Thursday, May 30, 2013

Illinois Legislature To Vote On Marriage Equality

From the Windy City Times
Multiple sources connected with organizing efforts around the bill have stated that a vote is expected this afternoon, evening or early in the day on Friday. That timeline will partially depend on other business in Springfield as spring session wraps up. 
Advocates with Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, The Civil Rights Agenda, Human Rights Campaign, Gay Liberation Network and other groups are already in the capitol. Sources say that the families of some reps. are also headed for Springfield. 
Anti-LGBT groups not appear to be present. 
The bill has already passed the Senate and Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed to sign it.
Illinois' legislative session end tomorrow, May 31. 

Mark Warner Looks Good For Re-Election

Mark Warner continues to be by far and away Virginia's most popular politician, and doesn't look like he would face much trouble for reelection regardless of who the Republicans put up next year. 
53% of Virginians approve of the job Warner is doing to only 27% who disapprove. He's at 58/25 with independents, and has 26% crossover approval from Republicans. He would have an 11 point lead in a hypothetical match up with Bob McDonnell, 50/39. He would also lead Eric Cantor by 19 points at 53/34 and Bill Bolling by 21 points at 54/33. Cantor continues to be unpopular statewide, with only 26% of voters rating him favorably to 40% who have a negative opinion.
Of course this election is a year and a half away which is a political eternity, but this is certainly good news for Virginia. 

RWNJ: Women Were Designed To Be Ruled

Louisiana Attempts Banning Surrogates For Gays/Singles

If you are a same-sex couple in Louisiana, it is currently legal for you to contract with a surrogate mother to carry a baby for you and your partner. That is about to change. The Louisiana Senate passed a bill this week that sets new standards for paid and contract surrogate pregnancies. Senate Bill 162 would allow only married heterosexual couples to use the services of a surrogate mother. It doesn’t matter whether the surrogate has been paid, or if she simply wanted to help a friend. Gay couples, or single people of any persuasion, will not be allowed to have a child using a surrogate.
SB 162 was objected to by both the Left, who thinks using a woman’s womb as a commodity exploits women, and the Right, who object to the destruction of embryos the in vitro process causes. In spite of these vocal constituencies, and the fact that the new regulations disenfranchise gay and single people, the bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers. Governor Jindal is expected to sign.
This is big government conservatism. 

Rick Perry Vetoes Buying American

From Forward Progressives:

Rare is it that you get true bipartisan support on anything political these days, but that’s exactly what happened a few days ago when the Texas Senate and House sent the “Buy American” bill to Governor Rick Perry’s desk. 
Passing the Senate by a vote of 23-7 and the House 145-0, the Texas legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill meant to give preference to American-made goods for purchase by the State of Texas when they are of equal cost and quality to foreign-made products. 
In other words, if an American-made product and foreign-made product are of equal quality and cost, when the state is purchasing a good or service, the state would always give preference to the American-made product or service. 
96% of Texas legislators supported the “Buy American” bill… 

Churches Revoke Scout Sponsorships Over Inclusion

From ABC News
A number of churches that previously sponsored Boy Scout troops have said they plan to sever ties to the organization following its decision to lift a longtime national ban on admitting openly gay Scouts. Openly gay adults will still be barred from leadership roles in the organization. 
"I think I can say with pretty strong accuracy that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are very disappointed in the latest change in policy ... deeply disappointed," Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee, told 
Page said that the Southern Baptist Convention -- the largest Protestant denomination in the United States -- would be holding its national meeting in two weeks, after which it would likely recommend that its 47,000 U.S. churches pull away from the Boy Scouts of America. From there, it is up to each individual church to decide what to do, said Page. 
About 70 percent of all local Boy Scout troops are supported by religious groups, according to the Boy Scouts of America, and the Southern Baptist Convention currently sponsors "hundreds of troops, probably thousands," Page said. 
If merely allowing gay scouts in is enough to cause these churches to revoke their sponsorships, then one has to wonder if their entire purpose being sponsors was to spread homophobia. 

GOP Women Running From Virginia's GOP Ticket

From Politicus USA

Former President of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women Jan Schar and former Republican and Independent Delegate Katherine Waddell are reportedly none too impressed by the Virginia GOP gubernatorial ticket of Ken Cuccinelli and EW Jackson. Speaking to Lowkell at Blue Virginia Wednesday morning, Waddell called “the worst ticket ever”, adding that she was “completely embarrassed and mortified by the Republican ticket of Cuccinelli and Jackson.” 
Jan Schar told Blue Virginia that although she’s been a Republican for years, “I simply cannot support them,” as they would “end a woman’s right to make her own health care choices, including access to birth control.” 
Schar was disturbed by the Republican ticket’s attack on Planned Parenthood, “which does so much good for women in Virginia…. to call them a racist group is simply beyond the pale and hopefully will frighten Virginians from voting for them. This team of three would take us back to their ideology.” Schar concluded, “I know so many Republicans who just can’t support [this ticket].” 
Waddell (I/R) called Cuccinelli “extreme”, according to Blue Virigina, due in part to his “dangerous… anti-woman health agenda.” Reacting to the ticket’s charges against Planned Parenthood, she pointed out that it made “absolutely no sense to accuse Planned Parenthood of being a racist organization; it’s an organization which brings much needed health care to many.” 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tweet of the Day: May 29, 2013 (Farewell Michele)

