Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Male Beauty

Social Science Research Journal: Mark Regnerus Study on Gay Parenting Deeply Flawed

Mark Regnerus (pictured at left), who authored a anti-gay, far right funded study, titled “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships?, continues to take a beating for his flawed and biased work.  Now the journal that first published the study has conducted its own audit and concluded that the Regnerus study is deeply flawed.   Indeed, the conclusion is that the journal should never have published the study.  To me, Regnerus is typical of those who conduct studies that become lauded by the gay haters.  He seemly determined the result he wanted and then structured the study to prove that predetermined result.  The Houston Chronicle has coverage on the conclusions of Social Science Research which will appear in the November, 2012, issue of the journal.  Here are highlights:

The peer-review process failed to identify significant, disqualifying problems with a controversial and widely publicized study that seemed to raise doubts about the parenting abilities of gay couples, according to an internal audit scheduled to appear in the November issue of the journal, Social Science Research, that published the study.

The highly critical audit, a draft of which was provided to The Chronicle by the journal’s editor, also cites conflicts of interest among the reviewers, and states that “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.”

Since it was published last month, the study, titled “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships?,” has been the subject of numerous news articles and blog posts. It has been used by opponents of same-sex marriage to make their case, and it’s been blasted by gay-rights activists as flawed and biased.

[T]he editor of Social Science Research, James D. Wright, has been at the receiving end of an outpouring of anger over the paper. At the suggestion of another scholar, Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Central Florida, assigned a member of the journal’s editorial board—Darren E. Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale—to examine how the paper was handled.
Among the problems Sherkat identified is the paper’s definition of “lesbian mothers” and “gay fathers”—an aspect that has been the focus of much of the public criticism. A woman could be identified as a “lesbian mother” in the study if she had had a relationship with another woman at any point after having a child, regardless of the brevity of that relationship and whether or not the two women raised the child as a couple.  Sherkat said that fact alone in the paper should have “disqualified it immediately” from being considered for publication.

In reality, only two respondents lived with a lesbian couple for their entire childhoods, and most did not live with lesbian or gay parents for long periods, if at all.

Sherkat, however, called the presentation of the data “extremely misleading.” Writes Sherkat: “Reviewers uniformly downplayed or ignored the fact that the study did not examine children of identifiably gay and lesbian parents, and none of the reviewers noticed that the marketing-research data were inappropriate for a top-tier social-scientific journal.”

Sherkat was an early critic of the paper, even before he was chosen to conduct the audit. He also said in an interview that he had “little respect for conservative religiosity” and believes that Regnerus and some other socially conservative scholars push a political agenda in their academic work. In a paper published last year, he wrote about how religion and political affiliation affects support for same-sex marriage.

“There should be reflection about a conservative scholar garnering a very large grant from exceptionally conservative foundations,” he writes in the audit, “to make incendiary arguments about the worthiness of LGBT parents—and putting this out in time to politicize it before the 2012 United States presidential election.”

 As Sherkat writes: “[I]t is unfair to expect Wright to hear the warning sirens when none were sounded by the reviewers.”  Wright points out (as Regnerus himself wrote) that the paper could be read as supportive of gay marriage because it seems to indicate that more-stable households produce less-troubled children. “This does not sound like spiteful gay-bashing to me,” Wright contends in his response. “It sounds like a perfectly reasonable conclusion.”

It's safe to conclude that anti-gay hate groups and the National Organization for Marriage will continue to quote Regnerus' study as if it's the Holy Grail.  Sadly, truthfulness and honesty are nowhere on the Christianist radar screen.

Baptist Air Force Chaplain Changes Denominations Over Gay Marriage Flap

I've written twice before about Col. Timothy Wagoner, a career Air Force chaplain who until recently was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC") - at least he was until he was booted out of that denomination for not holding enough hate and animosity towards gay service members.  Wagoner's great sin was that he attended a civil union ceremony on an Air Force base for a same sex couple.  That was just too much for the modern day Pharisees at the SBC even though Wagoner had not officiated at the service.  Merely being supportive of gay members of the military was considered heresy.  The story has a happy ending, however.  Wagoner will remain on active duty and has affiliated with a less hate filled branch of the Baptist faith.  The Oklahoman has details.  Here are excerpts:

A long-serving Air Force chaplain has left the Southern Baptist Convention after the conservative denomination publicly questioned his attendance at a same-sex civil union ceremony at his base in New Jersey.
The chaplain, Col. Timothy Wagoner, is remaining on active duty and has affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which holds more moderate views on homosexuality and some other issues than the Southern Baptists.

“I find very little that is more important and nothing that is more exhilarating than providing for the religious freedoms and spiritual care of all service members and their families — and will joyfully continue to do so,” Wagoner said Friday in an email to The Associated Press.

Wagoner’s exit from the Southern Baptist Convention, which SBC leaders welcomed, is a direct fallout from the repeal a year ago of the “don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that had prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Wagoner — the senior chaplain at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst — had made clear he would not officiate at such ceremonies, which the Southern Baptists do not condone.  However, Wagoner had told the AP that he decided to attend as a show of support for the base community, for Umali, and for the Evangelical Lutheran chaplain, Col. Kay Reeb, who presided over it.

I wish Wagoner happiness in his new denomination and hope that he continues to see LGBT people as worthy children of God.  Would that more Christians would realize that it's really very simple to walk away from hate dominated denominations and find more tolerant and loving alternatives.

Mitt Romney and Rafalca The Dancing Horse

After a trip to the United Kingdom which can only be described as disastrous, the specter of the Olympic Games continue to cast a potential pall over the clueless and anything by diplomatic Romney: Rafalca, the dancing horse.  The horse for which the Romneys took over a $77,000.00 business expense deduction on the one tax return that has seen the light of day.  Rafalca - and I must confess that I love horses and grew up riding when my family lived in upstate New York - symbolizes in many ways the fact that Mitt Romney is totally out of touch and clueless when it comes to how the rest of us live - i.e., those of us who don't have Swiss bank accounts, money stashed in numerous tax havens across the globe, and who would be happy to have $77,000.00 in income for the year.  A column in the Washington Post looks at Romney's efforts to duck the Rafalca spotlight:

The animal kingdom has been inhospitable to Mitt Romney in this election cycle.  First there was the damaging story of Seamus, the Irish setter he strapped to the roof of the Romneys’ car on a family trip.  Now it seems that, when it comes to Romney’s political aspirations, Seamus may not be the most dangerous animal in the family menagerie. This past week belonged to Rafalca, the dancing horse

Rafalca, a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare owned in part by the Romneys, qualified as a member of the U.S. Olympic team and will compete in London in the dressage competition — a form of ballet for horses and their riders in which the animals do pirouettes and serpentines.

