Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kissing Will Make Babies...But Only In Utah!

The abstinance-only crowd is having a field day in Utah. Good for upright religionists. Bad for normal teenagers.

"You know all about those things, don't you? We don't have to tell you, do we?" My parents assumed that I informed about sex through the usual teenage osmosis. Needless to say, I had all the misconceptions you could think of as well as all of the guilt associated with daring to think about the subject.

In an age of more sexually transmitted diseases than ever before, and questions about sexual orientation up the wazoo, comprehensive sex education is absolutely necessary.

Tell that to Utah.
A bill passed by Republicans in the Utah House of Representatives would effectively ban comprehensive education about human sexuality, forcing schools to teach abstinence or nothing at all...The bill forbids advocating for "the use of contraceptive methods or devices," sex outside marriage or homosexuality. It also restricts teaching about sexual intercourse or erotic behavior.
Public and charter schools would have the option of developing an abstinence-only curriculum or skipping the discussion of sexuality altogether.
Taking a cue from presidential candidate Rick's Santorum's stance on all things sexual, Utah is indeed looking backward to the good ole days of "don't ask, don't tell." Not in the military, but in the classroom: if students doesn't ask about sex, then the teacher certainly won't tell them.

Back To The Playground

It's a known fact that when you tell teenagers not to do something they will do it. They have no fear of the "great unknown." That is what makes them foolhardy and courageous at the same time. They also feel that they are invincible and immune to things like HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, the "virginity pledge" touted by most of the Christian Right resulted in more unprotected sex and greater risk of infection and pregnancy.* 

And abstinence only programs have been the country's biggest (and most expensive) joke on the American tax payer: the ineffective programs cost $208 million in 2008 (up 300% from 2000 - the result of George Bush's faith-based prerogatives. Yet Rick Santorum and his anti-contraception group would have us believe that they do: on Jan. 25th, Santorum knocked the Obama administration for defunding abstinence only programs stating that "He [Obama] wants people to live in poverty." He did not properly relay how he came to this skewed reasoning. 

So now it may be back to the playground for Utah kids in terms of sex education:
"We’ve been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest," Wright said in defense of the bill. "Why don’t we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?" [Utah state representative William Wright]

Devastating? So are STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Someone should tell Rep Bill Wright, the originator of the Bill, that there is a difference between being "intellectually honest" and intellectually deficient: and he is definitely the latter.

*In recent studies, the "virginity pledge" was found to have no effect whatsoever on teens and their sexual habits. Most teens have taken the "pledge" to appease their parents, and have had sex at the approximately same age and with the same number of sex partners. However, these studies also point out that teens taking the pledge were less likely to use any protection or contraception.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Retaliating Through Satire And Blasphemy: All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay

Rick Santorum thought he had it bad when the neologism of his name* wound up on Google - and stayed #1 for years. Now a website called All Dead Mormons Are Now Gay offers to "convert" deceased Mormons and make them "gay." 

The site is a take-off on the practice of Mormons "baptizing" deceased relatives who may not have been Mormon. 

Most of the LGBT community have had a long standing contempt for the Mormon Church, especially since the Church's involvement in California's Proposition 8: $40 million and a bevy of out-of-state volunteers against one community could fuel just a tad of animosity. Stories of Mormon "gulags" for teens and drives for "reparative therapy" don't help much either.  

Blasphemous Retaliation

The days-old site which has garnered 17,000 "likes" on facebook has drawn the ire of Mormons and even some from the Christian Right for its blasphemy: ironic, since the same tactic for salvation drew the ire of Jewish communities after it was discovered that Mormons were declaring baptisms on certain members of the Holocaust ... namely Anne Frank. 

The site brings into question: what is satire and what is just plain blasphemy? Mockery of religious practices is nothing new: early Christians mocked each other's sects and which gospels they adhered to: the Carpocracians' gatherings were thought to be orgies and the later Cathars were considered pacifist weirdos - the first hippies. "Bishop" Eddie Long was said to mock Judaism when he was wrapped in the Torah and paraded around his congregation as "king." Mormons themselves have had to endure taunts about "magic underwear."  

It could be argued, however, that presidential hopeful Mitt Romny's Mormonism - during an election year - put the spotlight on the Church and nothing is sacred. 

But is outright blasphemy and mockery the way to go during an election year? You might ask Dan Savage, the man who created Santorum's neologism. 
"It's still out there and it is an insanely dirty joke," Savage told the Star-Telegram. "It is crude. It is vile, as are Santorum's comments about gay people."
And crude comments stick. That's the point. They stick more than the niceties and civilities do. That's the way of the world, folks. In other words, Santorum the righteous "Jesus" candidate may come and go, while Santorum the neologism is here to stay.

Laughing At Sacred Cows

In 1870, Joshua Abraham "Emperor" Norton I of San Francisco told the City that he would dress up as the pope and walk 7 miles to neighboring Colma to inter his beloved dog Lazarus. 10,000 people showed up for the funeral out of respect for the City's "Emperor" and to have a good laugh at the expense of sacred cows. 

Some might argue that America's religion often laughs at its own sacred cows too much for any other blasphemy to be taken seriously. When the Catholic Church came out with an I-phone application to confess your sins, people couldn't believe that the Church was denigrating a holy sacrament. The app was removed.

So will mockery of the self righteous and their churches continue during this election year?  Only insofar as the laughter continues. 

