Saturday, February 16, 2008

Final Saturday Male Beauty

Can we eliminate anti-gay discrimination? Obama says, ‘Yes we can.’

An op-ed piece in yesterday’s Washington Blade ( focuses on the difference in the positions on gay rights of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. While Clinton continues to have many LGBT supporters – like the disaffected ones commenting on my diary on Pam’s House Blend – the reality is that I believe Obama will do more fto further full equality for gays than Hillary. I fully agree with the views set out in the op-ed column. Here are some highlights from the Blade column:

AS VOTERS DECIDE which presidential candidate offers the best hope of securing progressive change at the national level for all LGBT Americans, there remains a major difference between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton on an issue of substantive policy: the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. Obama has called for the complete, unqualified repeal of DOMA since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. That principled position places Obama in stark contrast to Clinton, who continues to support key provisions of this discriminatory law. Why does Clinton insist upon supporting anti-gay legislation that should never have been enacted in the first place?

Clinton appears not to appreciate that DOMA itself is “mean-spirited, discriminatory legislation.” More broadly, her argument represents precisely the kind of cynical Washington politics that has served the LGBT community so poorly for years.It is important to understand what is at stake here. The “full faith and credit” portions of DOMA — the part of the law that Clinton supports — relate to the rights of gay and lesbian couples when they travel around the country. Ordinarily, every state in the country has a solemn obligation to recognize judgments issued by the courts of other states. DOMA, however, permits hostile states to single out gay and lesbian relationships, and only our relationships, and to treat them as a legal nullity.

Clinton justifies this discrimination against gay and lesbian couples with the worst kind of Washington double-speak: We have to discriminate against gay couples under DOMA now, she says, in order to prevent even worse anti-gay discrimination some time in the future.Imagine a politician trying to justify discrimination against any other group with this kind of argument. “We must permit discrimination against women in the workplace, because Congress might pass an even worse law if the climate in Washington changes.” ”We must engage in racial profiling against Latinos, African Americans and Muslims, because who knows what draconian policies we might see down the road otherwise?” Women, people of color and religious communities would reject such nonsense out of hand. LGBT Americans should do the same.

In short, Clinton’s argument about the Federal Marriage Amendment shows a lack of judgment. CLINTON CLAIMS THAT her support for DOMA reflects her “experience” in Washington. Indeed, “experience” has been Clinton’s principal argument to voters throughout this campaign. We respectfully submit that, if Clinton’s experience leads her to defend anti-gay legislation like the Defense of Marriage Act, then it is a kind of experience that we do not need.Obama offers a clear answer to the cynics who claim that we cannot eliminate anti-gay discrimination at the federal level: “Yes we can.” LGBT Americans deserve a president who will put the politics of fear behind us and replace it with a true vision of change. That president is Barack Obama.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Another University Shooting Due to Lack of Gun Control

After the Virginia Tech massacure in April 2004 one would think that more would have been done to restrict the ability of unstable individuals to buy guns. It remains far too easy to buy weapons in most states and Virginia is certainly one of the offending jurisdictions in that regard. I will conceed that I have never been a gun proponent perhaps because growing up hunters regularly ignored no trespass signs on our property and made it risky for my siblings and I to go horseback riding on our property due to the hunters' reckless disregard for the rights of property owners. We often marveled that none of our horses were ever shot (I remeber reading a story once in the local paper where a person had been shot in their own back yard while feeding a pet rabbit).

Now, after five innocent young lives [the victims are pictured above] have been snuffed out at Northern Illinois University, it turns out that once again an individual with a history of mental illness was allowed under the lax gun control laws to legally buy weapons. One has to wonder how many people have to die before the NRA and other knee jerk proponents of the 2nd Amendment will admit that reasonable regulations for public safety purposes is NOT a denial of a constitutional right? There were plenty of warning signs that the shooter in this instance had psychological problems. With a child of my own away at college this type of incident is particularly upsetting. Especially when through stricter regulations it might have been avoided. Here are some highlights from the Chicago Tribune (,1,2815974.story?page=1&track=rss):

A day after Kazmierczak opened fire on a crowded Northern Illinois University classroom, investigators said they were no closer to understanding why.Kazmierczak left a baffling trail of mixed messages. He was bright and earnest, if sometimes shy, and had dedicated his professional life to criminal justice and helping people. But on Thursday, he slaughtered four defenseless young women and a young man in a barrage of gunfire.
Kazmierczak spent more than a year at a Chicago psychiatric treatment center called Thresholds-Mary Hill House in the late 1990s, former house manager Louise Gbadamashi told the Associated Press. She said his parents placed him after high school because he had become "unruly" at home. She also said he used to cut himself for attention.She said he often resisted taking his medications, though he eventually became "compliant." Gbadamashi said she couldn't remember any instances of Kazmierczak being violent.
Law enforcement sources said Kazmierczak was taking medication for an anxiety disorder, and police said Friday he had recently stopped taking his medication.Thomas said Kazmierczak had confided in him that he had served in the military and received a discharge for psychological reasons.

Bloomberg Rips Government Over Failing Economy

I have not said too much recently on economic issues, but in my view, things are getting worse in the economy and the ripple effect continues to grow as consumers cut back wherever they can, be it in terms of less eating out or even cutting back on visits to beauty salons. The economic stimulus package is in my view far too little, and far too late. Moreover, much of the legislation being entertained to stop foreclosure rescue abuses - both in various states and in Congress - is so draconian that it has the potential of discouraging legitimate real estate investors from purchasing properties headed to foreclosure out of fear that they may be caught up in regulations and/or criminal charges. Instead, investors will wait to purchase properties until after the foreclosure sale when lenders are struggling to get rid of unwanted properties. The result will be an even larger explosion in the number of houses sold at foreclosure. This in turn will further depress real estate prices causing even more borrowers to end up underwater interms of what they owe versus their home's market value. Meanwhile, the country's infastructure continues to go to Hell. Billionaire New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg is in agreement (

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unleashed another flurry of jabs on Washington, ridiculing the federal government's rebate checks as being "like giving a drink to an alcoholic" on Thursday, and said the presidential candidates are looking for easy solutions to complex economic problems. The billionaire and potential independent presidential candidate also said the nation "has a balance sheet that's starting to look more and more like a third-world country."
His tirade against the candidates and the economic stimulus package on Thursday began when he was asked how that experiment is going. In his answer, he praised Democrat Barack Obama for the plan the Illinois senator outlined on Wednesday that would create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama projects it could generate nearly 2 million jobs. Last month, Bloomberg and Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania announced a coalition that would urge more investment in infrastructure. "I don't know whether Senator Obama looked to see what I've been advocating, or not -- you'll have to ask him -- but he's doing the right thing," Bloomberg said.
Specifically, he said the government should adopt a capital budget to oversee long-term infrastructure spending, instead of the current year-to-year spending. It should also offer financial counseling, modified loans, and in some cases, subsidized loans to homeowners who find themselves unable to afford their mortgages. He says that the government should also think differently about immigration, and that bringing more workers in rather than keeping them out is the key to long term economic stability.

