Saturday, September 10, 2011

On Eve Of 9/11 Anniversary, Cantor Insists On Massive Cuts To First Responders

Eric Cantor continues to be an embarrassment to Virginia - and the human race. Weasel in chief Cantor wants massive cuts in funding for first responders in exchange for disaster relief payments in the wake of Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters. Funny how Cantor had no qualms about rubber stamping whatever deficit spending Chimperator Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney asked for during the years of misrule. As regular readers know, I have absolutely no use for Cantor and continue to hope that his constituents will get their heads out of their asses and vote the douche bag out of office. The man is despicable. Here are some highlights from Think Progress:

Yesterday, President Obama requested $5.1 billion to provide disaster relief to communities struggling to recover from recent hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires. The request includes $500 million in emergency funds FEMA needs to continue to operate effectively through the end of September.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, whose home state of Virginia was hit by an earthquake and Hurricane Irene, is demanding more partisan spending cuts in exchange for approving the request.

The funds referenced by Cantor’s spokesperson are contained in the House Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which is adamantly opposed by Senate Democrats. Why? The “offsets” contained in the bill are actually massive cuts to first responders. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) explains: The House bill slashes funding for grants to equip and train first responders by 40 percent. This is on top of the 19 percent cut in FY 2011. The House defense appropriations bill provides $12.8 billion to train and equip troops and police in Afghanistan — yet the House provides only $2 billion for first responders here at home.

In December, Cantor opposed a bipartisan bill “to improve health services and provide financial compensation for 9/11 first responders who were exposed to dangerous toxins and are now sick as a result.” Now, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Cantor is pushing for further cuts to first responders in exchange for disaster relief.

Cantor and his staff continue to insist “There will be no delay in meeting the president’s request and providing people the aid they need.” But they have yet to support any such request absent more partisan spending cuts.

Sally Kern: Homosexuality Is "More Dangerous" Than Terrorist Attacks

In the first post of the day I mentioned the unleashing of hate that was caused by 9-11, most of it coming from self-congratulatory "Christians" and GOP demagogues. A case in point? Oklahoma hate merchant and GOP elected official Sally Kern. Kern represents everything foul in the GOP and the Christianists who now largely control the GOP. Right Wing Watch looks at Kern's latest batshitery in which she states that homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorist attacks. I suspect the families of those who died on 9-11 might feel otherwise. The fact that Kern continues to be re-elected by her district is an indictment of her constituents. Here are highlights from Kern's most recent missive of hatred:

Oklahoma Republican state legislator Sally Kern spoke on August 31st with Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality to promote her new book, The Stoning of Sally Kern. Kern is best known for saying that homosexuality is “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.” Kern has tried to explain that her remarks were taken out of context and distorted by the media, but she repeated her claim that homosexuality is “more dangerous” than terrorist attacks while speaking with LaBarbera, lamenting that young people are “bombarded” with the message that “homosexuality is normal and natural.” “It’s something they have to deal with every day,” Kern said, “Fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day.”

You know if you just look at it in practical terms, which has destroyed and ended the life of more people? Terrorism attack here in America or HIV/AIDS? In the last twenty years, fifteen to twenty years, we’ve had maybe three terrorist attacks on our soil with a little over 5,000 people regrettably losing their lives. In the same time frame, there have been hundreds of thousands who have died because of having AIDS. So which one’s the biggest threat? And you know, every day our young people, adults too, but especially our young people, are bombarded at school, in movies, in music, on TV, in the mall, in magazines, they’re bombarded with ‘homosexuality is normal and natural.’ It’s something they have to deal with every day. Fortunately we don’t have to deal with a terrorist attack every day, and that’s what I mean.

It’s more dangerous, and yes I think that it’s also more dangerous because it will tear down the moral fiber of this nation. We were founded as a nation upon the principles of religion and morality, if we take those out from under our society we will lose what has made us a great nation, we will no longer be a virtuous people, which we see happening already. And without virtue this nation will not survive.

It's people like Kern and her hatred and embracing of ignorance and bigotry who pose the biggest threat to the survival of this nation.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Archbishop Chaput Neeeds to Stay Out of Politics

On Thursday, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was installed as leader of the sexual abuse scandal plagued Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Chaput has a track record of being a culture wars warrior and homophobe only too willing to sanctimoniously attack gays and others while ignoring the cesspool nature of the institutional Catholic Church and the complicity so many of his fellow bishops and cardinals had in the aiding and abetting of the abuse of tens of thousands of children and youth. A column in the Washington Post suggests that Chaput needs to tend to his own foul house before injecting his standard hate and division into the politics. A column in the National Cathlolic Reporter likewise calls on Chaput to clean his house in his new diocese rather than seek to use politics to distract sheeple in the diocese from the truth of what knowingly was allowed to transpire. First these highlights from the Washington Post:

PHILADELPHIA — Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was installed Thursday (Sept. 8) as leader of the 1.5-million strong Archdiocese of Philadelphia, placing the outspoken culture warrior at the helm of a once tight-knit bastion of American Catholicism that now faces a series of crises.

From a damning clergy sex abuse scandal to a strike by Catholic school teachers, the 66-year-old Chaput has his work cut out in restoring the spirits of Philadelphia’s faithful while not backing down from debates on hot-button issues like gay marriage and abortion.

A scathing grand jury report last February accused church officials of routinely sheltering child abusers in the past, and perhaps even up to the present day. The scandal led Chaput’s predecessor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, to suspend more than two dozen priests and to submit his own resignation in July.

The scandal resulted in a string of arrests, including a high-ranking church official who was charged with child endangerment for allegedly transferring predator priests to new parishes. Chaput will eventually have to wrestle with an investigatory report by a former prosecutor appointed by Rigali.

Chaput is also likely to have a higher profile in the East Coast media market, and receive greater scrutiny for his frequent remarks and writings on issues like gay marriage (”The issue of our time,” he says), abortion rights and what he calls the perilous American drift into secularism and moral relativism.

Those are the kind of remarks that have dismayed more progressive Catholics who say Chaput and other bishops should worry more about pastoral concerns than politics, especially given the ongoing sexual abuse scandal.

“Until this task is accomplished, Chaput would be well-advised to leave politics aside,”
wrote Nicholas Cafardi, a former chairman of a national church sex abuse review board, in Thursday’s Philadelphia Daily News. “Issuing divisive political rebukes will only undermine his ability to minister to a city in desperate need of healing.”

Then there are these highlights from the National Catholic Reporter:

[M]any individual priests have violated untold numbers of innocent children in the five counties that make up the Philadelphia archdiocese. Together with church authorities who protected these errant priests, all was done in the name of God.

The facts are documented right there, in excruciating detail, in the Philadelphia grand jury reports of 2005 and 2011.

