Sunday, December 28, 2008

Frank Rich on Obama and Rick Warren.

Back from an internet-free holiday break. I hope everyone is having a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
Today's New York Times contains an excellent piece by Frank Rich. Here are a few exerpts. Do read the whole thing.

... for the first time a faint tinge of Bush crept into my Obama reveries this month.

As we saw during primary season, our president-elect is not free of his own brand of hubris and arrogance, and sometimes it comes before a fall: “You’re likable enough, Hillary” was
the prelude to his defeat in New Hampshire. He has hit this same note again by assigning the invocation at his inauguration to the Rev. Rick Warren, the Orange County, Calif., megachurch preacher who has likened committed gay relationships to incest, polygamy and “an older guy marrying a child.” Bestowing this honor on Warren was a conscious — and glib — decision by Obama to spend political capital. It was made with the certitude that a leader with a mandate can do no wrong.
But there’s a difference between including Warren among the cacophony of voices weighing in on policy and anointing him as the inaugural’s de facto pope. You can’t blame V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an early Obama booster, for feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “I’m all for Rick Warren being at the table,” he
told The Times, but “we’re talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most-watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he’s praying to is not the God that I know.”

Warren, whose ego is no less than Obama’s,
likes to advertise his “commitment to model civility in America.” But as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC reminded her audience, “comparing gay relationships to child abuse” is a “strange model of civility.” Less strange but equally hard to take is Warren’s defensive insistence that some of his best friends are the gays: His boasts of having “eaten dinner in gay homes” and loving Melissa Etheridge records will not protect any gay families’ civil rights.

Equally lame is the argument mounted by an Obama spokeswoman, Linda Douglass, who talks of how Warren has fought for “people who have H.I.V./AIDS.” Shouldn’t that be the default position of any religious leader? Fighting AIDS is not a get-out-of-homophobia-free card. That Bush finally joined Bono in doing the right thing about AIDS in Africa does not mitigate the gay-baiting of his 2004 campaign, let alone his silence and utter inaction when the epidemic was killing Texans by the thousands, many of them gay men, during his term as governor.
Warren’s defamation of gay people illustrates why, as does our president-elect’s rationalization of it. When Obama defends Warren’s words by calling them an example of the “wide range of viewpoints” in a “diverse and noisy and opinionated” America, he is being too cute by half. He knows full well that a “viewpoint” defaming any minority group by linking it to sexual crimes like pedophilia is unacceptable.
Since he’s not about to rescind the invitation, what happens next? For perspective, I asked Timothy McCarthy, a historian who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an unabashed Obama enthusiast who served on his campaign’s National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Leadership Council. He responded via e-mail on Christmas Eve.

After noting that Warren’s role at the inauguration is, in the end, symbolic, McCarthy concluded that “it’s now time to move from symbol to substance.” This means Warren should “recant his previous statements about gays and lesbians, and start acting like a Christian.”

McCarthy added that it’s also time “for President-elect Obama to start acting on the promises he made to the LGBT community during his campaign so that he doesn’t go down in history as another Bill Clinton, a sweet-talking swindler who would throw us under the bus for the sake of political expediency.” And “for LGBT folks to choose their battles wisely, to judge Obama on the content of his policy-making, not on the character of his ministers.”

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Wonderful Use For Shoes

In Arab cultures, pointing the sole of the shoe at someone is considered to be an insult.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Right-Wing Christians, Lies, Hypocrisy, and an Opportunity for Schadenfreude

Well, they've done it again, just when I thought they'd reached the very bottom of their hypocrisy. Now they've managed to go even lower.

About a week ago, an organization named The Becket Fund launched a vile anti-gay website with a full-page ad in the New York Times. Typically, the ad and the website are full of the kind of false information in the form of scare tactics that we have come to expect from the religious nutcases. They whine on and on about Americans who protested the civil rights of GLBT Californians being voted away. They make immensely exaggerated claim about violent mobs of gays people roaming the nation despite the meager news reports of things like bits of vandalism, the case of a notorious anti-gay activist woman's styrofoam cross being broken when she pushed herself into the middle of a peaceful demonstration, and harmless white powder being mailed to a couple of Mormon churches (even though the source could just as easily been Mormons looking to play victim games. The source of the harmless powder has never been identified, to my knowledge). Another religious nutcase, the singer Pat Boone, went crazy enough to liken the demonstrations to the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

They certainly overlooked the news reports about violence coming from their own side. The video in this link shows a woman who received a black eye from Mormons ironically whining about being victims themselves. And they certainly don't mentioned the story about the vicious beating a Prop 8 opponent received after doing nothing but flipping off a house with a Yes on Prop 8 sign or any of the other stories in the news lately. They also "forgot" to mention recent statistics showing that anti-gay hate crime has been increasing over the last 2 years.

Anyway, one of the people who put signatures on the ad is a guy named Richard Cizik. At the time of the ad he was Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the National Association of Evangelists. Remember that for later.

The nutcases were especially outraged over the resignations of a California theater director and a California restaurant manager who resigned after being exposed as having made financial contributions to the campaign of lies about Calfornia GLBTs during the campaign to vote away their civil rights. The exposures led to boycotts, and thus the resignations.

But wait ... aren't these the same people who have boycotted everything from Disney to McDonald's to Ford Motor Company?

