Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Saturday Male Beauty

Michele Bachman Wins Ames Straw Poll

That someone as crazy and unqualified as Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann could win the straw poll today speaks volumes about the intellectual decline of the GOP. The woman has had ZERO legislative accomplishments in Congress and repeatedly has shown herself to be challenged by historical facts that school children learn usually by junior high school. Yet she won the poll followed in a close second place finish by Ron Paul. Driving this intellectual decline of the GOP are "conservative Christians" who put faith before objective facts, science and plain common sense. The only good news is that loons like Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich were well down in the pack. Rick Perry, who was not even on the ballot secured enough votes to place sixth. Jon Huntsman, perhaps the only truly sane candidate, finished second from dead last. Politico looks at the insanity and here are some highlights:

Riding a surge of support from social conservatives, Michele Bachmann claimed victory Saturday at the Ames GOP straw poll — a triumph that will cement her status as the Iowa frontrunner. The third-term Minnesota congresswoman won 4,823 votes, narrowly edging out Ron Paul, who got 4,671 votes.

“You have just sent a message that Barack Obama will be a one-term president,” Bachmann exclaimed to a swarm of supporters and reporters after the results were announced. “This was a wonderful down-payment on taking the country back.”

Tim Pawlenty, who had spent most of the last month and much of his war chest here in an attempt to win Ames, came in a distant third with 2,293 votes – a disappointing finish that may spell the end of his campaign.

In less than two months since announcing her candidacy in her native Waterloo, the Minnesotan congresswoman rapidly climbed in the polls here and won a passionate following among the Christian conservatives who are a pillar of the Iowa GOP. Bachmann benefited, too, among fiscal conservatives from her intense opposition to raising the debt ceiling — the central political issue in the weeks leading up to the straw poll.

“She’s very conservative, she’s pro-life and she doesn’t flip-flop on the issues, said Lee Guthrie, a farmer and non-denominational pastor from Menlo, Iowa, who sported a Bachmann hat as he slowly shuffled toward her tent.

Santorum and Cain, also, both now will face money-driven decisions about whether they want to continue in the race. For Santorum, who has little cash in the bank, that means whether he wants to incur debt in going forward. And in the case of Cain, the former CEO must decide whether he wants to spend more of his own personal wealth to continue.

What Do You Call This??

LinkI saw this photo over at Joe.My.God and it was just too good to pass up. As "Linda Richmond" would say on SNL, talk amongst yourselves and share your thoughts. :) I wonder what "Marcia" Bachmann has to say about it!

Rick Perry - Why We Should be Afraid

It's no secret that Texas governor - and now presidential candidate - Rick Perry has aligned himself with some of the most hate-filled and extremists elements of the Christianists. "The Response" last weekend was but the latest of Perry political fellatio efforts to secure the support of the ultra far right. Besides siding with extremists, Perry's record in Texas is not exactly comforting. Yes, he brags about job creation - but most of the jobs created have been at the bottom rung of the employment ladder. Certainly not jobs that allow one to prosper and raise a family. Karen Ocamb looks at why we should be fearful of a Perry candidacy at LGBT Pov. Here are highlights (I recommend that you read Karen's article in full):

Republicans might be divided about who best represents their political values right now but if, in the end, Republicans chose Texas Gov. Rick Perry as their presidential standard-bearer to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, Americans should expect nothing short of a political holy war.

As Iowa voters drove to Ames for their curious Straw Poll that may weed out some GOP presidential contenders, Perry was in Charleston, South Carolina for the RedState Gathering where, as anticipated, he stole the national show by announcing his 2012 presidential run.

Mainstream journalists seem to think Perry has gotten past the brief controversy over the large prayer rally he organized, unabashedly meshing Christianity with politics – something Perry denied during the rally. In fact, most mainstream journalists paid scant serious attention to “The Response” at the time, shrugging off the rally’s subtitle – “a call to prayer for a nation in crisis.”

But the nation is in crisis and during such times, many people turn to religion for comfort and communion with others. They become “prayer warriors.” And while hard-core politicos might shrug with some bemusement at the emotional pitch in this video – religious people of all stripes will find in it something familiar. If former Texas Gov. George W. Bush was someone voters felt they could have a beer with – Perry is someone with whom they can pray.

As ThinkProgress has pointed out, God is in the mix on everything, including the bad economy. PERRY: I think in America from time to time we have to go through some difficult times — and I think we’re going through those difficult economic times for a purpose, to bring us back to those Biblical principles . . . .

But there is way more to this story, in addition to Perry’s explicitly antigay beliefts. In advance of Perry’s announcement, Rachel Maddow reported on some of the themes and through-lines Perry’s prayer rally prophets espouse . . . And Perry picking these radical fringe Christians – who believe they are prophets and apostles with a direct line to God – elevates the fringe Christians from the self-contained Christian church, TV and online networks to the national stage. And apparently Perry believes he’s been anointed by these prophets to be the “instrument of God” to bring about that theocracy.

On the excellent watchdog website Talk to Action, Rachel Tabachnick and Bruce Wilson have been studying, researching and writing about the New Apostolic Reformation [NAR] – the religious extremists to whom Perry is enthralled – for several years. . . .

The apostles of the NAR view themselves as leading the one legitimate church and unifying Christianity for the end times. In their end times scenario, it is necessary to take control over societal and governmental entities before Jesus can return. But first, as could be heard repeatedly in the messages at Rick Perry’s prayer event, the church has to repent and be cleansed.

