C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waterboarding for Jesus

A new poll from the Pew Forum reveals that white evangelicals, and people who attend church at least once a week, are the groups most likely to approve of torturing suspected terrorists. How very, very sad. See the results for yourself:

Comparable percentages of Republicans (15%) and Democrats (12%) believe that the torture of suspected terrorists to gain important information is often justified, but twice as many Republicans as Democrats say torture is sometimes justified (49% vs. 24%). Similarly, while nearly identical percentages of Republicans and Democrats say torture under these circumstances is rarely justified, 38% of Democrats believe the torture of suspected terrorists is never justified, compared with 14% of Republicans.

(Honk to Andrew Sullivan)

Sex Boycott in Kenya

From ABC News:
Thousands of Kenyan women vowed Wednesday to begin a weeklong sex strike to try to protest their country's bickering leadership, which they say threatens to revive the bloody chaos that convulsed this African country last year.Leaders from Kenya's largest and oldest group dedicated to women's rights, the Women's Development Organization, said they hope the boycott will persuade men to pressure the government to make peace. Eleven women's groups are participating in the strike. The groups have also called on the wives of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to abstain.
Shades of Lysistrata!

The 8-Year-Old Divorcee

When the Christianists blather on about how "marriage has always been the same for thousands of years," I really would like to whack them over the head with the Bible - which, as every Sunday-school child knows, is chock full of examples of a wide range of marriage practices that would never get approved today in the U. S. - including polygamy, concubines, arranged marriages in which the woman has no say, marriage by conquest in war, and Levirate marriage (insemination by a brother-in-law if a man dies without issue). All these things were done - some of them supposedly at the command of God - not by "heathen" peoples but by the people God thought most highly of.

Just to illustrate the point that marriage has not been and is not always and everywhere "the same," here's a story from Saudi Arabia, by the Associated Press:

An 8-year-old Saudi girl has divorced her middle-aged husband after her father forced her to marry him last year in exchange for about $13,000, her lawyer said Thursday. Saudi Arabia has come under increasing criticism at home and abroad for permitting child marriages. The United States, a close ally of the conservative Muslim kingdom, has called child marriage a "clear and unacceptable" violation of human rights.

The girl was allowed to divorce the 50-year-old man who she married in August after an out-of-court settlement had been reached in the case, said her lawyer, Abdulla al-Jeteli. The exact date of the divorce was not immediately known.

A court in the central Oneiza region previously rejected a request by the girl's mother for a divorce and ruled that the girl would have to wait until she reached puberty to file a petition then.

There are no laws in Saudi Arabia defining the minimum age for marriage. Though a woman's consent is legally required, some marriage officials don't seek it. . . .

One Saudi human rights activist Sohaila Zain al-Abdeen was optimistic that the girl's divorce would help efforts to get a law passed enforcing a minimum marriage age of 18.

"Unfortunately, some fathers trade their daughters," she told The Associated Press. "They are weak people who are sometimes in need of money and forget their roles as parents."

It was not clear if the man received money for the divorce settlement. The man had given the girl's father 50,000 riyals, or about $13,350, as a marriage gift in return for his daughter, the lawyer said.

The 8-year-old girl's marriage was not the only one in the kingdom to receive attention in recent months. Saudi newspapers have highlighted several cases in which young girls were married off to much older men or young boys including a 15-year-old girl whose father, a death-row inmate, married her off to a cell mate.

Saudi Arabia's conservative Muslim clergy have opposed the drive to end child marriages. In January, the kingdom's most senior cleric said it was permissible for 10-year-old girls to marry and those who believe they are too young are doing the girls an injustice. . . .

There are no statistics to show how many marriages involving children are performed in Saudi Arabia every year. Activists say the girls are given away in return for hefty marriage gifts or as a result of long-standing custom in which a father promises his infant daughters and sons to cousins out of a belief that marriage will protect them from illicit relationships.

Top Cop Busted in Park

From Cleveland, Ohio, this unfortunate story of a career now perhaps ruined - by the closet:

Olmsted Township Police Chief Charles McNeeley was arrested Tuesday and charged with indecent exposure after he was found with another man in the Memphis area of the Cleveland Metroparks. McNeeley and his companion, Daniel Crown, were both arrested around 8:30am after Metroparks ranger Lisette Gonzalez found them masturbating. . . .

According to a police report, McNeeley and Crown were together in Crown's car when they were approached by the ranger and told to stop what they were doing. . . . McNeeley blamed the incident on the stress of his wife being diagnosed with cancer . . . .

Well, it was a dumb thing to be doing; but I can sympathize with Chief McNeeley, who will no doubt lose his job over something that really ought not to be taken any more seriously than a traffic citation. (Couldn't the ranger have just said, Okay, break it up guys, move along - ?) But of course, that's not how the citizenry will see it, I'm afraid.

So sad, what the closet does to people; that's where the ultimate blame for this lies, in my view.

Interestingly, a Google search turned up this review of a book titled Urban Policing in the 21st Century: A Supervisory Manual by none other than - Chief McNeeley:

Charles McNeeley, always known as a "cop's cop," has spent more than thirty years as an Ohio police officer, first in Cleveland and currently in Olmsted Township. He headed all game day and event security for the Cleveland Browns organization from 1999 to 2002. Throughout his career, he has emphasized both tactical and strategic saftey in law enforcement. As a "hands-on" executive, he carefully blends the intellectual and practical sides of police management and administration with the day-to-day world of policing. He is president of McNeeley and Son Inc., a security-consulting firm.

McNeeley, who graduated with honors from the Police Executive Leadership College, is considered one of the nation's foremost authorities on urban policing. For the past two decades, he has been a student of the assessment center process as it relates to law enforcement and has served as an assessor of police supervisors, including chiefs of police, in more than forty jurisdictions throughout the country. A veteran of the United States army, he holds current membership with American MENSA and the Cleveland Police Historical Society.
He's also the author of Community Policing: Building Inclusive Communities.

Well, after a fine career and excellent service, I hope Chief McNeeley will not be penalized too severely for this lapse in judgment; but I can just imagine what the Righteous Right in Ohio will have to say about it.

