Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pastor Who Assaulted Gay Son and Boyfriend Arrested on Theft Charges

In yet another example of the seemingly never ending hypocrisy of the self-congratulatory Christianists, Pastor Jerry Pittman - who with the help of his church deacons physically assaulted and beat his gay son and the son's boyfriend recently and received mention on this blog - has been arrested on theft charges. The charges arise out of Patterson's reported theft of goods from his estranged wife's business. WBBJ-TV 7 has coverage on this dirt bags latest misadventure with the law. Here are some highlights:

ABC 7 Eyewitness News has learned about new allegations against the same Gibson County pastor accused of assaulting his gay son and his boyfriend. According to Trenton police, they recently arrested Pastor Jerry Pittman, of Fruitland's Grace Fellowship Church, on charges of stealing from a local business.

Police arrested the 52-year-old on September 21, after his estranged wife told them she had heard from co-workers that he had been stealing from her business. "Our investigation into the incident that was reported showed that he and another gentleman did scrap copper at a scrap yard here in Trenton," Lt. James Wilson said. Investigators said he scrapped the copper at least three different times since August. It was hundreds of pounds, and worth more than $1,000.

This actually is not the first time Pittman has been arrested. Police said he was arrested back in 2006 for a simple assault charge. . . . According to investigators, Pittman is charged with theft of more than $1,000. He bonded out of jail the day he was arrested, and his next court appearance will be October 28 at Trenton Municipal Court.

One has to wonder what type of simpleton would attend a church headed up by an unsavory individual like Pittman.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Will Obama's "Loner" Instict Be His Undoing?

Since taking office, Barack Obama has managed to disappoint and alienate many of the segments of the Democrat party base that helped put him in office. He' given a lot of pretty talk but has shown little desire to act as a leader and he has time and time again failed to stand up to GOP extremism and lunacy, instead believing that somehow sanity and "good policy" would win over the insane and the demagogues. Now, with the 2012 election thirteen months away, the issues are (1) can Obama reconnect with the base he has alienated and (2) can he convince moderates and independents to give him a second chance to deliver what he promised but threw aside during his first term. A column in the Washington Post looks at the situation and speculates whether or not Obama can reconnect with people. Personally, I am not holding my breath. Here are some column highlights:

Beyond the economy, the wars and the polls, President Obama has a problem: people. This president endures with little joy the small talk and back-slapping of retail politics, rarely spends more than a few minutes on a rope line, refuses to coddle even his biggest donors. His relationship with Democrats on Capitol Hill is frosty, to be generous. Personal lobbying on behalf of legislation? He prefers to leave that to Vice President Biden, an old-school political charmer.

Obama’s circle of close advisers is as small as the cluster of personal friends that predates his presidency. There is no entourage, no Friends of Barack to explain or defend a politician who has confounded many supporters with his cool personality and penchant for compromise. Obama is, in short, a political loner who prefers policy over the people who make politics in this country work.

Obama’s isolation is increasingly relevant as the 2012 campaign takes shape, because it is pushing him toward a reelection strategy that embraces the narrow-cast politics he once rejected as beneath him. Now he is focused on securing the support of traditional Democratic allies — minorities, gays, young people, seniors, Jews — rather than on making new friends, which was the revolutionary approach he took in 2008, when millions of first-time voters cast their ballots for his promise of change.

Obama’s policy-first approach diminished the importance of people — people on Capitol Hill and along K Street, let alone throughout the country — in pushing through his program and providing the White House with valuable intelligence. Whether it was a matter of giving the American public too much credit or not enough remains an open question for many inside the administration.

The president’s supreme confidence in his intellectual abilities and faith in the power of good public policy left the political advisers and policymakers in his White House estranged. The initiatives that have emerged have often been unpopular and unsatisfying — too small, too big, too beside the point — to a country consumed by economic uncertainty.

And within the White House, a divide grew between those who helped engineer the president’s victory and those who joined the administration during the transition. The newcomers thought policy was being developed in a political vacuum, and they watched many of the administration’s proposals have a difficult time moving forward, even in a House and a Senate with large Democratic majorities.

“He’s not a guy that leans on others too much,” David Axelrod, his senior adviser at the time, told me in January 2010. “He processes things in his own mind.” In that cerebral isolation, Obama used his first year in office to chase history rather than focus on the most immediate problem of the day — an economy shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs a month.

The president never spends more than 15 minutes working a rope line, his advisers say, and donors complain about a White House that keeps Obama away from the necessary push and pull of America’s capitalist democracy. . . . Where Clinton worked a room until he met everyone, Obama prefers to shake a few hands, offer brief remarks and head home to spend the night in the residence, so he can have breakfast with his girls the next morning and send them off to school. That may be good for his mental health, but it’s a challenge for those in the reelection campaign assigned to manage the whims of big donors. . . . many Democrats are surprised that the former community organizer from Chicago’s South Side is not a bit angrier in public, a bit more connected to people’s troubles during tough economic times.

With just over a year before Election Day 2012, advisers say that Obama recognizes his people problem and is working to address it. Beyond the Saturday reconnect sessions, his stump speeches advocating for his jobs plan are becoming more populist and partisan. He is outside the Beltway more, reaching out to voters. His supporters, though still worried, are starting to like what they see. But inside the Beltway, the legacy of his relationship, or lack thereof, with Democrats on the Hill remains a problem for his jobs plan — and, by extension, his political future.

Rick Perry Southern Baptist Convention Ally Calls Mormanism a "Cult"

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!! Robert Jeffress, Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC") leader, announced at the Christianist "Value Voters Summit" that he was throwing his support behind Rick Perry because "it was critical for a pastor to tell other Christians why it is imperative to vote for a Christian rather than a non-Christian.” Jeffress went on to say "“Quite frankly, part of my hesitancy in supporting Governor Romney is I do not want to give credibility to a cult like Mormonism." For those haven't done so in the past, I suggest a perusal of the SBC's website and a monitoring of it's positions on a host of issues will quickly disclose that if Mormonism is a cult, then so is the Southern Baptist Convention. And the SBC cult's main hallmarks are hatred of others, politics of division, and an eventual overthrow of parts or all of the U.S. Constitution, especially in terms of wiping out the constitutional rights on non-Kool-Aid drinking citizens. Michelle Goldberg at The Daily Beast looks at this blatant display of religious based bigotry - and Perry's refusal to distance himself from it. Here are some highlights:

Robert Jeffress, Southern Baptist Convention leader and pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, has never endorsed a political candidate, but at the Values Voters Summit on Friday, he announced that he was throwing his support behind Rick Perry. “I don’t think Michele Bachmann is going to win the nomination. I don’t believe that Herman Cain is going to win the nomination. I think it’s going to come down to a Perry-Romney fight,” he told me shortly before taking the stage to introduce Perry to the crowd. “And I felt like at this time, it was critical for a pastor to tell other Christians why it is imperative to vote for a Christian rather than a non-Christian.”

