Saturday, August 08, 2015

More Saturday Male Beauty

When Will the GOP Face Reality About Donald Trump?

Having been in the car for 12 hours yesterday and then a bit out of the loop today I am a little bit behind the curve on the latest news.  However, that said, one thing is clear: Donald Trump is a train wreck for the GOP.  The number one question, therefore, becomes one when the party as a whole not to mention opposing candidates will face reality and stop treating Trump as a viable candidate.  Between his newly launched war against Megan Kelly and Fox News in general, Trump continues to prove that he is a loose canon and that his candidacy is nothing more than a circus act with a loud mouthed, egotistical buffoon at its center.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the GOP dilemma.  Here are highlights:
Donald Trump’s attacks on Fox News’s Megyn Kelly have brought his Republican presidential rivals to another moment of truth. How long can they try to treat him as a sideshow before they and the party they seek to lead suffer the political effects of his excesses?

For Trump’s rivals, the political calculus this summer has seemed relatively straightforward. At this still-early stage in the nomination contest, they prefer to pursue their own campaign strategies, not react to his. As Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) told NBC’s Chuck Todd in a “Meet the Press” interview that will air Sunday: “If I comment on everything he said, my whole campaign will be consumed by it.”

Because his rivals assume that Trump will either implode or eventually walk away in a fit of anger, they have generally tried to ignore him rather than seek a confrontation. Sometimes they’ve been forced to voice their displeasure, as has been the case in the past 48 hours.

They responded after Trump, in a CNN interview Friday evening, escalated his criticism of Kelly, calling her a “lightweight” and accusing her of coming after him in last week’s debate in Cleveland with “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

Saturday’s flurry of statements criticizing Trump had a sense of déjà vu. Just three weeks ago, the same almost-ritualized performance played out after Trump had dissed Sen. John McCain of Arizona as not being a hero, despite McCain’s having endured torture and permanent disability as a POW during the Vietnam War.

Tentativeness has marked the candidates’ strategy in dealing with the Trump phenomenon. You could see their hesitation during the debate Thursday. No one really came to Cleveland with the goal of taking on Trump. Not one of the other nine candidates on stage came to Kelly’s defense when Trump went after her for asking him about derogatory comments he has made about women in the past.

There is another reason beyond the other candidates’ wanting to run their own races or wishing not to be the object of Trump’s considerable ire.

They all think that Trump’s support reflects more than fascination with celebrity, that he has tapped into something visceral in the electorate: anger and insecurity, revulsion with Washington, disgust with political-speak and political elites. Because they hope Trump will sink of his own weight, they wish to avoid offending Trump for fear of offending his voters. The candidates want those voters to turn to them if they abandon the reality TV star.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.),  . . . warned that Republicans risk blowing a chance to win the White House if they fail to take on Trump. “There comes a point when it becomes about you and Mr. Trump,” he said.

Right now, Trump’s megaphone is louder than the collective voice of the others in the GOP race. The nomination contest for now is Trump vs. the rest of them. As long as he stands tallest in the polls and loudest on the cable stations, his message will outweigh theirs. It’s clear now what kind of campaign Trump will run and what kind of candidate he is. That’s the reality that now confronts the rest of the Republican Party. 

Return to Brantingham - Continued

The husband and I had a wonderful day today as we revisited my family's past and he got to meet some of my more distant cousins.  First we went in to Lowville - about 17 miles away from the lake house - where my maternal grandparents lived after moving from Central America. The husband  got to see my grandparent's former home pictured below (which my grandfather had bought for his parents around 1920), the family cemetery plot with my grand parents and great grand parents graves, and a farmer's market at the county fair grounds where we bought luscious looking preserves from a delightful Mennonite woman.  