Understandably, Romney was wary about discussing dressage when NBC’s Brian Williams asked him in London on Wednesday about his equine Olympian. “You actually have a horse in the race. 

Romney pleaded ignorance. “I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not — be — watching — the event. I hope — her horse does well.”

It was arguably Romney’s worst interview since Chris Wallace asked him about Seamus. The flustered candidate went on to disparage the British preparation for the Olympics, setting off an international incident.
It’s understandable that Romney would be reluctant to discuss dressage. Seamus may have made him look odd, or insensitive. Rafalca makes him look like a super-rich playboy.

Nothing says “man of the people” quite like horse ballet.  Ann Romney takes umbrage at the criticism, saying that dressage has helped with her multiple sclerosis.  .   .   .   .    While it’s heartening that Ann Romney has been helped by the horses, most MS sufferers don’t have the luxury of importing $100,000 horses from Europe. And the candidate’s disavowal of dressage as “Ann’s sport” isn’t quite right.

In an interview with the Web site Chronicle of the Horse, Rafalca’s trainer, Jan Ebeling, said Mitt Romney selected the music for the horse’s routine at an international competition; Ebeling, in another interview, said the former Massachusetts governor, inspired by his wife, “really enjoys the horses.” Romney joined his wife at an Olympic qualifying dressage event in April 2008, and the couple declared a $77,731 loss on their 2010 tax returns for their share of Rafalca’s care.

 For the record, the dressage events begin Aug. 2 at Greenwich Park. You can bet Mitt Romney won’t be there.

I've been to dressage events and believe me, the participants/horse owners aren't your typical, average Americans.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Mitt Romney - America's Borat

Jak sie masz? My name-a Mitt. I like you. I like money. Is nice!

The fun just keeps on coming as the British take more and more shots at Mitt Romney.  My favorite is the line calling him America's Borat.  Andrew Sullivan looks at the British humor that is taking vengeance on the clueless and totally out of touch Romney.  Talk about PR disasters.  One cannot help but wonder whether Romney's using the same PR advisers as Chick fil-A.  Here's a sampling from Andrew's blog:

The Brits are having some fun. Some tweets under that hashtag:
#AmericanBorat sounds like Herman Cain on foreign affairs, but w/o the awesome lines from Pokemon Movie song

Mitt Romney: From #AngloSaxonHeritage to #americanborat in one day.

You can tell @MittRomney's doing badly when he starts getting booed by rich white people

65 year-old w/ #AngloSaxonHeritage, no business experience since 1999, seeks position, possibly as Leader of the Free World

"Not since WWII has London seen a bombing as thorough as Mitt Romney's."
One more:

New York City Files Brief Asking DOMA Be Struck Down

The list of those filing amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to have the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") continues to grow.  Now, New York City has filed a brief seeking a ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional and illegally discriminates against same sex couples.  The brief was filed in Windsor v. United States and supports Edith Windsor who was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes because DOMA forbids the IRS from recognizing Windsor's fully legal marriage to her late partner of many years.  There is no justification for such disparate treatment other than the Christianist religious based goal of punishing gay and lesbian couples for failing to conform to Christianist religious beliefs.  Here are excerpts from the Washington Blade on the development:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and lesbian New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have joined the growing choir of individuals calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act.

On Wednesday, attorneys representing the City of New York — as well as Bloomberg and Quinn in their official capacities — filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the justices to take up lesbian Edith Windsor’s challenge to DOMA, known as Windsor v. United States.

Windsor, a New York City widow, had to pay nearly $363,000 in federal estates taxes upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer, in 2009 because of Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The 14-page brief calls DOMA “the last remaining obstacle to achieving legal equality between the city’s married couples” while making the case to strike down the anti-gay law.

“Solely because of DOMA, Edith Windsor was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate tax on her legal spouse’s estate,” the brief states. “If Ms. Windsor’s spouse had been a man, the marital exemption provided by federal law would have applied and she would not have owed any federal estate taxes at all. As a result of DOMA, thousands of legally married same-sex couples in the New York City are being subjected to this type of disparate treatment because their legal marriages are not recognized under federal law.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Windsor, has already filed a request with the Supreme Court calling on justices to take up the lawsuit and overturn DOMA. Windsor has already seen some success. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York already ruled in her favor and ordered that Windsor be refunded the $363,000 in taxes she had paid.

The brief presents the same question to the Supreme Court that has already been asked in earlier briefs asking justices to consider the anti-gay law: Does Section 3 of DOMA violate the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under state law?

The brief lays out two main arguments why DOMA unfairly impacts New York City: (1) DOMA forces it to be “the unwilling agent” of federally required separate treatment of lawfully married employees and (2) the disparate treatment of legally married couples under DOMA undermines the city’s non-discrimination laws.

“As an employer, the city must identify the gender of the spouses of its lawfully married employees and then single out those employees with a same-sex spouse,” the brief states. “DOMA enforces discriminatory tax treatment of spousal health care benefits. In many other benefit-related matters, the city must either incur the cost and administrative burden of ‘workarounds’ (employer-created benefit structures attempting to compensate for the discriminatory effects of DOMA), or discriminate in its treatment of its married workforce.”

Catholic Diocese Illegally Refuses to Sell to Gay Couple

Increasingly, the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy doesn't even try to disguise its hatred and contempt towards openly gay individuals.  Similarly, these foul individuals believe themselves to be above the law be it in the realm of protecting sexual predators and engaging in obstruction of justice or abiding by non-discrimination laws.  Now, a Catholic diocese in Massachusetts has been caught blatantly discriminating against a gay couple seeking to by church property listed on the open real estate market (one can't help but wonder if the property was being sold to pay off sex abuse victims).  One can only hope that the church officials and their realtor are sued by the gay couple and prosecuted/disciplined by the relevant authorities.  Both the Advocate and the Worcester Telegram and Gazette have details.  First these highlights from The Advocate:

Email can be tricky, as one Catholic Diocese in Massachusetts is learning.

The diocese was apparently trying to come up with some legal reason it refuses to sell a 44-bedroom mansion in Worcester to a gay couple who wanted to renovate it. But the back-and-forth over email was still appended to the bottom of the bogus explanation that eventually made its way to the couple, according to Worcester Telegram columnist Dianne Williamson.

