Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Hampton Roads Pride Fest

Hampton Roads Pride's mission is to:
To instill pride, celebrate unity and embrace diversity in the Hampton Roads Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community by creating visibility and promoting full human and civil rights through education, celebration, and networking.
This year's Hampton Roads Pride Fest looks like it will be the best ever if last night's kick off block party is any indication.  Seemingly a couple thousand people attended the event on 20th Street in Norfolk which included food, beverages, music and a light show.  The folks at HP Pride truly outdid themselves.  The image below gives and idea of the excitement.

One of the unique aspects of HR Pride is that it has the only boat parade of any Pride event in the country.  The husband and I will be participating on a friend's 50 foot boat (shown below) and will be boarding around 11:00AM to with other friends.  The assembled fleet parades along the Norfolk water front with boats competing for the wildest decorations and cheering passengers.  Our boat reportedly will have go-go boys. :)

For the complete schedule of events, either pick up the special VEER magazine Pride insert or go to HR Pride's web page hereHere where you can find today's schedule for the party in Norfolk's Town Point Park.

My new employer is a corporate sponsor of the event and it shows how things are changing.  10 years ago I was fired for being gay by a large local law firm.  Now I work for a company that jumped at the opportunity to support this year's Pride event.  If you need title or settlement services, please look us up.  We operate in 10 states and strive to be on the cutting edge of high level services:

NATO: Russians Open Fire in Ukraine

Vladimir "Hitler Want to Be" Putin seemingly is continuing to follow Hitler's game plan from the 1930's when Germany used the pretext of protecting ethnic Germans to seize Czechoslovakia.  New NATO reports indicate that Russian troops have opened fire within Ukraine's borders.  It's all part of Putin's feigned claim of sending "humanitarian aid" to those in need due to the fighting that has ensued between Kremlin backed separatists and the Ukrainian government.  It is telling that the supposed 200 truck convoy entered Ukraine without permission for Kiev or the International Red Cross.  One has to wonder when Putin will take the step of growing a Hitler style mustache.  The man needs to be removed from power and his supporters in Russian need to read their history books and recall the fate that Hitler brought to Germany.  The New York Times looks at the frightening developments.  Here are excerpts:

Russia on Friday escalated tensions with Ukraine to the highest level since its stealthy invasion of Crimea in the spring, sending more than 200 trucks from a long-stalled aid convoy into rebel-held eastern Ukraine over the objections of Kiev and, NATO said, conducting military operations on Ukrainian territory.

NATO officials said that the Russian military had moved artillery units inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and was using them to fire at Ukrainian forces. Russia has repeatedly denied sending troops or military hardware into Ukraine, just as it denied any link to the unidentified gunmen who paved the way for Moscow’s annexation of Crimea — until President Vladimir V. Putin stated in April that Russian troops were “of course” involved.

There has been “a major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen of NATO said in a statement. “Russian artillery support — both cross-border and from within Ukraine — is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces,” Mr. Rasmussen added. 

Russia’s Permanent Mission to NATO, in a statement, accused the alliance of indifference to humanitarian suffering in eastern Ukraine and described its protests over the entry of a Russian aid convoy into Ukraine without Red Cross escorts as “another cynical attempt to cover the crimes of Ukrainian authorities.”

The NATO statements added new pressure on Moscow before a flurry of diplomacy in coming days, including a visit to Kiev on Saturday by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and a scheduled meeting next week between President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine and his Russian counterpart, Mr. Putin, in Minsk, Belarus.

Ms. Merkel spoke by telephone with the Russian and Ukrainian presidents on Friday and “expressed her great concern” over Russia’s unilateral decision to move its aid trucks into Ukraine, her spokesman said. She also spoke with President Obama and, according to the White House, both leaders agreed that the arrival of the convoy represented “a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“It is important to remember that Russia is purporting to alleviate a humanitarian situation which Russia itself created,” Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in a statement. “If Russia really wants to ease the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it could do so today by halting its supply of weapons, equipment, and fighters to its proxies,” she added.

[T]he arrival of Russian trucks — only 34 of which Ukrainian officials inspected Thursday evening on the Russian side of the border, and found to contain buckwheat, rice, sugar and water — appeared to be a Russian effort to stall an accelerating offensive by Ukrainian forces against beleaguered pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. 

