Saturday, April 15, 2006
While many Americans are struggling to pay exorbitant prices at the pump, ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond
is pumping millions into his personal bank account. It turns out that Raymond earns a whopping $144,573 a day. Now we learn that the selfish corporate hack's total compensation package is more than $400 million.
Shareholder advocates point to what they describe as stealth compensation arranged for Mr. Raymond but not disclosed in proxy filings. Consumer groups complain that while last year's rise in global oil prices left many consumers feeling less prosperous, oil executives have become a lot richer from the higher prices. And some corporate governance experts argue that much of Mr. Raymond's pay came from easy profits generated by skyrocketing oil prices.
This is the same obnoxious CEO that fought domestic partner partner benefits for GLBT employees. What a typical tactic of a conservative: Pretend you are just a regular guy by virulently opposing GLBT equality, while screwing red state Americans financially. Mr. Raymond's actions are unseemly in a time of crisis and war. While the profits he earned for the company are commendable, they are overshadowed by his wanton profiteering.
Friday, April 14, 2006
John McCain dissed Iowa in 2000 and went straight to the New Hampshire primaries. He did so because he found the Iowa Neo-Puritans unbecoming and unlikely to back his candidacy. Now that McCain is running for president again, he is kissing conservative asses and working overtime to win favor with the right wing. Indeed, McCain will deliver the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University in May. So much for his "maverick" status.
Still, many of Iowa's leading Neo-Puritans are not so forgiving
and predict doom for a McCain candidacy. Steve Scheffler, who heads the Iowa Christian Alliance (formerly the Christian Coalition of Iowa), predicted that McCain will never win the hearts or votes of the bulk of religious conservatives. "I don't think he's going to get anywhere," Scheffler said.
Scheffler also pointed to the upcoming Senate vote on a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages. He said that if McCain opposes the amendment, as he did before, that would be "political suicide."
Asked about that proposed amendment at a news conference here, McCain said: "I intend to vote against it. I believe in federalism, and I believe each state should decide." Though opposing a national constitutional amendment, McCain is a co-sponsor of a ballot initiative in Arizona that would make same-sex marriages illegal in the state.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute today released a report
that exposes the dishonesty of attempts by leaders of the Republican Party to lure black voters based on 'moral values,' and spotlights the false promises inherent in Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's call for African-Americans to come "back home" to the GOP.
The report, False Promises: How the Right Deploys Homophobia to Win Support from African-Americans, compares the voting records of key Republican policymakers in Congress to polling of African-Americans' top voting priorities and finds that Republican lawmakers have abysmal voting records on these issues.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
(PFOX President Richard Cohen, left, was kicked out of the American Counseling Association For Malpractice)
Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) has teamed up with Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty Counsel in an unholy alliance
aimed at harassing and intimidating school districts into promoting an ex-gay agenda. The Christian Post
reports that students will be asked to distribute literature
and put up posters with the message that ex-gays exist, even though there is no evidence that they actually do.
"We also encourage them to start Gay to Straight Clubs, and ask that the ex-gay viewpoint be included in all diversity day presentations that discuss homosexuality," a statement from the law firm stated.
A few weeks ago, the Liberty Counsel bullied a school district in Wisconsin into canceling Diversity Day. The group, known for its vindictive and frivolous lawsuits, also tried to intimidate bloggers who posted parodies of ads run by the ex-gay group Exodus International. They backed down after the ACLU and other groups stood up to them.
As I warned
in a recent column, the launch of this new campaign signals a strategy to infiltrate schools with harmful messages that can lead to, according to the APA
, "anxiety, depression and self destructive behavior." Of course, allowing a Gay to Straight Club is patently absurd and a public health menace akin to schools sanctioning a cigarette smoking club.
In line with a larger national strategy
,PFOX and Liberty Counsel are attempting to move this sinister plan forward by posturing
as persecuted Christians
"We are confident that this project will help root out intolerance that exists under the guise of tolerance and diversity. There is an ongoing battle over the hearts and minds of our youth. We have an obligation to protect them from the harmful message that people are 'born gay' and cannot choose to change," said Matthew Staver, President of Liberty Counsel.
Folks, the goal here is plain and simple: Any school district that does not buckle to this extortion, will be sued by the deep pockets of Liberty Counsel. What our community must do is fight back and sue the ex-gay ministries for their fraudulent claims, unlicensed practitioners, mental anguish and sexual abuse. If they want to bring this issue to the courts, I say, "Bring It On."
Several powerful military officials are in an open revolt
against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and are even calling on him to step down. They say that Rumsfeld is arrogant, incompetent and does not listen to the men in the field. The latest salvo comes from retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste.
"I think we need a fresh start" at the top of the Pentagon, said Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-2005, said in an interview. "We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And that leadership needs to understand teamwork."
Batiste is not the first military heavyweight to call for Rumsfeld's head on a platter.
