Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Saturday Male Beauty

Fewer Young People Attending Southern Baptist Convention

In the battle for gay rights, one of the leading opponents to equality - other than the self-styled "Family organizations" - is the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC"). Richard Land, a regualr spokesman for the SBC, is particularly aggressive in his condemnation and efforts to marginalize gay citizens. Therefore, it is interesting to see that the Southern Baptist Convention is losing membership - younger members in particular. What is even more interesting is that a new study shows that the decline began and has continued since the SBC was taken over by the fundamentalist element which now controls the SBC and which heretofore enjoyed condemning "liberal" denominations for declines in membership. The SBC has now been forced to recognize the phenomenon among its own ( Perhaps the SBC leadership should get the message that hate and intolerance, condemnation of public education, and extremist positions do not attract members. Here are some highlights:
A new study of attendance at Southern Baptist Convention annual meetings shows the percentage of messengers in the 18-39 age group steadily declining since 1980 -– the early days of the SBC's Conservative Resurgence -– and dropping sharply since 2004. The percentage of messengers in the 60-plus age group, however, has increased dramatically. "Simply put, the proportion of those under 40 attending the SBC is declining precipitously –- down by more than 50 percent since the beginning of the Conservative Resurgence."
Oddly enough, in some quarters there has actually been a debate about whether the SBC attendance is aging and losing its young leaders," Stetzer said. "Of course, facts don't convince everyone. My hope is that now, finally, we will stop debating and instead ask the hard question: 'What is causing so many young leaders to stay away?'"

Relationships - Painful Endings

When a relationship ends and one hopes to remain on decent terms with the former lover, is such a hope impossible? Should one even try to achieve such a result? It is a question I ask myself frequently these days. In theory it would seem possible. And in many ways it would seem a desirable result. I am not a confrontational person and always hope to see everyone happy.

I guess the big issue is whether both parties will admit that what once was is lost forever and that it can never again be re-achieved - at the very least not on the same terms. The relationship’s original wonder and purity have been damaged, probably beyond repair. One cannot erase the past, try as one might. And old wounds and disfunctionalities do not disappear on their own. What then is the best course of action?

Also, why do so many who want to reclaim a failed relationship seem doomed to repeat the very behaviors that pushed the relationship into decline in the first place. It is ever so easy for a person to say that they have changed and that past problems will not reoccur. Yet meanwhile, the questioning, jealousy, badgering and whatever other behaviors that drove the beloved away are still present. At least it seems from the perspective of the former beloved. Why can’t a person see their own behavior is their biggest problem? How does one convince someone that while they are still loved, one simply cannot be in a relationship with them anymore?

Saturday Male Beauty

FBI Finds Blackwater Tampered With Vehicles

I must admit that I am not surprised to hear that Blackwater in effect made repairs to wipe out any evidence that might have been relevant to the investigation of the September, 2007, incident where 17 Iraqi civilians were killed ( In my opinion, Christianists like Erik Prince talk a good talk about being God-fearing, Bible believers, etc., but are the first to lie, cheat and engage in underhanded business transactions. It has certainly been true for some Regent Law School alumni I know, in my opinion. Here are some story highlights:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Blackwater Worldwide repaired and repainted its trucks immediately after a deadly September shooting in Baghdad, making it difficult to determine whether enemy gunfire provoked the attack, according to people familiar with the government's investigation of the incident. Damage to the vehicles in the convoy has been held up by Blackwater as proof that its security guards were defending themselves against an insurgent ambush when they fired into a busy intersection, leaving 17 Iraqi civilians dead.

U.S. military investigators initially found "no enemy activity involved" and the Iraqi government concluded the shootings were unprovoked. The repairs essentially destroyed evidence that Justice Department investigators hoped to examine in a criminal case that has drawn worldwide attention. The Sept. 16 shooting has strained U.S. relations with the Iraqi government, which wants Blackwater expelled from the country. It also has become a flash point in the debate over whether contractors are immune from legal consequences for their actions in a war zone.

The damage and subsequent repairs were described to The Associated Press by five people familiar with the case who discussed it in separate interviews over the past month. All spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

Blackwater's chief executive, Erik Prince, has pointed to the damaged trucks to counter accusations that his contractors acted improperly. In interviews this fall, he said three of Blackwater's armored vehicles were struck by gunfire and that the radiator from one was "shot out and disabled" during the shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. An early two-page State Department report supports Prince's statements. The report noted the Blackwater command vehicle was "disabled during the attack" and had to be towed.

The preliminary State Department report noted "superficial damage" to the vehicles; and photographs exist showing bullet damage. People who have seen the photos said there are no time stamps or other indications of when and where that damage occurred.

Random Saturday Thoughts

The real estate seminar this morning went well, although since there were three other presenters, too much information was crammed into too little time. I will be speaking again in two weeks. It was a nice crowd and overall a pleasant experience.

After the seminar, I met my youngest daughter and we had an enjoyable lunch – Mexican, one of my favorites from the years I lived in Texas – and a pleasant conversation. It means so much to me that I have a good relationship with her and that things are on a better plane now with my other two children. This evening, I am going with one of my straight friends/clients to a “Second Saturday Salon” discussion group which she says is great based on the others she has gone to. It will be something different and she reports that other attendees tend to be progressive and interesting. Time will tell.

On a less upbeat note, my mom needs to have a CAT scan to check out something possibly in her lung. It may be nothing, but it is one more thing to have to worry about. While I have made a great deal of progress in not obsessing and worrying, when it comes to potential health issues of loved ones, I will be worrying until I know the full story. I learned about this development through my sister in Charlottesville who called me because my mom probably was not going to tell me so that I would not worry. Since my sister tends to always assume the worse, I called my mom directly. Other times I call my other sister who is also in the medical field and who tends to be less of an alarmist. This time, I called my mom directly. She seemed to be taking it in stride and pushing to get an early scan date to get the issue resolved as early as possible. I will keep readers updated on where things go on this.

