Saturday, January 31, 2009

NGLTF: State of the Movement

Rea Carey, Exec. Dir. of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, gives this years State of the Movement address at the 2009 Creating Change Conference in Denver.

The Most Loathsome People of 2008

The Beast has released their 50 Most Loathsome People of 2008.. Here are the top 15 from Alternet

Go to The Beast for the whole list.. The pictures alone are worth the trip!

I agree with most of the list (Lieberman, Palin, McCain, Bush, Cheney, Joe the Plumber, PUMA, Blagovich, etc..)
Not sure about others on the list (Obama, Olberman, etc..) but they make some good points..

Friday, January 30, 2009

GOP Choose New (Black) RNC Chair--Michael Steele

African-American Michael Steele Elected Chair of RNC

Compared to the other neanderthal's in the GOP contest, Steele, former Maryland Ltd. Governor, seems like a "moderate," but how moderate is he? He compares medical stem cell research to Nazi experiments and joined in right-wing anti-gay rallies to oppose gay marriage, and he champions conservative "values." That was enough for Steele to win the support of the Log Cabin Republicans, and any hint of support from the LCR is usually the end of any Republican being elected to a leadership position in the anti-gay party.
Once again, perceived ties to the Log Cabin Republicans was used against Steele.
LCR Crapped on Again by RNC

While the LCR seem pleased with Steele and claim he is the right person to lead the GOP in a "new direction," Stonewall Democrats Question the Record of the new RNC Chair

The real problem for Michael Steele may be the racist base of the Republican Party the GOP has relied upon to win elections in The South: Racists Aren't Happy

Thursday, January 29, 2009

FedEx Does Not Deliver for Gays

Fed Ex Called Out for Domestic Partnership Benefits for Gay Employees

Although Fed Ex made Fortune's "Top 100 Best Companies to Work," Fed Ex only offers DP benefits to employees in California, where it is mandated by law to do so.

Gay FedEx Employees are publicizing their frustrations with the company on various blogs including this one from a Memphis Fed Ex Employee:
As a 23 year FedEx employee who works at FedEx World Headquarters in Memphis, TN, I was recently denied domestic partner benefits for my same-sex partner and bereavement leave once he passed away. I was asked to take personal or vacation time to make funeral arrangements. FORTUNE magazine got it wrong and/or FedEx lied on their survey submission. This is not a gay friendly employer as stated by FORTUNE or claimed by FedEx."

The Human Rights Campaign notes that although the company includes sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy, it doesn't include gender identity. They also point out that although FedEx says they offer domestic partner benefits, they only offer them to FedEx Office (used to be Kinko's) employees. The post goes on to add that FedEx does not offer partner benefits even in states where the law provides for marriage equality, citing the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rush Limbaugh--The Voice of the Republican Party

It's 1992 all over again... a Democrat wins the White House, the Republican Party is in disarray, and Rush Limbaugh is once again the Voice of the Republican Party, leading the dildo-heads in their charge against liberalism, feminism, homos, an uppity black folks.

It's Rush Vs. Obama!
Rush Limbaugh agrees with Al-Qaeda: "I Hope Obama Fails"

Obama tells Republicans "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.."

Republicans In Congress Get Behind Limbaugh's Call for Obstructionism and Failure

Stimulus Plan Passes with ZERO Republican Support

Hear Rush Sing "I'm a Nazi!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why Listen to Republicans??

President Obama is trying to reach out to Republicans, especially on the economic stimulus plan, but it is doubtful they will return in kind. The GOP have become even more spiteful and grumpy since being booted by the American voters in 2008.
I applaud Obama for being a "gentleman" and trying to change the tone in Washington, but I hope he has a backbone to stand up to the GOP when they reject his offers of "post-partisan" kum ba ya.

House Republicans Urged to Oppose Stimulus Bill

But since Obama does not need any Republican support for the stimulus bill, why should he have to pander to them? HE WON the election! Democrats have the largest majorities in the House and Senate of any party in many decades! Fuck the Republicans!

Obama can try to reach out to the Republicans, but he must have the political backbone to respond to their ultimate rejection of a post-partisan sing-a-long.

