Saturday, September 01, 2007
In a short while I need to get ready for a funeral (see my post from last Sunday about the deat of my friend's mother). I am sure it will be a very tearful affair since she died relatively young and was such a loving person. My friend is taking it very hard. It's a beautiful day, which to me always seems to make it harder to believe someone is gone. Bleak and dreary seems so much more in keeping with a funeral. I guess I am also thinking of the loss of my dad last September - it will be a year on the 26th, which is also my son's birthday. Talk about a day for mixed emotions.
I am debating making the drive to Charlottesville to see my mom either later today or in the morning. My brother and one of my sisters live there too. My main dread is the traffic coming back. This area has basically two routes in: Interstate 64 from the northwest which runs through Williamsburg, Newport News and Hampton, Virginia before going through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel that provides access to the Harbor, including passage of huge cruise liners and the nuclear powered aircraft carriers.
Charlottesville is a truly beautiful city, although it only has a population of 50,000. The country side is gorgeous and with the University of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson designed portion pictured above) dominating the City, the area is very liberal and progressive. The surrounding Albemarle County is one of the richest in the USA and many Hollywood types and New Yorkers and Europeans have bought country estates in the area. My brother and his wife have 10 horses (they are into the fox hunting scene), so I may go riding if I make the trip.
Sorry for rambling so.
Friday, August 31, 2007
The announcement that John Warner will not seek re-election will certainly open the stage for a totally open race that should be interesting as Virginia's increasingly moderate cities and suburban areas are trending away from the no tax increase (no matter how bad the highways get), anti-gay, Second Amendment shill of the GOP. It will be most interesting to see who emerges as the candidate for each party. Attorney General Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell, who represents the worse aspects of the anti-gay GOP, has had his eye on running for Governor and no one else immediately springs to mind on the GOP side. I have no idea who might run on the Democrat side, although former Gov. Mark Warner would likely do well since he was popular while in office. Hopefully, whoever wins next year will be as principled as Warner has proven himself to be. Here's the available information on Warner's announcement:
U.S. Sen. John Warner said today that he will not seek a sixth term. The 80-year-old Republican announced his decision outside the historic rotunda at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Warner is a U.Va. Law School graduate. Warner, secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974, jumped into Virginia politics in 1978, when he won the state's closest U.S. Senate race ever. He has since become the state's most popular officeholder, according to opinion polls, and its all-time leading vote-getter.
When he took office, Warner was best known as the husband of movie star Elizabeth Taylor, whom he wed in 1976 and divorced in 1982. As a senator, he immersed himself in defense issues and by the late 1980s had emerged as a leading Republican spokesman on national security. He was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2003 until last January.
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Thomas Jefferson, not only because he founded my alma mater, but because his thinking was so far ahead of his time. He writings and statements continually underline the untruthfulness of the Christianists who claim that the founding faters wanted the USA to be a "Christian nation." This Jefferson quote takes them head on:
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."
Another good quote on religion comes from James Madison, Jefferson's neighboring planter:
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I will admit that at first I took a fair amount of glee when I first heard the story about Larry Craig (R-Idaho). As I have commented before, I love seeing anti-gay hypocrites taken down. However, it has reached a point where the senior GOP elected officials are going into overkill and I believe Craig is getting unequal treatment. If these paragons of virtue are true going to be true to their delicate sense of morality and/or sense of dignity, then they had better start calling for a lot more resignations, starting with prostitute loving David Vitter (R-La) who has confessed to using prostitutes. Last time I checked, that was a crime in both Louisiana and the District of Columbia. Of course if we move onto financial improprieties among the GOP, the list explodes. Lastly, we have the Chimperator and Darth Vader Cheney who willy nilly trash the Constitution and the rights of citizens and arguably are war criminals under the Geneva Conventions. The following are portions of a further Washington Post article (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/30/idaho-guv-the-bell-has-rung-on-craig/index.html?hp):
The calls for Senator Larry Craig, Republican of Idaho and subject of a scandal involving a “lewd-conduct” arrest in a public men’s restroom, to resign are mounting. In fact, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Senator John Ensign of Nevada, has now been quoted as suggesting that Mr. Craig’s decision to plead guilty to a less serious charge of disorderly conduct from the situation at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in June would be enough for Mr. Ensign to consider doing so.
Without mentioning the “R-word,” Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” (we kid you not) Otter, a longtime colleague and friend of Senator Craig, sort of signaled that time had pretty much run out for the Idaho senator.
Just as Mr. Otter told Ms. Bash he just didn’t want to “go there” about calling for the senator’s resignation, Mr. Ensign sort of side-stepped the “R-word” too. But this is what Mr. Ensign, who is running the campaign arm for 22 Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2008, said, according to the The Associated Press today, from his home state of Nevada:
Senator Craig “admitted guilt, he pled guilty. It’s a little different situation than just being accused of something.”
Mr. Ensign stopped short of calling on Craig to resign his seat, but strongly suggested he do so. “I wouldn’t put myself hopefully in that kind of position, but if I was in a position like that, that’s what I would do,” he said. “He’s going to have to answer that for himself.”
