Saturday, December 08, 2007

Huckabee and the Christianist Rejection of the Gospel

I posted earlier today about Mike Huckabee's desire to quarantine AIDS patients and anti-gay views in general. Andrew Sullivan has a great post ( on what a true Christian response would be. I cannot say it any better. Here's Andrew's comments:

The truth is that Christians have had a very mixed response to the AIDS epidemic. Some will have a great deal on their conscience; others have forged paths of compassion and commitment that are unequaled. It's depressing to read about Mike Huckabee's Southern Baptist hostility, ignorance and fear toward people with HIV as late as 1992. It's heart-breaking to have watched the black church look the other way for two decades as so many of its members needed help, candor, and compassion. But not everyone has behaved like this. I was praying about this today and Mychal Judge came into my mind, as he sometimes does. I think history will see him as a saint at some point. If you doubt that, I recommend Netflixing "Saint of 9/11", a documentary that stays with you for a long time. And in that documentary, the part that understandably gripped me most was his early response to gay men with AIDS:

We forget how terrifying HIV was in the early and mid 1980s, how patients would be quarantined in dark rooms, abandoned by their families, with their meals rolled into their rooms on trolleys. From the beginning, Mychal did as Jesus did and walked right in and kissed these frightened souls on the lips. If they recoiled from the sight of a priest - gay men at that time saw the church as an alien, hostile entity - he would persist in silence. He would simply bring holy oils, take a chair to the bottom of their hospital beds, and massage their bony, cold, pain-racked feet. He seemed to express no anger, just a kind of suspended joy in the moment, a joy he found resuscitated by the fact of the resurrection and the intercession of Our Lady.

This is the calling of the Christian in the face of a plague: engagement, love, compassion, help. Some lived up to it; some failed. But everyone can grow.

Unfortunately, I do not see the Christianists growing or even wanting to grow. Huckabee exposes the moral bankruptcy of the Christianists and their betrayal of Jesus' Gospel. Whatever happened to the concept of the Good Samaritan or St. Damien who tended the leper colony in Hawaii?

The Media and Mass Murder - Did the press play a role in Robert Hawkins's killing spree?

While I can understand the desire to commit suicide even as misplaced as it may be (been there myself), I will never understand randomly killing others that one does not even know before finally killing one's self. Even in my darkest moments, I NEVER remotely thought of taking others with me. This Newsweek story ( looks at the latest mass killing spree and, I believe rightly, looks at the role the media plays in causing other disturbed individuals to try to emulate other mass killers through all the attention and coverage they receive. The reality is that these individuals, of which Robert Hawkins is but the latest, are very disturb, often are angry at the world and seek a combination of revenge and fame. The media gives them precisely what they seek. (Suzanne Smalley's questions are in bold letters)Here are some story highlights:

The suicide note Robert Hawkins left behind—"Now I'll be famous," he reportedly wrote—is chilling, but not as chilling as survivors' accounts of what he did to secure his place in the headlines. Hawkins shot himself in the back of the head in an Omaha shopping mall Wednesday after gunning down eight strangers with an AK-47 assault rifle. The 19-year-old had recently been dumped by his girlfriend and fired from his job at McDonald's, though friends say he had been troubled for some time.
The massacre in the middle of a mall at the height of the Christmas shopping rush catapulted the story onto front pages across the country and into constant cable TV rotation. Some experts say that's just what he would have wanted. Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, has spent his life studying spree killers like Hawkins. Levin spoke with NEWSWEEK's Suzanne Smalley about what motivates these killers—and why the media too may have blood on its hands.
He also allegedly said, "Now I'll be famous." What are you thoughts on that? Well, I hate to say it, but it shouldn't surprise us that the killer sought fame. Sadly, we give these mass killers exactly what they want. We put them on the cover of celebrity magazines. I'm not talking about NEWSWEEK. I'm talking about celebrity magazines where we used to place entertainers, sports figures—and now we put killers. It's not just that they're newsworthy. It's that they become antiheroes, celebrities because of the crimes that they commit. We send the wrong message to our youngsters, and it's very simple: "You want to be famous, you want to get a lot of publicity, you want to feel important and powerful and dominant and in control of things? Fine, kill somebody, and while you're at it kill a lot of people, because then you'll definitely make the 11 o'clock news and you'll be on every cable news program in existence."

Hypothetically, if there were to be a media blackout on publishing these killers' pictures and their writings, or videotapes of them, do you think there would be fewer of these types of killings? It would definitely help. After the Virginia Tech massacre, NBC released the photographs [of killer Seung-Hui Cho]. Because I think we gave the killer what he was after. This feeling of importance that he never had before. Instead of being humiliated on a daily basis since the eighth grade, he finally got what he wanted. He wanted to be a big shot.

And then, a couple of months later, Robert Hawkins is saying, "Now I'll be famous." Why would it surprise us? And what has happened is this: if one person is killed in a local community the story is important and it is a tragedy, but it is also a local story. It doesn't get national press. But when 32 people are killed by a mass murderer, when eight people are killed in a shopping mall, it becomes a national story and it's covered widely. He can be a big shot for the first time, using what happened a thousand miles away or maybe 3,000 miles away as a role model for his own behavior.

