Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ca AG (and former Gov) Brown Calls for Rejecting Prop 8

By 365gay Newscenter Staff
12.19.2008 8:58pm EST

(San Francisco, California) California Attorney General Jerry Brown told the state Supreme Court Friday that it should invalidate Proposition 8, the voter approved amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage.

In a brief submitted to the court Friday, Brown’s office said the measure should be invalidated because it deprives people of the right to marry—an aspect of liberty that the Supreme Court has concluded is guaranteed by the California Constitution.

“Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification,” Brown’s brief said.

Brown argued that in order to invalidate such a fundamental right, the court “must determine that there is a compelling justification to do so.”

But in the marriage cases that the court ruled on earlier this year, striking down the ban on gay marriage “the court found that no such compelling justification exists. Accordingly, Proposition 8 must be stricken,” the brief said.

Brown also said that he believes that same-sex marriages entered into between June 16 and November 4, 2008 are valid and recognized in California regardless of whether Proposition 8 is upheld.

The position was a surprise to some. Although he personally supports same-sex marriage many thought as Attorney General Brown would ask the court to uphold Prop 8. Brown’s office said that as Attorney General he is obligated to argue state constitutional law, which is what he did.

The court had ordered Brown’s office to submit its brief by today in reaction to legal challenges to Prop 8.

Following passage of the proposition the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the vote. They were joined by additional suits by the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The lawsuits charge that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone, by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians.

They also say that Proposition 8 improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities.

The suits say that under the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works, the groups said in a statement.

Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters.

That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid, the petitioners said.

The Supreme Court set Friday as the deadline for Brown’s office to reply and it said that in addition to hearing arguments on the validity of the vote it wanted to address what effect, if any, a ruling upholding the amendment would have on the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that were sanctioned in California before Election Day.

In addition to the brief from attorneys for the Protect Marriage Coalition, the umbrella group that put Prop 8 on the ballot. It argued that the will of the people must be respected by the court and that the measure also invalidated those marriages performed prior to the vote.

The coalition has hired Ken Starr who led the inquiry into President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica L. Lewinsky, to argue its case before the high court. It said it needed a high profile attorney because it did not trust Brown to fight for Prop 8.

The court is expected to study the briefs and then ask for comment from the litigants. Oral arguments in the case could be heard as early as March but a ruling would not come for months after that.

And a wonderful response from a reader at

The California Supreme Court MUST invalidate Prop 8, or they will render themselves powerless. They have already stated in their May 2008, 172 page opinion, that they have the power to review and either uphold or invalidate all laws, propositions, amendments and all other legal aspects of California statutes.

They already called civil marriage a “fundamental right” of all people, (I suppose just residents of Californians, but it is not explicitly so stated, and probably applies to ALL people. They stated explicitly non-residents can get married there too! Too bad, Utah!)

I agree with Rick (another respondent) when he said:

Freedom of religion also includes the “freedom FROM religion”, “freedom FROM FORCED religion”, “freedom FROM YOUR religion” and “freedom from your FORCED religion” as well.

By allowing the religious bigots to win, then the courts are forcing us to bow to one particular brand of religion. And that is FORBIDDEN by the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Since there are many religions that sanction and approve of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages, I want my state sanctioned civil marriage contract. It is good, it is right, it is meaningful and it is most definitely needed in today’s legally administered society. Most of all my partner and I need it.

The Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Holy Rollers, Catholics, Muslims, Winesses, Mormons et. al. choose their practices of religious worship and their choice of God, and their religion laws.

Simply put, their choice does NOT trump my right to life, my right to liberty, and my right to find my own happiness.

Their choice of religion does not give them a superior moral position over me, and I will not allow them to try to force their misbegotten ideals and practices on me or those I love.

Please, all you religious fanatics, bigots, ignorant, and nutcases, GO HOME AND LEAVE ME ALONE. I will not enter your home or church, and please keep your nose and silly ideas out of my life and the places I frequent. You do not get to tell anyone what to do, much less deprive me of what I hold dear. I do not need your religion to be a good, kind, moral, upstanding, and yes, even god-fearing human being. Leave me to my choice of religion, and those human characteristics with which I was born.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Advertising Made Easy

Pretty much what we all realize after enough years of being inundated by commercials.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interesting Article Supporting Gay Marriage - From the Bible

Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.

Our Mutual Joy
By Lisa Miller | NEWSWEEK
Published Dec 6, 2008
From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months—since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it—the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country's pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell—and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher—this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections.

The argument goes something like this statement, which the Rev. Richard A. Hunter, a United Methodist minister, gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June: "The Bible and Jesus define marriage as between one man and one woman. The church cannot condone or bless same-sex marriages because this stands in opposition to Scripture and our tradition."

To which there are two obvious responses: First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage—theirs or anyone else's —to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes. "Marriage" in America refers to two separate things, a religious institution and a civil one, though it is most often enacted as a messy conflation of the two. As a civil institution, marriage offers practical benefits to both partners: contractual rights having to do with taxes; insurance; the care and custody of children; visitation rights; and inheritance. As a religious institution, marriage offers something else: a commitment of both partners before God to love, honor and cherish each other—in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer—in accordance with God's will. In a religious marriage, two people promise to take care of each other, profoundly, the way they believe God cares for them. Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should.

In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call "the traditional family" are scarcely to be found. Marriage was critical to the passing along of tradition and history, as well as to maintaining the Jews' precious and fragile monotheism. But as the Barnard University Bible scholar Alan Segal puts it, the arrangement was between "one man and as many women as he could pay for." Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument—in particular, this verse from Genesis: "Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world. (The fact that homosexual couples cannot procreate has also been raised as a biblical objection, for didn't God say, "Be fruitful and multiply"? But the Bible authors could never have imagined the brave new world of international adoption and assisted reproductive technology—and besides, heterosexuals who are infertile or past the age of reproducing get married all the time.)

Ozzie and Harriet are nowhere in the New Testament either. The biblical Jesus was—in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise—emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels. There will be no marriage in heaven, he says in Matthew. Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce (leaving a loophole in some cases for the husbands of unfaithful women).

The apostle Paul echoed the Christian Lord's lack of interest in matters of the flesh. For him, celibacy was the Christian ideal, but family stability was the best alternative. Marry if you must, he told his audiences, but do not get divorced. "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): a wife must not separate from her husband." It probably goes without saying that the phrase "gay marriage" does not appear in the Bible at all.

If the bible doesn't give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men. Sex between women has never, even in biblical times, raised as much ire. In its entry on "Homosexual Practices," the Anchor Bible Dictionary notes that nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women, "possibly because it did not result in true physical 'union' (by male entry)." The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as "an abomination" (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave?

Paul was tough on homosexuality, though recently progressive scholars have argued that his condemnation of men who "were inflamed with lust for one another" (which he calls "a perversion") is really a critique of the worst kind of wickedness: self-delusion, violence, promiscuity and debauchery. In his book "The Arrogance of Nations," the scholar Neil Elliott argues that Paul is referring in this famous passage to the depravity of the Roman emperors, the craven habits of Nero and Caligula, a reference his audience would have grasped instantly. "Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all," Elliott says. "He's talking about a certain group of people who have done everything in this list. We're not dealing with anything like gay love or gay marriage. We're talking about really, really violent people who meet their end and are judged by God." In any case, one might add, Paul argued more strenuously against divorce—and at least half of the Christians in America disregard that teaching.

Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument). Common prayers and rituals reflect our common practice: the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer describes the participants in a marriage as "the man and the woman." But common practice changes—and for the better, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." The Bible endorses slavery, a practice that Americans now universally consider shameful and barbaric. It recommends the death penalty for adulterers (and in Leviticus, for men who have sex with men, for that matter). It provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites. A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it's impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.

Marriage, specifically, has evolved so as to be unrecognizable to the wives of Abraham and Jacob. Monogamy became the norm in the Christian world in the sixth century; husbands' frequent enjoyment of mistresses and prostitutes became taboo by the beginning of the 20th. (In the NEWSWEEK POLL, 55 percent of respondents said that married heterosexuals who have sex with someone other than their spouses are more morally objectionable than a gay couple in a committed sexual relationship.) By the mid-19th century, U.S. courts were siding with wives who were the victims of domestic violence, and by the 1970s most states had gotten rid of their "head and master" laws, which gave husbands the right to decide where a family would live and whether a wife would be able to take a job. Today's vision of marriage as a union of equal partners, joined in a relationship both romantic and pragmatic, is, by very recent standards, radical, says Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage, a History."

Religious wedding ceremonies have already changed to reflect new conceptions of marriage. Remember when we used to say "man and wife" instead of "husband and wife"? Remember when we stopped using the word "obey"? Even Miss Manners, the voice of tradition and reason, approved in 1997 of that change. "It seems," she wrote, "that dropping 'obey' was a sensible editing of a service that made assumptions about marriage that the society no longer holds."

We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future. The Bible offers inspiration and warning on the subjects of love, marriage, family and community. It speaks eloquently of the crucial role of families in a fair society and the risks we incur to ourselves and our children should we cease trying to bind ourselves together in loving pairs. Gay men like to point to the story of passionate King David and his friend Jonathan, with whom he was "one spirit" and whom he "loved as he loved himself." Conservatives say this is a story about a platonic friendship, but it is also a story about two men who stand up for each other in turbulent times, through violent war and the disapproval of a powerful parent. David rends his clothes at Jonathan's death and, in grieving, writes a song:

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
You were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
More wonderful than that of women.

Here, the Bible praises enduring love between men. What Jonathan and David did or did not do in privacy is perhaps best left to history and our own imaginations.

In addition to its praise of friendship and its condemnation of divorce, the Bible gives many examples of marriages that defy convention yet benefit the greater community. The Torah discouraged the ancient Hebrews from marrying outside the tribe, yet Moses himself is married to a foreigner, Zipporah. Queen Esther is married to a non-Jew and, according to legend, saves the Jewish people. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, believes that Judaism thrives through diversity and inclusion. "I don't think Judaism should or ought to want to leave any portion of the human population outside the religious process," he says. "We should not want to leave [homosexuals] outside the sacred tent." The marriage of Joseph and Mary is also unorthodox (to say the least), a case of an unconventional arrangement accepted by society for the common good. The boy needed two human parents, after all.

In the Christian story, the message of acceptance for all is codified. Jesus reaches out to everyone, especially those on the margins, and brings the whole Christian community into his embrace. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, cites the story of Jesus revealing himself to the woman at the well— no matter that she had five former husbands and a current boyfriend—as evidence of Christ's all-encompassing love. The great Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, emeritus professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, quotes the apostle Paul when he looks for biblical support of gay marriage: "There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ." The religious argument for gay marriage, he adds, "is not generally made with reference to particular texts, but with the general conviction that the Bible is bent toward inclusiveness."

The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference—all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow. Terry Davis is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hartford, Conn., and has been presiding over "holy unions" since 1992. "I'm against promiscuity—love ought to be expressed in committed relationships, not through casual sex, and I think the church should recognize the validity of committed same-sex relationships," he says.

Still, very few Jewish or Christian denominations do officially endorse gay marriage, even in the states where it is legal. The practice varies by region, by church or synagogue, even by cleric. More progressive denominations—the United Church of Christ, for example—have agreed to support gay marriage. Other denominations and dioceses will do "holy union" or "blessing" ceremonies, but shy away from the word "marriage" because it is politically explosive. So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that. People get married "for their mutual joy," explains the Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center in New York, quoting the Episcopal marriage ceremony. That's what religious people do: care for each other in spite of difficulty, she adds. In marriage, couples grow closer to God: "Being with one another in community is how you love God. That's what marriage is about."

More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this. My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God's knowledge of our most secret selves: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for "Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad." Let the priest's prayer be our own.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Mormon's Lament: Church Is On the Wrong Side of History Again With Proposition 8

(Read in Oct. 27 Huffington Post blogs update)

by Joe Vogel:

In late 2002, as President George W. Bush began building his case for preemptive war in Iraq, a remarkable thing happened. In contrast to the general timidity of American churches in response to the conflict in Vietnam, leaders of faith were speaking out. Observed the Reverend Jim Wallis at the time:

Opposition to war with Iraq has come from a wide spectrum of the churches - Roman Catholic, Protestant denominations, Evangelical, Pentecostal, black churches, Orthodox. All of the statements, letters, and resolutions from church leaders and bodies take the threat posed by Saddam Hussein seriously, but they refuse war as the best response.

Importantly, these church leaders are not making their decision based on whether or not they approve of President George W. Bush - some do and some don't. Rather, they are doing so on the basis of Christian theology and moral teaching.

One notable exception to this dissent: the Mormon Church.

The LDS Church's cautious official response to the war (one of the most consequential decisions in recent American history) and near-unconditional subsequent support for the Bush Administration (in 2005, Dick Cheney was awarded an honorary doctorate and invited as the commencement speaker at BYU, the Church's flagship institution), raise important questions about the Church's involvement in political affairs, particularly when an issue has moral/ethical implications. When should it speak out? When should it stay neutral? And how does it treat its members with minority views?

Nearly six years and thousands of lost lives since the war began, Mormon authorities still haven't weighed in on Iraq, Abu Ghraib, or Guantanomo Bay. Neither have they directed semi-annual Conference addresses to the genocide in Sudan, human rights violations caused by multi-national corporations, or climate change that could have devastating effects on future generations. Instead, in the past few months they have decided to take action on a "moral issue" of a different sort: denying gay couples the constitutional right to get married in California.

In support of California's Proposition 8, the Mormon Church has gone into political overdrive. Under the direction of Church leaders' admonition over the pulpit, they have formed a formidable grassroots machine, providing boots on the ground, making phone calls, writing letters, forwarding emails, while donating an astounding $19 million to the cause.

"What we're about is the work of the Lord, and He will bless you for your involvement," apostle M. Russell Ballard proclaimed in a broadcast to church buildings in California, Utah, Hawaii and Idaho.

This stand, sadly, follows a disturbing trend of being on the wrong side of history on issues of social justice and equality for the LDS Church.

