Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

Via Made in Brazil

Catholic Official Convicted For Covering Up Abuse Complaint

While he was acquitted on some of the criminal charges, Monsignor William Lynn of the Philadelphia Archdiocese was convicted yesterday of of child endangerment.  The conviction makes Lynn the first U.S. Roman Catholic church official to be convicted of a felon for covering up abuse claims as part of the worldwide criminal conspiracy orchestrated from the Vatican.  The trial made it very clear that one individual who should have been indicted for criminal conspiracy was former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua who conveniently died in his sleep before the trial got underway.  The pattern revealed in the Philadelphia archdiocese is all to familiar: the deliberate cover up for sexual predator priests who were then reassigned to unsuspecting parishes where they could find fresh prey.  Nowhere in the equation did the safety of children and youths ever factor in.  It underscores the utter moral bankruptcy of the Catholic hierarchy all the way up the chain to the current Pope and his predecessors.  Here are highlights from the New York Times coverage:

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims.

Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said.

Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.  “Many in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia hierarchy had dirty hands,” Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. “They failed to realize that the church is its people.”

He was convicted of only a single endangerment count, which carries a possible 3 1/2- to seven-year prison term.

Despite Lynn’s acquittal on the conspiracy charge, the trial exposed how deeply involved the late cardinal was in dealing with accused priests.

Bevilacqua had the final say on what to do with priests accused of abuse, transferred many of them to new parishes and dressed down anyone who complained, according to testimony. He also ordered the shredding of a 1994 list that Lynn prepared, warning that the archdiocese had three diagnosed pedophiles, a dozen confirmed predators and another 20 possible abusers in its midst.

Lynn didn’t react when the verdict was read  .  .  .   The judge revoked his bail and he was taken to jail, although his lawyers plan to ask on Monday that he be granted house arrest until sentencing. No date was set, but the judge scheduled an Aug. 13 pre-sentencing hearing.

To me it is most telling that while the Vatican and other high level clerics have continued to refuse to clean their own putrid house, they launched a jihad against gays and gay marriage and fabricated the myth that "religious liberty" is threatened by the Obama administration.  Anything, apparently, to distract the sheep in the pews from the reality that they are supporting a criminal enterprise through their contributions to the collection basket.

Romney Hypocrisy - Claiming the Obamas Are Elitists

One has to wonder at times what planet Mitt and Ann Romney are from.  They surely are out of touch with most Americans.  They were raised cushioned in wealth and freedom from pesky everyday concerns that most of us struggle with daily: paying for food, rent/mortgage payments, the costs of raising children, etc.  Yet amazingly, they are making an effort to paint the Barack and Michelle Obama - each of who grew up in the school of hard knocks - as "elitists.  What makes the whole affair all the more ludicrous is Ann Romney and her horse.  And, despite Kathleen Parker's effort to pretend otherwise and/or that liberals are "attacking success", it's not just any horse and we are not talking about "success" as most Americans understand the term.   We are taking about a sport at a level reserved to the extremely wealth.  And we are talking about a horse that allowed the Romneys to take business expense deductions to the tune of   some $77,000.00.  That's right, more than many American families make in a year's time.  Here are highlights from The New Yorker on Ms. Romney's horse and hired rider - which by the way made the Olympic team:

This year, in London, will there be a red-state Olympics and a blue one? Ann Romney’s horse Rafalca is going, to compete as a team alongside her trainer, Jan Ebeling, whom she pays to win. They qualified this past weekend; at the event that clinched the spot, Ann Romney held up one of the foam fingers that the dressage federation had ordered to show that it could take a joke that Stephen Colbert had made about the sport’s élitism. Ann cheered; Rafalca and Ebeling came in third. On this basis, she has been called, in some reports, an Olympian. Let’s grant her that.

Ann Romney’s involvement in the Olympics, though, raises some questions beyond the obvious ones suggested by a sport that is pursued at its upper levels, or played, primarily by the wealthy and their retainers.  .  .  .   Do we have to cheer for Ann? Does Romney get to accuse Obama of a lack of patriotism if we don’t?
Dressage, too, is a tricky sport politically, in part because many people have trouble seeing the sporting part at all. What they see is the money; it is as though each of the prancing horses were pacing out the shape of a dollar sign.  .   .  .  .   It is not clear that the Romney campaign grasps that.
The Romneys reported a business loss for the care of Rafalca that added up to some seventy-seven thousand dollars. This may be entirely within the rules, but it’s a reminder of how the tax code is full of pleasant surprises if one is rich, which remain invisible if one is not.

With the stage thus set, let's look at an article in  that examines the disingenuous - may we say farcical? - effort to claim that it is the Obama family, and not the Romneys who are the elitists:
Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential presumptive nominee W. Mitt Romney, told Detroit’s WJR Frank Beckmann that she “doubted” she and Mitt would take as many overseas trips as the Obamas, because their happiness “comes from being with our children and our grandchildren.”

Mrs. Romney probably shouldn’t be making digs about vacations, with her husband having taken off 212 days of his last year as governor. 

Frank Beckmann was a good choice for the Romney campaign to place surrogate Ann Romney, allegedly W. Mitt’s best public face. 
Thus it was Beckmann who first threw out the completely inaccurate hot potato that the Obamas take a lot of “overseas trips”. One wonders if he was referring to the President’s job, but no, Ann assumed he meant as vacations, and that choice infers her tacit agreement with the faulty premise.

How many things are wrong with this? Well, number one, President Obama hasn’t taken any overseas vacations. He does travel overseas for work. You know, as President and all. And yes, even though Cokie Roberts thought Hawaii was exotic, it is still in the United States and not considered “abroad”, and it’s where the President’s family resides.

Number two; the trips Michelle has taken have been with her kids, sorta like “happiness” coming from being with “children.”

And number three, W. Mitt Romney was basically on vacation the entire last two years of his term of Governor of Massachusetts. He pulled a Palin, only he never announced it.

Salon noted, “He spent 212 of them out of the state, racking up more than 200,000 miles in the air and traveling to nearly 40 other states to lay the groundwork for his 2008 White House campaign. He kept the title of governor, sure, but ask just about anyone in the Bay State and they’ll tell you: He walked out on the job. He quit — just like Palin.”

Ouch, but the comparisons to Palin don’t end there, “His polls numbers were dropping (by October ’06, his favorable rating was barely above 30 percent), with voters expressing regret at having elected him in the first place.”
While the GOP wants to depict Ann Romney as a hard working stay at home mom, she's more like Marie Antoinette than most working mothers in America.  One can only hope that this "elitist" ploy bites the Romneys firmly in the ass.