In the context of the teachings of the NAR, the repeated calls for repentance of the church at Perry’s prayer event were about cleansing Protestantism of its toleration of homosexuals, a woman’s right to choose, and most importantly – of its toleration for religious pluralism, separation of church and state, and secular government. Again, toleration of those things of which they disapprove is not a virtue, but a sign that one is controlled by demons.

And now those martyrs to the cause, as well as the NAR prophets, have a politician around whom they can rally. If these troops are mobilized – and if the NAR’s amorphous identity can be masked to recruit the tired, poor and afraid – this 2012 election should be like no other we’ve seen.

These people are scary and constitute a clear and present danger to constitutional government if they - and Perry and those like him - are not stopped and defeated electorally.

Indiana Anti-Gay Lawmaker Offers Teen Boy $80 for Sex

UPDATED: Not surprisingly, according to new reports from the Indianapolis Star, Hinkle appears to be receiving pressure from the GOP to resign:

"I strongly recommend that Representative Hinkle resign his position," said Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker, "so that he can focus on his family and not have this situation detract from that or the work that needs to continue in his legislative district."

Andy Harris, Wayne Township trustee and former Wayne Township GOP chairman, said the people he has spoken to in Wayne Township are "just shocked and floored."

"It is not something they expected from Phil Hinkle," said Harris, who attends St. Christopher Catholic Church with him and considers him a friend. "But if found to be true, he definitely needs to step down. . . . There's no way I could support somebody running for an elected office doing that to their spouse and their family."

How many of those who are "shocked and floored" are still contributing to the Catholic Church? Hinkle's conduct is nothing compared to the criminal conspiracy that has unfolded under the Church hierarchy in covering up the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children and youths.

ORIGINAL POST: Once again it seems those who are the most anti-gay in the public political lives are the ones actually out trolling for gay sex. As Bil Browning at Bilerico reports, the Indianapolis Star has "outed" Indiana Republican representative Phil Hinkle for offering a teenage boy $80 for sex after finding the young man on Craigslist. It's beyond hypocrisy and while many may disagree with me -as some of you have let me know in the past - I believe that every last one of these bastards needs to be exposed for the liars and hypocrites that they are in fact. They do untold damages to the lives of other LGBT citizens and, I'm sorry, I find it impossible to find even a tiny shred of sympathy for these people. It's one thing to be in the closet. It's something all together different to be in the closet and trolling for gay sex even as one is pushing legislation to harm other LGBT citizens. Here are highlights from the Star's coverage:

Emails shared with The Indianapolis Star suggest that state Rep. Phillip Hinkle -- responding to a local posting on Craigslist -- offered a young man $80 plus tip to spend time with him Saturday night at the JW Marriott hotel.

The emails, sent from Hinkle's publicly listed personal address, ask the young man for "a couple hours of your time tonight" and offer him cash up front, with a tip of up to $50 or $60 "for a really good time."

The email exchange is in response to the Craigslist posting in which the young man -- who lists his age as 20 in the ad but says he is 18 years old -- says, "I need a sugga daddy."

The young man told The Star that they met, but that he tried to leave after the man told him he was a state lawmaker. He said the lawmaker at first told him he could not leave, grabbed him in the rear, exposed himself to the young man and then later gave him an iPad, BlackBerry cellphone and $100 cash to keep quiet.

When contacted by The Star about the emails, Hinkle, a Republican who represents portions of Pike and Wayne townships, did not contest the emails but said, "I am aware of a shakedown taking place." Asked what he meant by shakedown, Hinkle would not elaborate. He directed further questions to his attorney.

The young man, Kameryn Gibson, told The Star he posted the Craigslist ad in the "Casual Encounters" section under m4m, which is shorthand for men for men. He used his adopted sister's email address.

Gibson said he and the man met but that they did not have sex. He and the sister, Megan Gibson, flatly denied any shakedown. "I wasn't shaking him down, at all," Kameryn Gibson said. Megan Gibson said she contacted The Star because she thought Hinkle's actions were "creepy" and, given his stature, that his actions should be made public.

Megan Gibson also provided the email exchange, which she forwarded to The Star. She also allowed a reporter to inspect the emails, which she had kept, on her smartphone. The phone contained not only the email exchange but a call log that showed phone calls from numbers that match both Hinkle's cellphone and home phone.

When Megan Gibson arrived to pick up her brother, she again threatened to call police and the local media. Kameryn and Megan Gibson said Hinkle then offered his iPad, a BlackBerry and $100 in cash.

Megan Gibson said that on the drive back, she began receiving a series of calls on the BlackBerry, including one from a woman who said she was Hinkle's wife. "I was like, 'Your husband is gay,' " Megan said. "And then she was like, 'You have the wrong person.' " Megan read her the email address: phinkle46
The line went silent. "Just for a couple seconds," Megan Gibson said, "and the first thing she said was, 'Please don't call the police.' " Phone messages left with Hinkle's wife late Thursday were not returned.

Assuming that Hinkle's wife did not know about her husband's hypocrisy and double life, then she does have my sympathy to some extent. The blame in that situation all lies with her husband. On the other hand, if she knew and did nothing to rein in his anti-gay voting agenda, then I'm sorry. She bears culpability as well.