Saturday Male Beauty

Political Ponderings

The other day after the Obama rally in Virginia Beach, I posted a diary over on Pam’s House Blend which seems to have apparently greatly upset some of Hillary's supporters a number of whom have pummeled me in their comments. Therefore, I felt it best to further restate my argument that caused such a gnashing of teeth on the part of some. I also want to comment to remarks I heard on MSNBC this morning where some commentators – and Hillary’s campaign – are trying to compare Obama followers to a cult. My first comments are a statement of what I said on Pam Spaulding’s blog when critics tried to minimize Obama’s win in Virginia:

First, Virginia's population ranks 12th nationally in terms of population, so how a candidate performs here is not as insignificant as some would pretend. Moreover, the population is an interesting mix ranging from the liberal Washington, D.C., suburbs to reactionary Southwest Virginia, to the large military population in Tidewater Virginia.

Second, the primary results are in and the margin for Obama was staggering: locally, Obama carried the Hampton Roads area by percentages ranging from 65% in conservative Virginia Beach to 79% in Hampton. Norfolk went for Obama with him receiving 71% of the votes. Even in reactionary Chesapeake where Huckabee beat McCain 48% to 44%, Obama got 71% of the vote. Statewide, Obama received 30% more votes that ALL of the votes cast in the GOP primary. Hillary only received votes equaling 72% of the total GOP vote.

Third, an interesting phenomenon occurred: the number of Republicans voting in the Democrat primary - for Hillary. I witnessed it myself at my precinct as did a number of friends (some GOP friends even confessed that they did it). Why did they do it? They wanted Hillary to win because they see her as more easily defeated in November. Without such voters, Hillary would have been even more resoundingly beaten by Obama.

Fourth, as readers know, I am a former GOP activist (I left the party when the Christianists took control) and I come from a family that historically has generally voted for and/or contributed to the GOP. In addition, I have worked on quite a few campaigns. In this primary, ALL in my family voted for Obama and will vote for him in November. By the same token, most of them will vote for McCain if Hillary is the Democrat nominee. I would further add that many of the members of the GOP that I still am in contact with likewise will NEVER vote for Hillary, although they would vote for Obama. Hillary supporters may want to suppress this reality, but it is a reality.

As for the cult allegation, I think it comes from a couple of sources, the first of which is the jaded nature of political commentators and political insiders who do NOT want a change in the way politics are conducted in this country. Should Obama be elected and make good on some of his goals, many political insiders would find their secure little world turned upside down. God forbid that they lose their insider connections and/or influence.

I believe that the other reason Obama is turning out such crowds is that many in this country are disillusioned and desperately want a change in direction. Younger people want to put the misbegotten Bush/Cheney years behind them and to have a sense of hope. Many commentators do not consider how badly Bush’s re-election impacted young voters. My own son for instance called me the day after the election and was all set to move to Canada. Likewise many working class and middle class families have been “playing by the rules” and find themselves increasingly worse off financially – even with both spouses working. More of the same politics under either Hillary or McCain will not provide them with a chance for a better life. They see the system as being broken and Obama is the only candidate talking about systemic change. Perhaps Obama will not be able to deliver if elected, but he at least offers hope to a disillusioned citizenry. Hope is an important element in allowing one to soldier on.

Saturday Morning Musings

Why is it that some people cannot admit their responsibility for the death of a relationship and simply move on? Particularly when they are the one that resorted to physical violence towards the one they claim to have loved/love? It is a simple reality that all of us bring baggage to a relationship. None of us is perfect and try as we might our past experience tries to cling to us. But, none of that excuses physical violence toward an alleged beloved. Nor does it justify manipulation, intimidation and instilling fear. In my view, a relationship that comes to involve physical abuse is based less on love and more on the intent to possess and control the supposed beloved. If one truly loves another person, they do not smother them, manipulate them, instill fear in them, or ever hit them.

I will be the first to admit that I grew up in an at times dysfunctional family. Yet despite the yelling and other messed up aspects of the family dynamics, physical violence was never something that occurred. Not ever. My father would never have thought to hit my mother. Thus, I do not understand the mindset that makes one think they have license to hit another person. Other than in self defense, I do not believe one ever has the right to hit someone else. Moreover, the fact that someone who has resorted to violence against another will not accept responsibility for their behavior indicates to me that all their protestations that they have changed are – pardon my French – disingenuous bull shit. Only a fool or a masochist would remain in or return to such a relationship. Just as in business sometimes no deal is better than a bad deal, so too in love, sometimes no relationship is better than a bad one. I do not understand why some cannot get that message.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More Friday Male Beauty

More Priests Accused of Sex Abuse in the News

The dirty laundry of the Roman Catholic Church just keeps on coming out. As always, I am continuing to wait (most likely in vain) for the members of the hierarchy that allowed such abuses to occur to be held accountable. The first story comes out of up state New York ( where police are looking for more victims of a former New York City priest who had a vacation home upstate:

GREENFIELD — State police want to know whether anyone in the Capital Region was victimized by a 65-year-old priest who resigned as pastor of a Queens church late last year after allegations of sexual abuse involving boys. Monsignor George F. Zatarga owns a seasonal home in the town of Greenfield, according to Senior Investigator John Brooks of the state police in Wilton. The New York Daily News recently reported that an 18-year-old man from New York City reported that he had been molested by Zatarga at his home upstate.

Mark Lyman, upstate coordinator for SNAP (Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests), praised the state police for taking a “proactive” approach to investigating Zatarga. Lyman said the Daily News story published in January indicated that five men have come forward saying that they were sexually abused as young men by the priest at his upstate home. Some of these abuse allegations go back 20 years, Lyman said.

The story said that at least five men have told the diocese that Zatarga molested them as teenagers and that the most recent allegations came in 2007, when the priest allegedly took an 18-year-old man to Zatarga’s home outside Saratoga Springs. Before Zatarga became pastor of American Martyrs Church, he served as diocesan vicar for senior priests for six years. During his 40-year career as a priest, Zatarga served as chaplain at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn and at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens and was pastor of several churches, among other duties with the Brooklyn diocese, the bishop’s statement said.

Elsewhere, the Catholic Diocese in Fort Worth, Texas, has indicated that a priest accused of molesting children is HIV positive (
The diocese leader then got verbal confirmation from Magaldi as well as a letter from his doctor who said he has HIV, Svacina said. Church officials said they believe he has been HIV positive since 2003. The diocese then alerted the alleged victims — at least five minors in two states — and the parishes where Magaldi served for nearly four decades, Svacina said.

Magaldi, 71, lives in a retirement center and diocese officials declined to disclose where. He has previously said he was innocent of the sexual abuse allegations, for which he has not been charged. Magaldi was removed as a priest in 1999 amid claims of sexual misconduct in Providence, R.I., where he served from 1960-90, and the Fort Worth area, where he served from 1990-92 and 1993-99.

Magaldi is one of six priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth accused of abusing minors, according to 700 pages of previously secret files that were part of a sexual abuse lawsuit settled in 2005. The documents were released by a judge last year. In Rhode Island, three separate allegations were reported in 1998, 2002 and last year against Magaldi.

