Saturday, April 05, 2008

Gay Paper Has Hissy Fit: Obama Refuses To Talk With Gay Media

The Huffington Post is reporting ( that the Philadelphia Gay News is having a hissy fit over Barack Obama's alleged failure to talk to gay media outlets and saying that "Sen. Barack Obama would rather talk at the LGBT community than with them." I cannot help but find it ironic that Obama is being taken to task by self-appointed gate keepers while nothing is being said about the fact that Hillary's campaign website leaves the LGBT community completely invisible and she only makes gay supportive statements to friendly gay media outlets. In contrast, Obama has made many truly public statements supporting gays and LGBT equality, including at venues such as Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church where there is mainstream media coverage.
I do not understand this kind of reasoning. Is it because Obama has not stroked the egos of the Philadelphia Gay News editorial board and made them feel more self-important or what? I have a real problem with a candidate like Hillary who consistently fails to mention gays in mainstream venues, yet says the right things to small, safe, freindly LGBT audiences. What takes more leadership: denouncing black churches' homophobia directly to the face of many of those homophobes like Obama did, or doing a safe interview in a small non-hostile setting like Hillary? Apparently, the Philadelphia Gay News puts more value on Hillary kissing the ass of the Philadelphia Gay News' staff - knowing that most main stream media outlets would never publish her interview remarks - than making bold, widely public remarks supporting LGBT equality.
Hillary's supporters within the gay community can drink the Kool-Aid if they want, but personally, my view is that if Hillary will not be seen supporting gays when speaking to large non-gay audiences, she won't be supporting us later if elected to office. Her actions are tantamount to those of someone who says they support you to your face but who then will not be seen with you publicly. Yes, actions are important, and the Philadelphia Gay News has totally misread what counts.

More Saturday Male Beauty

Song of Songs: The Bible's Gay Love Poem

Michael J. Bayly, the author of The Wild Reed (, has an interesting post for Wednesday, April 02, 2008, that ought to have the fundie wingnuts foaming at the mouth. The post looks at the fact that the highly charged love poem that we now call the Song of Songs was originally addressed by Asher, one of Solomon’s sons, to Caleh, a shepherd-soldier. OMG, a man expressing his romantic love to another man!

Obviously, the fundies would have their eyes glaze over at the reality that (a) same sex love is extolled and (b) their "inerrant" Bible in fact does NOT support homophobia as they calim and that the current versions favored by the fundies are NOT consistent with earlier versions that had not been altered to please the sensibilities of later writers/translators. Thus, for fundamentalists, the Bible becomes inerrant except when it needs to be re-written to fit their agenda. For gays, this book provides evidence that our love for our same sex lovers and partners is not something condemned by the Bible. The book is apparently out of print but copies exist and would obviously make interesting reading. Here are some highlights from Michael Bayly's post:

I’d like to share the following review by Jim Kepner of Dr. Paul R. Johnson’s (regrettably out-of-print) book, The Song of Songs, A Gay Love Poem (Fidelity Press, 1995).According to Johnson, the highly charged love poem that we now call the Song of Songs was originally addressed by Asher, one of Solomon’s sons, to Caleh, a shepherd-soldier.

The Song of Songs, a Gay Love Poem, gives an amazing new turn to the highly erotic Old Testament love poem in the Bible, inaccurately called “The Song of Solomon,” which has been a mystery and often a scandal to Jews and Christians alike. Homophobic religious writers have, among other things, wiggled about trying to explain a supposed woman with male parts and male roles.

Dr. Paul R. Johnson, an evangelical minister who has written extensively about fundamentalists and gays, and who has long been involved in the Southern California gay movement, has labored for twenty years with the original Hebrew, finally producing a translation aided by fragmentary pre-Masoretic texts which clear up the mystery. His 144 page book discusses how the text, originally written about 920 B.C.E., evolved from a frankly homophilic love poem sung in homes and taverns at a time when the Hebrews were not yet publicly homophobic (such poems were found in many ancient Near Eastern cultures), to the editing millenia later by Masorete scribes, who produced the presently confused text.

A more accurate version appeared in several earlier scraps of the song found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumram cave #4. The cover-up began in the first line, when the name Asher, one of Solomon’s many sons, apparently black, was read as a preposition instead of a proper name. In the second verse, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible notes that the pronouns for the beloved, given as neuter in the text, are really masculine. Most Hebrew scholars admit parenthetically, that the speaker-lover in 85% of the poem is clearly male, as is the beloved. Yet all modern versions except that by Rev. Dr. Johnson make it appear as a heterosexual love drama. Direct quotes show otherwise: 4:10,11:

How delightful you are Caleh,
My lover-man, my other half.
Your pleasing masculine love is better than wine.
The smell of your body is better than perfume.
Your moustache is waxed with honeycomb.Honey and milk are under your tongue.
The scent of your clothing is like the smell of Lebanon.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,
for your love-making is sweeter than wine.
In his delightful shade I sit,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
My love is mine and I am his.

[The thesis of the book] gets to the heart of the question of whether the Hebrews and early Christians were fundamentally homophobic, or whether, as John Boswell has maintained, homophobia was a later addition. Johnson has consulted with many Hebrew scholars, who reluctantly concede the validity of his revolutionary word-for-word translation.

As this writer, as well as Dr. Johnson and others have noted, there are many wife-purchase stories in the Bible, but the only true love stories are same-gender.The Song of Songs now stands as the most explicit homoerotic love poem in the Bible, with clear naming of this thing going into that thing. Johnson’s small book is a must for all Jewish or Christian gays, though many might be too timid to abandon conventional hetero mistranslations. This book is also very useful for gays who wish to answer religious homophobes.

Ohio Hospital Contests a Story Clinton Tells

In today's world of 24/7 news, news and political blogs, video replay capabilities, and many other ways to record and disseminate information - AND also to refute false information - one would think Hillary Clinton would know enough not to recite stories without first verifying they are true. What is wrong with her campaign staff that they do not confirm information before Hillary begins to parrot it? First, there was Hillary' version of her Bosnia trip which amounted to revisionist history. Now, Hillary is getting called out on a story she has been telling about a preganant woman she heard about who lacked health insurance. It turns out that the facts are not as Hillary has been stating. Is Hillary just plain stupid or is she so desperate to beat Obama that she feels that she needs to make up compelling stories? I do not get it. All she is doing is making herself look like a liar and anything but presidential. Here are some highlights from the New York Times (

Over the last five weeks, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has featured in her campaign stump speeches the story of a health care horror: an uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee. The woman, Trina Bachtel, did die last August, two weeks after her baby boy was stillborn at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio.
But hospital administrators said Friday that Ms. Bachtel was under the care of an obstetrics practice affiliated with the hospital, that she was never refused treatment and that she was, in fact, insured. “We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said Rick Castrop, chief executive officer of the O’Bleness Health System. Linda M. Weiss, a spokeswoman for the not-for-profit hospital, said the Clinton campaign had never contacted the hospital to check the accuracy of the story, which Mrs. Clinton had first heard from a Meigs County, Ohio, sheriff’s deputy in late February.
“We reviewed the medical and patient account records of this patient,” said Mr. Castrop, the health system’s chief executive. Any implication that the system was “involved in denying care is definitely not true.” Although Mrs. Clinton has told the story repeatedly, it first came to the attention of the hospital after The Washington Post cited it as a staple of her stump speeches on Thursday.

