Saturday, October 20, 2007

Obama to do gospel tour with radical right singer who crusades against "the curse of homosexuality"

John Aravosis at picked up this story line ( about Barack Obama that I find unsettling:
As religious conservatives gather in Washington this weekend for the “Values Voters Summit,” Senator Barack Obama’s campaign announced its latest effort to attract people of faith to the campaign: a gospel concert tour.All three of the dates of the “Embrace the Change” tour are in South Carolina, where Mr. Obama is locked in battle with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for black voters.Gospel acts including Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and Hezekiah Walker, Byron Cage and the Mighty Clouds of Joy are scheduled to appear.
I'm sorry, but to me, it's sort of like agreeing to tour with Hitler and the SS in order to pick up votes in Bavaria in the early 1930's. I guess we now know that Obama will stoop pretty damn low in pandering for votes. He's making Hillary look better to many I suspect by doing this. Besides, how many Democrats - even in South Carolina - are Christianists like Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin? Does Obama plan on visiting a couple of Klan functions while in South carolina too? Keith Boykin has more on who Obama will be sharing the stage with (
But what makes McClurkin a controversial figure is his preaching. It began with McClurkin's 2001 book, Eternal Victim/Eternal Victor, where he explained his 20-year experience with homosexuality, which he said started after he was raped by an uncle. "Love is pulling you one way and lust is pulling you another and your relationship with Jesus is tearing you," McClurkin told the media. He says that God delivered him from homosexuality, and since that time, he has been counseling adolescent boys that homosexuality is merely a lifestyle choice that can be overcome.
Donnie McClurkin had a very rough childhood. That alone is a tragedy. But what makes his otherwise inspiring story so troubling is that he is now violating young people in much the same way that he was violated. By teaching young people that they can pray their way out of who they are, he is essentially creating a generation of newly confused adolescents.

Gay teenagers are already more likely to be abused in school or to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts. We've already reported on young gays and lesbians who have been beaten to death by their parents (3-year-old Ronnie Parris) and their neighbors (15-year-old Sakia Gunn). Do these young people really need to have their ministers beating them up too? We think not.
Comparing gays and lesbians to liars, McClurkin explains, "There are certain things like, you know, anybody who has a lying problem; they get to the point where they hate being so, having such a lack of character that they make a change."

In the same interview, McClurkin argues again that homosexuality is simply a lifestyle choice. "There's a group that says, 'God made us this way,' but then there's another group that knows God didn't make them that way," he says. Notice the circularity in his rhetoric. The people who say that God made them gay don't know what they're talking about because the people who say God did not make them gay are right. Well how do they know if someone was born gay or not if they are not gay themselves? It's insulting and presumptuous of others to tell gays and lesbians that they're not smart enough even to know who they are.
Is he really cured or, as with all the ex-gays I have studied, is it really about the money? Seems to me that McClurkin has a lot to lose financially if he were to admit he really is still gay:
Back in 2002, we reported that McClurkin's church, Perfecting Faith Church in New York, drew nearly a thousand people every Sunday, including his friend, Starr Jones of ABC-TV's "The View." The collection plate at the church reportedly brought in $100,000 a month.

Festival Update

I am back from the wine festival and Wayne Besen should be arriving soon. The wine festival pass packed and the wineries - there were 32 attending, all from Virginia - were doing a brisk tasting and sales business. Since I needed to remain sober, I did not buy the $35 ticket for tastings at all 32 vineyards. I suspect some folks were truly getting their money's worth. I also must comment that there were MANY gorgeous guys in attendance. I did bring back with me a bottle of Barboursville Cabernet that I will enjoy later. :)
The other festival going on this weekend is the Stockley Gardens Arts Festivals (pictured above at left), sponsored in part by the Ghent Business Association (I am a member) to raise funds for Hope House. These festivals have been going on for 23 years now, twice annually- on the third weekend in May and the third weekend in October. These popular events each attract over 25,000 - 300,00 people. The money raised during these events helps Hope House assist with housing, transportation, medical needs, and various other necessities for people with developmental disabilities in Hampton Roads. The real art of this is that the events not only benefit the population served by Hope House Foundation, but the entire community. The festival is held in Stockley Gardens in historic Ghent surrounded by stately old houses and the Gothic bell tower of Christ and St. Luke's Episcopal Church which is very beautiful and like a smaller sized cathedral.

All day Saturday and Sunday, approximately 150 of the area's - as well as the nation's - finest artists exhibit a wide variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, photography, and many others. Throughout the weekend visitors can enjoy a wide variety of children's activities , live musical entertainment at the main stage and festival food vendors from across the region. A judge juries the artists who compete for the festival's cash award prizes.

If the weather is as nice as today come tomorrow, I am sure that I will stop by the Arts Festival.

More Saturday Male Beauty

It's The Economy, Stupid

I very much agree with the premise of this article ( - while Iraq, health care and taxes are the main campaign issues today, if things pan out as I fear they might, the economy and a recession may be the bigger issues in 2008. If that happens, I suspect the GOP's difficult prospects will become far worse. I have mixed emotions - I do not want economic hardship for anyone, yet a crushing defeat for the GOP may (A) get the country on a new course economically and socially and (B) flush "values voter" issues down the toilet for years to come. Both are very much needed. Here are some highlights:

I am not an economic forecaster, but anyone can dream. And if I had to guess, I would say that the chances are better than even that next year's presidential contest will be fought against the backdrop of a recession. The stock market, so far, appears to disagree. You might prefer to trust the collective wisdom of a million investors betting real money. Usually I would advocate that. But you might also ask yourself, as I am, what on earth is Wall Street thinking?