As Maine Goes, So Goes the Nation?

Iowa Joins Handful Of States To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, Massacusetts . . . New England, New Jersey, New York? I don't know if it's got anything to do with global warming, but seems like attitudes are thawing rapidly, day by day now. This just in from Boston EDGE:
This morning, April 30, the Maine Senate voted 20-15 in favor of LD 1020, a marriage equality bill. It now moves to the House of Representatives. The Senate defeated an amendment to the bill that proposed putting the question of marriage equality for same-sex couples before voters.

According to most polls, the Maine electorate is about evenly divided on the issue.

Maine currently provides same-sex couples with access to limited rights and benefits through a domestic partner registry. But, as did Vermont’s Legislature, which pioneered civil unions, this was considered a half-measure, which didn’t provide all of the rights and responsibilities of full marriage equality. Similarly, New Jersey, which has civil unions, is considering full marriage equality, which will probably come up sometimes this year. And neighboring Connecticut, faced with the same situation, became the third state (after Massachusetts and Iowa) to grant full marriage equality. . . .

When and if Maine grants marriage equality, the only two remaining states will be New Hampshire, where marriage equality made a giant step yesterday with passage in its legislature; and Rhode Island, where marriage equality is expected to be taken up by legislature sometime this year.
And it seems like Maine's Governor Balducci may be coming around to the side of equality, as witness his conversation with a constituent reported yesterday on Pam's House Blend.

And in New York, which since last year recognizes as valid marriages those of same-sex couples who get hitched out of state, Governor Paterson is pushing the legislature to pass an equal-marriage bill too.

In Massachusetts, which was the first state to allow same-sex marriages beginning just five years ago, the terrors of divine wrath and social destruction the Christianists warned would befall the Bay State have simply failed to appear, as this this excellent video makes clear:

So progress keeps on trucking, at least up there in the blue states. (I am like, so jealous.) One fine day, all this politicking and palaver will seem very dull and dry, a boring footnote in the history books to put some future generation of schoolkids to sleep. But right now, it's a very exciting period to be living through as legislative victories roll in, day by day.

And about damn time.

Barney Rips Republicans a New One

The inimitable Congressman from Massachusetts, speaking yesterday on the hate crimes bill. You go, man:

Gotta tell you, fellas, it's just breathtaking to see an openly gay Congressman speaking up for our rights in front of God and everybody, to someone like me - who remembers quite vividly a world in which nobody spoke up for us, and the only gay person on the face of the earth was one scared, lonely kid in a small Southern town - or so it seemed.

WTF: Obama Reneges on Gay Rights?

Obama, the reneger? I know he's got a lot on his plate right now, but what the hell goes on here? This just in from Joe.My.God.:

Within five minutes of Obama's swearing-in, a heavily detailed list of eight promises to us were posted: repeal DADT, support ENDA, expand adoption rights, etc. There's no mention of DADT or adoption rights or HIV prevention anymore, here's the two sentences that remain:

President Obama also continues to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He supports full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples and opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.Compare what's there now with what was there on Inauguration Day.

You can call or write the President - "committed to creating the most open and accessible administration in American history" - at the White House website.

Just remember, boys - nobody, but nobody , is gonna hand you equality, free and easy. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, every time.

And God knows your Republican and Christianist neighbors are squeaking and squealing like pigs, night and day. Let's not be out-squeaked and shuffled off to the back of the bus here: uhn-uh, those days are long gone, baby.

Change has come to America - so grab hold of it and don't let go for a minute.

P.S. - Let's hope this was just an oversight by some silly aide - like that AF1 flyby scare in New York a few days ago. Obama I have a lot of faith in; his aides, not so much.

Glacial Movement

Like the CBS News poll I blogged about earlier this week, a new ABC/Washington Post poll of 1,072 adults nationwide reveals warming trends about same-sex marriage, and a thaw in oppostion to it:

At its low, in 2004, just 32 percent of Americans favored gay marriage, with 62 percent opposed. Now 49 percent support it versus 46 percent opposed -- the first time in ABC/Post polls that supporters have outnumbered opponents.

More than half, moreover -- 53 percent -- say gay marriages held legally in another state should be recognized as legal in their states.

The surprise is that the shift has occurred across ideological groups. While conservatives are least apt to favor gay marriage, they've gone from 10 percent support in 2004 to 19 percent in 2006 and 30 percent now -- overall a 20-point, threefold increase, alongside a 13-point gain among liberals and 14 points among moderates. (Politically, support for gay marriage has risen sharply among Democrats and independents alike, while far more slightly among Republicans.) . . .

Seventy-five percent of evangelical white Protestants say gay marriage should be illegal, and 68 percent feel that way strongly. Similarly, 83 percent of conservative Republicans are opposed, 73 percent strongly. Among all conservatives regardless of political affiliation, 66 percent are opposed.

Across the spectrum, 75 percent of secular Americans favor gay marriage, 55 percent strongly; so do 71 percent of liberal Democrats, 57 percent strongly; and 71 percent of all liberals, 54 percent strongly. Among all Democrats, 62 percent are in favor; among all Republicans, 74 percent are opposed.

The middle makes a significant difference: Fifty-four percent of moderates and 52 percent of independents now favor gay marriage, up from 38 and 44 percent, respectively, in 2006. But the single biggest shift has come among moderate and conservative Democrats: in 2006, just 30 percent in this group said gay marriage should be legal. Today it's 57 percent.

One other very pronounced difference is by age: Sixty-six percent of adults under age 30 support gay marriage. That drops to 48 percent of adults age 30 to 64 and plummets to just 28 percent among senior citizens.
Unlike the CBS poll, this one did not raise the question of civil unions.

The poll also covers such topics as marijuana, illegal immigration, gun control, torture, greenhouse gasses, and relations with Cuba; trends in those areas are mixed.

I wonder how long it will take for the "thaw" over equal marriage to reach Texas. Probly not in time to make any difference in my life - who gets married at 85, anyway?

