Saturday, April 12, 2008

More Saturday Male Beauty

LGBT Standing United: Becoming More Inclusive

I was a panelist today at an event hosted by Old Dominion University sponsored by Equlity Virginia with the assistance of several local LGBT organizations, including HRBOR. The focus of the event was issues in the transgender community and some of the workshop topics covered both health and legal/employment law issues faced by the transgender community in Virginia. My contribution was a hand out that summarizes the current laws in Virginia relative to employment non-discrimination. Sadly, Virginia is a state where there are few employment non-discrimination protections within the larger LGBT community, much less transitioning individuals going through gender reassignment. It was an interesting and enlightening event and Equality Virginia plans to have similar events in other areas of the state.
One of the goals is to avoid a split between the "LGB" and "T" factions of the LGBT community that have errupted over ENDA. There are many positive aspects to including gender identy or gender expression to non-discrimination legislation which would further protects LGB individuals. The big issue is that of what is realistically possible in terms of getting the legislation passed into law. We definitely need to maintain a unified front to the maximum extent possible to better the situation of all LGBT citizens.
Financial and in-kind sponsors of the event included: Hampton Roads Business Outreach, Hampton Roads Pride, New Life MCC Of Hampton Roads, ODU Multicultural Student Services, ODU Women’s Center, Tidewater Aids Community Taskforce, Trans Rights Of Virginia.

Saturday Male Beauty

Bush Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S.

In its continuing effort to turn the USA into a police state like something out of Nazi Germany or Communist China, the Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon. Why not rename the Supreme Court the court of Star Chamber while he’s at it. I seriously doubt there will be any delay in implementation despite the assurances of Michael Chertoff. The Chimperator is a delusional, megalomaniacal ass and one can only hope that the Congressional Democrats will challenge him and stop such unconscionable efforts. I fully suspect that even blogs like this one are under regular surveillance as part of the Chimperator’s never ending witch hunt against those who oppose his policies. Policies which have left the nation less safe because of the undermining of the nation’s standing internationally and because they have made the number of would be anti-US terrorists multiply. Here are some highlights from the Washington Post:

The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department's new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities -- such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps. Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. The department has previously said the program will not intercept communications.

Democrats say Chertoff has not spelled out what federal laws govern the NAO, whose funding and size are classified. Congress barred Homeland Security from funding the office until its investigators could review the office's operating procedures and safeguards. The department submitted answers on Thursday, but some lawmakers promptly said the response was inadequate.

"I have had a firsthand experience with the trust-me theory of law from this administration," said [Congresswoman] Harman, citing the 2005 disclosure of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, which included warrantless eavesdropping on calls and e-mails between people in the United States and overseas. "I won't make the same mistake. . . . I want to see the legal underpinnings for the whole program."

US Catholics Seek Bold Papal Action on Sex Abuse

It will be interesting to see whether or not Benedict XVI will recognize the need to take some bold action in terms of apologizing for the sex abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church since 2002 and cost the Church over $2 Billion in the USA alone. Personally, anything short of the removal of all bishops and cardinals involved in abuse cover ups with the offenders sent away in disgrace will fall short and indicate that the apology is disingenuous. I believe the Church hierarchy is remorseful only (a) because the scandal came out in the first place and (b) due to the moneys lost by the Church. I belieive that Benedict, like much of the clery, has no concept as to how offensive most Catholics deem the abuse cover up or how inexcusably callous the Church's response has been to date. Here are highlights from Reuters :
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Catholics angered and demoralized by the priest sex abuse scandal say one man can help revitalize the Church with bold action: Pope Benedict. Some advocates for the victims want the pope to apologize, others want him to permanently ban child molesters from the priesthood, or publicly identify them.
In addition to apologizing, Pope Benedict and all our bishops should meet with survivors, listen to their stories, and treat them with respect and compassion," said Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful, a Boston-based group formed after the scandal erupted there.

Barbara Blaine, who formed the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, suspects the pope may meet with carefully selected victims in what she called a public relations gesture. She said the Church continues to protect the identities of abusers and the bishops who know of their sins. "The stakes are so high. Children are at risk. There's a public safety crisis still in America today," Blaine said. "We need something bold from the pope and we sure hope it will come during his visit."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Final Friday Male Beauty

HRC Staffer Responds To Trans “Conspiracy Theories”

I hate to say it, but in my opinion, the transgender community is not helping their cause by making allegations that lack a factual foundation. Making wild statements while demanding that possibly achievable employment protections that would protect millions be set aside until the trans community gets equal employment non-discrimination protections too is not going to win them friends. In fact, it may alienate those who are otherwise supportive of their cause. As I have said repeatedly, I support an inclusive version of ENDA, but if that cannot get passed, then it is time for a pragmatic reality check and we need to realistically push for what can get passed through Congress. By actions like the wild claims on Bilerico cited below, all the trans community will achieve is dividing the larger LGBT community further. Some of them need to wake up, smell the coffee and grasp the reality that without the full support of gays and lesbians across the country, trans inclusive legislation will NEVER get enacted. Bilerico Project made this allegation earlier today (

The HRC Dinner is being held at the convention center hotel across the street from the George R. Brown Convention Center on April 12. The protest is being coordinated by the distinguished stateswoman of the Houston transgender community Phyllis Frye and veteran leaders Vanessa Edwards Foster and Josephine Tittsworth. But it seems as though HRC has a problem with the Houston transgender community exercising their First Amendment rights. The National HRC office called the Houston Police Department in an attempt to shut down the protest.
Yeah, the Homosexual Rights Corporation is a friend of the transgender community. If you still believe that fairy tale, I have some waterfront property along I-10 in the Atchafalaya Swamp between Breaux Bridge and Baton Rouge I'd like to sell you.
The problem is that HRC did not call the police. Rather, as reported by Queerity ( this is how the situation unfolded with no conspiracy whatsoever:
The fact is that the standard procedure is when we are notified of a protest, then it is our obligation to notify the hotel/venue. The hotel/venue then takes the necessary precautions to make sure their guests are safe and that any protests happening outside of their property is also done so in a safe manner. One of those precautionary steps that the hotel/venue takes is to notify the local police department. This was done in DC, NYC, and Philadelphia previously without any problems, complaints, or conspiracy theories. So, with all that being said we are looking forward to a great Houston dinner which will be attended by the Mayor of Houston. And was the case at previous dinners, those who want to wear their stickers and stand in protest will be more than welcome to do so.