Lawmakers Must Address Real Issues, Not Gay Marriage

This column from Tucson, Arizona ( looks at the cravenness of the GOP effort to get an anti-gay marriage initiative on the November, 2008, ballot in Arizona. The editorially rightly identifies that the real motivation has nothing to do with protecting families or the institution of marriage. It’s all about getting out the wingnut voters and political opportunism by one of the initiatives sponsors. Moreover, this kind of political garbage helps create an atmosphere where junior high students beleive it is OK to kill gays. It all too clearly shows what has happened to the GOP and why I ceased to be a member of that political party a number of years ago. Here are some highlights:

Arizona voters rejected a 2006 ballot measure to outlaw gay marriage, civil unions or domestic-partner benefits. But state Senate President Tim Bee is leading a new push to ask voters to place a definition of marriage in the Arizona Constitution as the union of one man and one woman. The effort is discriminatory and unnecessary. It is wrong to enshrine discrimination against any group of Arizonans into the Constitution. What's more, Arizona law already prohibits same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment is a giant waste of time.

Arizona has a whopping deficit, serious problems with education, residents who can't afford food or utilities, and questions about the economy. Making extra double sure that two men or two women can't marry each other will not improve our schools, help local businesses thrive or fix our roads.

This may be a cynical political move. Bee is running for Congress in District 8, trying to unseat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat. Republicans have used the threat of gay marriage as a political tool before to motivate conservative voters to get to the polls. In Arizona, it's a false threat. The existing law has been upheld by the appellate court and the theory that the Legislature would one day change the law is laughable.

As a result, the Senate president is in a position to use his state office to further his Congressional hopes. Pushing for a constitutional amendment won't do anything for Arizonans, but it could help his political aspirations. Bee should remember that he already has a job. His first responsibility is to the people of Arizona. The state budget is in dire straits. Arizona's educational system is among the most Underfunded in the nation. One in five Arizonans don't have health insurance. Arizonans need lawmakers who work for the good of the state, not those who use state offices to further their own political goals.

Friday Male Beauty

Oxnard School Shooting of Gay Student Called a Hate Crime

Yesterday I blogged about the murder of Lawrence King (pictured above left), a 15 year old gay student in Oxnard, California. Today's Los Angeles Times (,1,1414535.story) indicates that the murder was a premeditated hate crime. Moreover, the killer has been identified as a 14 year old student, Brandon McInerney (pictured above right). This sad event shows the need for recently enacted SB 777 the goal of which is described by it supporters as follows:
The achievement of a totally integrated society and calls upon Americans to eliminate, by statute and practice, barriers of---gender, sexual orientation---and genetic characteristics that prevent some individuals, adult or juvenile, from exercising rights enjoyed by others, including liberties decreed in common law, the Constitution, and the statutes of the United States."
Every child is entitled to a safe and positive school climate that provides for the emotional safety of the students; supports and recognizes each person's efforts to achieve his/her full potential; and provides the social and cultural acceptance every individual needs for high self-esteem."
Unfortunately, some find such goals reprehensible since they will limit the right of bigots to spew hate and discrimination. In the forefront of this opposition is Capitol Resource Institute ("CRI")which describes itself as an organization seeking to to "educate, advocate, protect, and defend family-friendly policies in the California state legislature and at local government levels." It further describes itself as a "watchdog for family values here in Sacramento." I guess killing those who are different is one of CRI's family values. They certainly work to create an atmosphere where those with an anti-gay mentality feel they have a license to harrass, attack, demean, and apparently kill gays. I can only wonder what impact "family values" organizations and/or homophobic churches had in warping the mind of Brandon McInerney.

Here are more highlights from the LA Times:
Ventura County prosecutors charged a 14-year-old boy with the shooting death of a classmate Thursday and said the killing in an Oxnard classroom was a premeditated hate crime.Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox declined to discuss a motive in the shooting or why prosecutors added the special allegation of a hate crime against Brandon McInerney, who was charged as an adult.
But classmates of the slain boy, Lawrence King, said he recently had started to wear makeup and jewelry and had proclaimed himself gay. Several students said King and a group of boys, including the defendant, had a verbal confrontation concerning King's sexual orientation a day before the killing.King, 15, was declared brain-dead and was expected to be taken off a ventilator late Thursday so organs could be removed for donation, said Craig Stevens, senior county deputy medical examiner.
McInerney was charged with premeditated murder with enhancements of use of a firearm and a hate crime.Because he is a minor, McInerney will remain in Juvenile Hall and be taken to the Ventura courtroom for court appearances, Fox said. He is being held in lieu of $770,000 bail.If convicted, McInerney could face 50 years to life. The hate crime enhancement would add another one to three years to his sentence.
Authorities said McInerney sneaked a handgun into school on the day of the shooting, but they have not disclosed how he got the firearm.McInerney's family lives in the south Oxnard neighborhood near E.O. Green school. Court records show that his father, Bill McInerney, has had brushes with the law in recent years.
The case is drawing attention from a growing number of gay rights groups, which said they would be watching developments closely."In the 15-year history of this organization, this is the first time we've seen the district attorney act this swiftly and clearly to say 'This will not be tolerated,' " said Jay Smith, executive director of the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance, a nonprofit group that advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights."We're assuming that the hate crime component has to do with [King's] sexuality," Smith said. "Because of that, we are very eager to see the district attorney follow through."

Enforceability of Sam Sex Estate Planning Documents in Virginia

Frequently same sex couples in Virginia as me whether or not their wills and similar estate planning documents will be enforceable in Virginia in light of the “Marriage Amendment” to the Virginia Constitution enacted in November, 2006 (which applies equally to ALL unmarried couples, gay or straight). Here is my analysis of how these documents hold up to potential challenges. First, historically naming devisees, attorneys in fact, and trust beneficiaries has NEVER been restricted to spouses or blood relatives. Therefore, anti-gay "marriage" provisions do not reach these types of agreements, although the existence of such provisions may increase the chances that hostile relatives might try to challenge a gay couple’s estate planning decisions. Second, it is highly unlikely that a court – especially an appellate court - would overturn properly drawn and executed documents since it would cause a cataclysm legally and put MANY trusts, wills and other documents at risk. In addition, certain statutory provisions do not bar same sex estate planning documents:

WILLS: Neither § 64.1-46 or other provisions of the Virginia Code restrict permitted devisees to spouses or blood relatives; therefore, both unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex couples may make wills leaving assets to their partners.

TRUSTS: Chapter 4, Title 26 of the Virginia Code governing the appointment, qualification, resignation, removal of fiduciaries, including trustees, contains no provision restricting permitted trustees or trust beneficiaries to spouses or blood relatives. Therefore, both unmarried heterosexual couples and same-sex couples may create trusts naming their partners as beneficiaries in a manner that does not purport “to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage.”

ADVANCED MEDICAL DIRECTIVE - § 54.1-2983 of the Virginia Code provides that any mentally competent adult may, at any time, make a written advance directive (i) authorizing the providing, withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging procedures in the event such person should have a terminal condition, and (ii) appointing an agent to make health care decisions for the declarant under the circumstances stated in the advance directive if the declarant should be determined to be incapable of making an informed decision.

HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY – Recently enacted legislation in Virginia has authorized individuals to select any adult for hospital visitation and health care decisions. Therefore, a health care or medical power of attorney allows one’s partner regardless of gender to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are not able to do so due to incompetence or other incapacity. Properly drafted, a health care power of attorney can also ensure hospital visitation rights to the designated attorney-in-fact.

