Saturday, October 06, 2007

Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis (VA 1st) Dies of Breast Cancer at 57

I certainly do not intend to speak ill of the dead, but the death of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA 1) will hopefully allow for the election of a less rabid anti-gay member to Congress and decrease the Christianist voting power in Congress. She may have remained true to her own religious beliefs, but Davis cared little for the Constitution and the separation of church and state. Here is part of the Virginian Pilot's story (

Jo Ann Davis died at her home in Gloucester today after a battle with breast cancer, according to a statement on her official Web site. She was 57. Davis, R-1st District, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and had a recurrence earlier this year. She had been receiving treatment at Duke University.
Davis was in her fourth House term representing a district that stretches from the Peninsula to the Fredericksburg area. She was first elected to Congress in 2000, and was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. Her first piece of legislation, passed by the House in 2001, increased the life insurance benefit paid to survivors of military members killed on duty.

"Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis made history when she became the first female Republican elected to the House of Representatives from the commonwealth in 2000," Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, said in a statement. "She inspired Virginians as she battled breast cancer while continuing to serve the commonwealth." Before Congress, Davis served four years in the Virginia House of Delegates.

A local Williamsburg Virginia columnist described Davis in this manner:
In addition to posting the Ten Commandments, Davis also co-sponsored a bill that would “recognize the need for fasting and prayer to secure the blessings and protection of Providence for the people and the Armed Forces during the conflict in Iraq.” Dangerous it is indeed when an allegedly secular government presses its citizens to fast and pray because of its own colossal preemptive military scam and what we have recently learned were unforgivable intelligence blunders that have caused thousands to die for no rational cause.

Another tendency on the part of Davis is to foster legislative extremism by waxing gaga over constitutional amendments. During the last session of Congress, Davis co-sponsored amendments to prohibit the desecration of the flag, to restore religious freedom, to ban gay marriage, to outlaw real and virtual child pornography, to make English the official language and to balance the budget.

Returning to her religious roots, Davis is ever on the warpath against gays, and, in addition to the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, sponsored a bill of her own that would define marriage in Washington, DC as consisting of the union of one man and one woman. As for the amendment to “restore religious freedom,” it is nothing more than a feeble attempt to enable such sanctimonious bloviators as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson to get the IRS off their backs when they openly endorse political candidates from the pulpit.

Here are some highlights of Davis' other actions:

1. 2005 - Republican congresswoman Jo Ann Davis of Virginia reintroduced her bill seeking to prohibit the District of Columbia from legalizing same-sex marriage on Jan. 6.

2. 2004 - Davis was one of the five original co-sponsors in the House of the federal Marriage Amendment. The National Black Justice Coalition also found that Davis had an abysmal voting records on issues important to the African-American community.
Aren't you glad that you do not live in Virginia??

A Priest Methodically Reveals Ukrainian Jews’ Fate

This story ( is yet another reminder of what happens when fear and/or hatred of those who are different is allowed to run unchecked. One of my best and most supportive friends is Jewish and he and his extended family treat me as almost like family, so these stories always particularly sicken me. All of us need to be mindful of how horrors can occur when we overlook the humanity of others and preach hatred (Daddy Dobson, I hope you take heed). Here are some highlights:
PARIS, Oct. 5 — His subjects were mostly children and teenagers at the time, terrified witnesses to mass slaughter. Some were forced to work at the bottom rung of the Nazi killing machine — as diggers of mass graves, cooks who fed Nazi soldiers and seamstresses who mended clothes stripped from the Jews before execution.
They live today in rural poverty, many without running water or heat, nearing the end of their lives. So Patrick Desbois has been quietly seeking them out, roaming the back roads and forgotten fields of Ukraine, hearing their stories and searching for the unmarked common graves. He knows that they are an unparalleled source to document the murder of the 1.5 million Jews of Ukraine, shot dead and buried throughout the country.
The Nazis killed nearly 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine after their invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. But with few exceptions, most notably the 1941 slaughter of nearly 34,000 Jews in the Babi Yar ravine in Kiev, much of that history has gone untold.
Over four years, Father Desbois has videotaped more than 700 interviews with witnesses and bystanders and has identified more than 600 common graves of Jews, most of them previously unknown. He also has gathered material evidence of the execution of Jews from 1941 to 1944, the “Holocaust of bullets” as it is called.
Some of the results of Father Desbois’s research — including video interviews, wartime documents, photographs of newly uncovered mass graves, rusty bullets and shell casings and personal possessions of the victims — are on display for the first time at an exhibit at the Memorial of the Shoah in the Marais district of Paris. The exhibit shows, for example, images of the 15 mass graves of several thousand Jews in a commune called Busk that Father Desbois and his team discovered and began excavating after interviewing several witnesses. Among hundreds of other items on display is a black-and-white photo from 1942 that shows a German police officer shooting naked Jewish women lying in a ravine in the Rivne region.
There are stories of how the Nazis drummed on empty buckets to avoid having to listen to the screams of their victims, how Jewish women were made sex slaves of the Nazis and then executed. One witness said that as a 6-year-old he hid and watched as his best friend was shot to death. Other witnesses described how the Nazis were allowed only one bullet to the back per victim and that the Jews sometimes were buried alive. “One witness told of how the pit moved for three days, how it breathed,” Father Desbois recalled.

