Sunday, July 30, 2006

LaHaye, Inc. - End Times & Concerned Women

As part of their coverage of the Mideast Crisis, Newsweek's Brian Braiker interviews Tim LaHaye of "Left Behind" infamy. Dr. LaHaye is pictured with his lovely wife Beverly of similarly scorned Concerned Women for America.

OK, maybe major news sourcs and media outlets and the party in control and zillions of American that have bought his books and ... don't feel the same as your humble blogger and few others such as Michael Standaert. His initial post at HuffPo was a gem and yet the more recent offers up even more on the radicalism of these two pillars of the Christianist community.

To my Amazon list I'm adding Michael Standaert's "Skipping Towards Armageddon : The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire". I know my local library has I think every LaHaye book prominently displayed, possibly multiple copies and even ones on tape, so perhaps they need a copy as well? I'm sure my lovely sisters and their broods would love me making that donation. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Alablawg's Wheeler puts reason before decision

Short post ... Wheeler nails the issue of how the states should handle benefits to "married" couples. Same sex couples should get the same secular benefits as traditional couples even if they are not "married" in the eyes of the various religious communities. Simple enough. Peace ... or War!

Friday, July 28, 2006

I also miss Monica ... and surely the Clenis!

Reflecting back to the days of Slick Willy seems like good move for this Friday. Dean Friedman's "I Miss Monica" at HuffPo's Contagious Festival is rather clever. I weep and gnash my teeth over this period as I'm convinced that if only Team Clinton had been able to keep Big Dog on a slightly tighter leash we'd have likely avoided these Bu$hCo years. Peace ... or War

Thursday, July 27, 2006

WorldNetDaily Welcomes Alabama's Roy Moore

God Damn! I hate to get all profane here with God's own theocrat up above my words yet news that Roy Moore is a columnist with WorldNetDaily seems like a perfect place to offer up a little cussing. This is a perfect match, in a purely heterosexual way of course. Reverend Roy's first column "Will America choose to acknowledge God? dropped just yesterday. I'll not try to address his ideas, as "A position not founded upon reason cannot be swayed by argument."

If WorldNetDaily founder Jospeh Farah will write a book with Republican California Congressman Richard Pombo I guess there's not much of stretch of this pseudo-news site to give Roy Moore a column. Note the ads appearing on WND and read some of the "reporting" for yourself. Roy's found a home! Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, & Religious Right

Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, got space in The Boston Globe some days back for "Old-time religion : Long before the age of Falwell and Robertson, evangelical Protestants from William Jennings Bryan to Billy Graham were anything but right-wing zealots. Today, a new generation of evangelical leaders are rediscovering their progressive roots."

This is a good primer on both the history and current situation in the Evangelical movement, at least in more urban areas, that I encourage folks to read. There's more to the story but it is a good start. I certainly thought back on my hard core Republican nephew-in-law claiming just this weekend that the Democratic Party could never reach the "faith community". I'm rather sure he's locked down on choice and same sex issues. I told him bluntly that "faith" doesn't equal "fundamentalism" yet who knows what some of the Christianists community are thinking.

Finally, a tip of the tam to Jonathan Teller at Chelsea Green's Flaming Grasshopper for the link. Peace ... or War!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tony Campolo's "An Open Letter to Evangelicals"

Posting at HuffPo, Tony Campolo asks Evangelicals why they don't confront Bu$hCo over some of his policies. I politely listened to a few conversations of some family members, and my if they aren't serious Evangelicals, just this past weekend. Scary "thinking" at times. I'm wondering on many of the same things that vex Dr. Campolo. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Peace from "Weapons of Mass Reproduction"?

Via HuffPo, Patrick Dall'Occhio puts his comedic touch to both the Bu$hCo stem cell veto and his radically limited response to the death and destruction resulting from the conflict at the Israel-Lebanon border. Since Bu$h is so concerned with the sanctity of human life at the blastocyte stage Patrick ponders if perhaps we should deploy the "Frozen Chosen"? Mike Lane's cartoon above comes via Daryl Cagle's MSNBC syndicate. Peace ... or War!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bu$hCo Marriage Czar Supports Ministry Welfare

Ron and Joan McLain, founders of Marriage Mentoring Ministries, Inc. of Fresno County, California, are pictured to the left. Mr. McLain is referenced at the start of an AP/MSNBC piece entitled “Marriage programs to get a boost from feds: Congress to spend $750 million to promote marriage, better fathers” that confirms what has long been known by people following Bu$hCo and the modern GOP. The McLain’s operation would I’m sure benefit from $800,000.00 of our money.

The articles also has coverage of Dr. Wade Horn, who first came to my attention back in early 2005 when press coverage revealed he had used $21,500.00 in taxpayer funds to hire syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher to shill Bu$hCo proposals on “strengthening marriage”. There was an additional $20,000 in grant money paid in 2002 and 2003 by Bu$hCo to have her write a report for a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative. This group was founded and lead by Dr. Horn before he began working for Bu$hCo. Ms. Gallagher is also President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Ties with Regnery Publishing, Human Events, The Manhattan Institute, … suggest Maggie’s always going to have a place on the wingnut welfare circuit.

California Congressman Wally Herger (father on nine children!) supports Dr. Horn’s efforts, although he was only one of thirty three Congressmen that did not support extension of the Voting Rights Act. As for Dr. Horn, Bill Berkowitz reveals much about the man he describes as the “marriage maven”. David Salyer offers that the name “Wade Horn” sounds like that on a porn star yet does also allege that the media has labeled him as the “chastity czar” for his support for abstinence-only sex education. Feminist and poverty organizations were hardly thrilled to have Dr. Horn nominated to his position with HHS. His connection with The Hudson Institute is also revealing. As for the porn star handle, Susan Wieler of The Washington Monthly reveals much about the actually rather pragmatic Wade Horn in explaining why he’d “gone soft” once over at HHS as an Assistant Secretary.

