Saturday, November 24, 2012

Republicans Face Growing Difficulties In the South And a Shrinking White Vote

The post mortems in the wake of the 2012 elections continue and few of the bode well for the long term prospects of the Republican Party in its current posture as a captive of the Christofascists and their Tea Party cousins.  Indeed, by embracing the Christofascists and the Tea Party, the GOP seems to have largely alienated everyone else.  Add that reality to demographic changes taking place and over the course of time even the reliable South - the GOP's new Confederacy, if you will - may not be a sure bet for the GOP.  Frankly, I don't feel the slightest shred of sympathy for the GOP because years ago, the party made the conscious decision to sell its soul to the far right, especially the Christofascist elements.  After that, moderates and non-religious extremists fled the party with the result being that the party establishment finds itself saddled with escapees of the insane asylum who will not be easily displaced.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at developments in the South that ought to cause GOP party bosses nightmares.  What is especially gratifying is that the GOP prediction that the Democrat embrace of gay marriage would sink the Democrats has blown up in the face of the GPO naysayers. Here are article excerpts:

Election Day in the South told a newer and more surprising story: The nation’s first black president finished more strongly in the region than any other Democratic nominee in three decades, underscoring a fresh challenge for Republicans who rely on Southern whites as their base of national support.

Obama won Virginia and Florida and narrowly missed victory in North Carolina. But he also polled as well in Georgia as any Democrat since Jimmy Carter, grabbed 44 percent of the vote in deep-red South Carolina and just under that in Mississippi — despite doing no substantive campaigning in any of those states.

Much of the post-election analysis has focused on the demographic crisis facing Republicans among Hispanic voters, particularly in Texas. But the results across other parts of the South, where Latinos remain a single-digit minority, point to separate trends among blacks and whites that may also have big implications for the GOP’s future. 

A combination of a growing black population, urban expansion, oceanfront development and in-migration from other regions has opened up increasing opportunities for Democrats in those states. 

In every Southern state except Louisiana, the population of African Americans grew substantially faster than that of whites over the past decade. The growth is fueled by black retirees from the north and rising numbers of young, well-educated blacks in prosperous cities such as Atlanta, Norfolk, Charlotte and Charleston, S.C.

The influx also includes fast-growing, but smaller, Hispanic populations and an infusion of less-conservative outsiders attracted to popular coastal areas. Together, the shifts are making the electoral landscape from Virginia and the Carolinas look increasingly like the swing state of Florida. .  .  .  .  The proportion of white voters in the South is also shrinking.

Prominent conservatives in the region are acutely aware of the danger posed by the trends. “We’ve got to go out and sell our ideas not just to the choir, but the whole church,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee member from Mississippi and a top Romney fundraiser (and nephew of former governor Haley Barbour). “We’re not going to get 25 percent of the black vote in four years, but we’ve got to figure out which African Americans share our core beliefs.”

But the issues [gay marriage and gay rights] had little apparent impact on Obama’s support within the black community. Black pastors — some of whom had preached against gay marriage in the past — rallied to the president. Romney also hit a number of sour notes with minorities during the campaign, including his apparent suggestion that blacks who support Obama want “more free stuff” from government.

By the closing stage of the campaign, gay marriage had largely disappeared from the conversation among black voters. “We don’t see any of that,” said Tiara Moore, 23, a biology student, after a day of canvassing before the election at historically black Hampton University in Virginia. “They talk about health care and student loans.”

“We were all basically stunned at the results,” Bryant said. “It is very clear that the direction of the Republican Party — the conservative movement — is necessarily going to have to include the changing face of America and address the concerns of minorities, blacks, Latinos, and even younger white women, all young people. . . . It has to happen or we’re going to be insignificant.”

Do not expect the Christofascists to yield to reality.  The GOP made its bed with them and will now have to live with the consequences.  The GOP civil war will be entertaining to watch.

Great News From Texas

The photo above tells so much - my son-in-law is on the mend and we are all overjoyed.  He still has a long way to go to full recovery. He/we were very lucky.  Sadly, so many have not be as lucky.

The War on the "War on Christmas" - A Case of Utterly Misplaced Priorities

Every holiday season the boyfriend - a/k/a "Martha Stewart" or "Mein Fuhrer" when he gets really bossy - decorates our house like, well Martha Stewart.  And when he's in serious decorating mode like he is today he puts on a radio station that plays nonstop holiday music which he sends throughout the house on the stereo system.  Some of the music is beautiful, some awful, and some thought provoking.  In the later category is a piece that has played several times so far today:  "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia.  Among the lyrics are the following:

It's Christmastime, there's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer, Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear

 Where the only water flowing
Is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

The lyrics then launch onto the refrain "feed the world."  If you watched the video above, most of the performers hardly meet the standards of the American Christofascists.  Indeed, the Tony Perkins and James Dobsons, and Pat Robertsons of the Christian Right likely view them as godless atheists or worse.  Yet the performers got the message that escapes the professional Christian crowd.

The contrast is damning.  What do we see from the Christianists and the professional Christian set?  Money being spent to fight the fabricated "war on Christmas" by retailers who merely have the decency to use the phrase "Happy Holidays" out of respect for their Jewish and non-Christian customers.  Worse yet, we have seen the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus and the National Organization for Marriage and similar groups expend millions and millions of dollars over the last few years to deprive LGBT citizens of full CIVIL law rights.  Oh, and let's not forget their dissemination of anti-gay hatred frighteningly similar to the model found in the Nazi propaganda against those of the Jewish faith in Europe.  Millions of dollars that could have and should have been expended feeding and caring for the starving populations across the globe or even the needy here in America.

It would seem that the lyrics "Do they know it's Christmastime at all?" better applies to those in the Christianist and Republican Party ranks who make a mockery of the Gospel message of Christ than it does to those still starving in Africa.   Christianity is becoming increasingly ugly and it is the "godly Christian" set who are turning it into something nothing short of evil. 

P.S. In a final irony, the 2011 Glee episode "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" featured a cover of the song performed by members of the show's cast - all net proceeds from the single have been donated to the Band Aid Trust.  Yet the Christianists describe Glee as "demonic."  Can we talk Christianist hypocrisy?

Saturday Male Beauty

When Gay Marriage Gets Personal: Opening Closed Minds

Andrew Sullivan and others have argued that same sex marriage is actually a conservative value and is something that ought to be supported by anyone who truly seeks to increase societal stability and values.  As we all know, of course, the Christofascists and their allies in other fundamentalist religions care nothing about societal stability but seek only to inflict their typically fear and hate based religious dogma on all often so that they can avoid confrontation with issues and individuals who threaten their ignorance embracing, serious thought avoiding house of cards world views.  As I have said before, I believe that gays particularly terrify the Christofascists because if the Bible passages the haters so love to quote are wrong about us, then they have confront the issue of what else in the Bible is not true.  It becomes a domino effect as their whole artificial world collapses and, heaven forbid, they have to make decisions and moral judgments on their own.  A piece in Huffington Post written by a conservative Jewish writer who attended a nephew's same sex marriage ceremony shows how by being ourselves and living our lives openly we can open minds and breakdown barriers.  Here are some excerpts:

Setting out for our nephew's wedding, my wife and I weren't quite sure what to expect. Since the two grooms had met at the memorably named Cincinnati Queer Guerilla Bar, our excitement contained an undeniable undercurrent of uneasiness.