CANONS OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT: Should a judge ignore these legal realities, there is one other generally unknown protection available to same sex couples. This is found under Canon 3.B.5 of the Canons of Judicial Conduct for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which provides in relevant part:

“A judge “shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, and shall not permit staff, court officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control to do so. . . .” (Emphasis supplied)

This is the only provision under current Virginia law where sexual orientation is a specifically a protected class. A judge that fails to abide by this non-discrimination directive should recuse himself/herself from the case. Failure to do so may subject a judge to possible disciplinary action.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Essence of True Love

I found this quote from the Speech of Aristophanes, The Symposium, by Plato over at Andrew Sullivan's blog ( and thought it worth repeating. To me, it describes the essence of true love. Something that each of us, if we are lucky, will experience at some point in our lives. It likewise describes the aspect of gay love that the Christianists try to pretend utterly does not exist:
"When a man meets the half that is his very own, then something wonderful happens; the two are struck from their senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by desire, and they don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment. These are the people who finish out their lives together and still cannot say what it is they want from one another.

No one would think it is the intimacy of sex - that mere sex is the reason each lover takes so great and deep a joy in one another. It's obvious that the soul of every lover longs for something else; his soul cannot say what it is, but like an oracle is has a sense of what it wants, and like an oracle it hides behind a riddle.

Suppose two lovers are lying together and Hephaestus stands over them and asks "What is it you human beings really want from each other?" And suppose they're perplexed and he asks them again:

"Is this your heart's desire, then, for the two of you to become parts of the same whole, as near as can be, and never to separate day or night? Because if that's your desire, I'd like to weld you together and join you into something that is naturally whole, so that the two of you are made into one. Then the two of you would share one life, as long as you lived, because you would be one being, and, by the same token, when you died you would be one not two in heaven.

Look at your love, and see if this is what you desire: wouldn't this be all the good fortune you could want? No one who received this offer would turn it down. No one would find anything else more precious."

More Thursday Male Beauty

New Hampshire Landlord Donates Late Clinton Rent Check to Obama Campaign

I could not resist posting about this story. The moral is that when you are the candidate, the buck stops with you. Having once run for public office myself, I know all too well that this is the reality no matter what amount of spin one puts out. I suspect that Hillary probably (1) knew nothing abut the delinquent rent payments, and (2) had no idea that her staff left the premises trashed. Nonetheless, her staff’s actions are a direct reflection on her and have now caused an embarrassment to her. Here are some highlights from Seacoastonline (

PORTSMOUTH — Rochester doctor Terry Bennett has finally been paid by the Clinton campaign for rental of a Portsmouth building he owns. Now, he says he will donate the $500 check to Barack Obama’s campaign. He said he’s doing it because he likes Obama, but also as a statement on the way he feels he was treated by the staff of the Clinton campaign. ‘It was the last straw for Hillary Clinton for me,” said Bennett.

Bennett said he believes the only reason the Clinton campaign paid for renting his 236 Union St. storefront is because he became the “squeaky wheel,” contacting the Herald last week in frustration because he had not been paid for more than a month. “Thirty days went by, with no replies to phone calls, e-mails, no replies at all. Suddenly a newspaper article comes out. It was the worst publicity they could get. Three days go by and I get a check,” said Bennett.

Bennett went public last week, saying he rented a warehouse/office space to Clinton campaign workers for five days prior to the Jan. 8 presidential primary. He rented the space for $100 a day to be used as a campaign headquarters and dormitory.

Not only was he not paid, but Bennett said the campaign volunteers left the premises trashed. He said there were fast food containers all over the place and lots of campaign signs left behind.
Bennett said he’s giving the money to Obama because, besides Clinton, he is the only other Democratic candidate. But he said he also likes the man.

“I like Obama’s story enormously,” said Bennett. “He came from nowhere and made his way through Harvard Law School. I can appreciate the struggle. He and I never forgot where we came from. I, like him, struggled to get through medical school. This is a guy I think is very thoughtful, who hasn’t forgotten his beginnings. He is speaking across what used to be a chasm and has transcended a lot of insurmountable barriers.”

When Bennett’s story came out, other people contacted the Herald about unpaid bills from the Clinton campaign. Iowa resident Richard Reese is the owner of Top Job Services Inc., a cleaning service in Des Moines. His company was hired in November of last year, prior to the Iowa caucuses, to clean the Clinton campaign headquarters on a regular basis. Reese provided the Herald with invoices and said he had not seen one penny of the $7,561.70 he is owed. As of Wednesday, he still hadn’t.

Gay Student Shot at School Declared Brain Dead

I have posted several times on the effort by Christiansists in California to overturn SB 777 which extends non-discrimination protections to LGBT public school students. This sad incident involving the death of a gay junior high student in Oxnard, California, shows how desperately this type of protection is needed. Moreover, it shows the critical need for school officials to have a zero tolerance policy on bullying and the disparagement of gays. It certainly is disturbing that the “Christians” opposing SB 777 believe that they should be free to harass and mistreat others based on nonconformance with their Christianist religious dogma. Religious based bigotry and intolerance is, in my view, one of the biggest problems in contemporary society. The USA is fighting in Iraq to counter religious fundamentalism, yet it is allowed to run unfettered at home. Here are some story highlights from the Los Angeles Times (,0,7204301.story):

An Oxnard junior high student who was shot in the head by a classmate earlier this week was declared brain dead Wednesday, and the 14-year-old male suspect now faces a first-degree murder charge, authorities said. Lawrence King, 15, was declared brain dead by two neurosurgeons about 2 p.m. at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, said Craig Stevens, senior deputy Ventura County medical examiner. King's body remains on a ventilator for possible organ donation, he said. He was shot early Tuesday in a classroom at E.O. Green Junior High School.

[S]everal students at the south Oxnard campus said King and his alleged assailant had a falling out stemming from King's sexual orientation. The teenager sometimes wore feminine clothing and makeup, and proclaimed he was gay, students said. "He would come to school in high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails -- the whole thing," said Michael Sweeney, 13, an eighth-grader. "That was freaking the guys out."

Several students said that a day before the shooting, King and several boys had some kind of altercation during the lunch period. If the suspect targeted King because of his sexual orientation, the case could rise to the level of a hate crime, authorities said.

Bullying in schools has long been a problem. But recent studies show that a student who comes "out" as gay or lesbian is far more likely to suffer abuse than others, said Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network based in New York. A student thought to be gay was five times as likely to be threatened or injured by a weapon, a 2002 California Department of Education study said. Jennings said other studies have found similar results. His group advocates more teacher training on how to handle bullying and harassment, specifically of gay students.

"This Oxnard shooting is very upsetting but not surprising," Jennings said. "The real issue is not the kid coming out, but the kid sitting next to him. Schools must teach that we may not like one another, but we must respect one another."

Thursday Male Beauty

What Would Jesus Say?

Via Civil Commotion (see my blog roll), I came upon this story in Nashville Scene ( which looks at the apparently huge problem of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist clergy and the Southern Baptist Convention’s failure (perhaps refusal) to take action to address the problem. I guess, the SBC thinks – much like the Roman Catholic Church – that if they pretend the problem does not exist, it will somehow miraculously disappear. Of course, meanwhile countless young lives are damaged or destroyed. For a denomination that is so obsessed with the repression of sex and sexuality, not to mention the constant oppression of gays, the hypocrisy is mind numbing. I recommend that the entire story be read, but here are some highlights:

Churchgoers are asking for protection against clergy sex abuse, but the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention says there’s little it can do to fend for the flock. . . . The scourge of sex abuse within churches belonging to Nashville’s SBC has been well documented, though the denomination continues to ignore, and in some cases deny, the problem.

