Wednesday, July 14, 2010
During the 1960s in the U.S., sexual minorities were treated as mentally ill deviants who were to be incarcerated and subjected to shock treatments and torture. They either had to blend in or move to The Village or Haight-Ashbury to find any sense of family or community. Newsreel-type public service announcements, such as Boys Beware, helped form negative stereotypes that led to brutality against us.
Gay bars such as The Stonewall Inn were run by mafia, and police would frequently raid and make arrests for political purposes. By 1969, The Sexual Revolution had led to a relaxation of attitudes towards sex, and it is no surprise that in this climate sexual minorities were no longer content to be treated as second-class citizens.
Stonewall Uprising reminds me of the larger struggle for civil rights, and that this struggle is ongoing and global. In most of Africa, my brothers and sisters are dealing with many of the same forces that oppressed us in the U.S. decades earlier. And even here in present day U.S., there is DOMA and DADT. I am not about to take my rights for granted, and I hope that we will use whatever resources necessary to resist oppression and achieve justice and equality for all.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The bottom line: BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation may have triggered an irreversible, cascading geological Apocalypse that will culminate with the first mass extinction of life on Earth in many millions of years.
Things couldn't be much worse.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sunday 11 July 2010
They wage preemptive war, occupy and bomb sovereign nations, utilize video-game technology and robotics to murder and then dehumanize hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children as collateral damage. We who advocate peace and justice say that such acts of war and occupation are illegal, immoral and a barbaric and paranoid response to contrived evil . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They chose to avoid military service themselves or had "other priorities" when their country called, yet cavalierly send our children, not theirs, to kill and to die in their war for oil and empire. We who advocate peace and justice say that if the threat is real and the peril imminent and grave, then our chickenhawk leaders and their privileged children should be the first to go. Only then will we follow . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They continue to use the fear of terrorism, prey upon the anxiety and distress of the American people post-9/11to "justify" continuing, even escalating, their wars and occupations, and to deny fundamental human liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. We who advocate peace and justice say that the exploitation of a vulnerable citizenry, and the disregard and abuse of basic human rights is un-American, uncivilized, and a clear violation of the very values they allege to be championing and defending . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They send our military into harm's way to kill and be killed in pursuit of goals that are ambiguous and ill-defined in an endless war and occupation they sell to the American people and to the world as a response to terrorism. We who advocate peace and justice say that our troops are not cannon fodder; that terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy or an ideology; that war, occupation, and the indiscriminate use of violence by the military promotes rather than abrogates the terrorist threat . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They fail to honor their commitment to our servicemen and somen, "stop loss" deployment after deployment with insufficient dwell time, and provide inadequate resources to meet the medical and readjustment needs of our returning wounded and veterans. We who advocate peace and justice say that providing effective care and treatment for those physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually wounded by war is a moral and legal obligation and should be our first priority. . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They torture prisoners at Abu Graib, Guantanamo Bay and "black site" secret prisons around the world, denying "detainees" even the most basic right of Habeas Corpus. We who advocate peace and justice say that such heinous practices as water boarding and unlawful restraint are immoral, violates the U.S. Constitution and international law, increases the risk that our troops will be ill-treated and tortured should they be captured, and that those who ordered, endorsed, sanctioned, or supported such methods of torture are hypocrites, deviants, and war criminals . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They refused to meet with and comfort the families of our soldiers wounded or killed in battle, denigrate their memory, sacrifice, and dignity by fabricating heroic fantasies of their death and suffering to increase recruitment and bolster support for their senseless war. We who advocate peace and justice say that exploiting the deaths of our soldiers and the grief and suffering of their families in order to mythologize war and lure other young men and women to slaughter is unconscionable and depraved . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They have and continue to award no-bid contracts to favored corporations for personal and political benefit. Contractors who kill without mercy or accountability, whose greed for profit influences decisions on foreign policy, promotes war, and prolongs quagmire. We who advocate peace and justice say that we must heed President Eisenhower's warning to beware of the military industrial complex, that such corporate cronyism, war profiteering, and political corruption, is criminal, fiscally unsound, and not in our national interest . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They sell America to foreign investors, waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an ever-increasing military budget to wage illegal war and occupation, and to furnish the weapons of genocide and oppression to dictators and rogue nations around the world. We who advocate peace and justice say that America must end its preoccupation with militarism and war, use its wealth and influence to protect life and property rather than to kill and to destroy, and become a sane and compassionate voice for peaceful coexistence in the world . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They continue to give tax breaks to the wealthy and tax incentives to the oil industry despite record profits. They bail out corrupt Wall Street bankers but remain apathetic to Main Street workers who lose their jobs and their homes. They "compromised" away meaningful healthcare reform and see fiscal responsibility as cutting social programs such as aid to education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We who advocate peace and justice say that benefiting the affluent at the expense of the poor and the middle class is inhumane, short-sighted, a violation of trust, and of basic human decency. . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
On "National Holidays" such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, they parade, stage air shows, weapons displays, and celebrate the technology of death and destruction to commercialize patriotism and to glorify war and the military experience. We who advocate peace and justice say that these national holidays are not for celebration, commercial marketing, or deceptive recruitment practices. Rather, they are for remembering and for grieving the loss of all who were sacrificed to the tragedy and insanity of war . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They refuse to "look back" and to investigate the crimes of those who violated the law and the trust of the American people by choosing war unnecessarily; crimes against humanity that cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of human lives. We who advocate peace and justice say that we are a nation of laws to which all are subject equally, that such crimes must be investigated and the guilty held accountable for their transgressions. Prosecute the war criminals! . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They sat idly by as the city of New Orleans and thousands of its inhabitants died; ignore global warming, choosing rhetoric rather than effective action while the gas and petroleum industry continues to profit from polluting the planet and destroying its fragile ecosystem. We who advocate peace and justice say that this indifference to human pain and suffering and failure to defend the planet and its diverse species against ecoterrorism is unconscionable, inexcusable, and ultimately suicidal . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
They spout the meaningless rhetoric of shallow patriotism, arrogantly waving the flag of "freedom" or pasting it to the bumper of their gas-guzzling humvees, and think it belongs solely to those who unquestioningly beat the drums of war, from a safe distance of course, while their leaders sacrifice lives and treasure and violate the laws of god and of humankind in mistaken wars of choice and greed. We who advocate peace say that all war is anathema and unnecessary sacrilege, those leaders who dare unleash its horror upon humankind are criminals, and those who blindly follow are sheep who fail to understand the moral and legal obligations of their religion, of humanism, and of citizenship in a democracy . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010
Jeanne Pascal, a former EPA lawyer who until recently was overseeing the review of BP's possible debarment, has said she initially supported taking such action, but held off after an official at the Defense Department warned her that the agency depended heavily on BP fuel for its operations in the Middle East. "My contact at DESC, another attorney, told me that BP was supplying approximately 80 percent of the fuel being used to move U.S. forces" in the region, Pascal said. She added that "BP was very 'fortunate' in that there is an exception when the U.S. is involved in a military action or a war.