Oh, and I'm not anti-horse riding etc.  I grew up with horses and riding when my family lived in upstate New York.  And I have a sister-in-law from a social register family (I believe one of her relatives of some sort even used to own The New Yorker), so I've been to dressage events which are full of pomp and circumstances.  I even recall one event where a young boy in the competition was riding a horse that had cost more than my car.  It's a great sport, but not a sport for the working class.

Pro-Proposition 8 Star Witness Now Supports Gay Marriage

In an amazing turn of events which must have some of the Christofascist crowd shrieking and spewing spittle, David Blankenhorn, the founder of the Institute for American Values and one of the anti-gay forces star witnesses in the Proposition 8 trial, has come out for marriage equality.  He not only was interviewed on WNPR but also authored an op-ed that appeared in yesterday's edition New York Times. The hate merchants must truly be beside themselves.  Among other things Blankenhorn concedes that opposing same sex marriage has done nothing to strengthen heterosexual marriage and that if indeed the anti-gay forces are truly concerned about children, they should support same sex marriage in order to provide stability and financial security to the children of gays.  Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown must be tearing their hair out as they have convulsions on the floor.  First, these excerpts from the Times op-ed:

I took a stand against gay marriage. But as a marriage advocate, the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do. I’d like to explain why. 

Marriage is how society recognizes and protects this right. Marriage is the planet’s only institution whose core purpose is to unite the biological, social and legal components of parenthood into one lasting bond. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its children.  At the level of first principles, gay marriage effaces that gift.

But there are more good things under heaven than these beliefs. For me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness. 

As I look at what our society needs most today, I have no stomach for what we often too glibly call “culture wars.” Especially on this issue, I’m more interested in conciliation than in further fighting. 

A third good thing is respect for an emerging consensus. The population as a whole remains deeply divided, but most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage. This emerging consensus may be wrong on the merits. But surely it matters. 

In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing. I had also hoped that debating gay marriage might help to lead heterosexual America to a broader and more positive recommitment to marriage as an institution. But it hasn’t happened. 

Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. .   .   .   .   Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation?  .  .  .  .  Will this strategy work? I don’t know. But I hope to find out. 

In my view, Blankenhorn's shift reflects his understanding that religious belief cannot properly be forced on others.  He also seems to recognize that the war against gay marriage is going to be ultimately lost despite wins in some battles.  If the anti-gay animus continues, Christianity will be the loser (the under 30 crowd is leaving in droves with church opposition to gays being a significant factor) as will countless children who are denied stability and security simply so that self-righteous shrews like Maggie Gallagher and con-men like Tony Perkins can shake down the ignorant and gullible for money.

Here are a few additional excerpts from the NPR piece:

[T]he endless perpetration of a culture war over this is …. enervating … And so nothing has changed in terms of what I said at the trial. And nothing has changed in terms of what I wrote in my book … but, for me, the thing that has changed … is that, I think that, at least for me accepting this reform, accepting gay marriage and focusing on the good things it can do, I think the reasons for doing that, for accepting the change and focusing on the good things it can do … now outweigh the reasons for continuing to oppose it. So that’s the change for me.

And I look at it from the point of view today - we’ve been fighting about gay marriage for 10 or 15 years now? Is there any evidence that fighting gay marriage is contributing to a greater appreciation among  the broad society of the marital institution? Is there any evidence that the re-institutionalization of marriage is happening as the result of opposing gay marriage? … And the best answer I can give to that is no. It is not. If anything, the opposite is happening.
Will other opponents of marriage equality follow Blankenhorn's lead?  Some likely  will, but for others it's all about the money they are raking in or about forcing their own religious beliefs on all of society because their childish house of cards belief system cannot tolerate anything that might make them have to use their intellect and think for themselves.   Having to think for themselves and face the realization that they've been duped perhaps terrifies these sick people the most.

McDonnell Gives Ultimatum to UVA Rector and Board of Visitors

For the better part of the nine months, Virginia Governor Bob "Taliban Bob" "Governor Ultrasound" McDonnell has been more busy trying to posture himself for a vice presidential nomination on Mitt "Let them Eat Cake" Romney's ticket than he has been minding Virginia's business.  Initially, McDonnell seemed to want to avoid any involvement with the disaster created by University of Virginia ("UVA") Rector Helen Dragas and her co-conspirators/henchmen on the UVA Board of Visitors.  There was even conjecture that McDonnell would simply slip out of town to head to a Romney event in Utah while leaving the Commonwealth's flagship university in complete chaos.  Apparently, the realization finally hit McDonnell that doing nothing of substance was about to bite him in the ass big time.  Hence his ultimatum the the UVA Board of Visitors: "fix the problem by Tuesday or resign."  

While the UVA disaster has its own unique characteristics, it is symptomatic of a larger problem in Virginia: state boards and other positions are typically awarded as political plums for supporters.  The bigger ones monetary contributions, the higher the profile of one's appointment.  Years ago I was appointed to the Virginia College Building Authority (which issues tax-exempt bonds for the Virginia's public colleges and universities) and I actually had bond law experience.  That's not often the case. Of course, I had really wanted a slot on the Virginia Board of Education.  But that went to a friend who gave much more money even though the individual had little background in educational issues compared to me since I had been an education activist for some years already.  

But I digress.  Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot on Taliban Bob's message to Ms. Dragas and company:

Gov. Bob McDonnell gave an ultimatum Friday to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors: Resolve the school's presidency crisis at your meeting Tuesday, or you'll be replaced the next day.

The governor delivered that message in a letter to the board, which has been embroiled in controversy since the June 10 decision to oust President Teresa Sullivan from her post after two years on the job.

The board is to meet Tuesday to consider reinstating Sullivan, whose removal sparked an outcry among students, faculty and alumni and has stained the reputation of one of Virginia's most prestigious schools.
"Let me be absolutely clear: I want final action by the Board on Tuesday," McDonnell wrote. "If you fail to do so, I will ask for the resignation of the entire Board on Wednesday."

He told board members that regardless of the outcome, he expects them "to make a clear, detailed and unified statement on the future leadership of the University."

The governor's letter followed a decision by the man tapped as interim president, Carl Zeithaml, to step aside while Sullivan's fate remains unclear.

The governor's latest message drew praise on Twitter from university political science professor Larry Sabato, who said it put the board "on notice to clean up its mess."  The only way forward is to reinstate Sullivan, wrote Sabato, who later advised fellow Wahoos not to gloat or seek reprisal after the fact, but to work to "reunify quickly & repair damage."