Saturday Male Beauty

Snake Oil Evangelists Intend to Defy Congressional Probe

In yet another example of how it is in reality the Christianists and their "ministries" that seek "special rights" as opposed to the LGBT community, attorneys for two "evangelists" have indicated that their clients will not cooperate with a Congressional investigation to determine whether or not their "ministries" have been operated within the requirements of Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code which governs tax-exempt and charitable organization status. One of the requirements of holding tax-exempt status is that none of the proceeds of the organization inure to the benefit of private individuals not in line with the organization's charitable purpose.
In the case of these "ministries," under investigation, the ministry leaders are living like multi-millionaires, in some cases driving Rolls Royces, etc. Hence, Congress has every reason to be reviewing the non-profit/charitable purpose of the alleged ministries. In my opinion, these "evangelists" are crooks who shake down the ignorant and unwary and reap incredible personal financial benefits. There are times I think that I should form a "ministry' and get on the gravy train. The problem is, I am too honest to fleece people the way these preachers do. Here are some highlights (
Lawyers for "prosperity gospel" televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar have told U.S. senators that they will not comply with a probe into their ministries because it threatens religious freedom rights.Letters on behalf of Copeland and Dollar were sent March 31 to inform members of the Senate Finance Committee of the noncompliance, contending that the probe was based in part on the targeting of teachers from the "word of faith" movement. The lawyers said Copeland and Dollar not only objected to the investigation's potential infringement of the First Amendment but also the senators' failure to operate through the current process provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The other targeted televangelists –- Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Eddie Long, and Randy and Paula White -– provided the requested documents by March 31 or pledged to do so.
Grassley has said his questions of the televangelists were based on accounts of abuses from watchdog organizations and whistleblowers, as well as investigative news reports. Accusations of contributions being used to support lavish lifestyles have been leveled against at least some of the televangelists.
Grassley's inquiry called for the televangelists to provide such documents as credit card statements, expenses for their secondary residences, gifts given by the ministries and lists of private automobiles. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has encouraged cooperation by the televangelists, but the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) has expressed concerns about the probe's implications for ministries.
The names of the televangelists and their ministries, plus the locations of their headquarters, are: Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Newark, Texas; Creflo Dollar, World Changers Church International, College Park, Ga.; Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Lithonia, Ga.; Joyce Meyer, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Fenton, Mo.; Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn Ministries, Grapevine, Texas; and Randy and Paula White, Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries, Tampa, Fla.

Friday, April 04, 2008

More Friday Male Beauty

Gay students more likely to consider suicide

I cannot help but see some irony in the fat that while Sally Kern and other self-righteous "Christian" homophobes are going about voicing nasty anti-gay statements and basically comparing gays to terorists and/or diseased vermin, a new study has been released that shows that gay teens in the nation's capital are much more at risk of committing suicide than their straight counterparts. Of course, what makes the study results even worse is that in relative terms, Washington, D. C., is a relatively liberal, gay friendly area. Imagine life for gay teens in more rural Red State areas. Not that Ms. Kern and those of her ilk give a flying f**k. That would be expecting way too much of such cold, self-centered people.
The truth is that gays are living, breathing, feeling, and worthy human beings who are the beloved sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters of other citizens. A fact that never crosses the hate-filled minds of Christianists. I find such peoples to be disgusting and cannot help but wonder how they came to be such unloving, unfeeling, and generally horrible people. How did the Gospel message become so perverted? In any event, here are some highlights from the Washington Blade (
D.C. high school students who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual are four times as likely to contemplate suicide than their heterosexual counterparts and regularly report being bullied and harassed by their classmates, according to a survey released last week by the District’s public school system.
Andrew Barnett, acting executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), a D.C. group that advocates for gay youth, said the survey findings confirm what SMYAL has learned anecdotally from the youth who participate in its programs — that anti-gay harassment is a common occurrence in the city’s high schools.
Also among the report’s findings:
* 24.8 percent of Washington gay high school students reported using ecstasy one or more times compared to 3.9 percent of straight students.
* 39.1 percent reported using marijuana three or more times compared to 17 percent of straight students.
* 30.6 percent reported being bullied at least once on school property in the previous year compared to 16 percent of straight students.
* 30.6 percent of gay teens considered suicide in the previous year, 28.9 percent made a plan to commit suicide and 32.6 percent attempted suicide. That compares to 13.8 percent, 12.1 percent and 8.6 percent respectively in those same categories for their straight counterparts.
* 40.3 percent answered yes to the question, “During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that you stopped doing some usual activities?” Just 25.7 percent of straight students said yes.

81% in Poll Say USA Is Headed on Wrong Track

It is a least conforting to see that by a huge percentage Americans are finally realizing that the policies of the Chimperator and his GOP enablers have done serious, serious harm to the nation. Moreover, they seem to understand that a change in direction is desperately needed. How this will translate in the upcoming November elections will be interesting. Unfortunately, I will not hold my breath waiting for the out come since I do not have an overriding confidence in the American public being able to see the real picture. The fact that the Chimperator was re-elected in 2004 is a case in point. Here are highlights from the New York Times (

Americans are more dissatisfied with the country’s direction than at any time since the New York Times/CBS News poll began asking about the subject in the early 1990s, according to the latest poll. In the poll, 81 percent of respondents said they believed “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track,” up from 69 percent a year ago and 35 percent in early 2002.
A majority of nearly every demographic and political group — Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school — say the United States is headed in the wrong direction. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was better off.
Only 21 percent of respondents said the overall economy was in good condition, the lowest such number since late 1992, when the recession that began in the summer of 1990 had already been over for more than a year. In the latest poll, two in three people said they believed the economy was in recession today. The unhappiness presents clear risks for Republicans in this year’s elections, given the continued unpopularity of President Bush. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they approved of the job he was doing, a number that has barely changed since last summer.
In assessing possible responses to the mortgage crisis, Americans displayed a populist streak, favoring help for individuals but not for financial institutions. A clear majority said they did not want the government to lend a hand to banks, even if the measures would help limit the depth of a recession. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they would support raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 to pay for tax cuts or government programs for people making less than that amount. Only 38 percent called it a bad idea.

