Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Male Beauty

Right Wing Rages at Boehner Fiscal Cliff Debacle

Few things provide such enjoyable political sport as watching the unhinged elements of the GOP base - i.e., pretty much the entire base at this point - begin to attack one another and their simpering prostitutes in the Congressional GOP.  The debacle on John Boehner's "Plan B" has set off a fire storm of batshitery and internecine attacks that is  nothing short of delicious to watch.  Meanwhile, one can only hope that the American public comes to a realization that today's GOP is unfit to govern and that Republicans must be voted out of office until such time as the GOP regains sanity. Two pieces in Politico here and here look at the rants and accusations being tossed around.  Here are highlights:

Liberal and conservative commentators alike took to Twitter and blogs to blast House Speaker John Boehner as a “failure” after his fiscal cliff legislation did not pass in his own party Thursday.
Boehner’s “Plan B” legislation would have raised tax rates on Americans making more than $1 million as part of a broader deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans had earlier this week expressed confidence that the measure would pass the House of Representatives, but ultimately the bill failed to receive sufficient backing from the rest of the party.

The Ohio Republican took heat from some on the right, including from those who has opposed Plan B.  “VICTORY for now. House goes home,” tweeted Erick Erickson of after news broke of Plan B’s failure.

Hugh Hewitt, a conservative talk show host, slammed the speaker for keeping the negotiation process quiet.  “Negotiating. In secret and losing in public is a bad combo. Seek input for positions first. Good argument for a new Speaker,” he tweeted.

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer, saved most of her fire for the GOP caucus that opposed the measure — but she still called Boehner’s effort a “stunning miscalculation.”
“It is a stunning miscalculation, one that allows the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to essentially write whatever bill they can get through the Senate and then watch House Republicans either cave (to a deal that will certainly be worse) or effectively raise taxes for the entire country,” she lamented.

Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), all stripped of prized committee assignments earlier this month because of perceived sins against the party, did a three-amigos end zone dance as GOP leaders struggled and failed to get the votes for a tax-cut bill designed to empower Speaker John Boehner in negotiating the so-called fiscal cliff.

But Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), a conservative and a member of the Steering Committee, said the real reason was an “a-hole factor.” Another member of the Steering Committee, seeking to distinguish between these lawmakers and others who might be difficult to deal with, called them the “most egregious a-holes” in the Republican Conference.  The meaning: These guys didn’t just vote no — they went extra miles in working against the interests of the GOP.

A conservative who is on the outs with Republican leaders contended that the failure of the Plan B bill represented “the beginning of the end” for the House GOP leadership team.

House leaders don’t have much of an operating margin now, and it will be slimmer come January when Democrats add seats. It seems clear now that they will also have to contend with four fellow Republicans who have little incentive to help them.
Petty egos, insanity, extremism, and a disregard for the best interests of the country now seem to best define the GOP.  The only question becomes one of how much harm will this unhinged party inflict on the rest of us as it crawls toward the insane asylum.

Vatican Seeks Alliance Against Gay Rights

While continuing to engage in a criminal conspiracy to coddle and protect child rapists and to avoid paying meaningful compensation to victims of clerical sexual abuse, Pope Benedict XVI - who ought to be behind bars for his protection of predators - has signaled that the Vatican invites a inter-faith alliance to fight the advancement of gay rights and same sex marriage in particular.  The move is symptomatic of the moral bankruptcy and psychosis that plagues the bitter old closeted queens in dresses who make up the highest ranks of the Catholic Church hierarchy.   Personally, I find the situation mind boggling: loving committed relationships of gay couples are deemed evil by the Church, but the sexual abuse of minors and youths under droit du seigneur mentality is perfectly fine unless, of course, the public finds out about the sexual abuse.  Such is the upside down morality of the Church leadership.  Reuters looks at Benedict XVI latest assault on gays and equality under the civil laws.  Here are highlights:

The pope's latest denunciation of gay marriage came in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio station.

Throwing the full weight of his office behind a study by France's chief rabbi on the effects the legalization of gay marriage would have on children and society, he said: "There is no denying the crisis that threatens it (the family) to its foundations - especially in the Western world."

Speaking in the frescoed Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, the 85-year-old pope said the family was being threatened by "a false understanding of freedom" and a repudiation of life-long commitment in heterosexual marriage.  .  .  .  . The "pre-ordained duality of man and woman" had to be respected, he said, if families and children were not to lose their place and dignity.

In some countries, the Catholic Church has already joined forces with Jews, Muslims and members of other religions to oppose the legalization of gay marriage, in some cases presenting arguments based on legal, social and anthropological analyses rather than religious teachings.

Significantly, the pope specifically praised as "profoundly moving" a study by Gilles Bernheim, France's chief rabbi, which has become the subject of heated debate in that country.  Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups "will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse" in a wider campaign to "deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences" and "undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society".

If Benedict wants to cling to a 13th century understanding of mankind and sexuality, then the trade off should be that his medical care should be limited to 13th century medical practices.  That way we'd be rid of the lying hypocrite in no time and he could take up his reserved seat in Hell.

Sunset Over the James River...the Winter Solstice

A neighbor took this photo last evening as the sun was setting over the James River where it flows into Hampton Roads and joins the Elizabeth River and several smaller rivers.  This time of year with the leaves off many of the trees, the boyfriend and I see the sunrise over the waters of Hampton Roads and can see the Norfolk Naval Base across the water to the south.

NRA Proves It's A Front for Gun Manufacturers

I previously did a post on who funds the National Rifle Association ("NRA") here which has garnered a good deal of traffic.  In the post, the data documented that the real financial backers of the NRA are gun manufacturers, not individual NRA members who are trotted out like simpleton puppets whenever the utterly dishonest leadership of the organization senses an increased demand for rational gun control laws.  Yesterday, in a bizarre press conference National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre made it crystal clear that (i) the NRA only represents gun manufacturers who want o limits of any kind on the deadly products and (ii) the NRA doesn't give a damn about the lives lost or damaged by the nation's lunatic gun laws.  It is all about the gun manufacturer's bottom line.  That's why the NRA's solution to school shooting is placing armed police - at tax payer expense, of course - in every school as opposed to any limits on assault weapons.  No mention was made of shopping malls, theaters and the growing number of other venues where got toting lunatics have used automatic weapons to commit mass murder.  The irony is that just shortly before LaPierre's deranged press conference a killing spree took place in rural Pennsylvania that left three people dead, including a woman decorating a church for a Christmas party for children, and several state police officers wounded before the shooter was killed by police.  For a demonstration of how insane gun ownership has become in America, this chart is illuminating. A column in the Washington Post looks at the insanity that the NRA represents.  Here are excerpts:

Absurd, unbelievable, tragic, obscene — I grope for words to describe the National Rifle Association’s proposal for how the nation should respond to last week’s slaughter in Newtown: More guns in the schools.

