Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday Morning Male Beauty


Senate Republicans Splinter As Moderates Rise Up


Unlike GOP House members who have the advantage of running for reelection in carefully gerrymandered districts, members of the U.S. Senate have to run for reelection on a statewide basis and hence find pandering to the spittle flecked Christofascists and modern day descendants of the KKK much more dangerous to their reelection chances.  The result, thankfully, is that infighting is increasing among lunatic far right senators and those who have to embrace moderation.  A piece in Talking Points Memo looks at the unfolding drama.  Here are highlights:

Whether it’s immigration reform, the budget, or President Obama’s nominees, a faction of more moderate Republican senators are increasingly splitting from both their leadership and the tea party and partnering with Democrats on key issues.

The growing signs of division are remarkable after years of exceptional Senate GOP unity under the reign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), during which minority use of the filibuster to thwart governance has soared to unprecedented heights.

This week, large numbers of Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), broke with McConnell and voted with Democrats to secure the confirmation of controversial Obama nominees to the Labor Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In all eight cloture and confirmation votes, McConnell voted “no.”

The most controversial nominee so far, Tom Perez for labor secretary, overcame a GOP filibuster by the thinnest of margins, 60-40. The six Republicans who joined Democrats in his favor, whom Democrats will look to for cooperation on other matters, were Sens. McCain, Bob Corker (TN), Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (ME), Mark Kirk (IL) and Lisa Murkowski (AK).

On immigration, 14 Republicans joined every Democrat in voting to comprehensively overhaul the system and offer unauthorized immigrants a path to citizenship.

On the budget, numerous Republican senators are urging conservative colleagues to stop blocking conference negotiations with the House, and are pushing for a long-term budget agreement with Democrats that includes new revenues — anathema to the tea party.

Complicating matters for leadership is that McConnell and his No. 2, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), are both unpopular at home and face reelection next year. As a result, they’re working to ward off primary challengers by voting against Democratic initiatives as much as possible and avoiding the appearance of working with President Obama. That makes it harder for them to balance the concerns of rank and file members, who watched their party get crushed in a second consecutive presidential election and aren’t eager to spend another four years obstructing.

But it remains to be seen whether the divisions will usher in a new era of Senate cooperation, as McCain strikes a conciliatory posture with his 2008 rival on upcoming battles involving the debt ceiling and nominees to the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cuccinelli Remains Entangled With Star Scientific

GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli is trumpeting the findings of a report that at first glance states that Kookinelli is not as corrupt as Bob McDonnell.  But the fine print if you will raises some disturbing questions that need further exploration and which raise the question of whether there are more details - i.e., bribes gifts - that have yet come to light.  Besides being insane, Kookinelli is power mad and has a history of viewing himself above the law and above U. S. Supreme Court rulings as demonstrated by his effort to keep oral sex a felony in Virginia.  The Maddow Blog sums things up well:

[I]f all you read is the headline -- "Investigators Clear Virginia's Cuccinelli in Ethics Probe" -- you're going to miss some key details. For example, the same report notes that Cuccinelli, far from doing nothing to help his generous benefactor, may have helped Williams after all.
Star sued the state to reverse a $1.7 million tax bill in 2011, shortly before Cuccinelli made a second, $10,000 investment in its shares and before the attorney general asked Williams if his family could stay for a third time at Williams' Smith Mountain Lake vacation home.

Cuccinelli has said he never talked to Williams about the lawsuit, though he has said Williams had earlier complained about the disputed taxes.

The attorney general told the ethics investigators "that he may have suggested that Williams contact a certain attorney at a Richmond law firm 'to assist him and his company with the Tobacco Fund,' " according to a report issued by Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring, quoting an investigators' findings.
So, Williams sued Virginia, and it was up Cuccinelli to defend the state in the case. It was around this time that Cuccinelli started buying stock in Williams' company and taking trips to Williams' lovely vacation home. And it was also around this time that Cuccinelli "may have" offered legal advice to Williams, too.

The report issued yesterday added, "[O]ne cannot help but question whether [Cuccinelli's] repeated omissions of Williams [in his disclosure forms] are coincidence or a pattern reflecting intent to conceal."

Given all of this, why is Cuccinelli off the hook? Probably because Virginia has pretty weak ethics laws, making it easier to get away with dubious conduct.
Oh, and then there's the question of why the Virginia Retirement System purchased — and sold at a loss -- 71,900 shares of Star Scientific stock over a three-month period.  The retirement system lost $87,000 in the process.  Just a coincidence?  Not likely.  The Daily Progress has details here.


Religious Progressives Will Soon Outnumber Conservatives, Yet They Remain Largely Silent


One of the things that I find maddening is the way in which the Christofascists have been allowed to define the image of Christianity in the minds of much of society even as their over all numbers shrink and the number of religious progressives and so-called "Nones" grows.  The result is that to many, especially, among the younger generations, religion is something ugly and abhorrent and best defined by hate and bigotry.  Much of the phenomenon, in my view, is the fault of two forces;(i) the Republican Party's continued prostitution of itself to the ugliest elements of the Christian Right (a similar thing is happening with racists and white supremacists in the GOP base) and (ii) the laziness of the main stream media which gives foul individuals like Tony Perkins a platform and almost never challenges their lies and dishonesty.  A piece in Think Progress looks at the rise of the numbers of progressives who maddeningly too often fail to challenge the hate filled Christofascists.  Here are excerpts:

One-in-five Americans are religious progressives, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Using a religious orientation scale that “combines theological, economic, and social outlooks,” researchers argue that while the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans continues to rise, a growing coalition of young, diverse, and politically-active Americans are connecting their faith with progressive values.