Friday Male Beauty

Canadian MP Suffers from Sally Kern Syndrome

Homophobe bigot Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma doesn't have a monopoly on anti-gay bigotry it seems. Stealing some of Ms. Kern's spotlight is Saskatchewan MP Tom Lukiwski who is attempting to apologize for video taped comments from 1991 in which he described gays as disease carriers, etc. It is interesting that "convervatives" both north and south of the border employ the same tactic - dehumaize and malign those who are different and act towards them in a decidedly un-Christian manner. They obviously have picked the Pharisees from the Gospels as their role models as opposed to Christ. As for Lukiwiski's apology, I suspect that in reality he is only sorry that his bigotry was made public. His crocodile tears are less than convincing. Here are some story highlights (
An amateur video taken 17 years ago came back to haunt Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and a Tory MP on Thursday as the pair had to publicly apologize for making offensive remarks -- including homophobic comments by MP Tom Lukiwski.
The footage, made public by the provincial opposition NDP, shows Wall speaking in an exaggerated eastern European accent and mocking then-NDP leader Roy Romanow.
However, opposition MPs are now calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to throw Mr. Lukiwski, 56, out of the Conservative caucus for his remarks that insulted gays. "I am truly, truly sorry," said Mr. Lukiwski, appearing visibly shaken as he spoke to reporters in Ottawa outside the House of Commons.
New Democrat MLA Pat Atkinson told a news conference Thursday her party found the videotape when it moved into the opposition offices after its loss in last fall's provincial election. Ms. Atkinson called the comments "hateful." "I think I can say that it was disturbing. His comments were rather disturbing. And it made me sick," she said. Ms. Atkinson said Mr. Lukiwski, who served as executive director of the Saskatchewan Party before being elected to the House of Commons, should not run again. "I don't believe Mr. Lukiwski gets any slack on this," she told reporters at a news conference, noting he was over 40 at the time of the comments.
"What's troubling is that all this is not surprising. In this [Conservative/Reform/Alliance] party, there's a sentiment of homophobia [within its structure] . . . Ever since I first became an MP in 1993, the Conservatives voted nine times against the rights of homosexuals."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

More Thursday Male Beauty

My gay husband: why it took so long for me to leave him

The London Times has what I view as both a sad and yet also interesting article ( The piece looks at the situation of a woman who discovered that her husband was gay 20 years ago and decided to stay with him. Now she after 20 years she is leaving him and her story - to me - shows the futility of marriages where one spouse is gay. Whether closeted or not and whether or not the gay spouse is in deep denial, ultimately, at some point in time the marriage will not survive. Or at least not in the guise of any honest and true marriage. As I have said many times, I deem my children the most important accomplishment of my life and I am ever so proud of them. Yet, I cannot but have bitter sweet thoughts about my otherwise ill-fated marriage. Ill-fated because I was trying so desperately to be what I was not and in the end I just could not do it any longer. My heart goes out to both parties to the marriage in this article since I can understand both points of view. Here are some highlights:

Maybe the simplest way of looking at the separation is to think of it as part of an evolving process. First there was your revelation that you were gay (which took me many years to accept), then, later, our decision to combine your need for liberty and a degree of licence with your determination to remain at the core of the family. This led to your move away to live in London during the week and our children and friends accepted the explanation that you were under pressure at work. But the truth of course left me with all kinds of imaginings: what were you doing, who had you been with when you came home to me on a Friday night?

As time passed and you established yourself as part of the gay community, your weekends at home became a moveable feast and emotionally you withdrew from me, no longer showing the same interest in my thoughts or feelings; my internal life. That was inevitable, I now see. And yet I felt I remained on your radar from habit, guilt, or as a refuge from your frequent emotional turmoil, drawing me in whether I liked it or not.

Somehow we had to deconstruct our notion of what a marriage is and create a relationship that could accommodate who we had become. I had to convince myself that your “other life” was only a threat to me if I allowed it to be; but this turned out to be a persistently difficult exercise and one that provoked frequent fiery discussion. You are an extremely honest person;

Over the years we have tried to establish boundaries - you would continue to join in family occasions and to share our social life as a couple; I would meet and enjoy the company of your gay friends - although never the ones you were emotionally involved with. At the mixed parties we attended together you would occasionally forget which persona you inhabited - comfortably married spouse or gay social butterfly - with sometimes comical results.

The need to walk the line between preserving our life together and respecting your separate one has eventually proved too difficult. I am tired of treading on eggshells, trying to avoid any hint of possessiveness or pressure. I might ask if you were free to accept a dinner invitation to both of us from old friends and you would not want to commit, preferring to remain open to other possibilities, finding the division of loyalties irksome. Accommodating each other comes at too high an emotional price for both of us. So, what else is there, except friendship?

I'll never forget what a loving father and caring husband you were - and are still. Not all wives can say that. I hope I can now tuck the past away, beat back any resentment and concentrate on forming a close friendship with you for our own sakes and for our children and grandchildren. I don't expect you to agree with or accept what I've said as your perspective must be very different. Even so. I hope what I've expressed is viewed neither as critical of you, nor insensitive to your heroic efforts to be true to yourself and supportive of me. What has partly sustained our relationship for such a long time has been a sincere attempt to understand our respective difficulties.

American Family Association Targets McDonald's

The disingenuous liars and windbags over at American Family Association - yes, I do mean you Don Wildmon - who knowingly promote "ex-gay" fraud, Michael Johnston, are now out to harrass McDonald's because a senior McDonald's executive has joined the Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce ("NGLCC"), of which HRBOR is an affiliate. Since McDonald's is in the business of making money, what rational businessowner would blow off an $800 billion market segment?
Wildmon and his crowd have to be among the worse false Christians - after perhaps Fred Phelps and clan - because rather than teach love of God and love of neighbor, AFA specializes in teaching hate against gays, immigrants, Muslims, etc. In short anyone who does not subscribe to AFA's hate based Christianist agenda. AFA's ongoing marketing of DVD's featuring Michael Johnston is a per se example of how AFA cares nothing about the truth. Hopefully, McDonald's will tell Wildmon to go to Hell. In my opinion, God already has a special place in Hell reserved for Mr. Wildmon. Here are highlights from PageOneQ (
Upset over the election of a senior executive of the fast food giant McDonald's to the Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association is calling upon his organization's members to take action. Wildmon is asking his ranks to call their local McDonald's franchises to ask why the company is "using its size and resources to promote the homosexual agenda" and to use the AFA's online action center to send company Chairman Andrew J. McKenna an email.
Last month, Richard Ellis, VP of Communications for McDonald's USA, was elected to the NGLCC board and said he was "thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce team and ready to get to work." McDonald's is also listed as a Chamber corporate partner.
Brent Childers, executive director of Faith In America, an organization devoted to fighting religious based bigotry and homophobia, said that "for the American Family Association to cast dispersion on McDonald's efforts to promote businesses owned by gay and lesbian citizens under a banner of so-called religious values, is perhaps the most hypocritical position yet by this group and it is a disgrace to all the genuine efforts on the part of business who truly value their employees and their families."