Oklahoma Rep. Blasts His Party On Women's Issues

From News Ok
As a practicing physician (who never has or will perform an abortion), I deal with the real world. In the real world, 15- and 16-year-olds get pregnant (sadly, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds do also). In the real world, 62 percent of women ages 20 to 24 who give birth are unmarried. And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman's path to escaping the shackles of poverty. 
Yet I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception. A recent attempt by my fellow lawmakers to prevent Medicaid dollars from covering the “morning after” pill is a case in point. Denying access to this important contraceptive is a sure way to increase legal and back-alley abortions. Moreover, such a law would discriminate against low-income women who depend on Medicaid for their health care. 
But wait, some lawmakers want to go even further and limit everyone's access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception. 
What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) “you have walked a mile in their moccasins?”

Anti-Gay Regnerus Study Dismissed By Reviewers

From the New Civil Rights Movement:

In a lengthy interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Darren Sherkat, a professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University, and a member of the editorial board of Social Science Research — the publisher of the Regnerus “study,” officially the “New Family Structures Study” (NFSS) – once again decimates the Regnerus paper. 
“When we talk about Regnerus, I completely dismiss the study,” Sherkat tells the Southern Poverty Law Center:
It’s over. He has been disgraced. All of the prominent people in the field know what he did and why he did it. And most of them know that he knew better. Some of them think that he’s also stupid and an ideologue. I know better. I know that he’s a smart guy and that he did this on purpose, and that it was bad, and that it was substandard.
Regular readers will note that The New Civil Rights Movement was at the forefront of investigating the background and methodology of the Regnerus work, which falsely claimed that adult children raised by gay and lesbian parents by far more likely to perform poorly in life. The Regnerus study claimed that these adults of gay parents had far great chances of using drugs, being on welfare and food stamps, have behavioral problems, and exhibit self-destructive behaviors. The list of negative outcomes was lengthy — and false...
This is a study that, since its publication, has been cited repeatedly by social conservatives, notably Bryan Fischer (American Family Association) and Tony Perkins (Family Research Council). The study was immediately called to question, especially in terms of the methodology. Yet again, the facts are not on the side of those who are looking for excuses to discriminate. Of course the main reason for this is that there are NO excuses to discriminate. From here on out, any time someone cites this study in their anti-gay crusade, they will be shooting their own credibility in the foot...just like Regnerus did to himself in carrying out such a flawed study.

Michele Bachmann Not Running For Re-Election

From Yahoo News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative firebrand and a favorite of tea party Republicans, said Wednesday she will not run for another term in the U.S. House. 
Bachmann, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, announced her decision in a video on her website. 
"My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected," Bachmann said. She narrowly won a fourth term in 2012 over Democrat Jim Graves, a hotel chain founder who is running again in 2014. 
Bachmann also said, "This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign." In January, a former Bachmann aide filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming Bachmann made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her 2012 presidential run. The aide, Peter Waldron, also accused Bachmann of other FEC violations.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

RWNJ: Gays Are "Filthy People"

Election 2013: Virginia's Extreme GOP Slate

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

Marriage News Watch: May 27, 2013

The Last Veterans of World War I

Richard Rubin’s The Last of the Doughboys is a brilliant and unexpected delight. Interviewing the last surviving American veterans of World War I, all of them of course well beyond a hundred years old, is the kind of idea which would make any nonfiction writer clap his (or her) hand to the forehead and say: “Why didn’t I think of that?” 
His subtitle on the other hand is a little strange for a European to assimilate: “The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War,” is not only cumbersome, but also puzzling. In Britain and Europe, no event is less forgotten than World War I, or “The Great War,” as it was called until 1939. Speaking as somebody who is half English and half Hungarian, World War I still seems to me a familiar and seismic event, as if it had only just ended. My father fought on the side of the Central Powers, as a soldier in the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Army, my maternal grandfather fought in the British Army, on different sides, and both were so traumatized by the experience that they never talked about it. 
The war left its mark on every part of British life, no town too small not to have a war memorial, with a long list of the dead carved in stone, no college, school or public building without a plaque inside the door bearing an endless list of names of those who were killed in Flanders, on the Somme or elsewhere, no poetry more often recited than that of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. To this day, I, like many in Britain, still wear a poppy on Nov. 11. 
The war left its mark on history too, erasing empires, replacing Austro-Hungary with a dangerous brood of Eastern European and Balkan mini-nations, carving up the Ottoman Empire into colonies, soon to become statelets, with artificial frontiers containing populations of different ethnic and religious backgrounds who hated each other, and bringing about the birth of Fascism, Communism, and Nazism—for the Second World War, awful as it was, was merely a reprise of the First with some minor switching of smaller powers, and the addition of a war in the Pacific to that in Europe. The years 1914-1918 were, and will perhaps always remain, our mental image of Armageddon: the mud, the trenches, the barbed wire, the squalor, the millions of dead for no good purpose...