“Our new research shows a complex religious landscape, with religious conservatives holding an advantage over religious progressives in terms of size and homogeneity,” Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, said in a press release. “However, the percentage of religious conservatives shrinks in each successive generation, with religious progressives outnumbering religious conservatives in the Millennial generation.” 

According to the survey, 23 percent of people aged 18 to 33 are religious progressives, while 22 percent are nonreligious and 17 percent are religious conservatives. By contrast, only 12 percent of those aged 66 to 88 are religious progressives, whereas 47 percent are said to be religious conservatives.

Religious progressives are also more ethnically diverse than religious conservatives, a fact that bodes well for the Democratic party as the country becomes more racially varied. And when it comes to economic issues, religious progressives are actually more passionate than other liberals about eradicating income inequality; the study found that 88 percent of religious progressives said that the government should do more to help the poor, more than any other group polled.


While it’s too soon to know whether the survey signals a groundswell of faith-based progressivism, the findings echo the recent rise of an increasingly vocal—and increasingly influential—”religious left.” For example, progressive religious leaders are heading up the ongoing “Moral Monday” protests in North Carolina, citing their faith as they decry the draconian policies of the state’s Republican-dominated legislature.


[T]he study found that although religious liberals are passionate about progressive causes, they aren’t interested in imposing their beliefs on others: only 29 percent of religious progressives believe a person has to believe in God to live a moral life, as compared to 74 percent of religious conservatives.

These moderates and progressives need to get off their asses and forcefully confront the Christofascists.  Otherwise the Christofascists will continue to force their beliefs on all and kill the Christian brand in the long run.   Like others I know, when I hear someone say they are "saved" or a devout Christian, my immediate assumption is that they are not nice people and probably major league liars and hypocrites.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Morning Male Beauty


House Republicans Cave On Defending Marriage Statutes





In a move that will cause spittle to fly amongst the Christofascist elements of the GOP base, House Republicans have announced that they will cease defending anti-gay marriage statutes akin to DOMA.  One must hope that with lawsuits multiplying and public approval of gay marriage soaring the sane elements left in the Republican Party will grow sufficient spine to politely tell the Christofascists to do something rude and crude to themselves.  Hate groups like Family Research Council and The Family Foundation here in Virginia may want to continue their rear guard war against modernity, but long term, the GOP has to face reality.  An article in BuzzFeed looks at the House GOP's capitulation.  Here are highlights:


House Republican leaders announced in a court filing Thursday that they will not defend remaining statutes similar to the Defense of Marriage Act that ban recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages.

The move comes three weeks and one day after the Supreme Court ruled in Edith Windsor’s case that the federal definition of marriage in DOMA was unconstitutional because it banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples’ marriages.

“[T]he House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute,” lawyers for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), controlled by House Republicans, wrote about veterans’ benefits statutes that similarly ban recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages.

“The document from the legal team speaks for itself,” House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, told BuzzFeed, when asked for comment on the move.

Judge Richard Stearns had asked the parties in a lawsuit addressing the rights of service members and veterans and their same-sex spouses to give “any reasons why judgment should not enter for plaintiffs in this case,” following the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision striking down Section 3 of DOMA.
In addition to challenging DOMA, the plaintiffs — led by Maj. Shannon McLaughlin, a judge advocate general in Massachusetts Army National Guard, and her wife, Casey — challenge two statutes in Title 38 of the U.S. Code regarding veterans’ benefits that define “spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex.”

BLAG’s lawyers on Thursday, however, wrote:
The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality. See United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. __ (2013), 2013 WL 3196928 (U.S. June 26, 2013). The Windsor decision necessarily resolves the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality in this case. While the question of whether 38 U.S.C. § 101(3), (31) is constitutional remains open, the House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute. Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant.
The spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, pushed for additional, immediate action.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling is clear. Rather than trying to delay justice for particular married gay and lesbian couples and their families, Speaker Boehner should immediately file motions to end House Republicans’ involvement in the remaining cases and stop spending taxpayer dollars to defend unconstitutional discrimination,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told BuzzFeed.

In addition to the McLaughlin case, there at least remains unresolved a case challenging similar statutes brought by Tracey and Maggie Cooper-Harris in federal court in California. Additional cases outstanding include Cardona v. Shinseki and Bishop v. United States.]
It will be interesting to see how NOM and Bryan Fischer try to describe these events as a "win" somehow. 


