Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bob McDonnell (and Ken Cuccinelli) Should Come Clean on Lavish Gifts

There's nothing like ending your term as governor plagued by ethics questions.  Ditto for running a gubernatorial race with the same cloud over your head.  But that is where Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli find themselves.  Not that anyone should be surprised, especially in the case of Cuccinelli who always sees himself and his views above the rules that apply to everyone else.  For all it efforts to depict itself as a genteel state, the truth is that corruption is rampant, especial sine the disclosure laws concerning gifts to politicians has few limits and if nothing else can be circumvented by the donor simply claiming that the gift was given to a family member, not the elected official himself or herself.  The Washington Post blasts Bob McDonnell for his continued efforts at subterfuge to avoid coming clean about lavish gifts.   By the time he is done, it will be the lies and dishonesty which will be a bigger problem for McDonnell if he tries to satiate his yearnings for higher office.  Here are highlights from the Post's main editorial:

IT’S A FAIR GUESS that companies based in Virginia launch thousands of new products each year. Precious few of them get to mark the event with a luncheon hosted by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) at the Executive Mansion in Richmond or are treated to a personal plug by his wife.

A notable exception is Star Scientific Inc., based in the Richmond suburbs, whose chief executive, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., has lavished tens of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts on Mr. McDonnell and his political action committee since before he became governor.

Under Virginia’s financial disclosure laws, politicians such as Mr. McDonnell may accept cash and gifts in virtually any amount; they must simply disclose any donation of more than $50. The idea is that full transparency will act as a brake on largess that looks too much like outright bribery. But in the case of Mr. McDonnell and his benefactor Mr. Williams, even those extravagantly permissive laws proved too onerous.

As The Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman reported, Mr. McDonnell failed to report a $15,000 gift from Mr. Williams that covered most of a catering bill for food and flowers at his daughter Cailin’s wedding nearly two years ago. He also issued a misleading statement about the nature of the gift.

Documents subsequently obtained by The Post show that Mr. Williams’s “gift” covered about three-quarters of a $19,400 catering contract that Mr. McDonnell himself signed, annotated and started to pay, to the tune of $8,000 in deposits. About two weeks before the June 2011 wedding, Mr. Williams stepped in with his $15,000 check to cover the balance due — and more.

Any reasonable person looking at those facts would conclude that Mr. Williams’s check was a gift to the governor. Mr. McDonnell, a lawyer renowned for his attention to detail, was astute enough to amend the catering contract to insist on a refund if the wedding reception was canceled due to an act of God or death. He was presumably also astute enough to remember that he had signed the contract and was on the hook for the balance.

Have other gifts been directed to the governor’s family? Mr. McDonnell, taking cover behind the disclosure law’s loophole, isn’t saying.

That’s a miscalculation. If he wants to get in front of what is rapidly becoming a scandal that threatens to engulf his last year in office, Mr. McDonnell should come clean with more answers than he has provided so far.

Cuccinelli has also been on board the Star Scientific gravy train of gifts and needs to come completely clean on all of the largess that has been directed his way.   Cuccinelli likes to depict himself as a paragon of virtue, but the reality is that he looks more like a sleazy pimp.  Ditto for Bob McDonnell.

RNC Unanimously Approves Anti-Marriage Equality Resolution Without Debate

Apparently, the threats and intimidation of the Christofascists and anti-gay hate groups won the day (a who's who of hate group leaders had signed a letter threatening to leave the GOP earlier in the week).  The Republican National Committee unanimously - and without any debate - approved an anti-gay resolution and continued the GOP's slide towards ignorance and bigotry.  And hopefully, long therm death as a major political party.  No doubt the hate groups who continue to fan the flames of anti-gay animus to line their bank accounts will be even more insufferable.  Think Progress looks at the development.  Here are excerpts:

At a retreat in Hollywood, California on Thursday, the Republican National Committee caved to pressure from social conservatives and unanimously approved a number of resolutions without any debate, including one opposing same-sex marriage.
As ThinkProgress reported Wednesday, this resolution is based entirely on debunked junk science and assumptions that heterosexual relationships are objectively superior to same-sex couples. Here is some of the text:
WHEREAS, the institution of marriage is the solid foundation upon which our society is built and in which children thrive; it is based in the conjugal relationship that only a man and a woman can form; [...]
WHEREAS, no Act of human government can change the reality that marriage is a natural and most desirable union; especially when procreation is a goal; [...] therefore be it
RESOLVED, the Republican national Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America.
A second resolution reaffirming the party’s 2012 platform included a similar provision opposing same-sex marriage:
WHEREAS, the 2012 Republican Platform states, “We believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage.”
Last month, as part of its autopsy of the 2012 election, Republicans announced their intention to tone down — though not alter — their opposition to LGBT equality by sugarcoating how they discuss those positions. Adoption of these resolutions followed threats this week from social conservative groups that they would no longer support the GOP if the party didn’t stand strong, and even take guidance, from them on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. In particular, the Family Research Council urged supporters not to give money to the GOP if it didn’t “grow a backbone.”

Stuck between this rock (trying to recruit young people) and hard place (depending on social conservatives), the Republicans seem to have reverted to their same old positions. This is in spite of the fact there are now two Republican Senators and two Republican House members who support marriage equality, with others evolving.
Absent some huge shift in position, I doubt the GOP will ever receive a single vote again from me, my children, and our extended family.

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Gay West Hollywood Man Brain Dead from Bacterial Meningitis - New York Connection?

As several LGBT blogs are reporting, young, seemingly fit gay West Hollywood attorney, Brett Shaad (pictured at left) is brain dead from bacterial meningitis and for the time being is on life support.  At present, it is not known if he contracted it via someone from New York City where there has been an out break of bacterial meningitis in the gay community.  The purpose of this post is to underscore how critical it is that members of the LGBT community take this situation seriously and preferably get the vaccine against the disease.  This story sends shivers through me and revives old nightmares.  And for good reason.   And to me, it is criminal that the vaccine is not widely recommended.  The CDC in its wisdom believes that the risk is low and, therefore, the cost is not merited.  Stated another way, since the number of individuals who die each year is low, the CDC is willing to write off their lives as a cost control measure.  Anyone who has seen this disease first hand would NEVER be willing to just write off a given amount of lives as an acceptable reaction.

As long time readers likely recall, one of my daughters was stricken with bacterial meningitis almost 14 years ago and very nearly died.   While she had a miracle recovery - she was actually written up in the hospital's magazine after the roughly six month ordeal - many do not.   And what is the most frightening about the disease is the speed with which it strikes.  Often, by the time discernible symptoms are displaying (most noticeably a rash like phenomenon where capillaries in the skin begin to rupture), time is almost out to save the victim from either death or horrible impairment.  In the case of my daughter, another 10 to 15 minutes in getting her to the hospital and she probably would have died.   As it was, the hospital ER staff struggled to stabilize her and thankfully we were at a hospital with top trauma facilities and with staff who immediately recognized what they were dealing with.  I can still hear the doctor telling me to call my former wife and tell her to get to the hospital immediately, no shower, etc., because he did not know if they were going to be able to save my daughter.  Towleroad has some details on this sad situation and the, in my view, irresponsible manner in which the medical authorities are reacting.  Here are highlights:

Brett Shaad was declared brain dead but remained on life support Friday afternoon, said Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for Shaad’s family. She declined to release further details.