Bob Herbert asks the right question, Why is Anyone Listening to The Republicans??
The Same Old Song

Here's some essential reading on the bankrupt Republican Party and how Democrats & Obama should respond to their lies:

Keith Boykin: Four Things Republicans Don't Want you to Know About the Economy

Thom Hartmann: How The Republican Party Party has Conned America for 30 Years

Christopher Hayes: Why House Republicans Aren't Worth Listening To

Paul Krugman: Bad Faith Economics

UPDATE: Despite all of Obama's attempts at winning GOP support for the economic recovery/stimulus bill, not one Republican voted for the bill today.

The Republicans have been very busy spreading their LIE that (corporate) tax cuts create more stimulus than investment in infrastructure. TPM lays out the FACTS : TAX CUTS ARE INEFFECTIVE AS ECONOMIC STIMULUS

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Portland Gay Mayor's "Sex Scandal" Divides Gay Community

A "Sex Scandal" Involving Gay Mayor Sam Adams Divides Portand and Gay Community

Portland's newly elected gay mayor Sam Adams has admitted a sexual relationship with 18 year old Beau Breedlove, but it appears their relationship began when Breedlove was 17. Breedlove says he and Adams kissed on a couple of occasions when he was 17, but says they did not have sex until he was 18.


After a rally supporting him on Friday, Sam Adams says he will NOT resign.

The FACTS are that (a) this was a consensual relationship (b) they did not have "sex" until Breedlove was 18, so Adams did not violate any laws. Are we going to start arresting people for kissing 17 year olds?

Did Adams make a questionable judgment call in kissing and pursuing a romantic relationship with a 17 year old? Maybe, especially given his political ambitions. But the gay community should not be joining the witch hunt against a progressive gay mayor just because they don't like the idea of an adult and a 17-18 year old being in a romantic/sexual relationship.

The underlying problem are these archaic/puritan laws that set the "age of consent" at 18 and then criminalize 18+ adults for having romantic or sexual relations with anyone just below 18. The "age of consent" should be 16-17 not 18. (The line defining an "adult" is arbitrary and socially constructed.) Is there any *rational* reason to label someone who is over 18 a "child molester" or a "pederast" for being sexually attracted to someone who is 16 or 17? (That's another matter..)

There seems to be a double standard in the way straight and gay men are treated in these situations, and "age of consent" laws have historically been used to target gay men.

In this case, Beau Breedlove was NOT a child, and Sam Adams did not molest him. Adams may have lied about their relationship, but I don't think the private sex lives of politicians should be anyone's business but theirs. Why are people more concerned when politicians lie about their private sex lives than when the lie about things like illegal wars, etc. ?

Portland Rally Supports Sam Adams

More on Towerland

UNZIPPED has hot Pics of Beau!

Another Ted Haggard Sex Scandal..

Oh no, another one..
NEW Ted Haggard Gay Sex Scandal

Haggard's Church Paid Off Volunteer Who Had Sex with Disgraced Pastor

These "anti-gay homosexual" religious nuts get more sex than most gay men I know!

And Ted Haggard gets an HBO Special: "The Trials of Ted Haggard"
(Hope they update it..)
And how much is Haggard making promoting this HBO special???

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wing Nuts Not Happy With White House Website

The Right Wing Nuts Are Slaming the White Civil Rights Agenda

Focus on the Family, American Family Association, World Net (Nut) Daily... they are all upset about the White Website agenda on Civil Rights for LGBT people!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama!

Finally-- Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States!

Read/Watch Obama's Inaugural Speech

We can now safely bookmark the White House Web Page

I particularly like the section on Civil Rights... Scroll down the page..

After angry complaints about not airing (gay) Rev. Gene Robinson’s Invocation at the “We Are One” Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, and counter blaming between HBO and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, HBO has ADDED the full ceremony, including Robinson’s Invocation to the future broadcasts of the concert/celebration. You can view it online at:
There will probably be a DVD and/or iTunes video soon which should also include the full ceremony...
(Maybe the Obama-haters in the gay community, mostly bitter Hillary supporters, who spread the lies about a Obama/HBO conspiracy to back stab the gay community will shut up and do some more constructive political organizing now..)

