Saturday, November 05, 2011

More Saturday Male Beauty

Microsoft and Other Leading Companies Say DOMA Hurts Business

There is no way around the reality that the Defense of Marriage Act, a/k/a DOMA is all about religious based discrimination. Something supposedly illegal when engaged in by the federal or state governments under the United States Constitution. But unfortunately, in this country far right Christians continue to be afforded special rights and those who don't conform to far right religious beliefs pay a price, with LGBT citizens being particularly punished for their nonconformity. Now, in the ongoing challenges to DOMA in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, 70 corporations have filed an amicus brief attacking DOMA and arguing that it is bad for businesses (a full list of the companies can be seen here). The GOP claims to be the pro-business party, but it is safe to assume this message from businesses will fall on deaf ears as Republican elected officials continue to have their noses so far up the asses of Christianist that it's a wonder they do not suffocate. Here are some highlights fro The Advocate on the court filing:

Top U.S. companies including Google, Microsoft, and Starbucks took the unusual step on Thursday of legally documenting their opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.

A brief filed in court comes from 70 businesses and organizations that want their voice heard on the constitutionality of DOMA, which bans same-sex marriage from being recognized federally and stops couples married in states such as Massachusetts from having their weddings recognized in less accepting places such as Alabama.

The companies paint the law as an overburdening government regulation that should be repealed.

Their brief points out that the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is defending DOMA in court on the notion that it imposes "a uniform rule" on whose marriage is recognized. "The perspective of the American employer who must implement DOMA is very different," the companies state. "Employers are obliged to treat one employee spouse differently from another, when each is married, and each marriage is equally lawful."

The companies say DOMA "forces" them "to investigate the gender of the spouses of our lawfully married employees and then to single out those employees with a same-sex spouse." For example, HIPPA laws usually consider marriage a "qualifying event" that automatically enrolls a spouse in an employee's health insurance. Companies now spend time and money weeding out any gay employees who get married.

Companies complain that when a same-sex couple legally marries, it requires them "to maintain two sets of books." That's because the couple is considered married under state law but not married under federal law. "The double entries ripple through human resources, payroll, and benefits administration," they write.

"The burden on the small employer is especially onerous," the companies point out. Small businesses can't afford to hire consultants, and "such burdens, standing alone, might chill a smaller employer from employing an otherwise qualified employee because she happens to be married to a same-sex spouse."

Ricky Martin Granted Spanish Citizenship

It's sad when Americans have to seek citizenship in other nations in order to have full civil legal rights. Yet that appears what Singer Ricky Martin has done in order to legally marry his partner. I can fully understand the feeling and have not infrequently pondered leaving the USA since I am not a full citizen in America. Indeed, in Virginia, I'm not even a 2nd class citizen given Virginia's virulently anti-gay legal climate. As I have less than jokingly noted before, pet owners have far more legal recognition afforded to their relationships with their pets than same sex couples do with their partners even if they have been together for many decades. The United States is truly falsely advertised as a nation of equality and a nation offering freedom from religious persecution. But back to Ricky Martin. It seems that the Spanish government has sought to help the performer realize his dream of a legal marriage. Even though because of DOMA it will be treated as a nonentity. Here are some highlights from Pink News:

Puerto Rican pop singer Ricky Martin was given Spanish citizenship today, the country’s government said. The star, who came out in 2009 reportedly wants to take advantage of Spain’s gay marriage laws.

Spokesman Jose Blanco told a news conference that ministers had agreed to grant him a “letter of naturalization”, issued in special circumstances, because of his “personal and professional links with Spain”.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Martin sought citizenship in order to marry boyfriend Carlos Gonzalez Abella, with whom he is bringing up his twin three-year-old sons.

Appearing on the Larry King show last year, he had said: “I would get married… There are many countries around the world where same-sex marriage is a right. Not in Puerto Rico, unfortunately. And not in many states in America.

“Yes, we could go to Spain and get married. We can go to Argentina and get married. But why do we have to go somewhere else? Why can’t I do it in my country where the laws are – you know, protecting me?”

He added: “I can go to Spain. I have many friends in Spain. And get married. And make it very beautiful and symbolic. But… I [can't] do it in the backyard of my house. I want to have that option. I don’t want to be a second class citizen anymore. I pay my taxes. Why can’t I have that right?”

Second class citizen gets old especially when the only true justification for it is so that nasty bigots can feel better about themselves and feel free to look down on others whether it be to feel a sense of power, privilege, or ignore the fact that in truth they are the ones who are morally inferior. Were circumstances different, I would never have returned to the USA after our recent trip to Europe.

Ireland Closes Its Vatican Embassy

In other positive Catholic Church news, Ireland has closed its embassy at the Vatican in yet another indication of the well deserved free fall the Church is experiencing in Ireland. Would that more nations would do so and eliminate the farce that Vatican City is a nation. Once the Catholic Church cannot hide behind this ridiculous myth and the associated claim of sovereign immunity, it would be far easier to hold high clerics - such as Benedict XVI - legally liable for their misdeeds and horrific malfeasance. Not surprisingly, the Vatican and the hierarchy in Ireland - including Cardinal Brady at right - have their panties in a major wad and are whining that the Irish government is ignoring the Church's deep history in that country. Of course, they leave the history that includes the work houses, the Madeline laundries and the rampant sexual abuse of children and youths. Here are highlights from The Guardian on the Church's hissy fit:

The leader of Ireland's Catholics has criticised the republic's government for closing its embassy to Vatican City.

Cardinal Sean Brady expressed his "profound disappointment" over the move, which comes after diplomatic clashes this year between the Fine Gael-Labour coalition and the Holy See over the Vatican's handling of the clerical child sex abuse scandals in Ireland.

"This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries," the cardinal said on Friday.

The Irish foreign minister and deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, said the decision followed a review of overseas missions which gave "particular attention to the economic return from bilateral missions".

He said that while the embassy to the Holy See was one of Ireland's oldest missions, it yielded no economic return, and that Ireland's interests could be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador.

The prestigious Villa Spada is the most valuable property owned by the diplomatic service. The Vatican was among the first states with which the newly independent Irish Free State established full diplomatic relations in the 1920s.