West Hollywood Councilman John Duran incorrectly said he had been taken off life support earlier on Friday, the wire adds:

Duran, who saw Shaad last weekend, described the openly gay man as being “robust and healthy” prior to Monday, when he began to feel sick.

On Wednesday, he went into the emergency room. By Thursday, he was in a coma.

Tests are underway on the strain of meningitis to determine if it is related to the deadly strain in NYC, against which health officials have urged sexually active gay men to be vaccinated.

It has not been determined how Shaad contracted meningitis. Shaad's family cricized Duran after he mentioned that Shaad attended the recent White Party in Palm Springs. Shaad also recently visited an Equinox gym in WeHo, the AP adds.

Symptoms typically develop within three to seven days of exposure and can include stiff neck, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental state, often confusion.

More info on meningitis and how it is spread here at the CDC.
According to WABC: "Vaccinations are not being widely recommended in Los Angeles County. But community agencies such as the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center are urging individuals to take precautions."

Added Duran: “We don’t want to panic people. But we learned 30 years ago the consequences of delay in the response to AIDS. We are sounding the alarm that sexually active gay men need to be aware that we have a strain of meningitis that is deadly on our hands."

Our thoughts go out to Shaad's friends and family.
Likewise, my thoughts go out to Brett Shaad's family and friends.  I came withing not too many minutes of facing what they have had overwhelm them seemingly out of the blue.  

As an added note, some individuals are carriers of the disease and never show or develop symptoms themselves.  In my daughter's case, they were never able to tack her infection to anyone in particular, meaning that whoever had the bacteria was a carrier.   If in doubt, go to your doctor and get the vaccine even if you have to pay for it out of pocket.

Is the Mormon Church About to Abandon Its Crusade Against Gay Marriage?

With the millennial generation leaving organized religion in droves and lingering negative publicity from the Proposition 8 initiative in 2008, some would argue that the Mormon Church has learned a harsh lesson and decided to abandon its crusade against gay marriage.  That's not to say that the Mormon Church has suddenly become gay friendly.  It's anything but gay friendly and recently launched a fraudulent "ex-gay" site which continues to claim that gays can "change."  Anyone who believes or promotes that lie is anything but a friend to LGBT individuals.  That said, the Mormon Church has apparently decided that being on the front lines of the anti-gay jihad ranks is no longer helpful to the Church's cause and it was noticeably absent in any official capacity from the gatherings of hate merchants and puppets of the child rapist protectors of the Catholic hierarchy who protested before the U. S. Supreme Court during the oral arguments in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.  A piece in Mother Jones looks at the hopefully shifting position of the Mormon Church leadership.  Here are highlights:

Last month, hundreds of boisterous protesters converged in Washington, DC, as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California's anti-gay marriage initiative, Proposition 8. Faith-based groups were on prominent display: the Methodists supporting marriage equality, the Westboro Baptists suggesting (per usual) that "God hates fags," the Catholics both for and against gay marriage, clergy of all stripes. But one group that wasn't there in any official capacity was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—a.k.a. the Mormons—which perhaps more than any other religious group was responsible for getting Prop. 8 passed in the first place.

In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.

Although the LDS's prophet hasn't described a holy revelation directing a revision in church doctrine on same-sex marriage or gay rights in general, the church has shown a rare capacity for introspection and humane cultural change unusual for a large conservative religious organization.

"It seems like the [Mormon] hierarchy has pulled the plug and is no longer taking the lead in the fight to stop same-sex marriage," says Fred Karger, the LGBT activist who first exposed the church's major role in the passage of Prop. 8. "The Mormon Church has lost so many members and suffered such a black eye because of all its anti-gay activities that they really had no choice. I am hopeful that the Catholic Church cannot be far behind."

The LDS church has been a driving force against gay-marriage initiatives since at least 1995. It was instrumental in fending off same-sex marriage in Hawaii and Alaska and, in 2000, it helped pass California's Proposition 22 (the Prop. 8 precursor known as the Knight Initiative), which defined marriage as solely between a man and woman. (Prop. 22 was struck down by the California Supreme Court in 2008.)

The church's anti-gay positions and lobbying on gay marriage have always been divisive. In 2000, during the fight over the Knight Initiative, a young gay Mormon named Stuart Matis killed himself on the steps of a Mormon ward in Los Altos, California. In a letter to his cousin shortly before his suicide, he despaired over the impact of the church's political activities on Mormon families: "On the night of March 7th, many California couples will retire to their beds thrilled that they helped pass the Knight Initiative. What they don't realize is that in the next room, their son or daughter is lying in bed crying and could very well one day be the victim of society's homophobia. The Knight Initiative will certainly save no family. It is codified hatred. It is anti-family, anti-love and it is wrong."

Prop. 8 was a Pyrrhic victory for the Mormons, however. Their role, which the church sought to keep under wraps, was exposed by Karger, who tracked the individual donations pouring into the Yes on 8 campaign back to church members. LGBT activists responded by publicizing the church's involvement, running an ad, for example, showing fake Mormon missionaries knocking on the door of a lesbian couple and then rifling through their drawers and tearing up their marriage license.

The negative exposure prompted protests, and many Mormons publicly renounced their church membership. One of them was then 28-year-old Matthew Lawrence, the son of official LDS pollster Gary Lawrence, who had led the Prop. 8 fight. "I love my family so much, but it's hard to not take this personally. We had a brief falling-out over Prop. 22, but that got mended. But two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it's impossible not to feel attacked," Matthew, who is gay, wrote in 2008.

In response to the anger within Mormon ranks over Prop. 8, the president of the Oakland, California, stake (a stake is akin to a Catholic diocese) began organizing gatherings of gay and straight members to try to bridge the differences. In September 2010, the disgruntled church members received a private audience with one of the church's top officials, Marlin Jensen, who serves as the LDS's historian. The church members tearfully told Jensen their stories—of being shunned by their families, and the homophobia generated by the Prop. 8 campaign. "We explained that [the church had] pitted father against son, mother against daughter, exactly the opposite of what we stand for," says Mayne, who attended the meeting.

The apology from a high church official turned out to be just the beginning of a cultural shift toward greater acceptance of gays and lesbians within LDS ranks. In 2011, Mayne was called to serve as an official of his local San Francisco ward, as an openly gay man. It was a historic appointment in an institution with a long history of excommunicating openly gay members, which it referred to as people who were "afflicted" with same-sex attraction.