Saturday Male Beauty

Dedicated to Douglas Wagner - a loyal reader that I have the pleasure of seeing each year here in Somerset!!

Traveling with Pets

UPDATED: I added a photo of the dogs and a photo of their stroller. Amazingly, the were perfectly well behaved.
Except for going to my late mother's place in Charlottesville to visit, the boyfriend and I have never traveled with our two dogs - after this trip so far, I know why. It's as bad as traveling with small children! Most of the drive from Hampton to Somerset Pennsylvania is on the Interstate or Pennsylvania Turnpike other than a portion of the stretch from Fredericksburg, Virginia to Winchester, Virginia. That portion is typical Piedmont with rolling hills and curving roads - all of which cause Bandit, the bigger dog to blow lunch in the back seat (thank God for leather seats). We stopped at a gas station to vacuum up the mess and Sassy, the smaller dog got so excited by the noise and the boyfriend getting out of the car that she blew lunch on me.

Having finally arrived in Somerset, the pre-reunion dinner went well and upon returning to the hotel that allows pets, we decided we'd run over to friends briefly leaving the dogs at the room with treats, water and the TV on for background noise. We had not been at our friend's house even 20 minutes when the boyfriend received a call from the hotel that the natives were raising a ruckus and misbehaving themselves. We quickly returned to find two canine actors of the first order pretending to be contrite and acting as if they knew nothing about what the problem had been. As I said, just like my days of traveling when my kids were little.

P.S. We are going to the big antique festival with the dogs in their crate/stroller that the boyfriend brought with us. I know - way too gay!

Friday, August 12, 2011

More Friday Male Beauty

Obama Reelection Support Softening

I've been saying for many months that Barack Obama was cutting his own throat by his incessant spinelessness and refusal to be a leader as opposed to a follower. The latest Washington Post Poll demonstrates that the frustration is building and that if Obama hopes to be reelected, he needs to hope that the Republicans nominate a sheer nut case so that moderates and disaffected liberals will hold their noses and pull the lever for Obama in November 2102. Yes, things can change during the intervening months, but Obama has needlessly alienated many who helped put him in office. Hoping that the other guy will be even less appealing is not exactly a strategy that I'd want to be banking on. Here are highlights from the Washington Post:

Amid spiking disillusionment with the political process, Americans are split on whether to blame President Obama or Republicans for the S&P credit downgrade or Washington’s generally out-of-touch behavior, according to a new Washington Post poll.

Obama’s political standing is weaker in the aftermath of the fierce debt negotiations, especially among liberals. There’s also stronger opposition than support for a second term among swing voting groups who backed him in 2008, including independents and women.

More than four in 10 Americans say they "definitely will not" support Obama in 2012, while fewer than half as many, just two in 10, are certain to back the president for reelection. The number of “definite” Obama voters marks a low in polls since November 2009 and has dropped four percentage points since a Post-ABC poll in June, and eight points since April.

Support for Obama has softened considerably on the left: In the new poll, 31 percent of liberals say they are certain to vote for Obama next year, down from 46 percent in June. One in five liberals says they “definitely will not” vote for him, while a 43 percent plurality says they’ll considering casting a ballot for Obama.

[W]ith 15 months left before Election Day, more than three times as many independents say they “definitely will not” vote for Obama in 2012 as say they “definitely will” — 45 percent versus 14 percent. And among women and those under 50, more say they’ll definitely oppose than definitely support Obama next year.

Lack of enthusiasm about awarding Obama a second term hasn’t translated into support for the current GOP nominees among swing voting groups.

More Evidence that the Bible is Not Inerrant

The majority of the main arguments and sources of hate against LGBT individuals for the most part trace to one document - the Bible. A book that the anti-gay Christianists claim is "inerrant" and "the inspired word of God." The truth, of course ,is something very different. And, as biblical scholarship progresses, the supposed reliability of the Bible as "the word of God" becomes increasingly shaky if not totally destroyed. The reality thus becomes that over the centuries untold thousands - if not millions - have died over differences arising from a book that is a man made work with little or nothing inerrant about it. That's not to say that the basic Gospel message is not a moral guide to live by. Merely that the Old Testament and the New Testament passages that relied on precepts from the Old Testament should be afforded little or no credence. The News Observer has an article that looks at ongoing research on the Bible's evolution that confirms the Bible quoted today by the Bible beater set is far different than the original not to mention the one from the time period of Christ. Here are some highlights:

JERUSALEM -- A dull-looking chart projected on the wall of a university office in Jerusalem displayed a revelation that would startle many readers of the Old Testament: the sacred text that people revered in the past was not the same one we study today.

An ancient version of one book has an extra phrase. Another appears to have been revised to retroactively insert a prophecy after the events happened.

Scholars in this out-of-the-way corner of the Hebrew University campus have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies - publishing the authoritative edition of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, and tracking every single evolution of the text over centuries and millennia. And it has evolved, despite deeply held beliefs to the contrary.

For many Jews and Christians, religion dictates that the words of the Bible in the original Hebrew are divine, unaltered and unalterable. For Orthodox Jews, the accuracy is considered so inviolable that if a synagogue's Torah scroll is found to have a minute error in a single letter, the entire scroll is unusable.

But the ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine.

Bible Project scholars have spent years combing through manuscripts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Greek translations on papyrus from Egypt, a printed Bible from 1525 Venice, parchment books in handwritten Hebrew, the Samaritan Torah, and scrolls in Aramaic and Latin.