*"Santorum - that frothy mix of lube and fecal matter as a by-product of anal sex."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Vaughn Walker Redux? Unmarried Activist Circuit Court Judge Declares DOMA Unconstitutional!

A U.S. District Court judge lives in San Francisco. He is apparently single and he is 67 years old. And even though he was appointed by George Bush, his decisions have been to the left of center.

Especially the last one.
BREAKING: BUSH APPOINTEE FINDS DOMA UNCONSTITUTIONAL | Moments ago, Judge Jeffery White of the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause in a case brought by Karen Golinski. Golinski, represented by Lambda Legal, “was denied spousal health benefits by her employer, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.” White was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2002. The decision represents a serious setback for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), whose Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) defended DOMA after the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend the law.
So far, no source on the net has revealed any heterosexual tendencies: in all of his bios, there is no mention of a wife or family. Check out VoteSmart, wikipedia, judgepedia, and the website for the United States District Court  Northern California, Northern District California: no family whatsoever. There is no statement by White as to his sexual orientation either.

Of course, whether or not White is gay, speculation will run high and the Court of Christian Right Opinion will be delivering its verdict and accusations of conflict of interest will fly for sure. However, the old saw of  'activist judges" is bound to see a lot of action as well. Why? Because Hon. Jeffrey White was a Bush appointee! 

"Activist Judges!!"

One could argue that it was Dick Cheney who ushered in today's era of "activist judges" when he bemoaned the fate of Massachusetts in 2004:
"In Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the Legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage."

Since then,courts supportive of gay rights have been termed "activist" and the toll has became ubiquitous to such support. Iowa Supreme Court justices learned that the hard way when they unanimously voted to uphold a ruling of Polk County District Court granting gay couples the right to marry: three of the justices were voted out of office in 2010. 

Retired District Court Judge Vaughn Walker declared California's infamous Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. 

Brouhaha ensued even before it was learned that Walker was gay and in a long-term relationship. 

And, of course, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals became "activist" once they upheld Walker's ruling and declared that his sexual orientation had nothing to do with his ability to decide on the case. 

Watch Mark Fiore's warning against activist judges below. While it's satirical, the attitude it conveys is chilling.

The Election Year War On The Courts

Last December, presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich stated Courts “are forcing us into a constitutional crisis because of their arrogant overreach." He also created a firestorm when he stated that he thought some judges should be rounded up and arrested. And another aspirant to the presidency, Rick Santorum, said "They [the courts] have become in effect most powerful of the three (branches of government), and they should be the least."

Ron Paul: "For judges who see themselves as social activists, their vision of justice is more important than the letter of the law they are sworn to interpret and uphold."

Mitt Romney has come under fire for perhaps being the least vocal about "activist" judges: some people suspect him of liberal chicanery when it comes to appointments.
Judge Jeffrey S. White

The judge in question is no stranger to controversy about his decisions: e.g in revoking USDA approval Of Monsanto's Genetically Modified Sugar Beets, and in ordering a thorough review of the program's affects on other foods, White caused a stir among farmers and the likes of Monsanto Corporation. In other words, it was not exactly what George Bush would have done. And in 2005, White allowed four municipalities and various environmental groups to go ahead with a lawsuit against federal agencies, saying that government involvement in certain overseas projects contributed to global warming. Again, he didn't look like a Bush appointment, that's for sure. 

So is Jeffrey S. White a closeted gay liberal judicial activist? Should it matter? The Right may scream "YES!", while the rest of the country may not care. 

Ahh, the election year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BREAKING!! U.S. Disctrict Court Declared DOMA Unconstitutional!

Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone.  It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.
Board of Trustees of University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 374-75 (2001) (Kennedy,J., concurring)

BREAKING: BUSH APPOINTEE FINDS DOMA UNCONSTITUTIONAL | Moments ago, Judge Jeffery White of the District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution’s equal protections clause in a case brought by Karen Golinski. Golinski, represented by Lambda Legal, “was denied spousal health benefits by her employer, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.” White was appointed to the court by President George W. Bush in 2002. Read the full opinion here. (HT: GinnyLaRoe)

The entire decision is HERE. And it's worth reading!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hooking Up With Studboi1: Top Border Cop, Romney Campaigner And Congressional Candidate In Scandal Of Epic Hypocrisy!... And We Love It!

In terms of hypocrisy, it doesn't get any sleazier than this. And sometimes lurid, yellow journalism has its uses.
"If what [Babeu's attorney] says is correct [about Jose's being illegal], either the sheriff had a long relationship with someone he knew was undocumented, while all the time being Mr. Bluster about the border and using it for political gain," or he threatened to deport someone he just broke up with, Merritt says. [Phoenix News-Times' interview with Nancy-Jo Merritt, Phoenix immigration attorney]
In the Arizona border patrol controversies of recent years, no one has stood out more than Paul Babeu. Even Joe Arpaio couldn't eclipse him in visibility and bravado: John McCain stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him, FOX News profiled him and his activities, and Babeau's political aspirations looked bright.


Republican Congressional candidate Paul Babeu, currently serving as a sheriff in Arizona, stepped down on Saturday from his position as the co-chair for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in the state, after an explosive allegation from a Mexican man, who claims to be his ex-boyfriend, that Babeu threatened him with deportation to Mexico.
In other words, the hypocritical sh*t has hit the proverbial fan: the reason he threatened the ex-boyfriend with deportation is because the ex refused to sign a document silencing their affair. The Phoenix New Times reported all the salacious (and vicious) details revealed through hook-up sites, emails and phone texts in a five-page long article sure to become fodder for election year pundits me.

