Saturday, February 25, 2006
Here is a big surprise:
Iraqi militia men have defied a curfew
. We've told them to stop blowing up soldiers and killing each other and they have ignored us. But we think they are going to go to their rooms because we tell them to do so?
At least 36 people have been killed across Iraq today as the authorities struggle to contain sectarian violence in which at least 165 have died this week.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
wrote what amounts to a propaganda piece for Focus on the Family, welcoming their road show Love Won Out. Not only did they not interview any gay activists, they gave no history of the folly and failure of these groups. Nowhere did the story say that these "therapies" are rejected by every respected medical and mental health organization in America. Just look at the way the article ended:
Willie Kent, pastor of the Community Fellowship church in the Central West End, said, "My feeling is, homosexuals are not born." He said he doesn't think they are happy with their choice. "Homosexuals need help. They need to be told the truth." Registration is $50 in advance and 60 on the day of the event.
Folks, this wasn't journalism, but a free right wing ad. I complained to a metro editor this morning. He said that he would take a look at it. Let us hope that the coverage of today's event will be better. It certainly can't get worse.
"Ex-Gay Research: Analyzing the Spitzer Study and Its Relation to Science, Religion, Politics and Culture," is an excellent new book
co-edited by Dr. Jack Drescher. The book brings together for the first time a series of analytical essays, most of which are critical, about a 2001 study by Dr. Robert Spitzer that suggested some "highly motivated" gay men and lesbians can change their sexual orientation through "reparative therapy" with a counselor or religious group.
Obviously, Dr. Spitzer's research was highly flawed and essentially useless. The good doctor basically called up ex-gays - many who were political hack right wing lobbyists - and asked them if they had changed. Well, when the religious right is signing your paycheck, the answer is probably going to be "yes."
It is clear that Spitzer is somewhat regretful about the way the right wing has exploited his work and greatly exaggerated the results.
"I'm glad I did the study, [but] I'm not entirely satisfied with the way I wrote it up," Spitzer says. "I have given aid and comfort to the enemy. I suppose more people were hurt than might be helped [by reparative therapy], but I believe the study has some scientific value."
I have to disagree that it has any value. But, it is good to see Spitzer acknowledge that he has been used.
Friday, February 24, 2006
There is no such thing as an "ex-gay." There are gay people who are out, and those who remain in the closet. Some homosexuals cynically sell their souls and join anti-gay forces to make some dough. The excellent blog of Mike Tidmus
lampoons these media and money whores. Check out his web-site.
According to the excellent blog, Pam's House Blend
, "ex-gay" big mouth Stephen Bennett, had this reaction to Willie Nelson's song on the Brokeback Mountain CD:
"I think Willie Nelson's braids are pulled too tight," Bennett says. The ministry leader suspects Nelson is just taking advantage of the "gay western" fad. "I don't understand why everybody is jumping on the bandwagon of homosexuality," says Bennett. "It is like the 'in thing' today. And, of course, with this movie Brokeback Mountain, everybody is jumping in now to do what they can to capitalize on this newest, latest fad that people are accepting."
So, Willie Nelson, a household name, needs to capitalize on Brokeback Mountain? Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Willie's career was doing quite fine before the movie.
More than 100 people were reported dead Thursday as the fierce sectarian passions
unleashed by the bombing of one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines raged unchecked, pushing Iraq closer to the brink of what many fear could turn into a full-fledged civil war.
Deepening the sense of crisis, Sunni leaders announced they are suspending their participation in talks with Shiite and Kurdish parties for a new government, saying it is "not acceptable to negotiate with people who are harming us."
I think it may be time to split Iraq into three countries. We can have Kurdistan, Sunnistan and Shiastan. I have never understood why we have shed so much blood to force people to live together who hate each other. The only way it ever worked was to have an SOB like Saddam Hussein crush dissent with an iron fist. Let's face it - the borders are an artificial invention in the first place. I have always thought that creating an Iraq where these three blood feuding groups were supposed to get along was a pipe dream. My gut feeling looks increasingly correct, as the sectarian, tribal conflict escalates.