Catholic Advisr Who Said the Devil Makes Gays Resigns

Apparently at times even the Roman Catholic Church realizes that it has crossed the line in its anti-gay jihad. While the Church hasn't recanted its hateful position that gays are "inherently disordered" and "inclined toward evil," the batshitery recently published in the The Pilot, the newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese went to far and not only was the column written by Daniel Avila, an adviser to the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference (pictured at left). As the New York Times is reporting, Avila has resigned from his position and some are suggesting that the resignation may not have been voluntary. Of course, throwing Avila under the bus does nothing to negate the Church's rejection of modern science and its all out war against legal recognition of same sex relationships. Here are some highlights from the Times piece:

The author of a newspaper column suggesting that the devil may be responsible for homosexuality has resigned from his job with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A spokeswoman for the bishops said on Friday that the writer, Daniel Avila, offered to step down and that his resignation had been accepted.

The Washington Post had more details such as this:

Avila, a lawyer, had been associate director of policy and research at the Massachusetts Catholic Conference for 14 years before joining the Washington-based USCCB. Gay rights groups had called for Avila’s ouster. “I think it’s appropriate that he has resigned,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke executive director of DignityUSA, which advocates for gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church.

“I would hope that the bishops will follow it up with some significant action of repentance to demonstrate that they understand the harm that he has done to LGBT people and our families.”

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Arthur Sales on right.

Virginia GOP Favored to Win State Senate

If the dreary weather wasn't enough to make for a Saturday morning funk, predictions on Tuesday's elections here in Virginia would be enough on their own to instill a major funk and near fear. Especially, if one is a rational, thinking citizen and even more so if one is black, gay, Hispanic, non-Christian. Basically a member of any one of the list of minority groups the GOP base would like to exile from the Old Dominion. If the GOP wins control of the Virginia Senate, there will be no stopping the extremism that will run wild in Richmond. I cringe to think at the celebrations at The Family Foundation if the Democrats in the Senate can no longer stop the worst of the Christianist agenda so loved by Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell and Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli. Victoria Cobb will be so excited she'll likely wet herself. So much for passage of any remotely LGBT favorable legislation. And the efforts to disenfranchise blacks and other minorities will likely accelerate under the false mantra of preventing "voter fraud." A piece in the Washington Post looks at the sad state of affairs. Here's a sampling:

We might need to reconsider the now-conventional view that the Northern Virginia suburbs are a bulwark against the extreme conservatism embraced in rural areas and elsewhere in the state. I say that in light of the recent news that the Loudoun County GOP sent out a Halloween e-mail depicting President Obama as a zombie with a bullet hole in his forehead.

In a newly created Senate district in western Loudoun and Prince William counties, even Democrats concede that outspoken conservative Dick Black will probably prevail.

A former delegate, Black is best known for sending plastic models of fetuses to legislators before an abortion vote. Of his career highlights, however, my personal favorite was his “nightie” explanation of why a husband couldn’t be convicted of raping his wife.

“I do not know how on earth you can validly get a conviction of a husband-wife rape where they are living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth,” he said in a General Assembly debate on a spousal rape bill.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. . . . . Democrats also were optimistic because they thought they’d be able to beat some of the hard-line conservative Republicans who won primaries with tea party support.

Today, the GOP is confident of picking up enough seats to win control of the Senate, and it hopes to end up with at least a 23 to 17 majority. Democrats sound increasingly despondent and acknowledge that they’ll have to sweep all the close races to retain their sway. A Republican victory would give the party complete dominance in Richmond.

The GOP has surged ahead mainly because Virginia independents have turned decisively against Democrats in general since 2009, according to politicians and strategists for both parties. That results from unhappiness with the slow economy and high public spending, mainly by the federal government. It drives Democrats crazy that they’re suffering at the state level for the party’s problems in Washington.

One of the reasons I am so harsh with Obama is because his spinelessness and failure to use his pulpit to denounce the GOP is a major factor in the negative political trends in Virginia. I realize that state and national party issues should not be linked, but sadly too many Virginians are too stupid to realize that they will ultimately be voting against their own best interest, And for us LGBT Virginia, it will be increasingly impossible to move forward toward full citizenship except through court battles.

The GOP's Real View of Blacks

One of the things that drives me to distraction is the manner in which black Americans continue to allow themselves to be played by the white Christianists and the decidedly non-big tent Republican Party. Even when clear indicators of the actual disdain - id not open contempt - for black citizens is visible, many blacks, especially within the black pastor ranks continue to willingly play the role of water carriers for those who in their hearts hate them and merely seek to use them to accomplish white Christianist/conservative goals. The image above accurately reflects, in my opinion, the real mindset of the Christianists and the GOP. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar. Even during the years that I was involved in a far less toxic Republican Party than the one that exists today, there was a steady racism that bubbled up from some within the party. It's only become far worse nowadays with the GOP increasingly defined by who it hates. Colbert King has a column in the Washington Post that looks at this reality. Here are some highlights:

Oh, what a “loverly” time we are having in post-racial America. Except when the outrageous holy of holies of the American conservative movement elect to have their say, as happens often, most recently with right-wing oracles Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan.

It fell to Coulter, a successful author, columnist and Fox News contributor, to drive home the point that, notwithstanding what African Americans might think of the 14th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation, we remain the property of white America.

Coulter would apparently have those of us of color believe that it matters not what we think or where we stand on the political spectrum but that, when it comes to the relationship of blacks to white folks, we still are theirs.

Speaking of our place in America, MSNBC contributor, author and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan reminds us in his just-released book, “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?,” of what black folks have been missing. I never knew we had it so good.

Writing about the segregation era, Buchanan observes, “Back then, black and white lived apart, went to different schools and churches, played on different playgrounds, and went to different restaurants, bars, theaters, and soda fountains. But we shared a country and a culture. We were one nation. We were Americans.”

Gosh, I didn’t know that. Buchanan and I grew up in the same segregated Washington, D.C. I don’t recall black folks having much of a say in the decision to live “apart.” The situation about which Buchanan speaks so wistfully was, to my recollection, a racial apartheid arrangement strictly of white people’s making.

Buchanan’s latest screed to white Christian America’s decline (he’s written on this theme before, and it apparently sells) cites reasons for the deterioration. “Racial diversity,” he writes, is a major contributor to the country’s downfall. His book is peppered with gripes.

Ah, our post-racial America. A country where racism and anti-Semitism have no place . . . except on mainstream television networks’ talk shows, with coast-to-coast audiences who love to hear Coulter and Buchanan talk like that.

