Saturday, July 28, 2007

Report details US refusals of foreign aid after Katrina

Many of you have perhaps read my post about my experience traveling to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Having seen the disaster first hand and witnessed how inadequate the aid to residents was, it leaves me incredulous that the US Government turned down huge quantities of relief aid. The lives of many Katrina victims could have been better but for such huburistic conduct:

A new report reveals the US government turned down offers of help from across the globe in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, telling one diplomat "human assistance of any kind is not on our priorities list."

The report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington relies on a review of 25,000 documents obtained from the State Department. The report reveals the US was interested mostly in cash assistance and materials, rather than direct aid from foreign relief workers and doctors, after Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005.

"A review of the State Department documents reveals distressing ineptitude," CREW's executive director Melanie Sloan said in a prepared statement. "Countries were trying to donate desperately needed goods and services, but as a result of bureaucratic bungling and indifference, those most in need of these generous offers and of aid never received it."

Offers to help came from 145 countries and 12 international organizations. The US did accept help from its top allies around the globe, but CREW's report shows it left unclaimed hundreds of thousands of prepared meals, water pumps, doctors and medicine.
As of today, thousands still are displaced and areas of New Orleans look little different than shortly after the storm. These images are images of Chimperator Bush's America. He allowed special chartered flights to remove members of the Bin Laden family from the USA after 9-11, but denied foreign assistance to US citizens.

Final Saturday Male Beauty

Plea agreement hearing set for Vick co-defendant

In my opinion, far too many professional athletes get away with far too much bad behavior. It looks like it may all be catching up with Michael Vick, the former Virginia Tech star (no, I am not some jaded UVA alumni reveling in Vick's troubles) and current Atlanta Falcons star. Here's highlights of an article in today's Virginian Pilot

One of Michael Vick's co-defendants doesn't want to wait for trial. A plea agreement hearing has been scheduled for Tony Taylor at 9 a.m. Monday in the federal dogfighting conspiracy case.

Taylor's hearing was added to U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson's docket Friday, a day after he and the other three defendants pleaded not guilty before the same judge. Vick and the others still are scheduled for trial Nov. 26.

Prosecutors claim Taylor, 34, found the Surry County property purchased by Vick and used it as the site of "Bad Newz Kennels," a dogfighting enterprise. The Hampton man also allegedly helped purchase pit bulls and killed at least two dogs that fared poorly in test fights. Taylor's lawyer, Stephen Ashton Hudgins of Newport News, did not immediately return a phone message, and federal prosecutors have declined to talk about the case. Also Friday, Nike Inc. and Reebok International Ltd. suspended sales of Vick signature apparel including jerseys and shoes.
If Taylor cops a plea, we can be pretty sure that he will be a witness for the prosecution. For some time now, Vick has thought he could do whatever he wanted - a male Lindsay Lohan, if you will - and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Fewer See Balance in High Court Decisions--Growing Numbers In Poll Say Bench Is 'Too Conservative'

Well, some of us tried to warn what was coming if the Dems did not block Chimperator Bush's nominees. Sadly, far too few listened, especially among the PTA/Soccer Mom crowd. They never "get it" until it is too late. Then they whine and wring their hands! Here are highlights from a Washington Post story ( :

About half of the public thinks the Supreme Court is generally balanced in its decisions, but a growing number of Americans say the court has become "too conservative" in the two years since President Bush began nominating justices, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Nearly a third of the public -- 31 percent -- thinks the court is too far to the right, a noticeable jump since the question was last asked in July 2005. That's when Bush nominated John G. Roberts Jr. to the court and, in the six-month period that followed, the Senate approved Roberts as chief justice and confirmed Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
The public seems to have noticed the shift. The percentage who said the court is "too conservative" grew from 19 percent to 31 percent in the past two years, while those who said it is "generally balanced in its decisions" declined from 55 percent to 47 percent. "I think it shows that we're at a tipping point in time," said Ralph G. Neas, president of the liberal People for the American Way. "And it's why a major priority for us over the next 16 months will be to emphasize the importance of the Supreme Court and why it should be an important factor in voting for president."
I guess it is better to notice eventually, that not at all. However, in the meantime, I will continue to pray for the continued good health of the remaining moderate and liberal justices. To me, the direction of the Supreme Court is a huge issue as to why the Dems must devastate the GOP at the pols in 2008. If we think Bush has fucked things up now, let him appoint another Christianist to the Court and we will see how bad can go to much worse.