Those who build their worldview on the Bible are likely building their world on sand or out of a deck of cards because what they claim to be the inerrant truth is anything but.

Friday Male Beauty

Family Reunions and Friday Reflections

Posting over the weekend will likely be reduced. We are headed for the Somerset, Pennsylvania area for the boyfriend's family reunions - his dad's is tomorrow and his mom's is on Sunday. While there we will also see a group of gay friends that we've made on the annual pilgrimages in prior years. Tomorrow we will be at one of his aunts' home just over a large hill from the site of the Flight 93 crash. It's always a good time and fortunately his extended family are completely welcoming of us as a gay couple.
Sadly, many LGBT individuals continue to be less than fully accepted by their families. It's both sad and an indictment of parents who cling to myths and religious doctrine disseminated by all too often morally bankrupt clergy. With every legitimate medical and mental health association saying that sexual orientation (i) is not and choice and (ii) not something that can be changed, why to parents embrace ignorance and reject their children? It's something that as a parent myself I just cannot comprehend.
I'll be putting up posts as I have the opportunity. Thanks to my faithful readers.

GOP Presidential Candidates Fundraise For Anti-Gay Groups

A recent visitor to the blog left a comment that basically said that I shouldn't be so hard on Christians because many would be welcoming and good neighbors. That's true as far as it goes, but being a good neighbor in my view also involves vigorously standing up to haters and not allowing the modern day Pharisee class composed of Christianists and self-enriching professional Christians to define Christianity. On this front, too often the "good Christians" as I call them yield the field time after time to the haters. When are they going to loudly condemn the hate merchants who cloth themselves in the robe of religion? When are their leaders going to demand to go on the news networks and state unequivocally that the the haters are false Christians? Bad things happen to others when the good folk remain silent out of either laziness, difference, or fear. Meanwhile, the hate groups continue to be the public face of Christianity as demonstrated by the groveling that the GOP presidential contender do before groups such as The Family Foundation here in Virginia - an organization that is a continuing fountain of hatred towards others. The ultimate irony, of course, is Herman Cain groveling to these groups which if one scratches the surface are anti-black as well. Talk about being an Uncle Tom. Here are highlights from the Washington Independent:

A number of Republican presidential candidates are raising money for family policy councils, state-based religious-right groups affiliated with the Family Research Council, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center says is an anti-gay hate group.

Many, but not all, of the policy council fundraisers are being held in early primary states. Presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain have all signed on to headline FRC-affiliated fundraisers.

The Florida Family Policy Council announced last week that Bachmann will headline it’s annual fundraising gala at the end of August. The Aug. 27 event, the group’s “6th Annual Policy Awards Dinner,” is billed by the group as the “conservative dinner event of the year,” with a theme of “Igniting a Cultural Transformation.”

The Ignite campaign, which more than a dozen participating family policy councils have refused to discuss openly, is raising millions for the state-based groups as part of a strategy to capitalize on Republican wins in 2010.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain will be on hand for a fundraiser gala benefiting the Family Foundation of Virginia. The theme for the Richmond event is “Our time is now!” The Family Foundation was instrumental in passing an anti-gay marriage amendment in Virginia in 2006.

The Family Institute of Connecticut is hosting its annual banquet on Sept. 30 and have signed on presidential candidate Rick Santorum. “Same-sex marriage is being wielded as a weapon to push the gospel out of American society altogether,” Peter Wolfgang, head of FIC, recently said. Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut.

Earlier this year, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich headlined a fundraiser for the Minnesota Family Council. Bachmann was also in attendance. At the Minnesota Family Council event, Gingich was showered with glitter by an activist supportive of LGBT rights. The Minnesota Family Council was successful in getting a measure on the ballot in 2012 to add a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution.

The Minnesota Family Council has also come under criticism for statements on its website that accuse gays and lesbians of eating feces and engaging in sex with children and animals.

Until the "good Christians" begin to seriously stand up to groups like the ones cited in the article, I'm sorry, but I am going to lump them in as part of the problem. Sometimes being meek and silent is not the true Christian thing to do.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Thursday Male Beauty

Tell Corporations to Stop Funding Hate

I've written previously about a number of high profile corporations that have withdrawn their participation in the Christian Values Network after learning that they have been unwittingly helping to fund anti-LGBT hate groups. Some of the corporations that have severed ties include Expedia,, Avis, Westin Microsoft, Macy's, Delta, and more than 200 other corporations. Unfortunately, hundreds of corporations continue to participate and have a portion of the sales proceeds go to vitriolic anti-gay organizations that masquerade as charitable organizations under the smoke screen of religion.
* has a petition that will be sent to corporations that are still subsidizing anti-LGBT hate. If you haven't signed the petition yet, please go here to do so (you can also see what companies are continuing to help fund anti-LGBT organizations through their participation in CVN). The LGBT community needs to make hate and bigotry carry a very real financial price.

New Yorkers Still Good With Gay Marriage

Despite the vows of fat cow Maggie Gallagher and the folks at NOM to punish New York State legislators who voted for the state's marriage law back in June, a new poll suggests that NOM will face an uphill battle. The Daily News has coverage of the poll and here are highlights:

A few weeks after same-sex marriage became law here on July 24, a NY1/Marist poll finds most New Yorkers are still comfortable with the idea and don't want to turn back the clock.