The disingenuousness of the Russian statements is amazing and truly sounds like something coming out of Hitler's Nazi regime or the old Soviet Union.  Does Putin really think we are all so stupid that we believe his lies?  

VIRGINIA: Anti-Gay Norfolk Circuit Clerk Files Appeal with Supreme Court

George E. Schaefer III - the face of anti-gay hate
One thing the local Hampton Roads gay community needs to do is come up with a plan to make sure George E. Schaefer III, the clerk of the Norfolk Circuit Court, is defeated the next time he runs for re-election.  If the region is to prosper and move forward in a changing world, the last thing we need is a raging bigot in charge of the circuit court of the area's largest city.  The same holds true in Prince William County where reportedly Michele McQuigg stands for re-election next year.  Typically, circuit court clerk elections are low profile, but these two individuals demonstrate what can happen when the wrong individuals hold these positions.  I stand ready to write campaign contribution checks to any credible candidates who challenge these douche bags.

In his filing yesterday seeking an appeal from the ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, Schaefer argues that the lower federal courts have “subverted” the Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor.  If anything is perverted, its religious extremists and bigots like Schaefer and McQuigg who want to subvert the U.S. Constitution and inflict their poisonous religious beliefs on all Virginians (and who have perverted Christianity into something hideous).  Adding to the hypocrisy is the fact that Schaefer is represented by the former law firm of former governor Bob McDonnell now under federal corruption charges who has shown the true face of GOP family values. The following is Schaefer's basic claim:
Contrary to these mistaken decisions, the Fourteenth Amendment does not override “
state sovereign choices” about whether to adopt same sex marriage.
If this reasoning is correct, then Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided and the bigotry of the majority can strip minorities of their civil rights as American citizens.  It goes without saying that Schaefer is a Republican. I always find it amazing who the opponents of gay marriage continue to make the same arguments as their segregationist forefathers.  I also have to question how their legal counsel can file such disingenuous arguments.    SCOTUS Blog has details on the filing:
Arguing that lower federal courts have “subverted” the Supreme Court’s decision last year on same-sex marriage, a Virginia court clerk on Friday filed his own petition – the second filing seeking a ruling on the constitutionality of that state’s ban on such marriages and the fourth on the basic constitutional issue.  The filing may complicate the Court’s chances of promptly considering that issue.

The new document was filed by lawyers for George E. Schaefer III, who is the circuit court clerk for the city of Norfolk.  He has been taking part in the Virginia case since it began, and he is now defending the ban, after state officials opted not to do so.  Already pending at the Court are another petition from Virginia, one from Utah, and one from Oklahoma.  Another is expected soon from Virginia, to be filed by a different clerk.

On Wednesday, the Court blocked the issuance of licenses for same-sex marriages in Virginia pending the filing of a petition by the other clerk who is defending the ban, Michele B. McQuigg of Prince William County.  Her petition is being prepared now by her lawyers, who may file it within the next week or so.

In the other two Virginia filings, one by the state attorney general and now by the Norfolk clerk, each claimed that it was the proper vehicle for the Court to review the validity of the Virginia ban.  But the two are on slightly different procedural timetables within the Court, and that will be true as well for the McQuigg petition when it is filed.

The Windsor decision “taught that state citizens are free to make up their own minds about this issue by exercising their ‘historic and essential authority to define the marital relation,’” the filing said, quoting from that ruling.
Perhaps someone should buy Schaefer a set of KKK robes since he in making a KKK like argument and applying it to gays.  Just a thought.  As I said, Schaefer needs to be challenged and defeated if he runs for reelection. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Why Republicans Have Stopped Talking About Obamacare

At the beginning of the year, the GOP campaign strategy was to talk about Obamacare and condemn it on a 24/7 basis.  It was seen, in short, as the campaign silver bullet.  Now, a funny thing has happened.  Outside of certain conservative outlets - and behind closed door meetings barring the press (think Ed Gillespie meetings with extremists here in Virginia), the mention of Obamacare in Republican campaign ads is plummeting.  Why?  Think Progress looks at what is happening.  Here are highlights:

Republicans in competitive Congressional races are spending less on political ads attacking the Affordable Care Act and are shifting their attention to other, more pressing economic issues, Bloomberg News reports

In North Carolina, for instance, anti-Obamacare ads accounted for 54 percent of all spots in April, but fell to 27 percent by July, as budget, government spending, and other concerns dominated political ads. Similar patterns bear out in Louisiana and Arkansas . .

