Saturday, October 06, 2012

CEO Refuses to Do Business in Antigay Jacksonville

I noted yesterday how Hampton, Virginia mayor Molly Ward has signed the Mayors for Marriage Equality Statement.  Besides the fact that it's the right thing to do and is a step towards ending marriage discrimination, there's a practical side to signing onto marriage equality: more and more businesses do not want to locate to cities and states that discriminate.  Thus, if a city wants to attract progressive and innovative business, supporting gay equality and non-discrimination protections makes sound economic sense.  A story out of Jacksonville, Florida highlights this reality.  A member of the board of directors of a sizable business looking to relocate to Jacksonville changed its mind when that city voted down non-discrimination protections for LGBT citizens.  Bigotry carries a cost even if the bigots sometimes do not grasp that they are killing their own economic future.  Here are highlights fro The Advocate:

It was in August when the Jacksonville City Council shot down an antidiscrimination ordinance protecting LGBT residents. Repercussions of that decision are now reverberating, as a local attorney says a major corporation refused to move to Jacksonville because of the measure's failure.

Marianna Smith is a lawyer and board member at an unidentified company. She writes in the The Florida Times-Union that the CEO of the company she serves on the board of refused to relocate to Jacksonville after the council rejected the ordinance (click here for a closer look at the measure's failure). The CEO was also affected by antigay letters and op-eds that appeared in local newspapers. Here's what Smith wrote:

"To build a business, you need more than just land; you need a favorable environment for employees.

I am a member of the board of directors of a rapidly growing, multi-million dollar international company. We employ chemists and engineers, marketers/sales staff plus a full manufacturing and distribution facility.

The company is located in a landlocked city and wishes to move to a city with a port, rail and truck service.
I have strongly advocated Jacksonville as our future business home. Unfortunately, the CEO came to evaluate Jacksonville when the letters and comments of hate were in our paper opposing the proposed changes to the Jacksonville anti-discrimination ordinance.

The CEO was shocked and said any determination about Jacksonville would not occur until after the bill was voted on by the City Council.
Jacksonville lost this company because of the results of the anti-discrimination bill vote.

I have served as a director on other international boards, and I can promise you that those companies would also decline Jacksonville as a headquarters home in view of the way our council and some citizens responded to a call for equal rights.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Episcopal Bishop Who Opposed Prop 8 is Blocked Archbishop Installation Ceremony

Demonstrating the Catholic Church hierarchy's hostility towards LGBT civil rights and those who would support equality under the civil laws, the Episcopal bishop who publicly opposed Proposition 8 was barred from the installation ceremony for homophobic and drunk driving San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.  Typically, other high clerics from other denominations are allowed to attend such ceremonies but pettiness and petulance ruled out this common courtesy to Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus (pictured above) who, unlike the Vatican and the child rapist protectors in the Catholic hierarchy, grasps the concept of the separation of church and state in the civil laws.   Andy Towle looks at this latest demonstration of the Catholic hierarchy's contempt for LGBT individuals and their allies.  Here are highlights:

Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus, who publicly opposed Proposition 8, was blocked yesterday from attending the ceremony installing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone at St. Mary's Cathedral, in San Francisco. Cordileone was deeply involved in Proposition 8's creation and passage.

Writes Andrus, of his arrival at yesterday's installation:

An archdiocesan employee attempted to escort me upstairs with the Greek Orthodox group, but was stopped from doing so by the employee to whom I had first identified myself. This person, who appeared to be in a superior role, instructed another employee to stand with me.

At this point no other guests remained in the downstairs area. The employee and I chatted while waiting. I began to wonder about the time holdup. I checked my phone; it was 1:50PM. I asked the employee standing with me if the service indeed started at 2, which she affirmed.

At 2PM, when the service was to begin, I said to the employee, "I think I understand, and feel I should leave." Her response was, "Thank you for being understanding." I quietly walked out the door. No one attempted to stop me. No attempt was ever made to explain the delay or any process for seating. I arrived early, before the time given my assistant, and waited to leave until after the service had begun.

My intention for attending the installation was to honor our ecumenical and interfaith relations in the Bay Area.

GOP Congressman: Evolution, Big Bang, ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’

I often bemoan what has become of the Republican Party in which I was raised.  It's at war with the middle class and average Americans and, even more frighten, it is at war with science and reality.  One indeed needs to be either driven by greed, religious fanaticism or outright insanity to be a Republican.  And I'd say this to the face of some neighbors down the street that have Romney signs in their yards (fortunately, we have an equal or greater number of yards with Obama signs).   As case in point of just how insane and religiously extreme the GOP has become is provided by GOP Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia who revels in his ignorance and religious extremism - and in the process shows his contempt for objective reality, not to mention the concept of separation of church and state. The New Civil Rights Movement looks at Broun's batshitery.  Here are excerpts:

Rep. Paul Broun, a four-term Tea Party Republican U.S. Congressman from the state of Georgia, says that “as a scientist,” he believes evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang Theory are all “lies straight from the pit of hell.” 

Broun delivered these remarks at the Liberty Baptist Church Sportsman’s Banquet in Hartwell, Georgia on September 27, 2012.

“God’s word is true,” Broun says, while standing in front of a wall filled with the dead heads of deer. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

. . . .  as your congressman I hold the Holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that.”

And what did the Republicans do with Broun?  Here are Congressman Paul Broun’s committee assignments:
Yes, the man who promises to use the Bible to make all his decisions is the Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and is on the Committee on Science and Technology.  Because in “GOP world” science does not exist.

Jobless Numbers Fall - GOP Conspiracy Claims Rise

It is almost entertaining to watch the spittle and bewilderment emanating for Romney/Ryan and the usual demagogues of the GOP as the react to the latest unemployment figures which show improvement notwithstanding all of the efforts of the GOP to destroy the U.S. economy in the hope of defeating Barack Obama.  All those efforts of total obstruction and throwing millions of Americans down the financial toilet and yet the economy is improving.  They simply cannot deal with it and as a result are claiming that somehow Obama conspired to cook the numbers.   To me, it's yet the latest example of how low and untethered to reality today's Republican Party has become.   The GOP would rather see the nation in a depression rather than see Obama re-elected.  Pretty f*cked up priorities in my book.  The Washington Post looks at yesterday's jobs report and why the GOP demagogues are so flummoxed.  Here are highlights:

For Mitt Romney, it was the number that proved everything. Since the very first speech of his campaign, the Republican candidate has used a simple figure to bolster his argument that President Obama couldn’t fix the U.S. economy: 8 percent.  For Romney, any number above 8 percent proved he was right and Obama was wrong.

