Following a six-month long investigative research project, the Center for American Progress released a 130-page report today which reveals that more than $42 million from seven foundations over the past decade have helped fan the flames of anti-Muslim hate in America. The authors — Wajahat Ali, Eli Clifton, Matt Duss, Lee Fang, Scott Keyes, and myself — worked to expose the Islamophobia network in depth, name the major players, connect the dots, and trace the genesis of anti-Muslim propaganda.
The report, titled “Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America,” lifts the veil behind the hate, follows the money, and identifies the names of foundations who have given money, how much they have given, and who they have given to.
The money has flowed into the hands of five key “experts” and “scholars” who comprise the central nervous system of anti-Muslim propaganda:
FRANK GAFFNEY, Center for Security Policy – “A mosque that is used to promote a seditious program, which is what Sharia is…that is not a protected religious practice, that is in fact sedition.” [Source]
DAVID YERUSHALMI, Society of Americans for National Existence: “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…the Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.” [Source]
DANIEL PIPES, Middle East Forum: “All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.” [Source]
ROBERT SPENCER, Jihad Watch: “Of course, as I have pointed out many times, traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful. It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.” [Source]
STEVEN EMERSON, Investigative Project on Terrorism: “One of the world’s great religions — which has more than 1.4 billion adherents — somehow sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as part of its religious doctrine.” [Source]
These five “scholars” are assisted in their outreach efforts by Brigitte Gabriel (founder, ACT! for America), Pamela Geller (co-founder, Stop Islamization of America), and David Horowitz (supporter of Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch). As the report details, information is then disseminated through conservative organizations like the Eagle Forum, the religious right, Fox News, and politicians such as Allen West and Newt Gingrich.
Over the past few years, the Islamophobia network (the funders, scholars, grassroots activists, media amplifiers, and political validators) have worked hard to push narratives that Obama might be a Muslim, that mosques are incubators of radicalization, and that “radical Islam” has infiltrated all aspects of American society . . . .
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Rick Perry’s rapid lead over previous Republican front-runner Mitt Romney was predictable. But it is not a good sign for Republicans hoping to reclaim the White House and further highlights the crucial battle within GOP circles: Who is the godliest of us all?
That’s the mirror-mirror question for Republicans. Forget charisma, charm, intelligence, knowledge and that nuisance, “foreign policy experience.” The race of the moment concerns which candidate is the truest believer.
This was always a tough hurdle for Romney, whose Mormonism is reflexively distrusted by Southern evangelicals. Even so, in the absence of a better candidate, Romney had a fighting chance to win his party’s support. Then came Perry.
Talk about a perfect-storm, composite candidate. Combine Elmer Gantry’s nose for converts, Ronald Reagan’s folksy confidence and Sarah Palin’s disdain for the elites — and that dog hunts. Perry doesn’t just believe, he evangelizes. . . . . If you’re Romney, Perry is a nightmare that’s still there in the morning. If you’re Barack Obama, maybe not so much?
That we are yet again debating evolutionary theory and Earth’s origins — and that candidates now have to declare where they stand on established science — should be a signal that we are slip-sliding toward governance by emotion rather than reason. But it’s important to understand what’s undergirding the debate. It has little to do with a given candidate’s policy and everything to do with whether he or she believes in God.
If we are descended of some blend of apes, then we can’t have been created in God’s image. If we establish Earth’s age at 4.5 billion years, then we contradict the biblical view that God created the world just 6,500 years ago. And finally, if we say that climate change is partly the result of man’s actions, then God can’t be the One who punishes man’s sins with floods, droughts, earthquakes and hurricanes. If He wants the climate to change, then He will so ordain, and we’ll pray more.
Perry knows he has to make clear that God is his wingman. And this conviction seems not only to be sincere, but also to be relatively noncontroversial in the GOP’s church . . . . . And also why he probably can’t win a national election, in which large swaths of the electorate would prefer that their president keep his religion close and be respectful of knowledge that has evolved from thousands of years of human struggle against superstition and the kind of literal-mindedness that leads straight to the dark ages.
Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, but Perry makes you think they are.
As a thinking, I like to think rational American, Rick Perry scares the Hell out of me and makes me worry for the future of the nation.
Meanwhile, as WVEC-TV is reporting, the Midtown Tunnel (one of my routes home to Hampton) closed moments ago so that the Norfolk side flood gates could be closed:
NORFOLK -- The risk of flooding from Hurricane Irene has forced VDOT officials to close the Midtown Tunnel, one of two crossings between Norfolk and Portsmouth.
