Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chris Culliver Faces Media Over Anti-Gay Remarks

Tennessee Law Forces Schools to Out Gay Kids

From The Advocate:

Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield has reintroduced his infamous legislation that would prohibit schools from discussing homosexuality in sex education classes until after the eighth grade (even though schools in Tennessee do not teach sex ed before the eighth grade).
After dying in the House two years ago, the bill, now called the Classroom Protection Act, is back with additions such as “certain subjects are particularly sensitive and are, therefore, best explained and discussed within the home,” and “at grade levels pre-K through eight (pre-K-8), any such classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction shall be classified as inappropriate for the intended student audience and, therefore, shall be prohibited.” That will likely bar any teacher from even suggesting homosexuality exists.
The bill also now states that when a student approaches a teacher or counselor and confides in them that they may be gay, it is the teacher or counselor’s responsibility to tell the student’s parents.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are Gay/Bi Men Happier Than Straight Guys?

From The Advocate:

Gay and bisexual men are happier than straight men — as long as they're out, according to a new University of Montreal study published in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. According to USA Today, the study of 87 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual Canadians — some out, some still in the closet — found that queer folks who had come out to their family and friends "have less anxiety, depression, and burnout" than those who hadn't. Moreover, the study's lead author Robert-Paul Juster, said that, as a group, out gay and bi men "were less likely to be depressed than heterosexual men and had less physiological problems than heterosexual men."
The study is a surprise since it comes on the heels of other studies that pointed to high levels of depression in LGBT folks, especially during the coming-out process. But, Juster said, "Something about coming out of the closet might make them more resilient — if you go through a major, stressful event like that you have to develop coping strategies that you might be able to use in the future. We also saw body mass index and inflammation were lower in gay and bisexual men, which fits with the idea that they're taking better care of their bodies than heterosexual men."

49ers Reject Anti-Gay Statements of Chris Culliver


The 49ers weren't amused. They quickly released a statement Wednesday afternoon: "The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community."

Culliver will take deserved criticism for his remarks, but the honest comments hardly should come as a surprise. Homophobia runs rampant in professional sports; Culliver is just less guarded about his actual feelings than some players. I suspect those feelings won't change until years after a gay player has the courage to come out with his sexuality in public. More than 65 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, unfortunately it's difficult to imagine a player coming out of the closet.

Of course, not all players agree with Culliver. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo has spent part of his Super Bowl week promoting gay rights and equality. Culliver's comments are a reminder that Ayanbadejo and other gay rights activists have a long way to go.

I am still amazed that Culliver can be apart of this franchise and say what he said (which you can see HERE). That takes a level of oblivious that I did not know existed.

A Suggestion For Chris Culliver

Many people have already heard San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver said during the Super Bowl's Media day that gays are not welcome on his team, or in the National Football League (you can read his quote HERE). Besides saying something utterly hateful and ignorant, he said it in a very inarticulate manner that makes taking him seriously as a person rather difficult. He is doing himself zero favours, especially given that he said something homophobic while he plays on a team from one of the gayest cities in the country...and the world. He is not the first high-profile person to say something stupid of this nature - racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, etc. - nor will he be the last. There is yet another part of this story that has a very good chance of coming to the fore very soon as it has in similar situations of the past: the non-apology.

Generally, when the famous say something like this and get taken to task by the media and the public, they issue an apology that often contains a sentence to the tune of "I'm sorry if anyone was offended." We in the LGBT community are unfortunately used to hearing this, followed swiftly by our eyes rolling. These "apologies" are anything but. Clearly the original statement was offensive if this person was forced to respond by their management, their team, or whoever else, so this sentence does not achieve the goal of making this person look less hateful. Given the original statement, it is also clear that it was them actually speaking honestly, whereas the "apology" was scripted by some P.R. firm and read halfheartedly before cameras, or merely released in written form, untouched by the person "performing" the "apology."

So my advice to Chris Culliver would be this: don't even bother. You insulted gay people enough with the original statement. Don't insult our intelligence with an unfeeling "apology" you don't mean thinking that we buy it. We don't. We have heard it before and the "apology" will NOT be accepted.

49ers Cornerback Says No To Gays In The NFL

From Yahoo Sports:

Shock jock Artie Lange revealed he had interviewed Culliver at media day Tuesday and aired a segment on his show that night, where the player insisted that any gay players would not be welcome on the team. 

"I don't do the gay guys man," said Culliver, whose Niners play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. "I don't do that. No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.

"Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah…can't be…in the locker room man. Nah."

When quizzed by Lange whether any homosexual athletes would need to keep their sexuality a secret in football, Culliver responded: "Yeah, come out 10 years later after that." 