Protocols said to have been put in place and followed by the archdiocese after 2005 were exposed as mere window dressing and PR spin like the archdiocese's cover story on Fr. Robert Brennan which Bishop Edward Cullen (an auxiliary bishop of the Philadelphia archdiocese before becoming bishop of Allentown in 1998) admitted in sworn deposition, "It's not the truth."

[T]he Philadelphia church has particular needs. It needs a pastoral leader who believes in justice, the rights and protection of all; especially those who were so unable to protect themselves as children.

It needs a pastoral leader who is not afraid to recognize and admit to the existence of corrupted man-made structures which allowed the church's sexual abuse nightmare to continue unchecked for so long.

The bishops of the United States knew about the serious nature of sexual abuse in the early 1960s and they knew that priests were abusing children. A documented pattern of collusion, conspiracy and cover-up was the order of the day in dioceses both across the country as well as in Denver and Philadelphia

However, their right to due process and to the justice afforded in the criminal courts was suborned to the protection of rogue priests until statutes of limitation had expired.

Every time Chaput opens his mouth to denigrate gays, gay marriage, liberals and others he deems unworthy of full citizenship rights, he needs to have the Church's moral bankruptcy hung firmly around his neck. Until the Church cleans house, Chaput and other members of the hierarchy should be afforded no credibility on any matters of morality or politics.

9-11 And America's Self-Destruction

Last night we watched a Dateline special on 9-11. It brought back much of the horror of that day of infamy especially being here in New York City and not all that far from the World Trade Center site. The program, however, also made me think of the additional horrors set in motion that day: the suspension of many American values, the needless war in Iraq, torture as an approved policy with authorization tracing directly to the White House, and domestic surveillance of Americans on a level that places the USA on a level with China and Russia according to some reports. 9-11 destroyed lives, destroyed American confidence and ushered in the worse aspects of the years of misrule under Chimperator Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney. It likewise set the stage or the nation's current budget foes and the palpable hatred of the "other" so strong in the GOP and the Tea Party. Yes, some haters were already plying their hatred - the Christian Right and white supremacy groups are prime examples - but 9-11 made it more respectable to dislike and rail against those who were different. Kathleen Parker has a column that looks at this phenomenon in the Washington Post. Here are some highlights:

The legacy of 9/11 can’t be fully measured even now, but perhaps the most damaging aspect can be found in our national discourse. Taking the long view, it is possible to see the roots of today’s political dysfunction — the hate, fear, anger and resentment — firmly planted in the soil at Ground Zero.

Did Osama bin Laden envision such a thing when he plotted the attacks? Probably not. He might have imagined that we would retaliate, and this would cost us lives and treasure. But he couldn’t have known that we eventually would lose our common sense of who we are. This has been the big surprise of 9/11 — an ongoing, self-perpetuating act of American self-destruction.

Something was unleashed 10 years ago that bears our scrutiny. It wasn’t only evil, though the attacks were certainly that. The event was so cataclysmic and horrifying that it caused a sort of emotional breakdown in the American constitution. Simply put, it damaged our collective soul and seems to have released a free-ranging hysteria that has contaminated our interactions ever since.

Putting it bluntly, Sept. 11 caused us to go temporarily insane. Being for or against the war, first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, divided us as wars do, but this time was different. Friendships ended, marriages suffered, people crossed the street to avoid those with whom they disagreed. Ten years later, we are still at war. Tack on the global financial crisis, stagnant unemployment, the further dissolution of trust in our institutions, and we have all the ingredients for moral panic.

President Obama understands that the nation has a psychological problem, but no president in his right mind can afford to speak publicly of such things.

Obama tried to unite the nation with his purple rhetoric, but he missed his window when it came time to act. The jobs speech he gave Thursday night was 21 / 2 years late, and the health-care reform bill he pushed through against a tide of opposition was a calamity of bad timing.

These missteps, nonetheless, don’t justify the “You lie!” hysteria of his opposition. Emotional excess and a lack of self-control in the public sphere are but two of the manifestations of our unraveling.

As we reflect on the events of 10 years ago, it would be nice if all sides could resolve to invite America’s better angels back to the huddle. Another terror attack would put things in perspective, all right, but our survival ultimately depends on our willingness to marshal reason and restraint against the emotional terrorism that surely will bring us down. At the risk of sounding bossy: America, heal thyself. Please.


At the risk of offending some, when the last decade as looked at from the foregoing perspective, Bin Laden won big time, even though not in the way he had planned or hoped. The irony, of course, is that today, it is those who wear their patriotism (and often religion too) are most responsible for the nation's self-destruction.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Obama's Jobs Speech

I will concede that I did not see Obama's speech. That said, he obviously faces two problems: (1) the GOP will seek to block him from accomplishing anything because those now in control of that party want the economy to tank for partisan purposes (they care nothing for families destroyed in the process), and (2) even many of those who supported him in 2008 no longer trust or believe him. It's a mess and frankly, I don't know what the solution will be. When one political party puts partisan advantage ahead of small businesses and families, it's the equivalent of dealing with terrorists. Rationality and the common good simply do not matter. The Daily Beast has gathered some reactions to the speech. Here's a sampling:

Howard Kurtz. Barack Obama looked forceful, almost angry, in his much-ballyhooed speech to Congress, pitching a plan that he promised would deliver a “jolt” to the nation’s sagging economy, and perhaps to his presidency as well.

But whether that happens depends in large measure on an aggressive White House plan to take the fight to the Republicans who have thwarted most of his agenda.

Yet Thursday’s address may not have much impact, and not just because it began at 4 p.m. on the West Coast since Obama was maneuvered into starting early before the NFL season kickoff. Many people are tired of this president’s speechifying, and with zero job growth last month, they want action, not words.


But the speech did what Obama has so often failed to do: lay down a marker against the opposition.

Harold Evans.Has Barack Obama found his inner Harry Truman?

The parallels are eerie. Truman in 1946 lost midterm elections, just as Obama did last fall. The Republicans took the House (their first time since 1930) and the Senate. Truman’s approval ratings tanked, falling much lower, at 32 percent, than Obama’s have done. Unemployment wasn’t the issue it is today, but inflation was just as scary, and one in 10 of the labor force went on strike in 1946.


Heading into 1948, Republicans were hungry to eat up the New Deal. For Robert Taft then, read Rick Perry today.

Truman brilliantly exploited that regressive attitude. He came up with new proposals—just as Obama has done with the American Jobs Act in his speech to the joint session of Congress. The Republicans became the party of No. Maybe they will do the same with Obama’s Jobs Act. And maybe Obama will do what Truman did.

Truman made the Republican Congress his whipping boy. He recalled it for a special session on July 26. “Out in Missouri,” he said, “we call it Turnip Day.” Taft, angry at being brought back into steaming Washington, duly fell into the Truman trap. He led the massacre of Truman’s Turnip Day proposals.

