Saturday, December 29, 2007

Final Saturday Male Beauty

Dedicated to anti-gay bigot U. S. District Court Judge Michael W. Mosman

Bush Judicial Appointee Who Placed an Injunction on Oregon Civil Unions Law Has Anti-Gay Past

I was aware that the federal judge who signed the order enjoining the effective date of Oregon's new Civil Unions law was an appointee of the Chimperator. But until coming across this 2003 story from the Oregonian, I did not realize that he had a documented anti-gay history. People truly do not seem to grasp the importance of having only unbiased individuals placed on the federal bench. Obviously, giving Mosman the benefit of the doubt in 2003 was a mistake. Here is the 2003 news article via Sodomy Laws (

The Oregonian, April 21, 2003
1320 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201
Fax: 503-294-4193
By Jim Barnett

WASHINGTON—What once seemed like a slam-dunk nomination for the federal judiciary in Oregon could turn into a test of political wills for Oregon’s two senators, Republican Gordon Smith and Democrat Ron Wyden. Michael Mosman, the U.S. attorney in Portland, is Smith’s choice for a vacant district judgeship and is still regarded as a favorite of the Bush White House. But recent revelations of Mosman’s views on gay rights, first expressed in 1986, have delayed his selection and what otherwise would likely be easy Senate confirmation.

Now, gay-rights groups are demanding explanations from Mosman, putting Smith’s carefully crafted reputation as a friend to the homosexual community on the line. Wyden, meanwhile, could be the only defense against a filibuster by the Senate’s increasingly restive Democratic minority if he chooses to support Mosman’s nomination.

The senators have cooperated in filling the vacancy created when U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones took senior status in 2000. But they could face rough going if national gay-rights groups actively oppose Mosman’s nomination. “If the gay-rights community makes this nomination a litmus test, then quite frankly, they’re in the middle of it and they’re going to have to take sides,” said Jim Moore, an independent political analyst in Portland.

It’s unclear whether that will happen. But gay-rights activists say they’re still waiting for answers from Mosman. “What I want him to show is that he has come to understand that relationships need to be judged on their quality, not whether they are gay or straight,” said Roey Thorpe, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, an advocacy group in Portland.

Mosman, 46, emerged as the top candidate in January after Ray Baum, a lawyer for Smith’s family business, withdrew. But controversy erupted in March, when Basic Rights disclosed Mosman’s role in a pivotal 1986 case, Bowers V. Hardwick.

The group uncovered and presented to Smith two “bench memos” that Mosman had written as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. Mosman urged Powell to uphold Georgia’s anti-sodomy law against a claim that police invaded a man’s privacy by arresting him in his home.
Memos to court’s tie-breaker
Mosman prepared the memos in March and June 1986, as it became clear Powell would be the court’s tie-breaking vote. He wrote that striking down the Georgia law would lead to an unwarranted expansion of privacy rights under due process. Such a ruling would leave “no limiting principle” against prosecution of other sex crimes such as prostitution, Mosman wrote. It also would jeopardize rights that society previously had reserved to heterosexuals.

“Without belaboring the point, I am convinced that the right of privacy as it relates to this case has been limited thus far to marriage and other family relationships,” Mosman wrote to Powell. “So limited, the right of privacy does not extend to protect ‘sexual freedom’ in the absence of fundamental values of family and procreation.” Mosman has declined requests by The Oregonian to discuss the memos. But in a recent book about gay rights and the Supreme Court, Mosman is quoted as saying that his feelings about homosexuality were secondary to his concerns about the law.

“The battle was really about . . . what direction the court was taking on due process,” Mosman said in “Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court. Mosman added: “The (sodomy) issue could have come to the court as an equal protection case and would have had a better hearing. I would have been more receptive to it.”

It’s unclear exactly what impact the memos had on Powell’s decision. Powell joined a 5-4 majority in upholding the Georgia law, but later expressed regret. Gay-rights groups still regard the case as a devastating defeat for their cause.

Nevertheless, Thorpe and other advocates said they are willing to give Mosman an opportunity to update his views. In the years since the Hardwick case, they note, society has become more accepting of homosexuals: Most states have repealed anti-sodomy laws, gay marriages and adoptions have become more widely accepted, and the court is debating a Texas case that could reverse its opinion in the Hardwick decision.

“He needs to clarify what his views are,” said Winnie Stachelberg, political director for Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group in Washington. “These are issues he will face not in the 1986 context but in the context of 2003 and beyond.” Added Thorpe: “We believe in change here. It wouldn’t be right to not leave room for people to change.” Much is at stake for both Smith and Wyden, and both want Mosman to succeed.

Test on Smith’s rights stand

For Smith, the nomination could become a test of his credibility as an advocate for gay rights within the Republican Party. Smith won an important endorsement from Human Rights Campaign after supporting hate-crimes legislation, helping his re-election last year. In a recent interview, Smith downplayed the significance of the Powell memos and suggested that given the opportunity, Mosman could explain himself to the satisfaction of critics.

“This is a decision that was rendered in 1986,” Smith said. “Isn’t it possible that Mike Mosman could also have an evolving view on these issues? I think Mosman is an outstanding legal scholar and an extraordinary U.S. attorney for Oregon.” The stakes could be higher for Wyden. Although his party controls neither the White House nor the Senate, Democrats are regarded as the chief defenders of gay rights. If Wyden endorses Mosman, his decision could be second-guessed by colleagues, including a handful of Democratic senators running for president in 2004.
Democrats have threatened to filibuster high-profile nominees, and they might be emboldened to take on others if they succeed, said Moore, the analyst. In that case, Mosman’s nomination also could be held hostage to political concerns.

“It depends on what happens with the other filibusters going on,” he said. Wyden hopes to avoid a national controversy over the nomination, said Josh Kardon, his chief of staff. But first, the senator plans to meet with Mosman to discuss the concerns raised by Basic Rights and decide whether to support him.