Gay marriage is once again a high-profile public issue. .  .  .  . Yet entwined though it may be in legislation and lawsuits, gay marriage, like its heterosexual counterpart, is primarily a personal issue. The union of our nephew, Benjamin, and his beloved, Jacob, in a Reform Jewish ceremony in Cincinnati satisfied only religious law, not Ohio's. But on a personal level, the ceremony and the whole weekend showcased precisely the kind of values all of us who believe in stable, monogamous relationships should want to defend.

Which, I admit, isn't how I always felt.   As a religiously serious Jew, I'm well aware of the explicit biblical condemnation of homosexual sex acts. Still, loyalty to Leviticus wasn't the only reason for my initial opposition to gay marriage. Like many others, I believed that marriage in a legal and religious context was inextricably linked to procreation.

Well, sort of. Not only don't we ban infertile couples from marrying or cast out those who don't want to have children, we have also as a society accepted surrogate birth, single parenthood and a host of other technological and social arrangements that have nothing to do with "togetherness" by the biological father and mother. When you think about it, what remains illegal for homosexuals is not parenthood, but the obligations and protections for them and their children that accompany a legally binding commitment.

That, and the ability to have the state recognize a commitment to the whole panoply of family values we as a society claim to uphold. The celebration of those values by Benjamin and Jacob is what shone though the entire weekend.

That love, and the desire to build a family around it, is what motivated Ben, 29, and Jacob, 25, to get formally married rather than live together as do so many of their gay and straight peers. And they deliberately did so in a religious ceremony in the city where they both had roots.

It's nice to believe that traditional nuclear families like the one my wife and I were raised in and in which we raised our kids are the best possible arrangement. But whether you pull out your Bible, pop on your TV or peer around the dining room table, it's impossible to escape the reality that any kind of family arrangement can be terrific or toxic. (Cain and Abel, anyone?) Gay or straight, religious or secular, some people are mensches and some are not.

It turns out my wife and I didn't go to a "gay wedding"; we went to a wedding. It was filled with "voices of joy and gladness," in the traditional Jewish phrase, "the voice of the groom and the voice of..." well, the other groom. We hope that Ben and Jacob's union will soon be legally recognized, but what we want most is what we wish for all newlyweds among friends and family. We hope they continue to reflect the values of their upbringing yet surpass in every way their parents' generation. By doing so, they'll make all of us, including their kids, very proud.

Love, commitment and honoring another human being - why do the Christianist fear this so much other than the fact that it challenges their misplaced trust and allegiance to Neolithic age writings that have been blindly handed down all too often with no questions asked.  As science and knowledge progress further the knuckle draggers are going to be increasingly confronted with the fact that their "sincerely held religious beliefs" simply are not true.  Expect more hate and nastiness from the godly set as that happens. 

Afghanistan: The Continued Betrayal of Our Troops

On the good news front, my son-in-law continues to improve after being severely injured in Afghanistan.  On the bad news side of things, that area remains a nightmare and any claims to the contrary by senior military leaders is pretty much nothing less than a huge lie.  I noted recently that France had admitted reality and was withdrawing all of its troops.  Now Australia has begun its own withdrawal.  And the USA?  Still in denial and a refusal on the part of senior military commanders and politicians that once Chimperator Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney bungled the response to the World Trade Center attack, we should have left immediately.  But, due to all too typical American hubris we remained and have thrown away billions of dollars and thousands of lives.  And for nothing in the long view of things.  Absolutely nothing.  The Brisbane Times looks at Australia's moves toward total withdrawal.  Here are highlights:

AUSTRALIAN troops have withdrawn from all forward operating bases and patrol bases in Oruzgan, and handed over control of security in the province to Afghan forces.  And after 13 years keeping the peace in East Timor, the last remaining Australian troops will begin pulling out on Thursday. . . . .

Forward operating and patrol bases in Afghanistan have been progressively handed over to Afghan control since October, and Australian troops will now operate only out of the multinational base in Tarin Kowt, Oruzgan's capital.

And as for the unfolding fiasco in Afghanistan that belies the claims that progress is being made, Google News has this:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives Friday in eastern Afghanistan, killing three Afghan civilians and wounding more than 90 people, including several Afghan and NATO troops, officials said.

The early morning explosion in Maidan Shahr, the capital of Wardak province, also destroyed or damaged several government offices and a local prison, said provincial spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

The blast occurred in an area that is home to government offices, the provincial governor's office, police headquarters, a prison and a coordination center used by international and Afghan security forces.

Shahid said two men and a woman were killed and 90 people — 75 men, 11 women and four children — were wounded.

U.S. Army Maj. Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the international military coalition, said a half-dozen NATO soldiers also received minor injuries in the explosion.

The GOP's Frightening Alternate Universe

There are times I cannot even fathom what the world view if you will of members of today's Republican Party base must look like.  It certainly bears no resemblance to objective reality - especially for the knuckle dragging Bible is inerrant crowd.  Heavens forbid that archeology has disproved many of the narratives in the Bible, not to mention that the human genome studies have shown that Adam and Eve never existed as historical individuals.  The sad truth is that one cannot contend with the world and make truly moral decisions when one is rejecting objective fact and proudly embracing ignorance.  Yet that is exactly what we see time and time again across the GOP base and among politicians who pander to them rather than demand that they confront reality.  A case in point is Florida Senator Marco Rubio who as noted in an previous post refused to reject the "young earth" claims of creationists, thereby proving himself immediately incompetent to hold any high office including the presidency.  Paul Krugman has a scathing column in the New York Times that looks at why politicians like Rubio need to be called out and kicked to the curb.  Here are highlights: 

Mr. Rubio was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”  

It’s funny stuff, and conservatives would like us to forget about it as soon as possible. Hey, they say, he was just pandering to likely voters in the 2016 Republican primaries — a claim that for some reason is supposed to comfort us. 

But we shouldn’t let go that easily. Reading Mr. Rubio’s interview is like driving through a deeply eroded canyon; all at once, you can clearly see what lies below the superficial landscape. Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party. 

By the way, that question didn’t come out of the blue. As speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Rubio provided powerful aid to creationists trying to water down science education.

What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence. 

The most obvious example other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the G.O.P. has buried deeper into denial, into assertions that the whole thing is a hoax concocted by a vast conspiracy of scientists. And this denial has been accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts.

What accounts for this pattern of denial? Earlier this year, the science writer Chris Mooney published “The Republican Brain,” which was not, as you might think, a partisan screed. It was, instead, a survey of the now-extensive research linking political views to personality types. As Mr. Mooney showed, modern American conservatism is highly correlated with authoritarian inclinations — and authoritarians are strongly inclined to reject any evidence contradicting their prior beliefs. Today’s Republicans cocoon themselves in an alternate reality defined by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page  .  .  .  .