I'd love to see Obama repeat the Truman model, but I am not going to hold my breath. Time and time again he fails to go on the attack and lay blame where it principally belongs: at the feet of the GOP and the Tea Party.

New York City - Friday 9-9-11

We arrived in New York last evening and got settled into the apartment briefly before going out to dinner and then drinks at the Monster. I don't know if I had food poisoning or tequila poisoning, but I was pretty hurting this morning hence the minimal posting. I dealt with office e-mail and talked to the office a few times and then went back to bed for several hours. The boyfriend and our friend Rob who is traveling with us went out to breakfast and retrieved me around noon and we set out uptown to go shopping and to purchase tickets for a matinee show of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. We lucked out and got a great deal on great seats. It should definitely be a lot of fun.

As the New York Times and other news outlets have reported, there seem to be unconfirmed reports of a truck bomb attack plot for either New York City or Washington. From what we have seen, other than a heightened police visibility, New Yorkers are unfazed and are going about their business.

On Sunday we are doing brunch with the daughters of two of the boyfriend's clients who live her in New York. One works for a big law firm and the other is in the fashion industry. It should be fun and one of them went to school in Barcelona for two years and should be able to give us great suggestions for things to do and see next month when the boyfriend and I go on a western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona.

To nigh, we'' do dinner out - probably Phillip Marie - and then finish the night at the Monster before heading back to crash. If any readers are out at the Monster, pleas say hello.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

4th Circuit Throws Out Cuccinelli's Health Care Reform Challenge

Long before he ran for the office of Virginia Attorney General, Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli had shown himself to be an extreme far right ideologue who thought himself above the law and only too willing to twist and distort the law to further his own lunatic beliefs. Since becoming attorney general, Kookinelli has time and time again embarrassed the Commonwealth of Virginia and garnered the state bad publicity both on the national and international stage. Now, Kookinelli has rightly received a severe spanking by the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit - one of the most conservative Courts of Appeal in the United States - which threw out Kookinelli's challenge of what Kookinelli and his Christofascists followers call Obamacare. Mother Jones looks at this development and here are some excerpts:.

Today, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, threw out Cuccinelli's lawsuit challenging Obama's Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate. The 4th Circuit never really got to the constitutional issues of the health care law because it found that Cuccinelli and the state of Virgina did not even have standing to bring the case. The individual mandate, the court found, "imposes no obligations on the sole plaintiff, Virginia," meaning that Virginia had no injury nor future harm that might be remedied by the intervention of a federal judge.

It's a classic example of something Cuccinelli should have learned in Civil Procedure 101: Just because you don't like a law doesn't mean you have the right to go to court and get it struck down. You have to be affected by the law somehow, and it was clear from the very beginning that Cuccinelli and Virginia were not. And if Cuccinelli is hoping the U.S. Supreme Court might come to his rescue on this one, he's probably dreaming. While you never know with the Roberts court conservatives, who have proven far more political than consistent, stalwart conservatives like Antonin Scalia. Roberts himself has been extremely harsh with plaintiffs on standing issues. (See Robert's dissent in Massachusetts v. EPA, a case challenging the EPA's inaction on climate change.)

But Cuccinelli's legal work isn't, of course, about the law. It's about politics. His concern with constitutional issues is rather selective. Otherwise, how to explain his office's defense of local law enforcement officials in the state arresting gay men under sodomy laws the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional eight years ago? Or his legal opinion that state universities have no legal right to protect students and staff against anti-gay discrimination, despite the 14th Amendment's promises of equal protection under the law? Or what of his waste of taxpayer dollars suing over the health care bill in a case he had no legitimate right to bring? The health care lawsuit won Cuccinelli fans across the country, who will no doubt come in handy when he needs to raise money when he runs for senator or governor down the road. All of that might make him a good politician, but it still makes him a bad lawyer.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Who Won Last Night's GOP Debate

As noted last night, I watched part of the GOP debate last night. As for who was the loser, I'd say it's the nation as a whole given that in theory last night's line up represents the best the GOP has to offer. I'm not saying that all of the candidates are utter crazy extremists and nut jobs, but some of them clearly fall into that category. The question is, given the sectarian nature of today's GOP, can a non-Kool-Aid drinker win the party nomination. A column in the Washington Post summarizes one view of the winners and losers. Here are some highlights:

WINNERS

* Mitt Romney: Slow and steady won the debate for the former Massachusetts governor. He started off a bit shaky and seemed slightly off his game when Texas Gov. Rick Perry went on the attack right from the start. But, Romney showed his experience and steadied himself as the proceedings wore on — repeatedly giving answers that sounded reasonable and, dare we say it, presidential. Romney continues to execute his strategy: focus on President Obama and the economy while avoiding too much back and forth with his Republican rivals. It worked (again) tonight.

* Jon Huntsman: After a nonexistent performance in the August Iowa debate, the former Utah governor was much more part of the conversation this time around — delivering jabs to Romney and Perry as he tried to contrast his record in the Beehive State with theirs. Huntsman also looked like he belonged on the stage tonight — a major change from his August showing. His biggest problem remains that his tonal approach to the race — sensible moderation — still doesn’t seem to fit the Republican primary electorate. But, for tonight, Huntsman did himself proud.

* First 45 minutes Rick Perry: With all eyes on him, the Texas governor started out strong — delivering a solid answer on jobs and showing a willingness to mix it up with Romney. He was confident without being brash and seemed well versed — or at least well rehearsed — on the issues of the day. If the debate ended after 45 minutes, we might be talking about how Perry had dispelled all doubts about his readiness for the national glare of a presidential race and all it entails.

LOSERS

* Michele Bachmann:
The Minnesota Congresswoman was a total nonentity in the debate. At one point, she didn’t say a single word for more than 20 minutes. Bachmann supporters will almost certainly blame the moderators for freezing her out but she needed to find ways to inject herself into the various fights between the likes of Perry, Romney and Huntsman. Bachmann seemed to get the message towards the end of the debate but it was already too late. It felt like she was irrelevant to the conversation tonight — and that’s a bad place for her to be.

* Last Hour Rick Perry: After a strong start, Perry seemed to lose focus — meandering on his answer on Social Security and badly fumbling on climate change. Some of Perry’s struggles in the middle portion of the debate had to do with the fact that he was getting tough questions and having to weather a steady attack from his opponents — he joked at one point that he had become a “pinata” — but that’s what you get when you’re the frontrunner. Perry salvaged the second half of the debate with a very strong answer on the death penalty. But his uneven performance will likely keep the conversation about whether he is a clear frontrunner alive, which is not what the Perry forces wanted.

I don't deny that I will continue to be hoping that Perry and Bachmann self destruct. Fortunately, Gingrich and Santorum are to insane even for most in the GOP base.

