Saturday, May 11, 2013

Judge Refuses to Drop Order Allowing Morning-After Pill Over the Counter Sales Sales

In what seems to me to be one of Barack Obama's dumber moves, his administration is a appealing a judicial ruling to allow that would allow the sale of the "morning after pill" over the counter to women of all ages.  If one truly wants fewer abortions - as both Obama and even the fetus lovers/child haters of the far claim to want - making the morning after pill as widely available as possible should be a no brainer.  For the far right, of course the argument is that such sales would encourage promiscuity and never mind that there would be fewer abortions.  But WTF is Obama's excuse?  He certainly won't win any far right votes and, worse yet, no scientific data supports restricting the sales and thereby almost guaranteeing more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.  The judge in the case rightly has no patience with the Obama administration's pathetic arguments for restrictions and has made his impatience clear.  Here are highlights from the New York Times:

A federal judge on Friday stepped up his criticism of the Obama administration, accusing the Justice Department of making “frivolous” and “silly” arguments in its attempt to delay making the morning-after emergency contraceptive pill available to women and girls of all ages without a prescription. 

Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered last month that the drug be made widely available and said that raw politics — not scientific evidence — was behind efforts by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, to block easier distribution to young girls. 

On Friday, he denied the request by government lawyers to suspend his ruling while they appeal. In the process, he lashed out again at Ms. Sebelius in unusually harsh terms, questioning her credibility and integrity. 

“If a stay is granted, it will allow the bad-faith, politically motivated decision of Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise, to prevail — thus justifiably undermining the public’s confidence in the drug approval process,” Judge Korman wrote. 

The issue of how broadly to distribute the morning-after pill is a politically charged one that puts President Obama’s administration at the center of a clash involving some women’s rights groups, conservative opponents of abortion and defenders of scientific integrity. 

In Friday’s ruling, Judge Korman said that the government’s appeal of his order was nothing more than an attempt to “vindicate the improper conduct of the secretary.”

The judge repeatedly accused the government of operating in bad faith and said the process of denying broad distribution of the drug had been “corrupted by political interference” for years. He said he did not believe that ordering Ms. Sebelius or the F.D.A. to re-examine their decisions would make any difference.

He also rejected the government’s argument that women might be confused about the drug’s availability if it was made available to everyone without a prescription and then later restricted because the government won its appeal. 

Judge Korman called that argument “largely an insult to the intelligence of women.” 

America has the highest unwanted teen pregnancy rate in the developed world for one reason:  for too long ignorance and religious idiocy has prevented safe and effective preventive methods from being widely available.  The far right's "abstinence only" sex education has proved to be disastrously ineffective and it is time that science and modernity prevail.  If the Christofascists don't like the drug, then don't buy it.  It's that simple.  Once again they want to force their sick, misguided beliefs on everyone.

Saturday Male Beauty

It’s Time to "Out" Lindsey Graham

John Aravosis has a timely post at America Blog that calls for and investigation of Senator Lindsey Graham and "outing: him.  I agree wholeheartedly with John.   There is no reason why closeted gay politicians who daily harm normal gays who are simply trying to go about live their lives should be given any deference.  Their hypocrisy is disgusting and, in my view, they need to pay a price for the evil they are doing to other.  That's why I contacted Mike Rogers and help set things in motion to out former Virginia Congressman Ed Schrock.  

For background, Schrock had the second most anti-gay voting record in the House and pandered to the Christofascists by making numerous statements about his concerns about gays looking at other service members in the shower.  Meanwhile, he himself was trolling for gay sex and stupidly met a guy I knew who immediately called me.  When I  confronted Schrock's office, Schrock called me himself on his cell phone and then I received threats from his staff.  I don't doubt that Graham is engaging in similar conduct.  Therefore, he needs to be outed - the sooner, the better, although waiting until the GOP is locked into him as the party nominee has a sense of deliciousness to it as well.  Here are highlights from John's post:

It’s time to finally out Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  Graham has had it coming for a while now. Not because he’s a Republican. But because he’s an anti-gay Republican. And while it’s one thing to be gay and a closet case, it’s quite another to be a hypocrite, an anti-gay gay, someone who uses his power to harm others in the name of morality, all the while knowing secretly that he is one of the others.

In this case, Graham’s hypocrisy that broke the camel’s back is immigration reform. I have it on good authority from someone intimately involved in the immigration reform process that Lindsey Graham is the central reason that the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would help stop the forced deportation of foreign-born gay spouses, is being blocked from being added to the immigration bill. While other Senators might be bluffing about their opposition to addressing the immigration needs of gay binational couples in immigration reform, I’m told Graham isn’t bluffing.

The obvious question arises as to why Graham is holding gays hostage in the immigration bill. 
One theory is that UAFA is Graham’s legislative beard. A beard is a woman a gay man socializes with in order to throw off suspicions that he’s actually gay. In this case, the theory goes, Lindsey Graham is using UAFA in order to throw off the suspicions of the Tea Party voters back home who are challenging him in a high-profile primary. Their suspicions are that: A) Graham is a liberal; and B) he’s gay.

Graham’s support for immigration reform is hardly helping him dispel the closet liberal image.  But his opposition to UAFA, the theory goes, is a two-fer: It let’s Graham oppose something, anything, related to immigration reform (his support for the measure has been a thorn in his side with the far-right back home), and it has the added benefit of bashing gays.

Lindsey Graham voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, because he believed that gays should not be serving in the US military.   .   .   .   .   The question facing us is not whether you or I think Lindsey Graham’s sexual orientation is relevant to a public policy debate.  The question confronting us is whether Lindsey Graham thinks one’s sexual orientation is relevant, and he does.  So by the Graham Standard, America deserves to know if Air Force Reserve Colonel Lindsey Graham is gay.

I don’t know if Lindsey Graham is gay.  But I’m having a difficult time believing that he’s straight (and I’m clearly not the only one). And what’s more, he seems to be having a difficult time proving it, or even explaining it.

Lindsey Graham decided long ago that one’s sexual orientation was fair game for politics, then so be it.  It’s time someone did an in-depth investigation of whether Lindsey Graham is gay, straight, or asexual, because under the Graham Standard, America has a right to know.

I agree with John 100%.  Graham needs to be outed if he's gay.

Catholic Priest Who Blew Whistle on Sex Abuse Suspended and Considers Fleeing Africa

Speaking of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, a story out of Africa underscores that absolutely nothing has changed under Pope Francis.  Cover ups and sanctions against those who seek to expose the institutional Church's utter moral bankruptcy continue to be the norm.  Fr. Anthony Musaala (pictured above) has been suspended indefinitely for shining a light on what he calls an open secret: Sex abuse by Catholic clergy is a problem in Africa too.  Just like all over the rest of the world.  The problem is systemic and, in my view, is the direct result of the Church's celibacy policy and its bizarre obsession with all things sexual.  Here are highlights from the Los Angeles Times

KAMPALA, Uganda — He is a celebrity across eastern and central Africa, a gospel music star known to many as the "Dancing Priest." But for years he also was a keeper of painful secrets — his own and many others'.