It goes without saying that we in the LGBT community are similarly viewed as either vermin or a threat to white Christian America. Why can't more people see this?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Friday Morning Male Beauty

Georgia Arrainment Shows Danger of Far Right Domestic Terrorists

No one can forget the carnage that hit Norway when a far right wacko went on a bombing and shooting spree earlier this year. While those events were thousands of miles away, events in Georgia back in June indicate that similar far right terrorist threats are alive and well in America. Indeed, but for the FBI's success in arresting a group of would be terrorists, who knows what the death toll might have been. The proposed terror attackers (one is pictured at right) have been documented to have been regurgitating the usual extremist bile that passes for reasoned discourse in far right and all too many GOP circles. Atlanta and other major cities were intended targets as were federal officials. It is truly frightening just how deranged many on the far right have become. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at the chilling plot that was fortunately derailed. Here are some highlights:

It was June 9, and Frederick Thomas believed he was meeting with a dealer in black market weapons at a Lavonia restaurant, according to FBI affidavits. . . . . Neither Thomas nor his colleague, 67-year-old Dan "Cobra" Roberts, knew the arms dealer was an undercover informant for the FBI.

A story grew clearer Wednesday through federal affidavits, interviews and court statements accusing Thomas, Roberts and two other men -- Ray H. Adams, 65, and Samuel J. Crump, 68 -- of planning to unleash the toxic agent ricin across Atlanta and other major U.S. cities, bomb federal buildings and take innocent lives. Documents say the men intended to launch their plot within a year.

It was a plan based on a novel by Mike Vanderboegh, a former militia leader and blogger, that detailed killing Justice Department attorneys, Thomas said, according to the FBI affidavits.

FBI documents allege that beginning in March and as recently as last week, the men -- whom federal officials have not identified as part of a larger militia -- met at their homes and North Georgia restaurants. Some had made trips to Atlanta federal buildings to conduct reconnaissance. The affidavits describe Thomas and Roberts as working to obtain explosive devices and silencers, while Adams and Crump seemed largely tasked with developing ricin, a toxin that can be fatal if inhaled or ingested, from easily obtained castor beans.

Documents allege that Crump planned to disperse the ricin in various U.S. cities including Atlanta, Newark, N.J., and Washington. In Atlanta, the documents said, the plan was to unleash the powdery substance on I-285, I-75 and U.S. 41.

These people are scary. What's even more scary is that there are many more of them out there being motivated by the hate speech of the far right (e.g., Rush Limbaugh) and the Christian Right.

Oligrachy, American Style

The caption for this post is the title of a new column in the New York Times by Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. As he has been doing for quite some time, Krugman focuses on the sad fact that the so-called American dream is becoming increasingly out of reach of most Americans as the nation quickly heads towards wealth disparities once found in banana republics and autocratic monarchies. The good news is that some folks seem to be finally waking up to this reality. Meanwhile, the oligarchy of the 1% of the population ranking in most of the advantages offered by the country tries to distort to distort the real picture. Heaven forbid that average people figure out that the 1% is living like Marie Antoinette (at left) and Louis XVI while the rest of us increasingly struggle to make ends meet. Here are some column highlights:

Inequality is back in the news, largely thanks to Occupy Wall Street, but with an assist from the Congressional Budget Office. And you know what that means: It’s time to roll out the obfuscators!

Pundits try to put a more benign face on the phenomenon, claiming that it’s not really the wealthy few versus the rest, it’s the educated versus the less educated.

So what you need to know is that all of these claims are basically attempts to obscure the stark reality: We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only.

The budget office laid out some of that stark reality in a recent report, which documented a sharp decline in the share of total income going to lower- and middle-income Americans. We still like to think of ourselves as a middle-class country. But with the bottom 80 percent of households now receiving less than half of total income, that’s a vision increasingly at odds with reality.

In response, the usual suspects have rolled out some familiar arguments: the data are flawed (they aren’t); the rich are an ever-changing group (not so); and so on. . . . . It’s a nice story, and a lot less disturbing than the picture of a nation in which a much smaller group of rich people is becoming increasingly dominant. But it’s not true.

[T]hese days workers with a college degree but no further degrees are less likely to get workplace health coverage than workers with only a high school degree were in 1979.

So who is getting the big gains? A very small, wealthy minority. The budget office report tells us that essentially all of the upward redistribution of income away from the bottom 80 percent has gone to the highest-income 1 percent of Americans.

[W]hy does this growing concentration of income and wealth in a few hands matter? Part of the answer is that rising inequality has meant a nation in which most families don’t share fully in economic growth. Another part of the answer is that once you realize just how much richer the rich have become, the argument that higher taxes on high incomes should be part of any long-run budget deal becomes a lot more compelling.

The larger answer, however, is that extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy. Can anyone seriously deny that our political system is being warped by the influence of big money, and that the warping is getting worse as the wealth of a few grows ever larger?

As I noted yesterday, the America of my childhood and youth is gone and now much of "Old Europe" offers more social mobility than America.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

More Thursday Male Beauty

Brazilian "Ex-Gay" Comes Out

Recently the leader of an Australian "ex-gay" leader came out and admitted that the "cure" ministries run by anti-gay Christianists are a fraud and that "change" is not possible. Now, an "ex-gay" leader in Brazil has followed suit and come out. Worse yet, he concedes that there were same sex relationships even within the "ministry." As has been documented over and over again, the only :change" that occurs is one of behavior with ones true sexual orientation suppressed and denied. Basic underlying sexual orientation is immutable. It's a truth that the Christofascists do not want to accept. But it doesn't make it any less the truth. I truly wish that licensing bodies would start yanking the licenses of and/or closing loop holes used by quacks who continue to peddle the reparative therapy myth - think "Marcia" Bachmann. Here are highlights on Sergio Viula's belated acceptance of himself and the truth via Flying Teapot:

Founder of group that ‘heals homosexuals’ reveals: “Nobody quit being gay, there were relationships even within the group”. Nothing better than an example to rebuke the supposed efficiency of treatments to convert sexual orientation, which claim that gay people can “go” straight. The English and philosophy teacher, also a theologian, Sergio Viula, 42, born and resident in Rio de Janeiro, was one of the founders of the Movement for the Healthy Sexuality (MOSES), an evangelical NGO which helps people interested in quitting homosexuality. He got married, had two children and saw by himself the very methods of ‘sexual re-orientation’. In an exclusive interview, Sergio talked to me and showed that methods to change sexual orientation are useless, causing pain and suffering to those who are willing to go through any of them.

