Friday, December 23, 2005
In a recommendation to the solicitor general on filing a friend-of-court brief, Alito said that the government "should make clear that we disagree
with Roe v. Wade and would welcome the opportunity to brief the issue of whether, and if so to what extent, that decision should be overruled."
The June 3, 1985 document was one of 45 released by the National Archives on Friday. A total of 744 pages were made public.
Okay, let's stop playing games. We now know enough to say that Alito will vote to outlaw abortion. Is there really any question? So, a vote by a senator for Alito is a vote against Roe. It really is that simple.
Alito is an extremist who must be soundly defeated if American women expect to have reproductive freedom in the 21st Century.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Thank God! I've been stranded in Brooklyn for two days.
Buses are expected to get rolling about 10 p.m. tonight and taxis should begin using meters at midnight. Subway trains will hit the rails overnight, transit officals said, adding that tomorrow morning's rush hour should be fairly normal.The union has already posted on its website, under the headline "STRIKE OVER: REPORT TO WORK",
instructions for workers to report to work immediately if their scheduled shift has already started, or to report per usual if they're working a later shift.
Thanks to Mike Rogers of Blog Active
, we were able to get this amazing picture of the Pope offering his unique brand of Christmas cheer. Maybe he's so happy because he just booted a gay priest out of seminary.
A reader of this blog, Nathan Henning, has done us a service by comparing reviews of Brokeback Mountain by Christianity Today
and Focus on the Family
. As you will see, Christianity Today
was balanced, while Focus was churlish and hateful - you know, the usual.Take a look at the reviews by clicking HERE
Britain's showbiz royalty - Elton John and David Furnish - exchanged vows
and diamond wedding bands during a ceremony that capped the first week of legalized civil unions in the United Kingdom.
Opting to use the 17th century Town Hall where Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles got married in April, John and Furnish sealed their union with a kiss before facing hundreds of photographers and fans on the cobbled streets outside
Come on America, let's catch up to the rest of the world! I'm tired of our race to the bottom where we increasingly have more in common with backwards nations. Let's start living up to our lofty creed of freedom and liberty.
United States President George Bush was forced late on Wednesday to settle for a face-saving compromise
on a key counterterrorism law that fell far short of his goal to see it expended indefinitely.
The reluctant nod came from the White House after Republican and Democratic senators agreed to extend the main provisions of the USA Patriot Act for only six months.
I don't know about you, but I'm sick of Saddam Hussein
The deposed Iraqi president launched into an extended outburst at his trial alleging he had been beaten and tortured by his American captors while in detention after a witness testified that his agents had tortured people by ripping off their skin.
Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Mousawi said he would investigate and that if American-led multinational forces were abusing the former Iraqi leader, he would be transferred to the custody of Iraqi troops.
"I want to say here, yes, we have been beaten by the Americans and we have been tortured," Saddam said, before gesturing to his seven co-defendants around him, "one by one."
Boo hoo hoo. If there is one SOB that has trouble gaining my sympathy it is Saddam Hussein. He should just shut the hell up and let his trial procede. Hasn't he done enough damage during his time on earth?
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I have never seen a movie that has inspired such intense interest before. Brokeback Mountain will be a hit, even in the red states. There is a longing to see the movie, causing some people to drive several hours to take a gander. For example, here is an e-mail posted on my website today by "Troy."
"My partner and I will be driving three hours from Indianapolis to Chicago to see this movie next week. We've never done that before. The good news is that my partner's best friend, who is straight, and his wife live there and want to go see it with us. The movie opens here in mid-January, when we likely will see it again."
(Will Iraqi Elections Tighten The Noose On Women's Rights?)
I'm having trouble getting excited about the Iraqi election
Was it worth invading and having thousands of U.S. soldiers killed to get people elected with the first name of Ayatollah? It seems we spilled blood and spent moolah to elect a bunch of Mullahs that hate America.
Voting results announced by Iraqi electoral officials indicated that religious groups, particularly the main Shiite coalition, had taken a commanding lead. The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, had won only meager support in crucial provinces where it had expected to do well, including Baghdad.
So, there you have it. We've nearly destroyed our military and bankrupted our country to create a Mini-Iran. I'm not sure this helps American interests, nor do I see this as a win for Iraqi women, homosexuals, secularists and religious minorities.
The irony here is that America was attacked by radical Islamists on September 11. Instead of retaliating against Saudi Arabia and Iran who foment such intolerance and hate, we attack the secular state of Iraq. Our next battle may be against Syria - another secular regime. Somehow this doesn't make sense.