Federal Lawsuit Filed Challenging Virginia Gay Marriage Ban

My last post was a little behind the times.  While gay Virginians are waiting for the ACLU to file its promised lawsuit challenging the anti-gay Marshall-Newman Amendment, one couple has moved forward on their own and filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia yesterday in Norfolk.  Coincidentally, the plaintiffs are friends of mine (I serve on advisory committee for the Old Dominion Gay Cultural Studies initiative with one of them) and their attorney is a former law partner of mine.  The move is welcomed because now  Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli will now have to file a response within 20 days.  (I hope the ACLU soon follows suit and files its lawsuit as well.)   The lawsuit may also prompt Virginia wingnuts - e.g., Liberty Counsel, the Family Foundation - to seek to file amicus briefs and thereby display the anti-gay animus behind the Amendment's ban on gay marriage and ban on any legal recognition whatsoever of same sex relationships.   In addition, I hope that some of Kookinelli's anti-gay statements and those of anti-gay zealot Del. Bob Marshall come back to haunt them, especially Marshall's remarks that he'd like to drive every gay out of Virginia.  Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot:

After nearly 25 years together, two Norfolk men walked into Circuit Court earlier this month and applied for a marriage license.  They were denied.

Undeterred, Tony London, 54, and Timothy Bostic, 48, filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

"They thought about getting married in another state, but decided against it," said Robert Ruloff, an attorney for London, a Norfolk real estate agent, and Bostic, an Old Dominion University assistant professor of English. "They are Virginians and they want to be married in Virginia."
 
The lawsuit is the first such legal challenge filed in Virginia. It came one week after the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced plans to file its own lawsuit, and about three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court undercut two laws that stood as barriers to gay marriage.

Chris Freund, a spokesman for the Family Foundation, a conservative nonprofit based in Richmond, said he was not surprised by the lawsuit. He said the plaintiffs are trying to circumvent "the will of the people."

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, 50 percent of registered Virginia voters support same-sex marriage compared with 43 percent who don't. Women backed gay marriage 55 percent to 39 percent, but men opposed it 49 percent to 43 percent.

The suit names as defendants Gov. Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Norfolk Clerk of the Circuit Court George E. Schaefer III.

It claims the state's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage violate the principles of due process and equal protection under the law.

A spokesman for Cuccinelli's office declined to comment, saying it had not yet seen the lawsuit.

According to Ruloff, London and Bostic met out West in 1989 while London was serving with the Navy. Shortly thereafter, London moved to Norfolk and Bostic followed. The two bought a house together in 1991.  "This is a relationship," Ruloff said. "This is not a fling."

Richmond Councilmen Propose Gay-Marriage Ordinance

Between dogging and weaving from ties to Star Scientific and bribes gifts he received from Jonnie R. Williams, Ken Cuccinelli is finding himself trying to dodge his own past extremism on social issues.  Thankfully, the promised lawsuit to soon be filed by the ACLU challenging the Marshall-Newman Amendment will make that effort all the more difficult.  Now, from an unexpected front, three members of Richmond City Council have proposed that that city adopt an ordinance recognizing gay marriages performed in other states.  Needless to say, the Christofascists at The Family Foundation have gone ballistic and Victoria Cobb has stormed onto the scene in full protest and just shy of being decked out in her full dominatrix regalia to whip Republicans into line.  Here are excerpts from the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Three members of the Richmond City Council have proposed an ordinance to recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states and to extend benefits to legally married same-sex partners who work for the city.

Sponsored by City Council President Charles R. Samuels and fellow council members Parker C. Agelasto and Chris A. Hilbert, the ordinance was inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Samuels said.


“We wanted to do something that would allow us to recognize same-sex marriage, because equality is something that America is based on,” Samuels said. “But this doesn’t mean we are recognizing gay marriage in the city, because state law doesn’t allow us to do that.”

If council votes in favor of the measure after a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 9, it would not have an immediate impact on gay or lesbian city employees because such a policy could not take effect without General Assembly authorization, Richmond’s City Attorney Allen L. Jackson said.

Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein declined to comment on the city ordinance Thursday.

In spite of the proposal’s more symbolic than practical nature, local gay-rights activists welcomed the ordinance.   

Others disagree, including Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia.  “It’s unfortunate that with all the problems plaguing the city of Richmond, the City Council is wasting time on an action that blatantly violates the Virginia Constitution as adopted by the people of Virginia,” Cobb said, adding that the proposal “is little more than a PR stunt that flies in the face of the law.”

In order to pass, the proposal will need a 5-4 majority of council members voting in favor of it.  “The ordinance has three patrons already, but it’s always nice to have consensus,” said Samuels, who is optimistic.

The measure may be symbolic, but anything that causes Cuccinelli and the always virulently anti-gay Ms. Cobb displeasure is something to celebrate.  If the measure passes, it will also put pressure on other Virginia cities to adopt such ordinances.  All of which will make the Virginia GOP's life more difficult.



FRC: We Are In The Age Of Pagan Sexuality


Typically, the folks at Family Research Council are railing against modernity and seeking society backward in time.  Now, one of their dubiously titled "scholars" is whining that the nation and society have gone too far back in time to the age of pagan sexuality. Apparently, FRC only wants to go back to the days of slavery - or at least segregation - women not having the vote and being treated as chattel, gays being invisible if not executed, and Christian theocracy.   BuzzFeed looks at this latest hate group batshitery.  Here are  some highlights:

[T]he Family Research Council said Wednesday that America has entered the age of pagan sexuality.  Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, director at the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute, made the comparison a policy lecture titled “Porn in the Dorm.”