For in dealing with hypocrisy, you can't be hypocritical. And this story is too horrifically hypocritical for me to pass up. I have to make the most of it. Sounds snarky, I know, but that's the way it is. Exposing hypocrisy is like that.

Paul Babeu And His Right Wing 
Political Dream Machine

At the age of 18, Paul  Babeu was elected to city council for North Adams, MA. He then went on to become commissioner for Bekeley County, MA. (1992 - age 23). In 1996, Babeu ran for Massachusetts State Senate as a nominee from the GOP, but lost. He subsequently lost two bids for Mayor of North Adams.

All the losses, however, were with extremely narrow margins, so Babeu's political drive was not quelled.

After joining the Massachusetts National Guard, Babeu rose in ranks to become major in the Arizona National Guard, serving in Iraq, then was deployed as a Commander in Jump Start and the United States Border Patrol.  In 2002, he became a patrolman in Chandler, Arizona, receiving two life saving medals and becoming the Police Association President. In 2008, he became the first Republican sheriff elected in Pinal County history (founded 1875).

As sheriff, Babeu's activities couldn't be more exemplary ... or anti-immigrant: while reducing emergency response time 40% and being awarded nearly $7 million in grants, Babeu "reorganized" the sheriff's department and became the leading voice in Senator John McCain's "10-point Border Security Plan." And,
In late 2010, Babeu was asked by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in his own department. This 6 month long detailed search led to the termination of Arpaio’s top two deputies.[21] (wikipedia)
In October, 2011, Paul Babeu announced a run for U.S. Congress (newly-redistricted 4th Congessional Arizona Seat)

OK, Now The Sex Stuff

In an era of facebook, twitter and internet hook-ups, sexual exposure has become common. When we got the goods on Rep.Anthony Weiner and "Bishop" Eddie Long, we realized that, in a sense, supermarket tabloids had jumped onto our homepages. And we embraced them with a renewed vigor for the salacious. Why? Because reading about hypocrisy is fun while being infuriated: laughing at the high-minded while telling ourselves that we're not THAT bad is a sinful pleasure. We feel somehow mitigated in our realization that people on the "A-List" can become sleazeballs on the "A-Hole List". 

Now guess which list Babeu is on. 

According to Babeu's ex-lover, Jose (last name withheld because of the ongoing litigation), they met in 2009. Jose then worked on Babeu's campaign websites, facebook and twitter accounts while in a supposedly monogamous relationship. Later, in 2011, Jose discovered a profile of Babeu's on Adam4Adam a gay hook-up site. He confronted Babeu about it and was told that it was an old profile.

But after the request to have Babeu remove the profile, it was still up and active. Jose then decided to do some undercover work on his boyfriend and posed anonymously on the same site. 

"I will suck you off as much as needed."

"Dude, I can't send naked pics over e-mail . . . just can't for my job . . . you can have me in person and what ever else you want." Babeu made a point about his work as sheriff.

Jose showed up for a meeting, and the pair broke up, whereupon an eerie kind of harassment ensued: Jose changed his address several times, with Babeu giving hints that he knew where he was all along (e.g. a Christmas card). Jose then posted comments in sites and editorials intimating that Babeu was not what he seemed. Babeu answered back: "And you say you have loved me? Papi . . . this is no good."

The phone text messages produced by Jose number in the hundreds. The pics on Babeu's Adam4Adam profile have since been erased, some including a full erection.

For the record, Jose states that he is legal and not undocumented, hence the threats of deportation by Babeu's lawyer ring hollow.

Within hours of Jose's incriminating evidence coming to light, Babeu "came out" but stated that his candidacy for Congress remained in tact, while his personal life was just that: personal ...and private.

In Summation To The Jury

Political aspirations. Right wing political cronies and media coverage. Illegal immigration. Threats of deportation. Gay sex. Gay hook-up sites. Infidelity. Pornographic internet photos. The court of public opinion will be at this scandal from all sides: the Right (esp. the Christian Right) will focus on Babeu's sexual orientation and use of hook-up sites; the Left will focus on Babeu being a Republican and his anti-immigration stance; the LGBT community will focus on Babeu's hypocrisy and his closeted machinations. Stand-up comedians will joke about border sheriffs. Pundits and bloggers like me will keep tabs, looking for developments and nuances to highlight Babeu's hypocrisy.

There have been parallels to this scandal: Rep. Mark Foley and Congressional pages, NJ Governor James McGreevey and his infidelity. However, they were but slight blips compared to this earthquake on the Richter scale. Why? Simply because the hypocrisy is so blatantly wrong and so compellingly raw.

In fact, there may be only one entity to be truly sorry for in this story: The National Inquirer. It didn't break the story.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Maybe Cindy Jacobs Had Something To Do With It

I thankfully did not know this morning, that one of my lousier days awaited me. If I did, I never would gotten out of bed.

It started with a computer glitch – one that wiped out all of my daily spreadsheets in an instant, sent them off into the ether never to return no matter how I begged and cajoled my laptop.

I also screamed.

I then tried to console myself with my beautiful ocean view. It was beautifully clear – almost unnaturally so, and I decided to take a picture of a small white craft heading toward the Golden Gate. It looked so alone yet peaceful.