The idea is so insane that as far as I’m concerned — and, I hope, as far as a still-grieving nation is concerned — the NRA has forfeited the right to be taken seriously on matters of public policy. Newtown is still burying six-year-olds and Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s chief, wants more freaking guns in the schools. Wow.
Where to begin? Let’s assume, for the moment, that we decide to pay the multi-billion-dollar cost of placing one gun-toting officer in every school. What would the officer’s orders be? Shoot anyone who looks suspicious? If not, the officer would wait until an assailant — someone like Adam Lanza — displayed a gun or started firing. What sort of arsenal, and itchy trigger finger, would the officer need to be certain of shooting the assailant before the assailant shot the officer?
Now consider the profile of these mass shooters, such as Adam Lanza. These disturbed young men are meticulous in planning their unspeakable crimes. Does it occur to the NRA that if a would-be shooter knew there would be armed police officers at the school (or movie theater, or grocery store), he might be sure to wear body armor? So will the school cops wear body armor, too? Do we require students to wear uniforms of Kevlar too?
The NRA will never, ever admit that the problem is too many guns, not too few. As Post columnist Fareed Zakaria pointed out so eloquently in his recent column, there is mental illness in all industrialized countries. There are violent video games in all those countries, too. But we’re the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. This may be the word I’ve been looking for: evil.
The Washington Post's editorial board ended its main page editorial that ripped Mr LaPierre as new asshole with this summation of the problem:
Indeed, Mr. LaPierre dodged the really big question: When will we muster the common sense to prohibit the sale of military-style assault weapons to civilians? President Obama has promised rapid action to revive the ban on semiautomatic rifles that expired in 2004 and still makes sense. These guns, such as the Bushmaster that Mr. Lanza used to kill 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, are modeled on military weapons. They load and shoot rapidly. Mr. La­Pierre asked, “Since when did ‘gun’ automatically become a bad word?” We would respond: Why do we allow weapons designed for war to be bought and sold on our streets?
 The New York Daily News editorial was equally blunt in its condemnation of LaPierre and the NRA:

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association will forever now be known as America’s maddest gunman.  In style and substance, his performance Friday in delivering his organization’s response to the Newtown massacre revealed the obsessive, lunatic paranoia behind its worship of firearms.
A week after a gunman armed with an assault rifle murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and ever so shortly after the bells there tolled for the dead, LaPierre lashed out at everyone and everything but the weapons that were used to kill.
The Post's editorial board is correct.  The real solution that is obvious to anyone not on the de facto payroll of the gun manufacturers: ban assault weapons, limit the availability of automatic pistols, and leave hunting rifles and simple hand guns as the only type of guns available to hunters and those who in their delusions believe having a hand gun in their home makes them safer.  As for the gun manufacturers and Mr. LaPierre, they can go to Hell in my view.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Quote of the Day: The Republican Party Is No Longer Fit to Govern

As regular readers know, as a former GOP activist from a family of generations of Republicans, I often bemoan what has become of a once respectable political party that once embraced knowledge, logic, and reason.  Those days are gone perhaps forever and the GOP has become a horrid coven of racists, hate filled Christian fanatics and fiscal anarchists who seem only too happy to destroy the nation's - and perhaps the world's - economy as they put ideological extremism ahead of all else, including the well being of millions of American families.  Given what the GOP has become, I find myself increasingly embarrassed to acknowledge that I was ever a Republican.  Andrew Sullivan summed up the repulsive and dangerous state of the GOP in a post today,  Here are excerpts that focus on the foul stench and the extremism that are now synonymous with the GOP:

[T]the Republican slide into total epistemic closure and political marginalization has now become a free-fall. This party, not to mince words, is unfit for government. There is no conservative party in the West - except for minor anti-immigrant neo-fascist ones in Europe - anywhere close to this level of far right extremism. And now the damage these fanatics can do is not just to their own country - was the debt ceiling debacle of 2011 not enough for them? - but to the entire world.

Those of us who have warned for years about this disturbing trend toward ever more extreme measures - backing torture, pre-emptive un-budgeted wars, out-of-control spending followed, like a frantic mood swing, by anti-spending absolutism of the most insane variety in a steep recession, vicious hostility to illegal immigrants, contempt for gay couples, hostility even to contraception, let alone a middle ground on abortion ... well, you know it all by now.

But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren't. They're ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama's compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year.

And this is not the exception. It is the rule. On abortion, the party proposes that it be made illegal in every state by amending the Constitution. Torture? More, please. Iran? It should be attacked if it merely develops the technological skill to make a nuclear bomb, let alone actually make one. Israel? Leading Republicans don't just support new settlements on the West Bank. They show up for the opening ceremonies! .  .  .  .  The federal constitution should be amended to bar any legal recognition of any gay relationships, including civil partnerships. Their legislative agenda in this Congress? To "make Obama a one-term president." Not saving the economy, not pursuing new policies, not cooperating to make Democratic legislation better. Just destroying a president of the opposite party. And, of course, failing.

Gun control? A massacre of children leads to a proposal for more guns in elementary schools and no concession on assault weapons. Immigration? Romney represented the party base - favoring a brutal regime of persecution of illegal immigrants until they are forced to "self-deport" - or rounding as many up as they can. Climate change? It's a hoax
This faction and its unhinged fanaticism has no place in any advanced democracy. They must be broken. But the current irony is that no one has managed to expose their extremism more clearly than their own Speaker. His career is over. As is the current Republican party. We need a new governing coalition in the House - Democrats and those few sane Republicans willing to put country before ideology. But even that may be impossible. 