“Mike Mosman is someone Senator Wyden has supported in the past and someone he would like to support for the federal bench,” Kardon said. “But legitimate questions have been raised that require thorough consideration.” Tom Detzel of The Oregonian contributed to this report. Jim Barnett:; 503-294-7604.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Judge halts Oregon Civil-Unions Law

Sadly, a federal judge [an appointee of Chimperator Bush, I might add] has placed an injunction on the new Oregon law granting civil union rights to unmarried couples that was to be effective January 1, 2008. The judge's ruling comes out of a federal court case where opponents to gay rights - namely the Defense of Marriage Coalition, founded by one of Daddy Dobson's state affiliates in Oregon - are challenging a finding that they did not have sufficient signatures on a petition to put the issue to a state wide referendum. These Christianist will go to nearly any lengths to deprive gays of legal rights. With all the problems in the world today, it strikes me as sick and twisted to spend so much time, money and energy just to keep some individuals second class citizens under the civil laws. These individuals truly must have empty, shallow lives if this is how they spend their time and resources. Here are highlights from the Oregonian's story (

A federal judge Friday blocked Oregon's domestic partnership law for gays and lesbians from taking effect next week, saying opponents should have a chance to make their case for a statewide election on civil unions. The surprise ruling comes four days before gay couples would be eligible for most of the same legal benefits of marriage. Couples across Oregon had planned to show up at county offices Wednesday to register as partners.
Mosman set a Feb. 1 hearing to hear a lawsuit by gay-rights opponents challenging the state's methods for verifying voter signatures. Opponents gathered signatures last summer to try to overturn civil unions on the November 2008 ballot but were rejected by state officials. Elections officials determined that they fell 96 signatures short of the 55,179 needed for a referendum on a law passed by the Legislature. Mosman said attorneys for opponents showed that the rights of voters may have been violated if their signatures were wrongly rejected.
The lawsuit was filed Dec. 3, asking the court to require the state to review the signatures, reinstate signatures found to be improperly excluded and certify the referendum. In court Friday, opponents argued that people whose signatures on referendum and initiative petitions are thrown out should be allowed to challenge the decision, as they can in elections. Attorneys for the state said that procedures verifying signatures are applied equally to everyone. The state uses a random statistical sampling method to determine whether enough valid signatures are collected.

Who Was Really Responsible for Bhutto's Murder?

For the life of me, I do not even to presume to know at this point. However, the true answer will have huge ramifications as to where events in Pakistan and the Middle East may head. The Chimperator and Musharraf are quite naturally pointing to Islamic extremists, which is of course a distinct possibility, but also plays right in with the other motives of both of them. Bush needs to maintain the terror bogeyman to continue his unlawful actions and Musharraf wants to keep the US money spigot turned to a full on position. My worry is that if we get this answer wrong or go forward based on bad or false intelligence (gee, I cannot imagine what would make me worry about that), the outcome could be disastrous for the entire world.
As David Ignatius said in a column yesterday, his former classmate was indeed NOT someone the Islamic fundamentalists liked for obvious reasons (
Bhutto was fearless, from her college years in America to her cruel assassination yesterday. She had an unshakable belief that Pakistan should embrace the modern world with the same confidence and courage that she had. She believed in democracy, freedom and openness -- not as slogans but as a way of life. She wasn't perfect; the corruption charges that enveloped her second term as prime minister were all too real. But she remained the most potent Pakistani voice for liberalism, tolerance and change.
Yet Islamic fundamentalists were not her only opponents. In fact others are speculating that others might have had more to gain from her death than the Islamic Fundamentalists, including Musharraf (

The shorthand being bandied about in the news that al-Qaeda is responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is so sloppy, so lacking in nuance or understanding of the dynamics of Pakistan, and so self-centered in its reference to America's enemy as to be almost laughable. Several U.S. defense and intelligence experts are quoted today dismissing even the possibility that President Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani government forces, or other domestic elements could be involved, a conclusion that flies in the face of the country's history and ignores the obvious beneficiaries.

To say that "al-Qaeda" is responsible for Bhutto's assassination -- suggesting Osama bin Laden and an external force -- is to ignore all those political and religious factions inside the country that had the motives and resources to kill the former prime minister. Some of those factions in the government, the military or the intelligence services were likely privy to Bhutto's movements, and they could have actively schemed, if not played a direct role, in getting the suicide attacker to the right place at the right time.

Given Pakistan's history, it is unlikely that the true perpetrators will ever be brought to justice. For the United States though, the al-Qaeda bogey-man has the negative effect of affirming support for Musharraf and his martial law, while ignoring the various extremists who represent the true existential threat to the country. We should not let our al-Qaeda fixation blind us, just as the Soviet threat did in Iran in the 1970s, to the realities that Pakistan could implode of its own accord.
And as the Washington Post is reporting (, the US seems all too ready to run down the path that the Taliban and/or al-Qaeda bear responsibility before anyone knows for certain who was really responsible for Bhutto's murder. Equally scary is the fact that the intelligence officer quoted in the story is still maintaining the false myth that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. If the Chimperator and company cannot even get known facts correct, I have no confidence that they will not blindly run down the path that they want rather than make sure it is indeed the correct path. If that happens, we all need to be very afraid. The Iraq debacle has shown what happens when the Chimperator and Cheney act based on delusions/desires instead of real facts. Here are some Post story highlights:
"The Taliban . . . are indeed a growing element of the domestic political stew" in Pakistan, said John Blackton, who served as a U.S. official in Afghanistan in the 1970s and again 20 years later. He noted that Pakistani military intelligence created the Taliban in Afghanistan. How the United States responds will hinge largely on the actions of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in whom U.S. officials have mixed confidence. If there is indeed a new challenge by Islamic militants emerging in Pakistan, then the United States will have to do whatever it can to support Musharraf, the U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan said.