This is not to say that Assad's Syria and Hussein's Iraq's were not evil places. It is to say, however, that it seems we keep attacking the wrong countries - the ones that have no connection to 9-11 or Islamic extremism. For all our blood, sweat and toil, we are leaving a Mideast that is more fundamentalist and a breeding ground for terrorists. This is hardly the victory outlined in Bush's speech on Sunday night.
(Judge James Robertson)
A federal judge has resigned
from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.
Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.
Robertson deserves a lot of credit for having the integrity to step aside and shed light on this enormous problem that threatens liberty. These are the kind of bold actions that are needed to derail Bush's McCarthyist eavesdropping program before he destroys the country.
This is a HUGE deal. Did you see how vociferously Bush and Cheney are defending this and attacking critics? I believe this is because what we know now is the tip of the iceberg. This is a lawless administration that has no respect for the rules or the Constitution.
A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping
without warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.
Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday cast the action as part of a broader effort to reassert powers of the presidency that he said had been dangerously eroded in the years after Vietnam and Watergate.
"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it," said Cheney.
Cheney directly linked the effort to bolster the president's wartime authority to the nation's safety since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"You know," he said, "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years."
Look, this is pure, unadulterated bullshit and a power grab by a cabal of pathological liars. Where is the evidence? I'm guessing its with the aluminum tubes and WMD. Maybe I should edit this statement - for the government could be monitoring this page. After all, it is now okay to spy on domestic dissenters.
On this page, I have never once argued for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. I believe that such actions help destabilize America and cause partisan bitterness.
However, if investigations show that this administration is guilty of flagrantly breaking the law, spying on Americans and eavesdropping, impeachment has to be a consideration.
Bush does not want to be president. He wants to be the czar with absolute power. However, he runs the United States, and if he doesn't like America and the freedom we offer, he should run for office in another country. They love him so much in Saudi Arabia that maybe he should move there and join the Saudi royal family.
Friends, it is time to wake up because this is no joking matter. We have a government that is arguing to alter the fundamental concept of freedom and liberty. This is how totalitarian regimes begin. They incrementally take over until they have absolute control. By the time this occurs, it is too late.
Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist under criminal investigation
, has been discussing with prosecutors a deal that would grant him a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against former political and business associates, people with detailed knowledge of the case say.
Abramoff is believed to have extensive knowledge of what prosecutors suspect is a wider pattern of corruption among lawmakers and Congressional staff members. One participant in the case who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations described him as a "unique resource."
My hunch is that this is bigger than people imagine. The GOP under Tom DeLay was a cesspool filled with shady backroom deals, illegal operations and influence peddling. Abramhoff knows to much. He is the key to unraveling the GOP's sleazy enterprise. Keep your ey on this case, for it could be the downfall of the Republican majority.
America has identified a grave threat to national security: Al-Gayda.
Pentagon officials have spied
on student groups opposed to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on openly gay military personnel, according to media reports.
A February protest at New York University was one of the events under government surveillance, NBC News reported last week. The network reported that the law school's gay advocacy group, OUTlaw, was classified as "potentially violent" by the Pentagon.
NBC also reported that a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest at Universityof California Santa Cruz, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a"credible threat" of terrorism by the Pentagon.
Folks, how the hell do we expect to win the war on terrorism when we are using resourceses to spy on kiss-ins? What a disgusting abuse of power and waste of taxpayers money. If we get hit again by the real terrorists, we can blame the clowns who dreampt up this absurd and invasive spy campaign.
This story is important because President Bush is asking the nation to trust him so he can illegally spy on American citizens without warrants. This latest abuse of power shows that his administration should not be allowed to take away our liberties and freedoms in the specious name of fighting terrorism.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution
when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said. The Dover policy required students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement said Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It refers students to an intelligent-design textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.
The controversy divided the community and galvanized voters to oust eight incumbent school board members who supported the policy in the November 8 school board election.
Said the judge: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."
There you have it folks. The moral mavens are liars and frauds who will do and say anything to intimidate the public into accepting their backwards and flawed fundamentalist beliefs.
Thank GOD that these deceptive yahoos were defeated before they had an opportunity to poison the minds of children and make the United States the laughing stock of the civilized world.
Monday, December 19, 2005
(Weekly Column)DISCLAIMER: I DISCUSS THE FINAL SCENE IN THE MOVIE AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE BEWARE!!
If it weren't for gay people and gay bashers would anyone know about Wyoming? Sure, it is a beautiful state with some fine folks. But Matthew Shepard, Mary Cheney and now the movie Brokeback Mountain are the only reasons it makes news.