Besides, you can have eat, drink, dance, smoke, gamble, garden, blog, skinnydip, and have sex all by yourself - but marriage you really gotta have somebody to do it with, ya know what I mean?

But even if it's a moot point for me personally - and getting mooter all the time - still, I hope I live to see the day when wedding bells ring out across the prairie for the younger generation of gays - something my generation has only ever been able to dream wistfully about.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foxx, Flayed

Nobody does it like Olbermann:

Today in Gay Rights: Backwards and Forwards

In Congress, the House today passed the hate crimes bill (formerly known as the Matthew Shepard Act) by 249-175; Ted Kennedy has introduced the companion bill in the Senate, and the President has said he will sign it when it reaches his desk.

To be honest, fellas, I'm still not certain exactly and precisely how a hate crimes bill protects anyone from being beaten or murdered; but I am certain that the right-wing bigots are furiously against the measure. As witness Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) calling Matthew Shepard's murder a "hoax," claiming he was merely a robbery victim, not targeted because of being gay, which is utterly false, by his killers' own admission. Later in the day, Foxx put out an oily apology for using the word "hoax," but kept up her opposition.

--Meanwhile, in New Hampshire today, the state Senate unexpectedly passed an equal marriage bill already approved by the state House; now the bill goes to committee to iron out minor differences between the two versions.

--In Virginia, a major precedent was set for transgender people: U.S. District Judge James Robinson ruled Tuesday that Diana Schroer (formerly David) was entitled to nearly half a million dollars in damages because of sex discrimination, after she was turned down for a position with the Library of Congress. The judge said that's sex discrimination under the civil rights statutes, and threw the book at the government.

--But in Iowa, where same-sex marriage became a reality this week, a Des Moines couple published an editorial and this video about the terrible, terrible dangers of being caught up in the "homosexual cult" - yup, cult - on behalf of the Iowa Family Policy Council. Up till about the 5-minute mark, you think it's going to be a sweet, heartwarming memorial about their late son; but listen to the ending. You need to watch this so you're prepared when righteous Aunt Betty brings it up at the next family gathering:

And also notice how many times the subject of money comes up, and how important that is to them; oh yeah, I know the type of toxic parents who speak that kind of language - the type who are usually very controlling and very rejecting. My parents weren't that way, thank God, but I've known of several who were that way among my friends' families.

And I can picture the scenario: after many years in the closet, he finally got the nerve to come out; but then he got sick and very scared; oh no, God's judgment on me; and back home, dying, under the reproachful eyes of Mom and Dad, like a good prisoner he recanted his queer misdeeds and told his tormentors exactly what they wanted to hear, so he could die in peace. Maybe he even worked himself into believing that the nonsense he was saying was true; anything to get right with God and the parents before it's too late, and the fiery pit looms.

And notice how, even in death - their son still isn't good enough for them. He still doesn't measure up. He still hasn't earned their love - and never will.

They're ashamed of their own son, who defied them for a short time and lived his own life, disobeying the rules. They still haven't forgiven him, or accepted him.

They even look like the couple in Grant Wood's American Gothic. And just as cold. They didn't love their son, they owned him. How fucking pathetic.

--On a positive note, here's a brilliant refutation of Christianist lies about same-sex marriage by a guy named Rob Tisinai. Never heard of him before, but hope to hear a lot more from him. He's good.

Spring is Sprung

It's a gloomy, rainy day here on the prairie, a good time to tune the harsh world out and gently contemplate the perennial miracle of earth's rebirth. You'll want to use the full-screen feature on these. Enjoy.



And beautiful Texas:

"Believe Me, It's Torture"

Writer Christopher Hitchens, who previously had rejected the notion that waterboarding was torture, changed his mind after voluntarily submitting to the procedure last year, as shown in this video. From his Vanity Fair article about the experience:

If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.
Hitchens goes on to relate the arguments of Malcolm Nair, author of The Terrorists of Iraq, against the use of waterboarding by the United States:

1. Waterboarding is a deliberate torture technique and has been prosecuted as such by our judicial arm when perpetrated by others.

2. If we allow it and justify it, we cannot complain if it is employed in the future by other regimes on captive U.S. citizens. It is a method of putting American prisoners in harm’s way.

3. It may be a means of extracting information, but it is also a means of extracting junk information. (Mr. Nance told me that he had heard of someone’s being compelled to confess that he was a hermaphrodite. I later had an awful twinge while wondering if I myself could have been “dunked” this far.) To put it briefly, even the C.I.A. sources for the Washington Post story on waterboarding conceded that the information they got out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was “not all of it reliable.” Just put a pencil line under that last phrase, or commit it to memory.

4. It opens a door that cannot be closed. Once you have posed the notorious “ticking bomb” question, and once you assume that you are in the right, what will you not do? Waterboarding not getting results fast enough? The terrorist’s clock still ticking? Well, then, bring on the thumbscrews and the pincers and the electrodes and the rack.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sleepwalker Sex

Sleepwalker, artist Tony Matelli, 2001/Leo Koenig

So this guy gets his medications mixed up and takes two Ambien pills on a Saturday morning. Later that night realizes there are two hours he can't remember . . . . From Salon:

I know now what filled the missing two hours. This afternoon, I got a call from a woman who called me "lover" and asked when I wanted to come back. She called me her f**k buddy. This is a woman I had talked to only twice before in social situations. I do not even know where she lives; maybe I phoned her for directions. I do find her attractive, but I am stunned that I did something like this. My wife is vindictive, and if I say anything to her, it will end our marriage. I do not want to continue a relationship with the other woman. What should I do?

—Scared Sleepless

Dear Prudence responds:
Driving, eating, even trying to cast congressional votes while under the influence of Ambien are all well-documented. Scroll around the Internet and you will also find individual accounts of Ambien-fueled sex—which the nondrugged participants claim is more creative and uninhibited than when their partner is awake.
See this article.

Jeez, that even beats the "Christ, was I drunk last night" excuse. Just blame it on the Ambien.

Show and Tell: Waterboarding

An excerpt from one of the torture memos, set to music:

Watch a volunteer actually being waterboarded:


Oh please. There's no debate possible on this, guys. And we just don't do this in America.