Concerns that at least some faith-based initiatives might violate the First Amendment remain yet the idea that these “marriage” programs will be effective seems tenuous at best. David Fein is quoted in the report and indeed his research does support the idea that financial stress and strain, plus the lack of resources for poor people when troubles do arise, often do lead to barriers to poor people getting or staying married. His “The Determinants of Marriage and Cohabitation Among Disadvantaged Americans: Research Findings and Needs” mentions many “determinants” and leaves many research needs for exploration.

Dr. Horn, who is neither a porn star (or even seemingly an expert on kids that run away or family abuse or …,) is quoted in the above AP/MSNBC piece as follows:

“Children who grow up in healthy, stable, married households don’t wake up one day and decide they want to run away to Hollywood and become street prostitutes,” said Wade Horn, the Bush administration’s point man for welfare reform. “Couples in a healthy, stable married relationship don’t come home one day and decide they want to abuse their children. This, in my view, is an exercise in limited government.”
The “… don’t wake up one day and …” offers a “simplistic” view that should work well for Bu$hCo and the “faith community” yet Ms. Wieler’s piece suggests he’s just playing the name game. Talk the Code maybe? Keep the base happy? Pass the tax cuts and deregulation and … for the Big Mules but throw the church folks some crumbs? If he’s actually serious, “healthy” could perhaps mean families where affordable health care is readily available and “stable” might mean when the economy is working for regular folks. I wonder what this advocate for fathers thinks of the soldiers that keep being sent on tour after tour to Iraq? This guy demonstrates his Bu$hCo bona fides as Horn even got a dig in at Hollywood! Karl Rove salutes you!

Obviously folks like the McLain duo are benefiting, or at least potentially could, from this “social policy”. I expect if you wanted to attend this conference you’d hear plenty of people (the links to just those presenting is massive!) salivating over the financial potential. Ministering on our dime … indeed The Lord has blessed! I expect some would be happy to provide support for Bu$hCo and the GOP as long as the money keeps coming. Saving souls from eternal damnation requires compromises I guess?

Having our tax dollars supporting Christianists and at the same time perpetuating Republican dominance truly chaps my hide. As the WaPo’s Michael A. Fletcher reminded us on Wednesday, “Bush's Poverty Talk Is Now All but Silent : Aiding Poor Was Brief Priority After Katrina”. Peace … or War!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Base Celebrates Stem Cell Veto with Bu$hCo

I'm watching Bu$hCo and what looks like tons of folks, including at least a couple of daycare classes it would seem given all the kids there, celebrate Dubyah's first veto, or more accurately legislation that prohibits "fetus farming". That "fetus farming" is not an issue, certainly not so here in the U.S., mattered not to those folks pushing for this legislation. Why they were there actually mattered not as they applauded when Bu$h explained his principled veto.

Linda Feldmann, of The Christian Science Monitor , seems to be the first with a report entitled "Bush makes first veto on stem cells - Democrats pledge to make stem-cell research, which a majority of the public backs, an issue in the fall elections." I'm looking forward to the transcript as I've already caught several blatant misrepresentations of science, the views of most Americans, his leadership in the past, etc.

In case you aren't aware the above image is of a stem cell, with enhancements by certain dies and photographic techniques. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Study that contradicts right's message on public education hidden by Bu$hCo DOE

Not exactly part of the "culture war", even though just yesterday I tackled Jeb's Florida "just the facts" approach to history, but this allows me to me put something up on Jimi. I just posted on Dubyah rubbing on German Chancellor Merkel yesterday but here he is smootching on his Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Laura's going to have to reel old George in! There's always Condi, who knows "grotesque", to throw some water on him if the Librarian isn't up to the task.

I've posted before on how Bu$hCo takes care of his team via the DOE but they take care to avoid distracting the public from the right's false message regarding public education as well it seems.

I've looked on the DOE's "press release" section and can't find the report mentioned by Greg Anrig, Jr. in his TPM Cafe piece entitled "The Right's Education Misdiagnosis". Since the report confirms what research has long shown, that being that public schools do no worse (and in fact bettter by some analysis) than private charter schools once demographics are controlled for, that simply destroys one of the right wing's main positions, I'm hardly surprised. Dropping the report on a Friday afternoon is SOP when you want to avoid the press yet the research is being covered up to a point. Here's Mr. Anrig's opening salvo:

The entire argument for vouchers and charter schools rests on the premise that public education bureaucracies and teacher’s unions are responsible for the system’s sundry real and imagined failings. That’s the spiel the Right has pitched from Milton Friedman to John Chubb and Terry Moe’s work to the Edison Project to the phalanx of movement think tanks feeding their talking points to Republicans (and some Democrats) running for office at all levels of government. It was a plausible theory and one that had considerable political appeal. But it turns out to be wrong, according to all available evidence. No doubt public education bureaucracies and teachers’ unions have plenty of imperfections. But if schools operating in the absence of those demonized institutions aren’t performing any better, then educational reformers have spent the last 20-plus years fighting the wrong enemy.
It's the poverty stupid! Now I'll take exception to Mr. Anrig that the real problem is in urban schools systems that serve kids from low income families as I can vouch for my experiences in poor rural schools. I'll stack local poverty in Heard County plus other places in my neck of the woods against nearly any system. Once a school gets above 40% free and reduced lunch ratios then learning becomes an uphill battle.

I'd also caution Mr. Anrig on NCLB. I agree with his point that measurement has a place in education simply to know if every child is learning. However, NCLB is an unmitigated disaster. My "NCLB - Four Years and Doubting" post has some of my rantings on this fatally flawed Federal legislation.

That Bu$hCo campaigned partly as the "Education President" on his alleged successes in Texas seems rather dated now doesn't it? That success was a lie of course, which is SOP for this administration, and perhaps our first example of how Bu$hCo is willing to use flawed data and intelligence. Ms. Spellings was right there with Dubyah for that fantasy and she's still doing her part now as a loyal Bu$h team member.