Yesterday, Matt at Debriefing the Boys ( had a good post on relationships and self-confidence that contained some very good advice and which I thought I would share. It is definitely something I try to do:

But lately I've been realizing how utterly unhealthy, self-destructive, self-loathing and destined for failure that is [trying to be what you think your date/partner wants]. If I want to find a guy to be with for the rest of my life, he's going to have to love ME. And I'm going to have to love HIM. So the first problem is that if I start out trying to pretend I'm something I'm not, I'm not giving him a chance to even know me. If he falls in love with the pretend version of me, he'll ultimately be disappointed when I let down my guard and want a big fat hamburger or I vote for a California proposition to protect the coastline. And if he falls out of love with me, that's MY fault, not his. I misrepresented myself.

Matt often comes up with great thoughts and comments. His account of his own coming out process (at admittedly a far younger age) in large measure prompted me to begin this blog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

More Friday Male Beauty

Skating Champion Christopher Bowman, 40, Found Dead

I was saddened to see the news of Christopher Bowman's early death (,0,1134716.story?coll=la-home-center). I have always enjoyed figure skating, both as a participant growing up in Central New York and as an observer. Moreover, once in a while the top male skaters are hotties (France's Philippe Candeloro in his younger years immediately springs to mind). At top competition levels, it is one of the most beauty sports with style and grace combined with great physical stamina. I once had an opportunity to watch the Russian pairs Olympic gold medalists practice while waiting for my daughter's event at the University of Delaware and it was amazing to watch in person.

Yet behind the facade of beauty, it is an extremely expensive (for lessons and coaching, ice time and competition clothing/dresses), difficult and demanding sport, requiring hours and hours of practice and many bumps, bruises and bone fractures frequently involved. Moreover, the mental stress of competing is intense, particularly with the subjective judging of many USFSA judges. I know all this vicariously since my oldest daughter was a competitive figure skater for several years before suffering a knee injury that made her (and my ex-wife and I as parents) question whether or not continuing up the levels of competition was worth it. She chose not to go on competing, but still it was an interesting phase in our lives. Here are some highlights from the LA Times coverage on Christopher Bowman:

Two-time U.S. figure skating champion Christopher Bowman, known as "Bowman the Showman" for his crowd-pleasing skills and as "Hans Brinker From Hell" for his unruly lifestyle, was found dead at a North Hills motel Thursday afternoon. Bowman, a Hollywood native who had lived in the Midwest but returned here to coach skating about a year ago, was 40.

Bowman was found shortly after noon inside the Budget Inn in the 9100 block of Sepulveda Boulevard. His death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose, said Lt. Joe Bale of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. The coroner's office must determine whether his death was accidental or a suicide.

Capable of controlled elegance on the ice and devilish behavior away from the rink, Bowman finished second at the 1989 world championships and third in 1990. He was seventh at the 1988 Olympics and missed a medal by placing fourth in 1992.

Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic figure skating champion, said Bowman never denigrated his competitors."If I had to pick the three most talented skaters of all time, I would pick Christopher as one," Boitano said. "He had natural charisma, natural athleticism, he could turn on a crowd in a matter of seconds, and he always seemed so relaxed about it."

Virginia Gays on Offense as Lawmakers Return to Richmond

Despite the local news concerning wingnuts, state wide 2008 will hopefully be a year in which LGBT citizens in Virginia will gain some legal rights and a bit more security in their relationships from bills being introduced in the General Assembly. Naturally, the big issue will be how much gets actually passed. Daddy Dobson's Virginia affiliate, The Family Foundation, can be counted upon to put out all kinds of disengenuous and false information to try to kill the bills. However, with the Democrats now controlling the State Senate and some increased Democrat strength in the House of Delegates, hopefully some the bills will make it to the desk of Governor Tim Kaine who is friendly towards gay rights legislation. NOTE: medical decision making can already be achieve IF the couple has signed comprehensive medical powers of attorney. Amazingly, many couples do not have the necessary paperwork to avoid unfortunate circumstances. Here are some highlights from the Washington Blade ( concerning some of the pending bills:

A new bill filed Tuesday with the Virginia Legislature, if passed, would give gays and lesbians in same-sex relationships more authority in making decisions for each other in case of medical emergencies. The bill is one of several on the docket this year — the session began Wednesday and runs through March 8 — that could affect gays in Virginia. Another would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing while another would allow local governments to offer health insurance benefits to same-sex couples.
The legislation related to medical emergencies, sponsored in the House by Del. David Englin (D-Alexandria), would set up a registry in Virginia for living wills and advanced medical directives. These legal documents would express an individual’s wishes in advance regarding medical treatment in case the individual is incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions. Those in same-sex relationships could designate their partner as the person who would make medical decisions on their behalf.
Del. James Scott (D-Falls Church) is sponsoring legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing. Virginia has no legal prohibition category for sexual orientation and a landlord can deny tenancy to gays or lesbians based on their sexual orientation.
Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple is sponsoring the bill that would allow local governments to offer health insurance benefits to same-sex couples. The bill, S.B. 51, would allow any locality that self-funds an employee health insurance program to extend that coverage to a person agreed upon by the locality and the policyholder. Janie Burton, legislative assistant for Whipple, said the legislation is necessary for Arlington County to offer health insurance coverage to its employees in same-sex relationships.
Another bill, sponsored by Del. Ken Plum, would allow Fairfax County to add sexual orientation to its Human Rights Ordinance concerning hiring practices, which is applicable to both public and private employers.

Friday Male Beauty

Va. Congressman Randy Forbes Proposes "American Religious History Week"

As if hearing about Pat Robertson's desire to buy the local newspaper wasn't enough to convince me that I am surrounded by nut cases, Congressman Randy Forbes got news coverage today for his desire to have a week set aside each May “for the appreciation of and education on America’s history of religious faith.”