First, I would suggest this inarticulate, ignorant, homophobic man have a long talk with Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, or Scott Fujita. Then again, it's always the self-righteous idiots who think they know everything. Second, is he not aware that he works for a team based in, of all places, San Francisco?

Texas Public Schools Pushing Christianity

GOP Badly Losing Culture Wars

Cuccinelli: Justice Scalia Not Conservative Enough

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II suggested over the weekend that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia might not be conservative enough for his taste, the latest window into the legal world view of the Republican candidate for governor.
“And really the way to fight back, given the governmental structure we have, the primary way is to get good judges who don’t accept what is wrong as right after a while,” Cuccinelli said, according to a video clip of the discussion. “Justice Scalia is in this category: ‘Well, we’ve been doing it wrong for a while, so now it’s part of the Constitution.’ I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that. And that needs to be reflected in the judges selected by the president, not this president, but the president generally, and approved by the Senate. They need to take that a lot more seriously than they do.”

Cuccinelli’s campaign declined to comment on his remarks.

Terminology: Homofascist

Homofascist (noun):

1) A word used by social conservatives referring to a gay person who wants equal protections under the law.

2) A word used by social conservatives referring to a gay person who want to be treated as...a person.

It is believed that this term was coined by Bryan Fischer of the so-called American Family Association, a designated hate group.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gov. Snyder (R-MI) on Electoral Rigging


I'm still not sure where he is on this issue given this clip. He's saying not now, maybe later. Perhaps he should have been asked a follow-up question or two.

Republicans in six state legislatures (Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin) are considering similar schemes of allocating their electoral votes, but are seeing considerable push-back. Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) seems to be opposed to it, as are a few GOP members of the state's tightly split Senate (20 Democrats and 20 Republicans).

What Started the Sexual Revolution?

Count Me In...

"Catholic Charities" Vows To Discriminate

Using religion as an excuse to discriminate is still discrimination.

Republicans' Electoral College Scheme

Monday, January 28, 2013

Marriage News Watch: January 28, 2013

Boy Scouts Considers Ending Gay Ban...Sort Of

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Super Bowl Coach Supports Gay Players

San Francisco 49er's Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

Count Jim Harbaugh, Coach of the Super Bowl bound San Francisco 49ers among those in professional sports who would welcome a gay player on his team. 

Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle’s IPad 49ers magazine Harbaugh stated “I ask all players to play through their own personality and be who they are. What you ask of a player is to be a great teammate and be a good player. My expectations would be the same. Personally, there’s no discrimination in my heart.”

Harbaugh went on to say that he would treat the player the same as any other player.

Most players on the 49ers echoed the sentiments of their coach.

“At the end of the day, we are all family in this locker room, and we accept each player for whoever they are,” said linebacker Larry Grant. “Whatever makes you happy, do it,” cornerback Tarell Brown said. “I just feel like, you shouldn’t hide it. At the end of the day don’t be embarrassed with what you are, or what you do. If you are that way, that’s you.”

The Truth About Sodom & Gommorah

Republican Eric Cantor Blocking Anti-Rape Legislation

From the Examiner:

VAWA [Violence Against Women Act], which has been reauthorized consistently for 18 years with little fanfare, was, for the first time, left to expire in Sept. 2011. The sticking point has been new protections for three particularly vulnerable groups: undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBT community and Native Americans.

The additions are supported by Democrats and opposed by House Republicans, who are calling them politically driven. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill in April with the additional protections, and House Republicans passed their own bill in May that omitted those three provisions. Since then, the issue has gone nowhere.
So some House Republicans proposed a measure to fix the problem, by allowing tribal courts to try non-Indians in such cases, while still letting the defendants move the case to a federal court if they felt their rights weren’t being protected.

But [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor—who’s seen as influential with the conservative wing of the House GOP caucus—is blocking the proposal because he doesn’t want to give added jurisdictions to Indian tribes. And he may end up killing the VAWA re-authorization over the dispute.

In other words, for Cantor, limiting the authority of tribal courts is more important than making sure rapists are prosecuted and women are protected from domestic violence.

Looking Ahead: Marriage Equality in 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gay Kids Need Not School

From the New York Times:

At issue is an increasingly popular tax credit program that transforms state money into private school scholarships, some of them used at religious-based schools that prohibit gay, lesbian or bisexual students from attending. 

 The policies at more than 100 such schools are explicit.

The 400 students at a private school in Woodstock, for example, must adhere to a policy that states, “Homosexual behavior, whether an ‘immoral act’ or ‘identifying statement,’ is incompatible with enrollment at Cherokee Christian Schools and is a basis for dismissal.” 
Steve Suitts, the vice president of the foundation and the author of the report, said that as many as a third of the schools in the scholarship program have strict anti-gay policies or adhere to a religious philosophy that holds homosexuality as immoral or a sin.