Again, why doesn't the prostitute soliciting David Vitter have to have to account for his own admitted criminal conduct? When you claim to be the party of purity, you do not get to pick and chose which moral improprieties do not count.
I guess the moral is that if you were famous in life, you are open game in death. A new biography of Clark Gables is out and it seems to focus principally on Gable's sex life, which obviously must leave out much about the actor who to me defined the role of Rhett Butler. Here's a portion of a Yahoo News review:
The author tags virtually everyone who shows up here as straight, gay or bisexual, the majority falling into the latter two categories. Like previous accounts, this one alleges that early in his career Gable was "gay for pay" and for career advancement. He squired older women, some of them perhaps closet lesbians, and had close personal, possibly sexual relationships with a number of openly gay men. He was, as well, a serial seducer of women.
Bret's sourcing is unclear throughout; he qualifies most assertions about Gable's sexuality with phrases like "it could be" and "it was alleged." As for insight into the star's films and acting, look for it elsewhere. The author lavishes far more care on the details of Hollywood's sexual roundelays than on his flat summaries of Gable's films, including eight unnecessary pages on the plot of "Gone With the Wind."
Gable starred with leading ladies like Claudette Colbert, Vivian Leigh, Myrna Loy, and his third wife and co-star, Carole Lombard, who died tragically in a plane crash. He was married five times. Of course, as I can personally testify, being married does not make one straight. Gay, straight, or bi, he was a great actor, which should be all that matters.
I have to admit that the critics have a point and the selective treatment being dished out to Larry Craig should be applicable across the board by the party of "family values." That Craig is receiving different treatment shows the hypocrisy of the GOP - and "Values Voters" - when it comes to consistently supporting moral conduct. Here are a few highlights from a Raw Story article (http://rawstory.com//news/2007/Craigs_quick_condemnation_shows_hypocrisy_in_0830.html). Glenn Greenwald's analysis is most telling:
Less that 24 hours after he expressed regret for pleading guilty to disorderly conduct after an undercover cop said the Idaho Republican propositioned him, Craig was ousted from his committee posts in a decision Senate leaders said was "in the best interest" of the chamber. Meanwhile, it has been 52 days since Craig's GOP colleague David Vitter acknowledged the "serious sin" of soliciting a call girl, yet the Louisiana senator has not budged from his committee posts. Where Craig faced condemnation, Vitter received words of encouragement from colleagues -- or at the very least, silence.
Salon's Glenn Greenwald outlines some other possible explanations for the different treatment of Craig's and Vitter's sexual escapades. For one thing, Craig's vacant seat would be filled by a Republican governor, whereas Vitter would be replaced by a Democrat, further tipping the balance of power in the Senate. But Greenwald goes on to observe that attacks on gay Republicans have "no political cost" because they condemn none of the "values voters" upon which the party relies. Conversely, heterosexual perversion, divorce, and out-of-wedlock childbirth are substantial problems, especially in the very regions of the country where Republican support is highest, so the party is unwilling to lead moral crusades against those sins, Greenwald argues.
"The only kind of 'morality' that this movement knows or embraces is politically exploitative, cost-free morality," he says. "That is why the national Republican Party rails endlessly against homosexuality and is virtually mute about divorce and adultery: because anti-gay moralism costs virtually all of its supporters nothing (since that is a moral prohibition that does not constrain them), while heterosexual moral deviations -- from divorce to adultery to sex outside of marriage -- are rampant among the Values Voters faithful and thus removed from the realm of condemnation."
I previously commented on Ted Haggard's questionable pleas for financial assistance via a defunct charity associated with a convicted sex offender. Apparently, Daddy Dobson, or whoever is orchestrating Ted's alleged ex-gay recovery is NOT happy and are moving to shut down Haggard's operation. At the same time, it illustrates how these parasitic "Christian" leaders believe that they deserve to be supported by the naive rather than get a real job. Here are some highlights from the Colorado Springs Gazette:
Disgraced minister Ted Haggard’s e-mailed plea for money and his announced intention to return to religious work was “unacceptable” and “inappropriate,” according to a statement Wednesday by pastors overseeing his restoration. The fourpastor team of overseers said in the statement that Haggard must seek secular employment to support himself and his family. Reached by phone, Haggard said Wednesday he is barred from commenting on the overseers’ statement. The overseers were assigned to help Haggard and his former church, New Life in Colorado Springs, recover from the scandal that broke in November when a former male prostitute said he and Haggard had a three-year sexual relationship and that Haggard had used methamphetamine.
Last week, Haggard, who moved to Phoenix after he was fired by the Colorado Springs megachurch, sent an e-mail to ABC affiliate KRDO about his plans to work in a faith-based halfway house known as the Dream Center. The Dream Center is run by Tommy Barnett, one of Haggard’s spiritual mentors and head of the 15,000-member Phoenix First Assembly of God, which Haggard now attends. Haggard asked for two years of monthly support while he worked and lived in the Dream Center and he and his wife finished earning degrees at the University of Phoenix.
