Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Male Beauty



Paul Ryan - Are Republicans Out of Their Minds?

In answer to the title of this post, I'd say that, yes, most Republicans are out of their minds. The few that aren't batshit crazy or drinking laced Christianist Kool-Aid are worrying how to avoid blowing an opportunity to defeat Obama in 2012. The current GOP presidential candidate field leaves much to be desired by rational Republicans. Perry and Bachmann are religious extremists while Romney has no personality and his Mormon faith makes him anathema to the Christianist base of the GOP. Thus, the question becomes one of who can be coaxed into getting into the race. As a New Republic piece discusses, some want to recruit Paul Ryan, although Ryan - even though the Tea Party crowd might support him - might be radioactive enough to energize Democrats. That the GOP finds itself without a decent candidate is largely the leadership's fault. They've allowed the party to become so sectarian and so far to the right that rational candidates may find it impossible to be nominated. Here are highlights from the TNR story:

The sub-headline in Stephen Hayes’ latest Weekly Standard post trumpeting the possible emergence of a Paul Ryan presidential campaign lists some big political names who are encouraging the idea: “Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, John Boehner, Jim Jordan, and Bill Bennett encourage Ryan to run for president.”

A Ryan candidacy, in other words, would rigidly align the GOP with its least popular ideas at the very moment that all Democrats, from the president to the lowliest House candidate, are desperate to make this a “comparative” election instead of a temperature reading on life in the Obama era. So why would prominent Republicans be interested in making Democrats so very happy?

One explanation is that Paul Ryan may be simply too emblematic of contemporary Republican thinking to be resisted by his own party.
As TNR’s Jonathan Chait (one of the few progressive commentators who have consistently predicted Ryan would run) put it, “He is adored by party activists and elites in equal measure and is the embodiment of the party consensus.”

But my hunch is that the main motivation behind the growing Ryan boom in elite circles is that Republicans have more or less decided they cannot lose the presidential race in 2012 unless their candidate has big personal flaws or comes off as legitimately crazy. As a result, they are beginning to assess the field in terms of capacity to serve as president rather than mere electability. And they don’t like what they see. Tim Pawlenty would have been fine, but he’s gone. Mitt Romney would be fine, as well, but he may struggle to win the nomination, leaving the field (unless someone like Ryan enters) to less-fine candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.

This we-can’t-lose, so-let’s-win-right point of view was most clearly expressed the other day by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat: Romney and Perry will be competing to face possibly the weakest incumbent since Jimmy Carter, with the world in turmoil and the economy adrift. Six months ago, it still seemed as if Republican primary voters might be choosing a sacrificial lamb to run against Barack Obama. Now it looks as if they might be choosing the next president. This should inspire Republicans to return, yet again, to the question that has dogged their party’s field all year. Is this really the best we can do?

The bottom line is that growing Republican optimism about 2012 is leading GOP elites to think seriously about candidates like Ryan, whose popularity among grassroots rank-and-file Republicans makes his nomination at least a realistic, if still a long-shot, scenario. But the same calculation could lead to a general election campaign that gives pessimistic Democrats a seriously renewed hope for victory.

Bachmann Staffer Arrested for Terrorism in Uganda

If there was any lack of evidence of Michele Bachmann's extremism, which of course is not the case, news coverage on the past terrorism arrest of one of her top staffers fills that void. Peter E. Waldron who is rallying Bachmann's faith-based support and who played a key role in her Ames Straw Poll win was arrested five years ago in Uganda on weapons charges. The charges could have led to life in prison, but were dropped in March 2006 after a pressure campaign by Waldron's Christianist friends and colleagues and what Waldron claims was intervention by Chimperator Bush's administration. One would think that a responsible politician would have nothing to do with someone with a questionable past like Waldron, but not so with "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann. Since Christian Dominionists want to overthrow the nation's constitutional form of government, Waldron fits right in with her. Here are highlights from The Atlantic:

The evangelical organizer who helped Michele Bachmann win the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa Saturday was previously charged with terrorism in Uganda after being arrested for possession of assault rifles and ammunition in February 2006, just days before Uganda's first multi-party elections in 20 years.

Peter E. Waldron spent 37 days in the Luriza Prison outside Kampala, where he says he was tortured, after being arrested along with six Congolese and Ugandan nationals for the weapons, which were described variously in news reports as having been found in his bedroom or a closet in his home. The charges, which could have led to life in prison, were dropped in March 2006 after a pressure campaign by Waldron's friends and colleagues and what Waldron says was the intervention of the Bush administration. He was released and deported from the east African nation, along with the Congolese. On Saturday, Waldron told The Atlantic in Ames that he was a staffer for Bachmann and responsible for her faith-based organizing both in Iowa and South Carolina. But he also declined repeatedly to give his name.

Asked about Waldron's role and background, Alice Stewart, the press secretary for the Bachmann for President campaign, replied in an email: "Michele's faith is an important part of her life and Peter did a tremendous job with our faith outreach in Iowa. We are fortunate to have him on our team and look forward to having him expanding his efforts in several states."

[T]he Kampala Monitor reported that the inspector general of police "told a news conference Waldron was suspected of links to a group in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 'planned to set up a political party here based on Christian principles.'"

At the time of his arrest, Waldron was hailed on one blog as being ""the latest victim of Christian persecution in Africa." His allies seeking to free him said he was being persecuted for his reports in the "Africa Dispatch" newsletter about Ugandan opposition activities, and that he denied that he owned or was storing weapons.

Waldron has been described at times as a leader of a wide variety of organizations, including Advancing American Freedom (co-founder); Christians Restoring America's Greatness (founder and president); Cities of Faith Ministries (founder); the Contact America Group, Inc. (president); and The Save The Family Foundation (president).

Waldron did not reply to emails seeking comment sent to three different addresses linked to his websites.

Frankly, Waldron sounds a bit unsavory. And, based on his alleged organizations, he seem to know how to live well by shaking down the sheeple. Thus, it's no surprise that he's in bed with Bachmann.

FRC Calls "It Gets Better" Campaign "Immoral," "Disgusting," "Perversion"


The foul stench that is the Family Research Council never ceases to amaze me in terms of its unlimited outright nastiness, hatred of almost everyone and desire to ruin the lives of other humans. Worse yet, these falsely pious hate merchants wrap themselves in the flag of religion. As I noted before, if these people represent what Christianity is about, then I want nothing to do with it. In it's latest despicable anti-gay action, FRC is attacking pretty much anyone who has appeared in a video for the "It Gets Better" project, including Barack Obama. In a letter seeking contributions from the bigoted, dim witted and mentally deranged (click on image above), FRC calls the "It Gets Better" project - yes, the project that is aimed at reducing gay teen suicides - is "immoral," "disgusting" and a "perversion." Of course, if anything is immoral, disgusting and a perversion it's FRC and white supremacist lovers like Tony Perkins. Apparently in FRC's view gay teen suicides are a good thing since it reduces the number of gays in the world. Here are highlights from Right Wing Watch's take on this hate filled batshitery:

Today in the mail I received a letter from the Family Research Council seeking to use the "It Gets Better" project to outrage right-wing activists into opening their wallets and donating money to FRC.