As a result, his report says, public money is being spent by private educational institutions that “punish, denounce and even demonize students in the name of religion solely because they are gay, state that they are homosexual, happen to have same-sex parents or guardians, or express support or tolerance for gay students at school, away from school or at home.”

Homophobia & the Power of Humiliation

[Rep. James] Lankford [R-OK] agreed with the woman’s concern, vowing to open an investigation into the matter. “They love functioning in the dark,” the Oklahoma Republican said of the LGBT program, promising to use “the power of humiliation” to uproot it.
CONSTITUENT: I want to know if you’re aware of the Substances and Mental Health Services Administration that has a book called the Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Individuals.
CONSTITUENT: They are going around the nation, they just did this here in Oklahoma, December 7th, and having conferences that are educational. [...] About 2 percent of the conference is dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. 98 percent is doing indoctrination or pushing the homosexual agenda. This is what our president is doing. He has a federal agency doing it. Our state, the Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department, put this conference on and is indoctrinating our citizens who are totally against this. Is there any way you can look into this?
LANKFORD: Oh yes, sure. You know I can absolutely get a chance to take a look at it. We’ll start the process, try to see what we can do to identify it. Some of those things you have the power of humiliation where you can raise it and put in sunlight. They love functioning in the dark. You put some sunlight on it, that does help. But, we’ll see. I’m glad to take that on.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Religious Wrong: Gospel of Intolerance

Why the GOP Caved on the Debt Ceiling

Virginia Republicans Rigging the Electoral College

...In addition to disenfranchising voters in dense areas, this would end the principle of “one person, one vote.” If Ohio operated under this scheme, for example, Obama would have received just 22 percent of the electoral votes, despite winning 52 percent of the popular vote in the state.

For this reason, I didn’t expect Republicans to go forward with the plan—the risk of blowback is just too high. My skepticism, however, was misplaced. In Virginia, a local news station reports that just this afternoon, a state Senate subcommittee recommended a bill end Virginia’s winner-take-all system and apportion its 13 electoral votes by congressional district.

Unlike similar proposals in Pennsylvania and Michigan, this one wouldn’t award the remaining electoral votes to the winner (Virginia has 11 districts). Rather, the winner of the most congressional districts would get the final two votes. If this were in effect last year, Obama would have gotten just 4 of the state’s votes, despite winning 51 percent of its voters.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Charles W. “Bill” Carrico, says the change is necessary because Virginia’s urbanized areas can outvote rural regions, weakening their political strength. In other words, Carrico thinks winning land is more important than winning people when it comes to presidential elections.
Clearly the GOP strategy is: If you can't get them on your side, make it so they don't matter.

Marriage Equality At The Super Bowl

My team is the Green bay Packers. Things were looking good for them to make another playoff run to the Super Bowl. However, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round put an end to that hope. There is always next year I suppose...

I have no particular love or hatred for either team that will be playing in this year's Super Bowl: the aforementioned 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Being a fan and watcher of the Super Bowl itself however, I need to find a tie so that I have a team to cheer for to make this game more interesting.

Enter Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Over the past year, Brendon has been an outspoken advocate for marriage equality. This was particularly pertinent given that the state of his football fan base, Maryland, had marriage equality on the ballot in this past November's election. Brendon put himself in the midst of that fight in a very public way. Luckily, his side was victorious and marriage is now the law in Maryland.

Within hours of the ravens defeating the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, which got them their Super Bowl berth, Brendon was emailing marriage equality advocates about how to use the media surrounding the big game to advance equality for gay people*. Even with all of the work that he will have to put in over the next week and a half to prepare for the biggest game of his career thus far, he still intends to make time to deal with marriage equality, bullying, and homophobia in sports. There will be tons of media on him, his fellow teammates, and his opponents in the run-up to the Super Bowl, and Brendon plans on using his elevated platform to affect change in all of the right ways. One of his goals is to appear on Ellen DeGeneres' show with his message, and of course, a Super Bowl ring.

With all of that side, I am officially throwing my hat in with the Baltimore Ravens again (I was with them for the AFC championship against the New England Patriots but that was an apolitical decision, I just don't like the Patriots). Good luck to Brendon and the rest of the Baltimore Ravens.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Conservative's Crimes Against Humanity

While Lively's name may not be familiar to the majority of Americans, he is known to those fighting for LGBT rights in Uganda. According to the New York Times, the suit against Lively alleges that he "conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that gay people would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture." Vince Warren, executive director of the CCR, argues in a Washington Post blog that Lively calls himself the "'father' of the anti-gay movements" in Uganda. 