How was the process of “becoming ex-gay”?

- In fact, ex-gays don’t exist – it’s pure self-suggestion. I started going to church and noticed that homosexuals didn’t know how to deal with their ‘difficulties’, due to lack of orientation by their leaders, so I decided to found the Movement for the Healthy Sexuality (MOSES), with João Luiz Santolin and Liane França. That was when I started saying – at very opportune moments – that I was ex-gay.

Didn’t you ever get convinced that you had become ex-gay? Did you ever know that you were deceiving yourself?

- Today I know that I was deceiving myself. But back then, I thought that every sentiment or attraction was a mere case of ‘temptation’ and that it could be overcome with prayer and dedication to god.

Nobody really quit being gay. There were relationships even within the group, between an activity and another, they would always find time for that. Can you figure out how much suffering to myself and to all of those who have already worked or been influenced by this kind of ‘ministry’? That’s enraging! And there are people repeating that stupid discourse until today.

Religious conversion which does not admit and CELEBRATES your homosexuality does not deserve your time and talent. If you want to attend a church, search for one which is mature enough to even question the validity of its own religious statements. But, preferably, live your life without relying on existential braces whatever they are.

Michigan Legislature Passes Pro Anti-Gay Bullying Bill

With gay teen suicides at near epidemic levels - including here in Virginia - one would think that any even remotely responsible legislator (not to mention anyone with a shred of compassion in them) would not vote for legislation that will basically lay out a blue print for bullying and bashing LGBT students. Yet that's exactly what the Republicans in the Michigan legislature just did. The law - called "Matt's Safe School Law" and named after Matt Eppling, an East Lansing 14-year-old who committed suicide after being bullied by classmates in 2002 - includes a section noting it doesn't abridge First Amendment free speech rights or prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints. Which is exactly the green light demanded by Christofascists who want the right to make life a living Hell for LGBT students who don't conform to Christianist religious views. Here are highlights from the Detroit News, including a lament by Matt Eppling about the gross defects in the law named after his son:

The Michigan Senate passed an anti-bullying bill Wednesday over strong objections from Democrats and even the father of the bullying victim after whom the bill is named.

"Matt's Safe School Law" passed 26-11 with all Democrats voting against it. The bill is named for Matt Eppling, an East Lansing 14-year-old who committed suicide after being bullied by classmates in 2002.

The law includes a section noting it doesn't abridge First Amendment free speech rights or prohibit expression of religious or moral viewpoints — a provision Democrats fear could be used to justify harassment of gay, lesbian or transgender students.

"I am ashamed that this could be Michigan's bill on anti-bullying when in fact it is a 'bullying is OK in Michigan law,'" Kevin Eppling, Matt's father, whose letter was read by Sen. Glenn Anderson during Wednesday's session.

The Republican Party has truly become something sick and evil. Democrat State Senator Gretchen Whitmer did not bite her tongue and ripped the Senate Republicans a new one. She accurately noted that the law was gutted so heavily that it actually creates, as Whitmer notes in her speech, "a blueprint for bullying." Here's a clip of Whitmer letting loose on the GOP:

Why am I no longer a Republican? This type of vile bullshit. Not to mention the crap engaged in by GOP candidate Ben Loyola's staff.

Is Ben Loyola's Campaign Behind the Anti-Gay Screed Attacking Ralph Northam?

LinkClick image to enlarge.

The race for Virginia's 6th Senatorial district is apparently getting very nasty in a major way and is all too common, LGBT citizens are the Republican candidates favorite boogie man. The incumbent, Senator Ralph Northam - a physician and a Vietnam medical corps veteran - has worked for 4 years to address the needs of ALL of his constituents, including LGBT Virginians, while his opponent, Ben Loyola, could best be described as Kool-Aid drinking extremist endorsed by the most hateful politicians in Virginia (e.g., Ken Cuccinelli and of course, Scott Rigell who himself was endorsed by an anti-gay hate group) and the Tea Party. Not surprisingly, Loyola's website blathers about his "family values" and support for marriage. Indeed, Loyola states proudly that he "believes that marriage is a sacred institution reserved by God to only exist between one man and one woman."

Thus, it's not surprising that just days before the election next Tuesday a mysterious anti-gay flyer - see the image above - filled with lies and discredited allegations (indeed, it looks like the source of the "facts" were Paul Cameron and Peter LaBarbera) has shown up at homes across the 6th District that attacks Ralph Northam for recognizing that LGBT Virginians are entitled to the same civil rights as other Virginians. Those close to the Northam campaign have stated that Northam's office is "about to tie it to his [Loyola's] staff" and described the flyer as "despicable." Of course it is despicable. But sadly, this is what is the norm in today's Republican Party, especially here in the backwater called Virginia.

Naturally, Loyola's office is feigning ignorance and pretends to be shocked by the flyer. Even though Loyola likely believes every lie in the flyer. Loyola and those like him are the reason I left the Republican Party years ago. Truth, honor, integrity and even a shred of decency and the Republican Party are now mutually exclusive.

I sincerely hope that every voter in the 6th senatorial district or who has friends and family members who live in the district will get out next Tuesday and vote for Ralph Northam and send Loyola back into political obscurity.

Straight Talk on Marriage Equality From Clint Eastwood

This is the kind of straight ally that I love. Eastwood correctly labels the Christianist whining about the "sanctity" of marriage as bullshit. If the Christianists at NOM and similar organizations are so worried about marriage, the first thing they ought to do is address the sky high divorce rate among their fellow evangelical Christians - who have the highest divorce rate of anyone. Secondly, they'd stop supporting politicians who refuse to address failed GOP policies that are increasing the financial stress on families and marriages. Kudos to Mr. Eastwood.

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Occupy Oakland Closes Port and Clash With Police

Some of us remember the 1960's and the rebellion against a social status that demeaned and marginalized large portions of the American public, including but not limited to non-whites and non-heterosexuals. Marginalization extended not only to the denial of legal rights but also to economic marginalization through employment policies and outright segregation in the South. Fifty years later we are witnessing a new kind of marginalization where the entire political and economic system of the country increasingly looks to be operated to benefit a tiny portion of the overall population and where the USA is plunging in terms of opportunity for social mobility compared to other nations and the middle class finds itself sliding rapidly in some cases to lower class status. It's easy to tell people to "get a job," but with five applicants for most openings, that's easier said than done. Moreover, older members of the unemployed ranks find a severe prejudice against older workers who are labeled as "over qualified" or given some other reason for being passed over. I experienced it myself in the aftermath of being forced from a law firm for being gay - hundreds of resumes and applications got me nowhere because younger hires were seen as more cost effective. I feel for those in the "Occupy" movement because we are losing our country in many ways. Here are highlights from the Washington Post on events yesterday in Oakland, California:

Occupy Wall Street protesters declared victory after thousands of demonstrators shut down one of the nation’s busiest shipping ports late Wednesday, escalating a movement whose tactics had largely been limited to marches, rallies and tent encampments since it began in September.