Saturday Male Beauty

Saturday Morning Musings

Thank you to all of you who sent me "get well" wishes via comments and e-mails. I am feeling incredibly better today than was the case over the last two days. I guess plenty of sleep, tons of fluids, and a sleeping pill last night to keep me out, did the trick. I am going to run some errands - and work on a small plumbing repair - and maybe just go to the beach and veg-out after that.
I figure I can go to the office tomorrow and see what chaos and client crisis hit yesterday after I left for home. I know that there is at least one client who will need damage control, even though their problems are usually self-created by doing things at the last minute. I have a very loyal and wonderful office staff that fortunately knows when to say "NO" and not be pushed into doing things they know I wold never agree to.
I have been back at home for two days now - I had been staying with friends for a week and a half - and it is strange not having Raymond here. We have stayed in touch via phone and hopefully the time apart will let both of us figure out what's best for our respective futures. I am currently reading "The Boyfriend Within" which involves among other things looking inward to consider (A) what you really need in a boyfriend and (B) are you the kind of boyfriend that is good for others. The main message, however, is that one must be happy with themselves before they can ever be a truly good boyfriend to someone else. Material things and status do not make up for an inner unhappiness about who you are. I know that all too well from experience in the former phase of my life (i.e., my straight life phase).
I think I have made a great deal of progress on the inner happiness front. Particularly when compared to the first year or so after I came out and moved out of the family home. Those were very dark days and while, in retrospect, they were part of the necessary process of shedding one self-built image of myself, I surely would never want to be in that dark place again Now, I think I have at last reached a point where I am happy with who I am - even though I still have problems to work through such as finalizing the divorce and will there be a future with Raymond - and I can make it by taking one day at a time.
Enough thoughts for now. Off to the errands and then the beach.

Gays Scapegoated Again A fellow blogger e-mailed me with a link to this article that discusses the way that gays have been perhaps unduly singled out as if they were the only members of society that use crystal meth. Here is one highlight from the article:

Perhaps because the prevalence of HIV is higher in the gay population -- or because homosexuals are popular political targets -- countless research papers and news reports about high-risk sexual behavior in gay communities have neglected to make any comparison to their straight counterparts. For this reason, there is a false impression that meth use is only a problem among gay men. Many public health campaigns have exclusively targeted gay meth users. The California Department of Pubic Health, acknowledged that researchers have not paid enough attention to the risky sexual practices of straight meth users. Their study found that straight meth users were 50 percent more likely to have had sex with a random stranger. Furthermore, straight meth users were almost three times as likely (29.6 percent) to have had anal sex with a female in comparison to their sober counterparts (11.9 perecent). This is particularly alarming because straight meth users only wore a condom 25 percent of the time when having anal sex.

Sadly, our enemies among the Christianists love to portray gays as sex obsessed drug users and the modern news media is too lazy to bother to do any independent fact checking.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Final Friday Male Beauty

Friday Thoughts

I am feeling under the weather - I sure hope I do not have the summer flu - and had a miserable night of chills and sweating episodes. Today is not much better, but I have soldiered on at the office so far, but think I will do something almost unheard of for me: go home and go to bed during the afternoon. I rarely get sick and have zero patience when I do get sick, so I am not a good patient.
On the divorce front, the ex-wife's attorney is still posturing and was insane enough to ask my attorney whether he thought my mother would loan me money to pay a larger lump sum settlement to the ex-wife to be rid of her once and for all with no strings attached. I responded that my mother would happily walk barefoot across burning coals or burn her money before she'd see a penny go to the ex-wife who she believes has sucked me dry for much too long. I reminded my attorney that at some point I'd be better off to just disappear as opposed to be drained dry forever. I also noted that I have a new passport. :)
Meanwhile, my wife - who likes to act the victim role and claims she will have no inheritance - has parents who own mortgage free a spectacular three story brownstone built in 1860 in Long Island City, New York (a totally gutted house across the street that is not even 2/3 the size sold for $1.5 million a year ago). Here's an article on the transformation of that area:,0,617422.story?coll=am-topheadlines We will see what happens on Tuesday. I truly would like to settle the case without a day long trial and, I'm sure, yet a few more attempts at gay bashing.
Once the divorce is over, it will be so weird to finally be free of the ex-wife. It will have been almost 32 years since we first met. Whatever guilt or sadness I once felt about coming out and ending our marriage died some time ago. Her nastiness certainly hastened me arriving at that point, not that in retrospect I should ever have allowed myself to feel guilty for being gay. I am what God made me and I need not apologize to anyone.