Why Some of That IRS Scrutiny Was Warranted

From the New York Times

When CVFC, a conservative veterans’ group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress. 
 The Wetumpka Tea Party, from Alabama, sponsored training for a get-out-the-vote initiative dedicated to the “defeat of President Barack Obama” while the I.R.S. was weighing its application. 
And the head of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, whose application languished with the I.R.S. for more than two years, sent out e-mails to members about Mitt Romney campaign events and organized members to distribute Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign literature. 
Representatives of these organizations have cried foul in recent weeks about their treatment by the I.R.S., saying they were among dozens of conservative groups unfairly targeted by the agency, harassed with inappropriate questionnaires and put off for months or years as the agency delayed decisions on their applications. 
But a close examination of these groups and others reveals an array of election activities that tax experts and former I.R.S. officials said would provide a legitimate basis for flagging them for closer review.

A New Mexico County Bans Oil & Gas Drilling

Monday, May 27, 2013

Requiem For a Soldier

FBI (And Many Others) Investigate Michele Bachmann

Someone this crazy should have been investigated ages ago.

Anti-Equality Protesters Turn Violent

From The Local

Police said 150,000 people turned out to protest, a figure immediately contested by organizers who said one million opponents of the law had shown up. 
Some of the far-right activists briefly unfurled a banner at the ruling Socialist party's headquarters urging President Francois Hollande to resign. 
As the protesters dispersed, after a largely peaceful march, police said up to 500 people began attacking them by throwing metal barriers, smoke flares and beer bottles. 
The youths shouted slogans against the government such as "Socialist dictatorship" and also threw objects at journalists covering the event.
Fears of unrest at Sunday's protest had been fueled by violence that erupted earlier this month during celebrations marking football club Paris Saint-Germain's league victory, which saw tourists attacked and shop and car windows smashed.

Some 4,500 security forces were mobilized for Sunday's demonstration that was billed as a last-ditch show of force by opponents of the bill allowing same-sex marriage and adoption, which was voted into law on May 18th following months of bitter protests.

Robbie Rogers Plays His First Game Out & Open

The Virginia GOP's Ticket Problem

“Something happened that wasn’t supposed to,” [campaign strategist Kenny] Klinge said Tuesday. 
That “something” was the repudiation of what remains of Establishment Republicanism. 
Senior party officials and legislators were perceived by the grass roots — religious conservatives, gun-rights activists, tea partiers and home-schoolers — as intent on installing a mainstream candidate, presumably social-media millionaire Pete Snyder.
The first problem this ticket must solve: erase the impression that party leaders aren’t fully behind it. 
During the protracted balloting — it went four rounds before Jackson was declared the winner — backstairs talks began, aimed at stopping Jackson, according to operatives. The objective: force Corey Stewart, the immigrant-hostile Prince William County supervisor and tea-party favorite, to endorse Snyder. 
The talks included Republican senators for whom the stakes of the lieutenant governor election are especially high. The Virginia Senate is evenly divided — 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans. But a GOP lieutenant governor currently guarantees the party’s control. If Republicans lose for lieutenant governor; in effect, they lose the Senate. And that could cripple a Ken Cuccinelli governorship.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tweet of the Day: May 26, 2013

Robbie Rogers Joins L.A. Galaxy & Makes History

Radio Host Advocates Workplace Discrimination

"Shouldn’t an employer have the right to uphold high moral standards in his or her company? Or shouldn’t schools have the right to not have open homosexuals or cross-dresses modeling that lifestyle to kids? This does not deprive anyone of a job by the way, except those who insist on displaying these lifestyles to everyone and forcing their acceptance. Such behavior shows a disrespect for two things: everyone else around them and for hardcore facts. The fact is that no one needs to be involved in homosexuality and all of the good qualities a person may have that might make that person otherwise an excellent employee don’t require a homosexual lifestyle. Now the activists won’t like this and I may get another slew of hateful emails and such from the tolerance crowd but really where is the actual concern for the rights and beliefs of others? The track record on these so-called non-discrimination regulations shows a consistent and disturbing pattern of bullying and abuse." 
-Linda Harvey, Mission: America

