Friday, March 03, 2006
(Matt Foreman, NGLTF's Executive Director)
Yesterday, I took part in a conference call with reporters to discuss a new report
by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
that debunks the "ex-gay" myth. "Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism," takes a look at this sinister scheme to trick Americans into believing gay people can go straight through prayer and therapy.
"There's no evidence that conversion therapy actually works, but there's a growing body of evidence that it can be extremely harmful and unethical," said Jason Cianciotto, a study author and director of research for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in New York, the organization releasing the report.The report
highlights a 2002 study of several hundred people who underwent conversion therapy. Twenty-six of the 202 interviewed said the therapy was successful, although only eight of those said they didn't experience any "slips" or have to employ coping mechanisms to counter same-sex attraction. And all but one of those eight worked in ex-gay counseling.
Almost 90 percent of the other interviewees reported long-term harm: depression to the point of attempted suicide or strained relationships with family and parents.
NGLTF should be congratulated for putting together a first-rate report that exposes these sham groups. I am thrilled to see a major organization address this serious issue, which is the right wing's core strategy to derail GLBT equality.
Even the fundamentalists are fed up
with Rev. Pat Robertson.
In the past few months, Robertson suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for pulling out of the Gaza Strip.
Expressing their displeasure with his insane musings, preachy Pat was voted off the National Religious Broadcasters' board of directors. Robertson, founder of the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, was one of 38 candidates for 33 board seats during the NRB's recent convention. The group represents mostly evangelical radio and TV broadcasters.
Apparently, the snake handlers
couldn't take Pat's snake oil anymore. I'm sure he will be putting divine curses on, and hurling hurricanes at the Board in future broadcasts of the 700 Club. It should be fun to watch.
Columnist Margaret Carlson opines
that former FEMA director Michael Brown may have taken the fall for Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff's buffoonery and incompetence. A new video showing storm preparations for Hurricane Katrina puts Brownie in a more favorable light. According to Carlson:
"We got it all wrong, and by we I mean everyone except President George W. Bush. By comparison to other public officials on the job -- or not -- Hurricane Katrina, Brownie did do a heckuva job.
"It turns out that of all the officials at the Department of Homeland Security, it was Michael Brown, the former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief, who warned how bad the storm would be, that red tape would have to be cut to get enough equipment and manpower to the scene. Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff is the dolt who didn't have a clue and flew off to Atlanta for a conference on bird flu, a problem for sure, but not one about to kill 1,300 people."
What Carlson says makes a lot of sense. It appears that Chertoff was clueless and Bush disengaged. Meanwhile, Brownie was trying in vain to get their attention. Brownie is still partially responsible, but he's not the horses ass he was made out to be. That role belongs to his superiors.
For the first time, scientists have confirmed Earth is melting
at both ends, which could have disastrous effects for coastal cities and villages.
Antarctica has been called "a slumbering giant" by a climate scientist who predicts that if all the ice melted, sea levels would rise by 200 feet. Other scientists believe that such a thing won't happen, but new studies show that the slumbering giant has started to stir.
Does Bush believe in global warming yet?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
"Let's hope the radical Islamists don't watch the Academy Awards that night and get even more motivated to kill us," said Cliff Kincaid of the conservative media watchdog group Accuracy in Media, commenting on the Oscar-nominated films Brokeback Mountain and Transamerica, in AIM's Media Matters Web column, Feb. 23.
I suppose he is right, in that if we become a backward, Stone Age nation that persecutes gay people the Islamist extremists will love us. If we take away a woman's right to drive and vote and make women wear bee keeper suits they will embrace us even more.
So, the answer to stopping terrorism is to become like the terrorists. You just have to love the "logic" of right wing nuts.
New York Times
columnist Bob Herbert wrote a fascinating op-ed today unmasking Montana's Republican Senator Conrad Burns. According to the Herbert:
Back in 1994, while campaigning for a second term, Senator Burns dropped by a local newspaper, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and told an editor an anecdote about one of his constituents, a rancher who wanted to know what life was like in Washington.
Mr. Burns said the rancher asked him, "Conrad, how can you live back there with all those niggers?"
Senator Burns said he told the rancher it was "a hell of a challenge."
On another occasion, Sen. Burns had to apologize after giving a speech in Billings about America's dependence on foreign oil. In the speech, he referred to Arabs as ragheads."