No wonder the Coast Guard and BP have such cozy relations.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I found this sign at a garage sale today in my neighborhood. I was looking for an air pump for my bicycle and had no intention buying anything else, even a subway sign. The garage sale was a moving sale, and the owners are moving to Vermont.
Remembering what it's like waiting for the G line or late nights waiting for the F, I decided the sign was meant to be. I've seen this sign in its proper context more times than I can remember. Now I have it out of that context.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Lately Republicans have been filibustering extension of unemployment benefits. They are far removed from the reality on Main Street. Krugman offers sobering perspective on how austerity will prolong the recession. I follow the news daily -- as I'm applying for jobs I listen in to CNN -- and I empathize with others struggling to find a job. Perhaps Republicans wish for mass suffering in hopes they'll win big in November. It's a cynical political strategy, to say the least.
Personally, it is easy to slip into depression. It's depressing to think about the number and severity of problems the country faces. It's depressing to think about the continuous flow of oil in The Gulf, and how much worse the environmental and economic disaster will be at the height of hurricane season. The jobs report today was bad. The stock market has dropped to last October levels. The state of our nation looks grim indeed.
I have a recommendation for Democratic leadership: Vote against further funding The Afghanistan War. It's an unpopular war, and you can easily argue that our national security is better served by creating jobs, repairing our infrastructure, preventing future BP spills, and investing in a green economy. Be vocal about representating the concerns of ordinary voters.
By vetoing war spending, an unwinnable war will end sooner than later. Republicans will probably shriek in protest, but they will no longer be able to argue for austerity cuts since Democrats can boast about the billions saved by ending an unwinnable war. Furthermore, the military could be redeployed domestically to inspect the safety of hundred of miles of oil pipeline, the safety of offshore rigs, the safety of infrastructure -- the electric grid, sewers, bridges, dams, and levees.
Everyday I witness ordinary people addressing problems with innovative solutions. Preaching austerity while wasting billions of dollars on war with Afghanistan is not only hypocritical but out of touch. Democratic leadership should take note of the national mood and refocus on domestic policy.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
After nine years of war, the Taliban simply remains too strongly entrenched for the U.S. military to openly attack. The very people that COIN seeks to win over – the Afghan people – do not want us there. Our supposed ally, President Karzai, used his influence to delay the offensive, and the massive influx of aid championed by McChrystal is likely only to make things worse. "Throwing money at the problem exacerbates the problem," says Andrew Wilder, an expert at Tufts University who has studied the effect of aid in southern Afghanistan. "A tsunami of cash fuels corruption, delegitimizes the government and creates an environment where we're picking winners and losers" – a process that fuels resentment and hostility among the civilian population. So far, counterinsurgency has succeeded only in creating a never-ending demand for the primary product supplied by the military: perpetual war.
Michael Hastings deserves a Pulitzer.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
GOP Candidate for AZ-GOV Wants 'Tent Cities' For Illegal Immigrants Convicted of Other Crimes | TPMMuckraker
Saturday, June 12, 2010
In a widely publicized speech in July 2008, candidate Barack Obama pledged that "if you get a federal grant, you can't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can't discriminate against them--or against the people you hire--on the basis of their religion." President Obama has not kept that promise with his Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which has continued Bush administration policies of allowing religious groups to receive huge amounts of federal money while proselytizing and continuing to hire only members of their own faith.
This month, on the first anniversary of Obama's executive order establishing his new faith-based office, an ad hoc group called the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination wrote a formal letter to the president asking him to make good on his campaign promises and overturn the Bush-era regulations. The Coalition includes a broad array of secular and religious organizations--among them Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Secular Coalition for America, the American Jewish Committee, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, B'nai B'rith International, and the United Sikhs. The letter urged the president to prohibit religious organizations from discrimination in hiring in federally funded social projects and ensure that those who turn to faith-based services are not subjected to unwanted proselytizing or religious activities as a condition of receiving aid.
This was an extremely mild letter, in view of the fact that these groups have waited patiently, and largely in silence, for more than a year and that the Obama administration could reverse the Bush rules today by executive order. In other words, the president does not need a law passed by a sluggish, dysfunctional Congress--as he does to reverse the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was tougher in an article published in The Huffington Post. Responding to the president's assertion at the National Prayer Breakfast that his administration has "turned the (Bush) faith-based initiative around," Lynn replied, "That's news to me. In fact, from where I'm sitting, the core of Obama's faith-based initiative looks pretty much identical to the deeply problematic one created by President George W. Bush. A few tweaks on the margins don't amount to real change." (One of those tweaks, by the way, simply renamed the faith-based initiative the White House office on "Faith-Based And Neighborhood Partnerships.")