In other words, Jeffress, one of the first major religious right figures to choose sides in the GOP primary, wants to make sure that the Republican Party doesn’t nominate a Mormon. Romney’s religion, he says, “is going to play a huge role. It’s a role that many people are unwilling to speak about.” He, however, is more than willing. “Quite frankly, part of my hesitancy in supporting Governor Romney is I do not want to give credibility to a cult like Mormonism, which I believe having a Mormon president would do,” he says.

This creates a challenge for the Texas governor, but it also gives him an opportunity to capitalize on some evangelicals’ antipathy to the Church of Latter-day Saints. By Friday afternoon, Perry was coming under pressure to distance himself from Jeffress. His campaign insisted he didn’t share Jeffress’s view, and that the organizers of the Values Voters Summit, not the Perry camp, had invited the preacher to introduce to the candidate. Nevertheless, Perry didn’t renounce Jeffress, which means he’s likely to continue fielding questions about Mormonism.

The belief that Mormonism is a cult is the official position of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination. In a June Pew Poll, 34 percent of white evangelicals said they’d be less likely to support a presidential candidate if he or she were Mormon.

[A]mong conservative Christians, Jeffress is an important figure. His television show, Pathway to Victory, reaches 1,200 stations. In January, he has a new book about the apocalypse coming out, jauntily titled Twilight’s Last Gleaming: How America’s Last Days Can Be Your Best Days.

Given his [Perry's] lackluster performance in the Republican debates and conservative discomfort over his record on immigration, he needs help reinvigorating the base that once had such high hopes for him. Indeed, that’s partly why Jeffress decided to get involved.

The fact that an open bigot and far right religious extremist like Jeffress is backing Perry ought to be a clarion call to rational voters of both political parties (assuming anyone rational is left in the GOP) that Perry is bad news and needs to be defeated. With not likely Democrat primary in Virginia, candidly, I will vote in the GOP primary just to vote against Perry if he's still a player.

Brazil's Roman Catholics Are Becoming "Non-Religious"

I have previously looked at the fact that the fastest growing religious segment in the United States is the "non-religious" category as individuals leave institutional religion altogether. I view the trend as the result of the constantly toxic and hate filled face of Christianity provided by the Christian Right - who are neither Christian or right - and the fact that science and knowledge is making it increasingly difficult to believe in the Bible as "the inerrant word of God." Instead, it is all too easy to see the Bible as a man made work that has gone through all kinds of revisions and editing to reinforce the views of "the winners" in the early church and political machinations over the centuries. To make up for membership losses in educated and advanced countries, the professional Christians and denominations like the Roman Catholic Church have looked to growth in the developing world to maintain over all membership, with Latin America and Africa being two such bastions. Now, however, that strategy seems to be crumbling for the Catholic Church in South America as Brazil appears headed on the same trend as in the USA. Some years back I read one of Bishop John Shelby Spong's books that made the case of why Christianity must change or die. Given the refusal of many denomination leaders such as Benedict XVI, the Nazi pope, to permit change, it looks like death rather than change is the long term future of Christianity. The Virginian Pilot has a story that looks at the trend in Brazil and here are some highlights:

Bruno Maragato went through the Roman Catholic Church's rites like so many others before him in this most Catholic of nations: baptism, first communion, confirmation. But his next step was not part of the Vatican plan and, in fact, feeds a worrying trend for Catholics leaders. At age 16, Maragato left Christianity altogether.

A new study by Brazil's top research institute finds Magarato's views represent a sea change among a younger generation of Brazilians and present a fresh challenge for church leaders already struggling to hold on to parishioners across Latin America.

Brazil's Getulio Vargas Foundation finds, the country's Catholics are still leaving the church and at a higher rate than ever, but many younger parishioners, like Maragato, are simply becoming nonreligious.

Experts say this new twist poses a more potent threat to Catholic leaders than earlier losses. Now, the church isn't just competing against the Pentecostals, but courting people who have decided organized religion has no part in their lives.

"It's the most important phenomenon in this study, the abandonment of religion and the Catholics," said Fernando Altemeyer, a theologian at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo. "A considerable part of the Brazilian youth today are agnostic."

What raises the stakes for the Vatican is that church leaders have been viewing Brazil and other Latin American nations as bulwarks against losses in Europe and the U.S., where sex abuse scandals have inspired many to leave the church. About half of the world's Catholics reside in Latin America.

The number of people under the age of 20 in Brazil who say they follow no religion is growing three times more quickly than those 50 and older, with 9 percent of young Brazilians saying they belong to no religion, according to the study. That mirrors a similar trend in the number of people leaving the Catholic Church. The study, based on 200,000 interviews conducted for Brazil's 2010 census, shows the Catholic share of the population hit its lowest level since census figures tracked religion beginning in 1872.

Experts say the changes have accelerated as many women turn away from the Vatican's prohibitive views on contraception and abortion, which remains illegal in nearly all cases in Brazil. "The Catholic Church is literally losing its future, and the loss of women and young people is the most important driver of the fall," Neri said. . . . Mexico is poised to take Brazil's place as the world's top Catholic nation, although the church is also losing members there.

Personally, I hope the trend continues - or even accelerates. Only massive losses of membership (and the money that goes with that) will force the Vatican to leave its 13th century mindset and move towards the 21st century. Obviously, this shift will not happen on Benedict XVI's watch. If anything, his leadership and that of the ultra-right sycophants that he has appointed to bishoprics will hasten the flight of church members.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Help Skew the "Value Voters Summit" Poll

The coven of theocrats and hate merchants at the toxic "Values Voter Summit" are running a poll on the issue of what are the most important issues facing the nation. Naturally, the unemployment rate and the stalled economy don't appear on the Christianist radar screen. Nor do items like health care for the unemployed and uninsured - Jesus' message on helping the poor and the sick has been excised from the Christianist version of the Gospels (actually, the Gospels are ignored and select Old Testament passages justifying violence, hate and the slaughter of others seem to be all that these folks dwell upon). Please vote in the poll to show that most rational people disdain the Christofascist agenda. Vote here.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Herman Cain Affirms His Ignorance/Bigotry