For nearly 150 years, the Mormon Church stubbornly held to a racist policy that refused all members of African descent the privilege of entering temples or receiving the Priesthood. Even as slavery, segregation, and Jim Crowe receded into the American past, the Mormon Church still treated its own black members as second-class citizens. The practice was justified as the plan of God. Apostles and prophets, the highest authorities in the Church, rationalized the continued discrimination by pointing to the "curse of Cain" and disobedience in the pre-existence. Other leaders said they simply didn't know but were sure God had some mysterious reason for keeping the full blessings of the Gospel from black people. Only a rare few leaders, including apostle Hugh B. Brown (and many more grassroots members), spoke out on behalf of civil rights. So the infamous ban lived on until 1978.

Along with polygamy, this blatant institutional racism is perhaps the most regrettable scar in Mormon history. Though progress has been made, race remains a taboo subject to this day for most Mormons, shrouded in shame and myth. It hasn't helped that the Church still hasn't publicly acknowledged or apologized for its racist past.

Yet sadly this is not the only example of the Mormon Church attempting to stifle progress and equality. In the 1970s the Church went to great efforts to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment for women. Much like Proposition 8, they argued that it undermined the traditional structure of the family. Church leaders called it "a moral issue with many disturbing ramifications for women and for the family as individual members and as a whole." President Spencer W. Kimball said it "would strike at the family, humankind's basic institution."

Sound familiar?

So here we are, in 2008, and now the threat is gay people who are already gay, who love each other and in many cases live together, and want to get married. How does this hurt the average Mormon family?

If the concern really was the practical welfare of the family, perhaps the Church could instead invest its vast resources into making healthcare universal and affordable, expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act, cracking down on child predators, and improving the quality of our educational system. All of these issues have a direct impact on my family and millions of others.

You hear of marriages ruined all the time because of abuse, neglect, or stress over finances. But I have personally never heard of a divorce caused by another gay couple getting married.

Yet instead of focusing on issues that can really help nourish our families we obsess over a word. A word we refuse to share. A word that has never been perfectly fixed. There was a time, after all, when inter-racial marriage was just as taboo and illegal as gay marriage. Marriage has been many things, but the common ideal has been and should continue to be a relationship built on love and commitment.

So to my fellow Mormons: I ask you to please re-consider. Take the time you would spend fighting this errant cause with your family. Go to a movie. Take a drive together. Watch the World Series.

Maybe you don't completely understand homosexuality. Maybe you think it's a sin. But shouldn't we leave that to God and allow others to be who they are and make their own choices? As followers of Christ, isn't it always better to err on the side of compassion and love?

Martin Luther King once lamented in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail:

So often the contemporary Church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church's silent---and often even vocal---sanction of things as they are.

In case after case when the moral chips have been on the table, I have hoped for my Church what Dr. King prayed for in his time: that "the Church as a whole will meet the challenge of [the] decisive hour." But sadly, so often on the issues of peace, equality and social justice, it has failed, whether by silence or misguided support.

With Proposition 8 it is time to stand for justice, not discrimination. It is time to stand for equality. It is time to be on the right side of history. Regardless of race, gender, or sexuality human beings are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. Today I voice my public support in favor of treating my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as equals, and ask my fellow Mormons to do the same.

UPDATE: To clarify, I commend all the good, charitable work the LDS Church does and have written about it in the past. The purpose of this article is specifically on the Church's response to political issues with moral implications.

UPDATE 2: To those publishing hateful words in the comments towards Mormons, I ask you to re-consider. I'm with MLK: we should strive for moral ends by moral means. Healthy criticism is fine. Hate and intolerance perpetuates hate and intolerance whether it is directed at gays or Mormons.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Of Cats and Cash

How the GOP is Anti-America

From MSNBC's Keith Olbermann:
Divisive politics is anti-American
GOP ticket's willingness to say anything to win ultimately damages America

Oct. 20, 2008 on

I have frequently insisted I would never turn the platform of the Special Comment into a regular feature. But as these last two weeks of this extraordinary, and extraordinarily disturbing, presidential campaign project out in front of us, I fear I may have to temporarily amend that presumption.

I hope it will be otherwise, but I suspect this will be the first of nightly pieces, most shorter than this until further notice. And thus a Special Comment tonight about the last five days of the divisive, ugly, paranoid bleatings of this Presidential race, culminating in the sliming of Colin Powell for his endorsement of Sen. Obama.

There was once a very prominent sportswriter named Dick Young whose work, with ever-increasing frequency, became peppered with references to "my America."

"I can't believe this is happening in My America;" "We do not tolerate these people in My America;" "This man does not belong in my America." His America gradually revealed itself.

Insular. Isolationist. Backwards-looking. Mindlessly flag-waving. Racist. No second chances. A million rules, but only for the other guy. Dick Young died in 1987, but he has been re-born in the presidential campaign as it has unfolded since last Thursday night.

In that time, Gov. Sarah Palin, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, McCain spokesperson Nancy Pfotenhauer, and Rush Limbaugh, have revealed that there is a measurable portion of this country that is not interested in that which the vast majority view as democracy or equality or opportunity. They want only control and they want the rest of us, symbolically, perhaps physically out.

Gov. Palin:

"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington D.C.," you told a fund-raiser in North Carolina last Thursday, to kick off this orgy of condescending elitism.

"We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, very pro-America areas of this great nation."

Governor, your prejudice is overwhelming. It is not just "pockets" of this country that are "pro-America" Governor. America is "pro-America. "And the "Real America" of yours, Governor, is where people at your rallies shout threats of violence, against other Americans, and you say nothing about them or to them.

What you are seeing is not patriotism, Governor. What has surrounded you since your nomination, has been the echoing shout of mob rule. Indeed, that shout has echoed to Minnesota, where the next day an unstable Congresswoman named Michele Bachmann added to the ugly cry.

"I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose' like that."

For nearly two years, Ms. Bachmann, who made her first political bones by keeping the movie "Aladdin" from being shown at a Minnesota Charter School because she thought it promoted paganism and witchcraft, has had a seat in the government of this nation, a seat from which she has spewed the most implausible, hateful, narrow-minded garbage imaginable.

Well, Congresswoman, you have gotten that "expose'" you wanted, have you not? Though not perhaps in the way you imagined.

Since giving voice to your remarkable delusion that there are members of Congress who are "anti-America," and the extraordinary tap-dance of sleaze and innuendo about Sen. Obama which followed, the challenger for your house Seat, Elwyn Tinklenberg, has been inundated by donations – $7,000 in the three days after you spoke.

Because the America you perceive, Congresswoman with its goblins and ghosts and vast unseen hordes of traitors and fellow travelers and Senators who won't ban "Aladdin" exists only in your head, and in the heads of the others who must rationalize the failures in their own lives and of their own policies as somebody else's fault as a conspiracy to deny them an America of exclusionism and religious orthodoxy and prejudice, about which they must accuse, and murmur, and shout threats, and cleave the nation into pro-America and anti-America."

And back it comes to the McCain campaign. And Sen. McCain's talking head, Ms. Pfotenhauer, who on this very network Saturday, and seemingly without the slightest idea that dismissive prejudice dripped from every word, analyzed the race in Virginia.

"I can tell you that the Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into northern Virginia," she said. "But the rest of the state, ‘real Virginia,' if you will, I think will be very responsive to Sen. McCain's message."

Again, a toxic message. The parts of the country that agree with Nancy Pfotenhauer are real; the others, not. Ms. Pfotenhauer, why not go the distance on this one? It was Sen. McCain's own brother who called that part of Virginia nearest Washington "communist country."