The photos above are of Hawkins' victims who (as well as their families) we all need to keep in our thoughts and prayers. I have intentionally not posted a photo of Hawkins. Too many people have already seen his face. His victims, as opposed to him, need to not be forgotten.

More Saturday Male Beauty

The Crisis of Intolerant Faith

This New York Times editorial ( that looks at Mitt Romney's speech on his religious beliefs does a good job of illustrating how the Christianists who now control the Republican Party have endeavored to re-write history in order to further their efforts to subvert freedom of religion as it was intended by the Founding Fathers of the USA. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave (his tomb, which cites his authorship of Virginia's statute for religious freedom, is pictured at left). Here are some highlights:
Mitt Romney obviously felt he had no choice but to give a speech yesterday on his Mormon faith. Even by the low standards of this campaign, it was a distressing moment and just what the nation’s founders wanted to head off with the immortal words of the First Amendment: A presidential candidate cowed into defending his way of worshiping God by a powerful minority determined to impose its religious tenets as a test for holding public office.

And in his speech, he courted the most religiously intolerant sector of American political life by buying into the myths at the heart of the “cultural war,” so eagerly embraced by the extreme right. Mr. Romney filled his speech with the first myth — that the nation’s founders, rather than seeking to protect all faiths, sought to imbue the United States with Christian orthodoxy.

Mr. Romney dragged out the old chestnuts about “In God We Trust” on the nation’s currency, and the inclusion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance — conveniently omitting that those weren’t the founders’ handiwork, but were adopted in the 1950s at the height of McCarthyism. He managed to find a few quotes from John Adams to support his argument about America’s Christian foundation, but overlooked George Washington’s letter of reassurance to the Jews in Newport, R.I., that they would be full members of the new nation.

He didn’t mention Thomas Jefferson, who said he wanted to be remembered for writing the Declaration of Independence, founding the University of Virginia and drafting the first American law — a Virginia statute — guaranteeing religious freedom. In his book, “American Gospel,” Jon Meacham quotes James Madison as saying that law was “meant to comprehend, with the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.”

The founders were indeed religious men, as Mr. Romney said. But they understood the difference between celebrating religious faith as a virtue, and imposing a particular doctrine, or even religion in general, on everyone. As Mr. Meacham put it, they knew that “many if not most believed, yet none must.”

We believe democracy cannot exist without separation of church and state, not that public displays of faith are anathema. We believe, as did the founding fathers, that no specific religion should be elevated above all others by the government.

The authors of the Constitution knew that requiring specific declarations of religious belief (like Mr. Romney saying he believes Jesus was the son of God) is a step toward imposing that belief on all Americans. That is why they wrote in Article VI that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

And yet, religious testing has gained strength in the last few elections. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, has made it the cornerstone of his campaign. John McCain, another Republican who struggles to win over the religious right, calls America “a Christian nation.”

The nation’s founders knew the answer to that question says nothing about a candidate’s fitness for office. It’s tragic to see it being asked at a time when Americans need a president who will tell the truth, lead with conviction and restore the nation’s moral standing, not one who happens to attend a particular church.

I believe the Christianists are one of the biggest threats facing this nation because they seek to subvert the Constitution as written and envisionsed by the Founding Fathers. In addition, this whole attempt to re-write history shows that the Christianists are intentional liars, have absolutely no regard for the truth, and will seek to foster any lie that helps to further their theocratic agenda. Obviously, this conduct does not comform with the Commandment against bearing false witness. They claim to worship the Ten Commandments but do not live by them whatsoever.

Relationships and Their Aftermaths

My friend Euphoric at Real Euphoria writes frequently about relationships and what makes them work and ways in which they are wonderful. He luckily finds himself in what appears from his descriptions to be a wonderful relationship. I, in contrast, find myself in the aftermath of a extended relationship which despite many truly wonderful times ended with acrimony and a degree of physical abuse. I still love my ex-boy friend very much and do not deny that a measure of our problems arose from the nightmares of my divorce saga, the financial mess stemming from the collapse of my former law firm, as well as aspects of me still not having completed the transition to full self acceptance as a gay man. Yet, I do not feel that we can ever undo the damage that was done or move on living as a couple.

That is not to say that I have not forgiven him for everything or that I do not still care for him enormously. He will always have a place in my heart and mind. I simply cannot forget some of what happened and most importantly do not want to be in a position where the worst moments could reoccur. He says that he has changed – and perhaps he truly has - and blames me for not having “changed.” Not forgetting, in my view is not a failure to change, but merely a pragmatic reality that some bad things happened that I never want to experience again.

Where does that leave me? Alone and trying to find comfort in living alone and not thinking I have to be in a relationship to be defined/happy. Fortunately, HRBOR, Equality Virginia and other activities have helped expand my circle of LGBT friends. That is not to say I have found any romance or someone I’d even want to get serious with – my ex continues to not believe this is in fact the case, which in and of itself tells me that he has NOT changed even though I believe he has sincerely tried. Old patterns die hard and are the best indicators of potential future conduct. As Euphoric says often, relationships – and even their aftermath – are hard work. How do I convey to the ex that I love him even though I am afraid for us to ever be a committed couple again? The situation makes me very sad. Any thoughts, recommendations or guidance would be most appreciated.