It is sad to say, but it may be time to redraw the map. Of course, Bush would never consider this, because it would be seen as a failure. However, the bigger failure would be to spend billions of dollars and waste countless lives making an "Iraq" work that no one really wants.
Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint
with the Senate Ethics Committee alleging that Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) violated the Senate Gift Rule by accepting a mortgage from The Philadelphia Trust Company, a bank that serves affluent clients.
Setting up South Dakota to become the first state in 14 years to start a direct legal attack
on Roe v. Wade, lawmakers voted on Wednesday to outlaw nearly all abortions. After more than an hour of fierce and emotional debate, the senators rejected pleas to add exceptions for incest or rape or for the health of the pregnant woman and instead voted, 23 to 12, to outlaw all abortions, except those to save the woman's life.
Well, there you have it. All those pro-choice Republicans who thought they could vote for Bush should think twice before they vote for a Republican again. If abortion is outlawed, I don't want to hear a single Bush supporter complain if they or their daughters are victims. When you make your bed, you have to sleep in it. I can't tell you how many Republican women I have spoken to that are in complete denial about the future of Roe v. Wade.
Alito and Roberts have waited their entire lives to overturn Roe. It looks like they may get their chance.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Alan Van Capelle, head of the Empire State Pride Agenda
blasted Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's position on same-sex marriage and urged the GLBT Community to stop giving money to her re-election campaign.
In a memorandum to board members, Van Capelle said that Clinton was "a complete disappointment." In his memo, which was reported on Tuesday on the Politicker Web site of The New York Observer, Van Capelle said that he refused to "lend my name and sell tickets" to any fund-raiser sponsored by a gay group for Mrs. Clinton's re-election campaign. He said supporting such fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton would "actually hurt" the gay and lesbian community. "
"It will send a message to other elected officials that you can be working against us during this critical time and not suffer a negative pushback from the gay community," he said. "We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that's what we get: nothing. It's the wrong message to send."
This raises serious questions for the GLBT community. There is likely going to be no leading presidential candidate who supports marriage rights. So, do we support a candidate who offers half a loaf, or withhold support and sit on the sidelines?
I have to think about this question a bit more, because of the serious ramifications. I don't think there are any easy answers. I'd be curious to get my readers' thoughts.
(Jason Thompson Misleading Clients?)
Ex-gay groups are so desperate for success stories that they pretend that people who have failed are actually success stories. The American Family Association continues to sell a video
"It's Not Gay," featuring Michael Johnson, the barebacking HIV positive former "ex-gay" posterboy.
Next, the "ex-gay" sham group Exodus International
refused to take Shawn O'Donnell
off their web-site for months, even though he begged them to do so, because he is now an ex-ex-gay.
And now, Exodus International and its Oregon ministry Portland Fellowship
are highlighting the testimony
of Phil Hobizal. He is the former leader of the Portland group who stepped down in 2003 after the ministry's newsletter claimed he had an "emotional entanglement."
In the rosy testimony of Hobizal that is now on the site, there is no mention of his latest failure and the reason he stepped down from the head of a ministry he ran for 15 years. I asked his replacement, Jason Thompson, why he was potentially misleading his clients, and he refused to answer. Mr. Thompson should know that deceiving clients is unseemly and unchristian. If Mr. Hobizal had a recent fall, it should be mentioned in his testimony.
The whitewashing of Hobizal's tale and that of others, shows that these failed groups are so desperate to show success that they will use the testimony of people who are not as straight as Exodus claims they are.
In a direct challenge to the international uproar
over cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad, the Jordanian journalist Jihad Momani wrote: "What brings more prejudice against Islam, these caricatures or pictures of a hostage-taker slashing the throat of his victim in front of the cameras, or a suicide bomber who blows himself up during a wedding ceremony?"
We stand in solidarity with the brave Muslim journalists who are upholding truth and sanity. It is not easy for them to take on the fanatics. But world peace depends on their strong and powerful voices.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
adds a twist to the debate on the origins of sexual orientation, suggesting that the genetics of mothers of multiple gay sons act differently than those of other women. Scientists found that almost one fourth of the mothers who had more than one gay son processed X chromosomes in their bodies in the same way. Normally, women randomly process the chromosomes in one of two ways -- half go one way, half go the other.