Cut to the chase, Madam. No matter the intended comic hyperbole of Joe McCain. This is the point—isn't it? Leave out the real meaning of "Communism," Madam, Joe McCain reduced it to a buzz-word; it has no more true definition right now than does "Socialism," or the phrase "a man who sees America like you and I see America."

It's about us and them. The pro and the anti. Never mind, Madam, that the bi-secting of this country you would happily inspire, means taking a tiny crack in a dam and not repairing it but burrowing into it.

It is not enough that Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama might differ. One must be real and the other false. One must be pro-America and the other anti. Go back and, as your boss Rick Davis said today, "re-think," Mr. McCain's insistence not to drag the sorry bones of Jeremiah Wright into this campaign. And whatever you do, Ms. Pfotenhauer, allow no one enough time to think about the widening crack in the dam.

And now all of this comes together to attack Colin Powell. "Secretary Powell says his endorsement is not about race," writes Rush Limbaugh, the grand wizard of this school of reactionary non-thought.

"OK, fine. I am now researching his past endorsements to see if I can find all the inexperienced, very liberal, white candidates he has endorsed. I'll let you know what I come up with." It is not conceivable that Powell might reject McCain for the politics of hate and character assassination, or just for policy.

In the closed, sweaty world of the blind allegiances of Limbaugh, one of "us" who endorses one of "them," must be doing so for some other blind allegiance, like the color of skin.

The answer to this primordial muck, must be addressed to one man only. Sen. McCain, where are you? I disagree with you on virtually every major point of policy and practice. And yet I do not think you "anti-America." I would not hesitate to join you in time of crisis in defense of this country. Fortunately you did not echo this chorus of base hatred. But neither have you repudiated it.

What is "pro-America", Senator? Is it pro-America to call a man a racist because he endorses a different candidate? Senator, you have based your campaign on many premises, but the foremost (and the most nearly admirable) of all of them, have been the pitches about "reaching across the aisle," and putting, as your ubiquitous banners reed, "country first."

So when Colin Powell endorses your opponent, you say nothing as your supporters and proxies paint him in this "Anti-America" frame and place him in Gov. Palin's un-real America. Sen. McCain, did not Gen. Powell just "reach across the aisle?" Did he not, in his own mind at least, "put country first?" Is it not your responsibility, Senator, to, if not applaud, then at least quiet those in your half of our fractured political equation?

Is it not your responsibility, Senator, to say "enough" to Republican smears without end? Is it not your responsibility, Senator, to insist that, win or lose, you will not be party to a campaign that devolves into hatred and prejudice and divisiveness? And Sen. McCain, if it is not your responsibility, whose is it?

Friday, October 10, 2008


These, to remember what I hope will be the most-memorable election in my time:

And this, because all my life I've had this same basic feeling towards algebra!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Having Lived with a Plethora of Pussycats...

...I can believe all of this!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

McCain's Big Lie Campaign Against Alaska, Democrats, er...

As read in The Nation -- John McCain has a problem.

His running-mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, is the subject of a legitimate bipartisan inquiry into charges that she abused her authority to fire a respected lawman who would not do her personal bidding.

The charges are so serious that they could lead to her impeachment and removal as governor -- a development that would not reflect well on the Republican presidential candidate's decision to try and put Palin in line for the presidency.

What's a McCain to do?

On the eve of the first and only vice presidential debate, McCain has authorized a smear campaign designed to foster the fantasy that the inquiry into Palin's alleged wrongdoing is just partisan politics.

The campaign is based on lies, lies about the people involved in the inquiry and about Palin's relationship to it.

Those lies are contained in a new advertisement from the McCain campaign titled, "Alaska's Political Circus."

Here's the script:

ANNCR: In Alaska. The circus has come to town.

When Gov. Sarah Palin dismissed Walter Monegan over insubordination regarding his budget, blogger conspiracy theories started to fly and an investigation ensued.

Meet Sen. Hollis French. An Obama supporter.

He moved the investigation deadline to the middle of the presidential campaign, saying it could lead to an October surprise.

Meet Sen. Kim Elton. An Obama donor who continues to ignore the calls of his own committee members to reconsider whether the investigation is legitimate.

And then there's Steve Branchflower. Appointed as a QUOTE independent investigator by Elton. Branchflower and French were recently exposed for colluding on the issuing of subpoenas.

So why are they even investigating Gov. Palin? Conspiracy theorists say it's because Monegan was dismissed because he wouldn't fire Trooper Michael Wooten.

Even after Wooten was cited for tasering his 10-year-old stepson.

Secrecy, collusion, and October surprises. It's nothing more than a three-ring circus emceed by Obama partisans.

What the McCain campaign ad fails to note is that the inquiry into Palin's activities was initiated by Alaska Republicans.

It has been supported all along by Alaska Republicans.

The investigation continue to this day because Alaska Republicans believe the allegations against Palin are serious enough to warrant the expenditure of $100,000 to organize the investigation, the hiring of an independent prosecutor to conduct it and the abuse they have experienced from the McCain campaign to pursue it.

Let's be clear about the facts:

Palin did not say she fired Monegan, a former Anchorage police chief who served as state Public Safety Commissioner and who has been hailed by the state's most conservative commentators as the state's top lawman, for "insubordination." That word only came into the discussion after the McCain campaign flew a former Bush-Cheney administration federal prosecutor from New York to Anchorage with instructions to derail the investigation.

Republicans, not Democrats, and certainly not Obama backers, control the Alaska legislature.

It was a former Republican legislator and statewide candidate, Andrew Halcro, who began pressing for the investigation.

It was Alaska's Republican-controlled Legislative Council that authorized the investigation and appointed Hollis French to manage it. French did not move the deadline to conflict with the election campaign, he actually moved it away from the election so that the report on Palin's wrongdoing would not be released on the eve of the November 4 national vote. He did that to try and avoid partisan conflicts.

It was Alaska's Republican-controlled Legislative Council that approved the hiring of Steve Branchflower, a universally respected retired prosecutor who has no partisan affiliation.

It was Alaska's Republican-controlled Legislative Council that authorized continuation of the inquiry after the McCain campaign flew a noted Bush-Cheney administration fixer -- a veteran of the Florida recount fight -- into the state to try and prevent completion of an investigation that McCain aides feared would expose Palin as an abusive and irresponsible official.

It was a Republican-controlled state Senate Judiciary Committee that began issuing subpoenas in the case.

It was a Republican governor who welcomed the legislative inquiry and promised full cooperation with Hollis Smith, Steve Branchflower and everyone else involved with the investigation.

Her name was Sarah Palin and she said, "Hold me accountable."

It appears now that she was lying.

Palin's lie, while distressing, cannot compare with those contained in the McCain campaign's latest ad.

The ad is a shameful, big-lie assault on the truth.

And it is authorized by John McCain, a man who once claimed to practice "straight talk."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

6 Things the Palin Pick Says About John McCain

From Saturday's Politico...and exactly what I was thinking, though I probably wouldn't have said as well!

Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris Sat Aug 30, 9:57 AM ET

The selection of a running mate is among the most consequential, most defining decisions a presidential nominee can make. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says a lot about his decison-making — and some of it is downright breathtaking.