Pollsters attribute the shift to a multitude of factors: the emergence of other local or national concerns, voter indifference to the law, or the sense that repeal is highly improbable. But as more people gain and use their Obamacare coverage, the anti-Obamacare ads may soon give way to another reality: the law is working and benefiting the very constituents Republicans are trying to court in the 2014 election cycle. Though the effectiveness of Obamacare implementation varies across the country, a quick snapshot of the law’s progress in the aforementioned states — areas where Senate Democrats are locked in tight re-election bids — shows that the law is delivering identifiable benefits:

North Carolina
357,584 signed up for coverage the the federal exchange; 73,898 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid coverage. According to WalletHub, North Carolina’s uninsurance rate dropped by 2.96 percent from 19.64 percent to 16.68 percent.

In June, UnitedHealthcare announced that it will become the third major health insurer to sell policies in the exchange, potentially increasing choice and competition for 2015. A study of preliminary rate filings predicts an average premium increase of 10.8 percent for 2015.
43,446 signed up for coverage through the federal exchange; 63,465 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid coverage. According to Gallup, “the rate of people without health insurance fell from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in mid-2014.”

101,778 Louisiana residents signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but most of those enrollees already had coverage. According to one survey, “the percentage of uninsured in Louisiana dropped from 22.41 percent to 20.91 percent. That still leaves more than one of every five residents in the state with no insurance.”

Anti-Obamacare ads may make a comeback as more states release premiums for 2015, though the initial filings have fallen short of opponents’ doomsday predictions, with some states even reporting average decreases in premiums. Should that pattern continue, health care reform may finally subside as a top political campaign issue. 

ISIS - The Newest Face of Religion's Evil

In addressing the nation following the brutal video taped murder of American journalist James Foley, Barack Obama tried to separate the Islamic State from religion and Islam.  Yes, ISIS has a political agenda, but behind many of its atrocities lies its extreme form of Islam which in the minds of its followers justifies the murder of all who hold different religious beliefs.  It seeks to impose a religious purity - sick as it may be - much as the Inquisition once sought to do through trials and the burning of those labeled heretics.  One needs to look beyond church soup kitchens and charitable function to realize that over the course of the centuries, religion in its many forms has most often resulted in wars and murders.  What we are seeing in ISIS is just the latest variant.   The evil needs to be fought, but without being honest about the religious under pining of the atrocities, efforts may not succeed.  A op-ed piece in the Washington Post makes the case for defeating ISIS, but like Obama tries to avoid condemning religion as the root of the evil.  Here are excerpts:
The propagandists of the Islamic State must have imagined that their brutal video of the beheading of journalist James Foley would intimidate and terrorize the world. But people aren’t built that way, not in Muslim countries or anywhere else. When they see sadistic, uncivilized behavior, they are disgusted — and angry. 

President Obama spoke Wednesday with special precision and moral clarity in reacting to the video’s release. The Islamic State, he said, “speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”

“People like this ultimately fail,” Obama explained. “They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy.” He spoke, as a president must, about the consequences of killing U.S. civilians: “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.” 

In the months before his death, [Osama] bin Laden knew he had failed.  Documents taken from his hideout show that, in his final days, bin Laden was haunted by the mistakes al-Qaeda had made. The organization’s wanton killing had appalled and alienated Muslims, to the point that bin Laden wondered whether the group should rebrand itself as a less toxic force. He even suggested 10 alternative names that might sound better to the world’s ears.

Bin Laden reflected in a draft letter about “miscalculations” and “unnecessary civilian casualties” that were hurting the jihadist cause.

This week’s macabre executioner, robed in black, traces his jihadist lineage to the very people bin Laden was condemning, the leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Call their successor ISIL or ISIS or the Islamic State — the group has chosen to debase itself with the most extreme and bloodthirsty version of Muslim revolt. Its actions and boasts are a kind of jihadist fantasy, celebrating the pornographic violence of religious killing with beheadings and crucifixions and genocidal assaults on Shiite Muslims, Yazidis, Christians and dissenting Sunnis.
There's more, but it is striking that Obama states no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.  Has he not read the Old Testament where the Israelites rejoice in the annihilation of their enemies, be they men, women or children?  If humankind wants to advance and secure a just civilization across the globe, the first thing that needs to be eradicated is religion.  It is toxic and it promotes evil ranging from hate and discrimination such as we see here in America to brutal murders done by ISIS.

