US President George W Bush drew gasps at the Vatican on Saturday by referring to Pope Benedict XVI as "sir" instead of the expected "His Holiness", pool reporters said. On his way to see the 80-year-old pontiff, the US leader apparently recognised someone he knew, and could be heard greeting the person with a casual "How ya doin'?" The pool reporters also noted Bush's relaxed posture, crossing his legs "Texan style" while facing the pope across his desk in the private study of the apostolic palace.
First, he looks like a buffoon around the Queen...now this. What next, he calls the Dalai Lama "dude"?
One week after Out & About Nashville, a newspaper that caters to the area's gay community, was removed from free publication racks at 34 Nashville area Kroger stores, the situation has escalated. The Nashville Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Chamber of Commerce called on its members Thursday to "consider grocery shopping alternatives."
I'll be the first to announce my boycott. I will not shop at Kroger until Out & About is back in stores. Not only does this piss me off, but the store has an unusually putrid name. Plus, I can always use a good excuse to eat out, instead of buy food to cook at home!
Everyone really knows that the failed military policy of Don't Ask/Don't Tell/Don't Think/Don't Win the War on Terror, is as big a disaster as the actual war in Iraq. This policy hurts military readiness, leaves our nation vulnerable to terrorist attacks by getting rid of desperately needed translators and makes us look foolish to the rest of the world.
An op-ed in today's New York Times reports that 58 Arabic linguists have been booted because of Don't Ask/Don't Tell. Meanwhile, the Army had filled only half its authorized positions for Arabic translators in 2001.
KABOOM - you get the picture - dead soldiers because of bigotry.
Furthermore, it hurts Bush's "surge" in Iraq, because it limits the number of soldiers available, as well as makes those who are in Iraq stay for longer tours of duty because there are no adequate replacements. Unfortunately, prejudice comes before patriotism for social conservatives who disingenuously say they support the troops - while forcing them to stay indefinitely in Iraq, while perfectly healthy gay replacements are forced to stay at home. (11,000 service members have been kicked out since Don't Ask/Don't Win the War on Terror was passed in 1993)
If conservatives want us to stay here and sip Mimosas at beach Tea Dances, instead of sitting in the deadly sands of Iraq - we can have all the fun while their children die. But, please, don't pretend to care about America and the military while supporting such a brain-dead, counterproductive policy.
This issue is shaping up to to be a big one in the presidential election. All of the Democrats support repealing this ridiculous policy, while all of the Republicans are in favor of keeping it. (Don't ever suggest that there is no difference between the parties, unless you want to be perceived as a unlettered dolt)
The Republican candidates are strangely hiding behind the war to justify their discrimination, as if our surge couldn't use more troops. (actually, they should all go home)
"This is not the time to put in place a major change, a social experiment, in the middle of a war going on," bleated presidential candidate and Flipper television extra, Mitt "I'll say anything to get elected" Romney.
Rudy Giuliani, who wants to scare Americans all the way to the White House, vacuously belched, "At a time of war, you don't make fundamental changes like this."
During a time of war, you don't change a policy to help the military? This line of reasoning is as irrational and incoherent as the conflict itself. Finally, the war on terror is not going away anytime in the near future. The Republicans are using this to pass the buck at the expense of our ability to protect America's shores.
The Human Rights Campaign is kicking off its Legacy of Service tour to highlight how asinine this policy is. Let us hope they continue to educate America on this issue. Stephen Benjaman, an Arabic translator who was ousted from the military because he was gay says it best:
"Don't ask, don't tell" does nothing but deprive the military of talent it needs and invade the privacy of gay service members just trying to do their jobs and live their lives. Political and military leaders who support the current law may believe that homosexual soldiers threaten unit cohesion and military readiness, but the real damage is caused by denying enlistment to patriotic Americans and wrenching qualified individuals out of effective military units. This does not serve the military or the nation well."
A former gay outreach adviser for the Democratic National Committee has sued the organization, alleging discrimination.
In a lawsuit against the DNC, its chair, Howard Dean and two party officials, Donald Hitchcock says he was the target of discrimination, retaliation and defamation during and after his tenure as director of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Council.
The lawsuit was filed April 17 in D.C. Superior Court. Responses were filed May 31. A scheduling conference for the case is set for Sept. 7. No trial date has been set.
Isaiah Washington was finally canned from the hit ABC show"Grey's Anatomy." The axe fell only five months after he repeatedly used an ugly anti-gay slur. The make-believe doctor's contract option was not renewed for next season, prompting Washington to issue the bizarre statement/threat:
"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
Well, he's also not going to be taking a lucrative paycheck from ABC. So, as far as i am concerned, he can stew all he wants on the unemployment line. Washington drew heat after saying "faggot" backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in January while denying he'd used it previously on the set against co-actor T.R. Knight.