The tunnel will close at 10:00 a.m. and won't reopen until the flooding threat is past.
“Conditions at the Midtown Tunnel have reached a point where there is a likely potential for flooding, and the tunnel needs to be closed,” said Dennis Heuer, Hampton Roads District Administrator. “Crews will reassess the weather conditions and reopen the tunnel to traffic as soon as it is safe.”
The before and after photo of one of the bedrooms gives an idea of the amount of things we've carried upstairs.
Hurricane damage could cost you more these days, thanks to hurricane and windstorm deductibles that have become part of most policies in Hampton Roads and coastal North Carolina.
They require a homeowner to pay for part of any hurricane damage before their regular coverage kicks in. The deductibles typically range from 1 to 5 percent of a home's insured value. If a home has $200,000 of coverage and a windstorm or hurricane deductible of 5 percent, a policyholder must pay for the first $10,000 of the claim.
"Families will have to dig deeper into their pockets because insurers have been steadily increasing hurricane wind coverage deductibles and imposing other policy limitations," J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, said in a statement.
"Once your claim is reported, be sure to get your claim number and write it down," Hunter said. Also, start a notebook to document your contacts with the insurance company with the date, time and a brief description of the exchange, he said.
Several insurers, including State Farm, Nationwide, Allstate and USAA, have already notified policyholders with automated phone messages and email of ways to file any hurricane-related claims. USAA, which provides homeowners and auto coverage to members of the military, military retirees and their family members, is encouraging its policyholders to file claims via their mobile devices.
Again, thank you to readers who have been following events. The blog is setting records in terms of traffic. Knowing you all are out there is comforting. Sounds crazy, I know, but its true.
Friday, August 26, 2011
e newest entry in the field of Republican presidential hopefuls — and current front-runner in the GOP field — has signed his name to an anti-gay pledge to oppose same-sex marriage if elected to the White House.In some ways, I am pleased that Perry has shown himself to be a bigoted political whore to the Christianists - a group that regularly polls as extremely unpopular with the majority of Americans. With each step like this pandering to NOM, Perry makes it easier to make the case that he is WAY OUTSIDE the political mainstream. His Christianist self-masturbation love fest last month in Houston just adds to the evidence. Given the persistent rumors that Perry is a closet case, I hope and pray that some past trick will come forward and add Perry to the list of failed GOP hypocrites.
On Friday, the National Organization for Marriage announced Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who earlier this month officially declared his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, had penned his name to a document committing himself to various initiatives in opposition to same-sex marriage.
In a statement, Brian Brown, NOM’s president, praised Perry and called the thrice-elected Texas governor a “marriage champion” for signing the pledge.
“By doing so, Perry makes crystal clear that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, gay marriage is going to be a bigger issue in 2012 than it was in 2008, because the difference between the GOP nominee and President Obama is going to be large and clear,” Brown said. “We look forward to demonstrating that being for marriage is a winning position for a presidential candidate.”
By signing the document, Perry commits upon election as president to undertake several initiatives against same-sex marriage:
* supporting congressional passage and sending to the states a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage throughout the country;
* defending in court the Defense of Marriage of Act, a 1996 law that prohibit federal recognition of same-sex marriage;
* appointing judges and a U.S. attorney general who “will respect the original meaning” of the U.S. Constitution;
* supporting legislation allowing D.C. residents to vote on whether or not to abrogate the district’s same-sex marriage law;
* and appointing a presidential commission to “investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters.”
The good news is that Hurricane Irene seems to be weakening - although Isabel did the same thing in 2003 and contrary to forecasts went from at weak tropical storm back to a category 1 hurricane, catching Hampton Roads largely unprepared and doing over $1 Billion in damage. Tomorrow, if the storm remains on course to Hampton Roads and at least a category 1 storm, then we'll be moving items from the lower cabinets in the kitchen, a downstairs closet and the pantry and a floor to ceiling china cabinet. Here are some highlights from the Virginian Pilot:
Officials expect the Midtown Tunnel and Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel will have to close by Saturday morning between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Transportation's Hampton Roads District. The tunnels are affected not only by wind speeds, but by tides and storm surges.Obviously, the Outer banks - an area that I truly love - will bear much more of the brunt of Irene when it first comes ashore.