In going public, Anthony Musaala has forced the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda to confront a problem it had insisted didn't exist. And he may stir a debate far beyond Africa's most Catholic of countries.

The Ugandan priest has been suspended indefinitely by the archbishop of Kampala for exposing what he calls an open secret: Sex abuse in the Catholic Church is a problem in Africa as well as in Western Europe and North America.

The African Catholic Church is fast-growing, pious and traditional. As the church elsewhere forks out billions of dollars to compensate the child sex abuse victims of priests, few African Catholics have questioned the assumption, voiced recently by Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, that the African church is purer than its counterpart in the West, which is regarded as secular and permissive.
It's not more pure, says Musaala. He says he has the evidence to prove it.

"The Vatican turns a blind eye because it doesn't want to be embarrassed about this blooming church. But I think it's time we had the truth," Musaala says.

In March, he wrote to the archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Lwanga, about priests who fathered children, kept secret wives or abused girls or boys, and called for a debate on marriage for priests.  .   .   .   .  People know. Nothing is ever done," said Musaala in an interview.  

The letter was leaked to the news media. And in response, Lwanga suspended Musaala, saying his statements stirred up contempt for the Catholic Church and damaged the morale of believers.

For African Catholics, the revelations of child sex abuse in Western churches are shocking enough. But the idea that African priests might be sexually abusing boys had been unthinkable. Paradoxically, many believers in Africa are aware that some priests break their vows and father children, but talking about it is taboo.

When he suggested to church colleagues that victims of child sex abuse should be compensated, they were horrified, suggesting that hundreds of people would file fraudulent claims.

"There are real victims who need to be compensated and who need psycho-social help. I think the church needs to set up a fund to deal with these cases," Musaala said.

At times, he fears for his safety and worries about the possibility of a mob attack. He's considering leaving Uganda, even though he loves his country.

I hate to say it, but I think in some ways the Mafia has more scruples and morality than the Catholic hierarchy.  At least in the Mafia, the sexual abuse of children isn't tolerated.  Not so when it come to the "princes of the Church."  As I have said many times, change will come to the Church only when huge numbers of the Catholic laity open their eyes and walk away, taking their financial support with them.  Meanwhile, the criminal prosecution of bishops and cardinals would be a good interim measure.


John Boehner’s Benghazi Smoking Gun Email Backfires

The Republicans are continuing to try to inflate the attack on the U. S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the immediate aftermath into some sort of major scandal.  Why?  To harm Barack Obama politically, but more likely to try to damage Hillary Clinton whose popularity for a potential 2016 run for the presidency literally annihilates any of the possible GOP contenders.  As if the GOP transparency wasn't obvious as to the real agenda, this scandal mongering is coming from the party that took America to war in Iraq based on deliberate lies.  A war that many in the GOP political class continue to try to justify as a positive good.  The hypocrisy is simply mind blowing.   Politicususa looks at the latest backfire of the GOP efforts.  Here are highlights:

It turns out John Boehner’s smoking gun Benghazi email was more like a firecracker that has blown up in the Speaker’s face.  At his press conference yesterday, Speaker Boehner demanded that the the White House turn over a Benghazi related email:

I hope you all tuned in to yesterday’s hearing on the tragedy in Benghazi. We learned that on September 12 – the day after the attacks and four days before Susan Rice’s TV appearances – a senior State Department official emailed her superiors to relay that the Libyan ambassador – she had told the Libyan Ambassador that the attack was conducted by Islamic terrorists.

The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed. And I would call on the president to order the State Department to release this email so that the American people can see it.

According to Boehner this was the Benghazi smoking gun, only it wasn’t.  The New York Times has looked at the email, and it doesn’t say what Boehner thinks it says:

But a copy of the e-mail reviewed by The New York Times indicates that A. Elizabeth Jones, the senior State Department official who wrote it, referred to “Islamic extremists,” not terrorists.

The distinction is important, administration officials said, because while the White House did not initially characterize the attack as terrorism, senior officials, including Ambassador Susan E. Rice, acknowledged the possibility that extremists had been involved in the assault.

Speaker Boehner demanded the release of an email that he thought would prove the White House Benghazi cover up, only to find that the email supports what the Obama administration has been saying.

This hasn’t stopped Republicans from claiming that it doesn’t make any difference whether the administration referred to Islamic terrorists or Islamic extremists, even though Boehner based his entire argument on the belief that the email referred to Islamic terrorists.

John Boehner has become a cartoon character. He is Wile E. Coyote falling off the cliff, as one harebrained scheme after another goes wrong.
Make no mistake.  I dislike John Boehner whose hypocrisy is further underscored by his devout Catholicism which means he supports vile old men who participated in a world wide conspiracy to enable and protect child rapists.  Now there's family values for you.  The man makes me sick.


Norfolk, Virginia - A City of Misplaced Priorities

The City of Norfolk, Virginia likes to portray itself as a modern progressive city.  Like so much in Virginia it is a sham facade meant to disguise a city that still operates largely on a "good old boy" system and where some neighborhoods and businesses get preferred treatment while the rest are largely left to fend for themselves and are supposed to be satisfied with whatever scraps are thrown their way bu the self-anointed city fathers.  Worse yet, despite all the studies that correlate gay friendly policies and acceptance to economic growth and attracting the so-called creative class Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim is, in my opinion, a homophobe who views being gay or lesbian as a form of communicable disease.

 Two of the areas given very low priority by Fraim and his cohorts on City Council are (i) neighborhood maintenance and (ii) adequate police protection.   The first phenomenon was looked at  in an article in the Virginian Pilot where Norfolk is slashing its budget for neighborhoods while pledging many millions of taxpayer dollars to a new downtown hotel development.  Here are some article highlights:
Community leaders are upset that the city's proposed spending plan seems to favor new downtown projects over revitalizing struggling neighborhoods.

Norfolk's 2014 budget includes about $2.75 million for specific neighborhood plans, compared with $6 million last year, a change that City Manager Marcus Jones said is justified by a drop in the city's real estate revenue.

But some community leaders say the reduction threatens progress in key growth areas, such as Broad Creek, Fairmount Park, the Southside and Wards Corner, four communities among 20 with plans that outline strategic goals for improving infrastructure, acquiring land and rehabilitating struggling areas.

While the money problems are not new, neighborhood and city leaders say the cuts sting more now that the city has set aside money for other projects, including $4 million for a new Government Center Plaza downtown.