Roubini said last year that the problems in the housing market would get worse before they got better. He and only a handful of others predicted that house prices would soon fall (on a national aggregate basis) year-on-year for the first time since the Great Depression. Until recently, most economists were expecting no worse than a slowing rate of increase, and a good number recommended housing as an investment. House prices are now falling across the country as Roubini said they would, and the backlog of unsold houses (suggesting lower prices to come) is growing.

Roubini made a second prediction. He said that stresses in the housing market would feed into the broader financial system. One of the forces powering the housing boom, he pointed out, was the explosive growth in subprime mortgages. That growth, in turn, had been driven by financial innovation -- especially by the repackaging of those mortgages into securities that could be sold to investors across the wider financial market. As defaults began to rise on those poor-quality mortgages, Roubini predicted, the pain would not be confined to the victims of foreclosure or to the reckless new lenders that had granted the loans in the first place but would also extend to their backers at one or more removes in the capital market. And again, so it proved.
Were soothing words from the Fed and a tweak to interest rates all that was needed to put things right? Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. does not seem to think so. The slump in the home-building industry, in other words, is still gathering momentum. Sales of homes in Southern California, until recently one of the hottest markets in the country, fell 30 percent between August and September, and are now down 50 percent from a year ago. Only when sellers are ready, or are forced, to face their losses and let the market clear will a floor for prices be established. Wherever that floor might be, we are not there yet.
Another economist with a disturbingly good track record of calling market slumps is Yale's Robert Shiller. Long in a small minority, he foresaw the big stock market fall of 2001-02. Since then he has been sounding the alarm about house prices. According to his recent calculations, prices would need to fall by approximately 50 percent to re-establish a historically normal ratio of prices to rents. Even a far smaller decline would still be enough to push mortgage foreclosures to highs, to worsen the plight of homebuilders, to tear bigger holes in the earnings of banks and investment firms, and, most important, to severely dent consumer spending.
Everything depends on what consumers do next. Roubini thinks that they will retrench, and he is still predicting a "hard landing." It is the only aspect of his earlier forecasts that has not yet come true, and I would not bet against it. Distressed debtors and foreclosures are already on the rise and the economy is still strong. What would a downturn do to those housing market numbers, and how would they then feed back on the broader economy?

Suspended Catholic cleric has Vatican gay list -- report

I seriously hope this guy doesn't meet with some "unfortunate accident." Given the way the Vatican sold out the lives and souls of thousands of children subjected to sexual abuse by priests, I don't think having this guy killed would cause the Vatican to blink an eye. This story is MOST interesting ( Here are some highlights:

ROME -- A high profile Vatican cleric suspended after he was shown on television making advances to a young man allegedly had a list of homosexual priests and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church's governing body, Italy's Panorama weekly reported Friday. Father Tommaso Stenico, 60, had "a detailed dossier" of all the homosexual clerics at Vatican "with a list of names and circumstances implicating a certain number of priests and even bishops working at the Curia," Ignazio Ingrao, reporter for the conservative news weekly said.

Stenico also sent his superior Cardinal Claudio Hummes a report denouncing the moral degradation within the Curia, which could make the Vatican "tremble," Ingrao said. According to Panorama, Stenico, who also worked for a Catholic television station Telepace and owns a white BMW car, also drew up the list out of resentment at having waited so long to be named a bishop.

Let's hope that the "dossier" somehow makes its way into the hands of the media. Talk about having a field day and a gift from Heaven. I wonder if the dossier includes Benedict XVI and his handsome "personal secretary" with whom he is reportedly inseparable??

More Saturday Male Beauty

Values Voter Summit - Christianist Hate Fest

Exodus International and Focus on the Family are making prominent use of ex-gay propaganda at the so-called "Values Voter Summit" being held in Washington, D.C. A sample of the anti-gay PR is posted above. This event brings together the nation’s most powerful Religious Right political organizations, every major Republican presidential candidate, right-wing media stars like pundit Sean Hannity, and other right-wing legal and political strategists. Among the spokesman dictating the Christianist line to attendees was David Duke affiliate Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

People for the American Way will be providing updates via live blogging ( Needless to say the amount of anti-gay and anti-immigrant hate being spewed will be incredible. Yet more evidence of the Gospels being turned into messages of hatred.

Among the organizers’ supposed goals: flexing their political muscles and getting GOP candidates to pledge loyalty to the far-right’s agenda, energizing activists for 2008 efforts to turn churches into conservative voter turnout machines, and seeing if more consensus develops around one of the presidential contenders. Among candidates’ goals: making a good showing in the Family Research Council’s straw poll and tapping into some of the Republican Party’s most energized activists. Several reporters seemed skeptical that FRC’s straw poll will be immune to ballot-stuffing by candidates. Perkins defended the process but did say a couple of thousand people had become eligible by becoming FRC Action members in the past few weeks.

While I dislike these folks intensely, one must "know thy enemy" to work to stop their agenda.