Schwarzenegger To Fight Anti-Gay Amendment

It is encouraging that Governor Schwarzenegger has declared that he will oppose any attempt to pass an anti-gay marriage amendment to the California constitution. Sadly, he has vetoed pro-gay marriage bills that have passed the Legislature, but perhaps he is waking up to the inequity that LGBT couples face. Whatever the motivation, I am glad that he has stated that he will oppose writing discrimination into the state constitution. He also notes that there are far better things that the wwingnut Christianists could be expending their time on - even if not a constitutional amendment that would let Arnold run for president. Here are some highlights from the Los Angeles Times (,1,4001297.story):

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says if an initiative to ban gay marriage qualifies for the November ballot, he's prepared to fight it.California's governor was in San Diego today speaking at the annual convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay Republican group.

Schwarzenegger said he was confident that a ban would never pass in California but called the effort "a waste of time" -- joking that he wished activists would focus on allowing naturalized citizens to run for president instead.A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman did not say what prompted the governor to shift his position. He has previously vetoed bills that would have legalized gay marriage.

More Friday Male Beauty

Bishop Michael Reid Resigns over Sex Scandal

Another hypocrite who headed the "Christian Congress for Traditional Values"in the UK (A CCTV ad is posted at left) has been forced to resign due to a sex scandal. Funny how these guys who say they want to protect marriage and the family from us evil gays have such a proclivity for extra-marital affairs or, in the case of Senator Venner from Louisiana, prostitutes. Perhaps if they spent more time minding their own families and not spreading hate and lies about gays and others, both they and the rest of us would be better off. Here are some highlights (

A well known Pentecostal church leader has resigned after admitting he's had an affair. Bishop Michael Reid was the head of Peniel Church and school in Essex.

...In a statement Bishop Reid said: "It is with great sorrow and regret that I have resigned from the church board and have stepped down from official duties. I confess that I have sinned by committing adultery. I recognize that I have failed in my duties and acted in a way that harmed the Church. I take full responsibility for my actions and so I resigned. I apologize to my wife and family and all of you whose trust I have betrayed and ask for your forgiveness and prayers."

Outside Northern Ireland, British evangelicalism tends to be politically centrist and wary of authoritarian leaders. However, Michael Reid and his Peniel Church in Brentwood, Essex, are an exception. Reid – a former policeman – is more like a US "Christian Right" figure, and for the past few years he has campaigned for "traditional morality", arguing with figures such as gay-rights activist Peter Thatchell and protesting against Jerry Springer: The Opera. One 2000 Guardian report has further details:

gays are "filthy perverts"; Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are variously described in videoed sermons as "vile" and "foul heathens". Christians who do not work, Reid said in one recording, should be allowed to starve. He believes in capital punishment, and he would pull the trigger himself; lethal injection is too good for them, he says in one church video.

Interesting friends, and Reid's admission is another blow to the International Communion of Charismatic Churches; former presiding Bishop Earl Paulk was last year engulfed in numerous sex scandals, including allegations of sexual abuse. Richard Roberts, meanwhile, was recently forced to resign from the presidency of Oral Roberts University over claims of financial mismanagement. Reid himself has long-standing links with Oral Roberts and ORU.

Gay Foes Target Marriott Over Adult Movies

Keeping gays as second class citizens and/or re-criminalizing gay relationships is only a part of the Christianist agenda to force all citizens to comply with the Christianists' extremist religious views. This new effort against Marriott should be convincing evidence that "protecting marriage" is only the beginning of the true Christian Taliban agenda: banning contrception, banning heterosexual cohabitation, banning gay rights, including religious doctine in public education, etc. Every Marriott I have ever stayed in has a very simple method whereby room guests can bar adult movies from being viewed in their rooms if the guest so desires. Any parent who wants to safeguard against their children seeing an adult movie has an easy and ready remedy. Hence, this is not an effort to "protect" children and any claim that it is constitutes another disingenuous intentional lie - one of the hallmarks of AFA (which markets "ex-gay" know for a fact to be frauds) and the other groups attacking Marriott. Rather this attack on Marriott is an outright effort to censor what other consenting adult citizens can view in the privacy of their hotel room. Don Wildmon, James Dobson, Richard Land and Tony Perkins are some of the biggest liars in the country - sadly, the mainstream media never calls them on their blatant intentional dishonesty. Here are highlights from (
(Tupelo, Mississippi) Several conservative groups, including the American Family Association, are asking Marriott International Inc. to stop giving hotel guests the option of ordering pay-per-view movies with strong sexual content - gay and straight. AFA, based in Tupelo, said 47 "pro-family leaders'' have signed a letter asking chain's chief executive, J.W. Marriott Jr., for a meeting to discuss their concerns. Marriott was told that stopping ``porn movies'' would be in keeping with the corporation's position of ``promoting the well-being of children and families,'' AFA said in a news release.
Conner said Marriott and most hotel chains offer in-room entertainment that includes a wide range of films and ``just one of those is adult offerings.'' ``Every guest can quickly and easily block out just the adult movie offering by either calling the front desk or using their (TV) remote pad in the room,'' Conner said. ``It does not appear at all if the guest does not want the offering.''
Among those participating in the letter to Marriott, according to AFA, are James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council; Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of High Impact Leadership Council; and Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media.
Of course, the other reason for this action is that Messrs. Wildmon, Dobson, Land, Perkins, et al, are addicted to porn and therefore have to have temptation removed so that they cannot give into their illicit desires to see some hot straight sex and/or some hot m2m action. Just another possibility.

Friday Male Beauty

Olympic Official Calls Protests a ‘Crisis’

The International Olympic Committee is paying the price for having foolishly granted the 2008 Summer Games to China. Anyone with common sense should have been able to see that there would be conflicts conerning China's repressive government and thug-like tactics for dealing with dissent. In my view, someone needs to say in very blunt and unequivocal language that the Chinese leadership will understand that unless the human rights abuses cease, the Games in total will be scaled back or moved to a different location. It is unacceptable that athletes who voice support for Tibet may be kept out of the Olympic Games. If China wants to be included in civilized events, it needs to act in civilized manners and stop the human rights violations. The excuses of the Chinese government and its lame attempts to blame the Tibetians and others for plots is a smoke screen that anyone other than a blithering idiot can see through. Here are some highlights from the New York Times (
BEIJING — China faced rare criticism of its human rights record from the head of the International Olympic Committee on Thursday, even as calls for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Games grew louder in Europe and the United States.