In 2009, the African nation considered enacting a bill, referred to by some as the "Kill the Gays" bill, that would have imposed the death sentence on active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape, per the Times. As part of the bill, an undefined category of "serial offenders" would also be eligible for death. The Times notes that one of Lively's Ugandan contacts proposed the bill.

Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill was initially dropped after an international outcry but was reintroduced in February 2012. It is possible that this new version of the bill may nix the capital punishment clause, according to The Times. Lively voiced his support for the revision on his blog, writing, "Since the alternative to passing this bill is to allow the continuing, rapid, foreigner-driven homosexualization of Ugandan culture, I am giving the revised Anti Homosexuality Bill my support."

Sprigg: Gays Have the Same Rights As Everyone...

Before I go on with the main substance of this post, I should mention that a person's sexual orientation is defined by to whom one is attracted, not be sexual behaviour. So when someone identifies there sexual orientation as homosexual or bisexual and face discrimination as a result of this, the discrimination is not, in fact, based on their sexual behaviour, the discrimination is based on their ASSUMED sexual behaviour. Perhaps this seems to some as splitting hairs, but it points out that many of the social conservatives that make the behaviour argument do not truly understand how all of this stuff works, which calls in to question their ability to comment on any of these issues. With that said, I will reiterate the fact that it is still not the job of the government (local, state, or federal) to restrict "homosexual behaviour," which is why the Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision came down the way that it did ten years ago. Conversely, Peter Sprigg is on record as saying that "homosexual behaviour" is just cause for incarceration.

Now, back to LGBT people supposedly having the same rights as everyone else. Clearly by him making the claim that gay people have all the same civil rights as everyone else, he is flat out factually incorrect. Straight people generally do not have to worry about being fired/not hired/not promoted because they are heterosexual. Gay people are only protected from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in about half of the states, transgendered people are protected even less than that. Straight people do not have to worry about adoption restrictions based on their sexual orientation. Gay people do not have that same protection in most states, including here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And of course, there is marriage equality. Straight people can marry the person they love and have all of the legal rights that go therewith. Gay people...not so much, given that over 30 states have statutory or constitutional restrictions of a homophobic nature whereas only nine states plus the District of Columbia have marriage equality legally endorsed, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which restricts the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages) notwithstanding.

Mr. Sprigg made it very evident that one of two scenarios is true with him:  either he does not see the very real discrimination happening here in America, or - and I deem this to be the more likely scenario - he does see it...and celebrates it. What does this say about the character of him and those of like mind?

The GOP Is "A Party In Retreat"

Monday, January 21, 2013

An Ode To Mitt Romney

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

You pursued a cutthroat game plan, 
In your brutal Primary fight. 
Wherever your opponent stood, 
You scurried to his right. 
You thought you’d shake the Etch- a-Sketch, 
And start again anew. 
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you. 

When a soldier in Afghanistan, 
Asked if you had your say, 
Would you reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? 
And told you he was gay. 
You stood there without speaking, 
When the crowd began to boo. 
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you. 

You didn’t speak when Sandra Fluke, 
Was called a “slut” by Rush. 
You were silent when your party, 
Tried to take our votes from us. 
You said nothing when Todd Akin, 
Claimed that not all rapes are true. 
And that’s why we’re not inaugurating you....

You can read the whole poem HERE.

Reaction to Obama's LGBT-Inclusive Inauguration Speech

Tweet of the Day: January 21, 2013

GOP Strategy: Rig The Election

Gun Advocates Threaten Congressman (& Not Politically)

Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe On Ellen

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tweet of the Day: January 20, 2013

Gerrymandering & the Shrinking GOP

Why Conservatives Should Be FOR Defense Cuts

In my last column urging new thinking about our spending and debt addictions, I recommended we let the delayed defense sequester cuts take effect in March. While it is illogical that half of the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts spread over 10 years hit defense—which represents less than 20 percent of the federal budget—as conservatives we cannot always say “spend more” on defense. If we can easily see ways to cut costs in the Department of Education, we should not be blind to opportunities at the Pentagon.

And as only Levin can write: The president is not wrong “to raise the question of Pentagon ‘bloat.’ The United States has the most lavishly funded military on the planet, and what does it buy you? In the Hindu Kush, we’re taking 12 years to lose to goatherds with fertilizer ... [W]hy shouldn’t the Pentagon get a top-to-toe overhaul—or at least a cost-benefit analysis?”
Admittedly, this is not a great time to be affecting jobs, but the government is not the most efficient employer. With the Pentagon spending an average of $2 billion to $3 billion every business day, the potential for savings through streamlining, standardizing, prioritizing, and tracking and cutting waste and inefficiency could surely total the needed 10 percent.

