[N]o practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.
The battle over issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, and even things as innocuous-seeming as the Lisa Miller case hinge upon freedom of religion, at least in the minds of those who pursue them as part of their faith. For the rest of us, it is about freedom from religion. We want to not have to be forced to accept other people’s views on religion, thank you very much.
It is also, though, about that quote above. Churches are free to discriminate. That is quite evident in the recent actions of the Kentucky church that banned interracial marriages. Catholic Churches are free to discriminate against lesbians and gays as well. The thing is, though, they still have to deal with the consequences, and that is something that they do not want to do.
Let us, though, look at the words of one Julio Severo regarding the case of Timothy David Miller and Lisa Miller. Timo Miller was charged by federal prosecutors with aiding Lisa Miller in the abduction of the daughter she had with Janet Jenkins. . . . Both Timo Miller and Lisa Miller, who are not related to each other, have the freedom to do what they wanted to, but they also face the freedom to take the consequences of their actions.
Severo thinks otherwise. He wrote recently that: Rev. Timothy David “Timo” Miller, who acted courageously in his defense of a persecuted child and her mother, has now made a deal with federal prosecutors, who are seeking to take Isabella Miller away from her mother and give her to an unrelated lesbian. No one knows exactly what this deal is, but prosecutors appear to be pleased with the results.
What you can do: Pray that God will lead Lisa and Isabella in his grace, mercy and power. Pray that the FBI and other authorities working for darkness and wickedness will be covered in confusion and shame. Pray that God will bring blindness to those planning to arrest and kidnap Lisa and Isabella (see 2 Kings 6:18). Pray that ultimately the name of Jesus Christ will be honored.
Severo shows without a doubt that he and his fellow “Christians” want nothing more than to make their religion dominant and to ignore the laws of the United States. They are the ones who want special privileges. They want to be better than everyone else and are terrified of their status being superior to all others will be stripped from them.
They are terrified of having to take the consequences of their actions. Lisa Miller will face jail time, and what is more, she will have to deal with the fact that she handed her daughter over to a known pedophile masquerading as a Baptist activist. She will have to cope with life in prison, and the fact that she will likely never get to see Isabella Miller for the rest of her life.
This is what these people want to avoid. They want to avoid having to understand that they have all but destroyed the life of young Isabella Miller- who, by the way, was seeing Janet Jenkins quite easily before she was brought into the Baptist fold and was not suffering from any problems whatsoever.
Well, the problem for Lisa Miller and company is that they are, like it or not, bound by the law.
Thoughts on Life, Love, Politics, Hypocrisy and Coming Out in Mid-Life
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Anti-Gay Christianists Want To Avoid the Consequences of Their Actions
Newt Gingrich's War on Poor Children
Newt Gingrich has reached a new low, and that is hard for him to do. Nearly two weeks after claiming that child labor laws are “truly stupid” and implying that poor children should be put to work as janitors in their schools, he now claims that poor children don’t understand work unless they’re doing something illegal.
On Thursday, at a campaign stop in Iowa, the former House speaker said, “Start with the following two facts: Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.”
This statement isn’t only cruel and, broadly speaking, incorrect, it’s mind-numbingly tone-deaf at a time when poverty is rising in this country. He comes across as a callous Dickensian character in his attitude toward America’s most vulnerable — our poor children. This is the kind of statement that shines light on the soul of a man and shows how dark it is.
Gingrich wants to start with the facts? O.K. First, as I’ve pointed out before, three out of four poor working-aged adults — ages 18 to 64 — work. Half of them have full-time jobs and a quarter work part time.
Furthermore, according to an analysis of census data by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College, most poor children live in a household where at least one parent is employed. And even among children who live in extreme poverty — defined here as a household with income less than 50 percent of the poverty level — a third have at least one working parent. And even among extremely poor children who live in extremely poor areas — those in which 30 percent or more of the population is poor — nearly a third live with at least one working parent.
You’d have to slice the definition of neighborhoods rather thinly to find a few areas that support Gingrich’s position. Lastly, Gingrich vastly overreaches by suggesting that a lack of money universally correlates to a lack of morals. Yes, poverty presents increased risk factors for crime. But, encouragingly, data show that even as more Americans have fallen into poverty in recent years, the crime rate over all — and, specifically, among juveniles — has dropped.
“Facts” are not Gingrich’s forte. Yet he is now the Republican front-runner. It just goes to show how bankrupt of compassion and allergic to accuracy that party is becoming.
The Republican Party has truly become something very ugly. Click on the image below for details on the children of the working poor.
Nigeria's Heinous Anti-Gay Bill
It is important to first understand that no gay Nigerian, as far as anyone knows, is seeking marriage -- in Nigeria. You can comb the breadth of our decidedly homophobic media ("Homosexuals are in trouble!" crowed The Sun Newspapers, no doubt mirroring the excitement of its upright editorial board), and there is neither anecdotal nor empirical evidence of a clamor, even a quiet one, for gays to be married in churches, mosques or courts.