They also point to a decision this year to support a $126 million hotel conference center in downtown. That project will use $89 million in public money, including $16 million that the city has already spent.
As for inadequate and noneffective police protection, the Norfolk police department has been under manned for many years.   But worse yet, protecting taxpayers and their property seems to be a low priority.  How else to explain my experiences over the last three weeks.  In 2005 I bought a 1917 vintage arts and craft style house three blocks from the Old Dominion University campus.  I remodeled the kitchen and bathroom, repainted every surface  of the property, put on a new roof and installed new heating and cooling.  In short, I invested a lot of money as did other residents on my block.  I now live in Hampton with the boyfriend and my youngest daughter and her family live in the Norfolk house.  Where they are being terrorized by self-described gang members in a rental property that adjoins mine property at the rear.    Three weeks ago my house was hit by gun fire (see photo above) that shattered the rear storm door.  My family members have been harassed and intimidated, loud nuisance level music is the norm, etc.  What has been done to correct this situation? NOTHING.

Meanwhile, the police and City Attorney's office have the time to harass a client of mine who owns a restaurant for allegedly violating a city code noise ordinance.  Indeed a threat of criminal prosecution has been leveled.  Perhaps not coincidentally, my client is of Arabic descent.  Yet NOTHING has been done to stop the war zone behind my home despite calls and meetings with police and one meally mouthed message I received from the City Managers office.  

Visitors to Norfolk need to get a strong message - do not venture out of downtown or you may not be safe.  Self-described gang members are allowed to do whatever they wish while law abiding citizens cower in their homes and debate whether they need to go somewhere else for the night in order to be safe.  This is the real story of Norfolk under Mayor Paul Fraim and his gang of do nothing for regular citizens members of City Council.   Meanwhile I am left to ponder: do I sell the house and relocate my family members or do I let it go into foreclosure and drive down neighborhood property values?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Prince Harry Charm's Washington, D.C.

His last U.S. visit drew lots of headlines, but not the type that the British monarchy was looking for.  Especially his naked romp in Las Vegas.  Now, Prince Harry pictured above - yes, he is HOT - seems to be working hard to mend some fences as he charms Washington, D.C., including First Lady Michelle Obama.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at his charm campaign.  Here are some highlights:

Prince Harry invoked the memory of his mother, Diana, last night as he gave a speech in support of anti-landmine charity the Halo Trust at a British embassy reception, saying Diana would be proud of him.

Diana became the most famous advocate of the charity when she was pictured wearing a clear plastic face mask at a minefield being cleared by the trust in Angola in 1997, shortly before her death.

"My mother, who believed passionately in this cause, would be proud of my association with Halo. In her special way, she adopted it as her own. She would join me, along with all of you, I'm sure, in praising Halo for the amazing work that it has done over the past quarter century, and in hoping that one day soon its humanitarian work will be done.

Harry's speech was the final engagement on an action packed day which saw him wow the Capitol and have a surprise visit with First Lady Michelle Obama.

The First Lady welcomed the 28-year-old prince who was said to be a 'surprise guest' to her home on Thursday afternoon for a reception in honor of military mothers and their children.

Mrs Obama said: "As you all may know, Prince Harry is a captain in the Army Air Corps in the British Armed Forces," and added, “He wanted to be here to thank you for your service.”

Accompanied by Sen. John McCain, Harry visited Capitol Hill and viewed a photography exhibition staged by the anti-landmine organisation the Halo Trust which was closely associated with Diana.
Harry's arrival was marked by hundreds of screaming women, many of whom were said to be staffers.

Senator McCain said: 'He was kind of embarrassed [by the screaming], I think a normal reaction. I'm sure it's not the first time he has had that experience, but in all the years I've been coming here I've never seen such an unbalanced gender gap."
It is Harry's first return to the U.S. since being pictured naked during a game of strip billiards in a Las Vegas hotel.

The tour will give the Prince the chance to show that he has matured enough to take on a senior role in the royal family, as his grandmother cuts back on her workload.   Ahead of this latest trip, the prince's private secretary said Harry wanted to highlight "once again the extraordinary commitment and sacrifice of our injured servicemen and women—-our wounded warriors."

HRH Prince Harry (L), stands with first lady Michelle Obama during an event to honor military families at the White House (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Bryan Fischer Won't Answer a Simple 'Yes' or 'No' Question About Same Sex Attraction

There are not too many anti-gay Christofascists for vile than American Family Association's Bryan Fischer who seemingly has worked over time to justify the organization's hate group designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Of course, it's not just gays that Fischer seems to hate.  You can add blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, liberal women - the list is very lengthy.  Thus, it was delicious when Fischer found himself caught up in a bizarre interview with Alan Colmes where Fischer refused to say he's never had homosexual attractions.  A simple "No" response would have been so easy.  That Fischer refused to answer suggests that maybe he IS a closet case like so many other loud homophobes.  Right Wing Watch looks at the interview.  Here are highlights:

We seem to recall that after the last time Bryan Fischer appeared on Alan Colmes' radio program, he vowed never to appear on his show again.  But he must have changed his mind, because last night he returned to Colmes' program to discuss a variety of subjects, like his belief that President Obama will seek to forcibly disarm Christians and that homosexuality will be reponsible for the collapse of the western economy.

But things took a turn for the awkward near the end of the interview when Colmes asked Fischer about his theory that being selective in one's choice of sexual partners demonstrates that being gay is a choice.  When Colmes asked Fischer to explain this, Fischer said it simply proves that "people are not obligated to act on every sexual impulse that they experience," which prompted Colmes to ask Fischer if he had ever experienced any gay impulses ... but Fischer wasn't about to engage in that conversation:

Colmes: Have you ever had a gay impulse?

Fischer: (Laughing) Alan, I am not going to talk about that ...

Colmes: I'm just wondering ...

Fischer: Alan, I'm not going to go there. Give it a rest Alan ...

Colmes: It's a simple yes or no question.

Fischer: We're not going to talk about that.

Colmes: Because maybe if you've been able to overcome your gay impulses and you've been successful in doing it, you could be a model for other people you'd like to see act the same way.
Fischer: The focus here, Alan, is that everybody experiences sexual impulses that if they acted on those impulses, it would destroy them.

Colmes: Well, can you give me an example from your own life? What would be some of yours?
Fischer: You've experienced them ...

Colmes: I have?

Fischer: I've experienced them. Every man, every woman has experienced certain sexual impulses that, if they acted on them, if they conducted themselves by yielding to those impulses, it would destroy them. Ask Tiger Woods about that.