Here are a few highlights, followed by the full findings: 55% of NYS adults support the legalization of same-sex marriage. 36% oppose it, and 9% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.

When it comes to a suit filed to overturn the law, 63% of adults statewide don’t want the law to be overturned, 32% do and 5% are unsure.

Nearly seven in ten suburban residents -- 69% -- and about two-thirds of those upstate -- 66% -- don’t want the law overturned. 57% of NYC adults agree.

Although 79% of New York State residents don't expect to be a guest at the same-sex marriage of a family member or friend in the next year, 70% would attend asked, including 34% who oppose the law legalizing same-sex marriage.

Thursday Male Beauty

Why the Political Center-Left is Fed up with Obama

I'm sure that I will hear from Obama defenders because of this and past posts who will as is the norm chastise me about Obama being better than the GOP alternative. That may be true as far as it goes, by why ares too many willing to a mediocre lesser of two evils instead of demanding something better? This willingness to accept the lesser evil only seems to encourage Obama to ignore those who put him in office and assume that he's free to do so because we'll come running back to support him rather than the GOP bogey man. Matt Miller has an op-ed in the Washington Post that expresses much of my exasperation - and that of growing numbers of voters. Here are highlights:

I know who the real villains are at this volatile moment. So why am I so mad at Barack Obama? I know I’m not alone. In conversations with folks across the center-left in recent days, everyone’s basically had it with the president.

[S]omehow the debt-ceiling fiasco and the downgrade, punctuated by these horrific jobs numbers and stock market gyrations, has made something in me (and, I suspect, millions of others) snap. It’s the sound of confidence in Obama’s leadership breaking.

Yes, other forces may be “responsible” for the bad news. But in the end a president has the most power to shape the debate. How could Obama have let the entirely foreseeable debt-ceiling standoff turn into a hostage drama? Why didn’t he have the spine to say “send me a clean debt limit increase or I’ll raise it myself and see you in court”? How could he leave us in a position where every future debt-limit hike now becomes an occasion for blackmail?

Events keep screaming that the president is weak, weak, weak. That this can happen so soon after his gutsy call to take down Osama Bin Laden is striking. First the president gets rolled on the debt limit. Then S&P lowers the boom. Then China piles on. Then the White House rushes out word that Tim Geithner is staying put. Can anyone explain exactly who that news was meant to reassure?

Then there’s the president’s measurably ineffective pep talk as the market plunged on Monday. And the cynically inadequate “pivot” to jobs. Coupled with what will surely be a more-than-ample pivot to character assassination, with news that Team Obama’s plan for 2012 is to metaphorically “kill” Mitt Romney.

Will Obama go big? I think not, because no honest agenda for American renewal can avoid trims and taxes that impose costs on the middle class (as part of a long-term plan to save it). Yes, the president will sound “big,” and so will his opponent. But it’ll be phony. Instead, we’re in for another season of charades as both parties fight for 51 percent with symbolic “ideas” unequal to the size of our challenges.

If this is how it plays out, people like me won’t just be mad at Obama. We’ll be mad at ourselves for believing he was going to be different.

Census Shows Surge in Gay Couples in Virginia and Marryland

The census data has some bad news for the Christian Taliban crowd at The Family Foundation and for professional homophobes Bob Marshall and Ken Cuccinelli: the number of self-identifying same sex couples in Virginia has increased 49%. Thus, Marshall's admitted hope to drive gays from Virginia seems to be failing. Indeed, only one Virginia county in the far southwest of the state did not reveal any gay couples. Much of the increase stems from couples being more open about who they are in census returns. I predict that with the end of DADT next month, the census numbers will surge again in areas with heavy military populations such as Hampton Roads given that there are many gays and lesbians in the military who currently would never self-identify on census returns. Some are even couples where both are members of the military. And many couples have children to the likely horror of the Bible beaters. Here are highlights from the Washington Post:

The number of people who identify themselves as part of a same-sex couple has soared over the past decade in what demographers say is the product of an aggressive outreach effort by the Census Bureau and growing cultural acceptance.

In Virginia, the census counted 20,500 same-sex couples, a 49 percent increase that amounts to 1.2 percent of couples in the state. In both states [Maryland and Virginia], the number of heterosexual married couples increased only modestly.

In Maryland and Virginia, most of the same-sex couples live in urban neighborhoods. Baltimore and Richmond show the highest levels, and the Washington suburbs are close behind. In some Baltimore neighborhoods, as many as 14 percent of couples are gay and lesbian.

he census shows that gay and lesbian couples are present in every county in both states. And gay families with minor children were counted in every jurisdiction except for one sparsely-populated Virginia county near the West Virginia border.

Though their numbers are smaller, gay and lesbian couples with children show up at higher rates in many rural areas. Gates said that is because many of them had an earlier relationship and child with someone of the opposite sex.