Federal judge: Florida Gay-Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Despite the claims of Brian Brown and other anti-gay hate merchants that "the tide has turned" because the Supreme Court stayed the 4th Circuit ruling that would have allowed marriages to begin in Virginia yesterday (he also cited a lone Tennessee lower state court ruling), the surge in federal court rulings continues in favor of marriage equality.  Yesterday, Florida joined the ranks of state that have seen their anti-gay animus inspired bans on same sex marriage invalidated.  The Miami Herald has details - here are highlights:
In the first decision on same-sex marriage with statewide impact, a federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida’s gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional, ordering the state to allow the marriage of same-sex couples and to recognize marriages performed elsewhere. 

“When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” wrote U.S District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”

Hinkle, who stayed most of the effects of his ruling pending appeal, added: “The institution of marriage survived when bans on interracial marriage were struck down, and the institution will survive when bans on same-sex marriage are struck down. Liberty, tolerance, and respect are not zero-sum concepts. Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage. Tolerating views with which one disagrees is a hallmark of civilized society.”

Read more here:

[Florida Attorney General Pam] Bondi spokesman Whitney Ray declined to say whether the attorney general’s office will take the case to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. “We’re reviewing the ruling,” he said.

Hinkle wrote that the state presented no good argument for defending the law: “The undeniable truth is that the Florida ban on same-sex marriage stems entirely, or almost entirely, from moral disapproval of the practice.”

The judge also wrote he didn’t buy Bondi’s defense that a “critical feature of marriage is the capacity to procreate.”

“Same-sex couples, like opposite-sex couples and single individuals, can adopt, but same-sex couples cannot procreate,” Hinkle wrote. “Neither can many opposite-sex couples. And many opposite-sex couples do not wish to procreate.”

Said attorney Stephen Rosenthal of Podhurst Orseck in Miami, who represents the eight couples in the ACLU case: “What that means, if you read what he’s saying is that, ‘This is a bogus defense.’”
Kudos to Judge Hinkle for recognizing the bogus nature of the arguments against marriage equality and seeing anti-gay animus as the true motivation behind such bans.  Like ISIS, the Christofascists seek to punish anyone who does not embrace their perverted form of Christianity.  It goes without saying that the theocrats and usual hate merchants were not happy with the Court's ruling.  Here's more from the Miami Herald:
The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday supported Bondi’s procreation defense: . . . 

The conservative Family Research Council in Washington blasted Hinkle’s ruling. “A radical departure from natural law and human history, this Florida judge has further undermined the legitimacy of the courts in the eyes of the American people. These liberal activist judges may want to take America over the cultural cliff, but don’t be surprised when more and more Americans refuse to follow,” FRC Senior Fellow Chris Gacek said in a statement.
Note the veiled call for civil insurrection coming from FRC.  

Read more here:

Read more here:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Republican Councilman: Explains Racist Facebook Posts: 'I Was A Very Active Republican'

GOP Facebook post - he was simply being a "very active Republican"
When not condemning gays, Republicans and their hate disseminating Christofascist/Tea Party party base seem obsessed with stirring up racism and encouraging white supremacists to work to disenfranchise minority voters and anyone else deemed :other."  Of course, when confronted, these people usually deny their agenda, but once in a while one finds a Republican who is honest about the racism that is now a pillar of the GOP.  A case in point?  Poplar Bluff, Missouri, councilman Peter Tinsley who explained his racist Facebook post by saying that he was just being "a very active Republican." No doubt Tinsley also sees himself as a  "godly Christian" since no one hates others more than the godly folk be they members of ISIS or a local Southern Baptist congregation.  Talking Points Memo looks at the mysognmy:
According to television station KFVS, Poplar Bluff, Mo., councilman Peter Tinsley's offensive posts were brought up during a city council meeting on Monday night. Tinsley apologized for his behavior, saying he didn't intend to offend anyone when he made those posts last year, reported KFVS.

"I apologize from the bottom of my heart," Tinsley said. "At one time, I was a very active republican, very opposed to Obama."

KFVS reported that Tinsley's justification for posting the photos upset fellow Republicans and prompted another apology.