Perhaps most significantly, the church has made a concerted effort to bring LGBT kids back into the fold. Mayne points out that gay Mormon kids have significantly higher suicide rates than gay non-Mormon ones—a problem that has been attributed to the church's longtime policy of forcing parents of gay kids to choose between their church and their children. It also has long been common practice for Mormon parents to kick LGBT adolescents out of their homes because of their sexual orientation. 

The church has worked with the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University to craft an educational booklet aimed specifically at helping Mormons parent their gay kids, to keep them safe at home and to prevent suicide. It's a remarkably humane document instructing church members on how to embrace their gay kids even when they're uncomfortable with their purple hair and transgendered friends. The pamphlet is now being used in lots of Mormon wards.  Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, where the church is headquartered, the church has teamed up with the LGBT community to open a shelter for young homeless people there, about 40 percent of whom are known to be LGBT

The LGBT community's best evidence of change within the church is that last year, in the only four states ever to pass marriage equality laws, the church "did not provide one dime or one volunteer," Dabakis says. He adds that in Maryland, when one local Mormon leader tried to organize to oppose a pro-marriage-equality initiative, the church shut her down.
It does appear to be progress.  However, things will not truly improve until the Mormon Church - like the Catholic Church - lets go of the ignorant writings of nomadic herders and wanderers found in Leviticus and reiterated by the Pharisee, St. Paul.  Almost everything else in the Leviticus is ignored nowadays.   The purported anti-gay passages need to be added to the list of those no longer given any credence by decent, rational people


Hospital Statement Accidentally Shows Wrongdoing

Fortunately, the travesty that occurred at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri ("RMC"), where a man's partner was handcuffed and arrested for seeking to stay with his ailing partner, continues to get much deserved coverage and as the hospital tries to dig itself out of the hole created by an abusive nurse and seemingly homophobic hospital personnel, it may have actually documented that it violated federal requirements,  So again I ask, will the Obama administration make good on its threat that hospital that behave in this manner will be cut off from Medicaid and Medicare funds?  An example needs to be made that will send shock waves through the hospital administration world to guarantee that this kind of bigotry and unequal treatment ceases once and for all.  If it takes bankrupting a hospital to accomplish this end, then so be it.  The New Civil Rights Movement has an extensive piece that looks deeper at what really happened and the growing evidence that the hospital not only knowingly violated the federal requirements but engaged in homophobic conduct.  Here are excerpts:

It cannot be stated enough that this case demonstrates the imperative that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, must be repealed and all same-sex couples who wish to be legally married are allowed to do so.   Hospitals time and time again refuse to follow federal guidelines or observe legal contracts, often feigning ignorance to cover up their bigotry — or, indeed, actual ignorance.

RMC’s statement provides evidence that the hospital’s employees did not follow proper federal procedure and policies in a flagrant and offensive disregard for the rights of their patient and their patient’s same-sex partner.

John Aravosis, who is the editor of AmericaBlog, and has a law degree from Georgetown University and years of experience in legal matters and LGBT civil rights, published an examination of event after personally contacting the federal offices of Medicare and Medicaid in Washington, D.C., and interviewing Amanda Brown, the 26-year old daughter of Roger Gorley.

Aravosis writes “the hospital claims that Gorley was asked to leave because he wouldn’t quiet down.  But at the same time, the hospital claims that Gorley was asked to show his medical power of attorney for his partner Allen, and couldn’t provide it. Leading to the proverbial: ruh roh.”
“By admitting that they asked Roger Gorley to prove that he had medical power of attorney for his spouse, Allen, the hospital admits that things would have turned out differently had Gorley had the proof on his person,” Aravosis explains:
Thus, the hospital admits that this was not, as it keeps claimingly, solely a case of a man being “disruptive.” It was a case of a gay man being unable to prove, to the hospital’s satisfaction, that he was the spouse of another gay man lying in the emergency room.  Thus the hospital’s due diligence, or lack thereof (I’d argue), in finding out whether Gorley was the spouse is relevant – nay, key – to this entire story.  And as I’ll show below, the hospital’s due diligence in following federal regulations governing same-sex hospital visitation appears to have been lacking, to say the least.
And Aravosis adds:
Under the federal regulations governing same-sex hospital visitation, the hospital does not appear to have followed the regulations – by its own admission – making it subject to possible forfeiture of its Medicare and Medicaid contracts with the federal government. Here’s why:
A) I interviewed the Medicare and Medicaid office in Washington yesterday, and got the complete details of the hospital visitation regulations.  Roger didn’t need to provide any proof of his medical power of attorney, or anything else for that matter, if, as his daughter claims, patient Allen said, during the altercation, “I want him here.”
Under federal regulations, that is all that is needed, the argument ends.  So why did the hospital ask gay Roger to prove his power of attorney?

B) Let’s assume, devil’s advocate, that the daughter is wrong, and patient Allen did not ask for Roger to stay (perhaps he was unconscious).

Federal regs say that the partner can simply say “I’m in charge,” and that’s enough UNLESS someone else asserts that they too are in charge of the patient, which appears to have happened here when Allen’s straight brother also stepped in and asserted his authority  Here’s what the regs say happens next, and I quote the federal guideline accompanying the regs:

“In such cases [when more than one individual claims to be the patient’s representative], it would be appropriate for the hospital to ask each individual for documentation supporting his/her claim to be the patient’s representative.  The hospital should make its determination of who is the patient’s representative based upon the hospital’s determination of who the patient would most want to make decisions on his/her behalf.  Examples of documentation a hospital might consider could include, but are not limited to, the following:  proof of a legally recognized marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union; proof of a joint household; proof of shared or co-mingled finances; and any other documentation the hospital considers evidence of a special relationship that indicates familiarity with the patient’s preferences concerning medical treatment.”
Aravosis offers an exceptionally thorough examination that would lead practically anyone to agree the hospital violated the couple’s rights.

In a separate and also extensive piece, Aravosis’ exclusive interview of Gorley’s daughter, there’s this frightening indictment:

Daughter says security assumed dad had AIDS because he was gay

Amanda’s account of hospital security’s treatment of her father, which she posted to her blog, is chilling – it’s still unclear if this was the KCPD or the hospital’s own private police:

When the Kansas City Missouri Police Department arrived they asked my father to leave the room. He said to them, “No. This is my husband and I am going to stay with him.”

The police considered that a violation of a direct order, so they began to forcibly remove him from the room. My father held onto the rail of the gurney as well as his husbands hand with everything he had. The police responded with brut and excessive force. The office began karate chopping his wrist to get him to release the gurney. Then they wrestled him to the ground forcefully enough to knock his glasses off of his face, his hearing aids out of his ears, and nearly break his wrist while they took him down. To handcuff him, they pushed a knee into his back and wrenched his wrists around.