Still, our legislators were hard at work over a considerable number of weeks while the rest of sane Nigeria, in a state of suspended disbelief, ignored them; convinced that, in a country with pressing issues such as fuel subsidy removal and debilitating insecurity, this frivolous legislation would not see light of day. Until yesterday when, of course, it did.
Our elected representatives in the Senate, armed with their version of our National Moral Code, took time off urgent national issues to tackle the even more urgent evil of gay marriages. Before we could catch our breaths, our over-paid and under-worked Senators had legalized homophobia.
According to the law, not only is gay marriage a crime punishable by a 14-year jail term, but "any person who registers operates or participates in gay... organizations" faces a decade in jail -- a clause that specifically targets the many active sexuality rights advocacy groups in the country.
By the time the House of Representatives adds its predictable voice to this and the President signs it into law, writing this kind of piece might even risk jail time.
Many Nigerians are convinced that homosexuality is "of the devil", against our "culture" and an encroachment of "sad Western values." . . . . That's forgetting that the real giant of Africa, South Africa, is the continent's bastion of sexuality rights.
"Our values are our values," the pompous senate president David Mark replies to critics of the bill. Nonsense he can get away with, only because a large segment of our educated population is unaware that animals have been found to be gay.
Dead cliches like "God did not make Adam and Steve" continue to get excited choruses from sedated congregations and people still declare with ignorance that "homosexuality is not a part of our culture", conveniently skimming over historical evidence of the practice in the East and North of the country; and blissfully unaware that the origins of homophobia in our societies can only be traced to the influx of foreign religions.
Indeed, you have to weep for a people that decry "foreign imperialism" on one hand, and then ignorantly hide under the cover of colonial influences to perpetuate intolerance.
It's the same country whose ex-president recently paid a 'courtesy visit' to appease confessed terrorists; the same country where four men who savagely raped a girl and recorded it on video were defended by a police chief as "dealing with snobbish girls." Indeed, what else can one expect from a Senate that houses a member who defiled and took for a wife, a girl barely in her teens only last year?
But gays -- who only pray for the right to be left alone since they do the rest of us no harm - are the mortal threat to our "moral fabric". They severely threaten the moral fabric of a nation which finds its place in the bottom of corruption rankings years in a row thanks to politicians like Mark who have sodomized the populace for decades now.
The pattern is all too familiar and the hate and bigotry is largely driven by imported homophobia - one of the hallmark export items of American Christianists.
Will Virginia Democrats Meet the Cuccinelli Threat?
Ken Cuccinelli II’s announcement that he will run for Virginia governor in 2013 presages some interesting days ahead.
The controversial, hard-right attorney general has been a highly polarizing figure in state politics. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, he stubbornly insists that humans have little to do with climate change and has indulged in a months-long witchhunt against a former University of Virginia scientist who, like most of his colleagues in the civilized world, does see a link. Cuccinelli has trampled on gay rights by pushing to end legal protections against discrimination against gays in public universities. He has fought headlong against President Obama’s health-care reform, spending plenty of taxpayer money in the process.
Meanwhile, Cuccinelli hasn’t come up with much in the way of positive proposals or platforms. Perhaps that’s not his job as attorney general, but right now voters don’t have a clear idea what he’s for, only what he’s against. Given Cuccinelli’s obvious and robust reactionary ideas, it will be hard for him to remake himself into a moderate the way Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, once a hard-line social conservative, seems to have done.
The state GOP establishment has been pushing Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling as McDonnell’s successor, notably by calling him the “go to” guy on jobs. The fact is that Bolling is pleasant — and utterly forgettable.
Either way, the state’s Democrats badly need to get their act together. And fast. They are going to have to come up with a better candidate than Creigh Deeds, who was easily beaten by McDonnell last time.
The Democrats clearly need to find a candidate who is NOT from Southwest Virginia - the last three from both parties have lost. They also need to find a candidate who's not afraid to strongly campaign for a progressive agenda and who can put forth a vision for how Virginia can move prosperously into the future. Creigh Deeds was hopeless when it came to doing this and the Democrats need to not make the mistake of running someone who is basically a warmed over version of a weak, moderate Republican as the party's candidate again.
Friday, December 02, 2011
Newt Gingrich and the Far-Right Mind
I still think Romney’s going to win the nomination, but it’s going to be damn fun watching Gingrich make him work for it. Newt’s major advantage, of course — perhaps his only advantage — is that he intimately understands the workings of the GOP base’s collective mind. Romney, on the other hand, can only speak to the base in one language and on one topic: antipathy for Barack Obama.