Once we got back to the camp, we took out the "Class of 41" - my brother's 1941 Chris Craft (pictured above) which is the main photo on this blog - and we circled the lake a number of times stopping to wave and talk to friends from long ago.     We finished the afternoon with wine and munchies sitting in Adirondack chairs looking across the ever changing scenery of the lake.  Tonight I am taking him to dinner to a restaurant that has been here for at least 50 years.
The husband at the wheel

A windblown me in the rear seat

My brother joins us tomorrow and the fun and making of new memories will continue.  More posts tonight if we don't treat ourselves to too many cocktails. :)

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Anti-Gay Republicans Having an Affair and Cheating on Spouses

As so often noted, the hypocrisy of anti-gay Republicans seems to know no boundaries.  They blather about "family values" and "protecting marriage" from us evil gays, and then they get caught with their pants down - both literally and figuratively.  The latest example is that of Michigan State Rep. Todd Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat.   Both have helped introduce a bill that would limit the ability of same sex couples to marry.  The Detroit News looks at the utter hypocrisy of these two douche bags.  Here are highlights:

State Rep. Todd Courser planned the distribution of a fictional email alleging he had sex with a male prostitute in a bid to conceal his relationship with Rep. Cindy Gamrat, according to audio recordings obtained by The Detroit News.

Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create “a complete smear campaign” of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators’ relationship would seem “mild by comparison.”

Interviews with former House employees and the recordings show freshman lawmakers Courser and Gamrat, R-Plainwell, used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship. Courser, 43, and Gamrat, 42, rose from the ranks of tea party activism, battled establishment Republicans to win seats in the House last year and formed their own legislative coalition.

A now-former House aide recorded Courser in mid-May directing him to send Republican activists and operatives an email that would appear to be from an anonymous political enemy that said Courser had been “caught behind a Lansing nightclub” having sex with a man.

During the May 19 meeting, Courser instructed Graham to send rank-and-file Republicans across Michigan what he called “an over-the-top story that’s obscene about me.” It was designed, Courser said on the recording, to “inoculate the herd” — an apparent reference to Courser and Gamrat’s followers in the tea party movement.   “It will make anything else that comes out after that — that isn’t a video — mundane, tame by comparison,” Courser, a married father of four, told Graham.

The pair are socially conservative legislators who often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage. Their political alliance dates back to Courser’s unsuccessful 2013 race for Michigan Republican Party chairman when Gamrat ran as his vice chairwoman.

Read the full piece for all of the sordid details.  Underscoring their hypocrisy, Courser and Gamrat  introduced legislation that would make marriage in Michigan require a clergy signature.  Similarly, they have introduced  legislation defining life at conception. Not surprisingly, they are closely allied with Gary Glenn, head of the American Family Association of Michigan.

Return to Brantingham Lake - 42 Years Later

Lake after sunset

This weekend is turning out to be a wonderful and also emotional weekend.  I am back at the family summer "camp" on Brantingham Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State for the first time in 42 years.  It is my husband's first visit.  It's a long story as to why I haven't been back, but better late then never sums up the situation.  My maternal grandparents purchased the camp in 1938 but the family connection goes back far longer.  There are photos of my great grand parents here at the lake in 1896 and subsequent years.  Among the many photos are those of my late mother during her last visit to Brantingham in the summer of 2010.   So, so many memories.  Above is a photo of the lake just after sunset last night and below is a photo of the house and views of the lake early this morning.  

In my June 2015 VEER Magazine I wrote in part about growing up gay and here's the portion that looked at the role this place played in my life:

If the school year was a nightmare, summers were what likely saved me and helped me survive my teen years.  Through my mother's  family, we had a summer home on Brantingham Lake in the western Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State.  As my siblings and I got older, we spent large parts of the summer at the "camp" as such summer homes are called in local parlance.  And this allowed me an opportunity to reinvent myself, if you will.  While I truly sucked at school team sports, I excelled at slalom water skiing, sailing, canoeing and swimming.  I could compete and hold my own.  In addition, at camp, we had a whole different circle of friends, most of whom were from other parts of New York or surrounding states and were far more sophisticated than my school year friends.   Yes, I still struggled to "pray away the gay" and convince myself that I wasn't really attracted to some of my male friends.  And , yes, the mental gymnastics to deny the truth about my sexual orientation continued at Olympic proportions.  But these summers allowed me to finally feel somewhat good about myself.   As one friend from those years with whom I have reconnected through the magic of Facebook wrote in a post "the memories of the lake, the times in the boats at night, skiing in the mornings at 6am so as to be the only boat on the lake..... these are the memories that never leave me and are the ones I use to help me get to sleep at night."  They were the summer time experiences that helped me survive growing up gay.
There have been changes in the place over the years - most notably the loss of a number of huge pine trees felled in a severe "mircobust thunder storm some years back that wreaked havoc on the area - but other aspects have not changed at all.  
Camp in the fading sunset