Democrats fund local races in push for takeover

This article from the Virginian Pilot ( notes the change in the financial winds for the Democrats in Tidewater Virginia. Needless to say, it would be wonderful to have the Democrats retake control of the Virginia General Assembly. The GOP was the minority party for literally a century in Virginia, and during the period the GOP has been in charge, there has been a decided upswing in the influence of the Christianists in state legislation. With growing Democrat support in Northern Virginia, this surprising show in this area is encouraging. A loss of GOP control is the only hope for seeing more progressive legislation. I pray that the renewed strength of the Democrats continues:
Flush with unprecedented amounts of cash, Democrats are funneling money into General Assembly races in Hampton Roads and across the state in hopes of retaking control of the Senate and House. Republican candidates still maintain their traditional edge in fund raising – they have taken in $21.9 million compared with nearly $20 million for Democrats.

But as of Sept. 30, the state Democratic Party and its political action committees had raised nearly twice as much as the Republicans, $11 million to the GOP’s $5.9 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a Richmond-based group that tracks campaign fundraising and spending. That’s leading Democrats to predict they will claim the four seats needed to gain control of the Senate. The House, where the GOP holds a 57-40 advantage, with three independents, will be a tougher hill to climb.
Having so much money gives Democrats flexibility to put resources where they need them, said Stephen J. Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political science professor . The issue isn’t the statewide totals, it’s what’s being spent on key Senate races – and in many of those, Democrats have the edge, he said. Of the five most competitive local races, Democrats have cash advantages in three.

Saturday Male Beauty

Saturday Morning Thoughts

First, I want to assure all of you - Lyndon, in particular - that my comment "there really is no point in going on" in a post yesterday does not and was not intended to intimate that I thinking about "doing yourself in." True, I was very down when I wrote that post, but as usual I rallied in time. I tried that route once, and do not recommend it, especially the liquid charcoal. Moreover, the fact is that I have lost three friends to suicide- two (brothers in fact) came back from the Vietnam War changed and disturbed and never were right again. They finally killed themselves by shooting themselves in the head - first the older who was incredibly handsome and crush material, then his younger brother. The other friend was gay and could not come to terms with his religion (conservative Protestant) and family (Old South) vs. his sexual orientation. He killed himself with carbon monoxide sitting in his car in his garage. In addition, my first real b/f's identical twin brother hanged himself - while my b/f never specifically said why, from what he did say I believe it was because he was gay and could not deal with it. Such a terrible waste of smart, nice, talented guys.
WINE FESTIVAL: On a more cheerful note, the weather is gorgeous today and I and the roommates are going to the 20th Annual Virginia Wine Festival being held on the Norfolk waterfront. Two of my favorite Virginia wineries will be there: Barboursville Vineyard, which is near Charlottesville - in fact about 8 miles from my brother's home - which is owned by the Zonin family from Italy. Besides great wines, Barboursville is interesting because it takes its name from the Barbour family mansion, the ruins of which are still standing (a photo is set out above). The mansion is unique in that it required some 8 years to construct (beginning in 1814, a year of war with Britain) and assessed at the death of its creator, James Barbour, as the most valuable residence in a county including James Madison’s Montpelier and Philip Barbour’s Frascati, this second-generation estate house at Barboursville plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only 3 residences he designed for his friends. The Barbour family continued to occupy this residence until it was destroyed by accidental fire at Christmas, 1884, and returned to the elegant Georgian villa next door for several generations, now The 1804 Inn. The vineyard also has a wonderful restaurant. More details about the vineyard and other amenities are here:

Barboursville wines were chosen exclusively for the May 3, 2007, reception for Queen Elizabeth II, during her week-long visit to commemorate the founding of her namesake’s Jamestown colony, and to address the House of Delegates in Richmond in the Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson.

My other favorite is Chateau Morrisette, located off of the Blue Ridge Parkway west of Martinsville, Virginia (See: The restaurant at Chateau Morrisette is gorgeous and the food wonderful. It is an island of utter elegance in an area otherwise much more on the redneck side. Photos are also set out above. Martinsville is about 30 miles to the east and hosts NASCAR races. The town has no nice restaurants, with Applebee's being the "best restaurant in town" unless one makes the journey to Chateau Morrisette. It would seem to be an area prime for another nice restaurant. The downside would, of course be that one would have to live there. (Now, that WOULD make you want to consider doing yourself in).

AFTERNOON INTERVIEW: Later in the afternoon, I will be meeting with Wayne Besen to do a filmed interview for a documentary he is doing on ex-gay frauds. It should be interesting and I recommend readers check out the website for his book, "Anything But Straight": The photo on the cover of the book is former ex-gay and Focus on the Family spokesman, John Paulk (who appeared on the cover of Newsweek a number of back) running away from Wayne and his camera after Paulk was caught cruising guys in a gay bar in Washington, D.C.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More Friday Male Beauty

Philadelphia Hikes Boy Scouts' Rent by $199,999 Over Gay Ban

The City of Philadelphia is 100% correct in charging the Boy Scouts market rate rent for use of a publicly owned facility as reported in this story ( To me the issue is very simple, if you are a private, non-profit organization and want to use publicly owned property, you cannot discriminate against segments of the population. The Boy Scouts have consciously adopted a policy to discriminate against gays and others who do not abide by their religious views, therefore they have forfeited the right for free use of public property. No taxpayer should have his tax dollars going to subsidize an organization that directly discriminates against them. Here are some story highlights:

The Boy Scouts of America's refusal to bend its rules to permit gay scouts will cost the organization's local chapter $200,000 a year if it wishes to keep its headquarters in a city-owned building on Logan Square. Representatives of the Boy Scouts of America's Cradle of Liberty Council were notified that to remain in their 79-year-old landmark headquarters, they needed to pay the city a "fair market" rent, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said yesterday. Currently, the rent is $1 a year. The city decided on the rent proposal after it was unable to reach a compromise with the local scout council in talks that have gone on since May.

