Saturday, October 04, 2008

Charlottesville Weekend

The b/f and I are in Charlottesville for the weekend - yep, he is meeting my mother and some of my siblings. The weather is gorgeous and it should be a wonderful time. We'll tour the University and probably hit some of the local wineries. Posting will be minimal until we get back home to Tidewater.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fairfax County Schools reject Wingnut Anti-gay Books

As further proof that the anti-gay Christianist organizations never give up on trying to disseminate false and slanderous information about gays (particularly to impressionable youth), the Washington Post is reporting about the failed efforts of a Focus on the Family initiative to have anti-gay books placed in public school libraries. Fortunately, the Fairfax County, Virginia, school system said, "no thank you" on the basis that the offered materials were not supported by peer review approved publications. This tactic of Focus on the Family is similar to PFOX's efforts to secure equal time in schools to give out false information on homosexuality being a "choice" and "treatable." The truth, of course, is that reputable and legitimate medical and mental health associations have condemned PFOX's bogus information. As I have remarked time and time again, the willingness of these allegedly "Godly Christians" to lie again and again is amazing. The truth really means nothing to them. Here are some story highlights:
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During a week that librarians nationwide are highlighting banned books, conservative Christian students and parents showcased their own collection outside a Fairfax County high school yesterday -- a collection they say was banned by the librarians themselves.
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More than 40 students, many wearing black T-shirts stamped with the words "Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas," said they tried to donate more than 100 books about homosexuality to more than a dozen high school libraries in the past year. The initiative, organized by Colorado Springs-based
Focus on the Family, was intended to add a conservative Christian perspective to shelves that the students said are stocked with "pro-gay" books.
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Most of the books were turned down after school librarians said they did not meet school system standards. Titles include "Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting" and "Someone I Love Is Gay," which argues that homosexuality is not "a hopeless condition."
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Fairfax County's policy on library book selection says "the collection should support the diverse interests, needs and viewpoints of the school community." But library officials said donated and purchased books alike are evaluated by the same standards, including two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals. None of the donated titles met that standard.
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Focus on the Family selected and supplied the books. The teenagers assembled yesterday did not say they had read any of them. Other groups are launching similar campaigns to get books challenging homosexuality on library shelves. Virginia-based Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays maintains a list of titles and encourages its members to donate them to libraries.

More Friday Male Beauty

Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart

I saw the above chart on AmericaBlog and it is too fun, yet sadly an accurate description of what Palin did last night. The thought of her potentially a heart beat away form the presidency is terrifying. The rest of the world must think Americans have truly gone insane.

Today's Republican Party

As a former Republican - in fact, my entire family used to be Republicans - it is sad to see what the party has become. It is hard to find appropriate words to describe the party's descent into something almost unrecognizable from what it once was, but Bob Felton at Civil Commotion comes pretty close to an apt description:
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The Republican Party’s problem today is that it has become the political arm of religious fundamentalists, overall the most poorly educated, envious, malicious voting bloc in the electorate, and a historic ass-whumping thanks to the insane Palin selection is bound to force a re-consideration of Bush/Rove’s ill-considered marriage-of-convenience to Dobson et. al.
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I truly believe that only a series of disastrous losses at the polls will set the stage for a rebirth of a rational conservatism.

Friday Male Beauty

New York Times Slams Palin Debate Performance

I watched the vice presidential debate this evening with a group of friends and while Sarah Palin did not come across as the complete cretin that she is in reality, I believe Joe Biden clearly won the debate. Palin frequently never even answered the question posed to her and repeatedly slipped into GOP talking points and double speak when she had no earthly understanding of the question and/or how to answer it. She clearly confirmed that the GOP revels in ignorance. After all, the Christianist base of the GOP rejects science, rejects evolution, and rejects competent medical and mental health expert opinion. Why should Palin be any different? The one interesting point is that Palin said she agreed with Biden on civil legal rights for gay couples. James Dobson, et al must be having a veritable stroke. I suspect the Chritianists will rip Palin a new one for that comment. Here are some highlights from the New York Times:
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We cannot recall when there were lower expectations for a candidate than the ones that preceded Sarah Palin’s appearance in Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate with Joseph Biden. After a series of stumbling interviews that raised serious doubts even among conservatives about her fitness to serve as vice president, Ms. Palin had to do little more than say one or two sensible things and avoid an election-defining gaffe.
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By that standard, but only by that standard, the governor of Alaska did well. But Ms. Palin never really got beyond her talking points in 90 minutes, mostly repeating clich├ęs and tired attack lines and energetically refusing to answer far too many questions.
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When it came to domestic issues, Ms. Palin mainly relied on enthusiasm and humor, talking about hockey moms, soccer moms and Joe Sixpack almost as often as she used the word “maverick” to describe Mr. McCain or herself. But she offered virtually no detail — beyond the Republican mantra of tax cuts — for how she and Mr. McCain would address the financial crisis or help Americans avoid foreclosure or what programs they would cut because of the country’s disastrous fiscal problems.
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Ms. Palin’s primary tactic was simply to repeat the same thing over and over: John McCain is a maverick. So is she. To stay on that course, she had to indulge in some wildly circular logic: America does not want another Washington insider. They want Mr. McCain (who has been in Congress for nearly 26 years). Ms. Palin condemned Wall Street greed and said she and Mr. McCain would “demand” strict oversight. In virtually the next breath, she said government should “get out of the way” of American business.
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In the end, the debate did not change the essential truth of Ms. Palin’s candidacy: Mr. McCain made a wildly irresponsible choice that shattered the image he created for himself as the honest, seasoned, experienced man of principle and judgment. It was either an act of incredible cynicism or appallingly bad judgment.
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The woman is so out of her league that it is terribly frightening. What the Hell was John McCain thinking when he selected this mental midget??