Bottom line: Savings must be found.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Multiple Gun Show Shootings Mark "Gun Appreciation Day"

Emergency personnel had to be called to the scene of the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina after a gun accidentally discharged and shot two people at the show’s safety check-in booth just after 1 pm. Both victims were transported to an area hospital, and the Raleigh Fire Department announced that the show would be closed for the rest of the day.

Gun Appreciation Day is the combined effort of dozens of far-right organizations who have been vocal opponents of gun control advocates’ efforts to reduce the number of dangerous weapons on our streets and prevent them from ending up in the hands of people with criminal backgrounds or a history of mental illness. In response to a renewed push for sensible reforms of gun laws after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, groups like the National Rifle Association and the founders of Gun Appreciation Day have instead advocated for an increase in the number of guns in public places like elementary schools, arguing — falsely — that more guns will mean more protection for individuals.

But today’s unfortunate accident, which took place at a safety check in surrounded by hundreds of people who presumably have at least some training on how to properly handle a dangerous weapon, undermines that case. Earlier this week, an armed security officer at a Michigan charter school accidentally left his gun in a restroom that is regularly used by students as young as five years old.

Tweet of the Day: January 19, 2013 (1/2)

Tweet of the Day: January 19, 2013 (2/2)

Stephen Colbert's Sister To Run For Congress

Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, will run for Congress in South Carolina, St. Andrews Patch confirmed on Friday.

Colbert-Busch's entry into the race could make for interesting programming on her younger brother's show. Unlike the character Colbert plays on TV, Colbert-Busch is a Democrat, and she'll be seeking to turn a long-red First Congressional District -- previously represented by now-GOP Sen. Tim Scott -- blue. But her entrance into the race will add to the intrigue of an already compelling contest that will feature disgraced ex-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford duking it out with at least five other Republican candidates for the nomination.

Sanford notoriously disappeared from the state in 2009 in a scandal that eventually forced him to admit that he was having an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman. He finished his term, but his wife, Jenny Sanford, eventually divorced him, and earlier this month declined to run for the seat. Her ex-husband reportedly announced plans to wed his former mistress last year.

This looks like it will be one of the most interesting congressional races.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Attorney Calls Lance Armstrong "Pathological"

The Case For Mommy/Daddy Marriage

GOP Brags About Gerrymandering

...As the RSLC’s report concedes (and ThinkProgress has documented extensively), a majority of Americans voted for Democratic congressional candidates on Election Day, but only through the miracle of gerrymandering did Republicans wind up controlling the House. From the report:
Farther down-ballot, aggregated numbers show voters pulled the lever for Republicans only 49 percent of the time in congressional races, suggesting that 2012 could have been a repeat of 2008, when voters gave control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to Democrats.
But, as we see today, that was not the case. Instead, Republicans enjoy a 33-seat margin in the U.S. House seated yesterday in the 113th Congress, having endured Democratic successes atop the ticket and over one million more votes cast for Democratic House candidates than Republicans. The only analogous election in recent political history in which this aberration has taken place was immediately after reapportionment in 1972, when Democrats held a 50 seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while losing the presidency and the popular congressional vote by 2.6 million votes.
The report credits gerrymandered maps in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin with allowing Republicans to overcome a 1.1 million popular-vote deficit. In Ohio, for instance, Republicans won 12 out of 16 House races “despite voters casting only 52 percent of their vote for Republican congressional candidates.” The situation was even more egregious to the north. “Michiganders cast over 240,000 more votes for Democratic congressional candidates than Republicans, but still elected a 9-5 Republican delegation to Congress.”

Though party officials typically dance around the unseemly issue of gerrymandering, this report is surprisingly candid and unabashed. The RSLC, after all, is tasked with winning control of state legislatures in large part so they can redraw congressional maps to the GOP’s benefit after redistricting. Because most states allow partisan redistricting, its understandable that the RSLC would release a report boasting of its gerrymandering success that “paved the way to Republicans retaining a U.S. House majority in 2012.”

Warning To The GOP: Tread Lightly

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lance Armstrong's Trail of Destruction

The Problem With Existing Gun Laws

We keep hearing people on the right say that we should enforce existing gun laws. Here is the problem with that:

Long story short, existing gun laws keep the proper officials from doing anything meaningful to curb gun related violence, including measures that folks on the right say the government should be doing. Hence the need for new gun safety regulations.

5 Bush Mistakes Continued By Obama

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kansas Republican Praying For Obama's Death

From Think Progress:

Nick Sementelli at Faith in Public Life notes that Psalm 109, which is a prayer for the death of a leader, became a popular conservative meme after Obama’s election. The “tongue-in-cheek” prayer for the president was seen on bumper stickers. The relevant part of the psalm reads:
Let his days be few; and let another take his office
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
O’Neal forwarded the prayer with his own message: “At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!”
O’Neal’s office refuses to apologize for the email, insisting that the message was only referring to Obama’s days in office. Sementelli notes the response of a Rockford Register Star columnist who explains why this excuse won’t do.
What a pathetic excuse for both a Christian and a human in general.