As a voice over a bullhorn said “The night is not over, yet,” protest organizers told demonstrators to head back to the downtown plaza where the Oakland movement has been based for more than a month.

At the Occupy encampment across the street from City Hall, which also was the scene of intense clashes with authorities last week, the protesters started a large bonfire in the middle of a street, leading to a confrontation with the police.

Dozens of police in riot gear moved in on hundreds of protesters as the flames leapt more than 15 feet in the air from several large metal and plastic trash bins that had been pushed together. Police warned protesters to clear out before firing several rounds of tear gas and “flash bang” grenades to clear the area.

In the aftermath of the police actions, protesters with cloth wrapped around their faces to protect them from the stench of the gas marched through the area chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets.” Some marchers wore gas masks.

The nearly 5-hour protest at the port the nation’s fifth-busiest shipping port, was intended to highlight a daylong “general strike” in the city, which prompted solidarity rallies in New York, Los Angeles and other cities across the nation. The demonstrations at the port were largely peaceful and police said there were no arrests.

The Oakland protests became a rallying point for the far-flung movement last week when an Iraq War veteran was injured in clashes with police in riot gear that included multiple volleys of tear gas, reports of “flash bang” grenades and rubber bullets.

Military veterans marched in uniform in New York, angry at their dim job prospects. And parents and their kids, some in strollers, joined the Oakland rallies by forming a “children’s brigade.” “There’s absolutely something wrong with the system,” said Jessica Medina, a single mother who attends school part time and works at an Oakland café. “We need to change that.”

“There are so many students that are trying to get jobs and go on with their lives,” said Sarvenaz Asasy of Boston, who joined the march after recently graduating with a master’s degree and $60,000 in loan debt. “They’ve educated themselves and there are no jobs and we’re paying tons of student loans. For what?”

We are not living in the America of my youth where parents could anticipate their children having better and more prosperous lives than their own. I often doubt that my own children will ever be able to come anywhere near close to the lifestyle and level of financial security my parents enjoyed. Something is indeed wrong with the system not to mention the Hampton Roads area from which educated young people are fleeing.

Georgia "University" Seeks to Weed Out Gays

When a supposed institution of higher education seeks to impose loyalty oaths and similar batshitery on faculty and students, one would hope that accreditation authorities would take a serious look at withdrawing the institution's accreditation since obviously quality education and the pursuit of knowledge and truth have been thrown out the window. A case in point is Shorter University, a Southern Baptist-affiliated college (what a surprise - NOT!) in Rome, Georgia, that is beginning to require faculty and staff to sign a "personal lifestyle statement" that bans homosexuality and other condemned sexual activities. I'm surprised the nutters haven't banned all sex not utilizing only the so-called missionary position. It would be the logical extension of the batshitery. Needless to say, gay faculty and staff are terrified of the coming witch hunt - not that I can fathom why anyone gay would want to work at a Baptist affiliated institution. Employers seeking the best and the brightest recruits ought to delete Shorter grads from the list of interviewees. Religion Dispatches looks at this institutionalized bigotry and the disservice the leadership is doing to its students; Here are highlights:

It's not shocking that a Southern Baptist school would include such a statement — and as a private institution, it is within its legal rights to do so. Employees who happen to be gay and Christian, however, are now in fear for their jobs. One employee told the GA Voice that they now fear witch hunts and vendettas because of the new statement.

Certainly, those who don't like it can find new jobs and Shorter will have the employee base it wants — good, obedient, homogenized Christians who gladly sign a list of beliefs and adhere to the letter of the law.

This is the real problem, however. Any organization, be it the military, a school, a church, or even the local bridge club, that seeks to purify itself from any dissent or diversity automatically dooms itself. Organizations that force its members to conform — even if they do it gladly and eagerly — cuts itself off from the source of any future growth. What causes growth among groups is most often disagreements, differing points of view, or different understandings of the world around them. To automatically shield itself from the necessary messiness and conflicts of community, Shorter is doing itself — and its students — a disservice.

While some employees may find the statement comforting, human beings cannot live too long in the shell of unbending religiosity without suffocating. What seems to die off first is any tolerance for difference, and any compassion one might have for others outside their tight circle. It's a human trait to want to be among the like-minded — but it is in the challenges and crises of community that real human freedom is found.

As German theologian Eugen Drewermann observed: "Truth can't be fixed in a certain formula. We can never possess a doctrine that is valid once and for all, or have a statement for which we give up everything and go through the world threatening all those who don't recite it in the proper way. Some ways of becoming human can be crushed by fear, but we must dare to try, no matter what it costs."

Shorter's threat to its employees and faculty over this statement is born of fear. If they allow themselves to be crushed by that fear, what it really costs them is their humanity.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Miss Virginia USA Lashes Gay Roommate With Homophobic Rantrs

Anti-gay bigotry - and I would submit, racism as well - is alive and well in the Old Dominion and ranges from the Governor's and Attorney General's offices to likely brain dead beauty pageant winners such as Miss Virginia USA Nikki Poteet, who reportedly went on an anti-gay rant against a gay couple with whom she shared a house. The fact that Poteet may have been hammered on alcohol doesn't excuse the situation if the allegations prove true. Just as nothing excuses the bigotry of Bob "Taliban Bob" MCDonnell and Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli. Think Progress has details on Poteet's cited anti-gay harangue. Here are some highlights:

[P]eople in Richmond, Virginia are calling on the Miss Universe Organization to speak out against current Miss Virginia Nikki Poteet, after the 24-year-old crown bearer allegedly directed homophobic slurs towards her gay roommate at a party on Saturday, October 29th. In a letter directed to the organization, Derek Powell — Poteet’s roommate since January 2011 — claims Poteet became “extremely violent and physical and proceeded to call me and my boyfriend ‘faggots’ and ‘cocksuckers’” at around 2 a.m. at their group house in Richmond, Virginia. Poteet denied the allegations during a phone conversation with ThinkProgress, but admitted to some sort of altercation.