The president of the Olympic committee, Jacques Rogge, called on the authorities in Beijing to respect their “moral engagement” to improve human rights in the months leading up to the Games and to provide the news media with greater access to the country. He also described the protests that have dogged the international Olympics torch relay as a “crisis” for the organization.
Meanwhile, pressure increased on world leaders to signal their opposition to China’s policies in Tibet and its close relations with the government of Sudan by skipping the opening ceremony of the Games. The European Parliament urged leaders of its 27 member nations to consider a boycott of the ceremony unless China opens a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. In New York, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations informed China that he would not attend the ceremony, a spokeswoman said.
Preparations for the Games were rocked last month when Tibetans staged violent protests against Chinese rule and security forces cracked down on monks and other supporters of the exiled Dalai Lama in parts of Western China. The clashes set off sympathy protests and calls around the world for the boycott. Demonstrators turned the 21-city torch relay into a public relations fiasco for Beijing and the Olympic committee.
Top officials in China have claimed that the Tibetan protests and the international protests are part of a plot to disrupt the Olympics orchestrated by the Dalai Lama, who lives in India. They have called him a splittist and a terrorist whose goal is to separate Tibet from China.

2012 - End of Days… or Just More Hype?

Due to scheduling conflicts, I have not gone to the Second Saturday Salon in a couple months. Tomorrow night's meeting should be interesting, especially for a history freak like me. I have read a great deal of the pre-conquest Maya and Aztec cultures and even did a major high school paper on the topic complete with illustrations I drew (I still have it squirreled away somewhere - I got an A+). The Salon's topic will be the Maya calendar and it's 2012 predictions - the History Channel has run several stories on the subject. Here's the introduction for the Salon topic:

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of the Mayan calendar—the exquisite time-keeping piece of an ancient civilization—a clock that reflects information about the universe we have only recently discovered ourselves. For example, the Mayans correctly described the center of our Milky Way galaxy as having a “ black rift” or “black hole” not discovered by our own scientists until September 2002.

On the basis of their calendar Mayans also calculated that on the winter solstice of December 21, 2012 our sun and earth would move into alignment with this black hole —an event that occurs only once every 25800 years. According to Mayan scholar John Major Jenkins the Mayan perspective is that “around the year 2012, a large chapter in human history will be coming to an end. All the values and assumptions of the previous World Age will expire and a new phase of human growth will commence…The Maya understood this to be a natural process”, he said “ in which new life follows a death.”If this were the cosmology of a single culture perhaps it could be dismissed more easily but in fact, there are many references to this theme and general date in a variety of world cultures and prophecies.
Join us this Saturday to discuss whether all of this is just New Age hype or something much more.

It should be an interesting session and a great social opportunity since the attendees are eclectic and vary based on people's schedules and everyone brings food and wine. It is definitely not your typical group for this area and I have enjoyed the other sessions I have attended. On June 21st, there will be a summer solstice gathering. :) I'm sure the Christianists would say were are pagans or something worse.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

More Thursday Male Beauty

Benedict XVI Will Find a Less Than Unified Church

As an AP story from last weekend indicated, Benedict XVI will not find a problem free American Church. While the article cites two-thirds of American Catholics having a favorable view of Benedict, I have to wonder who they surveyed. Of the moderate Catholics I know, none of them like him. As for my family - which once was fairly hard core Catholic - only one of my siblings still goes to mass regularly. Even my 80 year old mother, while still going to mass routinely, ignores Benedict's pronouncements. As for my children and my college age neices and nephews, most rarely go to mass regularly and some refuse to attend Catholic services at all because they view the Church leadership as corrupt hypocrites who are not in touch with reality. In addition, the Church's anti-gay statements have alienated my children even further.
As regular leaders know, I left the Catholic Church even before I came out because the sex abuse scandal and cover up by the Church hierarchy utterly disgusted me (perhaps being a parent made it all the more upsetting and disgusting). My personal view is that at some point the Roman Catholic Church will have to come into the 21st century and accept modern science and mental health advances and knowledge. Otherwise, more and more Americans will be Catholic in name only and perhaps attend mass on Christmas and Easter. Ultimately, the Chuch will die which, given it's current hypocrital and morally bankrupt leadership, would likely be a good thing. and Here are some story highlights (

NEW YORK - In his visit this month to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI will find an American flock wrestling with what it means to be Roman Catholic. The younger generation considers religion important, but doesn't equate faith with going to church. Many lay people want a greater say in how their parishes operate, yet today's seminarians hope to restore the traditional role and authority of priests.
Immigrants are filling the pews, while whites are leaving them. Nearly one-third of U.S. adult Catholics are now Hispanic, and they worry about being considered a separate, ethnic church. About one-third of the more than 64 million U.S. Catholics never attend Mass, and about one-quarter attend only a few times a year, according to a 2007 study by the Center for Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. A majority never go to confession or go less than once a year. The generational split is stark: About half of Catholics born before the 1960s say they attend Mass at least once a week, compared to only 10 percent of those born since the 1980s.
The priesthood has been shrinking for decades. More than 3,200 of the 18,600 U.S. parishes don't have resident priests. Some dioceses are now hiring recruiters to travel overseas to find clergy candidates. The number of priests from other countries is growing so steadily that Seton Hall and other seminaries have been adding English classes, hiring accent reduction tutors and developing courses explaining U.S. culture — inside and outside the church.
Church buildings are aging and are badly in need of maintenance. As the Catholic population grows in the South and West, new parishes are needed. Many dioceses still haven't adjusted to the loss of free labor from nuns and priests, and are paying such low wages that turnover in schools and for other church work is high, Zech said. The Lay Faculty Association, a teachers' union, recently authorized a strike at 10 New York-area Catholic schools during Benedict's visit.
Beyond the daily expenses, dioceses have been paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in claims since the clerical sex abuse crisis erupted in 2002. Abuse-related costs for the church since 1950 have surpassed $2 billion.

Vatican: No Partisan Politics for Pope on USA Visit

Inasmuch as the Roman Catholic Church has recently endeavored to interfer in political elections in both Italy and Spain (among other places), I find the Vatican's assurances as reported in the Washington Post ( less than convincing. Even if the Nazi Pope doesn't explicitly name a party or candidate for faithful Kool-Aid drinkers to support, if he rails against gay marriage, abortion and certain other topics, he is indirectly endorsing the GOP and McCain. If he truly did not want to be involved in partisan politics, Benedict XVI would have made his trip to the USA after the November elections. The fact that he is coming now discredits his claims of a non-partisan agenda. Here are some story highlights:
NEW YORK -- Organizers of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States next week have taken great pains to keep him out of presidential politics. But the Roman Catholic teaching he's expected to emphasize _ on abortion, human rights and other issues _ has policy consequences that partisans will inevitably spin for their own ends.
The church opposes abortion and embryonic stem cell research, while supporting immigrant families and aid to the poor. Catholic teaching says marriage should only be the union of one man and one woman. Yet Benedict also supports the U.N. and protecting the environment. Benedict's first trip to the U.S. as pope runs from next Tuesday through April 20 in Washington and New York. His visit ends just two days before the critical state primary in Pennsylvania, where Catholics comprise nearly one-third of voters. Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the remaining Democratic contenders, are pressing for the Catholic vote. It's an inconvenient coincidence for the Vatican.