A real estate broker for the diocese said in an email she sent to the couple, James Fairbanks and Alain Beret, that it had suddenly found "other plans" for the property.

But at the bottom of the email was this note from Monsignor Thomas Sullivan:
“I just went down the hall and discussed it with the bishop,” Sullivan wrote to the broker, according to the Telegram. “Because of the potentiality of gay marriages there, something you shared with us yesterday, we are not interested in going forward with these buyers. I think they're shaky anyway. So, just tell them that we will not accept their revised plan and the Diocese is making new plans for the property. You find the language.

Obviously, for participating in the action, the realtor ought to lose her license.  Here's more from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette:

Fairbanks and Beret had searched for two years for the perfect renovation project, and hoped to turn the run-down estate into a banquet facility. Previously, the pair had transformed mansions in Vermont and Barre into similar businesses.  “When we saw Oakhurst, we fell in love with it,” Beret said.

The asking price of $1.4 million was negotiated to $1 million. On May 18, the pair signed an offer to purchase with a $75,000 deposit. They paid $3,000 for a home inspection. They also met with various town boards, all of which expressed enthusiasm for the project because it would save the historic building from developers seeking to raze it.

“These men had a good plan,” said Barbara Gaudette, Northbridge Planning Board chairwoman . “They have the background and experience. We would welcome that.”
“Their message was, 'These guys are gay. Get rid of them,' ” Beret said. “I don't argue with their right to stand on the pulpit and condemn. But they don't have the right to chase me down with their poison.”

Their lawyer, Sergio Carvajal, said state law prohibits discriminating against buyers based on sexual orientation, and said the potential for gay marriages would exist regardless of the sexual orientation of the buyer.

“It's outrageous in this day and age that the church would refuse to sell to someone because of their sexual orientation,” Carvajal said. “It's reprehensible.”

Speaking of reprehensible, Oakhurst is perhaps best known as the former House of Affirmation, a treatment home for pedophile priests, which closed amid scandal in the late 1980s. Ironically, Beret was willing to overlook that history; he's a devout Christian who at one time studied for the priesthood.

“I have plenty of sins,” Beret said. “But being gay isn't one of them. This is not a fight I wanted to pick. But for the sake of my dignity, I'm not walking away.”
As they saying goes, I hope they sue the bastards.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Mitt Romney's Disastrous Charm Offensive in the United Kingdom

Karma can truly be a bitch as Mitt Romney found out in the United Kingdom today.  For those living under rocks, Romney is visiting the UK and other nations in an effort to build his foreign policy bona fides after mocking and deriding Barack Obama for supposedly alienating America's traditional allies.   As it turns out, it is Romney who has offended and alienated the British and as The Daily Telegraph (the UK's leading conservative newspaper) reported proved himself to be anything but charming.   Here are some highlights:

His [Romney's] derisory comments questioning Britain’s preparedness for the Olympics in an interview with NBC were a strange way to build bridges with a country that he says should be restored as the umbilical ally of the United States, and a strange way to demonstrate the persuasive qualities needed as leader of the free world. 

Not once have I heard him praise Britain or extol the special relationship he now belatedly trumpets. He even reprised his dislike of the NHS shortly before leaving for these shores of benighted, yellow-toothed natives who spend half their lives waiting in hospital, having tried as governor of Massachusetts to ensure that everyone in his state, as in Britain, had access to health care.

His current pledge to “revive” ties between the US and Britain sounds suspiciously like a talking point drummed up in a policy meeting and designed to differentiate himself from President Barack Obama for domestic purposes.

Yet there isn’t much currently wrong with the transatlantic alliance, as last summer’s exultant state visit by Obama showed.

But the disaster for Romney didn't end with the Telegraph editorial.   Romney (and Utah) also got dished by the mayor of London  as he addressed a huge crowd of Britons:

There are some people who are coming from around the world who don't yet know about all the preparations we've done to get London ready in the last seven years. There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready?"

Here's a video clip where Romney's Olympic games are described as having occurred in the middle of nowhere:

And then there's the issue of Romney's timing" right after British Prime Minister spoke out forcefully on the need for marriage equality for same sex couples.  Among other things, Cameron has stated that he supports same sex marriage because he's a conservative - a sharp contrast with Romney's profound anti-gay bigotry.  Here are some quotes from CNN:

On Wednesday the prime minister hosted a reception for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community at 10 Downing in which he renewed his commitment to legal same sex civil marriage.

“I think marriage is a great institution – I think it helps people to commit, it helps people to say that they’re going to care and love for another person,” Cameron said, according to text of his remarks on his official website. “It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they’re forming. It’s something I feel passionately about and I think if it’s good enough for straight people like me, it’s good enough for everybody and that’s why we should have gay marriage and we will legislate for it.”

One can only wonder what other disasters Romney's foreign trip will cause as he visits other nations.  His trip to the UK confirms that Romney's not only out of touch with average Americans.  He's out of touch with everyone normal who wasn't raised as a rich spoiled brat with an overweening sense of entitlement. 

Feel the Christian Love - The Southwest Tea Party and Gays

A number of surveys have shown that there is something like an 85% overlap between members of the Tea Party crowd and the Christian Right.  This correlation appears borne out by the twitter messages issued by the Southwest Tea Party in support of the gay haters at Chick fil-A.  The animus towards gays is palpable.  It's little wonder that the millennial generation are fleeing from the Christian brand in record numbers.  As note many times before, nowadays conservative Christians are best known for their hate and intolerance towards others.  That's not exactly the message Christ's gospel message sought to engender.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

FRC: A Hate Group's Strategy to "Go On The Offensive"

My blogger friend Jeremy Hooper does an amazing job of shifting through the pronouncements and web sites of leading anti-gay hate groups and exposing their malice and theocratic agenda time and time again.  Jeremy has again struck pay dirt in exposing the agenda of Family Research Council ("FRC") - a registered hate group and affiliate of The Family Foundation which controls the Virginia GOP - to "go on the offensive" and disseminate more lies and fraudulent "studies" and attempt to brainwash youth with its lies and disinformation.  Leading this charge, of course is FRC head, Tony Perkins who has a white supremacist background that the mainstream media fails to spot light time and time again (the image above shows Perkins addressing a white supremacy group).  For rational, thinking Americans who value the Constitution and religious freedom for all, FRC should cause nightmares because no lie is to big and not fraudulent claim to outrageous.  Jeremy makes this comment:

Not sure the Family Research Council wanted people like me to see this, a document where the notoriously deceptive D.C. special interest groups lays out its plan to prevail over "anti-family" forces. But I did see it. So here, you should too.