Obama had promised, Romney told audiences repeatedly, never to let unemployment get that high. Instead, Romney said, the jobless rate blew past 8 percent and got stuck there.  Until Friday.

The 0.3 percent dip in unemployment in September, from 8.1 to 7.8 percent, deprived Romney of one of his central campaign themes.  It was enough to put him on the defensive just as he was basking in the afterglow of his debate performance Wednesday . . . . the economy had crossed a threshold that Romney had implied it would never cross without him.

The political importance of the 8 percent threshold was driven home, in a backhanded way, by a few conservatives who floated a conspiracy theory that Friday’s dip had been engineered to give Obama a boost.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a branch of the Labor Department, uses two main sources. One is a survey of 141,000 businesses. The other looks at 60,000 households, asking if the people in those households were working or looking for work in the last month. The household survey captures data that the business survey doesn’t, such as people who are self-employed or who work on farms.

The September survey of businesses indicated a relatively modest gain in hiring: Payrolls rose by about 114,000. But the household survey indicated a much greater boost in hiring, with about 456,000 people no longer unemployed.

Later in the day, Welch told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he had no hard evidence that the data had been fudged.  But he said he stood by his suspicions. “I don’t want to take back one word in that tweet,” Welch said. “These numbers defy logic.”

It is truly frightening that Republicans want to see the economy in decline and more Americans in dire straits solely so that they can be political opportunists.  It is truly sickening.  But then, the GOP leadership doesn't care about nearly half the population anyways.  Romney said so himself and said it wasn't his job to worry about such citizens.

Pathological Lies from Paul Ryan

The hypocrisy of Paul Ryan is matched perhaps only by Mitt Romney's shameless dishonesty and willingness to lie on almost every topic.  Ryan's latest round of batshitery involves his claim that Barack Obama and the Democrats are engaged in class warfare against the wealthy even though its Ryan and his party who seek to implement a reverse Robin Hood form of society: take from the poor and middle class and give even more to the already very rich.  Worse yet, he claims that its the Democrats, not the policies of the GOP that impede social mobility in America which has fallen markedly over the last three decades.   Apparently, Ryan hasn't pulled his head out of his ass lately and noticed that Europe now has more upward social mobility than the USA.  Nor has he noticed that the wealthy are currently paying the lowest tax rate in roughly 60 years.  Why let the truth get in the way of one's demagoguery.  Here's Ryan's factually backwards comment on social mobility:

"We should not shy away from class warfare," Ryan said. "We should take this head on, which is, the president is preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment, and he's speaking to people in America as if they're fixed in some class. That's the European model. That's the model our ancestors left to come create an opportunity society, equality of opportunity, equal protection of the law -- not equality of outcome. Government's role is not to equalize the results of our lives. And we should take that on in a moral way and defend the system of upward mobility."  

Oh, a did I mention that Ryan opposes equal protection for LGBT citizens among other minority groups.  The man is a douche bag and the antithesis of what Catholic social teachings is all about.   Even the utterly corrupt and morally bankrupt Catholic bishops have condemned Ryan's budget policies and reverse Robin Hood policies.  Here's some more commentary from Huffington Post:

Republicans have long accused President Barack Obama of engaging in class warfare, citing his effort to scale back the Bush tax cuts for the nation's wealthiest. Frustrated defenders of the president have long called on Democrats to make the case that the true class warriors are the ones looking to slash entitlements and inevitably expand income inequality by cutting corporate taxes, busting unions and pushing through trade deals that ship blue-collar jobs offshore.

Dividing the country between those who are receiving government assistance and those who aren't are familiar themes for Ryan and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In a 2011 speech, Ryan suggested that 30 percent of Americans are "takers." "Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state," he said.

Friday, October 05, 2012

More Friday Male Beauty

Mitt Romney's Lie About Pre-existing Conditions

The commentary on Mitt Romney's incredible dishonesty during the first presidential debate continues to unroll.  Reflecting on all of Romney's lies I am left with the conclusion that Romney views most Americans as cretins who are in his view too stupid to figure out that they are being shamelessly lied to and played for suckers.  It is part an parcel with his arrogance, sense of entitlement and utter disconnect from the reality with which most Americans live their lives.  Paul Krugman has a great take down of Romney in the New York Times that looks particularly at Romney's lies about health care coverage pre-existing conditions.  As a small business owner myself who must shop health care coverage options every year, I will say that Romney is on hallucinogenic drugs if thinks small businesses have a snow ball's chance in Hell of negotiating with big health insurance companies on aspects of coverage or premiums.  Perhaps if the man lived in the real world he'd understand just how disingenuous his statements are in fact.  Here are some key excerpts from Krugman's column:

“No. 1,” declared Mitt Romney in Wednesday’s debate, “pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” No, they aren’t — as Mr. Romney’s own advisers have conceded in the past, and did again after the debate. 

Was Mr. Romney lying? Well, either that or he was making what amounts to a sick joke. Either way, his attempt to deceive voters on this issue was the biggest of many misleading and/or dishonest claims he made over the course of that hour and a half. Yes, President Obama did a notably bad job of responding. But I’ll leave the theater criticism to others and talk instead about the issue that should be at the heart of this election.

So, about that sick joke: What Mr. Romney actually proposes is that Americans with pre-existing conditions who already have health coverage be allowed to keep that coverage even if they lose their job — as long as they keep paying the premiums. As it happens, this is already the law of the land. But it’s not what anyone in real life means by having a health plan that covers pre-existing conditions, because it applies only to those who manage to land a job with health insurance in the first place (and are able to maintain their payments despite losing that job). Did I mention that the number of jobs that come with health insurance has been steadily declining over the past decade? 

What Mr. Romney did in the debate, in other words, was, at best, to play a word game with voters, pretending to offer something substantive for the uninsured while actually offering nothing. For all practical purposes, he simply lied about what his policy proposals would do.

How many Americans would be left out in the cold under Mr. Romney’s plan? One answer is 89 million. According to the nonpartisan Commonwealth Foundation, that’s the number of Americans who lack the “continuous coverage” that would make them eligible for health insurance under Mr. Romney’s empty promises. By the way, that’s more than a third of the U.S. population under 65 years old. 

First, Mr. Romney proposes repealing the Affordable Care Act, which means doing away with all the ways in which that law would help tens of millions of Americans who either have pre-existing conditions or can’t afford health insurance for other reasons. Second, Mr. Romney is proposing drastic cuts in Medicaid — basically to save money that he could use to cut taxes on the wealthy — which would deny essential health care to millions more Americans. (And, no, despite what he has said, you can’t get the care you need just by going to the emergency room.) 