McDonnell's letter can be viewed at the Virginian Pilot link.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Morning Mlae Beauty

Romney’s Bain Capital Moved Jobs Overseas

Click image to enlarge
Being inundated with Romney ads in Virginia I increasingly find myself wanting to vomit when I hear the outright lies that the Romney campaign is disseminating.  I guess I should be surprised: the more religious the folks on the right claim to be, the bigger and more constant the lies they tell.  One of the persistent lies is when Romney claims that he has experience in creating jobs.  The statement is true except that he leaves out a few critical facts - such as the fact that most of those jobs were created overseas and not in the USA.  In fact, they were jobs exported from the USA through companies in which Bain Capital invested or controlled.  Note, many of these details come from SEC filings which Bain Capital filed itself.  Here are excerpts from a Washington Post piece that looks at these conveniently forgotten facts:

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While economists debate whether the massive outsourcing of American jobs over the last generation was inevitable, Romney in recent months has lamented the toll it’s taken on the U.S. economy. He has repeatedly pledged he would protect American employment by getting tough on China.

For years, Romney’s political opponents have tried to tie him to the practice of outsourcing American jobs. These political attacks have often focused on Bain’s involvement in specific business deals that resulted in job losses.

But a Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain’s investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.

Bain played several roles in helping these outsourcing companies, such as investing venture capital so they could grow and providing management and strategic business advice as they navigated this rapidly developing field.

Romney campaign officials repeatedly declined requests to comment on Bain’s record of investing in outsourcing firms during the Romney era. Campaign officials have said it is unfair to criticize Romney for investments made by Bain after he left the firm but did not address those made on his watch. In response to detailed questions about outsourcing investments, Bain spokesman Alex Stanton said, “Bain Capital’s business model has always been to build great companies and improve their operations. We have helped the 350 companies in which we have invested, which include over 100 start-up businesses, produce $80 billion of revenue growth in the United States while growing their revenues well over twice as fast as both the S&P and the U.S. economy over the last 28 years.”

Until Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, he ran it with a proprietor’s zeal and attention to detail, earning a reputation for smart, hands-on management.

Bain’s foray into outsourcing began in 1993 when the private equity firm took a stake in Corporate Software Inc., or CSI, after helping to finance a $93 million buyout of the firm. CSI, which catered to technology companies like Microsoft, provided a range of services including outsourcing of customer support. Initially, CSI employed U.S. workers to provide these services but by the mid-1990s was setting up call centers outside the country.

Two years after Bain invested in the firm, CSI merged with another enterprise to form a new company called Stream International Inc. Stream immediately became active in the growing field of overseas calls centers. Bain was initially a minority shareholder in Stream and was active in running the company, providing “general executive and management services,” according to SEC filings.

By 1997, Stream was running three tech-support call centers in Europe and was part of a call center joint venture in Japan, an SEC filing shows. “The Company believes that the trend toward outsourcing technical support occurring in the U.S. is also occurring in international markets,” the SEC filing said.

There's considerably more in the article, but you get the drift: Romney claims one thing but the facts show something quite different.  Oh, and lying in SEC filings can send one to prison, so I suspect those filings are the ones that lay out the real truth in contrast to Romney's lying campaign. 

Adm. Mike Mullen to Headline SLDN Anniversary of DADT's End

Elaine Donnelly's and Tony Perkins' heads must be exploding at the news that retired Admiral Mike Mullen - former head of the Joints Chiefs - will be headlining the SLDN event celebrating the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  To listen to Donnelly and Perkins one would think America is on the verge of collapse now that gays are allowed to serve openly in our military.  Never mind that much of the original founding and training of the nation's army traces back to a gay many who helped the United States win independence from Great Britain (a topic I will write more about soon on this blog and in a VEER Magazine column).  The reality is that none of the horrors that the Christofascists predicted have come to pass with the demise of DADT.  Indeed, the only thing that did happen was that the hate merchants like Perkins and Donnelly can no longer point to DADT as evidence that their anti-gay bigotry is justified.  Metro Weekly looks at the coming celebration and Admiral Mullen's role in it.  Here are some excerpts:

On Sept. 18, retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will join Servicemembers Legal Defense Network aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City to mark the one-year anniversary of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the group is telling supporters today.

In an email being sent to supporters today, SLDN executive director Aubrey Sarvis wrote of the fundraising event, "This historic and emotional event presents a unique -- indeed, a once in a lifetime -- opportunity to reinforce the meaningful part that Admiral Mullen played in the DADT repeal process."

Mullen took the lead on making the case to Congress to repeal DADT, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 2, 2010, that he supported repeal -- and made a moral case for doing so.

"Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," he told the committee. "No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity: Theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."

Of the troops, Mullen added: "I also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change. I never underestimate their ability to adapt."

The event, which SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes says will be a fundraiser for SLDN, will be the lead event of a week of events by the group to mark the anniversary.

Washington Post Slams Del. Bob Marshall

Few individuals in Virginia bear as much hatred and animus towards LGBT individuals that Del. Bob Marshall who is increasingly a huge embarrassment to not only his apparently delusional district that keeps reelecting him but to the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.  Marshall is increasingly akin to George Wallace in the 1960's on desegregation when it comes to not only to gay rights but to treating LGBT Virginians as fully human.  The man wraps himself in religious piety yet represents a one man advertisement for why would would not want to be known as a Christian.  Indeed, Marshall is an affront to common decency not to mention even a semblance of respect for the U.S. Constitution's promise of religious freedom for all citizens, not just flaming bigots and hate merchants such as Marshall.  In an editorial, the Washington Post rightly rips Marshall a new one.  Here are highlights:

WHATEVER FIG leaves Virginia Republican lawmakers grasped for, it was old-fashioned bigotry that led them to block the nomination last month of Tracy Thorne-Begland to a judgeship on Richmond General District Court. Mr. Thorne-Begland, a highly regarded prosecutor and a former fighter pilot, is also gay, and that last fact was enough for all but a handful of the 67 GOP members in the House of Delegates to oppose his nomination or to sit on their hands. 

 The outcome was a disgrace for Virginia, which has no openly gay judges. But to the state’s credit, its judicial, legal and political establishments aren’t solely in the hands of homophobic legislators. .  .  .  .  the Richmond Circuit Court stepped in last week and appointed him to fill a vacancy on the district court on an interim basis.   Bravo for the higher court. And hurrah for the leaders of Richmond’s five biggest law firms, who publicly endorsed Mr. Thorne-Begland’s candidacy, saying “he would be an outstanding jurist.” 