Powell told ThinkProgress that Poteet was “extremely intoxicated” that night and seemed upset that she did not have the full house to herself. She responded by lashing out at Powell, his boyfriend Chris, and their friends, swinging her shoes at the group, pushing people, and claiming that her male companion would “beat” their ass. Poteet kneed another person, ripped the door off of a family heirloom, and “downgraded people based on their physical appearance and economic status,” Powell explains in his letter. The police were called, but it’s unclear if an official incident report was ever filed. ThinkProgress spoke with two other attendees who confirmed Poteet’s behavior and use of anti-gay slurs.

Powell says in his letter. “Her comments have outraged and insulted the gay people of Richmond and the community is upset that someone like her would represent the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Miss Universe organization has yet to respond to Powell’s allegations.

If the allegations are true, Poteet needs to surrender her crown and the Miss Universe organization needs to read the riot act to the prima donas - remember Carrie Prejean? - that seem to keep winning crowns based on their supposed good looks and bigoted, brainless heads.

Third Woman Claims Cain Sexual Harassment

Part of me is enjoying Herman Cain's fiery plummet into the world of third rate liars. It's also fun watching the circular firing squad forming in the GOP presidential candidate race as all of the campaigns strive to blame some other candidate for leaking the dirt on Cain. Of course, the more the story develops, the more implausible Cain's previous claims of ignorance become -especially as a third accuser comes forth. Amazingly, Cain's constantly changing story lines make even Michele Bachmann appear organized and knowledgeable. The Daily Beast looks at Cain's efforts to blame everyone but himself. Here are some highlights:

Things aren’t getting better for Herman Cain: a third woman now claims that he made unwanted advances on her while they worked for the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. The woman did not file a complaint, but said Cain subjected her to aggressive and unwanted behavior, including an invitation to his private apartment. Late Wednesday, lawyers for one of the women who accused Cain said she will not go public with her story, to avoid the media blitz that surrounds the case. Meanwhile, a new poll shows Cain dominating his opponents in the GOP primary campaign, with 30 percent of support to Mitt Romney’s 23 percent. Most recently, Cain has suggested that the rumors are being fueled by Rick Perry's camp.

Forbes also has coverage on the blame games swirling through GOP presidential campaign headquarters, including these highlights:

Was the recent attack on Herman Cain’s presidential campaign a professional hit job? Absolutely, says Herman Cain. And he says he knows just where to look for the guy who did it: At 815 Slaters Lane in Alexandria, Virginia, a low-slung former warehouse in the shadow of a coal plant.

There, beside rusting rail lines, is the home of OnMessage Inc., a Republican-leaning consulting firm recently hired to bolster Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said it was “patently untrue” that the Perry campaign had any role in placing the sexual harassment story with Politico.

Of course, Washington being Washington, there are other links between the Perry campaign and Cain’s failed Senate bid. The pollster for the Cain U.S. Senate campaign was Tony Fabrizo, who now also works for Gov. Perry.

Outside Spending Tipped the Iowa Supreme Court Retention Election

One of the constant mantras of Maggie Gallagher - who I confess to view as a complete nasty, self-enriching whore pulling down a nice six figure income marketing hatred - and her fellow professional Christians is that the citizens of the various states need to be allowed to vote on whether or not LGBT citizens will have civil rights much less marriage equality. At first blush - assuming, of course, one ignores the equal protection dictates of the U. S. Constitution - the chant might sound at least somewhat acceptable to the ignorant and gullible. But in reality, citizens of a particular state such as Iowa are not truly allowed to hold a straight up or down vote. Instead, they are but the pawns of larger forces from outside the state that seek to manipulate and distort the vote outcome. Don't believe me? Take a look at the chart above that tracks spending on last years retention vote for justices of the Iowa Supreme Court. You know, the very same justices who struck down Iowa's religious based ban on same sex marriage. Almost ALL the money and political effort to remove the targeted justices came from OUTSIDE of Iowa. Here are some highlights from Follow the

$1.4 million of independent spending sought to influence the outcome of three state supreme court retention elections in 2010, making it the office most targeted by independent spending.

The 2010 retention elections were unique in the fact that all three justices failed to win retention—the only time that any Iowa Supreme Court justice, let alone three in the same election, failed to win retention.

All three justices received less than 46 percent of the vote, in stark contrast to previous Iowa Supreme Court retention elections between 2000 and 2008 where no money, independent or otherwise, was spent. In that time, all of the ten justices standing for retention received more than 70 percent of the vote, including Justices Streit and Ternus, losers in 2010, who both received 76 percent of the vote when they last stood for retention in 2002. These results, coupled with the fact that no supreme court justice has lost a retention election since 1962, suggest that independent spending played a key role in reversing the established norms governing Iowa's judicial retention elections.

Independent expenditures that targeted the Iowa Supreme Court race accounted for 33 percent of all independent expenditures in the 2010 election: $870,077 was spent on television and radio advertisements and an additional $224,126 was spent on get-out-the-vote activities.

The largest outside player? Maggie Gallagher's National Organization for Marriage which despite losing lawsuits all around the country has yet to disclose the sources of its huge financial war chest. My bet is that if and when we finally find out the source of NOM's money, it will include the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church - both of which need to lose their tax exempt status - and other donors who will outrage rank and file citizens.

Is The United Kingdom's Threat to Withhold Foreign Aid From Anti-Gay Countries Working?

A number of nations in Africa that have been fertile fields for the export of American Christianist and hate group homophobia are having conniption fits over the United Kingdom's threat to withhold foreign aid funds from nations that mistreat their LGBT citizens. The Daily Mail has coverage on Prime Minister David Cameron's (pictured at left) statements on Britain's new foreign aid policy here. Zimbabwe's president - Morgan Tsvangirai pictured below left - seems to be trying to have his cake and eat it too by purportedly kissing up to American Christianist inspired anti-gay extremists by stressing his Christian beliefs while using the Gospel message as a basis to dodge supporting anti-gay language in Zimbabwe's new constitution. New Zimbabwe has coverage of Tsvangirai's statement on gay rights and the new national constitution. Here are highlights:

My beliefs on this issue are a matter of public record. My beliefs “I want to put finality and closure to an issue that has been misinterpreted, the issue of the so-called gay rights. manifest themselves in my practice.
I am a Christian associated with the Methodist church. I am a father. I am a grandfather. I am a family man.