Burns is giving Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., a run for his money for most amazing Republican bigot. It is quite a prestigious award, as the competition is rather stiff.
Souheila Al-Jadda wrote a compelling op-ed in USA Today
. Here is an excerpt:
In Dubai, a district called Media City, which is considered a "free-speech zone," hosts many of the world's leading international media outlets, including CNN, BBC World Service and others.
At my hotel outside the "zone," I tried to read an article online but was denied access by government censors. A screen popped up saying the website did not conform to the Emirates' social and religious values.
The Dubai Press Club chairperson, Mona Al Marri, explained that the government blocks mainly websites containing sexual content to protect family values. But the story I wanted to read was about Israel, not about sex.
Perhaps President Bush would garner more international support for reform in the Arab world if he addressed the dismal state of free speech there. Even Arabs wouldn't be able to argue with him on this point, at least not publicly.
On the day before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the head of the National Hurricane Center told President Bush that the city's levees were "a very, very grave concern," a newly released videotape
shows. Yet, Bush said four days after the storm, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that turned New Orleans into Atlantis.
Bumbling Bush appeared on the tape sitting at a table in a small room at his Crawford, Texas, ranch. He didn't ask any questions
. He told state officials that the federal government was prepared to handle the storm and its aftermath. Obviously, this wasn't true.
"I have kind of a sinking feeling in my gut right now," said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. "I was listening to what people were saying they didn't know, so therefore it was an issue of a learning curve. You know, from this tape it looks like everybody was fully aware."
No wonder why Bush's poll ratings are in the gutter. Any person who still supports Bush is a blind pawn who has no mind of his or her own. With his repeated failures and outright lies, there is no conceivable way that an independent-minded person would approve of his presidency. Even many Republicans admit that he is a disappointment and dismal failure.
On this page I repeatedly urged the Democrats to filibuster Samuel Alito. I did so because Alito is not a normal conservative, but a "movement conservative" with a very specific right wing agenda. He owes his rise to religious fanatics and now it appears the newest Supreme Court justice will pay back his holly-roller friends.
Justice Samuel Alito has sent a note
(on Supreme Court letterhead) to James Dobson, founder of ultra right wing group Focus on the Family, where he basically kisses the fundamentalist's ring. In a peacock strutting victory lap, Dobson read the letter during his Wednesday broadcast from Colorado Springs.
"As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week," wrote Alito, "the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force. As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.
"I hope that we'll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future. In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how much we appreciate all that you have done."
Well, there you go. The right wing has a shill on the Supreme Court. He is thanking his friends, and we are not among them. It is highly disturbing how Alito, Thomas and Scalia have politicized the court. They only serve their right wing masters, not the Constitution or the American people. It was a gargantuan mistake not to filibuster Alito.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
(Big Queen, Alan Chambers)
Does Alan Chambers smoke crack?
That is the only explanation for the wacky things the Executive Director of Exodus International says. In his latest attempt to piggyback
on the success of Brokeback Mountain, he sent out a strange press release where he blames "gay life" for causing the pain of the characters. Brokeback Mountain is a powerful story of painful oppression and unbridled obsession," said Chambers.
"The film does an exceptional job painting a picture of the heartbreaking devastation so many endure in gay life."
Well, actually Alan, the men are miserable and create phony families, much like yours, because they can't be together and live a healthy gay life as out men.
All one can do is chuckle at the twisted logic used by conflicted, horny and unsatisfied men like Chambers. It must be difficult to keep up illuisons and mental contortions to get through the day. But, I guess people will do anything for a paycheck.
Brian Mahieu of Fulton, Missouri wrote a fantastic letter published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
. It is well worth reading for anyone who believes the absurd, disproved and highly discredited notion that gays can go straight. Here is an excerpt:
"I am a survivor of nineteen years in the 'transformational ministry'movement (not unlike the programs promoted by Focus on the Family's Love Won Out tour) . My experiences within the fundamentalist religious/political milieu that promotes the idea that homosexuals are sick and need to be healed was horrific. The movement is packaged in a very slick mainstream way, but the procedures vary widely and can include bizarre spiritual rituals that could be characterized as christian voo doo and evangelical abuse."TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
President Bush made a previously unannounced visit to Kabul
Wednesday to rally U.S. troops in Afghanistan and praise embattled Afghan leader Hamid Karzai at a time of rising violence from the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists.