It didn’t end there. The police changed his handcuffs 4 times! They assumed because he was a gay man that he was HIV+. When they drew blood from accosting him in such a brutal manner they freaked out. One of the arresting officers was so offended by my father’s presence that he would not touch him with his bare hands. He wore gloves the entire time and to make matters even more humiliating he didn’t want his handcuffs back. He grabbed them with gloves on, then another layer of gloves pinched between his index finger and thumb as he handed them off to another officer. The officer taking the handcuffs looked at him like he was crazy and just grabbed the handcuffs with no issue.
Welcome to the world of being gay in red states.  This nightmare could happen to any gay couple in the states where gay relationships receive ZERO legal recognition.   Virginia is a prime example.  The boyfriend and I both have medical powers of attorney that in theory would avoid this type of situation, but in a true emergency, stopping and grabbing the medical power of attorney is likely to be the last thought on one's mind.  

Which brings me to what keeps this type of abuse and bigotry alive:  the Christofascists (in Virginia, The Family Foundation lead the way in gay bashing and stigmatization) who continue to disseminate hate and lies about gays and do all in their power to keep us unequal under the law and to make our lives a living Hell.  These people are evil and their power and the deference they are given needs to end.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Morning Male Beauty

The GOP’s Demographic Problems Are Very Real

A post yesterday noted the threats by Christofascists that they and their spittle flecked followers will abandon the GOP if it relents and its anti-gay party platform.  Meanwhile, knuckle draggers - dare we say racists - in the Tea Party continue their anti-immigration reform mantra.  Yet the demographics of the country continue to change and change in a way that in rational circles would underscore the idiocy of the GOP clinging to its formula of pandering to angry whites, the wealthy and religious extremists.  Rationality - that's the key to understanding the GOP's refusal to face the changes that are occurring.  It's traditional base has become totally irrational and the rational elements of the GOP have fled the insane asylum.  A piece in The New Republic looks at the reality the GOP refuses to face.  Here are highlights:

The problem for Republicans is simple: They built relatively durable, ideological coalitions immediately before a new generation of socially moderate and diverse voters completely upended the electoral calculus. In 2012, voters over age 30 went for Romney by 1.5 points—a result that shouldn’t surprise observers of the Bush elections. But the persistent and narrow GOP lean of the 2000 and 2004 electorates was overwhelmed by Obama’s 24-point victory among 18-to-29-year-olds. Democratic success with young voters is a product of demographics, not just Obama’s fleeting appeal or Bush’s legacy. Just 58 percent of 18-to-29-year-old voters were white in 2012 and 19 percent said they have no religious affiliation; in comparison, 76 percent of voters over 30 were white and only 10 percent were non-religious.

The ascent of millennial voters has turned the Bush coalition into a coffin—and the coffin could be sealed in 2016. It was frequently observed that a Romney victory would have required a historic performance among white voters, provided that Obama could match his ’08 performance among non-white voters. Bush’s 2004 performance among white voters wouldn’t get it done anymore. In 2016, the math gets even more challenging. If the white share of the electorate declines further, Republicans won’t just need to match their best performance of the last 24 years among white voters, they’ll also need to match their best performance of the last 24 years among non-white voters. If they can’t make the requisite 16-point gain among non-white voters—a tall order, to say the least—then the next Republican candidate will enter truly uncharted territory, potentially needing to win up to 64 percent of the white vote just to break 50 percent of the popular vote.

The Electoral College makes the GOP’s task even more difficult. Although Obama only won the popular vote by a modest 3.9 points, he carried the tipping-point states of Colorado and Pennsylvania by more substantial 5.4 point margins. In both states, as well as somewhat more conservative Virginia, the GOP’s chances hinge on their ability to improve in the affluent, diverse, and well-educated suburbs around Denver, Philadelphia, and Washington. The alternative—even larger gains in the white, working-class Upper Midwest—could be trumped by a Democratic sweep of Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. And although much of the GOP’s energy has focused on improving their standing among Hispanic voters, even a huge, 20-point swing among Latinos wouldn’t flip any of these states.

These challenges demand change from the GOP. There isn’t a credible reason why the GOP can make the same arguments and expect a different result, at least after controlling for demographic and economic changes. Put differently: If the GOP asks the electorate to re-litigate last year's issues in 2016, and we assume 2012 economic conditions, they’ll lose by more than they did last November.

Some analysts also doubt whether the Obama coalition will outlast the president. It will: The changes in the electorate's composition over the last eight years represent a durable and lasting shift. With the exception of African Americans, the growth of the non-white share of the electorate was mainly due to demographic changes, not unusually high minority turnout rates. In 2012, whites represented just 71 percent of the voting eligible population, down from 76 percent in 2004. The white share of the electorate declined at an identical pace, from 77 percent in 2004 to 72 percent in 2012. Indeed, if non-white turnout rates fell from 2008 to 2004 levels, the 2012 electorate still would have been incrementally more diverse than it was in 2008. According to data from the 2008 and 2004 Current Population Survey’s November Supplement, the difference between ’04 and ’08 turnout rates only influenced the white share of the electorate by 1.5 percentage points. The Census has not released the data for the 2012 election, but the 2016 electorate will probably be more diverse than it was in 2012, even if racial groups turn out at ’04 rates.

There is more to the article that's worth a read.  Given the Frankenstein monster the GOP establishment allowed to take over the party base - i.e., the Christofascist and Tea Party, any change will be difficult.  Neither of these groups are in touch with reality and will push the GOP to continue its failed policies.

Ken Cuccinelli Picks Anti-Abortion Group Over Virginia Teachers Union

Would be Virginia governor Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli continues to show his true extremist colors by snubbing the Virginia Education Association ("VEA") and instead speaking before anti-abortion extremists.  Even if one doubts they will secure the VEA's endorsement, historically, candidates at least make appearances at the VEA candidate forum and seek to come off as willing to listen to the views of the organization and its members - even my lunatic former classmate, George Allen attended when he was a candidate.  But not Kookinelli who through a spokesperson described the VEA event "labor boss soiree."  The Washington Examiner looks at the situation.  Here are highlights: 

Virginia Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli skipped an invitation Thursday to meet with the state's largest teachers union to appear instead in front of an anti-abortion summit in Washington that's being organized by his largest campaign contributor.

Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates dating back to former Gov. George Allen two decades ago have spoken at the Virginia Education Association's candidate forum, where the organization weighs who to endorse. Democrat Terry McAuliffe spoke and took questions at Thursday's gathering in Hampton.

Cuccinelli passed on the teachers' group to attend the Susan B. Anthony Campaign for Life Gala and Summit. He joined Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on a panel titled "Protecting the Conscience of Pro-Life Taxpayers." The Susan B. Anthony List has already committed $1.5 million to help Cuccinelli in this year's governor race against McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix wrote off the VEA event as a "labor boss soiree."

Cuccinelli's speech also came a day before the Virginia State Board of Health met to approve tough new regulations for abortion providers that the attorney general had a heavy hand in influencing. Susan B. Anthony List put out a call to supporters Thursday to speak at Friday's meeting and pressure the board to pass the new rules.

