporting Obama ( which happened to look at some of the historical past. I have set out below the portions directly applicable to Virginia since the same mentality exists today on the part of Virginia legislators who are currently killing bills that would protect gays from employment discrimination and allow domestic partners to be named as beneficiaries on employer provided group life insurance policies. Of course what is truly amazing (and something I will NEVER understand) is that many blacks pastors across the state are being co-opted into working on an anti-gay agenda with the very people and/or their descendants who supported laws like the one described below. It definitely illustrates the dangers of not knowing history. Here are the highlights:
The year I was born, 1946, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia that interstate buses and trains could no longer be segregated. The case arose two years earlier when Irene Morgan, a 27-year-old mother of two still ill from a miscarriage, bought a $5 ticket at the "Colored" window in the local grocery and boarded a crowded Greyhound bus in Gloucester, Va., for a trip to visit a doctor 165 miles away in Baltimore. She sat next to a young mother and her baby in the fourth row from the back of the bus, well within the section decreed for black people by America’s peculiar brand of apartheid, Jim Crow.

At a stop a few miles down the road, the driver ordered the two women to stand so that a white couple could take their seats. Morgan said no. She also wouldn’t let the other woman give up her seat. As she told Washington Post reporter Carol Morello more than half a century later, she had asked: "Where do you think you're going with that baby in your arms?" The driver headed into the next town and parked in front of the jail. A deputy strode onto the bus, handed Morgan an arrest warrant and asked her to come with him. When she ripped up the warrant and tossed it out the window, he grabbed her by the arm. She kicked him in the crotch and he retreated. She clawed at a second deputy and ripped his shirt as he dragged her off the bus and into the jail.

Morgan pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was fined $100, but she refused to plead guilty to breaking the state’s segregation laws. At trial, her NAACP lawyers argued that those laws impeded interstate commerce, purposely avoiding the due process argument of the 14th Amendment, something they felt the Supreme Court was not ready to hear. Morgan was convicted and fined $10. On appeal, the Supreme Court accepted
the commerce argument and struck down the Virginia statute, and by extension all such laws.

Monday Male Beauty

Why the Presidential Election is so Important

I suspect some readers wonder why I am so vocal/passionate on the Democrat primary and why I am so fearful about Hillary Clinton winning the Democrat nomination only to lose the general election in November. My biggest concern is that the Democrat nominee be able to win in November. For my previously stated reasons and her ability to unite the GOP like no one else, I do not think Hillary can win. Certainly not if John McCain is the GOP nominee. This is important because given the age of a number of the sitting U. S. Supreme Court justices, it is very likely that during the next four years, several justices will retire or die (I am praying that they all hang on through January 20, 2009). Whoever wins in November will likely set the direction of the Supreme Court for much of the next generation. If more conservative justices are appointed by the next president, at my age I suspect I will never live to see full LGBT equality in the United States. If the GOP candidate wins in November, I truly believe I will have to decide between remaining a second class citizen in the USA or leaving the country.

In addition to concerns for the LGBT community, I worry about the future this country holds for my children if a serious change in direction does not occur. Four (or eight) more years of GOP economics and I feel certain that the plight of the middle class will continue to be dreadful. Already the wealth disparities have widened significantly making the USA more like a third world country when it comes to income distribution. I also doubt that any significant effort will be made to fix our dreadfully lacking health care system under another GOP administration. By example, while he is working, my son has no health insurance through his job and he, like many others find themselves, is largely cut off from preventative treatment and diagnostic tests. This is why the USA places last among developed industrial countries when it comes to preventable deaths. This is a travesty in a nation where corporate CEO’s walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars in salaries and benefits each year. A sea change is needed and I believe that Obama is the best hope for bringing such change.