Colmes: I don't think I've ever had sexual impulses that would destroy the society or the culture or make me a deviant in some way. I honestly don't think that's ever happened, even in your eyes, so I'm surprised. I wonder what impulses you're talking about. If you've had them, I'd love to know what they are.

Fischer: Well the focus Alan is on sexual conduct, sexual behavior, not on sexual impulse ...

Colmes: So you won't tell me whether you yourself have been able to overcome a gay impulse?

Fischer: Alan, give it a rest.

As I said, too funny.  Why could he not simply have said "No"?

Heritage Foundation Does Damage Control

As noted in a recent post, the Heritage Foundation - which seems to be dumbing itself down in parallel with the GOP base - released an anti-immigration reform report that was supposed to win high praise among the right.  Instead, it has blown up in Heritage's face - especially now that the racist, anti-Hispanic views of one of its authors have been widely publicized.  Indeed, the organization may be on the verge of hiring an outside PR firm to try to minimize the longer term damage.  Candidly, the type of batshitery that was contained in the report should come as no surprise seeing that the Heritage Foundation hired extremist, racist, homophobe Jim DeMint as its new leader. As with Mitt Romney's "the 47%" statement, when people truly discover what the right really believes, the blow back can be powerful.   Politico looks at the efforts to manage the shit storm the report has triggered.  Here are highlights:

The Heritage Foundation has gone into damage-control mode in the last few days, after coming under fire from Republicans and conservative outside groups over a report it published that puts the price tag of immigration reform at $6.3 trillion.

The conservative think tank is considering hiring a high-profile public relations firm to help deal with the fallout of the report that was supposed to be their big play in the immigration debate, according to two sources familiar with Heritage.

The group has also come under scrutiny after it was reported that one of the authors of the report asserted previously that white Americans have higher IQs than immigrants.

The rollout was supposed to be a coming out party of sorts for Jim DeMint, who took the helm of the organization last month, after giving up his Senate seat to take the job. While DeMint was expected to give the group a higher profile, the backlash and controversy are not the kind of attention the group was hoping to garner.

One Republican operative who works on immigration reform said that hiring a crisis communications firm could help stop the bleeding with donors or other supporters. Heritage’s efforts to get traction for its immigration report could be hampered, the operative said, if it gets lumped in with groups like FAIR, NumbersUSA or CIS, which are considered pure opposition to the immigration reform effort.

Heritage has stood by its findings that an immigration overhaul would cost $6.3 trillion despite many conservative groups and lawmakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), calling the findings inaccurate.
The group has also been fending off attacks over one of the report’s coauthors, Jason Richwine. As part of his Harvard dissertation, Richwine, who is now a senior policy analyst at the think tank, argued that there was a long-standing difference between the IQ of white Americans and immigrants.  .   .   .  

Heritage’s Gonzalez wrote in a blog post that the Harvard paper does not represent Heritage’s position.    “It’s findings do not reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, as race and ethnicity are not part of Heritage immigration policy recommendations,” Gonzalez wrote, adding that Richwine provided quantitative support to the lead author Robert Rector.

All in all, it is fun to watch the far right self destruct when it slips up and lets the world see its real racism and bigotry.   So much for wooing the Hispanic vote.

Faith Groups Behind Minnesota Marriage Victory

While it is not yet a done deal, as noted in a post yesterday it appears that gay marriage may be enacted into law sometime net week - perhaps as early as Monday.  One of the interesting phenomenon in the movement towards full marriage equality is that increasingly some faith groups - the good Christians, if you will - are joining the movement for equality.  Particularity sweet from my perspective is that a growing majority of the Catholic laity is supporting gay marriage in defiance of the the edicts of the child rapist enablers in the Church hierarchy.  Nowadays, if one wants to see genuine morality, the last place to look for it is among the "princes of the Church" who bring a new meaning to the term "moral cesspool."  A piece in Queering of the Church looks at those who have rejected the ignorance and bigotry that so long defined too many Christians - and which still defines the Christofascists.  Note too the role the ELCA has been  playing.  Here are some excerpts:

It’s not a done deal yet, but with comfortable passage through the Minnesota House tonight, approval by the Senate seems assured, and Governor Dayton has already promised to sign. It’s only a matter of time – and Catholics, once again, have been prominent in the campaign for equality.

This is not new: Catholics have been prominent in marriage victories elsewhere, as have other faith groups. (Mark D Jordan reminds us in “Blessing Same – Sex Unions” of something most of us have forgotten – that some same – sex couples were marrying or having their unions blessed in churches and temples for years, before legal recognition was even thought possible). But it is true that for a long time, it appeared that church groups were overwhelmingly opposed, and only fairly recently has faith – based support become reasonably widespread. Minnesota, I suspect, is one example where the religious support has been particularly telling.

Of the many Catholic activists and politicians who have contributed to this big win for authentic Catholic family values, is fellow blogger Michael Bayly, whose The Wild Reed was the inspiration and example that got me started myself. As I’ve followed his work over the past five years or so, I’ve noted how the case for marriage has increased steadily in prominence at The Wild Reed – and later at the dedicated site “Sensus Fidelium” (presenting news from Catholics for Marriage Equality MN).
I’m not going to even attempt to offer a run-down of all the people and groups who have contributed, or how. But for some indication of just how much there has been, cross to yesterday’s post at The Wild Reed, “Drawing the Circle Wide”, written in anticipation of today’s success and giving an extensive list of some of those people, with pictures, whose hard work has now paid off. Then cross to today’s post at Sensus Fidelium, “It’ll be legal by August 1st”, where you can read more about the legwork done by Catholics for Marriage Equality MN,  . . . .

From The Wild Reed, an extract:
On the eve of tomorrow’s historic Minnesota House vote to grant the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage to same-sex couples, hundreds of people of faith gathered earlier this evening at Christ on Capitol Hill Lutheran Church to “pray a new reality into being” – the reality of marriage equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation. The gathering was organized by the Faith Organizing Roundtable.