[M]any Americans have health insurance but live under the continual threat of losing it. Obamacare would eliminate this threat, but Mr. Romney would bring it back and make it worse. 

Not only was Mr. Romney’s claim fundamentally dishonest, it has already been extensively debunked, and the Romney campaign itself has admitted that it’s false. 

Let me be blunt.  Mitt Romney is a lying sack of shit.  Would that he knew what it is like to have a desperately ill child and be faced with medical costs that vastly exceed the limits of one's health insurance coverage.  But, I guess with large trust funds and family wealth he'' never know that reality.  I've been there and know that reality.  My savings were totally wiped out and it took me years to pay off the bills - even back when I had a six figure income.  As I have noted before, I suspect Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were in as in touch with the reality of the lives of their subjects as Mitt and Ann Romney are with most Americans - i.e., not in touch whatsoever.

Homophobic Justice Antonin Scalia Says Gay Rights Are "Easy Cases"

Proving yet again that he's a horrible bigot and mental midget and, in my opinion, unfit to remain on the United States Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia (pictured above with fellow mental midget Justice  Thomas) engaged in a case of verbal diarrhea while speaking at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and at a book signing in Washington, D.C., and stated that abortion and gay rights cases were "easy cases."  In Scalia's view, virtually anything that was not within the contemplation of the drafters of the United States Constitution is exempt from constitutional protections.  This, of course means among other things, if his reasoning (or lack thereof) followed to its logical conclusion, that slavery is still perfectly legal and women should not have the right to vote The man is a Neanderthal and, again in my opinion, obviously suffering from early stages of senility or Alzheimer's.  Scalia is a living argument as to why perhaps lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court are not a good idea.  Here are highlights about Scalia's batshitery from Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Antonin Scalia says his method of interpreting the Constitution makes some of the most hotly disputed issues that come before the Supreme Court among the easiest to resolve.

Scalia calls himself a "textualist" and, as he related to a few hundred people who came to buy his new book and hear him speak in Washington the other day, that means he applies the words in the Constitution as they were understood by the people who wrote and adopted them.

"The death penalty? Give me a break. It's easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state," Scalia said at the American Enterprise Institute.

The issue of gay rights, or more specifically same-sex marriage, is expected to be a big one in the term that began this week. While the justices initially were scheduled to discuss the topic at their private conference in late September, it now appears likely that they will not make a decision about whether to take up a gay marriage case until after the presidential election, which would mean arguments would not take place until the spring.
Seriously, women and black Americans need to wake up to just how hostile this man is to modernity or anything that isn't in accord with his own reactionary, religious extremist and possibly racist views.  He is a menace to equal rights for ALL citizens.

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Can You Be Openly Gay and Survive in the South?

A column in the New York Times looks at the issue of being gay and living in the American South.  The short answer to the question asked in the caption of this post is, yes, one can be openly gay and survive in the South.  At least as long as you are willing to be a third or fourth class citizens and devoid of any non-discrimination protections whatsoever.  Oh, and did I mention that recognition of your commitment to your life partner will be banned by state constitution?   Provided one is willing to overlook these serious issues, then one can be happy and survive in many parts of the South - at least in the larger cities.  Areas of say Southwest Virginia on the other hand might make taking razor blades to your wrists look attractive.  Here are highlights from the Times piece:

Many people assume that because the South is the nation’s most evangelical and politically conservative region, it is probably also a hotbed for hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But while such crimes do occur, they are less common than in large urban centers, where the absence of a tight community and the abundance of strangers make it easier to target people for their differences. 

I should know: as a lesbian who has lived in the South my entire life, and in a small town in the Deep South for part of it, I’ve met many people — men, women and transgendered — whose sexual identity has not prevented them from living a life of acceptance, admiration and even respect by their families and communities. 

My friend Helen and her partner, Kathleen, for example, have made an enormous impact on the small town of Louisville, Ga., in rural Jefferson County.  .  .  .  .  .  It’s an unspoken truth that Helen and Kathleen are in a committed relationship, and yet they’re invited to social gatherings as a couple, and only a few months ago Helen gave the graduation address at the local high school. People know who they are and very likely understand the nature of their relationship, and it’s clear they value the investment that Helen and Kathleen have made in their community. 

In the mid-1990s, while in graduate school, I lived in the small city of Hattiesburg, Miss. There I met gays and lesbians who came to Hattiesburg from nearby rural communities like Petal, Wiggins, Runnelstown and even more far-flung places to enjoy the one gay bar that was within reasonable driving distance, or simply hang out with friends. Though they came for the comforts of a larger L.G.B.T. community, their sexual orientation was often known to their communities back home. 

And there is a limit to the acceptance. In the rural South, people love their sons and daughters and they may even break bread with the florist and his partner, but they still believe homosexuality is a sin. They draw the line at a gay pride march down Main Street, and they won’t stand for gay marriage. 

Still, as Alana’s Uncle Lee has shown America, there are gays living in the rural South who don’t all set out for the big city. They lead rich lives and have families, and sometimes even communities, that love them and accept them for who they are.

Despite the positive picture the article seeks to depict, all things considered, if I could leave the South and no offense meant to our friends, I would - in a heart beat.

Romney Dodges the Facts

I noted yesterday the many lies that Mitt Romney told during the first presidential debate - 27 by last count - and fortunately some in the media are slamming him for both his dishonesty and for the ruinous consequences of his tax plan that he lied about as well during the debate.  The man is a pathological liar and flip flops on his positions so often and so sharply it is nothing sort of a miracle that he doesn't have whip lash.  The Washington Post's main editorial goes after this sorry excuse of a man in today's issue of that paper.  Here are excerpts:

Republican nominee Mitt Romney has a plan to make it [the U.S. budget deficit] worse.  To understand that harsh assessment, you have to spend a few minutes with some facts that Mr. Romney did his best to obscure Wednesday.

“First of all, I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut,” he said.

In fact, Mr. Romney has proposed lowering income tax rates, abolishing the estate tax and making other changes that would cost $5 trillion over 10 years. When he says he has no such plan, he means that he intends to make up for the lost revenue by closing loopholes — what’s benignly known as “broadening the base.” Moreover, he says he can close so many loopholes for rich people that the middle class will end up paying less.