All the commotion over who was praying at the inauguration events overshadowed the more fundamental issue of WHY religion and prayer are even part of a national public/civil event like the inauguration! Obama did at least mention the 15% or so of us who do NOT believe in any "god" at all, some Christianists were upset that Obama would question whether this was a Christian nation!

Greta has an atheist's perspective:
On Being an Atheist and Watching the Inauguration

Farewell "W" !

George W. Bush has Left our nation's capitol! (Picture from John at AmericaBlog)

I had to share my Letter to the Editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal which I just wrote after the Inauguration of Barack Obama..

The dark cloud of George W. Bush is now lifted from our nation. I can’t remember anything as sad and embarrassing as George W. Bush’s last press conference and farewell speech. Like the 20% of the country who left their mark of approval upon his criminal administration, Bush defended his illegal acts—the illegal invasion of a country which did not attack us and lying about it, the illegal use of torture, and the shredding of the U.S. Constitution he took an oath to defend.

It is sad to read letters from those who still believe Bush’s lies. He did not protect us from terrorism! The incompetence of Bush and Cheney allowed terrorists to attack us. Bush ignored the warnings and Cheney’s terrorism task force never even met before 9/11. The Bush administration was too busy planning their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Bush has been an embarrassing incompetent President—from Iraq to Katrina and New Orleans he has demonstrated his incompetence to be “Commander in Chief.” I have to wonder about the 20% of you who still have those “W” stickers on your gass-guzzlling SUVs. Do you really have as much contempt for our country, the U.S. Constitution, and international law as your ex- “Commander in Chief”?

I just watched Barack Obama become the 44th President, and Bush flew away. Farewell and good riddance to you Mr. Bush, may you get your just rewards.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK on Gay Rights: Ask His Wife

Let's not forget the other King--Coretta Scott King, and her efforts to include LGBT (gay) people in her husband's dream...

What Would MLK Have Said About Gay Rights--Ask His Wife

Remembering MLK

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.."

King's Message of Nonviolence Should Not Be Overlooked

MLK: Why I Cannot Be Silent
(MLK Speaks Against the Vietnam War)

MLK: Let Justice Roll

MLK: A Time to Break Silence

Contemplating King's Legacy

The MLK they Won't Celebrate

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"We Are One" Inauguration Concert

The Inauguration ceremonies got off to a great start today with the "We Are One" concert celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The Gay Rev. Gene Robinson gave the invocation. The concert featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and a bunch of others, but the highlight, for me, was when Peter Seeger and Bruce Springsteen led the 400,000 crowd in Woody Guthrie's THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, the working class national anthem, including the rarely performed verses about the poor people at the "relief office" and the sign that said "private property, but on the other side it didn't say nothin', guess that side was made for you and me.."

Yes, a (former?) Communist (Pete Seeger) performed a song written by a Communist (Woody Guthrie) at the Obama Inauguration ceremony!

(HBO has pulled ALL the YouTube Video Clips of the "We Are One" Concert--guess they own it!)

UPDATE: For some reason, HBO did not air Rev. Gene Robinson's invocation!

Many people on the gay blogs are angry over Robinson's invocation not being shown on HBO (or any other network apparently), and some are blaming Obama. Folks, Obama had NOTHING to do with this. Do you really think he has the time to be micro-managing this event?? It may not be HBO's fault either, since they were to begin broadcasting at a set time, and for some reason, Robinson's invocation was scheduled about 10 minutes BEFORE the event officially started.. I don't know, but please. The LGBT community must STOP getting angry over things like this... I think we have more important issues to get worked up about!

This was a screw-up by whoever was putting this event together, but I doubt that it was a plot by Obama or HBO against gay people!

Here's a video of Rev. Gene Robinson's Invocation at (before?) the We Are One concert:

You can read the invocation here

I'm an atheist, and prefer that religion be kept OUT of public civil events, but I find nothing offensive in Robinson's prayer, it is a very inclusive "humanist" invocation, one which should be given on Tuesday in place of Rick Warren's Inaugural invocation. Too bad few people heard or saw it, not even Obama!