Despite the extensive Vatican safeguards against partisanship, political activists are already trying to anticipate what the pope will say and how it will benefit or hurt them. "The Republicans are just hoping and praying he'll say something strong about abortion and gay marriage and the Democrats are dreading it," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a political scientist and senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "But when he goes to the U.N., he's going to say things that are going to be to the left of Hillary and Obama."

Thursday Male Beauty

Obama Talks All Things LGBT With The Advocate

Even though Barack Obama has been making many public statements before large audiences in favor of gay rights and has LGBT issues readily identified on his campaign website - unlike Hillary Clinton who only makes strong statements in support of gay rights when in a friendly gay media environment and has made gays invisible on her website - I am glad that Obama has done a substantial interview with The Advocate. Perhaps this action will silence some of the self-important members of gay media editorial staffs that are peeved because Obama has not kissed their asses like Hillary.

To me, members of the gay media are more concerned about having their fragile egos stroked than about which candidate has the balls to support gays vigorously even in front of potentially hostile audiences. I think Obama is correct that he has been far braver and supportive than Hillary who has kept gays as a special interest to be milked for money but kept hidden from the spotlight. If a candidate will not support gays now in general public audiences, it is foolish to believ they will vigorously support gays if elected. I encourage all to read the full article. Here are some highlight's from the Advocate's coverage (

But in a wide-ranging interview this Monday, Obama discussed "don't ask, don't tell," the Reverend Wright, and why LGBT folks should lead on marriage equality, not politicians. Some may call the chat a shrewd political move by the Obama camp ahead of the April 22 Pennsylvania primary. We call it access.

The Advocate: Let’s start with what’s hot -- why the silence on gay issues? You’ve done only one other interview with the LGBT press. I know people wish they were hearing more from you.

Senator Obama: I don’t think it’s fair to say "silence" on gay issues. The gay press may feel like I’m not giving them enough love. But basically, all press feels that way at all times. Obviously, when you’ve got a limited amount of time, you’ve got so many outlets. We tend not to do a whole bunch of specialized press. We try to do general press for a general readership.

But I haven’t been silent on gay issues. What’s happened is, I speak oftentimes to gay issues to a public general audience. When I spoke at Ebenezer Church for King Day, I talked about the need to get over the homophobia in the African-American community; when I deliver my stump speeches routinely I talk about the way that antigay sentiment is used to divide the country and distract us from issues that we need to be working on, and I include gay constituencies as people that should be treated with full honor and respect as part of the American family.

So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history.

I guess my point would be that the fact that I’m raising issues accordant to the LGBT community in a general audience rather than just treating you like a special interest that is sort of off in its own little box -- that, I think, is more indicative of my commitment. Because ultimately what that shows is that I’m not afraid to advocate on your behalf outside of church, so to speak. It’s easy to preach to the choir; what I think is harder is to speak to a broader audience about why these issues are important to all Americans.

Tha Advocate: If you were elected, what do you plan to do for the LGBT community -- what can you reasonably get done?
Senator Obama: I reasonably can see “don’t ask, don’t tell” eliminated. I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law.

Saudi Blogger Posts Video On Violent Christian Extremism

I am no friend or supporter of any type of religious extremism. In addition, I believe that Islamic extremists are a very real threat to those in the west who support secular government and freed of religion for all. However, it is ironic to see someone turning the Christianists own tactics against them. Admittedly, he references Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders' movie "Fitna as what he wants to show as an unfair depiction of Islam, but the Christianist wingnuts are the ones who provided him with the footage to make his film. Raed al-Saeed's film shows that the Christianists' constant anti-Muslim statements and actions DO get noticed overseas and work to create anti-American dislike and hate as a consequence. Not that the Christianists care for anyone but themselves in the final analysis. Raed al-Saeed's comments on the Bible are very much on point and unfortunately the unloving statements from the Christianists show how the Bible is misused daily by extremists to inspire hatred towards those who are different. Here are highlights from Raw Story (
A Saudi blogger has made a short video featuring alleged Christian extremists preaching violence and a Bible passage calling for war, in response to an anti-Quran film that sparked protests across the Muslim world.

Raed al-Saeed told The Associated Press on Thursday that the purpose of his six-minute video is to show Islam should not be judged by watching Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders' movie "Fitna," which links terror attacks by Muslim extremists with texts from the Quran. "It is easy to take parts of any holy book that are out of (context) and make it sound like the most inhumane book ever written," al-Saeed said in a statement posted at the end of his video.
Al-Saeed, 33, said he lifted footage showing alleged Christian extremists and British soldiers beating up Iraqis from YouTube and used the same methods Wilders did. The video appeared to include footage from "Jesus Camp," an American documentary about a summer camp for evangelical Christians that was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award.
Raed's blog (in Arabic) is here. The YouTube video can currently be watched here. RAW STORY has also saved a copy (below) in case YouTube deletes it again.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Anglican Anti-Gay Rhetoric - Australian Style

It is bad enough that leaders in the Anglican Church in Africa are publicly bashing gays and directly or indirectly encouraging anti-gay violence, but one would expect something more enlightened from Anglican leaders in Australia. Apparently, such is not the case based on the recent statements of the rector of Sydney's St Stephen's Church in Bellevue Hill, the Reverend Richard Lane. Mr. Lane verbally attacked High Court judge Michael Kirby (pictured at left) who is gay and said that Justice Kirby that he would be facing the wrath of God if he did not repent. In my view, it is Lane who should be worried about the wrath of God, both for his un-Christian attitude and also for his blasphemy of second guessing God's purposes in making some of us humans homosexual, particularly in the face of modern science's view that sexual orientation is not chaneable or a choice. Here are highlights from the Sydney Morning Herald's take on the situation:
A SENIOR minister of a Sydney Anglican parish has made an extraordinary attack on the High Court judge Michael Kirby, warning he would face the wrath of God if he remained unrepentant as a gay man.