Alison Page and her partner, Leanne Wells, left Virginia when they moved from Centreville to Laurel in 2004 after they decided to have children. Paige gave birth to twins in 2006, and Wells adopted them. “We knew we wanted to have children, so we moved before we started the process,” said Page, 37. “The state of Virginia would not allow second-parent adoptions for same-sex couples. Maryland gave us the legal protection we needed.
My views are Virginia are well known to regular readers and, if circumstances were different, I'd leave this backward state in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Rick Perry's "The Response" Showcased His Extremist Supporters

The has been much political chatter about Texas Governor Rick Perry's anticipated entry into the GOP presidential primary races. Rachel Maddow had a good segment that looked at the religious extremists - and, in my view, seriously mentally disturbed - that were headliners at "The Response." These folks are theocratic maniacs who want to take over the government which will be run under their dictates as the new apostolic successors to the original apostles of Christ. Yes, it sounds nutty at best, but that the crowd that Perry has chosen to embrace over the weekend at the coven of crazies in Houston. Right Wing Watch has a summary of the wingnuts that surrounded Perry at "The Response." It's frightening since, not surprisingly, LGBT citizens are objects of hate for these self-anointed "godly Christians." Read the whole piece. Meanwhile, her are a few highlights:

While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.

In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."

The American Family Association. The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality.

International House of Prayer. The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. . . . . IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government.

Tony Perkins. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda.

Jim Garlow. One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. . . . He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8.

John Hagee. While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies.

James Dobson.
James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush.

David Barton. David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.

Under "other Allies" are listed 13 other religious extremists/nutcases. Here's a sampling:

Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself .. . .

Pastor Stephen BrodenBroden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
These individuals are frightening and it's frightening that there are some who think Perry is even remotely fit for the office of the presidency. That's he's a sitting governor is scary enough.

Obama Fatugue? - Hillary Warned Us

Remember Hillary Clinton's "3 a.m. phone call" political ad back in the 2008 primary run up that questioned whether or not Barack Obama was up to the task of the presidency? I do and, given the disaster that Obama has proven to be in the White House, I'm moving towards believing that Hillary's ads were more correct than many wanted to believe at the time - and that we should have listened to them. And I'm not the only one. Others are also hoping for a 2012 primary challenge against Obama and see Hillary as the one to be that challenger. A piece in The Daily Beast looks at this trend. Here are some highlights:

At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.” “Every single person nodded, including the Republicans,” reported one observer.

At a luncheon in the members’ dining room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday, a 64-year-old African-American from the Bronx was complaining about Obama’s ineffectiveness in dealing with the implacable hostility of congressional Republicans when an 80-year-old lawyer chimed in about the president’s unwillingness to stand up to his opponents. “I want to see blood on the floor,” she said grimly. A 61-year-old white woman at the table nodded. “He never understood about the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy,’” she said. Looking as if she were about to cry, an 83-year-old Obama supporter shook her head. “I’m so disappointed in him,” she said. “It’s true: Hillary is tougher.”

During the last few days, the whispers have swelled to an angry chorus of frustration about Obama’s perceived weaknesses. Many Democrats are furious and heartbroken at how ineffectual he seemed in dealing with Republican opponents over the debt ceiling, and liberals are particularly incensed by what they see as his capitulation to conservatives on fundamental liberal principles.

In Connecticut, a businessman who raised money for Obama in 2008 said, “I’m beyond disgusted.” In New Jersey, a teacher reported that even her friends in the Obama administration are grievously disillusioned with his lack of leadership—and many have begun to whisper about a Democratic challenge for the 2012 presidential nomination. “I think people are furtively hoping that Hillary runs,” she said.

Among many of the 18 million Americans who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008, the reaction is simple and bitter: “We told you so.”

“Remember that 3 a.m. phone call? Remember the warning about the rose-colored petals falling from the sky? Remember about learning on the job? Sure you do. Doesn’t a part of you, deep down, realize she was right?” wrote Dickinson, a political-science professor at Middlebury College. “If I heard it once this last week, I heard it a thousand times: You were duped by Obama’s rhetoric—the whole ‘hopey-changey’ thing. And you wanted to be part of history, too—to help break down the ultimate racial barrier. That’s OK. We were all young once. But now it’s time to elect someone who can play hardball, who understands how to be ruthless, who will be a real ... uh ... tough negotiator in office.

Such polls notwithstanding, insiders insist that Clinton will not challenge her president for the 2012 nomination, and many pundits dismiss the idea as political suicide. “A challenge from Clinton would be a complete disaster, both for her and for the Democrats,” wrote Jon Bernstein on the Plain Blog political site.

However unlikely a Democratic challenger might seem at present, Obama would be foolish not to heed the deep dissatisfaction represented by such speculation, which is now spreading like an ominous brush fire. Given the abundance of devastating economic news lately, he would also do well to remember the Clintons’ rallying cry from the 1992 election.

Unaccustomed Spotlight on Virginia Beach Following SEAL Team Deaths

The entire Hampton Roads area is deeply tied to the U.S. military given that Norfolk is the Home of the Atlantic Fleet, Virginia Beach is the home of Oceana Naval Air Station, the Navy’s Little Creek amphibious base, and Fort Story and Camp Pendleton. On the Peninsula we have Langley Air Force base and Ft. Eustis. When the tragedy of military deaths hits, it’s not unusual to either know one of the victims or someone who know one of the victims. The recent SEAL team deaths in Afghanistan are a case in point, with the majority of the dead hailing from Virginia Beach. As the Washington Post notes, typically mourning is low key and dignified. Yet, in a rare display of public mourning, the local surf community had a “paddle out” to honor one of the fallen (the photo is from the Virginian Pilot):

On Tuesday night, a rare public memorial took place when surfers formed a ritual circle in the sea for Kraig Vickers, one of the fallen SEALs who was a Hawaii native and loved to surf. But organizers of the paddle-out off Little Island Fishing Pier in Sandbridge also asked that there be no interviews, the Virginian-Pilot reported. Another public tribute occurred hours after the helicopter crash with a moment of silence during a Norfolk Tides minor league baseball game.