To his credit, Washington did go into rehab and filmed a really good PSA for GLAAD with the positive message, "words have power" to hurt or heal. Still, his canning sent a stronger message: Anti-gay epithets carry as much trouble as similar racial or religious insults.
Washington can "proudly" join Imus and Mel Gibson as people who used their celebrity to hurt others. Now, we can sit back and see what the mad as hell Washington plans to do. For the sake of his career, I hope he doesn't join the Fred Phelps church and travel to gay Pride this June screaming, "God Hates Fags!!"
Message to would-be-homophobes: Lose Your Mind - Lose Your Job
When asked in the Republican debate about Don't Ask/Don't tell, the Republican presidential candidates all supported the current policy. Has there ever been a more gutless, pandering group in the history of politics? They are all kissing Pat Robertson's ass, and the amusing thing is, he and his friends still don't like them.
Sadly, these worms are placing our national security at risk by kicking out good soldiers and linguists that can prevent terrorist attacks. They are placing their election prospects ahead of America.
What a sad, hapless - if not hopeless - party the GOP has become.
With an approval rating hovering at Nixonian levels and Rush Limbaugh firing spitballs from the right over immigration, it didn't take a brain surgeon to guess that George W. Bush would try to appease conservatives by nominating a Neanderthal for Surgeon General.
Out from the cave ambled James W. Holsinger, the most homophobic doctor since Isaiah Washington - the Grey's Anatomy's star - had to go to rehab for dropping F-bombs. But Washington was a make believe doctor, while Holzinger is very real and has the potential to inflict great harm on the GLBT community.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Holsinger started Hope Springs Community Church in Kentucky. Rev. David Calhoun, the pastor of the big aluminum trailer church said that Hope Springs has an "ex-gay" ministry.
"We see that as an issue not of orientation but a lifestyle," Calhoun said. "We have people who seek to walk out of that lifestyle."
Holsinger also served on the Judicial Council for the United Methodist Church where he opposed a decision to allow a lesbian to be an associate pastor. He was even so extreme that he endorsed a pastor who tried to prohibit an openly gay man from joining a church.
Clearly, Holsinger is an ideologue whose medieval medical views on gay and lesbian people resemble sorcery more than sound science. The last thing America needed was another deplorable nominee who isn't up to the job, but this is exactly what Bush delivered.
When this nation required a humble Secretary of Defense - we got Rumsfeld. When we wanted a legal scholar at the Justice Department, we got the "tort-meister of torture," Alberto Gonzales. When a soothing voice was necessary to repair America's tattered image, Bush sent John Bolton - a man with the diplomatic touch of Napalm - to the United Nations. Now, Bush is poised to make us the laughingstock of the world by nominating Dr. Discrimination as the nation's top doctor.
It appears Holsinger is the latest example of affirmative action for religious zealots in the Bush Administration. The President has stocked the ranks with fundamentalist Christian cronies, such as Monica Goodling, whose only notable achievement was covering a naked statue at the Justice Department with a drape. Indeed, The Boston Globe reported in May that 150 Regent University alumni had been hired to federal government positions since Bush took office in 2001. That's right, the fate of our nation has been put in the hands of graduates of Pat Robertson U.
Of Course, the fact that Holsinger is a person of faith is not the problem. The issue is his archaic views about gay and lesbian people that are rejected by every respected medical and mental health organization in America. Just because he is religious does not give Holsinger a "get out of reality free card" when it comes to outdated ideas that are incompatible with modern medicine. There are many highly qualified people of faith Bush could have nominated who choose to live in the 21st Century and reject religion-based discrimination - but he elected to nominate a retrograde relic who must be defeated in the Senate.
Holsinger's nomination has drawn howls from my organization, Truth Wins Out, as well as the Human Rights Campaign, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, SoulForce and the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project in Boston. This chorus of heated opposition will only grow in the coming weeks, as people learn more about Holzinger.
"For the last 20 years, James Holsinger has been the worst kind of bully inside the United Methodist Church," said Rev. Troy Plummer, Executive Director of Reconciling Ministries Network of United Methodists. "As a member of a sexuality study team in 1991, he used his position as a medical doctor to promote skewed and inaccurate information regarding gay men."
Holsinger's nomination will go before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Christopher Dodd (D-CT) sit on this committee. It will be interesting to see what they do about this troubling nomination and if they ask Holsinger questions about his anti-gay activities.
These senators must be made to understand how deeply offensive this nomination is for GLBT people. Our history is littered with those who endured shock treatment, lobotomies and other forms of torture in the name of medicine. At Truth Wins Out, I often deal with victims of "ex-gay" psychological abuse who are scarred for life by people who operate ministries - like the one reportedly run by Holsinger's church.
If doctors live by the dictum "first do no harm," Holsinger in no way can reconcile his suitability for Surgeon General, with the often-catastrophic consequences caused by "ex-gay" programs.