Obama: Why I Don't Believe Him Anymore

I suspect that I am one of many who voted for Obama in 2008 and now find myself not even listening to his speeches anymore. Why? Because, I've come to the point where I believe little if anything that the man has to say. We've heard the pretty words so many times only to see them followed up by no action at all or any almost immediate capitulation to GOP demagogues. Do I want the haters and political whores of the GOP to prevail? Not at all. It's just that it's too painful to listen to Obama and know that his words mean nothing. At least nothing of significance. And because of this reality, I believe that Obama's going to have a Hell of a time motivating many 2008 supporters to go to the polls and pull the lever for him in 2012. Perhaps a Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann as the GOP candidate would push folks to hold their nose and vote for Obama. If the GOP candidate is not someone truly scary, then all bets are off. An article in the Rolling Stone looks at this frustration in the context of job creation. Here are some highlights:


I was in an airport in Florida yesterday and was forced into a terrible, Sophie's Choice-type choice. . . . . it was either sit underneath a full-volume broadcast of our fearless president bellowing out his latest hollow promises, or the hellish alternative: retreat to gates full of screaming five year-old children, all of them jacked up on sugar and bawling their eyes out because it was the end of Labor Day weekend and their cruel parents were dragging them home from Disneyworld.

I ended up choosing the screaming children.

Obama hasn't been a total disaster on labor. Most notably, he stepped up in the Wisconsin mess and at least took sides in that debate, calling the push to end collective bargaining rights an "assault" on unions.

But I remember following Obama on the campaign trail and hearing all sorts of promises before union-heavy crowds. He said he would raise the minimum wage every year; he said he would fight free-trade agreements. He also talked about repealing the Bush tax cuts and ending tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas.

It's not just that he hasn't done those things. The more important thing is that the people he's surrounded himself with are not labor people, but stooges from Wall Street. Barack Obama has as his chief of staff a former top-ranking executive from one of the most grossly corrupt mega-companies on earth, JP Morgan Chase.

Listening to Obama talk about jobs and shared prosperity yesterday reminded me that we are back in campaign mode and Barack Obama has started doing again what he does best – play the part of a progressive. He's good at it. It sounds like he has a natural affinity for union workers and ordinary people when he makes these speeches. But his policies are crafted by representatives of corporate/financial America, who happen to entirely make up his inner circle.

I just don't believe this guy anymore, and it's become almost painful to listen to him.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

More Wednesday Male Beauty

New York Weekend

The boyfriend and I are headed to New York City tomorrow as we make our annual flight from the Hampton Bay Days festival that forces the boyfriend to shut down the salon. We've got the house sitting/dog baby sitting worked out and tomorrow evening we will be in the Big Apple staying at a friend's place on Christopher Street in the West Village. We will return home on Monday night.

As always, I will be checking in with the office via e-mail and phone and will try to keep all of clients happy all of the time.

While we have a tight schedule in terms of meeting up with friends, I'd nonetheless love to hear from New York readers who could perhaps meet us for a drink - say at The Monster Bar (it's half a block from where we'll be staying) or some other nearby spot. I will have the lap top with me and will be posting as time permits.

Tonight's Republican Debate: The 19th Century or the Stone Age?


I watched some of the GOP presidential candidate debate - or as much of it as I could stomach after a crazy day at the office and a non-profit board meeting after office hours. Suffice it to say, I was not overly impressed and the only candidate who seemed to want to discuss the bigger picture of the nation's future was Jon Huntsman. Most of the other seemed to be seeking to focus on pet issues of the Tea Party in the hopes that some of the looniest elements of the GOP base would be driven to orgasms by the effort. Some, like Rick Perry fluffed facts and figures so much that one almost expected him to say he could turn chicken shit into caviar. For the most part, I could not help but think "God help this country if one of these nutcases gets elected." Robert Reich has a column at Huffington Post which looks at the backward thinking that seems to predominate the GOP candidate slate. Here are some highlights:

Tonight a bevy of Republican presidential hopefuls hope to emerge as finalists. Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann will battle for the right-wing nut Tea Party finals. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman will position themselves for the moderate right-wing finals. The putative winners in both these rounds will take on each other in the months ahead.

Nonetheless, listen tonight, if you can bear it, for anything other than standard Republican boilerplate since the 1920s -- a wistful desire to return to the era of William McKinley, when the federal government was small, the Fed and the IRS had yet to be invented, state laws determined worker safety and hours, evolution was still considered contentious, immigrants were almost all European, big corporations and robber barons ran the government, the poor were desperate, and the rich were lived like old-world aristocrats.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, the Republican Party had a brief flirtation with the twentieth century. Mark Hatfield of Oregon, Jacob Javits and Nelson Rockefeller of New York, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, and presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon lent their support to such leftist adventures as Medicare and a clean environment. Eisenhower pushed for the greatest public-works project in the history of the United States -- the National Defense Highway Act

But the Republican Party that emerged in the 1970s began its march back to the 19th century. By the time Newt Gingrich and his regressive followers took over the House of Representatives in 1995, social conservatives, isolationists, libertarians, and corporatists had taken over once again.

Some Democrats are quietly rooting for Perry or Bachmann, on the theory that they're so extreme that they'll bolster Obama's chances for a second term and make it easier for congressional Democrats to scare Independents into voting for a Democratic House and maybe even Senate.

I understand the logic but I'd rather not take the chance. A Perry or Bachmann wouldn't just take us back to the 19th century. They'd take us back to the stone age.

Gloucester County Library Censorship Debate Continues

I wrote a while back on the anti-gay censorship of a Pride Month display in the Gloucester County, Virginia public library apparently initiated by County Supervisor Gregory Woodard (pictured at far left in the photo) — a fundamentalist pastor when not on the Board of Supervisors. I also wrote about the Gloucester situation in a large piece I wrote for the print issue of VEER magazine, a local fashion and arts focused publication, under a column headlined as "Teaching Tolerance: Learning Gays’ Role in History Could Reduce Anti-Gay Bullying." I suspect that Rev. Woodard probably wasn't too well please if he saw the column, but the statements challenging his bigotry and misuse of his elected position to inflict his personal religious views on all county residents needed to be made. Fortunately, LGBT residents of Gloucester DO have allies and Jody Perkins, who resigned her position on the Library Board of Trustees in protest over the anti-gay bigotry spearheaded by Rev. Woodard has a wonderful letter to the editor calling for action to keep the matter from being "swept under the rug." Here are some highlights from Ms. Perkins' letter in the Gloucester-Matthews Gazette Journal:

am assuming that there are many people in Gloucester County who are curious about the contents of the Gay Pride display in the Gloucester Library that the library director removed after receiving complaints. I have recently discovered the details of the display after an article was published in Veer magazine’s Aug. 15 issue, "Teaching Tolerance: Learning Gays’ Role in History Could Reduce Anti-Gay Bullying"; to quote:

"The anti-gay mindset of CRI is not limited to California as was recently revealed in Gloucester County, Virginia in an incident that arose out of a "Pride Month" display in the Gloucester Public Library. As reported by the Daily Press, as a result of the display, an anti-gay witch hunt was touched off and spearheaded by County Supervisor Gregory Woodard—a fundamentalist pastor when not on the Board of Supervisors—who objected to the library promoting homosexual and gay rights …

The Gay Pride display at our library should never have been prematurely removed. However, when asked why this happened, the chair of the Library Board of Trustees was quoted as saying that the director "has the authority to install and take down exhibits." This does not answer the question of why Director Diane Rebertus acted as she did and why procedure about complaints was not handled as it has been for years in our library. They have circled the wagons to defend the director’s knee-jerk reaction when she received a call in the late afternoon of June 20, hurriedly left her office for the public area and was seen to reappear in the back room with an armload of books, CDs, DVDs, etc. She caved to someone, but no one has admitted making the call.

County Administrator Brenda Garton has said that she did not make the call but will not say anything further to clear up this conundrum. So, a problem ignored and swept under the rug will eventually be forgotten.

But, one more point. When I resigned from the Gloucester Library Board of Trustees on July 15, the revised Library Policy Manual to be submitted to the state library by Aug. 1 had been amended and approved by the board chair to include specific information so that displays, whether put on by the library or by the public, be handled in the same way as general materials complaints. These requirements were subsequently removed after July 15 so that the approved Policy Manual may in the future be interpreted in any way that the director wishes regarding complaints.

One would like to feel that our public library is going forward as I know it did under the past directors, but under the present leadership and watered-down policy, I am fearful that this is not the case, as everyone in control is in denial and the library director will not take responsibility for the mistake she made by removing the Gay Pride display.

Kudos to Ms. Perkins. It is individuals like her who will move Gloucester forward from backwater status and make sure that ALL citizens receive recognition and respect - not just those who conform to the beliefs of certain Bible beaters who could use a major lesson in accurate history. Rev. Woodard's church "accepts the Bible as the Word of God." I'd love to know if it's the King James Bible. I'd also love to know how he's responding to scientific knowledge that says that Adam and Eve never existed!

Wednesday Male Beauty

Many in U.S. Are Slipping From the Middle Class

Given the GOP's war on the middle class and the nation's rush toward banana republic levels of wealth disparity, it is no surprise that a new Washington Post story looks at the increasing numbers of Americans slipping from the middle class. Sadly, I suspect that the trend will only get worse unless there is a sea change in government policies and measures are implemented to stem the flow of living wage jobs overseas. When I was a child, most families had a single working parent who could provide some standard of living to the entire family. Today, even with multiple family members employed outside the home, the battle to survive is a daily struggle. Here are some excerpts from the story:

Nearly one in three Americans who grew up middle-class has slipped down the income ladder as an adult, according to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Downward mobility is most common among middle-class people who are divorced or separated from their spouses, did not attend college, scored poorly on standardized tests, or used hard drugs, the report says.

People were deemed downwardly mobile if they fell below the 30th percentile in income, if their income rank was 20 or more percentiles below their parents’ rank, or if they earn at least 20 percent less than their parents. The findings do not cover the difficult times that the nation has endured since 2007.


Overall, African American men have a particularly hard time clinging to middle-class status.
Thirty-eight percent of black men who grew up middle-class are downwardly mobile, nearly double the rate of white men, the report says. Hispanic men are slightly more likely than white males to fall down the economic ladder, but the difference was not statistically significant.


The irony is that GOP policies will worsen the trend, yet the idiots in the Tea Party support those who in practice - as opposed to their demagoguery - are the enemies of the middle class.

Ninth Circuit: Arizona Same-Sex Partners Entitled to Health Benefits

In a common sense decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily ruled that an Arizona law that stripped same sex couples of partner health care benefits - while, of course leaving them in place of married couples - is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling will hold until the larger trail on the issue is completed. The law, signed by extremist Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, targeted state employees and was (like all anti-gay measures) aimed at punishing LGBT couples for their failure to conform to conservative Christian moral views on marriage and same sex relationships. Should Arizona appeal the decision, the U. S. Supreme Court could either refuse the appeal or wade into the equal protection issue - something it might well prefer to avoid. Here are highlights from the Tucson Citizen:

Arizona must continue to provide health-care benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian government workers, at least for the time being.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a temporary injunction from a lower court that blocked a 2009 state law eliminating health-insurance coverage for same-sex partners of state employees from taking effect.

In its unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel of the appellate court noted that the state is not obligated to provide health-care benefits but said denying them to a specific group of employees violates the equal-protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“When a state chooses to provide such benefits, it may not do so in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner that adversely affects particular groups that may be unpopular,” the court stated in its opinion.

It was not immediately clear whether the state would appeal the 9th Circuit ruling. If it does appeal, the state can choose to seek “en banc” review, a decision by the entire 9th Circuit, or it could choose to bypass that step and appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When asked about next steps, Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson would say only that the Governor’s Office is “studying the ruling.” But he did question the foundation of the appellate court’s argument.

In its opinion, the court said the state’s policy unfairly impacted gay and lesbian workers because, unlike their heterosexual counterparts, they are not able to legally marry under state law.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Post Hurricane Reflections and Possible Refittings

As noted in several posts, the repairs and water proofing that we did in 2009 after flooding in the November northeaster worked in terms of avoiding having to rip out water saturated materials and also kept the water levels lower during flooding from Irene. Nonetheless, they did not keep the water as minimized as we had hoped. The result? We are likely looking to installing three battery powered sump pumps to take care of flooding in the future in the lowest areas of the house. The bigger effort - assuming we can pull it off financially - would be to add a third floor to the house and have the main kitchen, dining area and living area on the top floor. We'd benefit from greatly enhanced water views and be free of having to move such extensive amounts of furniture, etc. from the first floor when faced with a hurricane threat.

We will be working on plans and feasibility issues. Conceptually, when completed, the house would look very different with the faux mansard added in 1999 before the boyfriend bought the house stripped off and a two story porch added across a portion of the new front facade and a totally new roof line and an elevator for easy higher floor access from a resale perspective. The first floor would remain largely as is, although the staircase would be reversed in direction and much of the heavy furnishings would be moved to the third floor once completed. In short, the first floor would be turned into more of an upscale recreation/party area with a first floor kitchen (which is already fully in place) for such events. A friend is going to help us see if any government assistance is available so that we can "evacuate" the flood prone portion of the house. A friend who is an architect will be helping with design ideas and layout. I'll keep you advised as things develop.