You know your poll numbers are bad when you are an American president who is more popular in Kabul. Bush should smoke some poppy while there. After all, his entire foreign policy is a pipe dream.
Alan Van Capelle, executive director of The Empire State Pride Agenda, rocked the quiescent relationship between gays and the Democratic Party last week by calling Sen. Hillary Clinton "a complete disappointment
." He went so far as to recommend that the gay community discontinue giving money to her campaign.
"Supporting an LGBT fundraiser for Hillary Clinton will actually hurt our community," wrote Van Capelle in a leaked memorandum to his Board of Directors. "We have become a community that throws money at politicians and we demand nothing in return."
His comments have started a healthy, if not painful, debate about the place of gay people in the Democratic Party. Van Capelle expressed a growing feeling
among many Democrats that the GLBT community isn't getting a good return on its investment. These disgruntled Democrats believe that gay people raise millions of dollars for the party and provide armies of volunteers, but gain little.
Democratic leaders respond that they are going as far as they can, while remaining electable, and that the only alternative for gay people is to vote Republican.
The Democratic malcontents would counter that there is little difference between the two parties. For the most part, leading Democrats and Republicans are opposed to allowing gay people to marry. So, why not redirect our political donations to other charities or go on a great vacation? If the Democrats don't appreciate us, to hell with them - we can spend our dough in Canada, Spain or Denmark where gay people are afforded full equality.
This is an option, of course, but what happens if the Democrats say to hell with us? Without the support of Democrats in Congress, a Constitutional Amendment banning gay people from marrying would pass. So, while we have the power to "show them" they also have the power to "show us." In such a scenario of mutually assured destruction, both Democrats and gay people lose to the benefit of the Republican Party.
The reason political parties exist is to win elections and the Democrats have concluded that to neutralize backlash and achieve victory, they will support Civil Unions while opposing same-sex marriage. Pragmatists in the GLBT community say this is a wise approach that will lead to equality over time. Meanwhile, many leading gay activists believe this is selling out and an affront to our dignity - which it most certainly is. However, this may be a sacrifice worth making if it keeps Republicans out of office.
A serious question to ask is: Has the pragmatic approach worked or actually hurt gay people and the Democratic Party?
Not too long ago, Civil Unions were considered political poison, but they are now the preferred position of Democrats with presidential aspirations. A case can be made that the sooner the Democrats embrace same-sex marriage, the quicker the issue will become non-controversial and politically risky. By taking the middle of the road approach, the Democrats have prolonged the shelf life of the issue and made themselves vulnerable to attacks on gay rights.
If John Kerry had embraced allowing gay people to marry in 2004, wouldn't the issue be a bit tired and old hat by now, thus reducing its power to damage Democrats? After all, the Democrats are still getting accused of supporting same-sex marriage and anyone who cares about this issue enough to change his or her vote is probably a Republican, anyway.
Or, maybe not.
As a columnist, I usually have a ready answer for everything. However, this is a vexing issue with no clear solutions. Our community wants to push back against the Democratic Party, without tripping over the edge. But our own exaggerated fear of an imaginary backlash may sometimes keep us too timid and "in our place." If the civil rights movement taught us one thing, it is that progress is not serendipitous, but a result of constant agitation and the pushing of boundaries.
I think a temporary answer might be for disgruntled Democrats to use the primaries as a time to flex their muscles. They can give their money, time and votes only to presidential candidates who support full equal rights.
In 2004, Rev. Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley-Braun and Dennis Kucinich supported marriage, yet most gay Democrats ignored their campaigns. Perhaps, in 2008 getting behind such candidates can send a message that we are not to be neglected or taken for granted. This plan can highlight our strength while still allowing us not to commit electoral suicide by sitting out the general election.
Van Capelle's comments jumpstarted a crucial conversation among gay Democrats. We must intelligently strike a balance where we get our fair slice of the pie, without being so pie in the sky that we alienate the party and help elect Republicans.