"We won't get fooled again," retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, who held the key post of director of operations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2000 to 2002, wrote in an essay in Time magazine this week. Listing a series of mistakes such as "McNamara-like micromanagement," a reference to the Vietnam War-era secretary of defense, Newbold called for "replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach."
Last month, another top officer who served in Iraq, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he called Rumsfeld "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically." Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi army troops in 2003-2004, said that "Mr. Rumsfeld must step down."
Also, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a longtime critic of Rumsfeld and the administration's handling of the Iraq war, has been more vocal lately as he publicizes a new book, "The Battle for Peace."
"The problem is that we've wasted three years" in Iraq, said Zinni, who was the chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, in the late 1990s. He added that he "absolutely" thinks Rumsfeld should resign.
It turns out, that Rumsfeld is as popular with the military, as Cheney is at a Washington Nationals baseball game. America knows that he did not use enough troops to secure Iraq and never listened to critics who warned him that more soldiers were needed if we were to succeed at creating a democracy in the heart of the Middle East.
It is fair to say that plenty of conservatives attend baseball games and that it is not a bastion of unrestrained liberalism. So, the jeers that greeted Dick Cheney
when he threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals game, was representative how he has fallen into disfavor with the vast majority of Americans. Here are what press reports say:
AP: "Greeted with loud boos and some cheers, Vice President Dick Cheney threw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday at the Washington Nationals' home opener."
Reuters: The vice president, whose popularity is slumping along with that of President George W. Bush, walked out on the field to cheering and booing from the near-sellout crowd. The boos appeared to be little louder than the cheers.
The New York Times: (Pedro) "Martanez, who proceeded to wave to the crowd, received a slightly warmer reception than Vice President Dick Cheney, who was jeered before and after short-hopping the ceremonial first pitch."
The White House correspondents' pool report noted that Cheney stepped out onto field dressed in khakis and a Nats bomber jacket to the sound of thunderous boos and catcalls ."
It is fair to say that America can no longer stomach Cheney and sees him for the congenital liar that he is. And, it turns out he can throw no straighter than he can shoot, as the baseball landed in the dirt.
The National Stonewall Democrats
criticized Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky for issuing an executive order that allows the state to legally discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in employment practices. On Tuesday, Fletcher signed the order to reverse action taken by Democratic Governor Paul Patton in 2003. The previous order signed by Patton made it illegal for government agencies in Kentucky to consider sexual orientation in matters of employment.
Fletcher's poll numbers have dramatically dropped over the last year after an investigation was initiated into corruption and hiring practices in the gubernatorial office. The investigation centers on allegations that Fletcher improperly hired state workers based on political considerations alone. Fletcher now faces reelection in 2007 under the weight of the investigation.
Fletcher sounds like a Tom DeLay Mini-Me, a corrupt tyrant who tries to deflct his scumbaggery by attacking gay people. You certainly have to hand it to Christian conservatives, for the "good" people they have helped elect have made America a more family friendly and moral place.
In Waynesville, a small county seat in the mountains of western North Carolina, people whispered about the three older men
who lived together south of town. For once, the nosey neighbors turned out to be right. You see, the house was inhabited by angry leathermen whose specialty was castrating their willing
The cutting-edge crew was led by "Master Rick" who performed castrations on at least six men, while his boyz filmed the procedure. Gay flicks did well at the Oscars, but this is taking it a bit too far!
Detectives searching the home found bloody scalpels, syringes, and prosthetic testicles in a room the men referred to as "the dungeon." Officers confiscated a video camera, as well as scores of CDs and computer files. They also seized a Tupperware container from the kitchen freezer holding what appeared to be human testicles. Leftovers?
First, I know several men who can barely get a date on the Internet. So, how in the hell do you lure at least SIX people to respond to your online ad by saying you want to chop off their balls? I was always under the impression that such a request was a deal breaker. But I guess not, as Master Rick must be one persuasive guy.
Second, how did these three creeps find each other? Were they in line volunteering to work at Abu Grahib? Now they are off to the hoose gow, the problem is, they might actually enjoy it.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
For those who are supporters of Russ Feingold, please check out THIS SITE
reports that during the April 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, conservative talk show host Michael Savage warned political leaders not to sympathize with illegal immigrants, whom he described as "vermin." Savage stated:
"If you take to the streets with the vermin who are trying to dictate to us how we should run America, even though they're not even entitled to vote or be here, you're going to be thrown out of office."
Savage added that Americans are "craving leadership" because "[f]eminism is destroying America. Homosexuality is destroying America. Weepy liberalism is destroying America."