Thursday Male Beauty

12th Annual National Day of Silence Honors the Memory of Lawrence King

While my alma mater, The University of Virginia, is certainly not the most liberal university in the country, I am pleased that it was at UVA in 1996 that students organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests. Over 150 students participated in that first Day of Silence, little knowing where their actions would lead. In 1997, organizers took their effort nationally and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. Subsequently, in 2001, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ("GLSEN") became the official organizational sponsor for the event. Now, this year, hundreds of thousands of students at varying grade levels will participate. Here are highlights concerning this year's event dedicated to Lawrence King (
NEW YORK: This year’s National Day of Silence on April 25 will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old California student who was shot and killed at school in February by a 14-year-old classmate because of King’s sexual orientation and gender expression.The Day of Silence is held by students every year to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) name-calling, bullying and harassment. The senseless tragedy at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, Calif., brings even more meaning to a day that has brought hope to millions of students.
Hundreds of thousands of students are expected to participate by taking some form of a vow of silence for the entire day or part of it. Their efforts will be supported by hundreds of community-based "Breaking the Silence" events at the end of the day. Together, concerned students will create a powerful call to action in order to prevent future tragedies.
GLSEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey found that four out of five LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and 29% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The Day of Silence is one way students and their allies are making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools.

Justice Department Probes Lawyer's Dismissal Amid Gay Rumor

Yet another example of why some version of ENDA needs to be passed as soon as possible: an attorney at the Justice Department who received the highest possible reviews may have been let go at the direction of Regent University Law School grad/Christianist wingnut Monica Goodling (pictured at left) based on rumors the attorney was a lesbian. While "purists" who want 100% protection for all LGBT citizens or nothing, people like Leslie Hagan are being fired from their jobs on a daily basis because of anti-gay discrimination.
As I have said before, securing employment non-discrimination protections for millions should not be delayed by self-anointed gay rights "leaders" who do not speak for many of us. Meanwhile, Goodling and similar Regent Law graduates symbolize the problem of the policies of the Chimperator and his minions who approve appointees based on religious fanatiscm and/or party affiliation rather than basic competence. If anyone was incompetent for their position, in my opinion, it was Monica Goodling. Here are story highlights from NPR (
The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating whether a career attorney in the department was dismissed from her job because of rumors that she is a lesbian. The case grew out of a larger inquiry into the firings of U.S. attorneys and politicization at Justice under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Several people interviewed by the inspector general's staff described the case to NPR and said they came away with the impression that the Attorney General's office decided not to renew Leslie Hagen's contract because of the talk about her sexual orientation. Hagen received the highest possible ratings for her work as liaison between the Justice Department and the U.S. attorneys' committee on Native American issues. Her final job evaluation lists five categories for supervisors to rank her performance. For each category, a neat X fills the box marked, "Outstanding." And at the bottom of the page, under "overall rating level," she also got the top mark: Outstanding.

Hagen would not comment for this story, but her job evaluation is consistent with what many others have said about her. A dozen former colleagues, inside and outside of the Justice Department, were interviewed for this story. They worked above, below and side by side with Hagen. Each one raved about her work.

Justice Department e-mails obtained by NPR show that Gonzales's senior counsel Monica Goodling had a particular interest in Hagen's duties. A few months before Hagen was let go, according to one e-mail, Goodling removed part of Hagen's job portfolio — the part dealing with child exploitation and abuse. Goodling, who left the Justice Department last year, declined through her lawyer to comment on the matter.

So, what was Goodling's problem with Hagen? The Justice Department's inspector general is looking into whether Hagen was dismissed after a rumor reached Goodling that Hagen is a lesbian. As one Republican source put it, "To some people, that's even worse than being a Democrat." Someone who worked in Hagen's office says that in a 2006 meeting, senior officials were told that Hagen's contract would not be renewed because someone on the attorney general's staff had a problem with Hagen. The problem, it was suggested during the conversation, was sexual orientation — or what was rumored to be Hagen's sexual orientation. One person at the meeting asked, "Is that really an issue?" But the decision had been made.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Final Wednesday Male Beauty


Christianists Are Whining About the National Day of Silence

As we approach another year’s observance of the National Day of Silence, the Christianist hate merchants are predictably whining and carrying on about the event and once again showing themselves to be anything but the followers of the Jesus of the Gospels who preached a message of love of neighbor and compassion. Rather they show no compassion and constantly disseminate a message of hate and non-acceptance, not to mention outright lies, in respect to anyone who does not perfectly mirror their belief system or world view.

NOTE: The American Family Association which is leading the whining is so dishonest and disingenuous that it is peddling “ex-gay” materials that feature Michael Johnston, the fraud that my client and I working with Wayne Besen exposed as a complete fraud in August, 2003 Johnston is featured on the DVD cover at left ( How AFA can market materials with Johnston claiming he was “cured” by accepting Jesus is mind numbing and I challenge them to cease the dishonesty. The following are highlights of a story outlining the AFA’s latest disingenuous bleating (

Some area students are planning a silent observance late this month to denounce the harassment of gays, but a national family values organization is urging parents to keep their children home that day to fight the protest. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a New York-based nonprofit, set April 25 as a national Day of Silence to bring attention to the harassment of some students by peers because of their sexual orientation or gender expression, organizers said.

But a Mississippi-based nonprofit is trying to stop the observance. The American Family Association has posted information about the event on its Web site and has circulated e-mails in recent weeks listing schools that the association says are participating. "It's just foolishness for children to be subjected to this social activism at school," said Buddy Smith, an administrator with the association. "It is not the place for this type of educational malpractice."

Eliza Byard, deputy executive director of GLSEN, said the American Family Association's message distorts the day's meaning. "This is an opportunity for concerned students to speak out on the issue of violence and aggression against students based on sexual orientation or gender expression," she said. The harassment is "simply unacceptable, and it has to stop." Smith said his group's efforts are intended to protect children from what he called the homosexual lifestyle. "I would not want my child subjected to a push for a lifestyle that goes against everything I'm trying to teach my child about what is right and wrong," he said.