And, really, he [Gingrich] is today’s GOP: white, male, wealthy, Southern, pension-aged, devout, and, perhaps most importantly, unapologetically combative.
Besides referencing WWII — the time of the Greatest Generation, when America was pure and righteous, the savior and redeemer of the world — Gingrich’s plan also taps into the belief among many on the right that they are the victims of unfair accusations of being racist.
Paper-thin as this logic would seem to many liberals, Gingrich’s plan allows its proponents to insist that they’re not racist: they don’t want all undocumented immigrants to go, just the bad ones! (Note that Gingrich has also claimed that the “vast majority” of those brought before these citizenship tribunals would be deported…)
Culturally chauvinist? Yes. Inherently dehumanizing and degrading for those called before the councils? Yes! Rife with potential small-scale and easily ignored abuses of power? Absolutely! But racist? Plausibly not!
And that’s the sweet-spot for the contemporary far-right in America. It’s a befuddling and perhaps intimidating place for those without prior experience; it’s clearly not a realm Mitt Romney finds entirely to his liking. But for Newt Gingrich, it’s very nice indeed.
One can only hope that come 2012 moderates and independents will have come to recognize the toxicity of both Gingrich and today's GOP.
New Discovery Disputes Bible Condemnation of Homosexuality
For the last 2,000 years, Christians have been taught to believe that Apostle Paul condemned homosexuality. But a new discovery documents that he deliberately acknowledged that it does not prevent anyone from entering heaven. If accepted, this discovery by internationally acclaimed cryptographer Michael Wood could remove the final barrier to full societal acceptance of gays and lesbians.
"Michael Wood's discovery is remarkable because it solves a colossal paradox regarding Paul's Greek that has baffled scholars for 2,000 years," says Dr. William Berg, who taught Greek and Roman Classics at Stanford University.
Paul's only unequivocal reference to homosexuality is found within Romans 1:18-3:20, a Biblical passage that has mystified scholars for two millennia. "The interpretation of Romans 1:18-3:20 has been notoriously difficult for almost every commentator," Richard Longenecker, the Distinguished New Testament Scholar at Wheaton College, writes in his book Studies in Paul. "Earlier interpreters such as Origen, Jerome, Augustine, and Erasmus wrestled with this issue and it continues to plague commentators today."
The finding is significant because it documents that Paul purposefully separated the same-sex acts; it was a conscious, deliberate decision consistent with the rest of the passage. In fact, it was demanded by the rest of the passage. The resolution of the paradox empirically proves that Paul's view on homosexuality was very different from what Christians had thought for 2,000 years.
Although Romans 1 contains the only unequivocal reference to homosexuality, anti-homosexual statements have been introduced into other passages in newer versions of the English Bible. As for these modern changes to the Biblical text: "Michael Wood has gone the extra mile in being faithful to Paul's Greek," said Dr. Berg. "He shows, time and again, that the words traditionally mistranslated as 'homosexual,' 'effeminate,' 'impure,' and so forth, are really targeting selfish, unloving, unjust activity and have nothing to do with sexual orientation. He shows that once again Paul was condemning those who violate the Justices of the Torah, and nothing more."
I don't doubt for a moment that those who cling to a a version of Christianity based on hatred and fear will close their ears to these new discoveries. Those who have a sick, psychological need to hate and condemn others in order to feel better about themselves will never willingly concede a basis that justifies their hatred of others and self-satisfaction. But as time goes by and in light of the growing flight of the generations under 30 from organized religion, the intransigence of supposed defenders of Christianity will hasten its death knell. Candidly, if the chose is between the Christianist form of Christianity and seeing Christianity as a dead religion, the latter is the more desirable outcome.
Get Ready for a GOP Cat Fight between Bolling and Cuccinelli
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has said for years he would support Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for governor in 2013 said Thursday that he plans to continue to do so despite news that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli would jump into the race.
“Since early 2008, I’ve been clear that I will strongly support Bill Bolling for governor in 2013,’’ McDonnell said in a statement. “Bill is a trusted adviser and a close personal friend. As lieutenant governor, Bill has been a key member of our administration. Serving as our chief job creation officer, Bill has been tireless and successful in his work to bring more jobs and economic opportunities to the commonwealth. I look forward to supporting Bill in his campaign for governor.”
Meanwhile the snipping has begun among conservative blogosphere. Too Conservative has this to say about Kookinelli's "narcissism":
The timing of this “announcement” by Cuccinelli is disgusting and extremely self serving and selfish. He does this right before The Advance when people would have been otherwise fawning all over Bill Bolling with his new found power as the Senate tiebreaker. Or maybe Bob McDonnell and his election as RGA Chair. Instead Cooch takes this particular moment to upstage Bolling so people will talk about this all weekend and fawn all over Cuccinelli. Cooch has always been all about Cooch before anything else, so this really shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Think about it, he leaks out a non-announcement “announcement”, saying he’ll make a more formal announcement later after all these other things happen so as not to divert attention from those important things. And in doing so he creates a media frenzy surrounding himself right before the big annual state GOP GTG. Completely narcissistic self promotion. But that’s the Cult of Ken Cuccinelli for you.