In July, police arrested Steven Haney—the former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., who led the church for two decades—after a 21-year-old man told police that Haney had molested him for a period of five years. According to a police affidavit, the abuse started when the victim was 15 and lasted from September 2001 through December 2006, during which time the boy turned to Haney for mentoring. In those years, the victim says Haney forced him to take “obedience tests”—acts that required oral sex, masturbation and anal sex—that the pastor required as a test of faith. In October, a grand jury indicted Haney on charges of rape and sexual battery by an authority figure. But it certainly was not the first time that Cordova was rocked by a clergy abuse scandal. Paul Williams was minister of prayer and special projects at Bellevue Baptist Church, a Cordova mega-church. In the summer of 2006, Williams told two Bellevue officials—the minister of biblical guidance and later, the church’s pastor—that two decades earlier, he molested his own son.

But it seems that the Southern Baptist abuse survivor network may have been too quick to place faith in their leaders. And there’s no indication that the executive committee has consulted with experts or officials from other religious groups who have already established their own standards to deal with clergy abuse. Christa Brown, a survivor of sex abuse and the leader of SNAP’s Baptist arm, says it would seem like a logical step for Southern Baptists to look at how other religious groups have responded.

From the abusers’ ability to move from church to church, to church officials asking victims to remain quiet and failing to report incidents to police, SNAP says sex abuse in Southern Baptist churches has all the trappings of a full-blown nightmare of Catholic proportions, though plenty of Southern Baptists would scoff at the idea that it’s a system wide pestilence. In his book Pedophiles and Priests, Pennsylvania State University professor Philip Jenkins determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of Catholic priests are pedophiles. Among Protestant clergy—a group in which Southern Baptists are the largest denomination—that figure, according to the book, ranges from 2 to 3 percent.

Kansas Catholic High School Refuses Female Referee

I guess this situation described in Sports Illustrated ( goes some way toward explaining why Mike Huckabee carried Kansas in the recent GOP primary - far too many evangelical and/or lunatic Catholic Kansas residents still believe it's the 18th Century, if not further back in time. I shudder to imaging the world view of some of these Neanderthals. It is frightening in this day and age that such ignorant and small minded people exist in this country. The school's principal, Vicente A. Griego, must truly have major insecurity about his own manhood. Personally, I beleive enrolling one's children in such a crazy institution ought to comprise a grounds for child abuse. Fortunately, the rest of the referees told St. Mary's Academy that they could shove it and refused to officiate the game. Here are some story highlights:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas activities officials are investigating a religious school's refusal to let a female referee call a boys' high school basketball game. The Kansas State High School Activities Association said referees reported that Michelle Campbell was preparing to officiate at St. Mary's Academy near Topeka on Feb. 2 when a school official insisted that Campbell could not call the game.
The reason given, according to the referees: Campbell, as a woman, could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs. The Activities Association said it is considering whether to take action against the private religious school. St. Mary's Academy, about 25 miles northwest of Topeka, is owned and operated by the Society of St. Pius X, which follows older Roman Catholic laws. The society's world leader, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in the late 1980s.

If that is indeed the school's written policy, Musselman said, the association could decide to remove St. Mary's Academy from the list of approved schools and take away its ability to compete against the association's more than 300 member schools. St. Mary's Academy officials declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

St. Mary's Academy can be reached here: (785) 437-2471 (main switchboard); (St. Mary's Academy). P.S. Viewing the school's website, there are typos, so perhaps they should at least focus a little bit on spelling as opposed to religious fanaticism.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Growing Up Gay

A blogger friend sent me a link to this coming out story on One Love ( with which I can identify in a number of ways. Certainly with the inner conflict the author struggled with in terms of religious belief versus who he really was. It is a sad and difficult struggle growing up gay - at least for me and many in my generation - even to this day. The following are some sections of the story that are pretty much applicable to my life:
But during this period of adolescence, I never really thought about what I was. All the things that took place in the emotional-sexual realm were, admittedly, real and concrete to me: I experienced real feelings for other boys (love, infatuation, sexual attraction). But at the same time, on an "intellectual" level, I never confronted these feelings, and so I continued having them without worrying about them or trying to transform them in any way. They just were, and that was fine with me. While some opponents of homosexuality often claim that it is "unnatural," for me, my homosexual feelings were very natural indeed.
I was very attracted to quite a few boys which I only knew from having observed them around the school, and I also experienced two strong infatuations, involving two boys in my class. Of course, as before, all of this was kept very secret! . . . And I now gradually began to realize, on an intellectual level, what I was. Why did that take so long? I think because when one grows up and hears words like "gay" or "homosexual", one thinks of rather horrid people, who are disgusting, ugly, and immoral. But at this time, while I knew what I was, nobody else knew. And it would take some more years before I told anyone. The period that started about this time was, in a way, a fairly unhappy one. While outwards a success - on the inside, the conflict grew stronger. How could I reconcile my faith in God and the Bible with being attracted to other men?
Worrying about what society and others would think about me and trying to abide by the rules of an utterly corrupt Church. That's how I lived my life. In retrospect I now see that in many ways I threw away much of my life. I in no way regret having my three wonderful children and consider them perhaps my only real achievement in life. But I wish I had had the courage/strength to be true to myself much earlier. So much pain and self-hate could have been avoided. I truly hope that others benefit by learning from my mistakes.

Phony People and Gratuitous Nastiness

I have debated about posting on this episode and finally decided that in view of the gratuitous nastiness involved that I would do so. Recently, I sent out an e-mail in support of Barack Obama using one of my older e-mail accounts that I have had for years and dating back long before I came out of the closet. Inadvertently, I copied one of my former sister-in-laws and her husband on the message. Since they have been active Democrats for years, the message surely should not have not offend their political sensibilities. Moreover, they like to hold themselves out as accepting social liberals and even hold themselves out as being gay friendly.

One would think, therefore, that if they did not want to communicate with me, the normal thing to do would have been to simply send me an e-mail asking that I remove them from my address book. Instead, they each sent a very nasty message and copied everyone on my original message to share their nastiness with all these other parties. The messages were so nasty that among the comments I received from shocked parties that received their message to me were:

What. A. Bitch!!
Who are those assholes?
What a witch.
Who’s that dickhead?

One party even sent this message back to them: The fact that you chose to cc everybody on your rude email to Mike speaks to the fact that you must be a huge asshole.

Admittedly, my coming out of the closet upset my ex-wife’s comfortable life and – God forbid – she had to become self-supporting. But I never did anything negative to this couple who were nasty just to be nasty. The long and short of the matter is that I suspect they and my ex-mother-in-law in particular are disappointed that my suicide attempt did not succeed, thereby depriving the ex-wife of a large life insurance pay out. The fact that I supported my former wife decently for many years and that she pretty much cleaned me out financially apparently means nothing. The concept that perhaps I am entitled to a little happiness in my life like everyone else likewise is apparently not on the radar screen for them either.

If nothing else, coming out has shown me how phony, petty and nasty many people are. They put on a good show, pretend that they are liberal and accepting, etc., but when push comes to shove, they reveal their true selves. Oh, and did I mention, I have always thought my ex-brother who chose to be so nasty is a closet case.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Names of Anti-gay Floridians Available Online

I suspect that as occurred in Massachusetts, the gay-hating fundies will be crying foul now that their identities are being made public. It's always entertaining to see the bigots squirm when everyone can see them for who they really are. I say this because KnowThyNeighbor has published the names of thousands of Florida residents who signed the state's petition to place a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the November, 2008 ballot. While it is true that the ballot initiative is clearly a vehicle of the GOP to try to get out the homophobic crowd, some of these folks probably thought that they could stay safely anonymous.