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More Thursday Male Beauty

Virginia "Ex-gay" Lesbian Custody Battle Continues

The sad saga of the endless litigation by Lisa Miller (pictured at right in the photo) - aided and abetted by Christianist "law firms" - to deprive her former partner of rights to the child they had as a couple while in Vermont living in a civil union continues anew. Now, as reported by Concerned Bitches for America, Ms. Miller is now facing contempt charges for violating a Vermont Court order which was upheld by Virginia's appellate Courts on multiple occasions. While the disingenuous bitches - many of whom are males for some unknown reason - tell a pathetic tale in the hopes of securing monetary donations, the real facts are that Miller entered into perfectly legal and valid arrangements which she now seeks to avoid by claiming that she has "left homosexuality" and fleeing to Virginia where she thought the anti-gay legislation would help her screw over her former partner. Having heard the facts, here is some of the drivel being put out by CWFA in the hope it will bring the organization money (rest assured, it's ALWAYS about money):
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Please act now to pray and support Lisa Miller as she fights to keep her daughter, Isabella. Embroiled in a custody battle with her former lesbian partner, Lisa is now a Christian who wants to raise her own biological child but has been told by the Vermont courts that they may strip her of those rights. Pray for Lisa as she and her legal counsel attend a hearing that will take place on October 27, 2008, in Vermont. At that hearing, a judge will decide whether or not Lisa will be punished for supposedly disobeying the court-ordered visitation to a woman who is not biologically related to her child.
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Concerned Women for America's (CWA) Field Development Coordinator, Nina Bell, invited Lisa to share on the CWA weekly prayer conference call earlier this week. Nina states, "Participants from all around the country have been specifically praying for Lisa the last few months, so it was a blessing to actually have her on the line with us. What I did not expect was the peace that was heard in her voice as she recounted the horrendous details of her five-year battle to keep her rights as a mother to seven-year-old Isabella."
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To get involved in CWA of Virginia, go to virginia.cwfa.org or e-mail director@virginia.cwfa.org. If you would like to get involved with one of our other fine state organizations, please visit the CWA in the States site.
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If you are done vomiting, it should be noted that Lisa Miller's attorney, Rena Lindevaldsen, is affiliated with Liberty Counsel and Liberty University. An obviously uninformed reader earlier this week claimed that currently there are not the vehemently anti-gay organizations of the past. I'm not sure where he's been, but CWFA and Liberty Counsel - as in Jerry Falwell's Liberty University (another blight on Virginia) - Focus on the Family and Family are just a few of such groups that continue to work to denigrate and stigmatize LGBT citizens on a daily basis.

Who Is Responsible for the Financial Crisis?

In the home stretch of the presidential election, sound bites are flying as to who is to blame for the USA's current financial train wreck. Newsweek has a good article that looks at the various arguments and also relies on information from factcheck.org. Personally, I have maintained for over a year that the failure to regain stability in the housing/mortgage market was going to lead to a disaster. Here are some highlights that look at some of the true contributing factors of how things got so screwed up (only by recognizing the real cause - and that lack of regulatory oversight WAS a big factor - can a real solution be achieved.):
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As The Economist magazine noted recently, the problem is one of "layered irresponsibility ... with hard-working homeowners and billionaire villains each playing a role." Here's a partial list of those alleged to be at fault:
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The
Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates after the dot-com bubble burst, making credit cheap.
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Home buyers, who took advantage of easy credit to bid up the prices of homes excessively.
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Congress, which continues to support a mortgage tax deduction that gives consumers a tax incentive to buy more expensive houses.
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Real estate agents, most of whom work for the sellers rather than the buyers and who earned higher commissions from selling more expensive homes.
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The Clinton administration, which pushed for less stringent credit and down payment requirements for working- and middle-class families.
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Mortgage brokers, who offered less-credit-worthy home buyers subprime, adjustable rate loans with low initial payments, but exploding interest rates.
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Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2004, near the peak of the housing bubble, encouraged Americans to take out adjustable rate mortgages.
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Wall Street firms, who paid too little attention to the quality of the risky loans that they bundled into Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), and issued bonds using those securities as collateral.
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The Bush administration, which failed to provide needed government oversight of the increasingly dicey mortgage-backed securities market.
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An obscure accounting rule called mark-to-market, which can have the paradoxical result of making assets be worth less on paper than they are in reality during times of panic.
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Collective delusion, or a belief on the part of all parties that home prices would keep rising forever, no matter how high or how fast they had already gone up.