Irene is now expected to be a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, when it hits Hampton Roads tomorrow, according to the latest predictions from the National Weather Service.
Previously it was expected to hit at Category 2 strength, meaning sustained winds of 96 to 110 miles per hour. A Category 1 storm has sustained winds of 74 to 95 miles per hour.
Hurricane-force winds of about 90 miles per hour should start hitting the Outer Banks around 8 a.m. Saturday, according to Nick Fillo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.
The Norfolk area will start seeing hurricane-force winds around 4 p.m. tomorrow, with the eye of the storm passing by off the shore of Virginia Beach around 7 or 8 p.m., Fillo said.
On a different note, this blog has broken today all past records in terms of reader visits. I thank all of you for your interest and the loyalty of long term readers. Your support means more to me than you will ever know.
Another day, another politician caught posting lewd pictures of himself online. So who fucked up this time? None other than Puerto Rican senator Roberto Arango.Last Friday Puerto Rican TV show *Dando Candela* aired the picture you see to the left which they supposedly downloaded from the popular gay cruisingapp *Grindr*. The picture, they said, is one of Roberto Arango, senator and president of the *Partido Popular Democratico* [Popular Democratic Party].
When asked about the picture, Roberto Arango didn't confirm or deny taking the photograph: Roberto says he's been documenting his weight loss and this may very well be a part of that: You know I've been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I've been taking pictures. I don't remember taking this particular picture but I'm not gonna say I didn't take it. I'd tell you if I remembered taking the picture but I
Oh, OK. We'll humor you and give you the befit of the doubt. Just as soon as you explain this picture, supposedly taken off the same *Grindr* account: [REMOVED: Click on link above to see it] What exactly are you documenting here? Your anal weight loss?!
I don't mean to seem cruel, but WTF is this "weight loss" excuse? Until such time as members of the GOP and their Christianist puppeteers admit that sexual orientation is innate and unchangeable, we can expect to see more of these exposes - and more lame excuses by the closeted politicians.
11:40 a.m. - Virginia Beach is issuing a voluntary evacuation of camp grounds and mobile homes starting at noon due to high winds.
11 a.m. - Gov. Bob McDonnell orders state offices to close at 3 p.m. Friday.
10:45 a.m. - Newport News has issued a mandatory evacuation for areas that would flood in a Cat. 1 hurricane effective 5 p.m. today. Those areas include City Line Apartments and the Salters Creek area.
9:20 a.m. - The Coast Guard has closed the Port of Hampton Roads to inbound commercial traffic because of expected gale force winds from Hurricane Irene. The Coast Guard said that vessels need special permission to enter the port.
9 a.m. - Hampton issues a mandatory evacuation for low-lying areas that would flood in a Category 1 hurricane. Those areas include neighborhoods in and around: Grandview/Beach Road, Harris Creek, Buckroe Beach, Southwest Branch of the Back River, Hampton River, Tidemill Creek, Indian Creek, Newmarket Creek, and as well as any other area prone to flooding. If you live in these areas and do not evacuate, the City will not be able to send rescue teams in during the storm.
Hampton readers can check out their flood zone here. Yes, the Hampton evacuation includes are home. The boyfriend and I will be staying nonetheless since while the house may end up flooding on the first floor despite our best efforts, it's built like a bunker and not going anywhere even in hurricane force winds.
As I write this, investors around the world are anxiously awaiting Ben Bernanke’s speech at the annual Fed gathering at Jackson Hole, Wyo. They want to know whether Mr. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, will unveil new policies that might lift the U.S. economy out of what is looking more and more like a quasi-permanent state of depressed demand and high unemployment.
But I’ll be shocked if Mr. Bernanke proposes anything significant — that is, anything likely to make any serious dent in unemployment or offer any serious boost to growth. Why don’t I expect much from Mr. Bernanke? In two words: Rick Perry.
I’m using Mr. Perry — who has famously threatened Mr. Bernanke with dire personal consequences if he pursues expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election — as a symbol of the political intimidation that is killing our last remaining hope for economic recovery.
Obviously, the U.S. economy remains deeply depressed, and under normal conditions we would expect the Fed to pump it up by cutting interest rates. But the interest rates the Fed normally targets — basically rates on short-term U.S. government debt — are already near zero. So what can the Fed do?