After turning it on, the camera’s screen went black. The lens and its focus must have joined my spreadsheet in the ether. I panicked, seeing as how I couldn’t afford a new one.

I picked up my morning’s pieces, put them aside and concentrated on my schedule: pick up my overdue paperwork for Project Open Hand from my doctor’s office (I really need to get groceries - no paperwork, no groceries), go to a urologist for the results of some tests, go to Open Hand, then to Best Buy to return a godawful boombox, hopefully to put the return toward a camera on sale, shop at Safeway for a special dinner I was making tomorrow, go to Superstar Video to pick up a movie I had special ordered three months ago, then have coffee (just coffee) with a new internet date – a beautiful man who billed himself as “stallion.”

But of course, the horrendous excuse we have for a transit system, MUNI, decided to make the day worse. Much worse.

I panted as I came into the doctor’s office. The paperwork had not been filled out, I was told. Please wait. “About four minutes,” I said. Ten minutes later, I was handed the paperwork and I raced my next appointment. The crawl of MUNI took it’s toll on me and I frantically phoned the urologist’s office to tell them I’d be 10 minutes late.

I was 25 minutes late.

“OK, just tell me straight, biopsy or no biopsy?”
“Biopsy,” he said. Despite antibiotics, my PSA levels not only staid the same, they actually went up!
“How long for the biopsy appointment?”
“As soon as you want. How about a week?”
I didn’t ask how long the results would take. The possibility of prostate cancer was too  eminent. He told me to discount the 20% possibility and not think of it at all. Right. He couldn’t even understand why I seemed so stressed out. I blurted out  a computer-camera-MUNI-must-get-to-Open-Hand-before-it-closes line before I zoomed out the door.
The urologist’s office was next to St. Mary’s Hospital so, of course, there at the bus stop was an ambulance blocking the MUNI lane.

I got on a belated bus, and sprinted four blocks – and arrived at Open Hand 8 minutes after it had closed. 

I then walked to Best Buy (about 1 mile), proceeded to pick out a great buy on a camera and then was told by the check out clerk that I would have to go to Customer Service to process my return. The line for Customer Service looked like it stretched to China and I knew I couldn’t possible make my date if it stayed.

I put the camera down and walked another mile (no direct MUNI service) to my date.

He really was tall and beautiful, friendly and animated. Then he told me about his Valentine’s Day and revealed a nice silver bracelet.

“My boyfriend gave me this as kind of a lavalier kind of thing and I have to tell you that we’ve decided to try to be monogamous.”

The stallion turned into a nice, pet-able pony.  My caregiver side wished him all the best. I won’t tell you what the rest of me wanted to do.

I went to Safeway, then Best Buy and picked up the video.

I got home at 9:00PM.

I’ve just finished making crème brulee for tomorrow and eating my dinner. It is now midnight.

The Curse Of The Prophetess

I can’t help but think that “propethess” Cindy Jacobs, Cindy, Japan-is-shaped-like-a-dragon Jacobs, had something to do with this day. The video I had picked up was…porn. No, IT wasn’t cursed. I was cursed, because by some weird stretch of the imagination, Jacobs had put a curse on me just for being who I am. Does that make sense? Kinda.

Because when you write about the machinations of the Christian Right (especially the more lunatic fringe), you develop a sense that it will do anything, from voodoo to imprecatory prayers to make your life miserable. It’s not guilt. I’ve done nothing to be guilty about. But the sense that somehow I have upset their machinations, their plans, their “prophecies” creeps up on me once in a while, a I shiver to think of what would happen if they knew my space, where I existed, where I lived and loved.

And somehow, Jacobs found out. Or someone like Jacobs. Maybe Lou Engle. He’s always been railing against gays as “those people who embrace the darkness” (just before, of course, the ubiquitous “but we must love them.”).
OK. Probably my wild imagination.

Oh, I should also tell you that I’m writing this in WORD. For some inexplicable reason, my internet connection has been lost.

To Be Continued. Maybe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When Giving Hope Is Considered Evil: Dan Savage Gets Savaged By "Ex Gay" Minister And Associate Of "Bishop" Eddie Long

The gay teen anti-suicide/bullying movement, It Gets Better, finally got the unkindest cut of all, courtesy of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality Radio Hour with Peter LaBarbera Pastor DL (short for "Down Low") Forster called for the arrest of Dan Savage, the creative mind behind the phenomenally successful attempt to quell the country's spate of teen suicides.

And the supposed pastor has long billed himself as "ex-homosexual," and has had a close association with "Bishop" Eddie Long and his New Birth Missionary congregation. Go figure.

Dan Savage responded in his inimitable Dan Savage way:
Gay Kids Are Still Killing Themselves
posted by  on MON, FEB 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM
And it's not because gay kids are still being told that they're sick and sinful by their preachers. And it's not because gay kids are still being failed by cowardly school administrators and callous school boards and cowed teachers. And it's not because gay kids are still being bullied by straight kids who have been told that gay people are sick and sinful and that gay people, by simply existing, represent an existential threat to their families. And it's not because the religious right opposes all efforts to prevent anti-gay bullying in our schools and is pushing for new laws that create a special right for little religious bigots tobrutalize gay children. And it's not because some gay kids have parents who subjected to years of psychological and spiritual violence before throwing them out and cutting them off.
No. It's my fault. And I should be arrested.