Still having trouble making up your mind? Listen closely to the following, and keep your eye on the spinning elephant:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

F-Bombing Fox News

There can be no debate on the morality of torture: this is the clearest choice between good and evil you will ever see, despite the Righteous Right's murky attempts to confuse the issue.

Yet even among conservatives, it seems light is beginning to dawn. As witness Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith's passionate outburst during a discussion of the subject on April 22:


On a related note, an ABC/Washington Post poll last week of 1072 adults nationwide found that only 21 percent identify as Republican (and 35 as Democrat, 38 as independent). That's down from 32 percent Republican at election time last November.

(Here in Texas, 55.5 percent of voters went for McCain, 43.8 for Obama.)

The Republican party - the imperial party, the party of hatred, lies, big business, greed, wealth, war, and torture - is deservedly shrinking into irrelevance and obsolescence. But the remaining true believers are a hard, mean, nasty bunch; and that's dangerous.

The Sixty-Seven Percent Solution

Last week, a CBS News/New York Times poll of 973 adults nationwide found that 67 percent - that's two-thirds of those interviewed - support legal recognition of same-sex couples.

Only 28 percent favor no legal recognition, down 7 points in one month from a similar poll in March. The Iowa-Vermont effect?

The interesting thing to me is that support for equal marriage is nearly double that for civil unions - when you might have expected more people who are squeamish about the M-word would have gone the other way. But obviously the idea of "second-class marriages" doesn't hold nearly as much appeal as it used to among the great straight majority. That's wonderful. Sure seems like we are reaching a tipping point here, if other polls bear out this same finding.

Actually, it's breathtaking to someone like me, who is old enough to remember reading the morning headlines when I was in high school about cops raiding the one gay bar in town, hauling the patrons off to jail for "lewd and lascivious conduct" - i. e., groping an undercover cop who deliberately enticed somebody into touching him.

I was deep, deep in the closet back then, of course; and reading about things like that in the local newspaper was very scary - terrifying - to a very isolated gay kid like me, with absolutely no one to confide in.

But how times have changed. Wow.

(Honk to Joe.My.God.)
P.S. - Something I just noticed, looking at the CBS pie chart above: it seems to be subtly biased. Notice how the "no legal recognition" segment is placed in the dominant position at top, and is lighter colored; moreover, the marriage segment is cut away slightly next to the NLR segment: all of these little things make the NLR piece look a little bigger than it really is, don't you think? A little homophobia in the CBS art department, perhaps?

Beau Soir

Seeing a Barbra Streisand CD offered by Joe.My.God for his "Swag Tuesday" giveaway somehow reminded me of her Classical Barbra album that I bought and enjoyed many years ago. I thought I'd share my favorite from that with you, a lovely piece to close out the evening.

Side note: One time in college I briefly dated a tenor, the darling of the music department, who starred in their productions at the college theater. One night I had him over to the house and played this album, thinking he would enjoy the classical pieces; but oh how he hooted and hollered and turned up his nose at that awful sound Barbra was making - oh that's terrible, she's not doing it right, he said, smirking and grinning like an ape. He did this with every single song on the album.

Which rather spoiled the evening for me.

At the end of that year, his degree completed, he went on to New York to have his big career. He never wrote or called. But it does give me a certain satisfaction to be able to report to you that after all these many years, everybody still knows and loves Barbra Streisand.

But nobody has ever heard of Jim B. again.

And so, my friends - good night.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do Ask, Do Tell

Trailer for the new documentary Outrage, by filmmaker Kirby Dick:

Link to editorial review of the film at the Washington Blade.

What do you think, guys - is outing a good thing? Is it ever justified? How out are you to the world you live in?

RIP Pontiac

It's official: GM is cutting Pontiac from its roster, a name that has gone down in history.

Too bad. Muscle cars, surfer bangs, drive-ins, transistor radios, fastbacks, spoilers, milkshakes, Marlboros, two-lane roads, laying rubber, cutting doughnuts, moonlight on the levee . . . shucks, you young'uns today just don't know how to have fun.

Gay Iowans Tie the Knot Today

"Go get married. Live happily ever after. Live the American dream."

Iowa Supreme Court Unanimously Approves Gay Marriages

Iowa Joins Handful Of States To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Iowa Joins Handful Of States To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Iowa Joins Handful Of States To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Click here for a PDF of Iowa marriage FAQ's from Lambda Legal, an outfit very deserving of your support. They are the lawyers who argued and won the Iowa Supreme Court case, and many others around the country. Way to go, y'all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lovelight: Western Dream

Sleep tight, guys.

Sunday Drive: The Landlord and the Gays

(Scene: The Heavenly Real Estate Office.)

The Landlord is cheerily rounding up a covey of blazing comets that have skittered under Queen Cassiopeia's chair. His business agent, Mr. Gabriel, enters, his Golden Trumpet in one hand and more reports from the tiny planet Earth in the other.)

The Landlord: (to the comets) Come out from under there, you little scamps, before you set that whole galaxy on fire.

Gabriel: Excuse me, Sir, another batch of Prayer grams from your most devout Christians.

The Landlord: (waving a hand) Whatever they want, Gabriel. Now where did those frisky little devils get to?

Gabriel: Yes, sir, they want you to evict 10 percent of your tenants down there. (raising the Golden Trumpet) I've never attempted a partial eviction. Shall I try?

The Landlord: (looking up) What 10 percent, Gabriel?

Gabriel: The Gays, sir. Your devout Christians say they've done their utmost to keep them out of their schools, their offices, their churches and their lives, but without success. So their Prayer grams ask you to remove them from the face of the Earth.

The Landlord: By me, Gabriel, that doesn't sound very Christian. I thought they were supposed to love their neighbors.

Gabriel: Oh, they do, sir, if their neighbors are of the same color, economic bracket and sexual orientation.

The Landlord: But what harm do these gay people do?

Gabriel: I'm afraid your not seeing the big picture, sir. Gays simply don't fit into your grand design. You know, two by two, male and female? Generation after generation? The fact of the matter is that gays simply don't procreate.