How Homophobes Are Helping Equality

Linda Harvey
From Pink News

Mrs [Linda] Harvey, who broadcasts an obscure radio programme, at the very least provides the most comical and deluded arguments you have ever heard against homosexuality. 
Mrs Harvey has recently claimed that gay people are not human, so are not protected by the US constitution. She also believes that Jesus could be forced to marry a man if he is resurrected and that gay rights is killing children
Listening to Mrs Harvey’s clap trap is not unlike the bizarre experience I had when the British writer Lynette Burrows debated me at the Oxford Union. She claimed that a child would be brought up better by a “drug addict slut” than the “pretend fathers”, my boyfriend and I would one day like to be. Her ludicrous and offensive comments made my victory over more mild mannered anti-equality speakers she was grouped with a lot easier. 
The reality is that around half of the readers of these sorts stories are not LGBT, they are people who have been shared them by their LGBT friends. Their sense of moral outrage is in my view incredibly useful in dispelling the more reasonable arguments of mild mannered homophobes. They share the stories on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit all with a sense of shock at what hateful people say about LGBT people. 
Remember the US judge who claimed that lesbians could be ‘cured’ by being forced to have sex with male soldiers? That was shared 62,000 times on Facebook and has been read more than two and a half million times over the past three years, primarily, we believe, by straight people.

Bob Dole: GOP Should Close For Repairs

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Selling Kids to Prison

This is the problem with private prisons: they create a demand for criminals. Unfortunately, these adults and kids who have been sold to the prison-industrial complex will not be able to get back the time that they have lost.

More Crumbling Infrastructure

A Theological School's Message of Inclusion

From The Advocate

The Claremont, Calif., school’s Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion [part of the Claremont School of Theology] sent all graduates a rainbow tassel in hopes that they would wear it alongside their regular tassel as a symbol of support for LGBT inclusivity. At the ceremony last Tuesday, almost all of them did, center co-director Grace Yia-Hei Kao reports on her Feminism and Religion blog. 
“I was ecstatic to see the vast majority of graduates, as well as the faculty, staff, and other luminaries participating in Commencement eagerly don their rainbow tassels,” writes Kao, who is also an associate professor of ethics at the theological school. Most of those students participating in the first graduation ceremony of a related institution, Claremont Lincoln University, did so as well.
Being a person of faith does not have to mean being anti-gay, despite what some would have us think. 

Kaitlyn Hunt Rejects Plea Deal

Florida teen Kaitlyn Hunt, who has been charged with a felony for having a sexual relationship with her younger girlfriend, has rejected a plea deal that would have included two years of house arrest and having to register as a sex offender. A statement released by her lawyers argued that she is being selectively prosecuted for having been in a same-sex relationship when she turned 18:
Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida. 
This is a situation of two teenagers who happen to be of the same sex involved in a relationship. If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be no media attention to this case. [...] 
If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when she was 17, we wouldn’t even be here. [...] 
Along with Kaitlyn and her family, we are going to fight to have the law changed so no other teenager finds themselves in this same position created by the State of Florida and prosecuted unfairly.
Kaitlyn’s father, Steven Hunt Jr.,  explained this week that the charges seem to stem entirely from the parents of her girlfriend, who knew of the relationship, but waited until Kaitlyn turned 18 to object. According to Hunt, “Kate has offered to permanently cease contact and leave the state if charges are dropped, but that offer has been rejected by the prosecutor and the girlfriend’s parents.”
I am no expert on Florida law, but I think that given what the law in Florida is, the Hunts are looking at an uphill battle. Even though it is clear that the parents of the younger girl only brought this case forward before the courts because of their own anti-gay animus (notice how even though this story has gone viral, those parents have made no public statements), this constitutes a technical violation of the law. This case epitomizes the darkness of the hearts of some and the depths to which they will go in regards to homophobia. I am hoping for the best for the Hunts. It is a damned shame that two people have taken it upon themselves to destroy this girl because of their own prejudices.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Congressman: You Should Take Brain-Dead Fetuses to Term

On Thursday, Christy Zink testified in opposition to H.R. 1797, a 20-week abortion ban that anti-abortion representatives of Congress keep attempting to impose upon the women in the nation’s capital. Abortion opponents claim that 20-week bans are necessary to prevent “fetal pain.” But in her testimony, Zink pointed out it’s misleading to suggest that this abortion restriction would serve this purpose, since forcing her to carry her pregnancy to term would have actually caused her unborn son considerable pain. 
At 21 weeks, Zink’s doctors discovered that her fetus had no brain function. That type of fetal abnormality was impossible to detect earlier in her pregnancy. “If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby whom the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain,” Zink explained. “If he had survived the pregnancy — which was not certain — he might never have left the hospital. My daughter’s life, too, would have been irrevocably hurt by an almost always-absent parent.” 
In order to justify his support for H.R. 1797, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested that Zink should have given birth to her son anyway, regardless of the pain that may have caused her family.