Yes, it is a long quote, but Andrew elegantly describes why the current Republican Party is nothing less than a threat to the nation's future and to constitutional government.  And how did the descent to insanity begin?  With the Christofascists, of course.  Their rise within the GOP has been nothing less than a metastasizing cancer.    

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Eric Cantor Kills the Violence Against Women Act

Other than perhaps Ken Cuccinelli and Del. Bob Marshall, few politicians in Virginia are more despicable than Congressman Eric Cantor who not only seems only too happy to allow the federal government to go over the fiscal cliff, but also holds animosity against women.  How else to explain his role in killing the Violence Against Women Act.  Indeed, Chloe Angyal, an editor of, went so far as to call Cantor “the patron saint of rapists.”  Sadly, Cantor's conduct is very much in keeping with the GOP's agenda of trample over anyone other than angry white men and, of course, theocratic Christofascists.   Jonathan Capehart has a piece in the Washington Post that looks at Cantor's disgusting actions.  Here are excerpts:

If you were watching “Melissa Harris Perry” last Sunday, you saw my head explode over the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Not over the bill itself but over the opposition of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to the tribal provision. This provision would give tribes limited authority to prosecute non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes against Native American women on Indian reservations. But because of Cantor’s intransigence on this issue, VAWA reauthorization is almost dead in the 112th Congress.

I was so incredulous that I said the House Republicans were trying to protect white men from prosecution.
I think we need to ask why Eric Cantor is going to such efforts, to such extensive efforts to protect men who go onto reservations to rape women. We need to talk about it and frame it as violence against women, but we also need to flip it around and talk about it, this is about protecting rapists. That’s exactly what Eric Cantor and the House Republicans are doing when they are holding this up.
Basically, right now, if you are a non-Native American man who beats up, sexually assaults or even kills a Native American woman on tribal land, you’ll get away with it. That’s because tribal courts do not have jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indian defendants. In addition, federal and state law enforcement have limited resources and might be hours away from a reservation. And then there’s this: According to a General Accounting Office report on “Department of Justice Declinations of Indian Country Criminal Matters,” federal prosecutors declined to take action on 52 percent of violent crimes committed on tribal lands. Of those declined cases, 67 percent were sexual abuse and related cases.

Add the statistics above to those in the chilling congressional findings in the “Tribal Law & Order Act of 2010” and you’ll see why the tribal provision is needed in VAWA.
34 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetimes
39 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be subject to domestic violence
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) co-authored the VAWA reauthorization, which includes a tribal provision that gave limited jurisdiction to tribal authorities to prosecute non-Indian defendants. The bill passed the Senate with 68 votes in April. Despite ongoing talks that intensified this week and included Vice President Biden, the bill is on life support.

“The only way to reauthorize VAWA this year is for the House to take up and pass the Senate-passed bill,” Leahy said in a statement. “If the House Republican leadership refuses to do that in the final days of this Congress, it is a shame.” And an outrage.

Cantor is indeed a vile individual and along with Ken Cuccinelli and Bob Marshall are representative of a political party that seems to be suffering from rabies or some mental disorder.  Women and every minority group need to work as a coalition to see that these men are removed from office.

VCU Backs Discriminatory Firing of Gay Coach

In what is beginning to feel like deja vue of the Moore v. Virginia Museum of Natural History case from a few years back where Michael Moore was fired for being gay, Virginia Commonwealth University ("VCU") is backing the firing of women’s volleyball coach James Finley (pictured above), claiming that the firing was not discriminatory. Both the Virginian Pilot and the Richmond Times Dispatch are carrying coverage of VCU's disturbing statement.  Candidly, I have seen first hand in the Moore case how Virginia agencies conduct their internal reviews of anti-gay actions by bigoted personnel and the contortions and gyrations that are engaged in to avoid a finding of discrimination are unbelievable.  Inconvenient and contradictory facts are ignored and, in my opinion, obvious lies are swept under the rug.  Anything and everything will be done to avoid a confirmation of anti-gay bigotry.  The situation is so bad that these internal reviews are akin to the Catholic Church hierarchy denying that a case of sexual abuse by priests exists absent a video tape of a child being raped by a priest on the church altar. Here are highlights from the Times Dispatch piece:

Virginia Commonwealth University has completed an internal investigation into the firing of women’s volleyball coach James Finley and determined that the action was founded.

“The Office of Institutional Equity’s exhaustive investigation confirmed that the employment decision was made in accordance with VCU policies and not as the result of any discriminatory action by our athletic director,” VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement emailed to university employees Thursday and then posted on the school’s web site.

Finley was fired in November after completing a 25-6 season. He claimed he was fired because he is openly gay, but VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin denied that.

The internal investigation ends VCU’s look into the matter, and the school has already begun a search for a new coach.
I suspect that the only thing "exhaustive" about the investigation is the effort that went into concocting a story to back up VCU's athletic director's action.   Where does this leave Finley?  Under Virginia law, there are few options.  He can file a complaint under the state employee grievance procedure but truth be told, the Department of Human Resource Management from what I saw in the Moore case, DHRM will go to even greater lengths to avoid finding against a state agency even though it claims "does not advocate for employees or management, but, rather, provides impartial services to assist in the resolution of workplace disputes."  In my opinion, that statement is about as true as much of what came out of the old Soviet Politburo. 

Should Finley consider a state court lawsuit, there is nothing in Virginia statutory law that grants him a shred of meaningful protection.  As for mealy mouthed Executive Directive 1 (2010) signed by Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell after Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli created an uproar when he advised Virginia's colleges and universities that the inclusion of sexual their non-discrimination policies was improper, an Executive Directive holds less weight that an Executive order such as the one involved in the Moore matter.  Thus, Executive Directive 1 (2010) is little more than window dressing signed by McDonnell to quell a political firestorm. 