More Friday Male Beauty

Gays in History

I have always had an interest in archaeology and in Classical Greece and Rome. Thus this news story is of interest for several reasons:

A number of theories are under debate in archaeological circles surrounding a "very unusual" discovery in an ancient Roman suburb. But none of these theories--at least as far as the media are concerned--consider that this may have been the first official and largest and most lavish gay bathhouse ever conceived.
Archaeologists have uncovered a private 5-acre villa about which we know three facts. The first is that it was the spectacular home of an ancient Roman equivalent of a billionaire, Quintus Servilius Pudens. Secondly we know that Quintus Servilius Pudens was a close personal friend of the openly queer Emperor Hadrian. Thirdly, this is the largest private bathhouse ever discovered.
While many Roman Emperors have been the subject of endless Hollywood movies, PBS documentaries and various miniseries. I live for the day when someone has the courage and honesty to finally portray the spectacular love affair between the Roman Empire's most famous gay Emperor and the officially acknowledged love of his life, the young Greek boy, Antinous. Not only did Antinous enjoy near Empress status at the side of his Imperial lover, but when Antinous drowned during the sixth year of this relationship, the Emperor embarked on a radical departure from Roman tradition and declared the foreigner and commoner, Antinous to be a God--the official deification of homosexual love and same sex unions.
Cities were founded in the name of Antinous, medals struck with his effigy, and statues erected to him in all parts of the empire. Following the example of Alexander The Great (who sought divine honors for his lover, Hephaistion, when he died), Hadrian had Antinous proclaimed a god. Temples were built for his worship in Bithynia (the birthplace of Antinous) and in Athens itself. Festivals were celebrated in his honor and oracles delivered in his name. The city of Antinopolis or Antinoe was founded on the ruins of Besa, Egypt where he died.

The elevation of Antinous to the pantheon of Roman Gods, the impact of his legendary beauty and the enduring love of Hadrian for this Greek boy had an extraordinary impact on the development of art. His image even carried over into Italian classical Christian art.

In fact, Antinous is one of the best-preserved faces from the ancient world. Many busts, gems and coins represent Antinous as the ideal type of youthful beauty, often with the attributes of some special god. They include a colossal bust in the Vatican (here), a bust in the Louvre (the Antinous Mondragone), a bas-relief from the Villa Albani (here), a statue in the Capitoline museum (the Capitoline Antinous), another in Berlin, another in the Lateran and one in the Fitzwilliam Museum; and many more may be seen in museums across Europe. There are also statues in many archaeological museums in Greece including the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the archaeological museums of Patras, Chalkis and Delphi.

Hadrian and Antinous were at the center of a large circle of artists, musicians, poets, actors, playwrights and writers of which the "billionaire" Quintus Servilius Pudens was a part. And it was during this period that Pudens built what may have been the the world's largest private bathhouse--even larger than the one at Hadrian's own villa.
I wonder when the media will be brave enough to acknowledge and truthfully cover the role of gays in history. Sadly, the recent movie on Alexander the Great ducked most of the gay issues.

New documents shed light on Pat Tillman's death

As you will recall, when Pat Tillman's death was announced, the regime of Chimperator Bush tried to use it as a PR event and, as it turns out, totally lied about the true circumstances (I know - Bush lie, what a shocker). Here is some of the latest information to come to light:

The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators. Ultimately, the Pentagon did conduct a criminal investigation, and asked Tillman's comrades whether he was disliked by his men and whether they had any reason to believe he was deliberately killed. The Pentagon eventually ruled that Tillman's death at the hands of his comrades was a friendly-fire accident.
The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.Among other information contained in the documents:
• In his last words moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop "sniveling."

• Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.

• The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions.

• No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene -- no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck.
The Pentagon and the Bush administration have been criticized in recent months for lying about the circumstances of Tillman's death. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers. With questions lingering about how high in the Bush administration the deception reached, Congress is preparing for yet another hearing next week.

Friday Male Beauty

Another Hate Crime Victim

While the Christianists whine and bemoan the possible enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act, a recent brutal murder in Houston illustrates why the Act is needed. Even though Houston has plenty of police resources, many small jurisdictions do not, and solving a hated crime may only be successful if federal resources are available to assist the locals. Here's the mindset of a Christianist who murdered a gay man (see photo of victim above):
Gay rights activists are furious about the jailhouse claims of a Texas man charged with killing a gay male flight attendant last month. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, murder suspect Terry Mangum, 26, admitted to the murder and said that he had no remorse over the crime, implying his victim got what he deserved. "I believe with all my heart that I was doing the right thing," Mangum told the Houston Chronicle. "I planned on sending him to hell." Mangum, who described himself as "definitely not a homosexual," said in the interview that he'd been called by God to "carry out a code of retribution" against a gay man because "sexual perversion" is the "worst sin."
Kenneth Cummings Jr., 46, was the subject of a massive manhunt after he disappeared early last month. His charred remains were discovered buried on a Houston-area farm reportedly owned by Mangum's grandfather. Mangum admitted to stabbing Cummings to death after luring him from a bar.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Final Thursday Male Beauty

Ireland To Legalize Gay Civil Partnerships

The USA continues to fall further behind the rest of the modern developed world. Now this from Ireland of all places, where the public is finally ignoring the bleating of the corrupt Catholic Church. See (
(Dublin) Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced Wednesday that his government will ring in legislation giving same-sex couples the same rights as married pairs. The legislation would be similar to Britain's civil partnership law that gives gay and lesbian couples all of the rights of marriage except the name.