Final Saturday Male Beauty

From Real Euphoria

5 Myths About Sick Old Europe

Living in the Ghent area of Norfolk, Virginia - definitely a blue island in a still largely red state - one hears all too often the egocentric blustering of those who blindly believe that the USA is the most wonderful of nations and more excellent than anywhere else. Having traveled oversees extensively a number of years ago for my job, I came to realize that (1) there are other perspectives on all kinds of issues and (2) while the USA does have things to be proud about (in the past it was its democracy and civil liberties which have been sadly eroded under the Chimperator and Emperor Palpatine Cheney), not everything is bad or dire in other nations. This article in the Washington Post - which I have set out in full - dispels many of the false bluster against Europe:

In the global economy, today's winners can become tomorrow's losers in a twinkling, and vice versa. Not so long ago, American pundits and economic analysts were snidely touting U.S. economic superiority to the "sick old man" of Europe. What a difference a few months can make. Today, with the stock market jittery over Iraq, the mortgage crisis, huge budget and trade deficits, and declining growth in productivity, investors are wringing their hands about the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, analysts point to the roaring economies of China and India as the only bright spots on the global horizon.

But what about Europe? You may be surprised to learn how our estranged transatlantic partner has been faring during these roller-coaster times -- and how successfully it has been knocking down the Europessimist myths about it.

1. The sclerotic European economy is incapable of leading the world.
Who're you calling sclerotic? The
European Union's $16 trillion economy has been quietly surging for some time and has emerged as the largest trading bloc in the world, producing nearly a third of the global economy. That's more than the U.S. economy (27 percent) or Japan's (9 percent). Despite all the hype, China is still an economic dwarf, accounting for less than 6 percent of the world's economy. India is smaller still.

The European economy was never as bad as the Europessimists made it out to be. From 2000 to 2005, when the much-heralded U.S. economic recovery was being fueled by easy credit and a speculative housing market, the 15 core nations of the European Union had per capita economic growth rates equal to that of the United States. In late 2006, they surpassed us. Europe added jobs at a faster rate, had a much lower budget deficit than the United States and is now posting higher productivity gains and a $3 billion trade surplus.
2. Nobody wants to invest in European companies and economies because lack of competitiveness makes them a poor bet.

Wrong again. Between 2000 and 2005, foreign direct investment in the E.U. 15 was almost half the global total, and investment returns in Europe outperformed those in the United States. "Old Europe is an investment magnet because it is the most lucrative market in the world in which to operate," says Dan O'Brien of the Economist. In fact, corporate America is a huge investor in Europe; U.S. companies' affiliates in the E.U. 15 showed profits of $85 billion in 2005, far more than in any other region of the world and 26 times more than the $3.3 billion they made in China.

And forget that old canard about economic competitiveness. According to the World Economic Forum's measure of national competitiveness, European countries took the top four spots, seven of the top 10 spots and 12 of the top 20 spots in 2006-07. The United States ranked sixth. India ranked 43rd and mainland China 54th.

3. Europe is the land of double-digit unemployment.

Not anymore. Half of the E.U. 15 nations have experienced effective full employment during this decade, and unemployment rates have been the same as or lower than the rate in the United States. Unemployment for the entire European Union, including the still-emerging nations of Central and Eastern Europe, stands at a historic low of 6.7 percent. Even France, at 8 percent, is at its lowest rate in 25 years.

That's still higher than U.S. unemployment, which is 4.6 percent, but let's not forget that many of the jobs created here pay low wages and include no benefits. In Europe, the jobless still have access to health care, generous replacement wages, job-retraining programs, housing subsidies and other benefits. In the United States, by contrast, the unemployed can end up destitute and marginalized.

4. The European "welfare state" hamstrings businesses and hurts the economy.

Beware of stereotypes based on ideological assumptions. As Europe's economy has surged, it has maintained fairness and equality. Unlike in the United States, with its rampant inequality and lack of universal access to affordable health care and higher education, Europeans have harnessed their economic engine to create wealth that is broadly distributed.

Europeans still enjoy universal cradle-to-grave social benefits in many areas. They get quality health care, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, paid sick leave, free or nearly free higher education, generous retirement pensions and quality mass transit. They have an average of five weeks of paid vacation (compared with two for Americans) and a shorter work week. In some European countries, workers put in one full day less per week than Americans do, yet enjoy the same standard of living.

Europe is more of a "workfare state" than a welfare state. As one British political analyst said to me recently: "Europe doesn't so much have a welfare society as a comprehensive system of institutions geared toward keeping everyone healthy and working." Properly understood, Europe's economy and social system are two halves of a well-designed "social capitalism" -- an ingenious framework in which the economy finances the social system to support families and employees in an age of globalized capitalism that threatens to turn us all into internationally disposable workers. Europeans' social system contributes to their prosperity, rather than detracting from it, and even the continent's conservative political leaders agree that it is the best way.