Finally, a cousin of mine married a DOE bureaucrat that got the job via his many GOP connections and darned if I might see him this weekend as some of my late mother's family will be about the maternal manse. The last time he was about, we had a brief bump over NCLB and Bu$hCo. I'll have to decide if I mention this latest research, plus how it has been released on the sly, should they make the trip down. I seldom start anything but if he throws a jab or two I might have to reply. I'm sure it will be my fault if there are "tensions". I stay in the doghouse with my Christianist sisters and some of their broods so maybe there is little left to lose. Peace ... or War!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Dumb & Dumber - The World According to Jeb

I saw the following a few weeks back yet the coverage continues so I'll post on the issue. That the Bu$hCo boys managed to become Governors of two of our larger Southern states revelas much. Jeb is smarter, actually has some power over Florida when Dubyah had little in Texas, and has less swagger.

Jeb's Florida Legislature has passed a rather bizarre package of education legislation that seems to destroy critical thinking in Florida's public school history classes. The Legislature "thinks", or at least legislates, that history must be taught according to the official version mandated by the powers that be. Here's the language:

American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed, shall be viewed as knowable, teachable, and testable, and shall be defined as the creation of a new nation based largely on the universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.

I'm hoping that anyone with even a moderate level of exposure to history knows interpretations of "facts" are much of the discipline. History News Network gives J.L. Bell space for "History 101: Florida's Flawed Lesson Plan" is devastating in the anaysis of Florida's "constructing" but the ending is shared as follows:

I’ve long felt that if schools teach American history accurately, including the fact that there are different ways of viewing the past, the U.S. of A. will get the respect it deserves. Florida’s lawmakers obviously don’t have the same faith.

Robert Jensen appears on Common Dreams with "Florida's Fear of History: New Law Undermines Critical Thinking" with the beginning being the preferred portion to share.

One way to measure the fears of people in power is by the intensity of their quest for certainty and control over knowledge.

By that standard, the members of the Florida Legislature marked themselves as the folks most terrified of history in the United States when last month they took bold action to become the first state to outlaw historical interpretation in public schools. In other words, Florida has officially replaced the study of history with the imposition of dogma and effectively outlawed critical thinking.

Although U.S. students are typically taught a sanitized version of history in which the inherent superiority and benevolence of the United States is rarely challenged, the social and political changes unleashed in the 1960s have opened up some space for a more honest accounting of our past. But even these few small steps taken by some teachers toward collective critical self-reflection are too much for many Americans to bear.

Jensen's piece is very solid in ridiculing the Florida legislature's arrogance and lack of understanding.

Can't wait to see how the textbook companies handle this one. Florida and Texas and California and ... the larger states often create the markets that the smaller states must accept. Also, I'll offer that teaching one damn fact after another is par for the course in today's standardized test world. Another damage to public education courtesy of the right wing. I expect this legislation makes Lynne Cheney proud. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Better To Avoid Than Confront Confinement

The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons has released a report entitled "Confronting Confinement". The report is described as follows:
On June 8, 2006, the Commission released Confronting Confinement, a report on violence and abuse in U.S. jails and prisons, the broad impact of those problems on public safety and public health, and how correctional facilities nationwide can become safer and more effective. The report reflects the Commission's work over more than a year — an inquiry that featured four public hearings in cities around the country where nearly 100 people testified, visits to jails and prisons, conversations with people about their experience of life behind bars, discussions with current and former corrections officials and experts working outside the profession, and a thorough review of available research and data.
I appreciate the concerns expressed by Ronald Fraser, Ph.D., who writes on public policy issues for the DKT Liberty Project (no link available - Sorry), in today's Anniston Star entitled "Speaker's stand ... A fix for Alabama's prison woes". The writing talks about the financial and social costs of our nation's tendency to lock folks up. He ends his work with:

Overcrowded, violent and disease-filled prisons and jails are here to stay as long as the number of inmates sent to prison goes up year after year. As a society, we are quick to needlessly fill prisons with nonviolent inmates, and too slow to find alternative ways to punish and rehabilitate them.

We now need a second commission to finish the job, and publish a step-by-step road map for ending America's “unprecedented reliance on incarceration.”

A solution to this problem is complex yet as an educator and criminal defense lawyer I continue to fall back on avoiding the troubles with solid teachers and decent parents enabled. Knowing my friend in Probabation and Parole, plus my time working with many POs back in the day, convinces me that good alternatives via supervision and support exist. I know judges like having a "carrot and stick" to keep convicted people in line yet darned if that's not an expensive solution for both society and the individual plus often his or her family. I am certain that non-violent or pseudo-criminal conduct should seldom if ever result in incarceration. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wingnut Welfare Stem Cell "Research" Challenged

Dr. David A. Prentice is pictured to the left. At The Family Research Council (see PFAW's Right Wing Watch for more on FRC), Dr. Prentice serves as Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, Center for Human Life and Bioethics. His Ph.D. in Biochemistry was earned at Kansas. He was formerly Professor of Life Sciences at Indiana State University and is now Adjunct Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics for Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM has him listed as secondary faculty at Terre Haute).

Dr. Prentice is also an Advisory Board Member for Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. (I think just a bad picure, but that mustache hardly represents "human dignity". ) He is a founding member (along with maybe a zillion others from pastors to patients to John Birchers to ...) of "Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics" (Their URL is plus he serves as a Fellow of both the Wilberforce Forum Council for Biotechnology Policy (A Chuck Colson, Nixon's "evil genuis" sent to the slammer for Watergate but guilty of plenty more, operation) and the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future.

I've at least mentioned Wingnut Welfare before as Captain Plaid yet the PFAW's "Buying a Movement" is always a great place to start in examing how the Big Mules get and hold power. Jane's FireDogLake work on Pajamas Media shows how the right tries to stay ahead or at least caught up with all forms of information/media. That "research" is provided by Big Oil and other polluters to muddy the water on climate change should no surprise but this pseudo-science is about getting votes from the Evangelical and related "values voters". Having seemingly legit science behind the politicians and pundits let them play the Mighty Wurlitzer much easier.

Here, finally the readers exclaim, is the inspiration for the post. Rick Weiss of the WaPo gives us "Clash Over Stem Cell Research Heats Up: Scientists Dispute Claims of Leading Foe of Bill to Ease Embryo Restrictions". The article contains the following:

The letter to the journal focused on David A. Prentice, a scientist with the conservative Family Research Council. Prentice has been an adviser to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) -- a leader in the charge to maintain tight restrictions on the research -- and an "expert source" often cited by opponents of embryonic stem cell research.