“Basically porn is now everywhere,” Fagan said.

“Particular for Christians, Catholic, evangelicals, and for Jews and Muslims too, the same thing holds. This is almost like our times are a time a bit analogous to pagan Rome, where Christianity first grew up,” Fagan continued. “The sexuality of pagan Rome was pretty similar to what we restored here. So, what we really have outside is a pagan sexuality which is totally different from a Christian sexuality. And I don’t think enough Christians have yet put that way starkly enough to themselves. What you’re really being invited with all this is entry into pagan sexuality.”

Fagan continued, linking homosexuality, abortion, infidelity, pornography, euthanasia to ancient Rome.

“There’s a pagan sexuality which is a pan-sexuality which is the erotic. Abortion, homosexuality, infidelity, pornography, euthanasia, infanticide all of those things were just the common sexual practice of pagan Rome and Christians were not for being very different. Monogamous, faithful, struggling, etc…you know the chastity, purity.”


No one is more obsessed with sex than the "godly Christian" folk - e.g, online porn sites receive high traffic from evangelical Christians in the Bible Belt ; evangelical Christian have the highest divorce rate.  Perhaps rather than trying to police the sex lives of everyone else, this nut cases ought to worry about their own psychoses and, of course, hypocrisy.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Morning Male Beauty


PA Pastors Attack Attorney General for Refusing to Defend Unconstitutional Law

With all the corruption, hypocrisy and batshitery that surrounds much of organized religion - not to mention the fact that there is supposed to be no established religion in America - elected officials and the media continue give far to much attention and deference to those peddling myths based on stories passed down from wandering nomads of 2,500+ years ago and the unkown authors of the New Testament.  A case in point is the collective conniption fit by a bunch of wingnut pastors in Pennsylvania who are beside themselves with Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane who has refused to defend that state's unconstitutional DOMA law against a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.  The Pittsburg Gazette looks at the spittle flect protestations of these windbags.  Here are highlights:

Citing Biblical verses, a group of pastors and conservative GOP state House members called on Attorney General Kathleen Kane to reconsider her decision not to defend the state's law against same-sex marriage.

Ms. Kane, a Democrat, made national headlines last week when she announced her decision not to defend the 1996 law, saying she believes it is unconstitutional. The law will now most likely be defended in a federal lawsuit by the Corbett administration's Office of General Counsel.
 
On Wednesday morning, a group from the Pennsylvania Pastors Network and several Republican House members said they believe Ms. Kane must reconsider.
 
"The issue is one of defending heterosexual marriage," said Sam Rohrer, president of the pastors network. Mr. Rohrer is a former state representative and 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate before losing in the primary to now- Gov. Tom Corbett.
 
Mr. Rohrer added, "We see a moral imperative for heterosexual marriage due to the revealed truth of God based on eternal law."

It is far past time that fundamentalist religious belief be eliminated from the nation's laws both  at the state and federal level.  These pastors are free to belive whatever garbage they want, but they do NOT have the right to force their ignorance and bigotry on others.  Would that politicians had the spine to tell them so.  One article reader summed up reality well:

Nothing at all is happening to heterosexual marriage. There is nothing about "traditional marriage" that needs defending. The marriage equality movement was never an effort to make homosexuality compulsory for everyone. The overwhelming majority of humans are Straight, and they will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have. None of that is going to change when Gay couples do the same.
These laws are all about stigmatizing and punishing gays for refusing to conform to the Christofascists' dogma.  It's all about animus and nothing else.  Which is precisely why DOMA was struck down in the Windsor ruling.  

The Problem With Alcohol/Drug Rehab Programs

stevecoleimages, via Getty
The death of Cory Monteith has launched a much needed discussion on the flawed 12 step method that seems to be the basis for most drug and alcohol rehab programs.   These programs - I attended some session some years ago with a family member, so I have seen it first hand - stress abstinence only, ignore modern scientific knowledge, and in many cases have too much of a tie with lunatic conservative Christian mindsets.  It is little wonder that far too many individuals go in and out of these programs like a revolving door.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at the short comings of these programs.  Here are highlights:

Charlie Sheen has been there. So have Courtney Love and Lindsay Lohan. In fact, Lohan will complete her sixth stint at an addiction treatment center at the end of this month before jumping into the arms of Oprah Winfrey. For every troubled star, it seems, there’s an accompanying stay (or three) in rehab. It only takes a casual tabloid reader to note that the system isn’t working as well it could.

The death of Glee star Cory Monteith,  . . .  has reignited a debate among addiction experts over the efficacy of rehab centers—many of which continue to be built around traditional 12-step, abstinence only-programs despite a growing body of evidence that this approach doesn’t work for everyone. To wit: a 2012 report from the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) concluded that many addiction programs don’t employ the kind of progressive, science-based approaches that have been shown to be effective in studies, and that “only a small fraction of individuals receive interventions or treatment consistent with scientific knowledge of what works.”

Part of the problem is that addiction, which wasn’t formally recognized as a chronic brain disorder by the American Society of Addiction Medicine until two years ago, was long considered a behavioral problem rather than a mental-health issue. That stigma is one of the reasons addiction treatment is far from current with the latest scientific literature, says Anne Fletcher, who spent years interviewing rehab patients and researching the facilities taking care of them for her book Inside Rehab.