5. Europe is likely to be held hostage to its dependence on Russia and the Middle East for most of its energy needs.

Crystal-ball gazing on this front is risky. Europe may rely on energy from Russia and the Middle East for some time, but it is also leading the world in reducing its energy dependence and in taking action to counteract global climate change. In March, the heads of all 27 E.U. nations agreed to make renewable energy sources 20 percent of the union's energy mix by 2020 and to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent.

In pursuit of these goals, the continent's landscape is slowly being transformed by high-tech windmills, massive solar arrays, tidal power stations, hydrogen fuel cells and energy-saving "green" buildings. Europe has gone high- and low-tech: It's developing not only mass public transit and fuel-efficient vehicles but also thousands of kilometers of bicycle and pedestrian paths to be used by people of all ages. Europe's ecological "footprint," the amount of the Earth's capacity that a population consumes, is about half that of the United States.

So much for the sick old man.

I hope no one thinks that I am anti-American (other than in terms of its mistreatment of gays and a poor choice in a president). I just wish more Americans would make sure they knew more of the real facts before they go off acting on false assumptions and facts. This needs to start in the White House.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Save the Gnostics

There is a both interesting and tragic story in today's New York Times ( about what is happening to the Mandeans, one of the oldest, smallest and least understood of the many minorities in Iraq. Since their religious views differ from thsoe of Chimperator Bush and the Christianists who continue to back him, I suspect the Mandeans are not even on the radar screen in terms of being protected. After all, the institutional Christianist Church did all it could to wipe out the Gnostics many centuries ago. Here are some highlights:

THE United States didn’t set out to eradicate the Mandeans, one of the oldest, smallest and least understood of the many minorities in Iraq. This extinction in the making has simply been another unfortunate and entirely unintended consequence of our invasion of Iraq — though that will be of little comfort to the Mandeans, whose 2,000-year-old culture is in grave danger of disappearing from the face of the earth.

The Mandeans are the only surviving Gnostics from antiquity, cousins of the people who produced the Nag Hammadi writings like the Gospel of Thomas, a work that sheds invaluable light on the many ways in which Jesus was perceived in the early Christian period. The Mandeans have their own language (Mandaic, a form of Aramaic close to the dialect of the Babylonian Talmud), an impressive body of literature, and a treasury of cultural and religious traditions amassed over two millennia of living in the southern marshes of present-day Iraq and Iran.

When American forces invaded in 2003, there were probably 60,000 Mandeans in Iraq; today, fewer than 5,000 remain. Like millions of other Iraqis, those who managed to escape have become refugees, primarily in Syria and Jordan, with smaller numbers in Australia, Indonesia, Sweden and Yemen.

Mandean activists have told me that the best hope for their ancient culture to survive is if a critical mass of Mandeans is allowed to settle in the United States, where they could rebuild their community and practice their traditions without fear of persecution. If this does not happen, individual Mandeans may survive for another generation, isolated in countries around the world, but the community and its culture may disappear forever.

Of the mere 500 Iraqi refugees who were allowed into the United States from April 2003 to April 2007, only a few were Mandeans. And despite the Bush administration’s commitment to let in 7,000 refugees in the fiscal year that ended last month, fewer than 2,000, including just three Iraqi Mandean families, entered the country.

If all If all Iraqi Mandeans are granted privileged status and allowed to enter the United States in significant numbers, it may just be enough to save them and their ancient culture from destruction. If not, after 2,000 years of history, of persecution and tenacious survival, the last Gnostics will finally disappear, victims of an extinction inadvertently set into motion by our nation’s negligence in Iraq.

Somehow, I do not see Daddy Dobson and company being too thrilled at allowing Iraqi Mandeans into the USA. As it is, they hate brown skinned Hispanics, who are Christians. I do not see them liking brown skinned Gnostics.
More information on the Mandeans can be found here:

DiFatta twice detained for lewd conduct in mall restrooms

The GOP sex-capades just keep on coming, this time from Louisiana. The Times-Picayune reported in its October 4, 2007, edition ( that a GOP state senate candidate has dropped out of the race due to peccadillo's in public rest rooms:
St. Bernard Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta, who on Thursday withdrew from the 1st Senate District campaign, has been stopped twice since 1996 for suspicion of engaging in lewd behavior in public restrooms in Jefferson Parish, records obtained by The Times-Picayune show. DiFatta, 53, acknowledged that reports he had been stopped are true, but he denied any wrongdoing in both cases. He said he was not prosecuted in either case and has no arrest record.

Kenner police issued a misdemeanor summons to DiFatta in September 1996 in connection with a peeping Tom incident in a men's bathroom at the former Mervyn's department store at The Esplanade mall, according to a Kenner Police Department incident report obtained by The Times-Picayune.

