Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is Virginia Foxx A Stupid Bigot, A Gullible Bigot, or Both?

As mentioned in an earlier post, the right wing hate groups have been busy as fire ants circulating lies in order to get politicians to vote against the Matthew Sheppard Act.

Yesterday the US House of Representatives was treated to a parade of ridiculous statements from stupid, gullible, and/or both bigots. Keith Olberman singled out the most heinous of the bigots, Rep Virginia Foxx R-NC, for his worst person in the world award. (Fast forward to about 2:40)

But it doesn't stop here. Foxx tried to back away from her bigotry by saying she was referring to an episode of 20/20 that "proved" the Matthew Sheppard incident was a hoax. Gotta' wonder what right wing whack job is feeing her this information and why she is falling for it hook, line, and sinker. (Well actually, I don't wonder about bigots who will grap onto any outrageous lie dangled in front of them if it suits their hate).

"The larger context of my remarks is important. I was referring to a 2004 ABC 20/20 report on Mr. Shepard's death. The 20/20 report questioned the motivation of those responsible for Mr. Shepard's death. Referencing this media account may have been a mistake, but if so it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts."

She could have spent about 30 seconds researching the 20/20 episode before making an even bigger fool of herself.


On November 26, 2004, 20/20 will air a piece that promised 'new information and facts' about Matt's beating and subsequent death. Dennis and I reviewed an advance copy of the show and were dismayed and saddened by the tabloid nature of the show, its lack of serious reporting of facts in evidence, and the amateurish nature of asking leading questions to the people who were interviewed.

I, too, was asked by 20/20 for an interview and agreed to do so to ensure that all of the facts were correctly stated. My only stipulation was that our legal advisor Sean Maloney, Matthew Shepard Foundation Board member and former senior White House staffer, had to be included in the interview to share his legal knowledge and expertise regarding Matthew's murder. He was quite eloquent in stating the facts pertaining to Matt's case, his knowledge of hate crimes in general, and in debunking 20/20's attempt to rewrite history. As you may or may not know, Sean was deleted from the interview entirely. The editing by 20/20 of my interview seems to leave out all of my relevant comments regarding the potential bias of the show and my deliberate restating of the facts of the case clearly ended up on the cutting room floor. My remarks were reduced to a few very personal maternal comments taken out of context to make it appear as if I agreed with 20/20's theories. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

This same subjective editing occurred with Dave O'Malley's interview. Dave, a Captain with the City of Laramie police force at the time, was Laramie's lead investigator in the case and worked in tandem with Rob DeBree, the lead investigator for the Albany County Sheriff's Department, to bring the case to trial and to provide the evidence necessary to convict both Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. (Both law enforcement officers are in complete agreement with the facts as stated during the trials.)

Dave gave Ms. Vargas a detailed account of the case. He described the elements of hate and gay bias that were found during the extensive investigation and were substantiated in the large body of evidence collected for this case. Dave's comments were severely edited. Perhaps they were left out because he did not give Ms. Vargas the answer(s) she needed to maintain her 'new' theory concerning the murder. One of the most glaring omissions in the piece was the transcript of Aaron McKinney's in-custody interview which took place a few days after the murder. This occurred before any 'line of defense' had been established by legal counsel for the two defendants. Had that document been included, it would have shown an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence.

Despite their promotional efforts to the contrary, 20/20 has not presented a 'new' theory. Much of this information was included in a Vanity Fair story in March 1999. What is new is the unfortunate downslide of a reputable news magazine show when its highly respected host retires. 20/20 has sacrificed years of professional journalistic ethics and values for a stab at revisionist history ... and ratings.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Right Wing Hate Groups Campaign With Lies

The American Family Association and the Traditional Values Coalition have been sharing "data" in their effort to stop the Matthew Shepard Act from being passed by the House of Representatives. (It did pass today, BTW).

The TVC has been named an official hate group by SPLC's Hatewach. I can't help wonder about when the American Family Association will be added to the list.

Here's an excellent debunking of one set of the TVC/AFA lies.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Masters and Johnson Faked Evidence of Gay "Cure"

The York Times and Scientific American are reporting that a new biography of Masters and Johnson reveals serious questions about the validity of their claim of a high success rate with a "gay cure."

Thomas Maier, author of the new biography, Masters of Sex explains.