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it. The appointment ends in February, when the General Assembly will be in session. And Mr. Thorne-Begland’s opponents have already sworn to deep-six his nomination if it comes before them again. Among the most vocal is Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who branded Mr. Thorne-Begland “an aggressive activist” for the “pro-homosexual agenda” and said last year that gay men and lesbians are “intrinsically disordered.”

What was truly disordered was Mr. Marshall’s remark last month that Mr. Thorne-Begland would be biased if he were to preside from the bench over a case involving “a barroom fight between a homosexual and a heterosexual.” He expressed no similar concern about the possibility of bias by heterosexual judges in such cases.

The outcome of the debate over Mr. Thorne-Begland will say a lot about the commonwealth — whether it remains in thrall to bigots or is ready to face a future in which there is no place for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Morning Male Beauty

Winner of First HRBOR Scholarship to be Announced Today

A year ago this past April I provided the initial endowment for the George D. and Marion Phelps Hamar/HRBOR Scholarship to benefit graduating LGBT high school seniors.   I took this action to both honor my parents (pictured below on their wedding day) who stood by me without hesitation when I came out in mid-life and to enable HRBOR to give back to the Hampton Roads LGBT community where being gays still carries much stigma in some quarters and where youth continue to find themselves disowned by parents because of their sexual orientation.

This evening at HRBOR's 5th Anniversary gala at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, the first recipient of the Hamar/HRBOR scholarship will be announced.  This is a four year scholarship.  To be able to award a four year scholarship every year, HRBOR needs to raise an additional $75,000.00  Donations to the HRBOR scholarship can be made by clicking on the image at right on this blog.  The scholarship is administered through the Hampton Roads Community Scholarship and donations are 100% tax deductible.

I hope local readers will attend the gala this evening - admission is free and it should be a wonderful event thanks to the event sponsors, SunTrust Bank, the Virginia Opera, Distinctive Event Rentals and The New Leaf.

The NOM-GOP Alliance to Scapegoat and Denigrate Gays

As I've noted before, the National Organization for Marriage ("NOM") claims that its agenda is purely to "protect marriage."  That's a lie, of course, and NOM has shown itself only too happy to dredge up bogus data compiled by Paul Cameron and other thoroughly discredited faux experts so loved by Christianist extremists.  The behind the scenes pairing of NOM supporters with the new and bogus study on gay parenting is no coincidence.  Nor is it a coincidence that NOM has teamed up with the Republican Party or that Mitt Romney has signed NOM's anti-gay pledge.  That same pledge that stated initially that black children had been better off under slavery than under the Obama presidency.  Why the teaming up of the two forces?  An article in The New Civil Rights Movement does some analysis and it boils down to scapegoating gays and duping the ignorant into voting for Republicans even though it is against the voters' best interest.  Here are some highlights:

The Republicans’ ProblemImagine you are Mitt Romney, running as a Republican for president.  Your net worth is about $250 million. The people most eager to see you elected are billionaires — for example, the Koch brothers. The voters know you are getting tax deductions for your wife’s dressage horses. And you’re on record, promising to lower your own taxes and those of the Koch brothers, while raising taxes on the middle class.  How in the world will you get middle class voters to support you?

Scapegoating a MinorityScapegoating a minority is one of the oldest dirty tricks in the political books. Ignorance-fueled hatred is a goldmine for ruling-class people looking to gain an additional power advantage.  You distract the lower classes’ attention from the fact that your bad economic policies are unjustly disadvantaging them, by portraying the hated minority as a mortal threat to them and the society.

Why Demonizing Gays is so Effective PoliticallyGiven an ignorant enough block of people, one can have success by telling them that a hated minority is a danger to the nation, and is out to get their children.  Notoriously, for example, the Blood Libel held that Jews stole Christian babies to use their blood to make matzo. It mattered not, that blood is not a matzo ingredient; lies give life to anti-minority demonization campaigns.NOM’s endless demonization of homosexuals is a tissue of lies.

An Astonishing CoincidenceThe so-called National Organization for Marriage repeats and repeats that same-sex marriage will spell doom for civilization.  And, the Southern Poverty Law Center has noted NOM’s enthusiasm for demonizing gays by fraudulently conflating homosexuals with pedophiles.  Something the Catholic Church has done, with an enthusiasm equal to NOM’s.

NOM has a great deal in common with the Catholic Church, which is a determined NOM collaborator. The Church conflates homosexuals with pedophiles, and five former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See endorsed Romney on the same day. What a coincidence, then, that the Republican party shields the Church from proposed legislation to lift the statutes of limitations for prosecution of child rape.

Notice carefully; where NOM is very aggressively busy, attempting to get religious African-Americans to vote for Romney — mainly on the basis that “same-sex marriage is an insult to us and to God” — its greatest successes will most likely be among rural religious anti-gay African-Americans. That is to say, NOM is most likely to have election year success with the populations least likely to benefit economically from a Romney administration. That is why Romney considers NOM a key ally.

NOM’s and Regnerus’s Deceitfulness Related to the StudyIn his published study, Regnerus states forthrightly that his aim was to compare children of married heterosexual couples with “young adults who grew up with a lesbian mother or gay father.”

Buried in Regnerus’s write-up of his study — which covered present-day young adults who were children up through the 1990s — is an admission that the majority of those among his survey responders who said 1) that one of their parents had had a “romantic relationships” with a same sex partner, had 2) been born to a mixed-sexual-orientation couple, whose gay or lesbian member eventually faced down the sham marriage, and came out as gay.

What is Regnerus’s excuse for not including any planned gay families?   .  .  .  .  Regnerus alleges that it would be “too difficult” to find actual children raised by gay parents; the truth is, had he worked with a company that operates differently from Knowledge Networks, he would have been able to find an adequate number of children of gay parents. In particular, had Regnerus wished to be honest and accurate about a gay parent survey — instead of rushing his study to completion for Republican political purposes in an election year — he would have opted for the slower route of finding actual children raised mainly by gay parents.

It’s a fact; NOM’s Robert George, who commissioned the study, needed to have it completed, with negative implications against gays, in time for use in the 2012 elections.

Although Regnerus studied people from different class levels — that is to say, people with dramatically different levels of access to money — his observations written and spoken about the differences in child outcomes are focused on the parents’ sexual orientation, the topic assigned him by NOM’s Robert George; not a word is said about how the parents’ financial situation impacted child outcomes.  

Having taken $785,000 of Republican political money from George, Regnerus was not going to produce an analysis that George and the Republicans could not use to their advantage in the 2012 elections. When Regnerus denies that he produced political propaganda made to order on a cash commission, one must assume he is lying.