The Landlord: I thought there was enough procreation down there already.

Gabriel: And they commit unspeakable acts.

The Landlord: Murder? Torture? Paving over my mountain meadows?

Gabriel: Unspeakable sexual acts, sir.

The Landlord: Ah, you mean they express their love for each other in different ways.

Gabriel: (annoyed) Really, sir, if these people were automobiles, they'd be recalled in at once. They're clearly defective.

The Landlord: (frowning) Defective, Gabriel?

Gabriel: Exactly, sir. Some essential part is missing, some vital drive is malfunctioning. Bungled wiring, a loose screw . . . who knows?

The Landlord: But clearly they are examples of shoddy workmanship?

Gabriel: Oh definitely, sir. And they certainly don't deserve to clutter up your little blue-green jewel of a planet a minute longer. (raising his trumpet again) Shall I evict them now?

The Landlord: (slowly) And who made these imperfect products, Gabriel?

Gabriel: Why, you did, of course, but . . . (he lowers the trumpet in sudden consternation) Good you, sir, I didn't mean to blaspheme. You will forgive them then?

The Landlord: (smiling) A wise philosopher said long ago, Gabriel, that if I made these sinners, it is not I who should forgive them, but they who should forgive me.

Gabriel: Well, I'm sure the gays will be glad to hear of your tolerance and generosity, sir.

The Landlord: The gays? I was talking about my most devout Christians.

(by Art Hoppe, San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle, 1991; found at The Bibble Pages)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Truth, Justice, and the American Way?

A couple of days ago, the Obama administration told a federal judge that it would release photographs of abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq, as asked by the American Civil Liberties Union in a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request. ABC News reports that Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, a former Assistant Director at the Central Intelligence Agency during the Bush administration, calls the ACLU's actions "prurient" and "reprehensible."

Lowenthal said the president's moves in the last week have left many in the CIA dispirited, based on "the undercurrent I've been getting from colleagues still in the building, or colleagues who have left not that long ago."

"We ask these people to do extremely dangerous things, things they've been ordered to do by legal authorities, with the understanding that they will get top cover if something goes wrong," Lowenthal says. "They don't believe they have that cover anymore." Releasing the photographs "will make it much worse," he said.

Even though President Obama has announced that the Justice Department will not prosecute CIA officers who were operating within the four corners of what they'd been told was the law, Lowenthal says members of the CIA are worried. "They feel exposed already, and this is going to increase drumbeat for an investigation or a commission" to explore detainee treatment during the Bush years, he said. "It's going to make it much harder to resist, and they fear they're then going to be thrown over."
Which is a good development, to my way of thinking. Lower-level officers and employees of the United States Government should think twice about carrying out illegal and immoral orders, no matter what Administration is in power; in fact, they should refuse to follow such orders.

The Nuremberg trials and the Tokyo War Crimes trials established the principle that "I was only following orders" is not at all a sufficient defense when it comes to violations of fundamental human rights and basic decency: this country along with its World War II allies prosecuted and punished a great many German and Japanese leaders and their subordinates for carrying out such orders.

Just imagine how different, how very different, the story of the Nazi regime would be if masses of German government employees as well as German soldiers had refused to follow the inhuman policies of the Nazi government.

Imagine how very, very different the world would be if everyone believed more strongly in "love your neighbor as yourself" rather than "my country, right or wrong."

As to who should be investigated and charged with war crimes now, in this country, well, that remains to be seen; I think the country, or at least the great flag-waving mass of ordinary people who don't want to believe anything truly evil has been done in their name, is just now starting to wake up to the fact that the schoolbook picture of America as a cartoon-colored fantasyland where nobody in government ever tells a lie or does anything wrong - is utterly false.

What I say is, let all the facts be uncovered and published, and then let the truth fall where it belongs. Andrew Sullivan:

It's the elite that doesn't want accountability. Because it's their asses on the line.

There is a difference between good faith mistakes and a criminal conspiracy to violate and make a mockery of the rule of law. That's why a real investigation of all of it - including the alleged results - needs to take place and take its time. Give it two years to report, to allow emotions and tempers to cool. Then and only then make a decision on prosecution, so that there is no scintilla of haste or heat.
To close one's eyes and ears to the shocking, unpleasant, revolting, and highly inconvenient truth is to be a willing partner in all those crimes - a false patriotism that loves a pretty lie better than it loves one's country.

But "when I was a child, I thought as a child, and spoke as a child"; yet "now is the time to put away childish things."

It's hard, very hard, to tear one's self away from that pretty grade-school image of America; just as it is very hard to grow up and realize that your own mother and father are, after all, only human, and do make mistakes - sometimes very serious ones. Dysfunctional families are the ones who have lots of secrets, who tell long-running lies to outsiders and to one another in order to keep up appearances, who neglect the truth behind the facade they show to the world, who don't deal with the real problems at the heart of things.

Likewise, I would suggest that a true patriot is the one who educates himself to see past the rosy, false, Disneyesque myths about his country to see it as it really is - and then works to make right what is wrong, and to lift up what is fallen: "that government of the people, by the people, and for the people should not perish from the earth."

Listen to the words, not just the music, of this song - about an abusive family - or a dysfunctional nation?

Mac Thornberry: King of Denial

Squeaky-clean Mac Thornberry, a Congressman from Texas, thinks people are being "too free" with the use of the word torture for those nice, neat "doctor-supervised" "clinically controlled" "enhanced interrogations." He doesn't see anything wrong with all that. What torture?

And he's much more concerned about morale at the CIA than morality in the White House.

This is the kind of dickhead my neighbors just love all to pieces out here on the prairie, and will keep re-electing till Kingdom Come. I'm surrounded by them, millions of them.

Please send chocolate.

Afternoon Drive: Hunks

Have a good one, y'all.

(Photos: the very truckable Vincent Zaire Lewis from Hunk du Jour)

Hate Thy Neighbor

World homosexuality laws, from Wikipedia: orange, red, and brown indicate criminal penalties for homosexuality, up to life in prison or death.