UPDATE: HBO Blames the Inauguration Committee for not airing Rev. Gene Robinson's Invocation
Why was the invocation (by the gay Rev. Robinson) put in the "pre-show" events???

Huffington Post: Gay Bishop Gene Robinson Left Out Of HBO Coverage

MS Magazine: Obama is a Feminist!

Oh, the anti-Obama, male-hating sexist PUMA "feminists" have their panties in a wad over MS Magazine putting Barack Obama on their cover and calling him a "Feminist"!

It's really amazing that the Obama-haters over at TN Guerilla Women, still bitter that Obama beat Hillary Clinton, continue to cling to their delusion that HILLARY CLINTON is a liberal or progressive! (The Guerilla Womyn even thought Sarah Palin was a "feminist"!)

Obama is not as progressive/left as I wish he was, and I'm going to be very critical of his centrist moves, but the idea that Obama cannot be a feminist (or that NO men can be!) or that somehow Hillary Clinton is more of a "feminist" than Obama is ludicrous!

The anti-male feminism of these "womyn" is dying away and a new wave of "feminists" who don't hate men and automatically assume that every women is a feminist is gaining strength. The old anti-male sexist "feminism" is DEAD!

MS Magazine: Visions of Change

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Great Moments" In Presidential Speeches

Here is the final montage of David Letterman's "Great Speeches of American Presidents," contrasting the truly "great speeches" of past presidents with Dubya.

Should we laugh or cry? At least we don't have to listen to The Idiot anymore...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bush's Farewell (Good Riddance!)

George Bush has been busy trying to repair his image before he leaves office, giving interviews and speeches to try to change the bad taste Americans have in their mouths from the last 8 years of his failed presidency.

Tonight Bush gave his "farewell speech" to the nation. He takes credit for keeping us safe from terrorism (except for 9/11) and for spreading democracy (except in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, etc.) and for America's reputation as a defender of human rights (except for Guitmo and some waterboarding...)

Here are a few things he left out of his record:

The Bush Years Jan. 01 Jan. 09

Unemployment 4.2% 7.2%
U.S. Budget + $237B - $1.2 Trillion

Consumer Confidence 116 38
Uninsured Americans 40 M 46 M

Except for the illegal invasion of Iraq, the growing quagmire in Afghanistan, Katrina and New Orleans, and the Second Great Depression, things are just great...

Here's Rachel Maddow on Bush's Farewell:

And here's more:
So Long Worst President Ever: 10 Reasons History will Hang You!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sharpton: Churches Persecute Gays But Ignore Poverty

Hurray for Al Sharpton!

Sharpton: Churches Spend Money to Persecute Gays But Ignore Poverty

On Sunday, Rev. Al Sharpton slammed major faiths for using their resources and power to pass California's Proposition 8 while showing indifference to issues affecting Americans such as poverty, social inequality and economic sabotage. The Church, he said, was silent until California affirmed marriage rights for its same-sex couples.

Sharpton was the keynote speaker at the Human Rights Ecumenical Service held at Atlanta's Tabernacle Baptist Church to welcome the Atlanta-based Alliance of Affirming Faith-Based Organizations, whose mission is to unite gay-friendly churches.
"There is something immoral and sick about using all of that power to not end brutality and poverty, but to break into people's bedrooms and claim that God sent you," Sharpton told a full house on Sunday.

"It amazes me," he said, "when I looked at California and saw churches that had nothing to say about police brutality, nothing to say when a young black boy was shot while he was wearing police handcuffs, nothing to say when they overturned affirmative action, nothing to say when people were being [relegated] into poverty, yet they were organizing and mobilizing to stop consenting adults from choosing their life partners."
As a presidential candidate in the 2004 election, Sharpton made his stance on marriage equality clear while opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment and defending the LGBT community against what he saw as "gay-baiting" for votes by the Bush campaign. "This is an issue of human rights," he said. "And I think it is dangerous to give states the right to deal with human rights questions. That's how we ended up with slavery and segregation going forward a long time...Whatever my personal feelings may be about gay and lesbian marriages, unless you are prepared to say gays and lesbians are not human beings, they should have the same constitutional right of any other human being."