"It's disappointing, and it's certainly a threat," said Jeff Jubelirer, a spokesman for Cradle of Liberty Council, referring to the rent's impact on the scouts' chances of staying on the site. Jubelirer said $200,000 a year in rent "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp." Nevertheless, Jubelirer said, scouting officials will ask City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. for details on the real estate appraisals that yielded the $200,000 rent figure. Cradle of Liberty officials have said they could not renounce the scouts' long-established policy of not opening membership to atheists or openly gay people without running afoul of their charter with the scouts' National Council.

City officials have said they could not legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a dollar a year to a private organization that discriminates. The land belongs to the City of Philadelphia but has been leased since 1928 for that token sum to the scouts, who built the landmark Beaux Arts building. Unlike the scouts, public officials are also bound by a line of Supreme Court opinions barring taxpayer support of any group that discriminates.

Friday Male Beauty

ENDA opposition sends us down an ideologically pure road to political failure.

This editorial ( in today's Washington Blade is very much on point and illustrates the dangers of putting ideological purity over common sense. If more members of the LGBT community do not learn from history, many of us may find ourselves left with no employment protections for many more years. Not exactly what I would consider a "victory." Here are some highlights:

IN 1972, THE DEMOCRATIC Party made a fateful decision from which it has never recovered: it nominated George McGovern for president. The gay rights movement is on track to emulate this disastrous choice. Later this month, Congress is expected to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would make it illegal to fire someone based upon his or her sexual orientation, as it is currently legal to do in 31 states. ENDA has existed in some form or another for more than 30 years, but only now does it have the votes to pass Congress.
The bill’s chief sponsor is Rep. Barney Frank, the greatest champion of gay rights in Washington (Full disclosure: I was an intern in Frank’s district office in high school, many moons ago). Frank, oddly enough, is now being assailed by a coalition of nearly 300 gay rights organizations across the country calling itself “United ENDA,” whose supporters have called him names like “sell out” and “traitor” because he opposes adding a provision protecting gender identity to the bill.
MANY OF THESE activists would do well to brush up on the history of the 1972 Democratic presidential primary. For liberals, it felt redeeming to nominate an ideologically pure leftist like McGovern, whose mantra in the ’72 campaign was “Come Home, America.” But America overwhelmingly rejected this message and re-elected Richard Nixon in a landslide, giving him the second largest popular vote margin of victory in the history of the United States (McGovern won a single state, Massachusetts, losing his own, South Dakota).
Those who supported McGovern, like those who support inclusion of the transgender provision, were no doubt motivated by their desire to have clean consciences; McGovern believed in everything they did. But how clean could their consciences have been for enabling the re-election of Nixon, and how clean will the consciences of Barney Frank’s critics be if their insistence on the transgender provision leads to ENDA’s failure? People’s jobs are at stake here, not just the lofty abstractions of “solidarity” and “justice” about which the anti-ENDA forces so melodramatically whine. The objective position of Frank’s critics is that gay people should continue to be fired just because a miniscule minority—transgender people —is not included in this bill.
Let us all praise the faux-heroics of the gay rights movement’s McGovernites; fawning recognition, after all, is what they seek. Don’t get me wrong: These folks are perfectly entitled to go down in a blaze of glory, ideologically pure on the road to abject political failure. But they should not expect to drag the majority of gay people down with them.

Divorce Hell and Ungrateful Children - An Explanation

Some of you have taken me to task for posting "Divorce Hell and Ungrateful Children" and revealing my son's hateful e-mail and my estranged wife secret. Yes, it was an emotional reaction, and perhaps not the best one. For now I have removed the post from the blog.
What you don't know is that in the hearing on July 31, 2007, my estranged wife and her attorney trashed the Hell out of me and were allowed to basically put me on trial for being gay. Moreover, as a result of trying to keep paying her as long as I could, I was forced to file Chapter 7 back in the beginning of the year. If she prevails and I cannot get the judge's letter opinion set aside, I will be left with (1) no retirement - she will get it all, (2) approximately $50,000 in additional money payable to her which will be filed as judgments against me, and (3) paying her $1250 a moth for the rest of her life. As a result, my credit - or what is left of it - will be completely destroyed and I will be faced with judgments I cannot possibly pay that will have ever accruing interest. Meanwhile, when we sold the marital home, stupid me, she got 2/3's of the equity to buy her a new house in a nice neighborhood. The 1/3 I received was used to pay down debts. Meanwhile, my son thinks I should just accept it all. If I do, there really is little point in going on. I will be ruined, plain and simple.
As if things cannot get worse, I may have a blood disorder. (The diagnosis is still out and I suspect that more blood work will be done next week to confirm the situation. From what I have read so far, I definitely seem to have some of the symptoms.
Meanwhile, I will be stripped of any retirement and ruined financially with no ability to appeal the case as the ex walks away with it all. Am I bitter? Damn right. Welcome to justice in Virginia. I think the judge would have ordered me stoned to death if he could have.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Final Thursday Male Beauty

Southern Baptists Covering Up Sex Abuse Like Catholic Heirarchy?