One would think the state would be so ecstatic about the national attention generated by the gay cowboy movie, it would produce custom "Brokeback Mountain" vanity plates. But no, the movie has yet to find an exhibitor in the state. Aren't Wyoming's residents the slightest bit curious why the rest of the nation can suddenly find their state on the map?
Wyoming isn't alone in miscalculating America's readiness to embrace this cinematic masterpiece. I've been getting e-mails from people who are furious that they are being treated like children and denied the opportunity to share in the Brokeback experience.
"It would be sad that I would have to get on a plane and travel to larger, distant cities to see this wonderful movie that's long overdue," a man wrote me from South Carolina. "I wonder if it will be on sale when it comes out on DVD or will I have to special order it especially when there are more lewd and sexually graphic straight movies on display for all to see?"
Theatres that won't show this movie will ignorantly cite "community standards." This reminds me of efforts to close strip joints in small towns citing the same reason, yet conveniently overlooking that people who live in the community pack these places.
This is not to draw an equivalent between stripping and Brokeback, but to make the point that the complexion and complexity of communities is far different than often presented. Having traveled throughout America, I can say that the whole blue/red state conventional wisdom is misleading. In all corners of this nation you find substantial numbers of gay people and thoughtful, progressive straight people. So, to deny a substantial minority enriching cultural opportunities, such as Brokeback Mountain, does not reflect community standards, but rather tyranny of the slight majority.
Try as some might to suppress the movie, Brokeback Mountain is an unstoppable force. The acting is superb, the cinematography magnificent and the message piercingly honest. But most important, it was released in a diffuse media age where the real impact won't be felt until the movie goes from the big to little screen.
As the man who e-mailed me said, he will see Brokeback Mountain on DVD if the local yokels deny him the theatre experience. The movie will also be available on digital cable's multitudinous channels. And now, people will be able to literally watch the gay cowboys from the closet on their easily concealed video I-Pods.
While the Hollywood media machine's unveiling of Brokeback Mountain has been as dramatic as Wyoming's Grand Teton mountains, the long-term effect on American culture will have more in common with the rolling hills of the Great Plains.
Mainstream Americans will watch this movie in the coming years in the privacy of their own homes. Attitudes about gay people will be transformed and greater acceptance will follow. People will learn how destructive the closet is, not only on gays, but also on the people caught up in the sham families created to protect these closets. It will also help undermine the right wing's promotion of ex-gay ministries. The dramatization of shattered families in Brokeback Mountain exposes these groups for the divorce mills they truly are.
Indeed, "ex-gay" leader Stephen Bennett in USA Today talks about how his program is so feckless that merely seeing Brokeback Mountain caused one of these arranged marriages to nearly shatter.
"I just spoke with a married man on the telephone who is contemplating leaving his wife and children," said Bennett. "He says he's gay, and Brokeback Mountain has influenced his decision."
What has not been talked about is the profound affect the movie is having on the already out gay community. It has caused many people I know to reevaluate their lives and ponder the meaning of life, love and relationships. Watching the struggle of the two protagonists Jack Twist and Enis del Mar makes today's gay people stop and think, "I really have it easy. Given this freedom, have I lived true to myself and opened myself to the possibility of love?"
The main reason that Brokeback Mountain will be a crossover hit is because of its universal message. Its success comes down to the ending scene where Enis del Mar is alone in his bare-bones trailer overlooking the haunting prairie. He opens a closet and wistfully touches the hanging clothes of Jack Twist, who has been murdered.
It is a gut wrenching moment for the character, but also for moviegoers. They are forced to confront fears of loneliness and to ask themselves if they have lived life to the fullest and expressed their love to the people who matter most?
Gay or straight, the answer to this question is all too often, no. In essence, we all have our own secret Brokeback Mountains, and the movie subconsciously asks people to find their purpose and embrace their passion, because life is short and fragile. It is this searing, powerful message more than the fact the messengers are gay that will ultimately help people understand the struggles of gay people, and more importantly, themselves.
Am I the only one who has trouble watching Condi Rice? On Meet the Press
, it was clear that she was lying through the gap in her teeth. She squirmed and dissembled and flat out fibbed.
On the show, she doggedly defended President Bush's decision to secretly authorize
the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without seeking warrants, saying the program was carefully controlled.
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency must obtain search warrants from a special court before conducting electronic surveillance of people suspected to be terrorists or spies. Rice said the administration believed that it needed greater agility in investigating terrorism suspects than was possible through that process.