Another memorable Atlanta visit for Sharpton was as keynote speaker for the National Black Justice Coalition's first annual Black Church Summit in January 2006. There, he criticized black denominations that preached against their gay and lesbian members rather than embracing them.

It's time for African-American leaders to follow Al Sharpton's example and stand up to the anti-gay bigotry in their community and churches.

Al Sharpton was one of only 3 Democratic presidential candidates (with Kucinich and Gravel) to publicly support same-sex marriage.

Too Bad Obama didn't stand up for his beliefs about marriage equality:
President-Elect Obama Once Supported Gay Marriage

Bush and his Deranged Followers

Did you see George W. Bush's last press conference? What an embarrassment! Bush is either totally insane or he is a pathological liar. He tried to defend his failed presidency, claiming that he has defended the U.S. from terrorism (if you don't count 9/11!), and tried to put a smiley face on the Katrina disaster. He claims that his economic policies were a success (if you don't count the last two years). He even tried to blame Bill Clinton for the recession in his first term.

Has he been hiding in a fox hole somewhere? All economic indicators (unemployment, poverty, inequality, etc.) have been on a nosedive since he took office. Over 2 million jobs have been lost in the last year alone, and fewer than 3 million jobs have been created in his 8 year term (compared to 20 million under Clinton!).

Evidently Bush has been watching Faux News. I had a "discussion" with some conservative Republican relatives of my partner recently and they blamed the media for the current economic crisis! It's the media's fault that people are losing their jobs and their houses! Or they point to 9/11 and Katrina to explain away Bush's economic problems. Poor Bush has been unfairly blamed for the recession. This is what Faux News (Hannity, O'Reilly, etal.) are telling their brain-washed audience.

Bush and Cheney are on a PR campaign to cover up their incompetence and crimes. Most people are not buying their lies, at least those who don't watch Faux News.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gay Bishop to Give Inaugural Prayer

Gay Bishop to Give Inaugural Prayer

Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be ordained as such in 2003, has been invited to deliver the invocation at the first Inaugural event the President-elect will attend this weekend.

The Episcopal bishop will offer the prayer at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, January 18. President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden are both expected to attend.

Robinson has been a vocal critic of the choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration. I thought too much was made of that choice by many in the gay community, and all the hoopla over it overshadowed the choice of Rev. Joseph Lowery to give the convocation (isn't that at least as "symbolic"??)

Anyway, maybe the choice of Robinson to give a prayer will asuage some of the anger in the gay community over Warren, but I doubt it will totally satisfy some of Obama's gay critics (the same ones who criticize Obama for not supporting gay marriage, but supported Hillary Clinton who was also vocally opposed to gay marriage...)

Now the anti-gay Obama haters will have their turn to boo the inauguration...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bob Dylan's "William Zanzinger" Dies

William Zantzinger Dies
William Zantzinger, the subject of Bob Dylan’s 1963 protest song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” has died at age 69 according to a local paper in Maryland. In 1963, a 24-year-old Zantzinger was at a Baltimore hotel when he struck Hattie Carroll — a 51-year-old black barmaid — in the head and shoulders with a toy cane. Details of the attack vary, but most claim he was enraged she wasn’t serving him quickly enough. A distraught Carroll, who suffered from high blood pressure and an enlarged heart, returned to the kitchen where she complained to a co-worker about Zantzinger — and quickly collapsed and died. An autopsy stated she died of a brain hemorrhage and there was no mark on her head from the cane. Zantzinger was eventually charged with involuntary manslaughter due to the “tremendous emotional upsurge” caused by his attack. He paid a $25,000 fine and served a six-month prison sentence.

