Activist Peter Tatchell makes a salient point when he writes in this week's Washington Blade:
This history of trumped up charges compels us to be skeptical about claims that the two teenagers hanged on July 19 were executed for raping a 13-year-old boy. Why should we believe a brutal judicial system that has a proven record of lying to cover up its crimes against humanity?
He ends his op-ed by saying:
"The failure of liberals and the left to support the Iranian struggle for democracy is one of the great betrayals of our age".
I tend to agree with Peter. On the left we are so afraid that we might offend some psycho fascist regime, that we are willing to swallow their party line. If you think the Muslim countries are fair to gay people, open up your gay travel guide, turn to the Middle East and find me a gay bar. Can't find one? Rest my case.
John Evan's, the co-founder of ex-gay ministry Love In Action, today expressed dismay that the "ex-gay" ministries are trying to rewrite history by not mentioning leaders who dropped out. In his own words, he discusses how the group was founded, his best friend commited suicide, and how the ministry was based on lies and deception. This is a crucial historical document that is worth reading.
The New York Times is reporting in Friday’s edition that Supreme Court nominee's John G. Roberts' work on behalf of the lesbian and gay community on the Supreme Court case, Romer v. Evans, has conservative backers of President Bush unconvinced that Roberts will represent their issues on the High Court.
President Bush is on vacation again. By some counts, the president has made roughly 50 trips to his Texas ranch, logging more than 300 whole or partial days there. The White House is quick to say his visits to the "Western White House" are working vacations, where Bush hosts foreign leaders, signs documents and gets daily briefings. But that hasn't stopped Democrats from needling him for spending time there.
A convoluted Sen. Rick Santorum recently published a book entitled "It Takes a Family," in which he believes that the government has weakened the responsibility that families and communities hold in terms of child rearing. He claims that radical feminists, such as fellow Senator Hillary Clinton, have devalued stay at home parenting. On the Brian Lehrer Show Santorum discusses the role of government, family and homosexuality. It is worth listening to the lunatic unfiltered.
We have learned a lot about the jihadists, from Osama bin Laden down to the Europeans who attacked the London subways last month. We know, thanks to a database gathered by Marc Sageman, formerly of the C.I.A., that about 75 percent of anti-Western terrorists come from middle-class or upper-middle-class homes. An amazing 65 percent have gone to college, and three-quarters have professional or semiprofessional jobs, particularly in engineering and science. -- New York Times
Fresh from its victory last week, when a timorous Senate voted to protect the gun industry from damage suits, the National Rifle Association is now urging a boycott of a major energy company, ConocoPhillips, that dares to protect its employees from gunplay in the workplace. (New York Times)
According to the Los Angeles Times, Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
Jean Dubofsky, lead lawyer for the gay rights activists and a former Colorado Supreme Court justice, said that when she came to Washington to prepare for the U.S. Supreme Court presentation, she immediately was referred to Roberts.
"Everybody said Roberts was one of the people I should talk to," Dubofsky said. "He has a better idea on how to make an effective argument to a court that is pretty conservative and hasn't been very receptive to gay rights."
This is a very interesting development and makes me feel a lot better about his nomination. It will be interesting to see how conservatives react to this new information. Will they forge ahead with Justice Sunday II to support him?
George W. Bush yesterday confirmed that he is an embarrassment by expressing his support for so-called "intelligent Design" to be taught in classrooms. This "theory" is an empty PR gimmick that is intelligently designed to let hillbilly Creationsists slip their sectarian agenda into the schools. The slippery idea is to teach the same old unconstitutional creationism, but invent a legal loophole and make it appear to be science by changing the name and not outright saying that it is God who did the creating. This is cynical sophistry of the worst kind. By not directly mentioning God, do they think we are going to assume that Frank Gehry was the architect of the solar system? Most important, if Bush saw Intellegent Design, how would he know it?
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is going to appear at a neo-Puritan rally in support of the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts. If there is one thing that makes me think FILIBUSTER, it is Tom DeLay teaming up to support Roberts with Focus on the Family's James Dobson, Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries and the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly. There are many moderates sitting on the fence, who had no idea the fence was made of barbed wire, until they saw this line-up of supporters. Perhaps Colson, a convicted felon, can give DeLay some tips on how to get by in prison, in case he is sent away to the hoose gow for corruption in the next couple of years.