Lynn, who served on an early task force to make recommendations for new rules, found himself "on the other side from conservative religious activists who resisted even the most benign and reasonable rules that would safeguard the rights of taxpayers and the disadvantaged as well as help preserve the constitutional separation of church and state." One of those benign suggestions was that any public funds going to a house of worship for social services should be handled by a separately incorporated nonprofit so that there can be better government oversight of where the money goes. A 2006 report prepared by the General Accounting Office found a general lack of oversight of faith-based programs throughout the government. There's no reason to think that has changed under Obama. That the religious right would resist even a wishy-washy proposal requiring that federal money not be doled out directly from a church account demonstrates that these people are determined to garner more public dollars while hiding from public scrutiny.
The letter from the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination does not mention the makeup of Obama's current advisory council on faith-based projects, but that is a major problem in itself. The group, according to a list released by the White House press office in April, includes representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the right-wing evangelical organization World Vision, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America--all groups that have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding over the past decade. How is this not a serious conflict of interest? It's the precise equivalent of having drug and insurance company representatives sit on advisory committees about health-care reform. Oh, wait, that's the way business is always done in Washington. How reassuring it is to know that Big Religion behaves like Big Pharma and Big Banks.
I can understand why so many people who expected better of Obama have been largely silent until now about his failure to follow through on church-state separation issues. I am a strong Obama supporter and, frankly, I have been inclined to cut the administration a great deal of slack--given not only the huge economic problems the president inherited on the day he took office but the venomous, ignorant right-wing attacks he has been subjected to since Day 2. I know that any action to clean up Bush's faith-based swamp would be catnip to the Christian right and the tea partiers. But what more, really, can they do to Obama? They could add a 666--the mark of the devil--to the Hitler mustache on their posters. Bring it on.
I think that one of the biggest reasons for Obama's avoidance of these issues is not the opposition of the Republican right but of the Democratic religious left, to which he has shown far too much deference. There are many Democratic evangelical Obama supporters, like Rev. Jim Wallis--who is also on the White House advisory council on faith-based programs--who are economic liberals but who, like their evangelical counterparts on the right, want to see more religious involvement in government. Wallis is also opposed to abortion rights, and it doesn't sit well with me to see that he is a member of the advisory council while there is no representative from either a secular pro-choice group or a religion-based group such as Catholics for Choice. I am even more appalled that the president of the worldwide evangelical powerhouse World Vision, which does not even try to conceal the fact that it only hires Christians--its kind of Christians--for full-time jobs, is also on the advisory board.
One hopeful element in this situation is that the Coalition's letter represents a long overdue coming-together of secular and religious organizations committed to the separation of church and state. I was happy to see Baptist, Jewish, Methodist, Unitarian and Sikh signatures on this letter and I am only sorry that there were no libertarian Catholic and Muslim signers. I hope that this omission will be corrected in future efforts to highlight the importance of this issue. It is vital for the Obama administration to understand that there are plenty of religious Americans who are committed to the separation of church and state and whose faith is incompatible with feeding at the government trough.
The institutionalization of breaches of the First Amendment is not solely an atheist or a secularist issue. It is an issue for all Americans who understand that the dramatic erosion of the barriers between church and state during the past 20 years poses a threat to both religion and government. The 18th-century Baptists who joined with freethinkers and deists to ratify our godless constitution understood this. The ascendancy of groups that want to promote their religion with public money must stop. Mr. President, you are a constitutional lawyer. Act like one.© 2010 The Washington Post CompanySusan Jacoby, a regular On Faith panelist, is the author of nine books, including the bestselling "The Age of American Unreason."
How is the U.S. government funneling taxpayer money into religious organizations without accountability not a violation of the separation of church and state?
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The system provides the restaurant with an array of Solar Trees, equipped with an electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle charging station. The Solar Trees provide shade for diners’ vehicles, while simultaneously allowing the restaurant to offset some of its energy usage through the grid-connected solar system.
In the near future you'll be able to charge your Chevy Volt in a solar parking lot.
Is Obama missing a golden opportunity on energy? - Gulf Oil Spill 2010 | Gulf Oil Spill Pictures, Gulf Oil Spill News - Salon.com
If you can’t explain to the public now that there are hidden costs of our addiction to fossil fuels, that fossil fuels are injurious to our health, the environment and national security, when can you?
I keep advocating Solar Roadways ... electric cars and more solar homes would be great too. The bulk of our oil consumption is in the combustible engine.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Bill to protect coastal communities, local jobs and pristine beaches now heads to governor's desk.
A bill that extends Oregon’s moratorium on offshore drilling for ten more years passed the Oregon Senate today with a vote of 22-8.
House Bill 3613, sponsored by Rep. Ben Cannon (D-Portland), protects Oregon’s coast from the threat of offshore oil and gas exploration for the next ten years, preserving coastal jobs and businesses which depend on more than $1 billion a year in fishing and recreation dollars and reinforcing Oregon’s commitment to renewable energy.
“Oregon lawmakers recognized this bill as an opportunity to preserve jobs and protect Oregon’s unique coastal legacy at the same time” said Brock Howell, Advocate for Environment Oregon. “Representative Ben Cannon led the charge and Oregon’s coastal caucus leaned in with their full support in getting this bill to the governor’s desk.”
One reason I love Oregon so much is that we love our natural environment.
Had Guynn's warning been heeded and the housing market cooled, the financial collapse of 2008 could have been avoided. But his comment was kept secret until Friday, when the central bank released the transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee meetings for 2004 and CalculatedRisk spotted it. The transcripts for 2005 to the present are still secret.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
BP Oil Platform Spill Disaster is CHENEY'S Fault
Fri Apr 30, 2010 at 03:29:50 PM PDT
Mike Papantonio, an environmental lawyer on the Ed Show just now: An 'acoustic switch' would have prevented this catastrophe - it's a failsafe that shuts the flow of oil off at the source - they cost only about half a million dollars each, and are required in off-shore drilling platforms in most of the world...except for the United States. This was one of the new deregulations devised by Dick Cheney during his secret meetings with the oil industry at the beginning of Bush's first term.