Four years ago MN State Sen. John Marty addressed the 2009 annual community meeting of theCatholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities and told those in attendance that “we can make it happen.” He was referring to marriage equality for all Minnesotan citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

One of the definite highlights of the rally for me was when we unfurled the Catholics for Marriage Equality MN banner from one of the top balconies of the rotunda. I heard a thunderous wave of applause rise up from below, and thought to myself that the first of the rally’s speakers must have stepped up to the podium. Looking down I made the wonderful discovery that it wasn’t the appearance of a speaker that the crowd was so enthusiastically responding to, but rather the appearance of our banner!
The Church hierarchy is losing the war and by its continued anti-gay jihad it is accelerating its own irrelevance and  driving more and more younger voters who were raised Catholic - my own three children - away from the Church, probably forever.  I find it ironic and most sweet that the bitter old men in dresses in Rome can't see that it is they and their Christofascist allies, not modernity, who are killing the Christian brand.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

More Thursday Male Beauty

Minnesota House Approves Gay Marriage Bill - Senate Likey to Approve on Monday

At the National Association for Marriage - a likely Catholic Church front group - folks must be shrieking and unleashing gallons of spittle.  After losing their effort to stop gay marriage and maintain religious based bigotry in the civil laws in Rhode Island and Delaware, the hate merchants appear headed to another defeat in Minnesota where they failed to bar gay marriage last November.   Today the Minnesota House passed a gay marriage bill today by a 75 to 59 vote and the bill will move to the Minnesota Senate on Monday where it is expected to pass.   The Governor Mark Dayton  has said that he will sign the bill once passed into law.   Not surprisingly, the political whores in the Minnesota GOP are whining and crying as if the world is ending.  And perhaps it is in terms of their ability to impose hate and fear based Christofascist religious beliefs on all of society.  Here are highlights from the Star Tribune on today's vote (NOTE: Republican by their very statements demonstrate that they ought to resign their offices since they are placing religious belief ahead of the state and federal Constitutions' guaranty of freedom of religion):
A bipartisan coalition in the Minnesota House passed a measure Thursday to legalize same sex-marriage, setting in motion what could be a historic turning point for gay and lesbian rights in Minnesota.

“All Minnesotans deserve the freedom to marry the person they love and we are proud to take this historic vote to ensure same-sex couples have that right,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.

The dramatic vote came after a sometimes passionate, three-hour debate that culminated when four Republican members privately wrestling with the issue joined a majority of Democrats to pass the measure 75-59. The debate raged as hundreds of advocates from both sides gathered outside the House gallery chanting, waving signs and praying.

Opponents failed in their last-minute push to persuade a crucial few legislators that the DFL-controlled Legislature is going against the wishes of a majority of Minnesotans. They are now regrouping to convince Senators that marriage is a union between one man and one woman ordained by God, not any state or federal law. A final Senate vote comes Monday.

“My heart breaks for Minnesota,” said a Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover.  “It’s a divisive issue that divides our state,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes as she stood on the House floor after the vote. “It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it.”

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, said he fears that schools will eventually be forced to teach students about homosexuality in sex education classes, normalizing what he considers deviant behavior.   “Thinks about what’s best for the children,” Gruenhagen said. “Please vote for the children.”

Rep. Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, said the measure sends a terrible message to Minnesotans who oppose same-sex marriage.  “We are classifying half of Minnesotans as bigots in this bill — and they are not,” Woodard said.

Message to Reps. Gruenhagen and Woodard:  homosexuality IS NORMAL in nature and those who oppose it ARE bigots.  Who are the Republicans who voted "yes" for equality and placed themselves on the right side of history?  These:
Republican Reps. Pat Garofalo, of Farmington, David FitzSimmons, of Albertville, Rep. Jenifer Loon, of Eden Prairie, and Rep. Andrea Kieffer, of Woodbury, voted 'yes.'

Ken Cuccinelli's Economic Voodoo for Virginia

Proving yet again that he apparently drinks gallons and gallons of Kool-Aid - or perhaps is as insane as I think he is - Ken Cuccinelli has unveiled his proposal on how he would energize Virginia's economy and, not surprisingly, its more of the same warmed over Republican Party voodoo economics.  Cuccinelli's magic catalyst?  Slash taxes for both individuals and corporations. Yes, as noted, it is the same old mantra. Slash taxes and supposedly the economy will take off.  Never mind the evidence of the last decade or more which shows it doesn't work.  Oh, and in the process the infrastructure crumbles.   The Washington Post trashes Cuccinelli in a main editorial  Here are excerpts:

LIKE MITT ROMNEY, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II wants to cut taxes — by a lot. Like Mr. Romney, Mr. Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor, promises this would not reduce government revenues by a dime, since he would also eliminate significant tax loopholes and deductions. And like Mr. Romney, Mr. Cuccinelli adamantly refuses to identify these loopholes and deductions.

Why would Mr. Cuccinelli expect Virginians to fall for this?

Mr. Cuccinelli unveiled his plan at a yogurt shop, claiming it would help such businesses grow faster by cutting their taxes. More likely, it would starve the state of the resources it needs to fund public schools, state colleges and universities, public safety, mental health programs and state parks. 

Somehow, he would slash $1.4 billion in taxes — about 8 percent of the state’s annual tax collections — but hold revenue steady. It’s economics reduced to magic.

Already, Virginia’s tax code is highly regressive. The personal income tax, which accounts for about two-thirds of state revenue, is a flat 5.75 percent for everyone making more than $17,000 a year. For the sake of fairness, the wealthiest Virginians should be asked to do more. By cutting personal income taxes, Mr. Cuccinelli would ask them to do less.

His proposal assumes that Virginians are overtaxed and in need of relief. In fact, Virginia is one of the wealthiest and most frugal states in the country. Its median income ranks eighth nationally, but state outlays on a range of functions are average or below average. On public and higher education, for instance, Virginia’s per capita spending ranks 38th nationally. On health care, its per capita spending ranks 40th.

Unsurprisingly, leaders of some of the state’s largest jurisdictions saw Mr. Cuccinelli’s blueprint as a recipe for higher property taxes, which are imposed at the local level. How else would localities compensate for the loss in state revenue that directly supports public schools? 
The greed driven "godly Christians" who back Cuccinelli will, of course love Cuccinelli's proposal.  They never cease to look for ways to undermine the social safety net and to kick the poor and unfortunate to the curb.  All the while, naturally, patting themselves on their backs for the godliness and piety.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

GOP Star Witnesses Debunk Right-Wing Benghazi Conspiracy Theories

The right wing has been salivating over supposed bombshells that would damage Barack Obama - who they despise because of his race - and Hillary Clinton in connecting with the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  And yesterday, they hoped to set the bombshell off, precept it didn't happen.  Their star witness debunked their wild conspiracy theories.  Yes, Benghazi could have been handled better, but the freepers are so over wrought with their hatred of Obama that objective reality never seems to factor into their fantasies.  Think Progress looks at the let down for the far right.  Here are excerpts:

The “whistleblowers” at today’s House Oversight Committee hearing on what really happened in Benghazi, Libya last September were supposed to break the dam that would lead to President Obama’s eventual downfall, in the eyes of conservatives. Instead, these witness actually served to debunk several theories that the right-wing has pushed on Benghazi, leaving the hearing a fizzle for the GOP:

1. F-16s could have been sent to Benghazi
Part of the prevailing theory surrounding the events the night of the Benghazi attacks is that the Obama administration did not do enough militarily to respond to the crisis. Gregory Hicks — a Foreign Service Officer and the former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya — claimed during his pre-hearing testimony that fighter jets could have been flown over Benghazi, preventing the second wave of the attack from occurring. 

Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) questioned that statement, asking Hicks whether he disagreed with Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey’s assessment that no air assets were in range the night of the attack. Hicks didn’t disagree, saying he was “speaking from [his] perspective” and what “veteran Libyan revolutionaries” told him, rather than Pentagon assessments.

2. Hillary Clinton signed cables denying additional security to Benghazi
House Republicans came to the conclusion in their interim report on Benghazi that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied to them about what she knew and when during her testimony this January. This includes her statement that at no time was she aware of requests for additional security at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi prior to the attack. 

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) used her time to take issue with this claim, asking all three witnesses about standard protocol for cables leaving the State Department. All three agreed with Maloney, that the Secretary of State’s name is placed at the bottom of all outgoing cables and telegrams from Foggy Bottom, whether the Secretary has viewed them or not, shooting down the GOP claim.

3. A Special Forces Team that could have saved lives was told to stand down
One of the most shocking reveals in the lead-up to today’s hearing was that a team of Special Forces in Tripoli were told not to deploy to Benghazi during the attack. That decision has led to an uproar on the right, including claims of dereliction of duty towards Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey for not taking actions that could have saved lives. 

During questioning, Hicks confirmed that the team was ready to be deployed — not to join the fighting at the CIA annex — but “to secure the airport for the withdrawal of our personnel from Benghazi after the mortar attack.” Hicks also confirmed that it was the second such team to be readied for deployment, with the first having proceeded to Benghazi earlier. Despite the second team not deploying, the staff was all evacuated first to Tripoli, then to Germany, within 18 hours of the attack taking place.

4. The State Department’s Accountability Review Board isn’t legitimate
Republicans have been attacking the State Department’s official in-house review of the shortcomings seen before, during, and after the assault in Benghazi. That criticism prompted House Republicans to write their own report. When asked point blank about the recommendations of the Board, however, the witnesses didn’t cooperate with the GOP narrative. “Absolutely,” Eric Nordstrom, the Regional Security Officer for Libya prior to the assault in Benghazi, answered when asked if he believes implementing the recommendations would improve security. “I had an opportunity to review that along with other two committee reports. I think taken altogether, they’re fairly comprehensive and reasonable.” Hicks, when questioned, said that while he had some issues with the process by which the Board gathered its information, he demurred on criticizing the report itself.
 Reality means nothing to the far right and their political prostitutes in the GOP.  Hence, be assured the conspiracy theories will remain alive and well in freeper land.  Remember, these folks still insist that Obama wasn't born in America.

Poll Shows Wide Public Support for Jason Collins’s Coming Out

While right wing news outlets and the usual suspects among the professional Christian crowd have been hyperventilating and spewing venom over NBA star Jason Collins' decision to come out of the closet, a new poll shows that there is large public support for Collins.  Which shows that the Christofascists are ranting within a shrinking bubble.  And, as the aging homophobes and bigots who make up the GOP base and listener base for toxic individuals like Rush Limbaugh literally die off, I suspect the shrillness of the merchants of hate will only increase - and hopefully drive even more people away.   The Washington Post reports on the poll findings which cannot be good news from Tony Perkins, Brian Brown and others who enrich themselves by peddling hatred.  Here are highlights:

When Washington Wizards center Jason Collins made history last month as the first active male athlete in a major U.S. sport to come out of the closet as gay, it was met by an overwhelmingly positive response from prominent athletes, politicians and celebrities. It turns out that stance is shared by a vast majority of the country at large, according to results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

According to the poll, 68 percent of Americans support Collins’ decision to come out, while only 23 percent are opposed, and the percentage of positive responses is higher among younger and better-educated respondents. 

The only part of the public with lukewarm or negative reactions to Collins’ decision are those who identified themselves as “very conservative” politically, only 45 percent of whom support the decision (versus 47 percent who oppose it), and those who identified themselves as gay marriage opponents (41 percent in support, 50 percent opposed).

The results of the Post-ABC poll suggest Collins has widespread support for his decision from a cross-section of Americans. In addition to the overall numbers, Collins’ decision finds support among majorities of women (69 percent), men (67 percent), seniors (58 percent), non-college graduates (63 percent) and those who identified themselves politically as independents (73 percent) and Republicans (52 percent).

But the biggest support was among those who identified themselves as Democrats or college graduates, and those aged 30 or younger, with 81 percent of respondents in each group saying they support Collins’ decision. Gay marriage supporters are also overwhelmingly in support of Collins – 90 percent, versus 7 percent opposed.

[I]n the new poll, 66 percent of African Americans and 70 percent of whites support Collins’ decision, with nearly half of each group supporting him “strongly.” 

Note the correlation between ignorance and bigotry - something that this blog has looked at before in terms of fundamentalist Christians having the lowest levels of education and IQ's.  The poll results are also bad news for the GOP's continued anti-gay platform.   The nation is changing and the GOP is on the wrong side of history. Here are other poll findings:

Is Cumulus Looking to Dump Rush Limbaugh?

Rush Limbaugh has become increasingly crude and down right hateful in many of his rants.  And advertisers seem to be catching on that attaching their brand to Limbaugh may not be in the best interests of product sales to the larger consumer base even if the spittle flecked, racist conspiracy crowd that makes up Limbaugh's core listeners still are enthralled by his crudeness and bigotry.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at what may be an effort by Limbaugh's syndication to dump him.  Obviously, such a put down for Limbaugh would be all too delicious.  Here are some article highlights:

“We've had a tough go of it this last year,” Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said Tuesday morning. “The facts are indisputable regarding the impact certain things have had on ad dollars."

Dickey told analysts on the earnings call that his radio empire’s revenue was down $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2013 on top of a boatload of debt. Why? Parse the weasel words (“the impact of certain things”) and you’ll see that Dickey is blaming one man for the precipitous decline of right-wing talk radio’s profitability: Rush Limbaugh. 
El Rushbo is still a giant in the industry, but the impact of slamming Sandra Fluke on his radio show one year ago persists—with some $2.4 million in losses attributed by Dickey to declines in the “syndicated-talk segment.”
Insiders confirm that these declines are primarily due to the ongoing reluctance of national advertisers to attach their name to the toxic talk-radio format that first made Limbaugh famous a generation ago. 
“We’re watching the end of right-wing conservative talk radio,” says Jerry Del Colliano, publisher of the radio-industry tip sheet Inside Music Media. “The genre is dying among ratings and dying among advertisers ... Rush is at the end of his career. His constituency is all wearing Depends. And he’s getting himself into trouble he doesn’t need. So can you put Humpty Dumpty back together again? They have been able to improve their advertising picture, but they have not been able to come back.”