Saturday Male Beauty

Blowing Off the GOP

It is almost comical that I received a fax and then a telephone call today from the National Republican Congressional Committee asking me to be a Virginia member of the Committee's Business Advisory Council. Suffice it to say, the caller got quite an earful on my views of the current state of the party and how neither I nor most of my extended family would even remotely consider voting for a GOP candidate, much less help the party financially or otherwise unless and until it disassociates from the Christianist element and ceases to be an arm of the Christian Right.
The caller argued that my view of the party was incorrect until I read her chapter and verse on numerous issues. Finally, we ended the conversation, with her thanking me for explaining my views. I also asked that my name be purged from all records and mailing lists in their data base. Realistically, I do not see the Party changing, however, until it suffers more crushing defeats at the polls. I hope 2008 is a massacre.

Christianist Mike Huckabee wanted to isolate AIDS patients

I am glad to see that even the Virginian Pilot is carrying stories ( that reveal just what an extremist Mike Huckabee (pictured at left, but lacking an appropriate Hitler mustache) is in his views. This story focuses on Huckabee's past views on AIDS patients and homosexuality. If Huckabee were to be elected President, I truly believe I'd start looking into emigrating from this country. It would be a clear sign that the majority of voters had lost their minds and/or that a Christianist dictatorship was well on the way to becoming a reality. It is of course telling that Huckabee is now leading in the GOP polls in Iowa, thereby clearly showing just how extreme the rank and file members of the GOP have become . Here are some story highlights:
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could "pose a dangerous public health risk." As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.

When asked about AIDS research in 1992, Huckabee complained that AIDS research received an unfair share of federal dollars when compared to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. "In light of the extraordinary funds already being given for AIDS research, it does not seem that additional federal spending can be justified," Huckabee wrote. "An alternative would be to request that multimillionaire celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor (,) Madonna and others who are pushing for more AIDS funding be encouraged to give out of their own personal treasuries increased amounts for AIDS research."

Huckabee did not return messages left with his campaign. When Huckabee wrote his answers in 1992, it was common knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact. In late 1991, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 195,718 AIDS patients in the country and that 126,159 people had died from the syndrome.

Also in the wide-ranging AP questionnaire in 1992, Huckabee said, "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk." A Southern Baptist preacher, Huckabee has been a favorite among social conservatives for his vocal opposition to gay marriage. In 2003, Huckabee said that the U.S. Supreme Court was probably right to strike down anti-sodomy laws, but that states still should be able to restrict things such as gay marriage or domestic partner benefits.

Friday, December 07, 2007

More Friday Male Beauty

Bush losing Support with Military Families

Anyone living in the Hampton Roads area, home of the world's largest naval base and a huge military personnel population, could have come to this conclusion. Military personnel who are sent into harm's way more than anyone are concerned about wars being launched for the right reasons and being properly executed. Since the Chimperator (who made sure he himself avoided any real military duty back in the Vietnam era) lied to get the USA into Iraq and has proved beyond incompetent in managing the war, it is only to be expected that military families are NOT happy as described in this Los Angeles Times story (,0,4843202.story?coll=la-home-center). Bush's lies and bungling are literally costing lives, not that he seems to care in the least. Note too how the GOP is losing ground with military voters. Here are some story highlights:

WASHINGTON -- Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war's fifth year.

Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush's job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.And among those families with soldiers, sailors and Marines who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 60% say that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost, the same result as all adults surveyed.

Patience with the war, which has now lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II, is wearing thin -- particularly among families who have sent a service member to the conflict. One-quarter say American troops should stay "as long as it takes to win." Nearly seven in 10 favor a withdrawal within the coming year or "right away."Military families are only slightly more patient: 35% are willing to stay until victory; 58% want the troops home within a year or sooner.Here, too, the military families surveyed are in sync with the general population, 64% of whom call for a withdrawal by the end of next year.

"The man went into Iraq without justification, without a plan; he just decided to go in there and win, and he had no idea what was going to happen," said poll respondent Mary Meneely, 58, of Arco, Minn. Her son, an Air Force reservist, served one tour in Afghanistan. "There have been terrible deaths on our side, and it's even worse for the Iraqi population. It's another Vietnam."

Now the disapproval of Bush appears to have transferred to his party. Republican leanings of military families that began with the Vietnam War -- when Democratic protests seemed to be aimed at the troops as much as the fighting -- have shifted, the poll results show.When military families were asked which party could be trusted to do a better job of handling issues related to them, respondents divided almost evenly: 39% said Democrats and 35% chose Republicans. The general population feels similarly: 39% for Democrats and 31% for Republicans.

"The Democrats are not seen as the anti-soldier group anymore," . . ."We support the troops; we don't support Bush," said respondent Linda Ramirez, 52, of Spooner, Wis., whose 19-year-old son is due to be deployed with the Marines early next year. "These boys have paid a terrible, terrible price."