In it, FRC said it was "disgusting" that the Obama administration would support this effort, calling homosexuality both "immoral" and a "perversion" and accusing activists of using the project in order to "recruit [kids] into that 'lifestyle'."

As noted on this blog before, the number one obstacle to effective suicide prevention programs for LGBT teens is the Christian Right and falsely named "family values" organizations. The groups have about as much to do with true family vales as the KKK. They literally sicken me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Homophobe Bob Marshall Bashes Maryland Governor Even Though a Majority of Maryland Catholics Support Gay Marriage

Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (dubbed douche of the week by Queerty) never misses an opportunity to denigrate or marginalize LGBT citizens who do not subscribe to his legalistic - and likely self-loathing inducing - religious bigotry. It seems nothing makes Marshall more near orgasmic that maligning LGBT citizens which, of course, suggests that Marshall has sexual identity issues of his own. Marshall targets gays even when they in question live outside the borders of Virginia. Marshall's latest anti-gay offense takes the form of an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun attacking Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for not knuckling under to the hate and homophobia promulgated by Archbishop Edwin O’Brien. The irony, of course, is that O'Malley better represents the views of Maryland Catholics than does the priggish O'Brien who disseminates anti-gay blather as dictated by the Vatican. First these highlights form Queerty:

Each week, Queerty picks one blowhard, hypocrite, airhead, sanctimonious prick or other enemy of all that is queer to be the Douche of the Week. . . . . This week’s douche is Bob Marshall. Who, you ask? He’s the author of an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun on Monday. We contemplated calling out the Sun for even publishing it, but First Amendment rights and all. Instead we’ll just go right for the jugular and tell Mr. Bob Marshall what a straight-up vinegar-and-water douche he is.

In his piece, Marshall—a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and self-proclaimed “Catholic legislator”— takes issue with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who wrote a letter to the Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien suggesting O’Brien not get involved in the state’s gay-marriage debate. (The missive was a response to a letter O’Brien had originally written O’Malley.) In his letter, O’Malley, a Catholic, basically tells O’Brien to keep his big sacrament-giving yap shut about civil marriages:

He’s [Marshall.s] apparently never heard of the term “separation of Church and State,” because he suggests “Governor O’Malley think twice before he checks his faith at the door of the governor’s mansion.” Good one, Marshall. Good one. The latest DOTW continues to blab about how unnatural homosexuals are, writing: Sexual orientation is not limited to same- or complementary-sex attractions but includes attractions to children, prostitutes, multiple wives (polygamy) dead persons (necrophilia), animals, inanimate objects, and others that could not be printed in the Baltimore Sun out of deference to readers.

Marshall’s opinion piece is a poorly parsed pack of lies with no place in the Baltimore Sun or any reputable new outlet and we’re calling him out. All together now: “What a douche!”

Some might say Queerty's a bit harsh on Marshall. But as a Virginian who has followed Marshall's unending anti-gay jihad, I'd say the article isn't harsh enough. Marshall needs some serious mental health intervention - and a hot night with a gay escort to get his transferred hatred out of his system.

What's truly ironic is that a majority of Maryland Catholics agree wit Governor O'Malley, not the archbishop. Here's what Catholics for Equality has to say about the issue of gay marriage in Maryland:

Maryland Catholics for Equality, a state-wide political group of Catholics in Maryland who support civil equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens is weighing in on the recent exchange between Governor Martin O'Malley and Archbishop Edwin O'Brien over the Governor's support for our state's marriage equality bill. The group applauds Gov. O'Malley for his support for equal rights for all Maryland citizens and believes Archbishop O'Brien's political criticism is both inappropriate and a bad use of his time, while churches and schools are closing due to lack of funding. The group also states that Archbishop O'Brien is also out of step with the majority of Catholics in Maryland who support civil marriage for loving and committed same-gender couples.

"A Grove Insight poll conducted in February 2011, showed that 55% of Catholics in Maryland support civil marriage. This is several points higher than the state at large, so the idea that our Archbishop has the backing of Catholics in the pews is ridiculous." . . . . We're proud to have a Catholic governor who understands that as a public official, he serves the people of Maryland, not the will of any one religious institution, especially his own," stated Calhoun, "Governor O'Malley is standing on the shoulders of great American Catholic leaders like President John F. Kennedy, who proved to the country that you could trust Catholics in elected office not to be controlled by Rome."

The national Catholics for Equality group went on to criticize Archbishop O'Brien for not recognizing the important difference between civil marriage, the kind you get from the justice of the peace, and religious marriage, which all religious groups is free to decide for themselves, weather they wish to perform.
Rome and the Church hierarchy can try to control the laity, but rank and file Catholics increasingly recognize the hierarchy's moral bankruptcy and decide issues based on their conscience as opposed to acting as unthinking puppets of Rome. As I've noted before, I wish more would vote with their feet and leave the Church. Falling membership and declining collection plate revenues are all that really get through to the senile old men in dresses at the Vatican

Friday Male Beauty



Are Moderate Republicans Now Drinking Kool-Aid?

As I've noted before, once upon a time I was an active Republican in the days before the Christianist take over of the party. Most of my former GOP "friends" dropped me like a hot potato when I came out and I heard frequent reports of how some had dragged my name through the mud because of my "lifestyle choice." Despite this back stabbing and general nastiness, I've remained in touch with some I knew from that time period - generally those who were moderates, some of whom were criticized by the far right elements for not being extreme enough to satisfy the Pat Robertson crowd.

Recently, I had an e-mail encounter with one such moderate (or at least former moderate) which was fairly discouraging because this individual sounded as if their sole source of information was Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. About the only point we agreed on was that the country is in a mess. Missing from my friend's statements was any willingness to accept GOP culpability for any part of the problems facing the country. You know, things like the 44%+ share of the deficit incurred under Chimperator Bush's 8 years of misrule. Also missing was any ability to see another perspective - especially from an LGBT perspective. Indeed, at times I was described as a single issue voter by this individual. Naturally, I disagreed and made a further comment that if the country continued its rightward lurch to insanity, the boyfriend and I might even consider leaving the USA.