Thursday Male Beauty

Skepticism of Palin Growing

Meanwhile, polling is showing that people are beginning to wake up to just what an irresponsible choice Sarah Palin was for the GOP vice presidential slot. Let's be candid: from the interviews I have watched, Sarah makes the typical soccer mom look like a NASA physicist. It's down right painful to watch her babble like a cretin on issues about which even average individuals could discuss more coherently. If the GOP thinks Palin is representative of women (other than Christianist women), then American women should be outraged by the insult. I truly hope that McCain/Palin go down to defeat and that perhaps the GOP will wake up to the fact that appeasing the nutcase Party base translates into alienating all other voters. Here are some highlights from the Washington Post:
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With the vice presidential candidates set to square off today in their only scheduled debate, public assessments of Sarah Palin's readiness have plummeted, and she may now be a drag on the Republican ticket among key voter groups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
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Though she initially transformed the race with her energizing presence and a fiery convention speech, Palin is now a much less positive force: Six in 10 voters see her as lacking the experience to be an effective president, and a third are now less likely to vote for McCain because of her.
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Nearly a third of adults in a new poll from the Pew Research Center said they paid a lot of attention to Palin's interviews with CBS News's Katie Couric, a series that prompted grumbling among some conservative commentators about Palin's competency to be the GOP's vice presidential standard-bearer. The Pew poll showed views of Palin slipping over the past few days alone.
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About half of all voters said they were uncomfortable with the idea of McCain taking office at age 72, and 85 percent of those voters said Palin does not have the requisite experience to be president. The 60 percent who now see Palin as insufficiently experienced to step into the presidency is steeply higher than in a Post-ABC poll after her nomination early last month. Democrats and Republicans alike are now more apt to doubt her qualifications, but the biggest shift has come among independents.
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In early September, independents offered a divided verdict on Palin's experience; now they take the negative view by about 2 to 1. Nearly two-thirds of both independent men and women in the new poll said Palin has insufficient experience to run the
White House. . . .
Palin now repels more independents than she attracts to McCain. The share of independent women less apt to support McCain because of the Palin pick has more than doubled to 34 percent, while the percentage more inclined to support him is down eight points.
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Despite Palin's slip in public assessments, the boost she has provided among some core segments of the GOP base has not faded. Enthusiasm for McCain's candidacy among Republicans, conservatives and white evangelical Protestants climbed sharply after the party's convention in St. Paul, Minn., where Palin made her debut, and it has held relatively steady since.

Obama opens lead over McCain in Virginia

Back earlier in the year there were those among Hillary supporters how scoffed at the idea that Barack Obama could carry Virginia - I have a $100 bet with a contributor to Pam's House Blend even though Virginia elected a black governor close to two decades ago. Now, polls are showing that Obama is leading McCain in Virginia. This has got to have the GOP terrified despite whatever spin that may be put out. The fact that it looks like Mark Warner will beat Jim Gilmore by a landslide in the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator John Warner will only make it all worse. Virginia is changing, albeit not quickly enough for my tastes, and the far right reactionaries are slowly becoming out numbered by the progressive votes of Northern Virginia and the older cities (Virginia Beach and particularly Chesapeake remain bastions of wing nut thinking). Here are some highlights from the Virginian Pilot:
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Democrat Barack Obama has opened a solid lead over Republican John McCain in Virginia, a state that last backed a Democrat for president in 1964, according to a poll published Wednesday. A CNN-Time poll of 684 likely Virginia voters conducted Sunday through Tuesday shows 53 percent of those surveyed backed Obama while 44 percent backed McCain. The head-to-head results are comfortably outside the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points in the race for the 13 electoral votes that the GOP has owned for 40 years.
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While the poll was heartening to Obama supporters in Virginia, one prominent backer was skeptical as a result of personal experience. "I hope this isn't deja vu all over again," said former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. "I'd take it with a grain of salt." In 1989, Wilder became the nation's first elected black governor by only one-tenth of a percentage point over a white opponent despite polls that indicated he would win easily, as his two white Democratic ticket mates did.
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Wilder said race is not nearly the factor it was in his election, but cautioned Obama - who would be the first black president - against accepting so wide a poll advantage at face value. "I would advise him not to be swayed one way or another by these polls except to say that we have to work harder," said Wilder, who is retiring after one term as Richmond's mayor.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Final Wednesday Male Beauty