Coming back to the age of the earth: Does it matter? No, says Mr. Rubio  .  .  .  .  But he couldn’t be more wrong. 

We are, after all, living in an era when science plays a crucial economic role. How are we going to search effectively for natural resources if schools trying to teach modern geology must give equal time to claims that the world is only 6.000 years old? How are we going to stay competitive in biotechnology if biology classes avoid any material that might offend creationists?

 So don’t shrug off Mr. Rubio’s awkward moment. His inability to deal with geological evidence was symptomatic of a much broader problem — one that may, in the end, set America on a path of inexorable decline.

 Krugman is 100% on the mark.  I continue to believe that conservative Christianity is a severe threat to America's future both in terms of religious freedom for other citizens and in terms of the dumbing down of education so as to not offend the sensibilities of the ignorance embracing morons.   Sometimes I think being gay gives one an advantage in analyzing the world and events around us - we've had to learn that so much of what we were told growing up simply isn't true and many of us have embraced scientific knowledge that confirms what we already knew: we were born gay and that the rot in the Bible that purports to condemn us is nothing by antiquated, ignorant bullshit that belongs in the dust bin of history.  One has to wonder when the Republican Party is going to figure this out.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill Passes Parliamentary Committee

As noted in previous posts, the government of Uganda is one of the most corrupt in the world.  Now, in an attempt to distract the ignorant and largely illiterate population from the real cause of the nation's basket case status - i.e., the legislators themselves - and to  do the bidding of American Christofascists busy exporting anti-gay hate and ignorance to Africa, a committee of the ethically, morally and mentally bankrupt Ugandan Parliament has approved the so called "kill the gays bill" and moved the measure forward towards consideration by the full Parliament.   Towleroad has coverage on this disgusting development. Here are highlights:

[T]he bill passed a Parliamentary committee today, sending it to the next level of votes. Though the call for gay people to be executed has been removed from the hideously hateful measure, there bill still includes a life imprisonment request.
According to Uganda’s NTV network – as tweeted by Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha), director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) – an unnamed member of the committee confirmed that a penalty of life imprisonment has remained in the bill in place of execution.
While sexual relations between members of the same sex are already illegal in Uganda, if the bill becomes law it will be among the world’s harshest against gay people. NTV reports that the bill should receive floor debate next week.
Religious leaders in Uganda have been putting intense pressure on politicians to pass the long-lingering law there and asked this week for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to get the bill made into law as a "Christmas gift".

As I have noted many times before, conservative Christianity is one of the most foul influences in the world today (fundamentalist Islam vies for a similar designation) and is a threat to constitutional government and human rights across the globe.  The sooner it is a dead religion, the better off the world will be.

Catholic Church Scandal Continues to Explode in A

With a royal commission soon to be investigating the Catholic Church handling of sex abuse by clergy, the condemnation of the Church hierarchy continues unabated.  One victim who is now an attorney says the Church needs to scrape its supposed program for handling abuse complaints and the family of one victim is speaking out about what they describe as the "sociopathic" behavior of Cardinal George Pell (shown above), the highest ranking Catholic in Australia.  Not only did Pell show no empathy for victims but seemed most concerned about protecting the Church's reputation.  As if, at this point the Church has much of a reputation to protect.  Sadly, what is unfolding in Australia is the same disingenuous pattern seen time and time again around the globe.  I remained convinced that only by prosecuting bishops and cardinals and jailing them will the Church ever begin to clean house in the cesspool like hierarchy.   First highlights from The Australian on the Church's deeply flawed policies:

SCRAP it. That's what Sydney lawyer and sex-abuse survivor John Ellis says the Catholic Church should do with its Towards Healing policy for dealing with sex-abuse victims. 
Mr Ellis, who has first-hand experience of Towards Healing, said the main problem with it and the parallel Melbourne Response was an inherent conflict of interest: cases are managed by church-appointed personnel, although complainants are encouraged to go to police.

He said even if the conflict of interest victims identify in Towards Healing could be worked around, the management of people seeking redress is inconsistent, and at its worst is neither transparent nor accountable.

Professor of Intercultural Studies at RMIT University Des Cahill said Towards Healing and the Melbourne Response were primarily designed to protect the church's reputation and financial assets.  "They were being pressured by the Vatican to apply canon law to the issues rather than Australian criminal law, and Catholic canon law protects the rights of the priests but has nothing to say about the children and their rights," Professor Cahill said.

As for Cardinal Pell's lack of remorse and ever basic empathy, the Sydney Morning Herald has details.  Here are highlights:

CARDINAL George Pell showed a ''sociopathic lack of empathy, typifying the attitude and response of the Catholic hierarchy'' to parents whose young daughters were repeatedly raped by a priest, the Victorian inquiry into how the churches handled child sex abuse has been told.

Anthony Foster told on Friday how they met the cardinal - now Archbishop of Sydney - when he was Melbourne archbishop, in a furniture storage room at a Melbourne presbytery. They were squeezed onto a narrow wooden bench, while he sat in a ''grandiose'' padded leather chair.  He expressed no emotion when shown a picture of the Fosters' daughter Emma harming herself - she later killed herself - and said expressionlessly: ''Hmmm, she's changed, hasn't she?''

''What sort of of people did he mix with, what sort of life did he lead, that he thought this comment was appropriate?'' Mr Foster asked.  From the start, he was confrontational and told them: ''If you don't like what we are doing, take us to court,'' Mr Foster said.

Coincidentally, the inquiry posted on its website on Friday a submission by another victim of the priest, Kevin O'Donnell, who raped the Fosters' daughters. This victim (name withheld) also spoke of Cardinal Pell, saying that meeting him and other church staff was ''unpleasant and distressing'' and describing her experience of the church as ''harsh, cold and uncaring'' from her childhood to her time in a convent to reporting O'Donnell to the police.

Another victim, Ian Lawther, whose son was a victim, said that every time Cardinal Pell spoke publicly to defend the Catholic Church, he caused further pain for victims suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. ''[He is] only doing a lot of damage to sufferers.''

He said he had received ''zero'' signs of contrition from the church. ''There needs to be complete accountability. We don't need an organisation that runs and hides behind canon law. There should be one law for all the people in this country.''
These men are moral monsters and when they presume to dictate to others - e.g., on gay marriage - they deserve to be shouted down and denied a platform by the media.  Most of them should be behind bars.