In fact, the stagnation seen at rehab centers today, both inpatient and outpatient, can be traced back decades, Fletcher says, to when the medical community would actually refuse to treat alcoholics and drug addicts. Addiction programs thus adopted Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12-step approach as a form of treatment, no matter that AA was designed to be a self-help program.
“The treatment model sprung up in a vacuum,” says Fletcher, which is why so many rehabs—including the most expensive ones in the country—remain grounded in the same one-size-fits-all treatment approach. Eight out of 10 programs in the U.S. today still incorporate the 12-step model in some fashion, she says, adding that group therapy is another staple of most programs even though there’s little evidence that this type of counseling helps.

Other systemic failures include inadequate credentialing standards for addiction counselors, with more than half of states in the country not requiring so much as a college degree, according to the 2012 CASAColumbia report.  . . . .

Forty to 60 percent of people treated for alcohol or drug dependence relapse within a year after discharge, according to a study published in 2000 by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

[M]any conventional drug rehabs refuse to educate their patients about medication-assisted treatment—primarily because abstinence-only approach remains so predominant in the U.S. As a result, many patients don’t have access to FDA-approved drugs that could potentially save their lives.

“There’s an attitude in addiction treatment where the facility thinks it knows what’s best for the patient,” says Fletcher, “but there’s strong research that involving the client in the treatment process and giving them a say in what goes on increases their chances for long-term recovery.”

What's most important, critics agree, is flipping the script on a treatment system that hasn't kept up with the times. "Constantly sending me to rehab is pointless," Lohan told CNN in May. "I've been court-ordered to do it six times. I could write the book on rehab."

Failed abstinence only sex education  has shown the illogical nature of abstinence only and the bogus "ex-gay" ministries have proven that "praying away" one's problem doesn't work.   My relative has succeeded in their process, but largely because they (i) rejected abstinence only approach, (ii) rejected the Christian brainwashing that was part of the program, and (iii) got therapy from a licensed psychologist familiar with modern knowledge. 

Cuccinelli Launches Website Campaign to Retain Virginia's Sodomy Statue





GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli remains absolutely obsessed with sodomy - perhaps because as a closet case he secretly longs to engage in it himself? - and has now launched an effort to retain Virginia's "crimes against nature" via a website that dishonestly claims that a complete striking down of the law as unconstitutional as was done by the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will somehow endanger children and protect sex offenders.  Like most things that comes out of Cuccinelli's mouth, the story line is simply untrue and is part and parcel with his slavish obedience to The Family Foundation which seeks to impose a Christofascist theocracy on all Virginians.  Per these extremists, only the so-called missionary position is appropriate for sexual relations and gays in particular need to be criminalized.  One of the ironies of the Fourth Circuit's ruling is that following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, it was Cuccinelli and GOP zealots like Del. Bob Marshall who refused to reform Virginia's sodomy statute out of a desire to use it as a vehicle to continue to harass gays and those they don't like.  GayRVA looks at Cuccinelli's batshitery.  Here are excerpts:


Virginia Attorney General, and Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Ken Cuccinelli has launched a website to build support for his fight to keep VA sodomy laws on the books, and attack Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

Cuccinelli’s fight to keep sodomy laws on Virginia’s books come 10 years after sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional. In a case from earlier this year, William MacDonald, who was accused of sodomy after having sex with two minor girls, managed to take VA’s sodomy laws the district court which ruled them unconstitutional.

In an opinion written by Judge Robert King, one of the Court of Appeals judges that heard the MacDonald case, he suggested Virginia’s General assembly should be the ones removing the Sodomy law, or re-defining it. “The anti-sodomy provision does not mention the word “minor,”” wrote King, “nor does it remotely suggest that the regulation of sexual relations between adults and children had anything to do with its enactment.”

In an earlier conversation with Lambda Legal’s Gregg Nevins, it was explained that the solution to VA’s problems is not keeping an unconstitutional law, but rather working with the state’s general assembly to develop laws that address the issues. “It’s not a ruling that VA can’t have a sodomy law, but they can’t rely on the old sodomy law which doesn’t require any of those things that might make it a legitimate law, it just says “anyone who has oral or anal sex is a felony.” That dog wont hunt,” said Nevins. “They need to give up the fight and pass a legitimate law if that’s what they want.”

Cuccinelli, after failing to get a rehearing en banc at the Court of Appeals court, appealed the overturning of VA’s Sodomy laws to the United States Supreme Court in late June.

The Atlantic also slams Cuccinelli's bizarre obsession with sodomy:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's campaign for governor isn't going great. He's behind in at least one poll. He's floating on the outskirts of the still-expanding scandal surrounding Bob McDonnell, the current governor. But Cuccinelli has a plan to combat that. He will run a campaign powered by sodomy. In opposition, of course. Cuccinelli is a Republican.

Cuccinelli, too, has been called out for accepting unreported gifts from the donor that is threatening the viability of McDonnell. His campaign, in other words, could certainly be on stronger footing.