This latter remark set off a defense of the USA as the best country in the world and how could I think such a thing. My response was as follows:

It's a sad reality, but the USA is no longer the a land of freedom of religion or equality under the law for all its citizens. No country is perfect, but for LGBT Americans more and more foreign countries offer a better life. I have more legal rights in all of these countries than I have in the USA/Virginia:

Marriage rights:
Argentina
Belgium
Canada
Iceland
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Civil unions or domestic partnerships:
Andorra
Austria
Brazil
Colombia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Ecuador
Finland
France
- New Caledonia
- Wallis and Futuna
Germany
Greenland
Hungary
Ireland
Isle of Man
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
New Zealand
Slovenia
Switzerland
United Kingdom
Uruguay

I'm not saying any one of them is perfect, but in terms of recognizing me as a full citizen with a valid relationship (and non-discrimination protections in many cases) they offer more than the USA. Republicans and supposed conservatives have no idea - not that most of them even care - of the damage that they do to the lives of LGBT individuals. Gay teens continue to kill themselves in disproportionate numbers yet Bachmann and others in the GOP continue the message of hate. No, I'm not sorry that I posted the remark.

Not surprisingly, that ended the interchange and I've received no reply. Sometimes facing the truth is not easy, but until those in the GOP will take a good look at themselves in the mirror, things are not going to get better. I've never been a "America Right of Wrong" citizen. I believe that sometimes the greatest patriots are those who will speak the truth and criticize what's wrong.

Why Obama Faces an Uphill Reelection Fight

Michael Gerson in a Washington Post column looks at the apparent Obama strategy as the 2012 election campaign begins to heat up. Back in 2008 few of us who supported Obama would have dreamed - or maybe a nightmare better describes it - thought we'd be looking at such a desolate political landscape at this point. On the right, we have the lunatics that for the most part pass as viable GOP presidential contenders (not to mention the Kool-Aid drinking GOP freshmen in Congress). On the left, we have the spineless Follower-in-Chief who gives away half the store before he even begins to negotiate. It's all very disheartening and in the case of Obama's terrible polling numbers, he's done it largely to himself. It's hard to please everyone all of the time. But it takes real effort to disappoint almost everyone all of the time as well. Here are highlights from Gerson's column:

As the presidential election of 2012 grinds into gear, President Obama is already behind. To be safe, a president needs a Gallup job approval of 50 percent or better on Election Day. George W. Bush narrowly won reelection in 2004 with a 48 percent Gallup approval, mainly because his voters were more motivated than John Kerry’s. After a long, slow slide, Obama’s approval hovers in the low 40s. He starts with ground to make up.

Lacking the momentum of an economic recovery, the Obama campaign is signaling three elements of a political recovery strategy.

First — 32 months after his inauguration, 28 months after the unemployment rate first surged past 9 percent — Obama will propose a “very specific” jobs package. In September. Following a well-deserved vacation. Specificity would be welcome. This is different, however, from timeliness or seriousness. And the proposals gaining trial-balloon status are late and weak.

The second element of Obama’s recovery strategy is to distance himself from a divided, dysfunctional, unpopular Congress. This, of course, is not fully consistent with element one — getting legislative achievements out of an institution you are savaging. These attacks are not new or, so far, successful. . . . . Americans justifiably held the entire political class responsible. A president cannot distance himself from a process he is supposed to lead and failed to lead effectively.

Third, the Obama camp has previewed a campaign of personal attacks against its Republican opponent, whoever it happens to be. . . . As president, Obama has been comfortable practicing the Chicago way of politics. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry now offers a target so tempting that even Democrats outside Chicago will find it hard to resist.

Obama’s cause is far from hopeless. His support has declined but not collapsed. A weak Republican opponent would help. And this emerging strategy — proposing symbolic measures on jobs, bashing an unpopular Congress and discrediting rivals — may be Obama’s only option. A campaign taking credit for positive economic accomplishments would be nearly silent.

Following expectations few presidents have raised as high, Obama has transformed into the most typical of politicians. There is little distinctive, elevated or inspirational about his message or his tactics. And this adds an unwanted accomplishment: the further political disillusionment of a nation.

Obama has indeed convinced many younger voters - and many older ones - that even seemingly inspirational candidates are not a good bet. Despite the promises and pretty words, in the end nothing changes. The message is one that is very dangerous for the country.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Thursday Male Beauty



Conservatives Seek to Out and/or Take Down Rick Perry

You have to love it when the far right crazies start attacking each other. It's even more fun when the goal is to either "out" a politician or document that he's a philanderer. But that's exactly what a Ron Paul supporter is doing to Rick Perry. The ad shown above is what Austin Ron Paul supporter Robert Morrow has published to solicit whatever dirt he can find on Perry. Given Perry's extremism and anti-gay stances, I cannot help but in some ways to hope that Morrow is successful. Besides possible crippling Perry's campaign, it would be a huge embarrassment to AFA and other Christianist organizations who participated in "The Response" on August 6, 2011. Here are highlights from Salon on Morrow's advertisement:

An Austin Ron Paul supporter has taken out a full-page ad in the local alt weekly newspaper seeking any "stripper ... escort ... or 'young hottie'" who has slept with Rick Perry, part of his single-minded jihad against the presidential candidate.

CASH is the Committee Against Sexual Hypocrisy, of which Morrow is president. "Is it a real group? No. It's just me," he told Salon earlier this week.

Morrow claims that he knows strippers in Austin who have stories about Perry, but none of them are willing to come forward to the press; hence, the need for an ad in the Chronicle. "I think it's only a matter of time until somebody credible comes forward," he told me.

At the bottom of the ad is a nod to the longtime (and equally unsubstantiated) rumors that Perry, who has pursued sundry anti-gay policies, is himself gay. "Note to gay people: If you know the truth about Rick, please QUIT covering for him," it reads.

Just this past June, Politico reported that Perry's organization was "more than prepared" for a re-airing of the gay rumors. His spokesman said that Perry and his wife, Anita, "have been lovingly married since 1982 and are parents to two grown children."

Don't you just love the way having children is held out as absolute proof that one is straight? Hmm . . .I was married 24 years and have three grown children. Does that make me more straight than Perry?

Has the GOP Learned Anything From the Palin Debacle?

David Frum - who remains one of the few rational and reality based conservative pundits - has a column in The Week which asks the question of whether or not the GOP has learned anything from the Sarah Palin debacle. In my view, the selection of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate by John McCain more than anything else cause McCain to lose to Barack Obama. I know many Republicans who could have held their nose and voted for McCain rather than Obama but for Palin. My late mother was one such long time Republican who absolutely detested Palin and because of that voted for Obama. Now, with the utterly unhinged Michele Bachmann and Christian Dominionist boot licker Rick Perry as serious GOP candidates for the GOP nomination, Frum frets that the GOP learned nothing from the 2008 Palin disaster. Someone may be able to energize the looniest elements of the party base, but if they will be radioactive in the general election, they should never be nominated - at least not if the goal is to win the election. Here are highlights from Frum's column:

This week, Sarah Palin stoked a late, brief flurry of speculation that she might enter the 2012 presidential race. I won't try to predict the former Alaska governor's decision. But I will predict this: If Palin does enter the race, she won't be any kind of factor.