Tweet of the Day: January 16, 2013

You can read the linked article HERE.

Homeless & Gay

The NRA Does NOT Represent Gun Owners

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An All Too Common Question

Those of us who have been out for quite a bit know that there are some very common questions that we get asked. I personally do not get asked most of them (at least not regularly), but there is THAT ONE QUESTION that I have been asked on multiple occasions, primarily by straight men:

"If you've never been with a woman, how do you know you're gay?"


This generally gets asked when me having my "Gold Star" comes up in a conversation. Every time I hear this question, my internal reaction is "Really? This question again? Ugh..." It is not that I think less of the person asking, nor do I believe them to be homophobic. Getting the same question repeatedly is just trying on my patience. This annoyance usually does not get betrayed by my external reaction. On the occasions that I get this question - again, it is primarily from straight men - my response is always the same:

"If you've never been with a man before, how do you know you're straight?"

From what I have heard from other gay men, this is the standard response to that all-too-common question. I believe this is because people do not even think to put themselves in someone else's shoes in such scenarios. By asking this reciprocal question, we prompt them to do just that. In so doing, this is the number one response I get to MY question:


And then, hopefully, the moment of understanding comes when we are both on the same page as to how this whole thing works and they say some variation of:

"Okay, I get it."

That understanding is that sexual orientation is not about hooking up with both and seeing which one you prefer. Sexual orientation is about to whom one is attracted. This is a test that does not necessarily require actual sex to figure out. They are not attracted to people of the same gender, which is how they know they are straight. Likewise I am not attracted to women, I am attracted to men. THAT is how I know I am gay.

Gay Twins Coming Out Story

Monday, January 14, 2013

Marriage News Watch: January 14, 2013

Small Kentucky Town Passes LGBT Protections

From the ACLU:

(Vicco, KY) Today the Fairness Coalition joined the Appalachian town of Vicco, Kentucky as they approved the state's first lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) anti-discrimination Fairness ordinance in a decade. The measure, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based upon a person's actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity, received support from three of the city's four-member commission and Mayor Johnny Cummings. 
Situated in the southern tip of Perry County in the Appalachian mountain region, Vicco was incorporated in 1964 and currently boasts a population of 334 residents, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. It is nestled in the heart of coal country and was originally named for Virginia Iron Coal and Coke Company, a large land business still operating in the region.
"Vicco is a community that believes all folks should be treated fairly," shared Vicco City Attorney Eric Ashley. "We believe everyone deserves the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fairness is a Kentucky value, a Vicco value, and one of our most American values."
Vicco's passage of a Fairness law comes on the heels of several other Kentucky communities' movements towards anti-discrimination protections through work with the Fairness Coalition of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY), Fairness Campaign, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, Kentucky Fairness Alliance, and Lexington Fairness. In November, grassroots movements for Fairness began in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, and Shelbyville, joining those already under way in Berea and Richmond.

Tweet of the Day: January 14, 2013

Kicked Out: Homeless Youth

The GOP, A Party On The Brink

MD Delegate Blames Drinking Problem on Marriage Equality

From Chicago Pride:

Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer has blamed a drinking problem on passage of a gay marriage law in the House of Delegates.
Dwyer, a Republican from Pasadena, was charged with drunken boating in August after his 27-foot powerboat collided with another boat on the Magothy River. The incident left a 5-year-old girl with a fractured skull.

In an interview with the Capital Gazette, Dwyer, who insists he is not to blame for the accident, said his drinking increased over two events: his November 2011 separation from his wife of 31 years and he felt "betrayed" by colleagues who voted for marriage equality.
There is absolutely nothing gay people don't get blamed for.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tweet of the Day: January 12, 2013

Rachel Maddow Eulogizes PFLAG Founder

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The GOP, Deficit Peacocks

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Lowlights & Highlights: January 12, 2013

Vice President Biden was meeting with some folks about the issue of reasonable gun laws and gun control. CNN was covering the event. In a cruel twist of irony, in the midst of this coverage, there was breaking news of yet another school shooting.

I do not like talking about school shooting in depth because it brings up some very bad memories. What I will say is that until we get some honest brokers on the other side of the gun control debate, we will get nothing but more dead bodies. It would be one thing if I thought groups like the National Rifle Association were bargaining in good faith, but it seems like they are more of a lobbying group for gun manufacturers these days (it was not always so). They say have armed gaurds at schools? They had that at Columbine, to no avail. As I have mentioned before, Virginia Tech had it's own police force, yet 32 innocent people still died there.