A Christianist Manifesto’s Call to Arms

I have written a number of times about Christian dominionism and, more frighteningly, its appeals and connections to some of the darlings of the GOP presidential candidate slate, namely Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. From following the "Christian Right" - which is any thing but right - for over a decade, I continue to believe that too few people appreciate just how successful the dominionists have been in infiltrating more mainstream evangelical groups, some of which have no idea that they are being moved like puppets by the far more extreme dominionists. The far right continues to be working in over drive to minimize the level of influence now enjoyed within the GOP by those who a decade ago would have been viewed as radioactive and certifiably insane. These extremists DO control the GOP to a large extent and, therefore, it is crucial that the larger public understand the clear and present danger the Christianists and dominionist pose to the country. A piece in The New Yorker looks at the true subversive aspect of the Christian dominionists who while wrapping themselves in a flag and clutching a Bible would happily overthrow the U.S. government and replace it with a frightening theocracy. Here are some highlights:of

appreciate Ross Douthat’s partial praise of my recent piece about Michele Bachmann, especially since I led him into debate with a tweet. But when Douthat writes about Francis Schaeffer, an important influence on the Presidential candidate, he misses the mark.

Schaeffer didn’t like the formal melding of church and state, but his exhortation to readers was that Christianity, properly applied, “brings forth not only certain personal results, but also governmental and legal results.” Schaeffer’s big point was that, for too long, American Christians had divided the world into spiritual and material spheres, and that they had applied Christianity only to the former.

He saw an apocalyptic, zero-sum struggle between the Christian world view and what he called the “humanist” world view. In “A Christian Manifesto,” Schaeffer writes: “What we must understand is that the two world views really do bring forth with inevitable certainty not only personal differences, but total differences in regard to society, government, and law. There is no way to mix these two total world views. They are separate entities that cannot be synthesized.”

And our view of final reality—whether it is material-energy, shaped by impersonal chance, or the living God and Creator—will determine our position on every crucial issue we face today. It will determine our views on the value and dignity of people, the base for the kind of life the individual and society lives, the direction law will take, and whether there will be freedom or some form of authoritarian dominance.”

And later in “A Christian Manifesto,” he writes: “It is not too strong to say that we are at war, and there are no neutral parties in the struggle. One either confesses that God is the final authority, or one confesses that Caesar is Lord.”

If Christians were to lose this “war” over world views, the consequences would be catastrophic. Schaeffer wrote that the humanist world view—leave aside the matter that almost no one self-identifies as a “humanist”— was on the cusp of defeating Christianity in America.

Either Christians defeated the humanists and reinstated “God’s written Law” as the “base” in America or we would lose our democracy. He genuinely believed that freedom could not flourish unless biblical law formed the foundation of society.

But Schaeffer believed Christians needed to follow a path of escalating actions, and he left no doubt where those actions led if they were not successful. Indeed, much of “A Christian Manifesto” is concerned with the question of “what to do about it if the window does shut?”

Schaeffer agrees that we have reached the point by which Rutherford argued revolution was justified, he later makes it clear: “It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God’s Law it abrogates its authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation to such a tyrannical usurping of power. I would emphasize at this point that Samuel Rutherford was not wrong, he was right; it was not only right in the seventeenth century in Scotland where he was right; it was not only in 1776 where he was right: he is right in our century.

to read “A Christian Manifesto” as only a call for non-violent civil disobedience is to willfully ignore a central argument of the book: that at a certain point—the “bottom line”—the government loses its moral authority, and its overthrow by any means is justified.

That's right. One of the founders and advocates for dominionism advocate for revolution against the government if Christianists principles were driven from controlling civil government. In most circles, this is called treason. Yet the Christianist continue to be treated with kid gloves and are allowed to say and advocate for things that would land the rest of us in prison. It's far past time that this special treatment and privilege end.

Will Obama's Perceived Weakness Cause the GOP to Overreach and Lose 2012?

Based on my rant earlier today, it's no secret that I'm far from happy with the Barack Obama administration and it drives me crazy to watch Obama squander opportunity after opportunity. At the same time, however, the current line up of GOP presidential candidates, most of whom seem to drink Christianist laced poison Kool-Aid in large quantities, scare the Hell out of me. As my youngest daughter remarked today, Michele Bachmann is so whacked out that she comes across as a caricature that would be created by the writers at South Park. Yet she's real and popular with many in the untethered from reality GOP base. Some suspect that Obama's perceived weakness may turn out to be the undoing of the GOP in 2012 as the base is emboldened to demand and nominate a "true believer" who will unelectable in the general election. I agree with part of the argument made in a Bloomberg column from I offer these excerpts:

President Barack Obama has never looked more vulnerable. His poll numbers keep dropping. The economic news is still grim. And his team’s political sense often seems to be missing. . . . . Almost nobody is talking about Obama as a lock for re-election anymore. But maybe the biggest advantage he has is that his weakness is tempting Republicans to take risks with the election.

The more beatable Obama looks, the more the balance for Republican voters will tilt toward ideology and away from electability. That doesn’t just mean they will be more likely to support candidates such as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, who will have trouble winning votes from independents and Democrats. It also means the terrain of the primaries will shift: The candidates will place more emphasis on outflanking one another on the right and less on showing they can win in November 2012.

Even if Obama were doing better, the Republican primary would put a heavy weight on ideology. Whenever someone suggests that a candidate can’t win, many conservatives retort that people said that about Reagan, too. (What they forget is that people also said it about Barry Goldwater, and they were right.) And much of the Republican Party has convinced itself that Bush- era compromises bred political failure, a line of thought that makes concerns about electability seem beside the point. Combine these views with the natural inclination of people to think that their ideas are more widely shared than they are, and the result is a process where electability gets short shrift. Obama’s weakness only reinforces this tendency.

Already the Republican primaries have seen candidates take positions that will be hard sells in the fall of next year. Both Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, for example, want to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. . . . . Texas Governor Rick Perry has suggested that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and that they should be replaced by state-run programs. There’s a reason no Republican candidate since 1964 has run on a platform anything like this one on entitlements: Both programs are extremely popular.

In each of these cases, provocative positions have been met by silence from rival candidates. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hasn’t come out in favor of abolishing the EPA or getting rid of federal entitlement programs, but he hasn’t denounced these ideas or even used them as an argument against the electability of the candidates who have advanced them.

If Republican voters had electability on their minds, they would also want to see the candidates address issues that concern the broader public: how to get wages growing again after years when they stagnated even during periods of growth; and what to replace Obama’s health-care reform with. But the candidates feel no pressure from primary voters to outline plans on those issues, and haven’t done so. Instead, they are focused on issues -- such as the alleged threat of “sharia law” and the heavy share of income taxes paid by the rich -- that are of interest only to the party faithful.

[A] party that cares about electability is looking outward, beyond its members. Today’s Republican Party is more interested in refining its doctrines than gaining converts. It has turned inward.