Romney Update - Romney Spokesman Won't Say If Atheists Have Place In America

This follow up refusal by Romney's campaign speaks volumes and underscores why he must NOT be elected (or get the GOP nomination). We have had enough religion fueled divisiveness under the Chimperator. This from Election Central:
A spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign is thus far refusing to say whether Romney sees any positive role in America for atheists and other non-believers, after Election Central inquired about the topic yesterday.

It's a sign that Romney may be seeking to submerge evangelical distaste for Mormonism by uniting the two groups together in a wider culture war. Romney's speech has come under some criticism, even from conservatives like David Brooks and Ramesh Ponnuru, for positively mentioning many prominent religions but failing to include anything positive about atheists and agnostics.

Indeed, the only mentions of non-believers were very much negative. "It is as if they're intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They're wrong," Romney said, being met by applause from the audience.

Friday Male Beauty

Boy Scouts Lose Philadelphia Lease in Gay-Rights Fight

At least freedom of religion and the Establishment clause of the Constitution are still understood by some ( The the Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America has rightly lost its right to have subsidized rent by the taxpayers of Philadelphia because the Scouts insist on making conformity with their religious views on gays and other issues a pre-requisite for membership. The message is simple: if you want to discriminate against certain members of the public, do NOT expect the public to underwrite your costs. Discrimination indeed has a price. No doubt Huckabee and Romney will condemn the city's position. Here are some story highlights:

For three years the Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city’s request to change its discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it did not do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal building where the Scouts have resided practically rent free since 1928.

But over the years the fight between the city and the Scouts was about more than this grandiose structure in Center City. Municipal officials said the clash stemmed from a duty to defend civil rights and an obligation to abide by a local law that bars taxpayer support for any group that discriminates. Boy Scout officials said it was about preserving their culture, protecting the right of private organizations to remain exclusive and defending traditions like requiring members to swear an oath of duty to God and prohibiting membership by anyone who is openly homosexual.

This week the Boy Scouts made their last stand and lost. “At the end of the day, you can not be in a city-owned facility being subsidized by the taxpayers and not have language in your lease that talks about nondiscrimination,” said City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, who represents the district where the building is located. “Negotiations are over.”

The issue became a local concern in Philadelphia in May 2003 when the national Boy Scouts held their annual meeting in the city. During the conference, a local scout challenged the organization’s policies by announcing on television that he was gay and that he was a devoted member of the organization. He was promptly dismissed by the local chapter, which is called the Cradle of Liberty Council.

Stacey Sobel, executive director of Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, a gay-rights advocacy group based in Philadelphia, said the city required that any organization that rented property from it agree to nondiscriminatory language in its lease. The Boy Scouts skirted the requirement by never having had to sign a lease because they were given use of the building by city ordinance in the 1920s.

Romney’s America: No Room for Non-Believers

I consider both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee to be serious threats to freedom of (and from) religion for US citizens with differing faiths and/or levels of belief. It seems that these men and Christianists like them are incapable of grasping the concept that freedom of religion means THEY CANNOT FORCE THEIR BELIEFS ON OTHERS. This inability to understand this critical concept shows both to be utterly unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. They and those like them are a clear and present danger to the Constitution. Why more Americans cannot open their eyes and see this is most disturbing. Ryan Sager has an interesting take on Romney following his speech about his Mormon beliefs yesterday( Here are some highlights:
In short, if we didn’t know it before, we now know that in Mitt Romney’s America, there is no room for those without “faith.” What’s more — and this we already did know — Mitt Romney is willing to mislead people about his religion, while categorizing all follow-up questions about his religion as a form of “religious test.” The most remarkable thing about Romney’s address — and even folks at National Review picked this out, notably Ramesh Ponnuru — is that is wrote atheists and agnostics out of the American nation.
Got that? Those of us who don’t believe in Christianity, those of us who don’t believe in God, those of us who don’t believe in the divinity of human-written holy books have no place in the American experiment, can’t be relied on to uphold the principles of our Constitution, and don’t have the morality necessary to keep a Republic. Marginalizing non-believers is too central to Romney’s primary strategy for him to speak one word on their behalf. Romney may say that, “A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States.” But his vision of who constitutes “the people” includes only the faithful.
As to Romney’s disingenuousness about his own religion, one need only note that the word “Mormon” appeared but once in his speech. (Kennedy mentioned the word Catholic roughly 20 times.) What’s more, he pulled this little number. On the one hand, he declared: There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths.

There was at least one line from Romney, though, that was worth the price of admission: “Americans do not respect believers of convenience.”