This leaves Finley with a possible lawsuit in federal court under an equal protection or due process claim since ENDA continues to go nowhere in Congress.  Should that course be pursued, Finley will find himself in the 4th Circuit, perhaps the most conservative in the nation, and likely facing an uphill battle.  In sum, it is not a pretty picture, but such is life for LGBT Virginians who face constant religious based discrimination notwithstanding the laughable promise of freedom from religious discrimination under both the Virginia and U. S. Constitutions.  Hence why I recommend that gays considering a move to Virginia rethink the situation.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More Thursday Male Beauty

Gingrich: "I Can Accept Reality of Gay Marriage" - Meanwhile Christofascists Threaten Revolution and Civil War

In a surprising turn of events GOP extremist Newt Gingrich has stated that he can accept the reality of same sex marriage so long as it is kept separate and distinct from church marriages - something that has always been the case in states that have approved gay marriage.  Moreover, he admitted that same sex couples exist everywhere across the country and recognized that increasingly Americans outside of Kool-Aid drinking Christofascist circle support legal recognition of same sex relationships.   The reaction by the Christofascist hate merchants has been fast and furious, particularly in respect to the possibility that the U. S. Supreme Court might render a ruling next June that legalizes same sex marriage nationwide.  So what do the Christofascists predict?  A revolt by the far right and a second civil war.  So much for God favoring the meek.  First, here are highlights from Think Progress on Newt Gingrich's surprising conversion:

In a stunning reversal, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said this week that he thinks his party needs to “accommodate and deal with reality” and get on board with legal equality for same-sex couples. Gingrich, who pushed the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) through Congress in 1996, has been one of the nation’s most consistent opponents of marriage equality.
The Huffington Post reports:
On gay marriage, meanwhile, Gingrich argued that Republicans could no longer close their eyes to the course of public opinion. While he continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, he suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state” — the latter being acceptable.

“I think that this will be much more difficult than immigration for conservatism to come to grips with,” he said, noting that the debate’s dynamics had changed after state referenda began resulting in the legalization of same-sex marriage. “It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period.”
In sum, Gingrich's conversion is an embrace of objective reality - something always distasteful to the Christofascists.  Meanwhile, the hate merchants of the Christofascist circles are going berserk and threatening a civil war should the U. S. Supreme Court make same sex marriage a nationwide legal right.  Right Wing Watch looks at the batshitery and spittle flying from the lips of Matt Staver, head of the utterly unhinged Liberty Counsel.  Here are excerpts (remember that to Staver and his fellow religious extremists, freedom of religion equals Chritofascists being able to force their beliefs on all Americans regardless of the faith tradition and/or sexual orientation):
According to Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, America may head toward outright revolt and a second civil war. Staver told Janet Parshall that marriage equality will mean that the institution of marriage, freedom of speech and the freedom of religion will be “destroyed” and “bulldozed over.”

Like Family Research Council president Tony Perkins who last month maintained that the Supreme Court may start a “revolution” and “break this nation apart” by striking down gay marriage bans, Staver said that the court “could split the country right in two” as “this is the thing that revolutions literally are made of.”

 Staver: This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of. This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, then anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war. I’m not talking about just people protesting in the streets, this could be that level because what would ultimately happen is a direct collision would immediately happen with pastors, with churches, with Christians, with Christian ministries, with other businesses, it would be an avalanche that would go across the country.

 Staver: It’s stunning. That’s why I am very concerned that this has made its way to the United States Supreme Court because only five of those nine can make a decision and so five people, potentially, in the United States, only five out of the hundreds of millions that we have, have in their hand this opportunity to literally wreck marriage, to destroy the very foundation of our family and the biblical definition of marriage. The consequences are staggering. This could be the Roe v. Wade of marriage and family.
 The big question, of course, is why anyone listens to Staver at all.  The man may well have been a co-conspirator in the crime of Lisa Miller's kidnapping of her daughter and her flight to Central America.  And as a member of the bar, Staver thinks nothing of lying to courts and other tribunals in his quest to undermine the U. S. Constitution.  Staver lacks all legitimate credibility and constitutes a prime example of why the Christofascists and religion in general need to be driven from exerting any influence on the nation's civil laws.

GOP Revolt Forces Boehner to Pull Bogus "Plan B" Budget Proposal

Throughout Barack Obama's first term the lunatic fringe of the Congressional GOP (admittedly, a very large fringe in today's GOP) made it clear that they would rather damage the nation's economy and harm millions of American families rather than allow Barack Obama to appear successful or stand up to the ugliest element in the GOP base.  Now, with the so-called fiscal cliff fast approaching, the House GOP has revolted and (i) left John Boehner unable to secure enough votes to pass his horrendous "Plan B" budget proposal and (ii) shut off the lights and gone home for the holidays.  The potential damage to the economy and millions of Americans as a result of this childish temper tantrum apparently means nothing to these Kool-Aid drinkers in the GOP.  Thus, the dysfunction of the Congressional GOP is now complete.  Politico looks at this absolutely irresponsible conduct on the part of Congressional Republicans.   Here are highlights:

The House Republican Conference turned its back on Speaker John Boehner Thursday, forcing GOP leadership to abandon its plan to extend Bush-era tax breaks for income under $1 million.  After a full day of heavy arm-twisting, House Republican leaders were unable to cobble together enough support from 217 of their 241 members for Boehner’s (R-Ohio) “Plan B” proposal, even after Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) assured its passage.

It’s a major setback for Boehner, as his attempt to show strength in his showdown with President Barack Obama quickly morphed into an exercise in showing the limits of his power in the House. Boehner had Republicans on the House floor for several hours Thursday, and then retreated to an emergency, closed-door party meeting in the basement of the Capitol. During that session, Boehner admitted defeat and sent his lawmakers home for the Christmas holiday.

The debacle leaves him with greatly diminished leverage in the ongoing fiscal cliff showdown with Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and it vaults Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to the forefront of the tax-and-spending debate.  “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a Thursday night statement. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.

Congress will now return from the Christmas holiday with a gloomy reality for the GOP: they are going to be presented with a Democratic authored bill as the nation stands just days from the fiscal cliff.  Even Boehner’s allies admitted Thursday’s surprising outcome was a big blow to Boehner, who often seems unable to control his younger, tea-party inspired members.

The reality is that the House Republicans just underscored the reality that the party has basically gone insane and is unfit to govern in any meaningful way.  One can only hope that if a solution is not found before year end that Americans recognize where fault lies and severely punish every Republican candidate on upcoming ballots.  If the GOP cannot put the best interests of the nation and millions of Americans first, their asses need to be voted out of office.