The Low Down On Down Low

DL Foster (Christian name Darryl, but attributes the DL to "Down Low") does not have a page on He is, however, mentioned in passing as one of the leaders of the ex-gay movement, which is surprising, considering that Exodus International (the leading "ex-gay" group) distanced itself from Rev. Foster back in 2006. Foster's own ministries are a dizzying mixture of self-inflicted racism, self-loathing, come-back-to-God because you are "sexually broken" polemics centering on the African American Community, in particular Atlanta, the hub of "Bishop" Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church (at which Foster was invited to speak about the evils of homosexuality ... and to hawk his book

Foster's autobiography,  Touching A Dead Man: One man's Explosive Story of Deliverance from Homosexuality,  has long been out-of-print and is available only by downloading it through Foster's website.* It is, of course, a "book that launched a thousand deliverances." [sic]. Needless to say, however, unless you read the book, you will not know just how much Foster was in "the homosexual lifestyle" or if, in fact, he was ever gay at all. 


The 27 videos of "ex-gays" and their proclamations are problematic: the self-loathing cannot be hidden. Their self-acceptance comes across as a merely a polemic (as Low Down would have it, but a poor one) based upon deep-rooted self-loathing: "falling" back into a destructive lifestyle of sex and drugs is predominant. Even those who admit to being born gay, never look upon themselves as have ever having any self-worth. Some actually state that they were "enticed" back into a "homosexual lifestyle," as if their own lives were worthless to begin with.

These "testimonies" seldom address one problem: that they may do more harm than good; for the purely prejudiced, "change" is the name of the game. And they care not if it is true or false, because they need something to hang their prejudices on. Harking back to the thoroughly researched topic of the relationship between I.Q. and prejudice, sociologists and psychologists can tell you that such testimonies can cause serious physical and emotional harm to gays, lesbians and transgendered people. And while the "ex-gays" are told how many souls they are helping to save, the reality is this: people will be hurt. 

The Target Is The Message

Foster's latest raison d'etre is not African American men and women who identify as gay, but gay men and women who identify as Christian. Yes, you read that right. Gay Christian Movement Watch - one of Foster's online "ministries" - is perhaps more like Gay Christian Movement Witch Hunt, alerting people to more progressive ministries and organizations and demonizing them ad infinitum:

GCM Watch seeks to facilitate balanced discussion regarding the “gay christian movement” and enlighten the broader Christian constituency through research, documentation and examination of movement’s various adherents and their beliefs in contrast to traditional Christian doctrine.
A close look at his polemics (his own word, since he considers gay Christians and affirming churches heretical) reveal nothing that could be considered a "discussion" and certainly nothing approaching balance.
To sum up: after the American Family Association warned us that Ellen Degeneres was dangerously "nice" and should be fired from being a spokesperson for JC Penney, a suppoosedly "ex-gay" minister has called for the arrest of Dan Savage because he founded the movement It Gets Better. 

Being nice to people and giving them hope sure ain't what they used to be.

*One reviewer of Touching A Dead Man: "I feel sorry for this man's wife. He'll be skulking around the men's room sooner or later, if he isn't already."
4 copies of the paperback book are available for an astounding $64 ea. Perhaps someone thinks of it as a curious collector's item. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strolling On Augustine, Patron Saint Of Guilt And "Just War"

It is true, then, and in no way false, that the devil's power is exorcised in infants, and that they renounce him by the hearts and mouths of those who bring them to baptism, being unable to do so by their own; in order that they may be delivered from the power of darkness, and be translated into the kingdom of their Lord. What is that, therefore, within them which keeps them in the power of the devil until they are delivered from it by Christ's sacrament of baptism? What is it, I ask, but sin?

While strolling around Lake Merced, I can never help but be touched by beauty and innocence: nothing is sinful, because it is not capable of sin. The heron I spied last night in the bushes was not sinful. But perhaps he had read the writings of Augustine of Hippo and flew off because he thought that I was sinful. Because, Augustine was the creator of the concept of Original Sin - at least as we know it.

One of the basic tenets of today's Christianity is that all of humanity needs to be saved from sin. And most sects and denominations insist that we are all BORN in sin and therefore are prone to evil almost immediately. The more strident actually believe that man is literally born condemned.

And it was Augustine who put this concept into their heads. He was, in a sense, the creator of the greatest guilt complex ever: we're all sinners, we're all despicable, Christ hung on a cross and agonizingly died for our measly souls.


And with the guilt came the arrogance of the righteous - who reminded you that you were a filthy sinner. The Robert Jeffresses, the Lou Engles of our times are pummeling humanity with a sense of guilt. Their power is based upon on guilt. They take advantage of any and all feelings of guilt. It's the only way they can make conversions.


And Augustine didn't stop at inflicting a massive guilt complex upon Christians and would-be Christians everywhere: he also came up with the concept of "just war" in order to help assuage the guilt. Until Augustine, Christians were so pacific as to be unrecognizable to today's modern Christians: they were not allowed to participate in warfare of any kind - not even defensive warfare. But Augustine changed all that when he insisted that some wars could be just - if they were in defense of the innocent. Unfortunately, Augustine knew human nature all too well, and could foresee that the concept of just war would be taken to it's obvious conclusion: war justified for any reason. He didn't stop the righteously arrogant from creating such war.