Threaten a man's masculinity, and he will assume more macho attitudes, according to a study by a Cornell University researcher. "I found that if you made men more insecure about their masculinity, they displayed more homophobic attitudes, tended to support the Iraq war more and would be more willing to purchase an SUV over another type of vehicle," said Robb Willer, a sociology doctoral candidate at Cornell. Willer is presenting his findings Aug. 15 at the American Sociological Association's 100th annual meeting in Philadelphia.
"Masculine overcompensation is the idea that men who are insecure about their masculinity will behave in an extremely masculine way as compensation. I wanted to test this idea and also explore whether overcompensation could help explain some attitudes like support for war and animosity to homosexuals," Willer said.
It always amazes me when lazy right wing charlatans posing as legitimate researchers come to me to help them with their work. Just yesterday, for example, Dr. Warren Throckmorton asked me for contact information for John Evans, the co-founder of Love in Action. He is working on a sleazy and illegitimate project to rewrite the history of the ex-gay ministries by saying that the founders of the movement, who now all denounce it, were not actually the founders. This absurd and offensive historical revisionism is an effort to make the embarrassing past of the ex-gay ministries seem more palatable.
After I rejected Throckmorton's bizarre appeal for me to contribute to his charade he wrote me back saying, "So I can let folks know that I tried to reach Evans to get both sides and you obstructed the way?" Here is what I said to him:
"No, what you can do is something foreign to you - real research. It is amazing how I found John Evans and I'm not a doctor. In fact, it didn't even take that long. Ever hear of the Internet? I just object to using my research skills to help you in any way.
You know, I put you right up there - but not quite as bad - with Paul Cameron. There is something particularly sleazy and stomach-turning about those who hide their fundamentalism behind the veil of science. Fake researchers are the lowest life form of right winger. It takes a diabolical and profoundly disturbed individual to do the type of work you do.
So, when people ask why you didn't talk to Evans, don't blame me. Tell them the truth, that you were either too lazy or incompetent to get the job done. I am not your research assistant and have no obligation to abet what I know to be a cynical effort to twist the facts to support right wing political positions."
Can you imagine the nerve of this man whose quack-like work is designed to give a scientific veneer to anti-gay politics? Furthermore, "obstruction" is getting in the way of one's work. Choosing not to help a person spin lies and myths is no way obstructing or impeding dishonorable and unscrupulous efforts. It is simply my choice not to collaborate or be an accomplice to a blatantly anti-gay farce. And, for the record, I have given Evans' contact information to several real reporters, so I am hardly adverse to having people talk to him.
Embryonic stem cells show remarkable promise because they may be able to transform themselves into any human body part. Just last week, for example, they miraculously helped Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist grow a spine!
I believe that Frist took the plunge because as risky as it was to cross James Dobson, it was riskier to ignore the promise of stem cell research. Imagine if his opposition would have forced this work overseas, where new discoveries were made that included cures for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and even AIDS. How would a doctor rightfully labeled "anti-cure" have any credibility?
Time to wake up, folks. An insidious group called the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, based in Greensboro, N.C., has been working for 12 years to get its extremist Bible curriculum in schools. According to the New York Times, they are having some success. Critics are pointing out how this indoctrination of students is not only unconstitutional, but scientifically bankrupt.
Some of the claims made in the national council's curriculum are laughable, said Mark A. Chancey, professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, who spent seven weeks studying the syllabus for the freedom network. Mr. Chancey said he found it "riddled with errors" of facts, dates, definitions and incorrect spellings. It cites supposed NASA findings to suggest that the earth stopped twice in its orbit, in support of the literal truth of the biblical text that the sun stood still in Joshua and II Kings.
This would be laughable, if it were not for the fact that taxpayer dollars are going to teach kids how to be ignorant. Why not pay for them to watch episodes of Mighty Mouse and tell them that animated vermin is real?
One step people can take to counter this is stealing a page from the Creationists who insist that the Adam and Eve story be brought up in biology class. If they can bring religion into a science course, where it doesn't belong, than science has a right to be in religion courses. Parents ought to demand that these classes offer the alternative scientific point of view. Unless, we want our children to believe that NASA discovered that the sun twice took a lunch break. Do these people ever give up in their quest to make our kids the stupidest in the world?