Illinois Bans Abstinence-Only "Education"

From the Chicago Tribune
Illinois public schools that teach sex education will be required to provide information about birth control under a measure the Senate sent to Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday. 
The legislation is a change from current policy, where abstinence is the only requirement for schools with sex ed classes. The measure was approved on a 37-21 vote and needed 30 to pass. 
Supporters argue that abstinence-only education is not effective and students should be taught about other methods of birth control and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Opponents contend abstinence-only education should remain the norm in schools, saying parents should decide how to educate their kids about sex. 
Sponsoring Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said the measure still would require schools to teach that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and disease, while at the same time allowing "students to make healthy decisions for themselves."
Studies have shown that states with abstinence-only education also have higher rates of teen pregnancy and STI transmission. The phrase "abstinence-only education" in and of itself is an oxymoron. How can you call it accurate education if accurate information is purposefully withheld from the students? It's like having a geometry class where you don't talk about circles. 

Gov. Brewer To AZ Republicans: Expand Medicaid Or Else

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has a message for her party: expand Medicaid — or else. 
The combative GOP governor is sticking by a threat she made to veto all legislation until lawmakers resolve the 2014 state budget and pass Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. On Thursday, Brewer proved that wasn’t just talk, vetoing five bills sent to her desk in quick succession. 
“I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state budget and plan for Medicaid,”wrote Brewer in her veto message. “It is disappointing I must demonstrate the moratorium was not an idle threat.” 
Arizona officials only have five weeks before reaching the constitutional deadline for passing a budget. Last Thursday, six Republican state senators joined a unified Democratic caucus to pass a Medicaid expansion bill — but efforts have been gummed up in the state House since then.
Governor Brewer, of finger-pointing fame, has been considered a Tea Party favourite over the years. I wonder if now, she will be considered a RINO (Republican in name only) like other Republicans who do not tow the party line to the hilt?

Study: Marijuana Use Linked to Weight Loss

Protesting Marriage Equality...By Committing Suicide

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tweet of the Day: May 23, 2013

An Anti-Gay Law Group's Losing Argument

As the Delaware Senate debated a marriage equality bill earlier this month, opponents brought ADF [Alliance Defense Fund] senior counsel Jordan Lorence to the floor to offer testimony. Lorence noted a case in New Mexico (a state which don’t even allow same-sex marriage), in which an anti-gay vendor had faced legal action after violating state civil rights laws, and suggested that he believes such public accommodations laws are unconstitutional. “It’s the business owners that deal with weddings. It’s licensed professionals having their licenses threatened because they believe the wrong things about marriage,” he told the Senators
Delaware state Sen. Dave Sokola (D), lead Senate sponsor of the bill, told ThinkProgress that Lorence’s right-to-discriminate arguments actually helped solidify support for the bill:
We had recently added “sexual orientation” to our non-discrimination statute in 2009, and debated and passed Civil Unions just 2 years ago. Even with a large turn-over in both the House and Senate, this issue was very fresh in many of our minds. Equality Delaware did a tremendous outreach to all, with a special emphasis on our newer legislators, so there was sufficient understanding of the matter, and I do think he just firmed up the positions of all on the prevailing side. We also now have a 4-year track record of how Delaware businesses are doing with respect to this, and the predictions of our opponents have not come true since we enacted either of the previous bills. The facts have significantly diminished their credibility.
Lorence also made this argument to the Delaware House of Representatives. Sokola’s House counterpart, Rep. Melanie Smith (D), told ThinkProgress: “I believe he was mistaken in much of what he said and misrepresented the bill significantly.” She added that as far as she knew, “no votes were swayed by his testimony.” The bill passed both chambers and was signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell (D).
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. It is way past time for ADF to get their heads checked.

Fighting Against Scout Discrimination

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tweet of the Day: May 22, 2013

Turning Gay Men Straight Through Contact Sports

Turkish oil wrestling...seriously
From 429 Magazine
A Catholic institution hopes to convert gay men to heterosexuality through contact sports.  
Organized by Father Paul Check, the 4-day sports camp aims to show gay men the straight and narrow path, and will take place in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania from May 23 till May 26. 
“Usually held in the Spring, Sports Camp is an exhilarating, experiential weekend for men desiring to learn how to play team sports with encouragement, coaching, and an abundance of Christian fellowship,” reads the site.  
Through contact sports, men will enrich their souls “through a daily regimen of prayer, confessions, mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours...”
For the record, I am sure Turkish Oil Wrestling is not actually one of the sports they will be doing...then again, I could be wrong. But I digress...

Honestly I have never understood this. You have a bunch of men who are attracted to other men and they are trying to change that. So, you get these men who are attracted to other men and you put them with other men who are attracted to men. Somehow, with all of these men who are attracted to other men all together, they are supposed to become attracted to women? WHAT!?!?!?

The Deep South Supports Medicaid Expansion

A large majority of people living in the Deep South supports the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, even though their governors and representatives oppose it, according to a new poll.

The Republican governors and legislatures in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina have rejected the Medicaid expansion, which would extend health care coverage to more low-income people. But a poll conducted in March and April by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that 62 percent of the people in those states support the expansion, one of the key instruments in the Obama administration’s strategy to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.

The survey included 2,500 respondents (500 in each of the states) with an overall margin of error of about 2 percentage points and a 4.4 percent margin of error for individual states.