Over the past three years, Palin has systematically laid waste to the basis for a presidential campaign. By her own words and actions, she has discredited herself and alienated her one-time supporters. But before Palin vanishes into her hard-earned obscurity, Republicans need an assessment and an accounting. Had John McCain won in 2008, we would have put an incompetent, deceitful, and vengeful person second in line to the presidency.

[T]he people who promoted and celebrated the Palin pick have disavowed — or at least abandoned — their former enthusiasm. They no longer accuse those who objected to the pick of "elitism" or "snobbishness" or "misogyny." . . . But before the episode is consigned to forgetfulness, there are some lessons to be learned of urgent value for 2012 and beyond.

[1.]More respect for brains as a qualification for the presidency.

Within days of the announcement of Palin as GOP running mate, it became obvious to everybody that she could not pronounce two coherent consecutive sentences on any aspect of national policy, foreign or domestic.

[I]t remains true even now that Republicans do not take intelligence or expertise very seriously as qualifications for the presidency. Mitt Romney's smarts do him surprisingly little good; Rick Perry's non-smarts do him disturbingly little harm; and Michele Bachmann's out-beyond-the-Orion-belt substitutions for familiarity with life here on Earth only intensify the admiration of her fan base.

[2.] Quit treating consumption patterns as substitutes for character.

[T]he choice of cowboy boots over loafers, enjoyment of hunting rather than bicycling, a preference for ketchup over mustard — these tell us precisely nothing about a candidate's character. Yet it was precisely these kinds of irrelevant lifestyle choices that persuaded so many conservatives that Sarah Palin would be a fitting leader. She drops her "g"s! Her husband owns a fishing boat!

[3.]Involve more women as party decision-makers.

The Republican party's nomination of its first female vice presidential candidate led to an utterly unexpected effect: a collapse of female support for the Republican Party national ticket. In the single month of October 2008, Sarah Palin's favorabilities among independent women dropped by more than 20 points. Within a year of Palin's appearance on the national scene, a plurality of female Republicans dismissed her as "unqualified" for the presidency.

Had women participated in the selection process, one of them would have issued a warning: "Boys, I gotta tell you — whatever she's doing for you, she's not doing for me." . . . . Here was a woman candidate chosen by men who do not respect women. No surprise what happened next. And unfortunately — it's still happening.

He's right. Why does the name "Michele Bachmann" immediately spring to mind??

New Prosecutorial Discretion in Same Sex Couple Immigration Cases

One of the many areas where the discriminatory, religious based federal Defense of Marriage Act relegates LGBT Americans to less than full citizen status is in the area of foreign spouse immigration. For heterosexual married couples where one is a foreign national, all one needs to do is fill out the proper immigration forms and pay the applicable fee and the foreign spouse gains admission to and can remain in the USA. In the case of same sex couples, because of DOMA, the foreign spouse is treated as a complete legal stranger to their American spouse with the result that the foreign spouse faces deportation after their visa expires. All so that nasty, self-enriching Christianist political whores like Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, et al, can feel better about themselves and superior to LGBT citizens. It's a situation that is beyond sick and needs to be ended. Now, while DOMA challenges continue to wind their way through the courts, the Obama, administration has belatedly moved to allow discretion in the prosecution of deportation cases that may allow more foreign spouses in same sex couples to remain in the USA. Here are highlights from MetroWeekly on the development:

Responding on behalf of President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid detailing that the department is in the process of implementing changes to enable the government to focus its resources on high-priority immigration cases involving crime and other public safety concerns.

A senior administration official says the changes are aimed at moving prosecutorial discretion exercised by immigration enforcement officials from an "ad hoc" system to a system focused on the "highest priorities" that will "eliminate the lowest priority cases" – including, another senior administration official says, same-sex couples where one partner is facing deportation.

In response to a question from Metro Weekly about the impact of today's decision on same-sex couples, a second senior administration official said, "The prosecutorial discretion memo provides for the use of discretion for people with strong community ties, with community contributions and with family relationships. We consider LGBT families to be families in this context." Asked specifically if that included same-sex couples, the official said, "Yes."

The second official notes that there are 300,000 removal cases pending. Those whose removal cases are set aside will be eligible to apply for work permits, the second official said, but the decision about whether to grant them will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Attorney Lavi Soloway, whose work at Stop the Deportations has resulted in several couples where one partner was facing deportation having the deportation put on hold, called Napolitano's move ''historic.'' He told Metro Weekly, ''By undertaking a review of all pending deportation cases at the highest level and clarifying that existing prosecutorial discretion guidelines include LGBT families, Secretary Napolitano will now have the opportunity to stop every deportation involving a lesbian or gay binational couple.''


While this is a welcomed development, the real solution is to throw DOMA on the trash heap of history and remove Christianist religious based definitions of CIVIL marriage from the federal laws. As note before, DOMA makes a mockery of the alleged promise of religious freedom guaranteed to all citizens by the U. S. Constitution regardless of whether or not they conform to Christianist religious precepts.

Thursday Male Beauty



NOM's "Marriage Pledge" Seeks a Witch Hunt Against Gays

One of the things initially missed in the so-called "Marriage Pledge" that the toxic National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") wants politicians to endorse is the establishment of a "presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters." That's right - the organization that puts out constant lies and untruths about LGBT Americans and their families is playing the victim yet again. NOM's hypocrisy truly knows no limits. If any commission is needed it's one that would investigate organizations like NOM and its Christianist allies and put them out of business. Or at least revoke the tax-exempt status of all such groups. As I've said many times before, Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown make the most tawdry whores look virtuous in comparison to themselves. Alvin McEwen looks at this batshitery from NOM:

While there is a lot of noise being made over the National Organization for Marriage's pledge to supposedly "protect marriage," a passage in that pledge is escaping some much deserved scrutiny. Amongst other things, those presidential candidates who signed the pledge, should they get elected to the presidency, has promised to: Appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters.

First of all, who would be on this committee? Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown? Or how about Peter Sprigg or Tony Perkins? Or even worse, Matt Barber? I would say Peter LaBarbera but even I'm not that crazy.

And just what would they investigate or rather how would they investigate certain matters? Remember during the Clinton Administration, how investigations of Whitewater "magically" pivoted to other matters having absolutely nothing to do with legal matters but more about Clinton's personal life?

Whose to say that this "commission" wouldn't turn into a fishing expedition determined to undermine and destroy pro-gay organizations? And I haven't even mention bloggers. Imagine being called before a committee and forced to give personal testimony about some false claim (which will no doubt be played up heavily by Fox News, conservative bloggers, and religious right groups) simply because you published a fact as to how religious right groups lie.