April 25 is the national Day of Silence. The event was organized in 1996 by University of Virginia students to bring attention to the harassment and violence some gay students face. This year's event is in honor of Lawrence King, a California eighth-grader who was killed in February because of his sexual orientation, according to news reports. Nationwide, 4 of every 5 gay or transgender students are harassed at school, according to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. GLSEN became the event's sponsor in 2001. For more information about the event, go to

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Bill Clinton's Tirade Stuns Some Super Delegates

I have made no secret of the fact that I do not like Bill Clinton and never have even though I voted for him in 1992 as opposed to the Chimperator's father who I deemed at the time to be utterly out of touch with reality (admittedly, Bush Sr. now looks down right good compared to the Chimperator). Over the weekend, Bill Clinton again showed himself to be a peevish ass while endeavoring to win over some super delegates in California. What "white trash Bill" does not seem to get is that no one has an entitlement to hold the presidency and live in the White House, and that includes both him and Hillary. The sad reality is that if Hillary were to be elected president, we'd have another 4 or 8 years of Bill's scandals and obnoxiousness to live with. The nation does not need that! Here are some highlights from the San Francisco Chronicle (
The Bill Clinton who met privately with California's superdelegates at last weekend's state convention was a far cry from the congenial former president who afterward publicly urged fellow Democrats to "chill out" over the race between his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barack Obama. In fact, before his speech Clinton had one of his famous meltdowns Sunday, blasting away at former presidential contender Bill Richardson for having endorsed Obama, the media and the entire nomination process. "It was one of the worst political meetings I have ever attended," one superdelegate said.

Rachel Binah, a former Richardson delegate who now supports Hillary Clinton, told Bill how "sorry" she was to have heard former Clinton campaign manager James Carville call Richardson a "Judas" for backing Obama. It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade. "Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that," a red-faced, finger-pointing Clinton erupted. The former president then went on a tirade that ran from the media's unfair treatment of Hillary to questions about the fairness of the votes in state caucuses that voted for Obama.

When delegate Binah - still stunned from her encounter with Clinton - got home to Little River (Mendocino County) later in the day - there was a phone message waiting for her from State Party Chairman Art Torres, telling her the former president wanted him to apologize to her on his behalf for what happened. Still, word of Clinton's blast shot all the way back to the New Mexico state Capitol, where Richardson spokesman Pahl Shipley reiterated Tuesday that his boss had never "promised or guaranteed" Bill and Hillary his endorsement.

Dining Out for Life

Dining Out for Life is a great fundraiser and I would encourage all local readers to mark their calendars for April 24th and go out and support HRBOR members ACCESS and Captain Groovey's in this worthy cause. A number of other restaurants are also participating, so if Captain Groovey's is not conveniently located check out your other options here:

Wednesday Male Beauty

Kennedy Seeks to Move ENDA Forward in U. S. Senate

As the AP and Virginian Pilot are reporting (, Senator Edward Kennedy is seeking to move the House version of ENDA forward in the U. S. Senate. As the article notes, even the non-transgender inclusive version of the bill will be a tough battle. Once again, throwing rationality and pragmatism to the wind, some gay-rights organizations are saying that they will oppose any version of ENDA that is not 100% inclusive. They would rather leave millions of gays without any employment non-discrimination protections rather than support an incremental approach to gaining legal protections eventually for all. To be blunt, this mentality is STUPID and SELFISH on the part of the transgender community (or at least those who claim to speak for them). They would rather throw out the baby with the bath water for the sake of principle. Believe me, I am VERY sympathetic to the situation of transgender individuals and believe that they deserve legal protections too. Nonetheless, at some point pragmatic reality needs to be factored in to the equation.

That reality is that I receive calls weekly from LGBT individuals fired from jobs here in Virginia, and 99% of them are non-transgender. The ideological purist would rather throw all of these folks under the bus and hold out for something that cannot be passed under the current make up of Congress. True, the Chimperator may well veto the bill if passed by Congress, but we NEED to put him and the GOP on the spot and make them reveal their bigotry and intolerance. Surveys show that upards of 70% of the public support employment protection for gays. Why not spotlight how out of step the GOP is with the majority of the country? Plus, if the Barney Frank version of ENDA can pass Congress, psychologically, we have made a significant step forward towards an eventually all inclusive ENDA. Over 15 years of political activism tells me this is the common sense approach and it is why I have not renewed my NGLTF membership since the organization is working AGAINST much needed legal protections for the majority of the LGBT community. After all his years in Congress, I believe Ted Kennedy knows what is the most sensible approach to ultimately gain passage of a fully inclusive ENDA. In any event, here are some story highlights:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is jumping into the middle of an uproar within the gay community whose causes he has long championed. The Massachusetts Democrat is leading a push in the Senate for a federal ban on job bias against gays, lesbians and bisexuals - but not transsexuals, cross-dressers and others whose outward appearance doesn't match their gender at birth. "We will strongly oppose it," said Roberta Sklar of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Leaving transgender people out makes that a flawed movement."

Some gay rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, supported Frank's bill and the decision not to risk its rejection by Congress by insisting on immediate transgender protections as well. "We will continue this work until all members of our community no longer fear being fired for who they are," said Brad Luna, Human Rights Campaign communications director. Kennedy said Senate approval of the bill could pave the way for extending protections to transgender workers next year, when he hopes Democrats will increase their numbers in Congress and a Democratic president supporting gay rights will be in the White House.

Kennedy expects an "uphill fight" in the narrowly divided Senate, where 60 votes rather than a simple majority would be needed to overcome expected GOP stalling tactics. Kennedy and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who supports the bill, are working on the timing for bringing the bill to the floor. The bill would make it illegal for employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, promoting or paying an employee based on sexual orientation. There are exemptions for churches and the military.

"My concern would be the Democratic leadership in the Senate is a bit reticent in stepping into what is a minefield," said Patrick Sammon, president of Log Cabin Republicans. The nation's largest gay Republican group is lobbying GOP lawmakers for support. A veto from President Bush is expected if the proposal does pass the Senate. The White House has cited constitutional concerns and said the proposal could trample religious rights.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Truth Wins Out - Exposing the Ex-gay Lies