On the other side of the GOP spectrum - the side even less in touch with objective reality - Mason Conservative unleashes a broadside at Bolling:
The panic spreading across the social mediaverse I've been watching the last 24 hours is frightening if you hope to support Bill Bolling. The Bolling people clearly were not ready for this to happen this early and have been caught flat-footed and have not thought before expressing their reactions.
Just as a little history lesson for those out there who don't know. The deal brokered by McDonnell and Bolling in late 2008 was between them and nobody else. Ken wasn't part of that . . . in fact, he has reason to hold it against them. It was McDonnell and Bolling that got John Brownlee in the race for AG to *keep* Ken off the ticket because they thought he would be a drag. For proof I point to both logic and Phil Cox was Brownlee's consultant throughout the campaign. So for these guys to suddenly express "regret" that Cuccinelli has changed his mind is laughable. Secondly, for the line of McDonnell and Bolling showed us how to win is only a half-truth. Ken was a key to that sweep, and he got more votes than Bolling statewide, by about 15,000.
Bolling comes out of the Richmond machine of Tom Bliley that has given us Jim Gilmore, Eric Cantor and a plethora of state legislators and I would expect better from them. They need to take a deep breath, inhale . . . exhale . . . inhale . . . exhale. Its a long way away and I can't believe they weren't ready for this because it was always going to happen. They've had six years of preparation for this run, if not one person ever gave thought and had a plan in place for a primary challenger then they all need to be fired.
The coming drama, back stabbing and back biting is going to provide high entertainment value. With luck, Kookinelli and Bolling will greatly damage one another and ultimate help their Democrat opponent. And with the two of them trying to be more conservative - read reactionary and insane - than the other, there should be a lot of batshit craziness flying around that will make for great Democrat ad material.
Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples
What century is this? This story intrigues me because it makes me wonder how many houses of worship are this racist in this day and age?
Unfortunately, I believe the answer is that many, many churches - especially in the South - are this racist. Look at Family Research Council's white supremacy loving leader, Tony Perkins, as a barometer of what's really going on behind the scenes of the "family values" crowd. Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church's big mistake was that these "godly Christians" were up front with their bigotry. Many are simply more subtle in how they discriminate. Here are highlights from the Herald-Leader's coverage:
Dean Harville said Melvin Thompson, who had been pastor for many years, told him in August that his daughter and her fiancé couldn't sing at the church again. Thompson stepped down as pastor in August, citing health issues, but he refused Harville's requests to drop the issue, Harville said.
The new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple could sing at the church if they wanted, Harville said.
In early November, Thompson proposed the church go on record saying that while all people were welcome to attend public worship services there, the church did not condone interracial marriage, according to a copy of the recommendation supplied by the Harvilles.
The proposal also said "parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services" or other church functions, with the exception of funerals.
The recommendation "is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve," the copy supplied to the Herald-Leader read.
Harville said he plans to ask the conference of churches to which Gulnare Freewill Baptist belongs to overturn the vote. Even if that happens, however, "I don't think I'll be able to go back there," his daughter said.
Contrary to the church's claim, it IS all about judging people. I'm sure I will catch hell for saying this, but I view hate based versions of conservative Christianity to be a growing cancer on American society. Under the First Amendment, such beliefs cannot be stopped, but the rest of society needs to start ostracizing such people for the foul bigots that they are.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Kookinelli Makes it Official - He's Running for Governor
You have likely heard in the media the many rumors about an announcement of a run for governor. While I wanted to wait to announce a candidacy until after the General Assembly session, as the rumors swirl, I find it necessary to put them to rest.
After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to run for governor in 2013. I have always intended to let you know before the media. Shortly after you receive this email, I will be sending a statement to the media announcing my candidacy.
Being attorney general is the best job of my life, and working with so many bright and dedicated professionals in this office has made it a true joy.
We have protected vulnerable citizens from fraud, worked to get gangs off the streets through intervention as well as prosecution, saved taxpayers from millions in Medicaid fraud, fought for fair utility prices for consumers, provided our clients with official legal opinions that have never been overruled by any court, and stood up to the federal government when it broke the law and infringed on the sovereignty of Virginia and the liberty of her people.
We will continue this work together until the last day of my term. Just as I had intended not to resign as attorney general to run for a second term, I will not resign as attorney general to run for governor. The people of Virginia trusted me to be their attorney general, and I intend to give them their full four years. I also think it is important to see these lawsuits against the federal government all the way through, as they are unprecedented battles for liberty in our lifetimes.