The rector of St Stephen's Church in Bellevue Hill, the Reverend Richard Lane, denounced the judge for calling himself a Christian Anglican while living in an openly gay relationship and warned as a "messenger, watchman and steward of the Lord in the Anglican Church of Australia", he faced God's judgment.

The attack came in an exchange of letters between the priest and the judge which was cited during a forum organised by St James Institute on Tuesday night to encourage a "public conversation" about religious tolerance and homosexuality. Justice Kirby shared the stage with the Herald's David Marr. The letters prompted a complaint from Justice Kirby to the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, who also asserts that homosexual practices are sinful.
In reply he argued Mr Lane's interpretation of biblical injunctions against homosexuality was not a universal one, and the biblical quotations used were unreliable mid-19th century translations. Mr Lane appeared to have turned a blind eye to the "central loving message of Jesus of the gospels".

"To defy modern knowledge and to stick to uninformed interpretations is truly irrational. To do so selectively is specially so. It is a reason why the churches are losing rational adherents."

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Archbishop of Canterbury Condemns Recent Violence Against Gay Christians

To date, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and titular head of the Anglican Communion has been a more or less emasculated leader whose approach to the brutes and bully's within the Church's hierarchy, particularly in Africa, is reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain's dealings with Hitler. Lots of meally mouth niceties, but no backbone and constant caving into those disseminating hate and brutalirty - e.g., Peter Akinola of Nigeria who may be involved in the massacre of Muslim women and children. Hence it is a bit surprising that he has had the courage to even speak out against the violence that has occurred against gay and lesbian Christians at the instigation of other Anglican clerics in Africa in particular. It's a start, but Rev. Williams has miles to go before he can be cited as exhibiting any true leadership in the face of these false Christians. What he really needs to be discussing is the removal of some of these monsters from the Church positions completely. Here are highlights (
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has described the recent violence and threats towards "Christians involved in the debate on human sexuality" as "disgraceful." Responding to a press release from Changing Attitude England announcing that gay leaders of the organization's Nigeria branch were seriously assaulted, Williams said: "The Anglican Communion has repeatedly, through the Lambeth Conference and the statements from its Primates' meetings, unequivocally condemned violence and the threat of violence against gay and lesbian people. I hope that this latest round of unchristian bullying will likewise be universally condemned."
"Such inflammatory statements lead some members of Anglican Communion churches to believe that threats and violence against those who are LGBT (or those who support a more open stance towards LGBT people) are not only justified but are authentic expressions of Christianity." Changing Attitude also published an open letter from 20 Anglican leaders to conservative church leaders expressing concern "about the use of incautious language" and urging them to "consider the effects of the language that they use."

The letter, signed by 14 bishops and available here, said: "The discourse taking place in the Anglican Communion about the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our churches must be conducted in the context of Christian love and mutual respect. If it is not, then people will continue to perpetrate abuse and violence against LGBT people."

Egypt Jails Five 'Homosexuals' for Three Years

I am not anti-religion. Truly, Iam not. However, it incresingly seems to me that one of the worse human created problems currently plaguing the world is religious fundamentalism in all its various forms and denominations. Rather than live their lives according to their insane/delusional beliefs and leave everyone else alone, it is always the fundamentalist who consistently try to compel all others to live according to their whacked out beliefs. The situation is the same whether or not the fundamentalists are allegedly Christian, Muslim or other religions. And sadly, gays always seem to be among their preferred targets of these - in my view - hate filled and intolerant groups. A case in point is the arrest of gays in Egypt who most likely want to live and let live. I can only shudder at how the wingnuts determined those arretsed were gays. Here are highlights from Yahoo News Canada (
CAIRO (AFP) - A Cairo court on Wednesday jailed five men, four of them HIV positive, for three years on charges of "debauchery" linked to homosexuality, the latest example of what rights groups call a "witch hunt."
The men were arrested three weeks ago in a central Cairo restaurant following an argument after which a client accused them of practising homosexuality, in what rights groups say is becoming a familiar pattern of persecution. A police doctor carried out anal inspections on the men "which confirmed their homosexuality," the court official said. Human Rights Watch said such examinations constitute torture and are medically spurious.
Besides facing widespread public prejudice, Egyptian homosexuals have in the past been jailed on charges ranging from "scorning religion" to "sexual practices contrary to Islam." Hafez Abu Saada, of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, said the men were prosecuted under 1961 anti-prostitution laws which "must be changed ... as it's against the international convention of human rights which Egypt signed in 1986. "This law is also against the Egyptian constitution which guarantees the right to privacy and individual freedom," he said.
A collective of over 117 health and human rights organisations on Monday sent a letter to the health ministry and the Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate saying doctors interrogating HIV-positive men were violating their own ethics. "Doctors must put patients first, not join a witch-hunt driven by prejudice," Human Rights Watch's Joe Amon said on Monday.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Roman Catholic Kool-Aid Drinkers

Today’s Washington Post has an article on younger conservative Roman Catholics who “reject cafeteria Catholicism” ( I simply could not pass up commenting upon the article since those interviewed demonstrate the mindset that has allowed the Church’s hierarchy escape any accountability for the sex abuse scandal and cover ups. Having been raised Catholic and having grown up into my teens before Vatican II made sweeping changes to the Church’s customs (I was an altar boy for 10 years and once knew the entire mass in latin), I well remember the customs that the individuals featured in this article desperately cling to. The mindset of that time was to blindly follow all the ridiculous rules and formalities like a herd of sheep - would eating meat on Friday really cause you to go to Hell - so that all the proper boxes could be checked off the Church promulgated checklist to insure one would go to Heaven. Despite such diligence and daily mass attendance for many years, none of it made me straight as promised.

Sadly, the families interviewed have a devotion that seems more of a form of idolatry than true faith. Slavish devotion to ritualistic practices and mindlessly following the dictates of a corrupt hierarchy replaces thought and a mature faith. To me, these people seem lost in a time warp seeking a time period that many of them never even experienced personally. I truly have to wonder what deep seated psychological issues induce them to cling so fanatically to ritualistic form over substance. Why such terror of thinking and reason? Likewise, I can just imaging how f**ked up their children will be from this type of upbringing. I know it has taken me years to get over the damage I experienced at the hands of the Catholic Church. Are these individuals devout or delusional? I'd say the latter. Here are some story highlights:

During an era when two-thirds of young Catholics say they can be good Catholics without going to Mass and many believe in a woman's right to choose abortion and view premarital sex as morally acceptable, Karen and David Hickey might be considered renegades -- because they are so devout. For the Hickeys and a community of young, conservative Washington area Catholics who piously follow the teachings of the church, Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Washington next week carries a special meaning.