Iran announced Tuesday
that its nuclear engineers had advanced to a new phase in the enrichment of uranium, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a series of the country's ruling clerics declared that the nation would now speed ahead, in defiance of a United Nations
Security Council warning, to produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
I know the temptation of dying and getting to hook up with all those virgins in heaven can be a powerful incentive for Iran to commit national suicide. Still, Iran really ought to think twice before messing with a dumb president with poll numbers in the gutter. It appears that the only way Bush might be able to pull himself out of his nosedive, is bombing Iran into oblivion. The Iranians may be doing Bush quite a big favor by chest thumping. If Bush didn't have Ahmadinejad, he'd have to invent him.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
has released documents
obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from the Department of Defense, which confirm the military's surveillance of organizations working to repeal the Military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy, PageOneQ
Well, isn't this a great use of our tax dollars. If the military is going to be wasting time watching our organizations and events, the least they can do is have the decency to sponsor a booth or rent a pride float. This passive voyeurism is not just anti-American, it is rude.
Here is the thing that I don't understand: I watch the news every night and I never see gay terrorist groups blowing things up. The worst I have seen is a tizzy in a gay bar, but that hardly counts as a threat to national security. So, why is Big Brother watching us, other than the fact we look fabulous?
The Bush years keep getting more surreal by the second...
Twenty-four people were arrested
at a gay "die-in" Tuesday afternoon at Brigham Young University in Provo - the second day gay demonstrators from the Soulforce Equality Ride were arrested at the Mormon school. The Equality Ride
is a 51 day cross-country trip organized by the nondenominational Soulforce to draw attention to schools that bar gay enrolment.
It is kind of pathetic that BYU had to call in the cops to stifle free speech. These fundamentalists are so afraid of truth, that they had the messengers hauled away and locked up in cages. A bunch of college kids chanting slogans - what a threat to BYU! They ought to be ashamed of the way they handled this.
For those of you in New York, you have the privilege of thanking the Equality Riders when they return from their trip. Greet them like conquering heroes at:Tuesday, April 25 6:30 - 8:30PMHasted-Hunt Gallery529 West 20th St There will be a
champagne reception. A minimum $35 donation at the door is suggested not only to thank and support these brave young men and women, but also to offset the cost of fines due to their arrests. There will be open bar and gift bags.
If you can't attend, but would like to make a tax-deductible donation anyway, please make it out to/send it in care of: SOULFORCE, P.O. Box 3274, NYC, NY 10185-3274.
I hope to see you there!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
For the past eight years, the only place the GLBT community has flexed its muscle in Washington is Results Gym. With no serious presidential contender to carry the marriage banner in 2004 and few amigos on Capitol Hill, politicians who fancy themselves allies left us twisting in the wind as if we were pinatas.
As the right wing beat the stuffing out of our beleaguered families, our "friends" whispered from the sidelines, "don't take it personally, we still love you." And, of course, they do love us, which is the problem. We are adored like the terminally uncool, but loyal, buddy who unfailingly helps move our furniture or fixes our computers, but never asks us why we haven't invited him to swanky A-List parties.
To translate this politically: Gay and lesbian people are licking envelopes until we are ready to join NA for glue detox and throwing money at ungrateful politicians like it is an Olympic sport. And for our efforts we often get patronizing pols who tell us that we must subordinate our concerns for more important issues, as if there are actually more pressing matters than protecting our families.
Incredibly, last week a political hero emerged who finally handed us an engraved invitation to the penthouse party. Sen. Russ Feingold
, D-Wisc., shocked the political world when he announced his support for marriage equality.
"As I said at the Kenosha County listening session, gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy. Denying people this basic American right is the kind of discrimination that has no place in our laws, especially in a progressive state like Wisconsin. The time has come to end this discrimination and the politics of divisiveness that has become part of this issue."
Feingold is not the first senator to endorse marriage rights, but he is the first legitimate potential presidential contender to do so. He has clearly taken a political risk, so, the big question is, will we stand by him, as we should?
The answer is not so cut-and-dried, with many of our leaders firmly enmeshed in the Democratic machine, which is clearly banking on a Hillary Rodham Clinton nomination. There is a palpable fear that anyone who crosses Clinton in the primaries might be frozen out of power if she wins the presidency. And, of course, this may be true, but our leaders must be reminded that what is best for the GLBT community comes first, before loyalty to any party or candidate.
If we show ourselves to be feckless and unable to rally support, it will be the last time in the foreseeable future that a legitimate presidential contender takes a risk to support our full inclusion in the American dream.
Quite frankly, if we let him down, we don't deserve further support. Feingold has lain on the train tracks, and we must be equally courageous by seizing control of the train and driving it on a new track. For if a powerful bloc of progressives and GLBT advocates join forces to put Feingold in a position to win the Democratic nomination, the world will take notice and backing marriage equality won't seem like political suicide to so many candidates.