Friday Male Beauty

UK To Fast Track Gay Marriage

While knuckle dragging Neanderthal in the Republican Party continue to oppose same sex civil marriage as part of their campaign of self-prostitution to the Christianists, true conservative in the United Kingdom are moving to bring an expedited vote on a same sex marriage bill.  Not surprisingly, the religious extremists and zealots who seek to impose their religious beliefs on all Britons are not at all happy.  The reality is than CIVIL law same sex marriage will increase societal stability, not decrease it as the religious zealots claim.  The Telegraph looks at this development.  Here are some story excerpts:

The proposed change in the law is now expected to be voted on in Parliament in the New Year after the Prime Minister decided to rush it through. 
Downing Street said originally that same sex civil marriage would be introduced at some stage before the next General Election and there was no mention of the proposed legislation in the last Queen’s Speech.But a senior source told the Daily Mail: “The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have agreed to get on with it.
“It was in danger of slipping beyond the General Election.   “David Cameron’s view of this is ‘get it done and get it done quickly’.   Mr Cameron has promised to legislate to allow gay couples to marry in civil ceremonies, while not forcing the changes on the Church. 

A survey this week found that two thirds of voters believe the chief aim of the plan is to rebrand the Tory Party as “trendy and modern”. 

The Church of England and Roman Catholic bishops oppose the idea, while a number of Conservative MPs are also against it.  The move to hurry along the legislation is likely to worry the opponents of the plan, which is expected to be passed into law with the support of Labour and the Liberal Democrats. 

Justin Welby, the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, has hinted at a softening of the Church’s stance on gay partnerships but says he supports the Church of England’s opposition to same-sex marriage. 

As noted, the Christofascists are NOT happy and have gone into overdrive to conflate civil marriage with church marriage and to claim that churches will be forced to perform same sex marriages even though the proposed law contains an express exemption for churches.  As is always the case with the "godly Christian" crowd deliberately lying seems to be their standard course of behavior.  As I've said before, the claim to honor the Ten Commandments but ignore them at will.

Deconstructing Thanksgiving Myths

Here in Virginia we are very conscious of the hijacking of the Thanksgiving tradition by the Pilgrims in New England.  Yet the myth that the tradition began in New England continues to this day as school children color pictures of puritan garbed colonists instead of the attire common in colonial Virginia.  Andrew Sullivan posted about this myth making.  I particularly like the last portion that gets down to the real founding principals of the Massachusetts colony which remain alive and well in today's Christian Right:

Akim Reinhardt debunks some of the tales behind our "modern, secular, national creation story": One example:
Any meal the Puritans might have shared with the Wampanoags was not the first
American Thanksgiving. Based on European harvest-home feasts, not Indian rituals, earlier examples include:
1578, Martin Forshiber’s Thanksgiving feast after his third Atlantic crossing to Canada;1598, Don Juan de Onate’s Thanksgiving feast on the banks of the Rio Grande after crossing the Mexican desert and before beginning his terroristic campaign to subdue the Pueblos;1606, Samuel de Champlain’s harvest feast in Quebec; 1619, Thanksgiving feast at Berkeley Plantation on the Chesapeake, with the Virginia Company decreeing that day (December 4) an annual holiday.
But, like any creation myth, the narrative serves a purpose:
Through it, [Americans] tell themselves that the United States was founded upon liberty and friendship. The Puritans were seeking freedom. The Indians welcomed and helped them. Things might have gotten very messy later on, but it all began with the best of intentions on both sides. ... After all, that’s a lot more comforting than telling yourself it began in a firmament of religious zealotry, colonialism, slavery, and genocide.
Truth be told, America has a very brutal and rapacious history - and it all conveniently gets white washed away far too often.  The godly folk don't like to be reminded of things like this:

"In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them."

"It may be demanded...Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But...sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents.... We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings."
-Puritan divine Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana

Tea Party Refuses to Accept Blame for GOP Losses

By a number of accounts the so-called Tea Party has roughly an 85% overlap with the Christian Right.  Hence why I often refer to the GOP's new base as Christofascist/Tea Party.  These are the folks that secured the GOP nominations for folks like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Todd Akin in Missouri, etc., and also pushed the GOP to dwell on abortion, contraception, deporting immigrants, slashing social programs, and other issues that drove a majority of voters into the arms of the Democrats and reelected Barack Obama.  To anyone in touch with objective reality one would think that the Christofascist/Tea Party responsibility for the GOP's drubbing would be obvious.  Yet to these delusional loonies, the losses are all the fault of the so-called party establishment.  The good news for Democrats is that these lunatics of the right have no plan to disappear and, if anything, want to assert themselves even more strongly over the GOP's future.  The Washington Times has an article that reviews to alternate universe of the Tea Party crowd.  Here are highlights:

Tea party leaders say they refuse to be the scapegoats for the drubbing Republicans took on Election Day, claiming it was the party establishment — not their insurgent movement — that cost the party seats in the House and Senate and returned President Obama to the White House.

In fact, various branches of the grass-roots movement vow to reassert themselves on the local and nation levels as Congress begins talks aimed at averting the “fiscal cliff.” They say their call for limited government is more relevant than ever before.

“As far as the tea party is concerned, we are still here,” said Amy Kremer, leader of the Tea Party Express. “We may not be out on the streets with the colorful signs like 2010, but we are here, we are engaged and we are going to continue to fight. We never thought this was a short-term process. It is going to take a long time to turn it around.”

Judson Phillips, head of Tea Party Nation, said the tea party’s first order of business is to rebut Republicans who want to blame the movement for their poor performance at the ballot box.

“They went well out of their way to ignore us, marginalize us and pretend we did not exist, and they gave us the most liberal nominee in the history of the Republican Party,” Mr. Phillips said, taking particular aim at Karl Rove, the mastermind behind former President George W. Bush’s career and founder of American Crossroads, a super PAC that spent more than $100 million in the campaign but had few successes to show for it.

The election this year proved to be more of a mixed bag for candidates supported by the tea party Rep. Michele Bachmann [barely] won another term in office, and voters pushed Sen.-elect Ted Cruz to victory in Texas. But those wins were offset by some high-profile flops in conservative states carried by presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Richard Mourdock blasted onto the political scene after knocking off six-term Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Utah in the GOP primary. But Mr. Mourdock lost in the general election after saying that when a rape results in a pregnancy “it is something that God intended to happen.”.

Republicans also saw another pickup slip away when Sen. Claire McCaskill fended off Rep. W. Todd Akin, who said the female body has ways of rejecting pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

In the lower chamber, tea party casualties included Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois and Rep. Nan A.S. Hayworth of New York. Things got worse this week when Rep. Allen B. West, Florida Republican, conceded that he lost his bid for re-election to his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy.

Tea partyers said establishment candidates also fared poorly in the elections, pointing to the losses of George Allen in Virginia, Connie Mack in Florida, Tommy G. Thompson in Wisconsin and Scott P. Brown in Massachusetts.