Prentice has repeatedly claimed that adult stem cells, which can be retrieved harmlessly from adults, have at least as much medical potential as embryonic cells. He often carries a binder filled with references to scientific papers that he says prove the value of adult stem cells as treatments for at least 65 diseases.

In the letter to Science, however, three researchers went through Prentice's footnoted documentation and concluded that most of his examples are wrong.
"Prentice not only misrepresents existing adult stem cell treatments but also frequently distorts the nature and content of the references he cites," wrote Shane Smith of the Children's Neurobiological Solutions Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif.; William B. Neaves of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo.; and Steven Teitelbaum of Washington University in St. Louis. ...

"By promoting the falsehood that adult stem cell treatments are already in general use for 65 diseases and injuries, Prentice and those who repeat his claims mislead laypeople and cruelly deceive patients," the scientists wrote.

Prentice, in a brief voice message left for a reporter as he embarked on a trip yesterday, said, "I appreciate them pointing out some of the things . . . that need to be changed and updated." But he accused the letter writers of "mental gymnastics" by focusing narrowly on proven therapies, as opposed to the large number of diseases for which the value of adult stem cells is now being tested.

Mental gymnastics indeed. I recently watched J.C. Watts shilling perhaps Dr. Prentice's own "research" and thought of Watt's athleticism qualifying him to play pundit now. He's earned his cred with time in DC. JC had the talking points ready. Just like playing QB at Oklahoma. Coach Rove calls the plays and JC does the rest. And we must give a big shout out to "God's Senator" Sam Brownback. "I am Sam" needs to read this PDF file before citing the "research" on adult stem cells. What's the matter with Kansas most certainly comes to mind with the Sam and Pat show.

Neo-con Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard writing on stem cells was referenced in the reporting. I believe this "Stem the Tide" might be the piece but, if not, it is close enough to reveal his "thinking". Getting us into the Iraq disaster wasn't enough for Bill as he's working on Iran I fear next yet to have him lecturing on "morals" makes me want to Ralph.

On Monday I'll try to call Representative Mike Rogers and Senator Richard Shelby and even Senantor/Presidential draftee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (maybe Stormie will answer the phone?) to register my position. I'm not optimistic yet we'll hope. I do think that a veto might be a "silver bullet" for the Democrats this fall so at least we might get that from Bu$hCo. Rove can energize the wingnut base for 2006 in a hope to avoid one chamber getting investigations going with subpoena power but this may be a costly move. Peace ... or War!

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Christianists of Rapture Ready

Jesus would certainly not be a Democrat, nor even a Republican, although the Rapture Ready crowd certainly favors the GOP. Here's the scariest portion:

... Even within a republican form of democratic government, such as America's, majority input is supposed to serve as society's guiding principles. With 90 million claiming to be evangelical believers, those Christians have a constitutional right and a moral responsibility to demand that Christian values be reflected in American society.

Tragically, rather than exerting stronger influence on culture, evangelical Christianity seems to be losing the battle in producing godly results within the American political process. This is due primarily to many federal judges of this nation being allowed to legislate from the benches of the courts they have given over to the humanists.

Thankfully, one day, when Christ reigns and rules on earth, the humanistic form of governance will be a long-past memory. ...

.... Because we all will have to give an account of our lives, it is very important to realize the choices we make in the privacy of a voting booth will someday need to be defended before the open throne of God.

All end-time minded Christians should know that at some point freedom and liberty will be surrendered to a global government.

The Bible tells us the God of this world is the devil. The influence of Satan is the reason 90 percent of the press and Hollywood elite are liberals who vote exclusively for the Democratic Party. The one-minded eagerness of the left to influence the electoral process should act as a warning sign to the conservative base of this nation.

You can be a perfectionist and find a hundred things wrong with the Republicans. It is serious error to try compare a floundering friend to a deadly enemy.

Human government never will be able to solve the world's problems. There never will be true peace until the Prince of Peace establishes His Millennial Kingdom. That understood, until the Lord Jesus comes for His Church in the rapture -- presuming both major political parties in America continue to hold to their present party lines -- it is the view of Rapture Ready that Republican values are America's best political option.

I noted some of these folks are orgasmic about Israel and Hezbollah squaring off on various message board posts at Rapture Ready. These people seems totally whacked to me and yet I know some polls suggest something like over half of Americans think Jesus will come back soon. I expect down here in the Heart of Dixie in the Bible Belt the numbers are even scarier. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Loretta Nall's "Lower than Dogs" Blog Post

Loretta Nall is running for Governor in Alabama. Show her some love although I'm thinking she's no longer doing the "flash for cash" stunt. Ms. Nall's blog has "Lower than Dogs" telling of her experience with "Don", a 56 year old from South Alabama dealing with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma, diabetes and neuropathy. Collared by "The Man" for marijuana, Ms. Nall drove down for Don's "rights hearing" in Butler. Good writing. Here's hoping Don gets a scrapper for a lawyer. We'll all want to consider keeping up the fight as Ms. Nall has yet I appreciate her efforts. She's got an open invite for "Thursday Night Happy Hour" up here in The Highlands. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bu$hCo's first veto may be on stem cell research

Laura Bu$h taking a break from smoking on the campaign trail perhaps?

Karl Rove is telling a Denver paper that Dubyah will veto the stem cell legislation poised to pass Congress.

The package will increase funding and apparently remove the "existing lines" straddle that Bu$hCo used back when their right wing base wasn't so critical.

Here's my favorite from divide and conquer Karl:

He said research shows “we have far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells.”
Having Karl Rove cite research is sort of like Laura Bu$h formulating educational policy. Dead wrong on that one Karl as research concludes just the opposite. You guys deny climate change based on bogus research but I'm not sure you've even got any pseudo-think tank deep lobbying stuff to fall back on here.

Micheal Kinsley (yes I'm do a rare link to Slate) summed up Bu$hCo's stem cell position way back in 2003.