Having known Randy Forbes since law school days, I am beginning to wonder whether he is suffering from early senile dementia or has just gone over the edge and become a full blown fundie wingnut and/or is pandering to his wingnut brethren. With all the weighty and urgent issues facing the USA, this is what he finds important? He wants Congress to pass an "American Religious History Week" resolution instead of worrying about 47 million Americans with no health insurance? I do not get it! Moreover, with Virginia slowly trending more moderate, passing resolutions to please folks like Pat Robertson doesn't seem the wisest thing to do politically. Here are highlights from local coverage ( which would have had no negative comments quoted if Pat already owned the paper:

A congressional resolution by U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes to designate an American Religious History Week has critics saying the measure ignores the nation’s spiritual pluralism and distorts history. The measure was criticized as “meddling in religious issues” by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a nonprofit advocacy group that says the government is supposed to be religiously neutral.

An Americans United news release said the resolution distorts American history to “portray a recurring intersection of religion and government.” The resolution includes more than 60 historical references to presidents, court rulings, official events and monuments that cite a role or presence of religion in an American context. Forbes’ Web site lists the resolution under “family values” actions taken by the congressman.

The Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United said the measure included “some flatly incorrect statements, including the idea that the Supreme Court has declared this a Christian nation, which it has not.” He said the resolution “gives no serious consideration to alternative important contributions made by non believers or people of other religious backgrounds.”

Pat Robertson Says He Is Looking into Bid for The Virginian-Pilot

This area has enough problems in getting decent news coverage and reporting. Hence, Pat Robertson's statement ( that he is looking at possibly buying the Virginian Pilot - Norfolk's only news paper - has not exactly made many folks too happy. It is bad enough having loopy Pat as a neighbor much less controlling a big segment of the local news media. I definitely hope it does not come to pass. Would that I could figure out a way to move from this area. Note how Robertson sees the purchase a place for Regent journalism students to work. I shudder to image what types of stories they would write. Not surprisingly, the comments posted on the article by current subscribers are not flattering towards Pat Robertson. Here are some story highlights:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, who has sharply criticized The Virginian-Pilot in the past, is considering making a bid to buy the newspaper, an associate said Thursday. Landmark Communications Inc., a Norfolk-based media company, announced last week that it was evaluating whether to sell all of its assets, including The Weather Channel and The Pilot.

"Although the price for The Weather Channel is a little rich for my blood, I am considering a potential bid for the Pilot and have asked my attorneys to look into it," Robertson said in an e-mail forwarded by his personal assistant, G.G. Conklin. "It would be particularly helpful to provide internships for Regent University journalism students." In a subsequent e-mail, Conklin confirmed his interest. Robertson, she said, "has no further comments to offer at this time." Robertson is the first investor to announce that he might seek to acquire The Pilot.
Robertson has objected to articles in The Pilot that he has said unfairly characterized his pursuits. Most recently, an article last month said Regent's counseling program has experienced an exodus of nearly half of its faculty members. Students, the article said, have been punished for voicing concerns.
Here's the type of stuff Robertson says (and most likely believes):
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."


As Proceed at Your Own Risk is currently reporting (, the British Museum is going to OUT one of the greatest leaders in world history as an openly gay man. No, it's not Alexander the Great, although he too would qualify. Rather it is the Roman emperor Hadrian, who had a lover he notoriously acknowledged, the young Greek boy Antinous. BTW, Antinous died by drowning in the Nile in October, 130 AD**. Here are some story highlights:
Sponsored by British Petroleum, "Hadrian: Empire and Conflict'' (July 24 - Oct. 26) will feature some 200 loans from 31 countries and take place in the British Museum's specially refitted circular Reading Room. Hadrian ruled the Roman Empire from 117 to 138 A.D. and ordered the building of a wall dividing England and Scotland.

"Hadrian is part of a series of exhibitions on great empires that have shaped the world,'' MacGregor told reporters earlier this week. "It's those great empires that established the connections and patterns that the world is still living with.'' But, MacGregor was also quick to point out that this Roman emperor was also selected because multiple new discoveries offered a "chance to write new history,'' which is part of the British Museum's purpose, he said.

"Hadrian was gay, and we can say it," said Thorsten Opper, a British Museum curator who is publishing a profile of Hadrian to coincide with the show. In fact, Hadrian's lover, the young Greek boy Antinous, whose death caused the emperor tremendous grief, will feature throughout the exhibition. A head of Antinous, borrowed from Paris's Louvre Museum, will be displayed, as will a bowl from Georgia with his effigy. Upon his lover's death, Hadrian elevated Antinous to the status of God, a God celebrating same sex romantic love, a fact I suspect few of you were taught in school.

The exhibition will reveal the many faces of Hadrian, a skilled and ruthless military leader who crushed the Jewish revolt of 132 A.D. and faced down rebellions in Britannia, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Mesopotamia. At the same time, Hadrian's patronage of the arts will be celebrated. It was he who built Rome's Pantheon, one of the most emulated monuments in architectural history, which the British Museum's Reading Room itself was modeled after.

Hadrian supported one of Rome's most lively periods of art, music and literature in an environment that also celebrated male beauty and male homosexuality. Histories have often "speculated" that Hadrian "might have been bi-sexual." This was dishonest and incredibly offensive, but such is gay history--until now.

** within a few years of his death there were temples, statues by the thousands and devotion throughout the entire known world. He was the very last of the Roman gods, Antinous the Beloved.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Final Thursday Male Beauty

British Teen Driven To Suicide Over Gay Taunts

The Christian Right in the USA and in the UK where their poison is being imported actively work to foster homophobia and this sad event reported by shows that homophobia kills. Whether or not Belinda Allen was actually gay, the clear message is that the hate and bullying directed towards gays lead her to kill herself at only 14. Since this is the second bullying induced suicide at this school, something is terribly wrong with the teachers and school administration for letting such an atmosphere exist. No child or youth should have to live with such abuse. Having been bullied for not being butch enough or enough of a jock in school myself, I have some inkling of what this poor girl felt. Here are some story highlights (

(London) British police are investigating the suicide of a 14-year girl who had been subjected to constant bullying by classmates who called her a lesbian. The body of Belinda Allen was discovered by a man walking his dog in Southwater. Police said the teen had tied a scarf around her neck and hanged herself from a tree. It is not known if the girl identified as being gay but she had suffered taunting and bullying for more than a year friends said on Thursday. Students called her "a dyke" and chided her for her clothes.