(Will try to post Ed Show clip when it becomes available.)
- ericlewis0's diary :: ::
Mr. Papantonio said he is amazed that this part of the story hasn't been reported yet - that it's really the key to the whole thing - that it's yet another classic example of Bush/Cheney Era deregulation wreaking havoc on the planet.
Many thanks to Ed Schultz for shining light on this. I'd say it's high time we brought Richard Cheney to justice. Cheers.
UPDATE 1: From followyourbliss in the comments: the oil platform in question was run by Halliburton, another factor that implicates Cheney. kjoftherock found more on this connection from crooksandliars.com:
UPDATE 2: From the Wall Street Journal, an article titled Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device:
The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.
The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.
full article here: http://online.wsj.com/...
Permalink | 71 comments
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Thank you Senator Ron Wyden for your continuous advocacy, by appearing on the cable news programs and not letting the naysayers and the negative ad campaigns deter you. You did the right thing.
Thank you Representative Blumenauer. I am happy with my representatives here in Oregon. We already have some of the best health care in the country and this legislation will only improve our health and well being.
Thank you Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz, Keith Olbermann. And thank you to all the tweeps and journalists and bloggers who rallied support for a real health care system. Government by the people and for the people is change I believe in.
Yes We Can and Yes We Did.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Geekiness aside, I took time out tonight to celebrate the passage of health care reform with a nice healthful bowl of pho. It's nice to see progress being made (all around).
Thursday, February 25, 2010
In contrast to Obama, Republicans sounded scripted, repeating the mantra of "start over" and buying across state lines and tort reform, blah blah blah. Starting over at this point would only delay reform, and I see it as nothing other than obstruction for political gain. The health care debate has been dragging on for way too long already, and it has been discouraging listening to the constant barrage of commercials that sound recycled from the 90's health care debate and meant to encourage distrust of Obama and, in general, the government's role in assuring the health and well being of all its citizens.
President Obama countered Republican talking points with facts, and showed his concern for those without health care with genuine compassion. Despite my feelings of cynicism lately about the chances of the legislation actually passing, today I felt hope again that the U.S. will soon join the rest of the developed world in having a comprehensive health care system. Bravo Obama.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I am with those who believe the Senate bill should be fixed through a reconciliation process, and I will continue to push my Senators for it. But this cannot be an excuse for letting the underlying Senate bill wither on the vine or die. Insisting that the reconciliation bill must not just begin but pass the Senate before the House can act is delaying health care reform, and potentially derailing it. Besides, if anyone believes that whatever can be pushed into a reconciliation package are the only fixes this bill is ever going to need, I have a very nice bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you. The process of improving this law will begin the moment the President signs the legislation, and will most definitely not end once a reconciliation bill is also signed into law. It is going to take much longer term commitment both for us advocates and for Congress. So let's pass the damn bill, and commit to seeing it improve not just in reconciliation but by any means necessary in the coming years.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The Blackwater manager asked Mohammed why it was so important to have an apology. Mohammed reminded him of Blackwater owner Erik Prince's Congressional testimony two weeks after the Nisour Square shootings. In his testimony, Prince said his men "acted appropriately at all times" at Nisour Square and that the company had never killed innocent civilians, except perhaps by "ricochets" and "traffic accidents." At that hearing, on October 2, 2007, a document was produced showing that before Nisour Square the State Department, Blackwater's employer, had coordinated with Blackwater to set a low payout for Iraqi shooting victims because, in the words of a Department security official, if it was too high Iraqis may try "to get killed by our guys to financially guarantee their family's future."
Mohammed said he wanted Prince to publicly reject this characterization of "Iraqis as mercenaries." The Blackwater manager, he says, told him Blackwater does not apologize. "You killed my son!" Mohammed exclaimed. "What do you want, then? Why did you bring me here?"
Monday, January 25, 2010
As anyone even passively familiar with the debate surely knows, the tens of millions of Americans with no coverage are struggling with a burden unseen in other major democracies. Thousands more join the ranks of the uninsured every day. Tens of thousands of Americans die every year because they have no insurance. Hundreds of thousands of others fall into medical bankruptcy — and most of these medical bankruptcies involve people who have insurance, but whose coverage proves inadequate.
To come up short now, or to pass a half-measure intended to respond to shifting political winds, would be more than just a political fiasco. It would be genuinely cruel.
The circumstances are incontrovertible. We pay too much and get too little. The system is bankrupting families, undermining businesses, hurting wages, and placing crushing burdens on government at every level. If reform falters right now, every easily-identified problem will get considerably worse. The current course is simply unsustainable for a country that hopes to have a fiscally responsible, competitive, and healthy future.
Steve Benen has an excellent article in Washington Monthly, "The way forward on health care reform in 2010." I hope House Democrats are paying attention.
But legal experts, while unsure of the outcome, say the plaintiffs have presented a powerful cumulative case in their bid to overturn Proposition 8. Among other things, they point to experts who've testified about the extensive research showing that same-sex couples are equally qualified to raise children and that, in the words of one Harvard scholar, procreation "has never been a qualification for marriage." She cited George Washington, who never fathered a child, as a prime example.
Prediction: Prop 8 will be overturned. (I've been following the Twitter coverage). My guess is that SCOTUS, who just overruled McCain-Feingold and allowed corporations unlimited power in supporting or opposing candidates, will suddenly oppose the California ruling as "judicial activism."
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I’m talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I’m talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.