The report states that DiFatta watched a man use the bathroom while peering through a hole in a bathroom stall. The man held DiFatta until police arrived, at which time he was issued the misdemeanor summons and ordered to appear in court. DiFatta said the man eventually withdrew his complaint, and the case was dismissed. A spokeswoman for the Kenner Police Department said the record was expunged.

In the second incident, Jefferson Parish deputies working an undercover detail in a men's bathroom at Dillard's at Lakeside Shopping Center in March 2000 stopped DiFatta after he indicated a desire to engage in sex with an undercover deputy in an adjoining bathroom stall, according to an interoffice memorandum written by Sgt. Keith Conley, one of the deputies involved in the investigation.

The report said DiFatta slid his foot into the deputy's stall and tapped the deputy's foot. In the report, Conley noted that such activity is common among men to indicate a willingness to participate in sex. The deputy inside the stall, Detective Wayne Couvillion, responded by tapping his foot, and DiFatta reached under the partition and began to rub the deputy's leg, the report states.
For the life of me, I can think of nothing more stupid than looking for sex in a public restroom (or park like the Baptist pastor I posted about recently). I mean, how many stories must one read about gay sex busts before a light bulb goes off: Duh, maybe this is not a smart thing to do??? I just do not get it. I also have to ask myself why anyone with this baggage in their background would make them self a target by running for office

Saturday Male Beauty

Blogosphere Friends

I want to thank those who have sent me messages of concern, support and outrageous humor from places as far away as Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (thanks Michelle), to as close as right here in Tidewater, Virginia. Besides providing a great form of therapy, writing this blog has generated so many unique and interesting friends who are smart, witty, and generally amazing.
To be honest, I think I often get more emotional support from my interactions with readers and fellow bloggers than I did from a therapy group I was in for a month or so (not that I am critical of the group). I truly am so glad to have connected to each and every one of you. I also note for the record that Raymond, your care and concern has been comforting as well. Hugs and kisses to you down in Charlotte.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Final Friday Male Beauty

Wrong Headed Child Custody Values

Throughout juvenile court and custody issues the guiding principle is supposed to be that of "what is in the best interests of the child" - that is, apparently not the case in Mormon dominated Utah. This story ( demonstrates yet again the potentially idiotic results that occur when religious views pollute the civil laws:
A woman that can’t care for her four children—she’s got a drug problem, the father is not on the scene—begged her uncle to take in her children. He’s already raising two children but he did the right thing and took in his niece’s four children—kids that range in age from 10 months to 11 years old. Enter the state of Utah. The man that took in his niece’s four kids is gay and lives with a male partner. The state of Utah wants to remove the four children from the home of Michael Gregg Valdez—he’s the uncle—and Michael Oberg and put them in foster care.
To the state, it’s a simple matter of the law, which says that to adopt or be a foster parent, you must be legally married or single and not cohabitating. Officials asked for clarification of a judge’s directive that Valdez have custody of the children, requesting that the court take custody or grant custody to the state’s Division of Child and Family Services…. The two men, both natives of Utah County, said they would love to get married, but voters passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The men have been together for five years, both are natives of Utah, both are employed, and neither has a criminal history. The state will have to split the four siblings up if it succeeds in removing from their uncles’ home; it’s almost impossible to find a foster home that will take four children. A brave judge in Utah has so far bucked the state: Officials [requested] that the court take custody or grant custody to the state’s Division of Child and Family Services. On Friday, the courts took custody, then turned around and granted Valez temporary custody of the children. “The judge said, ‘I see absolutely no reason why the kids can’t stay where they’re at,’” Valdez said.

Under Utah law the men not only can’t serve as foster parents, they also can’t adopt. Finding foster parents for four siblings ranging in age from 10 months to 11 years is nearly impossible. Finding adoptive parents for a sibling group that large is utterly impossible. But the law in Utah is clear: These four children should be tossed into the foster care system, potentially separated from each other for the rest of their lives, and if their mother loses custody permanently, denied any chance of a stable home. Because it would be illegal to place these children in the care of a loving, stable same-sex couple that they’re related to.
I can only hope that the Judge will stick to his guns and do what is right for the children - leave them with their uncle and his partner!!!!!! It is sad that religious based zealotry would prefer to tear these children apart and perhaps leave them never seeing each other again. No, it is not sad - it is down right sick.

The Christianists Are Destroying the Positive View of Christianity

This new book from the Barna Group ( is interesting and ought to send off some alarm bells among the Christianists. Among the findings is the fact that well, Christians are not acting very Christian towards others and are increasingly known for the intolerance and hypocrisy. Here are a few highlights:

As the nation’s culture changes in diverse ways, one of the most significant shifts is the declining reputation of Christianity, especially among young Americans. A new study by The Barna Group conducted among 16- to 29-year-olds shows that a new generation is more skeptical of and resistant to Christianity than were people of the same age just a decade ago. The study of Christianity’s slipping image is explored in a new book, entitled unChristian, by David Kinnaman, the president of The Barna Group. The study is a result of collaboration between Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons of the Fermi Project.
One of the groups hit hardest by the criticism is evangelicals. Such believers have always been viewed with skepticism in the broader culture. However, those negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 - to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals. This means that today’s young non-Christians are eight times less likely to experience positive associations toward evangelicals than were non-Christians of the Boomer generation (25%).

Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.
Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is "anti-homosexual." Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians.

When young people were asked to identify their impressions of Christianity, one of the common themes was "Christianity is changed from what it used to be" and "Christianity in today’s society no longer looks like Jesus."

Daddy Dobson will be most unhappy that his anti-gay jihad is perhaps having a far different result than he might hope for. Chimperator Bush's veto of the children's health care bill certainly does not look like something Jesus would applaud. It's encouraging that the younger can recognize a message of hate when they see it.

Misplaced Priorities

I need not say anything. The chart says it all.

More Friday Male Beauty

Gay-Sex Sting Operation Nabs Baptist Pastor

Another "godly" Baptist pastor was caught in gay sex sting ( while another is facing charges of soliciting sex from a 14 year old boy. Funny how these guys always preach a constantly anti-gay story line and then go out looking for gay sex. Yet more hypocrites bite the dust. Why is it that those who condemn gays and gay sex are the ones who secretly want it the most?

A Southern Baptist pastor was among 40 men arrested on indecency charges in a two-week investigation of city parks in Johnson City, Tennesse. Robert E. Riley, 55, stepped down as pastor of Rogersville First Baptist Church in Rogersville, Tenn. [pictured at left], after being charged with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure, the Rogersville Review reported Wednesday. Johnson City police said after receiving several complaints, officers went undercover to investigate "inappropriate or anti-social illegal behavior" in public parks.

According to a
report Tuesday in the Johnson City Press, the sting was just the beginning for authorities who said homosexual activities in city parks have become a "serious problem." The newspaper described one area off the beaten path, a growth of underbrush frequented so much by men to have sex that it earned a word-of-mouth nickname of the "Man Cave." Police said they would strike up conversations with men approaching the trail to the spot--conversations that would quickly turn sexual and at times led to proposals for sex.

The Rogersville paper on Wednesday said Riley's arrest report stated that the minister exposed himself to an undercover officer on the afternoon of Sept. 26 and asked the officer to engage in sexual conduct. The report said Riley was cited without incident and "warned not to be back in any Johnson City park."

Riley isn't the only out-of-work Tennessee Baptist preacher facing legal problems. The Jackson Sun reported earlier this week that Mark Woodson Mangrum, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Parsons, Tenn., is scheduled to appear in court Friday to change his plea to guilty in connection with a federal charge that accuses him of using a computer to entice a 14-year-old boy into having sex.

Mangrum's attorney at first said his defendant didn't do anything wrong and was looking forward to defending himself in court. But on Monday attorney Mark Donahoe told the Jackson Sun that Mangrum had settled on a plea agreement, but he couldn't discuss details. Mangrum reportedly worked at First Baptist Church in Parsons six years before resigning in January. In February Donahoe said Mangrum stepped down because, "he didn't want anyone in the church to be uncomfortable or for this situation to affect the church in any way until the final matter can be resolved."

Norwegian Clergy won't wait on homosexual marriage

In sharp contrast to the situation here in Amerika, Scandinavia continues to push forward with gay marriage. In a prior post I cited a story about the Church of Sweden moving towards gay marriage ceremonies. This story ( shows a grass roots movement among Norwegian clergy to move forward while the church bureaucracy grinds along:

Sluggish church bureaucracy could mean a wait of several years before the emergence of an approved gender-neutral wedding service. Nils Jøran Riedl, chaplain at the Norwegian School of Management, told newspaper Dagsavisen that many ministers will defy the church by beginning to carry out gay marriages now. "There will be a certain amount of civil disobedience.
I want to start wedding homosexuals as soon as a new Marriage Act is in place," Riedl told the newspaper. Riedl said that their right to marry couples carried the legal right to carry out such ceremonies before a liturgy is in place. Riedl lives in a registered same-sex partnership and has long fought for equal rights for homosexuals in the church. Other clergymen interviewed by Dagsavisen agreed that they would carry out such ceremonies before a formal liturgy was approved.