Another Reason the IRS "Scandal" Isn't A Real Scandal

Canada Ends Ban On Gay Men Donating Blood

From The Star
The federal blood donor agency is lifting its lifetime ban on gay men giving blood.

Canadian Blood Services announced Wednesday it has received approval from Health Canada to reduce its restriction on men who have sex with men donating blood from indefinitely to five years.

“We recognize that many people will feel that this change does not go far enough, but given the history of the blood system in Canada, we see this as a first and prudent step forward on this policy,” Dr. Dana Devine, vice-president of medical, scientific and research affairs at the federal blood donor agency said in a news release Wednesday.

“It’s the right thing to do and we are committed to regular review of this policy as additional data emerge and new technologies are implemented,” Devine said in the statement.

The new policy will come into effect this summer...

Texas Couple Forced Apart By Estranged Sister

A Texas man says he and his partner were together for 34 years but his partner’s sister has now forced them apart, taken their home, and his partner’s finances — and done it legally because they weren’t married. For the last six years his partner, Jim, who is older, suffered from Alzheimer’s. Jim’s estranged sister, Lon Watts writes on Facebook, was able to take their home and Jim’s finances through the courts by filing for guardianship — despite Lon having power of attorney. Lon Watts writes:
I’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE HIM AGAIN! She got his bank account from Social Security Disability and sold his house out from under me. I had 2 weeks to vacate our home of 12 years. [sic] 
If we were EQUAL in the eyes of the law we would be together till the end. But as it stands in Texas, a money hungry greedy relative was able to steal our life and toss me out as trash to pad her pocketbook. I pray God has mercy on her soul for her evil deeds. I am content knowing the world is coming around to acknowledge that ALL HUMANS ARE CREATED EQUAL and SHOULD HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS.
Lon’s story has been shared almost 3000 times on Facebook and has more than 3000 likes. Sadly, Lon and Jim’s story, and others like it, are the exact reason why marriage must be extended to all same-sex couples across the entire nation.
This is what is at stake as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on California's Proposition 8. The court could make a sweeping decision that would affect marriage equality across the nation. Most legal scholars, however, see such a ruling unlikely, in favour of a ruling that applies only to California. The court has surprised us before though.

Things like this should not happen and had marriage been an option for this couple, it would not have. It is bad enough that one of them is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease (trust me, I have seen its affects firsthand), but that someone has so much hate where their heart should be to put a restraining order in place keeping two people in love apart after being together for 34 years is absolutely unfathomable. The rest of the story just makes an already horrible situation even worse. When we are fighting for the equality of the LGBT community and same-sex couples, this is the kind of tragedy we are trying to prevent. No one should have to go through what this couple is suffering.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tweet of the Day: May 21, 2013

Jackson (R-VA) Calls Federal Aid Unconstitutional

This man is E.W. Jackson and he is the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia. He is saying that emergency federal disaster aid is unconstitutional. This is the best candidate that the state's GOP could muster. This is downright sad, even for them. In a time when the GOP is trying to rebrand itself, particularly in emerging swing states like the commonwealth of Virginia, this state's Republican Party nominates one of the most right-wing candidates it can find. Clearly, the state party learned nothing from the 2012 election.

I will have more on this candidate, as well as the two other statewide candidates, in the not-too-distant future.

British House of Commons Passes Marriage Equality

A big congratulations to the British House of Commons which today voted in favour of marriage equality. Prime Minister David Cameron of the Conservative Party faced some strong opposition in pushing for this bill. Even in the face of that, he held firm in his support of the measure. The bill still has to go through the House of Lords, but the Commons was the major hurdle of this legislation. Once the bill's passage is finalized, England will be the 15th* nation to enact full marriage equality and the 4th nation in just the first half of this year along with Uruguay, France, and New Zealand.

For equality, today was a good day.

*There may actually be 16 nations given a ruling by the court system in Brazil that may have paved the way for equality there as well, but so far as I know, that has yet to be ironed out.

Gay-Bashings Are Mounting in NYC

From NBC New York
A gay couple was attacked early Tuesday in SoHo, hours after thousands marched to protest the killing of a gay man and several other bias attacks that have shaken the community, NBC 4 New York has learned. 
Police are also investigating a beating in the East Village as another possible bias attack, sources said. 
In the SoHo assault, law enforcement sources said the two men, 41 and 42, were walking on Broadway between Prince and Houston streets at about 5 a.m. when two men started yelling anti-gay remarks in English and Spanish. The victims are Hispanic.
On Monday evening, gay activists and supporters marched to condemn the death of 32-year-old Mark Carson in Greenwich Village, and several other attacks on gays in recent weeks. 
Carson was killed Saturday as he walked with a companion through the Village. Police say a man charged with murder as a hate crime shot Carson in the head. 
In the wake of the deadly shooting, officials said Monday that police would increase their presence there and in nearby neighborhoods through the end of June, Gay Pride Month. 
Police say there has been a rise in anti-gay crimes overall so far this year, to 24 from 14 during the same period last year.