Dear Media, banish the word "looting" from your vocabulary.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Hawaii Senate passes civil-unions bill with veto-proof majority, 18-7 | honoluluadvertiser.com | The Honolulu Advertiser
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
The Ugandan politician who introduced the so-called kill the gays bill, has been disinvited to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. David Bahati was invited in October, before the bill was introduced, according to the Box Turtle Bulletin, which has been closely following the situation.
Monday, January 18, 2010
David Bahati, the author of Uganda’s now internationally infamous “Kill The Gays” bill, is scheduled to attend the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4th. We cannot allow him to enter this country.
Sign the petition, please.
Without people taking action in the spirit of Martin Luther King's vision, a few Americans may continue to gather inordinate wealth, but many others, thrust against their will into idleness, insecurity or foreclosure by today's crisis, will have little recourse but to wait for relief from a capricious and uncertain economy.
MLK's thoughts on economic equality. Thanks Mark Engler.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
The Department of Homeland Security occasionally grants such status to immigrants stranded in this country by war, famine, earthquake or some other disaster back home. Protected immigrants are allowed to work legally and cannot be detained or deported. It’s a temporary amnesty, given in 18-month increments to those who qualify, and is currently available to citizens of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia and Sudan.
I can't see how we expect Haitians to remain in Haiti while it is in ruins. Clinton advised outside the box thinking. The State Department should be making it possible to give Haitians temporary protection.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Sen. Wyden Questions Uganda’s Preferred Trade Status & House LGBT Equality Caucus Speaks Out « HRC Back Story
The New Times - Rwandas First Daily :: Issue 14139 :: Lawmakers seek to scrap article on homosexuality
KIGALI - After months of speculation, the Political Affairs Committee in the Lower Chamber of Parliament has requested fellow law makers to consider scrapping the article on homosexuality from the penal code in conformity with the International Charter on Civil rights , The New Times can exclusively reveal.
The President of the Political Affairs committee; Bernadette Kanzaire told parliament yesterday that the United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) council had requested the government to scrap the article pointing out that it was contrary to articles 16 and 26 of the United Nations Convenant on Civil and Political Rights that seek protection of all citizens with disregard to sex, religion and others.
“All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.
In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,” artcle 26 of the Convenant says.
Kanzaire’s six-man team is charged with reforming of Rwanda’s 33- year old penal code.
However, Kanzaire informed lawmakers that several opinions gathered during consultations indicated that homosexuality shouldn’t be tolerated in Rwanda since it was against the cultural norms of the nation.
She said it was important to support the authorities in educating the youth to adhere to the cultural values which discourage homosexuality.
Kanzaire said that the draft article within law, which is still under debate, proposes to punish those who use their sexual orientation to spread the gay gospel to minors. She said the proposal does not in any way spell out any punish for those directly engaed in the act.
Minister for Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, who was present at the parliamentary discussions said that contrary to different opinions and suggestions, government had no intentions to criminalise gay people for what their sexual orientation.
Karugarama emphasied Kanzaire’s point that the government did not have any intention to categorise any homosexual as a criminal unless he or she has sexually violated a minor.
“I think there was some kind of confusion on this particular article and yet the Law is clear. Anyone, whether homosexual or heterosexual, who involves a child in any sort of sexual activity will be held accountable by the courts of law. It doesn’t matter if you are gay or not,” Karugarama said
Karugarama said that the idea to criminalise homosexuality was a suggestion that came in a public request.
“There has been a lot of speculation. What people don’t realise is that the discussion about draft laws are open to the public. The criminalisation rumours stemmed from such open debates where everything is tabled and discussed openly,” he said
The members of the gay and lesbian community worldwide under their Umbrella Organisations; the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) had previously petitioned President Paul Kagame to reconsider plans to include a provision that would penalize homosexuality as part of an overall revision to the Rwandan penal code
The Penal code reform talks are still ongoing and will end tomorrow. Upon revision, the Penal Code will clearly specify on the prosecution and subsequent punishment of culprits, rendering the work of prosecution easier and fairer.
After 10 hours and 33 comments, here is the transcript of the huge debate that happened yesterday on my Facebook page:
(Ian) Vaughn Walker: If same sex couples can marry, will it change institution? Ted Olson: Won’t change it. Will fulfill it.
(Leah) Genesis 2:18-24
(Ian) The LEGAL institution of marriage, not the religious institution of marriage. I could care less about the latter.
(Leah) Legally, no one can really say anything is right or wrong. Secularism is without morals because morals entail religion. Right and wrong, if not defined by deity, are defined by humans. Which humans? The ones with the most power.
(Laura) Oddly enough, the bible does clearly state to not judge and love people unconditionally no matter what…. Thing is, a lot of Christians don’t exercise that belief. They may think they do, but they don’t. If they did, same sex marriage would be allowed in every state.
(Rebecca) Um, marriage ceremonies include the phrase “in HOLY matrimony.” Humans are not holy, God is. He defines marriage as man+woman. I’m not challenging Him on it.
And there used to be that whole “What God has brought together, let no man tear asunder” portion — or however they phrased it.
Relativism and subjectivism much? Relativism: I can date/live with/marry whomever I please as long as it makes me happy and I’m not hurting anyone. Subjectivism: I’m the one with the authority; there’s no authority above mine.
John 8:44 & Romans 1:18, 22, 25.
The Bible also clearly states many times that homosexual acts (among others) are sinful.
“They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Love is accepting, but not tolerant. If you love someone who’s ruining their life by doing drugs or something, you intervene; you don’t stand by and watch.
Or, at least, you SHOULD step in and TRY to help.
(Ian) Again, this is not for ANYTHING other than for us in the LBGT community to have equal freedom and protection under the LAW. There are around 1500 legal rights that are granted to a couple when they are legally wed, and denying this to a whole group of people because your RELIGION says it’s wrong is DISCRIMINATION and BIGOTRY, pure and simple. Ifyou don’t recall, people were using the Bible and religion to try and prevent interracial marriage back in the ’50s and ’60s, and now we look in hindsight and see how silly that is. But if you want to continue you’re closed-minded hatefulness, be my guest. Just don’t expect me to listen anymore, because I’m sick of people telling me that I’m not as good as they are.