The irony is that each of the "establishment candidates" that lost embraced the agenda of the Christofascists/Tea Party, George Allen being a prime example of this phenomenon.  In doing so, he alienated women, minorities, the nones, and gays.  Yet the Kool-Aid drinkers still refuse to admit their role in leading the GOP to defeat.   It will be entertaining watching them trying to drag the GOP to further political oblivion.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Relections

Today has been a very good day - especially when contrasted with the Thanksgiving Day experiences I endured a decade ago in the immediate aftermath of my coming out and moving out to start building a new life as a gay man in August 2002.  Those first years could be best described by two words: depression and therapy.  It took literally tears of therapy to overcome the emotional and psychological damage I suffered being raised conservative Catholic.   It also took  several years to develop an "I don't give a damn" attitude towards those who would diminish me for being gays.  At the same time I went through an emotional roller coaster with some of my children as my very much less than pleasant divorce unfolded.  The good news is that things DID GET BETTER although at the time I never believed that things would improve.  Today I am on good terms with all my children and I have a wonderful man in my life (see image at right) with whom I will be sharing our fifth Holiday season together.  My message today for the many readers of this blog who are various stages of the coming out journey is  that things will get better.  That is a belief that you need to hang on to with all your strength.

In terms of my children, my youngest was always loyal and we had a great talk today as she awaits the birth of my first grandchild.  I also spoke with my oldest daughter who is in Texas at the side of her husband who sustained terrible wounds in Afghanistan last week,  Her spirits are great and my son-in-law's surgery this morning to repair one of his worse wounds went well.   I also learned officially that I will be having a second grand child this coming July.  A decade ago I could never have envisioned any of these positive things that are in my life.   

Today we had the boyfriend's dad and a number of his family members over for dinner (the boyfriend, a/k/a "Martha Stewart" out did himself).  Shortly, we will be headed down the street to the home of a gay couple who are hosting a get together for those who don't have family locally or who do not have any family to share the holiday with.  Ten years ago, I could not have envisioned any of this.

I wish all of my readers a happy Thanksgiving and joy in the coming holiday season.  For those struggling in the early phases of coming out, my thoughts and heart are with you.  If you ever need to talk, please drop me an e-mail of call me (the office number is at the right on this blog).  All of us are in the battle to achieve full LGBT equality and acceptance together.  I will never turn a deaf ear on anyone seeking a friend or someone to listen.  Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thursday Male Beauty

Joe Scarborough Is Part Of The GOP's Problem

While he has on occasion refused to drink the Christianist/Tea Party Kool-Aid (as has Kathleen Parker at times) that is so widely consumed among today's Republicans, Joe Scarborough nonetheless continues to be part of the conservative pundit class problem that is continuing to allow the GOP to slide to ever increased insanity.  Partisanship should never trump the best interests of the nation and the vast majority of Americans.  Likewise, partisanship should never trump logic and objective reality - especially in the case of those who hold themselves out as "expert political observers.  Yet that is what has happened to to many pundits who mindlessly cheer lead for the Republican Party.  And it's just not Scarborough who has thrown away common sense - former compatriots from my old GOP days seem to have consumed Kool-Aid by the gallon.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at this frightening phenomenon.  Here are highlights:

If you recall, Scarborough's original, slanderous words against Nate Silver were the following:
Anybody that thinks that this race is anything but a tossup right now is such an ideologue, they should be kept away from typewriters, computers, laptops and microphones for the next 10 days, because they’re jokes.
Scarborough called Nate Silver an ideologue and a joke. Instead of copping to his slander and his foolishness, he now writes a Politico column that is so brimming with, well Politico-style Village media horse-shit you need a medical mask to keep breathing to the end. First off, he starts with mockery of Upper West Side limousine hippie liberals and all the usual, lazy, exhausted boomer tropes that make Scarborough and all his flunkies as irrelevant as they are desperate for attention:
Just as the Beatles had the Maharishi to guide them through the tough times after the death of their manager Brian Epstein, progressives had Silver’s New York Times blog to comfort them after the first presidential debate.
Even if that analogy isn't itself stupid and lazy ... so fucking what? Mr Scarborough, you were wrong because you have no understanding of statistics, and you slandered someone who was sincere and transparent and smart. So where's the apology? Not there yet. Instead we get this:
The Obama-Romney race proved to be the least fluid in a generation. As Mr. Silver noted this morning, public opinion surveys remained consistent from June through Election Day.
 Notice the old MSM I-Never-Screwed-Up crap. Notice the "I'm not really apologizing" - but I'll add in a generic mea culpa to insure myself. Notice also that Scarborough is still too stupid to understand that Silver's model included Gallup and Rasmussen and all those "Dr Nick" pollsters, showed considerable fluctuation in the race, and yet also correctly predicted the demographic mix and state polling consensus in ways that revealed the structural advantage Obama had throughout.

I didn't call Nate a fool who should be banished from the Internet. I saw him as a fantastic breath of fresh air in a tired, discredited and fathomlessly self-important commentariat. Of which Scarborough is an almost text-book case.
It is time for those in the pundit class to start calling a spade a spade and condemning GOP insanity on a regular consistent basis.

The New "Greatest Generation"

My oldest daughter and her husband (pictured above on their wedding day) will spend their first Thanksgiving as a married couple in a hospital in Texas where doctors are working to repair my son-in-law's badly injured body from the wounds he suffered in America's latest fools errand - the ongoing war in Afghanistan.  It's not what any of us anticipated, but we are grateful because my son-in-law is alive and mentally intact (he has even joked by phone with my younger daughter who is due to deliver her baby literally any time now)t.  Far too many young men and women are not so lucky and have either lost their lives or have suffered horrible injuries that will leave them scared physically and mentally for the rest of their lives.  What makes the entire situation even more disturbing is that most Americans do not even take a momentary thought to think about our men and women in uniform.  Oh yes, we hear the slogans about supporting our troops, but they in fact do not, because if they truly supported them, we would not be throwing away lives in Afghanistan and sabre rattling Republicans would not be seeking to launch a war with Iran (apparently the GOP supporters in the defense industry feel they need more sales and, therefore, war is always a good thing).  And the news media is just as much at fault.  Instead of focusing on the Afghanistan disaster, they prefer to follow "celebrities" who are often one stop from trailer park trash.  It is all most disturbing.   A column in the Washington Post looks at our military and their sacrifice.  Here are some excerpts:

For nearly a decade I have had the privilege of teaching veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, though they have taught me more.  .  .  .  .  Not one of these men and women complained about what we asked of them.

They have, however, occasionally objected to the shameful fact that after the first few years of hostilities, these became largely invisible conflicts. In the final stages of the Iraq war and for a long time now in Afghanistan, there has been something close to media silence even as our fellow Americans continue to fight and die.

The ongoing war barely impinges on our daily discussions, and we don’t bother to argue much about our Afghanistan policy. Mostly, we hope that President Obama can keep his promise to bring our troops home.

My Thanksgiving thoughts have often turned toward my military students at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute and to the thousands like them who have done very hard duty with little notice.

But this year, the gratitude that they inspire has been heightened, perhaps paradoxically, by the news about David Petraeus, his affair and the mess left behind.  .  .  .  . What has troubled me is how writing on all sides has aggravated the understandable but disturbing tendency to lay so much stress on the role of famous generals that we forget both the centrality of midlevel military leadership and the daily sacrifices and bravery of those in the enlisted ranks who carry out orders from on high. 

We can show our gratitude toward these officers and their troops in at least two ways. 