No matter what nuance exists in other parts of Regnerus’s description of his study, his bottom line result for public consumption is that 1) whereas previous studies of gay parents showed that gay parents were not more harmful to children than heterosexual parents, they were all flawed. I have come to the rescue by 2) scientifically demonstrating that homosexual parents are a danger to children.  Exactly what Dr. Robert George ordered!

Put the Blame Where the Blame Really BelongsThere should be no discussion about the “results” of the NOM-Regnerus study that does not insist on acknowledging that the study above all is Republican party propaganda being used in an election year to pin the blame for Republican-led devastation of the middle classes fraudulently onto homosexual parents.

Emphasis must be placed on the fact that NOM funded this study for Republican advantage in an election year, and that NOM and Regnerus are demonizing gay parents with no regard for how the additional stigmatization inflicts harm on innocent gay people and the children they are raising.
It's amazing how the part that claims to be the champion of religion and morality is in fact the one most devoid of morality and decency.  Its "godly Christian" supporters are likewise morally bankrupt despite their self-righteousness and self-congratulatory claims.

Surviving the GOP Economy: Millions More Americans in Shared Households

Having done all they can to destroy the U.S. economy in their quest to bar Barack Obama from re-election, the Republicans have left millions of Americans struggling to survive and keep a roof over their heads.  Not that members of the Congressional GOP care about the damage and suffering that they have caused out of their sheer political calculation that too many Americans are too stupid to see that they, not Obama are the ones to blame.  One way that millions have survived is to move in with family or friends and share homes.  Obviously, it's not the best solution but it surely beats the homelessness that individuals might otherwise face.  The Washington Post has an article that looks at the phenomenon.  Here are excerpts:

Millions of economically pressed Americans cushioned themselves against the recession by doubling up in houses and apartments, according to a Census Bureau report released Wednesday.  The number of adults sharing households with family members or other individuals jumped 11.4 percent between 2007 and 2010, the report said.
Overall, such living arrangements accounted for 22 million households in 2010 — or 18.7 percent of all U.S. households, compared with 17 percent in 2007.

Young adults were the most likely to double up, the report said, accounting for more than half of those who moved in with family members or friends. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of adult children who lived in their parents’ homes increased by 1.2 million to 15.8 million.

Those between the ages of 25 and 34 made up two-thirds of that increase, underscoring a prime reason for a broader slowdown in household formation that economists call both a symptom and a cause of the nation’s continued economic doldrums.

Economists estimate that there are more than 2 million fewer occupied homes in the country than there would have been had Americans continued forming households at the rate they did before the recession. The slowdown has lowered demand for housing as well as for furnishings and appliances, placing a further drag on the economy.

The poverty rates for shared households were lower than for other households, although the adults who made up those households individually had high rates of personal poverty, which are defined by federal guidelines.  That was especially true for young adults. 

Americans were most likely to double up with other family members, the report found. In 2010, adult children accounted for 46 percent of those who doubled up, while parents who moved in with their adult children made up another 13 percent. Siblings, grandchildren and other relatives accounted for nearly 23 percent of those who doubled up, the report said.

The Republicans truly are amoral in their political calculations.  Although I guess they'd describe this result as part of their agenda to drag the USA back in time to when many families had multiple generations living in the same home.  Not by choice, but out of economic necessity.  True, the Democrats are far from perfect, but at least they don't see other citizens as disposable trash.  The GOP and its Christofascist base are truly today's Pharisees.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Wednesday Male Beauty

Obama v. Romney - Romney/GOP Plan Raises Taxes on Middle Class

Many in the middle class have been particularly hard hit by the winds of the great recession and have seen their net worth diminished if not wiped out by the collapse of the residential real estate market.  So what is the GOP/Romney tax proposal?  Raise taxes on the middle class while the wealthy such as Romney himself get more tax breaks.  As I have noted before, I cannot fathom why the loons in the Tea Party cannot see that the GOP is out to use them and then f*ck them over.  They rail against Obama - because he's black? - even though his policies are actually in their best interests and likely will support their real oppressors in the GOP.  Yes, Romney and the GOP will deny that they are poised to screw over the middle class, but new analysis of the tax proposals says otherwise.  And did I mention what the plan does to the national deficit?  $4.5 trillion more in debt over the next decade.  So much for the GOP's concern about "job killing deficits." Here are highlights from the Washington Post:

 The tax reform plan that House Republicans have advanced would sharply cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and could leave middle-class households facing much larger tax bills, according to a new analysis set to be released Wednesday.
The report, prepared by Senate Democrats and reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts, marks the first attempt to quantify the trade-offs inherent in the GOP tax package, which would replace the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.

Those changes would benefit virtually every taxpayer, but they also would reduce federal tax collections by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. To avoid increasing the national debt by that amount, GOP leaders such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) have pledged to get rid of all the special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.

Republicans have declined to identify their targets. However, some of the biggest “loopholes” on the books are popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, which disproportionately benefit the upper middle class.

The net result: Married couples in that income range [$100,00 t0 $200,000] would pay an additional $2,700 annually to the Internal Revenue Service, on top of the tax increases that are scheduled to hit every American household when the George W. Bush-era cuts expire at the end of the year.  Households earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.

“According to this report, while millionaires will receive a huge tax break, earners making under $200,000 will see their taxes rise significantly,” said Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), who chairs the Joint Economic Committee.

Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, reviewed the Joint Economic Committee report. Although the numbers are rough, he said, the conclusions are largely accurate. 
“Even with eliminating fairly major tax preferences, the Ryan tax plan remains regressive. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “Unless you go after the tax preferences that benefit the wealthy” — capital gains, dividends, tax-free interest on municipal bonds — “it’s really hard to undo the regressivity of the rate changes. You’ll be shifting the burden of the tax code toward the middle class.”

Feel the "Christian" Love Rev. Donald Spitz Style

Give the nature of my law practice and the upscale nature of the boyfriend's salon clientele, it's sometimes easy to forget the very frightening Neanderthals that inhabit Hampton Roads, especially in Chesapeake and some of the more rural areas.  I received a harsh reminder of the near life threatening hate harbored by some who claim to be "godly Christians."   A case in point is a comment left on a post about the Tracy Thorne-Begland judicial appointment controversy in which the Richmond Circuit Court judges - at the urging of all of the five Virginia based mega law firms - appointed Tracy to a General District Court judgeship.  The author of the comment? The Rev. Donald Spitz (pictured above left), a Chesapeake based anti-abortion extremist who has been written up by the Southern Poverty Law Center.   Among other things, Spitz stated in his comment (which I did NOT publish):

Sodomites like Thorne-Begland belong in prison not on the bench. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race. 