My blogger friend, Vanyel, sent me a message this morning telling me to check out a post that referred to a site he thought might be of interest to me. Ironically, it turns out that the site is Truth Wins Out ( which is headed up by my friend Wayne Besen and which is now utilizing the talents of Mike Airhart, the founder of Ex-Gay Watch (, who will be posting blog entries and other news and information on the TWO web site. As some readers know, I got to know Wayne back in the summer of 2003 while working with a client who had unknowingly had sexual relations with the fraudulent "ex-gay," Michael Johnston. Ulimately, in August, 2003, Southern Voice did a story exposing Johnston and he was whisked off to Pure Life Ministries where he remains more or less in hiding. Subsequently, I was lucky enought to have the opportunity to meet and have lunch with Mike Airhart and his partner while visiting friends in Washington, DC. Between Wayne and Mike, TWO has a dedicated team working to put forth the truth about "ex-gay" programs and propaganda.
More recently, Wayne interviewed me about the efforts of some of the anti-gay Christianist organizations that are trying to rehabilitate Johnston and selling materials by Johnston even though they know he is a fraud. The video of the interview can be seen on TWO's website. WARNING: I look like frigging hell - in bad need of a haircut and looking very tired - in the harsh lighting. But I digress. One of the things that TWO is seeking is volunteer efforts to further expose the dishonesty of the ex-gay ministries and/or the fact that they do NOT utilize licensed professionals with legitimate backgrounds in medicine and/or mental health issues. Following up on TWO's request, I decided to check out a local "ministry," Sought Out, Inc., located in nearby Virginia beach which is an affiliate of Exodus International. I once knew a guy who had gone through their program with less than a good outcome: he was still gay, but as a result of all the religious guilt that had been beaten into him, he became an alcoholic. So, I visited the ministry's website and not surprisingly, it program is religion based. First, it puts forth a statement of the following beliefs among others:

The factors which produce a situation conducive to homosexual acts or a person receptive to homosexuality are often beyond that person's control, but the homosexual act is a conscious, volitional act of sin. Albeit a sin, it is equally forgivable in God's redemptive plan as any other sin.

God is able to provide grace and strength to empower a person wanting to cease an addictive, self-defeating, or homosexual lifestyle and to restore that person to a right relationship with God, with others, and with one's own self.

The applicantion for would be participants also contains a few interesting questions that indicate the program's obsession with sin and sexual matters:

Have you or anyone in your family been involved with Satanic Ritual Abuse?
What specific areas of support and/or instruction do you desire?
_______Compulsive masturbation
_______Homosexual brokenness

_______Compulsive sexual behavior
At what point in your life did you consider yourself a Christian?

Not surprisingly, the organization lacks legitimate licensed mental health care professionals. Unlike many such "ministries," Sought Out at least is somewhat honest in being up front about telling would be participants everything that it is not (and that results are not assured). It also covers its ass by making applicants sign a release form which among other things contains the following:

I am aware that my participation in the SALT program is not a substitute for psychiatric treatment, psychotherapy, therapeutic counseling or any other form of professional therapy. I am also aware that my participation in the SALT program is not a substitute for my active involvement in a local Christian church body of my choice. I am voluntarily participating in the SALT program with full knowledge of these facts, and I accept complete responsibility for my own psychological, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.

I acknowledge that my emotional vulnerability may increase along with the desire to act out new or old compulsive behaviors. In order to maintain a safe environment, we ask that you refrain from casual, social contact with other group members for the twenty-week program. Exchanging phone numbers within the small group is encouraged for accountability purposes, unless there is the possibility of a sexual pull between two group members.

Sought Out does, in fact, have referral links to parties that are actually licensed in mental health care. However, even such referral soucres all make it clear from their respective websites that "Christian" values and outlook predominate as opposed to safe, sane mental health care views. Thus, why it is importnat for the APA and other professional groups to toughen their policies to bar religion based reparative therapy efforts.

Equality Virginia Workshops: Aprill 12, 2008 at Old Dominion Univeristy


9:00 AM TO 3:00 PM


9:00 AM To 11:00AM – “TRANSGENDER 101”






for more information and to register
Please pass this on to everyone
Among the groups helping to defray the cost of the event are: HRBOR, Tidewater AIDS Community Task Force, MCC New Life Metropolitan Community Church of Hampton Roads, ODU Multicultural Student Services, ODU Womens Center, and Transgendered Rights of Virginia. Yours truly will be speaking on employment law issues.

Tuesday Male Beauty

I posted this photo once in the past, but I think these guys are gorgeous. So, here it is again.

59% of US Doctors Support Universal Healthcare

In my opinion, one of the biggest scandals in the USA is the number of American citizens who lack basic healthcare insurance coverage and/or access to preventative medical treatment and diagnostic testing. As an employer, the amounts paid by both employers and employees for health insurance is an ever increasing burden. In the past, one of the lobby groups who opposed some form of universal or national healthcare system was the nation's doctors who believed that it would reduce their incomes. Now that tide appears to be turning, leaving I suspect insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers as the leading opponents. Why the opposition? Because it could mean a reduction in the obscene denials by insurance companies of treatment coverage and almost unbelieveably expensive drug costs. Here are highlights from a Raw Story article (
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea, according to a survey published on Monday.

The survey suggests that opinions have changed substantially since the last survey in 2002 and as the country debates serious changes to the health care system. Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
"As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care," said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. "More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem."
"Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy," Ackermann said in a statement.

The Indiana survey found that 83 percent of psychiatrists, 69 percent of emergency medicine specialists, 65 percent of pediatricians, 64 percent of internists, 60 percent of family physicians and 55 percent of general surgeons favor a national health insurance plan. The researchers said they believe the survey was representative of the 800,000 U.S. medical doctors.

USA 2008: The Great Depression

The above caption is the actual headline from an article ( in The Independent, a newspaper in the UK. While today is April 1st, the article is not an April Fool's joke, but rather reports on what is happening to the USA's economy notwithstanding the delusional denial on the part of The Chimperator and those in the GOP who have been his enablers for the last 7+ years. Perhaps if they had paid more attention to issues that really matter and less time dividing the country, gay-bashing and endeavoring to intrude into the private lives of citizens, we'd not be in the mess that is overtaking the counrty.

Just the collapse of the residential real estate market has had a huge impact with a broadening ripple effect: home values are dropping, realtors, title insurance companies, appraisers, residential lenders, real estate law practices, construction material suppliers, etc., have all seen revenues plunge and have reduced work forces and expenditures. In some cases, companies have completely gone out of business. As all of this happens, consumer spending drops further. Add to this the loss of manufacturing jobs, the massive layoffs by financial firms and the exporting of jobs oversears and one gets a very toxic mix. Here are some story highlights:

We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families.

Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.

Emblematic of the downturn until now has been the parades of houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and myriad families separated from their homes. But now the crisis is starting to hit the country in its gut. Getting food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding harder to meet. As a barometer of the country's economic health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can certainly tell a story.