I'm not an atheist; but I am continually horrified at the many ways in which religion is used to justify the most inhuman, ungodly behavior - which to my mind suggests that men often make God in their own image.

According to a story in the New York Times,
The relative freedom of a newly democratic Iraq and the recent improvement in security have allowed a gay subculture to flourish here. The response has been swift and deadly.

In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.

Iraq remains religious, conservative — and still violent. The killers, the police say, are not just Shiite death squads, but also tribal and family members shamed by their gay relatives. (And the recent spate of violence has seemed aimed at more openly gay men, rather than homosexuality generally.) . . .

Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society, and the police have begun their own crackdown on gay men.

“Homosexuality is against the law,” said Lt. Muthana Shaad, at a police station in the Karada district, a neighborhood that has become popular with gay men. “And it’s disgusting.”

For the past four months, he said, officers have been engaged in a “campaign to clean up the streets and get the beggars and homosexuals off them.”

Gay men, he said, can be arrested only if they are seen engaging in sex, but the police try to drive them away. “These people, we make sure they can’t get together in a coffee shop or walk together in the street — we make them break up,” he said. . . .

In 2005, the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed.” He added, “The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” The language has since been removed from his Web site.
Boston EDGE reports:
An Iraqi GLBT advocate living in exile claims that gay men in Iraq are being subject to a loathsome, and fatal, form of torture: their anuses are being glued shut, after which the victims are force-fed a mixture that induces diarrhea, leading to their deaths.

Ali Hili, the London-based leader of Iraqi LGBT, was cited as making the claims in an April 21 article appearing at

The Queerty item stated, "Buoying the theory that it’s the ’anal sex’ part of being gay that really infuriates homophobes, Iraqi militants are reportedly gluing shut the anuses of suspected gays.

"Repeat: Gluing shut their anuses. With a glue so resilient, you need surgery to remove it," the article continued.

"This is torture, and some 60 men have already been attacked with it."
An openly gay member of Congress, [Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado] has been investigating the treatment of gays in Iraq for several months, and last week he spoke through a translator by phone to a transgender Iraqi man who said he had been arrested, beaten and raped by Ministry of Interior security forces. Human-rights groups tracking the issue also passed Polis a letter, allegedly written from jail by a man who said he was beaten into confessing he was a member of the gay-rights group Iraqi-LGBT. The group said the man had been sentenced to death in a court in Karkh and finally executed.

"Is there anyone to help me before it is too late?" said the letter. Its author's name was being withheld to protect his family.

Polis carried some of that evidence with him to Iraq and presented State Department officials in Baghdad with a letter outlining the allegations and pressing members of the Iraqi parliament's human-rights committee.

"We will see whether the Iraqi government is serious about protecting the human rights of all Iraqis, and we can also see what role our own State Department can play in helping to protect this minority in Iraq," Polis said by phone Wednesday after leaving Iraq.

The Guardian (UK) points out the link between religious hatred and political oppression:

When human rights are undermined, those responsible sometimes claim to be defending virtue and national interests. In late 2001, as drastic measures were brought in supposedly to defeat terrorism, US attorney general John Ashcroft condemned critics: "to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil." Many people were convinced, or intimidated into silence. The grim consequences continue to come to light.

The rhetoric of patriotism and morality is currently being used to try to justify the same gender marriage (prohibition) bill in Nigeria. Sex between men is already illegal, but this bill could be used to imprison people of the same sex who live together "as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship" and anyone who "witnesses, abet[s] and aids" such a relationship. Not surprisingly, it has been condemned by human rights activists in Nigeria and internationally. . . .

In a statement supporting the bill, [Anglican] Archbishop Akinola starts with his own (contested) interpretation of the Bible, and warns, "Any society or nation that approves same sex union as an acceptable life style is in an advanced stage of corruption/moral decay. This bill therefore seeks to shield Nigeria from the complete annihilation that will follow the wrath of God should this practice be accepted as normal in this land." . . . The fact that these dire predictions have not come to pass elsewhere in the world does not deter him. . . . In this apocalyptic worldview, it can be too risky to love one's neighbour as oneself.

But violating human rights ultimately damages morality and national wellbeing. According to a former judge advocate general of the US Navy, Admiral Hutson, "In dealing with detainees, the attitude at the top was that they are all just terrorists, beneath contempt and outside the law so they could be treated inhumanely . . . we had Abu Ghraib and its progeny. The self-respect of the military and the country was diminished. Our international reputation will be tarnished for generations." The Nigerian authorities should take note.

Meanwhile, back here in the land of the free and home of the brave: former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, who was White House chief of staff under Bush 41, and is the current chair of the NH Republican Party, calls equal rights for LGBT people "garbage."

Did you catch that, God?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sullivan on Cheney

It is very rare to get someone with the same stratospheric levels of arrogance and incompetence as you find in Dick Cheney. Let's go to the tape: A war launched on false premises, a trillion dollar debt in a period of growth, a destruction of America's moral standing, the loss of one major city (New Orleans) and the devastation of another (New York City), two horribly bungled military campaigns that have trapped his successors for decades, a political party decimated for a generation, his closest aide in jail for obstruction of justice, his own [lesbian] daughter and grand-child targeted by his own party as second-class citizens in the state they live in. And a war criminal. Did I miss anything?

Why is this man not laughed off every TV set he walks onto?

Sullivan also contrasts two quotes by Peggy Noonan, Republican stalwart and former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan - a very smart, very articulate, very respected writer. Whose arrogant callousness and willful disregard for the fundamental decencies of human life are utterly nauseating:
"The Democrats had long labeled the impeachment debate a distraction from the urgent business of a great nation. But the Republicans argued that the pursuit of justice is the business of a great nation. In winning this point, they caught the falling flag, producing a triumph for the rule of law, a reassertion of the belief that no man is above it, and a rebuke for an arrogance that had grown imperial," - Peggy Noonan, December 21. 1998.