Magic Summer Memories From Long Ago

Long time readers who followed my coming out story from the get go on this blog know what a crucial role summers at the family summer home on Brantingham Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State  played in my life.  Excelling at water skiing, sailing and swimming I wasn't the nerdy kid who got called fag and other epithets from time during the school year where I often found myself among the last to be picked for teams in PE class.  Of equal importance was the fact that my summer friends were pretty amazing and outclassed my school year tormentors by light years.  Those summers literally saved me from suicide as a teenager.  Recently, one of the old summer gang who I have not seen or been in contact in decades posted a message on the Facebook page dedicated to the lake that summed up those summers well:

You all need to understand how lucky you are to live, have lived, or spent a summer on beautiful lake Brantingham. My next birthday will be my 59th, and my last summer on the lake was nearly 41 years ago. I feel compelled to write this note and to share with you the memories of the lake, the times in the boats at night, skiing in the mornings at 6am so as to be the only boat on the lake..... these are the memories that never leave me and are the ones I use to help me get to sleep at night. ........ What's strange is the Brantingham summer memories are of only 10 summers spent on Brantingham.....and the other 48 of my summers are spent elsewhere......none compare to those memories at the lake! 
He goes on to say that his best friends were those who comprised our group of friends who lived in cities scattered across New York State and in some cases New Jersey.  In response to his message I scanned a composite of some old pictures from circa 1968 -1970 that is set out above (yours truly is at  lower left in blue).  Many of the group still have homes on the lake that have been passed down through families as has ours other than for one interlude.  I haven't been back in many years and have vowed to change that this coming summer fate willing.  As for the group of friends, thanks to Facebook many of us are once again in contact with each other and are again reliving in our memories those special, and in my case life saving, summers.  I do count myself lucky for having been fortunate enough to have those summer experiences and now such wonderful memories.

Lady Gaga's US Tour Will Combat Anti-Gay Bullying

Showing herself again to be an amazing LGBT ally - and nightmare to the Christofascists - Lady Gaga has announced that as part of her upcoming concert tour across the United States she will be engaged in a "Born Brave Bus Tour" that seeks to combat homophobia and anti-gay bullying.  The effort will also contain an educational component for LGBT youth and young adults.  Here are highlights via Towleroad:

Lady Gaga's upcoming sojourn across the United States will include a "Born Brave Bus Tour" to combat anti-gay and other forms of bullying.  The AP explains:

The singer announced Thursday that the Born Brave Bus Tour will tailgate outside her upcoming U.S. concerts and provide a space for 13- to 25-year-olds to learn more about local resources on anti-bullying, suicide prevention and mental health services. Her foundation focuses on youth empowerment and self-confidence. Organizations like The

Trevor Project, Campus Pride and the National Association of School Psychologists will assist on the bus. Participants will not need a ticket to the show to partake. The Born Brave Bus will be open a few hours before each show in the tour, which kicks off on January 14 in Tacoma, Washington.
Needless to say, Gaga's much needed work will not be welcomed by Christofascist who seek to bully and denigrate LGBT youth and adults without restriction.

BRAZIL: Sao Paulo State Legalizes Gay Marriage

I have noted before how the United States - the self-advertised "land of liberty" and home of religious freedom - is increasingly looking like a theocratic Islamic state as it continues to bow to the religious bigotry of far right Christians who comprise a Christian Taliban even as other modern nations move toward marriage equality.  The Brazilian State of Sao Paulo has amended its laws to allow for same sex marriage and marriage visas will be issued to foreigners seeking to marry in Sao Paulo (pictured above), the largest city in South America.  Meanwhile in America we see bigoted asses like Justice Antonin Scalia who spout anti-gay animus as a badge of distinction.  The world is marching forward even as the Christofascists seek to drag America back to the Middle Ages.  Here are highlights from Brazilian Law Blog:

Brazil is about to see something that we only heard about from the United States: a massive movement of people going to one specific State, in order to get married there.  This is because São Paulo State (where São Paulo city is located) has updated its registration rules in order to allow the automatic registration of same sex marriages, without the need of a previous court order.

This change has followed, with some delay, a decision from the Brazilian Supreme Court regarding same sex marriage.  Therefore, foreigners who wish to marry same sex partners in Brazil will now be allowed a marriage visa, which is much easier to obtain than the civil union visa for same sex unions, which already existed.

I consider this a triumph  of law and civility. A good thing for Brazil, at last.  The link below is in Portuguese:

Folha de S.Paulo - Cotidiano - Norma do TJ obriga cartórios de SP a registrar casamento gay - 19/12/2012
The blog's author is a Brazilian lawyer who specializes in international business who has worked in Argentina, Mexico, India, England, China and Dubai, in addition to having extensive experience in Brazil.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

CNN Poll: GOP Policies Are Too Extreme

A new CNN poll reveals what ought not be a surprise to anyone living outside of the GOP's objective reality denying bubble:  a majority of Americans see the GOP and its policies as too extreme.  Likewise, a majority will blame the GOP if the nation goes off the so-called fiscal cliff.  With the GOP now effectively controlled by Christofascists, the Tea Party and other far right extremist elements, it should be little surprise that rational sentient Americans are concerned with the GOP's reverse Robin Hood agenda and efforts to make the nation a quasi-theocracy.  Here are some of the CNN poll findings:

[O]ver half the public says that the GOP should give up more than the Democrats in any bipartisan solution to the country's problems, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that a slight majority of Americans sees the Republican party's policies and views as too extreme, a first for the GOP, and fewer than a third say they trust congressional Republicans more than President Barack Obama to deal with the major issues facing the nation.

The poll's Thursday release comes less than two weeks before the country faces automatic tax increases on nearly all Americans, as well as deep federal spending cuts, if no deal is struck to avert the country from falling off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

According to the survey, 53% say the GOP should compromise more, with 41% saying the Democratic Party should give up more of the proposals it supports to develop bipartisan solutions.
"That's due in part to the fact that the Republican brand is not doing all that well," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say they view the policies of the GOP as too extreme, up 17 points from two years ago. Only 37% say they view the polices of the Democratic Party as too extreme.

It probably doesn't help that House Speaker John Boehner, who's leading GOP fiscal cliff negotiations with the president, is held in fairly low regard, particularly in comparison to Obama. According to the poll, 34% of the public approves of how the top Republican in the House handling his job. By contrast, the president's approval rating stands at 52%.

The survey also indicates that seven in ten Americans continue to think that the fiscal cliff will cause a crisis or major problems for the country if a deal is not reached.