Michigan has been in its own mini-recession for years as its collapsing industrial base, particularly in the car industry, has cast more and more out of work. Now, one in eight residents of the state is on food stamps, double the level in 2000. But the trend is not restricted to the rust-belt regions. Forty states are reporting increases in applications for the stamps, actually electronic cards that are filled automatically once a month by the government and are swiped by shoppers at the till, in the 12 months from December 2006. At least six states, including Florida, Arizona and Maryland, have had a 10 per cent increase in the past year.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Irish Survey Shows Increased Support for Gay Marriage

It is interesting to see that in countries where the dirty linen of the Roman Catholic Church has been widely exposed and recognized by the populace, the Church's power and anti-gay agenda are crumbling. Recently, despite the Church's efforts, the liberal government of Spain was re-elected. As this story shows (, the Church's ability to dictate an anti-gay mentality is collapsing. Here are some highlights:

Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents to an opinion poll conducted this month by Lansdowne Market Research said they supported civil marriage or civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples. This is the same figure as a similar survey carried out in November 2006. However, 58% said gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry in registry offices, compared to 51% in the previous survey.
Would that more American Catholics would wake up to the Church leadership's moral bankruptcy and ignore its anti-gay rhetoric.

More Monday Male Beauty

Dedicated to Kenneth Cuccinelli

Fruitcake Cuccinelli Announces Run for Republican Candidate for Attorney General

Virginia state senator Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, who is at least as crazy as Sally Kern and just as much of a gay-hater, has announced he is running to be the GOP candidate for Virginia Attorney General. Having just barely won re-election last fall, in my view the man is delusional if he thinks he can win a statewide race. Moreover, should he get the GOP attorney general nomination and Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell be the GOP nominee for governor, the GOP would be putting forth the most anti-gay, reactionary ticket in recent memory. I can only hope that they both go down to resounding defeat and then perhaps the Republican Party of Virginia will get the message that Virginia's citizens are moving forward in the 21st century and are tired of the GOP's efforts to keep Virginia in the 1950's. Here are some story highlights (
Cuccinelli, 39, is among the Senate's most forceful opponents of abortion rights, gun control, gay rights and no-fault divorce, an advocate for classroom prayer in public schools and crackdowns on illegal or undocumented immigrants.
Cuccinelli's announcement follows by one week the announcement by Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to pass on a run for governor. His decision, along with former Gov. George Allen's choice to sit out the race, leaves Attorney General Bob McDonnell uncontested for the GOP nomination. Cuccinelli won the 39th District seat from western Fairfax County in a 2002 special election, succeeding Republican Sen. Warren E. Barry, who resigned to head the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Five years later, with Democrats resurgent statewide, Cuccinelli raised more than $1.2 million to defeat Democratic challenger Janet Oleszek. His re-election was affirmed only after a recount found that he won by 101 votes out of more than 37,000 cast. Two other Republican senators from Fairfax County - the state's most populous locality - lost their seats to Democrats, and Cuccinelli's narrow victory makes him the lone GOP senator from the immediate suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Cuccinelli's record of supporting legislation to substantially curb abortion access, crack down on illegal aliens and battle what he calls "the homosexual agenda" has made him a hero of religious and social conservatives, a following he has nurtured for years as a political base for his first statewide run. Most of the six anti-abortion bills he has sponsored in his 1 1/2 terms in the Senate went after clinics that perform abortions and would have put most of them out of business by requiring them to meet the same equipment and construction standards as hospitals.

Alabama Judge Orders HS To Allow Lesbian Couple At Prom

Having lived in Alabama a number of years ago and last traveled through the state while on the Hurricane Katrina evacuee retrieval trip, this ruling by an Alabama Circuit Court judge is pretty amazing. After passing through the state after Katrina, I though that if anything, the state had regressed from where it had been in 1977-1981 and made Virginia look down right LGBT welcoming. True, the law was in support of the judge's ruling, but for such a ruling to be issued in Scottsboro - as opposed to Mobile or Birmingham - is most surprising. Here are some highlights from (
(Scottsboro, Alabama) Lauren Martin and girlfriend Chelsea Overstreet danced the night way on Saturday, but their big prom night at Scottsboro High School almost didn't happen. Overstreet, 17, a junior, and Martin, 16, a sophomore at the school, were told by the school they could not go to the prom as a couple. With the help of attorney Parker Edmiston, they went to court.

On Saturday, just hours before the big dance, Circuit Judge John Graham of Stevenson issued an order prohibiting the school barring the teens. Graham citied the 1984 federal Equal Access law which has been successfully used to fight on behalf of LGBT student groups.
Both parents said the girls would not be speaking with reporters, and the media was not allowed into the prom. But teens who were at the event said that Overstreet wore her prom dress while Martin wore a tuxedo.

Monday Male Beauty

Hampton Roads LGBTQ Community Center

I attended the second organizational meeting for the establishment of a LGBTQ community Center to serve the Hampton Roads area - i.e, cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News and Hampton. The meeting was well attended and there appears to be some real momentum. I will be drafting and filing articles of incorporation to set up a Virginia non-stock, non-profit corporation tomorrow and once more information is assembled the organization will be filing for non-profit status with the IRS. Obviously, there will be a great deal of work to be done and the goal will be to have a location and programs both on the south side of Hampton Roads and on the Peninsula.
I believe that this area has a significant LGBT population. Unfortunately, for MANY years it has not been organized or seen itself as a community. Too many people have remainded invisible either due to being in the military, afraid of losing their jobs, or because the Pride events were not their cup of tea. With the growth of Equality Virginia as a broad based state wide organization and the advent of HRBOR and its success to date, things appear to be changing. Establishing a community center is another positive step.
The irony in the growing sense of an LGBT community in the area and the sense of a need to be more unified is that much of the motivation traces back to the anti-gay legisation that Virginia has enacted over the last four or five years. While causing legal issues for members of the LGBT community, it has galvanized people and caused them to get angry and be more forceful than in the past. In short, it is having the reverse effect of what the Christianists want. If they thought they would be able to cause gays to quietly slink away, their plan has backfired.

Cultivating Hate - The Aftermath

Colette Beighley has a great post on her blog ( that looks at the aftermath of bullying and hate speech such as that of Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern. Specifically, the post looks at the survivors of youths who have chosen to take teir own lives as a result of bullying and other mistreatment by their schoolmates and others. What I find so amazing is how people like Ms. Kern - who claim to be Christian - can be such vicious fountains of hate towards other human beings. Another such individual is Missouri House Rep. Jane Cunningham (R-86) who chairs of the Missour Legislature's Elementary And Secondary Education Committee. While I have been unable to confirm Ms. Cunningham's religious denomination, from her official biography I suspect she is purportedly a Christian, yet as Pam's House Blend has reported (;jsessionid=99096D01350D0518F9E724032622D1BD?diaryId=4915), she made the following remarks to some students who had piercings:
Cunningham told the youth to leave, as she "couldn't look at [them] anymore," because their appearance "offended" her. Both youth have facial piercings as many students do. The youth thanked Rep. Cunningham for her time and left the office. . . . "I don't see how any human being could look at them for any prolonged period of time without getting physically ill... I thought I would throw-up if I looked at them any longer."
Jesus associated with the social outcasts of his day and healed lepers, yet Ms. Kern and Ms. Cunningham look down on their fellow humans and disparage them and, in the case of Ms. Kern, make statements that actively incite hatred. What kind of perverted form of Christianity these women purport to follow? I just do not get it. How can anyone be so unkind and hate-filled?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Sunday Male Beauty

Thoughts on My Family History

While visiting my mother last weekend, I had occasion to look through some of the dozens of family photo albums that she has maintained. Some of the photos date back to prior to World War I, but most date from about 1920 or so forward to the present. Her father was a photography freak for decades, taking all kinds of photos. Many of the older pictures are from my mother’s childhood and her parents’ days in Honduras and Panama (my mother was born in Honduras in the small town of Puerto Castilla, which at the time was a main port in Honduras for United Fruit Company (“UFC”) – a view towards the peninsula where the town is located, with the town of Trujillo in the foreground is posted above. Later she lived in Puerto Armuelles, Panama, where her father was transferred to head up another hospital.