Think Progress neatly summarizes the poisonous FRC agenda.  Here are highlights:

[T]his document provides a candid look at how this prominent anti-gay hate group views the culture war and where its focus will be moving forward. What’s particularly notable is FRC’s admission that its agenda is completely religious in nature, but that it intends to force its beliefs upon others.  Here are a few highlights:

GO ON OFFENSE: FRC has consistently played great defense. But at this “moment of critical mass” for this and the next generation, we must go on the offense to advance the Christian worldview as America’s only hope. We must double our impact!

GENERATE BIASED RESEARCH: Society listens to academic research, so we must use the language the secular world understands to prove that marriage and worship are foundational to a healthy society and economy. The left has many large institutes manufacturing faulty research to support their anti-family agenda, pro-family conservatives need a social science research powerhouse.

TARGET YOUNG PEOPLE: We have an aggressive plan to engage high school and college students, equip young leaders, and find new ways to communicate truth to the internet generation… we must flood the public debate with fresh, new pro-family activists. FRC must expand our development of materials and video curriculum to equip pastors and laypeople to effectively engage the culture… To expand our reach, we must expand our team that works directly with pastors and their congregations.

FRC clearly sees that on questions like marriage equality, it is losing on multiple fronts. All legitimate scientific research lends credence to supporting LGBT equality — the left’s “many large institutes” include every major medical organization in the country. The intense amount of pushback on Mark Regnerus’ illegitimate conclusions about the harms of gay parenting provides a great example of conservatives’ failure to justify their religious-based biases with scientific data.

Further, polling continues to show distinct generation gaps among young people on all LGBT issues, so FRC’s concern about targeting young people is telling. The tactic is a bit ironic, given that conservatives regularly attack the LGBT community for trying to “indoctrinate” young people, but that’s exactly what they want to do.

As indicated, here in Virginia, FRC works hand in glove with The Family Foundation to push for theocracy and to dupe and intimidate members of the GOP who are constantly threatened with a primary challenge if they fail to do TFF's foul biding.  No one in Virginia bears more hatred and animus towards LGBT rights and lives than TFF.

40 Economists Say The GOP Has Abandoned Economic Reality

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In its effort to pander and prostitute itself to religious extremists (some of whom border on serious mental illness in my view) and the know nothings and cretins of the Tea Party, the Republican Party has entered into some bizarre alternate universe where reality is whatever the Party's demagogues claim it to be even if objective reality and actual facts dictate otherwise.  This detachment from objective reality extends to the GOP's economic policy which seeks to emulate the austerity approach that has reaped disastrous results in Europe, including the United Kingdom which is falling back into recession.  A group of forty (40) economists who live in the real world as opposed to the insane world of the Christianists/Tea Party have evaluated the GOP's economic plan and confirmed that it bears no relation to reality.  Here are highlights from Think Progress on the GOP's economic insanity: 

A survey of forty economists from across the ideological and partisan spectrum has concluded that on some of its most cherished issues, the Republican Party has simply taken leave of economic reality. For instance, economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers noted that one of the results from the survey — run by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, which is hardly known for a left-wing slant — is an overwhelming agreement that the 2009 Recovery Act (i.e. the stimulus) brought down unemployment. But GOP leaders have spent years roundly denouncing the stimulus as a failure.

And while there was a bit more disagreement as to whether the benefits of the stimulus bill outweighed its costs, the bulk of the economists surveyed came down in the “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” camps. Other points from the survey’s respondents worth noting:
The nation needs new revenues. Contrary to nearly every Republican, the economists overwhelmingly agreed that the federal budget deficit cannot and should not be closed without increased tax revenue.
No gold standard. They roundly rejected the belief that a return to the gold standard would stabilize prices or lower unemployment. Enthusiasm for the gold standard made a significant comeback in Republican circles during the presidential primaries.
The “Laffer Curve” won’t help. Virtually all of them rejected the notion that cutting income tax rates would actually increase total tax revenue in future years.
While there were a few survey results that could be interpreted as hard on progressive causes as well, none struck at their heart in the same way as the positions taken on core Republican beliefs.

In short, just about all of Romney's economic proposals are flat ass wrong  - not to mention insane based on simple math that indicates that sharply cutting taxes for the wealthy while greatly increasing defense spending will increase the deficit, not reduce it.

Scotland to Legalise Same-Sex Marriages

Despite a campaign of hate and bigotry aged by the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy and some segments of the Anglican Church, Scotland's parliament is poised to introduce and pass legislation which will allow same sex marriages both in church and civil ceremonies.  This circumstances underscores to falsity of America's claim to be the home of liberty and religious freedom when the sad reality is only conservative Christians have full religious freedom in the USA and the fact that they continue to be afforded special rights at the expense of the religious freedom of other citizens.   The Guardian looks at developments in Scotland and the overwhelming support for marriage equality despite the hate-filled efforts of certain church leaders.  Here are some excerpts:

The Scottish government is to introduce new powers to legalise same-sex marriages in churches and in civil ceremonies, despite vigorous and bitter opposition from church leaders.  A draft bill that will enable gay and lesbian couples to marry with the same legal rights as heterosexual couples will be published later this year and is expected to be enacted next year, after Scottish ministers resisted intense pressure from the Catholic church to drop the proposals.

The legislation will include significant new protections and "conscience clauses" for churches and individual clergy who object to gay marriage on religious grounds, said Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy first minister.  But she added that opposition to the bill – which included 64% of the 62,000 responses from within Scotland to the Scottish government's consultation – had not persuaded her to drop or dilute the measures.

"We believe that in a country that aspires to be an equal and tolerant society, as we do in Scotland, then this is the right thing to do," Sturgeon said.

The measures are expected to be passed by Holyrood next year before similar but weaker measures in England and Wales, to allow same-sex marriages in registry offices, are put before Westminster.  Sturgeon said she was confident it would be passed comfortably: all the party leaders at Holyrood supported the measure, and a majority of Scottish National party backbenchers did so. The SNP will give their 67 MSPs a free vote.