It's almost impossible to fathom that one man could cause so much guilt, misery, righteous arrogance and destruction.

But he did. In the name of God.

I don't think I can forgive Augustine.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Heartfelt Eloquence Goes Viral: Washington State's Maureen Walsh Waxes Poetic On Gay Marriage

Ironically, Walsh starts out by saying that she is not as eloquent a speaker as her colleagues in the Washington State House. Not true. 
BTW: she's a Republican. Just not an ordinary one.

The Latest In The Current "Haters" War: JC Penney Causes Breast Cancer, Stern And O'Reilly Become Friends and Wall Street Doesn't Care!

 Ellen - "My haters are my motivators."

Update: One Million Moms fires back at Ellen for referring to them as "haters" and disclosing that they have only 40,000 friends on facebook.

Last Friday, JC Penney stock closed slightly lower than it's 52-week high (down .07 from $42). Of course, the market closed before the big disclosure of the day: JC Penney was keeping Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson despite the strong request by the American Family Association and its homophobic offspring, One Million Moms to "fire" Degeneres. But it proved that Wall Street was unfazed by the OMM and  AFA threats to the retail giant.

Now, the AFA's ubiquitous fear-mongerer, Bryan Fischer, has countered that in its decision to keep Degeneres, JC Penney will encourage young women to become lesbians and thus, become more susceptible to breast cancer:
"Will America’s young women be just a bit more likely to experiment with lesbianism now that JCPenney is mainstreaming it? Too any objective observer, the answer must be yes. Is this a good thing? To any objective observer, the answer must be no. Research has indicated that lesbians suffer from increased levels of depression, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, breast cancer and vaginal diseases compared to heterosexual women. Thus what JCPenney has done, by increasing, even if ever so slightly, the chances that young women will experiment with this behavior will turn out to be a tragic thing for some. JCPenney will have to share some culpability for that." - American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer. (Via Right Wing Watch)
Twisted logic apparently runs in AFA genes, because on one of AFA's radio shows, hosts Buster Wilson and Fred Jackson had this to say about the controversy:

Wilson: we just don't believe that Ellen DeGeneres is wholesome, family. She is known, she made her name, by being the first real television star to come out in her homosexuality.
Jackson: You kind of mentioned it. What makes Ellen DeGeneres dangerous is that she's a nice person and, I haven't watched her program but apparently she does an interesting kind of funny program.
Ellen Degeneres is nice, therefore, she's dangerous. Makes perfect sense. The following is a list of Degeneres' "niceness put by one blogger:
DeGeneres raised over 10 million dollars for victims of hurricane Katrina. Sheparticipates in The Gentle Barn charity, the Small Change Campaign, Brad Pitt’s Make It Right campaign, food drives, AIDs awareness campaigns, children’s charities, the American Express Member’s Project, Breast Cancer, the Target Giving Competition and more.

Upon the announcement by J.C. Penney that it was sticking to its decision to keep Ellen as a spokesperson, OMM stepped up its campaign by stating that it would begin targeting stores individually, going directly to stores managers. It also had this to say about a supposed "haters":
In today's culture when an individual stasnds up for something they believe in and someone disagrees with them then they are referred to as a hater when in reality it is OMM's opponents who are hating us. Tolerance goes both ways. Apparently, OMM must be doing something right because scripture says that we will be persecuted for our Biblical beliefs (Matthew 5:11)
Monica Cole, Director, One Million

After 5 days of silence on the matter, Degeneres herself addressed the issue in her monologue (after a celebratory nod to the Prop 8 decision): "My haters are my motivators." She also pointed out that One Million Moms has only 40,000 friends on facebook - hardly close to a figure of one million.*

And speaking of facebook, a group called "one million people who support Ellen for JC Penney" has garnered over 60,000 "likes" in 24 hours - more than OMM can seem to scare up.


The controversy has made some unlikely allies: both Howard Stern and Bill O'Reilly of FOX News have come out in support of the JC Penney decision and against OMM. O'Reilly had some particularly "stern" words (sorry, couldn't resist it) for OMM comparing its campaign to McCarthyism and calling it a witch hunt. Degeneres herself thanked O'Reilly for the support.

The CEO of JC Penney, Ron Johnson, addressed the situation quite eloquently when he said that  Ellen stood for the very things JC Penney was founded upon "fairness" and the "Golden Rule." (click on the link - the video was not allowed to be embedded - by CBS).

The Culture War Defined

Although the JC Penney controversy is not a defining moment in the culture wars, it helps to highlight the frustration and the distress the Right is experiencing with other aspects: the recent Prop 8 decision was about equality for a certain part of America more than the subject of same-sex marriage. The phenomena of "It Gets Better" statements/videos is about hope in the face of bullying and religious intolerance more than prevention of teen suicides.

We recently saw the unmitigated and ridiculous statements the Right came out with concerning gays and gay sex (Gerbils, Cell Phones and Bats Up The Butt). The JC Penney controversy simply continues the trend.

* OMM seems to have trouble with numbers and figures: one of it contentions is that only 1.7% of the U.S. population is gay. Apparently all gay people go to at least twenty Pride events each year.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's 10:30 AM (PST) In San Francisco. Do You Know Where Your Marriage Rights Are?


Live blogging is very difficult, especially when you've got to follow something like Prop 8 in California. But it's got to be done. The news has hit the streets and reactions will be analyzed.

Ad infinitum.