The research "confirms that there is a strong genetic basis for sexual orientation, and that for some gay men, genes on the X chromosome are involved," said study co-author Sven Bocklandt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Has President Bush gone insane? The only thing he has going for him is the undeserved reputation for fighting terrorism. Sure, he ignored a memo saying, "Bin Laden Determined To Attack The United States." Sure, he has bungled Iraq and presides over a feckless homeland security department. Still, Americans thought his administration was tough on terror because Bush threatened to "smoke em' out" and Cheney shoots his friends on hunting trips. This makes the stupider amongst us say, "wow, Bush is a bad ass."
So, it is perplexing that the President is squandering his only political advantage by threatening to veto any legislation blocking a deal for a state-owned company in Dubai to take over the management of port terminals
in New York, Miami, Baltimore and other major American cities. His own party thinks the idea is nuts, still Bush is so stubborn, he is vowing to take them on. This is a politically reckless battle he will lose.
This crisis revives old suspicions that the Bush family has used the Saudis and and other Arab Emirates to enrich themselves
at the expense of America - even our national security. It will be interesting to see how Bush is compensated by Dubai after he leaves office. It is clear that his ties to this country are so strong, he is even willing to squander his reputation as a hawk on security.
(Gay Greg wants to ban all things gay, so he won't leave his wife and adopt a kid with a man)
Social conservatives in at least 16 states
are pushing for state laws or constitutional amendments banning homosexuals from adopting. Obviously, this is happening in an election year where the GOP has nothing positive to talk about in regards to their record. They can't talk about the war on terror or Iraq. They can't talk about the deficit. They can't talk about Katrina. So, they are hoping to distract voters with gay bashing.
"Now that we've defined what marriage is, we need to take that further and say children deserve to be in that relationship," said super queeny 'ex-gay' Greg Quinlan of the Pro-Family Network in Ohio, one of the states on the list.
While the extremist are launching this cruel war on vulnerable children, the experts say gay people can make great parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and adoption advocacy groups cite research that children with gay or lesbian parents fare as well as those raised in families with a mother and a father.
Sadly, there are about 520,000 children in foster care, according to the North American Council on Adoptable Children in St. Paul. Of those, 120,000 are available for adoption, but only 50,000 find permanent homes each year. Clearly, many children can't find homes, yet the right wing would rather have these poor young souls rot in the orphanage. They care more about dogma than actually helping children. It tells you a lot about their "values."
"The child welfare system is already in crisis," said Rob Woronoff of the CWLA told USA Today. "We don't have enough families as it is."
We must fight this cynical election year maneuver by the fundamentalists who are willing to trample on children to achieve their sick dream of a puritanical America.
The Supreme Court set the stage
Tuesday for a major ruling on abortion by agreeing to decide whether Congress can outlaw what critics call "partial-birth" abortions through the second trimester of a pregnancy. The fate of a federal law, the first nationwide ban on an abortion procedure, is probably in the hands of President Bush's two new appointees: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Well, for all of you pro-choice Republicans who voted for Bush or liberals who stayed home on Election Day it is time to pay the piper. The Supreme Court is getting ever-closer to abolishing a woman's right to choose. It took the new court only hours before it tackled this issue - a clear sign of their commitment to please the religious right and put the health of women in jeopardy.
It always amazes me how people have the capacity to deny the obvious, and then when disaster strikes they act surprised. Fact: Roe v. Wade is on borrowed time if one more right wing justice gets on the court.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Last May, The Spokesman-Review
outed Jim West, Spokane's Republican mayor, and it seemed like an open and shut case. In a series of breathless articles, the newspaper accused him of luring young gay men online with promises of jobs and gifts and also insinuated that West was a pedophile.
Last week, however, the U.S. Department of Justice ended its nine-month investigation
of West without bringing criminal charges. It found that the powerful politician had not traded jobs for sex and there was no link to pedophilia, even after they confiscated three personal computers and 60 computer disks.