[T]he Scottish government's own online consultation document showed a majority in favour of gay marriage: by 65% to 35% against. Major public opinion polls also showed that most Scottish voters supported same-sex marriage, with about two-thirds of Scots in favour.
Again, it saddens me that the promise of religious freedom and equality under the civil laws in America continues to be a farce and a lie.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Why Mitt Romney Will Continue to Lie and Hide His Tax Returns

A new Pew Poll frames the issues on what independent voters want to know about Mitt Romney in order to finalize their decision on who to vote for in the presidential election in a little more than three (3) months.  It boils down to this as summarized by a piece in Real Clear Politics:  

[A]mong independents -- who are almost certainly the lion’s share of those who have not yet formed a strong opinion of Romney -- 42 percent say they want to know more about his record as governor, 37 percent want to know more about his record as CEO of Bain Capital, and 35 percent want to know more about his tax returns. Just 21 percent of independents want to know more about his wealth, 19 percent want to know more about his family and upbringing, and 16 percent want to know more about his religious beliefs.  .   .   .   .   these are parts of his biography that simply must be filled in if Romney wants to win.

Romney's obvious problem is that  if he is forthcoming on these issues, the answers could well drive independents and undecided voters running screaming away from him.    A piece in Washington Monthly further explores Romney's predicament and why Romney will likely not be honest and refuse to release his tax returns since they likely DO show things he doesn't want documented for voters:

Just look at the things Pew’s independents say they need to know more about: Mitt’s gubernatorial record is a snake pit for him, featuring accomplishments that he dare not talk about for fear of offending his party “base” and/or exposing flip-flops. He clearly doesn’t want to talk about his taxes. And whether or not you think the attacks on Bain Capital have “worked” so far, they have certainly neutralized that part of Mitt’s life as a clear positive. So what’s he going to “go positive” about? The Ryan Budget? His rickety policy proposals on taxes? His virtually non-existent jobs platform? 

Yep, the last thing that Romney can afford is coming clean and telling the truth.  It would likely hurt him more than Obama's attack ads.  Thus, expect more lies, coded racist attacks and efforts to deceive the ignorant and bigoted into voting against their own best interests.  

Another Bad Day for the Bigots at Chick fil-A

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With the rate that things are lurching out of control with Chick fil-A and its failed attempts at damage control, before long Dan Cathy and Chick fil-A will be business school and PR course examples of how to conduct a disastrous PR campaign.   Things are going from bad to worse with today's stories ranging from getting caught setting op a bogus Facebook profile (see image above and story here) in order to defend the lie that Chick fil-A was withdrawing Muppet toys for "safety reasons" rather than the fact that Jim Henson Company had axed Chick fil-A and wanted no association with the homophobic company to being told by the cities of Boston and Chicago that no approvals would be forthcoming for Chick fil-A locations in those cities.   A copy of the letter to Dan Cathy from the Mayor of Boston is set out below.
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As for Chick fil-A unwelcome status in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune has this:

Chicago alderman wants to kill Chick-fil-A's plans to build a restaurant in his increasingly trendy Northwest Side ward because the fast-food chain's top executive vocally opposes gay mar
Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno announced this week that he will block Chick-fil-A's effort to build its second Chicago store, which would be in the Logan Square neighborhood, following company President Dan Cathy's remarks last week that he was "guilty as charged" for supporting the biblical definition of marriage as between a man and woman.

"If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don't want you in the 1st Ward," Moreno told the Tribune on Tuesday.

The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values," the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno's decision. "They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty."

Moreno is relying on a rarely violated Chicago tradition known as aldermanic privilege, which dictates that City Council members defer to the opinion of the ward alderman on local issues. Last year Moreno wielded that weapon to block plans for a Wal-Mart in his ward, saying he had issues with the property owner and that Wal-Mart was not "a perfect fit for the area."

Chick-fil-A already has obtained zoning for a restaurant in the 2500 block of North Elston Avenue, but it must seek council approval to divide the land so it can purchase an out lot near Home Depot, Moreno said.

I would also note that both Illinois and Massachusetts have employment non-discrimination laws that protect LGBT employees.  Given Chick fil-A's hiring policies and questions reportedly asked about one's religious views and family life, I suspect the bigoted company would have employment discrimination problems in both cities as well.   Do I have any sympathy for Chick fil-A?  No one bit.  And since it is privately owned, no innocent shareholders will suffer as a result of protests against the company leadership's admitted anti-gay bigotry.

Randy Forbes Again Prostitutes Himself to the Christian Rught

As I've noted on this blog before, local Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes (pictured at left) was a law school classmate of mine.  Back in law school, Forbes seemed normal and certainly did not come across as a religious extremist or someone seething with anti-gay hatred.  Yet since his election to first to the Virginia General Assembly and later to Congress, his behavior suggest that either (1) The Family Foundation worked some sort of "Stepford Wife" transformation on him,  (2) he perhaps suffered some sort of head trauma that has caused a nasty personality transformation, or (3) his a lying, pandering whore to the Christofascists.  In that latter regard, nowadays, Forbes' nose is so far up the Christianists' butt cheeks, it is literally a wonder that the man doesn't suffocate. Not to mention that he more and more acts as if he were one of the closeted self-loathing closet cases of the type noted in the University of Rochester study earlier this year on homophobes.  In keeping with his virulent religious extremism, contempt for the religious freedoms all citizens and self-prostitution to the ugliest Christianist groups, Forbes came out foaming at the mouth over the participation of uniformed service members in the San Diego Pride parade over this past weekend.   Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot:

Congressional Republicans challenged Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday to explain why the Defense Department allowed active-duty troops to wear their uniforms while marching in San Diego’s gay pride parade last weekend.

Rep. J. Randy Forbes, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a statement condemning the waiver. Forbes represents parts of Virginia, including Chesapeake.

“I am calling on the Defense Department to halt these dangerous exceptions to policy for political purposes,” Forbes said. “This decision was an outrageous and blatantly political determination issued solely to advance this administration’s social agenda.” 

Inhofe, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, also pointed out that administrative action has been taken against service members who have violated the rule.

“If the Navy can punish a chaplain for participating in a pro-life event or a Marine participating in a political rally, it stands to reason that the Defense Department should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay pride parade,” Inhofe wrote.