That is good news for Obama, at a time when he isn’t getting much. The more his political standing falls, the more Republicans will think they are sure to beat him. And the more they think that, the less likely they will be to win.


I agree with the analysis. But I'm not thrilled d by the prospect a nail bitter election in 2012 and worries that the new president might want to intern me and and the boyfriend in a concentration camp.

Tuesday Male Beauty

California Supreme Court to Review Standing Issue in Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Today the California Supreme Court will hold hearings on the issue certified to it by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Perry v. Schwarzenegger of whether or not the proponents of Proposition 8 have standing to appeal the decision rendered by the U.S. District Court that found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. As noted on this blog quite some time ago, the federal court precedents for non-governmental entities and organizations having the right to appeal referendum issues is not good. Should the California Supreme Court rule against the Prop 8 supporters on standing, the case would potentially be all but over with the U.S. Supreme Court being able to easily side step any attempted appeal by the religiously motivated Prop 8 hate merchants. Here are some highlights from the Los Angeles Times on today's hearings:

The California Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether conservatives who sponsored Proposition 8 are entitled to appeal last year's federal ruling that overturned the 2008 same-sex marriage ban.

The court's ruling, due 90 days after argument, will determine whether all initiative sponsors in California are legally entitled to defend their measures in state court when the governor and the attorney general refuse.

If the court rules against the initiative backers, then a federal appeals court is more likely to rule that ProtectMarriage.com, the sponsor of Proposition 8, also lacks standing under federal law and "Proposition 8 dies because no one will defend it," said Vikram Amar, UC Davis constitutional law professor.

"Just because someone sponsors an initiative doesn't mean they are good representatives of the voters, because the voters never chose the sponsors," he said.

Gay rights groups want the state high court to deny standing to backers of ballot measures. That could avoid a constitutional showdown on Proposition 8 that gays might lose before the U.S. Supreme Court. The League of Women Voters has urged the California court to deny standing to initiative sponsors, as has Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California court to clarify whether state law gives initiative backers special status to defend measures in court, but the appeals court won't be bound by what the California court determines.

Still the appeals court could use the state ruling to buttress a finding that Proposition 8's backers also have standing under federal law.

Strict legal rules about who has standing — the right to pursue a case — have ended many high-profile constitutional disputes in federal courts. Federal judges in recent years have embraced the narrow use of standing to limit the kinds of cases that can be brought. Under federal law, a person must have suffered an actual injury, among other requirements, to have standing in court. California courts have been more flexible in granting standing.

If the 9th Circuit determines that ProtectMarriage has standing, a three-judge 9th Circuit panel is likely to overturn Proposition 8 on constitutional grounds, and the case will probably then go to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the U.S. Supreme Court could reject the appeal on grounds of standing, limiting the case's effect to California.

Both Santa Clara's Uelmen and UC Davis' Amar said they would not be surprised if the U.S. Supreme Court ducked the constitutional issues by denying standing to ProtectMarriage and avoiding a ruling that would affect the rest of the country.

Obama's Ratings Sink to New Lows

It would seem that Barack Obama's no strategy re-election strategy is not playing too well with the public. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates that more than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy and the stagnant job market situation. I suspect much of the displeasure comes from the perception that Obama is doing nothing - something that grows from his refusal to act as a leader, his failure to utilize the bully pulpit of the presidency, and his overall appearance of in effectiveness. In 2008, people voted for a man that wanted to be a leader and instead they got the follower-in-chief. Here are highlights from the Washington Post on the poll findings:

Public pessimism about the direction of the country has jumped to its highest level in nearly three years, erasing the sense of hope that followed President Obama’s inauguration and pushing his approval ratings to a record low, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and, what has become issue No. 1, the stagnant jobs situation. Just 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, a new career low; 53 percent disapprove, a new high.

The urgency for Obama to act is driven not just by the most recent unemployment report, which on Friday showed no job growth in August and the unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent, but also by the depth of the political hole in which the president finds himself. Even more than two-thirds of those who voted for Obama say things are badly off course.

[C]urrent trends are highly unfavorable for the president. By 2 to 1, more Americans now say the administration’s economic policies are making the economy worse rather than better. The number who say those policies have helped has been chopped in half since the start of the year. The percentage of Americans disapproving of how Obama is doing when it comes to creating jobs spiked 10 percentage points higher since July.

Of the more than six in 10 who now disapprove of Obama’s work on jobs and the economy, nearly half of all Americans “strongly” disapprove.

Things are also bad for Obama when Americans are asked a version of the famous “are you better off today” question that Reagan used to bludgeon Jimmy Carter on his way to defeating Carter in 1980. By better than 2 to 1, more say they are not as well off financially as they were at the start of Obama’s term.

The sense of deflation is particularly apparent among Democrats, with nearly two-thirds saying things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track. The percentage of Democrats saying things are headed in the right direction has cratered from 60 percent at the start of the year to 32 percent now.

Among political independents — a prime target of Obama’s new outreach — 78 percent see the country as off-kilter.

Given Obama's lack of leadership and constant caving to the GOP I frankly do not see how he turns around the current free fall in the polls. That said, the prospect of a GOP president from the current candidate field scares the daylights out of me.

Monday, September 05, 2011

More Monday Male Beauty



Top Bachmann Campaign Staff Are Fleeing

It's no secret that I want to see Michele Bachmann's GOP presidential campaign effort crash and burn (hopefully, Rick Perry will follow a similar downward trajectory soon). Thus, I am hardly saddened to hear that Bachmann seems to having an exodus of top advisers from her campaign. Admittedly, things can change, but one can only hope that Bachmann's campaign will ultimately transform itself into a irreversible death spiral. The woman is toxic and an idiot. Politico looks at Bachmann's staffing problems. Here are some highlights:

On the heels of our report that Michele Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins is stepping back into an advisory role, citing health concerns, comes word that his deputy, David Polyansky, is leaving the campaign.

"I wish Michele nothing but the best, and anyone who underestimates her as a candidate does so at their own peril," Polyansky told POLITICO.

But a GOP source familiar with the situation said that Polyansky had "strategic differences on the path forward" with the candidate, who has struggled to gain traction in the last few weeks.

Bachmann is known for having had an unusually large number of staffers from her congressional office depart in a short time frame, although a campaign spokeswoman said they'd always planned on restructuring.