But even if you close every rich person’s loophole, you don’t save enough money to do everything Mr. Romney wants to do. The Republican cites studies that he says prove that wrong, but when you look closely, they prove him wrong. For example, Harvard economist (and Romney adviser) Martin Feldstein showed that you could pay for Mr. Romney’s tax cut by taking away deductions — mortgage interest, charitable, state and local tax — from households making more than $100,000. But then Mr. Romney said he considers households earning up to $250,000 to be middle class. So the math collapses again.

Mr. Romney’s plan is irresponsible, even if he could pay for it. The bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which he chastised Mr. Obama for not endorsing, concluded that the country cannot solve its fiscal problem without raising revenue and cutting spending. 

An op-ed column in the Washington Post also looks at the factual dishonesty of Mr. Romney.  Here are highlights:

The Republican nominee produced a rare presidential smile when he spoke of being the father of five boys and, therefore, “used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.” Yet Romney was the ultimate practitioner of this repeated-enough tactic, especially on the topic of his plan to cut personal income tax rates by 20 percent.

Romney waved away any questions about how to fill the $5 trillion hole with airy promises of curtailed deductions, unspecified, and economic growth, assumed. Reputable analyses show this is not feasible without raising taxes on the middle class? “There are all these studies out there,” Romney said, waving them away. But facts are stubborn things.

Asked what he would cut, Romney was reduced, once again, to citing Big Bird. “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS,” he told moderator Jim Lehrer. Amount of federal spending on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in fiscal year 2013? A whopping $445 million. Million, with an M. Chump-change cuts like this can hardly be taken seriously.

Romney was blatantly dishonest at numerous points. He said the new Medicare payment board would “tell people ultimately what treatments they’re going to receive,” when the statute specifically prohibits such judgments. He said reelecting Obama would mean “dramatic” and “devastating” military cuts — when those are called for in the to-be-avoided-at-all-costs sequester that Romney’s running mate voted for.

Hampton Mayor Ward Signs Mayors for the Freedom to Marry Pledge

Mayor Molly Ward
Studies have shown that an openness to diversity and a welcoming atmosphere for LGBT citizens enhances a city or state's economic vibrancy and is in the final analysis good for business and economic well being.  Indeed, such an atmosphere makes a city more attractive to the so-called creative class and there is a strong correlation between how a city or region scores on Richard Florida's "gay index" and how it does with attracting high tech companies.  Sadly, this reality is largely lost on most political leaders in Virginia, especially those in the Republican Party who grovel to the reactionary and theocratic dictates of The Family Foundation based in Richmond.  But things are changing - even in Virginia.  This week Hampton Mayor Molly Ward (pictured) joined mayors across America who have signed the freedom to marry pledge originated by the organization Freedom to Marry.  In doing so, she joins Alexandria, Virginia mayor, William Euille, and Charlottesville mayor, Satyendra Singh Huja, the only other Virginia mayors who to my knowledge have likewise signed the pledge.  Here are key excerpts from the Mayors for Freedom to Marry Pledge:

As mayors of great American cities, we proudly stand together in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. We personally know many gay and lesbian people living in our cities who are in committed, loving relationships, who are active participants in the civic life of our communities, and who deserve to be able to marry the person with whom they share their life.
We are proud that at its 2009 annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution stating that: “The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.”

Our cities derive great strength from their diversity, and gay and lesbian families are a crucial part. Studies have shown what we know through our hands-on experience—that cities that celebrate and cultivate diversity are the places where creativity and ideas thrive. They are the places where today’s entrepreneurs are most likely to choose to build the businesses of tomorrow. Allowing same-sex couples the right to marry enhances our ability to build this kind of environment, which is good for all of us.  

We stand for the freedom to marry because it enhances the economic competitiveness of our communities, improves the lives of families that call our cities home, and is simply the right thing to do.  We look forward to working to build an America where all people can share in the love and commitment of marriage with the person with whom they share their life.

Mayor Ward is a good friend and I am honored to know her.  She realizes that the City of Hampton's future is best served by supporting diversity and full equality of citizens under the civil laws in all their aspects.  Hopefully more mayors in Virginia will see this reality and have the courage to to refuse to continue looking backwards in time. 


Thursday, October 04, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Would Be Eagle Scout Denied Award Because He Is Gay

As the Los Angeles Times has demonstrated in its recent investigative report , the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has no problem covering up and protecting serial sexual predators who have molested countless young scouts.  But recognizing an honorable and worthy scout who just happens to be gay?  Well that's a whole different story.  As NBC News is reporting, Ryan Andresen who recently completed the requirements to earn his Eagle Scout award got kicked to the curb by the Boy Scouts for the simple reason that he's gay and doesn't lie about himself and cower in the closet.  The hypocrisy of the Boy Scouts represents a small scale version of the foul hypocrisy of the Catholic Church hierarchy which on the one hand is pushing an incessant  anti-gay jihad while masterminding a world wide conspiracy to enable and/or protect sexual predators.  Here are some highlights from NBC News:

Ryan Andresen had recently completed the requirements to earning his Eagle Scout award, including his final project of building a "tolerance wall" for victims of bullying like himself, but his Scoutmaster would not sign off on honoring him with the Boy Scouts’ highest ranking because he is gay, his mother said.

And late Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that because of Andresen's sexual orientation and that he did not agree to Scouting’s principle of "Duty to God," “he is no longer eligible for membership in Scouting.”

The Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding policy denying membership to gay leaders and Scouts, which they reaffirmed earlier this year after a two-year confidential review of the controversial ban. The Scoutmaster for Troop 212 in Moraga, Calif., told Andresen’s father, Eric, the troop's chief administrator, on Sunday that Ryan wouldn’t be able to get the award, his mother, Karen, and Eric Andresen told NBC News.

“I want everyone to know that [the Eagle award] should be based on accomplishment, not your sexual orientation. Ryan entered Scouts when he was six years  old and in no way knew what he was," said Karen Andresen, 49, a stay-at-home mother of three. "I think right now the Scoutmaster is sending Ryan the message that he’s not a valued human being and I want Ryan to know that he is valued … and that people care about him.”

Ryan, 17, came out in July. Andresen said the Scoutmaster knew about Ryan's sexual orientation and they had no idea he wouldn't sign off on the paperwork. It was “a total shock," she said, adding that Ryan was led all along to believe he would be able to get the award.

I ceased donating any money to the Boy Scouts a number of years ago and candidly, if my son were younger, I'd think twice about involving him in such a bigoted and breath takingly hypocritical and dishonorable organization. 