If Forbes and Inhofe bothered to do their homework - admittedly a novel concept for Republicans -  rather than merely repeating the script given to them by certified anti-gay hate groups, they'd know that most Pride organizations are 501(c)(3) charitable organizations that do not engage in political events (I'm on the board of directors of HR Pride which is such a charitable organization).  Apparently, to the Neanderthals in the GOP and their Christianist puppet masters, any time a gay citizen participates in a community event in uniform, it somehow becomes political.  As for Inhofe's lame comparison of non-profit pride organizations which do ZERO lobbying for legislative action to abortion rights organizations and political events, the man shows that he's either a bigot or and idiot - or more likely both.  Ditto for Randy Forbes.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Beauty from the past - Montgomery Clift

Romney Does Everything But Use the "N Word" Against Obama

The Romney campaign continues to demonstrate that it will engage in any and all kinds of bigotry in Romney's quest for the White House.  Romney has made it clear he despises LGBT Americans - one has to wonder when he'll start openly calling us "faggots" and "dyke's" among other expletives - and now seems to be willing to use fairly transparent code language to pander to those who hate non-whites, and blacks in particular.   While Romney hasn't used the "N word," I suspect it is bandied about by many of Romney's supporters, especially in southern states.  Under Romney's scheme of things, if one isn't white, a conservative Christian or Mormon, and preferably very, very wealthy, one is relegated to the "you people" category as pronounced by Ann Romney.  First coverage highlights from The Telegraph followed by remarks by Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas via the Virginian Pilot

In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa. 
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.   Mr Romney on Wednesday embarks on an overseas tour of Britain, Israel and Poland designed to quash claims by Mr Obama’s team that he is a “novice” in foreign affairs. It comes four years after Mr Obama’s own landmark foreign tour, which attracted thousands of supporters. 
Mr Romney has not made any commitments on the Falklands, but several in his foreign policy team favour backing Britain and publicly rejecting claims of sovereignty by Christina Kirchner, the Argentine president. Under Mr Obama the US remains neutral.

The advisers could not give detailed examples of how policy towards Britain would differ under Mr Romney. One conceded that on the European crisis: “I’m not sure what our policy response is.”

The advisers spoke on the condition of anonymity because Mr Romney’s campaign requested that they not criticise the President to foreign media. After another adviser criticised Mr Obama in a German magazine last month, the President sharply instructed them that “America's political differences end at the water's edge”. 

Locally, Romney's transparent racial message is being picked up and some are condemning it.  A case in point is Senator Louise Lucas:

Racism is alive and well in Virginia and is subtly manifested in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's outreach to voters, a Portsmouth state senator said in a recent interview.

On "The John Fredericks Show" on WHKT (1650 AM), Lucas said Romney is "speaking to a segment of the population who does not like to see people other than a white man in the White House or any other elected position."

"Let's be real clear about it. Mitt Romney is speaking to a group of people out there who don't like folks like President Barack Obama in any elected or leadership position," Lucas said.  "We know what's going on here," she continued. "Some people may be afraid to say it, but I'm not. He's speaking to that fringe out there who do not want to see anybody other than a white person in a leadership position."

Given the nature of today's GOP, both nationally and certainly in Virginia, Lucas' statements hit at the truth.  Yes, the GOP doesn't like the truth spoken, but that doesn't make statements such as Lucas' untrue.  One need only look at the descendants of segregationists who control The Family Foundation which in turn controls the Virginia GOP to find the racist undercurrent.  Indeed, the only time The Family Foundation wants anything to do with blacks is when in cynically manipulates black pastors to carry its anti-gay, anti-modernity agenda like trained circus dogs.

Massachusetts Attorney General Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down DOMA

Joining the list of those asking the U. S. Supreme Court to uphold the Court of Appeals ruling that found the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") is Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (pictured at right).  Among other things Coakley sites DOMA's invalidity under the Equal Protection Clause and the long history of the federal law honoring the marriage laws of states.  DOMA destroys this precedent in how it treats Massachusetts and other states that allow same sex marriage.  As noted many times on this blog, when the Christianist lies and untruths are stripped away, the only justification for DOMA boils down to giving anti-gay Christianist religious views special rights that trump the religious freedom and equal protection rights of LGBT citizens and gay friendly states.  Here are highlights of coverage from Reuters:

"The Defense of Marriage Act is a discriminatory and unconstitutional law that harms thousands of families in Massachusetts and takes away our state's right to extend marriage equality to all couples," Coakley said in a statement.  "It is our firm conviction that in order to truly achieve marriage equality, all couples must enjoy the same rights and protections under both state and federal law."

Coakley's 37-page brief asked the nation's highest court to uphold the decision that found denying federal benefits to married same-sex couples was unconstitutional.  The brief said that the state "normally would oppose further review in order to ensure that the judgment takes effect as soon as possible" but added that "the Commonwealth recognizes that DOMA's unconstitutionality is a question of national significance."

Coakley's move was a response to a brief filed June 29 by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), appointed by the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, which wants the court to reverse the lower court ruling.

DOMA was ruled unconstitutional by a district court in Massachusetts in 2010, a ruling that was upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals' three-judge panel in a unanimous ruling on May 31.

Plaintiffs, including seven married same-sex couples and three widowers, said the law, which among other things prevents them from filing joint federal tax returns or collecting survivor benefits from the Social Security retirement system, denied them equal protections under the U.S. Constitution.

Coakley's brief can be viewed in full  here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Chick Fil-A Lies to Customers and Other Chick Fil-A News Coverageng

Click image to enlarge
I wrote the other day how the Jim Henson Company had notified Chick Fil-A that it was severing ties because of Chick Fil-A's funding of  virulent anti-gay organizations and the anti-gay batshitery being said by Chick Fil-A's COO.  Rather than tell their customers that Chick Fil-A has been kicked to the curb by the Jim Henson Company, Chick Fil-A has foisted a lie (I guess since lying is such a conservative Christian trait and value) and made it sound as if there was some sort of defect with the Henson Company products.  Here's what Chick Fil-A disingenuously stated on its Facebook page

Chick-fil-A is initiating a voluntary withdrawal for our Jim Henson Creature Shop Puppet Kid's Meal Premiums due to a product issue (even though all puppets passed safety testing requirements). In lieu of the kid's meal premium we will offer a Kid's Icedream. We plan to have replacement kid's meal premiums within 2 weeks. Thank you and we apologize for any inconvenience.