Early morning view - mist over the lake
Early morning - mist over the water

Friday, August 07, 2015

Friday Morning Male Beauty

A Debate that Pandered to the Lunatic Base

The husband and I watched the so-called "big boy debate" - no, I'm not talking about Chris Chrstie's waist size - on Fox News last night.  It was a painful experience in some ways and there were moments when I wanted to throw something at the television and scream.  Probably the main winners were the Fox News moderators who did a far better job needling the collection of blowhards and liars on the stage who time and time again gave answers that made it clear that they are only too willing to prostitute themselves to the ugliest elements of the GOP base.  Perhaps the most sickening moments for me were near the end when the  political whores candidates spoke about religion.   I truly wanted to vomit and by their craven statements about a fairy tale religion proved that none of them were fit to be the president of a modern day super power.  One would have thought that they were competing for the position of pastor at a far right Southern Baptist parish.  A column in the New York Times looks at the debate and the only stellar performance: the moderators.  Here are highlights:

The first question to Chris Christie was about the nine credit downgrades that New Jersey had suffered since he became its governor.

Ben Carson was reminded of his domestic-policy blunders, of his foreign-policy blunders, of a whole raft of loopy statements that raise serious questions about how well he understands the country and globe. Could he reassure voters?

And Donald Trump had to listen obediently, even meekly, as Megyn Kelly—the one woman on Fox News’s panel of three debate moderators—recited a squirm-inducing litany of his misogynistic remarks through time.

This wasn’t a debate, at least not like most of those I’ve seen.  This was an inquisition.
On Thursday night in Cleveland, the Fox News moderators did what only Fox News moderators could have done, because the representatives of any other network would have been accused of pro-Democratic partisanship.

They took each of the 10 Republicans onstage to task. They held each of them to account. They made each address the most prominent blemishes on his record, the most profound apprehensions that voters feel about him, the greatest vulnerability that he has.

It compels me to write a cluster of words I never imagined writing: hooray for Fox News.

Fox accomplished something important. It prevented the Republican contenders from relying on sound bites and hewing to scripts that say less about their talents and more about the labors of their well-paid handlers.

And the questions that the moderators asked weren’t just discomfiting, humiliating ones. They were the right ones, starting with a brilliant opener: Was there any candidate who was unwilling to pledge support to the eventual Republican nominee and swear off a third-party run?

Trump alone wouldn’t make those promises, even though the moderator who asked that question, Bret Baier, pointed out that such a third-party run would likely hand the presidency to the Democratic nominee.

And thus, in the first minute of the debate, Trump was undressed and unmasked, and he stood there as the unprincipled, naked egomaniac that he is. He never quite recovered. His admission of political infidelity was the prism through which all of his subsequent bluster had to be viewed.

All in all, the large number of candidates made it difficult for anyone to stand out much, so it’s impossible to come up with any sweeping, definitive list of winners and losers.

I do think that Trump lost: He said nothing, not one syllable, that infused his candidacy with any of the gravitas that it sorely needs, and there was something pouty and petulant about his whole performance. Some of his rivals managed, even under the Fox fire, to look grateful to be there and to enjoy themselves, at least a bit. Marco Rubio did.

I also think that Ted Cruz lost, inasmuch as I forgot he was there for most of the debate. I also lost track of Carson, up until a surprisingly charming closing statement, and of Mike Huckabee, until his hilarious conflation of Trump and Clinton at the very end.

Jeb Bush avoided any gaffes and discovered a bit of the spark that he often lacks. John Kasich charted a humane midcourse for Republicans trying to reconcile personal misgivings over same-sex marriage with how the Supreme Court has ruled. Will it do him any favors with Republican primary voters? Maybe not. But he sounded like a leader, and he sounded like a decent man.

Trump was also pressed to defend his many corporate bankruptcies. Bush was pressed to explain his inability months ago to say whether, knowing all that we know now, he would have invaded Iraq. Cruz was pressed about his famously obnoxious demeanor on Capitol Hill.

Scott Walker was pressed on job creation in Wisconsin, which isn’t all that he claims it to be.
“Given your record in Wisconsin, why should voters believe you?” said Chris Wallace, the third Fox moderator.  We shouldn’t.

The thought of any of these men other than perhaps Kasich in the White House is down right frightening. 