Back in September I did a post about growing concerns among some that the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC") may be covering up sex abuse of minors by pastors much as was done by the Catholic Church (See: More information has come out about one of the pastors in question as reported by Ethics ( Here are some highlights from the article which has links to a number of additional stories concerning SBC coverups:

A former Southern Baptist pastor in Cordova, Tenn., has been indicted on charges of rape and sexual battery by an authority figure involving a teenage boy. Last week a grand jury handed down criminal indictments against Steven Haney, former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in suburban Memphis. Haney, 47, was arrested July 12 after a man, who is now 21, said his former pastor molested him over a five-year period beginning when he was 15. In a preliminary hearing in August, the alleged victim said Haney seduced him into a long-term sexual relationship by telling him it was a test of his faith in God. If convicted of rape, Haney could face eight to 12 years in prison. He also faces three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, a felony punishable by three to six years in jail. As of now, Haney is free on $25,000 bond.

Haney was pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church for 20 years before resigning last December. After his arrest, former church members
said about 30 families left the congregation after similar accusations involving Haney surfaced in the 1990s. Police said in July they were interviewing as many as 10 people who said they had dealings with Haney in the past to see if there might be additional victims.

Victims' advocates say Baptists' governance system--where local churches make their own decisions about whom to hire as a minister--makes them vulnerable to sexual predators. They say a greater problem, however, is a code of silence that--instead of exposing predators--allows them to move on quietly, often to another church, while pressuring victims to keep quiet for the "good of the church."
Funny how the most homophobic Christian denominations seem to have the most priest/pastors molesting boys.

House Republicans uphold Bush's veto of SCHIP, vote to deny health coverage to millions of American kids

The GOP continues to kiss the Chimperator's ass. Who cares about poor children and other children lacking health care. After all, they and their parents don't make big campaign contributions, so they are off the GOP's radar screen. Hopefully, this brazen indifference to the neediest of American citizens will bite the GOP in the ass next year's elections. I love the GOP excuse: it is too expensive. Never mind that the Iraq War is a financial black hole and that outfits like Halliberton and Blackwater are raking in billions in taxpayer funds. Here are some highlights from CNN (

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Democrats on Thursday failed to override President Bush's veto of a children's health insurance bill that opponents said was too expensive. By a vote of 273 to 156, the measure fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for an override. Forty-four Republicans voted for the override.
Democrats, sensing earlier that they didn't have the votes, vowed to continue the fight, despite a defeat. The issue has ignited an intense two-week struggle on Capitol Hill after Bush vetoed the proposed five-year expansion and $35 billion spending increase. Bush proposes increasing the program by $5 billion. Before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of a middle-class family caring for a child with a birth defect, asking lawmakers: "So when the president wants to have 4 or $5 billion for children in this initiative, is he the one, the decider, who wants to go to that family and say, 'Your child is out'?" "We're lobbying for all of the children," said the California Democrat.

House committee passes ENDA, 27-21

The following is from John Aravosis at AmericaBlog (

This is a historic vote (this is the GLB ENDA, the one we actually have the votes for, the one we've been working on for 30 years). All Republican amendments were defeated. Four Dems sided with Pat Robertson and the men at the Concerned Women for America and voted no (including Kucinich, Holt, Clark and Sanchez - ostensibly because they feel we should hold 25 million gays and lesbians hostage until America is ready to pass civil rights laws for somewhere between tens of thousands and a few hundred thousand transgender people), and three Rs voted yes (Castle, Biggert and Platts). I have written down that Kuhl (a Republican) voted yes, but need to double check that.

Of course, now the real work begins of getting the bill passed by the full House of Representatives. Be assured that the wingnuts will be working over time to kill it. The deletion of gender identity from the bill will greatly undercut the Christianists' rhetoric since they will not be able to blatter about men wearing dresses if they are truthful - I know, that's a huge if. Here's an example from Concerned [Bitches] Women for America:
Sean was a burly truck driver. Growing up, he always felt something was wrong. He preferred Barbie to G.I. Joe and didn’t like football or the other things boys were supposed to like. Rather, he got twitterpated by the way pantyhose felt against his skin and eventually made the self-determination that he was, in fact, a woman trapped in a man’s body. There were others who felt the same way, and a movement was formed. They called themselves “transgender.” They made up fancy, official sounding terms like “gender identity” and “gender reassignment surgery” and demanded they be granted special rights and government-mandated benefits.
Get the picture?
ENDA would force all Americans who prefer to live within the realm of reality to pretend, by force of law, that a man is a woman — that an apple is an orange, simply because that apple thinks it’s an orange (awkward, fruity pun not intended). It’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” meets George Orwell, and even if you’re the Mary Lou Retton of mental gymnastics, you land flat on your keister on this one.

Quandary Over Gay Rights Bill: Is It Better to Protect Some or None?