“After their fact-finding was complete, they (overseers) informed Mr. Haggard that his plan and his communications about it were unacceptable. Mr. Haggard’s solicitation for personal support was inappropriate. It was never the intention of the Dream Center that Mr. Haggard would provide any counsel or other ministry. Mr. Haggard will not be moving in or working with the Dream Center. He will not be doing any ministry. He will be seeking secular employment to support himself and his family.”
Once again reality and Chimperator Bush's dream world differ starkly. Despite the Chimperator's continued delusions that progress is being made in Iraq, the new GAO report shows a very different picture as described in this Washington Post article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/29/AR2007082902434.html?hpid=topnews). Meanwhile, more young Americans die and are severely wounded each day (some of Bush's victims are pictured above):
The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.
Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 Congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.
The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.
The draft provides a stark assessment of the tactical effects of the current U.S.-led counteroffensive to secure Baghdad. "While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced," it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that "the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved."
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It increasingly looks like Larry Craig may be toast. You know it's bad when the Virginian Pilot carries a story like this (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CRAIG_ARREST?SITE=VANOV&SECTION=HOME). Here are a few highlights:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's political support eroded significantly Wednesday as three fellow Republicans in Congress called for his resignation and party leaders pushed him from senior committee posts.
For a second consecutive day, GOP Senate leaders stepped in, issuing a statement that said Craig had "agreed to comply with leadership's request" to temporarily give up his posts on important committees. He has been the top Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee as well as on subcommittees for two other panels.
"This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the ethics committee," said the statement, issued in the name of Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the party leader, and others.
On Tuesday, the leaders jumped in ahead of Craig's appearance before television cameras in Idaho to announce they had asked the ethics committee look into the case.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hoekstra called Craig's explanations "not credible." "I think it's important for Republicans to step out right now and say, 'No, this behavior is not going to be tolerated,'" he said. Hoekstra, a conservative from western Michigan, said he reached his decision on his own and had not consulted with party leaders. "It's not a judgment on gay rights or anything like that. This is about leadership and setting a standard that the American people and your colleagues in the Republican Party can feel good about." Other Republicans dwelt on Craig's guilty plea, but Hoekstra's mention of homosexuality reflected a separate concern.
I found the link to this December 12, 1955, Time Magazine story (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,711877,00.html) on Andrew Sullivan's blog. It shows that Larry Craig is not the first "respectable" Idahoan to have legal problems involving gay sex. Boise (pictured above) apparently has a history of clandestine gay sex:
Boise, Idaho (pop. 50,000), the state capital, is usually thought of as a boisterous, rollicking he-man's town, and home of the rugged Westerner. In the downtown saloons of the city a faint echo of Boise's ripsnorting frontier days can still be heard, but its quiet residential areas and 70 churches give the city an appearance of immaculate respectability. Recently, Boiseans were shocked to learn that their city had sheltered a widespread homosexual underworld that involved some of Boise's most prominent men and had preyed on hundreds of teen-age boys for the past decade.
In a succession of arrests and hearings that rocked Boise, those formally charged included Joe Moore, 54, vice president of the Idaho First National Bank, Attorney Paris T. Martin, 44, John Calvin Bartlett, 28, a high-school teacher in a nearby town, as well as a clerk in a haberdashery, a hospital orderly, a liquor salesman, two interior decorators, a warehouseman, and a buyer for a women's store. Last week Ralph Cooper, 33, a shoeshine boy and ex-convict, was sentenced to life in prison. Interior Decorator Charles H. Gordon, 40, got 15 years. Two other defendants pleaded guilty to committing "infamous crimes against nature." Other arrests and hearings are expected this week.
Many of the boys wanted money for maintenance of their automobiles (Idaho grants daylight driving permits to children of 14, regular licenses to 15-year-olds). The usual fees given to the boys were $5 to $10 per assignation.
Record Number of Americans Lack Health Insurance - Federal report cites drop in employer-sponsored coverage
I know that I have harped on this issue before, but I truly believe it is one of the biggest domestic issues in the USA. Statistics show that over one-half of all bankruptcies is due to a family medical crisis. Sometimes even where the parties have health insurance coverage. This article from MSNBC (http://health.msn.com/healthnews/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100168613>1=10316) shows that the problem of uninsured Americans is increasing. That one of the leading industrail nations in the world treats its citizens in this manner is a disgrace. Even more scandalous, it is the party of "family values" and public religion that most opposes changes in health coverage for Americans. Here are highlights form the story:
TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A record number of Americans are without health insurance, according to new U.S. Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday. Some of the trend can be explained by employers who are curtailing coverage or making it too costly for lower income workers to afford, the report said.
"The number of people without health insurance coverage increased from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006," David S. Johnson, chief of the bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, said during a teleconference Tuesday. The percentage of Americans without health insurance rose to 15.8 percent in 2006 from 15.3 percent in 2005, Johnson added. "This is the second consecutive year of increase," he said.