We knew McCain is a politician who relishes improvisation, and likes to go with his gut. But it is remarkable that someone who has repeatedly emphasized experience in this campaign named an inexperienced governor he barely knew to be his No. 2. Whatever you think of the pick, here are six things it tells us about McCain:

1. He’s desperate. Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states like Indiana and Montana the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.

McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.

McCain’s pick shows he is not pretending. Politicians, even “mavericks” like McCain, play it safe when they think they are winning — or see an easy path to winning. They roll the dice only when they know that the risks of conventionality are greater than the risks of boldness.

The Republican brand is a mess. McCain is reasonably concluding that it won’t work to replicate George W. Bush and Karl Rove’s electoral formula, based around national security and a big advantage among Y chromosomes, from 2004.

“She’s a fresh new face in a party that’s dying for one — the antidote to boring white men,” a campaign official said.

Palin, the logic goes, will prompt voters to give him a second look — especially women who have watched Democrats reject Hillary Rodham Clinton for Barack Obama.

The risks of a backlash from choosing someone so unknown and so untested are obvious. In one swift stroke, McCain demolished what had been one of his main arguments against Obama.

“I think we’re going to have to examine our tag line, ‘dangerously inexperienced,’” a top McCain official said wryly.

2. He’s willing to gamble — bigtime. Let’s face it: This is not the pick of a self-confident candidate. It is the political equivalent of a trick play or, as some Democrats called it, a Hail Mary pass in football. McCain talks incessantly about experience, and then goes and selects a woman he hardly knows, who hardly knows foreign policy and who can hardly be seen as instantly ready for the presidency.

He is smart enough to know it could work, at least politically. Many Republicans see this pick as a brilliant stroke because it will be difficult for Democrats to run hard against a woman in the wake of the Hillary Clinton drama. Will this push those disgruntled Hillary voters McCain’s way? Perhaps. But this is hardly aimed at them: It is directed at the huge bloc of independent women — especially those who do not see abortion as a make-or-break issue — who could decide this election.

McCain has a history of taking dares. Palin represents his biggest one yet.

3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama, and 28 years younger than he is. (He turned 72 Friday.) The father-daughter comparison was inevitable when they appeared next to each other.

4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of his age. He thinks he’s in fine fettle, and Palin wouldn’t be performing the only constitutional duty of a vice president, which is standing by in case a president dies or becomes incapacitated. If he was really concerned about an inexperienced person sitting in the Oval Office we would be writing about vice presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge or Condoleezza Rice.

There is no plausible way that McCain could say that he picked Palin, who was only elected governor in 2006 and whose most extended public service was as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 8,471), because she was ready to be president on Day One.

Nor can McCain argue that he was looking for someone he could trust as a close adviser. Most people know the staff at the local Starbucks better than McCain knows Palin. They met for the first time last February at a National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Then, they spoke again — by phone — on Sunday while she was at the Alaska state fair and he was at home in Arizona.

McCain has made a mockery out of his campaign's longtime contention that Barack Obama is too dangerously inexperienced to be commander in chief. Now, the Democratic ticket boasts 40 years of national experience (four years for Obama and 36 years for Joseph Biden of Delaware), while the Republican ticket has 26 (McCain’s four yeasr in the House and 22 in the Senate.)

The McCain campaign has made a calculation that most voters don’t really care about the national experience or credentials of a vice president, and that Palin’s ebullient personality and reputation as a refomer who took on cesspool politics in Alaska matters more.

5. He’s worried about his conservative base. If he had room to maneuver, there were lots of people McCain could have selected who would have represented a break from Washington politics as usual. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman comes to mind (and it certainly came to McCain’s throughout the process). He had no such room. GOP stalwarts were furious over trial balloons about the possibility of choosing a supporter of abortion rights, including the possibility that he would reach out to his friend.

Palin is an ardent opponent of abortion who was previously scheduled to keynote the Republican National Coalition for Life's "Life of the Party" event in the Twin Cities this week.

“She’s really a perfect selection,” said Darla St. Martin, the Co-Director of the National Right to Life Committee. It is no secret McCain wanted to shake things up in this race — and he realized he was limited to a shake-up conservatives could stomach.

6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. People may find him a refreshing maverick, or an erratic egotist. In either event, he marches to his own beat.

On the upside, his team did manage to play to the media’s love of drama, fanning speculation about his possible choices and maximizing coverage of the decision.

On the potential downside, the drama was evidently entirely genuine. The fact that McCain only spoke with Palin about the vice presidency for the first time on Sunday, and that he was seriously considering Lieberman until days ago, suggests just how hectic and improvisational his process was.

In the end, this selection gives him a chance to reclaim the mantle of a different kind of politician intent on changing Washington. He once had a legitimate claim to this: after all, he took on his own party over campaign finance reform and immigration. He jeopardized this claim in recent months by embracing ideas he once opposed (Bush tax cuts) and ideas that appeared politically motivated (gas tax holiday).

Spontaneity, with a touch of impulsiveness, is one of the traits that attract some of McCain’s admirers. Whether it’s a good calling card for a potential president will depend on the reaction in coming days to what looks for the moment like the most daring vice presidential selection in generations.

Mike Allen contributed to this report.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

OK, You Were a POW. Now Shut Up Already!

Everybody knows John McCain served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, was shot down, captured, and was a prisoner of war for over five years. That experience, as challenging as it must have been, does not automatically qualify one to be the president of the United States...or does it?

Raising his POW experience to Jay Leno to justify not remembering how many houses he owns:
Could I just mention to you Jay, that in a moment of seriousness, I spent five and a half years in a prison cell, I didn’t have a house, I didn’t have a kitchen table, I didn’t have a table, I didn’t have a chair.

Raising his POW experience to justify his love of the song Take a Chance on Me by Abba:
A lot of my taste in music stopped about the time I impacted a surface to air missile with my own airplane, McCain said to Walter Issacson at the Aspen Institute. (In fact, Abba began recording years after he was shot down.)

Raising his POW experience to justify his opposition to universal health care:
I did have a period of time where I didn’t have very good health care, I had it from another government. Look, I know what it’s like not to have health care, McCain said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Raising his POW experience to attack political opponents:
Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock concert museum. Now, my friends, I wasn’t there. I was tied up at the time, McCain said during a primary debate.

Former president Jimmy Carter was bewildered by McCain's performance at the Saddleback Presidential Forum hosted by pastor and author Rick Warren in Lake Forest, Calif., earlier this month.

Carter said that whether he was asked about religion, domestic or foreign affairs, every answer came back to McCain's 5½ years as a POW. "John McCain was able to weave in his experience in a Vietnam prison camp, no matter what the question was," Carter said. "It's much better than talking about how he's changed his total character between being a senator, a kind of a maverick … and his acquiescence in the last few months with every kind of lobbyist pressure that the right-wing Republicans have presented."

Yeah, the John McCain I remember pre-2001, the 2001-2007 McCain, and the 2008 campaign McCain are very different Johns. And I must agree with Carter's assessment.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Heroine Del Martin Rests in Peace

Pioneering lesbian rights activist Del Martin, who married her lifelong partner in June on the first day that same-sex couples here gained that right, has died. She was 87.

Martin died at a San Francisco hospital Wednesday morning with her wife (and partner in life for many decades), Phyllis Lyon, by her side.