Ahern said he would push through the legislation "as soon as possible". "This Government is committed to providing a more supportive and secure legal environment for same-sex couples," he said. The announcement comes at the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case involving same-sex marriage rights and five months after a private members bill that would have allowed civil unions was defeated in Parliament.
Two government committees have recommended civil partnerships but without many of the rights of marriage, including the right of couples to adopt children. Recent public opinion polls show that 84 percent are in favor of some recognition of same-sex couples while 53 percent would allow gay couples to marry.

More Thursday Male Beauty

Suffer The Little Children

Richard Rothstein has another great post over at QueerSighted ( that looks at the issue of the treatment received by soo many LGBT youth in schools across the country. Here are a few highlights:
I continue to be amazed and appalled by parents and teachers who think of themselves as decent, right-thinking, Constitution-abiding Americans and yet question the value and "morality" of gay-straight student alliances in our public schools. The stated purpose of these non-curriculum groups is to diminish and prevent gay bashing in order to support a safe and welcoming learning environment for queer students. It's not a complicated proposition. How much hatred, stupidity, ignorance and self-delusion must one harbor in order to question the rightness of it?
These children are unsafe in school. They are insulted, harassed, pushed down stairs, beaten in the lavatories and locker rooms, targeted for bullying in school yards and too often driven to dropping out, substance abuse and even suicide. And then Americans who believe themselves to be decent people, confronted with these facts, turn their backs and say "so what?"
I agree that is amazing how people worry about the humane treatment of animals and all other types of issues somehow act as if gays, especially LGBT youth, are somehow less than human and could care less about brutality and abuse issues. Even worse, so many claim to be Christian. The are the modern day Pharisees.

Stocks Tumble on Credit Concerns

Not to be a Cassandra, but things continue to look bleak in the housing market - some sellers are getting desperate (see photo) and Wall Street is taking note:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street fell sharply Thursday, extending its weeks-long streak of volatility after disappointing home sales figures added to investors' increasing uneasiness about the mortgage and corporate lending markets. The Dow Jones industrials fell more than 240 points, while Treasury yields plunged as investors moved money from stocks to bonds. Investors who had been able to shrug off concerns about subprime mortgage lending problems and a more difficult environment for corporate borrowing were clearly worried once again. Anxiety increased after the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes fell 6.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 834,000 units, more than triple what had been expected and the largest percentage drop since sales fell by 12.7 percent in January.
I guess the only silver lining is that the public will be even more angry at Bush and the GOP, a trend I hope continues. See:

Thursday Male Beauty

War Crimes and the White House

It is about time that more members of the GOP begin to wake up to the travesties worked by the regime of Chimperator Bush and Vice President "Darth Vader" Cheney. Here are highlights from a Washington Post op-ed by Retired Gen. P.X. Kelley, who served as commandant of the Marine Corps from 1983 to 1987, and Robert F. Turner, the co-founder of the University of Virginia's Center for National Security Law and a former chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security:

One of us was appointed commandant of the Marine Corps by President Ronald Reagan; the other served as a lawyer in the Reagan White House and has vigorously defended the constitutionality of warrantless National Security Agency wiretaps, presidential signing statements and many other controversial aspects of the war on terrorism. But we cannot in good conscience defend a decision that we believe has compromised our national honor and that may well promote the commission of war crimes by Americans and place at risk the welfare of captured American military forces for generations to come.

The Supreme Court held in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld last summer that all detainees captured in the war on terrorism are protected by Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which prescribes minimum standards of treatment for all persons who are no longer taking an active part in an armed conflict not of an international character. It provides that "in all circumstances" detainees are to be "treated humanely."
Last Friday, the White House issued an executive order attempting to "interpret" Common Article 3 with respect to a controversial CIA interrogation program. The order declares that the CIA program "fully complies with the obligations of the United States under Common Article 3," provided that its interrogation techniques do not violate existing federal statutes (prohibiting such things as torture, mutilation or maiming) and do not constitute "willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual in a manner so serious that any reasonable person, considering the circumstances, would deem the acts to be beyond the bounds of human decency."