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Thursday Male Beauty

Gays Kicked to the Curb by House Dems: Federal Gay Hate Crime Bill Dies

Once again Congressional Democrats take gay votes and money for granted and will not go to the mat for us on the Matthew Shepard Act. The whining about a veto by the Chimperator is - in my opinion - utterly disingenuous. I don't give a damn if Bush were to veto it. The point is he needs to be put on the spot and forced to veto the legislation. This way he has won without officially doing anything. Chicken shit behavior begets chicken shit results. I have posted contact information below for both Rep. Hoyer - who I might add doesn't even provide an e-mail contact address so as to I assume avoid actually hearing from voters - Rep. Clyburn and Speaker Peolsi. I would urge all U. S. voters to contact them and register your extreme displeasure. Ironically, I just got a call from a Democrat Congressional fund raiser a short while ago and I told them "no, I will not give any money. I am waiting to see some actual results - THEN I will send money." The caller got an earful and was not pleased. Well, neither am I at the moment. Here are some story highlights from (
Washington) The Matthew Shepard Hate Crime bill was removed Thursday from defense authorization legislation. The Shepard Act would have added sexuality to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law. It passed the House in May and the White House threatened to veto it. (story)

In an effort to get around a veto the Senate version tied the measure to the 2008 defense authorization bill. It passed in September (story) and then went to conference where the two versions of the bill needed to be harmonized for a final vote. Since then the bill has been tied up. (story)

Thursday Senate conferees reluctantly agreed to strip the Shepard Act from the defense bill, realizing that they lack the votes to pass the measure. In a private meeting Wednesday night, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Democratic Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) that if the Senate continued to insist on the hate crimes provision the defense legislation would fail.
"I am deeply frustrated and disappointed with this Congress," said Gordon Smith (R-OR). "The unwillingness of a few to compromise is keeping Matthew’s bill from becoming law. The fight doesn’t stop now. I will pursue every possible option to turn this legislation in law." Gay Democrats had a strong message for their party.

"The Democratic Leadership, which guided this legislation to successful passage in their respective chambers, are now burdened with a moral obligation to see their work completed," said Jon Hoadley, the Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats. "If the National Defense Authorization Act is not the appropriate vehicle for passage, then we encourage the Democratic Leadership to work with our community to find the most expedient way to place this legislation on the President's desk within this Congress."
Here is the contact information. I urge you to voice your concerns and displeasure (I already have):
Rep. Steny Hoyer House Majority Leader, H-107 Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 • 202.225.3130
James E. Clyburn (SC-06) United States House of Representatives H-329, The Capitol Washington, DC 20515 (202) 226-3210
Nancy Pelosi, Office of the SpeakerH-232, US Capitol, Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-0100

No Housing Upturn Until 2010 - Home prices are forecast to fall as much as 30% in 'the most severe housing recession' since the end of World War II.

This MSN Money Central story ( certainly doesn't make me feel warm and fussy. If these predictions hold true, it will wreak havoc on the U.S. economy, with spill over into the international economy. A thirty percent drop in values will leave many home owners with little equity in their homes so far under water that they either (1) cannot sell their homes without paying huge amounts out of pocket or (2) simply walk away and abandon the property. So-called short sales are one way out, but can have negative tax implications for sellers since they will have phantom income arising from debt forgiveness. It a word, it is all a huge mess. I will be actively marketing my knowledge of short sales and "subject to" sales as normal transactions become fewer and fewer. Here are some story highlights:

Housing markets from Punta Gorda, Fla., to Stockton, Calif., will crash and suffer price drops of more than 30% before the housing crisis is over, a report from Moody's said today. On a national level, the housing market recession will continue through early 2009, said the report, co-authored by Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's, and Celia Chen, director of housing economics.

The report paints a worsening picture of the hard-hit housing sector, which is in the midst of its worst downturn since World War II. While activity will stabilize in 2009, it will be 2010 before a measurable improvement in sales, construction and pricing will emerge, the report said. "This is the most severe housing recession since the post-World War II period," Zandi told Reuters.

Punta Gorda, Fla., and Stockton, Calif,, are the hardest hit markets in the United States, with price declines from peak-to-trough forecast at 35.3% and 31.6%, respectively. These markets have been hard hit due to several reasons, namely the exiting of investors from the areas, a fair amount of subprime mortgage loans causing an increase in foreclosures and overbuilding by home builders, Zandi told Reuters. The Moody's's report, titled "Aftershock: Housing in the Wake of the Mortgage Meltdown," said that when house prices hit their nadir, some 80 of the nation's 381 metropolitan areas will experience double-digit peak-to-trough price declines.

Thursday Male Beauty

Mike Huckabee - Another Chimperator?

I find it scary that Huckabee is moving up in the polls. In my opinion, the last thing the USA needs is another president who is so blind by his religious beliefs/delusions that fact based reality is outside of his or her grasp. By all appearances, Huckabee is another Chimperator: he doesn't believe in evolution, has equated gay marriage with slavery, believes allowing gay marriage will end civilization, knew nothing about the new National Intelligence estimate and seems to have trouble telling the truth. The last point seems to be standard for the Christianists in the GOP whether it be lying about sexual orientation being a choice, to WMD's, or about involvement in pushing through the parole of a rapist who once released went on the rape and murder at least one young woman. Both John Aravosis at America Blog and Huffington Post have good stories on Huckabee getting caught in lies. Here are highlights from America Blog (

All politicians lie. But it takes a special kind of politician to be a liar and a preacher. That puts his lie in a special category of deception. As Joe noted below, GOP presidential candidate, and preacher, Mike Huckabee is continuing to lie about his role in freeing a convicted rapist who then went on to molest and murder two more women. In the face of testimony from numerous witnesses, including his own former top aide, contradicting Huckabee's claims, Huckabee is sticking by his lie. That's a problem for a Christian, bearing false witness.