The problems of the uninsured are particularly acute among children. The percent and the number of children under 18 without health insurance increased to 11.7 percent from 10.9 percent from 2005 to 2006, and to 8.7 million from 8 million, respectively. "The number of children covered by private insurance decreased from 65.8 percent in 2005 to 64.6 percent in 2006," Johnson said. "The increase in the uninsured rate can be attributed to the decline in private coverage." Moreover, 19.3 percent of children in poverty had no health insurance.
Davis added that employers were dropping coverage of dependents. "It really varies by the income of the family," she said. "Either employers aren't covering the kids, or the premium share is too high for families to afford."
This is a good article in today's New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/29/us/politics/29repubs.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin) that gives a rundown of the failure of the party of "family values" to even remotely live up to the standards they and their Christianist allies preach. Personally, I hope the scandals keep on coming in a steady drumbeat between now and November, 2008. Nothing is more satisfying that seeing hypocritical politicians exposed as frauds:
Just when Republicans thought things could not get any worse, Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho confirmed that he had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct after an undercover police officer accused him of soliciting sex in June in a Minneapolis airport restroom. On Tuesday, Mr. Craig, 62, held a news conference to defend himself, calling the guilty plea “a mistake” and declaring, “I am not gay” — even as the Senate Republican leadership asked for an Ethics Committee review.
It was a bizarre spectacle, and only the latest in a string of accusations of sexual foibles and financial misdeeds that have landed Republicans in the political equivalent of purgatory, the realm of late-night comic television.
Forget Mark Foley of Florida, who quit the House last year after exchanging sexually explicit e-mail messages with under-age male pages, or Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist whose dealings with the old Republican Congress landed him in prison. They are old news, replaced by a fresh crop of scandal-plagued Republicans, men like Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, whose phone number turned up on the list of the so-called D.C. Madam, or Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska and Representative Rick Renzi of Arizona, both caught up in F.B.I. corruption investigations.
Then again, Washington does not have a monopoly on the latest trend among Republicans. Just ask Thomas Ravenel, the state treasurer of South Carolina, who had to step down as state chairman of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential campaign after he was indicted on cocaine charges in June. Or Bob Allen, a state representative in Florida who was jettisoned from the John McCain campaign last month after he was arrested on charges of soliciting sex in a public restroom.
It will be interesting to watch as the GOP throws Larry Craig (pictured in mug shots at left) under the bus - deservedly so. For the life of me, I cannot understand the stupidity of those who cruise for gay sex in public places. With the Internet, clubs, dating sites - even Mega Phone that former Congressman Ed Schrock used - there are so many ways to meet guys, if one must, that only a fool would seek out sex in public rest rooms. Deny it as he might, no one cops a plea and pleads guilty unless they seriously believe they will be convicted if the case goes forward. Craig must believe the public are idiots. Here are some highlights from today's Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/28/AR2007082801196.html?hpid=topnews):
"Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay," he [Craig] said.
Senate Republican leaders issued a rare joint statement minutes before Craig's news conference, complaining that none of them had been told of his legal troubles until yesterday. The senators asked the ethics committee to investigate the matter, vowing to consider other punitive sanctions.
"This is a serious matter. Due to the reported and disputed circumstances, and the legal resolution of this serious case, we will recommend that Senator Craig's incident be reported to the Senate Ethics Committee for its review. In the meantime, leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Minority Whip Trent Lott (Miss.) and three other elected leaders said. The only GOP leader not on the statement is Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.); he is the vice chairman of the ethics panel, to which Craig's case is being referred.
This Florida Sun-Sentinel story (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-828naugle,0,1406774.story) illustrates that LGBT purchasing power can have an impact on politics. Hopefully, the residents of Ft. Lauderdale will send a further signal to Naugle and not re-elect him. Here are a few story highlights:
Fort Lauderdale - Mayor Jim Naugle's series of controversial comments about homosexuality cost him his seat Tuesday on the board that promotes Broward County to tourists.County commissioners accused him of jeopardizing the area's multibillion-dollar tourism industry. They said Naugle forced them to take the unprecedented step of stripping him of the job when he ignored warnings to stop his attacks.Since Naugle made his initial allegations about rampant gay sex in public restrooms nearly two months ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has been deluged with hundreds of angry e-mails from tourists. Some said they had canceled vacations, while others threatened to go elsewhere.
A gay-oriented convention that was to draw 200 attendees this fall is on hold. A group that plans black family reunions has voiced concern about whether the mayor was sending a message of intolerance. Bookings of college and high-school sporting events is also down compared to last year.
"I had hoped that this would die on its own, but Mayor Naugle continues to push his own agenda and that is having an increasing impact on our community," said County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, who proposed removing him. "He has continued to escalate his rhetoric, and we cannot be silent."