In other words, as long as the intent of the abuse is to gather intelligence or to prevent future attacks, and the abuse is not "done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual" -- even if that is an inevitable consequence -- the president has given the CIA carte blanche to engage in "willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse."

It is firmly established in international law that treaties are to be interpreted in "good faith" in accordance with the ordinary meaning of their words and in light of their purpose. It is clear to us that the language in the executive order cannot even arguably be reconciled with America's clear duty under Common Article 3 to treat all detainees humanely and to avoid any acts of violence against their person.
To date in the war on terrorism, including the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and all U.S. military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, America's losses total about 2 percent of the forces we lost in World War II and less than 7 percent of those killed in Vietnam. Yet we did not find it necessary to compromise our honor or abandon our commitment to the rule of law to defeat Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, or to resist communist aggression in Indochina. On the contrary, in Vietnam -- where we both proudly served twice -- America voluntarily extended the protections of the full Geneva Convention on prisoners of war to Viet Cong guerrillas who, like al-Qaeda, did not even arguably qualify for such protections.
It will take years to repair the damage done to this country's reputation by Bush/Cheney. Once credited with most of the world with good intentions and some degree of morality, this country is (or certainly this administration) is despised by the majority of the world. The full op-ed can be found here:

GAY TOURISM: Businesses Hope Naugle Doesn't Deter Gay Tourism

While the expansion of gay rights needs to occur because it is the right and moral thing, the current controversy in Ft. Lauderdale shows, in my opinion, that gays need to increasingly flex their buying power and avid cities, states and countries that are not gay friendly. The current concern of Ft. Lauderdale business community over the fallout of the statements of the city's anti-gay mayor are a case in point. This from the Miami Herald (
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle's comments on beachgoers and gay sex created a local media flap, and Gary Mercado wants to keep it that way. Mercado, an owner of Fort Lauderdale's largest gay hotel, says he's fighting initial instincts to wage a public battle with Naugle for fear of national publicity hurting Broward County's lucrative gay travel market. ''I don't want to add fuel to the fire,'' said Mercado, who owns the Elysium Resort with partner Steven Barnes. ``I'm not really sure we want to escalate this past the local level because it might have repercussions for the travel industry.'' Headlines and blog entries emerged as a top concern this week as one of the country's most popular gay vacation spots faces another controversy over local government and homophobia.

Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, said staff contacted paid media watchers in New York and Europe to see how far the story had spread. She also consulted with the bureau's New York public relations firm, which advised against drawing extra attention. ''Some are urging responses,'' Grossman said of local tourism-dependent businesses. ``Right now we don't think an overreaction to what's happening is necessary.''

The bureau has fought hard for the increasingly competitive gay travel market, which last year accounted for about 11 percent of Broward's $8.5 billion tourism industry. Fort Lauderdale ranked No. 6 among gay travelers last year, beating out Miami, Orlando and Chicago.

A slowdown in gay travelers could exacerbate a tourism slowdown in Broward. With many budget hotels demolished or converted to condominiums, the longtime spring-break favorite is pursuing more affluent travelers and welcoming a string of luxury resorts. But occupancy is down seven points this year, according to Smith Travel Research, and room revenues have only increased one percent. Grossman called gay vacationers one of the most loyal and deep-pocketed travel segments for Broward, a niche that returned quickly after the 2001 terrorist attacks and doesn't mind paying high room rates. ''Really, that market was our first luxury traveler,'' she said.

It's amazing how much businesses and/or local politicians will change their tune when bigotry and discriminatory religious views hit them directly in the pocket book. A case in point is what happened when I lived in Alabama: there were many "dry counties" where alcohol was not sold. As soon as the state legislature changed the way alcohol derived state funds were distributed - i.e., only wet counties shared in the revenues - suddenly almost every dry county in the state had a political change and amended their laws to allow alcohol sales. If even backward parts of Alabama can get this type of message, certainly more progressive areas seeking tourist dollars will as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tammy Faye Messner, Gay Icon

Here are highlights from an article on Slate Magazine

By the time Tammy Faye Messner died Friday, the outspoken, fake-eyelash-donning 65-year-old had gone from Christian televangelist to reviled woman to gay icon. How did Messner become a gay icon? With fabulousness and honesty.

And gays appreciated the fact that she had long refused to denounce homosexuals on the Bakkers' TV show and that she had urged sympathy for those with AIDS. In her final interview last week, she said, "When we lost everything, it was the gay people that came to my rescue, and I will always love them for that."