For some voters, Cuccinelli is hoping that his tough-as-nails commitment to locking up criminals and cracking down on sex offenses will earn their votes. For other voters, voters who share his thoughts on natural law, Cuccinelli's new push is an obvious and exaggerated wink. If Cuccinelli can't actually run in 2004, when Bush won the state by eight points, he might as well pretend he is.
The Supreme Court will hopefully reject Cuccinelli's appeal without comment.  Virginia voters need to reject Cuccinelli and his fellow nutcases and homophobes on the GOP ticket in November.  Vector Press has this thought on Cuccinelli and the sodomy statute hysteria:

And then there's the precedent. Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy Jr., Ken Mehlman... Really, the Grand Old Party has so many closet cases you start to think the closet has some recursive geometry going on. And the one other thing all these closeted Republicans shared was their support for anti-gay legislation as they personally needed it to remain straight.  So, now taking bets on when the Ken Cuccinelli gay sex scandal kicks off...



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More Wednesday Male Beauty


Has Cuccinelli Lied About His Departure From the Marine Corps?


I won't pretend that I cannot stand GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.  Personally, Cuccinelli - like Rick Santorum - strikes me as an overly strident closet case who (i) spews anti-gay propaganda in reaction to his own self-loathing and (ii) suffers from near hysteria over the fact that even fathering seven children hasn't turned him straight (I figured it out after having 3 children).  But Cuccinelli's disqualification for being Governor of Virginia involves much more than his closeted situation,  The man is a liar and an extremists who strikes me as Virginia's equivalent to Dick Cheney when it comes from megalomania and viewing himself above the law.  A case in point is Cuccinelli's apparent dishonest in respect to his discharge from the U. S. Marine Corps Reserves.  Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot:

In 1993, Ken Cuccinelli entered the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves under a program to train future officers for a career as a military lawyer.

But two years later, he resigned his commission after serving just a few weeks on active duty – never having completed all of the training requirements he initially signed up for.  Since entering public life as a state senator more than a decade ago, Cuccinelli, now Virginia’s attorney general, has generally downplayed his short-lived military career.

Cuccinelli has said the U.S. Marine Corps discharged him because it had no use for him after he completed law school.

However, a document obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, which Cuccinelli’s Virginia Attorney General’s Office twice declined to release under open records requests, suggests the story may not be that simple.  In an email earlier this year, a Marine official advised a member of Cuccinelli’s staff that a campaign explanation about the premature end of his military career is inconsistent with its version of events, . . . . .

   . .. his response caught the attention of a Marine public affairs officer who recently told the attorney general’s office that while most of the statement is correct, “the second sentence may be technically accurate for the most part, but what it communicates is not.”

Anything Cuccinelli says needs to be verified.  The man is insane.  Something doesn't sound right in the context of his Marine Corps service such as it was.  But then again, maybe being a Marine was just another part of his effort to convince himself of his "manliness" and heterosexuality.   As I have said before, I continue to receive e-mails and post comments that claim Cuccinelli has played for the LGBT team in the past.  But to take him down and "out" him, I need someone willing to come forward and sign a shown affidavit and provide a corroborating storyline.  With that, I and blogger allies could make Cuccinelli's life very exciting.


Cory Monteith RIP - A Lost Ally





I've held off commenting on the unfortunate death of actor Cory Monteith of "Glee" until the cause was known.   Sadly, like other talented LGBT allies, Monteith died far too early from an accidental drug/alcohol overdose.   Despite my trials and tribulations while in the closet and then during my coming out journey I never resorted to illegal drugs like heroin, but I did use my share of anti-depressants and Xanax.  In fact, one of my failed suicide attempt involved taking a whole bottle of Xanax, so I cannot stand in judgment of anyone.   My thoughts and prayers are with Monteith's family and girl friend Lea Michele.  Queerty looks at Monteith's transition to outspoken LGBT ally.  Here are highlights:


With the news of Cory Monteith’s cause of death, we have another reason to be sad for the young actor’s too brief life and career. We’ve also lost an ally for gay civil rights. 
Before joining the cast of Glee in 2009, the Calgary native knew nothing in particular about gay folks, or musical theater. But he would learn to sing and dance, and go on to become a vocal proponent for gay rights and marriage equality, appearing at the GLAAD Awards, the HRC National Dinner with girlfriend and castmates Lea Michelle, Chris Colfer and Amber Riley, and adding his voice to the Straight But Not Narrow campaign in 2011, an effort to encourage young straight guys to show support for young gay guys.

He spoke eloquently in 2012 about his own gay rights education: “Being aligned with Glee has absolutely made me more aware of it. It’s one of the defining challenges at this point in our human evolution. This is the equivalent human rights struggle for our generation. We’re going to look back 50 years from now and be shocked that this is what we’re having to deal with.”

The article also looks at the untimely deaths of  other LGBT allies: Amber Riley, Amy Winehouse, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, John Ritter, Judy Garland, Kurt Cobain, Natasha Richardson, River Phoenix, and Whitney Houston.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty


Senate Immigration Reform Supporters Targets House Republicans


With immigration reform legislation approved by the U. S. Senate, the battle now goes to the GOP controlled House of Representatives where racism and extremism are the main hallmarks of House Republicans as they pander to the ugliest elements of the GOP base: angry elderly whites, white supremacists and, of course, the Christofascists who are anything but loving Christians.   Whether or not Senate Republicans can force the GOP House members to do what's right will remain to be seen.  Politico looks at the coming conflict within the GOP.  Here are excerpts:

Big Business, Senate Republicans and Democrats backing immigration reform have a target in their crosshairs: House Republicans.