Despite these numbers, in the la la land that the GOP has become, John Boehner and his fellow zealots and extremists think they are dealing from a position of strength and are backed by a majority of Americans.  One has to wonder when the GOP will swear off the Kook-Aid.

New Orleans Schools Ban Creationism and "Revisionis" History

No one whines more about America's supposed decline than Republicans.  Yet the GOP prostitutes itself shamelessly to the Christianists who seek to dumb down America's public school system so as to avoid anything that demonstrates that their ignorant belief in Bible inerrancy is simply not in accord with scientific fact and modern knowledge.  Nothing personifies this more than the Christianist push to have creationism taught in our public schools as if it were a legitimate area of science.  Closely aligned to this effort is the push to rewrite American history to (i) make the false claim that America was founded as a "Christian nation" and (ii) excise inconvenient events and individuals from the nation's history.  If anyone is contributing to America's decline it is the Christianists themselves through their deliberate embrace of ignorance.  Thus, it is refreshing that the Orleans Parish schools in Louisiana - not exactly one of the nation's most enlightened states - have banned the teaching of creationism and the revisionist history so loved by the far right.  Here are highlights from Raw Story on this development:

The school board for Orleans Parish in Louisiana voted Tuesday night to ban the teaching of creationism as science and what they called a “revisionist” history curriculum promoted by the state of Texas.

None of the six schools run by the board actually teach creationism, according to The Times-Picayune, but outgoing Orleans Parish School Board President Thomas Robichaux felt strongly about the measure (PDF) anyway, which passed in two parts.

The first policy change pertains to the selection of textbooks. “No history textbook shall be approved which has been adjusted in accordance with the State of Texas revisionist guidelines nor shall any science textbook be approved which presents creationism or intelligent design as science or scientific theories,” it reads.

The second policy change prohibits teachers from taking the matter into their own hands. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach any aspect of religious faith as science or in a science class,” it reads. “No teacher of any discipline of science shall teach creationism or intelligent design in classes designated as science classes.”

The school district is not alone in pushing back against growing religious and conservative influence on science and history curriculum. When education officials in Texas began altering textbooks to reflect right-wing and religious viewpoints, lawmakers in California acted quickly to pass a bill that bans the state’s revisionist standards in California schools.

Officials in other states are particularly concerned about Texas’s changes because the state can tend to influence how the nation’s most widely accepted textbooks are written.

Given the de facto control of the Republican Party in Virginia by The Family Foundation, a vicious far right Christianist organization, don't hold your breath hoping to see similar commonsense measures in Virginia any time soon.

The Obvious Solution to Gun Violence

I never cease to find it ironic that among the loudest voices calling for unlimited access to guns in America are the far conservatives who time and time again equate to conservative Christians.  People who, if they took the Gospel message seriously, would eschew violence and the guns that are so intertwined with violence in America.  Instead they demonstrate a level of hatred of others, extremism and paranoia that in and of themselves  suggest that just maybe these folks ought not to have ready access to guns.  Common sense ought to suggest that assault style weapons do not belong freely accessible to anyone who wants them.  What is likewise disturbing is the refusal of conservatives in particular to ever learn from the successful policies of other nations.  A piece in the Washington Post puts the problem of gun violence in perspective and reveals how simple it would be to reduce the gun related carnage in this country if only politicians had a shred of courage.  Here are excerpts:

Announcing Wednesday that he would send proposals on reducing gun violence in America to Congress, President Obama mentioned a number of sensible gun-control measures. But he also paid homage to the Washington conventional wisdom about the many and varied causes of this calamity — from mental health issues to school safety.

In fact, the problem is not complex, and the solution is blindingly obvious.

What we should be trying to understand is not one single event but why we have so many of them. The number of deaths by firearms in the United States was 32,000 last year. Around 11,000 were gun homicides.

To understand how staggeringly high this number is, compare it to the rate in other rich countries. England and Wales have about 50 gun homicides a year — 3 percent of our rate per 100,000 people. Many people believe that America is simply a more violent, individualistic society. But again, the data clarify. For most crimes — theft, burglary, robbery, assault — the United States is within the range of other advanced countries. The category in which the U.S. rate is magnitudes higher is gun homicides.

The U.S. gun homicide rate is 30 times that of France or Australia, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and 12 times higher than the average for other developed countries.

The data in social science are rarely this clear. They strongly suggest that we have so much more gun violence than other countries because we have far more permissive laws than others regarding the sale and possession of guns. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has 50 percent of the guns. 

There is clear evidence that tightening laws — even in highly individualistic countries with long traditions of gun ownership — can reduce gun violence. In Australia, after a 1996 ban on all automatic and semiautomatic weapons — a real ban, not like the one we enacted in 1994 with 600-plus exceptionsgun-related homicides dropped 59 percent over the next decade. The rate of suicide by firearm plummeted 65 percent. (Almost 20,000 Americans die each year using guns to commit suicide — a method that is much more successful than other forms of suicide.)

[W]hy not have government do something much simpler and that has proven successful: limit access to guns. And not another toothless ban, riddled with exceptions, which the gun lobby would use to “prove” that such bans don’t reduce violence. 

The problems that produced the Newtown massacre are not complex, nor are the solutions. We do not lack for answers.  What we lack in America today is courage.
 In the wake of the Newtown massacre last week, the Virginian Pilot is reporting that gun sales in Virginia have soared to record numbers.  It's a pretty safe bet that it is not the liberals and liberal minded Christians who are flocking to buy guns.  It's likely largely the "godly Christian" set and their equally mentally disturbed Tea Party cousins.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Disturbing Facts About Gun Violence In America

While the NRA and its prostitute like apologists in the Republican Party continue to spew disingenuous lies and disinformation to blow a smoke screen to obscure the huge societal problem that firearms comprise, others are endeavoring to bring forth the truth.  One truth teller is Business Insider which shares these frightening statistics:

31 Mass shootings in the U.S. since Columbine in 1999.

70  People killed in mass shootings this year in the U.S. (not including the shooters who killed themselves). Seventy-two more people were injured.

19.5/1 Ratio of people killed by guns in the U.S. compared to other developed countries in the OECD. For 15-to-20-year-olds, firearm homicide rates in the U.S. are 42.7 times higher than in other OECD countries, according to a 2011 UCLA School of Public Health study.