[I]n 2000 an economist named Ben Bernanke offered a number of proposals . . . . . These could include: purchases of long-term government debt (to push interest rates, and hence private borrowing costs, down); an announcement that short-term interest rates would stay near zero for an extended period, to further reduce long-term rates; an announcement that the bank was seeking moderate inflation, “setting a target in the 3-4% range for inflation, to be maintained for a number of years,” which would encourage borrowing and discourage people from hoarding cash; . . .
Was Mr. Bernanke on the right track? I think so — as well I should, since his paper was partly based on my own earlier work. So why isn’t the Fed pursuing the agenda its own chairman once recommended for Japan? . . . . The larger answer, however, is outside political pressure. Last year, the Fed actually did institute a policy of buying long-term debt, generally known as “quantitative easing” (don’t ask). But it faced a political backlash out of all proportion to its modest effect on the economy, culminating in Mr. Perry’s declaration that any further monetary easing before the 2012 election would be “almost treasonous,” and that if Mr. Bernanke went ahead and did it, “we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.”
With prominent Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan already denouncing policies that allegedly “debase the dollar,” a political firestorm would be guaranteed. . . . . So now you see why I don’t expect any substantive policy announcements at Jackson Hole. Back in 2000, Mr. Bernanke accused the Bank of Japan of suffering from “self-induced paralysis”; well, now the Fed is suffering from externally induced paralysis. In effect, it has been politically intimidated into standing by while the economy stagnates. And that’s a very, very bad thing.
With the Fed also intimidated into inaction, it’s hard to see any end to the ongoing economic disaster.
As Hurricane Irene's broad path veered closer to Hampton Roads on Thursday, Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency but stopped short of ordering widespread evacuations and reversing lanes on Interstate 64 to speed traffic out of the region.
By this morning, Irene had weakened slightly to a Category 2 hurricane - with top winds around 110 mph - with the potential to restrengthen today, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its winds are hitting at tropical storm force 290 miles from its center. Storm surges of 5 to 10 feet are expected along the coast, accompanied by large, life-threatening waves. Rainfall of 6 to 10 inches is forecast - and up to 15 inches is possible in some areas.
All five South Hampton Roads cities are preparing to open some of their emergency shelters tonight. Norfolk residents who want to move their vehicles to higher ground may park for free in city garages at MacArthur Center, Boush Street, Freemason Street and York Street beginning at 6 p.m. today. In Virginia Beach, Oceanfront parking garages will open; for details,see www.vbgov.com.
McDonnell said residents need to be prepared for the possible closures of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel, the Midtown Tunnel and other water crossings in the region, likely on Saturday morning.
Army officials ordered everyone to leave Fort Monroe, a 565-acre island at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, by 6 p.m. today. Fort Monroe is home to about 800 soldiers and family members; separately, a few hundred people live in apartments at The Chamberlin. The Army base was badly damaged by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. That storm caused $100 million in damages.
More than 200 aircraft from Oceana Naval Air Station and Norfolk Naval Station also are preparing to get out of the storm's path. The evacuating aircraft - F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, E-2C Hawkeyes, C-2A Greyhounds, H-60 helicopters, and C-12 Hurons - are headed for airfields as far south as New Orleans and as far west as Fallon, Nev.
Yes, the foregoing is definitely enough to stress you out when your home is on a tidal creek and across the street from homes directly on Hampton Roads harbor.
NOTE: the Norfolk flood zone maps are here: http://www.norfolk.gov/emergency/storm_surge_maps.asp. Norfolk readers need to check their zone.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
The widely publicised J-FLAG TV Public Service Announcement encouraging families to love those relatives practising deviant homosexual lifestyles has been denied public exposure by Television Jamaica. The managing director of RJR Communications Group gave cogent reasons for their decision not to air the announcement. While reasons for their stated position were "spun" in sensitive PR language, the subliminal message was understood, that is, the serious "blowback" which would likely occur if the PSA were to be televised. As a Christian nation, Jamaican culture is dogmatic concerning homosexuality, as is Islam.There are plenty of beautiful destinations in which to spend one's money. Why financially underwrite a nation as consumed with anti-LGBT bigotry as Jamaica.
[A]s pastor and former journalist Mark Dawes pointed out: "As innocuous and as innocent as that public service announcement might appear, it is a part of a wider plan by militant homosexuals to gradually desensitise Jamaicans so that homosexual behaviour and practice can become mainstream in Jamaica".