No doubt, a list of pro-gay organizations and bloggers to be "investigated" is already forming in the minds of NOM and its allies.

The gay community would do well for itself to lose its jaded pose and get itself into the game of the 2012 election. We already seem to have a huge target on our back this election cycle - as unfortunately we always do every election cycle - so it seems to me that the best thing to do is to stop griping about being targets and start establishing a few targets ourselves.

Alvin has a point. I know some theocratic far right elements - e.g., The Family Foundation - follow this blog and they do not exactly hold me in high regard since I tell the truth about them while they lie about LGBT citizens. On the positive side, since I've tightened the requirement to leave comments on this blog I've stopped receiving death threats - all from "loving Christians," of course.

71% Disapprove of Obama on Economy

It seems that coming across as spineless and a follower as opposed to being a leader with a plan for the nation is catching up with the Follower-in-Chief. A new Gallup poll shows a 71% disapproval rate for Obama's handling of the economy. And even if Chimperator Bush and the GOP Congress created the current economic mess, Obama has now done enough (or not enough depending on one's perspective) through his refusal to lead and constant capitulations to the GOP controlled House to make the disaster his own. The irony is that if the GOP could manage to nominate someone rational - a big if given the growing irrationality of the GOP base - Obama would very likely be toast in 2012. And in many ways, deservedly so. Indeed, if Obama is re-elected, it will be due to the GOP's failure to select a viable opponent, not because Obama's been a satisfactory president in the minds of many in the voting public. Politico looks at the new poll results and here are some highlights:

Ratings for President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy have fallen to their lowest level yet, with barely more than one in four of Americans for a new poll saying they approve of the work he’s done. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed for a Gallup poll released Wednesday support the president’s handling of the economy, while 71 percent disapprove of it.

Just over half of the Democrats surveyed support Obama on the economy, while 23 percent of independents and just five percent of Republicans say the same.

The low ratings for Obama’s handling of the economy come as Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the United States hit its second-lowest level ever in the Gallup survey, with just 11 percent saying they are satisfied.

The top concern weighing on Americans’ views of the country’s path is the economy in general, which was cited by 31 percent of those surveyed. Another 29 percent pointed to unemployment and jobs, while 17 percent said they were most troubled by the federal budget deficit and debt. Just 24 percent of those surveyed said they support Obama’s efforts on the deficit.

As Obama plans to announce a broader jobs plan with a speech in September, just 29 percent of Americans they approve of his efforts to create jobs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Wednesday Male Beauty



Karl Rove: It’s ‘Offensive’ To Say the USA Is A Christian Nation

It's pretty frightening to find oneself to be in agreement with Karl Rove. But bizarrely, Karl Rove made a statement on Fox News that must have the Christianists enraged and convulsing. He correctly stated that the USA was not founded as a "Christian nation" and took those who claim that it was to task. The video above captures Rove's statement which the cynic in me suspects is motivated by fears that the extremists in the Republican Party will nominate a presidential candidate that will be incapable of winning in a general election. As noted today in a prior post, out side the Tea Party/Christian Right, most Americans want less religion in politics, not more of it. Here's a quote of Rove's remarks via Think Progress:

Social conservatives often insist the U.S. was founded to be a “Christian nation,” and they accuse progressives and President Obama of undermining these supposedly core values. But leading conservative strategist Karl Rove called the notion that the U.S. is Christian “offensive” on Fox News last night. “We are based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, we derive a lot from it, but if you say we’re a Christian nation, what about the Jews, what about the Muslims, what about the non-believers?” Rove said the president, in one of his books, inaccurately quoted Rove as calling the U.S a “Christian nation,” a misquote he was clearly offended by.

Panama Upgrading Canal - A Past Family Connection

This post has nothing to do with gay rights or politics, but given that my mother's father worked on building the Panama Canal and made enough money to put himself through medical school and ultimately invest in Central America, I continue to follow events in Panama and Honduras. Thus, it was of interest that Panama is in the process of doing a major upgrade to the Panama Canal which when completed will double the amount of goods that will be able to transit from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean and Atlantic. Here are highlights from the New York Times:

About a mile long, several hundred feet wide and more than 100 feet deep, the excavation is an initial step in the building of a larger set of locks for the Panama Canal that should double the amount of goods that can pass through it each year.

The $5.25 billion project, scheduled for completion in 2014, is the first expansion in the history of the century-old shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific. By allowing much bigger container ships and other cargo vessels to easily reach the Eastern United States, it will alter patterns of trade and put pressure on East and Gulf Coast ports like Savannah, Ga., and New Orleans to deepen harbors and expand cargo-handling facilities.

The new third set of locks will help eliminate some of those backlogs, by adding perhaps 15 passages to the daily total. More important, the locks will be able to handle “New Panamax” ships — 25 percent longer, 50 percent wider and, with a deeper draft as well, able to carry two or three times the cargo.

The expansion is being financed with loans from development banks to be repaid through tolls that currently reach several hundred thousand dollars for large ships. The project is huge by Panama’s standards; among other things, the country’s largest rock-crushing plant has sprung up, almost overnight, to turn the mountain of excavated rubble into sand and stone for the concrete.

Like the construction of the original canal, an engineering masterpiece that opened in 1914 after 10 years of work by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the expansion project is a daunting task, but for different reasons. The corps had to tackle tropical diseases that had killed thousands of workers during an earlier failed effort by the French. It had to excavate — and, crucially, dispose of — tens of millions of cubic yards of dirt and rock. And it built locks that were then the world’s largest.

Deeper approach channels are being dredged on both coasts. And on the Pacific side, crews are excavating a long channel that will connect the new locks to the Culebra Cut. The channel through GatĂșn Lake is being widened so that larger ships can pass each other.

The new locks, which will account for about half the cost of the project, will work on the same principle used by the existing ones: moved solely by gravity, water is fed into or emptied from the chambers, raising or lowering the ships inside. But the new locks will use a different kind of gate at the end of each chamber, which should make maintenance easier and less disruptive. They will also have a feature found on some canals in Europe: three shallow basins next to each lock that will store water and reuse it. With the basins, the new locks will use about four million fewer gallons of water for each ship’s passage through the canal than the much smaller existing locks

The water-saving basins, with an elaborate system of culverts and valves to divert water to and from the chambers, may be the project’s most technologically challenging part. Operators will use computer controls that are a far cry from the electromechanical ones, with brass and glass indicators and chrome valve handles, that were used from 1914 until just a few years ago. Despite the system’s complexities, Mr. Quijano, the canal authority official, insisted that the authority was capable of carrying it out successfully. “We have not invented anything that has not been invented before,” he said.