Thursday, August 06, 2015

More Thursday Male Beauty

Millennials Put Off By Rigid, Judgmental Religion

As the GOP presidential debate continues with the top ten candidates doing everything short of wearing "for sale" signs in terms of their efforts to prostitute themselves to the Christofascists, yet another piece looks at the revulsion Millennials hold towards far right Christianity.  With more and more documentation that the coming generations find judgmental religious extremism repulsive, the GOP and far right denominations nonetheless continue to double down on their hate and bigotry.  A piece in Religion Dispatches looks at this failure to face this reality.  Here are highlights:
In a way, the Christian Post‘s Kevin Shrum is quite right about why young people reject Christianity these days. . . . And if you turn around his last seven bullet points (no, really), he really gets at the problem: people feel like the church is a horribly judgmental place more concerned with keeping its own brand of morality afloat than actually helping anyone in need. You’ll notice that Shrum never says a word about service or ministry. It’s all holiness all the time. Unfortunately for churches like Shrum’s, holiness just isn’t very popular in our culture these days. What people want in spirituality is egalitarianism, an emphasis on the ways in which God welcomes, rather than rejects.

Weirdly, though, the standard conservative religious argument these days is that the churches that demand orthodoxy—another word for holiness—are the ones that do best. That’s even true! Conservative churches do fare better these days than liberal ones, though the sociologists tell me that’s mostly the result of their later adoption of birth control. The cultural trends are the cultural trends, even if they do take longer to catch up with some groups than others.

Trouble is, Shrum’s already stipulated White and Barna’s argument that this is exactly what the “Nones” don’t want. You can’t move to the “narrow way” without getting more judgmental and exclusionary.  . . . . in a pluralistic society, the literally holier-than-thou act is just deadly.

That leaves Shrum with two options: acknowledge that the church as he conceives it wants a bigger slice of a shrinking pie (that is, hope that as Christianity declines in the US, more of the people who remain will be orthodox believers like him); or, as he just about comes out and says directly, he can skip Christian introspection and blame the people leaving the church for their own lack of faith and discipleship.

If that’s the “well-articulated, well-understood Gospel” he wants to proclaim, well, good luck to him.

Evangelical Will Continue to Use Same Sex Marriage as Wedge and Money Beg

While they continue to beat the drum against abortion to shake down the sheeple in church pews for money, over the last decade the professional Christian set has turned peddling anti-gay animus into a lucrative cash cow.  Now, with marriage equality the law of the land, this cash cow is threatened and the Christofascists are seeking ways to keep the money flowing in.  Hence the cries that (i) Christians are facing persecution and that "religious freedom" must be protected and (ii) the battle to "protect marriage" is not over despite the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.  Among those leading the charge on this veiled money beg are the Heritage Foundation and the Southern Baptist Convention.  CNN looks at the effort to maintain the myth that the battle for marriage is not over.  Here are highlights:.  
Despite the Supreme Court decision in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, leading evangelicals vowed this week that the fight to keep marriage between a man and a woman is not over. 

"In mandating same-sex marriage for all 50 states, the Supreme Court didn't just get marriage wrong, it got government wrong," Jennifer Marshall, a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a D.C.-based conservative think tank, told a gathering of evangelicals in Nashville on Wednesday.

Leading Christian and political conservatives met at the Gospel and Politics: The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission National Conference. The group is the political and policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant Christian group in the country.

The conference was the second one this week by the Christian group. Leader Russell Moore interviewed presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at a missions conference Tuesday.

Moore, who has met with President Barack Obama, reinforced that sentiment this week, telling the crowd to stay engaged despite widespread sentiment that the fight over same-sex marriage is finished in the wake of the high court's ruling. 

Moore previously told CNN that the fight to reverse the Supreme Court's recent ruling will be a long one.

"Citizenship is an office in this country that all of us is invested in," he said. "We engage politically. We engage socially, but we don't forget who we are."   To believe that conservative Christians have lost the fight against same-sex marriage is misguided, Marshall said.
Translation: keep writing us checks and making credit card contributions so that we can continue to live the good life.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Tonight's Possible Bloodbath: A GOP Debate Guide

The first GOP presidential candidate debate takes place tonight and there is much speculation how this circus - or perhaps gladiatorial contest is more apt - will play out.  Between the huge ego's involved and the desperation on the part of some of the candidates to gain traction - momentum is a favored word - in the face of the Trump poll scores, in some ways, anything is possible.  If nothing else, the debates - there's the "children's debate" at 6:00PM before the main event at 9:00PM - should make for entertaining view as the full batshitery and misogyny is on open display.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at some of the areas of speculation.  Here are excerpts:
We all know that more people will be influenced by the narrative the press settles on: “Nixon looked sweaty,” “George H.W. Bush looked at his watch,” “Who’s Admiral Stockdale??”