It is widely known that numerous deviant pressure groups are attempting to infiltrate Jamaica's culture by asserting their lifestyles as normal. Besides homosexuals, these groups include the pro-abortionists, the lobbyists for decriminalising the use of ganja and other recreational drugs, the polygamists and polyandrous protagonists, those who believe in euthanasia and those lobbying to legalise male and female prostitution, both forms of which promote HIV infection.
Already, strong external pressure exists on Jamaica from Western countries to legalise homosexuality. Theirs is a version of moral imperialism employing economic benefits to pursue their deviant mission in the guise of human rights, which in the extreme could lead to acceptance of necrophilia, paedophilia and even bestiality being considered as normal lifestyles.
In these times of severe economic stress, it is important for government to focus on the ultimate survival of Jamrock. Both political parties are acutely aware that tampering with the nation's traditional morals in return for foreign economic assistance would be political suicide. It should not be overlooked that the faith-based schools constitute a major part of Jamaica's educational base that does not subscribe to the errant views of certain minorities.
Mr Ernest Smith, JLP MP, during the 2009 fracas in Parliament, made a profound and memorable statement: "Democracy with all its freedoms is not a licence for people to encourage criminality or otherwise conspire to corrupt public morals."
NORFOLK--City Manager Marcus D. Jones signed a declaration of emergency for the City of Norfolk Thursday afternoon.
The city has upgraded its previous order and is issuing a mandatory evacuation of all residents in low-lying areas. The city is urging residents to implement their hurricane plan and stay away from these areas until the storm passes. All residents in these low-lying areas need to be evacuated by 8am Saturday.
Low-lying areas are defined as residents living in the Category 1 storm surge. The city strongly urges residents living in Category 2 to leave as well. . . . . The city is expecting heavy rains, storm surge and hurricane force winds. Roads will flood. Police, firefighters and paramedics will not be able to safely retrieve residents from these areas once the hurricane hits.
People who evacuate should stay out of the city. Evacuees should monitor weather reports, leave as soon as possible to avoid heavy traffic and stay well beyond the projected path of the hurricane.
At my office, we will likewise prepare for the worse in case of roof or window damage and bag the computers and copy machines, etc. in large lawn and leaf bags and close all of the interior doors to minimize damage should a plate glass window blow out. My daughter is preparing the house in Norfolk with her boyfriends help. Thankfully, the Norfolk house is located in one of the highest places in the west side of Norfolk, so flooding should be a non-issue. A neighbor's enormous tree is another matter.
Here some highlights from one of the most recent Virginian Pilot pieces on the coming storm:
Virginia Beach ordered a mandatory evacuation of Sandbridge because it may be cut off from the mainland by storm surge, large waves and hurricane-force winds. The city asked that evacuations be completed by noon Saturday and that people stay away until the storm has passed. Roads going into Sandbridge will be closed at 8 a.m. Saturday. The city will open four shelters.
Norfolk issued a voluntary evacuation order to all residents in low-lying areas.The city will open six shelters Friday at 6 p.m. Shelters will be at Granby High School, Norview High School, Lake Taylor Middle School, Maury High School, Campostella Elementary School and the East Ocean View Senior Center. All residents should bring bedding materials, toiletries, medicine, food and other items necessary to ride out the storm. Pets are not allowed.
Tunnel closings possible. McDonnell said the people of Hampton Roads need to be prepared for the closures of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel, the Midtown Tunnel and other water crossings in the region, likely on Saturday morning. . . . . The Midtown Tunnel could be closed as soon as 6 a.m. Saturday, said Dennis Heuer, Hampton Roads district administrator.
Isabel-level flooding possible. Based on current forecasts, Irene could cause serious flooding in Hampton Roads, approaching that caused by the area’s last major hurricane, Isabel in 2003. As of 1:22 p.m., the National Weather Service was predicting a storm surge of 7 feet at Sewells Point on Norfolk Naval Station at the storm’s peak Saturday night. That compares to a 7.9-foot surge during Isabel.
While the Bible Belt is known for its devotion to traditional values, Southerners don't do so well on one key family value: They are more likely to get divorced than people living in the Northeast.
Southern men and women had higher rates of divorce in 2009 than their counterparts in other parts of the country: 10.2 per 1,000 for men and 11.1 per 1,000 for women, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.