Hearing about these shootings makes me truly weep for humanity, and I say that completely seriously. If innocent children getting shot is not enough to reveal the very real gun problem this country has, then there is NOTHING that will.
When it was announced that Rev. Louie Giglio of Passion City Church would be a part of President Obama's Inauguration ceremony, the LGBT community was up in arms. This is a man that has a history of performing anti-gay sermons. Pretty much what one would expect from an anti-gay preacher in the nineties: quoting Leviticus, advocating reparative therapy (which, as I have said multiple times, is not reparative or therapeutic), fire and brimstone, etc.  It is odd that the first sitting president to endorse marriage equality would have such a person at his inauguration, but I digress. A day after the announcement of his participation, it was announced that Reverend Giglio would not be a part of the ceremony. The official story is that he voluntarily withdrew...that's the official story (not that I am implying anything). 

Regardless of the how he is no longer in the ceremony, what is truly important is the why. This incident underscores that people who preach hatred and intolerance are being held accountable for their actions, their words, and how they negatively impact others. More and more people are speaking out against those who advocate discrimination. I honestly do not need everyone, or anyone for that matter, involved in the inauguration to wave around pride flags and yell "EQUALITY" at the top of their lungs. People being decidedly hateful and homophobic, however, is obviously going to draw an incredible amount of ire, and deservedly so. 

Reverend Giglio said some incredibly cruel and false things. Now, he has to deal with the repercussions of that. Yes we have freedom of speech in this country, but it should not be taken to mean consequence-free speech. This should act as a cautionary tale for people today and forever after. When you go out of your way to be hurtful to others now, karma may be just around the corner.

Black Market Cigarettes

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fox Fail: Algebra Is A Liberal Conspiracy

From AlterNet:

Fox News host Eric Bolling on Wednesday accused some schools of “pushing the liberal agenda” for teaching an algebra lesson about the distributive property.
“But even worse is the way some textbooks are pushing the liberal agenda,” the Fox News host explained, pointing to an algebra worksheet that Scholastic says gives students “[i]nsight into the distributive property as it applies to multiplication.”
“Distribute the wealth!” Bolling exclaimed, reading the worksheet. “Distribute the wealth with the lovely rich girl with a big ole bag of money, handing some money out.”
Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle explained that the algebra worksheet had put her on “high alert” for the liberal agenda in her 6-year-old son’s curriculum.
Wait. These clowns don’t understand the distributive property in elementary arithmetic, and they confuse it with some kind of Communist plot? I think we’re done here. Where’s the hook? Can someone just yank these idjits off the stage?
Coming up with all of these conspiracies must be tiring. I hope they aren't straining the few brain cells that they have there at Fox.

Five Ways the GOP is Destroying America

From Examiner:
1. Taxes - Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the United States tax system has completely changed. With the term "supply side economics," the promise was made that if we drastically cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans that they will in turn, take those same tax cuts and create jobs. The problem with this system is that, while it looks promising on paper, it doesn't translate in reality. Former president, George H.W Bush called supply side economics "voodoo economics" and talked about its weaknesses. Known throughout the country as "Reaganomics," when the wealthy received their tax cuts they didn't create jobs in the United States, but instead took advantage of weak trade policies and created jobs in other countries. Countries like China, India and Pakistan were places that American companies were moving their jobs because for every Union worker that asked for $20 dollars an hour, there was a person in another country doing it for less than a $1.
3. Religious Freedom and Civil Rights - Conservatives say that they love the constitution and hold it close to their heart. With a bible in one hand and the Bill of Rights in the other, conservatives claim they are the only ones who know how to run the country. The problem with these statements is that from the opening line of the First Amendment, their claim of religious dominance is shown to be false.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
If you take a look at the first ten words of the First Amendment, it states that the United States will make no law respecting an establishment of religion. So while the country respects everyone's right to believe what they want, there will be no law that is made to fit a particular religious belief. With the recent debate about contraception and birth control dealing with Catholic organizations, religious freedom is back on the front lines...

...As the contraception issue was going on, LGBT rights have also come back. Prop 8 in California, the ban on gay marriage, was ruled unconstitutional at the same time same-sex marriage was being legalized in Washington. Once again radical religious conservatives have claimed that letting gay and lesbian Americans marry will undermine the morals of America and break away from their Judeo-Christian values. Religious conservatives also take their argument to the classroom by attacking science. 97% of all scientists accept and agree with the theory of evolution, but religious conservatives want to force a faith-based religious belief into public schools.

Wayne Besen (TWO) Versus Peter Sprigg (FRC)

For the record, Peter Sprigg is on record as saying "practicing homosexuals" should face incarceration (this was said on Chris Matthews' Hardball a few years back). He tries to deflect that in the above clip.