They appreciate Benedict for his unwavering advocacy of what they hold to be "Catholic": ancient liturgical practices such as the traditional Latin Mass, the supremacy of the Catholic Church, Gregorian chants in worship and theologians who concur with the pope's teachings. As the Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog for 24 years before becoming pope, Benedict earned this group's devotion.

Such young Catholics' strict obedience to the tenets of their faith makes them an anomaly in their generation. Only 14 percent of Catholics ages 20 to 40 attend Mass at least weekly, according to research by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, and just one in five goes to confession once a year or more.

It is not an easy existence. Conservative Catholics, compared to "cafeteria Catholics" -- the term for Catholics who pick and choose which doctrines to follow -- say they can feel off the beaten path culturally. Daniel Heenan, 25, a Sterling Catholic school teacher who plans to enter the seminary, faces the amused scrutiny of his peers for his devout life. "A lot of them think I'm a lunatic," Heenan said.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Jamaican Violence Against Gays

It has been over twenty-five years now since I traveled to Jamaica on business on two occasions when I was in-house counsel for an American oil company. One trip involved meetings with governmental officials in Montego Bay and Kingston in negotiations for an exploration concession agreement. The second trip involved a formal signing ceremony at Government House - I was seated at the table with Edward Seaga, the prime minister - followed by a reception in Kingston and then a weekend of festivities in Ochos Rios on the north side of the island with Jamaican government officials and representatives of our partner, Agip, the Italian national oil company. Traveling by car across the island, what I saw was a beautiful island, generally very friendly people, and a place that I thought I would always want to visit again.
I do not know what has happened to Jamaica and its populace in the intervening years, but the mind set and homophobia seems to have taken a horrific turn for the worse. I for one, would NEVER go back until huge changes take place in terms of government action to stop anti-gay violence. As for why things have become so awful, I do not know. Perhaps the Christian church denominations have been taken over by the Jamaican equivalent of the Christian Right and anti-gay hatred has been instilled in the younger generation. I believe gay tourists need to avoid Jamaica like a plague and also encourage their friends to spend their travel dollars in more gay-friendly destinations. Here are highlights from Box Turtle Bulletin (
With their “Come to Jamaica and feel alright” campaign, the island nation seeks to present itself as a paradise for vacationing Americans. But sadly, the Jamaican society does not seem to believe that reality need live up to their media image.
Recent attention has been given to the violence against gay persons in the country. And resulting from the attacks on gay men, MCC has called on the country to repudiate such violence and to take steps to ensure the safety of the gay men and women who live there. Now Jamaicans in position of influence have given their response. Today Radio Jamaica reports that the Tourism Minister is not concerned about the efforts of MCC or other “homosexual groups."
But at least one Jamaican business recognizes that anti-gay violence does not sell well outside of a homophobic culture. Brewing company Red Stripe says it will not sponsor several upcoming concerts in Jamaica because of increasingly violent lyrics. The company has withdrawn thousands of dollars (euros) in sponsorship from the popular “Reggae Sumfest” and “Sting” reggae show. Musicians are glorifying violence in what has become a worrisome trend, the company said in a statement Friday.
What is missing from the conversation in Jamaica is the voice of reason, the voice of non-violence, the voice of decency. When confronted with murder, the response is, “How dare you criticize me?” and no one seems to find this concerning.
Perhaps Minister Bartlett shares the homophobia that is rampant in Jamaican society. Or perhaps he fears the condemnation he would receive as a result of being perceived as inadequately hostile to homosexual activists such as me. But if he cares about the future of his nation’s economy and stability, he might be better concerned that his nation not come to be seen by the American public as a hostile and violent place and he might wish to consider that the tourists he seeks to draw do not often share his culture’s fear and revulsion of gay men and women.

Obama, Christianity, Christianism

Andrew Sullivan had a great quote from a reader on his blog today that looks at Christian values ( Of course what is interesting - and 100% accurate in my view - is the analysis of true Christian behavior versus the distorted, hateful version of Christianity marketed by the Christianists and far right elements of the GOP. The Christianists cannot no longer even recognize true Christian behavior when they see it. Here are portions of the quote:
I was surprised with your claim that Obama has a Christian worldview and it is coloring everything that he does. I think this is exactly right. Obama is engaging in a Christian version of politics by being open to talking with enemies, by not belittling his enemies or those who don't agree with him, by running a positive campaign, by treating people as the flawed-yet-still-created-in-the-image-of-God creatures that we are. But surely you understand that a lot of evangelicals (and others) in America (and elsewhere) wouldn't recognize this form of behavior as Christian.
There is very little difference between being a good American and being a good Christian for a lot of those you call Christianist. And their conceptions of both of these identities are deeply flawed. Though I think the Gospel offers a clear prohibition on the use of violence by disciples of Christ and Obama disagrees with this (I am assuming), Obama comes as close to what a Christian president could look like as I have ever seen.

Tuesday Male Beauty

My Adventurous Grandparents

I have done several posts about my family history, including my mother's side of the family and the years that she and her parents lived in Central America. One of the old photos I found recently stashed away in an album is posted above. It was taken in 1922 in Almirante, Panama, where my mother's oldest sister was born a year or so later. A year or so after that, my grandfather was transferred to head up the hospital in Puerto Castilla, Honduras, where my mother and her other sister was born.
Sadly, my mother's father died when I was 11 and my grandmother suffered a devasating stroke about five or six years later. As a result, I never got to know them as I would have liked - they were unique, unconventional and adventurous individuals. It would have been so interesting to have been able to ask them all the things I would now so love to know about them and their lives. In the photo (which enlarges with a left click), my grand father was 35 and my grandmother was 26.

Officials Worried About a Deep Recession

As a number of other bloggers have noted, the Democrats need to be talking 24/7 about how the Chimperator/GOP economic policies and anti-regulation mantra are largely to blame in the rapidly sinking U. S. economy. Instead of gay bashing and working to pass marriage amendments, minding the economic store would have been far more prudent. Now, all will suffer as a result of wingnut homophobia and GOP voodo economics. The latest economic indicators seem to pointing downward and the USA may well drag down other economies with it. Here are highlights from a less than optimistic Yahoo News story (

WASHINGTON - Worries about a deep recession — not a shallow one — drove Federal Reserve policymakers to slash a key interest rate last month, meeting minutes show. "With the uncertainties in the outlook for both economic activity and inflation elevated, members noted that appropriately calibrating the stance of (interest-rate) policy was difficult," the minutes stated. On the one hand, the Fed has been urgently moving to prevent the trio of economic woes — housing, credit and financial_ from plunging the country into a deep recession. On the other hand, with soaring energy prices and high food costs, policymakers realize that they can't afford to let inflation get out of control, either.