I watched an interview of would be GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain on MSNBC and was struck by several things, not the least of which was his resolute insistence that being gay is a "choice." When challenged, Cain retreated to stating that his views on LGBT individuals was a "difference of opinion." Never mind that virtually EVERY legitimate mental health and medical association (i.e., all but Christianist funded faux expert groups) disagree with Cain's ignorant and bigoted position on the issue. Applying Cain's lame "difference of opinion" excuse, I guess white supremacists who see blacks as subhuman have a a free pass to continue to embrace bigotry. Why not even allow anti-black bigots to discriminate in employment decisions. There really is no difference if "difference of opinion" makes bigotry and discrimination under the law and in society all acceptable and unassailable. And this from a man who wants to parade around pretending to be intelligent. Think Progress has a summary of Cain's other bigoted and ridiculous views which explains why he's the current darling of the mentally unbalanced and bigots of the Christianist/Tea Party crowd. Here are a few highlights:

(1) PLEDGED THAT HE “WILL NOT” APPOINT MUSLIMS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION: In an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this year, Herman Cain declared that he “will not” appoint a Muslim in his administration if he were elected president. In the months that followed, Cain qualified his position a number of times – at one point even telling Glenn Beck that he would appoint Muslims but only on the condition that they take a special loyalty oath – before finally recanting this unconstitutional stance and issuing an apology to Muslim-Americans. Unfortunately, since that time Cain has continued to peddle the ridiculous notion that Sharia law is a threat to the American legal system.

(2) TOLD THINKPROGRESS, “I DON’T THINK THE CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE IS NECESSARY”: During his time as the top lobbyist for the restaurant and fast food industry, Cain fought against an increase in the minimum wage. During a recent ThinkProgress interview, Cain went further, saying “I don’t think the current minimum wage is necessary.” As Greg Sargent noted, not even conservative icon Barry Goldwater supported eliminating the minimum wage.

(6) WANTS TO PUT DIRTY ENERGY CEOS IN CHARGE OF EPA REGULATIONS: After an Iowa voter asked about increasing domestic oil production, Cain proposed creating a commission consisting of businessmen from the coal, oil, shale oil, and natural gas industries to gut environmental protections. Cain even said he would appoint the CEO of Shell, claiming the company had been “abused” by the EPA. Cain has close ties to several top oil executives.

(10) BELIEVES THAT AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAN MOSQUES: During a Fox News Sunday interview, Cain professed his belief that if a community wants to ban a mosque, “they have a right to do that.” Rather than idle banter, Cain’s comments came fresh off his speech blasting the proposed expansion of an existing Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee because it was, in the former pizza executive’s estimation, “not an innocent mosque.” Cain’s view is squarely at odds with not only the Constitution, but basic precepts of tolerance and diversity as well.

Clearly, Cain wants special rights for Christianists and Christian extremists while wiping out religious freedom for everyone else. He also shows contempt for the working poor and the environment.

Judiciary Still Plagued by Homophobia

As I have noted in previous posts, the judiciary - and the legal profession as a whole for that matter - continues to be plagued by rampant homophobia in many areas of the country and certainly here in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. In Virginia, the Canons of Judicial Conduct that bar judges from allowing bias based on sexual orientation and gay bashing by opposing litigants are routinely ignored just as biased judges continually ignore the requirement to abstain from hearing cases with LGBT litigants. Worse yet, from my experience, the Virginia Judicial Review Commission does absolutely nothing to stop the widespread discrimination. As an article in The Guardian makes clear, the problem is not isolated to the USA or Virginia. LGBT citizens continue to face discrimination in the courts and certainly in the area of judicial appointments. Yes, there have been appointments of LGBT judges to federal courts and in some states, but in truth such appointments are few and far between when factored against the total number of sitting members of the judiciary. Here are highlights from The Guardian that look at the shared problem in the UK:

Until 1991, unmarried men and women – including gay and lesbian lawyers – were excluded from entering the judiciary. Unsurprisingly, homophobia, or at least a strong perception of it, still lingers. According to recent research by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal group Interlaw, 70% of LGBT lawyers believe there is prejudice within the selection process for judicial office.

The judicial appointments committee (JAC) – the body founded in 2006 to enhance judicial accountability – is keen to remedy this. Last month, it began monitoring the sexuality of wannabe judges (it already monitors gender, ethnicity, age, professional background and disability). The JAC is also increasing its engagement with the gay lawyer community through talks at LGBT legal events and the publishing of case studies of gay judges.

[L]aw firms remain some way from being gay utopias. A potent undercurrent of unspoken homophobia exists at some of them – a problem illustrated by a handful of online comments made in response to an article last year advising young gay lawyers on how to come out at work.

It's little wonder, then, that law graduate Adam Fellows, who is openly gay, was advised by a junior barrister not to publicly mention the fact he had a boyfriend during his hunt for a traineeship. Another concern is how international corporate law firms increasingly apply anti-discrimination policies in their offices in countries where homophobia is the norm.

Homophobia is rife in the Hampton Roads legal profession and yours truly remains one of the few openly gay attorneys in private practice. The sad truth is that to be openly gay makes one basically unemployable by any of the local law firms - even the few that have non-discrimination policies that purport to protect LGBT attorneys and staff.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

More Thursday Male Beauty

A Marine Continues to Fight to Defend the Constitution

While the Christianists love to wrap themselves in religion and the American flag, in truth their true goal is to subvert the United States Constitution for which the nation's flag is but an emblem. The Christianist goal - as frequently voiced by Bryan Fisher and other Christianist hate group talking heads - is nothing less than to either over throw the U.S. Constitution completely and impose a Christianist theocracy or at a minimum strip constitutional protections from all but the Christianists and their like minded religious extremists. Despite these Christianist goals, elected officials sworn to uphold the Constitution (and those like Mitt Romney seeking elected office) grovel before and prostitute themselves to those who in reality are traitors to the nation - my local member of Congress, Scott Rigell is, in my opinion, one such prostitute/traitor.

For me, it is sickening to watch. But not all of those who have sworn to defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution are willing to throw their sworn oaths on the dung heap and pander to the Christianist agenda. One such individual is Craig Stowell, a former Marine, who wrote and op-ed to the New Hampshire Union Leader opposing GOP/Christianist efforts to repeal New Hampshire's same sex marriage law. An image of Stowell's article is set out above (click on it to enlarge it). He definitely gets it right when he says no real conservative believes in managing the personal lives of law abiding citizens. No, it is only false conservatives and religious extremists who want to police the bedrooms of tax paying citizens and inflict their own seriously mentally disturbed beliefs on all citizens.

Byran Fischer rants about Mormons and Muslims not being allowed to hold public office or enjoy constitutional rights. Fischer has it backwards. If anyone should face such limitations - and I don't advocate this - its the Christianists and those who put personal religious beliefs above the U.S. Constitution and the equal rights of other citizens.