VEA President Meg Gruber said she was disappointed Cuccinelli skipped the forum.
"The VEA seeks the best candidate for Virginia's schoolchildren," Gruber said, "and we think everyone benefits when candidates state their views on public education formally and explicitly."
Virginians, especially the women of the Commonwealth need to start opening their eyes to just how extreme Kookinelli is in fact and how his goal is to control their bodies.  As his sodomy law appeal disclosed and his support for voter ID laws shows, he's surely no friend to LGBT Virginians or minority voters.  The man is a menace who needs to be defeated come November.

Feel the Love: Homophobic Assaults Surge in France Amid Gay Marriage Debate

The "godly Christian" folks always play the victim card and allege that they are being persecuted even as it is they who are the persecutors.  It's a pattern seen for years and years, if not centuries:  those who do not subscribe to their religious beliefs are stigmatized, marginalized and often subjected to physical violence if not murdered.  In France with the national legislature having nearly finalized gay marriage legislation, the "godly" folk are acting true to form and homophobic assaults have surged.  Let's face reality.  The "godly Christian" crowd isn't nice, these people are not nice, they are self-centered, they care only about maintaining their historic ability to trample on the rights of others, and they are a threat to the rule of law.  A piece from AFP looks at the the handiwork of the Christofascists:
PARIS — Wilfred de Bruijn's face is bloated, seeped in blood, his bruised right eye shut tight, his tooth broken -- the victim of a brutal attack in Paris while he was "walking arm in arm" with his boyfriend.

His is one of the latest cases of homophobia in France, where activists say reports of verbal and physical assaults on gays have surged amid rabid debate over a bill allowing same-sex marriage, currently being discussed in the Senate.

"Sorry to show you this. It's the face of homophobia," de Bruijn, a Dutch man living in France for 10 years, wrote on his Facebook page next to a photo of his battered face that has been shared thousands of times.

Elizabeth Ronzier, head of SOS homophobie, said there had been a 30 percent rise in reports of homophobic and transphobic assaults last year compared to 2011, with a marked surge when debate began in the autumn.

"And in the two months to the end of February this year, we received the same amount of testimonies that we would normally get over a period of six months," she said.

"It's difficult to say whether there are more homophobes than before, but there are more who are expressing themselves," said Nicolas Gougain, spokesman for the Inter-LGBT, a rights group for lesbians, gays, bi and trans-sexuals

Protests have been led mainly by religious groups and conservatives in a country that is officially secular but predominantly Catholic.

Some of the demonstrations have turned violent. Last month, police were forced to fire tear gas on people protesting the bill in Paris, and dozens were arrested.

Senator Esther Benbassa, for instance, says her car was trashed over the weekend -- a move she believes is linked to her support for the bill - and that she has received threatening phone calls, emails and letters for days.

Erwann Binet, a Socialist MP who supports the bill, has also been forced to cancel planned debates for security reasons after being heckled by far-right militants, who have taken a front seat in the debate.
Today, the main hallmarks of Christianity - especially the conservative strains - are hate and bigotry.  These people may claim otherwise, but actions speak louder than words and crocodile tears.    Lies, hate, violence and cruelty to others have replaced adherence to the Gospel message as the face of Christianity in all too many instances.  Yet individuals like the Pope and the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention don't get the message as to why people are fleeing Christianity.  They need to look in the mirror.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More Thursday Male Beauty

Is Marco Rubio All In For Sweeping Immigration Reform Bill?

Things are not going well for the homophobes and anti-immigrant racists who comprise the bulk of the Christofascist/Tea Party base of the GOP.  Despite their lies and deceptions and outright anti-gay slurs, they are steadily losing their anti-gay war.  Now, there are signs that GOP Senator Marco Rubio may be about to jump aboard the promoting of a sweeping immigration reform bill.  Like gay rights, immigration reform - not to mention recognizing illegal immigrants as fully human - is anathema to these hate filled and despicable individuals.  While Rubio's potential jump on immigration reform makes perfect sense to those living in the rational world, to the angry white Christianists it could well cause them to attack Rubio like a pack of rabid dogs.  Politico looks at Rubio's possible shift.  Here are highlights:

Marco Rubio is preparing to go all in to support sweeping immigration legislation, offering himself up as the public face of a bill that will split the Republican Party — but that his allies hope will propel him to the front of the GOP presidential sweepstakes.

After offering lukewarm support over the process, Rubio is preparing to fully embrace a measure that is the most significant of his political career so far. The gambit could pay off in spades by crowning a leading presidential contender in 2016, or it could permanently damage the Republican’s brand with conservatives.

Rubio is planning a media blitz to promote the bill — which is expected to be released early next week — making the rounds on all of the Sunday political talk shows starting this weekend, wooing skeptical conservative radio hosts and pitching the plan to Spanish-language news outlets. The campaign is aimed at building public support for the far-reaching immigration bill that will dominate Capitol Hill’s attention for much of the year.

The Florida Republican has privately briefed individual GOP senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee — including conservative skeptics John Cornyn of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah — about the soon-to-be-unveiled proposal, according to sources familiar with the matter. His staff has pitched the plan to conservative thought leaders, including at the National Review and Wall Street Journal editorial board as well as the columnist Charles Krauthammer, sources say.

Rubio will essentially become its most prominent salesman, effectively putting his political capital — and presidential ambitions — on the line in the process. With momentum behind the push, Rubio clearly has calculated it makes more sense for him to fully embrace the effort, rather than run away from it and potentially kill the measure just as it is introduced.

Rubio is remaining cagey on a key question facing the group: whether he would stay united with the group to defeat amendments aimed at dramatically changing areas of the carefully constructed compromise. Senators in the gang say they must stay united in order to keep the core of the measure intact, even if that means voting against amendments they otherwise would support.

That could put Rubio in a jam, as he tries to maintain a staunchly conservative voting record ahead of a possible presidential run in 2016. Asked if he would join with the group to defeat controversial amendments, Rubio said: “I don’t think that is the game plan. I think the game plan is any amendments or any ideas that make the bill better that actually improve the product is something we would be open to.”
 There's more to the article that is worth a read.  I suspect Rubio has done the numbers and realizes that he cannot win a presidential election based on the demographic groups sought by and pandered to by Mitt Romney.  Those groups are declining in numbers and Rubio needs something radical to attract Hispanic and minority votes.  His principal worry will be whether the angry white voters who dominate the GOP nomination process will block his nomination in a fit of revenge.

Hate Groups Again Threaten to Leave GOP Over Gay Marriage

A who's who of hate groups and their Pharisee like leaders have signed a letter to RNC chairman Reince Preibus threatening to end their support for the GOP if the party platform is amended to remove opposition to same-sex marriage.  The RNC is currently meeting in California and has yet to vote on a resolution favored by the Christofascists and anti-gay hate merchants.  The image above denotes the signatories of the letter.  Here is an excerpt from the letter:

We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support. We could not change that even if we wished to.