"Pakistan must take drastic action against the Taliban in its midst or we will face the prospect of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of al-Qaeda -- a threat far more dangerous and real than Hussein's arsenal ever was," he said, referring to the deposed Saddam Hussein.

This rush to blame al-Qaeda is particularly suspect when Bhutto's own organization is disputing the involvement of al-Qaeda and accusing the Musharraf regime of a cover up (
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- An Islamic militant group said Saturday it had no link to Benazir Bhutto's killing and the opposition leader's aides accused the government of a cover-up, disputing the official account of her death. The government stood firmly by its account of Thursday's assassination and insisted it needed no foreign help in any investigation. "This is not an ordinary criminal matter in which we require assistance of the international community. I think we are capable of handling it," said Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema.

Bhutto's aides said they doubted militant commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the attack on the opposition leader and said the government's claim that she died when she hit her head on the sunroof of her vehicle was "dangerous nonsense."

Saturday Male Beauty

Is it Possible? Evangelicals gather to Brainstorm

This Boston Globe article ( caught my attention since it uses the term "evangelical intelligentsia." From my experience with evangelicals and certainly when the anti-science position of the creationist Christianists is reviewed, the term "evangelical" and "intelligentsia" seems mutually exclusive. How much influence the group described in this article will come to possess remains to be seen. It would certainly be nice to have some level of intelligence come into sway since so far the trend seems to be in the opposite direction. By most standards, evangelicals seem to be seeking to dumb down education and science through their demands that "intelligent design" or some other form of creationism be taught in the public schools and their refusals to accept advances in medical and mental health research that indicate that sexual orientation is not a choice. Here are some story highlights:
Peter Berger concedes that the term "evangelical intelligentsia" will sound oxymoronic to many. And since the esteemed Boston University sociologist is a self-described "theologically very liberal Lutheran," you would be within your rights to expect that he dismisses all evangelicals as yahoos. You would also be wrong.
Spurred by scattered contacts with evangelical scholars, he has launched a two-year research project on the "Emerging Evangelical Intelligentsia," recruiting Timothy Shah, a Washington foreign policy maven and evangelical, as principal researcher. The second weekend in December, evangelicals from across the country and various academic disciplines - law, history, philosophy - flocked to BU's law school for a conference kicking off the project.
While fundamentalist theology was first constructed by Princeton Theological Seminary professors - "They were not ditch-diggers," noted Berger - today, biblical literalism is disdained by evangelical intellectuals, he said, because "no person with any degree of education can believe that." The rise of fundamentalism as a rejection of evolution and other modern ideas at the turn of the 20th century sent evangelicals careering away from intellectualism, according to Shah. The exemplar in his view was the wildly popular preacher Billy Sunday, "notorious for his hostility to learning and scholarship."
If fundamentalism is not part of the new intellectuals' theology, what is? The BU researchers spot several essential beliefs: the Bible as God's word and the sole authority for Christian belief; Jesus' redemptive death on the cross and the need for a personal relationship with him; public witnessing to one's faith; and a generally conservative moral code. In other areas, Shah sees a diversity in the intellectuals' thinking similar to other Americans. They differ, for example, over whether non-Christians can make it to heaven. "What unifies the class is their intellectual seriousness, not the content of their theology," he said by phone.

Gay Suicide

I have mentioned at times in passing my own bouts with depression and suicidal thoughts – which I fully put into action once and which very nearly succeeded. The gay media and to a lesser extent the MSM will mention the problem of gay teen suicide. Admittedly it is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. A less discussed or even acknowledged problem is that of older closeted gay suicides. Having seen several therapist along the path of my journey, as well as two different psychiatrists (mostly for anti-depression medication while working with my therapists), all indicated that a significant percentage – perhaps as many as 50% - of older men trying to deal with being in the closet and/or come out as I did end up taking their own lives. Many go unknown to the gay community much less their families since these individuals never come out and merely take their own lives via single vehicle accidents and other methods that look accidental or are explained as such. Yes, the vehicle went out of control, but was it deliberate?

I am sure that some readers are thinking “what in the world would get individuals to such a point?” Depression is a very real condition and one surely does not think straight when in its depths. Everything is gloomy and there seems to be no light on the horizon. Combined with this outlook is a very real sense of utter and total exhaustion. Just trying to go through the motions of life is such a labor that you just want it all to stop. In desperation and due to unclear thinking, there seems only one way to maker it all stop. When I took the bottle of pills (which would have finished me off but for the ex b/f forcing me to go to the hospital) after an all day hearing in the divorce case where opposing counsel happily badgered, gay bashed and worked to humiliated me, my only thoughts were that I just could not do it all any more and that I had to make the pain stop. I would do ANYTHING just to make the pain stop. I truly was not thinking beyond that.

To make my point that I was not an isolated instance, here are some quotes from various entries on a fellow blogger’s blog who is in the coming out process and feeling at times that his entire world is crashing and he becomes disheartened and depressed. I will not identify him, but I consider him a friend and we have talked a number of times on the phone about the difficulties of making the journey to self-acceptance and a new life as a gay man:

“last couple of days have been thinking a lot and contemplating a lot of things, like what if one morning I just didn't wake up........”

“its becoming more of an effort just to do what I used to enjoy and that is singing, singing means happiness and while I go through the motions its hard to stand in front of a congregation of about 900 people and sing all about the praises and how wonderful our God is..............I have broken down in tears several times at work this past week...........think I am loosing my mind.”