Loony Pat Robertson Runs His Mouth Yet Again

With all the things going on with the economy and the financial markets, you'd think Pat Robertson, Hampton Roads' own resident lunatic, would have plenty of things to talk about other than fear mongering and pontificating about nuclear war in the Middle East or even here on the Atlantic coast of the USA. But then, Robertson hasn't been dealing with a full deck for many years now. As far back as September 1985 he claimed he "prayed away" Hurricane Gloria which was bearing down on Hampton Roads (just as successfully as we can "pray away the gay" no doubt). Here are some highlights from the Virginian Pilot about Robertson's latest verbal diarrhea:
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Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson is urging prayer before Election Day to stave off an imminent Middle Eastern war he said could bring nuclear attacks on the United States. In a letter on his Web site, www.patrobertson.com, Robertson said his opinion was that Israel would bomb Iranian nuclear sites between Nov. 4 and the inauguration of the United States' new president. Robertson tied his warning to biblical prophesy.
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In the letter, Robertson said that "what is clear is this: The Israeli strike against Iran will be the trigger. From then on, dramatic events will follow in quick succession." "It all will conclude when God has rained fire on the islands of the sea and on the invading force coming against Israel." Rob Boston, a spokesman at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said Robertson had a history of "rather outrageous statements" forecasting natural catastrophes and disastrous conflicts that didn't occur.
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"His off-the-wall predictions and bizarre statements tar all fundamental Christians with an extreme brush, and that's nfortunate for those Christians who are conservative but don't follow Pat Robertson," Boston said. "I guess he believes he has a direct pipeline to God," Boston added. "Given the number of false predictions he's given, I might question who's at the other end of that pipeline."
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With that kind of bullshit coming from Robertson, it's no wonder that the local economic development agencies have a hard time attracting progressive companies to relocate to the area.

Who Are the Fascists

A commenter who claims to be a libertarian - and insists that Sarah Palin is one too - has accused me, other gays who oppose the Christianist agenda, and those who support Barack Obama, of being "fascists." I beg to differ and based on his arrogant and nasty remarks, would posit that it is he and other dogmatic, far right types, not to mention the Christianists, who are the true fascists. Just ask Kathleen Parker (pictured at left), a conservative columnist, about what she has experienced since she authored a column that all too correctly stated that Christianist darling Sarah Palin was not only unqualified to be the VP candidate, but needs to withdraw from the GOP ticket. Here are some high lights from Parker's latest column in the Chicago Tribune that describes her treatment:
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WASHINGTON — Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a Dumpster, but since she didn't, I should "off" myself.Those are just a few nuggets randomly selected from thousands of e-mails written in response to my column suggesting that Sarah Palin is out of her league and should step down.
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After 20 years of column writing, I'm familiar with angry mail. But the past few days have produced responses of a different order. Not just angry, but vicious and threatening. Some of my usual readers feel betrayed because I previously have written favorably of Palin. By changing my mind and saying so, I am viewed as a traitor to the Republican Party—not a "true" conservative.
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The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)
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Our day of reckoning, indeed, may be upon us. Between war and economic collapse, we have enormous challenges. It will take the best of everyone to solve them. That process begins minimally with a commitment to engage in civil discourse and a cease-fire in the war against unwelcome ideas.
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One thing I have found time and time again in my years following the rantings of the far right. They routinely accuse their liberal and moderate opponents of what they themselves are in fact guilty of doing. Thus accusations of fascism are a failure on the far right's failure to take a good look in a mirror and an attempt to transfer their own motivations to others..

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Canadian Candidate Wants Gays Executed

Apparently, the USA does not have a monopoly on lunatic Christianists who hate gays with a passion and who want the civil laws made subservient to their warped, hate filled version of the Bible. I continue to believe that extreme Christianists are just as crazy as the Islamic ones that are widespead in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. The only difference is that the Christianists are usually more circumspect in publicly stating their true views and preferred manner of treating LGBT citizens. In the case of David Popescu, a federal candidate, he said what most Christianists think but do state in a public forum. I suspect that within hours I suspect Christianists in the USA will be whining that Popescu is being persecuted. Here are highlights from the Toronto Sun:
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Police are investigating whether an independent federal candidate committed a hate crime by telling high school students homosexuals should be executed. David Popescu was invited to participate in a federal candidates' discussion at Sudbury Secondary School on Tuesday. He made the comment after a student asked his opinion of gay marriage.
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Popescu introduced himself with a public prayer, blaming environmental damage and economic unrest on the wickedness of society. His comments were met with silence as some students grimaced and shifted in their seats.
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"A young man asked me what I think of homosexual marriages and I said I think homosexuals should be executed," he said. "My whole reason for running is the Bible and the Bible couldn't be more clear on that point."
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An advocate for the Sudbury Gay and Lesbian community said while Popescu's extreme views are well known, he has never said something "so extreme." "He's not simply saying that lesbians or gay men are mentally ill or somehow deviant or criminals. He's saying we should be subject to the death penalty," said Gary Kinsman. "I think sometimes violence and hatred towards gays and lesbians gets dressed up in sort of a religious guise and is somehow tolerated. I just don't think it should be tolerated at all." Kinsman was particularly concerned the comments were made before a group of young people.
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Can you imagine the outcry if gays were to publicly call for the execution of Christians? There should be an equal outcry against Popescu and those who think like him. Sadly, that does not occur. Anti-gay bigotry is the last acceptable hate-based bigotry.