As a gesture of good faith and an affirmation of its positions, we strongly recommend that the RNC meeting in Los Angeles on April 9th pass a resolution reaffirming its support of the 2012 National GOP Platform adopted in Tampa.

The RNC needs to ignore the Christofascist threats for two reasons: (i) support for gay marriage is soaring, especially among younger voters who are replacing the angry elderly Christianist voters who are conveniently dying off, and (ii) despite the threats, these hate merchants have no viable alternative to the GOP.  They most certainly will not vote for Democrats and they are too anal to stay home from the polls.   

What really has the hate merchant's panties in a wad is the reality that fundraising based on opposition to gay marriage has been their cash cow for a number of years.  If the GOP ceases opposition and gay marriage becomes a nationwide phenomenon, the financial consequences to these hate groups could be catastrophic.    For example, Focus on the Family has already laid off hundreds of its staff.  Without money raised using gay marriage as the sales hook, lay offs will likely only increase.  For smaller hate group leaders the loss of gay marriage as a ploy to fleece contributors, some of these folks might have to actually get real jobs.  

Think Progress notes that the resolution endorsed by the hate group leaders rely heavily on junk science, claims of heterosexual superiority, and the fraudulent and widely debunked Regnerus study funded by anti-gay organizations.  As usual, lies and deceit are the standard behavior of the "godly Christian" crowd.
Hate group leader Tony Perkins and Christofascist James Dobson

Uruguay Lower House and French Senate Vote for Gay Marriage

Now both legislative houses of Uruguay and France have voted to approve gay marriages in their respective countries.  Meanwhile, America waits for a U. S. Supreme Court ruling that may totally dodge the issue, leaving America falling further behind modern, advanced nations.   And underscoring the lie of America's claim to being the "land of liberty" and a land of "religious freedom."  Currently, only Christofascists have full religious freedom.  Moreover, they daily trample on the religious freedom of others.  Here are highlights from Gay Star News on the vote in Uruguay:

Uruguay’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, has made history today (10 April) when it voted to legalize gay marriage.  An overwhelming majority (71) voted for gay marriage out of the total 92 deputies in the lower house.  This means that Uruguay has effectively legalized marriage equality, as both chambers of the General Assembly, the upper house (Senate) and lower house have now voted for the bill by an overwhelming majority.

Uruguay’s government will implement the law in no more than 90 days, during which, according to deputy Jose Bayardi, some 'drafting errors' that occurred in the Senate will be corrected.

This will be followed by Uruguay’s president, Jose Mujica, signing it officially into law, which he already stated he would.

Uruguay’s approved bill states that ‘marriage is the permanent union between two persons of the same or opposite sex’.

The bill modified some 20 articles of the country’s civil code, including allowing parents - gay or straight - to decide whose surname comes first when naming their children.

The bill also did away with the words 'marido y mujer' (husband and woman) in marriage contracts, referring instead to the gender-neutral term 'contrayentes' (contracting parties).  The gay marriage bill likewise includes amendments on laws regarding in-vitro fertilization and adoption.
Meanwhile, in France, similar equality under the law advanced as well, bringing the number of nations with full gay marriage to on the verge of 13.  Here are details from Gay Star News on this story:
The French Senate has approved adoption for same-sex couples.  On the evening of 10 April, the second article of the ‘Marriage for All’ bill was adopted by the upper level of French parliament.

The vote came just one day after the Senate approved Article 1, the provision allowing gay couples to marry.

The Senate must now complete a review of the legislation in its entirety, although passage of both articles almost guarantees gay couples will soon be able to marry and adopt in France.

Once approved, the bill will go back to the National Assembly in late May for final approval. It will then go to the French President Fran├žois Hollande to sign into law.

America's fraudulent claims about equality under the law and religious freedom for all citizens are becoming increasingly obvious.   Will the Supreme Court correct this situation or will Christofascists and their hate and fear based religious beliefs continue to trump the rights of others.  Only time will tell. 

Will Obama Stand Behind His Executive Order and Cut Federal Funds to Research Medical Center in Kansas City?

In 2010 President Obama mandated that any hospital that receives federal funding  - e.g., Medicare or Medicaid funds - must recognize same sex partner medical powers of attorneys and must allow visitation privileges for same-sex partners.  This apparently meant nothing to the knuckle draggers at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, who had Roger Gorley (pictured at right at left) arrested when he refused to leave that hospital even though he had a valid medical power of attorney signed by his partner.  Rather than recognize the presidential executive order and a valid legal document, the hospital sided with his partner's family.  Adding insult to injury, the hospital secured a restraining order barring Gorley from coming back to the hospital.  Time and time again in my law practice I see family members of gays not give a rat's ass about their gay family member until a medical crisis arises or the family member dies and then suddenly they swoop in like a flock of vultures.  One can only hope that Obama makes sure that Research Medical Center in Kansas City receives an notification that their federal funds have been stopped, preferably permanently.  The hospital can start its resultant cost cutting measures by firing the nurse who was such an asshole as well as the hospital spokesperson.  Here are highlights from WDFA-TV on this outrage:
Roger Gorley went to visit his partner, Allen, at Research Medical Center, 2316 E. Meyer Blvd., Tuesday afternoon.  He says when he got there, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave.

When Gorley refused, he says hospital security forcibly removed him from the property and put him in handcuffs.  “I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley said.  While not legally recognized as a couple in Missouri, Gorley says he and his partner Allen have been in a civil union for nearly five years, and make medical decisions for each other.

He says the nurse refused to verify they also share joint Power of Attorney.  “She didn’t even bother to go look it up to check into it,” Gorley said. “He’s been at the psychiatric unit part several times.”

According to an arrest report from Kansas City, Mo., police, a security supervisor at  Research Medical Center was contacted by Emergency Room personnel after Gorley refused to leave the room of his partner. The hospital said they did not want to have any visitors to Allen’s room.

Gorley was told to leave the room by nurses and security, but refused, the police report said.  “After several verbal attempts to get [Gorley] to leave the room, he continually refused and began to cause a disturbance,” the report said. “[He] began to cause a disturbance by physically resisting security officers as they escorted him out of the patient’s room.”

When police arrived, hospital security officials said they wanted to arrest Gorley for trespassing and disorderly conduct. He was then taken to the police station to be booked, documents show.  Arrest documents say Gorley was placed into handcuffs after a short struggle with hospital security.

Research Medical Center says it can’t talk specifically about this case, but in a statement said:
We believe involving the family is an important part of the patient care process. And, the patient`s needs are always our first priority. When anyone becomes disruptive to providing the necessary patient care, we involve our security team to help calm the situation and to protect our patients and staff. If the situation continues to escalate, we have no choice but to request police assistance.
That's right.  The hospital ignores a valid legal document and a federal mandate, but Gorley is the one arrested and kept from his partner.     This is a prime example of why gay marriage needs to be made a constitutional right nationwide.  Hopefully, Obama has the balls to make an example of Research Medical Center in Kansas City.  And if he doesn't then a petition needs to be started to pressure him into addressing this outrage.   Meanwhile, if you are gay and live in Kansas City, be advised to stay away from Research Medical Center in Kansas City (see image below) like the plague.