I am a Zimbabwean and I know the strong feelings of Zimbabweans about this issue. I have those strong feelings too but in the end, Zimbabweans are making their own Constitution and it is that Constitution which will bind every Zimbabwean.

What I refuse to do as a loyal son of God and as a social democrat is to persecute, to judge, to condemn and to vilify people for their own opinions because judgment is a preserve of God the Almighty.

The Book of Luke Chapter 6 verse 37: “Do not judge and you will not be judged, do not condemn and you will not be condemned.”

The Book of John Chapter 8 verse 7: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…”

So while I may differ with them, as a Christian and as a social democrat, I refuse to throw a stone at them.

God bless you.

As the saying goes, money talks. Hopefully the leaders of other African nations will stop acting as "Uncle Tom's" to their Christianist masters and follow Tsvangirai lead. I'd also add that it would be a nice development if the USA adopted a similar policy on foreign aid. No doubt the whores of the Christian Right in the GOP would shriek and howl, but it would be worthwhile to force them to openly show that they support hatred, bigotry, and violence against LGBT individuals.

Lady Gaga Launches the Born This Way Foundation, to Fight Bullying

While she has her critics within the LGBT blogosphere (some of whom strike me as jealous of Gaga's boldness that outshines their own), Lady Gaga continues to put her money where her mouth is and to use her celebrity without hesitation to fight the good fight against bullying. Personally, she won me over at the National Equality March - see the image at left - when I was fortunate enough to hear her speak at a vantage point about 20 feet from the stage thanks to my Bilerico Project press credentials. But I digress. Bullying in all forms - but especially anti-gay bullying - continues to be a nationwide problem. Perhaps I an super sensitive based on bullying I experienced personally in junior and senior high school where I was at times called a fag and worse. The reality is that NO child or youth deserves to be abused in our public schools. To this end, Lady Gaga has launched the Born This Way Foundation to work to end this unfairness. Here are some highlights from The Advocate:

Lady Gaga continues her campaign to promote self-acceptance and end antigay bullying by announcing the launch of her Born This Way Foundation, reports the Associated Press.

The entertainer will use the title of her hit pro-LGBT anthem and best-selling album as the name of the non-profit that will focus on youth empowerment and "issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development."

Gaga will personally direct the foundation, along with and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta. "Together we hope to establish a standard of Bravery and Kindness, as well as a community worldwide that protects and nurtures others in the face of bullying and abandonment," Gaga says in a statement.

The foundation will work with several partners, including the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the California Endowment, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

The foundation will be officially launched sometime next year and an advisory board is expected to be announced soon.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

More God, Gays and Guns from the GOP

With all of America's economic problems and the stock market again plunging, one would think that even the most venal members of Congress might finally stop playing games and ficus on legislation aimed at fix our many problems. That would be true if you're not local Congressman Randy Forbes and his fellow theocrats who wasted time and energy to pass a bill in the House of Representatives to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the national motto. The bill does nothing of substance and seems aimed solely at giving the equivalent of political fellatio to the Christian Right. Having known Forbes as far back as law school, I can only wonder what the Hell has happened to the man. Has he really gone off the deep end or is he simply willing to act like a total prostitute to Christianists and similar religious extremists? Sadly, many Democrats were spineless and voted for the frivolous bill. The Virginian Pilot looks at this latest bullshit from Forbes. Here are some highlights:

The U.S. House approved Rep. Randy Forbes' bill to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the national motto after supporters said Congress should affirm the country's religious roots and an opponent argued that the measure changes nothing and diverts emphasis from economic issues.

The resolution encourages the motto's display in all public schools and other government buildings. It passed 396-9 with support from Democrats and Republicans.

"We believe that today it's fitting that we come together as a Congress and reaffirm our great national motto... once again make clear to the people in this country that our national motto is "In God We Trust" and encourage them to proudly display that motto," Forbes said before the vote.

The Chesapeake Republican is head of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and has argued that the phrase and other references to God in the government are being threatened.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said Forbes is raising a nonissue at a time when Congress should focus on jobs and the economy.

"The national motto is not in danger. No one here is suggesting we get rid of it," said Nadler, the only legislator to speak out against the measure on the House floor. "It appears on our money. It appears in this chamber above your head. It appears in the Capitol Visitor Center. All over the place. We don't need to go looking for imagined problems to fix. We've got enough real ones."

Nadler was one of several Democrats, including Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, who opposed Forbes' bill when it was approved by the House Judiciary Committee in March.

Scott voted against Forbes' legislation Tuesday. After the vote, he restated his argument that the bill violates the Constitution's First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion."

As Dana Milbank noted in the Washington Post, this bill is a clear signal that all we can expect from the GOP is craven focus on God, gays and guns in the hope of kissing the bigoted - and often racist - ass of the Christian Right. Forbes is an embarrassment to thinking Virginians.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

More Tuesday Male Beauty

Chick-Fil-A Donated Nearly $2 Million To Anti-Gay Groups In 2009

In the past I have urged readers to boycott Chick-Fil-A and to urge family members and friends to do so as well. It turns out that my urging was well placed. As Equality Matters is reporting, new IRS 990 forms reveal that the company donated nearly two million dollars to anti-gay groups in 2009 (the most recent year available)alone. In short, what was an egregious level of anti-gay activism for the years 2003 through 2008 was merely the tip of the iceberg. One can only imaging what amounts have been given in 2010 and so far this year. Yes, the owners of Chick-Fil-A are free to donate their money as they wish, but there is no reason why LGBT Americans and their allies should be helping to underwrite the anti-gay jihad. Here are some highlights from Equality Matters:

The WinShape Foundation is Chick-fil-A's charitable arm, created by Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy in 1984. WinShape has received a substantial amount of funding from Chick-fil-A: in 2009 alone, WinShape received $7,814,788 from Chick-fil-A Inc. [Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

WinShape Gave Over $1.7 Million To Anti-Gay Groups. In 2009 alone, WinShape donated $1,733,699 to multiple anti-gay groups:

Marriage & Family Legacy Fund: $994,199
Fellowship Of Christian Athletes: $480,000
National Christian Foundation: $240,000
Focus On The Family: $12,500
Eagle Forum: $5,000
Exodus International: $1,000
Family Research Council: $1,000

[Winshape 2009 Publicly Available IRS 990 Form via Foundation Center, accessed 10/28/11]

As readers may recall, back in January of this year Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy released a statement denying that Chick-fil-A's donation to a conference sponsored by the Pennsylvania Family Institute was an endorsement of traditional marriage. Cathy - obviously disingenuously in hindsight - argued that Chick-fil-A had "no agenda against anyone," and that the company would not "champion any political agendas" relating to marriages or families. Cathy would appear to be the typical Christianist: if his lips are moving, he's likely lying.