The government reported last week that the economy lost jobs for the third month in a row in March. All told, the nation has lost 232,000 jobs in just three months — stark evidence of just how much the employment market has buckled under the weight of the economy's woes.

Besides cutting rates, the Fed has taken a number of unconventional steps recently to ease a dangerous credit crisis. Under one new program, the Fed has been letting big investment firms borrow super-safe Treasury securities and put up more risky investments, including certain shunned mortgage-backed securities as collateral. The Fed said it would make as much as $200 billion worth of Treasuries available through weekly auctions. The goal is to make investment houses more inclined to lend to each other. It also is aimed at providing relief to the distressed market for mortgage-linked securities. Questions about their value and dumping of these securities have driven up mortgage rates, aggravating the housing crisis.

Homeless LGBT Youths - Monstrous Parents and Churches

A post on Gaytwogether about homeless LGBT youth who have been thrown out by their parents ( caught my eye this morning when I was doing my brief morning news/blog survey. It has been at the back of my mind all day up to this evening. The questions I have kept asking myself throughout the day have been (1) what kind of sick, depraved parent could throw their child out for being gay and (2) how has the Gospel message of Christ about love of neighbor become so perverted and hateful in the hands of so many alleged Christians, especially those belonging to fundamentalist denominations? Under their misdeeds instead of “God is Love,” the main message is “God is Hate.” Hate towards gays, hate towards non-Christians, hate towards immigrants, hate towards liberals, and in many case, hate towards blacks and minorities. The list of who these “Christians” hate - despite their utterly disingenuous double speak of “hate the sin, love the sinner” - is nearly endless. They have made Christianity into something very evil.

But what struck me most from the article is how could a parent EVER disown and discard their child? I truly would lay down my life for any one of my children, thus it simply is outside my mental thought processes that I could discarded one of my children purely because some pompous, Pharisee like, hypocritical pastor or cleric has said homosexuality is bad based on a few lines written centuries ago by uneducated, scientifically illiterate, nameless individuals. What horrid, monstrous people to do such a thing!! I believe God, the Creator, or whatever name one might use, has a special punishment in store for those who disseminate such hate and poison. Here are a few highlights from the Gaytwogether post:

Six months ago, 15-year-old Drew said he would have described himself as an “ordinary teenager.” “I lived with my parents in a nice house in a good neighborhood in upstate New York,” he said. “I got good grades at school, and my life was pretty great.”

“It all changed the night I tried to tell my parents I was gay,” he said. “My mom was pretty cool with it, but my dad just freaked out and started screaming. Then he started hitting me.” “He’d never hit me before, never,” he sobbed, “but when I told him who I was, that I was gay, he just got so mad. He said he was going to kill me and I believed him, so I ran.”

After spending a few nights sleeping at a friend’s house, Drew returned home, hoping that things might have calmed down. “I tried to open the door, but my key didn’t work any more. So I started knocking and eventually my dad came to the door and told me that I was no longer his son and he never wanted to see me again. He said if I ever tried to get in touch with him or my mom again he’d find me and kill me,” he explained.

In 2007, the Empire State Coalition conducted a local survey in which it found that almost a third of homeless young people in New York self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. These findings closely mirror a similar study conducted nationally by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which estimates that between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth define themselves in this way.

Monday, April 07, 2008

More Monday Male Beauty

Court Rules for Breakaway Episcopal Churches

A Northern Virginia circuit court judge has ruled in favor of the break away elements of the Episcopal Church diocese in Virginia. The legal war is hardly anywhere near over and the constitutionality of the 1860's vintage law has yet to be determined. I cannot find a great deal on the judge in the case, Randy I. Bellows, other than he is a former Assistant U. S. Attorney and that he was appointed to the bench in 2002 when the GOP had a strangle hold on the General Assembly and judicial appointments. Such being the case, I can only assume he is very conservative on social issues such as gay rights.

The irony of course is that the law Judge Bellows relies on to reach his result was passed in the Civil War era and was passed so that the Baptist churches that became the Southern Baptist denomination - and which supported slavery and often worked against civil rights for blacks in later years - could retain their property when they parted ways with the northern branch of the denomination. In short, the motivation behind the law was to protect the breakaway Baptist churches from the consequences of their racial bigotry and support of slavery. Judge Bellows has now used this arcane law to once again find in favor of bigots who see other citizens as less than fully human. In Virginia, some things never change.

The other irony is that the self-anointed, self-rigtheous members of these breakaway parishes have aligned themselves with Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola around whom controversy swirls because of his possible involvement in the massacre of Muslims – oops, I forgot, Muslims aren’t Christian so killing them doesn’t count with these folks – and other possible misdeeds. I cannot think of a poorer choice of leader for those who sanctimoniously claim they are Christian. Am I missing something? In any event, here are highlights from the Washington Post (
A Fairfax County judge has given an initial victory to conservatives from 11 Virginia churches in their battle to keep tens of millions of dollars in buildings and land after breaking away from the Episcopal Church. The decision is a first step in a multi-trial case and does not settle who gets the properties. But it is a boost to the breakaway churches and to a national movement that is battling the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, over what it believes to be an un-biblical liberal slant in the national church.

In the decision issued Thursday night, Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled the breakaway churches' votes to leave in late 2006 and early 2007 constituted a legal "division" in the Virginia diocese under a Civil War-era statute. The diocese and the national church have said that the votes constituted a minority of diocese members and that the diocese, not congregants, owns the properties.

They also argue that the state law is unconstitutional because it lets the government tell a religious denomination how to govern its affairs. Bellows agreed to hear arguments in May on whether the state law is constitutional. The court, he wrote, "does not decide today any issue related to the constitutionality" of the law.
William Etherington, a lawyer specializing in church-state law who is not involved in the case, said he expects that it will be decided on grounds of constitutionality and that it could have an effect that extends beyond the Episcopal Church. "The constitutional issues cut across any denomination. It's something that's going to affect, certainly, any hierarchical church," he said yesterday.