“sat the other night with a bottle of Jack [Daniels] and sleeping pills for about 2 hours contemplating,”

I can identify completely. Before I came out to my wife, I seriously thought of possible outwardly “accidental” means of ending it all. I would be driving down the Interstate and contemplate undoing my seat belt and wrecking the car. I know that the only thing that stopped me was the fear that I might not succeed and would end up paralyzed or worse. A more attractive method I thought about was a “surfing accident” where I merely went surfing and appeared to drown. Winter surfing where hypothermia would take care of what drowning might not succeed in doing seemed the best bet of all. A “broken” leash and lost board would set the process into play easily. I in fact did paddle out a couple times thinking it would be the end, but each time somehow found the strength or clear headed thinking not to follow through.

What is the answer? I am not sure. A society where one’s sexual orientation is a non-issue would obviously do wonders in reducing the problem I would think. Until that day arrives, however, reducing homophobia and the internalized self-hate it fuels is one part of the solution. Churches that do not constantly condemn gays or do little more than give lip service to being welcoming and supportive of gay members would help as well. Another part of the solution may be simply increasing awareness of the problem and helping closeted gays and lesbians to know that (1) they are not alone and (2) it is possible to survive the coming out process even though it may be a difficult path. Certainly the Internet has made this far more possible than in decades past. Yet another part of the answer is perhaps fostering an atmosphere where individuals will at least be truthful with their doctors and seek professional help. Among men, there still seems to be a significant stigma that seeking the help of a therapist or psychiatrist is not “macho” or “manly” - just one more aspect of the f**ked up nature of American society.

I would like to hear the thoughts and/or experiences of others on this issue.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday Evening Thoughts

Another work week is over, albeit a short one. Thank God! The last three days have been CRAZY at the office. I have somewhat shaken off the pre-Christmas depression – my trip to Charlottesville was very nice and some much needed cash came into the firm. Also, this weekend should afford some fun – taste testing tomorrow for the next “hrbortini” for the January 4th HRBOR happy hour at Mixers, followed by the movie premier tomorrow insanity.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about a comment that was posted on one of my posts that laid out some of my random thoughts about my desire for a committed relationship:

“I just hope you don't overlook him, whoever he is, by creating too many "must have" qualities. Every man has his baggage and his faults. It's not about having everything perfect, but rather finding that one truly special someone for whom you don't mind making a few exceptions and overlooking a thing or two.”

While it is true that I am not willing to settle for just anyone – I doubt any of us would willingly – I do not think I have unrealistic requirements for “Mr. Right.” Besides the obvious requirement that he desire true commitment and have a decent level of intelligence (I would never be able to survive with a mindless “boy toy” type), one "must have" quality is the ability to trust. Another is sufficient self-confidence that he does not always needlessly feel insecure and worry about me "finding someone better" or looking for “someone better.” The two are inter-related, but without these two qualities, a relationship is doomed. The lack of these qualities certainly doomed my last relationship. Other than these qualities, I am open to whoever might come along where the attraction and overall chemistry works.

Given the right guy, I can see myself settling into a relationship for the rest of my life. I think my history demonstrates that I am not one to readily leave my partner at the first glimpse of someone new or the first sign of difficulties. It also shows that I have the ability to make a few exceptions and “overlooking a thing or two” to make a relationship work. I stayed married for 24 years before I could not play the role any longer and finally came out. It is true that part of it was due to fear. But most of it was due to my enjoying a committed relationship (despite the sexual orientation issue) with common goals, caring about the ex-wife, and valuing the trusting relationship we had together. Similarly, I stayed with my ex b/f even after it was obvious that it was not working for us. Why? For many of the same reasons: I am the committed type by nature and also because I loved him. Still do in many ways.

When and where prince charming will appear from to sweep me off my feet remains to be seen. This area is not exactly teeming with eligible guys who are looking for a guy my age. Most of the “good ones” seem settled in relationships. If I was in a different line of work or could figure out a career change that made sense, I’d move in a heart beat to a more progressive area with a larger gay population. Time will tell, I suppose.

Final Friday Male Beauty

Pastors Urged To Caucus By Huckabee Supporters

Meanwhile, we have Mike "Let Lock Up Gays" Huckabee using the same tactics used by the late Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson in Virginia to get out the Christianist vote - i.e., Have the churches act as virtual arms of the GOP ( I have seen it time and time again and often wonder how/why the IRS does not step in. The pastors do everything short of giving an endorsement speech for the pulpit and including candidate campaign materials in the church bulletins. As for Mike Farris, he is from Virginia and a certifiable religious lunatic. Here are a couple relevant highlights:

Here's an explicit example of how Mike Huckabee is relying on an outsourced Get-Out-The-Caucusers effort and on the implied support of pastors -- under the radar. Pastor Rick Scarborough is hosting a conference call with Iowa pastors to discuss the caucus... joining him are Dr. Tim "Left Behind" LaHaye and Dr. Michael "Home School" Farris.
All three are committed supporters of Mike Huckabee. An e-mail sent to Iowa pastors advertising the call doesn't mention Huckabee -- that wouldn't be legal -- but does say that pastors "have a duty" to keep their congregants "informed" and to lead them to "participate" in the caucuses. Farris has been a senior unpaid adviser to Huckabee from day one and was key in helping to organize the families of home schoolers to attend the Republican straw poll in Ames last summer.

This is all, again, legal, provided the pastors stay within certain guidelines. But it's very easy to see that a mobilization of pastors and their congregants helps a single candidate. And given how successfully evangelicals have knocked and dragged their voters in the past, their might -- even uncoordinated -- could overwhelm the most established of Iowa organizations on caucus night.