And HOW DARE YOU slap that whole “homosexual acts are sinful” BULL. That’s like saying it’s sinful to not have both arms. What about people born without arms? Where does that lead them? SAME DEAL. I DO NOT choose my sexual orientation. I just deal with it. Why? Because it’s better to live happy and healthy doing what your body chemistry tells you instead of repressing yourself because some BOOK tells you you’re wrong. THAT I believe is sinful.
(Grant) “We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.” H.L Mencken
Please do not assume your religious delusion is something to quote and throw in other people’s faces. There are a number of people who do not actually care to hear or see your religious dogma, but people think it is taboo to say anything. Do us a favor and keep it to yourself.
(Sheila) Sorry, but, I’m gonna go Mommy on you here. No Ian, I don’t think that our faith Discriminating and being Bigoting, GOD”S WORD IS LAW. Therefore, the simple answer is, it is written in the Bible. It is written in the Bible that homosexual acts are sins, which they are. It is also written that murder is a sin. Do you disagree? And DO NOT come back and say that homosexual acts are not as BAD as murder, that goes without saying, but the fact is they BOTH are SINS. So what’s next, legalizing murder? You know, we LOVE you, otherwise you would hear nothing from us when YOU, ONCE AGAIN, post something that you know will spark this conversation. You know, I’ve never told you this, but I think it’s way past time. Morgan used to get so pissed at you, because you were struggling with wether you were gay or not. She used to say “Ian thinks he’s gay.” I can really understand her frustration now. She was so afraid that you would CHOOSE that lifestyle. Because she knew that lifestyle sets you way away from God. Again, sorry for going Mommy on you here, but I’m on cold meds and I’m really tired of hearing (reading) you whine. I have asked you several times this past year to come see me, and, I know Rocky (FCC Youth Pastor) has mentioned that to you as well. AND YOU HAVE NOT!! What are you afraid of? If you want to post something that is not going to get this reaction, stop being so BIGOTED about your lifestyle, and don’t DISCRIMINATE against us people of faith because (YOU THINK) you are gay.
(Jaimee) I don’t see why this is an issue. People of the same sex marry for love where as there are people that go to Vegas, get drunk and marry people while they’re not even coherent. Sanctity of marriage? I don’t think so.
(Leah) Ian, you’re getting very defensive. I have never ever said that I am better than you, nor have I showed it. I call my friends out on things, as friends should do. If you want to talk more about it, I’m all ears.
(Kalene) Leah: morality exists without the divine of the simple reason of the Golden Rule and how it came about through the growth of our species. Humans wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if we all just killed each other when we got mad. So we didn’t kill each other so we could survive, etc. Many of the atheists I have met are the kindest, most generous people I have met and they are so for the sole reason that they care about other human beings. I have a hard time finding such people of faith to genuinely care about anything unless they can later convert another person to their religion.
Also Leah, why would someone want to be a friend of yours when you condemns their lifestyle to hell?
Sheila: You are a horribly close minded person, shame on you for believing that everyone accepts your god as divine master. Also, your bible was written by humans. HUMANS make errors. It wasn’t even written in English originally, so unless you are fluent in the original language of the bible, much of the specific meanings of the verses are lost in translation. Regardless of this fact, the Leviticus verse your faith uses so often is followed by decreeing that it is against your god’s wishes for you to wear clothing of mixed fibers (like a shirt made of cotton and polyester), shaving your beard, or eating shellfish! Also context is important, but I guess context isn’t important to your faith?
Also, if someone is not a Christian, why the hell would they listen to anything you have to say if the only proof you were offering is a book that holds no authority to them? It’d be like someone throwing passages from the Koran at you to try and convince you of a stance!!
(Jaimee) Another thought of mine, whether you are religious or not, from my belief, God created us each uniquely and therefore created some to be gay and we should let them live their life in peace.
(Grant) Sheila – You have, more than likely unknowingly, used a fallacy of authority. You have miss used your authority as “mommy” in a discussion where being a mother has no relevant impact. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but that in turn makes your argument, or statement, an unsound argument. You can emphasis choice all you want, but sexuality is based on a continuum scale, it is not binary like most commonly thought. If you disagree that is your choice, it obviously conflicts with your beliefs. If you do choose to disagree, then why would you not in turn just agree to disagree with Ian? According to his facebook information, Ian identifies himself as an atheist. As your personal beliefs would allow you to disagree with the argument that sexuality is based on a continuum, then you should allow him to disagree with your beliefs it is a sin. Aside from your obvious misunderstanding of Christian doctrine, you are an embarrassment to people who do identify themselves as a Christian, which is what lead me to post a second time since they were unable. Before this post gets too long, which I have refrained from discussing some issues, how dare you bring up your daughter to guilt Ian. You can argue all you want that it was in good intentions or that you are so frustrated that Ian is not following your delusional religion, but that is not fair to Ian or your daughter. Don’t be a monster. Saying stuff like that over facebook causes resentment, you will do more damage than you could possibly do good.
(Leah) Kalene: So humans have found out that the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” is a great way of self preservation. What if there was some one who did something evil behind the backs of everyone. No one knew what they were doing… No one. Would their act be wrong? No one knew about their underhandedness…. So they were right in doing so? This theory implies that it’s only wrong if you get caught. And I’m sure most people would agree morals are a lot more than that. Atheists are kind, etc, etc, because they are humans. Like all humans, we are made in the image of God. Just because they don’t believe in him, doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in them. As for Christians only caring about only people who convert: that’s totally false. Animals can’t covert, no way possible. So we don’t care for them? Humans are God’s creation. God cares, I care. I don’t love only Christians, that means I couldn’t love some of the dearest people in my life. You’re saying that I hate my dearest friends because they are not Christians, and I find that insulting. Why can’t I have the capacity to love other people outside my religion? Another thing, I have to approve of everything my friends do in order to love them? All of my friends sin, I sin, so I guess no one would consider myself their friend since sin is meant to be out of our lives. The difference is trying to follow God, we all fall short though.