But first, a message from our sponsor: marriage equality

There's no doubt about it: marriage equality is the defining issue of the culture war as it stands. Not even abortion comes close. A panoramic view of how widespread it has become is needed:

There are six states, one district and one Native American tribe that recognize same-sex marriages: Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon, Connecticut, District of ColumbiaC, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont

There are five state that recognize civil unions: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island

There are nine states that recognize domestic partnerships: California, Colorado, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin

There are nine court cases pending on marriage equality:
California (federal appeals court), Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina
There are nine proposals/laws pending involving state legislatures:
Colorado, Iowa (proposed repea) Maryland, Montana,New Jersey, New Hampshire (proposed repeal) Rhode Island, Washington, West Virginia [civil unions]

Marriage equality is on 5 state ballots: California (maybe), Maine, Minnesota [constitutional marriage ban]
North Carolina [constitutional marriage ban] and Washington (maybe)

National foes of marriage equality include: The American Family Association, The Family Research Council, the Catholic Church, Focus On The Family, the Mormon Church, The Southern Baptist Convention, National  Organization for Marriage (NOM), Concerned Women of America, the Tea Party. 

Prominent politicians and political figures against marriage equality: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Phyllis Schlafley, Sam Brownback, John McCain, Chris Christie, 

Prominent religious figures opposing marriage equality: Pope Benedict XVI, Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, "Bishop" Eddie Long, (prophet) Lou Engle, (historian) David Barton, Ken Copeland, Pat Robertson (700 Club), "Bishop" T.D. Jakes, Robert Jeffress (First Baptist, Dallas), Richard Land (Southern Baptist Convention).  

Chief media against marriage equality: FOX News, World Net Daily, most Rupert Murdoch-owned media.


The California Proposition 8 saga will go down in history as one of the defining issues of our times: it consumed all of the culture warriors in the country, because: "as goes California, so goes the country." The state of California is the largest (population-wise) in the country (nearly 10%) and the sixth largest economic entity in the world. Whatever the Right/Christian Right says about California and its components (e.g. "Hollyweird"), it cannot deny California's influence...and the thing it hates about California the most: its diversity. California is everything to everyone. 

When Prop 8 first reared its rather ugly head, the nation saw just how powerful - and desperate - the Christian Right was to maintain control over marriage laws: for the first time, one state's proposition drew (massive amounts of) outside money and people were bused across state lines to help with the campaign. Notable figures like Rick Warren filmed public service announcements. Battle lines were drawn. Prop 8 banners were either displayed prominently ... or vandalized. 

"That was four years ago, this is now."  

Guess again. The climate of pro-marriage equality in California may have significantly changed (54% now approve of same-sex marriage as opposed to only 48% in 2008), but sentiments have gotten stronger .. on both sides, each one vowing to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a fight to SCOTUS, to be sure, and any wounded animal in the battle will be incredibly difficult to fend off. 

Don't Forget The Technicality:

Today's decision was NOT about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. It was about UPHOLDING the RULING by Judge Vaughn Walker AND it was about the standing of a judge who ruled about Prop 8's constitutionality simply because he was gay. It adds to the confusion and the drama of an already legendary battle for rights. Elation in the decision will be ephemeral as well as disappointment. 

In other words, we're just looking at a dress rehearsal. And compared to what's ahead, a high school dress rehearsal at that. 

Thanks and a hat tip to Marriage Equality U.S.A. for providing the legend pictured below.

Monday, February 6, 2012


It takes drive to write about stuff that makes you passionate, because  no matter how passionate you are, your passion needs to be braced by stimulus: drive. 

It's not easy writing about jerks, assholes, charlatans, dimwits and the righteously arrogant. It's tiring. Sometimes it's almost boring. Sometimes it can make you feel irrelevant. 


The Christian Right's machinations supply the DRIVE. Ironic, isn't it: there very things they campaign against, they fuel.


Stay tuned.

Prop 8 case decision tomorrow

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gilligan Wasn't THAT Stupid: How The GOP's Castaways Have Never Looked Sillier

Santorum missed the boat. 

It was bound to happen: someone portraying today's GOP politicos as the cast of Gilligan's Island. They have, after all, been considered clowns, even by Dukes of Hazzard fans. And the parallels are so rich! Come on, you know you can't stop laughing!

The above photo-shopped portrait has hit the ether with a scream and people all over the net are doubling over, reaching for Kleenex, and gasping for breath. It almost makes you sorry for the REAL cast - they never got laughs THIS big!

One of the best ones is Palin as Maryann. Maryann was corn-fed and clueless... and she had "perky pills" for breakfast. If the characters had longer lives, Maryann's daughter would have wound up on Dancing With The Stars

Ron Paul as Lovey Howell isn't bad either. Paul may consider himself an outsider, but he's demured to people like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich more than some people realize. And of all the characters, Lovey's was the most useless: Paul's stances have never swayed the other candidates and since everyone knows he won't win the GOP nomination, there's a fruitlessness about his campaign. He's making a statement, but so what?

Newt as the Skipper demonstrates the burly politics that win over people who bludgeon cats.

Romney's Thurston Howell is apropos because most of Howell's money came with him on the boat. Romney can never shake the image of a rich man who's never really known poverty.

Michele Bachmann's Ginger exudes a contrived beauty. (probably with help from her make-up man, Marcus Bachmann). She floated through her campaign as if in a Hollywood cloud, too enamored of herself to think that anyone would touch her negatively - or her husband. 