80 Percent of all firearm deaths that occurred in the U.S., among the 23 developed countries looked at in the UCLA study. Eighty-seven percent of all children ages 0 to 14 killed by guns in these countries are U.S. children.

47,500 Murders from firearms in the U.S. between the years 2001-2005 alone – and nearly 8 in 10 of these murders involved a handgun, according to the FBI.

300 million The approximate number of firearms owned by civilians in the U.S. as of 2010, according to the book Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review. Some 47 percent of adults report having a gun in their home, according to an October 2011 Gallup survey.

2,000 – 5,200 Gun shows that take place in the U.S. each year.

99  The number of laws the NRA has pushed through in the past four years making guns easier to own, carry in public, and harder for the government to track. Eight states currently allow firearms in bars.
These are very disturbing statistics.  The question is whether or not the politicians in Washington will have the spine to do something to stop the madness.

Thomas Jefferson's Directive to Constitutional "Originalists" Like Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia - who it would seem is working hard to become the Court's most notable buffoon - likes to claim that he is a "Constitutional originalist" as a justification for his Neanderthal like backwardness and resistance to acceptance of a changing nation and changing levels of knowledge.  What's a Constitutional originalist?  It is someone who claims that the Constitution is not subject to changing interpretations and can only be construed in the context of the  knowledge known to the Founding Fathers when the Constitution was written.  Interestingly enough, Thomas Jefferson apparently foresaw bigots like Scalia when he wrote the following in a letter written to Samuel Kercheval in 1816, had this to say about the law and human progress:
I am certainly not an advocate for for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
Obviously, the foregoing passage cuts Scalia's argument off at the knees, but I doubt Scalia can overcome his own arrogance and bigotry to accept the views of one of America's most illustrious Founding Fathers.   The man truly needs to be removed from the Supreme Court.

New Gallup Poll On LGBT Issues Shows That The Christianists Are Losing Ground

Click image to enlarge
A new survey by Gallup indicates that support for LGBT rights is growing across all political parties with commanding majorities of Democrats and Independents supporting LGBT rights - not exactly good news for the Christofascist and professional Christian crowd who continue to strive to deprive LGBT citizens of civil rights as punishment for our refusal to submit to their fear and hate based version of Christianity.  Here are some of the findings:

Most Americans say gay and lesbian domestic partners or spouses should have inheritance rights and health insurance and other benefits. And a majority say gays and lesbians should be able to legally adopt children.

Republicans are less in favor of inheritance rights, health insurance and other benefits, and adoption rights for gays and lesbians than are either independents or Democrats. They are also less supportive of allowing openly gay Boy Scout leaders to serve. The partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats is at least 20 percentage points on all four issues.

Still, a majority of all partisan groups support inheritance rights and employee benefits for gay and lesbian spouses and partners. But slightly less than half of Republicans support adoption rights.

Bottom Line
While 53% of Americans support legalizing same-sex marriage, significantly higher percentages support the idea of equal rights for partners or spouses of gays or lesbians when it comes to inheritance rights and employee benefits, and making it legal for gays and lesbians to adopt children.
Republicans may claim to support religious freedom and talk about liberty and freedom, but they still for the most part only want such rights for their fellow Bible beaters.  Everyone else in their view should remain second class citizens.


Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

It's Republicans Who Don't Know the Real America

Ensconced in their reality denying bubble Republicans claim to represent "real Americans" and seek to uphold a version of America that in many ways never really existed outside of small pockets and, of course in the programing of shows like Leave It to Beaver.  Most people never existed in this false idyllic world, but that doesn't matter to those who want to keep America white and Christian and hold contempt for most Americans.  The real America, however, is changing rapidly and underscores the alternate universe world of today's GOP.  A piece in Politico looks at the phenomenon and the need for Republicans to come outside their bubble.  Here are highlights:

Republicans’ post-election soul-searching has to go beyond a simple self-reflection about who we are – we know our core belief in small government and individual liberty remains unchanged. Rather than look inward, it’s time to look outward and finally get to know the people we seek to represent.

The days and months and years ahead must be about a nationwide effort to introduce ourselves and get to know the millions of people and thousands of communities that make up our 21st-century America.

We all know the GOP has become synonymous with older, white males. This isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s public perception, and perception is reality.
As we evolve, it doesn’t just matter what we say but who is saying it.  Howie Long and Charles Barkley are two of America’s most popular and successful sports analysts today. That’s because they have credibility: Football fans know that Howie understands football, and basketball fans know that Barkley gets hoops. We respect their opinion because we believe they know what they’re talking about.  It’s the same in politics.

No citizen will support a candidate they don’t think understands them. After all, the whole point of representative government is putting into office someone who represents your values.  The focus has got to be on inclusion – welcoming minorities, women, youth and all Americans into the party and giving them a voice in shaping who we are, not just a one-way conversation in telling them what we believe.

[I]f all we’re doing is looking inward, we’re going the wrong way.  Look outward and find out who America is instead. We have a lot of people to get to know.

Will Republicans take heed of this message?  I for one will not be holding my breath.  Frankly, I believe that the Christianist base of the GOP cannot and will not change.  No real change will occur until several more generations of angry whites die off.

"Ex-Gay" Super Star John Paulk Exposed As Fraud…Again

Speaking of "ex-gay" frauds, one of the top super stars of the "ex-gay" industry, John Paulk, who appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine some years back has been exposed again as an out right fraud.  He and his equally disingenuous wife, Anne Paulk, have been suckling the tit of the anti-gay crowd for nearly 25 years since being hailed as "living proof" that gays can change their sexual orientation in a nationwide media campaign funded by some of the foulest anti-gay organizations.  Candidly, a sleazy prostitute has more honesty and integrity in my opinion than these two charlatans.  Truth Wins Out - the same group that documented that "Marcia" Bachmann's "Christian counseling center" was engaging in reparative therapy and receiving government payments for it - has documented again that the Paulks are frauds and liars.  Here are highlights from the new expose:

One of the primary movers-and-shakers in this hard-line separatist movement was “ex-lesbian” Anne Paulk, a major figure in “ex-gay” circles for two decades. Fourteen years earlier, she and John, her “ex-gay” husband, campaigned against LGBT rights under the advertising slogan: “I’m living Proof that Truth can set you free.”