Along with six other women, Martin and Lyon founded a San Francisco social club for lesbians in 1955. Under their leadership, that group evolved into the nation's first lesbian advocacy organization.

The couple were married at San Francisco City Hall on June 16. Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the wedding, singled them out to be the first gay couple to legally exchange vows in the city, in recognition of their activism.

The two were among the two dozen couples who served as plaintiffs in the lawsuits that led the state Supreme Court to overturn California's ban on gay marriage in May.
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom looks on as Del Martin, left, places a ring on her partner Phyllis Lyon, right, on their wedding day, June 16, 2008.

While it seems so terribly sad that she has died just two months after their wedding, consolation exists in the many decades they had already shared together. Let us all pray the love Del has for Phyllis, and Phyllis' spirit as a pioneering activist for all our rights, wipes away some of the tears and sorrow and allows Phyllis to continue on the rest of her days with us.

God bless you Del and Phyllis. Well, you had over 50 years together. God has been blessing you both for a long, long time. This isn't an end to that.

peace & love
peace & love
peace & love

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quotes on Homosexuality

The next time someone asks you, "Hey, howdja get to be a homosexual anyway?" tell them, "Homosexuals are chosen first on talent, then interview... then the swimsuit and evening gown competition pretty much gets rid of the rest of them." ~Karen Williams

"god made only a few gifted people, the rest are heterosexuals" -unknown

Why can't they have gay people in the army? Personally, I think they are just afraid of a thousand guys with M16s going, "Who'd you call a faggot?" ~John Stewart

It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain. ~Francis Maude

When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one. ~Epitaph of Leonard P. Matlovich, 1988

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? ~Ernest Gaines

"Why do we have to recycle the old conflicts so many times: first we fight about slavery, then segregation, then gender, and now sexual orientation, while gender identity is in the wings waiting? Why can't people look at the phrase 'liberty and justice for all' and simply accept that 'all' means 'all.' " - Anonymous

"The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." -Lynn Lavner

If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work: "Hello. Can't work today, still queer." ~Robin Tyler

Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. -James Baldwin

There's this illusion that homosexuals have sex and heterosexuals fall in love. That's completely untrue. Everybody wants to be loved. ~Boy George

Soldiers who are not afraid of guns, bombs, capture, torture, or death say they are afraid of homosexuals. Clearly we should not be used as soldiers we should be used as weapons. ~Letter to the Editor, The Advocate

You could move. ~Abigail Van Buren of "Dear Abby," in response to a reader who complained that a gay couple was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood.

More Fun SPAM Messages

necati kupczyk sent: McCain Chooses Paris Hilton to be Running Mate
Not after her video response to his attack ad he didn't!

niyazi batchelder
sent: Paris Hilton Donates Income To Children's Hospital From Mini-Me Sex Tape
She had sex with him too?? Not that I did! But, his ex-girlfriend did and the tape got out...

Milap olasanski sent: Paris Hilton To Operate New Atom Smasher
Paris is really getting around, isn't she??

raimond ahmedd
added this: Paris Hilton Returned By Aliens
Was she ever gone?

This from Hesam valentine seems almost believable: Britney heartbroken as Diana's Butler beds Winehouse

alvin gil sent: Satisfy all big cock lovers with Penis Enlarge Patch
There's a patch for just about everything now, isn't there?

vilceanu schuetter
adds this bit of weirdness: Britney Spears Gives Foreskin Museum Amazing Gift
Some things are better left unknown, don't you think?

Coda steinfort's message was something I've long wanted to know: Britney Spears Confession: 'I'm the Father of Anna Nicole Smith's Baby!'
Now I can sleep at night. It also marks the first time I have any real interest in lesbian sex.

And if that wasn't Britney enough, champ perreault adds this: Bald Britney Spears Says Shaved Head Goes Well With Shaved Vagina
It's the symmetry, you know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Absolutely Beautiful

Poem credited to Jack Benny in a letter to his wife, Mary, telling her about the roses he had been sending her each year:

Each year he sent her roses,
and the note would always say,
I love you even more this year,
than last year on this day.
My love for you will always grow,
with every passing year.'

She knew this was the last time
that the roses would appear.
She thought, he ordered roses
in advance before this day.
Her loving husband did not know,
that he would pass away.

He always liked to do things early,
way before the time.
Then, if he got too busy,
everything would work out fine.
She trimmed the stems and
placed them in a very special vase.

Then, sat the vase beside
the portrait of his smiling face.
She would sit for hours,
In her husband's favorite chair.
While staring at his picture,
and the roses sitting there.

A year went by, and it was
to live without her mate.
With loneliness and solitude,
that had become her fate.

Then, the very hour,
The doorbell rang, and there
were roses sitting by her door.

She brought the roses in,
and then just looked at them in shock.
Then, went to get the telephone,
to call the florist shop.

The owner answered, and she asked him,
if he would explain, Why would someone would
do this to her, causing her such pain?

'I know your husband passed away,
more than a year ago,'
The owner said,
'I knew you'd call, and you would want to know.

The flowers you received today,
were paid for in advance.
Your husband always planned ahead,
he left nothing to chance.

There is a standing order,
that I have on file down here,
And he has paid, well in advance,
you'll get them every year.

There also is another thing,
that I think you should know,
He wrote a special little card...he did this years
ago. Then, should ever I find out that he's no longer here,
that's the card that should be sent to you the following year.'

She thanked him and hung up the phone, her tears now flowing hard.
Her fingers shaking,
as she slowly reached to get the card.

Inside the card, she saw that he
had written her a note.
Then, as she stared in total silence,

this is what he wrote...

'Hello my love, I know it's been a year
since I've been gone.
I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to
I know it must be lonely,
and the pain is very real.
Or if it was the other way,
I know how I would feel.

The love we shared made everything
so beautiful in life.
I loved you more than words can say,
you were the perfect wife.
You were my friend and lover,
you fulfilled my every need.
I know it's only been a year,
but please try not to grieve.
I want you to be happy,
even when you shed your tears.

That is why the roses will be sent to you for years.
When you get these roses,
think of all the happiness that we had together,
and how both of us were blessed.

I have always loved you and
I know I always will.
But, my love, you must go on,
you have some living still.

Please...try to find happiness,
while living out your days.
I know it is not easy,
but I hope you find some ways.

The roses will come every year,
and they will only stop,
When your door's not answered,
when the florist stops to knock.

He will come five times that day,
in case you have gone out.
But after his last visit,
he will know without a doubt!
To take the roses to the place,
where I've instructed him
and place the roses where we are,
together once again.

If that doesn't bring a tear to your eyes or lump in your throat, I don't know what will.

I found this here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Exotic Candidate Is The One With Eight Houses

This from Bob Cesca in the Huffington Post:

"It is possible," Gore Vidal once wrote, "for any citizen with time to spare, and a canny eye, to work out what is actually going on, but for the many there is not time, and the network news is the only news even though it may not be news at all but only a series of flashing fictions."

The barbecue media script for this election, a work of unabridged fiction and co-written by the modern Rove Republicans, has crow-barred Senator Obama into the incongruous frame of the exotic effete elitist, irrespective of the fact that, on all counts, he's absolutely none of those things. It's the same script that's been wheeled out during the last several presidential elections -- designed as a way of sculpting reality into a neatly packaged prime time dramatic narrative that both reinforces and exploits fear-based stereotypes.