First, as my MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow keeps reminding us, we need to cut through what the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America calls the Department of Veterans Affairs’ “egregious failure to process the claims of our veterans” in a timely and effective way.

And we need to recognize the contribution that this new generation of veterans can make to our nation. The character of the “Greatest Generation” that fought World War II was established not by the generals or the admirals but by the officers in the lower ranks and the millions of enlisted men and women who carried into civilian life both the skills and the sense of service and community they learned in the war years.

[W]e don’t need to be nostalgic about the Greatest Generation. It’s right here among us.

And I would add that there is a third way to honor and show gratitude: get our troops out of Afghanistan and never again throw away their lives in futile and non-winnable wars such as those conducted in the Middle East for the last 12 years.  We should have learned form Vietnam, by cretins like George W. Bush and war mongers like Dick Cheney (whose Haliburton compatriots have made billions) were are too stupid to learn or too focused on enriching themselves and their friends to give a damn about our troops.   We also really need to reevaluate our senior ranks of the military and fire peacocks like Patraeus, et al.

Sunrise Over Hampton Roads

Click image to enlarge
Living in Tidewater Virginia it is difficult not to be influenced by the abundance of water and, in general it adds a wonderful element to life - hurricanes and severe northeasters excepted, of course. The view above is from Chesapeake Avenue in Hampton (our street, which is sometimes referred to as "The Boulevard" since it runs for three miles along the north side of the road stead) looking south across Hampton Roads toward Norfolk.  Wikipedia describes Hampton Roads as follows:

The water area known as Hampton Roads is one of the world's largest natural harbors (more accurately a roadstead or "roads"), and incorporates the mouths of the Elizabeth River and James River with several smaller rivers and itself empties into the Chesapeake Bay near its mouth leading to the Atlantic Ocean.

Given that Hampton was founded in 1610 - that's right, a decade BEFORE the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock -  the body of water eventually took on the name "Hampton Roads" in 1755 when the Virginia General Assembly formally approved the name.  The image below is an satellite view of  the area.  Chesapeake Avenue runs along a section of the arch shaped shoreline of Hampton in the top portion of the image.  Our home is roughly half way between the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel to the left and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to the right in the photo.  The area to the south with the massive piers is the Norfolk Naval Base, the largest naval base in the world and source of many cute gay boys, and the adjacent Naval Air Station.  The seven mile long James River Bridge can be seen to the far left of the image.

Click image to enlarge

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Porno Pete: Tammy Baldwin Election and Glee Portend America's Collapse

There are times I really would like to know what mind altering drugs the talking heads of anti-gay Christofascists groups are consuming.  Some of their insanity is hard to explain other than via drug altered states.  And one of the anti-gay leaders who often takes the prize for insanity is Peter LaBarbera, a/k/a Porno Pete, a self-style "godly Christian" warrior against homosexuality who seems to have no career skills outside of shilling for money from the ignorant and gullible and peddling anti-gay hatred.  In one of his latest eruptions of diarrhea of the mouth, Porno Pete has claimed that Tammy Baldwin's election to the U.S. Senate and the popularity of Glee, the TV show, are indicative of America's impending collapse.  Right Wing Watch captured LaBarbera's latest delusional rant.  He also attributes Mitt Romney's loss to Barack Obama to Romney's failure to be virulently anti-gay.  Here are highlights:

Talk show host Janet Mefferd invited Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality onto her program on Friday to mourn the recent string of electoral victories of openly gay candidates and gay rights measures. While we continued to hear over and over again from conservatives that President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality greatly undermined his support among minority voters, it turned out that Obama performed just as well—if not better—among minorities. Now, Mefferd and LaBarbera wondered if millions of more white voters would have turned out if only the Romney campaign had promoted his anti-gay stances more vigorously.

Mefferd: .   .   .   . you wonder how many of those white voters who stayed home actually would’ve come out if they would’ve had a candidate who had a backbone on issues that are culturally important to them.

LaBarbera: Let’s talk about the homosexual issue Janet, of course Romney barely, I don’t know in the general election, was it raised at all?

Mefferd: No.
LaBarbera said that he will pray that Senator-elect “Tammy Baldwin leaves the lesbian lifestyle as so many women have,” and lashed out at the media’s treatment of officials like Baldwin as historic milestones, wondering if the media would have similar reports on the “first alcoholic” to win an election. He went on to rail against the Huffington Post for “celebrating homosexuality” and claimed that “homosexuality and abortion” are now “the sacraments of liberalism.”  .  .  .  .  LaBarbera lamented. “America it seems is just falling apart right before our eyes.”

LaBarbera: We’re talking about a sin movement here. Would we be ticking off any other collective group of public representatives who had another sin problem: ‘Say Janet boy did you hear the first alcoholic just got elected in Colorado’? It’s preposterous, the whole movement is preposterous, and we got to retain our thinking as Christians. This is not an achievement. Homosexuality is a problem and the good news is people can overcome it. I hope and pray that one day Tammy Baldwin leaves the lesbian lifestyle as so many women have.  .  .  .  .  it’s not really a minority, it’s about behavior and behavior that can be changed. I’m sorry to offend the homosexual lobby but that’s what it is to us. This is not a great achievement and it’s nothing to be proud of.

Later in the show, Mefferd called the gains of the gay rights movement a “rejection of God” while LaBarbera appeared nostalgic for the days when states had anti-sodomy laws on the books. 

He even said that the kiss between two gay characters on “Glee” was a sign that America is in “big, big trouble.” “When you saw two teenage boys in a romantic set-up kiss, making out, during primetime TV and it didn’t engender mass outrage among Americans, you know we are pretty far gone,” LaBarbera said.

All too typically, LaBarbera went on to depict gays as disease ridden and dangerous and immoral.  Given LaBarbara's decades long obsession with homosexuality, he must be in deep, deep denial and subconsciously be lusting for some hot man on man sex.  It would certainly be consistent with more recent studies that have found the loudest homophobes to in fact be self-loathing closeted gays.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Catholic Group Demands that Knights of Columbus Cease Anti-Gay Campaign

Perhaps there is still some hope for the Catholic Church laity which typically ignores much of what the Vatican dictates but fails to ever actually speak out against the evil agenda of the Church hierarchy and its water carriers such as the Knights of Columbus.   The Knights raise millions of dollars annually to allegedly assist the poor and needy - the organization's founder wanted it to aid and protect widows and children left destitute when husbands/fathers died back in the bad old days of the Gilded Age yearned for by Republican plutocrats - yet this past election cycle squandered millions of dollars funding the National Organization for Marriage and other anti-gay groups.  As the Boston Globe reports, some Catholics are outraged and want the anti-gay campaign to stop.  Here are highlights:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Catholic advocacy group delivered a petition with about 7,500 signatures to the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday, asking the Catholic fraternal organization to stop using its money to oppose same-sex marriage.  Catholics United Education Fund submitted the petition to the Knights’ New Haven headquarters.
The liberal advocacy group, which was founded in 2004 and claims 45,000 members, says the Knights spent more than $600,000 opposing same-sex marriage in the last election cycle. The group says the effort drives younger Catholics away from the faith and the Knights should focus on serving the poor and vulnerable.
‘‘As a young Catholic, I want my church to focus on serving the marginalized, not fighting for far-right political issues,’’ said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.