It's an amazing project and perhaps one day I will get to visit Panama. Who knows, given the way the USA under the GOP is rushing towards backwardness and is lagging behind many Latin American nations on LGBT rights, the boyfriend and I might even retire to a country like Panama.

Rick Perry, Porn Monger for President?

OMG!! If this story proves accurate, it will be way too funny! La Figa at Fire Dog Lake has a story to the effect that GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry formerly owned stock in a company called Movie Gallery, a video rental company that was boycotted by American Family Association. Why the boycott? Because Movie Gallery was the largest distributor of pornography in America and the only major retail chain to sell pornography in its flagship stores. As reported, Movie Gallery carried a number of videos that were enough to make Don Wildmon have an aneurysm (assuming, of course, he wasn't actually secretly longing to view the videos himself). Here are some story highlights:

Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign office did not respond to repeated requests regarding his ownership of stock in Movie Gallery, a video rental company that was boycotted by American Family Association for the pornographic and violent films it sold and rented. Some of the titles included Teens with Tits Vol. 1, Teen Power Vol. 4, Teens Never Say No, Big Tit Brotha Lovers 6, Bisexual Barebacking Vol. 1 which from its title and cover appears to advocate gay and straight naked fornication and sodomy.

American Family Association, Perry’s partner in the recent Jesuspalooza fundamentalist rally in Houston, The Response, crusaded for years against Movie Gallery, urging boycotts beginning in 2000 and rejoicing in the chain’s closure.

When questioned about their awareness of Perry’s stock in Movie Gallery, one AFA press person gasped, "Why, I had no idea!" Randy Sharp, AFA’s point person for the Movie Gallery boycott did not return our call by press time.

Rick Perry’s financial records–before he put all his publicly traded stock in a blind trust (established in 1996), making them unavailable to public scrutiny–show he invested between $5,000 to $10,000 in Movie Gallery, according to a 2006 article on Texas blog Burnt Orange, which cites Perry’s personal financial statement for 1995, the last year available.

Until it went out of business in 2010, Movie Gallery , the nation’s second largest video chain, was the largest distributor of pornography in America and the only major retail chain to sell pornography in its flagship stores. The margin of profit on porn allowed the chain to undercut rental prices on mainstream videos, forcing mom-and-pops out of business.

In 2003, Movie Gallery faced a $75 million federal lawsuit from an employee claiming racial discrimination. The suit also claimed Movie Gallery illegally distributed pornography across state lines. Additionally two suits were filed on behalf of smaller competing video stores, which allege that Movie Gallery’s profits from the illegal distribution of porn across state lines allow it to low ball the prices of non-porn movies.
Needless to say, I love it!! Talk about an embarrassment to AFA.

Is the Tea Party A Disguised Version of the Christian Right?

When it comes to general extremism and irrationality, the so-called Tea Party and the Christian Right have much in common. And outside of the Republican Party, the Tea Party and the Christian Right both rank very low in the minds of the general thinking, non-Kool-Aid drinking public. Thus, the question becomes one of whether or not the two are actually interchangeable with the Tea Party in reality being a stealth version of the Christian Right perhaps cynically put in place to recast the image of an element of the GOP base viewed as radioactive by rational, secular voters who do not embrace the concept of a theocracy. A piece in the New York Times suggest that, in fact, the Tea Party and the Christian Right are for the most part one and the same. Here are some story highlights:


GIVEN how much sway the Tea Party has among Republicans in Congress and those seeking the Republican presidential nomination, one might think the Tea Party is redefining mainstream American politics.

But in fact the Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic. To embrace the Tea Party carries great political risk for Republicans, but perhaps not for the reason you might think.

Polls show that disapproval of the Tea Party is climbing. . . . . politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.

So why are its negatives so high? To find out, we need to examine what kinds of people actually support it. Beginning in 2006 we interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans as part of our continuing research into national political attitudes, and we returned to interview many of the same people again this summer.

Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.

On everything but the size of government, Tea Party supporters are increasingly out of step with most Americans, even many Republicans.

Wednesday Male Beauty



More on the Texas Unmiracle

Now that Dominionist Rick Perry has officially entered into the GOP presidential contest focus on what has really happened in Texas is growing - a trend that hopefully will continue to intensify. Why? Because when one looks at the real economic situation in Texas, it's something far different that what is being advertised by Perry and his sycophants. Yes, the gross job numbers look good - that is until you look at the types of jobs involved. And as for the policies that attract new businesses, they may be great for business owners but not for the employees and their families. An op-ed in the Washington Post looks at the real data behind what Perry would pretend he can bring to the nation as a whole, not that we'd want it or that it's even workable. Here are some highlights:

Rick Perry’s Texas is Ross Perot’s Mexico come north. Through a range of enticements we more commonly associate with Third World nations — low wages, no benefits, high rates of poverty, scant taxes, few regulations and generous corporate subsidies — the state has produced its own “giant sucking sound,” attracting businesses from other states to a place where workers come cheap.

Perry’s calling card in the presidential race is his state’s record of job creation at a time when the national economy floundered. Yes, Texas has created lots of jobs, though that’s partly a reflection of the surge in oil prices, which in turn created tens of thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industries. What Perry touts in his stump speech, however, isn’t the oil boom but, rather, the low-tax, low-reg, handouts-to-business climate that prevails in Texas. It’s the kind of spiel that businesses hear every day from leaders of developing nations — Mexico and, even more, China.

Consider the Texas that Perry holds up to the rest of the nation for admiration. It has the fourth-highest poverty rate of any state. It tied with Mississippi last year for the highest percentage of workers in minimum-wage jobs. It ranks first in adults without high school diplomas. Twenty-six percent of Texans have no health insurance — the highest percentage of medically uninsured residents of any state. It leads the nation in the percentage of children who lack medical insurance.

Consider his indifference toward education: . . . . when confronted with a $27 billion budget deficit, Perry did not raise taxes but instead slashed $4 billion from K-12 schools. In this regard, the equation of Perry with China’s leaders is unfair to China: The Chinese understand that the better educated their people become, the more high-skill and high-compensating jobs their nation will attain. No such understanding seems to have permeated Perry’s brain.

What Perry either ignores or doesn’t know is how greatly Texas has benefited from the investments and regulations of the federal government he despises. . . . The New Deal threw money at Texas, bringing it dams, highways and schoolhouses. The cumulative effect of policies such as the federal minimum wage has been to diminish the disparity that long existed between the industrialized North and the more poverty-stricken South.

Perry wants to unravel the national social contract and once again have us go state by state, with the low-wage, low-reg states dragging down the others, much as Chinese mercantilism has dragged down wages and living standards across the United States. He is the 21st-century, homegrown version of the Manchurian candidate.