Today's Washington Post has an article on the entire ENDA circus ( Not only does it give a good overview of how things got to their current state, but it also focuses on the issue of achieving some improvement as opposed to none. I clearly support gain some improvement as opposed to losing it all. If no version of ENDA is passed because of the gender identity issue, then all gays will have lost. If that happens, people truly need to reconsider their financial support for organizations that held out for perfection and lost protection for millions, possibly for years to come. Here are some highlights:
There's a saying in Congress about passing legislation: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The transgender community is learning that lesson the hard way. Today, the House Education and Labor Committee is scheduled to consider a bill that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Originally, the 2007 version of what is called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, introduced in April, also included gender identity. But when Democrats realized that the transgender expansion could cost them a win, they dropped it -- much as they would shed a controversial agricultural subsidy that threatened to bring down a bigger farm bill.
Yet the decision ignited a firestorm among gay, lesbian and transgender advocacy groups, creating a rift between pragmatists who believed that a flawed bill was better than no bill and those who preferred nothing if they couldn't have it all. As it now stands, the more limited bill is expected to narrowly clear the House next week, at which point the Senate will likely move forward.
On Sept. 27, House leaders announced that they would move forward with sexual-orientation-only protections that had been sought by gay and lesbian organizations for more than a decade. Frank, a longtime crusader for the cause, endorsed the move, noting that the transgender provisions could reemerge as a separate bill once support for them grew. In general, in the legislative context, if you can pass a bill that improves things for a large number of people, then take it," Frank said. "The notion that you don't protect most people if you don't protect them all -- that's never worked."
"The speaker's and Representative Frank's legislative path for action on ENDA, while not our choice, follows the path of other civil rights and business regulatory legislation," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
If Tammy Baldwin's proposed amendment goes down to a major defeat, she and the all of the "all or nothing crowd" will likely have set back the clock for transgender individuals for many years. If that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

If You Could Read My Mind - A Birthday Wish

Euphoric's post ( reminded me that I too need to convey a special Happy Birthday message to Vanyel. He has been incredibly supportive of me in my times of turmoil. Though he lives hundreds and hundreds of miles away, whenever I have needed words of counsel or comfort he has been there (as has Euphoric, I might add). I hope he has a wonderful birthday and many, many more. He discribes himself as "grumpy," but has a heart of gold. True, he bitches me out at times - usually when I need it - but he always adds another perspective to the situation. He is one of my blogosphere life lines and members of my cyber-family that I value greatly. Happy 44th!

More Thursday Male Beauty

Thursday Male Beauty

ENDA Stupidity

Pam's House Blend has a post featuring a letter signed by Latino LGBT rights "leaders" that basically is calling for a vote against H.R. 3685, the version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes gender identity protections (but which would add protections for millions of LGB individuals) in favor of voting on H.R. 2015, the version of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) that includes gender identity protections. From everything I have read, there are NOT enough votes to pass H.R. 2015. Thus, these individuals want to be ideologically pure, at the potential expense of millions of LGB citizens. Here is my comment that I posted in reply to the letter:

What I find most interesting is that all but two of the signers of this letter live in jurisdictions where there are state (or state equivalents) non-discrimination laws in place. Hence, they can hold out as purists and insist on H.R. 2015 or nothing. Therefore, when the whole bill goes down to defeat, those of us living in states where there currently are NO employment non-discrimination protections will be left with absolutely nothing. THANK YOU ever so much. Some of the LGBT activists need to wake up to the real world. Better yet, if their tactics result in no form of ENDA passing, lets require them to move to states without protections and then they can live like those of us they threw under the bus.

Barney Frank is right - pass as much as you can, but do NOT sacrifice everything. Again, roughly 80% of these folks are self-righteous frauds, lobbying from the safety of their home states where they have protections.

Michael in Norfolk -
Will all know that these folks would NEVER move so that they'd have to live like those of us that they are screwing over.

Treasury Secretary says U.S. housing crisis is ‘significant’ economic risk

I am not sure where these folks have been for the last six months to a year. I have been discussing the housing crisis for some time. An article yesterday indicated sales of homes in Southern California were down almost 50% from a year ago. The ripple effect from that is huge in terms of lost business and related revenues. Combine that with the sub-prime mortgage melt down and it makes for one toxic economic stew. Locally, word has it that some smaller title insurance agencies have folded due to the business slow down. Here are some highlights from an MSNBC report (

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called Tuesday for an aggressive response to deal with an unfolding housing crisis that he said presents a significant risk to the economy. In the administration’s most detailed reaction to the steepest housing slump in 16 years, Paulson said that government and the financial industry should provide immediate help for homeowners trying to refinance current mortgages before they reset at much higher rates. He also called for an overhaul of laws and regulations governing mortgage lending to halt abusive practices that contributed to the current crisis.

. . . the housing decline is still unfolding and I view it as the most significant current risk to our economy,” Paulson said in a speech delivered at Georgetown University’s law school. “The longer housing prices remain stagnant or fall, the greater the penalty to our future economic growth.” In his most somber assessment of the crisis to date, Paulson said that the housing correction is “not ending as quickly” as it had appeared it would and that “it now looks like it will continue to adversely impact our economy, our capital markets and many homeowners for some time yet.” Paulson spoke a day after officials from the nation’s three biggest banks announced the creation of a fund with up to $100 billion in resources to buy troubled assets such as mortgage-backed securities.