Will Rommney"s Appearance at Hate Group Event Turn Off Moderates?

Click image above to enlarge.

As regular readers know, I hold nothing but contempt for KKK lover and his vile organization, Family Research Council ("FRC"), a Southern Poverty Law Center registered hate group. FRC is one of the organizations that make Christianity a foul force in both America and in nations overseas where it exports religious extremism and hate and bigotry. And each year FRC hosts its "Value Voters Summit" in Washington, D.C., where one regularly sees some of the most homophobic, racist, greed driven, and anti-secular democracy speakers that one can imagine. Sadly, this year ever Republican presidential nominee contender, including Mitt Romney, will make appearances and kiss the ring of the most hate filled element in society. One has to wonder what Romney really thinks given his past positions on issues. Yet he is scheduled to appear immediately before hate merchant extraordinaire Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association who routinely has denigrated blacks, native Americans, gays, immigrants and, of Muslims. The New York Times looks at the risks to Romney (the image above is a SPLC press release on the issue of FRC's coven of haters):

Since Mitt Romney is battling suspicion among Christian conservatives about the depth of his opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, it is no surprise that he is joining the other major Republican candidates this week to speak at the annual Values Voters Summit, a celebration of the political aims of the religious right.

The conference, from Friday to Sunday in Washington, is sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and other evangelical Christian groups.

The conference planners have obliged Mr. Romney, scheduling him to speak right before Bryan Fischer, who is chief spokesman for the family association and is known for his strident remarks on homosexuality, gay rights, Muslims and Mormons. Their talks will be followed by a panel of same-sex marriage opponents.

The liberal advocacy group People for the American Way has called on the presidential candidates, and especially Mr. Romney because he will share a stage, to publicly disassociate themselves from Mr. Fischer and what it called, in a statement on Wednesday, his “unmitigated bigotry.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has made similar appeals to the candidates.

Mr. Fischer has stood out for his harsh statements on his daily radio show, likening gay rights advocates to domestic terrorists, arguing that gay men and lesbians should be barred from public office and repeating the discredited theory that homosexuals built the Nazi Party. He has said that American Muslims should be banned from the military and that Mormons, let alone Muslims, should not enjoy First Amendment protections because these are reserved for true Christians.

“If Mitt Romney wants to appeal to mainstream audiences, he should publicly disassociate himself from Fischer’s bigotry before handing him the podium,” said Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Palin and Christie Say They Will Not Run

I speculated yesterday morning about whether or not we'd be seeing the end of the nutcase from Wassila's game of tease to the unhinged in the GOP base that she'd jump into the 21012 election mix. Yesterday, Palin formally said that she would not run - perhaps pushed by the latest polls that showed her to be unwanted by a majority of those still sane within the GOP. My thoughts on Palin's announcement are summed up as: good riddance! On the same day, Chris Christie - who seems, unlike Palin, to be sane - also said he would forgo any 2012 foray into the presidential candidate realm.
First a few of Andrew Sullivan's thoughts on Palin:

Our Three Year National Nightmare Is Over! Palin talks to Mark Levin here (her voice is the deeper one). Her explanation is, as usual, opaque. But the idea that this person is protecting her family - after putting them all on a reality show, after deploying an infant with Down Syndrome as a book-selling prop, after pushing her son into the military, after sending her elderly dad headfirst into a ravine for a reality TV shot, and after using another young daughter as a campaign press bouncer ... well, it's as ludicrous as almost everything she says.

It is hard to describe the relief of this awful person finally going away. (And who cares what she says if she has no "title"? There are RedState comment threads more coherent and persuasive than her deranged delusions.) All I can say now is that a) I was wrong about her intentions and b) I am so so so relieved to be wrong. She will now face the oblivion she deserves, and I sincerely hope I never have to write about this farce again.

Next, a piece in The Daily Beast that looks at where these developments leave the Republican Party now. Here are some highlights:

Journalists and ironists, as well as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, are unhappy that Sarah Palin isn’t running. But anyone else? Actually, yes. She does have fans, and millions of them. And Chris Christie, while he may not be a Palin-level celebri-pol, sure had pulses pounding last week at the Reagan library. Palin and Christie are high-wattage personalities. The GOP field right now lacks them. This may or may not make a difference next November, but it will make a lot of difference during the primary season and will probably end up helping Mitt Romney—if Republican voters can learn to love him, which is still a big question.

Primary voters have two qualities by which they operate: ardor and calculation. They want ardor first. . . . But when the ardor fades, the psychological and emotional impulse of voters is to move more quickly toward the least objectionable of the remaining bunch, who has the best shot of winning—to embrace calculation.

They [Republicans] have only calculation candidates — I suppose Rick Perry inspires some ardor, but not on the Reagan-Dubya scale — while the two leading ardor figures in the party are going to be sitting on the sidelines watching, making news from time to time, being there as constant reminders of what could have been. I suppose Ron Paul and Herman Cain are ardor candidates, but they’re not getting the nomination. So what happens?

I’d wager it brings Republican primary voters to the point of calculation a little more quickly, and leads them to think, “Well, out of the bunch we got, who’s most likely to beat the Kenyan?” And I think most of them will answer: Romney. But then, Romney has to show them he’s inevitable: he has to do things to make them think it’s going to be him. It’s like that poll that came out this week asking people if they thought Obama would be reelected. There, even many people who presumably want Obama to be reelected said no. Romney needs that in reverse—he needs even people who aren’t for him to think that he’s going to win. In a multicandidate primary campaign, having that aura about you is gold. So he needs to take steps to create it.

He’ll have a chance to start the process this weekend—the Values Voter Summit looms, at Washington’s Shoreham Hotel. Not exactly his kind of room. . . . He needs to give a speech that not only reassures them on a few of the basics, but tells them the train is revving up and they need to hop on board.

And in the meantime, a Sarah-less near-term future. I for one am relieved. I can’t stand the mere sight of her. But I suppose I did perversely enjoy seeing what she brought out in people. Hey—is there still time for Hank Williams Jr. to file papers?

Amen to not standing the sight of Palin. May she fade into obscurity quickly.

Steve Jobs Dies at 56

There are already many articles up in the media about computer visionary Steve Jobs who lost his battle to cancer yesterday. Suffice it to say, Jobs helped to revolutionize so many aspects of our lives with his never ending push to enhance technology and changed the way business and society works and interacts. He will be a continuing example of why thinking outside of the box and refusing to be satisfied with the status quo are a mind set that needs to be embraced rather than fled from merely because it disrupts one's comfort zone. Here are some brief excerpts from a Washington Post article:

Jobs died Wednesday at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer that his wasting form came to wear as familiarly as his preference for outdated jeans and black turtlenecks. When news of his death broke around 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast, a good number of us sought immediate solace (to say nothing of information) from our Apple stuff.