Russian Court Rehabilitates Last Czar

The history major in me is coming out and I found this story from the New York Times interesting. Having read published diaries of both Nicholas and Alexandra, they obviously were not cut out for the position of absolute monarchs, but were they truly bad people? I do not believe so. They were simply way over their heads, a situation which was aggravated by Alexis' hemophilia which was kept secret and only caused their actions to look all the more bizarre at times. Obviously, their children ere innocents - like so many thousands who died under the brutality of the Bolsheviks and Soviets. Here are some highlights:
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MOSCOW — Russia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of full rehabilitation for Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II, and his family, officially recognizing the executed royals as victims of Soviet repression 90 years after their deaths. The ruling brings Russia closer than ever to public reconciliation with the execution, one of the most significant events in a bloody revolutionary period that led to more than 70 years of Soviet rule.
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Nicholas II and the monarchy were reviled in official Soviet history. But since the fall of the Soviet Union they have increasingly come to be seen as important, if not positive, elements of Russia’s past. . . . . “This decision shows the supremacy of law and the victory of justice over evil and tyranny," said German Lukyanov, the lawyer for Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, a descendant of the czar who first filed a suit for the rehabilitation of her family three years ago.
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In July 1918, under Lenin’s orders, the czar, his wife, Aleksandra, and their children, Olga, Tatyana, Maria, Anastasia and the 13-year-old heir to the throne, Aleksei, were shot to death in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Ural Mountains in central Russia. The killings by the fledgling Bolshevik government were meant to solidify its hold on power in the midst of an intensifying civil war.
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Other members of the royal family had been rehabilitated previously. In 1999, four Romanov princes killed by the Bolsheviks, including the son of Aleksandr II — the Russian czar blown up by revolutionaries in 1881 — were found innocent of criminal wrong-doing.
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The Russian Orthodox Church, which canonized the Romanovs as martyrs in 2000 and was itself subject to massive persecution by the Bolsheviks, welcomed Wednesday’s decision. "It is an important step to remove from our history the heavy burden of this crime against the czar’s family," said Father Vsevolod Chaplin, a spokesman for the Church.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Sarah Palin: Sexual Orientation is a Choice

Not that it should be any surprise, but VP candidate Sarah Palin - who could not name a single newspaper that she has read - let the cat out of the bag that she believes one's sexual orientation is a choice. Given her church affiliations which have her deep in the embrace of Kool-Aid drinking nutcases, why would Palin worry about the fact that EVERY legitimate mental health and medical association (and legitimate does NOT include Paul Cameron and similar discredited whack jobs) disagree with her belief? A hallmark of the Christianists is that they NEVER let reality or inconvenient facts get in the way of their agenda. Here's a brief highlight from The Baltimore Sun:
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Palin herself brought up the issue of homosexuality as part of a discussion about what kind of church she belongs to in Alaska. She told Couric she belongs to no church but attends several. She tried to knock down published reports that one of them, the Wasilla Bible Church, held a conference which included gays attempting to be made straight through prayer.
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"But what you're talking about, I think, (is) my position on homosexuality and (whether) you can pray it away," Palin said. "And you know, I don't know what prayers are worthy of being prayed.... But as for homosexuality, I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships. I have one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years happens to be gay, and I love her dearly. And she is not my 'gay friend,' she is one of my best friends who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice I would have made. But I am not going to judge people."

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Not surprisingly, to date no one has been able to identify Palin's alleged gay friend. Based on Palin's other lies, made up stories and distortions, it very likely the person does not even exit.

Elaine Donnelly's Last Gasp??