The 27 Debate Lies of Mitt Romney

I've noted previously that I found Mitt Romney's lies last night during the first presidential debate to be both infuriating and to be nauseating but sadly all to typical of today's Republicans and politicians who wrap themselves in religiosity even as the do violence to the dictates of the Ten Commandments.  It seems that a number of media outlets are endeavoring to expose Romney's blatant and deliberate lies and I hope the phenomenon continues to grow.  It is crucial that Americans realize that Mitt Romney is  cynical liar who will say whatever he thinks will further his cause.  Frankly, most whores are more honest than Romney.  Think Progress has put together a good summary of the top 27 lies of Mitt Romney during last night's debate.  Due to the importance of exposing Romney's shameless and deliberate lies, the following is a more or less verbatim excerpt of the Think Progress piece:

[Romney] spoke for 38 minutes of the 90 minute debate and told at least 27 myths:

1) “[G]et us energy independent, North American energy independent. That creates about 4 million jobs”. Romney’s plan for “energy independence” actually relies heavily on a study that assumes the U.S. continues with fuel efficiency standards set by the Obama administration. For instance, he uses Citigroup research based off the assumption that “‘the United States will continue with strict fuel economy standards that will lower its oil demand.” Since he promises to undo the Obama administration’s new fuel efficiency standards, he would cut oil consumption savings of 2 million barrels per day by 2025.

2) “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.” A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney’s proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions, would reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015. This amounts to $5 trillion over the decade.

3) “My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.” If Romney hopes to provide tax relief to the middle class, then his $5 trillion tax cut would add to the deficit. There are not enough deductions in the tax code that primarily benefit rich people to make his math work.

4) “My — my number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit.” As the Tax Policy Center concluded, Romney’s plan can’t both exempt middle class families from tax cuts and remain revenue neutral. “He’s promised all these things and he can’t do them all. In order for him to cover the cost of his tax cut without adding to the deficit, he’d have to find a way to raise taxes on middle income people or people making less than $200,000 a year,” the Center found.

5) “I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families. Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that looked at the study you describe and say it’s completely wrong.” The studies Romney cites actually further prove that Romney would, in fact, have to raise taxes on the middle class if he were to keep his promise not to lose revenue with his tax rate reduction.

6) “I saw a study that came out today that said you’re going to raise taxes by $3,000 to $4,000 on middle-income families.” Romney is pointing to this study from the American Enterprise Institute. It actually found that rather than raise taxes to pay down the debt, the Obama administration’s policies — those contained directly in his budget — would reduce the share of taxes that go toward servicing the debt by $1,289.89 per taxpayer in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.

7) “And the reason is because small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America’s workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate….97 percent of the businesses are not — not taxed at the 35 percent tax rate, they’re taxed at a lower rate. But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half — half of all the people who work in small business.” Far less than half of the people affected by the expiration of the upper income tax cuts get any of their income at all from a small businesses. And those people could very well be receiving speaking fees or book royalties, which qualify as “small business income” but don’t have a direct impact on job creation. It’s actually hard to find a small business who think that they will be hurt if the marginal tax rate on income earned above $250,000 per year is increased.

8) “Mr. President, all of the increase in natural gas and oil has happened on private land, not on government land. On government land, your administration has cut the number of permits and licenses in half.” Oil production from federal lands is higher, not lower: Production from federal lands is up slightly in 2011 when compared to 2007. And the oil and gas industry is sitting on 7,000 approved permits to drill, that it hasn’t begun exploring or developing.

9) “The president’s put it in place as much public debt — almost as much debt held by the public as all prior presidents combined.” This is not even close to being true. When Obama took office, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. Now the national debt is over $16 trillion. That $5.374 trillion increase is nowhere near as much debt as all the other presidents combined.

10) “That’s why the National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.” That study, produced by a right-wing advocacy organization, doesn’t analyze what Obama has actually proposed.

11) “What we do have right now is a setting where I’d like to bring money from overseas back to this country.” Romney’s plan to shift the country to a territorial tax system would allow corporations to do business and make profits overseas without ever being taxed on it in the United States. This encourages American companies to invest abroad and could cost the country up to 800,000 jobs.

12) “I would like to take the Medicaid dollars that go to states and say to a state, you’re going to get what you got last year, plus inflation, plus 1 percent, and then you’re going to manage your care for your poor in the way you think best.” Sending federal Medicaid funding to the states in the form of a block grant woud significantly reduce federal spending for Medicaid because the grant would not keep up with projected health care costs. A CBO estimate of a very similar proposal from Paul Ryan found that federal spending would be “35 percent lower in 2022 and 49 percent lower in 2030 than current projected federal spending” and as a result “states would face significant challenges in achieving sufficient cost savings through efficiencies to mitigate the loss of federal funding.” “To maintain current service levels in the Medicaid program, states would probably need to consider additional changes, such as reducing their spending on other programs or raising additional revenues,” the CBO found.

13) “I want to take that $716 billion you’ve cut and put it back into Medicare…. But the idea of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to be able to balance the additional cost of Obamacare is, in my opinion, a mistake. There’s that number again. Romney is claiming that Obamacare siphons off $716 billion from Medicare, to the detriment of beneficiaries. In actuality, that money is saved primarily through reducing over-payments to insurance companies under Medicare Advantage, not payments to beneficiaries. Paul Ryan’s budget plan keeps those same cuts, but directs them toward tax cuts for the rich and deficit reduction.

14) “What I support is no change for current retirees and near-retirees to Medicare.” Here is how Romney’s Medicare plan will affect current seniors: 1) by repealing Obamacare, the 16 million seniors receiving preventive benefits without deductibles or co-pays and are saving $3.9 billion on prescription drugs will see a cost increase, 2) “premium support” will increase premiums for existing beneficiaries as private insurers lure healthier seniors out of the traditional Medicare program, 3) Romney/Ryan would also lower Medicaid spending significantly beginning next year, shifting federal spending to states and beneficiaries, and increasing costs for the 9 million Medicare recipients who are dependent on Medicaid.

15) “Number two is for people coming along that are young, what I do to make sure that we can keep Medicare in place for them is to allow them either to choose the current Medicare program or a private plan. Their choice. They get to choose — and they’ll have at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them.” The Medicare program changes for everyone, even people who choose to remain in the traditional fee-for-service. Rather than relying on a guaranteed benefit, all beneficiaries will receive a premium support credit of $7,500 on average in 2023 to purchase coverage in traditional Medicare or private insurance. But that amount will only grow at a rate of GDP plus 1.5 percentage points and will not keep up with health care costs. So while the federal government will spend less on the program, seniors will pay more in premiums.