That is what Steve Jobs gave us: the future. A sense of ourselves moving forward into this century, which has proved especially hard to do, with its lack of employment opportunities and its addiction to panic. He gave us a look at the future and all the ambivalence and worry that comes with it. It was the most elegant form of social disruption, . .

Under his leadership, Apple’s subliminal selling point was: Let it go. Let go of the uneasiness about computers. Let go of ugly, antique technology. . . . . In 2011, so much of our culture — as well as our politics — feels as though we’re losing grip on the old, beloved things.

Jobs had been teaching us to say goodbye to all that for decades — we just didn’t know it. Some of us said goodbye to typewriters in the 1980s when we finished term papers using MacWrite on a Macintosh Plus for the first time. Some of us said goodbye when we made PTA fliers and “Lost Dog” posters that were far and away better than their Sharpie-scrawled predecessors. Let it go, let it go. . .

Letting go of the old is difficult for some (e.g., Christianists and Tea Party loons) but it's not something to fear. It's called progress.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

European Adventure

A week from this Friday the boyfriend and I are headed to Barcelona, Spain, to embark aboard the Liberty of the Seas (pictured above) for a cruise around the Western Mediterranean stopping in the ports of Toulon and Nice, France; Livorno (the port of Florence), Rome and Naples, Italy, and then back to Barcelona. If any readers have recommendations and suggestions, please drop me an e-mail. We will be traveling with another gay couple and another couple and have some general ideas of what we will do in each port, but suggestions are always welcome.

In addition to being a much needed get away, the trip is my way of thanking the boyfriend for all the love and support that he has given to me over the last 3+ years. As longer term readers know, that time period has not been without some major drama. Internet access aboard ship is a bit pricey, but I will try to blog some during the cruise each day and, of course, I will be in e-mail contact with the law office daily.

Again, drop me recommendations via the e-mail on my profile.

Black Marylanders Don't Get the Message that Equality Is a Two Way Street

Odds are that I will offend some folks with my following comments, but I believe that what I am saying needs to be said because I am EXTREMELY over the double standards: If African Americans want others outside their community to support their civil rights, then they need to take off the blinders of religious based bigotry and support the full equality of others. Why do I say this? Because a new Maryland Poll shows that blacks are overwhelmingly against marriage equality for same sex couples - many of whom are stridently supportive of African-American civil rights. Sadly, Maryland African-American want others to fight for them even as they kick others to the curb and act as water carriers for the anti-gay whites whose ancestors supported slavery and the Jim Crow laws. Frankly, I am personally about done giving a damn about black civil rights. If they want to get in bed with our common enemies, then let them reap what they sow. Here are highlights from the new polling results:

Among Maryland voters today, 48% would favor (38% “strongly” favor and 10% “somewhat” favor) a law in Maryland allowing same-sex couples to marry, “giving them the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples in areas such as tax exemptions, inheritance and pension coverage,” while 49% would oppose (39% “strongly” oppose and 10% “somewhat” oppose) such a law, and 3% offered no opinion.

The results by party and race: FAVOR OPPOSE

Democrats: 64% favor - 32% oppose
Republicans: 20% favor - 79% oppose
Independents: 47% favor - 51% oppose
White: 51% favor - 46% oppose
African-American: 41% favor - 59% oppose

Perhaps I am being harsh, but if blacks want LGBT support on their causes, I expect reciprocity. This is the 21st century and the day of blindly (and in my view ignorantly and stupidly) following the dictates of homophobic bigots in church pulpits should be long over. If these people refuse to support LGBT citizens, then I'm not going to lift a finger for their causes.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Is Obama's New Combative Game Too Little Too Late?

With the 2012 election still 13 months away, it seems like Barack Obama is finally waking up and starting to act like he should have been doing from day one of his presidency or at least soon after the GOP members of Congress made it clear they were not going to play ball with him. In the meantime, rank and file Democrats have become largely demoralized and convinced in many cases that Obama and the Democrats are incompetent in countering the GOP propaganda machine and never ending Christianist/Tea Party lies. With control of the Virginia Senate - the sole bulwark against the worse policies of the GOP - up for grabs a month from now, the Democrat apathy is frighteningly similar to that in 2009 which allowed Taliban Bob McDonnell and Ken Kookinelli to win their state wide offices. It's hard to be enthused when you don't even feel the Democrats are out there fighting the forces of ignorance and evil in the GOP. The result? According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 58 percent of Democrats in believe that Obama will be reelected. What's sad, it's largely because of Obama's self inflicted wounds. The Washington Post looks at Obama's belated more confrontational behavior. Here are excerpts:

There is a noticeably more aggressive, confrontational President Obama roaming the country these days, selling his jobs plan and attacking Republicans for standing in the way of progress by standing up only for the rich.

In Texas on Tuesday, the president went after a leading Republican by name: “Yesterday the Republican majority leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives,” Obama said. “I would like Mr. Cantor to come here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in, what exactly he is opposed to. Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses or efforts to help our veterans?”

The emergence of this more pugnacious Obama has heartened Democrats, especially the most liberal ones, who spent the past few months dejected by what they saw as the president’s unwillingness to engage his opponents in political combat.

The president’s problems, even within his own party, remain formidable; only 58 percent of Democrats in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll believe that he will be reelected. Many supporters remain skeptical of his tendency to seek compromise with Republicans, and recently he angered some black supporters by urging them to stop complaining. Still, in recent weeks, Obama has begun to blunt some of the criticism among Democrats that he is not up for the fight.

[T]he only good news for Obama relates to his jobs plan and his Republican opposition. An even higher percentage of poll respondents, about 76 percent, say they disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling the economy. Given that dubious advantage, the president may have few options other than to attack.

The president’s jobs plan is one remaining bright spot for him. A narrow majority in the poll supports the package. Nearly six in 10 say Obama’s plan would help improve the unemployment situation.

Obama has begun to frame the 2012 contest as a referendum on values. . . . The president also has drawn a values contrast with Republicans over how to pay for his jobs plan, which features a “Buffett rule” that would eliminate some tax loopholes for people earning more than $200,000 a year. Republicans have labeled Obama’s approach “class warfare,” a term the president has embraced — with a twist.