Of the 14 states reporting divorce rates for men that were much higher than the U.S. average -- ranging from 10.0 to 13.5 per 1,000 -- most were in the South. They included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
In contrast, men in the Northeast divorced less than the national average. Five of the nine states that had divorce rates for men significantly below the U.S. average -- ranging from 6.1 to 8.5 -- were the Northeastern states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey , New York and Pennsylvania.
The same was true for Southern women. Nine of the 14 states with divorce rates for women above the U.S. average, ranging from 10.7 to 16.2, were in the South. They included Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
By comparison, four of the 10 states with below-average divorce rates for women, ranging from 6.0 to 8.9, were in the Northeast: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Values about premarital sex associated with the Bible Belt and rural America may be encouraging people to marry early, at ages when they are likely to have less education and less income to support a long-lasting marriage, according to Naomi Cahn, law professor at The George Washington University Law School and co-author of "Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture."
"There's a moral crisis in red states that's produced by higher divorce rates and the disparity between parental values and behavior of young adults," said Cahn. "There is enormous tension between moral values and actual practices."
Marriages and families within faith communities are no healthier than in the rest of society. Faith communities must provide support systems to salvage damaged marriages and resurrect dead marriages."
Could it be that the Bible beater's obsession over same sex marriage is aimed at avoiding focus on their own hypocrisy and failed marriages?
As noted earlier, Hurricane Irene is dominating the local news - and newscasts up and down the eastern seaboard. Coming across the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel ("HRBT") to work this morning from Hampton to Norfolk, I saw an unusual sight: a column of Navy vessels steaming toward the tunnel on the harbor side of the HRBT and a column headed towards the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and the open Atlantic on the other. The photo above from WAVY-TV 10 gives a sense of the view (a video which is hazy because of the smoke from the still burning fire in the Great Dismal Swamp can be seen here). WAVY also reports as follows:
The U.S. Navy has ordered the Second Fleet in Virginia to leave Norfolk Naval Station to keep the ships safe Hurricane Irene, which is approaching the East Coast.
Thursday's order applies to 64 ships in southeastern Virginia. Twenty-seven ships are moving out to sea, beginning at 8 a.m. Another 28 are being moved to other places such as repair shipyards that are safer than the piers at Norfolk.
Nine ships are already at sea. The Navy says ships that are under way can better weather such storms. It also will help protect piers from being damage.
It increasingly looks like we will not escape a major impact from the storm. Earlier, I bought the last flashlights at the Rite Aid across the street from the office.
Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Don’t do your job as well. That’s the implication of newly published research, which links poorer job performance with uncertainty about a colleague’s sexual orientation.
“Supporters of policies that force gay and lesbian individuals to conceal their sexual orientation in the workplace argue that working with openly gay individuals undermines performance,” writes a trio of researchers led by UCLA’s Benjamin Everly. “We examine this claim in two studies and find the opposite effect.”
These findings, published the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, are certainly timely. The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule, in which gay soldiers are discharged if they reveal their sexual orientation, will be repealed Sept. 20.
Social conservatives argue that serving with openly gay soldiers could harm troops’ “unity and effectiveness.” While unity is hard to quantify, effectiveness is not, and this study suggests allowing openly gay soldiers could actually enhance it.
The researchers found that, after controlling for their SAT math scores, “participants paired with an openly gay partner correctly answered significantly more questions on the math test than participants paired with an ambiguously gay partner.”
[T]he study suggests teammates do better work in an atmosphere of openness. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” appears to adversely impact not only closeted gay members of the military, but also the straight soldiers who work alongside them.
Bigotry and discrimination do carry a price both for the target and for those who are the bigots. Business owners ought to pay attention - as should elected officials such as Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
An emerging Christian movement that seeks to take dominion over politics, business and culture in preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus, is becoming more of a presence in American politics. The leaders are considered apostles and prophets, gifted by God for this role.
The international "apostolic and prophetic" movement has been dubbed by its leading American architect, C. Peter Wagner, as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Although the movement is larger than the network organized by Wagner — and not all members describe themselves as part of Wagner's NAR — the so-called apostles and prophets of the movement have identifiable ideology that separates them from other evangelicals.
Tabachnick says the movement currently works with a variety of politicians and has a presence in all 50 states. It also has very strong opinions about the direction it wants the country to take. For the past several years, she says, the NAR has run a campaign to reclaim what it calls the "seven mountains of culture" from demonic influence. The "mountains" are arts and entertainment; business; family; government; media; religion; and education.