It is the second time that a student at the same school has committed suicide as a result of bullying. Last year an 11-year old boy hanged himself from his bunk bed at home using shoelaces. Following that death the West Sussex County Council set up an anti-bullying task force. But students say it has done little to curb schoolyard bullying.

In December the British government told schools beef up their protections for LGBT students. In an advisory sent to all schools across the UK the government warned principals that turning a blind eye to homophobia will not be tolerated. The advisory said that students who taunt gays need to be disciplined and that if detentions and suspensions do not work police should be called in to deal with the problem. It also reminded schools that homophobia is a crime.

The European Parliament also issued a declaration last year urging member states to enact laws preventing homophobic bullying in schools.

When Religion and Civil Law Merge

This article from the New York Times ( a view of what happens when extreme religious views and doctrine take over the civil laws. This is precisely the type of regime that the Christian Reconstructionists would have take place in the USA, including biblical prescribed punishments (such as execution for gays). Note in the article highlights how the USA under the Chimperator sided with Iran on the death penalty. Here are some story highlights:

TEHRAN — Using a strict enforcement of Islamic law, judicial authorities in a restive region of southern Iran amputated the right hands and left feet of five convicted robbers this week, part of what the government called a message meant to deter other troublemakers.

An Iranian rights group led by Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner, publicly protested the double amputations, which it called an expansion of cruel punishments in Iran. The group also protested a spate of public executions reported over the past two weeks.

Iran has been an active user of the death penalty, usually by hanging, and is one of several countries that opposed its abolition last month in a United Nations General Assembly resolution vote, joining in an unusual alliance with the United States. They argued that abolition of the death penalty would be an infringement on sovereignty.

The amputation punishment has been used in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979 and imposition of Islamic law, but Iranian judicial authorities have rarely publicized instances where it is enforced and have rarely used double amputations. And in the newly publicized instances, the amputators cut off the right hand and left foot, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the condemned people to walk even with a cane or crutches.

Among those reported executed on Jan. 1 was a 27-year-old woman and mother of two who had killed her husband when she was 23. The woman, Raheleh Zamani, was hanged at Tehran’s Evin prison despite a promise by authorities to postpone her execution by a month. A group of feminists were trying to get the consent of the victim’s family to save her life. She had been married at the age of 15 and abused by her husband, Ms. Ebadi said.

Wayne Bsen on Mike Huckabee's Christian Reconstructionist Movement Ties

My friend Wayne Besen, a long researcher on the Christian Right and it's anti-gay agenda, has a column ( that looks at some of the far, far right Christian Reconstructionists with whom Mike Huckabee has ties. In addition to Wayne's column, good information on the Recostructionists can be found at Theocracy Watch ( These people , in effect, want the Christian equivalent to the Taliban to rule in the USA and other countries. Here are some highlights from Wayne's column:
It is scary to imagine, but the jovial Huckabee is linked to leaders of the Reconstructionist movement, which is so far to the right it makes Pat Robertson look like Ted Kennedy. The late RJ Rushdoony, a prolific writer that sought to replace the Constitution with the Old Testament, founded this school of religious thought. In essence, they want a Christian version of Iranian or Saudi Arabian sharia law in the United States. The Bible would govern every action, whether religious, personal or civil.
These fanatics believe that in order for Jesus to return, we have to create their view of the Kingdom of God on earth. I know this may be surprising, but their plan doesn't include gay people and Hillary Clinton would be in the kitchen fixing trail mix instead of mixing it up on the campaign trail.
America has a right to know why he has cavorted with several extremists and why he scrubbed the record of his preaching days."On the campaign trail, it is the Lost Decade of his life. No one can find, or get access to, texts or video of his sermons," writes Howard Fineman in Newsweek Magazine. It seems that Huckabee has shed his prayer papers faster than he shed those much-ballyhooed pounds that first put him on the national radar. What is he hiding? Many of us fear the happy-go-lucky preacher is whitewashing a controversial past that includes views that would disqualify him in the minds of many people for higher office.
It is critically important that the media ask Huckabee tough questions because he has based his entire campaign on being a "Christian Leader." He whizzed to victory in Iowa by galvanizing social conservatives on the phony issue of Christmas being under attack. If we end up with a religious zealot as President and the cabinet stacked with kooks, the media can't say they did not have ample warning.

More Thursday Male Beauty

Getting Out the Barack Vote: Did Race Bias Cost Obama A Win in New Hampshire?

No one will ever know for certain if racial bias played a part in the New Hampshire results, although I would picture - perhaps incorrectly - Iowa as a more likely place for racial bias. In any event, Editor & Publisher has an article that looks at this possibility ( Unfortunately, some of the analysis does make sense, especially the ability to vote in private as opposed to out in the open in front of others. The Democrats need to be VERY careful - the last thing needed in November is for disaffected black voters sit home to "punish" perceived bigoted white Democrats. I can only hope for the day that Americans will judge people by their merits and abilities rather than their skin color (or sexual orientation). Here are some highlights:

Many theories have been advanced in the media since Hillary Clinton’s stunning upset over Barack Obama. One of them has been much contested: that white voters told pollsters they would vote for Obama but couldn’t quite pull the trigger for the African-American candidate when the time came to cast their ballots. This allegedly counted for more than any sort of “late female surge” for Clinton.Maybe when Bill Clinton referred to the “fairy tale” surrounding Obama he meant the fable that massive numbers of whites would actually vote for Obama when they had plausible alternatives. But this has been the elephant in the room almost totally ignored by the media until now.
Why did it show up (if it did) in New Hampshire and not in Iowa? The Iowa caucuses were quite public, this theory goes, while voters had a curtain to hide behind in New Hampshire. An interesting new detail has now emerged seemingly bolstering that theory: not just advance polls, but some exit surveys apparently show that even coming out of the polls, voters in New Hampshire gave Obama about a 5% bulge -- if they were being honest. Where did all those votes go? Maybe he never really had them to start with.
"I think it's very naive to dismiss the racial factors in this," said Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia. "Anytime you've got white undecided voters pulling the lever choosing between a white and a black candidate, that is when the race issue is most important," Drew Westen of Emory University told Tom Edsall, the former Washington Post reporter now writing for Huffington Post. "Both campaigns' internal polls showed a 10 to 12 point Obama lead; to see that evaporate into a three-point loss, when he didn't have any gaffes, that has a ring to it."
This is not a new phenomenon, of course. It is sometimes called “The Bradley Effect” or the “Wilder Effect” after two well-known black officials whose huge leads in final polls mysteriously disappeared (Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles and Governor Doug Wilder of Virginia). And, of course, if true (and it may not be) it would have enormous ramifications for the rest of the primary race, and the general election if Obama did manage to get the Democratic nod.
Jon Stewart on The Daily Show Wednesday night told pollster James Zogby that the only thing we now know for sure coming out of New Hampshire is "Democrats lie." He wasn't referring to the racial controversy but the issue is now out there.

Ex-Gay Hocus Pocus - Jones and Yarhouse continued

I have previously commented on the Exodus financed study entitled "Ex-gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation" by Dr Stanton Jones and Dr Mark Yarhouse. Mr. Yarhouse is a professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling department at Regent University and has written previous anti-gay materials, so his objectivity is way less than trustworthy. Some particularly nasty works appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of the Regent University Law Review under the collective heading "Homosexuality: Truth Be Told" which went to great lengths to build and foster the alleged "homosexual agenda." Even Yarhouse's courses at Regent are not objective since they inter fuse religion and science (e.g., It does not take much imagination to figure out which factor wins out.
At Ex-Gay Watch ( Dr. Patrick Chapman, Ph. D, has further responses to Jones and Yarhouse's latest work which while detailed and technical is helpful in learning how Christianists create "research" to endeavor to bolster the "choice myth" which is so important to their anti-gay political agenda, not to mention their lucrative ex-gay treatment programs. As always, it is important to know the enemy's tactics so as to be able to rebut them. Here is a summary of the problems with this type of research when religious and political agenda are removed:
In science it is important to be precise, something the Jones and Yarhouse study lacks. The focus of my original critique was the sloppy and biased scholarship, demonstrated partly by imprecision. I highlighted that Jones and Yarhouse:

* reference the entire study as prospective when it is not;
* assert participants are at the start of the change process instead of just being at the start of the Exodus program, although even this is not entirely correct;
* assert the study cannot ascertain if permanent and enduring long-term change occurs, contrasted with their conclusion that change is possible;
* portray specific results as indicating change, specifically Tables 7.4 - 7.6, when those actual results do not support the conclusion;
* employ a moving target regarding what sexual orientation change entails;
* misstate the APAs’ position on the potential harm of reparative therapy;
* and have a moving target regarding if the therapy causes harm.

Thursday Male Beauty

A drink a day for a longer life: study results

Well, I have the drink part covered. Now I need to do more on the exercise front, I guess. This story from Yahoo News (;_ylt=AjHFHMwjnqsMTNAqupMQB5UEtbAF)indicates that moderate alcohol use helps one live longer and lower the risk of heart disease and perhaps some cancers. Here are some story highlights:
LONDON (Reuters) - Drinking is healthy, exercise is healthy, and doing a little of both is even healthier, Danish researchers reported on Wednesday. People who neither drink nor exercise have a 30 to 49 percent higher risk of heart disease than people who do one or both of the activities, the researchers said in the European Heart Journal.

"The main finding is there seems to be an additional beneficial effect of drinking one to two drinks per day and doing at least moderate physical activity," said Morten Gronbaek of the University of Southern Denmark, who led the study. Several major studies have found that light to moderate drinking -- up to two drinks a day on a regular basis -- is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and some have also found this leads to a lower risk of some cancers. But the Danish study, one of the largest of its kind to examine the combined effect of drinking and exercise, found there were additional protective effects gained from doing both.

Non-drinkers had a 30 percent to 31 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to moderate drinkers, no matter the amount of physical activity they undertook. Moderate consumption was defined as between 1 to 14 drinks per week.

Random Thoughts

Although the New Year is here, I am finding it difficult to feel much enthusiasm. Not sure why exactly. Part may be due to burn out and the inability to get away for a vacation due to lack of attorney coverage at the firm, not to mention that the real estate melt down has taken its toll on firm revenues. No romance in my life might be another part of the reason. My roommates are good companions and have certainly helped abate some degree of loneliness, but on the other hand when I see them cuddled on the sofa, I feel a pang of sadness. To me, just to be held by or to cuddle with someone I have romantic feelings for is what I miss most as a result of not being in a relationship. Some readers have e-mailed me and told me I need to just have a fling or one night stand to distract myself. But that’s not what I am looking for. I am longing for Mr. Right, not Mr. Right Now. And so life moves along.