After last year's Hampton Roads Pride event in Town Point Park in downtown Norfolk on the waterfront, Spitz nearly blew a gasket and ranted that Town Point Park had been taken over by sodomites who he says are worthy of death.  He also accused gays of being sexual predators of children and lambasted members  of Norfolk City Council "who did zero to stop this sodomite pollution to our city and to our children."   But Spitz's hatred isn't limited to gays.  He advocates the murder of abortion providers and the bombing of abortion clinics.  And he's moved on to adding racism to his resume as the SPLC noted some years back:

The Rev. Donald Spitz has never been a pleasant man. Considered a wild-eyed extremist even among his colleagues on the radical anti-abortion scene, the head of Pro-Life Virginia and long-time principal of the Army of God Web site ( applauds the murderers of physicians, clinic workers and secretaries.

He rails against "filthy faggots" and "lesbos." Islam is "Satanic," Arabs are "Rag-Heads," and Muslims "should not be allowed to live in the United States." New York City is a "sex perverted cesspool" that richly deserved Sept. 11.

But there is one type of vicious group hatred Don Spitz has always denied — the "false accusations of racism" against blacks "put out by desperate babykilling abortionists." If a black man accepts Christ, "then that man is my brother."  Well, maybe. And maybe not.

This summer, on the Web site long run by Spitz, a remarkable series of headlines began to appear under "Current News Stories for Christians." To almost anyone but Spitz, these racy one-liners reflect the crudest kind of racism.

"African-American on bike randomly shoots people," screams one link to a legitimate news story. "83 Year old White Woman beaten to death by three African-Americans," says another. "African-American Killed her," a third reads under photos of the principals, "because she was White and her parents 'didn't allow her to have sex with a black man.'" And the list goes on.

With representatives like Spitz, it's little wonder why the under 30 generations of Americans are deserting institutional Christianity in droves. 

And like most of his Christofacsist brethren, Spitz seems to have an utter contempt for the U. S. Constitution  and its guarantee of freedom of religion to ALL citizens, not just the Christofascists.  If one wants a glimpse of what America would be like under the rule of Spitz and his fellow Christianists, one need only look to this story out of Pakistan where the Islamic version of Spitz and his fellow hate merchants continue to cost innocent lives:

A popular female Pakistani singer who defied the Taliban's decree against singing and dancing was shot and killed in northwest Pakistan Monday night, police and hospital officials told CNN.

Ghazala Javed, who recorded scores of songs in her native Pashto language and became a household name among young, progressive ethnic Pashtuns in northwest Pakistan, had just left a beauty salon and was driving home with her father when gunmen on a motorcycle raced towards their car and sprayed it with bullets, Altaf said.

Javed was hit with six bullets and pronounced dead at a hospital in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, according to hospital official Rahim Afridi. Javed's father also was killed, police said.

In recent years the rise of the Pakistani Taliban in the region and the group's ban against singing and dancing made it difficult for Javed and other musical artists to perform and record songs in Pakistan. Javed recorded and taped many of her latest songs and music videos in nearby Dubai.

Last year Javed made headlines when she asked for a divorce from her husband after she reportedly found out that he had at least one other wife. It was a rare decision in a deeply conservative and male-dominated society where many view a woman's demand for a divorce as a dishonor to the husband.

Javed is pictured above.  Fundamentalist religion of whatever label is an evil.   Individuals like Spitz are, in my opinion, a clear and present danger to the rule of law and constitutional government.  His advocacy of what amounts to terrorism is indeed scary.

Wednesday Morning Male Beauty

Virginian Pilot: University of Virginia Rector Helen Dragas Should Resign

As a double alumnus of the University of Virginia (The College as undergrad and Law) I've been holding my tongue at first on the machinations and behind closed doors intrigue that led to the ouster of the University's first woman president.  Ironically, the ouster was engineered by another woman, Helen Dragas (pictured at right), the daughter of wealthy Virginia Beach developer George Dragas.  While her defenders argue that Dragas is a bright and astute business woman, the truth is she inherited a thriving business from her family - i.e., construction company, real estate development company and a mortgage company division. And, in my opinion, like many other state board and board of visitors appointees, she basically bought her position as Rector of UVA by making the right (and large) political contributions. Sadly, that's the way things work in Virginia. Money ALWAYS trumps credentials, skills and true talent. Now, even the Virginian Pilot is calling for her resignation from the UVA Board of Visitors.  Here are highlights:

Helen Dragas, rector of the University of Virginia, has failed repeatedly to explain why President Teresa Sullivan was forced out a week ago. Dragas has, however, built a convincing case for another departure - her own.

The Virginia Beach developer and 1984 U.Va. grad was the architect of Sullivan's ouster. She is also the board's spokeswoman, a strange post for someone who has failed so utterly to communicate with everyone.
The resulting chaos has caused substantial damage to the commonwealth's premier institution of higher education. That, as much as anything, brought 2,000 to the Lawn on Monday afternoon for an unprecedented protest against the school's leaders.

At a special Board of Visitors meeting, Dragas continued to dodge demands - from students, faculty, lawmakers, taxpayers - for more details about the drastic differences between the board and Sullivan.  Instead, Dragas doubled down on her initial generalities and platitudes. Worse, her efforts to strike a conciliatory tone devolved into parody.

Dragas refused to address what happened or how. She was silent on reports that at least three board members knew nothing of efforts to remove Sullivan almost until a deal was struck. She declined to comment after one board member publicly opposed a motion to promote Carl Zeithaml, the dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, as interim president, effective Aug. 16.

She failed to address the resignation of Peter Kiernan, chairman of the Darden School Foundation's board of trustees, just days after he sent an email saying he had worked for weeks with Dragas, at the behest of two "important Virginia alums," on a new presidential search.

Sullivan addressed board members in private Monday. Her remarks, made public afterward, suggested she was unwilling to go along with demands for "corporate-style, top-down leadership." She talked about the culture of U.Va., and the need to protect and nurture it. She highlighted the administrative changes she had made, which provided a foundation for more significant change to come.  It was a comprehensive defense of her tenure, and the contrast with the inadequate indictment by the board could not have been clearer.

The Board of Visitors has the legal right to hire and fire the president. But it has a responsibility to explain its actions to the school's constituents.  Dragas and other board members have failed to even try. The result is tumult, the likes of which U.Va. has never seen.  She has shredded her credibility as a leader of the board, and so diminished the campus community's faith in her judgment that she is now simply ineffective.  