As I said, out right lying is apparently a "Biblical vale" supported by modern day Pharisee DAN CATHY, president and COO of Chick-fil-A.  Meanwhile, my blogger friend and sometime inspiration Jeremy Hooper has unearthed Cathy talking more anti-gay trash at an event at Hope Community Church.  Here's a sampling (Jeremy has an audio clip at Good As You):

DAN CATHY, president and COO of Chick-fil-A:  "It's very clear in Romans chapter 1, if we look at society today, we see all the twisted up kind of stuff that's going on. Washington trying to redefine the definition of marriage and all the other kinds of things that we go—if you go upstream from that, in Romans chapter 1, you will see that because we have not acknowledged God and because we have not thanked God, that we have been left victim to the foolishness of our own thoughts, and as result, we are suffering the consequences of a society and culture who has not acknowledged God or not thanked God—he's left us to a deprived mind. It's tragic and we live in a culture of that today."

"…I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say 'we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about"

As I've said numerous times, I have been boycotting Chick Fil-A for many years.  Indeed, I'd rather go hungry rather than give a penny to that company and/or the Cathy family.  My thinking apparently  jives with that of local Hampton Roads cutie and Glee cast member Grant Gustin who tweeted the following:

In my opinion, the term "ass holes" is too respectful toward the bigots and hate merchants at Chick Fil-A.

American Religious Right Groups Behind Press for Anti-gay Laws in Africa

This blog has noted before the fact that extreme anti-gay "Christian" organizations have been organizing and funneling money to anti-gay groups in Africa that are backing horrific anti-gay legislation.  The current nightmare for LGBT individuals in Uganda is a case in point.  Now, a new study by Political Research Associates of Boston entitled "Colonizing African Values: How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa" connects the dots and names names.  Among the American Christianists linked to the anti-gay jihad are Rick Warren (pictured at right) and local lunatic and douche bag, Pat Robertson.  Also cited for their involvement are the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church.  Both the Times of London and WHBT-TV 4 are carrying coverage on the study findings.  Here are excerpts from the Times article:

Conservative U.S. Christian groups are setting up fronts in Africa to fight for anti-gay and anti-abortion legislation to promote their convictions, a report by a Boston-based think tank said Tuesday.   It accuses evangelical stars such as Pat Robertson and Rick Warren as well as Catholic and Mormon groups of setting up institutions and campaigns in Africa that are "fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders."
The report _ "Colonizing African Values: How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa" _ was presented by the Political Research Associates of Boston, a think tank that describes itself as "progressive" and focusing on what it calls attacks on civil liberties by the political and Christian right.  Some of the Africans cited in the report as heading African organizations set up by the U.S. religious right maintain that they are just using funds from foreign friends who share similar beliefs.

Among them is Joseph Okia, nephew of President Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, where proposed legislation would invoke the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality."   .   .   .   Several Africans and Americans named in the report could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Pastor Rick Warren said he was too busy to comment.

The report's main author, the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, said that while such evangelical groups are in the minority in the United States, they are able to punch way above their weight in Africa   .   .   .   .   "Those kind of lies, when presented in Africa, become factual, so we need to worry that they are misleading people with these lies," Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia.

Kaoma's report identifies groups belonging to a loose network of right-wing charismatic Christians. They include Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the Catholic Church's Human Life International (HLI) and the Mormon-led Family Watch International. All have launched or expanded offices in Africa over the past five years.   .   .   .   .   "By hiring locals as office staff, ACLJ and HLI in particular hide an American-based agenda behind African faces, giving the Christian Right room to attack gender justice and (the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people) as a neocolonial enterprise imposed on Africans and obstructing meaningful critique of the U.S. right's activities," the report said.

Amnesty International has reported an increasing intolerance in Africa that has resulted in "harassment, discrimination, persecution, violence and murders" against homosexuals in Africa. The report said the new campaigns also have caused more oppression of women by restricting their reproductive freedoms.

So-called "conservative Christians" have truly made Christianity into something hideous.  Hate, bigotry, fear and ignorance are its chief hallmarks.  I again and again can't help but believe that the world would be a far better place if this foul version of Christianity vanished from the face of the earth tomorrow.

GOP Mega Donor Paul Singer Joins the Pro-Gay Marriage Fight in Maine

The haters, liars and modern day Pharisees at the National Organization for Marriage and their pro-bigotry minions in Maine must be chagrined to learn that Wall Street billionaire and GOP mega donor, Paul Singer (pictured at left), has thrown his hat in with the marriage equality forces in the state of Maine.  As some may recall, Singer - who has a gay son - was a major player in the battle for marriage equality in New York and pledged support to Republicans who backed New York's gay marriage law.   Hopefully, Republicans in Maine and at the national level get the message that slavish prostitution to the anti-gay forces of the Christianists could end up carrying a heavy cost.  The Portland Press-Herald looks at Singer's engagement in defeating the Christianist in Maine.  Here are some highlights:

Singer's $150,000 donation to the Freedom to Marry PAC was noted in Monday's story about Republican politicians who have decided to join the effort to legalize same-sex effort in Maine. However, the billionaire hedge fund manager's involvement in the Maine effort is noteworthy for a few reasons.

Singer is perhaps best known for his support of Republican candidates. A recent New York Times story noted that Singer, who runs the firm Elliott Management in New York City, raised $5 million dollars for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney during a single fundraiser.

But Singer, whose son and son-in-law are gay, is also known for supporting same-sex marriage efforts in other states and he has spent close to $10 million to advance the cause. Singer has given $1 million to the American Unity PAC, a new super PAC designed to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage. Campaign finance laws also shields the identities of donors to the PAC.

Singer's deep pockets have already provided protection for Republicans who have supported same-sex marriage. Today is the one-year anniversary of the same-sex marriage law enacted by the New York State Assembly.

Passage of the law required Republican support. The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, immediately vowed to spend $2 million to remove the GOP lawmakers from office. However, Singer pledge to donate at least $250,000 to each of the legislators to counter the threat.

Singer, in a rare press interview, told NYT columnist Frank Bruni, said that the GOP should reconsider its position on same-sex marriage.  "The Republican Party can be more of a big tent and this issue is a part of that," he told Bruni.

Singer isn't saying much about his involvement in the Maine same-sex marriage referendum. A spokesman for Singer declined to comment.   However, donations to the Freedom to Marry PAC show that corporations are seeing the benefit of backing same-sex marriage. Freedom to Marry has raised $296,805 so far. Several other contributors stand out, including executives for Cargill, Verizon and The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers.

Yep, Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown must be acting at the moment as if they have a severe case of hemorrhoids.  As for Tony Perkins, I'm sure the spittle is flying by the bucketful.

Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on The Criminal Catholic Church Hierarchy

As numerous news outlets are reporting, including CNN and the Virginian Pilot, Monsignor William Lynn, 61, former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison for his role in covering up for and reassigning predatory priests to new parishes where they could molest more children and youth.  Lynn's counsel had argued that placing Lynn in Prison would be cruel and unusual.  The judge felt otherwise:
The judge said Lynn allowed "monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart."  "You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong," Sarmina said.
It is long past time that members of the Catholic Church hierarchy do jail time for their actions in the worldwide criminal conspiracy to protect predatory priests and silence their victims.  Andrew Sullivan note that while Lynn's sentencing is a beginning, the Pope is guilty of an identical offense:

It's worth recalling that the Pope himself when he was Archbishop of Munich was guilty of exactly the same crime. In my view, the Pope and the entire curia should have resigned when the truth of the profound corruption emerged. But a Monsignor is, I guess, a start.
Truth be told, Benedict XVI and many of the Church's bishops and cardinals belong behind bars.  How any one with a shred of moral decency can continue to kiss up to much less respect these foul men is mind numbing.

Sally Ride - RIP - Continued

I noted yesterday that the late Sally Ride's obituary "outed" her.  Now it's been confirmed by Buzzfeed.  I can only hope that LGBT youth come to realize that they have an amazing role model in Sally Ride.  While a private person by all accounts and one who shied away from activism, through her life and accomplishments, Sally Ride exposed the lies used against LGBT individuals by our enemies virtually daily.  Here are some highlights from Buzzfeed:

Sally Ride, who died today after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, was the first female U.S. astronaut in space and became friends with Tam O'Shaugnessy at the age of 12. It was not until today, however — nearly 50 years after meeting — that their 27-year romantic relationship was made public.

The pioneering scientist was, a statement from Sally Ride Science announced, survived by "Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years."   With that simple statement — listed alongside her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin and nephew, Whitney — Ride came out.

Bear Ride, talking with BuzzFeed, said today, "We consider Tam a member of the family."

Saying that her sister was a very private person, Bear Ride said, "People did not know she had pancreatic cancer, that's going to be a huge shock. For 17 months, nobody knew -- and everyone does now. Her memorial fund is going to be in support of pancreatic cancer.   "The pancreatic cancer community is going to be absolutely thrilled that there's now this advocate that they didn't know about. And, I hope the GLBT community feels the same," Bear Ride, who identifies as gay, said.   "I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them," she added.

Bear Ride, though, said that her sister "never hid her relationship with Tam. They have been partners, business partners in Sally Ride Science, they've written books together .... Sally's very close friends, of course, knew."

Of Sally Ride's sexual orientation, Bear Ride said, "Sally didn't use labels. Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through."

Calling Ride "a patriot and a pioneer," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin told BuzzFeed, "For many Americans, coming out will be the hardest thing they ever do. While it's a shame that Americans were not able to experience this aspect of Sally while alive, we should all be proud of the fact that like many LGBT Americans, she proudly served her country, had a committed and loving relationship, and lived a good life."

Of the further implications of today's news, Griffin added: "The fact that Sally Ride was a lesbian will further help round out Americans's understanding of the contributions of LGBT Americans to our country.
As members of the LGBT community, many of us - especially LGBT youth who may find themselves being raised in toxic religious denominations - are told daily that we are no good, that we are perverts, or worse.  It takes strength and self-acceptance to carry on.  Ride carried on amazingly and is indeed a great role model.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

House DOMA Legal Team Deliberately Wrongly Cites Parenting Study

I'm beginning to believe that in addition to being devoid of compassion towards others, consumed by greed and filled with hatred towards those deemed "other," in order to be a Republican nowadays, one must also be a pathological liar.  A case in point is the seemingly deliberate misuse of gay parenting studies by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives, also known as BLAG for short.  BLAG's legal team apparently takes a view that if research doesn't support one's anti-gay agenda, then just lie about it and twist its findings.  It's a trait apparently learned from the Christianist hate groups who can safely be assumed to be lying if their mouth pieces' lips are moving (think Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher and Bryan Fischer for starters).  A component in childerns' success is stability - something same sex marriage would bring to families.  As would ending the "change myth" and "ex-gay" ministries that only lead to opposite sex marriages that are doomed to fail and cause upheaval for the children of such marriages.  The hypocrisy is that the opponents of gay marriage do all in their power to destabilize same sex unions, and then use the fruits of their handiwork to condemn gay couples and their families.  A piece in The Advocate looks at BLAG's attempts to defraud the Courts with false citations of Daniel Potter's study.  Here are some article highlights:

BLAG’s brief marks the second time the study — which was conducted by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus with the financial backing of socially conservative groups — has been used to defend DOMA in the case. The day after Regnerus’ study was released to the public last month, a conservative medical group highlighted it in a “friend of the court” brief. The American College of Pediatricians filed that brief at the request of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an influential religious right legal organization.

In fact, Regnerus’ study has been widely criticized for comparing children raised by intact biological families to children raised by parents who had a same-sex relationship at some point, regardless of whether the child was actually raised by a stable, same-sex couple.

The other recent study BLAG cites in support of the premise that children are better off when raised by two heterosexual parents was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in May. That study, authored by Daniel Potter of the American Institutes for Research, found that children raised in same-sex-parent families scored lower on academic tests than children raised in two-parent households by a straight couple.

Potter, who conducted his research using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, says in a discussion of the results that the “transitions and changes that accompany the formation of such households” factored heavily into the lower test scores. He stresses that instability within the family, rather than the family structure itself, seemed to have had more of an effect on the children’s test scores.

In an email exchange, Potter said he had not previously been aware that BLAG had used his study in its defense of DOMA.  .   .   .  .  “But … the negative association is accounted for by including information on the number of transitions that children experience. … I interpret these findings to suggest that it is not the family structure per se that is associated with children’s lower performance, but that it is the instability and transitions leading up to the formation of these families that matters.”

Potter added: “I do not view my study as rejecting prior research on same-sex parent families, nor do I believe it offers the quintessential investigation from which future research should advance.  .  .  .  .  “I think the results do push forward the idea that stability is a central element for understanding the role of family structure in children’s lives,” he said, “but the research cannot speak to the issue of same-sex marriage.”

Potter explains that “same-sex parent families are often created through a series of changes to and transitions in children’s family structure” but notes that “not all same-sex parent families are created from dissolved opposite-sex relationships.”
John Boehner congratulates himself on being a "godly Christian" yet he and his compatriots are in my view lying sacks of shit.