Obama vs. Hillary

It is a bit frightening to find myself agreeing with an editorial in the Washington Times, but this opinion piece ( does a good job at explaining what I fear if Hillary is the Democrat nominee based on my former years in the GOP. Rational or not, she ignites huge negative reactions and will motivate some to vote who might otherwise stay home. The piece also comments on some of Hillary's dirty trick tactics that I believe only come back to hurt her. Who the Hell is advising her on this? If the Democrats do not understand the opportunity before them, then the party is hopeless. Here are some. highlights:

What part of "anyone but Hillary" Clinton do Democrats not understand? The surest and best path for Democrats to defeat conservatives in 2008 is to elect Sen. Barack Obama as their nominee. Mr. Obama is leading in Iowa, and the race is now a dead heat in New Hampshire and South Carolina. In response, the Clinton camp has insisted that Mr. Obama is not electable by the general population. They maintain that his opinions are too liberal, that Republicans will use the issue of his past drug use against him and that he has insufficient experience. Yet this negative approach has thus far failed to resonate with Democratic voters.

Moreover, it is Mrs. Clinton, not Mr. Obama, who cannot be elected. In last week's Fox 5-The Washington Times-Rasmussen Reports poll, 40 percent of Americans state they will vote to prevent Mrs. Clinton from becoming president. She gets the largest "anti-vote" of any candidate in both parties: 64 percent of Republicans, 42 percent of third-party or independent voters, and 17 percent of Democrats insist they will vote against her. Hence, the Clinton camp's recent attempt to malign Mr. Obama as unelectable is pure farce. It is like telling Democrats to be afraid of a toy pistol while ignoring a bazooka which is being aimed at them. In a general campaign, Republicans will go nuclear against Mrs. Clinton.

Barring the nomination of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic Party is poised to capture the White House in 2008. This is mostly because there is no Republican candidate on the horizon who can unite the right. Thus, any Democrat but Mrs. Clinton, can peel away enough conservative, Republican and independent voters to win the next election.

Once Mr. Obama secures the Democratic nomination, he will enter the general election with the liberal base highly mobilized. With a running mate who has good foreign-policy credentials, he can convince moderates that he will be effective in international affairs. Also, Democrats generally attract 88 percent of the black vote: Mr. Obama may make even greater inroads as these voters embrace the prospect of electing America's first black president. Finally, he will capture the two vital swing-voter groups: women and Hispanics.

The secret among conservatives is that many are rooting for Mr. Obama — and many will even vote for him in a general election no matter how liberal he is. Why? He will be heroic for defeating Hillary; he is authentic, and he is likeable even in disagreement. In essence, all the stars are aligned in favor of a remarkable American story: Barack Obama's historic march from Iowa straight into the White House in Washington, D.C. If only Democrats had enough sense to get Hillary Clinton out of his way.

More Friday Male Beauty

The 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007

This list was too good to pass up ( I figured I would highlight a few of the folks I have taken to task during the last eight months of serious blogging. I hope you enjoy it.
1. George W. Bush
Charges: Is it a civil rights milestone to have a retarded president? Maybe it would be, if he were ever legitimately elected. You can practically hear the whole nation holding its breath, hoping this guy will just fucking leave come January '09 and not declare martial law. Only supporters left are the ones who would worship a fucking turnip if it promised to kill foreigners. Is so clearly not in charge of his own White House that his feeble attempts to define himself as "decider" or "commander guy" are the equivalent of a five-year-old kid sitting on his dad's Harley and saying "vroom vroom!" Has lost so many disgusted staffers that all he's left with are the kids from Jesus Camp. The first president who is so visibly stupid he can say "I didn't know what was in the National Intelligence Estimate until last week" and sound plausible. Inarguably a major criminal and a much greater threat to the future of America than any Muslim terrorist.
Exhibit A: "And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."
Sentence: Dismembered, limbs donated to injured veterans.
7. Erik Prince
Charges: Priming Baghdad's streets for American imperialism by making them pristinely wog-free. Prince's Iraq is one massive free-fire zone for his bullet-sweating mercenaries, a Hogan's Alley in which everyone dusky is blithely expendable, rape is a mischievous dalliance, and accountability an inside joke. Remarkably, enabling the US occupation and simultaneously fomenting destabilizing enmity. Bringing the privatization of warfare to full fruition -- next time, Exxon can just invade a country directly.
Exhibit A: Blackwater Vice Chairman Cofer Black is Mitt Romney's campaign counterterrorism policy adviser. The company's website also hawks infant onesies.
Sentence: Tanned and tethered outside Baghdad's Green Zone after curfew. Whatever happens, happens.
20. Larry Craig
Charges: This year's eminent toe-tappin' conservative queen of hypocrisy. Thought the Defense of Marriage Act was FABULOUS! -- because he personally needs legislation to keep him straight. Didn't work. Brought unwanted knowledge of the intricate culture of anonymous gay public restroom sex into America's living rooms. Embodies both the cause and result of faith-based sexual repression. Insists on dragging out the least plausible public denial of buggery since Liberace's, presumably for the benefit of his frozen-smiled, slowly maddening wife.
Exhibit A: "I am not gay. I never have been gay."
Sentence: Stoned to death.
21. David Vitter
And yet another family values Republican and Clinton-basher gets his glass house blown in. A staunch marriage defender and abstinence promoter who paid $300 an hour for his favorite hooker? The only surprise there is that he's still hanging around the Senate, but then again, he did say he was sorry. Denies evolution, yet was still compelled by his primate DNA to spread his seed far and wide.
Exhibit A: According to some, Vitter was nicknamed "the shitter" by Canal Street whores for his predilection for diaper play. Wholesome!
Sentence: Wife follows through on that Lorena Bobbitt comment she made during the Lewinski scandal.
47. Mike Huckabee
Charges: What's worse, a calculating politician pretending to be a devout Christian, or a genuine heartland preacher who didn't come from no monkey? Huckabee is both -- a Southern Baptist who rejects Darwin, wants to give everyone a gun and thinks people with AIDS should be quarantined, and a seedy, corrupt politician who's never seen a payoff so low he won't stoop to pick it up. Democrats see Huckabee as easily defeated in a general election, but they shouldn't be so sure -- Smooth talking preachers tend to do well in this country. Huckabee is well-spoken, kind-faced, and the opposite of wordly -- he's Obama for hicks.
Exhibit A: "I got into politics because I knew government didn't have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives... I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."
Sentence: Just as he's about to win the GOP nomination, a freak gust of wind catches Huckabee's excess skin and carries him out over the Atlantic, where he drifts for hours before God appears to him, tells him He's a Unitarian, and sends him to hell.

Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes

As noted in other posts, the Roman Catholic Church has no trouble with meddling in civil law matters as is the case in Italy (see my prior post today) or in the USA where the Conference of Bishops has issued a statement attempting to sway Catholic voters ( to conform to the Church's agenda. In contrast, the Catholic Church has a real problem with ending its hypocrisy and cleaning up its own dirty linen. Specifically, from the Pope on down, no serious effort has been made to clean house and punish bishops, cardinals and others for their roles in the worldwide sex abuse scandal. Personally, I am baffled as to why anyone with a functioning brain and a sense of moral decency would listen to ANYTHING the Church hierarchy has to say unless and until this moral bankruptcy from the Pope on down is rectified.
In this regard, Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., a Dominican priest with a doctorate in canon law and five separate master''s degrees, and out spoken critic of the Church's failure to address this very issue, sacrificed a rising career at the Vatican Embassy to become an outspoken advocate for church abuse victims. Since 1984, when he became involved with the issue of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy while serving at the Embassy, he has become an expert in the canonical and pastoral dimensions of this problem—working directly with victims, their families, accused priests, bishops, and other high-ranking Church officials. Here are some highlights from a memorandum Father Doyle prepared in connection with he sex abuse scandal in Dallas, Texas:

2. Traditionally reports of the sexual abuse of children by priests were handled in a secretive, private way. The Church officials have always realized that public knowledge of such abuse would severely harm the Church's credibility, the image of the priesthood and in general result in serious scandal.
3. It is also important to note that traditional Church teaching had always held that a priest enjoyed an exalted position. To speak ill of a priest or to accuse him of something as heinous as sexual abuse was and still is considered by many to be sinful. Catholics were brought up with the notion that a priest represented Christ. Among devout Catholics it was simply unbelievable that a priest would sexually abuse a child. This attitude and the respect and fear engendered among the devout laity was used by Church officials in its attempts to dissuade people from pressing complaints against offending priests. It is well documented that many adults, once abused as children, hesitated to report the sexual abuse because they feared they would never be believed or worse, would receive punishment at the hands of their parents.


1. The problem of sexual abuse of minors by priests received widespread publicity in 1984 and thereafter, due to the case of a priest in Lafayette LA. The NCCB/USCC claims that it had no knowledge of the problem of such sexual molestation by priests prior to 1982.
2. In 1985 the NCCB was urged to initiate some form of action in the form of research into all aspects of the sexual abuse problem as well as the creation of a crisis intervention team. A document privately prepared by myself, F. Ray Mouton and Fr. Michael Peterson was offered to the NCCB in May, 1985. Several bishops who were attending the June 1985 meeting were given copies in hopes that the document would prompt some form of organized action on the part of the NCCB. Nothing happened.
5. There was sufficient information available to the NCCB by the 1970s to have justified the issuance of warnings and instructions to the lay Catholic community concerning the risk to children of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clerics. This included undeniable medical documentation of the long-term harm to victims from such abuse. There is no evidence that the NCCB/USCC issued any such warnings and instructions to the lay Catholic community. No such warnings and instructions have ever been issued.
6. There was sufficient information available to the NCCB by the 1970s to have justified modifications to the Program for Priestly Formation to assist in screening candidates for the priesthood in order to identify those prone to sexually act out with children. While bishops are arguably free to ordain any candidate for the priesthood they choose (provided those candidates meet the standards set forth by Canon law) the duty exists under civil law to protect children from known danger. This was not done.

In dioceses throughout the country, when cases of sexual abuse by priests have surfaced, recurring problems have occurred:
1. lnadequate investigation. In virtually all cases, rumors and/or complaints and other forms of notice of misconduct were received by Church officials but no investigation was conducted. This is clear from the records involving Fr. Peebles and Fr. Kos in this case. Regarding Fr. Hughes, there were numerous red flags involving his close relationship with Jane Doe, a young girl who was 12 and 13 years old at the time, that if properly investigated could have prevented the abuse. This is part of a common pattern of not investigating allegations or red flags indicating potential abuse.

2. lnadequate supervision. Priests accused of sexual molestation are often found to have had suspicions raised against them early in their careers and, in some cases, prior to entering the seminary, or even in the seminary. After receiving reports of sexually acting out, or rumors of such, in many cases there have been no investigation or supervision and priests have simply been transferred from one parish to another. In other cases, red flags indicating a potential for misconduct were ignored. There is evidence of inadequate supervision with regard to Fr. Robert Peebles, Fr. Rudy Kos, and Fr. William Hughes.
3. Reporting to civil authorities. It is rare that allegations of sexual abuse of minors are reported to civil authorities. There is evidence of failure to report in the cases involving Peebles, Kos, and Hughes.
4. lnadequate treatment of victims. Often, victims complaints have not been properly investigated, victims have been coerced into not making complaints, have been given false or misleading information, or have been urged to remain silent. In many instances, known victims received no pastoral attention from the Church, nor did Church officials take care to make sure victims received proper counseling. These actions continued even after medical evidence conclusively established the harm to victims of child sexual abuse. There is evidence of inadequate treatment of victims in the cases of Peebles, Kos, and Hughes. In addition, funds for counseling were not provided until the fall of 1995 (with the exception of payment for a few sessions for Jane Doe in 1991).
7. Sexual abuse of a minor is a specific crime mentioned in the 1917 Code of Canon Lawand again in the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983. It has been mentioned over the centuries in the law of the church for a reason: it exists, is a serious problem and has been acknowledged by church to be such. It is not something new that only cropped up with the initial publicity of the 1984-85 situation in Lafayette LA, and the national publicity which followed the Porter case in 1992. Because of the nature of sexual abuse of minors, the institutional church has attempted to keep the matter under wraps. It has consistently failed to provide adequate pastoral care and concern for the victims of such abuse and it has consistently failed to take responsible steps in dealing with individual priest-abusers.