My mother’s childhood was definitely like something out of a novel or a movie involving a colonial style type of world: as chief surgeon and head of the local hospital owned and operated by UFC, her father was one of the most important people in the towns they lived in, they had servants, and traveled to the USA by ship – one of the 100+ ships of UFC’s “great white fleet,” among the first air-conditioned ships - generally at least once a year to visit my grandmother’s family in New Orleans and my grandfather’s family in New York State. I have been trying to get my mother to write some memoirs so that her memories will not be lost after she and her sisters are (at 80, my mom is the youngest of them).

While much maligned – sometimes with very good reason because of its political interference in local national government affairs - United Fruit Company ( did do a large degree of good in terms of building infrastructure: railroads, port facilities, schools, etc. My mother’s recollections are similar to these:

In addition to providing employment to tens of thousands of workers and paying them the nation's best rural wages, the Company also offered its employees excellent medical care, rent-free housing, and six years of free schooling for countless children. By clearing and draining thousands of acres of jungle that are today among the most productive farm lands, United Fruit converted Guatemala for example into a major banana producer, thereby ending the country's unhealthy dependence on its exports of coffee. The Company's pioneering work in eliminating malaria and other tropical diseases early in the twentieth century also allowed rich, previously unexploited agricultural zones.

Somewhere my mom still has some of the medical research journals published by the UFC medical staffs that we used to look at as children, with articles on exotic medical issues ranging from malaria and yellow fever to shark bites, some written by my grandfather. Since UFC provided free medical care, my mother still has some of the small gifts that local Honduran and Panamanian company employees gave to my grandfather to thank him for surgical and other procedures he did for them or their family members. Whatever, UFC’s failings, it provided my mother and her family a unique opportunity to live in a different culture and to experience a way of life that is now gone forever. Besides reprints of some of the photos I have had framed, as a reminder of that life in my bedroom at my home I have an amazing intricately carved cedar chest my grandparents bought from Chinese merchants circa 1920.

War Criminal President

Harper's has an article ( on the torture regime approved and implemented by the Chimperator, Emperor Cheney, and their minions. It is not a pretty picture and applying the law - both U.S. and International law, the bottom line is that Bush, cheney and others are guilty of war crimes. Crimes that have lead others to be imprisioned or worse. Sadly no one seems willing to call a spade a spade and seek to have these unprincipled thugs removed from office or prosecuted. It is a thoroughly disgusting situation. These policies have made the USA no better than some of the other worse human rights violators. Yet there are Kool-Aid drinkers that continue to support these monsters. Whenever I see a car with a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker, I feel like asking them if they are brain damaged or what. I am truly ashamed to be an American with a Presdent such as the Chimperator. These men are evil and need to be either in prison or in an insane asylum. Here are some story highlights:
On January 28, 2008, the Committee Against Torture adopted General Comment 2 (CAT/C/GC/2), an important and persuasive reaffirmation of basic values of the Convention Against Torture, starting with one that lies at its heart: the universality principle. The Committee’s work on this document is admirable. But the circumstances that made it necessary were distressing. The United States, a nation which played a vital role in advocating the Convention, and indeed much of the edifice of international human rights, adopted a series of policies that reflected persistent gross breaches of the Convention—particularly with respect to the operation of a concentration camp in Guantánamo, and other prison operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as “black sites” maintained by U.S. intelligence operatives around the world.
When called to account for its misconduct by the global community, the Bush Administration responded by making a series of grotesque arguments which were designed to convert the Convention into a trivial bagatelle with no obvious application or relevance. This assault was led by John Bellinger, the current legal adviser in the Department of State.
The preposterous positions taken by the United States team during the country review process in Geneva were not driven by anything like a careful study of law. To the contrary, they were a frontal assault on well-established, fundamental U.S. policies that date back to the Revolutionary War (General Washington prohibition of torture in 1777) and the Civil War (Abraham Lincoln’s prohibition of torture in General Orders No. 100 from 1863). The posture taken by the Bush Administration was clearly a product of reverse engineering for purposes of protecting not the national interests of the United States, but the personal exposure of a group of individuals who decided to foment a policy of torture.
Torture was introduced as a result of conscious decisions taken at the pinnacle of power in Washington. Vice President Cheney was a principal instigator; President Bush was certainly fully informed, and consciously lied about it in dozens of public appearances.Let’s pause for a second to review this. What are these techniques?

Enforced nudity. This technique is adopted for purposes of degrading and humiliating the prisoner, heightening his senses of vulnerability, weakness and shame. Enforced nudity also enhances other techniques, particularly hypothermia.

Starvation. As Davis notes, when the prisoner is entitled to an MRE, he would be given one component only of the MRE. The entire MRE constitutes a reasonable food ration which is properly balanced. Giving only one part of it reflects a decision to starve the prisoner.

Stress Positions. Perhaps the oldest and best established torture technique, widely used by the Inquisition in Europe, was the strapado. Hands would be fastened behind the back and the victim would be hoisted, causing severe stress to joints, frequent dislocation, and severe and sustained pain. The strapado would invariably get its victim to confess to anything, very quickly. During World War II, this same technique was widely adopted and used by the Germans, who called it Pfahlbinden. In the English of the Bush Administration, this technique is called a “stress position,” and it was widely used at Abu Ghraib.

Hypothermia. Shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Soviet secret police pioneered a very simple technique that had the advantage of leaving the victim’s body unbruised or bloodied, but whose physiological effects were equally if not more effective than direct beatings. In its mildest form, the victim was left with thin clothing in a cell with temperatures hovering just above freezing. A day of such treatment was generally enough to produce physical collapse. The Bush Administration, of course, not having the benefits of a Siberian winter, turns to far cruder and more brutal techniques, which Davis describes. The prisoner is stripped naked, dunked in a bath of ice water, and a window is left open to insure exposure.