[T]hey teach not just evangelizing souls one by one, as we're accustomed to hearing about. They teach that they will go into a geographic region or a people group and conduct spiritual-warfare activities in order to remove the demons from the entire population. This is what they're doing that's quite fundamentally different than other evangelical groups."
This is a movement that's growing in popularity, and one of the ways they've been able to do that [is because] they're not very identifiable to most people. They're just presented as nondenominational or just Christian — but it is an identifiable movement now with an identifiable ideology."
"[Their issues are] anti-abortion, anti-gay rights — but they also have ... the belief that government should not be involved in social safety nets, that the country is becoming socialist, if not communist ... — all of what we've come to call 'Tea Party issues' of very small government. In the case of the apostles, they believe this because they believe that a large government that handles the safety net is taking away what is the domain of the church and of Christianity."
LGBT citizens should be very concerned by this movement since we are one of the top targets in their widely cast net of hatred. Here's a sample of Throckmorton's thoughts:
Recently, some evangelicals have reacted strongly against accusations of dominionism, even going so far as to deny it exists (e.g., this Christian Post op-ed). It exists for sure but as Tabachnick says, many evangelicals wouldn’t recognize it as being “them.”
What has been concerning to me is the marriage of traditional evangelicalism with the New Apostolic Reformation through right wing politics. For instance, Cindy Jacobs speaking at Liberty University’s Awakening conference was an odd combination of beliefs. The focus becomes societal change as opposed to proclaiming the religious message of the gospel.
Fortunately, my house in Norfolk where my daughter lives is on high ground where flooding is not a worry. While the area around the law office floods, my offices are on the second floor in a building built like a bunker, so the main worry remain the house here in Hampton.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
On Aug. 9, a man describing himself as an “adviser” to the Charity Giveback Group, or CGBG, a Christian fundraising operation that Mike Huckabee is involved with, left an oddly threatening message on the voicemail of a San Francisco blogger named Roy Steele.One can only hope that the exodus of corporations from CGBG's site becomes a virtual tidal wave.
The for-profit company, which had been known as the Christian Values Network until a March name change, operates a sort of online mall, donating a portion of each purchase to religious nonprofits. Among them are conservative organizations like Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council, Promise Keepers, and a number of anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. In recent months, thanks to a remarkably successful online boycott campaign, major companies have rushed to disassociate themselves from CGBG.
“If you are seeking to be added to the coming litigation against Ben Crowther, Joe Mirabella, Change.org, and others who have continued to produce inaccuracies on the dialogue on this matter, we are more than happy to add your name to that list,” said the caller, mentioning two people who’d been involved in petitions against CGBG. He gave Steele 24 hours to demonstrate a “change of heart” by issuing a new, corrective press release. Steele responded by setting the audio to an animation of an angry drag queen and posting it on his blog.
[I]t’s easy to see why CGBG is alarmed. It’s not only that major firms like Microsoft, Apple, and Wells Fargo are pulling out at an astonishing rate, threatening the company’s future. CGBG is also coming face to face with something that has long terrified the Christian right: the possibility that the stigma once attached to homosexuality would be transferred to those who oppose it.
CGBG acts as an affiliate for associated retailers, taking a commission on every purchase made through its site. The commission is split between the company and a faith-based charity of the user’s choice. . . . . . many including those prominently featured on the company’s website, are decidedly political. Among them is The Family Research Council, which was classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center last year because of its continual flood of “demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a long history in the civil-rights movement, and the inclusion of the Family Research Council on a list that included the Ku Klux Klan and the Nation of Islam elicited fury on the right. . . . . But while the right dismisses the Southern Poverty Law Center as a part of the radical left, its designations still matter, especially to companies that see tolerance and diversity as important parts of their image. Thus the “hate group” label has proved a potent weapon against CGBG.
On Tuesday, CGBG put out a sternly worded press release. “Retailers are being manipulated by a bullying campaign fueled by false information,” said Trosper. “We urge them to review the facts and remain neutral on these issues by maintaining or reestablishing their relationships with all potential customers, regardless of the customers’ beliefs." . . . . But there’s plenty of evidence that, from a public-relations standpoint, antigay bigotry has become toxic.
Expected to be the biggest hurdle on the way to the Virginia Senate, gay member of the House of Delegates, Adam Ebbin, defeated both of his primary opponents in Tuesday’s primary in the heavily Democratic 30th district.It goes without saying that the Republican Party of Virginia opposes just about everything that Ebbin supports.