Bob Dylan, at the height of his protest period, read about the incident and turned it into one of early masterpieces (click above for footage of the singer performing the tune on the Steve Allen Show). The facts of the song have been disputed over the years, largely due to the fact that it implies Carroll was beaten to death or “slain by a cane.” After getting out of jail, Zantzinger got involved in real estate. In 1986 the government took possession of some of his low-income houses due to unpaid taxes. Zantzinger continued to charge rent on property he no longer owned — even suing people who fell behind in payments. The con caught up to him, and by 1991 he was arrested, fined $62,000 and served 2,400 hours of community service.

The Dylan song followed him around his whole life, though he steadfastly refused to talk about it with reporters. In 2001 Bob Dylan biographical Howard Sounes actually got a quote out of him. “[Dylan] is a no-account son a bitch,” Zantzinger said. “He’s just like a scum bag of the earth. I should have sued him and put him in jail. [The song is] a total lie.”

Even if Dylan took a little poetic license, the song will stand the test of time as one of the greatest "folk songs" ever.
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll is one of my favorite Dylan songs, and one of the greatest songs ever written.
Here's a more recent performance of The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" by the "old" Bob Dylan

Friday, January 09, 2009

TN Man Fired for Being Gay!

Opponents of civil rights laws covering sexual orientation often claim there is no need to pass laws protecting gays from discrimination because (a) discrimination is not a problem for gays and (b) gays are more affluent than most groups in American society.

Here's one example of the need to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):
Man Fired For Being Gay
A Tennessee man said Thursday that he was weighing his legal options after being fired from a Nashville-area hotel specifically for being gay.

"They literally said to me that because of my orientation and my 'alternative lifestyle' that I was not a fit for the hotel," said David Hill, formerly the director of human resources for the former Brentwood Holiday Inn (currently doing business as ARTE' Hotel, with no connection to the Holiday Inn chain). "[Tarun Surti, the hotel's owner] said, 'I don't give a damn. They can sue me. I will not have any of 'the gay leadership role' in my hotel.' And that's a quote."

Mr. Hill has filed complaints with the EEOC and Department of Labor, and is currently in talks with the ACLU, Tennessee Equality Project and the Tennessee Labor Board about pursuing legal action.

"The owner, Mr. Surti, comes from a culture that is not very tolerant to the gay lifestyle," added assistant general manager Leonard Stoddard, who was ordered to dismiss Hill, "and therefore he felt it necessary to have him removed from the workforce at the property."

"I do believe that's a very fair assumption" that Hill was fired strictly for being gay, he added when asked by reporter Katina Rankin.

Stoddard disagreed with the decision. "It is in our employee handbook that no one should be discriminated against, harassed verbally, physically or [by] any other means for their sexuality, their sexual orientation, gender, race or anything of that sort." The openly gay man told Out & About that he fears he is next to go. "Everyone is just now finding out that the owner is anti-gay," he added. "His wife is not in agreement with his view, nor are his children, but he doesn't care."

Workers in Tennessee are not protected by anti-discrimination law on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. "This points to the need for us to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act," Tennessee Equality Project president Christopher Sanders said, "because in many places our community is not protected."

Also, Out & About: Hotel Employee Claims He Was Fired for Being Gay

UPDATE: The Gen. Manager, Leonard Stoddard, was also fired!
Another "Out" Employee Let Go from ARTE Hotel

More Employees Come Forward

Thursday, January 08, 2009

How Rick Warren Is Undermining AIDS Prevention in Africa

Rick Warren has been lauded for his work on AIDS in Africa, but what has he done? According to Max Blumenthal, Warren's AIDS work in Africa is horrifying!

Condom Burning and Anti-Gay Witch Hunts: How Rick Warren is Undermining AIDS Prevention in Africa

Blumenthal's investigation into Warren's involvement in Africa reveals a web of alliances with right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating AIDS in favor of abstinence-only education. More disturbingly, Warren's allies have rolled back key elements of one of the continent's most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda. Stephen Lewis, the United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, told the New York Times their activism is "resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which should never have occurred."