At the Vickerses’ home in a quiet suburban development, the family declined a request for an interview. Neighbors tried to comprehend the loss of a man who left behind his pregnant wife Nani and their three children.

I’m no supporter of the ongoing fool’s errand in Afghanistan. However, my heart does go out to the families of those lost – needlessly lost – because of the stupidity and dishonesty of the military leadership and our spineless commander-in-chief in the White House.

The "Marcia" Bachmann Cure for Homosexuality

Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God had this cartoon which was just way too funny to pass up. Joe calls Marcus "Macia" Bachmann "Ladybird" just to add to the fun. In all seriousness, the "cure" depicted in the cartoon makes as much sense (maybe even more since the view would be truly frightening!) than the bogus "pray away the gay" batshitery marketed by Bachmann at his "Christian counseling" clinics. The "ex-gay" myth is bullshit and quacks like Bachmann and the folks at Exodus International deserve whatever ridicule and humiliation that comes their way. P.S. Some of the comments on Joe's post are hysterically funny.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Chilean President Introduces Civil Union Bill

As many parts of the USA continue to slide into backwardness and place allegiance to religious extremism ahead of modernity and progress (yes, Virginia one such area), the countries in South America continue to demonstrate that they understand the meaning of religious freedom and equality under the civil laws for all citizens than does the USA which increasingly is a false beacon of the values it claims to uphold but in reality mocks. Now Chile is moving towards civil unions and most surprisingly, the bill in question was introduced by the nation's conservative president, Sebastian Pinera (pictured at left). AFP and Google News have details. Here are highlights:

Chile's conservative president proposed legislation Tuesday to recognize gay civil unions, granting them some of the same rights as married couples in the ultra-Catholic country.

"All forms of marriage deserve respect, dignity and the support of the state," said President Sebastian Pinera, who signed the proposal and sent it to Congress.

"This puts opposite-sex and same-sex couples on the same footing, because in both cases it is possible to develop love, affection and respect."

Pinera, who brought conservatives to power after 20 years of center-left rule in the country, grated on his own election campaign when he announced his intention to legalize civil unions for gay couples. He said two million people in Chile live together without marrying.

It will be a notable turn in Chile, where 80 percent of the country is Catholic and the government did not recognize divorce until 2004.

States With Gay Marriage Have Lowest Divorce Rates

Self-enriching cow Maggie Gallagher and the wide-assed bigots like Archbishop Dolan in New York in Catholic Church bishoprics around the country whine incessantly about "protecting" marriage from the threat of same sex marriage. Yet a new report shows that divorce is the least prevalent in states where gay marriage is legal and the highest - yes, you guessed it - in the Bible belt and ultra conservative states. It's one more example of the deliberate lies and untruths put out by the anti-gay folks whose real agenda is to punish LGBT citizens for not conforming to Christianist religious beliefs. They can whine and blather all they want, but it comes down to seeking to force others to live by the beliefs of the Christofascists. Here are highlights from Edge of the Net:

One would think that the liberal Northeastern states, which include five of the six where marriage equality is legal (including, that is, the federal District of Columbia), would have the highest rate of divorce because they are perceived as more freewheeling. In addition, the main argument against gay marriage has been that it undermines the state of marriage. So it would follow that, in states that have embraced gay marriages, heterosexual marriages are in a perilous state of collapse. Except that the opposite appears to be true.

At first glance, it looks counterintuitive -- at least, if you pay attention to the rhetoric of religious conservatives, who frown on divorce because they believe heterosexuals shouldn’t engage in premarital sex and once married, should remain so for the rest of their lives.

Here’s the really surprising part: It’s the Bible belt, the swathe of religious ultra-conservatives that swings from West Virginia down through Dixie that has by far the highest proportion of divorce rates among the general population.

Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, for years has had the lowest number of divorces in the nation. In 2009, there were only 1.8 divorces per 1,000 population. Marriages also are legal in Washington, D.C., which closely trails Massachusetts with 2.1 divorces per 1,000 residents.

New York, the largest and most recent state to legalize marriage equality, has a divorce rate of 2.5 per 1,000. That ties the rate in Iowa, the sole non-Northeastern state to allow same-sex marriages. The other states with marriage equality also all have low divorce rates compared to the national median: Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The same things that produce higher acceptance of diversity are the things that tend to lower divorce rates," she explained. "This is one of the ironies. People who are higher educated and who have experience outside marriage because they have delayed getting married and have a higher degree of economic security and sophistication tend to be more acceptable of same-sex marriage and have lower divorce rates."

College graduates, of whom there are many more in the low-divorce states, have higher incomes, which tend to make marriages last. "Those in the South have much lower income and education levels," Coontz reported.

That's right. The very ignorance and close mindedness preached by the Catholic bishops, the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and other anti-gay denominations is what really helps to increase divorce rates. Not Adam and Steven being civilly married and being treated as a lawful couple. So the next time you hear Maggie Gallagher pontificating, know that she's lying. Worse yet, I suspect she knows that she is she loves enriching herself more than telling the truth.