Thursday Morning Male Beauty

How the GOP Lost the Black Vote

Immediately after the Civil War, almost all black voters flocked to the Republican Party which they viewed as the protector of their liberties and freedom.  One hundred and fifty years latter, the Democratic Party is viewed as the GOP once was and for good reason.  The GOP has sold its soul to thinly veiled white supremacists and the descendants of the past versions of today's Christofascists who used the Bible to justify slavery and then later segregation.  A similar phenomenon has also occurred with the Hispanic vote.  And driving this jettisoning of decency and the principle that all Americans are equal under the law has been short term cynical political expediency.  Now, with the nation's demographics changing rapidly, the GOP may yet be about to have karma come back and bite it in the ass.  An op-ed in the New York Times looks at what happened and the issue of whether or not the GOP can or will change.  Here are excerpts:

The Republican Party is struggling with its future. Will it be a regional, Congressional party fighting a last-gasp battle for a shrinking base in a David and Goliath war against ominously expanding federal government? Or will it become a national, presidential party capable of adapting to a new American reality of diversity and expression in which the government serves an essential function in regulating public safety, providing a safety net and serving as a safeguard against discrimination?

[Senator Rand] Paul ventured across Washington to historically black Howard University and gave a speech aimed at outreach and bridge building.  The man is mulling a presidential run after all. 

The speech was a dud. It was a clipped-tail history lesson praising the civil rights record of the pre-Southern Strategy Republican Party, while slamming the concurrent record of the Democrats.  It completely ignored the past generation of egregious and willful acts of insensitivity by the G.O.P. toward the African-American community. 

During the speech Paul asked, rhetorically and incredulously: .  .  .  . How did we lose that vote?”

You can’t be serious, Senator Paul. In fact, I know that you’re not. No thinking American could be so dim as to genuinely pose such questions.  Let me explain. 

Republicans lost it when Richard Nixon’s strategist Kevin Phillips, who popularized the “Southern Strategy,” told The New York Times Magazine in 1970 that “the more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans.” 

They lost it when Nixon appointed William Rehnquist to the Supreme Court, a man who, while he was a law clerk in Justice Robert Jackson’s office, wrote a memo defending separate-but-equal during Brown v. Board of Education, saying, “I realize that it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by my ‘liberal’ colleagues, but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.” 

They lost it in 1976 when Ronald Reagan adopted the racially charged “welfare queens” trope. They lost it when George Bush used Willie Horton as a club against Michael Dukakis. They lost it when George W. Bush imperially flew over New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when people were still being plucked from rooftops and were huddling in a humid Super Dome.

They lost it when the McCain campaign took a dark turn and painted Barack Obama as the other, a man “palling around with terrorists,” a man who didn’t see “America like you and I see America.”

They lost it in 2011 when a Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrinch, who was the front-runner for a while, falsely and preposterously claimed that: “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’ unless it’s illegal.” 

The Republican Party has a tarnished brand in the eyes of the African-American community, largely because of its own actions and rhetoric. That can’t be glossed over by painting the present party with the laurels of the distant past. 

Mitch McConnell's Romney Like Moment

It will not surprise readers that I don't like Mitch McConnell who I view as a nasty, lying sleaze bag most of the time.  Thus it was delicious to see a secret audio tape of a meeting among McConnell and his campaign aids which ridiculed would-be political rival, actress Ashley Judd, and plotted tactics to undermine her, including depicting her as mentally ill.  Thankfully, more of the public will now know just how down and dirty and sleazy McConnell is in fact.  Sadly, he's the typical Republican who talks "values" and integrity yet tosses both out the window in his obsession to retain power.   The Washington Post looks at how Mother Jones scored this second coup and suggests that others may follow.  I find it a good thing that some people are finally disgusted with the GOP's hypocrisy and nastiness and willing to help expose it.  Here are article highlights:

David Corn says one good scoop may have led to another. And might even lead to still others, too.  The Mother Jones magazine reporter and MSNBC pundit was busy Wednesday handling the fallout from, and some fawning over, his latest revelation about a prominent Republican. Corn unearthed the audiotape of a private meeting in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and his aides mocked a would-be political rival, the actress Ashley Judd, and plotted tactics to undermine her. An unidentified source leaked the surreptitious recording of the February meeting to Corn.

And just like that, Corn and Mother Jones had their second major bombshell in seven months. The first, of course, was one of the most consequential scoops of the presidential campaign — a leaked video recording of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying at a small fundraiser last May that “47 percent” of voters were “dependent” on the government. (Corn will receive the prestigious Polk Award for Political Reporting for the Romney story on Thursday.)

Corn, 54, says the two career-making stories might have been linked. He guesses that his source on the McConnell recording — whom he won’t reveal — came to him because of the way he handled the Romney recording and the firestorm it ignited.

[I]n the wake of the Romney revelation, Corn has received a mini-flood of would-be audio and video leaks about Washington figures. Some of these have looked promising, but none have become public — yet. Corn said he hasn’t been able to vet them to his satisfaction or work out terms for making them public. He has “passed” on several of the offers for a variety of reasons.

Not so of the McConnell recording, which Corn said he received two weeks ago. He spent several days authenticating it, ensuring that it wasn’t faked, doctored or taken out of context. He tried to get a response from McConnell’s camp a day before publication but received nothing.

Despite ample criticism, including from McConnell, that the audio recording is an invasion of privacy, Corn argues that its newsworthiness trumps those concerns. “I think voters and citizens have a tremendous right to know almost as much as possible of the elected officials who come before them and ask for their votes,” he said. “I think people can decide for themselves how outrageous [McConnell’s] behavior is, but it gives you a glimpse inside his campaign’s thinking.”

“What’s wonderful about this story and ‘47 percent’ story is that no one needs to listen to me or any commentator to know what it means,” he said Wednesday. “It’s all there. It’s journalism verite. You can listen to it and come to your own conclusion. I would encourage people to come forward with more tapes.”

We once saw investigative reporting in the main stream media.  Sadly, the MSM now largely only echos the sound bites of politicians.  Thankfully, Mother Jones and other alternative sources are stepping in to take up the slack.  I want to see more of it.