And now ... the Schadenfreude Opportunity

Just the other day we learned that Richard Cizik (remember that name? One of the people who put a signature on the anti-gay ad complaining about a couple anti-gay people resigning from jobs?) was booted out of the National Association of Evangelicals because he had the gall to say on a radio show that he was evolving on the subject of gay marriage and no longer has an objection to civil unions, although he's certainly still opposed to gay marriage. Well Dobson and the gang seized the moment to demand he be fired. (They've been after him for awhile anyway because he happens to be concerned about the enviroment, and they certainly cannot put up with anyone who doesn't approve of raping and pillaging the earth.)

I have just one word of advice. The next time you run across someone getting in bed with control-freak Mormons about stripping GLBT citizens of their civil rights, just remind them what Mormon beliefs about marriage consist of.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Candied Ginger, Sticker Shock, and Other Stuff

I've been appalled speechless by the carryings on during Dub and Republican's last gasp lame duck session. I really don't know what to say about the shamelessness of it all. So I've just been quiet. I just want this nightmare to end.

And then the other day, something happened that gave me a case of sticker shock.. We had to get some more candied ginger for some holiday baking. We don't use it very much. I can't even remember how old the nearly empty container was. The new little bottle of candied ginger cost $9.99. The price sticker remaining on the old one said $3.99.

Other than that I survived a trip to the dentist with nothing more than just a routine cleaning and have been very busy in real life.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Falafel O'Loofah To Quit Radio Show

Starting early next year there will be less pollution on US airwaves. O'Reilly is calling it quits.

Could it be that the ratings hits he's been taking from Keith Olbermann and Rachel Madow have a part in his decision to spend more time on his Faux News television program?

(If you don't get the falafel/loofah reference, a quick quote is located here. )

"The media business is getting more and more intense," O'Reilly said Thursday. "We've got to keep the TV show at the level we have it now, and that means more and more time to keep it competitive and fresh. "

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vatican Wants Imprisonment and Execution of Gays to Continue

Apparently Ratzie enjoys the photos of teenage boys in Muslim countries being executed. Leave it to the RC nutcases to equate protecting teenagers from imprisonment and execution to destroying "traditional marriage."

Advocate is reporting:

The Vatican has come out against a United Nations resolution that calls on all governments to decriminalize homosexuality. The resolution, Archbishop Celestino Migliore said, would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination" and could lead to the decline of heterosexual marriage, Reuters reported Tuesday.

"If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations," Migliore said. "For example, states which do not recognize same-sex unions as 'matrimony' will be pilloried and made an object of pressure."

France will propose the resolution this month on behalf of the 27-member European Union. The Vatican is not a member, but it uses the Euro.

The article continues here.

Stupid Whiney Straight Guy Tricks

What is it about anti-gay nutcases that makes them continually attempt to equate the unequateable?

I'm sick of the latest whining about the protests against the organized Mormon effort to fund a vicious campaign of lies and distortion in order to strip civil rights from LGBT Californians. Why do these whiney straight guys seem totally incapable of understanding the fact that that Jews and Muslims did not mount such a campaign?

Today's LA Times published another of these misdirected whines from Jonah Goldberg today. Of course we do recall that his career was launched with a whine about the way media mistreated his infamous mother, Lucianne, during the Clinton years.

Did you catch the political ad in which two Jews ring the doorbell of a nice, working-class family? They barge in and rifle through the wife's purse and then the man's wallet for any cash. Cackling, they smash the daughter's piggy bank and pinch every penny. "We need it for the Wall Street bailout!" they exclaim.

No? Maybe you saw the one with the two swarthy Muslims who knock on the door of a nice Jewish family and then blow themselves up?

No? Well, then surely you saw the TV ad in which two smarmy Mormon missionaries knock on the door of an attractive lesbian couple. "Hi, we're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" says the blond one with a toothy smile. "We're here to take away your rights." The Mormon zealots yank the couple's wedding rings from their fingers and then tear up their marriage license.

As the thugs leave, one says to the other, "That was too easy." His smirking comrade replies, "Yeah, what should we ban next?" The voice-over implores viewers: "Say no to a church taking over your government."

Obviously, the first two ads are fictional because no one would dare run such anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim attacks.

The third ad, however, was real. It was broadcast throughout California on election day as part of the effort to rally opposition to Proposition 8, the initiative that successfully repealed the right to same-sex marriage in the state.

What was the reaction to the ad? Widespread condemnation? Scorn? Rebuke? Tepid criticism?

The article continues here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Sin of Voting For Obama

As if it wasn't bad enough to be taught that going into or looking through the windows of a Protestant church was a sin, now there seems to be an outbreak of wacked out Roman Catholic priests who are trying to convince people that exercising their right to vote is a sin if they don't vote for whoever the priest wishes.

The Modesto Bee is reporting:

Parishioners of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto have been told they should consider going to confession if they voted for Barack Obama, because of the president-elect's position condoning abortion.

"If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for [a pro-choice] candidate, you were clear on his position and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion. Don't risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously," the Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph's, wrote in a letter dated Nov. 21.

The letter was sent to more than 15,000 members of the St. Joseph's parish. It is one of 34 parishes in the Stockton Diocese, which has more than 200,000 members in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and four other counties.
Illo also delivered this message in a homily.

The article continues here.

BTW, it is true that Obama condones abortion? How does this priest know that? Or is he making an assumption?