So what are some likely narratives to keep an eye on? Glad you asked…

1. Which Donald Trump shows up? They used to say that half the people who paid to see a Muhammad Ali fight were paying to see him win; the other half were paying to see him get knocked out. Like Ali, Trump is a master showman who knows how to talk trash and gin up excitement (if only there were a “weigh-in” before the debate). And like Ali, all eyes will be on him. Half of us will be rooting for him to give them hell; the other half will be hoping he gets a bloody lip. But what if he doesn’t live up to the hype? Some recent interviews suggest that Trump might be about to (to borrow a phrase from Ali) “rope-a-dope” his opponents. . . . . It’s unclear whether or not Trump has the patience or inclination to pull that off. But he might.

2. Will the “kids table” be better than the “adult table”? Only the top 10 candidates will participate in the top-tier debate Thursday night. The rest will participate in a 6 p.m. ET debate. But it’s entirely possible that the narrative will be that the earlier debate was actually better. . . . What if the big debate turns into a mess (thanks to Donald Trump), but the first debate is conversely serious and high-minded? That’s actually not an unlikely scenario. There’s also the possibility that something said in the earlier debate will be so newsworthy that the moderators at the second debate have to mention it or ask a question about it. . . . it’s entirely possible that some of the candidates who are relegated to the “kiddy” table this time around will get promoted in a future debate.

3. Protests or interruptions. Presumably, security will be tight, but it’s possible the big story will be that someone interrupts the debate. This could be Code Pink or #BlackLivesMatter or some right-wing group. If that happens, the response—from the candidates, the police, and/or the moderators—will be under close scrutiny.

4. How does Jeb do? Let’s not forget that Jeb Bush is, in many ways, still considered the frontrunner (despite Trump’s poll numbers). This will be a huge test for him. Does he come across like the serious adult next to Trump? Or does he come across looking like a weak scold? Either option is entirely possible.  

5. Do the candidates go after Trump? Of course, it’s entirely possible Trump comes out throwing elbows and the debate descends into chaos . . . . Based on my reading of the debate rules, a candidate who is mentioned by name gets to respond. This is an important rule, because one assumes that “time of possession” (the amount of screen time each candidate receives) is a large factor in terms of his ability to “win” the debate .. . . .several of the candidates will have an incentive to pick a fight with Trump. The downside, of course, is that Trump might embarrass them. But the upside is there’s no better way to ensure your video clip gets played on a loop the next day than to tangle with Trump.

6. Unholy alliances? While it’s unrealistic to think that all the non-Trump candidates would conspire to refuse to take his bait, it is entirely possible that we will once again see some unofficial alliances emerge. Sometimes, debates create strange bedfellows.

7. Zingers? “I paid for this microphone!” “You’re no Jack Kennedy.” Every once in a while, someone rises to the occasion in a debate and lands a terrific sound bite—or even a knockout punch. The interesting thing is that there are numerous candidates who are capable of this. 

9. Gaffes? “You’re likable enough.” “Binders full of women.” There’s always the chance for someone to say something stupid.

12. Are the debates a net plus for Republicans? At some point, debates quit being like internal practice rounds and became public scrimmage games. The point of a primary debate might be to help select the party standard bearer, but it’s also a nationally broadcast “game” that will influence how viewers perceive the team. The RNC has taken special care to limit the number of debates and select appropriate media outlets to mitigate the damage that could be done by some ugly on-field behavior. But when the clock strikes 11 on Thursday night, will they be better off than they were two hours before?
I will naturally have a future post on my reactions.