Most staffers never met any of the conversion cases during the study period of 1968 through 1977. . . . Clinic staffer Lynn Strenkofsky, who organized patient schedules during this period, says she never dealt with any conversion cases. Marshall and Peggy Shearer, perhaps the clinic’s most experienced therapy team in the early 1970s, says they never treated homosexuals and heard virtually nothing about conversion therapy.

When the clinic’s top associate, Robert Kolodny, asked to see the files and to hear the tape-recordings of these “storybook” cases, Masters refused to show them to him. Kolodny—who had never seen any conversion cases himself—began to suspect some, if not all, of the conversion cases were not entirely true. When he pressed Masters, it became ever clearer to him that these were at best composite case studies made into single ideal narratives, and at worst they were fabricated.

Eventually Kolodny approached Virginia Johnson privately to express his alarm. She, too, held similar suspicions about Masters’ conversion theory, though publicly she supported him. The prospect of public embarrassment, of being exposed as a fraud, greatly upset Johnson, a self-educated therapist who didn’t have a college degree and depended largely on her husband’s medical expertise.

With Johnson’s approval, Kolodny spoke to their publisher about a delay, but it came too late in the process.”That was a bad book,” Johnson recalled decades later. Johnson said she favored a rewriting and revision of the whole book “to fit within the existing [medical] literature,” and feared that Bill simply didn’t know what he was talking about. At worst, she said, “Bill was being creative in those days” in the compiling of the “gay conversion” case studies.

Does “being creative” mean “making it up”? Dr. Masters continued to defend the evidence until his death, but Mr. Maiers says the success of the “gay conversion” therapy has never been proved.

HT/ Joe.My.God

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The PB is Coming, and I'm Wondering Why I Don't Care

Yep .. she's coming to our parish.

And right now I'm thinking I don't really care about what she has to say, and I'm not planning on going to hear her.

Let's just chalk it up to that burden she wants some of us, but not all of us, to carry for the sake of Anglican politics.

And, of course, the Felix Mendelssohn Birthday Concert later in the day.

Maggie, Don't Mess with Our Rachel

Gaggy Mallagher will never learn ...

Here the video yanked by YouTube. You have to watch the short commercial and then fast forward to about 2:05.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gay Iowa Senator Received Death Threat

In the wake of the Iowa marriage decision, right wing anti-gay activists are involved in a highly organized campaign of lobbying the Iowa legislature. Now, the Des Moines Register is reporting that openly gay Iowa Senator Matt McCoy received a telephoned death threat.

Here's a video of Iowa Senator Matt McCoy's reaction to the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling for equal treatment under the law.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grandma's "Now You're Married, Now You're Not" Ride

Recent events in New England regarding equal treatment under the law in Connecticut and Vermont got me thinking about my childhood. Although I've lived in Texas for more than 30 years, I'm not a native Texan. I come from the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. The picture at the left was taken at Pontoosuc Lake in the Pittsfield area where we had many picnics when I was a child.

When I get together with my siblings, it seems that one of our favorite conversation topics is our grandmother's four-state rides. She loved to gather one of two of us into her gigantic Oldsmobile, always the biggest Oldsmobile made, and fly through the mountains to show us how we could go a mile a minute through parts of Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont. And then she'd load us up with maple sugar candy and Vermont cheese before heading back home.

Now, instead of being Grandma's Four-State Ride, we can call it Grandma's Now You're Married, Now You're Not Ride. (But hopefully not for much longer)

Vermont Marriage Veto Overridden

Both the Senate and the House have voted to override the Republican governor's veto of the gay marriage bill.

Senate: 23-5

House: 100-49

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Revolting Justification

“It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV. It is still more revolting if the grounds upon which it was laid down have vanished long since, and the rule simply persists from blind imitation of the past.”
... Oliver Wendell Holmes, Justice, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, The Path of the Law, address dedicating new hall at Boston University School of Law (January 8, 1897)

I ran across the above quote in the text of the Iowa Supreme Court decision. I've long argued that tradition alone does not provide justification for anything at all, particularly a tradition of harmful discrimination against minority groups, but never as colorfully or succinctly as Homes stated it.

Tradition can be quite wonderful, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes reminds us, it can also be quite disgusting.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Answers from Dog

What happens when you ask a dog about right wing nutcases?