Wisconsin Democrats Fail to Retake State Senate

In what will likely serve to energize the nastiest elements of the GOP, unofficial results indicate that Wisconsin Democrats failed to take back control of the Wisconsin Senate from Republicans. Two things are striking: (1) the amount of out of state money that was pumped into Wisconsin by the far right and (2) the willingness of individuals in these largely rural districts to vote against the long term interests of their communities out of short term greed to pay lower taxes. The bill will ultimately come due in the form of reduced public services and in some case largely gutted school budgets. Time and time again senior citizens in particular are unwilling to invest in the younger generations. Yet they wonder why America is failing behind other nations in terms of educational outcomes. The Washington Post looks at the recall election outcomes in Wisconsin:

Democrats fell one seat short of a chance at taking back the Wisconsin state senate Tuesday, a result that will disappoint organized labor nationally. According to the Associated Press, State Sens. Dan Kapanke and Randy Hopper were recalled, while Sens. Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling, Sheila Harsdorf and Luther Olsen held onto their seats.

Democrats have questioned the results given that Waukesha County was one of the last to finish reporting. In April’s Supreme Court election — also seen as a referendum on collective bargaining — challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg appeared to have beaten Judge David Prosser, before thousands of lost ballots were found in Waukesha.

In a statement, Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate accused Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus of “once again tampering with the results of a consequential election” and said that a “dark cloud hangs over these important results.” State party spokesman Graeme Zielinski added, “We believe there’s dirty tricks afoot.” The party’s legal team is investigating. If these results stand, its an undeniable defeat for labor and for progressive activists.

Outside groups on both sides poured more than $25 million into this fight, in addition to the more than $5 million raised by the candidates themselves. According to the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Mike McCabe, Republicans had a slight edge in the money race, but it was “remarkably close.” Unions were the main source of funds for Democrats; limited-government groups such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity invested heavily on the GOP side.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Rafael Nadal - Gorgeous!

Why the Financial Markets Are Melting

After my divorce, I was wiped out financially and had little reason to follow the stack market gyrations (chart above is from the New York Times). Now, with my parents gone and a modest inheritance, I find myself worrying that the herd earned results of my parents labors will be wiped out by the irresponsible behavior of Congress, the White House and Wall Street. The Daily Beast has an article that looks at possible reasons and part of the problem is the lack of structural controls that will act as circuit breakers if you will to control and moderate panics. The supposed reforms of the last go round of supposed regulatory revitalization has in reality done little. As a result, program trading and people acting like lemmings continue to drive the markets towards instability. Here are some highlights:

No one can say precisely when or why this will end. Its triggers we know: a flawed debt deal in the United States, renewed sclerosis in the European Union about peripheral debt issues in Greece and Italy, a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s of U.S. sovereign debt (oh, the irony of S&P downgrading debt leading to a precipitous decline in the S&P index), and then a wave of global selling. No market has been immune; not one.

Since global markets bottomed in March 2009, there has been an uneasy calm, the capitalistic version of the “Phony War” period between the fall of Poland to Germany in September 1939 and the fall of France in May 1940. None of the reforms passed in the wake of the financial crisis create any breakers against synchronous global financial panic. Yes, there is less leverage and more capital in financial institutions, which is a vital difference between now and then and augurs against a repeat of what happened two years ago, but there are no circuit breakers that prevent the rolling flash-crash of the past week.

These moments create ripples of fear that build like tsunami waves until they crash with destructive force against the shoals of investor confidence, institutional balance sheets, and collective investing psyche. And more than ever, they race around the world unimpeded by national boundaries and uncontainable by central banks.

[A]t times, I also watched in fascination as stock after stock sold off without any consideration of the intrinsic strength of the underlying businesses, even discounting for a possible global recession. Even though such a recession seems highly unlikely, stocks sold off well beyond whatever consequences such a global contraction might have.

If we are October 1987, it’s time to buy; if it is December 2008, watch out. We will only know the answer to this in retrospect, but this feels more like a crash than a new trend, and like any flash fire, these burn quickly, intensely, and then they stop. You don’t want to be in these markets when this is happening, but you also don’t want to be out of these markets when they reverse.

Sign the Petition and Make Congress Call Out False Anti-Gay Testimony

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I for one am beyond over watching Congress hold hearings on LGBT related issues only to see the talking heads of registered hate groups providing utterly fraudulent testimony based solely on extreme religious beliefs and/or discredited junk science - all typically without challenges or any serious questioning. Examples include anti - DADT doyenne Elaine Donnelly, self-enriching political whore Maggie Gallagher, self-loathing closet cases like Robert Knight and many others. Now, has started a petition to demand that Congress stop providing a platform to anti- LGBT bigots, liars and religious extremists. If you're willing to sign the petition - I've already signed it - do so by going here. As my blogger compatriot Alvin McEwen states:

In June of this year during a Congressional hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, Sen. Al Franken exposed Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery's attempt to inaccurately cite a study to defame same-sex households.

Earlier this year during another Congressional hearing on DOMA, National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher committed the same distortion – i.e. inaccurately citing a study to defame same-sex households.

The Family Research Council was declared as an official anti-gay hate group last year by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its tendency to spread propaganda about the gay community such as gays molest children at a high level and same-sex households harm children.

However, the head of the Family Research Council - Tony Perkins - is frequently called as a Congressional witness on many occasions from discussing issues of gay equality to the selection of Supreme Court judges.

This false testimony needs to be stopped. Please consider signing the petition.