If he's got both his facts and his logic wrong—and he has—Bush's alleged moral anguish on this subject is unimpressive. In fact, it is insulting to the people (including me) whose lives could be saved or redeemed by the medical breakthroughs Bush's stem-cell policy is preventing.

This is not a policy disagreement. Or rather, it is not only a policy disagreement. If the president is not a complete moron—and he probably is not—he is a hardened cynic, staging moral anguish he does not feel, pandering to people he cannot possibly agree with, and sacrificing the future of many American citizens for short-term political advantage.

Is that a good enough reason to dislike him personally?

There are plenty of good reasons to dislike this President. I'm a Bu$h hater for his policies and posturing. It is hard to not loathe him as a person. Peace ... or War!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Alabama Same-Sex Partner Adoption Denial to come before Court of Civil Appeals

With a tip of the tam to AP' s Robb Cobb for the image, to the left you see Cari Searcy holding Khaya Ray Searcy who is the biological child of Cari's partner Kim McKeand. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals will be addressing the denial of Cari's petition to adopt Khaya by a Mobile Probate Court.

The AP's Amanda Thomas piece "Same-sex partner suing for parental rights" appears in The Decatur Daily. Good writing and don't you love that image. The couple met at school in Texas and have been in Mobile for five years. It appears they are well accepted in their community.

I hope they are getting some help in the case. If I were still practicing I'd be pleased to help. Ought to be an interesting case. If this couple is willing to be in the press as faces for the issue I'd like to think all the Amicus Curiae briefs from the social conservative groups that might very well attack will matter not. Peace ... or War!

UPDATE - 8:50ish - Tax guru Wheeler at Alablawg isn't optimistic about their chances yet celebrates their love and this child. The court might take a narrow view indeed yet I'm not so certain it fails on "Any adult or husband or wife jointly". I thinking the Code simply doesn't cover this situation so the Court is going to able to go either way. I wasn't going to mention the fact that five white church going (two Baptist deacons!) Republican men will decide this case but I'm afraid those factors could have more to do with the outcome than the statutes. Cari has a tough venue is one certainty I'd offer. I hope they'll give her a chance and perhaps the "Power of Love" can prevail. If they did rule in her favor would the Supremes be able to step in? Will this case become a campaign issue?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

WaPo Editorial Board on NY Gay Marriage Ruling

The WaPo seems correct, or at least close enough, in their "'Gettysburg' for Gay Marriage? : The decision by a New York court changes little." editorial from today's paper. Here is what I wanted to share:

... the most a state court can do is change the legal baseline. State laws, and even state constitutions, are generally easy enough to change that courts cannot force same-sex marriage on an unwilling populace. The fight for marriage equality in New York will simply move to the legislative arena.

So the task for Americans who support same-sex marriage, as we do, has not changed. It is to convince a majority that couples who love each ought to have the state's recognition for lifelong relationships -- and that such recognition poses no threat to heterosexual marriage. Once that happens, it won't matter what the New York court thinks.

I will add that I think the court's decision is a bit Gettysburgish plus I want to stress that courts are simply required to follow the law. I also thought of how courts had (have?) to force the South to do certain things related to Civil Rights when the majority of the electorate was hardly a willing populace. However, I do think the wise policy is to focus on changing minds and hearts. I don't however think that means you abandon the fight in the courts. Here in the Bible Belt I also think settling for "Civil Union" recognition might be the wise strategy. Peace ... or War!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sam Harris - The End of Faith

After dogging out James Dobson earlier today I'll counter with Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith : Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. Salon's Steve Paulson (it will cost you an ad) gives us "The disbeliever : Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," on why religious moderates are worse than fundamentalists, 9/11 led us into a deranged holy war, and believers should be treated like alien-abduction kooks." A good interview with substance that ought to be considered.

I thought I'd given us a TruthDig piece on Sam Harris earlier yet can't locate post in archives just yet. I'll give you a Council for Secular Humanism effort that Mr. Harris titled "The Myth of Secular Moral Chaos" and then another from the same source entitled "Reply to a Christian", which I understand is essentially the theme of his next book. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dr. James Dobson Shills for God's Own Party

I’ve been slacking in posting recently although some of this time had me working with the rather long post to follow. Suffering from blog withdrawal symptoms as truly the process of posting is somewhat therapeutic. I’ve been reading and listening and thinking so there is a fair amount of material I'd like to share. We’ll see how much I actually get blogged. Again, regrets on going silent but lots of work about the place has taken much of my time. I'll post this initially on Captain Jimi but may cross post on the other blogs rather than just link.

Just recently the Christian Right’s James Dobson offered “commentary” in CNN that was entitled “Media provides cover for assault on traditional marriage”. I’d have suggested an alternative title might have been “Traditional Marriage Amendment provides cover for failed Republican policies” yet doubt Dr. D would admit or even agree. I regret many of my Evangelical family could get steamed by my confronting Dr. Dobson yet I feel reasonable and rational in doing so. If I earn their wrath or even a simple “Poor baby!” by questioning a dangerous pattern in American politics then I’ll just have to risk.

James Dobson not only twists the facts but I’ll argue he outright lies (either by a sin of commission (on purpose) or by a sin of omission (being willfully ignorant) in his shilling of radical right “thinking”. Twisting or fibbing, he’s simply wrong.

The writing of Dr. Dobson, of “Focus on the Family” and its political arm “Focus on the Family Action”, will follow with my commentary dropped in as appropriate:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) -- On June 7, the U.S. Senate voted for a second time on an amendment to define marriage in the U.S. Constitution as being exclusively between one man and one woman.

Again this year, the amendment failed to pass by a wide margin, falling 18 votes shy of a required two-thirds majority. The final tally was 49 in favor, 48 opposed.

Rarely has there been a greater disconnect between members of the Senate and the American people who put them in power. With the help of the media, which laid down "cover" by claiming voters didn't care about marriage, 40 Democrats, one Independent and seven Republicans turned their backs on this most basic social institution.