Sarah Palin Slams Northern Virginia

Resident village idiot of the Republican Party, Sarah Palin attacked Northern Virginia in one of her anti-government diatribes. In Palin's distorted world view, Northern Virginia represents the image of corrupt government lobbyists who suck off the teat of government programs. The problem, of course, is that Palin ignores the fact that many of the groups firmly based in Northern Virginia are some of the foulest far right/Christianist organization s which run the gamut of Chuck Colson's so-called prison ministry to the Arlington Group, to Mike Farris' lunatic Patrick Henry University, to others who make up the Who's Who of the Christian Right. And lest we forget, Northern Virginia is home to Republican extremists like Ken Cuccinelli and the always foul Del. Bob Marshall who wants to force LGBT citizens from Virginia. One can only assume that Palin - not that it's a surprise - has failed to do her homework before shooting off her mouth. Blue Virginia looks at Palin's verbal diarrhea. Here are some highlights:

It might be Labor Day. But Tim Kaine's campaign should be hard at work preparing for a press conference tomorrow, calling out George Allen and the VA GOP as to whether they agree with the 2008 Republican VP nominee's attack on the good people of Northern Virginia. Mrs Palin's belittling of the "permanent political class" got a lot of headlines over the weekend.

I went on her PAC's web site to get the text. As the headline stories reported, the former Alaska Governor did indeed deliver a scathing condemnation of the political class. That she happens to be one of the highest paid members of this posse - did she think we thought the FOX political gig was for free, not to mention her two political books and paid speeches - is of course amusing.

She took her Republican brand of criticism much farther however. This is what she said, the text taken from her PAC's web site, defining the "permanent political class" as opposed to the "rest of America" in a deep economic morass. No, they don't feel the same urgency that we do. But why should they? For them business is good: business is very good. Seven of the ten wealthiest suburbs are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Polls there actually - and usually I say polls, nah, they're for strippers and cross country skiers - but polls in those parts actually show that some people there believe that the economy has actually improved. See, there may not be a recession in Georgetown, but there is in the rest of America.

Palin is telling the GOP to lock and load against a bigger target, to run the class warfare attack against residents of Northern Virginia (Maryland commuters and Metro riders too), since it is easy to make them villains in the eyes of the rest of the country.

But the most troubling aspect of her Saturday speech is this: here we are, 48 hours later, and no Virginia Republican has stepped forward to call her out over this type of anti-Virginia demogoguery politics.

Does George Allen actually think he can win in NOVA by staying silent about this type of language? How does Governor McDonnell believe his remaining silent helps his hopes for getting on the GOP ticket? Cut to the 2012 bottom line: By remaining silent in the face of this latest Palinism, the VA GOP has given the VA Democratic Party a huge opening.

Sarah Palin lost Virginia in 2008 in part due to a big loss in NOVA. She is not the person the VA GOP wants to have to defend in NOVA. Bottom line: VA Democrats need to make the VA GOP take a clear and definitive position on the Palin attack of NOVA. Hello: We have some key state Senate races in NOVA in 60 days. Is anyone at DPVA paying attention?

In all candor, someone needs to call out Sarah Palin for her anti-Virginia comments. As note previously, some of the biggest hogs lined up at the government trough are Republicans and far right politicians, groups and "foundations." They condemn "big government" while they suck up every available penny of government largess - e.g., Marcus Bachmann sucking up Medicare funds for his "ex-gay" therapy or Michele Bachmann's family sucking up agricultural subsidies. These folks talk a good game until one looks at the real fact. Once you know the truth it soon becomes apparent that they are lying.

Monday Male Beauty

Irish Times Slams Vatican Rebuke to Ireland

I wrote last week about the Vatican's disingenuous rebuke to the government of Ireland for its on point and honest language in terms of the Vatican's culpability in the still exploding sexual abuse scandal in a country that once was considered a bastion of Catholicism. The Vatican sharply denied that it had discretely advised bishops that they could ignore sex abuse reporting requirements and tried to feign ignorance of the musical chairs like policies of reappointing predator priests to one unsuspecting parish after another. Both the head of Ireland's labor party and the Irish Times have defended the governments labeling of Vatican culpability and fired back additional salvos at Rome. The Vatican continues to see itself as above the law and hopefully Rome's unbelievable arrogance will convince still more Irish Catholics to vote with their feet and leave the Church. Here are highlights from the Irish Times main editorial:

THE VATICAN in its statement responding to criticism from the Taoiseach acknowledges the “anger, confusion and sadness” of the faithful in Ireland. Unfortunately, its statement shows that it is still struggling to engage with those feelings. There are a few points of detail on which the Vatican’s response is convincing.

Irish Catholics, and citizens in general, had a right to expect much more from an institution that sets itself up as the ultimate arbiter of spiritual and moral truth than some effective debating points. The most notable aspect of the Vatican statement is what it does not contain – any substantial reflection on the Cloyne report itself. While declaring itself “sorry and ashamed” for the suffering of victims, it expresses neither sorrow nor shame for the systematic covering up of abuse by church authorities.

There is no sense in the document of the moral urgency of ending, once and for all, a corrupt culture of placing the interests of the church as an institution before the welfare of children. In this regard, the Vatican’s statement is more a manifestation of the problem than a response to it.

It is hard to avoid the sense that the Vatican is still more concerned with avoiding any admission of legal responsibility than with the anger, confusion and sadness of the faithful. To a moral and spiritual crisis, it has given only a bureaucratic, self-serving and legalistic response.

As for the reaction of the Labor Party to the Vatican's dissembling response, here are highlights from another Irish Times article:

Speaking while attending a Labour parliamentary party meeting in Co Carlow, Eamon Gilmore said the real issue was the Catholic Church did not deal effectively with paedophile priests.

“There was the most horrific sexual abuse of children perpetrated by clerics. The Catholic Church did not deal with that as it should have dealt with it. Let’s not be distracted. Let’s not miss the point - no less charges were made. The Taoiseach and the Government stand over what was said,” the Minister for Foreign Affairs said.

The Government is to discuss the Vatican’s weekend response to the Cloyne report at its Cabinet meeting this week, although there was no indication yesterday it was backing down on its criticism of the Holy See.

“There was the most horrific sexual abuse of children perpetrated by clerics. The Catholic Church did not deal with that as it should have dealt with it. Let’s not be distracted. Let’s not miss the point - no less charges were made. The Taoiseach and the Government stand over what was said,” the Minister for Foreign Affairs said.

The Government is to discuss the Vatican’s weekend response to the Cloyne report at its Cabinet meeting this week, although there was no indication yesterday it was backing down on its criticism of the Holy See.

Mr Gilmore today said the Government was not going to be dragged into a prolonged semantic debate over the use of language. “As a Government we are entitled to and we will stand by the people who are victims in those cases, their families and we will ensure that that kind of abuse will not happen again,” the T├ínaiste said.

Mr Gilmore said the Government was determined to press ahead with tough new child protection measures, including making it an offence to withhold information about crimes against children and introducing new vetting to allow “soft information” transfers.

I continue to believe that the only way to force the Vatican to clean its cesspool like hierarchy is for civil governments to start imprisoning bishops and cardinals implicated in knowingly abetting and covering up for predator priest.