GOP Aides Lament Benghazi Witch-Hunt

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
From Roll Call

The inquiry led by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee into the slaying of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year has been attention-grabbing, but some senior GOP aides are worried that the partisan overtones are diverting Congress from identifying and addressing the real lessons learned from the attack. 
In particular, these aides say key staffers have been overly consumed with chasing down or addressing inaccurate or unfounded accusations emerging from the inquiry. 
“We have got to get past that and figure out what are we going to do going forward,” a GOP aide stressed. “Some of the accusations, I mean you wouldn’t believe some of this stuff. It’s just — I mean, you’ve got to be on Mars to come up with some of this stuff...”           

Sen. Coburn: Oklahoma Aid Must Be Offset

From the Washington Post

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will insist that any federal aid to deal with the tornado in his home state must be offset by budget cuts. 
“He will ask his colleagues to sacrifice lower priority areas of the budget to help Oklahoma,” spokesman John Hart said. Should other Republicans join Coburn, it could set up a fight similar to the January tug-of-war over Hurricane Sandy funding. That aid package was delayed by GOP opposition and ultimately passed with mostly Democratic support. 
In a statement, Coburn said that “as the ranking member of Senate committee that oversees FEMA, I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”
It is truly a shame that whenever such disasters occur and people are in desperate need, there are some who have no problem holding up the process. The sooner the people of Oklahoma get the aid they need, the better. Despite his platitudes of aid delivery without delay, the course which he wants to take almost ensures delay. What is worse is that this is regarding his own constituents. Lucky for him, he will not be seeking re-election, so he does not have to worry about facing the voters again. Otherwise, I am sure they would not forget this.

Anti-Birth Control Evangelical Movement Spreading

While I have nothing against religion in general (myself being Christian), fundamentalism of any kind is usually a bad thing for a multitude of reasons.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's Next For Kaitlyn Hunt?

The family is hoping that public pressure will improve the offer from the State Attorney. Her father said Kaitlyn would be willing to plead to a misdemeanor, but not a felony. If the position of the State Attorney does not change, Kaitlyn and her family are prepared to go to trial. 
The family’s attorney, Julia Graves, has assembled a table of experienced defense lawyers that will convene next week to discuss Kaitlyn’s legal options. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn is scheduled to appear in court again on June 20. At that time, if a plea agreement is not reached, the judge could set a date for trial.
You can see the original story HERE. There is also a link to a petition urging the prosecutor to drop/reduce the charges which can be found HERE.


Marriage News Watch: May 20, 2013

Glenn Beck: AP & IRS Timed to Cover-Up Benghazi

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The CBO on Repealing Obamacare

Uruguay's President Proposes Legalizing Marijuana

Radio Host Wants to Shoot Hillary Clinton in the Vagina

Here is the direct quote:
I want to shoot her right in the vagina and I don't want her to die right away; I want her to feel the pain and I want to look her in the eyes and I want to say, on behalf of all Americans that you've killed, on behalf of the Navy SEALS, the families of Navy SEAL Team Six who were involved in the fake hunt down of this Obama, Obama bin Laden thing, that whole fake scenario, because these Navy SEALS know the truth, they killed them all. On behalf of all of those people, I'm supporting our troops by saying we need to try, convict, and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina. 
What a classy guy. I wonder when Secret Service men will be knocking on his door.

Mount Everest Is Melting

From Huffington Post:
For years, scientists have worried about the impact of climate change in the invaluable Himalayan region. Recent research seems to confirm worries that a warming world is melting one of Earth's most iconic, not to mention tallest, summits: Mount Everest. 
The research was presented this weekduring a conference co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Cancun, Mexico. Co-authored by Sudeep Thakuri of the Graduate School of Earth, Environment and Biodiversity at the University of Milan in Italy, the study says glaciers on Mount Everest have decreased by 13 percent over the past 50 years, while the snowline has shifted upward several hundred feet. 
Man-made greenhouse gasses may be responsible for these changes, though a direct link has not yet been ascertained, Thakuri said in statements released by the AGU. 
Thakuri's team used satellite imagery and topographic maps to track the region's glacial movements, and used hydro-meteorological data from the Nepal Climate Observatory and Nepal's Department of Hydrology to examine temperature and precipitation changes. Their data shows that the temperature in the Everest region has increased by sightly more than 1 degree Fahrenheit, with a 3.9 decrease in precipitation during the pre-monsoon and winter months in the past two decades. 
Discovery notes that even small increases in temperature can have large consequences on the mountain, where melting glaciers could lead to flooding, rock slides and avalanches that could damage the ecosystem.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Florida Teen Arrested, Expelled for Same-Sex Relationship

From The Advocate:

A sad story is emerging from Florida involving a teen arrested and expelled for a lesbian relationship. 
Kaitlyn Hunt was a popular student at Sebastian River High School, participating in everything from cheerleading to basketball. Hunt began dating another female student and the latter girl's parents became enraged, according to Hunt's parents. Kaitlyn was 17 at the time the relationship began, while her girlfriend was 15. Upon Kaitlyn's 18th birthday, her girlfriend's parents sent the police to the Hunt home and the teenager was arrested. 
Hunt was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. Then, weeks before her graduation, Hunt was expelled from school.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tweet of the Day: May 17, 2013

Marijuana Use Linked To Reduced Risk of Diabetes

From CBS News
You may have heard that marijuana smokers get hungry after using the drug, and the authors of a new study point out that marijuana users tend to take in more calories than their counterparts. But, their study found that pot smokers aren't any more likely to be obese than non-smokers. 
Equally surprising, the researchers found marijuana may actually be a tool in controlling blood sugar -- and may be key in helping diabetics keep their condition in check. 
The new study, which was published on May 15 in The American Journal of Medicine, showed that regular marijuana use was linked to significantly lower levels of fasting insulin. Smokers were also less likely to be insulin resistant, a condition where the body's cells no longer respond to a hormone that controls carbohydrates and fat metabolism called insulin. High levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance could lead to diabetes...
Keep in mind however that despite even with the benefits laid out here, marijuana use has also been linked to strokes in young adults and testicular cancer in young men. Like almost anything in the world of medicine, the risks have to be weighed alongside the benefits.

LGBT Tolerance in Europe

Why the IRS "Scandal" is Not Obama's Watergate

From The Guardian

On the Watergate investigation:

The senators were, after all, working with a raft of indisputable material, including the January 1973 convictions of former President Nixon aides G Gordon Liddy and James W McCord, Jr. on charges of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping in connection with the June 1972 Watergate break-in, and the April 1973 resignation and firing of other top White House staffers. The senators could afford to be methodical: there had been criminal activity, authorized and carried out at the highest level of the administration, and no amount of grandstanding would further dramatize those already damning facts. The committee set out to establish, in Senator Howard Baker's notorious words, "What did the president know and when did he know it?"
On the Internal Revenue Service incident:
But here's the critical fact: there's been no finding of criminal activity in the Obama administration, and the FBI's opening of a criminal investigation of the IRS should lay to rest accusations that the administration has failed to take the matter seriously. 
As Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who broke the Watergate story, pointed out, there is no evidence the president ordered, much less knew about, the IRS scrutiny of conservative groups' tax-exempt applications. The Treasury Department's Inspector General report concluded that despite the fact that IRS personnel had used "inappropriate criteria" to identify which applications to subject to additional review, personnel told the IG that "the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS". 
Until such time as there is concrete that President Barack Obama orchestrated or had knowledge of what happened with the IRS, calling it his Watergate is a misleading attempt by his political enemies to stir up hatred against him. Yet again, here is an example of the right making claims without the facts to back them up. How predictable.

Today in Responsible Gun Ownership...

A Tennessee man showing off the snazzy features of his 9-mm pistol accidentally shot his 13-month-old daughter.

Kevin Sayre, 26, now faces an aggravated assault charge and is held in lieu of a $20,000 bond as he awaits a court date Thursday.
"We're always disappointed, astounded, surprised when we hear of someone who is handling a firearm recklessly, neglectfully," Tullahoma Police Chief Paul Blackwell told WSMV-TV.

Sayre was allegedly field stripping two Glock pistols at his apartment and showing how their parts are interchangeable when the gun went off, seriously wounding the baby who reportedly was standing with her hands on a coffee table nearby.
“I just imagine like it was my own kid,” neighbor Misty Patterson said as she teared up, holding her own baby. “And it’s sad to know I live close by to this.”
Luckily the baby girl is expected to survive.

Heritage to GOP: More Scandal, Less Doing Your Actual Job

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)
From The Grio

In a letter to members of Congress, which was obtained by NBC News, Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation (which recently found itself in hot water over the racial IQ theories of the co-author of their widely panned immigration reform study, Jason Richwine, who resigned from the think tank last Friday), urged Republicans on Capitol Hill not to govern, and instead, to focus on the would-be “scandals” plaguing the Obama administration. 
The letter, which is addressed to House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, trumpets the negative media buzz surrounding the White House, saying that, “for the first time, the activities of the Obama administration are receiving a sustained public vetting.  Americans’ outrage over Benghazi is amplified by the Internal Revenue Service’s intimidation of conservative grassroots organizations and a cascade of negative headlines.  There is the real sense the Obama administration has been less than forthright with the American people, the press and lawmakers...” 
...“To that end, we urge you to avoid bringing any legislation to the House Floor that could expose or highlight major schisms within the conference.  Legislation such as the Internet sales tax or the FARRM Act which contains nearly $800 billion in food stamp spending, would give the press a reason to shift their attention away from the failures of the Obama administration to write another ‘circular firing squad’ article...”

Did the GOP Change the Benghazi Emails?