“You’re already hearing the Republicans in Congress dusting off the old talking points,” Obama told New York donors two weeks ago. “You know what? If asking a billionaire to pay the same rate as a plumber or a teacher makes me a warrior for the middle class, I wear that charge as a badge of honor.”

Neera Tanden, a former Obama administration official, said the president tried to position himself as the “adult in the room” during the debt fight, remaining above the partisan fray in hopes of striking a “grand bargain.” The strategy collapsed after House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) balked under pressure from the tea party and the White House agreed to cut spending by $900 billion without raising taxes.

Are We Finally Rid of Sarah Palin?

While Sarah Palin continues to have a tempestuous love affair with herself, the Washington Post/ABC News poll I cited yesterday indicates that 2/3's of Republicans do NOT want to see a Palin campaign for the presidency. Rational people figured out Palin's total unfitness for office - any office, in fact - long ago, so it's at least a little encouraging that even the idiots of the Republican Party base seem to be figuring out that Palin needs to leave the political scene and join the cast of a really poor quality reality show. Palin makes some of the "Real House Wives" crowd look highly intellectual and rational. Politico looks at what is hopefully Palin's swan song from the serious political stage. Meanwhile, I will never forgive John McCain for propelling a self-absorbed moron like Palin to the national stage. Here are some highlights from Politico:

Sarah Palin hasn’t closed the door yet on a presidential bid. But few Republicans appear to be waiting for her answer.

Never was it clearer than Tuesday, when Chris Christie’s announcement that he would not run in 2012 prompted a throng of strategists to conclude the Republican field was finally set – never mind Palin’s indecision. A new poll published on the same day revealed that two thirds of Republicans don’t want her to run.

Even as Republicans continue to cast about for new options, only a distinct minority are gazing longingly toward Wasilla – or wherever else Palin is in her secretive, largely apolitical travel schedule.

“She stirs up a lot of conservatives in the base, but I don’t think conservatives are looking to her as a presidential nominee who can save the conservative movement,” said Chuck Muth, the Nevada-based conservative activist. “What niche in the conservative movement does Sarah Palin fill that’s not already filled by one of the other candidates?”

Palin sounded unconcerned about the pressure of timing last week when she rolled past her own end-of-September deadline for deciding on the presidential race. She told Fox News that she still has to consider whether being a candidate would “prohibit [her] from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me.”

In the meantime, more and more primary voters appear to be drifting out of Palin’s reach. Indeed, as she drags out her 2012 decision, a politician who has often complained of being talked about unfavorably is risking an even grimmer fate: Not being talked about at all. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this week, only 31 percent of Republican primary voters said they wanted Palin to run for president. Sixty-six percent said she shouldn’t get into the race.

Ed Rollins, the former campaign manager for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, predicted flatly that Palin would not be the GOP’s 2012 standard-bearer, whether or not she decides to try for it. “At best she could attract some Bachmann voters, some Cain voters and maybe come out as the tea party candidate, but she is not going to end up being the nominee,” Rollins said.

If Palin does run, it will be for one reason - to keep herself in the media coverage. She is so self-absorbed that the worse thing that could happen to he is that her 15 minutes of fame is over and she's forgotten by history other than an example of a disastrous candidate in 2008 who should never have been on the GOP ticket.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

More Tuesday Male Beauty

NOM Says It Will Defy Campaign Disclosure Laws Yet Again

When is someone going to put Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown's fat nasty asses in prison? The same goes for some Catholic bishops that are working hand in had with NOM to break the law. Their front organization for the Catholic Church and/or some other secret deep pocket types that hide behind the NOM moniker continues to flout the campaign disclosure laws and no one seems to be getting prosecuted for or having their campaign and propaganda activities shut down by the authorities. It's outrageous and now NOM says it is going to basically tell the state of Minnesota to go f*ck itself. The Minnesota Independent looks at NOM's latest lawless activity. Here are some highlights:

A coalition of groups working to convince voters to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage said on Tuesday that it would not follow new rules being proposed by the Minnesota campaign finance board, which watchdog groups say would violate the law. Minnesota for Marriage is a partnership between the Minnesota Family Council, the Minnesota Catholic Conference and the National Organization for Marriage.

Last week, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board announced it was considering updating its rules to close loopholes in the ballot initiative’s reporting requirements. . . . . The guidance would heighten public disclosure around campaign spending and will be debated before the board this week.

Common Cause Minnesota saw Minnesota for Marriage’s announcement as the prelude to a lawsuit. NOM has filed lawsuit in a half dozen states including Iowa, Maine and California where judges have upheld those states’ campaign disclosure laws.

“Minnesota has become ground zero for a national fight over whether the public should know who is behind political spending,” said Mike Dean, Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota. “Last year, the legislature and governor required that all political spending by independent expenditure groups and groups supporting constitutional amendments be disclosed.”

He said that Minnesota for Marriage “announced their intention to violate this very provision of Minnesota’s disclosure law.”

“The Supreme Court has made it clear that the public has a right to know who is behind political spending during an election,” said Dean. “This attack on Minnesota’s disclosure law is [an] attack on Minnesota’s desire for fair and open elections.”

These hate filled people and their demands for special rights - indeed to be totally above the law - sicken me and make me wish for a religion free world. The world would truly be a better place.

Tennessee High School Principal Assaults Student Over Pro-Gay T-Shirt

There must be something toxic in the water in Tennessee. First we saw a Tennessee church pastor physically beating his gay son and his boyfriend with the help of church deacons. Now this report of a Tennessee high school principal physically assaulting a 17 year old student for wearing a pro-GSA T-shirt. Yep, you can really tell the Christians by their lack of love and open hatred. Proving again that conservative Christianity is a malevolent force in the world. The ACLU has now become involved and has issued a demand letter (a copy can be viewed here) that the school cease barring the rights of students to freedom of speech and granting the same treatment for a Gay Straight Alliance as is afforded to other student organizations. Obviously, I hope the student takes out assault charges against the principal who clearly needs to be fired. Here is more information via the ACLU's website:

MADISONVILLE, Tenn. – A 17-year-old senior at Sequoyah High School was reportedly shoved, bumped in the chest and verbally harassed by his principal last week for wearing a T-shirt in support of efforts to establish a gay-straight alliance (GSA) club on campus. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee sent a letter to the school district today demanding that students’ rights to free speech be protected in the classroom.

The ACLU has been assisting the student, Chris Sigler, in his and other students’ efforts to overcome resistance from school officials to establish a GSA. Principal Maurice Moser had previously threatened to punish students who circulated petitions about the club.