"It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents [the OLC torture memos] and sending them out to the world and thinking, ‘Oh, much good will come of that.’ Sometimes in life you want to keep walking . . . Some of life has to be mysterious." - Peggy Noonan, April 19, 2009.

Remember also that the issue with Clinton was perjury in a civil suit. That required impeachment. But war crimes?

Here's a picture of what Noonan wants to keep "mysterious" - in other words, hidden, buried, ignored, and denied: the aftermath of "enhanced interrogation" performed at Abu Ghraib prison, Baghdad, 2004, by American soldiers by and with the approval of the Bush White House.

That was your American government at work, fellas - not Nazis or Communists in some murky old black-and-white movie, but your government and mine.

Disgusting is not a strong enough word for what has been done in the name of the American people; horrifying and revolting are more like it. And yet Noonan and her ilk, in their fancy Prada high heels and their goody-goody act, want to keep walking right on by, eyes closed, pretending everything is just wonderful.

My own mother, a plainspoken Texan who did not suffer fools gladly, had a short, swift way to sum up a woman like that; and it rhymes with witch.


Torture is the weapon of cowards and bullies and monsters.

Hat Trick in Connecticut

Governor Jodi Rell of Connecticut today signed into law a bill incoporating the ruling of that state's supreme court in the Kerrigan case last October, which made same-sex marriage legal in Connecticut. The bill Rell signed today, which was passed with bipartisan support in the state legislature, abolishes Connecticut civil unions as of October 2010, when all existing civil unions will be automatically converted to marriages.

Senator Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, said concerning the new law, "Our legislature and our governor now have ratified the Supreme Court's decision, and today all three branches of Connecticut's government speak with one voice: discrimination has no place in our state and will be eradicated wherever it appears."

Meanwhile, Texas Republicans, progressive as ever, continue to yearn for the glory days of 1861 and secession, by a majority of 51 percent.

Ah yes, back to the future with secession, states' rights, slavery, segregation, and sexism. Cut the onions and sodomy, please. What a country.

If only it wasn't so damn cold in Connecticut . . . .

Earth Day - And Beyond

A day late and a dollar short. Story of my life. Oh well, enjoy:

Photo of the Americas taken by NASA's Messenger probe, no date given. Click to see it really big.

Baby moon Epithemeus seen between the rings of Saturn with Titan in the background, taken recently by the Cassini spacecraft.

More cool pics of Earth and Saturn can be seen at The Big Picture.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why You Should Give a Damn

Simulated waterboarding by volunteers at a protest rally.
This could be you.

About torture. About war crimes. About the rule of law. About prisoners of war. About yourself and your loved ones under a government that recognizes no limits to its power.

From Andrew Sullivan, quoting Philip Zelikow, former State Department legal counsel, who was one of the few in the Bush administration to argue against torture - in writing (emphasis mine):
The focus on water-boarding misses the main point of the program.

Which is that it was a program. Unlike the image of using intense physical coercion as a quick, desperate expedient, the program developed "interrogation plans" to disorient, abuse, dehumanize, and torment individuals over time. The plan employed the combined, cumulative use of many techniques of medically-monitored physical coercion. Before getting to water-boarding, the captive had already been stripped naked, shackled to ceiling chains keeping him standing so he cannot fall asleep for extended periods, hosed periodically with cold water, slapped around, jammed into boxes, etc. etc. Sleep deprivation is most important. . . .

The underlying absurdity of the [Bush] administration's position can be summarized this way. Once you get to a substantive compliance analysis for "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" you get the position that the substantive standard is the same as it is in analogous U.S. constitutional law. So the OLC must argue, in effect, that the methods and the conditions of confinement in the CIA program could constitutionally be inflicted on American citizens in a county jail.

In other words, Americans in any town of this country could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest -- if the alleged national security justification was compelling. I did not believe our federal courts could reasonably be expected to agree with such a reading of the Constitution.
And Sullivan on what Cheney did to the Constitution (emphasis mine):

The Western anathema on torture began as a way to ensure the survival of truth. And that is the root of the West's entire legal and constitutional system. Remove a secure way to discover the truth - or create a system that can manufacture it or render it indistinguishable from lies - and the entire system unravels. That's why in the West suspects are innocent before being found guilty; and that's why in the West even those captured in wartime have long been accorded protection from forced confessions. Because it creates a world where truth is always the last priority and power is always the first.

This is not a policy difference. It is a foundational element of Western civilization. The way Cheney constructed it, it was not even a mere war-power. Since the war had no geographical boundaries, since an enemy combatant could be an American citizen or resident, since the enemy could never surrender, and since the war could never end, the dictatorial powers, allied with the power to torture, destroyed the balance of the American constitution. Until this is fully accounted for and the law-breakers brought to justice, that constitution remains with a massive breach below its waterline. It may not sink immediately; but its fate is sealed unless this precedent is not just moved on from, but erased.

George Orwell:

And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, complete, free, online. Read it. Give a damn.

While you still can.

The Democrats won't be in office forever. What happens when the Cheneys of this world return from the Dark Side?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Queer History Online

After that last post, I decided I should also post a link to the excellent glbtq.com, "an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture" - you know, all the stuff they left out of the history books. You should check it out, tons of excellent articles and photographs on all things queer, past and present.

It's important that we claim our own history and heritage, and not let it be deleted from the record ever again. That's one reason, of several, that queer people just don't exist in many straight people's concept of the world - they were never told we existed, and all the evidence that we did was carefully hidden from view. Ours was "the love that dare not speak its name," the "sin too horrible for Christians to mention."

But we are here, we've always been here - and it's way past time to change the way things are taught, don't you think?

And boy, history class sure would have been a lot more interesting if the textbook had had pictures like these, wouldn't it boys?

Paintings by British artist Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929). Click to enlarge.

Humanity's Heritage Online

Those of you who get a kick out of historical stuff should go check out the new World Digital Library site:

The WDL makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy cultural treasures from around the world on one site, in a variety of ways. These cultural treasures include, but are not limited to, manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.

Items on the WDL may easily be browsed by place, time, topic, type of item, and contributing institution, or can be located by an open-ended search, in several languages. Special features include interactive geographic clusters, a timeline, advanced image-viewing and interpretive capabilities. Item-level descriptions and interviews with curators about featured items provide additional information.