8. The history of this problem would strongly suggest that the primary value for the institutional church has been its public image, its public security and the avoidance of any public knowledge of the extent of the problem.

Friday Male Beauty

Mayor of Rome Condemns Catholic Church's Anti-Gay Stance

As usual, the Catholic Church is endeavoring to interfere with Italian civil law which the Church wants to match the Church's religious view. Obviously, since Italy has no formal state religion, the civil laws need NOT track the Church's position. Like the Christianists in this country, The Catholic Church has real issues with the concept of separation of church and state. Via Towleroad, here is a brief story highlight(
Rome, Dec. 27, 2007 ( - The mayor of Rome has criticized a prominent Catholic political leader for opposing gay-rights legislation. In an open letter to the newspaper La Stampa Mayor Walter Veltroni chided Dr. Paola Binetti for her resistance against legislation that would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Veltroni is the leader of Italy's new Democratic party (PD). Binetti is a leading member of the same party's teodem wing, which upholds Christian moral principles. “Homosexuality is a human condition," Veltroni argued in his letter to La Stampa, "and the PD is working to recognize the rights of homosexual couples.”

Civil Unions Begin Next Week In Uruguay

I will not say much about this story ( other than that this development is further proof that the anti-gay elements in the USA are swimming against the tide of history. I am confident that some day these anti-gay bigots will be looked on little better than the segregationists who used the Bible to justify racial bigotry. While Uruguay's law is less than perfect, it is far better than what gays face in most states in the USA. Here are a few story highlights:

(Montevideo) President Tabare Vazquez signed legislation Thursday making Uruguay the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex couples to enter civil unions. The law takes effect at the beginning of 2008. The bill passed Congress earlier this month. The law will allow same and opposite-sex couples to form civil unions. Couples must have been together for at least five years and sign a registry. They would then receive pension, inheritance and parenting rights. The measure was a campaign promise of Vasquez's ruling leftist coalition.

the civil union bill is a major step in the right direction in a region where the Catholic Church dominates much of everyday life. The church fought the legislation from the onset and repeated a pledge Thursday that it will continue to fight any attempt to legalize same-sex marriage. In neighboring Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul state which lies along the border, passed civil union legislation in 2004, two years after Buenos Aires passed a similar law. Civil unions also are legal in Mexico City and Coahuila state.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Thursday Male Beauty

Bhutto's Assassination Needs a Real Investigation

As this blogger - who is the author of "Profiles in Terror:A Guide to Middle East Terrorist Organizations" points out (, a true investigation to determine who was behind the assassination is important for many reasons. Not least is that depending on who the responsible parties are, it has significant foreign policy implications. Here are some highlights for the post:

Facts about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination are in short supply. Unfortunately that is unlikely to change. There is a long tradition of failure to investigate political murders in Pakistan. This cannot continue if Pakistan is to become a stable democratic state that serves its people and exists at peace with the world. The first step is that Musharraf invite the international community to advise in the investigation into Bhutto’s death. The investigation will be politically expensive – it may not reach Musharraf himself but it will reach deep into the civilian and military elites running Pakistan. Broad, tough international engagement is essential to seeing this forward – the stakes are very high.

While the Islamists are the most likely suspects, they certainly hated Bhutto as a secular female politician – Bhutto had many other enemies. As I noted after the October attempt on Bhutto’s life:

"In courting Western support for her return to Pakistan, Bhutto promised that the International Atomic Energy Agency would receive access to A. Q. Khan, father of the Pakistani nuclear program and head of an international clandestine nuclear proliferation ring, who is currently under house arrest. It is inconceivable that Khan carried out his operations without substantial assistance from figures in Pakistan’s military and intelligence services."

A thorough investigation might be a first step to countering the rot pervading Pakistani politics. But if the murderers and their backers can get away with this murder Pakistan’s downward spiral will only continue.

Bhutto was a grand historical figure, talented but flawed. She died in the cause of a secular, moderate Pakistan. If a thorough investigation into her murder helps move Pakistan towards becoming a moderate Muslim democracy her death will not have been in vain.

If Islamists within the military or ISI did this, then we have the possibility that this is the beginning of something more ominous than the surface event. The collapse of Pakistan into a Jihadist nuclear power is the great nightmare. Here's hoping that however grim this news, the worst isn't yet to come.

Hypocrisy or Bigotry -- Which Is Worse?

Fellow blogger Greta Christina has an interesting post that contrasts the anti-gay statements of Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani ( I think I come down on the same side as Greta Christina and prefer the hypocrite to the true-believer bigot. It is surely something to keep in mind during the upcoming campaign. I suggest you read the whole post, especially Huckabee's nasty Brokeback Mountain comment, but here's the highlights:

So here's my question: Which is worse? The close-minded, true-believing bigot -- or the craven, self-serving hypocrite?

My thoughts: From a purely ethical standpoint, I think the true believer has the stronger position. Their bigotry is evil, it's harmful -- but at least it's sincere. It's not held simply for selfish gain. It’s internally consistent. But from a purely practical standpoint, I think I'd rather have the hypocrite in public office. Because you can change a hypocrite's mind.