5th Circuit Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 turned 50 this week and as a gift to those who believe in the right to vote for voting age all citizens the United States Court of Appeals struck down Texas' anti-minority voter ID law, one of the most reactionary in the country.  The law had been pushed through the GOP controlled Texas legislature under the usual GOP pretense of preventing voter fraud - which had not been documented to be a problem - while aiming to restrict minority voting and voting by younger voters who tend to vote Democrat.  Rather than push policies and an agenda attractive to all, the GOP prefers to disenfranchise all those other than aging angry whites voters longing for the days of Jim Crow and a world of unchallenged white privilege.  The New York Times looks at the ruling.  Here are excerpts:
A federal appeals panel ruled Wednesday that a strict voter identification law in Texas discriminated against blacks and Hispanics and violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a decision that election experts called an important step toward defining the reach of the landmark law.

The case is one of a few across the country that are being closely watched in legal circles after a 2013 Supreme Court decision that blocked the voting act’s most potent enforcement tool, federal oversight of election laws in numerous states, including Texas, with histories of racial discrimination.
While the federal act still bans laws that suppress minority voting, it has been uncertain exactly what kinds of measures cross the legal line since that Supreme Court ruling.
The Texas ID law is one of the strictest of its kind in the country. It requires voters to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, a United States passport, a concealed-handgun license and an election identification certificate issued by the State Department of Public Safety.

The plaintiffs, including individual voters, civil rights groups and the Department of Justice, said it was discriminatory because a far greater share of poor people and minorities do not have these forms of identification and lack easy access to birth certificates or other documents needed to obtain them.
Student identifications, voter registration cards and utility bills are not considered acceptable proof of identity.

Although the appeals court upheld the finding of discriminatory effect, the three-judge panel said the lower court must re-examine its conclusion that Texas acted with discriminatory purpose.

Texas could appeal to the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans or the United States Supreme Court.

In a 147-page opinion issued in the fall of 2014 after a two-week trial, a district court judge, Nelva Gonzales Ramos, said the law “creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote” and blocked its enforcement.

She noted the lack of evidence that voter fraud was a threat and cited expert testimony that about 600,000 Texans, mainly poor, black and Hispanic, lacked the newly required IDs and often faced obstacles in obtaining them.

The evidence that the law violated Section 2 was relatively strong, said Justin Levitt, an elections expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, because the racial difference in impact was striking.
Another case, in North Carolina, involves what some say are more subtle effects, and could provide a more telling test of the Voting Rights Act.

There, civil rights advocates and the Department of Justice are challenging cutbacks in a range of measures used disproportionately by minorities, including early voting and same-day registration and voting.

A second case in Texas, involving a challenge to the state’s redistricting, could also set an important legal precedent.
Voter disenfranchisement and gerrymandered districts are the GOP's favored tools to cling to power in the face of a changing America where the hate and bigotry and embrace of ignorance that the GOP are peddling is less and less popular.  

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

More Wednesday Male Beauty

RNC Nixes Proposed Anti-Gay Resolutions

While the Christofascist elements of the party base will likely be outraged, perhaps the Republican National Committee ("RNC") has finally realized that homophobia and anti-gay extremism is not good for the GOP's long term viability as a national political party.  At least that is one possible take away from the RNC action today killing two controversial anti-gay resolutions that were proposed for consideration during its summer meeting this week in Cleveland.  It is also possible that the RNC did not to fuel a furor ahead of its first presidential circus debate event tomorrow after the Democrat National Committee had jumped on news that the proposals were up for consideration.  One can almost imagine the shrieks and howls - and sheets of flying spittle - that must be occurring in the headquarters of hate groups like Family Research Council, NOM and The Family Foundation here in Virginia.  Here are highlights from on the development:
The Republican National Committee’s resolutions committee quietly rejected a pair of resolutions critical of homosexuality Wednesday.

The controversial resolutions dealing with sex education and same-sex marriage threatened to cast a shadow on the first GOP presidential debate Thursday in Cleveland, as the party looks toward expanding its base in the key swing state. According to a member of the committee, both failed to gain support to be recommended to the full 168-member party governing body on Friday.

The first resolution, introduced by embattled Michigan national committeeman Dave Agema, would have encouraged “schools that are teaching the homosexual lifestyle in their sexual education class also include the harmful physical aspects of the lifestyle.” The second, which would have encouraged Congress and states to pass laws in an effort to nullify June’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, was introduced by Louisiana national committeeman Ross Little, Jr. The Washington Blade first reported on the proposed resolutions over the weekend.

The proposals quickly garnered attention and criticism from the Democratic National Committee and same-sex marriage proponents. The Human Rights Campaign launched a digital ad campaign Wednesday to encourage candidates to support the plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, Ohioan Jim Obergefell.