Let's examine the claim that traditional marriage lacks support in the court of public opinion. As it always does when conservative issues are being debated, the liberal press produced a series of trumped-up polls indicating the issue was of no interest nationally. However, there was another "poll" that the media completely ignored. In fact, there were 19 of them. They represented the 19 states in which voters overwhelmingly defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“Trumped up polls” presented by “liberal media”? You write of “disconnect” but do you mean like that evidenced by a majority of Americans wanting to “cut and run” (You love those Rove talking points don’t you Dr. D!) from Iraq only to have the GOP game the debate on Iraq? Of course the Republican Party and Bu$hCo is rather disconnected from even General Casey on Iraq it seems. God’s Own Party is ignoring the polls on Iraq policy, which might be appropriate given the lack of understanding repeatedly demonstrated by our public, yet isn’t the irony rather tasty. The Marriage Amendment was distraction, sort of like bashing the New York Times. It was also pandering to the base, sort of like Terri Schiavo. I’d also add that it was well into the seventies before a majority of Americans believed interracial marriages ought to be legal. Would you deny that relying on polling data can be rather dangerous given this fact?

Not one state has chosen by popular vote to permit marriages between homosexuals. Support for the family has been affirmed in every instance.
“Support for the family” on various state amendments that matters only to fundamentalist is hardly demonstrated. The Christianist church leadership rallies the base to go vote and many folks simply don't give a darn one way or the other. A real vote on simply fairness to individuals might reveal another pattern. Once again, the polls have seemed rather consistent. God’s Own Party has done more damage (rather than support!) to “the family” over these last twenty five years. Working families are increasingly pressured. The Clinton years were at least marginally better, despite Newt and the GOP in control, yet the reality is I’d argue indisputable ... unless you John Stossel the figures.

In Mississippi, traditional marriage was approved by a whopping 86 percent majority. Other state votes registered similar wide margins: Nevada (70 percent), Arkansas (75 percent), Georgia (77 percent), Kentucky (75 percent), Louisiana (78 percent), Nebraska (70 percent), Missouri (71 percent), Montana (66 percent), North Dakota (73 percent), Ohio (62 percent), Michigan (59 percent), Oklahoma (76 percent), Utah (66 percent), Kansas (70 percent) and Texas (75 percent). Even states considered to be more liberal voted for traditional marriage, including Hawaii (69 percent), Alaska (68 percent) and Oregon (57 percent).
Although I’ll cover Alabama’s 81 to 19 percent split in just a bit on Amendment One, the idea that these votes are “polls” is staggering. The Montgomery Advertiser, hardly a bastion of liberalism, simply calls interpretations “highly misleading”.

Indeed, on the day before 48 senators bailed on marriage, a 20th state voted on its own constitutional amendment. It was Alabama, which supported traditional marriage by 81 percent to 19 percent! A search of the database Nexis revealed that not one reference to this dramatic vote in Alabama was published in the print versions of The New York Times or Washington Post. There was virtually no mention of the story in other national newspapers. Yet, each of them devoted considerable coverage to the Senate's defeat of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
Dr. Dobson, I know you aren’t stupid, although your radical religion/politics surely seems odd, so to suggest the NYT or WaPo left this out as some sort of scheme is revealing. The NYT has this article behind the Select service now yet the International Herald Tribune, passing along the reporting of NYT reporter Jim Rutenberg, reveals at least the run up to the issue in Alabama plus other states. You and yours likely consider The Moonie Times as authority and they came through for you with this June 8th article. Holding Alabama up as a measure of the pulse of America is straining. Everybody knew that down here in the Bible Belt this thing would pass. We barely passed an amendment blessing interracial marriages and failed to pass one clarifying that segregated schools aren’t kosher yet we’ll surely not have boys marrying boys.

CNN and the mainstream televised news networks uttered hardly a peep about the Alabama decision. Why was the issue buried? Because the "poll" in Alabama and 19 other states didn't match the template put forward by those who wanted the amendment to be crushed. Their bias against the family is breathtaking.
“Breathtaking” and “bias” and “buried” and … Since McCain, Giuliani, and Gingrich have had so many different families perhaps they can do something about “the bias against the family”? Your boy Ryan is on #2 I think as well. At least he learned tolerance, or rather the lack of it, from you.

As for the senators who voted against the amendment, the excuses they gave were pitiful. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-Rhode Island, Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minnesota, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, and many others thought they had the perfect alibi. They claimed that the issue should be handled at the state level. What hypocrisy!
“Hypocrisy” and “pitiful”? CBS reports, “Forty-five of the 50 states have acted to define traditional marriage in ways that would ban same-sex marriage _ 19 with constitutional amendments and 26 with statutes.” They also cite a recent ABC poll revealing that barely 40% of Americans favor a Constitutional Amendment on this “issue”. With these facts, which are indeed “stubborn things” per Reagan, the folks voting for including discrimination in the U.S. Constitution are the ones needing the alibi!

All of these senators are smart enough to know that, first, it would create utter chaos to have 50 different definitions of marriage in one country, where every state is required by the Constitution to support the laws of the other 49. Come on, Senator McCain and company. You and your colleagues know better than that.
Comity is beautiful concept Dr. D but I’ll not bother explaining. Historically states have always made the call for marital ages of consent, divorce laws, etc. and things seem to be working. Hell, even your fellow travelers at Faux News share a recent poll (5th page and a PDF warning!) with 48% of Americans thinking marriage ought to be a state matter. Only 38% (with just 45% of Republicans taking an affirmative position!) think it is appropriate for the federal government to be involved. By the way, the “Red States” seem to have lots more divorces than the “Blue States”.