Catholics United, citing a report last month from a coalition of Catholics who support gay rights, said the Knights donated more than $600,000 this year for ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state.

The Knights and its affiliated insurance company have spent more than $6 million since 2005 opposing same-sex marriage, according to the report cited by Catholics United.

If liberal Catholics really want to make change occur in the Church, they need to vote with their feet and/or cease ALL financial support to Church parishes and institutions.  The foul old men in Rome only react to two things: falling membership and falling contributions.  For those Catholics seeking an alternative to a institutional Church that aids and abets child rapists, I highly recommend the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which is gay accepting and accepts partnered gay clergy.  As for the Knights, stop all donations of any kind and tell them why your money is being donated elsewhere.

Afghanistan - The Ongoing Betrayal of Our Troops

While the American pundit class trade shots over the merits of the adulterous General David Patraeus, the squandering of American lives continues in Afghanistan.   While American politicians continue to have their heads up their asses, France has apparently admitted the hopeless disaster that is Afghanistan and is accelerating its withdrawal from the continuing fools errand. The U.S. military makes me shake my head at times with the bullshit names for fiascoes like Afghanistan.  The military leadership must indeed think our troops and all Americans are utter cretins and morons like the GOP base.  Rather than call the operation in Afghanistan "Enduring Freedom" it would better be called enduring idiocy.   Here are details on France's decision to top the insanity:

France ended its last combat mission in Afghanistan today, withdrawing troops from a strategic province northeast of Kabul as part of an accelerated departure from the war-torn country.
Paris has said all French combat soldiers will leave next month, two years before allied nations contributing to the 100,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the United States are due to depart.

Around 1,500 French soldiers will stay into 2013 to take responsibility for repatriating equipment and training the Afghan army to take over when all NATO combat troops leave in 2014.

[D]espite 11 years of fighting, a resilient Taliban insurgency has led to warnings of a return to civil war or the Taliban returning to power in Afghanistan after 2014.

An AFP correspondent saw the last 400 soldiers deployed in Kapisa province start to leave Nijrab, the last French base outside Kabul, at 10:00 am after a departure ceremony.

France has lost 88 soldiers in Afghanistan and has been the fifth largest contributor to ISAF, behind the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy.  .  .  .  . Paris decided to accelerate its withdrawal after a string of deadly attacks in 2011 and 2012.
When will the U. S. military leadership stop lying about what is really transpiring in Afghanistan?  More importantly, when will Barack Obama admit that he will never be able to save the fools errand launched by Chimperator George W. Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney?  How many more young Americans need to die because of American hubris?

P.S.  My son-in-law continues his treatment and recovery.  It will be a very long hall, but at least he's alive and out of the hell hole in Afghanistan.

Why Marco Rubio Won't Be The GOP's Savior

Since the election earlier in the month we've heard increased chatter from Republicans about the future role Florida Senator Marco Rubio can play for the party: putting a Hispanic face on the GOP's otherwise batshit crazy and unpopular policies.  These folks still don't get that it's not the GOP's messaging or the skin color of its candidates that is the problem.  And an equality huge problem for the GOP continues to be the party's slavish pandering to and ass kissing of the Christofascists.  The majority of Americans do not want their lives run by those who still cling to Neolithic creation myths and want to police other peoples bedrooms and bodies.  A piece in Forbes looks at Rubio's recent failure to reject the Christofascists - Rubio did everything but drop his pants and bend over for them - and embarking on the same road that led Mitt Romney to kill whatever chances he might have had of winning the White House.  If one wants to be leader of the world's sole super power, science and objective reality cannot be flushed down the toilet in order to please religious extremists.  Here are column highlights:

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who many political observers think has a strong shot to be a 2016 Presidential candidate, just finished a lengthy interview with GQ that you can read here. One thing that struck my interest here, as someone who often reports on science, was Rubio’s answer when he was asked the question, “How old do you think the Earth is.”

In response, Rubio told GQ that, “I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all.

[L]arge parts of the economy absolutely depend on scientists being right about either the age of the Universe or the laws of the Universe that allow scientists to determine its age. For example, astronomers recently discovered a galaxy that is over 13 billion light years away from Earth. 

Marco Rubio’s Republican colleague Representative Paul Broun, who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology, recently stated that it was his belief that the Universe is only 9,000 years old. Well, if Broun is right and physicists are wrong, then we have a real problem.

That means that the fundamental physics underlying the Internet, DVDs, laser surgery, and many many more critical parts of the economy are based on bad science. The consequences of that could be drastic, given our dependence on optics for our economic growth.

Here’s an even more disturbing thought – scientists currently believe that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old because radioactive substances decay at generally stable rates. .  .  .  . However, if the Earth is only 9,000 years old, then radioactive decay rates are unstable and subject to rapid acceleration under completely unknown circumstances. This poses an enormous danger to the country’s nuclear power plants, which could undergo an unanticipated meltdown at any time due to currently unpredictable circumstances. Likewise, accelerated decay could lead to the detonation of our nuclear weapons, and cause injuries and death to people undergoing radioactive treatments in hospitals. Any of these circumstances would obviously have a large economic impact.

If the Earth is really 9,000 years old, as Paul Broun believes and Rubio is willing to remain ignorant about, it becomes imperative to shut down our nuclear plants and dismantle our nuclear stockpiles now until such time as scientists are able to ascertain what circumstances exist that could cause deadly acceleration of radioactive decay and determine how to prevent it from happening.

If the Earth is 9,000 years old, then virtually the entire construct of modern science is simply wrong. Not only that, most of the technology that we rely on most likely wouldn’t work – as they’re dependent on science that operates on the same physical laws that demonstrate the age of the universe.

Now, this doesn’t mean that our representatives to the Congress and to the Senate should be scientific experts. But if they hold ideas about the world around us that are fundamentally at odds with scientific evidence, then that will ultimately infringe on their ability to make reasoned judgments about a host of issues where the economy touches technology. And that could end up harming the economy as a whole.

Rubio and other political prostitutes in the GOP don't get to have it both ways.  Either they embrace reality and science and kick the Christofascists to the curb or they will continue down the path to increasing irrelevance and be viewed with growing contempt and fear by those of us who don't fear knowledge and modernity.  So far, Rubio has failed the test to even hold a seat in the Senate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Britain Suspends All Foreign Aid To Uganda Because of Graft and Corruption

I noted a few days ago here how a new push is on in Uganda to criminalize homosexuality and even impose the death sentence against gays in some circumstances.  At the time I posited that the drive for the anti-gay legislation was fueled by two things: (1) the efforts of American Christofascists to export hate and homophobia to African countries and (2) the desire on the part of of Ugandan politicians like Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (pictured at right) to distract the uneducated populous from the ongoing rape and pillaging of the country by politicians like Kadaga.  So how corrupt are the government and politicians like Kadaga?  Extremely corrupt.  So corrupt, in fact, that the United Kingdom has ceased all aid to Uganda because of government and political corruption.  Box Turtle Bulletin has details on this move by the UK.  Here are highlights:

Not because Uganda may be poised to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill soon, but because corruption in Uganda is so rampant that the UK has no idea where its money has gone.
Britain has suspended all direct aid to the Ugandan government with immediate effect, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, announced on Friday.