Here are highlights from the Huffington Post:

Directly contradicting Mike Huckabee's claims, his former senior aide tells the Huffington Post that, as governor of Arkansas, Huckabee indeed told the state's parole board that he supported the release of a convicted rapist. The senior aide, Olan W. "Butch" Reeves, personally attended a controversial parole board meeting with Huckabee in Oct. 1996. "The clear impression that I came away with from the meeting was that he favored Dumond's release," Reeves said, referring to convicted rapist Wayne Dumond. "And I can understand why board members would believe that to be the case."

[A]ccording to Reeves, Huckabee actually told the parole board members that the prison sentence meted out to Dumond for his rape conviction was "outlandish" and "way out of bounds for his crime." Huckabee believed there "was something nefarious" about the how the state's criminal justice system had treated Dumond, Reeves said.

The Huffington Post reported on Tuesday that Huckabee's gubernatorial office had been privately warned by numerous women that Dumond had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. Huckabee pushed for the rapists release from prison anyway, and Dumond went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.

Send Mikey back to Arkansas where he will hopefully stay.

Jodie Foster Cracks Open the Door: Thanks Cydney in Accepting Sherry Lansing Leadership Award

I can fully understand the desire to keep ones personal life private. However, if this action is a step towards Jody Foster opening the closet door publicly (, I applaud her for doing so. She is an amazingly talented actress and has a huge fan base who should accept her on the merits of her work alone. I believe that as more prominent, popular celebrities come out, it can only help further the cause of gay rights and diminish the negative image of us as messed up alcoholics and drug users our Christian Right enemies try to sell to the public. It will be interesting to see if Jody makes any further moves to publicly acknowledge her apparent partner. Here are some story highlights:

In a surprising and moving speech on Tuesday, Jodie Foster, 45, thanked "my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss" when she accepted the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the 16th annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast.

The award is named after the former chief of Paramount Pictures, Sherry Lansing, who told the Associated Press that she was "overwhelmed to be presenting it to Jodie." The L.A. Daily News reporter covering the event, Greg Hernandez, noted surprise "at the public acknowledgment of who I presume is Cydney Bernard, the woman who is widely reported to be her life partner," because Foster has always been "so intensely private."

Foster has steadfastly refused to discuss or publicly acknowledge her relationship with Cydney Bernard, whom she reportedly met on the set of Sommersby in 1993. Although Bernard has accompanied her to premieres and public events outside the United States, Foster has never brought her to public events in America. But in the last year or so, Foster has seemed to be taking small steps toward making her private life a little bit more public.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Iran Executes 21 Year Old Accused Of Gay Sex When He Was 13

Seeing this story a few minutes ago ( makes me feel physically sick. It truly makes me believe that religion is in practice often one of the greatest forces of evil in the world. I can only hope that the mullahs and other theocratic nut cases in Iran some day get their just deserves for the atrocities they have perpetrated, including this one. One can only ask WHEN is the international community going to get some f**king backbone and start serious measures against Iran and countries like it who wantonly kill gays. Here are highlights from

(New York City) The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said Wednesday that a 21 year old man spared from execution only 10 days ago was hanged this morning. On November 15 Iran's Chief Justice halted the execution of Makvan Mouloodzadeh and ordered a new trial. Mouloodzadeh had been charged with having sex with another male when the accused was only 13 years old.

At his original trial no witness ever accused Mouloodzadeh of rape. Instead, the prosecution witnesses all told the court that their statements during the investigation were either untruthful or coerced. Nevertheless Mouloodzadeh was found guilty and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in August.

Mouloodzadeh was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. Neither Mr. Mouloodzadeh's family or his lawyer were told about the execution until after it occurred, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said in a statement. "This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice and international human rights law," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director. "How many more young Iranians have to die before the international community takes action?" Some international gay rights groups believe that more than 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. The government in Tehran has repeatedly denied the reports.

Berkley, CA Boy Scout Affiliate Leader Held on Suspicion of Molestation

It is so sweet when hypocrites get caught and exposed (not their often vile crimes but their exposure as a hypocrite). This story from the San Francisco Chronicle ( reports on the arrest of a prominent leader of the Boy Scout affiliate and youth program, Sea Scouts, that is known for excluding gays and atheists. Last year, the California Supreme Court rightly voted unanimously to back the city of Berkeley's decision not to subsidize the group's rent at the Berkeley Marina because of the organization's discriminatory policies (basically what Philadelphia is preparing to do to the Boy Scout Council that has enjoyed free rent for decades). The appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, leaving the California Supreme Court ruling as California law.
What makes the hypocrisy so sweet in this story is that Evans not only was a leader of the Berkeley Sea Scouts for the past 35 years, but he was also the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city of Berkley challenging the city's decision to end the group's rent-free berthing because the Sea Scouts discriminated against gays. Once again, a self-loathing, homophobic pedophile active in an anti-gay organization, just like in the case of the Catholic Church. Here are some story highlights:
BERKELEY -- A longtime Sea Scouts leader arrested on suspicion of child molestation was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Berkeley's decision to end the group's rent-free berthing because of the Boy Scout bans on gays and atheists. Eugene Austin Evans, 64, of Kensington was arrested Tuesday for allegedly abusing four current or former Sea Scout members on his boat, the SSS Farallon, over the past several years, said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

Evans, who has been the Farallon's skipper for 35 years, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail on six felony counts of sexual assault, including allegations of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, penetration with a foreign object of a minor and showing harmful material to minors, police said.
The Daily Californian has additional coverage ( that includes the following highlights:

An investigation began Nov. 14 when a young man and his family contacted detectives and identified him as a victim of sexual assault by Evans. “With an investigation like this, our concern is that too much window of opportunity may exist for someone like Mr. Evans to continue to sexually abuse young people, so detectives worked as quickly as they could in order to ... arrest Mr. Evans,” Kusmiss said.