In additon to the comments on public sex, Naugle has described gays as unhappy, contended the gay Stonewall Library should not be housed in a city building because its collection contains pornography and questioned whether the county should market itself to gay tourists because of the high rate of HIV infection in the area. His comments have been reported across the nation.Broward has marketed itself to gay and lesbian visitors for the past decade and estimates that they now account for almost 1 million of the 10.4 million people who visit annually and spend about $1 billion while here. The visitors bureau will spend about $450,000 this year on advertising and other marketing directed at gay tourists.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I have enjoyed the movies that I have seen featuring Owen Wilson, both in serious roles and in crazy comedy roles. I am not sure what might have pushed him to suicide - outwardly he seems to be doing very well, at least financially and career wise - but I am very glad that he was found and is doing better in the hospital. As one who has been in dark places where suicide seemed to be a solution at the time, I can at least appreciate how desperate and utterly hopeless Wilson must have felt. I wish him well and a full recovery. His suicide attempt shows that suicide is a much more wide spread phenomenon than most people believe it to be. Here is a portion of CNN's article:
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Police were called to Owen Wilson's home because of an attempted suicide report, according to a police log of weekend calls. The log doesn't indicate who made the call Sunday, but lists "attempt suicide" as the reason for it.
Wilson was in good condition Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Hospital officials said Tuesday they weren't releasing any updated information. The 38-year-old actor was initially taken by ambulance from his home to Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday and later transferred to Cedars. The actor's publicist, Ina Treciokas, declined to answer questions Tuesday about whether Wilson attempted to commit suicide. She said Wilson's statement asking for privacy was all that was being released.
Wilson had two movies in production and two more upcoming releases to help promote. DreamWorks Pictures said in a statement that filming continues on "Tropic Thunder," a comedy starring Wilson. The studio offered no details on whether Wilson's role in the film, directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jack Black, would be recast.
This is a strange and sad story. How and why he had a heart attack at age 22 has yet to be explained. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and expectant girl friend. Here's a part of the International Herald Tribune's coverage:
SEVILLE, Spain: Sevilla midfielder Antonio Puerta died Tuesday, three days after collapsing on the field during his team's Spanish league match against Getafe. Puerta died of "multiple organ failure stemming from prolonged cardiac arrest" and subsequent coronary problems, Virgen del Rocio Hospital director Gimeno Guerrero said in a statement.
The 22-year-old Puerta had been in an intensive care unit since Saturday and had been given assisted ventilation but his condition worsened Tuesday, the hospital said. Puerta lost consciousness and fell near his own goal Saturday in the 31st minute, but was able to walk off minutes later after being treated by team doctors. But doctors said he had a heart attack in the locker room, and at least one more in the emergency room of the Seville hospital where he was taken.
The following comes from Proud of Who We Are (http://www.proudofwhoweare.org/story11.html). I also suggest that readers check out Pam Spaulding's commentary on why closet cases like Craig need to be outed. Here's a portion of Mike Roger's statement:
WASHINGTON, Aug 27, 2008- Proud of Who We Are President Michael Rogers, who broke the story in October 2006 of Sen. Larry Craig's sexual encounters with men, issued the following statement Monday regarding Craig's arrest:
"Larry Craig should stand up and be honest with the citizens of Idaho about who he is," said Rogers, the country's top gay activist blogger. "Tonight is a historic opportunity for Senator Craig to run for re-election as a proud gay American. What a great turning point for one of the most conservative states in the country to be represented by an openly gay Senator."
"Senator Craig's situation is exacerbated by the fact that he has a voting record that is counter to the interest of lesbian and gay Americans. All too often, closeted men like Senator Craig use their voting record to hide their truth from the American people. With this news now out in the open, I call upon Senator Craig to reevaluate his votes on issues like the Federal Marriage Amendment, Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act.
"The Minnesota arrest is not a one-time occurrence," Rogers added. "Last October, I reported on three other encounters that Senator Craig had with men – including one in a bathroom in Washington's Union Station. What's troubling about this is Larry Craig's hypocrisy: he repeatedly votes against the gay community during his day job, while engaging in same-sex encounters as extra curricular activity. Now is a good time for Larry Craig to join millions of other Americans and be proud of who he is."
On October 17, 2006, Rogers broke the story of Craig's sexual encounters with men. Rogers independently interviewed three Craig sexual partners, two in the Pacific Northwest, and one who lives in Washington, D.C. The Washington source told Rogers that he and Sen. Craig had oral sex in two different bathrooms of Union Station, the train depot within sight of U.S. Senate Office Buildings. Rogers said the sources each independently described something unique about the senator that could only be known to someone who had had sexual contact with him.
Here are portions of Pam's comments on the pathology of the closet:
We're not only talking about elected officials. This closet is full of campaign managers, fundraisers and legislators in the corridors of power, ready to elect homophobic officials with homo-hating tactics, and pass anti-gay measures, even as they enjoy homosexual activities themselves under the cover of anonymity. These folks are addicted to access and power, and know that publicly kicking the closet door open will jeopardize that power in the gay-hating, gay-baiting wing of the GOP that currently rules the roost.
However, there is a subset of these hypocrites that are truly self-loathing homosexuals -- the Schrocks [and Craigs] of the world -- cruising for homo-sex in the shadows, hating themselves the next day and atoning for their "sin" by casting votes against taxpaying citizens that choose to live their lives honestly and openly. As long as their anti-gay boss treats them well personally, it doesn't matter that they work together to deny civil rights to LGBT citizens.