As is increasingly the norm for Republicans, objective facts and a knowledge of accurate history and the true effects of government programs doesn't matter. It's all about sound bites and PR spin. It's scary and if not stopped is leading the USA long term to third world status.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Tuesday Male Beauty



HRBOR's August Third Thursday Networking Event


As I have said many times in the past, HRBOR's networking events are always fun and a great way to network and meet people. HRBOR's August, 2011, Third Thursday will be at the Southeastern Foodbank of Virginia in Norfolk. Virginia State Senator Ralph Northam will be in attendance! Event details listed below. HRBOR members enter free but are asked to bring five non-perishable food items for the Foodbank. Guests may enter with either a $15 Guest Fee OR (this Month only) 10 non-perishable food items for the Foodbank!!! The Foodbank is at a historic low and welcome all donations, either cash, checks and/or non-perishable food donations. Here are details on the event:


Who: Hampton Roads Business OutReach
What: Third Thursday Business Net-working Event
Where: The Foodbank of Southeastern virginia 800 Tidewater Drive Norfolk, VA 23504
tel: ( 877) 486-4379
www.foodbankonline.org

When: Thursday, August 18th, 2011 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Parking: Ample parking available around the building.
Featured Non-profit: The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia www.foodbankonline.org

***Please bring non-perishable foods and/or donations to help the Foodbank as they are at an all-time historic low on food to help the community. Consider a Food Drive at work to help!!!***

Food Sponsor: Sherrise Powers, Attorney at Law (757)-622-2008 www.powerslawattorney.com
Cost: Free to Members; Guests - $15.00

Larry King's Killer: "I wanted to kill him"

I haven't said much of late on the ongoing trial of Larry King's murder, Brandon McInerney. But a new Los Angeles Times article on the trial was too much to pass by. One of the elements of first degree murder is premeditation - i.e., that the murder was thought out and planned and not something that happened in the heat of the moment with no forethought. As is typical of criminal defense counsel, efforts are being made to paint McInerney as a victim of his circumstances including his f*cked up home setting. I'm sorry, but many, many people have risen above adverse home situations and certainly understood that killing someone was not acceptable. I don't buy the defense counsel's ploy and hopefully the effort will fail. Here are some highlights from the LA Times story:

The night before he killed Larry King, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney could think of nothing else. It wasn’t enough that King, a troubled eighth-grader, had started coming to school in high heels and makeup. But just that day he passed McInerney in the hallway and, in front of the lanky teen’s friends, uttered what McInerney saw as a repulsive come-on: “What’s up, baby?” It was the last straw.

For McInerney, there had been months of pressure to do better in school from his abusive, methamphetamine-addicted father. And now, there was this strange remark from this strange boy -- a comment that McInerney later described as “superdisgusting.” “I sat and I thought about it over and over,” he told psychologist Douglas Hoagland months after he shot King in a computer lab at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard. “It didn’t calm me down. It made me more angry. All I could think about was I wanted to kill him.”

McInerney’s internal monologue came out Monday in a Chatsworth courtroom as a prosecutor tried to shake the testimony of Hoagland, an expert for the defense in McInerney’s murder trial.

They [defense counsel] have argued that McInerney was a bright kid driven over the brink by a long history of violence at home and, in the end, teasing from the victim, whose cross-dressing he saw as in-your-face provocation.

On Feb. 12, 2008, after a night fuming over the perceived insult from King, McInerney left for school in a hurry — but came back to get his father’s loaded .22-caliber revolver, Hoagland testified.

He concealed it in a towel and stuffed it in his backpack. At school he stealthily withdrew the towel-wrapped gun and stuffed it into his pants. He told Hoagland he had started to have second thoughts about killing King, who sat immediately in front of him. But when he heard King telling a girl that he’d changed his name to Leticia, that changed.

Fox [the prosecutor] scoffed at the explanation, describing it as McInerney entering “a state of semi-unawareness.” She pointed to testimony from fellow students that McInerney had told them of his intent to kill King. When one of them asked McInerney whether he’d brought a gun to school, as he said he would, he lied and said he hadn’t. Not long afterward he fired the fatal shots.

Science Versus Bible Inerrancy - Can Theology Evolve?

I've written recently here about the vulnerability of Christianists to scientific knowledge under cutting their claims that the Bible is inerrant and causing their whole house of cards belief system to teeter and collapse. Over time, I believe that it will prove to be the Bible literalists who will be responsible for the death of Christianity - or at least the toxic, conservative version of the faith. Also at risk is the Roman Catholic Church which for centuries has used "original sin" as the bogey man to keep the laity under the puppet strings of the Church hierarchy. A new Forbes article takes a further look at the issue of science setting up conservative Christianity for a huge fall. It may not happen overnight, but ultimately science will win out. Here are some article highlights:

Perhaps apropos the recent Nature article on the increasing evidence that modern humans have inherited the genes of more than a few now-extinct relatives on the evolutionary tree, NPR hosted a short program on what this all means for one of the fundamental stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Adam and Eve.

University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne sums up the problem in his inimitable fashion: I’ve always maintained that this piece of the Old Testament, which is easily falsified by modern genetics (modern humans descended from a group of no fewer than 10,000 individuals), shows more than anything else the incompatibility between science and faith. For if you reject the Adam and Eve tale as literal truth, you reject two central tenets of Christianity: the Fall of Man and human specialness. These can then be saved only by post facto theological rationalizations about why humans are special in an evolutionary sense, and also sufficiently sinful to require salvation.

The question arises: Can theology adapt to the findings of science? Can the strict monogenism of the human race as traditionally understood by Christians, be modified to the scientific consensus that the human species originated in a small population, not a single couple? . . . .

Christians have for centuries adapted to a more allegorical interpretation of many books in the Old Testament. But not the Book of Genesis and its account of the Fall and Expulsion from Eden. To be sure, not all branches of Christianity are necessarily put on the spot by this. The NPR story only discusses the issue as it is faced by evangelical Christians.

The Catholic Church indeed of all the Christian churches faces a particular quandary. The Council of Trent is quite explicit on the topic. Catholics are required to believe not only that Adam is the single father of the human race, but that Original Sin is passed on by physical generation from him to the entire human race. It’s not something symbolic or allegorical.

The First Vatican Council reiterated the doctrine, as did Pope Pius XII in his 1950 encyclical Humani Generis: For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

There are to be sure individual Catholic theologians out there mulling over how to handle the problem. But they are not on the Vatican’s radar, and a new encyclical on the issue is not likely to come very soon. This is unfortunate. For while the Vatican maintains its silence on the challenge of genomics, Catholics in general are either encouraged to fall back on the denialism of Evangelical leaders like Albert Mohler, or to keep their mouths shut.