“Sandra Fluke was simply the lightning that struck and hit an old building that collapsed,” Colliano says. “She didn’t do it. She helped to bring it down at the end, but it was falling apart on its own.”

He [Limbaugh]  then doubled down on the attack in unusually creepy terms:
“If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is: we want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
The blowback was immediate. Elected Republicans, usually loathe to offend the influential talker, distanced themselves from his comments. But more powerful was the boycott that ensued, with 98 advertisers pulling their support for the show. 

The numbers announced on Tuesday made clear the impact of the boycott. Rush's comments on Fluke came on Feb 29, leap day of last year, so the Cumulus numbers offer an apples-to-apples comparison: pre-Fluke and post-Fluke. While some advertisters have come back, the show has been unable to regain its footing, and the impact has spread across right-wing talk radio as advertisers have became increasingly gun-shy about association with the genre.

But the larger issue is the declining demographics of the right-wing talk-radio racket.  “Look at the millennial generation,” says Colliano. “There’s 80 million of them coming of age. They don’t see color. They don’t see gender. And they’re civic minded: they don’t like bloviating. They don’t like yelling and screaming. So you tell me: how’s right-wing talk radio working for them?”
Now we need to see the same phenomenon hit Fox News, a/k/a Faux News.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

More Wednesday Male Beauty

A National Deficit Decline the GOP May Be Hard Put to Explain

If one listens to the endless verbal diarrhea emanating from far right talk radio and many within the GOP - including some of my former proteges who seem to be imbibing Kool-Aid by the gallon -  you'd believe that the nation's budget is increasing.  Indeed, everything coming from the right describes President Obama as a big spender when not accusing him of being a socialist.  The truth, of course is quite different from the alternate universe inhabited by the Christofascists, Tea Party crowd and Fox News viewers.  Maddow Blog has some information that can't be popular with the far right.   Especially, because it shows the budget deficit exploding in 2009 after the U.S. economy tanked thanks to failed GOP policies and the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan launched by the cretin and sociopath known as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, respectively.  Here's the money quote:

For deficit hawks, all of the news is good news.
The Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday that the federal budget deficit is declining this year compared to fiscal 2012.

For the first seven months of 2013, the deficit was $489 billion. That is $231 billion less than the budget shortfall for the comparable period last year.
The decrease is almost entirely due to revenue increases.
Not only is this year's deficit on track to be significantly smaller than last year's, to the tune of about $200 billion, it's also on pace to be even better than optimistic projections from February. Hell, we even ran a surplus in April.

All told, the U.S. federal deficit will be about $600 billion smaller than it was in President Obama's first year in office, making this the fastest deficit reduction Americans have seen since World War II.

And with that, let's pause to note what a terrible mistake it is for Republicans to continue to prioritize a perceived problem that's quickly improving.

But let's also note another tidbit of information: one of the main reasons the deficit is shrinking so quickly is the increased revenue from the tax hikes that began in January.

Former University of Richmond Football Star Comes Out as Gay

In the hierarchy of colleges and universities in Virginia, the University of Richmond does not rank among the more liberal institutions, although it is light years ahead in logic, reason and the embrace of modernity than the spittle flecked Bible beating institutions such as Pat Robertson's Regent University and the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.  Thus, it is interesting that Kevin Grayson (pictured above) one of the University of Richmond's former football stars who helped the school win a national title has come out as gay.  I suspect some heads in the alumni ranks must be exploding.  The Virginian Pilot and WTVR-TV have coverage on this  story.  First these highlights from the Pilot article:
Kevin Grayson, a former University of Richmond football standout, has announced he is gay.

Grayson, a wide receiver, played for the Spiders from 2007-2010, helping them win the Football Championship Subdivision national title in 2008. He was not drafted by an NFL team but played last year for a professional team in Italy.

“Why can’t I be the guy making plays that help my team win and still on the flip side be a gay male?” Grayson said in an interview that aired Tuesday night on WTVR-TV in Richmond.

“If you’re an athlete, you want to be an athlete,” he said. “You want to be known for what you’ve done. … You don’t want to be that person who is always the gay athlete.”

WTVR reported Grayson is considering a return to Italy or trying to play in the Canadian Football League this year.
Here is additional information from WTVR (which also looks at the emotional and psychological pressures of being in the closet)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WTVR) – Kevin Grayson has won championships at every level of competition–high school, college and professionally–and he has carried a secret each step of the way.  He is one of the most decorated football players Central Virginia has ever seen, and he happens to be gay.

“People didn’t believe it because I was an athlete,” Grayson said in an exclusive interview with CBS 6.

“They’re like ‘Kevin plays football, he plays basketball  he runs track–no way you know?’”
“Those are the types of things where if I could go back and say; ‘Why can’t I be an athlete? Why can’t I be a star player? Why can’t I be the guy making plays that helps my team win, and still on the flip side, be a gay male?’”

Grayson has “no doubt” there are gay players in the NFL currently, and admits to knowing some active players himself. But, he explained that “it’s one of those things where you meet someone and you find out about something it’s a ‘you take it to the grave’ type thing.”

Dr. Leticia Flores is a clinical psychologist at VCU specializing in issues of sexual and gender identity. She explained that some gays and lesbians spend much of their day trying to remember who might know about their sexuality, trying to guess how their and co-workers might react.

For athletes, and male athletes particularly, she said the stress can be compounded by societies’ perception of how they are supposed to behave.

“Male athletes are seen to be very masculine, very macho, a guy’s guy,” Dr. Flores said.  “And people’s stereotypes and biases against gay men is that they are the opposite of a guy’s guy.”  “It’s that extra pressure that you can’t even remotely show something that would lead someone to suspect you,” Grayson said.  “So it makes it ten times harder.”

Some of that pressure was relieved when Grayson chose to confide in a few trusted teammates, some of whom he found out were also gay and none of which shunned or turned their back on him. Now he is sharing his story with everyone, not only for the release for himself, but to hopefully inspire others hiding behind one too many masks.

“There’s clearly a relief and that relief comes from finally being themselves,” Dr. Flores said.  “We call it being, in the psych jargon, being authentic. But you’re who you are and you don’t have to wear the mask anymore”
Kudos to Kevin.  I hope his coming out will help young gays to come to terms with their sexual orientation and act in positive ways and not allow the hate merchants of the GOP and professional Christian crowd to diminish their pride in themselves.