"I want people to know that I am very remorseful for it," Tinsley told KFVS. "That it was inappropriate. I believe I got caught up in an emotional moment of sharing jokes and at the time it seemed funny but today it's, it's, it's very serious and it's not funny at all. … That anything that I have said, that I referred to the activity because I was a Republican, that is not true. It's not an excuse, " Tinsley said.
Tinsley's efforts to shield the GOP are disingenuous.  Locally, a GOP chairman had to resign after disseminating racist "jokes" and just recently the Treasurer f the Republican Party of Virginia resigned after making anti-Muslim statements.  This behavior is the norm, not the exception.

Religion - The Well Spring for Hate and Homophobia

As LGBT Virginians now face the prospect of waiting perhaps another ten (10) months before they can legally marry in their home state (assuming Justice Kennedy doesn't side with the four Christofascists on the Supreme Court), it is appropriate to underscore where the opposition to marriage equality comes from.  It's not about protecting children, it's not about making families more stable, and it's not about supporting "biblical marriage" since polygamy, not monogamy, is the true marital pattern supported by the Bible.  No, it is all about religious based hatred and an ISIS like mindset that demands those who are different and/or nonbelievers be punished.  Salon, via Alternet, has a compilation of church signs that demonstrate the sick hatred that permeates the "godly folk" and poisons our society.  Here are some highlights:

Texan televangelist John Hagee called same-sex marriage supporters “counterfeit Christians.” A pastor in Tampa, Florida refused to perform a funeral service when he learned the deceased man had been gay, because that would have been “blasphemous.” And Pastor Steve Washburn of First Baptist Pflugerville, Texas, is warning that pastors will be imprisoned for speaking out in favor of same-sex marriage. And that was just this week.

Certain church leaders certainly seem to be re-prioritizing Jesus’ to-do list. They’ve decided to ignore the Bible’s minor points, like turn the other cheek and that whole Golden Rule thing. Also, they’re not going to worry so much about the poor. These shepherds, instead, demonstrate their love for Jesus Christ by hating on homosexuality. They instruct their flock by broadcasting messages of homophobia—literally—on church signs and marquees. Here are some of the worst church signs preaching against brotherly love.

2. God good, gays bad! In this sign, on display at the Santa Clara Jesus Is Lord Baptist Church in California, the beauty is in its simplicity: “God is good/Gays are bad/vote Yes on Prop Eight.”  . . . . Mormons, Catholics, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, who were able to put aside their religious differences and come together in a beautiful interfaith collaborative effort to strip people of their civil rights. Because, at the end of the day, we may call him different names, but we all believe in the same god, who happens to be very homophobic.

4. Some of my best friends are sinning gaysThis sign, gracing the front the Seagate Chapel Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, says, “God loves gays but he hates a perverted life style—turn or burn.” If you can’t find the phrase in Romans 1-26-27, that’s probably because it isn’t there.

5. What would Jesus do? Stone the homos!This “Jesus would stone homos” sign, which was outside a church in… NEW YORK CITY, merely puts some Old Testament teachings into plain language. . . . And what verses does this biblical scholar cite? Leviticus, obviously.

 7. Math hates equality. This sign, seen at the Glasgow Church in New Castle County, Delaware, is not at all formulaic. To sum up, this sign says that same-sex marriage just shouldn’t be part of the equation. In case you’ve forgotten everything you learned in arithmetic, allow me to translate: The cross (Christianity) is greater than equality (for the gays).

 9. Don’t say the Bible didn’t warn you about HIV!This is another gem from Pastor James Manning. I didn’t think it was possible, but he manages to outdo his earlier work with this sign, which “cites” Corinthians, specifically the part saying, “All churches & members that support homos cursed be thou with cancer syphillus HIV stroke madness itch then hell.” I can’t really add anything to this. It speaks for itself.
Can't you just feel the "Christian love"?   These are not nice or decent people.  They are ugly hate merchants.

Virginia GOP Family Values: Throw Your Wife Under the Bus

The criminal corruption trail of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen seems to get more and more tawdry and night time soap opera like with each passing day of the trial.  One thing that has become abundantly clear is that to be a good Republican family, one needs to play act in public even as shrew like behavior and estrangement are the norm behind closed doors.  Or at least that is the take away if one believes Bob McDonnell - who opposes gay marriage despite the sanctity free nature of his own - and his defense team.  Oh, and let's not forget the greed and avarice that seems to have had free rein.  Here are highlights from the New York Times on the tawdry reality  of  Virginia GOP family values in action:

Defense lawyers have portrayed the couple as incapable of conspiring with Mr. Williams, who gave the couple and a family business $120,000 in low-interest loans, paid for much of their daughter’s wedding, took Ms. McDonnell on lavish spending sprees, bought a Rolex for the governor, footed the bill for golf outings and made his Ferrari available to them. 