One might almost feel some sympathy for those who have refused to open their eyes to scientific truths and clung to fairy tale like accounts written by uneducated tribes in Palestine. But I'm not one to show such sympathy to either to the professional Christians or those who have deliberately stuck their heads in the sand. The creator gave all of us intellect and the ability to think and reason, yet some have chosen ignorance. With the Internet and access to information on a scale unseen in previous generations leaves very few with an excuse that they did not now any better.

Tuesday Male Beauty



Could Anti-Gay Politics Sink A Presidential Campaign?

Yesterday Towleroad asked an interesting question, namely whether anti-gay rhetoric - and past actions and statements - could sink one or more of the GOP presidential candidate hopefuls? As noted, when Michele Bachmann appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday, she did all kinds of disingenuous dancing around in an attempt to avoid directly reaffirming her past vitriolic anti-gay statements. It's important that Bachmann and now Rick Perry be pressed constantly on their anti-gay extremism for two reasons: (1) the majority of the public is moving past gay bashing and may be turned off by it, and (2) anti-gay extremism is part and parcel of the Christian dominionism that Bachmann and Perry subscribe to - something the general public must be made to realize regardless of what these extreme candidates may pretend to the contrary. Here are some highlights from Towleroad:

Michele Bachmann did a wonderful job dodging Meet the Press host David Gregory's questions about her homophobic policies this weekend. . . . Bachmann clearly wants to avoid such questions, and the only explanation I can think of is that she's fearful her extreme politics will turn off voters. This got me wondering: could anti-gay politics sink a presidential campaign?

A Gallup Poll found that 53% of Americans support same-sex marriage. The Public Religion Research Institute, CNN, the Washington Post and ABC News have also all found majority support. What's more, most of the nation supported Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal and are against DOMA. All of these numbers reflect the fact that LGBT people are becoming more visible, and therefore more accepted, than ever in American history.

With the 2012 race heating up
-- and as LGBT activists in states like Oregon and Maine trying to put same-sex marriage on their respective ballots, and as the Proposition 8 trials continue, virtually guaranteeing the issue a national spotlight -- it will be interesting to see if the right starts unearthing and highlighting their archaic, exclusionary politics, or whether they'll try to avoid the issue all together.

And, most importantly, how will the public respond to the possible revival of homophobic politicking on a national level? As voters become more accepting of their gay friends and neighbors, will they be revolted by Bachmann and company's discriminatory ways? Will being seen as intolerant and exclusionary help or hinder presidential candidates?

Michele Goldberg: A Christian Plot for Domination?

I've followed a number of the Christianist organization web sites for well over a decade, including those the groups registered as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. One finds few groups more set on inflicting their beliefs on all of society than these nominal Christian organization. And in terms of intolerance towards others be they gay, black, Hispanic, and non-Christians they have few peers. Indeed, they are the Christian version of the Islamic extremists that they so often disparage. Unfortunately, too few in the general public and news media take these extremists seriously and all too often the media treats them with kid gloves as it affords them special deference because they wrap themselves in the cloak of "Christianity." There is absolutely nothing loving or truly Christian about these people who utterly ignore the Gospel messages except when convenient for propaganda purposes. Michele Goldberg looks at the Christian dominionists who are the core support for Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry in a Daily Beast column (the image is from Getty Images). Here are some highlights:





Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional.

Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outrĂ©, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers, myself included, who explore it have been called paranoid.

Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field in American history, and suddenly, the concept of Dominionism is reaching mainstream audiences. Writing about Bachmann in The New Yorker this month, Ryan Lizza spent several paragraphs explaining how the premise fit into the Minnesota congresswoman’s intellectual and theological development. And a recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago.

In many ways, Dominionism is more a political phenomenon than a theological one. It cuts across Christian denominations, from stern, austere sects to the signs-and-wonders culture of modern megachurches. Think of it like political Islamism, which shapes the activism of a number of antagonistic fundamentalist movements, from Sunni Wahabis in the Arab world to Shiite fundamentalists in Iran.

Dominionism derives from a small fringe sect called Christian Reconstructionism, founded by a Calvinist theologian named R. J. Rushdoony in the 1960s. Christian Reconstructionism openly advocates replacing American law with the strictures of the Old Testament, replete with the death penalty for homosexuality, abortion, and even apostasy.

Rushdoony pioneered the Christian homeschooling movement, as well as the revisionist history, ubiquitous on the religious right, that paints the U.S. as a Christian nation founded on biblical principles. He consistently defended Southern slavery and contrasted it with the greater evils of socialism. . . . . “‘Dominion theologians,’ as they are called, lay great emphasis on Genesis 1:26–7, where God tells Adam to assume dominion over the animate and inanimate world,” wrote the scholar Garry Wills in his book Under God: Religion and American Politics, describing the influence of the ideology on Pat Robertson. “When man fell, his control over creation was forfeited; but the saved, who are restored by baptism, can claim again the rights given Adam.”

For believers in Dominionism, rule by non-Christians is a sort of sacrilege—which explains, in part, the theological fury that has accompanied the election of our last two Democratic presidents. “Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ—to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness,” wrote George Grant, the former executive director of Coral Ridge Ministries, which has since changed its name to Truth in Action Ministries. “But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice ... It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time ... World conquest.”

One could go on and on listing the Dominionist influences on Bachmann’s thinking. . . . In elaborating Bachmann’s Dominionist history, though, it’s important to point out that she is not unique. Perry tends to be regarded as marginally more reasonable than Bachmann, but he is as closely associated with Dominionism as she is, though his links are to a different strain of the ideology.

[M]embers of the New Apostolic Reformation see Perry as their vehicle to claim the “mountain” of government. Some have told Perry that Texas is a “prophet state,” destined, with his leadership, to bring America back to God. The movement was deeply involved in The Response, the massive prayer rally that Perry hosted in Houston earlier this month. “Eight members of The Response ‘leadership team’ are affiliated with the New Apostolic Reformation movement,” ... . .

We have not seen this sort of thing at the highest levels of the Republican Party before. Those of us who wrote about the Christian fundamentalist influence on the Bush administration were alarmed that one of his advisers, Marvin Olasky, was associated with Christian Reconstructionism. It seemed unthinkable, at the time, that an American president was taking advice from even a single person whose ideas were so inimical to democracy. Few of us imagined that someone who actually championed such ideas would have a shot at the White House. It turns out we weren’t paranoid enough. If Bush eroded the separation of church and state, the GOP is now poised to nominate someone who will mount an all-out assault on it. We need to take their beliefs seriously, because they certainly do.

Goldberg is correct that these people need to be taken seriously. Their ultimate goal is nothing less than dismantling constitutional government in the USA as we know it and replacing it with a "Christian" version of the regime now in control in Tehran. These people are very, very dangerous.