On September 15, 2004 I received a bizarre screed from a Philadelphia Gay News editorial assistant named Marco C. Baker complaining about a column
I wrote on the Kerry campaign. It was not only incoherent and abusive, but downright screwy. Here is an excerpt from his crazy e-mail where he defends machine guns:
And if Besen would pick up a local, big city daily newspaper he would learn that the regular murders of young black men are committed with hand guns, not AK-47 "terror weapons."(Wonder if Besen knows the Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikov invented the AK-47 to fight German Nazi's after he was wounded in 1941 and after firearm complaints from his fellow soldiers? Thus AK-47's HELPED KILL NAZI'S WHO WOULD'VE EXTERMINATED ALL HOMOSEXUAL JEWS LIKE BESEN. Ofcourse they have fallen into the hands of terrorists and drug lords, but to suggest the world would've been better off without them is depravely disingenuous.)
Considering my column never mentioned my religion, it was quite odd that Mr. Baker brought the topic into his e-mail,(The CAPS are his, by the way) which he sent out on the Internet. I also never mentioned the race of people who might be shot by AK-47's, so it is also unclear why Mr. Baker introduced race. To the best of my knowledge people of all races get shot.
All this would be irrelevant if it were not for the fact that Mr. Baker will take over as editor for the Philadelphia Gay News on March 18. Not only does he appear to be unbalanced, but he is remarkably unaccomplished. If one Googles his name, the first story to pop up is an obituary
. It is disappointing that PGN is moving forward with a nonsensical nobody who thinks AK-47s are responsible for homosexual Jews, like me, being alive.
On behalf of my thousands of daily readers, I strongly urge PGN to reconsider its ill-advised hiring decision. At the very least, Mr. Baker should meet with community leaders in Pennsylvania and assure them he isn't a right wing lunatic with disturbing views.
PGN's reputation is on the line. They can do better than promoting a spectacularly unprofessional and undistinguished writer/editor like Marco C. Baker.
A new CBS poll
revealed that President George W. Bush is about as popular as an unwanted mole on Saddam Hussein's ass. His approval rating stands at a record low 34 percent.
Vice President Dick Cheney is even more despised with a shockingly low 18 percent approval rating. Now we know why Bush keeps him around - so he can be popular by comparison. We all have unattractive friends like this - that we bring to the bar to stand next to us, so we look hot. This is the pathetic role Cheney now plays in the administration - when he isn't whacking "friends" while hunting all boozed up on beer.
Finally, Americans know that they voted for a hapless hobo who is clueless, incompetent and dangerously out of touch. It only took a failed war, record deficits, the erosion of the Constitution and a sunken city for people to figure it out. But, hey, better late than never, I suppose.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Wade Richards was an "ex-gay" who rocked the right wing when he came out of the closet and said these groups are a sham. He has started a new group, Stand Out!, to support and enrich the self-esteem of young gay people by exploring the issues of self-reflection, diversity, and politics. His group is also encouraging, training, and mobilizing them and their allies to be a voice of awareness in their generation. This is a worthy cause, so consider supporting his efforts.Check Out His Site
President Bush has appointed anti-gay Baptist minister
Herbert Lusk who advocates a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
Lusk is a former Philadelphia Eagles football star and current pastor of Philadelphia's Greater Exodus Baptist Church. The good reverend is a Bush supporter and receives $10 million a year in government funds, with at least $1 million a year coming from federal, faith-based grants. This is precisely why Faith-based money has to stop. It allows the federal government to own religious figures, like Lusk, and have them do its bidding.
At Lusk's invitation, religious right figures, including Dr. James Dobson, of the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, and the Rev. Jerry Falwell came to his church on Jan. 8 for a rally in support of Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This is a terrible choice for a panel on HIV. Is Rev. Pat Robertson going to be Bush's next selection? The nightmare of Bush just gets worse by the day.
The Utah House of Representatives on Monday voted down
a bill 46-to-28 intended to challenge the theory of evolution in high school science classes. A spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Joe Conn, said Utah's vote would resonate.
"If the creationists can't win in a state as conservative as Utah, they've got an uphill battle," Mr. Conn said.
A battle with reality can certainly be called uphill.
Author Dan Brown copied the central themes of his thriller "The Da Vinci Code" from a 1982 book, an attorney for two of that book's three authors argued
in a London courtroom Monday.
But an attorney representing Brown's publisher, Random House, dismissed the claims as "scandalous" and "wild allegations, completely unsupported by facts" on the opening day of a copyright infringement trial involving one of the best-selling novels of all time.