Dragas' term ends July 1, although she is eligible for reappointment by Gov. Bob McDonnell.  In the best interests of herself, the governor and the university she professes to love, Dragas and her collaborators should resign, as the Faculty Senate's executive council demanded Monday.

If Dragas does not, McDonnell should refuse to reappoint her. Otherwise he is signaling his support for what she and the board have done and how they've handled it.

A tremendous amount of work must be done at U.Va. to quell the suspicion, the anger and the distrust that have roiled the campus. That work cannot be done if the person responsible for it remains there.
In my view, Ms. Dragas is way over her head.  She's not her father who likely would have known better than to engage in such tactics and would have avoided seriously wounding UVA.  She needs to resign NOW.

Bryan Fischer's Foul "Family Values"

In a previous post I noted the profile done on gay-hater extraordinaire Bryan Fischer of the hate group American Family Association done by The New Yorker.  The picture left by the article indeed suggests that Fischer has more than a few screws loose and might do well to seek a mental health care intervention.  Fischer apparently was not pleased with the piece - probably because it all to clearly showed him to be a self-promoting hypocrite and demagogue, not to mention a major league asshole.  He directed his wrath at the articles author who found one of Fischer's former compatriots coming to her defense and substantiating facts that Fischer claimed to be untrue.  As I often note, no one lies more than the professional Christian crowd and no one disseminates more hate that the "godly Christian" crowd.  One can only hope for the death of Fischer's form of Christianity.   Right Wing Watch looks at the contretemps.  Here are excerpts: 

Last week we told you about an excellent profile of Bryan Fischer in the New Yorker and Fischer’s predictably over-the-top and inaccurate attacks on the article and author, Jane Mayer. In the wake of those attacks, Mayer has posted a follow-up blog post, “Have Not Love: How Bryan Fischer Turned on a Friend,” that sets the record straight and explores the twisted family values of Fischer, a so-called family values advocate:
As I worked on my profile of the influential conservative radio-host Bryan Fischer, I was struck by the difference between the “pro-family” values he espouses and some of the choices he has made in his own life. For example, Fischer has not seen his only sibling in something like a decade—a sister with serious health problems who lives on social security and welfare disability payments. Perhaps more revealing, though, is the broken friendship between Fischer and another conservative Christian activist, Dennis Mansfield.

After the article came out, Fischer accused me of misrepresenting an anecdote concerning his relationship with Mansfield. Since then, Mansfield has weighed in on his own blog to defend the accuracy of the New Yorker story, and expanded on what he calls Fischer’s “divisive” politics as a dead end for this country.
Mansfield, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress, parted ways with Fischer after his son was arrested for drug possession:
The public arrest torpedoed Mansfield’s congressional bid. More importantly, he says, the episode, and the subsequent humility he learned from his son’s struggle, caused him to reëxamine the way in which he was using his Christian faith as a cudgel in politics. As Mansfield told me, he concluded that “faith-based conservatives are either purposefully or inadvertently looking punitively at other people” rather than “lifting each other up.”
Writing on his blog last Thursday, Mansfield said this about Fischer:
Pushing your own agenda using the veil of religion has been used all throughout history. Today is no exception, and individuals in the evangelical community do it as much as anyone else. When someone wraps their own hate speech in a "god blanket" it makes it easier for a subset of people to accept, and eventually it may even gather a following. The problem is that anyone outside of that subset is turned away from not only that particular subset, but from the entire religion.
As often noted, I believe that in the longer term, Fischer and his fellow Christofascist hate merchants will be the death of Christianity.  Or at least their foul version of it.  That death cannot come soon enough.

Today's Republicans Really Are Worse

As a former Republican - what some might even call an activist - I continue to be dismayed by what the GOP has become: the party of ignorance, greed, obstruction and a largely sectarian party.  Then there's the GOP's official policy of denigrating and maligning gays, minorities and immigrants often using language that comes close to urging violence against these targeted groups.   I get accused of being too hard on the GOP while giving the Democrats a pass.  But there is a huge difference between the parties and the hypocrisy falls mostly on the GOP.   A column in the Washington Post looks at what's become of the GOP.  Here are highlights:

If you’re thinking about dysfunctional government, there’s one main point that you have to know: The parties are not equally guilty. Dysfunctional government isn’t about ideological polarization; it’s about a rejectionist Republican Party that, among other things, is, while Democrats are in office, dedicated to opposing anything the Democratic president proposes — regardless of whether they have a history of opposing it or not.

Ezra Klein has been writing a series of great items about this lately, taking as a key example the Republican history on the individual mandate. The history is pretty basic: it was their idea; many leading Republicans supported it until January 2009; and then overnight it became for them not just a bad idea, but clearly unconstitutional — and not just unconstitutional, but a grave threat to basic liberty. It’s not hard to find more: the DREAM Act, the basic idea of fiscal and monetary stimulus during a recession, TARP . . . it’s a long list. Granted, not every Republican supported these things before Barack Obama did, but quite a few did, and now practically none can be found.

[S]ome of this is normal; some of it, in fact, is healthy — part of what parties do is provide alternatives, and it’s not at all a bad thing that the out-party reexamines things a bit if they find the president embraces a position they used to hold. But it’s the difference, as the Pythons explained long ago, between an argument and contradiction. What we’re seeing, as Michael Palin explained, is “just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.” And as long as that’s all that Republicans are doing, the political system isn’t going to function very well at all. And the fact that the parties are just not at all the same on this is one of the key things to know if you're trying to understand American politics right now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pope Says Cause of Sex Abuse Scandal a "Mystery"

The utter lies and batshitery that emanate from the Vatican and the Nazi Pope, Benedict XVI never cease to amaze me.  In addressing the sex abuse to Irish Catholics - the Church in Ireland is in a veritable free fall - Benedict said that the cause of the sex abuse was a mystery.    Actually, it's no mystery at all and the abuse of children and youths that occurred with an almost "droit de seigneur" attitude are the result of the deliberate policies of secrecy and denial implemented by and then perpetuated by Benedict XVI's and his predecessors.   And then there's the Vatican's obsession with sex and sexuality as things that are sinful and filthy.  The resulst of these policies and distorted views on sexuality left many tens of thousands of children and youths as hapless prey for predator priests.  Irish Central has highlights from the drivel put forth by Benedict XVI as to the "Mystery" that caused the sex abuse of children and youths: 

Pope Benedict has described clerical sex abuse as a mystery in an address to Irish Catholics.  The Vatican leader expressed his views via a broadcast at the Mass to close the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.  Almost 80,000 mass goers at Croke Park on Sunday heard the Papal address.