"These are stateless networks of people who communicate, and communicate in much more fluid ways," she said. But several national security law experts and civil liberties advocates note that government officials are able to get an emergency warrant from the secret court within hours, sometimes minutes, if they can show an imminent threat.
The problem here is, you and I are also stateless networks of people who communicate. Without warrants, the President basically becomes the King and can investigate us at his own pleasure.
I don't know about you, but I'm not comfortable giving Bush such power. In a free country, no one man should be given that much authority outside and above the law.
The administration has offered us no evidence that the current system is not working. This is not about protecting Americans, but an executive power grab that undermines America in the name of protecting her. Bush is once again exploiting 9-11 for the sake of advancing his dangerous agenda.
Copley News Service syndicated columnist Doug Bandow admitted accepting
money from sleaze lobbyist Jack Abramoff for writing as many as 24 op-ed articles favorable to some of Abramoff's clients. Copley suspended the column pending a review and Bandow resigned as a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.
BusinessWeek also reported that Peter Ferrara, the inventor of Bush's Social Security privatization scheme and a policy advisor at the Institute for Policy Innovation, was also busted for creating fake news for Abramhoff's clients. New York Times
columnist Paul Krugman wrote an excellent column today exposing the chronic scumbaggery of GOP think tankers. It's worth checking out.
The GOP cesspool just keeps getting bigger and deeper.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
The President must be drinking again. How else would he have said with a straight face, "We are winning in Iraq." More propaganda
and patriotic chest-thumping. More talking points and public relations stunts.
Bush laid out reasons why it would be a bad idea to leave Iraq. The case could just as easily be made that the reasons he gave were why we should never have attacked in the first place. His argument is essentially: "I fucked up and got us into this horrible mess. Now, if we leave, it will be a disaster. So, we must stay and suffer because I am a shitty president."
The president also painted some of his harshest critics as "defeatists." I'm not sure why opponents of the war should be blamed for a possible defeat. It was the president who lied to get us into Iraq and has no exit strategy to get us out. If he wants to find the cause of possible defeat, he can look in the mirror.
Look, we all want Iraq to turn around and flower into a democracy. We all want our men in women home from that violent, God-forsaken desert. All the American people are asking is that Bush offers an honest plan of competence and clarity. Unfortunately, he has so far failed to deliver. All we get from Bush is more banners and slogans that fly in the face of reality.
All in all, nothing new was said in his speech and it wasn't worth interrupting even a rerun of Desperate Housewives.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column urging the gay community to seek support from friendly religious groups. Steve Krantz, the father of a gay son, is wisely enlisting such support to defeat anti-gay bigotry.
He has started the group Jews For Marriage Equality
to educate the Jewish community of Southern California of the importance of equal civil marriage rights for gay and lesbian people. His group will also work to convince the Jewish community to vote against the pending ballot initiatives in 2006 to permanently ban civil marriage for same-sex couples and domestic partnerships for all couples.
Not only is Krantz a good father, he is a fine advocate who is expanding our fight to the broader community. The GLBT movement is the first civil rights battle of the 21st century. This is not just our fight - but the fight of all fair-minded Americans and religious groups. Check out his site and offer your thanks and support.
Americans are streaming into theatres to see Brokeback Mountain and learning how difficult it is for cowboys to come out. But if you thought that was hard, try being a gay activist in Nigeria.The New York Times
did an excellent story
today on some very brave advocates who are working in difficult circumstances to educate Nigeria about gay people. Hats off to Davis Mac-Iyalla, an activist who had to serve hard time in a Nigerian hoose gow becasue he is gay. Most people would have run back into the closet, but instead, he founded the group Changing Attitudes Nigeria. This man is an inspiration and reminds us that we are blessed to live in a culture that has come a long way since the pre-Stonewall days.
A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents
two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.
Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism
next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at
"I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he said. "Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."
Folks, the cold war may over, but there is a chill in the air. In our quest to defeat terrorism, we are becoming more like the oppressive societies we abhor. The Bush Administration simply can't be trusted
to balance civil liberties with homeland security. Not only are they dishonest, they have little understanding of the freedom and liberty they talk so much about.
It has been a long struggle for equal rights for gay people in Britain, but now, in the 21st century, we have real civil rights, tolerance and final acceptance of our lives.
Next Wednesday, on the happiest day of my life, when I celebrate a civil partnership with David, I will be thinking, however, about those less fortunate than we are. In many countries, having a same-sex partner is still outlawed. (TO READ MORE CLCK HERE)