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Stopping the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

As an attorney with a law practice that handles a great deal of real estate work, I have a good vantage to observe the rising number of foreclosures, the increased number of families being forced from their homes, and the step decline in real estate sales and new construction, all of which undermines the larger economy as a whole. Therefore, I found this op-ed in the New York Times of interest (, portions of which are highlighted as follows:
FOR five months, it has been clear that rising delinquencies and foreclosures, coupled with higher interest rates on adjustable mortgages and declining home price appreciation, would undermine the market for mortgage securities. Yet it took Moody’s Investors Service, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, the three leading agencies that rate long-term debt, until this month to react to this looming financial crisis, which involves more than $1.2 trillion of subprime mortgages originated in 2005 and 2006 alone. As one investor asked during a recent S.&P. conference call, “What is it that you know today that the markets didn’t know three months ago?”

The subprime crisis has not been averted. In fact, it is still largely ahead of us. The downgrades represent only a small fraction — about 2 percent of the mortgage-backed securities rated for the year between the fourth quarters of 2005 and 2006 — of what the rating agencies suggest could be a mountain of bad debt held by investors, including pension plans, banks and insurance companies. The agencies are primarily downgrading assets with expected losses that are already working their way through the pipeline. They are not projecting future losses.
And the ratings agencies are far from passive arbitrators in the markets. In structured finance, the rating agency can be an active part of the construction of a deal. In fact, the original models used to rate collateralized debt obligations were created in close cooperation with the investment banks that designed the securities.
Fitch, Moody’s and S.&P. actively advise issuers of these securities on how to achieve their desired ratings. They appear to be helping investment banks, hedge funds and fund companies, all of which have a fiduciary obligation to investors, to develop the worst possible product that would still achieve a certain rating.
Unless the government acts, the credit ratings agencies will stand on the sidelines of the coming crisis, doing nothing until it’s already happened.
I believe that we have only seen the leading edge of a huge looming disaster. When the housing industry and mortgage industry take a dive, the entire economy follows in a domino effect. Where is political leadership calling for action on this problem before the bottom falls out?

New Mexico Same-Sex Couples Can Marry in Massachusetts

This news will get the Christo-fascists foaming at the mouth no doubt:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Registry of Vital Records and Statistics last Thursday issued “a corrective notice to all Massachusetts city and town clerks authorizing them to allow same-sex couples from New Mexico to apply for marriage licenses,” according to Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). Massachusetts forbids out-of-state same-sex couples to marry in the Commonwealth if their home state explicitly bans same-sex marriage. New Mexico is now the second state, after Rhode Island, where this was found not to be the case.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Fears Grow Over US Economic Fallout

While the regime of Chimperator Bush (pictured at left as Marie Antoinnette) acts as if the US economy is fine, European cverage of U. S. economic issues is less optimistic. Here are some highlights from an article in the Guardian (,,2133878,00.html):

Fresh concerns were raised yesterday over the fallout from the US sub-prime mortgage market, which a leading ratings agency described as a "dangerous cocktail" and a Bank of England deputy governor warned was not yet over.

Moody's Investor Service said the size of losses from the turmoil in the US housing market was still unknown. It said that until they could be quantified "the headline risk will probably test markets' nerves". It added that a relaxation of risk management and underwriting standards combined with the growth of little understood debt derivatives, many of them based on US sub-prime mortgages, had proved to be "a dangerous cocktail".

Meanwhile, the pound scaled a new 26-year high against the dollar of $2.0655 during early trading. The greenback also hit a record low against the euro of $1.3853.

Meanwhile, MSNBC has this headline: Existing home sales keep falling: Data show continued weakness in all sections of the U.S. Highlights of the article follow:

WASHINGTON - Sales of existing homes fell for a fourth straight month in June and even a small increase in home prices was not enough to lift the gloom surrounding the housing industry. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes dropped by 3.8 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.75 million units, the slowest sales pace in 4½ years.

The decline in home sales was larger than had been expected and served to underscore the problems in housing, which is currently in the worst slump in 16 years.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last week that he expected housing demand to stabilize and housing to be a less severe drag on growth in the coming months. However, private economists said the existing home sales report raised serious questions about that assessment. They noted that existing home sales were falling at an annual rate of 28 percent in the second quarter, the steepest plunge so far in the downturn. “Housing is contracting at an accelerating pace, taking out with a vengeance the brief stabilization at the turn of the year,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, a private forecasting firm.

The Dow Jones industrial average suffered a 226-point drop on Tuesday as Countrywide Financial, one of the nation’s mortgage lenders, reported a sharp drop in its second quarter profits, raising worries among investors that the housing slump could damage the overall economy by a greater extent than it already has.