Irish President Michael D Higgins and Prime Minister Enda Kenny were among the crowd at the final event of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress.  They heard the Pope say: “It is a mystery the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance could abuse children.”

He added: “Evidently, their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.”
Both Lez Get Real and Civil Commotion elaborate on the true cause of the scandal and the heinous abuse of minors.  First from Lez Get Real:
Perhaps it comes down to something that Terry Pratchett once wrote- “And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.” So many of the problems that face the Catholic Church is that they treat themselves and others as things rather than people. 
His description of decades of child abuse as a ‘mystery’ is likely to anger many Catholics even further. The comments came at the end of the of the Eucharistic Congress.
In a nation where the Church and the State were almost inseparable, attendance at Mass has declined badly and many Catholics are unwilling to attend any more. Benedict also stated that “Your forbears in the church in Ireland knew how to strive for holiness and constancy in their personal lives.”

Ironically, the Church has expunged many of the core saints and religious leaders that brought Christianity to Ireland including St. Brigid and St. Columncille. Part of the problem with those saints is that they did not bend knee to the Catholic Church, but, instead, practiced a form of Celtic Christianity that heavily blended Druidicism and Christianity.  The early Church was diverse, and allowed priests to marry and women to be priests.
Bob Felton is even more to the point at Civil Commotion:
It is not a mystery. Those poor priests grow-up hearing, from infancy, that sexual desire is a manifestation of Original Sin; that sex is dirty; that only whores enjoy sex … on and on. Why should anybody be surprised when desire is suppressed as a sign of individual evil and then expressed in unwholesome and destructive ways  .   .   .   .   The church created its freaks, and it will continue to create them until it revises its teachings.

Tuesday Morning Male Beauty

Bigoted Professor Stands By Biased Gay Parenting Study

I used to have respect for the University of Texas which often represents an island of sanity in the otherwise insane world known as Texas.  But the deeply flawed "study" questioning the abilities of gay and lesbian couples as parents authored by UT professor Mark Regnerus (pictured at left) suggests that even that august university is succumbing to the wingnut fanaticism of the Christofascists.  Despite universal condemnation and criticism - other than from anti-gay hate groups and the professional Christian set, of course - Regnerus issued a statement that he stands by his "study" which says nothing in fact about parenting by committed same sex parents.  The real irony is that the Christofascists will combine this study with their promotion of the "ex-gay" myth so as to guaranty that there will be more doomed marriages where LGBT individuals marry a straight spouse, have children, and then divorce thereby causing more fractured families.  The "godly Christians" always claim their first concern is "about the children" but it's not.  It's all about promoting anti-gay hatred and discrimination.  Here are highlights from the Advocate on Regnerus' statement:

 Professor Mark Regnerus sought to examine whether there is a difference between growing up with a gay parent as opposed to other forms of family structures. Several have blasted his research, including the American Psychological Association, which has even submitted briefs for court cases, citing that "lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children."

Additionally, a joint press release by the Human Rights Campaign, Freedom to Marry, Family Equality Council, and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Regnerus is a right-wing author, and that his study was biased in part because it was funded with $695,000 from the antigay Witherspoon Institute and $90,000 from the Bradley Foundation. Activist organization Truth Wins Out has launched a campaign calling for the University to investigate the study.

However, Regnerus told The Daily Texan that he stands by his research, which appears in the July issue of Social Science Research.  .  .  .  .   The study was criticized for not examining the lives of adult children of stable lesbian parents. Many of the study's children considered to be raised in gay households were not being raised by parents in a committed same-sex relationship, whereas many of the children in heterosexual households had two married parents. Children of parents who had at one time in their lives been in a same-sex relationship were considered to be part of a "gay household."

HRBOR 5th Year Anniversary Reminder

As I have noted before, one of the things I am most proud of since first coming out and beginning to build a new life is my contribution to the founding of Hampton Roads Business OutReach ("HRBOR"). HRBOR first officially launched in May, 2007, and the first "Third Thursday" business networking event occurred in June, 2007.  The 5th anniversary of the launch of Third Thursdays will take place on Thursday, June 21, 2012, and we have a spectacular venue - the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk pictured below - and great event sponsors: SunTrust Bank, Distinctive Event Rentals and The New Leaf floral shop.  I  hope local readers will attend this FREE event whether they own a business or not. That's right, admission is free and there's plenty of parking. Here are more details:

What: 5th Anniversary Extravaganza & Membership Drive for HRBOR!! Bring your friends, business affiliates, associates, and anyone interested in Building Equality within business as we honor the founding members and look to current as well as prospective members for the future growth within the community.New and renewing members will receive a 25% discount on membership in honor of HRBOR's 5th Anniversary.

Where: The Harrison Opera House, Grand Lobby – 160 E. Virginia Beach Blvd, Norfolk VA 23510

When: Thursday June 21, 2012 from 6 - 8 pm

Admission: FREE

Mitt Romney Believes Children Are Better Off With Straight Parents

While Michael Gerson would have his readers believe that it is Barack Obama who is fueling the "culture wars" the real truth is that it's Mitt Romney who is guilty of fanning the flames of the such wars.  A case in point: Romney's video appearance at the theocrat sponsored Faith and Freedom Coalition where Romney attacked gay parenting and stated that children do best with straight parents.  Never mind the endless child abuse cases one sees literally all around the country involving straight, not gay, parents.  This inconvenient reality never makes it on the radar screen of the gay-hating Christofascists or their political whores such as Romney.  Politiker looks at this latest example of Romney's anti-gay agenda:

Mitt Romney made a speech via satellite at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Saturday morning in which he reiterated his view that children are better off growing up with heterosexual parents.

“We need to strengthen the commitment that exists in this country to family. I hope to be able to talk to young people and tell them how important it is to get married before they have children because the opportunity for a mom and a dad to help guide the life of a child gives them such an enormous advantage in their lives going forward,” Mr. Romney said.

The Politicker reached out to the Romney campaign to see whether they felt a child could equally benefit from the guidance provided by a gay couple. Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, said it is the candidate’s long held belief children are better off with straight parents.

 Though Mr. Romney believes states should be allowed to give gay couples the right to adopt children, he has said in multiple interviews that he believes a heterosexual marriage is the “ideal setting” for children to grow up in. He opposes granting either marriages or civil unions to gay couples.
Somehow in Romney's world engaging in heterosexual sex trumps all else when it comes to parenting.  I suppose he also believes that mankind co-existed with dinosaurs as well.  The more I know about the man, the more I dislike him.