People I know in the mortgage industry are saying that we are only seeing the tip of the ice berg. Paulson should have spent a little time before now focusing on regulation. Much of the mess could have been avoided. Fasten your seat belts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Venezuela Moves To Protect Gays In New Constitution

It is becoming almost a farce as to the way the United States - the self advertised land of liberty and freedom - is falling further and further behind the curve in protecting the civil legal rights of all its citizens. Countries formerly considered third world or banana republics are showing more respect for the rights of their LGBT citizens than the land of liberty. Now this from Venezuela ( while the Christianists in this country seek constitutional amendments to deprive citizens of rights:
(Caracas) Venezuela may become the first nation in South America to constitutionally protect its citizens on the basis of sexuality. The government has been examining a call by President Hugo Chavez's plan to rewrite the country's constitution. The Chavez-controlled National Assembly this week approved amendments that would add sexual orientation to the categories protected under human rights. The issue had already received the OK of various committees, signaling the measure was likely to gain approval of the Assembly.

Among those speaking passionately in favor of the measure was Rep. Iris Varela from the state of Tachira. The section of the proposed constitution also would include a ban on discrimination on the basis of race, religion, age and health condition.

I do not trust Chavez on any number of issues, but on this, he is pushing for the right thing.

Who’s Got the Power? ABC’s “Boston Legal” Shills for Homosexuals in the Military

Having debated Peter LaBarbera (a/k/a Porno Pete in light of his fondness of attending gay leather events for "research") before via e-mail and caught him lying repeated when it comes to gays, it is no surprise that the closet case is foaming at the mouth over last night's episode of Boston Legal. The show focused on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and showed the unfairness of DADT. Secretly, I suspect Porn Pete is going crazy at the thought of hot gay boys in military uniforms. Here is some of LaBarbera's swill over last night's show from the website of his latest scam, I mean ministry:
The homosexual-bisexual-transsexual movement hypes its victimhood but it has incredible power and money as a small special interest group in society. At bottom, a well-heeled homosexual activist group, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), touts the “Boston Legal” episode, which probably could have been written by the SLDN itself, such is the propagandistic nature of pop culture today. If I were a gambler, I’d wager that the script advances the bogus “gay” activist analogy to ending racial discrimination and makes conservative opponents of homosexuals in the military out to be a “bigots” and irrational “homophobes.” Crazed military “homophobes” have been a favorite target of liberal Hollywood snobs for years — remember Chris Cooper’s character in “American Beauty” — who of course turned out to be a repressed homosexual himself?

Later, Porno Pete cites drivel generated by Elaine Donnelly’s Center for Military Readiness. Of course, Ms. Donnelly, who I have commented on before is a nut case in her own right. Saner critics had a far different view of the episode:

The episode, which centered around the case of a gay General who was fighting - with the assistance of Candice Bergen - the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, was a moving, passionate and brilliantly written look at the damage inflicted by this unconscionable law.

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Turkey Authorizes Military Operation in Iraq

As this Washington Post story indicates (, it appears that the mess in Iraq may be about to get bigger. Great work Chimperator!! Let's have the entire country get dismembered. Some of what is happening should be of no surprise given the history of Iraq and its creation - facts that the Chimperator and Cheney apparently never thought to check out. But then again, since the Chimperator thinks he is on a crusade and is appointed by God, I surmise he did not think it necessary. The guy is an idiot. Here are some highlights:
ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 17 -- The Turkish parliament Wednesday authorized cross-border military operations into northern Iraq to combat Kurdish separatist rebels as world leaders implored Turkey to delay any action. In the hours before the parliament voted by a gaping margin of 507 to 19 to give Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to launch strikes any time over the next year, Iraqi and NATO officials made a flurry of cautionary, last-minute telephone calls to the country's top leaders.
The vote came just moments after President Bush in a White House press conference urged Turkey to continue talking to Iraq officials about the situation and to not move troops against the rebels. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and urged Turkey to "exercise the greatest possible restraint, particularly in this time of great tension," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said at a news briefing in Brussels.

But Turkish parliamentary leaders -- some delivering impassioned speeches, others reading dryly from prepared texts during Wednesday's two-and-a-half-hour debate -- criticized Iraq and the United States for refusing to take action against the rebel organization, despite years of pleas from Turkish authorities. They accused the northern Iraq Kurdish government of giving the PKK leaders and fighters free rein to run their headquarters and training camps and plot attacks on Turkey across the border. They also blamed the United States, saying it failed to live up to promises made in 2003 that they would help counter the PKK threat from inside Iraq.
U.S. and Iraqi officials fear a Turkish invasion into Iraq could lead to even more chaos in Iraq and could open the door to other neighboring countries, including Iran and Syria, to launch attacks against other Kurdish groups along their borders with Iraq. Both Iran and Turkey have been firing artillery shells into northern Iraq for the past several weeks. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who met with Turkish leaders during a state visit here Wednesday, said Turkey has a legitimate right to launch a cross-border offensive.
One has to ask why Turkey ever thought Bush would do what he said. His grasp on the truth and reality are none existent. The whole lead up to invading Iraq was based on lies.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Bush Family Planning Appointee Called Contraceptives Part Of The ‘Culture Of Death’

Think Progress has news ( on one of the Chimperator's latest flat earth mentality appointees who seems blatantly unfit for the position to which she has been nominated. Once again, religious fanaticism trumps valid credentials. If she holds these views on contraception, she'd probably like to have gays quarantined and/or put is concentration camps. Just when you think Chimpy cannot do anything more outrageous, he does it. Here are some highlights:
On Monday, President Bush appointed Susan Orr to oversee federal family planning programs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Orr, who is currently directing HHS child welfare programs, was touted by the administration as “highly qualified.” But a look at Orr’s record shows that her strongest qualifications appear to be her right-wing credentials and endorsement of the Bush administration’s failed abstinence-only policies. Before joining HHS, Orr served as senior director for marriage and family care at the conservative Family Research Council and was an adjunct professor at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Some highlights:

– In a 2001, Orr embraced a Bush administration proposal to “stop requiring all health insurance plans for federal employees” to cover a broad range of birth control. “We’re quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease,” said Orr.
– At the 2001 Conservative Political Action Conference,
Orr cheered Bush’s endorsement of Reagan’s “Mexico City Policy,” which required NGOs receiving federal funds to “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” Orr said that it was proof Bush was pro-life “in his heart.”
– In a 2000 Weekly Standard article, Orr railed against requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptives. “It’s not about choice,” said Orr. “It’s not about health care. It’s about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death.”
– Orr authored a paper in 2000 titled, “Real Women Stay Married.” In it she wrote that women should “think about focusing our eyes, not upon ourselves, but upon the
families we form through marriage.”

The office of family planning carries tremendous importance. Orr will “oversee HHS’s $283 million reproductive-health program, a $30 million program that encourages abstinence among teenagers, and HHS’s Office of Population Affairs, which funds birth control, pregnancy tests, counseling, and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.”

For the record, I am not pro-abortion or anti-family, but we need sanity and legitimate medically motivated individuals appointed to such positions. Take action opposing Orr’s nomination:

"Thank You" to a Reader

While going through today's mail, I was surprised to find a USPS Mail envelop that contained a note form a reader - Ken in the mid-west USA - and a calendar of "Men of Hawaii." The note indicated that Ken had been reading my blog from Hawaii where he was attending a company function and that he "thought I might enjoy something to brighten the day. . . . Enclosed please find a bit of sunshine from Paradise."

I truly want to thank Ken for his thoughtfulness. He and many of you have been such a source of support, especially during the more recent divorce nightmare. I cannot convey how much the many messages of support and concern that I receive mean to me and what a help they are during dark times. Thank you Ken and each and everyone of you. It means a lot to have friends literally around the world.
P.S. The guys in the calendar are VERY beautiful.

Dad: Blackwater blew up son's and wife's 'skulls'

I know that some may think I am harping too much on the issue of Blackwater USA. However, the more information that comes out, the more distressing the facts appear. Personally, the impression I get is that Blackwater and its personnel feel they can kill Iraqis indiscriminately and who cares. They certainly do not. Their mindset is almost reminiscent of that of the Nazis towards Jews. They act as if they are subhuman and their deaths just do not matter. Yet these Iraqis are human beings and as in this case, appear to have been total innocents who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. What has America become when those apparently acting in the country's name appear to be lawless thugs? Here are some highlights from a new CNN story ( two victims are pictured at left:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Haythem could only recognize his oldest boy from his tall and slim physique as well as what was left of his shoes. His son's head had been blown away, his body charred beyond recognition. His wife of more than 20 years was torn apart.

"Only part of her neck and jaw remained," Haythem told CNN. The rest of her was covered by a body bag. Choking back tears, he said, "Killing them was not enough, blowing up their skulls, they burned them and disfigured them." Haythem's wife, Mahassen, and his 20-year-old son, Ahmed, were among the 17 Iraqi civilians killed and 27 others wounded in a hail of gunfire September 16 in Baghdad. Guards working for private security firm Blackwater USA are accused of opening fire on the Iraqis. The Iraqi government has said the Blackwater guards shot without provocation -- something the U.S.-based contractor has denied, saying the guards were in a firefight with gunmen.

An Iraqi government report has accused Blackwater of "premeditated murder," saying the company's guards randomly fired at civilians. An Iraqi panel investigating the shootings has asked Blackwater to pay the families of each of the victims $8 million in compensation. "Money will not compensate us for what we have lost, even if it were piles of it," Haythem said. "No one can put a price on the lives of those killed." Haythem, 46, a doctor who specializes in blood diseases, spoke from his temporary home in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood where he is living with his mother and two remaining children -- daughter Maryam, 18, and son Haidar, 17.

All Haythem and the family know about the final moments of their loved ones is what two Iraqi police officers who witnessed the shootings have told them -- that Ahmed was shot as he was driving his car in Nusoor Square and his mother clutched him tight as he was bleeding. "Those who witnessed the incident say that my son's head was scattered and my wife held him and hugged him," Haythem said. "She was screaming, 'My son, my son! Help me! Help me!' " The car slowly rolled forward until Blackwater guards unleashed more shots that turned the vehicle into a fireball, according to the witnesses. "They understood the call for help. They sprayed her with bullets," he said.

Haythem's wife also was a doctor and his son was attending medical school with hopes of becoming a surgeon. "They destroyed my family and they killed my beloved wife, my better half," Haythem said calmly. "They deprived me of my eldest son who I have raised into a strong, young man. They deprived him of fulfilling his dream to be a doctor and a surgeon. They planted pain and misery in the hearts of my two younger kids."

Am I ashamed to be an American because of such conduct? Most certainly. As the father of a son not too much older than Ahmed Haythem was, I can well understand his father's nightmare. Meanwhile, Blackwater head, Erik Prince makes his large donations to the GOP and, what are in my view, Christianist hate organizations that his wealthy father helped found. Something is dreadfully wrong with this picture.