Like many Christianists, Elaine Donnelly of The Center for Military Readiness has made a career of sorts out of the persecution of LGBT Americans who seek to serve in the nation's military. Never mind that Donnelly has no military background herself and zero qualifications of any kind to speak with authority on the subject matter (something that is all too typical of Christianist who set up organizations with official sounding names and then give themselves lofty titles). As Pam Spaulding reports, after her disastrous performance before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee earlier this year that brought her broad based ridicule, Donnelly is trying to stir up veterans groups to bolster her sinking ship (and soon to be non-existent job) via a secret briefing in Washington, D.C. As Pam notes, what will Donnelly do to occupy herself once DADT is repealed? Seems, however, that the secret is out and here are highlights from the Huffington Post:
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Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has learned that The Center for Military Readiness, a right-wing activist group based in Michigan, has invited leaders of prominent veterans services organizations to a Washington, D.C. briefing on Thursday that the organization has tried to keep secret. The event, outlined in a letter obtained exclusively by PFLAG, is described as "a private, off-the-record briefing" to strategize about how to battle efforts to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual troops.
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It has long been a high-priority of Donnelly and other extremists to organize veterans services organizations to counter momentum in Congress, which has shifted to pro-repeal advocates over the past few years. As more and more veterans - such as retired Joint Chiefs Chairman John Shalikashvili and Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy - have joined efforts to topple the law, Donnelly has become increasingly desperate to find allies who will join her in advocating for the continued exclusion of lesbian and gay Americans from the armed forces. Those efforts have failed miserably.
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Thursday's briefing in Washington is a last-minute, last-ditch effort by Donnelly to try and curry some small measure of influence on Capitol Hill. To do so, she is likely to give VSO leaders misinformation, as she has done with the press and the public, in order to mislead them on the issue and attempt to win them over to her side. As polls of military personnel show that young service members and veterans are overwhelmingly comfortable and ready to serve with gay colleagues, she is attempting to reach out to the older, more conservative VSO membership to try and rally support for her cause.
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Donnelly, who has no military credentials, and is increasingly seen as nothing more than a homophobic bullhorn by Hill staff, is no doubt also trying to save face following a disastrous hearing in Congress earlier this summer.
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Our national security depends on having the best and brightest on duty, and anyone who cares about the best interests of our armed forces cares who wins. That's why so many people are campaigning to repeal this law . . . and why Elaine Donnelly is just left desperately grasping at straws.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Final Tuesday Male Beauty

Another Reason Older Anti-Gay Christianists Are Hysterical

The results of a recent survey conducted for Religion & Ethics News Weekly by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner finds that the views of young white evangelicals on gay unions is trending away from the views of the professional Christians who seek to forever reduce gays to second class citizens. Interestingly enough 58% of young white evangelicals support civil unions, with 26% of that number supporting gay marriage. Needless to say, James Dobson, Robert Knight, Beverly LeHaye, Tony Perkins, and similar Christianist hate merchants must be foaming at the mouth at this news. Hence their hysterical efforts to pass anti-gay legislation such as Proposition 8 now: they know time is against them and that they are swimming against the tide of history. Here are survey highlights:
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Which one of the following statements do you most agree with when it comes to the issue of gay marriage?
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Statement A: Gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as do a man and a woman.

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Statement B: Marriage under the law should only be between a man and a woman, but there should be domestic partnerships or some other legal rights that would give same-sex couples many of the benefits and protections of marriage.
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Statement C: There should be no legal recognition of a relationship for gay or lesbian couples
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Statement A.......................... Total 30% Young White Evangelicals 26 %
Statement B.......................... Total 36% Young White Evangelicals 32 %
Statement C............................ Total 29% Young White Evangelicals 41%

Why Homophobia Must Be Defeated

Last night I did a post about a crazy wingnut comment that I had received in respect to yesterday morning's post concerning Google's public statement that as a corporate policy, Google was opposed to passage of California Proposition 8 and hoped voters would vote against the measure. The wingnut comment was full of the typical vitriol and hate and clearly demonstrated that the writer views LGBT individuals as less than human. In sharp contrast I received a comment from a reader today who lost a friend to suicide because he could neither accept being gay nor his parents' rejection of him. I too have lost friends to homophobia induced suicide and as a parent, I cannot grasp what kind of sick, twisted person could reject their child for being something about which they had no choice. It is sickening that these unnecessary deaths continue all because psychos like yesterday's wingnut writer seek to denigrate and destroy those who are different. Here are highlights from today's message:
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This [Google's statement] is really - really something! I actually had tears in my eyes when reading it. Not certain as to why... Well, actually... I suppose it's the people I know who didn't have what I did... supportive families -- or all those who were never taught that courage is a MUST when standing up for what you believe in, even and especially when you (just) don't feel like it.
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One thing that came to mind while reading this was losing a close friend of mine from Hilton Head Island who - because he was never accepted by his parents for just being who he was and because he felt so lost, he couldn't 'go on' anymore. His parents truly - put conditions on their love for him. And, if your own Mom & Dad don't UNCONDITIONALLY love you for who you are ...you know, I can't even imagine. I really can't.
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And what about his parents? Do they realize what an incredible kid they cast away? The love he had for them and the yearning to be loved back EQUALLY - NO CONDITIONS? I mean, this was an amazing person who thought intrinsically about how to make the world a better place.
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In the end, his jaded conclusion was hopelessness, darkness and despair; which (in his mind) left only one attainable goal - peace. No more fight, no more struggle - just peace. I wonder if he struggled in his last-ditch effort leaving him hanging, with a noose around his neck and well thought out letter to his family and loved ones.
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What do his parents think when they hear this news about a leader like Google actually taking a stand in the name of love? Love, ladies and gents. Love. Brad Pitt just donated $100,000.00 towards Google's same initiative and stance and there are SO many others who have done the same. Bravo Google. BRAVO! I just wish there would've been behemoth companies like Google and people like Brad Pitt who had the respect and global influence four years ago that boasts the courage as we see more and more today. If there had been, maybe Jonathan, and a whole lot of other amazing kids would still be here with us.
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Does yesterday's wingnut writer care at all about the thousands of lost lives because of haters like him/her? I doubt it. After all, it's all about THEM and affirming their hate and prejudice. If there is a God, I truly believe that such hate filled individuals will be in for a shock come Judgment Day. They callously leave a trail of death and ruined lives in their wake.