16) “And, by the way the idea came not even from Paul Ryan or — or Senator Wyden, who’s the co-author of the bill with — with Paul Ryan in the Senate, but also it came from Bill — Bill Clinton’s chief of staff.” Romney has rejected the Ryan/Wyden approach — which does not cap the growth of the “premium support” subsidy. Bill Clinton and his commission also voted down these changes to the Medicare program.

17) “Well, I would repeal and replace it. We’re not going to get rid of all regulation. You have to have regulation. And there are some parts of Dodd-Frank that make all the sense in the world.” Romney has previously called for full repeal of Dodd-Frank, a law whose specific purpose is to regulate banks. MF Global’s use of customer funds to pay for its own trading losses is just one bit of proof that the financial industry isn’t responsible enough to protect consumers without regulation.
18) “But I wouldn’t designate five banks as too big to fail and give them a blank check. That’s one of the unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank… We need to get rid of that provision because it’s killing regional and small banks. They’re getting hurt.” The law merely says that the biggest, systemically risky banks need to abide by more stringent regulations. If those banks fail, they will be unwound by a new process in the Dodd-Frank law that protects taxpayers from having to pony up for a bailout.
19) “And, unfortunately, when — when — when you look at Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has said it will cost $2,500 a year more than traditional insurance. So it’s adding to cost.” Obamacare will actually provide millions of families with tax credits to make health care more affordable.

20) “[I]t puts in place an unelected board that’s going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. I don’t like that idea.” The Board, or IPAB is tasked with making binding recommendations to Congress for lowering health care spending, should Medicare costs exceed a target growth rate. Congress can accept the savings proposal or implement its own ideas through a super majority. The panel’s plan will modify payments to providers but it cannot “include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums…increase Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co- payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria” (Section 3403 of the ACA). Relying on health care experts rather than politicians to control health care costs has previously attracted bipartisan support and even Ryan himself proposed two IPAB-like structures in a 2009 health plan.

21) “Right now, the CBO says up to 20 million people will lose their insurance as Obamacare goes into effect next year. And likewise, a study by McKinsey and Company of American businesses said 30 percent of them are anticipating dropping people from coverage.” The Affordable Care Act would actually expand health care coverage to 30 million Americans, despite Romney fear mongering. According to CBO director Douglas Elmendorf, 3 million or less people would leave employer-sponsored health insurance coverage as a result of the law.

22) “I like the way we did it [health care] in Massachusetts…What were some differences? We didn’t raise taxes.” Romney raised fees, but he can claim that he didn’t increase taxes because the federal government funded almost half of his reforms.

23) “It’s why Republicans said, do not do this, and the Republicans had — had the plan. They put a plan out. They put out a plan, a bipartisan plan. It was swept aside.” The Affordable Care Act incorporates many Republican ideas including the individual mandate, state-based health care exchanges, high-risk insurance pools, and modified provisions that allow insurers to sell policies in multiple states. Republicans never offered a united bipartisan alternative.

24) “Preexisting conditions are covered under my plan.” Only people who are continuously insured would not be discriminated against because they suffer from pre-existing conditions. This protection would not be extended to people who are currently uninsured.

25) “In one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 years’ worth of what oil and gas receives.” The $90 billion was given out over several years and included loans, loan guarantees and grants through the American Recovery Act. $23 billion of the $90 billion “went toward “clean coal,” energy-efficiency upgrades, updating the electricity grid and environmental clean-up, largely for old nuclear weapons sites.”

26) “I think about half of [the green firms Obama invested in], of the ones have been invested in have gone out of business. A number of them happened to be owned by people who were contributors to your campaigns.” As of late last year, only “three out of the 26 recipients of 1705 loan guarantees have filed for bankruptcy, with losses estimated at just over $600 million.”

27) “If the president’s reelected you’ll see dramatic cuts to our military.” Romney is referring to the sequester, which his running mate Paul Ryan supported. Obama opposes the military cuts and has asked Congress to formulate a balanced approach that would avoid the trigger.

New Jersey to Consider Ban on "Ex-Gay" Therapies; Christian Whack Job Sues California

Even as proponents of fraudulent ex-gay therapy move to sue the state of California for banning ex-gay therapy for those under the age of 18, their worst nightmare be starting to transpire: New Jersey may consider legislation that would implement a similar ban on such "therapy" which finds no scientific, medical or mental health support.  At least not outside of Christianist funded "ex-gays for pay,"  most of whom seem to be former alcoholics, drug users and prostitutes - i.e., the dredges of society who would do anything to find acceptance.  First these highlights from South Florida Gay News on developments in New Jersey followed by the issues of lawsuits in California.

Democratic Assemblyman Timothy Eustace, an openly gay father of two, is set to introduce a bill next week that would make it illegal for parents to subject their children to undergo “sexual conversion” therapy.  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the bill will probably face resistance from anti-gay, conservative groups, and it’s unclear what would be the reaction of Republican Gov. Chris Christie to the legislation.

“I see it as a form of child abuse,’ Eustace told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Being gay is not an illness, so what are they fixing.”  Two Democratic state senators, Raymond Lesniak and Stephen Sweeney, plan to co-sponsor a similar bill in the New Jersey Senate House.

“Parents don't have the right to endanger their children by participating in a practice that has no basis in science whatsoever,” Sen. Sweeney said.  If the bill were to pass, New Jersey would become the second state in the U.S. to ban “ex-gay” therapies.

California became the first state to ban such therapy on Sept. 29.  The therapies "have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.
But now back to developments in California where an, in my opinion,  obviously mentally disturbed college student who claims he once had same-sex attractions but became heterosexual after conversion therapy has filed a lawsuit against California.  Pardon me, but I'd love to know which of the anti-gay hate groups is secretly funding this litigation.  ABC News has coverage on this lawsuit which may well prove to be the death knell for the reparative therapy crowd who will not be able to find legitimate experts to support their bogus claims.  Here are highlights:

A college student who claims he once had same-sex attractions but became heterosexual after conversion therapy has filed a lawsuit against California, which has enacted a law that bans so-called "gay cures" for minors.

The lawsuit, also joined as plaintiffs by two therapists who have used the treatments with patients, alleges that the law banning the therapy intrudes on First Amendment protections of free speech, privacy and freedom of religion.

The student, Aaron Blitzer, who is studying to be a therapist in that field, said the law would prevent him from pursuing his career, according to court papers filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

The lawsuit names as defendants California Gov. Jerry Brown, as well as 21other state officials, including members of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and the California Medical Board.

The other plaintiffs are Donald Welsch, a licensed family therapist and ordained minister who operates a Christian counseling center in San Diego; and Dr. Anthony Duk, a psychiatrist and practicing Roman Catholic.