It was part of the 1998 “Truth in Love” campaign that was launched by a coalition of more than 15 virulently anti-gay organizations, such as the American Family Association, The Family Research Council (FRC), The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, and the Christian Coalition. These groups hoped to use the tales of “ex-gay” rock stars like John and Anne Paulk to drive the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender movement back into the closet. Robert Knight, who at the time worked at FRC, was so confident in the ultimate success of this “ex-gay” advertising campaign that he referred to it as “the Normandy landing in the larger cultural wars.”

It was now 2012, but just as in 1998, Anne Paulk was peddling her mystical story in Sacramento, crying out to the world that miracles are real and that she and her perfect family were still “living proof” of God’s power to transform lives. According to Kathy Baldock who attended the conference:
Paulk mentioned her marriage once publicly during the conference saying, “I never thought I would be married and the mother of three sons.”
It is also safe to assume that she probably never thought her allegedly straight husband would frequent gay strip clubs, constantly proposition men for sex, and parade around town with male “eye candy.” But that is exactly what was happening back in Portland where the couple lives, even as she posed on stage and held up her marriage as a shining example of traditional family values.

This is not the first time that John Paulk had lived a double life. On Sept. 19, 2000, I photographed John inside Mr. P’s, a Washington, DC gay bar. He originally claimed that he was in the establishment, drinking cocktails and flirting with patrons, because he had to use the bathroom. He then swore that he thought Mr. P’s was a straight bar because there were both men and women inside. Of course, as a former Columbus, Ohio drag queen named Candi, he knew there weren’t any women — it was drag night. 

As the Paulk family’s star fell in Colorado Springs and they were eased out of the spotlight they needed a fresh start. They found one in Portland, Oregon, where John had previously lived while he attended the local “ex-gay” ministry, Portland Fellowship. A credit to his ingenuity, John quickly reinvented himself as a chef and started Mezzaluna, an upscale catering business.

While Paulk was living in the fast lane, hitting on young guys, and attending wild parties, the vast majority of Portland residents were clueless about his notorious anti-gay past. They did not know that he and Anne had starred in the Truth in Love advertising campaign that landed them on the cover of Newsweek. They had no idea that John had been on Oprah, 60 Minutes, and Good Morning America to claim that he had converted from gay to straight. There was no memory of John appearing in the notorious and destructive anti-gay propaganda videos The Gay Agenda and Gay Rights Special Rights. To most gay Portland residents, Paulk was an affable homosexual simply known as “Chef John.”

John has been active in the so-called “ex-gay” industry as recently as 2010 when he spoke at an Evergreen International conference, the Mormon “ex-gay” organization. According to the event program:
Together, John and Anne have shared their remarkable stories of overcoming homosexuality to audiences world-wide and extensively in the national media. Both John and Anne have served on the Exodus board of directors and in 1998, John went on staff with Focus on the Family and founded the Love Won Out ministry and conference which toured the country speaking to audiences for 11 years.
Additionally, books featuring the Paulk family are often still sold at “ex-gay” conferences and widely available on the Internet. There are also the many endorsements John has made of other “ex-gay” works, including Dr. Joseph Nicolosi’s controversial book that he co-wrote with his wife Linda, A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality:

[W]hen Anne became a self-righteous and outspoken critic of Exodus’ Alan Chambers, leading the charge to form the Restored Hope Network. It was simply unacceptable for her to use her failing marriage as “proof” that the “ex-gay” charade actually worked.

[T]he consumer fraud continues with Anne Paulk scheduled to speak on March 15-16 at Janet Boynes Ministries “Power of Change” conference. No doubt, she will try to win converts by telling them about her wholesome and “healed” family.

No one lies more than the "godly Christian" crowd and within that circle of liars, none are more shameless about lying than the fraudulent "ex-gay" crowd and their supporters who continue to market a lie for political purposes and financial gain.  They are despicable human beings who truly do not care who they harm or that all legitimate medical and mental health associations condemn reparative therapy..

Appeals Court Upholds Firing of College Official Over Anti-Gay Op-Ed

Why does it seem that while claiming that it is gays who want special rights it is actually the Christianists who want special rights?  The special right to bully at will, the right to stigmatize and denigrate others without consequence, and, in the case of Crystal Dixon (pictured at left), to ignore the responsibilities at the University of Toledo and engage in an anti-gay rant in an op-ed in the Toledo Free Press.  This demand by Christianists boils down to an incredible level of selfishness and open contempt for the rights of others.  The Christianists believe that their rights and beliefs trump everything and everyone else.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, however, ruled otherwise and affirmed the University of Toledo's decision to fire Ms. Dixon from her position as a high-level human-resources administrator.  The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the slap down delivered to Dixon and by extension other self-centered bigots like her.  Here are excerpts"

In a ruling handed down on Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the administrator's column "contradicted the very policies she was charged with creating, promoting, and enforcing," and cannot be excused as merely a statement of her own views as a private citizen. The panel affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss the administrator's lawsuit accusing the public university of violating her constitutional rights by firing her.

At the center of the case was an opinion essay that Crystal Dixon, who had been the university's interim associate vice president for human resources, published in the Toledo Free Press in April 2008. In it, she wrote that she takes "great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil-rights victims.'" She argued that she "cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman" because she is biologically and genetically such "as my creator intended." But, she said, "daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle" with the help of groups such as Exodus International, which claim to be able to help people overcome homosexual desires.

She was fired after a hearing in which she stood by her views but argued that they did not affect her performance as a human-resources administrator, citing her recent decisions to hire "one, possibly two practicing homosexuals" in her own department.

In upholding the dismissal of Ms. Dixon's lawsuit, the federal appeals court said she differed from other employees cited in her equal-protection claim in that her speech, and not theirs, contradicted university policies. The appeals panel said her essay "spoke on policy issues related directly to her position at the university," and the government's interests as an employer outweighed her free-speech interests in the dispute.

Note how Dixon cited the fraudulent bullshit disseminated by the "ex-gay" crowd to support he bigotry.  That alone in my view makes it clear that the woman is too ignorant to hold any senior university opinion.  We can expect shrieking and flying spittle to engulf the professional Christian set who will falsely claim Christians are being persecuted when in fact it is they who are doing the persecuting.