As I previously posted, 611,000 signatures were required to get a measure on the Florida ballot. The Christianists and GOP backers of the initiative found themselves more than 20,000 signatures short of the goal in January, but a last minute push collected more than 92,000, more than enough to get the measure to the ballot. KnowThyNeighbor publishes the easily searchable list of names, which are a matter of public record, so people can see for themselves who among their neighbors is intolerant.

Observations on the Virginia Primary Results

The local Democratic Party primary results are in and the margin for Obama is staggering: Obama carried the Hampton Roads area by percentages ranging from 65% in conservative Virginia Beach to 79% in Hampton. Norfolk went for Obama with him receiving 70% of the votes. Even in reactionary Chesapeake where Huckabee beat McCain 48% to 44%, Obama got 71% of the vote. The other thing that is interesting is that state wide, more than twice as many people voted in the Democrat Primary as opposed to the GOP contest. Another interesting phenomenon was the number of Republicans voting in the Democrat primary – for Hillary. I witnessed it myself at my precinct as did a number of friends (some friend even confessed that they did it). Why did they do it? This couple quoted by Andrew Sullivan ( tells the reasoning – they wanted Hillary to win because they see her as more easily defeated in November:

My wife and I have never voted for anything left of Republican, frequently voting on the Conservative party line when available. Yet today, we both voted for Hillary in the VA primary. Why? Because it seems McCain has it wrapped up, so why waste our vote on the Republican side; she is a lot less scary than Obama in many ways (better the Devil you know), and I think she is more easily beaten with her high negatives and lack of charisma. So we were part of the high Dem turn out today which I am sure you will hear about. And there is no way we will ever vote Dem in November.

Without such voters, Hillary would have been even more resoundingly beaten yesterday. I hope the superdelegates are paying attention.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Tuesday Male Beauty

God, Gays and the Church

Unfortunately, it appears that U.S. based anti-gay Christianists are now in league with some of their bigoted brethren in the Church of England based on the new book being released through Anglican Mainstream (, which describes itself as a “community within the Anglican Communion committed to promote, teach and maintain the Scriptural truths on which the Anglican Church was founded and which guarantee its catholicity.” Not surprisingly, one of the contributing authors is Joseph Nicolosi, former President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (“NARTH”) who has literally made a career out of peddling the anti-gay “cure” myth to the unwary and gullible and who likewise is often used as a supposed “expert” by anti-gay Christianist organizations. Faced with the possibility that the APA may ban the use of reparative therapy in the USA, it appears Nicolosi and similar (in my opinion) quackes are seeking new markets for their snake oil. I hope that those in the UK and elsewhere do not fall for this garbage.

Anglican Mainstream has the following to say about the new book – which ironically will be launched at a fringe meeting:

The book, God, Gays and the Church: Human Sexuality and Experience in Christian Thinking, published by the Latimer Trust, will be launched at a special fringe meeting at the General Synod of the Church of England on Wednesday 13 February . . . The editors seek to put into the public domain not only the views of Christians who first thought themselves homosexual, and then chose to follow Biblical teaching, but also the expert evidence and research of psychologists, counsellors and theologians in the field. Further sections analyse the impact of the gay agenda on our culture.

In his Foreword to the book, the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, writes: . . . Our integrity, as a Church that is properly serious about doctrine and discipline, was gravely undermined. … every Christian is called to have her or his ‘experience’ conformed to the teachings of Scripture, and then to those of the ‘great tradition’ of the Church down the centuries …”

I wonder whether the cited “great traditions” of the Church include heresy trials, the stoning of adulterers and other “Christian” conduct. Wouldn't feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, and treating other with love and respect be a more worthwhile use of time and energy?

Arizona to Possibly Mull Gay Marriage Ban - Again

First Florida and now possibly Arizona - the GOP is still up to its old gay-baiting tricks to try to turn out the Kool-Aid drinkers in November. It is very sad that instead of seeking to win based on the strength of the party's positions and policies, demonizing a segment of citizens (actual several when one considers immigrants and non-whites in addition to gays) is the principal "get out the vote" mechanism for the Republicans. To me, it indicates a bankruptcy of new ideas and a focus on moving the country forward instead of backwards. Here are some highlights from (

Republican lawmakers on Monday proposed asking voters in November to amend the Arizona Constitution to ban same-sex marriage in the state, which was the first to turn down such a measure.The proposal was backed by 16 of 30 state senators, and an identical proposal was introduced in the House. Both chambers would have to approve the measure in a vote for it to be included on the ballot.Under the amendment, "only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state." The proposal comes after Arizona voters narrowly rejected a similar measure in November 2006.
State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat who led the opposition campaign to the 2006 measure, said she opposes the new proposal."I don't think it's needed. I don't think it's necessary," she said. "We've already had this fight a couple of times."The ballot measure proposal comes as a state commission prepares to review rule changes proposed by the administration of Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano that would provide health care and other employee benefits to the domestic partners of state government employees and retirees, no matter their gender.

Tuesday Male Beauty

Will Super Delegates Steal the Democratic Nomination?

A number of bloggers and columnists have begun to address this issue already, but I did want to voice my thoughts, particularly after seeing a 21 year old super delegate interviewed this morning on MSNBC. The 21 year old in question is a student member of the Democratic National Committee, has never voted in a presidential election before, and had been wooed by Chelsea Clinton during a private luncheon to vote for her mother, Hillary Clinton. (ABC's story on this is here: As someone who has worked on many campaigns – historically mostly for the GOP – it truly bothers me that super delegates in effect have the power to subvert the primary process and ignore the popular vote results and/or the states carried by a primary contestant. Especially if the superdelegate is an inexperienced 21 year old political novice.
This possibility certainly smacks of the very dirty, backroom brokered, underhanded dealing in politics that I believe so many Americans are sick and tired of seeing. I surely hope that the super delegates do the right thing and vote consistently with how their respective districts voted. To do otherwise (1) would be anti-democratic and (2) could potentially invite a revolt by supporters of the candidate winning the popular and district vote and cause them to either (A) sit out the election in November, or (B) vote for the GOP candidate in November in retaliation. The fact that the likely GOP nominee is John McCain as opposed to some far right Neanderthal only increases such a prospect. The GOP must be salivating at this potential prospect. Here are some highlights from a New York Times article that indirectly looks at this issue (

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday.

Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend. Some said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, might ultimately “go with the flow,” in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.

Clinton advisers have said that superdelegates should support the candidate who they believe would be the best nominee and the best president, while Obama advisers have argued that superdelegates should reflect the will of the voters and also take into account who they believe would be the best nominee. Superdelegates are Democratic party leaders and elected officials, and their votes could decide the nomination if neither candidate wins enough delegates to clinch a victory after the nominating contests end.

With primaries on Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, Clinton advisers were pessimistic about her chances, though some held out hope for a surprise performance in Virginia. And as polls show Mr. Obama gaining strength in Wisconsin and his native state, Hawaii, which vote next Tuesday, advisers, donors and superdelegates said they were resigned to a possible Obama sweep of the rest of February’s contests.