Next time you're out driving around and want to grab a quick bite to eat, I hope you will drive right on by Chick-Fil-A find someplace that doesn't underwrite anti-hay bigotry as a de facto matter of corporate policy.

It's Official - Fort Monroe is a National Monument and the Freepers Go Crazy

The photo above via the Virginian Pilot is from today's signing ceremony at the White Hose where Barack Obama utilized his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate federally owned land of significant historical value as a national monument. As I have noted in prior posts, Fort Monroe is a unique historic treasure (another picture is set out below) that needs to be preserved for future generations. Moreover, the national monument designation will help increase tourism to the City of Hampton and create in the neighborhood of 2.000 jobs as per a study commissioned by the City of Hampton and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

What's amazing - as evidenced by the photo above - is that politicians of both parties supported the designation, including Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and our local Congressman Scott Rigell (who I despise and who was endorsed by an anti-gay hate group when he ran for office). Thus, one would expect that it would be perceived that Obama score a home run with his action. Not so, however, if one looks at the comments on coverage on the national monument designation over at the misnamed Real Clear Politics where the only thing that is clear is that far too many of the readers drink Kool-Aid by the bucket full. The insane attacks on Obama by those who clearly knew NOTHING about Ft. Monroe were scary and evidence just how ignorant and depraved the GOP base has become.

One individual who deserves praise is Hampton Mayor Molly Ward (pictured third from the left above) who quietly worked to help make today's event happen. More importantly, she "gets it" that to be competitive in today's changing global environment, cities and localities must embrace diversity and welcome those who can bring talent and innovation to the economy and society be they black or white, gay or straight, native born or immigrants. Would that more in Virginia - including Virginia's current governor and attorney general, would figure this out and stop placing a "You're Not Welcome" sign across Virginia. I am proud to call Molly Ward my friend.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

Norfolk cutie Grant Gustin who will make his debut on Glee next week.

Eric Cantor Rakes In Wall Street Money As He Calling Occupy Protesters A "Mob"

As readers may have figured out, I REALLY dislike Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor. The man is power mad and as I've noted before, I suspect his mother would be for sale for the right price - and not a super high price. His alliance with he Christian Right is also reminiscent of the kapos who collaborated with the Nazis. For power and self-advancement, Cantor doesn't hesitate to make deals with the Devil. He's a disgrace to Virginia. A story from Think Progress underscores Cantor's never ending willingness to sell out average citizens for the wealth and the Wall Street crowd that helped destroy the nation's economic stability yet who have never been made to face accountability. One has to wonder when the Hell Cantor's constituents are going to wake up to reality and vote him from office. Here are some highlights from Think Progress:

When the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations first gained some national prominence, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) derided the protesters as a “mob,” saying, “Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”

Cantor has plenty of reasons to bash the protests because, as Roll Call noted today [yesterday], Cantor’s top contributor this year is Wall Street:

Cantor’s personal political action committee has collected close to $2 million so far this year, placing it well ahead of any other leadership PAC in the House or Senate. In all of his fundraising efforts, top executives at banks, hedge funds and securities and investment firms play a starring role. Securities and investment industry donors have given close to $350,000 to both Cantor’s campaign and his leadership PAC this year, making them his top source of donations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But Cantor has raised millions more than that for a lucrative operation known as the Cantor Victory Fund 2012…Ten major donors, many of them top executives with finance industry firms, have given $50,000 or more this year to the Cantor Victory Fund, which has collected $2.4 million, according to the most recent public disclosures.

Cantor has pushed several policies near and dear to Wall Street’s heart, including protecting tax loopholes for hedge fund managers, while managing to come up with no ideas for addressing income inequality. In fact, he believes we should just depend on the wealthy to bring down inequality through the goodness of their hearts. And so far, Wall Street has certainly shown its appreciation for Cantor’s positions.

The best thing that working Virginians could do would be to show Cantor the door come the next election cycle.

North Carolina Bigot in Chief Dead at 74

It's deemed not nice to speak ill of the dead, nut I am finding it difficult to find much sadness in my heart over the death of North Carolina State Senator James Forrester who died on Monday in Gastonia, North Carolina. Forrester made a career out of pushing hate and anti-gay initiatives and his last major political act was to put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the North Carolina ballot next spring to coincide with the Republican primary in that state. Forrester was but one in a long line of politicians who have used claimed religious belief to malign and harm other citizens. If there is a God, one has to wonder how a man who made hatred and bigotry his signature effort will be judged. The same way he judged others? If such is the case, I would not want to be Forrester. I'm sure Forrester's family is in mourning, but as Pam Spaulding reported shortly before her husband's death his anti-gay wife, Mary Frances, made it publicly and politically clear that there would be no deathbed conversion regarding the discrimination amendment or his views of the civil rights of LGBT North Carolinians. Here are some highlights from the New York Times on Forrester's passing:

State Senator James Forrester, a physician and social conservative, died on Monday in Gastonia, N.C., just weeks after leading a successful fight to put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the North Carolina ballot next spring. He was 74.

He was known for regularly filing a bill that would allow voters to decide whether to add a same-sex marriage ban to the state Constitution.

Under Democratic control, the Legislature had blocked debate and votes on the measure, saying that state law already limited marriage to a man and a woman. But after Republicans, for the first time since 1870, took over both chambers in the elections last fall, the question was approved in September.

Mr. Forrester was a nemesis of the gay rights movement. Last year he apologized for saying at a local Republican event that “slick city lawyers and homosexual lobbies and African-American lobbies are running Raleigh,” a reference to state government.

Shortly before the September referendum debate, Mr. Forrester called Asheville, N.C., known for being gay friendly, a “cesspool of sin.

It's difficult to see how Forrester's passing is a loss for humanity. Some people are just plain evil, and Forrester seems to have been one such individual. Here in Virginia some such people go by the name Ken Cuccinelli, Robert Marshall, Matt Barber, Matt Staver, and Victoria Cobb to name a few.