Since the initial report, Kusmiss said detectives have interviewed three additional victims willing to participate in the investigation, and she said she expects more to come forward. Thus far, Kusmiss said all reports have been of molestation of boys between the ages of 13 and 17 and have taken place on the Sea Scouts’ boat. “We are quite certain that there are more victims of Mr. Evans, just based solely on the longevity of his work with youth,” Kusmiss said.

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Results of Abstinence-Only Sex Education: First Rise in U.S. Teen Births Since 1991

The obsession of the GOP and the Chimperator, along with their Christinists party base is showing results: teen pregnancy rates are up which anyone with a brain and reasoning ability could have predicted. This story ( is in keeping with earlier reports that showed the abstinence only programs were not stopping teen sexual activity. Rather, as these results show, the programs only ensured that teens having sex would be ignorant of birth control and STD risks. But hey, if Daddy Dobson and Pat Robertson are happy, that's all that matters to today's GOP. As a parent, I am (A) not a proponent of teens having sex and (B) all for competent fact based sex education for teens. But, the abstinence only fantasy of the Christianists is just not realistic. These results definitely support Virginia Governor Tim Kaine's decision earlier in the year to opt out of mandated abstinence only educational programs. Here are some story highlights:

ATLANTA (AP) -- In a troubling reversal, the nation's teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials who had no immediate explanation. The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006. U.S. health officials said it was possibly a one-year statistical blip and not the beginning of a new upward trend.

But several experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blame the increase on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education programs that do not teach how to use condoms and other contraception. Some key sexually transmitted disease rates have been rising, including syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. The rising teen pregnancy rate is part of the same phenomenon, said Dr. Carol Hogue, an Emory University professor of maternal and child health. "It's not rocket science," she said.

Sadly, for the Christianists, it IS rocket science.

Is George W. Bush a Liar, Delusional Zealot or a Misinformed Cretin?

The release of the new National Intelligence Estimate shows that the Chipmerator's claimed intelligence information used to support his [lunatic] bellicose calls to bomb Iran back in October was false. Worse yet, the Chimperator had apparently been told of information that undercut his public statements long before he even made the statements. Thus, the question is whether (a) Bush was outright lying, (b) so obsessed with his Christianist delusion that he is on a God directed crusade that facts do not matter, or (c) was he so misinformed that he did not know the full information. Personally, I vote for both (a) and (b), above. In all events, someone needs to be held accountable and called to resign from office be it the Chimperator of his subordinates - e.g., Hadley or Condi Rice - in the case where he truly did not know the full intelligence information. Here are some Washington Post story highlights:
President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III. But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program. The new intelligence report released yesterday not only undercut the administration's alarming rhetoric over Iran's nuclear ambitions but could also throttle Bush's effort to ratchet up international sanctions and take off the table the possibility of preemptive military action before the end of his presidency.

Critics seized on the new National Intelligence Estimate to lambaste what Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called "George Bush and Dick Cheney's rush to war with Iran." Jon Wolfsthal, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, termed the revelation "a blockbuster development" that "requires a wholesale reevaluation of U.S. policy."

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which was briefed on the U.S. intelligence report two hours before its release, saw the judgments as validation of its own long-standing conclusion that there is "no evidence" of an undeclared nuclear program in Iran. "It also validates the assessments of [IAEA Director General] Mohamed ElBaradei, who continuously said in his public statements that he saw no clear and public danger, and that therefore there was plenty of time for negotiations," said a senior IAEA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Still, the administration understood how explosive the new conclusions would be and kept them tightly held. Hadley said Bush was first told in August or September about intelligence indicating Iran had halted its weapons program, but was advised it would take time to evaluate. Vice President Cheney, Hadley and other top officials were briefed the week before last. Intelligence officials formalized their conclusions on Tuesday and briefed Bush the next day.