Warren Throckmorton Offers Day of Silence Response for Evangelicals

Having faced off with Warren Throckmorton in e-mail exchanges and having been trashed by him by name in a column in after "ex-gay" Michael Johnston was exposed as a fraud in 2003, I do not really trust anything Throckmorton does. In general, I continue to think his religious fanatiscm and desire to prey on distraught parents of young gays and cash in on the ex-gay financial gravy train strains the credibility of his actions.
However, compared to his prior gay bashing jihads, this proposal looks like a decided improvement. Nonetheless, I believe a stronger way to demonstrate the Golden Rule would be for Throckmorton to SUPPORT the National Day of Silence. That way, there would be no other agenda being served and Throckmorton would be unequivocally acknowledging that abuse against gays does occur and that it is generally fueled mainly by his "Christian" friends. Here are some highlights from Pam Ferguson at Ex-gay Watch (
While Dr. Throckmorton may have the best of intentions with the Golden Rule Initiative, he’s getting mixed reviews from all sides. He says…

Although we are being criticized by some on both extremes, I believe the Golden Rule Initiative is an effort to affirm consensus in attitude and action that schools should be safe places to learn for all students. We all should agree that bullying and harassment of GLBT students is wrong. The Golden Rule group is making a stand on that common ground.

I believe there’s merit to Dr. Throckmorton’s idea. Now, lest you begin rotting your tomatoes to toss my way, hear me out on this. I grew up in an anti-gay, evangelical home. It took years for me to understand the depth of the bigotry because it was couched in scripture, dowsed in guilt, and lit up with the flames of charismatic fundamentalism. I was not as clear-thinking and transparent in my youth as some in the amazing crop of young people I’ve had the privilege of befriending.
I understand that many view the Golden Rule Initiative as a distraction from the very important and vital message of The Day of Silence.

Monday Male Beauty

Olympic Torch Relay in Chaos in Paris

To be honest, I am pleased to see that many are protesting the Olympic Torch run in various counties. The lack of human rights in China and current crackdown in Tibet is the antithesis of the ideals of the Olympics. In my opinion, China should never have been selected to host the games. The very fact that the Chinese government doesn't want live broadcasts says it all. All that the International Olympic Committee has done is reward a repressive regime, much like in the 1930's with the Berlin games under Hitler.
Not surprisingly, unlike his French counterpart, the Chimperator - who has trashed the U. S. Constitution, implemented unlawful spying on U. S. citizens, and wishes he could rule like the Chinese leadership - has every intention of attending the opening ceremonies. Here are some highlights from yahoo news - note the lame excuses made by the delusional Chinese officials who do not understand that their little sound bites do not work in countires with a free press and rights of free assembly (

PARIS - Paris' Olympic torch relay descended into chaos Monday, with protesters scaling the Eiffel Tower, grabbing for the flame and forcing security officials to repeatedly snuff out the torch and transport it by bus past demonstrators yelling "Free Tibet!"

The relentless anti-Chinese demonstrations ignited across the capital with unexpected power and ingenuity, foiling 3,000 police officers deployed on motorcycles, in jogging gear and even inline skates. "It is inadmissible that the games are taking place in the world's biggest prison," Garel said later. Outside parliament, as the torch passed, 35 lawmakers protested, shouting "Freedom for Tibet." "The flame shouldn't have come to Paris," said Carmen de Santiago, who had "free" painted on one cheek and "Tibet" on the other. Pro-Chinese activists carrying national flags held counter-demonstrations.

Police had hoped to prevent the chaos that marred the relay in London a day earlier. There, police had repeatedly scuffled with activists and 37 people were arrested. Beijing organizers criticized the London protests as a "disgusting" form of sabotage by Tibetan separatists. "The act of defiance from this small group of people is not popular," said Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee. "It will definitely be criticized by people who love peace and adore the Olympic spirit. Their attempt is doomed to failure."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has left open the possibility of boycotting the Olympic opening ceremony depending on how the situation evolves in Tibet. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Monday that was still the case.

My Son's Progress on the Appalachian Trail

My son the adventurer

Nantahala National Forest to the north of Franklin, NC

The view from Fontana Dam

I received the first e-mail from my son earlier today as he works his way northward on the Appalachian Trail. He has covered 120 miles so far and was in Franklin, North Carolina, where he and some fellow hikers had checked into a motel for a respite from the bad weather. He says they have had seven (7) days of fog which has obscured much of the views.

He will then be headed for Fontana Dam, the highest dam east of the Rocky Mountains, as he continues north. As he goes north, he will pass unfortuantely to the west of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, where I went one time with my oldest daughter for a figure skating invitational competition. For a tiny and picturesque town (the Blue Ridge Parkway runs near the town), Spruce Pine had a fabulous ice rink that had been built by a multi-millionaire who had dreamed of having his own ice hockey team and built a training facility in Spruce Pine. The team did not last, but the town now has a great facility. My daughter still has a souvenir from that trip: a an emerald - 1.2 carats after being cut - that her mother found in a bucket of mine tailings which I had mounted in a ring (Mitchell County is a gem center).

As for my son, from the tone of the e-mail, he is having a great time and no doubt having many interesting experiences that he will remember his whole life. I am proud of his courage and sense of adventure, yet as a parent I cannot help but worry. :)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

More Sunday Male Beauty

Kerry to Vote for ENDA Without Trans Language

Not to be labor the issue, but John Kerry's announcement of his support for a non-all inclusive version of ENDA shows the practical need of getting some version of ENDA through the U. S. Senate this year. The battle for trans inclusive language can continue unabated, but during the interim, millions of gays and lesbians will have employment discrimination protections that they now lack. Yes, I know that the nay sayers will argue that the Chimperator will veto the bill. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. I think a veto is absolutely assured if the transgender language is included since it sets the fundies foaming at the mouth. With the transgender language deleted, the Christianists lose the ability to run around saying ENDA would force employers to hire "men wearing dresses and heels." Such statements are hateful, but they are nonetheless effective with spineless members of Congress. Part of the political process is moving forward incrementally to get as much as possible at the particular moment in time. Here are some highlights from Bay Windows (

Sen. John Kerry told Bay Windows today that if ENDA comes up for a vote in the Senate in its current form, granting protections based on sexual orientation but not gender identity, he will support it. He said he strongly supports adding the transgender-inclusive language, but in the short term he believes it is important to pass the bill as is.
In a statement to Bay Windows Kerry said: We’ve been fighting more than twenty years to get these civil rights protections passed, and Massachusetts has always been in the forefront. After more than a decade of trying to pass ENDA under Democratic and Republican administrations alike, I think we’re finally at a point where, under Democratic leadership and with support from Massachusetts leaders, we finally have a good chance of passing a bill this year.
We all want to see transgendered workers included, and I guarantee that day will come and we’ll get there, but this year it’s vital that we get the most protection for the greatest number of employees that we can. People are being discriminated against today in the workplace and the law needs to make it clear that’s a violation of civil rights and human rights, now.