Jon Stewart Inspects Ken Cuccinelli's Failed Attempt to Retain Virginia's Sodomy Law

Virginia Attorney General and would be governor Ken Cuccinelli is just a tad too hysterical when it comes to the issue of sodomy - even when it doesn't involve gay sex.  The man is a nutcase and, in my view, needs to be in a mental institution or at a minimum, needs some other form of serious mental health intervention.   Thankfully, Kookinelli's obsession with sodomy, abortion and contraception is getting national publicity but not of a positive nature as The Daily Show goes after Cooch big time in the video clip above.    It is also interesting that even the one judge on the 4th Circuit who would have upheld the state prosecution under the Virginia sodomy law seems to have had second thoughts as noted in the Washington Blade:

In an action that surprised some court observers, the order says none of the court’s judges requested a poll among themselves to determine which, if any of them, favored Cuccinelli’s request for an en banc rehearing of the sodomy case by the court’s 15 active judges and one senior judge.
Under court rules, if no judge calls for a poll or vote on the issue, the petition for a rehearing is automatically denied in what, in effect, becomes a unanimous decision.

Among the judges that chose not to approve a rehearing was Judge Albert Diaz, who wrote the dissent in the three-judge panel’s 2-1 ruling declaring Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute unconstitutional. The statute classifies sodomy between consenting adults, gay or straight, as a crime.

“It’s a pretty resounding rejection,” said Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, which filed a friend of the court brief urging the three-judge panel to overturn the state sodomy law. “There really wasn’t any interest in doing this at all by anybody.”

Caroline Gibson, Cuccinelli’s deputy communications director, didn’t respond to a question from the Blade about whether Cuccinelli plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, which would be the last remaining step to challenge the appeals court ruling overturning the sodomy law.

As previously noted, I suspect that Cuccinelli will appeal.  The man and his backers at The Family Foundation are just that crazy and will never cease in their attempts to impose their beliefs on all Virginians.  Meanwhile, Terry McAuliffe must be smiling like the Cheshire Cat.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Wednesday Male Beauty

RNC to Vote on Resolution Affirming 'One Man One Woman' Marriage

All of the surveys and pols show support for gay marriage increasing rapidly, but in yet another move to prostitute itself to the ugliest elements of the party base which are destroying the GOP and its future, the RNC is set to vote on a resolution Shown above] affirming "One Man One Woman" Marriage and urging the U. S. Supreme Court to do the same by upholding Proposition 8 and DOMA.  If the resolution passes, the RNC will appear to history much as Captain Smith did on the Titanic when he ordered speed maintained despite numerous iceberg warnings.   With blacks, Hispanics, voters under 30 and more and more young evangelicals supporting marriage equality, this effort to appease the Rick Santorums, Tony Perkins and Mike Huckabees of the GOP base is the political equivalent of dosing the Kool-Aid with cyanide.  Here are highlights vis Yahoo News:

Activists from around the country will gather at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles beginning on Thursday for the Republican National Committee's three-day spring meeting. There, amid continued intraparty tension over issues like immigration reform and gay marriage, they plan to plunge headfirst into the gritty details of the business of winning elections.

The agenda calls for a series of private internal meetings about the party budget and rules, along with strategy sessions and workshops on voter outreach and party coordination.

"During the meeting we will focus a great deal on ways we stay true to our principles and grow our ranks across all communities," according to an RNC memo provided to Yahoo News. "During our training sessions we will hear from activists, local elected officials, state party leaders and others who can share successful examples and tactics that we can learn from."

Of course, any march for growth comes with a significant amount of change, and there are some RNC members with lingering worries that the new outreach efforts could entice the party to abandon some of its principles.

Several prominent social conservatives, for example, reacted furiously to the Growth & Opportunity report when it was released because they said it did not adequately emphasize the role of the religious voters in the future of the GOP. They noted that the report called for the party to be more "inclusive" to gay and lesbian voters, a clause that set off alarm bells throughout the GOP, especially during a time when public opinion seems to be shifting in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.

At the meeting, a group of state party leaders is expected to submit a set of proposals to the RNC's Resolution Committee that aim to "re-affirm conservative principles." One in particular will take the temperature of the party's opposition to same-sex marriage. (The official Republican platform, which was approved at the national convention in August, calls for a constitutional amendment that would effectively ban same-sex marriage.)

According to the text of a marriage resolution, [see image below] which was acquired by Yahoo News, the RNC panel will vote on a resolution stating, "[T]he Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America; and be it further resolved, the Republican National Committee implores the U. S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act."

The goal for Republicans this week, if all goes well, is to avoid distractions and plot a path to fulfill Priebus' call at the last meeting to initiate growth and make the Republican Party competitive in all 50 states.  The party's success in elections over the next four years depends on it.

Click image to enlarge
The nation and its demographics are changing.  Sadly, the GOP continues its race to regain a past that never really existed for most Americans outside of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best."

Is Cuccinelli's Campaign Seeking to Intimidate and Have Police Watch Bloggers?

I am hardly the only Virginia blogger who is seeking to educate readers and others as to the severe danger Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli poses to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the rights and liberties of its citizens, especially those Kookinelli despises: gays, blacks, women and non-Christians for starters.   One such blog is called Cooch Watch 2013 which is reporting on (i) the growing Star Scientific scandal, (ii) Kookinelli's anti-women agenda, and (iii) and all of the other regressive and Christofascist agenda items so loved by Kookinelli.  A post in Blue Virginia suggests that Cuccinelli may not be too happy with such scrutiny and raises the question of whether or not Cuccinelli may be preparing to use the police to harass those who want the public to know all they need to know about Cuccinelli.  Here are excerpts:

Wow, this does not look good at all [see image above]:

An anonymous Cooch Watch supporter got into Ken Cuccinelli's Henrico Field Office and sent us this picture. We did our own research and this is real, folks. Cooch's minions have "Cooch Watch Watch" up and running in cooperation with the police.
In sum, according to the "Cooch Watch" folks, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is alleged to be coordinating with local police in Henrico County to keep an eye on a bunch of bloggers who pose absolutely no threat to anyone. If this is really what's going on here: wow. 

So, let's summarize Cuccinelli's unethical behavior over the past couple years: 

*"U.S. Navy Veterans Association" scam/Bobby Thompson scandal? Check.
*Using the powers of the AG's office to persecute a scientist he didn't agree with (Democratic AG candidate Mark Herring has called that behavior by Cuccinelli "UnAmerican," and he's right!)? Check.
*Using Virginia taxpayers' money to have a state employee ghost write his book? Check.
*Crony investing with a slimeball company that pushes "tobacco candy" to kids? Check.
*According to CoochWatch, having the police keep an eye on a bunch of bloggers who don't want him elected? Check. 

P.S. One person on the "Cooch Watch" Facebook page wrote, "[I] just called the 501-5000 number. [T]he lady who answered the phone professed ignorance about the possibility that a sitting politician is abusing state power by asking one of the coercive agencies of the state (the PD) to spy or harass a women's health advocacy group. She also verified the 328-2570 number as an east end PD office number."

I will let readers draw their own conclusions.  Personally, in my opinion, such conduct would be very much in keeping with Cuccinelli's fascist inclinations.  His definition of "freedom" and "liberty" translates to extremists and Christofascist like himself imposing their beliefs on all citizens.  The man is in my opinion mentally ill and is a would be Hitler at the state level - although his ambitions extend far beyond Virginia.  He needs to be roundly defeated in November.