Second, senators wanting the states to define marriage are fully aware that the people will not be permitted to make their own decisions. Arrogant activist judges, most of them appointed by President Bill Clinton or President Jimmy Carter, will simply overturn the will of the electorate.
“Arrogant activist judges”? If “arrogant” is following the law, or attempting to do the best they can with often rather complex legal issues, maybe that works yet you are simply being Karl Rove’s mouthpiece here Dr. Dobson. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Goodrich vs. Dept. of Public Health (2003), which is likely the case you have the biggest beef with, was a 4-3 opinion written by Margaret Marshall. Justice Marshall was appointed to the court and then named as Chief Justice by two Republican governors. It would appear that all the Justices on this Court were appointed by Republicans save Justice Greaney since Michael Dukakis was the last Democrat serving as Executive way back in 1991. This is a STATE court interpreting their Massachusetts Constitution. Additionally, if you assume half of Americans are opposed to same sex marriages and also that only perhaps 5% of Americans are homosexual then perhaps you’d see why the courts have to get involved. Politicians like to dodge the tough stuff often. Courts unfortuantely have to act on matters that elected officials fail to address.

It has already happened in Nebraska, Georgia and Louisiana. Furthermore, nearly 20 cases in 10 states are currently pending that challenge the traditional definition of marriage. For example, a federal judge in Washington state is considering a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. And finally, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Lawrence v. Texas, made it clear that he and his colleagues are likely to redefine marriage when given an opportunity.
I’m glad you know about DOMA. It seems like plenty in DC think that the feds do have a role in marriage after all. I’m confused about your trashing those Senators that didn’t want to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. Why do you/we need a Constitutional Amendment with DOMA already federal law? I know it is likely bad law but it has stood for many years now. Justice Kennedy, via Lawrence vs. Texas, is going to redefine marriage? Huh? The issues in Lawrence are indeed complicated and his rationale did deviate at least partially from the line of cases flowing from Bowers. Still, “that dog won’t hunt” Dr. Dobson. By the way, Justice Kennedy was nominated by Ronald Reagan.

As for "It has already happened in Nebraska, Georgia and Louisiana," I’m not sure what “it” is. In that you likely are talking about “liberal activist judges” striking down bans on same sex marriages, indeed U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon of Nebraska was appointed by Slick Willy. This case was appealed to the Circuit Court with no opinion issued as best as I can tell from a quick search. On appeal means “it doesn’t count yet” Dr. Dobson.

As for Georgia, this is STATE court with DINO Zell Miller, a crazy and lying son of bitch indeed that you Republicans are welcome to have, appointing the perpetrator, who ruled merely on a technical problem with how the state’s Amendment was presented. Again, this case, like the last, is on appeal. The Court had even agreed to rule in an expedited fashion so Governor Sonny Purdue can call an expensive special session (before the November election!) to solve this pressing issue should the court rule against the State. Yesterday, Georgia's Supreme Court reversed the trial judge and found the narrow "single issue" is not fatal to the Amendment. New York's Supreme Court also issued an opinion that I think you'd also approve.

In Louisiana, another STATE court, the opinion was authored by an elected Republican judge. The law that District Judge William Morvant found bothersome, merely in the fact that is was viewed as violating the “single subject” requirement, as was the ruling in Georgia, has been found acceptable by the Louisiana Supreme Court. I’m not sure why you would cite a case that is reversed as authority for your CNN piece.

What I’d really like to know if why in the hell you, with a massive budget at Focus on the Family and related efforts with Lord knows how many acolytes bouncing around, can’t do some basic fact checking before you shovel this stuff? You took in $140 million last year James! You can afford to be at least relatively accurate. You were blaming Clinton and Carter yet only one case you cited involved either. And that case is on appeal! Liar? Sloppy? Does it even matter?

The senators who voted against marriage this month knew exactly what they were doing. The truth is they don't give a hoot about the traditional family. The majority of them have voted repeatedly to weaken or undermine this great institution. Check the record.

Most of them consistently supported the marriage penalty tax, which for 32 years (1969 to 2001) imposed a heavier financial burden on moms and dads struggling to feed and nurture their children. Liberal senators are still trying to re-impose that outrageous surcharge even today.

What "Marriage Penalty" tax? Years old false argument that you are still shilling for God's Own Party! Struggling moms and dads might benefit from a more family friendly fiscal policy than your GOP buddies have handed us. I'd love a comparison of real "liberals" love for the average American with "conservatives" love for big business and the investor class. He's gone now (the good do die young it seems) yet Paul Wellstone was certainly a liberal. Here was his suggestion on the "marriage penalty" yet the GOP dared not mess with the Big Mules corporate welfare. I long to see you and your wing nut buddies defend the Bu$hCo approach against a solid proponent of a real family friendly approach that favors the lower and middle class rather than the Big Mules. Citizens for Tax Justice have just released a report that claims 99% of Americans are worse off after the Bu$hCo tax plan than they were before. You wing nuts would wither under facts and common sense. I’d think David Sirota would be a good person to face. Bring all your Reich Wing Taliban and simply face David. David and Goliath(s) Version 2.0? He’d smote you!
So where does the issue go from here? Time will tell. It took William Wilberforce more than 30 years to bring about an end to Britain's slave trade in the 1800s. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of a protracted victory.
You dare compare sexuality to slavery? Even for a fundamentalist wingnut, like you have often demonstrated yourself to be, this is outrageous! What “the luxury of a protracted victory” means is perhaps beyond me yet the “rapture” is my guess! Most Protestant evangelicals are “pre-millennial dispensationalists”. This means they are figuring Christ will come back with Armageddon soon to follow with a thousand years of peace before the final judgment. Dr. Dobson however seems to be a post-millennial dominionist. Dobson and his merry band of wing nuts apparently think they’ve got to get the thousand years of Christian control before JC will come back. BeliefNet might be a decent starting point to understanding this portion of Christian belief for those that aren’t steeped in the “thinking”.

If the battle to protect marriage takes even five more years, liberal judges and activists will have destroyed this 5,000-year-old institution, which was designed by the Creator, Himself. Even now, they are close to achieving that coveted objective.

It reveals much that you think, or are willing to shill, the idea that "liberal judges" have a coveted objective to destroy marriages. Activists are simply seeking fairness under the law and could even perhaps demonstrate their respect for marriage by seeking that status. I love the five years angle as well. Rally the troops for 2006 and 2008!