Several members of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and the California Mental Board were named in the lawsuit.  "Our board voted to support that piece of legislation after working with the author's office to further define sexual orientation change efforts," said Kim Madsen, executive officer for the sciences board, which licenses and oversees therapists.

The American Psychiatric Association has outlawed conversion therapies for more than a decade, insisting they are harmful.

The reality is that there is no right to inflict dangerous and fraudulent beliefs and treatment A prime example is Christian extremists who want to rely on prayer alone to cure seriously ill children and try to withhold medical treatment.  The are numerous cases where such parents have been criminally prosecuted and convicted for child abuse and/or neglect.  Subjecting a minor to bogus and psychologically damaging "ex-gay" conversion therapy is no different. I truly hope the plaintiffs go down in flames and set legal precedent for just who dangerous and fraudulent these "ex-gay" therapies are in fact    

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Romney Campaign Confirms He Would End Obama’s DREAM Directive

While it was touched on last night in detail, one issue on which Mitt Romney has again flip flopped - lied might be the better word - is on the issue of immigration and the approach towards undocumented youth who came to America as children through no fault of their own.  By executive order, Barack Obama has created a two year visa program that would allow such young people to avoid deportation.  Romney has claimed that he'd push for a plan that would provide relief for such meritorious individuals.  Apparently, it was all a lie and Romney's campaign has confirmed that he would rescind the Obama directive and basically kick these individuals to the curb.Think Progress looks at this not surprising about face by the liar in chief.  Here are excepts:

Mitt Romney tried to moderate his immigration positions on Monday before tonight’s debate in Colorado when he said he would not take away the temporary visas from undocumented immigrants who benefit from Obama’s deferred action policy. “I’m not going to take something that they’ve purchased,” he told The Denver Post. He added that before those two-year visas expire, “we will have the full immigration reform plan that I’ve proposed,” although he gave no details about his immigration plan.

Today, his campaign confirmed to the New York Times that Romney would end the program to grant deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants who qualify.

As many as 1.7 million DREAM Act-eligible undocumented immigrants could benefit from the policy, which gives them temporary legal status to work in the U.S. More than 80,000 people have applied for deferred action since the policy went into effect on August 15, but the Huffington Post reports that the wait time for the process can take up to four to six months. In the first month, 29 undocumented immigrants received deferrals, so it is likely that most of the applicants will not receive an answer before the inauguration in January.
Romney apparently realized that after gays and Muslims, the Christofascist/Tea Party base of the GOP most hates undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom are of Hispanic descent and not "white."

Tony Perkins Has Spittle Eruption Over Dan Savages Truthful Remarks

While there are many dishonest and sleazy hate merchants among the Christofascists ranks, but one of the more reprehensible is white supremacist lover Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, an organization rightly labeled as a hate group because of its incessant dissemination of lies and falsehoods against LGBT citizens.  Not a day goes by that FRC doesn't send out foul messages seeking to create an atmosphere of hate and stigma against LGBT people.  Worse yet, FRC uses the red herring of religious freedom to support continued religious based denigration and bullying of LGBT school students.  Given this reality, last week Dan Savage called Perkins out for his organization's foul and deadly anti-gay messages that drive LGBT teens to suicide and said ""Tony Perkins sits on a pile of dead gay kids every day when he goes to work — and he calls himself a Christian."  Personally, I believe that Dan's statement was 100% on target.  If Perkins doesn't like the truth he has an easy answer: stop deliberately spreading anti-gay lies and hate.  Of course, Perkins will never do that.  During an interview with Mike Huckabee (another anti-gay hate merchant) Perkins nearly wet himself with spittle as he complained about the accurate description of his handiwork.  Here are details from Right Wing Watch:

Last week, Dan Savage set off a controversy when he declared that "every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council," so it was no surprise that today Mike Huckabee invited FRC's Tony Perkins on to his radio program to respond, allowing both men to spend most of the discussion voicing their outrage about his remarks, with Perkins even hinting that legal action might be taken:
Huckabee: I found Dan Savage to be unnecessarily rude, vile, and angry. Just angry. He was not a happy person and he just takes out his venom on other people, but he's gone to a level I've never seen.
Perkins: As my teenagers would say, he has some issues. He is a man with some real deep-seated issues ... and Dan Savage is nowhere near, he's a hundred and eighty degrees from the positions that we have taken. It's wrong and I will tell you this, we are pursuing everything possible to deal with him because he is out of control.
Perkins then went on to attack gay activists in general, declaring that they will always feel empty inside because they are "outside the way God created" them:

This is the bottom line, Mike: is that if you don't embrace and celebrate homosexuality and everything associated with it, then you are intolerant. And the truth of the matter is, let's just be very, very truthful, and that's what we deal in is the truth, that even is society embraced homosexuality, there would never be that sense of self-fulfillment because it's outside the way God created man and woman. And that's the bottom line. They cannot erase that, even if they get every law on the books changed, it will never change that.
If there truly is a Hell, then I believe that Tony Perkins is one individual who has a reserved seat.   In my view, he's a racist, anti-gay bigot and all around dishonest and foul individual.  And sadly, he's what passes as a "godly Christian" in America today.

Fact Checking Romney's Debate Lies

While much of the consensus in the blogosphere is that Mitt Romney out performed Barack Obama last night, the consensus also seems to be that Romney lied through his teeth.  Whether or not the lazy and hapless mainstream media will go after him remains to be seen.  Given the growing worthlessness of many news outlets, one likely should not hold their preath.  Andrew Sullivan has collected some reactions on Romney's lies - which seem aimed at viewers who are poorly informed - and these seem to address the dishonesty of Romney the best:

Josh Marshall wonders if the press will call out Romney on his lies:
Obama simply hasn’t pressed any points where Romney said things that were demonstrably false. A bit on his tax cut plan, but not much. But how does it play over the next week? Romney’s been holding back all the details on his plans, basically refusing to talk about him. He’s put a lot on the table here, made a lot of claims which simply don’t add up. Obama hasn’t pressed the falsehoods or math that doesn’t make sense. Does the press do it tomorrow? How well do these claims wear? That’s how we’ll know how each did.
Along those lines, here's a highlight from Wonkblog's live fact-check of the debate:
Romney said his web site has a “lengthy description” of his health-care plan. In fact, it’s only 369 words. He also said it covers preexisting conditions. It doesn’t. Romney wouldn’t cover preexisting conditions for Americans who fall uninsured for periods of time, which happened to 89 million Americans between 2004 and 2007.
Jackie Calmes also catches Romney bending the truth:
Mr. Romney says Mr. Obama doubled the deficit. That is not true. When Mr. Obama took office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office had already projected that the deficit for fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30 of that year, would be $1.2 trillion. (It ended up as $1.4 trillion.) For the just-finished fiscal year 2012, which ended last week, the deficit is expected to be $1.1 trillion — just under the level in the year he was inaugurated. Measured as a share of the economy, as economists prefer, the deficit has declined more significantly — from 10.1 percent of the economy’s total output in 2009 to 7.3 percent for 2012.