If someone is taking a bigoted position purely to advance their self-interest, all you have to do to change their mind is shift the political scales. Mobilize your forces. Make alliances. Get better organized. Convince the hypocrite that their self-interest would be better served by sucking up to you instead of your opponents, and they'll be your new best friend.

It's much, much harder to change the mind of a true-believing bigot. If their bigotry is a consistent, integral, fundamental part of their view of the world and themselves, changing their mind about their bigotry requires them to rewrite their entire life story. Very few people are up to that.

Obama Camp Woos Gays in California

This article from the Bay Area Reporter ( looks at efforts being made by Barack Obama to reach the gay community. Interestingly, the article notes that Obama has taken a more gay-friendly position on modifying the existing federal Defense of Marriage Act. If this analysis is correct, it may be one reason to support Obama over Clinton. While I as yet have made no decision on who I support, the dirty tricks by some of Hillary's staff and advisers is leaving a very bad taste in my mouth. Here are some highlights:
Gay supporters of Barack Obama's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination began voter outreach in the Castro last weekend in an effort to drum up support in advance of the state's February 5 primary. Obama, who trails Senator Hillary Clinton in several recent statewide polls, nonetheless has been closing the gap, and is in a tight race with Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters soon will cast ballots in the caucuses and primary, respectively.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who represents the Castro, is one of Obama's gay supporters. Another is Rebecca Prozan, co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. She organized a private meeting with undecided voters last week. In an interview with the Bay Area Reporter Monday, December 17, Tobias Wolff, a gay man who's chair of the national LGBT policy committee for the Obama campaign, called the Illinois senator a "fighter" who will stand by his principles.
Wolff, 37, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, also noted that while he disagrees with Obama on the issue of same-sex marriage, he nonetheless believes that Obama is the better candidate. Obama, as well as the other leading Democratic candidates, support civil unions. Wolff supports marriage equality. But Wolff drew a distinction with Obama's and Clinton's position on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Obama supports repeal of all DOMA, while Clinton is on record supporting repeal of only part of the legislation. President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law, as well as the anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.

On the issue of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Wolff said that Obama is on record in support of a fully inclusive ENDA that includes protections for gender identity. Wolff said that Obama was a chief co-sponsor of Illinois' Human Rights Amendment, which is fully inclusive.

Thursday Male Beauty

More on the "Christian Nation" Myth

David Ignatius has a good op-ed piece in the Washington Post that looks further into the real views of the Founding Fathers of this nation on religion in politics. Not surprisingly, he points out that they would be shocked and/or disgusted with the religiosity that now saturates US politics. While this is a US political issue, it has relevancy to other nations such as the United Kingdom where the US Christianists are trying to plant there poisonous version of Christianity. The deliberate Christianist distortions of US history illustrate that they will knowingly tell lies and untruths to further their extremist anti-democratic agenda. Here are some highlights from the column (
A bracing text for this Christmas week is the famous correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Their letters are a reminder that the Founders were men of the Enlightenment -- supreme rationalists who would have found the religiosity of much of our modern political life quite abhorrent.

It's not that these men didn't have religious beliefs: They were, to their deaths, passionate seekers of truth, metaphysical as well as physical. It's that their beliefs didn't fit into pious cubbyholes. Indeed, the deist Jefferson took a pair of scissors to the New Testament to create his "Jefferson Bible," or, formally, "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth," which cut out the parts he regarded as supernatural or misinterpreted by the Gospel writers.
My Christmastime reading of the Adams-Jefferson letters was prompted by this year's most interesting political speech but one I also found troubling -- Mitt Romney's Dec. 6 speech on "Faith in America." It was a fine evocation of our twin heritage of religion and religious freedom, until he got to this ritual denunciation of the bogeymen known as secularists.
Anyone who reads Adams and Jefferson -- or for that matter, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton or other voices of the American Enlightenment -- can make their own judgment about what the Founders would say about Romney's broadside against secularism. My guess is that their response would be something like: "That is bunkum, sir."
Many of the Founders liked to speak of the "God of Nature," notes Garrett Epps, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Oregon. Adams used this term in a June 20, 1815, letter to Jefferson: "The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by His own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?" Adams mistrusted priests and kings, but he was also skeptical of the revolutionary philosophers who had overthrown them in France. He spent his life looking for a middle ground.

Jefferson spoke in a May 5, 1817, letter of "true religion" as based on "moral precepts, innate in man," and the "sublime doctrine of philanthropism and deism taught us by Jesus of Nazareth." He contrasted this true faith with "sectarian dogmas." If the sectarian version prevailed, warned Jefferson, then he might agree with Adams's speculation that "this would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it."
[L]et us recall this caustic Nov. 4, 1816, missive from Adams: "We have now, it seems, a national Bible Society, to propagate King James's Bible through all nations. Would it not be better to apply these pious subscriptions to purify Christendom from the corruptions of Christianity than to propagate those corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America?"
The Founders certainly believed in God, but for most of them, their faith was a deeply private matter, as Jefferson put it in a Jan. 11, 1817, letter, a subject "known to my God and myself alone." Indeed, they found loud, public displays of religiosity a profanation of this inner and spiritual practice of religion. Adams, the more conventionally "religious" of the two, insisted in a Sept. 14, 1813, letter that there is "but one being who can understand the universe, and that it is not only vain but wicked for insects to pretend to comprehend it."

Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

This cannot be a good development for stability in Pakistan or the Middle East in general. I cannot help but wonder if some of Musharraf's people were involved somehow. I do not put it past the Chimperator's buddy to use this type of heavy handed action to avoid the scheduled elections. Here are some highlights from the initial Reuters story (

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -- Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, her party said. "She has been martyred," said party official Rehman Malik. Ms. Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Ms. Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up. "The man first fired at Bhutto's vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up," said police officer Mohammad Shahid. Police said 16 people had been killed in the blast.