I am committed to you and to the citizens of this commonwealth to leading this office and making this job my priority. I have no right to ask the voters for a promotion if I cannot continue to do my current job well.
I know many of you are wondering why I decided to run for governor instead of for re-election. As so many former attorneys general know from being legal counsel to every agency of state government, this job gives you tremendous insight and perspective on the inner workings of state government that no other job can provide.
Being governor of the commonwealth and all its agencies is truly a massive task, and with only four years to do it, there is little time for on-the-job training. That is especially true when Virginia and the entire country are facing unprecedented economic challenges, a bullying federal government, and financially strapped citizens who are demanding that we ensure every dollar taken from their families to pay for government is a dollar that is spent wisely. When Governor McDonnell finishes his successful term, I am convinced his successor needs to hit the ground running to keep the momentum moving forward in the face of federal and economic challenges.
I hope you have known me long enough to know that I do this out of my love for our commonwealth and to further the principles on which this country was founded. Although I originally expected to serve as attorney general for another term, my job is that of public servant, and I feel that two years from now, I can best serve the people of Virginia from the governor’s office.
Thank you for your dedication to this office and to the people we serve. I look forward to our continued work together and our successes during the remaining two years of my term.
Applications Being Taken for the Hamar/HRBOR Scholarship
How to donate by check. To contribute to the Hamar/HRBOR Scholarship, you can make your check payable to the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, and mail it to 101 W. Main Street, Suite 4500, Norfolk, VA 23510. Please indicate that your gift is for the Hamar/HRBOR Scholarship.
Sexual Double Standards - Is it Fueled by Homophobia?
The Players: Manhunt, a gay dating site founded in 2001 with over 6.5 million members and their new, racy, gay billboards; Kelly Cole, co-president of the Valley View elementary PTA who thinks those ads are too racy and gay.
The Opening Serve: . . . "You try explaining the “Zero feet away MANHUNT MOBILE” phone application to your 9-year-old son. A 9-year-old who loves Army guys, and so noticed the dog tags right away." She explains it's not the "blatant porniness" or that the ad is gay-focused which bothers her: It’s the fact that I am forced to figure out a way to frame to my fourth-grader the fact that some people like to find casual sex partners fast using their mobile phones... I know I could have lied to my son, which I don’t typically condone, but honestly I couldn’t come up with a suitable story fast enough to fit that image and service. . . . . I wrote to the executives who own and run the billboard company, Lamar Advertising: “No matter what one's politics, religious beliefs, or moral compass says about this, does it not seem obvious that this ad is inappropriately placed when it becomes forced viewing for hundreds of children daily?”
The Return Volley: . . . Gawker's Brian Moylan, went a little further. "This writer is trying to paint herself as a liberal, sex-positive, feminist, but, guess what, the fact that the billboard depicts two men is the entire story here," wrote Moylan. "You say that you would hate it if it was hetero but, since we still live in a very heterosexist society, you wouldn't even notice it ... Most companies are too ashamed to put them up there because they're afraid of people like you, people who lose their fucking minds as soon as a kid might see a display of normal, natural adult homosexual sexual expression."
Which brings us to another Manhunt point. On their official blog (NSFW) they point out that just a few blocks away, there's a Michael Kors billboard featuring a woman putting her hand down a half-naked male model's underwear. "No, we don’t have any evidence that there weren’t any complaints to Michael Kors, his ad agency, or to LA political officials. But we highly doubt that several media outlets approached them like they did us. Because, for some reason, gay sexuality is still scary and controversial for many people."
Who's Winning Now: Manhunt. . . . So where exactly is the op-ed slamming the Michael Kors ad that's a few blocks away? It's hard to see a difference between the two, and if anything, a woman preparing to fondle her shirtless partner seems a bit racier than two shirtless men non-kissing. Instead of providing an argument that racy ads, regardless of sexual orientation aren't child-appropriate, it seems like Cole (to her own detriment) and the rest of the complaints are singling Manhunt out.
For the record, I don't belong to Manhunt and I don't use any apps - I don't even have a smart phone. Similarly, I don't condone promiscuous sex of any kind. But I do agree with the argument that as long as same sex intimacy is treated as something dirty to be hidden from view, homophobia prevails and full LGBT equality will lag behind. The heterosexual world is full of casual sex - just ask Tiger Woods. The same standard should apply accross the board.
Vatican Exorcist Says Yoga and Harry Potter are Satanic
The Vatican’s former chief exorcist says yoga and Harry Potter are tools of the devil. “Practicing yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter,” Father Gabriele Amorth said this week.
Those seemingly “innocuous” Potter books convince kids to believe in black magic, he said. “In Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses,” said Amorth.
As for yoga, it leads to Hinduism and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation,” the 86-year-old priest said.