On the work front, I will be speaking to a group of 30 or so new real estate investors on Saturday. The talk will be about ways to take advantage of the severely down real estate market. If one has money or good credit, there are amazing deals that can be secured if one takes their time and looks for bargains. After that I will be getting together with one or more of my children for lunch or just spending time together before my youngest heads back to college on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

'Ex-Gays' launch effort to recruit 10,000 churches

Exodus International wants to recruit 10,000 churches to participate in ex-gay "cure" programs. Just what the USA does not need (nor countries like the UK, Canada, Australia and other countries where the US Christianists are working to establish footholds) is more bogus "ex-gay" programs. I truly hope the APA votes to ban reparative therapy so that semi-quack psychologists who are shaking down the ignorant and unwary for lots of money will risk losing their licenses if they participate in these dangerous programs. My dream case is still where someone who has been harmed by one of these outfits brings a law suit so that it can be documented in court that the programs do not work and open other ex-gay programs to liability as well. Should that happen, God forbid, Randy Thomas would have to get a real job rather than play ex-gay for pay. Meanwhile he is working to assure himself job security. Here are highlights from PageOneQ's coverage (

Prominent 'Ex-Gay' organization Exodus International has set up an outreach network for people "struggling with same-sex attractions," Family News in Focus reports. Exodus' Randy Thomas seeks to reach those from religious backgrounds who fear opening up to the church or their families about their "unwanted feelings for someone of the same sex." The plan includes a liaison in each participating branch."

The vision," says Thomas, "is that there would be churches that people struggling with same-sex attraction could go to where they could learn how to be Disciples of Christ.” "A lot of times pastors aren't equipped in seminary to help people that are struggling," says Jeff Johnson of Focus on the Family's Love Won Out ministry, "and help them bring change into their lives."

More Wednesday Male Beauty

More Scott Andreasen for those who have e-mailed me about his photos.

Fundamentalists Launch Shareholder Drive To Fight Microsoft On Gay Rights

As is reporting (, homophobic and anti-gay bigot Ken Hutcherson along with some other professional gay-haters has formed a corporation to organize a proposed shareholder revolt against what they call Microsoft's funding of the gay agenda. People are starving and going without medical treatment in this country and around the world but instead of ministering to their needs, this ***hole is wasting time, money and manpower of this crap. Not exactly what Jesus would do I suspect. Of course, I would love to know how much money the "Rev." Hutcherson and Messrs. Wildmon and Bauer will somehow receive in the process. Seriously, but for fighting "the gay agenda" would some of these guys even have jobs? Here are some story highlights:
(Seattle, Washington) A group of conservative religious leaders have formed a corporation to organize a shareholder revolt against what they call Microsoft's funding of the gay agenda. AGN Financial is led by Rev. Ken Hutcherson (pictured), a Redmond, Washington pastor who has fought Microsoft on gay issues in the past. It's board of advisors includes longtime gay foes Don Wildmon of the American Family Association and Family Values leader Gay Bauer.

In a statement AGN said "that corporations are donating close to $1 Billion every year to promote the dissolution of family values in our society." Microsoft is the first corporation to be targeted but if the campaign is successful other companies will be added. AGN this week launched its “Buy Three, Donate One” campaign where supporters are urged to buy three Microsoft shares and donate one to AGN.
The AGN Financial Website will allow shareholders "to see what AGN recommendations are backed by Biblical scriptures. For the first time in American History, a single person with only three shares of Microsoft stock, will have the voice of millions or even hundreds of millions of shares shaping the moral decisions of one of the largest companies in the world."
Microsoft has a written anti-discrimination policy and provides health benefits to the partners of gay workers. Microsoft's directors urged shareholders to reject Hutcherson's attempt to kill the policy, and the issue failed to get enough support for a vote.

Can Clinton Save The GOP?

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Andrew Sullivan ( as to what Hillary as the Democrat nominee will mean for the GOP. She will unite the factions within the GOP like no one else. Moreover, should the GOP end up with McCain as its nominee, I suspect that he would beat her in November, 2008. I would be tempted to vote for McCain myself (I favored him in 2000 and he is a good friend of a mutual friend who spent 7 years as a POW in Vietnam) since I think he would usher in more change in the way government is conducted than would Hillary. This would be especially true if Obama supporters stay home out of disgust or and inability to vote for Hillary and bring in another 4-8 years of Clinton scandals redux. Here are highlights from a conservative blogger that Andrew correctly quotes:
Everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, know why the GOP wants to face Hillary in November. It's not because they like the Clintons, but because the Clintons unite the Republican base like no other Democrat -- and perhaps like no other Republican. Hillary will star in thousands of mailers, television ads, and websites, all cajoling Republicans to open their wallets, organize, and get to the voting booth.

And -- it will work. Even in a year where the fractures among the Republican coalition have been painfully evident, everyone will unite to keep the Clintons out of the White House. While Obama may have won some moderate Republicans to his side just based on his personal appeal, none will endorse the Restoration. Fredheads, Log Cabins, evangelicals, small-L libertarians, and hawks will all find a truce to battle Hillary to the last vote.
If Democrats want real change (plus a better chance of winning in November, 2008), Hillary is not the one to win over independents and moderates. I am not saying that any of it is necessarily Hillary's fault - it's simply the reality.

Wednesday Male Beauty

France Best, USA Worst in Preventable Deaths

The Chimperator and many others will claim that the USA health care is the best in the world. For certain individuals it no doubt is the best. However, in a new study of preventable deaths, the USA ranked last out of 19 leading industrialized nations, as reported by Yahoo News ( With over 45 million Americans without health insurance, this low ranking should not be a surprise since hospital emergency rooms and similar facilities that must treat life threatening emergency cases regardless of insurance do not render preventive care. Imagine how the Chimperator (who just recently vetoed an increase in health insurance coverage for childen) would express outrage and engage in all kinds of political posturing if over 100,000 Americans lost their lives to a terror attack. Also, where are the Christianists who want no abortions, yet support Bush and care little for living Americans (especially if they are minorities)? Here are some story highlights:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - France, Japan and Australia rated best and the United States worst in new rankings focusing on preventable deaths due to treatable conditions in 19 leading industrialized nations, researchers said on Tuesday.
If the U.S. health care system performed as well as those of those top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs. Researchers Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine tracked deaths that they deemed could have been prevented by access to timely and effective health care, and ranked nations on how they did.