The story about the guilty plea taken by Larry Craig (R-Idaho) continues to take on a life of its own and today's Washington Post joins the media outlets discussing the story. (See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/27/AR2007082701235.html?hpid=topnews) These "family values" Republicans are surely the biggest hypocrites imaginable: vote for anti-gay legislation, then go out and solicit gay sex. Here are highlights from the Post's coverage:
Sen. Larry E. Craig pleaded guilty earlier this month to misdemeanor disorderly-conduct charges stemming from his June arrest by an undercover police officer in a men's restroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a court spokeswoman and the senator's office said yesterday.
Senate GOP leaders said yesterday that they were shocked by the news but declined to comment further. "We just found out about this incident late this afternoon," said Josh Holmes, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Because Craig pleaded guilty to a crime, the incident may be reviewed by the Senate ethics committee. Its chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), declined to comment last night. In 2006, a gay activist said he had spoken with men who had sexual encounters with Craig, including in the restrooms at Union Station. Craig's office told the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., that the allegations were "completely ridiculous."
The conservative senator has supported an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage and voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s. Craig, who served in the National Guard, has also spoken out against homosexuals serving in the military. Craig was a member of the "Singing Senators," a now-defunct Republican barbershop quartet. It included Sen. Trent Lott (Miss.) and then-Sen. John D. Ashcroft (Mo.), who broke up the group when he was named attorney general.
Craig is married and has three grown children. He will complete his third Senate term next year, after serving 10 years in the House, and speculation has swirled for months that he may retire. Spokesman Dan Whiting said the senator will announce his decision this fall.
A copy of the actual police report can be found here: http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/ssi/craig_police_report_082807.pdf I know, I should not take glee in Craig's misfortunes, but it is just so nice when hypocrites get the due.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Not to pile onto a dead horse, but good riddance to this clown. He and the Chimperator have done much to damage the Justice Department and the Constitution. I suspect that he/Bush think that his resignation will defuse matters. Hopefully, the various pending investigations will continue and their misdeeds will be properly spot lighted. Here are a few highlights from the New York Time's article (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/27/washington/27cnd-gonzales.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin):
Democrats cheered Mr. Gonzales’s departure. “Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader. “He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say ‘no’ to Karl Rove.” Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who sits on the Judiciary Committee and has been calling for Mr. Gonzales’s resignation for months, said this morning: “It has been a long and difficult struggle, but at last the attorney general has done the right thing and stepped down. For the previous six months, the Justice Department has been virtually nonfunctional, and desperately needs new leadership.”
Senator Schumer said that “Democrats will not obstruct or impede a nominee who we are confident will put the rule of law above political considerations.” Another Democrat on the Judiciary Committee who has been highly critical of Mr. Gonzales, Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, said the next attorney general must be a person whose first loyalty is “to the law, not the president."
As a former Texas resident, Gonzales - who once served on the Texas Supreme Court - definitely shows the dangers of elected judges. He also demonstrates the need for Congress to thoroughly review the credentials of proposed Presidential appointees so that the unqualified do not get confirmed.
This Washington Post article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/26/AR2007082601083.html?hpid=sec-business) tells a story that will be spreading across the country as real estate sales slow and the further fall out from the sub-prime mortgage market meltdown continues. The overall ripple effect, I believe, will be a significant drain on the economy. I know for a fact that lay offs are occurring in this market too. Not surprisingly, some are warning of a possible recession. Here are some story highlights:
Washington's real estate industry, already pinched by a slowdown in residential construction, is bracing for further retrenchment after last week's meltdown in the mortgage market. In recent months, companies have begun cutting back in big ways and small. A Prince George's County builder laid off four workers and turned off the spigot for new projects. A four-person title company in Arlington is cutting its staff by one after watching business fall. A Fredericksburg drywaller let his 10 employees go and is struggling to keep the business afloat.
Individually the cuts are not large, but collectively they are beginning to add up across the region. Economists estimate that the real estate industry accounts for 12 to 15 percent of the jobs in the Washington area. The sector has played a large role in the region's economic growth over the past five years, and economists are watching recent events for signs of whether the slowdown will begin to drag down consumer spending and other parts of the local economy.
Economists at Lehman Brothers said in a report last week that a pullback in mortgage lending would prolong the U.S. housing recession and trigger job losses in the real estate, construction and mortgage industries. Home sales and construction starts will continue to decline through the middle of 2008, and national home prices will fall "modestly," said the authors of the report, Michelle Meyer and Ethan Harris. Their conclusion: "The housing recession looks far from over."
Obviously, this trend, if it continues, especially if foreclosures significantly increase, will put voters in a very foul mood come election time in November 2008. I hope the Democrats wake up and see the writing on the wall and take advantage of it to eviscerate the GOP in 2008. According to Chimperator Bush, the economy is doing fine.