Upon further examination, it appears that Jim West may have gotten a raw deal fueled by soft homophobia, prurient reporting and maybe political revenge. The newspaper did more than simply "out" West - it obliterated him and then stomped on his remains.
I still have nothing but contempt for West and view him as a vile and repugnant human being. While in Olympia, as Senate majority leader, he was infamous for his foul temper and his virulent hatred of anything remotely gay. West is a portrait of a self-loathing closet case
that protected his career by gay bashing.
In 1986, West sponsored a bill that would have banned gay men and lesbians from working in day-care centers, schools and some state agencies. This legislation called for screening prospective employees for their sexuality and firing employees who were out of the closet. The bill, in effect, would have forced thousands of state workers to live the same empty double-life as West.
West also proposed a much-ridiculed bill to criminalize teen sex - even though he apparently has no problem hitting on boys in their late teens. The bill failed and he was nearly laughed out of office.
With such a heinous record, it was a huge shock to the citizens of Washington when The Spokesman-Review
launched a series of articles with the devastating banner headline
: "West Tied To Sex Abuse In 70's, Using Office to Lure Young Men."
The article goes on to make West appear to be Satan. Here is how it begins:
"For a quarter century, the man who is now Spokane's mayor has used positions of public trust -- as a sheriff's deputy, Boy Scout leader and powerful politician -- to develop relationships with boys and young men."The Spokesman Review
also hired a private investigator to pose as an 18-year-old boy to catch West trolling for sex on Gay.com.
Now, let's strip away the rightful glee at West's glorious and well-deserved downfall and dispassionately review the evidence.
First, The Spokesman-Review
was correct to "out" West, given his prominent role in opposing gay rights. His public votes were cast to deflect his private lies, and thus his hypocrisy was rightfully brought to light.
Second, the charges of child sexual abuse seem to be reckless, based on no more than innuendo and witnesses with dubious credibility. Indeed the two men who came forth to accuse West of child molestation both, as the newspaper pointed out, struggled with drug addiction and incarceration. This is not to say that the witnesses were necessarily lying. But they never pressed charges and the evidence was so flimsy, that the accusations should not have been printed in the newspaper.
Third, having read the transcript of the online chat, the feds were right to close this case. The mayor never promised a job in exchange for sex. Indeed, the online investigator is the one who brought up the topic of working for West exclaiming, "I want an internship!" If anything, this was entrapment and releasing the tawdry transcript
gratuitously humiliated West by making his private conversations public. How many critics of West would like their most intimate on-line chats printed in their hometown daily newspaper?
Beyond West's sickening hypocrisy
, he is guilty of no more than using city computers to cruise for young men - luring them by name-dropping and offering gifts of sports memorabilia. This is no different than what goes on with millions of straight men that search online and at bars for younger women and drive corvettes to impress them. The assumption that this unquestionably legal behavior tied him in any way to the unspeakable crime of pedophilia strikes me as somewhat anti-gay, in that the newspaper was too quick to link homosexuality with potential child abuse.
The former mayor's behavior was dishonest and unseemly, but not illegal. It pains me to defend Jim West, but The Spokesman-Review
unfairly dragged this man's reputation through the dirt, which is unfair, even for a pig like Jim West who has spent his entire career wallowing in the mud.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Peter Gadiel lost his son James in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America. Today, he is incensed
because the Bush Administration is allowing Dubai to bid on contracts to run ports in New York, New Jersey and four other cities.
Remember, this is the same Arab emirate where two of the 19 hijackers were citizens of and investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks.
"I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane," said Gadiel.
Republicans have been in charge and like to boast about security. However, only 5-percent of the cargo containers entering U.S. ports are inspected. This anemic record shows Republican incompetence on national security that rivals their failures in Iraq, fiscal responsibility and the sinking of New Orleans.
The term "Brokeback" seemed to take on hater-mode recently at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., where some basketball fans reportedly shouted "Brokeback Mountain" at opponents during a match against St. Mary's College of Maryland.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
explored how "Brokeback Mountain has entered the American lexicon.