The defense painted Ms. McDonnell as a vitamin-obsessed “nutbag” smitten with Mr. Williams, and Mr. McDonnell, once considered a contender for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, as at once a na├»ve Boy Scout and an accomplished governor too busy to notice Mr. Williams’s entreaties.

The initial shot the former governor took at his wife was a teaser, devised by the defense lawyer Henry Asbill at the very beginning of his client’s testimony. Mr. Asbill then turned to Mr. McDonnell’s career and his interactions with Mr. Williams.

Even in those early biographical sections, client and lawyer mustered a few veiled shots at Ms. McDonnell. The former governor spoke at length of the difficult times the family faced when he quit his business job and went to law school. He rejoined active duty in the Army Reserve, helped distribute newspapers in Virginia Beach and sold toys with his wife, who pitched in by waiting tables.
After he graduated, Ms. McDonnell “was a little surprised, maybe disappointed, when she looked at the salary” her husband would be making as a local prosecutor, which was lower than his paycheck four years before.

Mr. McDonnell’s main task on Wednesday appeared to be showing that for all his largess, Mr. Williams received no quo for his quid. The Richmond-based insurer Genworth Financial won a $7 million tax savings from the McDonnell administration. A local brewery here got a bill-signing ceremony. The governor pulled out all the stops to help an Israeli firm partner with Pepsi-Cola to make Sabra hummus in Virginia. A DuPont battery facility in Chesterfield County got a visit from the governor.

In contrast, Mr. McDonnell said, Mr. Williams’s Star Scientific company got no grants, no earmarks in the Virginia budget, no economic development assistance, no governor’s visit — just one event in the governor’s mansion, one of “300 or so” where 25,000 people were invited.

But the fireworks still lie with the marriage, which has looked picture-perfect in public but is being portrayed as icy, roiled by a mercurial wife who loathed her role as first lady.

A management consultant hired in 2011 to calm the first lady’s ready-to-revolt staff testified Wednesday that he had discussed reducing her time at the governor’s mansion, limiting her public speaking and getting her therapy, possibly for depression.

Indeed, only in this soap-operatic trial would evidence of affection between the McDonnells be seen as a victory for the prosecution. Prosecutors on Wednesday tried to undermine the defense’s contention that the McDonnells’ marriage had become a sham, highlighting an email exchange between Ms. McDonnell and Mr. Burke in January 2012 as they hashed endlessly over getting her through a coming public event.

Mr. Burke testified that he was brought in to calm “an undue amount of chaos” in the first lady’s suite. He spoke of shouting matches over telephones while trying to stop Ms. McDonnell’s entire staff from quitting, a private appeal to the governor to get his wife into therapy, and hours coaching Ms. McDonnell through speaking engagements and public appearances.

The McDonnells quickly exchanged high-interest credit card debt for Mr. Williams’s lending terms: 2 percent interest to be paid after three years, with no monthly payments necessary.
Sadly, I suspect that many of the marriages of the "godly Christian" crowd are shams and psychodramas like that depicted by the defense team.  The irony is that, if this is true, having gays legally marry could only help the status of marriage across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Think about it, what kind of marriage can a hate filled, perpetually lying, frigid bitch like Victoria Cobb have? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More Wednesday Male Beauty

click image to enlarge

Losing A Wonderful Father-in-Law: Families of Gays

Today was a horrible day even though it started out routine and seemingly just another work day.  My father-in-law (pictured above exactly four months ago with the husband and me) had a massive stroke in mid-morning and passed away this afternoon.  By profession, my father-in-law was an Army chaplain and then a Southern Baptist pastor who attended Southeaster Theological Seminary in the days prior to the far right take over of the Southern Baptist Convention.   Knowing his background, in anticipation to our first meeting, I was a nervous wreck.  To my surprise - we met at a restaurant for a family birthday gathering - his first words to me were "welcome to the family" as he gave me a hug.  Over the next six years he continued to surprise me with his love and acceptance of me as his son's life partner.