Personally, I increasing believe that Romney is amoral and that he will say and do anything to try to win. Truth and honesty have never meant much to the man, and now they mean absolutely nothing to him. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Reactions to the Presidential Debate

I hate to say it, but in my opinion Obama blew it tonight.  Romney lied through his teeth repeatedly - e.g., his claim that he would not seek a huge tax cut for the wealthy, that he'd lower the number of those without health care and the utterly farcical claim that small businesses can effectively negotiate with big insurance companies for heath care plans - and Obama failed to effectively call him out.  The end result was that Romney looked commanding and those not aware of his total dishonesty likely had their opinion of the man enhanced.  As for the moderator, he completely lost control of the situation.  Obama had better regain his game quickly and Romney's shocking lies of the evening need to be exposed.  In sum, I am NOT a happy camper.

P.S. I cannot help but note that Romney, who claims to be the protector of traditional values and religious values, proved to be the biggest liar of the evening.  Of course, that's really no surprise given that the "godly Christian" crowd and professional Christians are the worse lairs one will likely ever encounter.

More Wednesday Male Beauty

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Calls Conversion Therapy Unethical

In the wake of California's ban on reparative therapy for individuals under the age of 18 there is now more bad news for those who promote the "ex-gay" myth and the myth that gays can change: British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy, the United Kingdom’s largest professional organization for psychotherapists, has adopted a resolution that labels so-called conversion therapy as unethical conduct.  Among the reasons for the action is the finding that "“there is no scientific, rational or ethical reason to try to change someone’s sexual orientation."  Indeed, the ONLY reason for seeking to change someone's sexual orientation is RELIGIOUS BELIEF.  There is NO scientific reason and the claim that tormented gays need help reconciling their sexuality with their religious beliefs begs the issue.  It's not someone's sexual orientation that needs to be changed but instead backward, ignorance embracing religious beliefs that need changing.  Box Turtle Bulletin looks at this development.  Here are some excerpts:

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the U.K.’s largest professional organization for psychotherapists, has issued a new policy statement (PDF: 627KB/1 page) which reminds members that “there is no scientific, rational or ethical reason” to try to change someone’s sexual orientation:
The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) is dedicated to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without discrimination of any kind. BACP opposes any psychological treatment such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder, or based on the premise that the client/patient should change his/her sexuality.

BACP recognises the PAHO/WHO (2012) recent position statement that practices such as conversion or reparative therapies ‘have no medical indication and represent a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons’.

BACP recognises that the diversity of human sexualities is compatible with normal mental health and social adjustment (Royal College of Psychiatrists). A recent research review (King, et al 2007) showed that those who do not identify as heterosexual may be misunderstood by some therapists, who see the client/patient’s sexuality as the root cause of their presenting issue. The ability to appreciate differences between people, to commit to equality of opportunity, and to avoid discrimination against people or groups contrary to their legitimate personal or social circumstances, is central to ethical and professional practice (BACP 2010, Ethical Framework).

BACP believes that socially inclusive, non-judgemental attitudes to people who identify across the diverse range of human sexualities will have positive consequences for those individuals, as well as for the wider society in which they live. There is no scientific, rational or ethical reason to treat people who identify within a range of human sexualities any differently from those who identify solely as heterosexual.
In 2010, the British Medical Association approved a motion saying the National Health Service should not fund Sexual Orientation Change Efforts ("SOCE"). That statement came after a reporter for The Independent went undercover and reported on a NARTH-affiliated therapist who offered SOCE. In the first session, the therapist sought to uncover the source of the reporter’s homosexuality by asking about childhood neglect, whether he had a difficult birth, and whether anyone in the family practiced Freemasonry. That therapist, later identified as Lesley Pilkington, was expelled from the BACP last May for professional malpractice.

Chris Kluwe: A Kick Ass Ally

I have written several times about Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe's outspoken support for gay marriage and his condemnation of the Christofascists who through their anti-gay message and support for religious based bullying are responsible for untold gay teen suicides.   Now, Kluwe (pictured above) has been interviewed by Out Magazine where he further expounds on his pro-LGBT advocacy.   Here are some article excepts:

On September 7, you could sense the howls of laughter reverberating across the Internet after Kluwe’s excoriating letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. was published on the sports fansite Deadspin and quickly went viral. A week earlier, in a letter brimming with self-importance, Burns had told the Baltimore Ravens to “order” linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo to cease advocating for same-sex marriage. Kluwe’s response was a master class in how to take down a pompous and wrong-headed ass.

“I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government,” Kluwe’s letter started, reasonably enough. “Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level.” Kluwe then went on to dismantle Burns’s position, point by point, culminating in a crescendo of wit and impishness -- and that now-fabled coinage. It’s worth running the penultimate paragraph in full, if only because it does such a good job of clarifying the issues:

“I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population -- rights like Social Security benefits, child care tax credits, Family and Medical Leave to take care of loved ones, and COBRA healthcare for spouses and children. You know what having these rights will make gays? Full-fledged American citizens just like everyone else, with the freedom to pursue happiness and all that entails. Do the civil-rights struggles of the past 200 years mean absolutely nothing to you?”

“I’ve always relished breaking that stereotype of the dumb jock athlete because while I enjoyed athletics growing up, I also enjoyed reading and video games, and athletic sport is not what defines me as a person,” says Kluwe. “I think as more and more generations start rising through the NFL, a lot of these kids see that it’s OK to be something other than an athlete.”

But for Kluwe, taking a stand on gay rights is as instinctual as planting his foot into a ball. “It’s all about the Golden Rule,” he says. “Treat other people as you want to be treated. It’s that simple. It’s something that needs to be spoken about, and it’s something I can do while fulfilling my job as a football player.”

I'm not a sports follower in general, but I like Kluwe's style and intelligence - he can quote Voltaire or Ralph Waldo Emerson and reads voraciously - and I might just grow to be a Vikings fan.  As for the anti-gay Christofascists who Kluwe criticizes, I deem them to be one of the lowest and most vile forms of humanity.