Heritage Foundation Anti-Immigration Reform Paper Author Says "Some Races More Intelligent Than Others"

I catch a great deal of grief at times for maintaining that the GOP - a party for which I was once an activist and city committee member and precinct captain - now has racism as one of its twin pillars (the other pillar of the GOP is religious extremism).   But, from all I see and read, I believe I am on target.  This blog recently noted that the Heritage Foundation now headed by knuckle dragging Neanderthal, former GOP Senator Jim DeMint, had issued a position paper arguing against comprehensive immigration reform.  I should have known that the other shoe would soon drop, and sure enough, one of the authors of the Heritage paper (pictured at left) is on record as believing that "some races are more intelligent than others."  I think we all know which race he champions.  Media Matters looks at the mindset behind the Heritage Foundation report.  Yes, Hispanics - indeed all minorities - need to run screaming from the GOP.   Here are some article highlights:

A co-author of the Heritage Foundation's new immigration report, which right-wing media have hyped despite even conservative criticism about its methodology, has long promoted inflammatory theories about the relationship between race and IQ in Hispanic immigrants, an unsurprising fact given his ties to extremist anti-immigrant organizations.

Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported that Jason Richwine, a co-author of the Heritage report, asserts in his 2009 doctoral dissertation titled "IQ and Immigration Policy" that "there are deep-set differentials in intelligence between races." Matthews wrote [emphasis added]:
While it's clear he thinks it is partly due to genetics -- "the totality of the evidence suggests a genetic component to group differences in IQ" -- he argues the most important thing is that the differences in group IQs are persistent, for whatever reason. He writes, "No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against."
Matthews also included Richwine's dissertation abstract, which forwards the idea that the U.S. should not only select its immigrant pool based on IQ, but that immigrants and their future generations are not apt to obtain his desired level of intelligence [emphasis added]:
The statistical construct known as IQ can reliably estimate general mental ability, or intelligence. The average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations. The consequences are a lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low-IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust, and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market. Selecting high-IQ immigrants would ameliorate these problems in the U.S., while at the same time benefiting smart potential immigrants who lack educational access in their home countries.
His dissertation, however, was not the first time Richwine promoted these offensive claims. In July 2008, while Richwine was a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he said in a panel discussion of the book The New Case Against Immigration, broadcast on C-SPAN, that "races differ in all sorts of ways, and probably the most important way is in IQ."

Richwine's anti-immigrant language is reminiscent of that used by the Pioneer Fund, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designates as a hate group that "funds studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the 'science' of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities."
There is more, but I will let readers check out the rest of the articles for themselves.  The bottom line is that this prevalent mindset in the GOP and far right elements.  And it's ugly, it's racist and it is contrary to everything that supposed Christians ought to be supporting.

Australia: Former Catholic Priest Hit With 64 More Sex Abuse Charges

As noted previously on this blog, governmental commissions in Australia are holding inquiries on sexual abuse of minors and, while not officially targeting the Roman Catholic Church, it goes without saying that given the continued sensational stories of abuse and cover up, the Catholic Church will receive most of the commissions' attention.  A new story in The Herald Sun  (in Victoria) underscores the incredible rot within the priesthood and those who put protecting the Church's image above the welfare and safety of children and youths.  Here are excerpts on one serial abuser protected by the Church hierarchy (yes, it is the same pattern we've seen world wide, and all orchestrated from the Vatican):

The 59-year-old man, known only as "the man" due to legal reasons, was due to appear on charges relating to alleged child-sex offences against six boys and three girls in the 1970s and 1980s.  During this appearance he was charged with an additional 64 offences including 11 counts of sexual intercourse without consent; 52 counts of indecent assault; and one count of committing an act of indecency.

The new charges relate to alleged assaults against one boy and two girls, aged from nine to 19, between 1982 and 1985 in Moree, Narrabri, Inverell and Armidale and come as part of ongoing investigations by Strike Force Glenroe, which was established in July last year to investigate claims of sexual abuse by the former priest, and comprises detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad and the New England and Barwon Local Area Commands.

The man is also at the centre of allegations of cover-ups of sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church after he told a court in 2004 he had made an admission to clergy in 1992 that he had performed oral sex on boys.

He was defrocked in 2005 but continued to live in Armidale before being arrested in October last year.   Strike Force Glenroe investigations are ongoing and detectives urge anyone with information to assist them to come forward.

One can only hope that this unfolding stories will convince Australian Catholics  to walk away from the Catholic Church and find less morally bankrupt religious institutions.  I cannot imagine continuing to financially support such a cesspool.  

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Fired For Being LGBT - Why ENDA Is Needed Now

I sincerely applaud the advance of gay marriage in Rhode Island, Delaware, New Zealand and other places around America and the world.  But here at home in Virginia another scourge continues to plague LGBT citizens: we can be fired at will simply for being LGBT.  I know all about it because it happened to me and I continue to get calls from victims of this bigotry and sadly have to tell them that they have no state or federal law protections.  In short, they are screwed.  A lengthy article in The Advocate looks at some who have been fired and the dire need for ENDA - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act - to be passed this year.  Here are highlights (including two of the firings):

Sixty years ago, the federal government spearheaded a massive purge of gay employees, no matter how qualified or essential they were to their department's operations. The firings were the result of an executive order by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 27, 1953. According to an upcoming documentary, Lavender Scare, even LGBT private sector workers who were under contract with the federal government were also fired or forced to resign.

Why? Because gay people were viewed as a godless, immoral group likely to work with communists to spill government secrets.

Nine in every 10 American voters believe that there are already laws to protect LGBT employees in the workplace, just like policies for women, people with disabilities, racial minorities, or people with particular religious affiliations. But that's not the case. An employee could still be fired in 29 states for being gay, and in 34 states for being transgender or gender non-conforming. So as we mark 60 years since the federal government's mass firings, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been introduced for the 19th time in Congress. With a Republican-dominated House of Representatives, ENDA might be tough to gain momentum even though, according to the Center for American Progress, 73% of voters support protections for LGBT workers (even 66% among Republicans voters).

Texas, March 2013
Talented and respected, University of Texas track coach Bev Kearney (right) led her team to six NCAA championships. But she was ousted when news spread that she was in a relationship with one of her female students (who was of age). Whether that is acceptable or not, a white, male UT football coach kept his job after it was revealed he had an inappropriate relationship with a student trainer. Kearney has since filed a complaint of discrimination, based on her race, gender, and sexual orientation, with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Virginia, March 2013
Bradley Kindrick said he was assaulted while working the graveyard shift at a 7-Eleven in Virginia Beach, Va., and then fired because he is openly gay. Kindrick said a man entered the convenience store around 2 a.m., pinned Kindrick against a wall, and assaulted him by forcibly kissing him. Kindrick says he has had panic attacks since the incident, which was compounded further when 7-Eleven management fired him a few days after the assault. 7-Eleven corporate officials told WAVY News that Kindrick was fired because he was drunk on the job — a claim Kindrick denies.

This is wrong and religious based discrimination needs to be barred from the employment sphere.