Given my father-in-law's sometimes fragile health, my husband and I decided to get married in Washington, D.C., rather than wait for same sex marriage to become legal in Virginia.  Given the my father-in-law's death today and the U.S. Supreme Court's stay of the 4th Circuit ruling (which would  have allowed marriages to begin tomorrow), we obviously made the right decision.   My father-in-law had a great time throughout our wedding weekend and upon our return to Hampton, he teared up as we unloaded the car and said to me that I needed to know that I was "his son now and that I was always welcome in his home."   He was a kind, accepting and loving man - what a Christian is supposed to be.  I consider to be lucky to have known him and been able to call him my father-in-law. I am so happy that he was able to co-officiate our wedding, attend our family wedding reception last month and travel to his family's family reunion just two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, I cannot help but wonder how many parents in Virginia will be deprived of seeing their children marry as the U.S. Supreme Court bows and genuflects to Christofascists before it hopefully strikes down Virginia's marriage bans once and for all.  The husband and I (and his late father) were lucky.  We refused to allow religious based anti-gay animus keep us from marrying.  But others may not be able to do what we did.   No citizen - and no parent - should have to travel to another state so that loving couples can marry.   Whether the hate filled Christofascists and their minions want to admit it or not, we gays do have families (my children and grandchildren - and one son-in-law in the blue shirt - are pictured below) and with every delay of civil equality and every anti-gay lie, more and more Americans are rejecting Christianity and questioning the legitimacy of the current Supreme Court. 

Supreme Court Stays Virginia Marriages, Inflicts Harm on Gays and Their Families

As many past posts on this blog have laid out in detail, the only true objection to same sex marriages derives from religious based bigotry.  All the other "arguments" do not hold water - as a string of federal court rulings have laid out in detail - and the Christofascists, their political whores in the Republican Party, and bigoted United States Supreme Court justices want to punish gays and withhold civil legal rights solely because of non-adherence to Christofascist hate, ignorance embracing and fear based religious beliefs.  Sadly, today the United States Supreme Court stayed the ruling of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit which would have allowed gay marriages to commence tomorrow morning in Virginia.  While one can hope the Court will ultimately strike down same sex marriage bans nationwide very soon, the short term results are that gays and their families are harmed while vile, nasty individuals like Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation, Virginia's principal hate organization, bigoted cows like Michele McQuigg, Prince William County Circuit Court Clerk, and arrogant asses like Antonin Scalia for at least a short while longer can preen, pat themselves on the back for their self declared piety, and deprive other Americans of civil legal rights while granting special privileges to one religious faith group.  I suspect that the Founding Fathers, who were rightly suspicious of religion and opposed restricting civil rights based on religious belief would find the Court's action today abhorrent.  The Washington Blade has details on the Court's unfortunate action.  Here are excerpts:
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to a stay Wednesday on a federal appeals court’s ruling against Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, blocking same-sex marriages from taking place this week in the Old Dominion.

Without explanation, the court announced in a single-page order it has stayed the ruling by the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals in Schaefer v. Bostic, which affirmed Virginia’s prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Although Chief Justice John Roberts is responsible for stay requests in the Fourth Circuit, the order indicates he referred the matter to the entire court. The vote by the Supreme Court on the decision isn’t included in the order.

The court adds that if the court ends up declining a writ of certiorari to hear the case, the stay will terminate automatically. But if the court decides to hear the case, the stay will continue until judgment is issued.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said the stay decision from the Supreme Court “underscores of the urgency” of a national resolution in favor of marriage equality.

“Americans across the country are being deprived of the freedom to marry and respect for their lawful marriages, as well as the tangible protections and precious dignity and happiness that marriage brings,” Wolfson said. “It is time for the Supreme Court to affirm what more than thirty courts have held in the past year: marriage discrimination violates the Constitution, harms families, and is unworthy of America.”

Prior to the announcement from the Supreme Court, the anti-gay legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending Virginia’s marriage ban on behalf of McQuigg, followed up with a response insisting that a stay on the Fourth Circuit decision is necessary to prevent harm to the state. 

As noted before, I hope history views Victoria Cobb, Michele McQuigg and Antonin Scalia, et al, with the same scorn as segregationists of the past and judges who ruled in favor of slavery and later segregation and bans on interracial marriage.  Hate and bigotry are still hate and bigotry no matter how one tries to wrap it in feigned religiosity.