The full article is here: The delusions and denials of reality at the White House continue unabated on all fronts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Final Tuesday Male Beauty

Disingenuous Bush Warns Anew of Terror Threat

Let me see - a new low in the polls, particularly among independent voters - and magically, the same old terro mantra gets trotted out yet again. The Chimperator must believe the rest of us are as stupid as he is. Based on the poll numbers, it looks like most folks are catching on to the fact that nothing this man says can be deemed to be true. Here's portions of the latest BS spin from the AP:
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- President Bush, trying to justify the Iraq war, cited intelligence reports Tuesday he said showed a link between al-Qaida's operation in Iraq and the terror group that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Democrats dismissed Bush's argument.
"The merger between al-Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers and that is why the finest military in the world is on their trail," Bush said at Charleston Air Force Base, a launching point for cargo and military personnel headed to Iraq.

Citing security details he declassified for his speech, Bush described al-Qaida's burgeoning operation in Iraq as a direct threat to the United States. Bush accused critics in Congress of misleading the American public by suggesting otherwise.
"The president's claim that the war in Iraq is protecting us from al-Qaida is as misguided and dangerous as the conclusions that drove us to Iraq in the first place," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "The fact is that our continued flawed strategy in Iraq is emboldening and unifying al-Qaida, both in that country and elsewhere."
Bush conveniently miss the fact that his disaster in Iraq has made that country into a prime training and recruiting ground for al-Qaida, something it was NOT before he and Darth Vader Cheney got the USA into a reprise of Vietnam.

More Male Beauty

Just What the Founders Feared: An Imperial President Goes to War

This is a good editorial ( focuses on how Bush and his Christo-facsist allies are subverting the Constitution and the division of powers. Here are some highlights:

The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn’t have the power to do it. “I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war,” he said at a recent press conference. “I think they ought to be funding the troops.” He added magnanimously: “I’m certainly interested in their opinion.”

The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress’s side.
When they drafted the Constitution, Madison and his colleagues wrote their skepticism into the text. In Britain, the king had the authority to declare war, and raise and support armies, among other war powers. The framers expressly rejected this model and gave these powers not to the president, but to Congress.

The Constitution does make the president “commander in chief,” a title President Bush often invokes. But it does not have the sweeping meaning he suggests. The framers took it from the British military, which used it to denote the highest-ranking official in a theater of battle. Alexander Hamilton emphasized in Federalist No. 69 that the president would be “nothing more” than “first general and admiral,” responsible for “command and direction” of military forces.
The framers expected Congress to keep the president on an especially short leash on military matters. The Constitution authorizes Congress to appropriate money for an army, but prohibits appropriations for longer than two years. Hamilton explained that the limitation prevented Congress from vesting “in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence.”

Members of Congress should not be intimidated into thinking that they are overstepping their constitutional bounds. If the founders were looking on now, it is not Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who would strike them as out of line, but George W. Bush, who would seem less like a president than a king.
The current reticence of Congress to call Bush out shows the dangers of a public (and news media) that does not know history and which can be easily duped by demigods like Bush and Cheney.

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Married Man Seeks Same for Discreet Play - Live in the "Straight" World

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After Firing Gay Arabic Translators, Military Resorts to Translating machines

Yet further proof that the Christianists in the senior ranks of the U. S. Military and Congress put their delusional faith ahead of the national interest of the country:

Afterdischarging Arabic language translators for being gay, the military is now forced to rely on a translating machine that has not been fully tested, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (. NIST researchers are evaluating a prototype, real-time, two-way translation systems for the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), point out that wartime military patrols and civilian encounters can be especially dangerous if neither group understands the other’s language.

The DARPA program called TRANSTAC (Spoken Language Communication and Translation System for Tactical Use) is aimed at meeting the shortage of Arabic translators caused by the firing of linguists under the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Law”.
More than 11,000 soldiers have been discharged because of the law, and more than 800 of them had vital skills needed for military operations. Why is using common sense so challenging to these folks?

Tuesday Male Beauty

New Lows in Approval for the Chimperator and His Policies

American Research Group, Inc.'s newest poll shows that the Chimerator continues to sink like a stone in the opinion of the American public. Here are a few highlights:

A total of 71% of Americans say they disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 25% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 71% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 23% approve and 73% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 27% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 70% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 23% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 72% disapprove.

Among Republicans (30% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 68% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 26% disapprove. Among Democrats (37% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 1% approve and 97% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among independents (33% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 18% approve and 79% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.
It strongly appears that only the delusional Christianist elements of the GOP continue to support Bush, but then they never rely on facts or reality to form their opinions either. I hope Bush/Cheney continue to deny reality and drag the GOP to massive defeat in 2008. I hardly think the Dems are a solution to every problem, but at least the country will not have Christianists in charge.

The complete poll results are here:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Purity Level - Is this Good or Bad?

You Are 67% Pure

You're pretty pure, and you have no plans on changing that.
You do have a devilish side though... and it will probably get the better of you.