Aid to the Ugandan prime minister’s office was frozen in August, following allegations of fraud, while an independent forensic audit was ordered. Greening has now suspended other bilateral aid, which is spent through Uganda‘s financial systems, known as direct financial aid.

”Britain has frozen all UK aid spent through the Ugandan government. This is a result of initial evidence emerging from our ongoing forensic audit of the office of the prime minister, which indicates aid money may have been misused,” said DfID. “We are extremely concerned by these preliminary findings and we will assess the decision further when we have considered the full findings of the report. Unless the government of Uganda can show that UK taxpayers’ money is going towards helping the poorest people lift themselves out of poverty, this aid will remain frozen and we will expect repayment and administrative and criminal sanctions.”
Auditors discovered that joint foreign aid funding from Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden to the tune of €12 million (£10 million, US$15 million) have mysteriously shown up in the private bank accounts of officials in prime minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s office. 

As I stated earlier this week, Uganda was better off as a British colony than it is under the greed driven and corrupt political class that is now acting as the train circus dogs of American Christianists as they seek to hide their own misdeeds.

Diocese of Richmond Seeks to Kill Joint Episcopal-Catholic Parish

The Vatican and the Catholic bishops give a great deal of lip service about wanting to increase ecumenism and building improved relations with other Christian denominations.  Like so much that comes out of the mouths of these people, it's a lie.   The Nazi Pope, Benedict XVI, and his Schutz-Staffel like bishops and cardinals increasingly want a form of Catholic purity dictated by they themselves and truly care nothing about the wedge they are driving between the Catholic Church and other denominations, not to mention between the Church hierarchy and much of the laity.  A local example of this effort to burn all bridges and erase all real efforts at ecumenism can be found in Virginia Beach where The Church of the Holy Apostles, the nation's only joint Episcopal-Catholic parish has received orders from SS Sturmbannführer - I mean bishop -  Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond that the parish must segregate portions of their service into separate facilities.  Having attended The Church of the Holy Apostles myself in the past with friends who were members, given the layout of the church facility (pictured above), this dictate may well kill the joint parish - which I suspect is Bishop DiLorenzo's real goal.   Here are excerpts from a Virginian Pilot story:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has told the nation's only blended Catholic and Episcopal parish it must change its worship services so Catholics and non-Catholics meet in separate rooms for Holy Communion.

The parish, Church of the Holy Apostles, is led by Catholic and Episcopal co-pastors and has worshipped together for more than 30 years.  It's an arrangement, parishioners say, that over the years has allowed families in mixed marriages to worship side by side and has helped build bonds that transcend denominational boundaries.

[Diocese] officials made it clear the current worship practice – using a combined liturgy in which the priests move to separate altars in the same room to say the Eucharistic prayers – was unacceptable, Ferguson said.  They instructed the parish to come up with a plan that provides for separate liturgies in separate rooms, Ferguson said.

[P]arishioners at the church on Lynnhaven Parkway are still upset by DiLorenzo’s removal of the parish’s Catholic co-pastor, the Rev. James E. Parke, earlier this month.  DiLorenzo gave no reason for Parke’s dismissal, which was communicated in a letter to the parish on Nov. 2 – one day after the parish celebrated its 35th anniversary.

In the same letter, DiLorenzo said he was sending in a team to determine whether the way the parish worships is consistent with Catholic doctrine.

Catholics in the parish, in my view, need to tell SS Sturmbannführer DiLorenzo that he can put his orders where the sun doesn't shine and simply walk away from the Roman Catholic Church.  The more one knows of the Church's real history including its collaboration with the Nazi regime and now the global conspiracy in today' sex abuse scandal, the more obvious it is that the moral thing is to leave the Catholic Church.

The Changing Map of Marriage Equality - Homophobia = Islam and Ignorance

Click image to enlarge
The Economist has an article that looks at the progress same sex marriage around the globe.  The map above reflects the current state of marriage equality.  On the international level one thing that immediately struck me is that nations that criminalize homosexuality directly correlate with the nations with Islamic extremist governments and nations with the lowest levels of education and highest level of ignorance throughout their populations.  On the domestic front in America, one could say there seems to be a similar correlations between bans on marriage equality and uneducated states with large numbers of unhinged conservative Christians - the Christian Taliban, if you will.  Here are highlights from the Economist article:

Just a dozen years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to legalise gay nuptials, the global trend toward giving homosexuals full marriage rights seems to have gained unstoppable momentum. Same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide in 11 countries (see map), including Argentina and South Africa, as well as in parts of a further two. In Mexico it is allowed in the capital. In America nine states along with the capital have legalised it, mostly as a result of court challenges.

That said, in 78 countries—mostly in the Muslim world, Africa and other developing states—gay sex is still a crime, punishable by long prison terms and even death. Opposition against gay marriage remains fierce, particularly from churches, conservatives and some politicians. 

But attitudes are changing—and fast. Fifty years ago homosexuality itself was still a crime throughout most of the world. Britain decriminalised it only in 1967 and it was not until 2003 that America’s Supreme Court struck down the remaining sodomy laws in 14 states. Now, across most of the West, polls show a majority of public opinion in favour of equality for gays, including allowing them to marry and adopt children. Ten years ago two-thirds of Americans were opposed to gay marriage; now more than half, including most Catholics, are in favour. Similar trends can be seen in other Western countries.

Why this rapid shift, which has taken even many activists by surprise? It is partly generational. Younger people, brought up in a more tolerant age, simply cannot understand what all the fuss is about. But it is also a result of changing behaviour among gays themselves. As homophobic laws have fallen, so more homosexuals have come out. And as their straight neighbours see them leading normal happy family lives—including bringing up children—without the world falling apart, they become more widely accepted.

At the same time, the churches, most of which regard gay sex as a sin, are losing some of their influence. A recent survey of Americans’ religious beliefs by the Pew Research Centre showed one in five adults saying they had no religious affiliation—double the proportion 20 years ago. Three-quarters of these so-called “Nones” support gay marriage. In another study, 42% of Britons described themselves as atheists or agnostics—three times as many as in the early 1960s. In France only 7% of Catholics continue to attend mass at least once a week; 58%, including three-quarters of those aged under 35, never go.

The lesson from all of this?  That both politicians and Church leaders in western countries need to change their anti-gay stance or potentially suffer extinction.  As for the Islamic world and Africa?  The current powers that be should be terrified of efforts to increase education levels because nothing fuels homophobia more than ignorance and lack of education.  Which probably explains why the Christianist constantly seek to dumb down public education to their own levels of ignorance and superstition.