Sigler wore a homemade T-shirt to school last Tuesday that said “GSA: We’ve Got Your Back.” A teacher ordered Sigler to cover up the shirt in the future. Sigler, knowing he had a right to wear the shirt, wore it again Friday, and resisted an order to remove the shirt. Sigler says that Moser then ordered all students out of the classroom, except for Sigler’s sister Jessica, who refused to leave. According to both students, Moser then grabbed Sigler’s arm, shoved him, and chest-bumped him repeatedly while asking “Who’s the big man now?” Sigler’s mother reported that when she arrived at the school, she saw her son seated in a desk with Moser leaning over him and shouting in Sigler’s face. The Siglers filed a report about the incident that afternoon with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

“All students deserve a safe and respectful learning environment. Harassment, abuse or censorship of any student – regardless of sexual orientation – is absolutely reprehensible as well as illegal,” said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “We expect the police to investigate this quickly and fairly, and take statements from all witnesses who were present.”

The Advocate also has coverage here. Once again we see self-congratulatory Christians - using the term very loosely - seeking to trample upon the rights of others. It is the Christianists , not LGBT citizens, who continually demand special rights at the expense of the rest of the citizenry.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

Is Rick Perry’s Star Fading?

Sometimes familiarity can breed contempt - or at least dislike and a loss of "star power." So far, it seems that the more folks learn about Rick Perry, the less they like the man (the same also seems to hold true for Sarah Palin). Or at least so a new Washington Post-ABC News poll suggests and the chart above illustrates. The Washington Post notes in part as follows:

Rick Perry’s star in the race for the GOP presidential nomination has faded, as most of those tuning in to recent debates say the more they hear about the Texas governor, the less they like him. By contrast, Herman Cain appears to have benefited, moving into the top tier. There’s only modest public demand for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race, even as he runs competitively against President Obama.

Christianist Caught Lying in Anti-Gay Petition Drive

Once again opponents of gay equality who wrap themselves in the mantle of religion demonstrate that one of their most consistent traits - other than hating almost everyone, of course - is their inability to tell the truth. If their lips are moving, the safest assumption is that they are lying, deeming themselves exempt from the Commandment against baring false witness and lying. Apparently, lying and dishonesty are "family values" in their warped alternate universe. This time the lies arise out of the effort by Christianists to gather enough petition signatures to put the repeal of California's Fair Education Act on the ballot. Running out of time and still shy of the required number of signatures, these "godly Christians" have resorted to lying and duping the uninformed into signing their hate motivated petition. Such conduct is a criminal violation under California Elections Code, Section 18600. A formal complaint has been filed against the Stop SB 48 campaign. Prop8TrialTracker has details. Here are some excerpts:

Courage Campaign filed a formal complaint with the California Attorney General, District Attorney, and the Oceanside City Attorney on behalf of Max Disposti, who witnessed the events, requesting an investigation (and possible prosecution) into signature-gathering tactics used by Stop SB 48 volunteers. Alleging that SB 48 could expose children to sexual predators is simply unacceptable, and Stop SB 48 campaign and their volunteers should be held accountable.

A few days ago at a fair in Oceanside, my husband and I were asked if we wanted to sign a petition to protect children from abduction. When I asked what she meant, she said there was a law that just passed called SB 48 (the FAIR Education Act) that is forcing children to learn about “homosexuality” and sex without parental control, exposing them to sexual predators. As you can see in the photo on the right, she had plenty of supplemental materials to make her case. And, you guessed it: she turned out to be a volunteer with the Stop SB 48 campaign.

I stood next to this woman for the next three hours and talked to every single person who approached, drawn in by her giant posters. Every single one of them was disgusted by her actions and refused to sign her petition when I told them the truth about SB 48. Every single one. With only 14 days left until the Stop SB 48 campaign has to turn in their signatures, everything we do right now matters.

These people are truly heinous and a blight on society and the nation. They need to be prosecuted and on a larger scale driven back into the political wilderness. Meanwhile, as long as they continue to lie about us, I will continue to write and tell the truth about them.

Charlottesville Episcopal Church Recognizes Same Sex Unions

Charlottesville - home of the University of Virginia and the huge UVA Medical Center - continues to be among the most progressive cities in Virginia. Now, St. Paul's Memorial Church, an Episcopal parish, has taken things up a further notch in the progressive movement by announcing that it will begin to recognize same sex relationships and joins six other Episcopal parishes in Virginia to do so and accept the reality that committed same sex couples exist and deserve church recognition. WVIR-TV 29 has coverage on St. Paul's historic and welcomed decision. Here are some highlights:

A Charlottesville Episcopal church is taking steps toward recognizing same-sex unions. "It is another step along the road that this church has had in opening its doors to people. Particularly people on the margins," said Rector James Richardson.

St. Paul's Memorial Church sits right across University Avenue from the UVA Rotunda. And after months of deliberation, it's decided to stand up to officially recognize same-sex relationships.

"What we are doing is not in a vacuum, it is part of the wider church, not every part of the church is doing the same thing," Richardson said. "In the end it came to me to ask permission of the bishop about whether we could bless these relationships."

The church joins six other Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Virginia approved to perform similar ceremonies.

'The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, has authorized seven congregations to provide a generous pastoral response to faithful same-sex couples in the context of a church service. "I am convinced – both theologically and experientially – that committed, monogamous, same-sex relationships can be faithful in and to the Christian life," noted Bishop Johnston. He also reiterated his firm commitment to supporting all congregations in the Diocese of Virginia, including those congregations who object theologically to same-sex blessings.

In his decision to bless and recognize same sex unions, Richardson turned to his congregation, his clergy, and even the Bible itself. He says the decision reflects the fact that the definition of marriage is changing.

"The Bible has a rather large latitude on marriage," Richardson said. "We think of it now as primarily for the mutual joy of husband and wife. That has led to an inevitable question - is it only men and women who can have the mutual joy of a committed, supportive, loving relationship?" Richardson doesn't think so.

"The steady progression of the episcopal church has been to open our arms of love and welcome more people and provide for them all of the blessings that the church provides," he said. "We can celebrate - you are in a loving, committed, faithful relationship. We celebrate it. You are welcome here and we bless it. And god blesses you."

Kudos to St. Paul's and the Diocese of Virginia. By this action, it gives testimony that not all Christians embrace fear and hatred of others. Would that more churches followed this example.