Wednesday Male Beauty

More Tell U.S. They're Gay Partners - Number rose 473% in Colorado Springs from ’90 to ’06

No doubt Christianist hate merchant Daddy Dobson will be blowing a gasket at this news as reported by his home town newspaper, the Colorado Springs Gazette ( The gays are multiplying rapidly right in Dobson's own back yard (even faster than the national average). A number of studies have shown that as the Christianists have managed to get anti-gay legislation passed, instead of slinking away and keeping a lower profile, gays have actually done the exact opposite and have become more visible and more outspoken about their relationships. Here are some story highlights:
The number of Colorado Springs same-sex couples reporting their status as “unmarried partners” to the government increased 473 percent from 1990 to last year, according to a study. The trend in Colorado Springs is part of a “gay demographic explosion in some of the country’s most politically and socially conservative regions,” said the study by the Williams Institute, a California-based think tank.
The institute studied how the number of same-sex couples has changed in all states and the 50 largest cities in the country. Nationally, the number of same-sex couples who reported their status to the government increased 437 percent during the same period. “Clearly, more same-sex couples are willing to openly identify themselves as such,” said Gary Gates, a senior research fellow at the institute and author of the study. The study relies on surveys conducted in 1990 and every year since 2000 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The surveys don’t ask about sexual orientation, but respondents can identify their relationship as an “unmarried partner” with someone of the same sex. Respondents can choose other words to identify their relationships, such as married partner, roommate or sibling.
Gay people “coming out” probably accounts for most of the increase in same-sex couples, rather than merely an increase in population or an increase in the number of gay people in relationships, Gates said. Colorado Springs’ population increased 32 percent from 1990 to 2006. The increases in gay couples were higher in politically conservative areas, and especially areas where voters approved bans on legal recognition of same-sex relationships, he said.

Must See Movie: For the Bible Tells Me So

Last night I attended a special screening of the documentary film, "For the Bible Tells Me So" that was organized by Equality Virginia and shown at the Naro Theater on Colley Avenue in Norfolk. The film is excellent and - in my view - should be required viewing for anyone who claims to be a believing Christian. It is pretty harsh - and deservedly so - in its treatment of the anti-gay Christianists. It literally brought me to tears at a couple of points. I highly recommend it and hope many of you can see it in a local theater. If not, it should be available on DVD in February. The website for the film is here: Here's a brief description of the film:
“Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, the film “FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO” offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.”

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. As the film notes, most Christians live their lives today without feeling obliged to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath or eats shrimp (as a literal reading of scripture dictates).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Watergate Felon Charles Colson's Forcible Christianization Program Slapped Down by Eighth Circuit and Justice O'Connor

This is a great decision and should be a significant set back for the Christianists. As a retired Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor sat on an Eighth Circuit panel by designation in a case challenging one of the most frightening elements of the American Christianist agenda: convicted Watergate criminal Chuck Colson's program, Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, for all practical purposes, seeks to make conversion to Christianity a condition of prison rehabilitation. Prison Fellowship Ministries (where my former law partner Mark Earley now works after what can only be described as a "Stepford Wife" like change after losing the election for Governor of Virginia to Mark Warner) seeks to pressure prison inmates directly and through added privileges to participate in evangelizing and religious conversion to fundamentalist Christianity.
Naturally, in the process Mr. Colson has a platform from which to make a rather nice living for himself and from which to pontificate. These "ministries" always (1) seek to eliminate the constitutional church and state divide, (2) strive to coerce others into living by the Christianists religious agenda either by force or other incentives, and (3) always provide cushy job stability to the leaders of the cult, I mean "ministry." The full decision can be found here: A few of the decision highlights follow:
On the merits, the plaintiffs invoke the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. . . .Also involved is the establishment clause of the Iowa Constitution, which is analyzed simultaneously. . . . The Establishment Clause erects a barrier between government and religious entities “‘depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.’” . . . For those “who wrote the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment the ‘establishment’ of a religion connoted sponsorship, financial support, and active involvement of the sovereign in religious activity.” Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 668 (1970). “In each case, the inquiry calls for line drawing; no fixed, per se rule can be framed.” To analyze whether aid has the effect of advancing or endorsing religion, three criteria are decisive: whether government aid (1) results in governmental indoctrination; (2) defines recipients by reference to religion; or (3) creates excessive entanglement.
First, “government inculcation of religious beliefs has the impermissible effect of advancing religion. Agostini, 521 U.S. at 223. Whether funding “results in governmental indoctrination is ultimately a question whether any religious indoctrination that occurs . . . could reasonably be attributed to governmental action.” In the present case, plaintiffs demonstrated (and defendants do not seriously contest) that the InnerChange program resulted in inmate enrollment in a program dominated by Bible study, Christian classes, religious revivals, and church services. The DOC also provided less tangible aid to the InnerChange program. Participants were housed in living quarters that had, in previous years, been used as an “honor unit,” and which afforded residents greater privacy than the typical cell. Among other benefits, participants were allowed more visits from family members and had greater access to computers.
Second, in administering aid, a government may not define recipients by reference to religion. The aid must be “‘allocated on the basis of neutral, secular criteria that neither favor nor disfavor religion, and is made available to both religious and secular beneficiaries on a nondiscriminatory basis.’ In this case, to use the aid appropriated, inmates must have been “willing to productively participate in a program that is Christian-based.” The district court found that inmates’ religious beliefs (or lack thereof) precluded their participation. For contract years 2000 to 2004, the InnerChange program was not allocated on neutral criteria and was not available on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Third, as for excessive entanglement, there was no pervasive monitoring by the DOC, though there was some administrative cooperation.
Because the indoctrination and definition criteria indicate that InnerChange had the effect of advancing or endorsing religion during the contract years 2000 to 2004, the direct aid to InnerChange violated the Establishment clauses of the United States and Iowa Constitutions.