Ebbin will now face off in November against Republican nominee Tim McGhee, a web-designer and small business owner. Ebbin is ready to transition into the general election mode.
“There will be many more people to reach, people of different political parties and independents. It will still be an undertaking to meet as many people from the different communities in the district that I should meet.”
Ebbin has represented the 49th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2004, and has been a progressive voice in state politics during his time in office. Ebbin has received numerous endorsements recently including from Equality Virginia, Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Associations.
Ebbin is also quite ready to take his energy and passion to the Senate. “I think I’ll be able to get more done if we can hold the majority,” Ebbin said of his future senate career. “I think I will have more bills pass. And I will continue working on a number of things that I believe in, including nondiscrimination, the environment and other issues such as prenatal care, and protections for seniors and those who need assistance.”
Ebbin’s top legislative priorities in the Senate will make his progressive constituents very happy, saying, “renewable energy, transit, and non-discrimination in state hiring would be among the first.”
The nation’s leading anti-gay group, the National Organization for Marriage, opposes marriage and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Earlier this month, many of the leading Republican presidential candidates signed NOM’s pledge calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
NOM has filed a raft of lawsuits to shield its donors from public disclosure. But, as this memo outlines, courts and state election boards have consistently disagreed and rejected NOM’s challenges. Donor disclosure is uniformly required across the country for federal, state and local campaigns and is widely accepted as a vital means to ensure that elections are conducted transparently and fairly.
Given the recent historical record, states do in fact take disclosure, and legal compliance, in earnest. NOM has unsuccessfully challenged disclosure laws in Maine, Minnesota, New York, California, Rhode Island, and Iowa.
–MAINE. Throughout 2009, NOM provided $1.8 million to oppose the ballot referendum on marriage equality in Maine, but it illegally failed to disclose where the money came from. Maine law requires that any funds raised to support or oppose a ballot question be made public. The Main Ethics Commission launched an inquiry and unanimously denied NOM’s request to dismiss the state investigation into the organization’s finances. NOM sued the Commission in February of this year, but a federal judge sided with the Commission and upheld Maine’s campaign finance disclosure law as constitutional. NOM then took its case to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with the State of Maine earlier this month. (NOM remains under investigation by state officials.)
–MINNESOTA. In June 2011, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ruled that groups advocating for or against a ballot measure on gay marriage are subject to certain disclosure requirements under state law. NOM had falsely argued that supporters of marriage equality would harass and intimidate their donors, and cause property damage if they were made public. The Board rejected NOM’s bid for nondisclosure. The Board’s decision followed a federal court ruling in September 2010 that upheld the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws against challenge by NOM’s lawyers.
–NEW YORK. NOM wanted to run ads in support of Carl Paladino for Governor in 2010 but didn’t want to make donors’ names public. Under New York law, running ads in support of any candidate could classify the group as a political committee. As a political committee, it, like every other organization, would then be subject to several reporting and disclosure requirements. NOM refused and filed suit. U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara rejected NOM’s suit in February.
–CALIFORNIA. In January 2009, NOM sued the California Secretary of State in federal court to avoid disclosing donors to the Proposition 8 ballot initiative. California law requires campaign committees to report information for any contributors of $100 or more, which is then made publicly available. Rather than follow the decades-old California Public Records Act, NOM suggested that it was entitled to a blanket exemption. The court rejected NOM’s suit, upholding California’s campaign finance reporting laws and noting that “disclosure… prevents the wolf from masquerading in sheep’s clothing.”
–RHODE ISLAND. Last September, NOM sued the state of Rhode Island to keep its donors secret, arguing the state’s restrictions on political advertising and campaign finance disclosure requirements were unconstitutional and overly broad. A district judge disagreed, and the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals Judges upheld the district judge’s ruling.
–IOWA. In 2009, NOM fought to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would reverse the state Supreme Court’s unanimous decision recognizing marriage equality. NOM asked its supporters to contribute to the Iowa campaign in a nationwide email by saying that “…best of all, NOM has the ability to protect donor identities.” The e-mail and subsequent complaints prompted a letter from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Finance Board stating that state law requires disclosure of political contributions solicited for the Iowa campaign.
Even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has come down on the side of public disclosure and against NOM’s secrecy crusade. In Doe v. Reed, he wrote: “Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously…and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.”