Warren's man in Uganda is a charismatic pastor named Martin Ssempa. The head of the Makerere Community Church, a rapidly growing congregation, Ssempa enjoys close ties to his country's first lady, Janet Museveni, and is a favorite of the Bush White House. In the capitol of Kampala, Ssempa is known for his boisterous crusading. Ssempa's stunts have included burning condoms in the name of Jesus and arranging the publication of names of homosexuals in cooperative local newspapers while lobbying for criminal penalties to imprison them.

Dr. Helen Epstein, a public health consultant who wrote the book, The Invisible Cure: Why We're Losing the Fight Against AIDS in Africa, met Ssempa in 2005. Epstein told me the preacher seemed gripped by paranoia, warning her of a secret witches coven that met under Lake Victoria.

"Ssempa also spoke to me for a very long time about his fear of homosexual men and women," Epstein said. "He seemed very personally terrified by their presence."

When Warren unveiled his global AIDS initiative at a 2005 conference at his Saddleback Church, he cast Ssempa as his indispensable sidekick, assigning him to lead a breakout session on abstinence-only education as well as a seminar on AIDS prevention. Later, Ssempa delivered a keynote address, a speech so stirring it "had the audience on the edge of its seats," according to Warren's public relations agency. A year later, Ssempa returned to Saddleback Church to lead another seminar on AIDS. By this time, his bond with the Warrens had grown almost familial. "You are my brother, Martin, and I love you," Rick Warren's wife, Kay, said to Ssempa from the stage. Her voice trembled with emotion as she spoke, and tears ran down her cheeks....

In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. "Arrest all homos," read placards. And: "A man cannot marry a man." Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a Web site he created, along with photos and home addresses. "Homosexual promoters," he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda's children into their lifestyle. Soon afterward, two of President Museveni's top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding...

When Uganda's Anglican bishops threatened to bolt from the Church of England because of its tolerant stance towards homosexuals, Warren parachuted into Kampala to confer international legitimacy on their protest.

"The Church of England is wrong, and I support the Church of Uganda on the boycott," Warren proclaimed in March 2008. Declaring homosexuality an unnatural way of life, Warren flatly stated, "We shall not tolerate this aspect [homosexuality in the church] at all."

Wonder if the Obama people looked into this?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Another Look at Proposition 8

According to a new study of Prop. 8 , Exit Polls on African-American Support of Prop. 8 Were Wrong

A new study on California’s Proposition 8 voting trends released Tuesday found that far fewer African-Americans voted to pass the gay marriage ban than the 70% suggested by exit polling and concluded that race was not the most significant factor affecting people’s vote for or against marriage equality.

After conducting in-depth analysis of election returns from five key California counties and using census data to estimate the racial makeup of the voters in those counties, researchers found that between 57% and 59% of African-Americans voted in favor of Proposition 8, which amended the state's constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.

The new study, conducted by political scientists Ken Sherrill of CUNY-Hunter College and Patrick Egan of NYU, suggests that other factors than race played a larger role in a voter's stance on the measure, such as party identification, ideology, age and religious inclinations. These factors also dwarfed gender and personal knowledge of gays and lesbians.

The study found that these four factors — party identification, ideology, frequency of religious service attendance and age — drove the “yes” vote for Proposition 8. For example, more than 70 percent of voters who were Republican, identified themselves as conservative, or who attended religious services at least weekly supported Proposition 8. Conversely, 70 percent or more of voters who were Democrat, identified themselves as liberal, or who rarely attended religious services opposed the measure. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of voters 65 or older supported Proposition 8, while majorities under 65 opposed it.

Since the passage of Proposition 8, much has been said about the supposed dramatic opposition to marriage equality among African Americans, fueled by National Election Pool (NEP) figures based on sampling in only a few precincts that erroneously indicated 70 percent of California’s African Americans supported Proposition 8. The study found that when religious service attendance was factored out, however, there was no significant difference between African Americans and other groups.
In other words, people of all races and ethnicities who worship at least once a week overwhelmingly supported Proposition 8, with support among white, Asian and Latino frequent churchgoers actually being greater than among African Americans.

the study found that the level of support for Proposition 8 among African Americans was nowhere close to the NEP exit poll 70 percent figure. The study looked at pre- and post-election polls and conducted a sophisticated analysis of precinct-level voting data from five California counties with the highest African-American populations (Alameda (Oakland), Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco).* Based on this, it concludes that the level of African-American support for Proposition 8 was in the range of 57-59 percent. Its precinct-level analysis also found that many precincts with few black voters supported Proposition 8 at levels just as high or higher than those with many black voters.