Yep, yet another family values Republican gets outed, this time much more publicly and in a way that goes far beyond mere rumor. Back in October, 2006, Mike Rogers outed Craig on Blog Active. Perhaps this time the larger media will pay attention to yet another case of GOP hypocrisy. I have been unable to link to the Roll Call Story(http://www.rollcall.com/issues/1_1/breakingnews/19763-1.html) - probably because the server is going into melt down from hits - so I am quoting from part of Wonkette's coverage. I don't know about you, but if had been innocent, I do not think I would have coped a plea. Here's highlights from Wonkette:
Last June, Larry Craig, the Senator who was publicly outed to absolutely no ensuing scandal, was arrested for “lewd conduct” in a men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. He pleaded guilty on August 8, paid $500, got out of the 10-day jail sentence, and was given a year of probation. His office referred to the incident — and this is all from Roll Call so you can’t accuse us of making this bizarre quote up — as a “he said/he said misunderstanding.” They claim they’ll explain what they mean by this later today, when they come up with a convincing lie.
You see, it was all just a simple he said/he said misunderstanding! Because Larry Craig was under the impression that the other gentleman wanted to have anonymous sex with him in an airport bathroom. To be honest, we feel bad for poor Larry Craig — the cop didn’t even give him time to whip it out! Dude shoulda fought the case! Because we would’ve liked to have seen this drawn out as long as possible.
Dr. D. James Kennedy and his Coral Ridge Ministries, based out of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has been a fervent gay hater and disseminator of anti-gay untruths for years. I'd be lying if I said I was sad to see him go. Hopefully, with his retirement some of the poison he has peddled will dissipate. I know back in 2003 when Michael Johnston's ex-gay career was about to implode, Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries continued marketing Johnston's books and videos literally up to the day the Southern Voice story broke, even though a number of the Christianist leaders were aware of what was coming. I guess Kennedy wanted to get every last dollar possible before the bottom fell out on Johnston. Here are some portions of the Sun-Sentinel (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-0826kennedy,0,1047835.story) story:
Dr. D. James Kennedy, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has retired, his daughter announced from the pulpit of the Fort Lauderdale Church Sunday. He was pastor for 48 years.The announcement capped off months of speculation spun by his absence from the pulpit since December after suffering a brief heart failure."I formally announce the retirement of Dr. D. James Kennedy as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church," Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy announced to reactions of quiet gasps among the 1,700 listeners.
Here's a sampling of books peddled by Kennedy's ministry:
Mommy, Why Are They Holding Hands? Deborah Priboda In the nation's first Bible-based children's book focused on preventing homosexuality, a young girl is faced with the reality of homosexual sin after seeing two men holding hands at the mall.
The Condition of Male Homosexuality Joseph Nicolosi "There is no such thing as a homosexual." That is not exactly something you would expect to hear from an expert, but guess what? That was an expert!
What's Wrong With Same-Sex Marriage? Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe The issue of same-sex marriage could destroy the social fabric of this nation.
"Hate Crimes Laws: Censoring The Church And Silencing Christians Coral Ridge Ministries Hate crime laws now threaten free speech and religious liberty nationwide and threaten those who speak out against homosexuality.
FastFacts: Homosexuality Coral Ridge Ministries Truths you need to know about the homosexual agenda in America: how it will effect you, your children, and the future of America.
Military Necessity And Homosexuality Colonel Ronald D. Ray, USMCR An informative and powerful book about why homosexuals should not serve in the military and also how the gay liberation movement is continuing to grow in America.
In my view, Kennedy will have a place in Hell with Jerry Falwell since his "ministry" has been based on division and hatred towards others.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I generally lament the disaster the regime of Chimperator Bush has been in terms of (1) subverting the Constitution and (B) creating a foreign policy and military fiasco in Iraq. He has created an equally horrifying disaster in failed recovery efforts for New Orleans. An editorial in today's Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/24/AR2007082401209.html?hpid=opinionsbox1) details just how huge Bush's sins have been in this regard:
Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along, unable to make truly meaningful reconstruction progress. The most important issues concerning the city's long-term survival are still up in the air. Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway? Why hasn't President Bush named a high-profile czar such as Colin Powell or James Baker to oversee the ongoing disaster? Where is the U.S. government's participation in the rebuilding?
The Corps has been busy fixing the three principal holes that opened in August 2005. Its hard work has, in fact, paid a partial dividend. A decent defensive floodwall is now on the east side of the Industrial Canal, attempting to protect the Lower Ninth Ward. Unfortunately, that is where the upbeat news nosedives. The federal government has refused to shut the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet canal that helped cause the Katrina "funnel effect" flooding two years ago. In addition, entire neglected neighborhoods still have no adequate flood control.
Bold action has been needed for two years now, yet all that the White House has offered is an inadequate trickle of billion-dollar Band-aids and placebo directives. Too often in the United States we forget that "inaction" can be a policy initiative. Every day the White House must decide what not to do.
New Orleans appears to be largely abandoned by the Department of Homeland Security, except for its safeguarding of the Port Authority (port traffic is at 90 percent of pre-Katrina numbers) and tourist districts above sea level, such as the French Quarter and Uptown. These areas are kept alive largely by the wild success of Harrah's casino and a steady flow of undaunted conventioneers.