Nolte said the large number of Americans who lack any type of health insurance -- about 47 million people in a country of about 300 million, according to U.S. government estimates -- probably was a key factor in the poor showing of the United States compared to other industrialized nations in the study. "I wouldn't say it (the last-place ranking) is a condemnation, because I think health care in the U.S. is pretty good if you have access. But if you don't, I think that's the main problem, isn't it?" Nolte said in a telephone interview.

France did best -- with 64.8 deaths deemed preventable by timely and effective health care per 100,000 people, in the study period of 2002 and 2003. Japan had 71.2 and Australia had 71.3 such deaths per 100,000 people. The United States had 109.7 such deaths per 100,000 people, the researchers said. After the top three, Spain was fourth best, followed in order by Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland and Portugal, with the United States last.

Ballot Changes Cited in Vote's Discrepancy With Polls

ABC News is reporting ( that the format of the New Hampshire ballot used in yesterday's primary election may be responsible for Barack Obama receiving less votes than the various polls suggested. While no one will know for certain, from my years working as a precinct captain, one should NOT underestimate the ability of voters to not understand lengthy ballots and as a result vote differently than intended going into the voting booth. Some years back when I ran for school board, the ballot had 25 names on it and there was widespread confusion on the part of some voters. If the Obama campaign did not have enough poll workers to make sure voters knew what ballot line his name was on, there may well be some substance to this story. Here are some highlights:
Without a doubt, a big source of the discrepancy between the pre-election surveys and the election outcome in New Hampshire is the order of candidates' names on the ballot and in the surveys. Our analysis of all recent primaries in New Hampshire showed that there was always a big primacy effect — big-name, big-vote-getting candidates got 3 percent or more votes more when listed first on the ballot than when listed last.
This year, the secretary of state changed the procedure so the names were alphabetical starting with a randomly selected letter, in all precincts. The randomly selected letter this year was Z.
As a result, Joe Biden was first on every ballot, Hillary Clinton was near the top of the list (and the first serious contender listed) and Barack Obama was close to last of the 21 candidates listed. Thus, I'll bet that Clinton got at least 3 percent more votes than Obama simply because she was listed close to the top.
More importantly, if New Hampshire had rotated name order in the voting booth as it has always done in the past, the race would probably have been too close to call without a recount and might even have been an Obama victory.

Adirondack Beauty

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Advocate Review of Barack Obama on LGBT Issues

The Advocate has an article that reviews the position of some of the presidential candidates ( Inasmuch as I was very harsh on Obama at the time of the McClurkin disaster, I thought it appropriate to post portions of the Advocate article where Obama responded to this. I recommend the article for information on the other candidates as well. Here are Obama highlights:
Sen. Obama made a telling comment at the very end of my interview with him last October. Dismayed over the level of attention the community gave to the McClurkin imbroglio, he said, “It is interesting to me and obviously speaks to the greater outreach that we have to do, that [my record on LGBT issues] isn’t a greater source of interest and pride on the part of the LGBT community.”

He seemed genuinely disheartened that people didn’t know more about his stance for full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (Edwards also supports full repeal, while Clinton supports partial repeal), or the fact that he sponsored a gay nondiscrimination bill in the Illinois state legislature, or that he regularly addresses AIDS and homophobia in black and religious venues that are not particularly gay friendly.

When he spoke about HIV/AIDS to evangelical leader Rick Warren’s congregation at Saddleback Church in California, Obama said, “Like no other illness, AIDS tests our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes – to empathize with the plight of our fellow man. While most would agree that the AIDS orphan or the transfusion victim or the wronged wife contracted the disease through no fault of their own, it has too often been easy for some to point to the unfaithful husband or the promiscuous youth or the gay man and say ‘This is your fault. You have sinned.’ I don't think that's a satisfactory response. My faith reminds me that we all are sinners.”

This is perfectly consistent with his message of bridging communities gay and straight, red and blue, black and white. But a big part of why many gays and lesbians don’t know Obama’s record here is because it wasn’t readily available. It required digging and a beat reporter covering his campaign at the national level – resources that are the province of mainstream magazines and big-city dailies. This is where a publication like The Advocate, viewed by many as essentially mainstream media, doesn’t actually have the same reporting capacity as those other outlets. Instead, the LGBT community and gay journalists were left to put together information piecemeal from sightings by bloggers at campaign events and the slow trickle of gay mentions that flow from the straight press.
Obama was very accessible to the LGBT press during his eight years in the Illinois state legislature. “He always was open, certainly with our newspaper,” says Gary Barlow, editor of one of Chicago’s gay weeklies, the Chicago Free Press. “He didn’t avoid phone calls and stuff like that. We talked on occasion. When we called, he responded. I think that says something about a person.” Barlow adds that Obama's campaign has paid close attention to the newspaper and been communicative throughout the race.

Though the Illinois Human Rights Act did not pass until 2005, when Obama had already graduated to the U.S. Senate, he did sponsor a bill to outlaw workplace discrimination that included both sexual orientation and gender identity while he was still a state senator. Barlow says Obama also lobbied other legislators to vote for the pro-gay bills being considered. “When we’re talking about an African-American legislator in the state legislature, to have someone of his stature lobbying his peers was important,” says Barlow.

Home Sales Sink Again, Outlook Darkens

At times over the last few months I have felt like a Cassandra when it comes to my view of the residential real estate market - the turbine that powers so much of the domestic economy. Sadly, my views appear to have been on point and the gloomy predictions are becoming reality based on this new story ( The lower housing goes, the lower the economy will go and the wider the economic damage will spread. We can look forward to real estate related businesses cutting staff and re-entrenching as much as possible in the face of plummeting revenues. Here are some story highlights:

NEW YORK ( -- Contracts to sell existing homes fell in November and there could be darker days ahead for home values, which are expected to post their biggest decline on record this quarter as a full-year rebound in prices now isn't expected until 2009, according to an industry trade group. The Realtors also cut its existing home price estimate for the current quarter to a 5.3 percent year-over-year decline, which would mean the current period would see the steepest drop in that price measure on record.