Realistically, it will be an uphill battle for Feingold to win the nomination. But now might be a rare moment where the senator could pull off an upset. As a crusader for campaign finance reform in the age of Jack Abramoff, Feingold can offer himself as the candidate who can clean-up corruption in Washington. His motion to censure President Bush for illegally wiretapping Americans makes him appear almost prophetic, as new scandals seem to roil the Bush administration by the day.
Most important, Feingold appears reasonable and presidential on television. One can easily imagine him in the Oval Office with his finger near the button. He is attractive and articulate with a thoughtful array of public policies that are innovative, yet mainstream. His Midwestern sensibility also connects with voters in the crucial Great Lakes region.Pooling our resources
for Feingold in the primaries is a wise move that will allow our community to show its strength and send the message that we will not be taken for granted. And, it will not hurt the Democratic Party's chances against Republicans in the general election, since the community can rally behind the eventual nominee if Feingold comes up short.
A thoroughbred has announced his support before the presidential horserace has even begun. It is now our moral responsibility to ride him to the end of the rainbow, where we might just find a pot of gold in Feingold.
Monday, April 10, 2006
The once-mighty Christian Coalition
, founded 17 years ago by the Rev. Pat Robertson as the political fundraising and lobbying engine of the Christian right, is more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors' lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters.
"The credibility is just not there like it once was," said Stephen L. Scheffler, president of the Iowa affiliate since 2000. "The budget has shrunk from $26 million to $1 million. There's a trail of debt. . . . We believe, our board believes, any Christian organization has an obligation to pay its debts in a timely fashion."
IRS records show that the Christian Coalition's red ink has remounted. Its debts exceeded its assets by $983,000 in 2001, $1.3 million in 2002, $2 million in 2003 and $2.28 million at the end of 2004, the most recent year for which it has filed a nonprofit tax return.
Lawsuits for unpaid bills have multiplied. The Christian Coalition's longtime law firm -- Huff, Poole & Mahoney PC of Virginia Beach -- says it is owed $69,729. Global Direct, a fundraising firm in Oklahoma, is suing for $87,000 in expenses. Reese & Sons Inc., a moving company in District Heights, is trying to recover $1,890 for packing up furniture when the Christian Coalition closed its Washington office in 2002. The list goes on.
Folks, where is Preachy Pat? We all know he is rich and can afford to pay his bills. The fact that he is not owning his obligations is immoral and against God. In fact, it might even cause a hurricane to hit Virginia Beach this summer. Now that, is something for Robertson to ponder.
A new survey found that 38 percent of the public approved of the job Bush is doing as president, down 3 percentage points in the past month and his worst showing in Post-ABC polling
on this key measure since he became president. Sixty percent disapproved of his performance.
The truth is, no one can revive broadcast news
because the networks are stupidly fighting several trends in American society. When you broadcast at 6:30pm the only people around are senior citizens, just home from the early bird special. It doesn't take a multi-million dollar news division to uncover these simple truths:
1) There IS a younger audience that the networks could target - working professionals. But these folks don't usually get off work until 6 or 7pm. How many lawyers are going to leave work at 5:30 to catch the evening news?
2) Even if people technically get off in time to watch Couric, traffic is worse than ever at a time when people live further away from home. The long commute puts the broadcast out of reach for too many people.
3) In the 1970s and early 80s, few people worked out. Today, millions of working professionals are hitting the gym. The busiest time at gyms across the country are at 6:30-7:30 pm. Thus, people are doing curls, rather than curling up on the couch to watch TV news.
The solution to revitalizing network news, which is still a superior product, is airing the broadcasts at 7:30- 8:00PM - which is the new 6:30 for young people who work hard and have active lifestyles. For the life of me, I can't understand why this is news to television executives.
The New York Times reports
that young Army officers, including growing numbers of captains who leave as soon as their initial commitment is fulfilled, are bailing out of active-duty service at rates that have alarmed senior officers. Last year, more than a third of the West Point class of 2000 left active duty at the earliest possible moment, after completing their five-year obligation.
This is just one more reason the absurd Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy has to go. We are kicking patriotic servicemembers out of the military at a time when they are desperately needed.
This past weekend, I participated in a panel discussion
at Harvard Law School about the "ex-gay" myth. Panelists included Simon LeVay, the scientist who conducted a 1991 study demonstrating that heterosexuals and homosexuals have different brain structures. He had a slide show focusing on the science of sexual orientation that should be brought to every school in the nation. Libby S. Adler, a law professor at Northeastern, talked about the immutability of sexual orientation and the legal system. And, Lee Beckstead, a clinical psychologist from Salt Lake City, discussed his research on reparative therapy, calling it "unethical and destructive."
I also got my my first opportunity to visit Boston and it was a lovely city. The ritzy Beacon Hill neighborhood reminded me of Georgetown with hills. And the South Side area was quite charming. Now, if only global warming would drop the temperature by about 30 degrees! Here is the sad part: I am such a tourist that bought a Boston sweatshirt and ate clam chowder.