Amorth made the hellraising remarks at a film festival in the Italian city of Umbria, where he was invited to introduce a movie about exorcism called “The Rite,”
“Satan is always hidden and what he most wants is for us not to believe in his existence,” he said. “He studies every one of us and our tendencies towards good and evil, and then he offers temptations.”
Science can’t explain evil, added Amorth, who claims to have performed 50,000 exorcisms before retiring in 2000. He is both founder and honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists.
While the Jesuit’s remarks might strike many as the ravings of a man possessed, Pope Benedict once warned of “subtle seductions” in the Potter books that “dissolve Christianity in the soul.” The Pope has also warned that yoga “can degenerate into a cult of the body.”
I ask again, why does anyone listen to much less treat these nutcases with difference?
Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli to Announce Run for Governor?
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) will reveal his plans next week to run for governor in 2013, according to well-placed Republican sources.
Cuccinelli, a tea party hero who garnered national attention for suing the federal government over the health-care law, expects to make a formal announcement after the legislative session in the spring, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could speak freely about his plans.
For months, the former state senator from Fairfax County had said he was considering running for reelection or against Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) in 2014. But in recent weeks, speculation had turned to a run for governor, possibly setting up a primary race against Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R). Bolling, a social and fiscal conservative who has campaigned on kitchen-table issues, has the endorsement of Virginia’s popular governor, Robert F. McDonnell (R).
He [Cuccinelli] advised public colleges that they could not adopt nondiscrimination policies protecting gay people. And he tangled with academics at the University of Virginia when he subpoenaed some documents related to the work of a former climate scientist.
But Cuccinelli has garnered the most attention for suing the federal government over the constitutionality of the federal health-care overhaul. He won the first round of the suit but lost the second. He appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Political observers say that Cuccinelli would easily win a nomination contest but could have a more difficult time in a general election, where successful Republicans often play down their conservative credentials.
As noted in the article, Kookinelli is outwardly rabidly anti-gay. Yet from time to time I have people advise that Cuccinelli's really a closeted gay who has fooled around with guys in the past like former Congressman Ed Schrock. If those rumors are true, its time for people to come forward with credible proof so that we can end this bastard's political career now and save Virginia from a great deal of grief.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Quote of the Day - German Weekly Spiegel on Today's GOP
The German newsweekly Spiegel takes the latest disclosures concerning Herman Cain and the rise of Newt Gingrich as an opportunity to offer a foreign bird’s-eye view of the current Republican Party and the American media froth around it. My translation:“Africa is a country. The Taliban rule in Libya. Muslims are terrorists. Immigrants are mostly criminals, Occupy Wall Street protesters are always dirty. And women who claim to have been sexually molested should kindly keep quiet.”
Welcome to the wonderful world of the Republican Party. Or rather: to the distorted world of its presidential campaign. For months it has coiled through the country like a traveling circus, from debate to debate, from scandal to scandal, contesting the mightiest office in the world — and nothing is ever too unfathomable for them… These eight presidential wannabes are happy enough not only to demolish their own reputations but also that of their party, the once worthy party of Abraham Lincoln. They are also ruining the reputation of the United States.
They lie, deceive, scuffle and speak every manner of idiocy. And they expose a political, economic, geographic and historical ignorance compared to which George W. Bush sounds like a scholar. Even the party’s boosters are horrified by the spectacle…
Platitudes in lieu of programs: in serious times that demand the smartest, these clowns offer blather that is an insult to the intelligence of all Americans. But as with all freak shows, it would be impossible without a stage, the U.S. media, which has been neutered by the demands of political correctness, and a welcoming audience, a party base that seems to have been lobotomized overnight. Notwithstanding the subterranean depths of the primary process, the press and broadcasters proclaim one clown after the next to be the new frontrunner, in predictable news cycles of forty-five days.
We Were Here - A Documentary
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, the international event to strengthen global efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS. While the statistics in the Black community are daunting (in 2009 African Americans made up only 14 percent of the U.S. population and accounted for more than 44 percent of new infections), there is hope.
Researchers conducted interviews and focus groups at churches in predominately Black neighborhoods in NYC. . . . None reported specifically responding to the crisis among Black gay and bisexual men. Data revealed three prominent themes which might help explain the lack of LGBT-focused mobilization efforts:
1) ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ – The belief that behavior can be distinguished and separated from identity.
2) ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ – The belief that identities and behaviors should be kept private.
3) ‘Your body is a temple’ – The belief that spiritual and physical health are interconnected.
The data suggests that the body-spirit connection was often used by pastors and parishioners as way to promote or discourage being straight or gay, as opposed to a way to reduce HIV risk and promote prevention.
In conclusion, the report found that while the ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ and ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ ideologies represent challenges to community-level prevention, the ‘Your body is a temple’ ideology represents a missed opportunity for church-based efforts to prevent HIV among Black gay and bisexual men. The link between spiritual and physical health can be used for HIV prevention/condom promotion and to promote self-care as an act of Christian devotion.