Monday, October 03, 2011

More Monday Male Beauty

Conservative "Christians" - You Will Know Them By Their Hate

As the myths go, in the early days of the Christian Church while everyday Christians were persecuted - often viciously - supposedly the Christians stood out because of their love for others. We've now gone 180 degrees and I would argue that many Christians - especially conservative and evangelical Christians are best known for their hatred towards others rather than love. And the targets of their hate are many: minorities, immigrants, non-Christians, foreigners, etc. But gays continue to win a special type of hatred that often seems to welcome anti-gay violence despite disingenuous lip service to the contrary. Worse yet, parents who mindlessly follow Bible thumping pastors (and priests) continue to disown their own children with the result that LGBT teens represent a disproportionate percentage of homeless youth. Now, one Christianist pastor has taken the anti-gay bigotry and hatred to a new level: he physically and verbally assaulted two young gays (pictured at right) who sought to enter the pastor's church. One of the assault victims was the pastor's own son. I'm sorry, but the individual who merited the beating was the pastor, not the young gay couple. As a parent myself, I can only see the pastor as a foul monster. Here are highlights from The New Civil Rights Movement:

A gay Tennessee couple was reportedly attacked — physically and verbally assaulted — by a Christian Pastor and his deacons to prevent the same-​sex couple from entering the Pastor’s church. Sadly, the pastor is the father of one of the two members of the gay couple. Also sadly, the church members and bystanders did not lift a finger to help the couple or to stop church leaders from perpetrating the crime. Further, initially, local authorities refused to allow the couple to file charges.

Pittman said the attacked was prompted by the pastor of the church, Jerry Pittman, his father. “My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smash me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back,” said Pittman. He said bystanders did not offer assistance. He said the deacon yelled derogatory homosexual slurs, even after officers arrived. He said the officers never intervened to stop the deacons from yelling the slurs.

Offensively, the ABC affiliate news report allows the sheriff on camera to even suggest that the couple might have deserved the violence they encountered, without challenge
, and offers an impending divorce of the Pastor as a reason for his hostile actions. Great act of “journalism.”

The elder Pittman is the Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Humboldt (listed in news reports as as Fruitland) Tennessee. Probably a safe assumption the Grace Fellowship Church takes advantage of IRS rules to be a tax-​exempt religious organization. Your tax dollars pay for that which Grace Fellowship Church does not.

I hate to say it, but each time I hear about stories such as this one, I find it increasingly difficult to set foot in any supposedly Christian church. It's little wonder that the number of atheists and agnostics is growing faster than any other religious category. If pastor Pittman represents the face of Christianity, let's hope it dies a rapid death.
Click on the image to enlarge.

Late last year I wrote about the true Biblical model for marriage and found that -contrary to what self-enriching whore Maggie Gallagher and the folks at the National Organization for marriage or KKK loving Tony Perkins at Family Research Council bleat about marriage between one man and one woman - the true models depicted in the Bible rarely in fact support the Christianists' claims. Instead, the majority of the Bible's model's for marriage are something quite different unless one selectively ignores the many passages that show Gallagher and Perkins to be liars. The image above (which I found via Joe.By.God) illustrates what the Bible really says about the models for marriage. Isn't it strange how those who claim to worship the Bible as the literal "word of God" ignore so many inconvenient passages?

As I have noted many, many times before, if one is going to claim that the Bible is inerrant and the literal word of God, one doesn't get to pick and choose which passages to uphold and which ones to ignore. It's an all or nothing proposition - at least if one is intellectually and morally consistent. Which we all know is not true of Christianists. Their hallmarks are lying, disseminating hate and, of course rank hypocrisy.

Monday Morning Male Beauty

Koch Brothers Flout the Law, Get Richer and Fire Whistle Blowers

If anyone provides a prime face for corporate greed in this country, in my opinion, it is the Koch brothers (pictured to the right in the photo) who seem to never be satisfied with their enormous wealth and are only to willing to pollute the environment, mistreat workers and wage war on the middle class via the Tea Party as they lust for ever more wealth. Dick Cheney, of course with the money he made via Halliburton while small potatoes compared to the Kochs is another example of obscene greed and arrogance. is running a story that looks at the illegal bribes, dealings with the nation's enemies, etc., all in pursuit for more and more wealth. From the sounds of the article, both Koch brothers ought to be in prison, although we all know that will never happen. Here are some story highlights:

In May 2008, a unit of Koch Industries Inc., one of the world’s largest privately held companies, sent Ludmila Egorova-Farines, its newly hired compliance officer and ethics manager, to investigate the management of a subsidiary in Arles in southern France. In less than a week, she discovered that the company had paid bribes to win contracts.

Egorova-Farines wasn’t rewarded for bringing the illicit payments to the company’s attention. Her superiors removed her from the inquiry in August 2008 and fired her in June 2009, calling her incompetent, even after Koch’s investigators substantiated her findings. She sued Koch-Glitsch in France for wrongful termination.

Koch Industries is obsessed with secrecy, to the point that it discloses only an approximation of its annual revenue -- $100 billion a year -- and says nothing about its profits.

The most visible part of Koch Industries is its consumer brands, including Lycra fiber and Stainmaster carpet. Georgia- Pacific LLC, which Koch owns, makes Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels and Quilted Northern bath tissue.

Charles, 75, and David, 71, each worth about $20 billion, are prominent financial backers of groups that believe that excessive regulation is sapping the competitiveness of American business. They inherited their anti-government leanings from their father [Fred].

Fred was an early adviser to the founder of the anti- communist John Birch Society, which fought against the civil rights movement and the United Nations. Charles and David have supported the Tea Party, a loosely organized group that aims to shrink the size of government and cut federal spending.

A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries -- in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East -- has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.

Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.

From 1999 through 2003, Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments. In December 1999, a civil jury found that Koch Industries had taken oil it didn’t pay for from federal land by mismeasuring the amount of crude it was extracting. Koch paid a $25 million settlement to the U.S.

Phil Dubose, a Koch employee who testified against the company said he and his colleagues were shown by their managers how to steal and cheat -- using techniques they called the Koch Method.

How much lawless behavior are we going to tolerate from any one company?” asks David Uhlmann, who oversaw the prosecution of the Koch refinery division when he was chief of the environmental crimes unit at the U.S. Department of Justice. “Corporate cultures reflect the priorities of the corporation and its senior officials.”

The Koch brothers have vaulted into the American political spotlight in recent years. Koch Industries has spent more than $50 million to lobby in Washington since 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political donations. The company opposed derivatives regulation and greenhouse gas limits.

The brothers have backed a foundation that has trained thousands of Tea Party activists.

The illicit payments uncovered by Ludmila Egorova-Farines raised the specter of a new blow to the company’s effort to improve its reputation following criminal convictions and civil penalties.

There is much more in the Bloomberg piece and all together it appears to reveals a vile, lawless, evil corporate empire which pretends to care about compliance with the laws while its actions suggest a very, very different story. Personally, I will make a point to avoiding any Koch product.