But the resolutions committee also failed to approve a counter-proposal that would have called for the party to respect differing opinions on the Supreme Court case among its presidential candidates.

According to a person familiar with the resolutions committee meeting, only four resolutions were sent to the full Republican National Committee for a final vote on Friday: one condemning Planned Parenthood amid recent controversial videos about fetal tissue, another condemning President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, a resolution on judicial overreach, and a fourth honoring a recently deceased former RNC member.

While it is possible that the resolutions could be offered once again at the general session on Friday, such a move is seen as unlikely, and would almost certainly fail.
Another take, of course, is that perhaps the GOP is learning that whenever the party takes new anti-gay stands, GOP elected officials tend to get outed - ask former Virginia 2nd district congressman Ed Schrock what happened to him after the Virginia GOP began its anti-gay jihad.

Wednesday Male Beauty

Jeb Bush Opposition to Women's Health Spending a Gift to Democrats

The GOP war on women is real and Jeb "Jebbie" Bush inadvertently underscored that reality when he questioned the amount of government support for women’s health programs generally while attacking Planned Parenthood funding.  Like most in the GOP, Jebbie ignores the fact that only about 3% of Planned Parenthood funding involves abortions while the rest goes to providing services that many women would otherwise not be able to secure.  It's part and parcel with the GOP's view on health care which can be summed up as "let the poor sicken and die, and good riddance."  A piece in Politico looks at this blunder by Bush.  Here are excerpts:

Another ill-advised ad lib from Jeb Bush, another opportunity for Democrats.

Looking to curry favor with religious conservatives at the outset of a competitive primary fight, Bush on Tuesday repeated his call to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood — and then he went even further, questioning the amount of government support for women’s health programs generally.

The Romneyesque unforced error drew a fast and furious backlash from Democrats, causing Bush to backtrack almost immediately and to acknowledge that he “misspoke.”

The controversial comment came as Bush started to acknowledge the importance of federal funding for some women’s health programs, and then stopped mid-sentence to qualify his remarks, asserting that he believes the current amount of funding is likely too much.

“I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars in funding for women’s health programs,”  . . .  “But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government in my mind,” he concluded.

Bush, who told the audience that, as governor, he defunded Planned Parenthood in Florida, prefaced his comments by acknowledging that Democrats are likely to attack his comments — and the GOP’s current fight against Planned Parenthood, which gained steam after the release of several controversial videos that allegedly show organization officials talking about the sale of fetal tissue and organs.

It didn’t take long.  Less than an hour after Bush wrapped up his appearance before more than 13,000 members at a Southern Baptist convention in Nashville, Hillary Clinton tweeted directly at Bush: “You are absolutely, unequivocally wrong.”

At an organizing event in Denver on Tuesday night, Clinton slammed Bush again over his comment.  “He’s got no problem giving billions of dollars away to super wallet and powerful corporations but I guess women’s health just isn’t a priority for him,” she said to a crowd of 300 supporters.  “I would like to ask him to try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get screening in time. Was her health not worth the money?”

In talking about health care and health spending, Bush opened himself up to an examination of his record as Florida governor, when he did relatively little about the rising cost of health insurance and the spiking rates of the uninsured. The number of Floridians under age 65 who lacked insurance rose from nearly 17 percent to more than 20 percent from the time he took office in 1999 to the time he left in 2007, according to Florida and Census data. During his two terms, Medicaid rolls swelled 31 percent — from 1.6 million people to 2.1 million — and cost taxpayers $14.6 billion by the time he left office. So many people were on public assistance in Florida that more than 45 percent of all births were subsidized by Medicaid.

Bush’s record aside, the video of his Tuesday comments could be used to devastating effect in television ads against him next fall, should he become the Republican nominee.

Tuesday’s comments mark the third occasion in recent weeks in which an inartfully phrased comment has sparked criticism from Democrats and put Bush on the defensive.

Last month, Bush had to explain his statement that “workers need to work longer hours,” after Democrats portrayed Bush as having said that workers are lazy; and he also had to walk back a comment about “phasing out” Medicare after it was unclear whether he was referring to the specific program or more generally to ballooning entitlements.

Jebbie is utterly clueless about the travails faced by average Americans.  Worse yet, I don't think he even cares about most of us.