Senators like John McCain (R-Ariz), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with tech giants such as Microsoft, Google and Intel, and pro reform groups like FWD.us to discuss a coordinated campaign to target more than 100 House Republicans on reforming the nation’s immigration laws when they are at home in their districts over the next month, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

Graham suggested getting people to target Republicans at town hall meetings. Schumer said he wanted pastors giving sermons about the need for immigration reform.

McCain urged the group to push for the Senate bill by discussing its component parts — but not mentioning the overall bill.  Graham said that there are between 30 and 40 Republicans who are staunchly opposed to the Senate bill — but warned that number cannot grow.

It’s not too often that you hear about Republicans and Democrats privately discussing targeting each other to support legislation, but it’s clear that senators see their comprehensive immigration reform effort hitting stiff resistance in the House. McCain suggested to the group that they’re losing the messaging battle to immigration opponents.

The GOP leadership of the House believes that nearly all Republicans oppose the Senate bill.  ”The House will not take up the Senate immigration bill. There are many issues related to immigration reform on which the business community, religious groups and House Republicans can find common ground, but advocating for the House consideration of the Senate immigration bill is simply a waste of their time and resources,” one House GOP leadership aide said.

NOM: "Ex-Gay" Therapy "Helps" Gay People

One does have to wonder what mind altering drugs the folks at the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") are gulping down.  In a recent post the always bovine Maggie Gallagher insists that ex-gay therapy offers “help” to gay people, and says that ex-gay therapy should not be banned in New Jersey or elsewhere and that "therapists" should not be sued for pushing this toxic snake oil on the ignorant or religiously brainwashed.   Under Gallagher's upside down world, antisemitism and the KKK "help" Jews and blacks.  The one who needs therapy is Gallagher who still hasn't recovered from getting pregnant in college and then being dumped by her boyfriend.  The woman is disgusting.  Here are highlights from Think Progress:

National Organization for Marriage co-founder Maggie Gallagher made it quite clear today that she believes ex-gay therapy offers “help” to gay people. She published a brief post at the National Review supporting lawyer Chuck Liamndri, who is defending the Jewish ex-gay group JONAH from a lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Chuck Limandri, my old friend from the Carrie Prejean, Prop 8 fights, is a heckuva a lawyer and one brave man. He’s taking on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s massive legal machine to defend the right of Jewish gay people to seek help.

SPLC is using consumer-fraud laws to try to bankrupt these small nonprofits and if it wins this case has announced plans to take it nationwide against 70 groups offering some form of sexual-orientation-change efforts. They must not want publicity because this landmark case is flying under all media radar screens.
Jeremy Hooper points out that this isn’t surprising, because Gallagher has made plenty of similar comments in the past. In particular, she believes that gay people “construct” their identities, convincing themselves they were born that way just because it’s “quite painful to come to terms with being gay.”

There’s nothing “brave” about defending harmful, ineffective ex-gay therapy, and even those working under the faƧade of a “nonprofit” are still making their living off of shaming people by reinforcing their internalized homophobia. If Gallagher believes the case needs more publicity, perhaps it’s worth revisiting the details of the case. Here is what the ex-gay survivors represented by the suit were instructed to do during their treatment with JONAH therapists:
  • Remove all clothing during both individual and group therapy sessions and hold penis in front of therapist.
  • Cuddle and intimately hold others of the same-sex including between young clients and older counselors.
  • Violently beat an effigy of the client’s mother with a tennis racket.
  • Go to the gym more as well as bath houses in order to be nude with father figures.
  • Be subjected to ridicule as “faggots” and “homos” in mock locker room and gym class scenarios.
Perhaps Gallagher should clarify how this kind of humiliation and degradation “helps” gay people.
What makes Gallagher even more foul is that she has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year peddling anti-gay venom and pushing to deprive gays of equality under the civil laws.  A tawdry whore has more virtue.



Marriage Equality To Become Law In Britain This Week

Gay marriage will become law this week in Britain, one of America's longest running allies.  It is already the law in France, another of America's first crucial allies which helped the United States win independence from Britain (the French fleet bottled up Cornwallis and allowed him to be defeated at nearby Yorktown, Virginia).   Yet even as its oldest allies embrace modernity and equality, America lags behind and in states like Virginia, LGBT citizens remain less than full citizens.  It's a travesty and yet one on many black marks of America's broken promises that betray the principles of the nation's founding documents.  Here are highlights from the BBC on events in Britain: 

The government legislation is now due to get royal assent, after which it is likely to become law later this week.

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships all backed the bill, after the Lords approved the changes on Monday.  It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.

Under the terms of the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said: "It's wonderful to see same-sex marriage achieve legal recognition. Quakers see the light of God in everyone so we respect the inherent worth of each individual and each loving relationship."