Dr. Dobson, your argument on a 5000-year old institution simply doesn’t hold up when compared to history. How many wives did those Old Testament guys have? Mitt Romney might be your boy after all? If you assume the earth is only 6000 years old, like some wingnuts do, I guess I can ask if Adam and Eve were even married? I've read some of the Old Testament and it hardly seemed like a good arrangement, especially for women. I also know women in rather recent often couldn't hold property in their own name. Or vote. Or .... Of course since you and the Southern Baptist favor submissive women, perhaps that doesn't trouble you. In that you hold a doctorate from USC you’d think you were better informed. The work of social historian Stephanie Coontz will hardly set you back a Jackson. Here’s how Publishers Weekly reviewed:

When considered in the light of history, "traditional marriage"—the purportedly time-honored institution some argue is in crisis thanks to rising rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births, not to mention gay marriage—is not so traditional at all. Indeed, Coontz (The Way We Never Were) argues, marriage has always been in flux, and "almost every marital and sexual arrangement we have seen in recent years, however startling it may appear, has been tried somewhere before." Based on extensive research (hers and others'), Coontz's fascinating study places current concepts of marriage in broad historical context, revealing that there is much more to "I do" than meets the eye. In ancient Rome, no distinction was made between cohabitation and marriage; during the Middle Ages, marriage was regarded less as a bond of love than as a " 'career' decision"; in the Victorian era, the increasingly important idea of true love "undermined the gender hierarchy of the home" (in the past, men—rulers of the household—were encouraged to punish insufficiently obedient wives). Coontz explains marriage as a way of ensuring a domestic labor force, as a political tool and as a flexible reflection of changing social standards and desires. She presents her arguments clearly, offering an excellent balance between the scholarly and the readable in this timely, important book.
Returning to Doctor Dobson's directives to his Christianist Soldiers:

I ask my fellow Americans to note the senators who did and did not defend marriage in its hour of need, and then to "vote their consciences" in 2006 and 2008. If large numbers of them do so, there could be some new faces in the Congress soon.

The angst of voters could also result in the election of a president who will fight for the preservation of the family. That would be sweet, indeed.

Again, preserving the family means so much more than what you are imagining. Preserved families don’t have Mom and Dad sent to fight a war of choice. Thousands of innocent Iraqi families might have also been preserved if another administration had been running the show. Living wages allow parents to have some time for the children. Universal health care seems rather preserving. Clear air and water plus accepting that climate change is reality might be a good move. Deficits have created a burden of at least a hundred grand for each of our families. To have the Big Mules rewarded by Bu$hCo on the backs of families seems undeniable. I do like the fact you realized you got used once again. Thomas Frank argues you guys vote for family values and get tax cuts for the millionaires. Wake up Dr. Dobson and quit helping these crooks! That would be sweet!

I’m going to drop several comments in as well. Revealing indeed the support from Alabama!

Hear! Hear! First smart thing I've read in a very long time. Kathy, Birmingham, Alabama

James Dobson says the country wants marriage between a man and a woman and faults senators for not listening to their districts. But what if it were reverse? What if Americans did want gay marriage allowed? He'd fault the American citizens and be angry at senators for going against "traditional family." Josh, Columbus, Ohio

James Dobson is right on. Even though I live in conservative Oklahoma we do business from coast-to-coast and this is one issue I have found very little disagreement on except from "gay agenda" friends. I wish Washington representatives would truly reflect the majority of their electorate. What a shock and surprise that would be! David McReynolds, Edmond, Oklahoma

The media is not biased against family; it's biased against bigotry and discrimination. As any decent, compassionate person should be. Meriwether Broaddus, Richmond, Virginia

Wow -- Kudos to you for: 1) Publishing the piece and 2) Having the guts to post its link on your home page. Not a CNN fan but I love it when media prints opposing views. It lends credibility to your news organization. Wes Perry, Methuen, Massachusetts

Whose marriage needs protecting from homosexuals? Not mine, certainly. As far as the state is concerned, marriage is a contract. It's not the job of any government official to say whether or not it gets God's stamp of approval. That's for religions to decide, and even Christian churches are not unanimous on the subject. James, Arlington, Virginia

Excellent! One of the best commentaries I have read on the CNN web site. It contains truth, plain truth. The media views its job to promote their agenda. Reporting the news is secondary. Paul, Appleton, Wisconsin

Here's the thing. If you don't want to marry a person of the opposite sex, don't. If you do, you should be allowed to. No it is not the same as dating your sister or a dog. Science has proven that being gay is no different from being blonde. It is pre-determined. Logan, New York, New York

Thanks for speaking the mind of the majority in America. Since when does Congress think our votes won't matter when it comes to marriage? Wake up senators, your days are numbered. Donna, Montgomery, Alabama

In all the arguments regarding gay marriage I have yet to hear how exactly this impacts heterosexual marriage. James Dobson raises the tired old "defense of marriage" cliche but never says how or why it needs defending. Gay marriage actually would strengthen the institution of marriage by making it the vehicle by which all families are structured. Steve Marchillo, Claremont, California

No doubt Kathy makes a fine Alabamian. Very long time indeed I’d expect on the smart reading. David, you Oklahoma folks have elected this fine representative. Heck of a job David! As for Paul, I recall reading, you do know how that works don’t you Paul, about George Wallace being warmly received in Wisconsin. I imagine you are not going to be a Feingold supporter. You really don’t deserve him. I’ll trade you both Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby for Russ. Donna, your Senators from Alabama, not mine mind you as I will claim neither, are on board with the radical right. They’ll support this American Taliban although Jeff has it seems a thing for pretty young gals. I’ve always heard rumors about Senator Shelby’s “appetites” but you can count on them speaking for your stand on “marriage”. Notice also that nearly all the wingnuts above know the GOP "talking points" on "liberal media" and the like. Logan of NYC, "science" isn't exactly authority for the Christianist community so that might not matter. Plus, they've got some "research" arms that will supply them with "science" more to their liking when push comes to shove.

I’ve spent some serious time with James Dobson over this post. He’s due plenty more yet I’ll stop with this. Could very well come back and update or drop in some more links at least. That he reaches such a large audience that swallow pretty much whatever he feeds them makes it necessary to confront his “logic”. Peace … or War!