Huntsman is intelligent - and pretty to look at, but his character - the professor - was the weakest of all and barely got any laughs. He was too smart for his own good.

The best, of course, is Perry as Gilligan, the blundering goof who didn't know that when the Texas GOP applauded his execution rate, the rest of the world was appalled. "N*ggerhead" and his debate gaffs shot him to the top of  laugh meters. His campaign video "Strong" and his Brokeback Mountain jacket blunder have now become the stuff of  comedy legend. His campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, let him roll without a laugh track: Perry didn't need one.

You're still laughing, aren't you? Come on! You ARE!

Against The Assault Of Laughter, Nothing Can Stand 

Yes, Mark Twain said it best: laughter can certainly be a wonderful weapon when it comes to any war against politicians and their hypocrisy, for who wants to be on the side of fools? And it's the best medicine for a country that's ill with Koch Brother shenanigans, shady banking maneuvers, 1% mentality, and Citizens United possibilities. 

Of course, since most comedy is actually built upon tragedy, the field of Christian-Right pandering politicians has its dark side. Perhaps that's why Santorum isn't in the picture: laughter could be swept away in an instant WTF? Ginrich's moral mea culpas are funny, Paul's past views are ridiculously inconsistent, Romney's strident attempts to appear common are whimsical, but Santorum's overt moralizing is truly scary. His latest statement to a woman about her son's healthcare* is horrific and strains comedy writers across the country to see anything funny in it. 

But we must keep laughing at the Right's list of leaders, if only to knock them down for their hilarious hubris. 
We must keep laughing because the only thing more nightmare-inducing than the crew and antics of the SS GOP:


*Santorum recently told a mother to stop whining about her son's million-dollar prescription medicine bill.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Maybe They'll Find Jimmy Hoffa

Russians drilling in the coldest spot on earth (Antarctica) have not been heard from in several days! They have been drilling TWO MILES DEEP to a subterranean lake which has not seen the light of day for 20 million years! 

They may find different life forms.

Who will find them?

Hopefully, someone will.

Putting The "FUN" Back Into Retailing Means Telling The AFA To Go F*ck Itself

And that's FUN!

The American Family Association's campaign to have J.C. Penney "fire" Ellen Degeneres as its spokeperson has backfired. Of course, they're uber-pissed.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gerbils, Cell Phones And Bats Up The Butt: The Culture War Heats Up With Diatribes From Another World

The other world being the other side - the far right other side -  that is.

The irony of today's Gingrich morality debate is that it highlights rather than downplays the hypocrisies and the falsehoods spun by "social conservatives." Gingrich's infidelity mea culpas served him well in South Carolina, of course. Sarah Palin blasted the "dumb arse" media for covering the "open marriage story."  And his victory was lauded by organizations such as NOM (National Organization for Marriage). Gingrich's past, it seems is blissfully in the past and has nothing whatsoever to do with the country's economic future.

The the future of the country's morality? Why, it lies not with Gingrich, but with the country's more pulpit-driven lawmakers ... and the pulpits themselves, of course. Mea culpa's evidently helped homophobic "Bishop" Eddie Long  regain his stature at New Birth Missionary Church last Sunday where he was crowned "king" by a suspect "rabbi". He was paraded around on a throne and clothed in tabernacle scrolls (they couldn't afford spandex?).  People are calling it a mockery, but his congregation is calling it righteousness.


So in the culture war of this year, "social conservatives," "values voters" and just plain ole' fundamentalists are ramping up the rhetoric to obscene levels. Obscene in their own minds. Hysterical in others.
On a recent appearance on LaBarbera’s radio show, [Americans for Truth About Homosexuality] [Dr./Pastor Patrick ] Wooden called homosexuality a “wicked, deviant, immoral, self-destructive, anti-human sexual behavior” and should make people “literally gag.” Wooden added that gay men have “to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels” by their “40s or 50s” as a result of “what happens to the male anus.” (listen to excerpt below)
Then we have this man who is not capable of teaching sex education:
“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”
“My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex…
He is, of course, Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield who, late on, was refused service at a restaurant because of his bigoted views.
“What is the average lifespan of a homosexual? It’s very short ... Anybody out there who’s listening – your twelve listeners on your show, you have them Google ‘average homosexual lifespan.’ It’s very short.”*
The "evidence" cited, of course, is a regurgitation of old lies, myths and irrelevant controversies. We can view vaguely literate "research" HERE and HERE. And they are repeated by every Family Research Council, every American Family Association, every Christian Right mega-church pastor in the country to push the electorate and the political candidates into a false sense of righteousness in the voting booth. 

From Eddie Long being crowned "king" to prophetess/apostle Cindy Jacobs "curing" a woman of her hysterectomy, the moralizing elements of the far right promise to attack liberals with cruel distortions, irrational fears (ala anti-Islam),  chicanery and pomposity never seen since the Crusades. 

But the influence of these deep thinkers is not to be dismissed, because it leads to people being discriminated against, or bludgeoned cats left on doorsteps with the word "liberal" scrawled across them.

*This last dig at Michelangelo Signorile's popularity is very telling: Signorile's program is broadcast to over 20 million Sirius XM radio subscribers. Campfield's aides evidently didn't know that when they booked him on the program. Spouting these "facts" on Signorile's program is in itself, ludicrous.