The study found that overall support for marriage equality has increased by 9 percent since 2000, with support increasing among every age group under age 65, across all racial and ethnic groups and among Protestants, Catholics and Jews. There are three “holdout” groups where voting patterns have not changed: Republicans, conservatives, and those 65 and older. The largest gain — up 16 percent — was among voters 45-64 years of age, followed by a 13 percent increase among voters 18-29.

Among Republicans, support for the freedom to marry fell slightly (1 percent) compared to 2000. Support for marriage equality among Democrats, on the other hand, increased 13 percent.

See National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Press Release

Download the Report

Monday, January 05, 2009

A Gay Man for Sec. of Commerce ?

Now that Bill Richardson has withdrawn his nomination for Sec. of Commerce, gay activists are calling on Obama to appoint an openly gay man--Fred Hochberg.

(So Far, no gay person has been nominated for a position in the Obama cabinet)

Chris Crain: Fred Hochberg for Sec. of Commerce

Americablog: Gay Leaders Urge Obama to Replace Richarddson with Gay Appointee

Franken Declared Winner

Al Franken Officially Wins Minnesota Senate Recount

Al Franken Declares Victory

Obama Plan to Include $300 billion in Tax Cuts

NYT Reports that Obama Plan to Include $300 Billion in Tax Cuts, that's about 40% of the total stimulus plan.

Paul Krugman thinks this is a mistake: Obama Relying Too Much on Tax Cuts

Is Obama already allowing the Republicans to set the terms of debate on economic policy by pandering to them? Will he go as far as to drop his pledge to rescind the Bush Tax cuts on the rich? If so, the Obama legacy is finished already.

Obama's Perilous Compromise with Wall Street Looters

Sunday, January 04, 2009

ACLU Sues Over Arkansas Adoption Ban

ACLU Sues Over Arkansas Adoption Ban

More than a dozen Arkansas families filed suit Tuesday challenging the state’s adoption ban.
More than a dozen Arkansas families filed suit Tuesday challenging the state’s law barring unmarried couples living together from becoming foster and adoptive parents.

The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the families in Pulaski County circuit court seeking to overturn Act 1. The ban was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November’s general election.

U.S. Media Biased Toward Israel

U.S. Media Coverage of Gaza Biased Toward Israel

See also David Bromwich: Rules of Engagement from Baghdad to Gaza

Robert Perry explains what the U.S. media ignores:
The Long and Bloody Hypocrisy of U.S.-Israeli Acts of Terrorism

For the TRUTH about what is happening in Gaza visit Sameh Habeeb's Blog GAZA TODAY

For a more "balanced" view of Israel and Palestine, visit Al Jazeera

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Israel Invades Gaza

Israel Begins Invasion of Gaza (With full support of the United States)

CNN: U.S. Weapons Killing Civilians

America's Hidden Role in Hamas's Rise to Power
In the U.S., the claim that the actions of Hamas forced Israel to launch a massive assault on the impoverished population of Gaza is almost universally accepted. But, as scholar Stephen Zunes explains below, the picture of Hamas as an organization of wide-eyed radicalism without electoral legitimacy or the support of a significant portion of the Palestinian population is simplistic. In this important piece, Zunes examines the ways in which Israeli and American policy-makers encouraged the rise of the conservative religious group Hamas in an effort to marginalize secular and leftist elements within the Occupied Territories.

Gaza Civilians Left Exposed in Israeli Invasion

No Word from Obama as Gaza Crisis Worsens

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! (Good Riddance 2008!)

Good Riddance to 2008..
Happy NEW YEAR! (Let's Hope this one is better..)

Here's to Peace, Prosperity, and losing 30 lbs (again..)

10 Reasons to be Hopeful about 2009, and 3 Reasons to be Terrified

9 Steps to Peace for Obama in the New Year