Yet some Clinton donors and superdelegates worry that the focus on Mr. McCain is premature, and that other strategic decisions by the campaign — like counting on Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated at the convention even though their status is in limbo — show faulty thinking that suggests the Clinton campaign does not have a short-term game plan against Mr. Obama. “They are looking way too much at Florida, Michigan and McCain, because all three won’t matter if she doesn’t blow Obama away in Texas and Ohio,” said a Democrat who is both a Clinton superdelegate and major donor, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of campaign strategy. “Obama has momentum that has to be stopped by March 4.”

Obituary: Instead of Flowers, Give to Obama

This article ( ) caught my eye and obviously is rather unique in my experience in politics:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Democrat Mitch Van Yahres (YAYR'-ees) backed Barack Obama until the day he died, and his obituary suggests that people remember him by contributing to the Illinois senator's presidential campaign instead of sending flowers. Van Yahres was a dauntless and sometimes idealistic advocate for the poor and powerless, representing Charlottesville for 24 years in the House of Delegates. He died Friday at the age of 81.

His politics drew him strongly to Obama, who is in a tight race with Hillary Clinton heading into Tuesday's Virginia primary. Monday's paid obituary in Van Yahres' hometown newspaper, The Daily Progress, asks friends "to make a healthy and significant contribution to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama or, if they insist, the charity of their choice."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Time - The Evangelicals' New Clothes

I must admit that it was entertaining to read this Time Magazine article (,8599,1711615,00.html) at basically mocks some of the ego-inflated, self-annoited "leaders" of the Christian Right and looks at their inability to dictate candidate support to the Republcan Party in this year's primary elections. May their influence continue to wane for the betterment of both the GOP and the nation. James Dobson and similar anti-gay bigots have held power - both real and perceived - for far too long in the GOP. Here are some story highlights:

So only after Fred and Rudy and Mitt have dropped out, and McCain has all but mathematically sealed the G.O.P. nomination, does Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson come out and endorse Mike Huckabee as "our best remaining choice for President of the United States," now that it can't possibly make a difference. Given how this season has unfolded, there is something beautifully appropriate about that.

Those who claim to be in public life to promote and defend certain values can least afford to look craven. We may expect that from the every-man-for-himself plutocrats; but the virtuecrats are supposed to believe in something. So when Robertson et al ignored the conspicuous apostasies of Rudy and, in his earlier more liberal life, Romney, in order to jump on the bandwagon, they exposed a much less lofty agenda: they just liked their seat at the table, they didn't want to lose, and they didn't seem to realize that by signing on with a front-runner, they were following, not leading; demonstrating weakness, not strength.

What this plot twist has really exposed is that the shepherds have no sheep. You get the sense that rank-and-file evangelicals are just as sick of their own "leaders" as they are of the political arena in general. This actually represents a return to normal: evangelicals have historically been suspicious of getting too deeply involved in worldly matters, preferring a focus on individual salvation. So their willingness to vote their hearts with Huck and leave the rest to the Lord is perfectly normal behavior.

Hillary Spins to the Washington Blade - And Why I Support Obama

The online issue of the Washington Blade has a new article ( consisting of an interview with Hillary Clinton in which Hillary claims to be the more gay-friendly of the two remaining Democrat presidential candidates. I am not the first to discuss this article and do not mean to merely parrot what Pam Spaulding and others have done. Those who followed this blog back in October, 2007 or so know that I was anything but kind to Barack Obama when Donnie McClurkin – a supposed ex-gay black minister – joined the South Carolina gospel tour. I raised Hell and demanded that Obama fire campaign officials responsible for the insulting gaffe of having anything to do with McClurkin. Since that time I have followed the position of Hillary and Obama on gays very closely and have concluded that Barack Obama is the better candidate on gay issues regardless of Hillary’s current spin endeavors. My reasons are as follows:

1. While this may seem petty, if one goes to the official websites of both campaigns, one can easily find a LGBT link on the home page of Obama’s site that leads “Obama Pride” and various resources on Obama’s stand on gay issues, including his response to HRC’s questionnaire and other resources. In contrast, a visit to Hillary’s official campaign website reveals NO references to the LGBT community (or at least none that I could find) whatsoever. If Hillary is such a supporter of gays, why are we invisible on her campaign website? Actions speak louder than words, Hillary

2. On the Defense of Marriage Act, in his letter to the Windy City Times, Obama wrote the following: “For the record, I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying. This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted. When Members of Congress passed DOMA, they were not interested in strengthening family values or protecting civil liberties. They were only interested in perpetuating division and affirming a wedge issue. ... In contrast, Hillary does not support a full repeal of DOMA – she supports repealing only the section that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples.

3. Obama has repeatedly called for equal treatment for gays in speeches and campaign addresses, including such events as his speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and as recently as last night in Virginia Beach. These statements have been made even when the audience is not necessarily receptive to that message. In contrast, Hillary seems to save her supportive statements for situations where the audience is friendly and/or where she thinks she is saying what the listeners want to hear.

There is always a chance that politicians may not deliver what they have promised. However, from following Obama, talking to his local campaign coordinator throughout the day today at my office, and working with his campaign staff – people are in my office phone banking and organizing poll workers for tomorrow at the moment - my sense is that Obama will do his damnedest to deliver for the LGBT community whereas Hillary will do so only as long as it is expedient.

More Monday Male Beauty

How George W. Bush Destroyed the Budget

This is an interesting story from ( that analyzes how different the federal budget situation for the USA would be if the Chimperator (and the Republican controled Congress) had used a little fiscal constraint. The Republicans like to depict the Democrats as the big spenders who cannot balance the budget. The reality under the Chimperator has shown the exact opposite to be the case. Here are some story highlights:
Feb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- If you could go back in time to President George W. Bush's inaugural address and add one economic statement, what would it be? For me, there is an obvious answer. If Bush had promised in January 2001 that the baseline of government spending that he inherited when he took office would be the cap during his term, then we would have a big budget surplus today. It would have been easy to do.
With government spending still out of control, the gap between where we are and where a disciplined nation could have been is getting bigger and bigger. With a recession looming, the policy implications of the spending explosion are serious. If a deep recession occurs, we will have less wiggle room.

To see how different the world could have been, I gathered data from a number of sources and ran an alternative history. In that wishful place, government spending was set equal to the spending envisioned by the Congressional Budget Office in the January 2001 long-run forecast, plus the spending for the war in Iraq and to fight terrorism. This simulation assumes that the war would have happened in spite of Bush's spending promise, and wouldn't have induced him to seek cuts elsewhere.

The difference between that spending path and the one we are on is huge. Today, we expect federal spending in 2008 will be $2.9 trillion. According to the alternative history, spending would be $2.5 trillion. With spending at the lower level, we would have a surplus of $152 billion if revenue were equal to what it is currently projected to be. Running the simulation forward, the gap between revenue gets wider and wider. By 2017, we are scheduled to spend almost $1 trillion more than we would have if we had stuck to the Clinton baseline. With the low spending baseline we would have a surplus in 2017 of $1.1 trillion, instead of the $151 billion surplus that's currently forecast.
A simple way to start would be this: Whoever is elected president this November should pledge that he or she won't spend $1 more than we currently plan to. If Bush had done that seven years ago, we would be in a different world.