This week, for example, Cokie Roberts and Michael Crowley, along with a creepy monster squad of Republican stalkers, have been trying to peg Senator Obama's vacation in Hawaii as proof that the script is accurate. Hawaii, they say, is only for exotic elitists. Senator Obama is in Hawaii. Therefore, Senator Obama is an exotic elitist. See how that works?

Never mind that this Hawaii-is-exotic-and-elitist gripe came from a not-elitist millionaire with the not-exotic name "Cokie." This Cokie phenomenon is a solid example of the script's paradoxical, fictitious awfulness. Despite similar griping from the McBush Republicans, the truth is that Senator McCain is far and away the more elitist and exotic of the two candidates. Fact. No bias here.

Let's start with Hawaii and do the list.

Senator McCain met and fell in love with his current wife, Cindy Hensley, while on vacation in... exotic and elitist Hawaii. He was 42, she was 24. He was still married to his first wife at the time, who was disabled as the result of a car accident, by the way. The whole scene -- Hawaii, cheating on a disabled wife with a super-rich beer heiress -- is just about as exotic and elitist as it gets according to the standards of the script.

So... Cokie?

For the sake of contrast, Senator Obama and Mrs. Obama's biography as a couple is about as ordinary and traditional as Americana itself. No weird cheating or ugly divorces. No trophy heiress nearly half his age. Just an ordinary American love story. How the barbecue media and far-right talk radio has managed to spin the Obamas as the African-American version of Mickey & Mallory is one of the most wicked examples of dishonesty from this dark ride -- worthy of the most backwards of Karl Rove's non-reality-based conspiracies against the truth.

Cindy McCain's beer distributorship pulls in upwards of $300 million annually. Hardly relatable to the middle and working class families who are losing their homes to foreclosure -- one of many consequences of the last 30 years of the Republican war on the middle class. So it's not a stretch to suggest that being married to a woman whose family business is worth a quarter of a billion dollars is -- what's the word? -- unusual? Atypical? Irregular? How about exotic?

Such cash allows for certain not-elitist and not-exotic perks. A private jet for example. According to Mrs. McCain, getting around Arizona is hard work so thank goodness the McCains have their own jet. Just like you and me and the Obamas, right? But maybe it's unfair to badger the McCains about their personal jet airplane. How else are they going to travel around to their eight houses (this one, for example). Walk? Drive a car? That's just silly talk. Senator McCain would totally ruin his not-elitist and not-exotic $520 Italian shoes engaging in such an effort. Then what would he wear while he's hosting SNL or visiting the set of a movie he's appearing in? Jelly shoes from Payless? Yeah right. Try installing Senator McCain's lifts inside of those hideous things.

The only truly "ordinary" thing about Senator McCain is that his first name is "John" (there are just over 5 million guys named "John" in the United States, so they win this one). He's also white. Really, really white. Like, squishy subterranean cave dweller white.

Yet irrespective of what white, upper-class Republicans or Mark Penn or Very Serious Mark Halperin or Pat Buchanan might think, Senator Obama quite literally looks like 21st Century America. Mixed-culture, mixed-heritage, middle class roots. Senator Obama, in terms of his racial composition and family history, has more in common with average Americans than just about any modern Republican presidential nominee.

The only way he's not is if somehow we've been transported into an episode of Leave It To Beaver -- or if by "America" the Republicans and the barbecue media mean to suggest "Kentucky." Even with that as a qualification, half of Senator Obama's racial composition is rooted in rural Kansas. His parents were divorced. He barely knew his biological father.

Now, Cokie, drive down (or have your driver take you) to the nearest Wal-Mart. Line up 100 people and ask them whether they can relate to a man who owns eight houses and whose wife is a gazillionaire, or if they can relate to a man who represents the American melting pot -- a man who just recently paid off his student loans -- a man who was raised by a single mother -- a man who is (shock horror!) still happily married to his only wife. Then drive back (or have your driver take you) down to ABC's Newseum studio this Sunday and look directly into the This Week cameras tell us that Senator Obama is the more exotic or elitist of the two candidates.

And that goes for you, too, Buchanan. (Pat Buchanan has recently been engaging in some concern-trolling by wondering aloud, "Why can't Senator Obama close the deal?" This is one of Buchanan's more subversive race-baiting tricks. The answer he's begging is very likely his favorite lamentation about the senator: "Because he's too exotic.")

The modern Republicans have hijacked the label "real American" and stapled it onto the foreheads of a platoon of phonies. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney, John Sidney McCain, Rush Limbaugh. Hell, even the poster boy for this hillbilly dark ride, Larry the Cable Guy, is a fraud in redneck drag. And the very serious barbecue media has accepted this trickery as reality because it fits perfectly into their antiquated election year narrative.

Throughout the course of this seemingly interminable election cycle, it's been well-documented by various blogotubers that the key to winning this election will be to fight the barbecue media's script -- to debunk the "series of flashing fictions." I would suggest that reversing this "exotic elitist" frame is, to borrow a familiar phrase, a central front in the war on the barbecue media. In the case of Senator Obama, reality is on our side. It's simply a matter of repeating the reality until the script is slowly immolated and the truth rises to the surface. And in the process, perhaps the barbecue media will begin to realize that the modern liberal movement has more in common with "average Americans" than any fraud or flimflam artist the Republicans have dropped onto the stage.

I find it odd that Americans can't seem to see through the misinformation spread by Cokie Roberts and the other talking heads. Sure, John McCain was a POW. That and his name, are where his credibility as an average guy end. Otherwise, like current poster boy for infidelity John Edwards, McCain also had an affair with another woman, and that woman is now his wife. Obama has just one house (like most people, if theirs hasn't been lost to foreclosure), and only recently was able to pay off the last of his student loans. OK, he lived a couple years in Indonesia as a child. A lot of army brats live overseas for a couple years of their lives as well and no one ever complains about that.

I also cannot fathom why the media believes Obama's visit to his grandmother is so elitist. Is it because she lives in Hawaii? She's always lived there! Lots of people live there. Is it expensive to go there? Yes. But since his grandmother can't fly out, he has no choice but to fly there to see her.

Maybe Cokie and Co. should do their jobs and report the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY of a story (that's called "reporting") and let the public decide, instead of deciding for us how we should interpret the story by hiding or omitting certain facts.

As Dragnet's Joe Friday always said: Just the facts, ma'am.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

World's oldest joke traced back to 1900 BC

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's oldest recorded joke has been traced back to 1900 BC and suggests toilet humor was as popular with the ancients as it is today.

It is a saying of the Sumerians, who lived in what is now southern Iraq and goes: "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap."

It heads the world's oldest top 10 joke list published by the University of Wolverhampton Thursday.

A 1600 BC gag about a pharaoh, said to be King Snofru, comes second -- "How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish."

The oldest British joke dates back to the 10th Century and reveals the bawdy face of the Anglo-Saxons -- "What hangs at a man's thigh and wants to poke the hole that it's often poked before? Answer: A key."

"Jokes have varied over the years, with some taking the question and answer format while others are witty proverbs or riddles," said the report's writer Dr Paul McDonald, senior lecturer at the university.

"What they all share however, is a willingness to deal with taboos and a degree of rebellion. Modern puns, Essex girl jokes and toilet humor can all be traced back to the very earliest jokes identified in this research."