Navigation tools and content descriptions are provided in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Many more languages are represented in the actual books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other primary materials, which are provided in their original languages.

The WDL was developed by a team at the U.S. Library of Congress, with contributions by partner institutions in many countries; the support of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and the financial support of a number of companies and private foundations.
Here's a quick sampling, there's lots more where this came from.

American history buffs should also check out the Library of Congress American Memory site.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Aye, aye, Captain!

Capt. Richard Phillips resuced by U.S. Navy
Is it just me, or does anyone else think the brave Capt. Richard Phillips, now safely back home in Vermont after being rescued from his pirate kidnappers last week, would make a great addition to the Bear community?

Um, that is, if he weren't obviously straight as a board. Pity. Still, nice to see someone about my age and about my gray looking so good on the front pages all across the nation.

Actually, proud as I am of the Captain's efforts to ensure the safety of his crew, and his safe return home thanks to the U.S. Navy, this post is really an excuse to try out the new PicApp.com photo resource I just found. You other bloggers, take note: it lets you use stock photos on all kinds of current events and other subjects, and it's totally free. Pretty cool, check it out.

Who'd a-Thought?

Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent
by dwarthy

Bless her heart. Just goes to show, boys - you absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover.

Remember that next time you see that shy, kinda goofy-looking guy standing all by himself over in the corner of the bar, that nobody seems to want to talk to.

If you ever got to know him, you just might be very pleasantly surprised.

Everybody has a talent.

(Honk to The Daily Martini)

How to Kiss, Lesson #1

The first in a series of educational films, presented as a public service by your Head Trucker. Just doing my part to make the world a better place, one smooch at a time.

We're starting the series off with my personal choice for Sexiest Man in the Whole Damn World - Blake Harper.

Probly NSFW, but what the hell. Take good notes, this material will definitely be on the exam.

Levi's Gay Commercial

Okay, so maybe this is old news to you guys out there in the Big World, but I just stumbled across this for the first time. Love it.

Don't think it will ever run in Texas, though, before hell freezes over.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Drive: Where Is Your Soul?

From rocker and philanthropist Bono comes this poignant meditation in the New York Times on rebirth and regeneration, not for one soul only, but for the whole world. A must-read.
It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up . . . self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple — hard work — but of course that’s another indulgence.

Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.

It’s a transcendent moment for me — a rebirth I always seem to need. Never more so than a few years ago, when my father died. I recall the embarrassment and relief of hot tears as I knelt in a chapel in a village in France and repented my prodigal nature — repented for fighting my father for so many years and wasting so many opportunities to know him better. I remember the feeling of “a peace that passes understanding” as a load lifted. Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea. . . .

I come to lowly church halls and lofty cathedrals for what purpose? I search the Scriptures to what end? To check my head? My heart? No, my soul. For me these meditations are like a plumb line dropped by a master builder — to see if the walls are straight or crooked. I check my emotional life with music, my intellectual life with writing, but religion is where I soul-search.

The preacher said, “What good does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Hearing this, every one of the pilgrims gathered in the room asked, “Is it me, Lord?” In America, in Europe, people are asking, “Is it us?”

Well, yes. It is us.

Carnival is over. Commerce has been overheating markets and climates . . . the sooty skies of the industrial revolution have changed scale and location, but now melt ice caps and make the seas boil in the time of technological revolution. Capitalism is on trial; globalization is, once again, in the dock. . . .

Lent is upon us whether we asked for it or not. And with it, we hope, comes a chance at redemption. But redemption is not just a spiritual term, it’s an economic concept. At the turn of the millennium, the debt cancellation campaign, inspired by the Jewish concept of Jubilee, aimed to give the poorest countries a fresh start. Thirty-four million more children in Africa are now in school in large part because their governments used money freed up by debt relief. This redemption was not an end to economic slavery, but it was a more hopeful beginning for many. And to the many, not the lucky few, is surely where any soul-searching must lead us. . . . It's not alms, it's investment. It's not charity, it's justice.

Strangely, as we file out of the small stone church into the cruel sun, I think of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, whose now combined fortune is dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty. Agnostics both, I believe. I think of Nelson Mandela, who has spent his life upholding the rights of others. A spiritual man — no doubt. Religious? I’m told he would not describe himself that way.

Not all soul music comes from the church.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too Much Sexual Power?

You Are Extremely Sexually Powerful

Your sexual power is obvious - you don't do anything to hide your sexuality.

In fact, if there's such a thing as a person with too much sexual power, it's you.

Your life and thoughts are dominated by sex. And while it's good to be sexually liberated, you're starting to have a one track mind.

You don't always have to use your sexual power. There's more to human interaction than getting naked!

Yeah, yeah, okay, I admit it, it's all true. Guess there's some things a guy just can't hide.

But WTF is up with this female image they scored my test with?? I been accused of a lot of things but not that in bed.

So much for silly online tests.

(Honk to sex god Ultra Dave for the idea.)

A Storm of Lies - and Laughter

First, the oh-so-scary storm warning from the wingnut National Organization for Marriage (quick - hide the children and the dogs before viewing):

Then, the "best parody" of quite a few that have come out in recent days:

Though I also like the straightforward refutation of NOM's lying claims in this video:

And as usual, Rachel Maddow connects all the dots in this goofy picture:

Even better: You have to watch Stephen Colbert's hilarious send-up of the storm ad.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

And check out Frank Rich's brilliant New York Times piece:

Yet easy to mock as “Gathering Storm” may be, it nonetheless bookmarks a historic turning point in the demise of America’s anti-gay movement.

What gives the ad its symbolic significance is not just that it’s idiotic but that its release was the only loud protest anywhere in America to the news that same-sex marriage had been legalized in Iowa and Vermont. If it advances any message, it’s mainly that homophobic activism is ever more depopulated and isolated as well as brain-dead. . . . . It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering. Only those who have spread the poisons of bigotry and fear have any reason to be afraid.
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