The theories put forth by the extreme right wing can't stand on logic or science. So, they are left with having to admit their ideas or weird, or invent pseudo-science that seemingly backs their inerrant view of the Bible. The Boston Globedid a great story exposing the sleaze merchants who have build a profitable cottage industry of bogus science. Just scratch below the surface of any right wing think tank and you might discover a political propaganda machine.
Zack, the 16 old boy who was taken to an "ex-gay" boot camp against his will has been released. He finally blogged on the issue today, sounding overwhelmed, but also disturbingly influenced by right wing lingo and views on sexuality. The boy strangely defended the ministry that uprooted him from his life.
"Love In Action has been misrepresented and what I have posted in my blogs has been taken out of perspective and context. I don't take back the things I've said, nor am I going to pretend like it never happened. It did. I refuse to deal with people who are only focused on their one-sided (biased) agendas. It isn't fair to anyone. I'm very frustrated with the things going on in my life now, but everyone has their issues. Homosexuality is still a factor in my life--- it's not who I am, it never has been. Those of you who really know me, know that homosexuality was always there but it didn't run my life, and it will not now."
Notice how he uses right wing buzz words like "agendas" and now homosexuality is "a factor" in his life. A key part of what "ex-gay" groups do is separate people from their sexuality. Once they make this unnatural split, it is easier for people to try to stamp attraction out of their lives. Of course, in the end, it never works.
Zack also attacks the media.
"The media, in my opinion, has made a big of a mess of things. But, I suppose they did what they could with what they had."
I wonder if he was referring to his fathers debut on Pat Robertson's 700 Club. Or the free publicity milked by "ex-gay" media whores like Warren Throckmorton and John Smid?
The boy requests his privacy and we ought to give it to him. Indeed, he should be left alone to have his childhood. But it is worth comparing the free-spirited blogs before boot camp with the Stepford post after the ordeal. Was he brainwashed? I really have no idea and hope he goes on to live a wonderful, successful life. But, take a look and decide for yourself. Here were the previous blogs:
"I told my parents I was gay," he wrote. "This didn't go over very well," and "They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they 'raised me wrong.' Today, my mother, father and I had a very long talk in my room, where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist Christian program for gays."
"It's like boot camp. If I do come out straight, I'll be so mentally unstable and depressed it won't matter."
Unless more develops, I won't post on this in an effort to let the boy reclaim his life. But let the record stand. Today's Zack speaks in a different voice than the one before boot camp. Finally, the big question, Is Zack straight?
"Homosexuality is still a factor in my life..."
If this is so, does Love In Action plan to refund the money that Zack's parents spent on the program? My guess is that returning the dough and making Zach straight both have zero probability. Once again, Love In Action laughs all the way to the bank, while a family struggles to pick up the pieces.
Surely if merely being gay is akin to playing on the freeway, as Rev. Jerry Falwell says, being a morbidly obese hate preacher has to rank right up there with drying your hair in the shower. And since we're judging him by his own standards, I understand the Bible has something to say about gluttony:
"and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony." Proverbs 23
So, Jerry, put down that Hostess cupcake and repent.
President Bush made a political mistake today by installing combative nominee John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, ending a five-month impasse. Democrats rightly opposed Bolton, accusing him of abusing subordinates and twisting intelligence to fit his extreme right wing ideology.
"He's damaged goods. This is a person who lacks credibility," Sen. Christopher Dodd, Conn., said on Fox News Sunday.
Unlike Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, Bolton is not the slightest bit likeable. He has all the extreme positions and the face to match. His temper tantrums are unbefitting of a top diplomat serving our nation. With Bush's poll numbers going down, this will not help. Even Republicans know in their hearts that Bolton is a jerk and would not like to work for him. That Bush would embrace such an awful person shows a lot about his character, or lack thereof.
Finally, it is bizarre that Bush would appoint a person so hostile to the U.N. to represent U.S. interests. At a time when the U.S. desperately needs allies, this will bring us nothing but enemies. Just because Bush can do something, doesn't mean he should. This is a lesson clearly lost on this president.