The real irony is that in many areas it is the white, liberal members of the LGBT community who are providing the funding and many of the volunteer hours to serve members of the black community who have been largely discarded by black churches who all too often allow themselves to used as water carriers for white Christianist organization which are one step removed from white supremacist organizations. That's clearly the pattern here in Virginia.
Join Us in Supporting Tim Kaine for U. S. Senate
Please join our hosts
Jimmy Read Chisman ~ Lani & Chance Davis ~ Letia & Joe Drewry Linda & Jack Ezzel ~ Diana & Duncan Garnett ~ Tricia Harris
George Joseph ~ Tara & Jay Joseph ~ Bob Martin
Barry D. Mesner & Michael B. Hamar ~ Martha & Ross Mugler
B.J. Roberts ~ Molly & Forrest Ward ~ Mary & George Wallace
for a reception honoring
Governor Tim Kaine
To benefit his campaign for U.S. Senate
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
6:00– 8:00 PM
At the home of
Molly & Forrest Ward
801 Park Place, Hampton, Virginia
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Marty Mooradian at
(804) 402-5554 or Martin.Mooradian@kaineforva.com
To RSVP via our website, click here.
Contributions or gifts to Kaine for Virginia are not tax deductible as charitable contributions.
Paid For By Kaine for Virginia.
Is the GOP Set to Self-Destruct Over Payroll Tax?
Every blessed once in a great while, all artifice is stripped away, rhetoric collapses under the weight of its own absurdity, and we get to see things as they really are. Such will be the case later this week when the Senate tries to vote on extending the payroll-tax holiday. The Republicans will oppose it—that is to say, the Republicans will support a tax increase on working Americans. And why? Because the Democrats want to pay for it with a small surtax on the very top earners. So the choice couldn’t be more direct: which is more important, giving the middle class a tax cut or protecting those who make more than $1 million a year? Republicans are making it clear.
The facts: The Social Security payroll tax comes to 12.4 percent of an employee’s salary—employers and employees each pay 6.2 percent. The money goes into the Social Security Trust Fund and finances benefits. At the end of last year, the Obama administration, in exchange for temporarily extending the Bush tax rates on all income levels, got Congress to agree to a one-year 2 percent payroll-tax holiday for employees, down to 4.2 percent. For a $50,000 earner, that meant paying $1,000 a year less in payroll taxes. It was agreed in that law that the holiday would cost the Social Security Trust Fund nothing—the depleted revenue would be replaced out of the general treasury. So the holiday adds to the general deficit but does not affect the trust fund.
The cut proved popular, or is presumed to be popular, so now, as many people predicted last year, Congress wants to extend it. Republicans of course say (as they say of everything) that it hasn’t done any good. But economists attest to its stimulative value.
What the Senate Democrats want to do now is this. They want to increase the employee’s reduction from 2 percent to 3.1 percent (that is, to cut it in half from the normal 6.2 percent rate). And they now want, for the first time, to extend the holiday to employers as well. This is important, and it probably won’t be well explained in very many places. But the Democrats would have employers pay 3.1 percent (rather than the 6.2 percent they now pay) on the first $5 million of their payroll. Also, if employers add to their payrolls, they would pay no payroll tax on new hires. So the new bill is specifically aimed at helping the job creators. The total cost is $255 billion.
The Democrats want to pay for it with a 3.5 percent surtax on dollars earned over $1 million per year. In other words, if someone earns $1.3 million a year, she will pay the extra 3.5 percent only on the last $300,000 in earnings; that is, an extra $10,500 a year (bear in mind that this person takes home, after taxes, around $30,000 every two weeks). So it certainly raises the taxes of the very wealthiest. But it gives more money back to middle-class people, and it stimulates the economy, perhaps to the tune of 50,000 jobs a month, maybe even more.
[E]xtending the holiday will help the economy at a moment when Republicans are now very clearly trying to hurt the economy. This is not even a controversial thing to say anymore, it’s so obvious. And . . . now there’s a price tag on it; it has to be paid for in some way, and that way is a surtax on super-high incomes. And this above all is what the GOP cannot accept.
So the bill will cut taxes on middle-income people and on small employers. And it won’t get a single Republican vote. Maybe one—Scott Brown might have to back it. But they will block this.
It just never ends with these people. . . . . How a party can so nakedly represent only the top 1 percent while at the same time try to stop anything that will help the economy, and survive while doing it, is just beyond me. Obama should give an Oval Office speech Wednesday night and say: “If you are an employee and make less than $1 million, or if you are an employer of any size, I am trying to give you a tax cut.
I totally concur with the writer's sentiments. And this travesty is yet another reason I have fled the GOP brand. I hope many more will do likewise.