The study was commissioned by television channel Dave. The top 10 oldest jokes can be viewed at

(Reporting by John Joseph; Editing by Steve Addison)

OK, this is interesting, but what was the reaction by the people who pays this guy when they realized what he'd been researching???

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How the Rest of the World Sees the USA

Or it this how Americans see things?

See, we're seen (especially folks in the midwest--a.k.a.: Bush supporters) as a bunch of naive, unworldly, brainwashed so-called Christian nut jobs from outside. Well, midwesterners are viewed that way in the US as well...


...and the Canadians are left in Rodney Dangerfield's shoes, getting no respect while Mexico is enjoying winning back the land the US stole from them years ago.



Because they're really funny and I want to keep them someplace where I'll remember where to find them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Man wins damages over gay driving test retake

Sexual identity's effects on road performance? Performance in bed...sure, on...

ROME (Reuters) - An Italian court has ruled the government must pay 100,000 euros ($157,700) in damages to a man who was told to retake a driving test because he was homosexual.

When 26 year-old Danilo Giuffrida told doctors he was gay at his medical examination for military service, they passed the information to the transport ministry, who told him he must repeat his driving test or have his license withdrawn due to his "sexual identity disturbance."

Giuffrida agreed to re-take his test, passed it for a second time, but the ministry renewed his license for just one year rather than the usual 10 years because of his homosexuality.

The judge ruling on the case in Catania, on the southern island of Sicily, said the actions of the defense and transport ministries showed "evident sexual discrimination" against Giuffrida and ran counter to his constitutional rights.

The behavior of the ministries led Giuffrida to have "a grave sense of mistrust towards the state," added the judge, who ordered them to pay him 100,000 euros of damages in his verdict issued on Saturday.

Giuffrida's lawyer said the case marked the first time the state had been punished for sexual discrimination, and he hoped Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would "summon Giuffrida and apologize to him on behalf of the state and all Italians."

Giuffrida said the sentence was "a step forwards for civil rights because from now on what happened to me can't happen again."

(Reporting by Gavin Jones and Roberto Landucci; Editing by Matthew Jones)

What I want to know is: was there an (ahem) oral exam????

Monday, July 7, 2008

Spam Fun

John Lemuel sent me a message today which my email account filed in my spam folder saying:

Let me show you my tits. No credit card needed.

Uh "John"....wrong tree.

This was followed by Shirley Jehu's offer:

;) Look sexy songs Full!!!

Jennifer Aniston Kick-up porno dvd.

Look it now!

Umm, sure...if I had any idea what you were trying to say.

Johnnie has this to offer:

With at training has roots in the trend in Western culture since the Dark ages of

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We reduce our prices regularly
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Well, I'm sure "reducing" prices isn't the only thing Johnnie does regularly.

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Not Coincidence doesn't take a lot to wonder how everything has gone right for the administration personally while so badly for the citizenry of the US...and the rest of the world!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

-Dr. Seuss

Monday, June 23, 2008

The End May be Near...RIP George Carlin

(One of the last voices of reason in the United States has left us. Be very afraid. People aren't very good at thinking for themselves and depended on him to help them do it!)

Carlin, counterculture comedians' dean, dies at 71

By KEITH ST. CLAIR, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - George Carlin, the dean of counterculture comedians whose biting insights on life and language were immortalized in his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV" routine, died of heart failure Sunday. He was 71.

Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.

"He was a genius and I will miss him dearly," Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press.

Carlin's jokes constantly breached the accepted boundaries of comedy and language, particularly with his routine on the "Seven Words" — all of which are taboo on broadcast TV and radio to this day. When he uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail and exonerated when a Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying it was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance.

When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.

"So my name is a footnote in American legal history, which I'm perversely kind of proud of," he told The Associated Press earlier this year.

Despite his reputation as unapologetically irreverent, Carlin was a television staple through the decades, serving as host of the "Saturday Night Live" debut in 1975 — noting on his Web site that he was "loaded on cocaine all week long" — and appearing some 130 times on "The Tonight Show."

He produced 23 comedy albums, 14 HBO specials, three books, a couple of TV shows and appeared in several movies, from his own comedy specials to "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" in 1989 — a testament to his range from cerebral satire and cultural commentary to downright silliness (and sometimes hitting all points in one stroke).

"Why do they lock gas station bathrooms?" he once mused. "Are they afraid someone will clean them?"

He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards. On Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which will be presented Nov. 10 in Washington and broadcast on PBS.

Carlin started his career on the traditional nightclub circuit in a coat and tie, pairing with Burns to spoof TV game shows, news and movies. Perhaps in spite of the outlaw soul, "George was fairly conservative when I met him," said Burns, describing himself as the more left-leaning of the two. It was a degree of separation that would reverse when they came upon Lenny Bruce, the original shock comic, in the early '60s.

"We were working in Chicago, and we went to see Lenny, and we were both blown away," Burns said, recalling the moment as the beginning of the end for their collaboration if not their close friendship. "It was an epiphany for George. The comedy we were doing at the time wasn't exactly groundbreaking, and George knew then that he wanted to go in a different direction."

That direction would make Carlin as much a social commentator and philosopher as comedian, a position he would relish through the years.

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition," Carlin told the AP in a 2004 interview. "There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."

Carlin was born May 12, 1937, and grew up in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, raised by a single mother. After dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, he joined the Air Force in 1954. He received three court-martials and numerous disciplinary punishments, according to his official Web site.

While in the Air Force he started working as an off-base disc jockey at a radio station in Shreveport, La., and after receiving a general discharge in 1957, took an announcing job at WEZE in Boston.

"Fired after three months for driving mobile news van to New York to buy pot," his Web site says.

From there he went on to a job on the night shift as a deejay at a radio station in Forth Worth, Texas. Carlin also worked variety of temporary jobs including a carnival organist and a marketing director for a peanut brittle.

In 1960, he left with Burns, a Texas radio buddy, for Hollywood to pursue a nightclub career as comedy team Burns & Carlin. He left with $300, but his first break came just months later when the duo appeared on the Tonight Show with Jack Paar.

Carlin said he hoped to would emulate his childhood hero, Danny Kaye, the kindly, rubber-faced comedian who ruled over the decade that Carlin grew up in — the 1950s — with a clever but gentle humor reflective of its times.

Only problem was, it didn't work for him, and they broke up by 1962.

"I was doing superficial comedy entertaining people who didn't really care: Businessmen, people in nightclubs, conservative people. And I had been doing that for the better part of 10 years when it finally dawned on me that I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things for the wrong people," Carlin reflected recently as he prepared for his 14th HBO special, "It's Bad For Ya."

Eventually Carlin lost the buttoned-up look, favoring the beard, ponytail and all-black attire for which he came to be known.

But even with his decidedly adult-comedy bent, Carlin never lost his childlike sense of mischief, even voicing kid-friendly projects like episodes of the TV show "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends" and the spacey Volkswagen bus Fillmore in the 2006 Pixar hit "Cars."

Carlin's first wife, Brenda, died in 1997. He is survived by wife Sally Wade; daughter Kelly Carlin McCall; son-in-law Bob McCall; brother Patrick Carlin; and sister-in-law Marlene Carlin.


Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this report.