Friday Male Beauty

7,000 Lashes For Being Gay

Hopefully, this article doesn't give some of our local Virginia judges any ideas. Of course, if Daddy Dobson ever gets the theocracy he wants, we gays had best look out. Meanwhile, this story ( shows (1) precisely why religion should have no role in the civil laws and (2) the sad existence of gays in parts of the Islamic world, even in countries that are allegedly US allies:
(Riyadh) Saudi prison authorities this week began administering 7,000 lashes to each of two men convicted of committing "homosexual acts", a local newspaper reported on Thursday. The Okaz newspaper says that the sentence was being meted out in "phases" and was being conducted in a public square in the southwestern city of Al-Bahah.
The floggings began on Tuesday. The men were dragged into the square, their shirts removed and they where whipped. They were then returned to prison. The process was repeated on Wednesday and will continue daily until all 7,000 lashes have been administered. Shari’a law, as interpreted and enforced in Saudi Arabia, allows sentences ranging from imprisonment and flogging to death for “deviant sexual behavior.”
Last year 20 men were arrested at what officials say was a "gay wedding" in the town of Jizan. Their fate is unknown. In April, 2005, 35 men were sentenced by a Saudi court to be flogged after they attended what has been described as a “gay wedding”. A month earlier a gay couple was beaded in a public execution in the northern town of Arar, near the Iraq border. The pair had been convicted of killing a blackmailer. If they had been exposed as gay they could have been executed anyway.
Meanwhile Chimperator Bush's regime gives Saudi Arabia a free pass on human rights abuses.

Friday Before Sunrise

Even a number of drinks at the home of some friends wasn't enough to banish a largely sleepless night. Hence why I am at the office at 6:30 AM. Unfortunately, I am out of Xanax and Ambien - though perhaps in some ways it is better that I not have a large supply on hand. I wouldn't want to end up like Anna Nicole after all.

The photo is a sunrise shot in Virginia Beach with a containership headed into port. It's a semi-clear morning so the sunrise will probably, in fact, look much like in the photo. Weather permitting, perhaps I will simply vegatate at the beach this weekend. October is in many ways the nicest month in this area.

I have a number of meetings today - some new commercial business acquisitions for clients. All I need to do is find some way to get motivated. O well, I will just put on my stage face and act like all is well as I die inside. Some things never change it appears.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Thursday Male Beauty

Thursday Evening Depression

I still cannot say a whole lot yet on the divorce front - since the travesty is not yet over - but suffice it to say that for those of you in the closet and married, based on my own experience, my recommendation, if should you decide to come out, is do NOT worry about trying to "do right by the former spouse." It will gain you nothing. Or at least not if you live in Virginia, or in this lifetime.

If you are the gay spouse in this state, the sad reality is that you will NOT receive justice whatsoever. Perhaps you will not be treated as badly as the teens in the photo at above left (other than financially), but do not even remotely expect to be treated fairly. Yet another sad day in the supposed land of the free. What a mockery and farce. This state and this country literally sicken me.

Thursday Male Beauty

Tag Board Removal

For those wondering, I have removed the Tag Board element from this blog since it was become infested with pop up posts that were propagating faster than I could remove them. Thus, anyone seeking to contact me will simply need to send me an e-mail.

LGBT Organizations Need a Political Reality Check

In amidst all the back biting and hand wringing among LGBT organizations over Nancy Pelosi, et al's decision to pull a version of ENDA that will not pass the House of Representatives, people seem to be forgetting political reality. What is the point of introducing legislation that is doomed to fail and which will result in NO ONE IN THE LGBT COMMUNITY GAINING EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTION??? Nancy Pelosi and those working with her want to PASS legislation rather than tilt at windmills. Perhaps eight years of past active participation in politics has made me cynical, but why not push to get something passed as opposed to nothing? This editorial from Bay Windows sums up what I believe is the proper and pragmatic approach. I hope the rest of the LGBT community wakes up to reality:

EditorialSusan Ryan-Vollmar

Rep. Barney Frank is right
If only we’d seen the passion, the blog posts and the last-minute organizing by LGBT organizations around a trans-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last year. And the year before that. And the decade before that. Just yesterday, a coalition called United ENDA unveiled its website featuring talking points for a trans-inclusive ENDA; legal analysis showing that an ENDA bill that only protects lesbians, gay men and bisexuals will be too weak to actually protect lesbians, gay men and bisexuals (the bill’s failure to protect actual transmen and women is conspicuously absent from the analysis); and an impressively lengthy list of national and state LGBT organizations demanding an all-or-nothing approach to passing ENDA.
The outcry has been strong enough to convince House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who supports a trans-inclusive ENDA and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who has been lobbying House members on the trans-inclusive ENDA, to back off of their controversial plan to put forward two ENDA bills: one that is trans-inclusive and one that would make it illegal to fire an employee based solely on his or her sexual orientation.
In a lengthy statement outlining his rationale, Frank said that after House Leadership took an official count of the votes, it became clear that the trans-inclusive ENDA bill wouldn’t pass. Even worse, Frank wrote, a trans-inclusive ENDA would also be vulnerable to anti-trans amendments from Republicans: “[I]t became clear that an amendment offered by Republicans either to omit the transgender provision altogether or severely restrict it in very obnoxious ways would pass.”
LGBT organizations from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network are demanding that either a trans-inclusive ENDA be put forward or none at all.
This is madness.
The House is on the verge of passing groundbreaking workplace protections for millions of Americans. It’s the first piece of legislation Congress has seriously considered since the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed in 1993 that offers American workers protection from arbitrary firings. It’s not perfect. Few pieces of civil rights legislation are. But it would provide a concrete base upon which to expand ENDA protections not just to transmen and women but to also add provisions to the bill that would require employers to offer domestic partnership benefits to the partners of their LGBT employees if they offer such benefits to their heterosexual employees — a provision that is not in the current bill. As it happens, that’s exactly how Congress dealt with the FMLA. It was a nine-year fight of submitting bills, amending them and persevering through two vetoes of the bill by President George H.W. Bush. The bill that was eventually signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993 was much more comprehensive than the one first approved by Congress. This is not unusual; it’s how the legislative process works.
There is much concern that if a bill protecting employees solely on the basis of sexual orientation is passed then protections for transmen and women will be forgotten. It’s hard to take that concern seriously given the flurry of support that’s been forcefully expressed for trans rights now that we know a trans-inclusive ENDA simply will not pass in the House as its currently configured.
Claiming that Frank has betrayed the trans community, as some are now doing (Los Angeles Times sportswriter Christine Daniels wrote this week that he was engaged in a strategy to “throw the transfolk overboard”) is breathtakingly ignorant of the facts.
The targeting of the Human Rights Campaign for its failure to align itself with the LGBT organizations that have promised to work to defeat a non-inclusive ENDA is equally ignorant of reality. Who can seriously expect the nation’s largest organization working to pass legislation on our behalf to refuse to work with Pelosi and Frank?
This petulant insistence on purity, principle and perfection is a hallmark not just of the LGBT community, but of American politics in general. Just look at James Dobson’s and the Christian right’s demands that the Republican Congress take up an overly broad Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when a much narrower provision that would have allowed for civil unions stood a much better chance of passage.
Not that I’m comparing progressive LGBT activists with the Christian right. After all, the Christian right is capable of delivering votes, huge sums of money to candidates and hundreds of thousands of phone calls to lawmakers when an issue is deemed important enough to warrant it. Progressive activists? Not so much.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Possible Hate Crime in Charlottesville, Virginia

The following was forwarded to me by a reader in Charlottesville, Virginia, concerning an attack that occurred late Friday night/early Saturday morning that has apparently gone unreported by the Charlottesville media -I checked the local paper, the Daily Progress, just moments ago myself and there is no story. The following are highlights from the message transmitted to me (that was also directed to media contacts in Charlottesville):
It seems there has been no published report of an extremely disturbing attack committed in Charlottesville last weekend, brought to my attention by sources I know to be unimpeachable. Outside the Club 216 on Water Street in Charlottesville, late "Friday night" the 28th -- the early morning of Saturday, the 29th -- an extremely violent and almost homicidal assault was inflicted on a resident of Albemarle County, recently arrived from Hawaii, by an attacker unknown to the victim. He has been recovering at University of Virginia hospital from multiple blows all over his body, having suffered a fractured skull and fractures of several ribs, together with ancillary internal injuries of an extent yet to be determined.

Given the spontaneous ferocity of this unprovoked attack by a stranger or strangers, with no known theft involved, it exceeds credulity not to suspect this heinous crime of being motivated by one or more species of bigotry -- on grounds of race (the victim is partially of Asian extraction) or of presumed sexuality. It is not known if police have succeeded in identifying the assailant.

The victim is an internationally respected professional in the travel/hospitality industry, brought to Albemarle County only last month by one of the most distinguished names in hospitality in the world. The intent of such an attack is naturally to inflict mortal, irreparable terror of Charlottesville, literally to Matthew Shepardise a man for vicious sport; but in addition to the crisis of his recovery, should it ever be complete, there is the revolting ignominy to consider, of his having been intimidated from pursuing a fine career in this community -- and in what endeavor, but the gracious welcoming of people from all over the world, to the seedbed of our enlightenment and our liberties.

Club 216 is the only gay club in Charlottesville that I am aware of. That it is a gay venue is most likely widely known. It is not in a dangerous part of the city. While the City of Charlottesville is quite liberal and has the cosmopolitan influence of a top 25 university and wealthy residents from around the globe in surrounding Albemarle County, some of the rural locals are not far removed from characters from the old movie "Deliverance." I hope this story gets coverage and the assailant is captured. I have not mentioned the victim's place of employment out of respect for what he has suffered. I can assure you, however, that it is a very top tier establishment.

I would also add that Club 216 is owned and operated by the PIEDMONT TRIANGLE SOCIETY ("PTS"). PTS is a non-profit organization established to promote the interests of the Gay community in Virginia. PTS creates a supportive social environment for its' members and guests. PTS provides an open forum for the development of political, social, and other interests within its' membership. When you join Club 216 you become a member of the PIEDMONT TRIANGLE SOCIETY.