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Tax Plan Comparision - McCain v. Obama

John McCain is putting out a great deal of misinformation concerning the impact of his tax plan versus that of Obama. The chart above sets the record straight.

Revolt of the Republican Nihilists

The caption of this post is a modification of the title to David Brook's column in today's New York Times which all too rightly slams the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Generally, I cannot stand Brook's views because he can never take off his GOP loving blinders (a case in point, he still has not properly condemned McCain's selection of Sarah Palin and/or called for her to leave the ticket). Hopefully, some of what he predicts comes to pass because the Republican Party desperately needs to be humbled and perhaps recast as a responsible party not motivated principally by who the lunatic base doesn't like. Perhaps Brooks has finally awaken to what the GOP has become. Here are some column highlights:
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In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt inherited an economic crisis. He understood that his first job was to restore confidence, to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done. This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. Instead, by rejecting the rescue package on Monday, they have made the psychological climate much worse.
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And let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no — the authors of this revolt of the nihilists. They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.
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House Republicans led the way and will get most of the blame. It has been interesting to watch them on their single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party. Not long ago, they led an anti-immigration crusade that drove away Hispanic support. Then, too, they listened to the loudest and angriest voices in their party, oblivious to the complicated anxieties that lurk in most American minds.
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Now they have once again confused talk radio with reality. If this economy slides, they will go down in history as the Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century. With this vote, they’ve taken responsibility for this economy, and they will be held accountable. The short-term blows will fall on John McCain, the long-term stress on the existence of the G.O.P. as we know it. I’ve spoken with several House Republicans over the past few days and most admirably believe in free-market principles. What’s sad is that they still think it’s 1984.
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The Congressional plan was nobody’s darling, but it was an effort to assert some authority. It was an effort to alter the psychology of the markets. People don’t trust the banks; the bankers don’t trust each other. It was an effort to address the crisis of authority in Washington. At least it might have stabilized the situation so fundamental reforms of the world’s financial architecture could be undertaken later.
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But the 228 House members who voted no have exacerbated the global psychological free fall, and now we have a crisis of political authority on top of the crisis of financial authority. The only thing now is to try again — to rescue the rescue. . . . If that doesn’t happen, the world could be in for some tough economic times (the Europeans, apparently, have not even begun to acknowledge their toxic debt) — but also tough political times. The American century was created by American leadership, which is scarcer than credit just about now.

Tuesday Male Beauty

Maine Family Policy Council: Gays Caused Wall Street Meltdown

Other than perhaps Fred Phelps' crowd, the Maine Family Policy Council is among one of the most whacked out "Christian" organizations that makes the disparagement and denigration of gays a full time effort. Having been unsuccessful in turning back pro-gay non-discrimination laws in Maine, the group is now apparently trying to let the entire country know just how crazy its members are. Now it's leader, Mike Heath (who one would think is on heavy drugs of some sort based on the nutty things he says), is saying that gays and liberals are bringing down God's wrath on the nation in the form of the financial melt down. Here are highlights from his bleating on his blog:
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We are all rightly concerned about the nation's financial situation today. Our crisis is a symptom, not the cause.Ruth Graham told her husband Billy years ago that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn't judge America. They were reflecting on a list of sinful conditions existing in our nation in the 1960s. Things have only deteriorated since then.
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If Maine's politicians really want to get serious about making Maine strong in light of this national crisis they will do the following immediately:
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*Put Maine on record as being against abortion the nanosecond the Supreme Court releases the Roe shackle.
*Defund the Family Planning Association of Maine.
*Amend Maine's Constitution to define Marriage.
*Eliminate domestic partnerships and ignore pleas to create civil unions.
*End discrimination against private religious schools and home schools
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As with most of the rabid anti-gay crowd, one can only wonder what personal issues Heath carries around that make him so obsessed with gay sex in the first place. Could it be that Heath is terrified by his own same-sex attractions?