FBI Agents Upset Over a Gay J. Edgar
“Mr. Hoover was portrayed as an individual who had homosexual tendencies and was a tyrannical monster,” Schwarz said into the camera, as the sun glinted off his FBI cuff links and FBI lapel pin. “That is simply not true.”
Many former FBI agents share Schwartz’s pique with the film’s dropped hints of an abiding love between Hoover and aide Clyde Tolson, who is buried a few grave sites away.
Since “J. Edgar’s” release early this month, hundreds of agents have griped about the film on xgboys, a closed e-mail list for FBI retirees that takes its name from one of Hoover’s pet dogs, which in turn is a play on the old nickname for federal agents, “G-men.”
“I don’t know anyone who’s not extremely upset,” said Bill Branon, a former agent . . . . If it were true, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. But don’t do that to the poor guy when he’s dead and gone.”
Agents younger than 70 or so don’t get it, said Brad Benson, president of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI. “Devotion is probably a good word for my generation and up,” said Benson, 70. “The more recent people can’t understand why all the energy is being devoted to this when our [retirement] benefits are at stake.”
As a technical adviser on the film, former agent Scott Nelson said he also advised the filmmakers it was “gratuitous” to include a scene showing Hoover and Tolson kissing . . . . But Nelson thinks some of his fellow former agents are overreacting.
“It’s a biopic. It’s not a biography,” said Nelson, who now runs his own security firm in California. “That doesn’t mean it’s factual. Agents deal in fact, and they’re offended at the literary license taken by the screenwriter. I know why they’re offended.”
However, Nelson said, the film does not disparage Hoover, and the speculative focus on his personal life was part of dramatic storytelling: “That’s Hollywood.”
In a day and age where the closet doors were nailed tightly shut by closeted gays, I'm sure Hoover - if he was indeed gay - was no exception to that rule. And there's no one more outwardly homophobic than closeted gays. Just look at the GOP's parade of closet cases that have been exposed. I just look forward to the day when being gay isn't deemed something horrible by anyone.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Homophobia: A Mark of Losers Nations and Loser States
I knew Russia was likely to embrace homophobia the moment I read that approximately 1.25 million Russians have emigrated from the nation in the past decade. Population experts say that the mass exodus is comparable in size to the migration following the Bolshevik Revolution. This one-time superpower is disintegrating into a superstitious country more concerned about angels than economics.
In this politically stagnating and spiritually stifling environment, it is predictable that the city of Saint Petersburg would consider a totalitarian bill imposing fines for the so-called promotion of gay "propaganda." If it were to pass, anyone who committed "public acts" promoting homosexuality, bisexuality or transgender identity to minors could pay up to 3,000 rubles while an organization could pay 10,000 to 50,000 rubles.
Such an outright assault on expression and speech are not the product of a free country and rightfully raised red flags within the U.S. State Department.
Without exception, loser nations are always the most homophobic. Leaders of such lands desperately look for scapegoats to distract the public from noticing their dismal failures. They also find the promotion of religious extremism useful, because it is more difficult to vilify leaders who present themselves as deified.
The LGBT community rarely thrives in backward places that promote ignorance over education and medieval views over modernity. As these intellectual swamps sink, sexual minorities make ideal targets because their members are often isolated and deeply closeted, vulnerable to persecution, and don't have the numbers to fight back.
Russia is not the only loser nation where leaders manipulate the public through virulent gay bashing. Brutal Zimbabwe dictator, Robert Mugabe, called homosexuality un-Christian and un-African last week, and then threatened to severely discipline anyone in a gay relationship.
Even in some advanced nations there is the threat of retrograde preachers who have no qualms about dragging their countries into the gutter for personal riches and political gain.
Homophobia is a mark of failing nations. Even in America, it is the emblem of poor, second-tier states. It is the signpost of inferior cities that perpetually fail to reach their potential and can't figure out why.
It is not that anti-gay sentiment on its own causes the collapse of such places. It is that homophobia virtually never stands alone. It can only flower in corrupt environments that lack basic freedom, devalue education, limit liberty, have huge income disparities, degrade women, discourage religious pluralism, mock intellectuals, and promote superstition at the expense of science.
As a general rule, places that are leaders in passing anti-gay laws are losers in virtually every other category that defines successful, civilized societies.
I believe that Wayne is pretty much on target. His analysis certainly holds true in the case of Virginia and regions of this state which are the most homophobic (homophobic, of course, being a relative term since the entire state is homophobic in terms of its anti-gay legal framework). The more conservative and homophobic they become, the more they spiral downward toward economic collapse. Don't believe me? The map below shows a county breakdown of unemployment. The lowest unemployment figures are for the most part clustered around cities with major universities and more liberal counties. The highest unemployment rates correlate closely with the most conservative and anti-gay areas of Virginia.