Christo-Fascist Huckabee Also Visits This Area

After attending the wonderfully inclusve Obama rally last night in Virginia Beach, it is a bit disconcerting to have Mike Huckabee visit the area since his Christianist mind set immediately works divisions between citizens. What a contrast from last night!! Based on his religious views and statements on immigration, in my opinion, the Huckster would like to either exterminate or ship many of us out of the country. It is telling that Huckabee was accompanied by Mike Farris, a complete kook and Kool-Aid drinker and unsuccessful former candidate for Lieutenant Governor more than a decade ago (he lost badly at the polls because he was considered a Christian Right extremist). How men like Huckabee and Farris who condemn so many can claim they are followers of Christ baffles me. Here are some highlights from the Virginian Pilot (
VIRGINIA BEACH - Mike Huckabee urged his supporters in Virginia to send a loud message to political pundits: John McCain does not have the nomination sewed up. Huckabee brought with him two Republican leaders: Mike Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Northern Virginia, and U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, who dropped out of the presidential race last month.
Huckabee repeated his position on abortion, saying he is “unalterably and absolutely pro-life.” In another indirect reference to McCain, he added, “If we get that wrong... then we will get everything else wrong.” Huckabee is the last major candidate to visit South Hampton Roads or send a surrogate. Huckabee, 52, was governor of Arkansas from 1997 to 2007. He is a former Southern Baptist minister and former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Monday Male Beauty

Some People Are Gay: Get Over It

As noted at Towleroad (, John Barrowman is interviewed by UK magazine Bent in its February issue about how his sexuality affects the way fans, particularly kids, perceive his Torchwood character Captain Jack. Barrowman recently lent his support to a campaign by UK gay rights group Stonewall to fight homophobic bullying in schools, and the campaign is now set to go national. The UK will soon be plastered with hundreds of posters and stickers that hope to raise awareness about bullying and hate crimes. Obviously, a similar anti-bullying campaign is very much needed in the USA even though it would no doubt face strong opposition for the Christianists who think they have the right to ruin the lives of others by preaching a message of hate and division. Here's a quote from Barrowman:

"My nieces and nephews have known I was gay since they were born. It's always been Uncle John and Uncle Scott and that's the way it should be. People joke, 'Oh John, get off your soap box', but it is a soapbox and it's something that matters to me. It's normal, we have partners, we have sex, and we do the same, well, sort of things that men and women do... I’ve worked a lot with kids and kids don’t care, they are open to stuff. At a signing a father asked his five year old son if he wanted my autograph and he said ‘yeah, I don’t care if he likes men, he’s still my hero’."

Blogging Following Obama's Virginia Beach Rally

Last evening, I attended the Barack Obama rally in Virginia Beach with my friends, Marty and Christopher – we arrived just shy of four hours before he began speaking – and I must say that in all my years of being a political activist and working on many campaigns, I have NEVER EVER seen ANYTHING like it. The estimated crowd of 18,000 must be the largest number for a political rally ever in this area. The photos above are from the rally [Nicole Young, the local field organizer that I am working with is in one photo] and give some sense of the huge size of the crowd. The other thing that was remarkable was the make up of the crowd - was truly diverse: young, old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight. Literally, no segment of the population was left out. Located in the crowd about 30-35 feet back from the stage where Obama spoke, we had a tremendous vantage point. Hearing him speak for nearly 45 minutes (although it went by so quickly that it seemed like perhaps 20 minutes), I am even more excited and motivated to do whatever I can to work for his victory in the primaries and then in the general election.

As an aside, I spoke with one of my sisters who is likewise enthusiastic for Obama and she said that my brother had worked ALL day Saturday for Obama’s campaign. Obama can attract moderates and disillusioned Republicans in a way that Hillary just simply cannot. The Democrats truly need to wake up to this reality. Here are some highlights from the Virginian Pilot's coverage (
VIRGINIA BEACH - A throng of thousands cheered Sen. Barack Obama at a boisterous rally Sunday night, two days before Virginia’s presidential primary. "This is our moment. This is our time,” he told the Virginia Beach Convention Center crowd, estimated at 18,000 by event organizers. Obama partisans hailed the turnout as a sign that their candidate will carry the state Tuesday. “This has got to be the biggest political rally in Virginia Beach history,” said U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, who spoke to the crowd before Obama arrived.

In Virginia Beach, Obama responded to Clinton’s argument that the first-term Illinois senator needs more experience. “Some have asked, 'Why so soon? You can afford to wait,’ ” Obama said. But, he added, “There’s such a thing as being too late.” In an apparent swipe at Clinton, Obama said, “People don’t want the same old cast of characters in Washington. They want somebody new.”
The diverse crowd at Obama’s Virginia Beach rally included senior citizens with walkers and teenagers. “America has never seen anything like this since the ’60s,” said the Rev. Marcellus Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church Morrison in Newport News. “Dr. King would be smiling now.” “I’m old enough to remember John F. Kennedy,” said Bob Sterling, 64, of Norfolk. “I get the same feeling about Barack Obama.” “He’s a miracle,” said Ayana Berridge, 21, of Cerritos, Calif., a student at Hampton University. “He’s able to inspire, to make you believe change is possible.”
Sadly, some of the comments on the Pilot article show that there are still many knuckle dragging ultra-right Neanderthals who are attempting to spread lies about Obama - e.g., that he's Muslim. I sense they fear that their days of bigoted dominance may be waning.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Sunday Male Beauty

Water Boarding Is Legal According to the White House

If we needed any more proof that the Chimperator is a war criminal, the White House’s admission that water boarding – a technique that is illegal under both U.S. and international law - has been utilized against detainees should seal the case. I truly do not understand the mindset of how the Christianists who continue to lick the Chimperator’s and Cheney’s boots reconcile their enthusiastic support of the use of torture with their allegedly Christian beliefs. All I can figure is that since they see Muslims (along with gays, blacks, brown skinned Hispanics, Jews – in short everyone not just like them) as less than fully human, they think it is alright to torture them and treat them in inhuman ways. Talk about perverting the message of Christ. The plain and simple truth is that Bush and Cheney should be tried and convicted for their illegal actions. Here are some highlights from the LA Times (,0,1028317.story):

WASHINGTON -- The White House said Wednesday that the widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding is legal and that President Bush could authorize the CIA to resume using the simulated-drowning method under extraordinary circumstances. The surprise assertion from the Bush administration reopened a debate that many in Washington had considered closed. Two laws passed by Congress in recent years -- as well as a Supreme Court ruling on the treatment of detainees -- were widely interpreted to have banned the CIA's use of the extreme interrogation method.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, now the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, has led efforts to outlaw waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods previously employed by the CIA.In a recent GOP presidential debate, McCain said it was inconceivable that "anyone could believe that [waterboarding is] not torture. It's in violation of the Geneva Convention. It's in violation of existing law." The leading Democratic contenders for the White House, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, have taken similar positions.

CNN's Situation Room reported that Vice President Dick Cheney, an ardent defender of U.S. tactics in the war on terror, was "defiant" about the use of waterboarding on suspects in an appearance today at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C.

Cheney said that he supported President Bush's national security decisions, which included the approval of waterboarding along with other harsh interrogation tactics. "I've been proud to stand by [Bush], by the decisions he's made," said Cheney, who then asked aloud, "Would I support those decisions today?" "You're damn right I would," he answered himself, to loud cheers.