Cory Booker: From Homophobe To Ally

From The Advocate:

...Booker describes himself as skillfully appearing politically correct. "I was well trained in my tolerance," he wrote. "I stopped telling my gay jokes. Fags, flamers and dykes became homosexuals and people of differing sexual orientation and, of course, I had my gay friend."

But beneath his exterior, he admits "hate" had "clandestinely pervaded my every interaction with homosexuals. I sheepishly shook hands with gays or completely shied away from physical contact. I still remember how my brow would often unconsciously furrow when I was with gays as thoughts would flash in my mind, 'What sinners I am amongst' or 'How unnatural these people are.'"

He said in the column that his mind began to change in freshman year when he met a gay counselor, Daniel Bao, who "quickly disarmed me with his personal testimony." Bao told him about "people who religiously prayed to God to help them become straight. He told me of the years of denial and the pain of always feeling different. And he told me of the violence – violence from strangers and family, horrible images of beatings, destruction of property and the daily verbal condemnations."

Booker described the stories as "chilling" because of how similar they were to ones shared with him by his own grandparents, who struggled in a racist society...
Cory Booker is currently serving as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

What Is An Assault Weapon?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gun Violence Event Interrupted By School Shooting

You can read more about this incident HERE.

Tweet of the Day: January 10, 2013

Two Men Acquitted of "Looking Gay"

From CNN:

"The acquittal of two Cameroonian men jailed for looking gay because they wore women's clothes exposes the systematic discrimination against perceived homosexuals in the country," Amnesty International said in a statement.

The conviction was based on stereotypes because authorities never saw them engage in homosexual acts, according to their lawyer.
"The judge who originally sentenced them had stated that the way they dressed, the way they spoke, and the fact that they drank Bailey's Irish Cream proved they were gay," their lawyer, Alice N'Kom, told global gay rights group All Out, which launched a petition demanding the men's release.

The court overturned the conviction Monday, but it was unclear whether they have left prison.

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, where sodomy laws were introduced during colonialism. Sentences for homosexual acts vary between six months to five years.

If drinking Bailey's Irish Cream proves people are gay, then there were zero straight guys in my fraternity.

CBO: GOP Corporate Tax Proposal Bad For Jobs

...However, a slew of corporations have, for years, been pushing for the U.S. to adopt what’s known as a “territorial” system for corporate taxation instead. Under such a system, U.S. corporations would never have to pay taxes on profits earned overseas. House Republicans have embraced the idea, as did Mitt Romney during his unsuccessful presidential campaign.
But the Congressional Budget Office is out with a new warning about adopting such a system:
Alternatively, the United States could move toward a territorial system—for example, by exempting some income earned abroad from U.S. taxation or by taxing domestic income only but using a formula that considered the location of a company’s activities to determine the sources of its income. Such policies could result in a less efficient allocation of resources among countries by increasing incentives to shift business operations and reported income to countries with lower tax rates.
While it, too, has its problems, “eliminating deferral entirely would boost U.S. tax revenues by more than $100 billion over a 10-year period...”

Election Chaos in Virginia

1) Insufficient equipment and staffing at polling places. Voters in Arlington County, Chesterfield County, Norfolk, and Prince William County complained of long lines and insufficient numbers of poll workers. Virginia State Board of Elections Secretary Donald Palmer told ThinkProgress that while a few jurisdictions shortage of poll workers, lack of equipment was a more widespread problem. “The long lines were the result of people waiting for a voting system. Virginia localities utilize a large number of electronic voting systems (DREs) and there is no way to purchase or acquire new or additional DREs to meet the highest possible demand for voting equipment. Virginia will need to provide resources for localities to transition to paper based voting systems, which will increase overall capacity to meet high numbers of voters and the speed of the voting process.”'

2) Confusion among poll workers about the the state’s voter ID laws. While Virginia’s revised voter ID law requires voters to present one form of identification, several voters complained that local election officials improperly demanded too much. In Arlington County, Henrico County, Newport News, Prince William County, Richmond, and Washington County, voters were allegedly asked for multiple forms of ID or had their valid ID rejected (the chief election official in Prince William County assure the state board that the allegation against that county was incorrect). A voter in Chesterfield County claimed that a “large handmade sign on poster paper that listed the forms of identification allowed,” but “neglected to indicate that a current utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck indicating the name and address of the voter was acceptable.” Secretary Palmer told ThinkProgress the state conducted multiple voter ID trainings for local election officials and that “there were relatively few complaints from voters on the issue of ID on election day.” He added that the state provides official posters listing acceptable forms of ID and that “it would be a rare case in which a hand-made poster would be permitted inside a polling place,” but promised to look into the matter.