Only a month ago the group's estimate was for only a 2.5 percent drop in prices in the first quarter. The group's forecast released Tuesday also no longer sees even a modest rebound in existing home prices this year, as it had previously forecast, and pushed back the estimate of a full-year uptick in prices to 2009.

The November reading is even worse than the 89.8 reading recorded in September 2001, the month when terrorist attacks shook buyer confidence. That reading had been the weakest month on record before the current housing downturn. An index reading of 100 represents the level of sales at the start of 2001, when the index was started.

Tuesday Male Beauty

A List of Reasons for Hillary's Travails

Howard Fineman at MSNBC/Newsweek, who I generally like, has an article ( looks at the problems with Hillary Clinton's campaign. While events and circumstances can change, the list is wort considering. The first relates to what I said in my previous post for today. Here are highlights from Fineman's list:

Hiring the topmost insiders Hillary underestimated the hunger for change outside the Beltway. Nothing proved that more than the professionals she chose to run her campaign. They were brilliant, but had grown wealthy in their work and perhaps had lost a fingertip feel for the urgency and everyday fear that grips most of middle-class America these days.

Running on experience The fact is, she doesn’t really have that much experience that is truly hands-on as an official. It was too easy for her opponents to question its validity.

Ignoring Obama In some ways, Obama isn’t quite the outsider and systematic change agent that he claims to be. Yes he is an African-American who now calls the South Side of Chicago home – and that will always make him an outsider to some extent. In many other ways, however, he is just a new wave of what Bill and Hillary were years ago – an on-the-make, Ivy League-educated, Democratic lawyer eager to seize power in Washington. If Hillary was going to say that, she needed to have done it months ago. She did not.

Waiting too long to get specific The Clintonistas held a conference call yesterday to point out some relevant things: that Obama’s New Hampshire co-chair was a drug-company lobbyist; that the senator had vehemently opposed the Iraq war but then voted repeatedly to fund it; that he had said he wanted to scrap the Patriot Act and start over, but then voted for it. As I listened to the conference call, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why the Clinton folks didn’t highlight these and other items much earlier. By the time they did so, it was too late. You can’t do things by half in politics; if you are going to go after an opponent you have to do it with gusto.
Dealing with an antagonistic media Hillary and her inner circle come by their loathing of the media honestly, I suppose. After all, she has spent much of her career waiting for journalistic shoes to drop. But that is no reason to have adopted a distant, hermetically-sealed media strategy for the campaign. It was counterproductively control-freakish. She knew she was going to be treated poorly by the national media – and in many ways she has been – but the answer was not to make that a self-fulfilling prophesy. As others have said many times, she can be utterly charming and convincing in small groups. Why didn’t she at least try a charm offensive at some point?
The Iran vote Whoever advised Hillary to try to burnish her commander-in-chief credentials by voting to declare the Iranian Army a terrorist organization did her a deep disservice. It cost her dearly, by giving Obama a way to outflank her despite his votes for funding the war in Iraq. The fact that Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd voted against it made her vote all the more vivid, and damaging.
The kickoff slogan “I’m in it to win it,” in retrospect, said way too much about the mentality of the campaign. It didn’t seem to be about the American people, but about her and her coterie of well-placed acolytes inside the Beltway.
Focusing on women Senior strategist Mark Penn bragged repeatedly months ago about how Hillary had a solid, unassailable base among women – and a core that, if all else failed, would guarantee her the nomination. Three things wrong with that. For one, it made her sound like a for-women-only crusader (no way to attract men). Second, it violated the strategist principle used shrewdly by another top aide, Mandy Grunwald, in designing Hillary’s first run for the Senate in New York in 2000. In that race, Hillary focused on her weakest spot, upstate New York, and turned it into a positive. She should have done the same thing demographically, as opposed to geographically, this time around. Third is perhaps the result of the other two – she didn’t even win the female vote in Iowa.
Bill Having seen him on the trail (not to mention on “Charlie Rose,”) I think the former president is a net positive for his wife. It’s not his fault that no one else in the campaign had tried aggressively to call Obama to account. He had to do it. He also summarized her resume better than she herself did. But the visibility of her husband allowed Obama and Edwards to more easily outflank her on the “change” issue. It seems that the country really has had enough after 28 years of Bushes and Clintons.

Retaining Influence vs. Winning in November

In watching the morning news while getting my caffeine fix – which was much needed after the birthday celebration last night – Chris Matthews was being interviewed on what is going on within the Democratic Party in the primary races: Obama has broken out and is challenging the powers that be within the party that are aligned with Hillary Clinton. Matthews believes they (the lobby interests, other special interest groups, etc., players in the Democratic establishment) will be doing everything they can to stop the Obama so as to not lose their power and influence. I suspect that Matthews is correct and in my view, Hillary and these players in the establishment are being very short sighted. I continue to believe that Hillary will have a much more difficult time winning in November than Obama would, particularly since she will unite the warring factions within the GOP like no one else can on the Democrat side.

If various dirty tricks are employed against Obama, the party runs the risk of (1) alienating the black vote and (2) disillusioning younger voters who are tired of the same old “business as usually” with a result that many opt out of voting. If this happens to a significant degree, Hillary’s chances of winning in the general election are made even worse. Thus, these interest groups in effect would rather retain their enhanced power and influence within the party as opposed to winning in November, 2008. Is it better for the Democrat Party and the country to have the same tired groups retain power within the Party and have a Republican in the White House? I think not and find it very sad that some are putting themselves clearly ahead of the interest of the Party as a whole, not to mention the country. Personal greed is one of the biggest problem with politicians today. I sincerely hope that they do not prevail.