Context is very important, Leviticus is not the only verse that talks about homosexual acts though. Leviticus’ rules are meant for the people of Israel, but are still applicable to our lives as we strive to know God more. The Bible is inspired by GOD.
We offer the Bible as proof because we believe it is the truth. Your argument states that, therefore, Atheist cannot use science as a proof because that’s all they have to lean on for proof. Christians use these both to reveal God currently working in the world.
(Grant) “All of my friends sin, I sin, so I guess no one would consider myself their friend since sin is meant to be out of our lives.”
Do you put them, your friends, and yourself under the same microscope as Ian? Do you seriously and honestly post/say/think those same things about yourself? Don’t bother saying you do because you don’t, if you truly did it to all your friends, family, and self you would have been taken aside and informed that in Christianity God is the one who judges, not you.
” Leviticus’ rules are meant for the people of Israel, but are still applicable to our lives as we strive to know God more.”
So if you’re going to say you don’t have to follow all the rules because they were meant for “people of Israel,” and don’t Christians consider themselves children of Israel? just saying, then none of the laws hold weight. You can’t just pick and choose which your going to “inforce” or “live your life by.” By the way… you can know all you want about God, in Christianity that doesn’t get you to heaven.
AND PLEASE! Learn the history of your book! Seriously, just because you say “…the Bible as proof because we believe it is the truth. ” does not mean it is truth. Learn in which context the New Testament authors meant for their letters to be taken. Find out what was going on in history in the location they wrote them for. Or find out more about the multiple authors of genesis, why there is two creation stories.
(Kalene) Leah: What is this evil act behind everyone’s back that no one knew about? Did it harm someone? Did it harm the so-called evil person? If it did no harm to anyone, I can hardly see how it can be evil.
According to Google dictionary:
-that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune
-having the nature of vice
-morally objectionable behavior
None of these definitions work if no one knows about the behaviors of the “evil” individual through his or her “evil” actions.
Also, I did not intend to insult you. I did not imply that you do not love your friends. Perhaps you do, I don’t know your heart, only you do. I was stating that if you are doing as you are now and condemning a friend’s way of life, especially something they were born into (science has much proof in this direction of the “argument”), that your friend would be likely to break off contact with you. You can love them all you want, but they will probably withdraw their love for you since you cannot be accepting of something that they simply are.
(Ian) Wow, I get back on my computer, and return to this. I’m simply flabbergasted. There’s so much for me to cover. I’m going to do the best I can.
1. I am not afraid of the church. The only reason I have never made it to FCC is time. I started school now, and when I’m on break, I tend to be with my friends (who, btw, support me in all aspects of my life). I simply cannot find the time to drive into Willmar to be conditioned.
2. I did not post this to provoke controversy. This is the equivalent of any of you religious-types posting something filled with God or Jesus. I’m proud of who I am!
3. I’m whining about as much as Martin Luther King, Jr. was when called for black rights. There is a great inequality in this country, and those being discriminated against have the right to call out those who are repressing them. That’s all I did.
4. Arguing that, and then using “mommy” is almost insulting. I waited to come out to my mother until I was 18, because I thought she’d have a similar reaction. Instead, my mom is even more supportive than I could ever, ever hope for! She’s smart enough to know that I do not choose to be this way (why would I? I wouldn’t have to put up with THIS), and she is proud that I have the courage to go through all this.
5. For the short time I knew Morgan, she was always very supportive of me. She participated in the Day of Silence (an LGBT event) with me, defended me (sometimes almost to violence) when someone made a homophobic comment toward me, and even tried to hook me up with a (male) classmate I expressed feelings towards. If she was against my homosexuality, she never expressed it to me, probably because she knew something like this would happen. I’m proud of her for that. I can’t say the same for everyone else.
6. Reading some of the comments today have deeply, deeply saddened me. In my mind, one cannot be someone’s friend and then not support them – ALL of them – at the same time. I have friends who are both (some VERY) religious, and support me and gay rights. If you don’t approve of who I am, of something that is about as pre-programmed into a person as eye or skin color, than that’s fine. But DO NOT do that and then turn around and say you love me. That’s a lie and you know it. You either love me, as a tall, white, vision-impaired, right-handed homosexual, or you don’t. And if you don’t, then I don’t know if I want you in my life. So make up your mind and act accordingly. I’m sick of this.
I now have a clearer understanding of who I can call “friend.”
That’s all I’m going to say about this, unless I need to clarify something that might not have made sense. Now go about your business.
(Sheila) Grant – I bring up Morgan because, out of everyone I know, she had the absolute BEST insight into people’s struggles. I bring her up not to “guilt” Ian, but to remind him. His being gay was a choice. I use the term going “Mommy”. Becuase that is what she used to say. And yes I very well know that things said over FB can cause resentment, which is the reason I posted to begin with. Ian has this bad habit of lumping all Christians into the catagories of Discrimanatory and Bigots, and I resent it. Just FYI, some of the best friends (and family) I have are Athiests and Homosexuals. I have a friend who is a murderer, and many other people who have commited the sins of Adultry, Idol worship, heck I have a great friend who is a Satanic worshiper. I love them all. We have the best times together. Trust me, we have all learned how to agree to disagree, agreeably.
Kalene – do a little research and find out the process for translating the Bible. Very interesting stuff.
(Sami) Ian I am so sorry you are getting these types of comments from people who are supposed to be your friends. I’m shocked.