Final Wednesday Male Beauty

GOP Senator in Northern Virginia, Foe Seeking Gay Vote

This Washington Post article ( shows just how schizophrenic politics can be in Virginia, which in many ways is two states: (1) the rural and homophobic southwest and southern portions of the state and (2) the urban cities and Northern Virginia. Thus, Republican incumbent Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (wife of Congressman Davis R-VA) is forced to work for vote among residents that others in the GOP in the backward, knuckle dragging parts of the state either ignore or use only for gay-baiting the Christianists. Here are some highlights:
If ever there were a sign that Northern Virginia's political landscape is shifting, it was the recent scene in a nondescript office park in Fairfax City, where two candidates for the state Senate battled passionately to win what each views as a crucial source of support this election season: the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender vote.

Republican incumbent Jeannemarie Devolites Davis and Democratic challenger J. Chapman Petersen practically fell over each other to win votes at a debate Thursday sponsored by Equality Fairfax, a nonpartisan group that seeks to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The debate provided more evidence of the political shake-up occurring in Northern Virginia. In the 34th Senate District, whose boundaries were drawn by Republicans six years ago, Davis is fighting for her political life against what all agree is an overwhelming Democratic advantage. As a result, her race with Petersen at times looks more like a nomination fight between progressive Democrats than a Virginia general election.

This district that these two candidates are vying to represent has become progressively more progressive over the past few years," said Tom Osborne of Virginia Partisans, a Democratic gay and lesbian group that has endorsed Petersen. "So any candidate who hopes to have a chance of winning would have to appeal to more progressive votes."

I see the trend continuing, with the urban areas and Northern Virginia eventually wrenching control of the state's political future from those who still think they are living in the early 20th century rather than the 21st century. The change cannot come soon enough in my view. It is one of my hopes that HRBOR will help speed up this change in mentality in the Hampton Roads business community.

Prosecutors will Seek Death Penalty Against Virginia Beach Escorts

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More Wednesday Male Beauty

New Twists in Death of Lesbian Soldier in Afghanistan

Something appears not right in this mysterious death of a lesbian soldier who was serving in a financial unit in Afghanistan: was she targeted for being lesbian or did she see financial irregularities that someone wanted kept secret? The Army's handling of the matter makes it hard to believe something is not being covered up. Here are some highlights from an Editor & Publisher article:

NEW YORK Newspapers in Massachusetts have been doggedly digging into the case (covered by E&P on Monday) of a Quincy woman who died in Afghanistan under mysterious circumstances last week. The military first reported that Ciara Durkin, 30 [pictured above], who served in the National Guard, had died “in action,” then revealed that she was killed in a “noncombat” incident that was being investigated. Her family was told that she had been killed by a single gunshot near a church. They are charging that the military has been dragging its feet in giving them more details. They reject any chance of suicide and suspect friendly fire or murder.

A new twist emerged today in a Boston Globe article: Her family says she had told them to push for an investigation if anything ever happened to her. She was in a finance unit and may have found some improprieties, according to a story in the Patriot-Ledger, which also disclosed that her family had notified the military about her concerns about her safety three weeks ago.The Globe reported that the family wondered if, as a lesbian, she may have been targeted. Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Ted Kennedy are pushing for answers. Since Durkin is a native of Ireland, the Irish Echo newspaper is also covering the case widely.

The Globe article observed: “Kerry said the Durkin family desperately needs answers to three questions: Why has the Army not responded to the Durkin family's request for an independent autopsy? Why, after not responding to the family's request for an independent autopsy, did the Army fail to contact the Durkin family with the Army's autopsy results? The family was told to be available to receive a phone call between 1 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 1, and the Army never called. Why has the Army refused to make Durkin's will and paperwork available to her family, so they can respect her wishes as they plan her funeral and burial?”

An editorial in the Patriot-Ledger today declares: "The initial reports of Ciara Durkin’s death in Afghanistan are a byproduct of the Bush administration’s wrongheaded intent to shape the public perception of this fight and the war in Iraq.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Chimperator Bush Vetoes Child Health Plan

Isn't it nice that the Chimperator cares nothing about poor children who are American citizens, but has no qaulms spending three times the 5 year cost estimate in the Iraq War rat hole? The man is simply unbelieveable. I think he loses touch with reality a little bit more with each passing day. Here are the Washington Post highlights (
WASHINGTON -- President Bush, in a sharp confrontation with Congress, on Wednesday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded children's health insurance. It was only the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, and one that some Republicans feared could carry steep risks for their party in next year's elections. The Senate approved the bill with enough votes to override the veto, but the margin in the House fell short of the required number.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., decried Bush's action as a "heartless veto." "Never has it been clearer how detached President Bush is from the priorities of the American people," Reid said in a statement. "By vetoing a bipartisan bill to renew the successful Children's Health Insurance Program, President Bush is denying health care to millions of low-income kids in America."

The State Children's Health Insurance Program is a joint state-federal effort that subsidizes health coverage for 6.6 million people, mostly children, from families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford their own private coverage.

The Democrats who control Congress, with significant support from Republicans, passed the legislation to add $35 billion over five years to allow an additional 4 million children into the program. It would be funded by raising the federal cigarette tax by 61 cents to $1 per pack.