Wingnut Pastors Break Tax Laws

Over the weekend, with the encouragement of various far right Christianists organizations, pastors at nearly three dozen anti-gay churches basically gave the finger to the IRS and other law abiding religious denominations and charities by actively supported political candidates. Why, because they think the laws apply to everyone else and that they can do whatever they want in the name of so-called "religious freedom." Under the tax laws, in exchange for tax exempt status, an organization (be it a church or any other charitable organization) may not endorse political candidates. As I have stated over and over, the Christianists think they can flout the laws that they do not like and/or that they have special rights. They whine about "special rights" for gays, but the truth of the matter is that it is they who want special rights. Hopefully, the IRS will pursue the violations, revoke the churches tax-exempt status and go after them for taxes. In my view, these Christianists and others like them are a clear and present danger to the rights of others and need to be stopped. Here are some highlights from 365gay.com:
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All told, 33 pastors in 22 states were to make pointed recommendations about political candidates Sunday, an effort orchestrated by the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund. The conservative legal group plans to send copies of the pastors’ sermons to the IRS with hope of setting off a legal fight and abolishing restrictions on church involvement in politics. Critics call it unnecessary, divisive and unlikely to succeed. Congress amended the tax code in 1954 to state that certain nonprofit groups, including secular charities and places of worship, can lose their tax-exempt status for intervening in a campaign involving candidates.
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Because the pastors were speaking in their official capacity as clergy, the sermons are clear violations of IRS rules, said Robert Tuttle, a professor of law and religion at George Washington University. But even if the IRS rises to the bait and a legal fight ensues, Tuttle said there’s “virtually no chance” courts will strike down the prohibition. “The government is allowed, as long as it has a reasonable basis for doing it, to treat political and nonpolitical speech differently, and that’s essentially what it’s done here,” Tuttle said.
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Under the IRS code, places of worship can distribute voter guides, run nonpartisan voter registration drives and hold forums on issues, among other things. However, they cannot endorse a candidate, and their political activity cannot be biased for or against a candidate, directly or indirectly - a sometimes murky line. The IRS said in a statement it is aware of Sunday’s initiative and “will monitor the situation and take action as appropriate.”
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The ban on churches intervening in candidate campaigns survived a court challenge when a U.S. appellate court upheld the revocation of tax-exempt status of a New York church that took out a newspaper ad urging Christians to vote against Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election.
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Opposition to Sunday’s sermon initiative was widespread. A United Church of Christ minister in Ohio rallied other religious leaders to file a complaint with the IRS. Roman Catholic Archbishop John Favalora of Miami wrote that the archdiocese abides by IRS rules in part because “we can do a lot for our communities with the money we save by being tax-exempt.”
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Two-thirds of adults oppose political endorsements from churches and other places of worship and 52 percent want them out of politics altogether, according to a survey last month from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Ecuador Constitution Approved - Allows Gay Marriage

Despite the efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to interfere with the civil laws, voters in Ecuador have approved a new constitution that among other things grants civil marriage rights to gay couples. It is sad that as the rest of the world, including nations that do not have good civil rights records, is moving steady towards marriage equality, the religious extremists in the USA are seeking to write discrimination and bigotry into state constitutions. Here are highlights from the BBC:
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With most ballots counted, results show 64% of voters backed the charter, an outcome President Rafael Correa hailed as a "historic win". He has said the new constitution will help bring about a more just society and tackle instability in Ecuador. . . . . The package contains some of the most wide-ranging proposals the country - or any country in the region - has seen, says the BBC's Daniel Schweimler.
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President Correa is offering more say in the running of the country to women, the poor and Ecuador's large indigenous community. He says he is trying to reduce the power and influence of the business and land-owning elite which has always run the country.
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KEY POINTS:
* Tightening controls of vital industries and reducing monopolies
* Declaring some foreign loans illegitimate
* Expropriating and redistributing idle farm land
* Allowing the president to stand for a second four-year term in office
* Giving free health care for older citizens
* Allowing civil marriage for gay partners

More Monday Male Beauty

Dedicated to "Karen Grube" whoever she/he may be.

The Rantings of An Uber Christianist Lunatic

This morning I did a post discussing Google's decision to oppose Proposition 8 which would take away the right of gays to marry in California. I guess I should have known that the post would be simply too much for the Uber Christian crowd - who think this country exists ONLY for them and their fanatic beliefs and take a f*ck everyone else approach to legal rights - to pass up. Sure enough, I received a loony as bat shit comment from someone who used the name Karen Grube (the profile was bogus since "Karen" is apparently a gutless wonder) letting loose hate directed at Google's Sergey Brin, the California Supreme Court, and of course gays.
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Among the writer's rantings were the standard thread about boycotting Google. Frankly, given the extreme ignorance and anti-knowledge/intelligence mindset of most Christianists, I was a bit surprised he/she was savvy enough to set up a bogus blogger profile. However, he/she made up for that surprise by ranting on ad nauseaum in favor of what best can be described as mob majority (i.e., lynch mob) rule. The writer demonstrated that they were utterly clueless as to the separation of powers among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government and the role of the courts in PROTECTING the rights of minorities from the majority.
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As I have noted before, one has to wonder how people end up so delusional and full of hate that they embrace a hate based version of religion and seek to marginalize - or worse - minority groups who differ from them in skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. I can only conclude that someone that takes such a course has SERIOUS emotional and mental health issues them self. "Karen Grube" certainly struck me as one in need of very serious mental health (probably residential) treatment. That he/she thought I'd publish their comments is equally delusional. My policy is to never expose my readers to bat shit crazy, hate-filled bile written by those whose parents sadly failed to use effective birth control.