Mr. Parker's statement is the antithesis of how gays are treated in Virginia.  We still can be fired at will, face the potential of housing discrimination and our relationships receive zero recognition under Virginia law.   The current GOP statewide slate of extremists seeks to make the situation even worse.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Tuesday Male Beauty


Gary Bauer: Blacks Should Be Grateful "Every Major Goal of Dr. Martin Luther King Has Been Reached"

Gary Bauer
The batshitery and outright lies of the far rights seemingly knows no bounds.  We've just seen a man who deems himself "white" literally get away with murdering a black youth, black males suffer from sky high arrest rates and incarceration rates totally disproportionate with their percentage of society, blacks suffer far higher unemployment and poverty rates that whites, etc., yet former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer - who looks like Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels in my view - just had the audacity or insanity (take your pick) to say that African Americans should be happier than every that "Every major Goal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been reached."  Is the man delusional or does he simply not give a damn about black Americans?
Goebbels

Right Wing Watch looks at at Bauer's disingenuous batshitery.  Here are highlights:

In an email to supporters of his Campaign for Working Families today, Gary Bauer wondered why African Americans are still so upset about racism and continue “falling through the cracks” when “every major goal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reached.”
In the email — “Will Holder Persecute George Zimmerman?” — Bauer laments that discussions on race can’t happen in America because “it inevitably degenerates into another round of bashing non-minorities and an indictment of America’s past sins.” Social services, “‘gangsta’ culture” and a lack of patriotic education, Bauer claims, are the real culprits for problems in the black community.
- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bauer-african-americans-should-be-more-grateful-every-major-goal-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-ha#sthash.1obuXRx0.dpuf
In an email to supporters of his Campaign for Working Families today, Gary Bauer wondered why African Americans are still so upset about racism and continue “falling through the cracks” when “every major goal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reached.”
In the email — “Will Holder Persecute George Zimmerman?” — Bauer laments that discussions on race can’t happen in America because “it inevitably degenerates into another round of bashing non-minorities and an indictment of America’s past sins.” Social services, “‘gangsta’ culture” and a lack of patriotic education, Bauer claims, are the real culprits for problems in the black community.
- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/bauer-african-americans-should-be-more-grateful-every-major-goal-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-ha#sthash.1obuXRx0.dpuf
In an email to supporters of his Campaign for Working Families today, Gary Bauer wondered why African Americans are still so upset about racism and continue “falling through the cracks” when “every major goal of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reached.”

In the email — “Will Holder Persecute George Zimmerman?” — Bauer laments that discussions on race can’t happen in America because “it inevitably degenerates into another round of bashing non-minorities and an indictment of America’s past sins.” Social services, “‘gangsta’ culture” and a lack of patriotic education, Bauer claims, are the real culprits for problems in the black community.

Bauer has the gall to then go on blathering about how God teaches us that all of us  are "created equal with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  But Bauer leaves out any reference to his opposition to equal rights for gays, blacks, immigrants and basically every minority group.  The man is a nasty and disgusting weasel.

35 LGBT Groups Denounce Zimmerman Verdict

One of the ironies that drives me to distraction at times is the fact that far too many black pastors continue to allow themselves to be used as puppets and water carriers by white Christofascists organizations with either a history of racism or leadership lines that track back to vehement segregationists.   Here in Virginia, the white supremacists at the viciously anti-gay Family Foundation have black pastors jumping through their hoops like trained circus dogs when it comes to parroting anti-gay propaganda.  Meanwhile, the folks at The Family Foundation hate and despise blacks just as they hate gays.  Hopefully, black organizations and some of these dim witted pastors will take note that 35 LGBT organizations signed a joint letter calling for justice for Trayon Martin in the wake of the travesty of George Zimmerman's literally getting away with murder.  Here is the text of the letter via Towleroad:

Trayvon Deserves Justice

We cannot begin to imagine the continued pain and suffering endured by Trayvon Martin's family and friends. We stand in solidarity with them as they continue to fight for justice, civil rights and closure. And we thank everyone who has pushed and will continue to push for justice.

Trayvon Martin deserves justice and his civil rights. We support the organizations and community leaders who are urging the federal government to explore every option to ensure that justice is served for Trayvon and that his civil rights are honored and respected. But our work does not end there: we will honor Trayvon Martin by strengthening our commitment to end bias, hatred, profiling and violence across our communities.

We represent organizations with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituencies. Our community has been targets of bigotry, bias, profiling and violence. We have experienced the heart-breaking despair of young people targeted for who they are, who they are presumed to be, or who they love: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Brandon Teena, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Marco McMillian, Angie Zapata, Sakia Gunn, Gwen Araujo and countless others.

Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.

Justice delayed is justice denied and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "a right delayed is a right denied." We honor Trayvon by seeking justice for all people.

Here is a list of the signatories to the letter:

All Out
American Civil Liberties Union
Believe Out Loud
BiNet USA
Bisexual Resource Center
Center for Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
Freedom to Work
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)
GetEQUAL
GMHC
GLAD
GLAAD
Harvey Milk Foundation
Human Rights Campaign
Immigration Equality
Lambda Legal
Movement Advancement Project
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National
The Trevor Project
Trans Advocacy Network
Transgender Law Center
Trans People of Color Coalition

Blacks in general and black pastors in particular need to realize that gays are their natural allies - the "godly Christian" white folk hate them as much as they hate us.  They need to stop allowing themselves to to be duped by Bible verses into to assisting their enemies.