But what makes the current inaction plan so infuriating is that it's deceptive, offering up this open-armed spin to storm victims: "Come back to New Orleans." Why can't Bush look his fellow citizens in the eye and tell them what seems to be the ugly truth? That as long as he's commander in chief, there won't be an entirely reconstructed levee system.
Why am I left with the sick feeling that if these still devastated areas had been affluent white neighborhoods instead of low income black neighborhoods, that the White House response would have perhaps been considerably different?
I guess the Roman Catholic Church is not the only anti-gay organization that has lots of dirty linen of its own that seldom has seen the light of day. This story out of Seattle (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003849260_boyscouts23m.html) shows that the Boy Scouts - which believes that gays cannot be "morally straight" - has a huge sexual abuse problem of its own. I am not against the Boy Scouts per se - I actually was a scout myself. But, I am dead set against the hypocrisy of telling boys they cannot be members if they are gay, yet keeping the organization's scandalous dirty laundry hidden. Here are highlights from the Seattle Times story:
Finally, after decades of silence, the Stewart brothers grew convinced they weren't alone. In 2003, they sued the Boy Scouts and their former Scoutmaster and won an out-of-court settlement. Four years later, the case has become a landmark in the 97-year history of the Boy Scouts, and the brothers spokesmen for a much larger issue. For the first time, the Boy Scouts of America has been forced to turn over, to the Stewarts' attorneys, its entire archive on sexually abusive Scout leaders.
The previously private records show the Boy Scouts have ejected at least 5,100 adult leaders nationwide for sexual abuse allegations since 1946. And the files reveal that despite efforts to keep potential abusers from joining, the problems persist: In the past 15 years alone, the organization has kicked out leaders for such allegations at a rate of once every other day.
The 45 boxes of files are not public because of a strict court order that prohibits the Stewarts and their lawyers from disclosing specific cases. But a statistical summary of the files, provided by the Stewarts' attorneys, shows the problem is larger than previously known. The secrecy of the files has also meant that the Boy Scouts have kept them from their own sex-abuse advisers, a group of respected experts first convened in the late 1980s to help craft a youth-protection program.
During the past 15 years, the group repeatedly suggested that the Boy Scouts study the files to see whether their prevention measures were working, said one adviser, David Finkelhor, who heads the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. But the Scouts' lawyers rebuffed the recommendation, Finkelhor said.
Since the abuse of the plaintiffs began when they were in second grade, the abuser sounds like a pedophile, not a normal gay man. Another abusive Boy Scout leader was the late Spokane mayor, Jim West, who was forced from office. (See: http://www.spokesmanreview.com/jimwest/story.asp?ID=050505_westmain)
I actually wanted to participate in this study described in a Houston Chronicle article (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/5082744.html), but my brother refuses to do so - he apparently thinks participating would mean that he is gay, whereas the study - I have filled out the questionnaires, etc., and read the study description and talked with Dr. Alan Sanders (mentioned below) - merely wants two (2) brothers, at least one of whom is gay so that there is a basis of comparison. I will ask him again to reconsider, but I will not be holding my breath. Personally, I believe that there is some type of genetic component to sexual orientation. For obvious reasons, I would love to have it scientifically confirmed that sexual orientation is genetic and, therefore, NOT a choice so that the Christianist "cure" programs could be shut down once and for all. Here are some highlights from the article:
The results may ignite controversy, the researchers acknowledge, both by providing ammunition in the raging cultural war over homosexuality and by raising fears about ethically questionable applications like genetic profiling and prenatal testing. But, they argue, the research is essential to our biological understanding of sexual behavior.
"If there are genetic contributions to sexual orientation, they will not remain hidden forever — the march of genetic science can't be stopped," said Timothy F. Murphy, bioethicist adviser to the study. "It's not a question of whether we should or should not do this research, it's that we make sure we're prepared to protect people from insidious uses of this science." While the question of whether homosexuality is a choice remains a hot topic for pundits, scientists are largely in agreement that sexual orientation is at least partially determined by biology.
Inspired by the accumulating circumstantial evidence of genetic factors, researchers in the early '90s began trying to narrow down the wide expanse of DNA to a few promising regions. By comparing the genetic codes of gay brothers, who also share 50 percent of their genes, a "linkage study" tries to detect areas that show up in both men at a frequency higher than chance, suggesting one or more genes in that region might be linked to sexual orientation.
In 1993, geneticist Dean Hamer announced his group had found such a region on the X chromosome, which males inherit from their mothers. But the number of brother pairs used in the study was small and subsequent studies failed to replicate Hamer's findings, throwing the result into question.
"In complex gene scenarios, people figured out that you need a larger sample size in order to get reasonable statistical power," said Dr. Alan Sanders, a psychiatrist at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and the leader of the current study. To increase the chances of finding genetic areas associated with homosexuality, Sanders proposed assembling almost 10 times the sibling pairs of previous studies.
At this point, the researchers do not know what types of genes they may find; they could be related to hormones, sexual development or a completely unexpected system. "The genes would probably be doing their work by affecting sexual differentiation of the brain during prenatal life," said J. Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University psychology professor involved with the project. "But what scientists are increasingly appreciating is that genes can affect a trait in ways you could never have guessed."