(Kalene) Sheila, I took a class on it thanks. You will never get the exact meaning of something directly from one language to another. Impossible. You can get darn close, but not exactly. And scholars today still disagree on how to translate from one language to another, because with language comes things like cliches and word choices that are not necessarily present in the language the work is being translated to. Why do you think there are so many different versions? Here’s a little info for you to look at from a non-biased source: (scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the table)
ESPECIALLY look at the “conservative bible project” features…. scary that other people can mess with what your god had to say?
Not to mention that even in each of the books original forms, they were copied by hand when other scholars needed a copy of the scriptures, or when they were getting a bit worn. Mistakes happen, we’re human. And they didn’t have Microsoft office back then. Not to mention weathering, misplacing a page or two, and vandalism/theft.
Also, please stop using Ian to fuel your persecution complex. It is not fair to him. He understands that not ALL Christians hate homosexuals, but there is quite a large, and vocal part of your religion that condemns him to a miserable life here on earth. And if you agree with them that homosexuality is a sin and that Ian does not and should not have the right to marry any man who he is committed to, then you, sadly, are in with those Christians who preach a gospel of hate towards their fellow human beings. If you don’t like it, then unfriend Ian and stop commenting on his page.
(Nick) AND YOU GOT A NEW FRIEND!!! HOORAY!
Sorry, Grant tipped me off to an EXCELLENT bloodbath and the more I read, the more I was intrigued.
UGHUGHGHGHG, I ten paragraphs written and deleted, I can’t even begin to write what I want to say (seriously, 3 more comments have been made since I started writing). so I guess here’s some outtakes:
What’s up with all the bible verse slinging? That only works when you are fighting other Christians (sometimes). Again, I just became Ian’s friend, so I don’t know his particular religious beliefs outside his “Religious Views” on Facebook. By the looks of it, he’s more lenient towards Atheism (and with how these series of posts look, he has a convincing reason to be). So how the heck are bible verses and Christian taunts going to help him?
I don’t think it’s our jobs as Christians to police the world. Our jobs are to serve those who are in need, and to love one another, sayeth the Lord. No bible translation can screw that up.
Ugh. I hate internet debates. Especially religious ones.
Ian, I’d like you meet you sometime.
(Andrew) everyone else had something to say so I thought I would too (althoguh I hate reading not to mention posting long blabbering things) God IS love, so to say that God doesn’t approve of “gay love” is like saying God doesn’t approve of himself, that will be all, thank you
(Phil) Man.. I love you Ian. You’re an awesome guy and nothing changes that. This is very heated and interesting and it has really given me a new understanding of people’s beliefs and how different perspectives may be. I have to say that despite any opinion, in the end you’re Ian and I never want you to be anyone else but you.
(Grant) Sheila – Saying you know all these types of people does not mean a damn thing. You can’t put together an arguement where don’t look like a bigot. Take the blinders off your eyes. You are making Christians cringe! If you truly knew, or understood, how to agree to disagree you would have then admitted that instead of throwing it back out that Ian made a choice. This is Ian’s facebook, if you do not like his status, or other things he posts, change your settings so they do not show up in your news feed. You came on here, there was no invitation for you to come. You decided you wanted to make a public statement about how Ian was living, what you consider, a life of sin. Great attempt at trying to “explain” your motives about Morgan, I can’t find a single person who is not appalled by what you did.
(Trey) When i first got on fb today and looked at this post, i was like “HOLY CRAP THATS A LOT TO SAY ON A STATUS POST!” but then i decided to read deeper into what was being said. This whole conversation really opened my eyes farther and helped me to understand. There is much that i agree and disagree about all this but i feel that enough has been said on both sides without me adding mine. the one thing that i honestly DO want do add in and is the thing that matters to me the most is that I love you so much ian! you have ALWAYS been a good friend and very kind to me and that i want you to know that i will always be there for you.
(Ian) Phil, Trey, I love you.
(Mom) To morgan’s mother: Keep your bigoted “Mommy” opinion to yourself. Ian has a mother who loves him just as GOD has created him. In addition, I think it is a terrible you feel the need to bring your dead child into an argument. And finally, there is not a single soul in this world that would CHOOSE to be gay. Who the hell would be so masochistic as to CHOOSE to be hated for nothing other than your desire to love someone outside of society’s accepted norm. I think maybe your should pray about your inability to love your neighbor.
(Lucy) God’s greatest commandment was TO LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. The rest of the Bible just elaborates on that point- spin it any way you want. Men wrote the Bible. No doubt, speaking through their faith in the Trinity, but also, they wrote the Bible in the context of their society. They had no way to perceive how we would have grown and changed in the span… See More of 2,000 years (or longer in the case of some books). That’s why the Bible is a living, breathing document, and it takes immense faith, scholarship, and an acute level of open-mindedness to even begin to perceive the awesomeness of God. You can’t just read the words. You have to research and understand the times in which these people were speaking to understand the message they were trying to communicate. That being said, the Bible does consider homosexuality an ABOMINATION. But with a little research you’ll realize two things, among others: 1) the people living in what we now consider Palestine/Israel were a fragile, unprotected, and small society of tribes and were deeply concerned about growing their population and ranks, and so homosexual relationships were not allowed because everyone needed to produce children. 2) the Bible also says eating shellfish, wearing wool blend clothing, shaving, and ACNE are all ABOMINATIONS, as well (the more ridiculous, but just as real, LEVITICUS- look it up!). So do your homework, don’t get confused by the details, and keep loving each other and God at the center of your faith- not petty, antiquated, irrelevant rules.
Also, in the Ten Commandments, God said nothing about scorning homosexuals, but he did say THOU SHALL NOT BARE FALSE WITNESS (that’s lying). That includes a life of lying to yourself about who you are.
God loves you. God loves all of us. LOVE will never be a sin.
(Trey) OMG! those last two paragraphs pretty much come from my heart! beautifully said!
(Grant) I take my hat off you Lucy.