Well, at least Brown stole a great idea and made the most of it, if the allegations are true. It was a good book and I look forward to the movie. I know the Vatican is freaking out about the film, because the movie questions the pillars of the faith.
A special Middle East envoy, James D. Wolfensohn, has warned international donors that the Palestinian Authority could collapse
within two weeks unless fresh funding can be found to pay salaries, clear overdue energy bills and sustain government services financed largely by foreign aid.
You know, all the Palestinians under Hamas have to do is accept Israel's right to exist and and the money will flow. Let them choke on their own arrogance and extremism if they can't make this simple and rational concession. The U.S. and Israel have no obligation to fund a terrorist entity that wants to destroy Israel and align itself with Iran. If they want to get paid, they have to play.
Let their wonderful "brothers" in Iran and the Arab world foot the bill.
The governors, Republican and Democrat, are mad as hell
at Bush. He has sent much of the National Guard overseas and had them return without crucial equipment. This has left the states understaffed and lacking arms.
Early this month, all 50 governors signed a letter opposing the new budget and calling on Defense Department officials to reequip returning units as quickly as possible. Much of the focus was on the gap between the Guard's authorized strength of 350,000 and the budget, which includes money for 333,000 Guard troops.
Once again, Bush speaks out of both sides of his mouth. He says he wants a strong Guard, but made cuts. But, he has now assured the governors that he will provide the funds - the problem is, no one trusts him to follow through. All one has to do is look at New Orleans to see that this administration is full of empty promises.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., one of America's greatest columnists, said that he thinks that "God Hates Fags"
reverend Fred Phelps is gay
. I happen to agree. His nutty and is an extreme example of the eventual insanity that comes from those who live a lie. According to Pitts:
"Allow me to share with you an epiphany. I think Fred Phelps is gay. Not that I'd have any way to know for sure, and not that there's anything wrong with that. But it seems obvious to me that Freddie has spent a little time up on Brokeback Mountain, if you catch my drift. I'm thinking he's secretly into show tunes, interior decorating and man-sized love."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
State Senator Robert Hagan (D-Ohio) says he will introduce legislation to ban Republican couples from adopting children. According to Hagan, "credible research" shows that adopted children raised in GOP households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities." Hagan agrees there is no scientific evidence backing his claims about Republican parents -- just, as Hagan notes, there is none backing State Representative Ron Hood's (R) bill banning gay parents from adopting.
Hood claims children purportedly suffer from emotional "harm" when they are adopted by gay couples. Hagen admits he created his proposal to mock Hood's proposed ban on gay adoption in a way that people would see the "blatantly discriminatory and extremely divisive" nature of the bill. The GOP House leadership does not support Hood's proposal.
Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean sought to calm gay Democrats
who are upset over his decision to eliminate the political party's gay outreach office in a meeting with gay leaders in New York and in a statement reiterating the party's support for gay rights.
"The Democratic Party has never been more committed to protecting equal rights for the LGBT community," Dean said in a Feb. 15 statement. "We are standing strong with the community, fighting the Republican Party's repugnant efforts to exploit the politics of fear and division and scapegoat LGBT families for electoral gain."
Thanks to the Bush Mafia at the Food and Drug Administration
, the states are having to grapple with whether to make the "morning-after" pill available without a prescription. More than 60 bills have been filed in state legislatures already this year. The resulting tug of war is creating an availability map for the pill that looks increasingly similar to the map of "red states" and "blue states" in the past two presidential elections -- with increased access in the blue states and greater restrictions in the red ones.
Here is the sad joke: The red states are worse than the blue ones, as a whole, when it comes to unwanted pregnancies. This is partly because of the fact they are more likely to teach "abstinence only" sex-ed, which all thinking people know is a sham. The ruling class in the Red States simply don't care about the health or future of young women. It is more important to prove a religious point (that sex is bad) than help women avoid unwanted pregnancies. This is really an abdication of leadership and morality.
It is heartbreaking that Plan A for Red State women is to visit more enlightened Blue states for Plan B. Unfortunately, by the time they will often get there, it will be too late. This surely will lead to more abortions, making the right wing accomplices in countless such procedures. And they call themselves pro-life?