Final Monday Male Beauty

Living Apart - Reply to Comments

Some have acted as if I blame society for what has occurred between Raymond and me. Yes, I speculated on what might have been for us - and all in the LGBT community for that matter - if society was different. But I was not playing "The Blame Game, "Playing Victim," or intending to be narcissistic in my post.
Yes, I made decisions that perhaps were wrong or might have been made differently. Hindsight is always 20/20. For the record, I have no regrets over having three amazing children, each of whom will bring gifts to the world and who strongly support gay equality. Also, due to my life in the straight world if you will, my coming out has made some individuals have to rethink their bias and bigotry in a way that would not have happened otherwise.
In my defense, I would state that, although I was a bit late in starting my efforts to make things better for the LGBT community, I have since pushed activism, publicly debated against Virginia's marriage amendment, helped form HRBOR, helped expose a fraud like "ex-gay" Michael Johnston ( and other hypocrites. In fact, if more long time openly gay (that being a relative term since most still try to live "under the radar" around here) members of the gay community were as out spoken as I have been in my brief "out" career, this area would be much different than it is at present. The fact that I am probably the only attorney in a metropolitan area of 1.6 million who will publicly say the words, "yes, I am gay" tells me that I am not off playing "victim." Others are busy doing that - not me.
If I have pity or sadness for either one of us, it is Raymond, who by the standard of commentators did the right thing by never being in the closet, has always been out and proud, and paid a very heavy price for it in his younger years.

Democrats Press House to Expand Health Care Bill

As a business owner offering health care benefits to employees and as one who has had to maintain family health insurance coverage, I am well acquainted with the growing burden health care costs are placing on small business and on family budgets. Despite shopping various programs available, the costs just continue to increase, causing many employers to cut back either in plan quality or the amount of the cpremiums paid by the employer. It is little wonder that more and more Americans have no health care insurance.

Does this upset Chimperator Bush and the Christianists? God, of course not. Be against gay marriage, oppose abortion and stem cell research, but to Hell with living, breathing, men, women and children. The hypocrisy is mind boggling. Personally, I believe that sooner or later the USA needs national health insurance or else only the rich and select employees will have health care coverage. Ay least some members of Congress seem to be catching on at least slightly. Here are highlights from New York Times story:

WASHINGTON, July 22 — After a rare bipartisan agreement in the Senate to expand insurance coverage for low-income children, House Democrats have drafted an even broader plan that also calls for major changes in Medicare and promises to intensify the battle with the White House over health care.

President Bush has threatened to veto what he sees as a huge expansion of the children’s health care program, which he describes as a step “down the path to government-run health care for every American.” The House measure calls for changes that the administration will probably find even more distasteful, including cuts in Medicare payments to private health plans.

Like the bill approved last week 17 to 4 in the Senate Finance Committee, the House bill would increase tobacco taxes to help finance expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

House Democrats hope to portray the issue as a fight pitting the interests of children and older Americans against tobacco and insurance companies. The White House says the Democratic proposals would distort the original intent of the children’s program, cause a big increase in federal spending and adversely affect older Americans who are happy with the extra benefits they receive from private health plans.

In the Senate Finance Committee, 6 Republicans joined 11 Democrats in defying Mr. Bush’s veto threat. The House bill was developed entirely by Democrats, who hope to win support from some moderate Republicans.

Cigarette makers are fighting the proposed increase in tobacco taxes, while insurers are lobbying against cuts in their Medicare payments. “Cuts of this size would mean the end of a lifeline for many seniors,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade association.

On Sunday, the National Governors Association, at its annual meeting, in Traverse City, Mich., declared that “urgent action is needed” to bolster the children’s health program. “Defaulting to a series of temporary extensions of the program would be untenable for states and the millions of children who rely on the program,” the governors said in letters to President Bush and Congress.

For the full story see:

More Monday Male Beauty

Wall Street Starts to Lean Democratic

After Years of Backing Republicans, High Finance Turns to Democrats in '08, according to ABC News ( Hopefully, the trend continues and intensifies:

Wall Street — often thought of as a bastion of Republican ideals — is leaning toward Democrats these days. As campaign contributions pour in to the 2008 presidential race, employees at some of the nation's largest banks and investment firms are deciding more often than not to write out big checks to Democratic candidates.

Don't be mistaken — there are still plenty of Republican supporters on Wall Street. But, for the first time in more than a decade, Democratic donors outnumber those supporting Republicans.
For evidence of this shift, look no further than Morgan Stanley chief executive John Mack, a major backer of President Bush, who helped raise more than $200,000 for the president's last campaign. Mack now backs Clinton.