This isn't something I can really get into researching and writing about, but I thought it was worth passing along some links for anyone who might be interested in reading some of the background stuff.
Vote Different Message: Tighten Up Bitches! (Video)
Phil’s Other Shoe - Why It Matters
From Buckeye State Blog:
Continuing our Conversation: De Vellis' Deception & BSD
Kos and De Vellis
De Vellis: Swell Guy?
I'm sure there's more, but I think I need an Ohio blogger who has followed this more closely than I have to write up a "for dummies" style synopsis for the rest of us.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 5:16 PM
Just before my son's first deployment in January 2003, he gave me a key chain, "Marine Mom, Toughest Job In The Corp." I had no idea how true this slogan was to become.
Congress in Recess
Posted by Flirtin with Disaster at 1:26 PM
If you'd like to send him a belated birthday greeting (it wouldn't *have* to be belated if the man had an e-mail address) you can send it here.
HONORABLE AL GORE
2100 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
Al Gore's web site and journal
Pondering...how might we celebrate Al Gore's birthday in a way that would be meaningful to him?
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:04 AM
Friday, March 30, 2007
Sometimes I get so pissed off at my people that I am scared to even post about it. I honestly couldn't believe my eyes when I read today that the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) agreed to partner with the FAKE NEWS NETWORK to sponsor some upcoming presidential debates . Ever since finding out about this travesty, I have been trying to figure out why the Congressional Black Coons would do such a thing. I mean, have they not heard the pleas and the outcry from thousands of their constituents not to partner with FOX? I know I rip Jessie Jackson from time to time, but I have to give him credit for speaking out against this "partnership" as well. I just wish more of these CBC members would grow some and come out against this partnership with the FAKE NEWS NETWORK.
James Carville admits mistake
Carville acknowledged, though, that as a CNN analyst he shouldn't have allowed himself to be featured as the author of a fundraising letter for Hillary. "To be honest with you, my contract at CNN says I'm not supposed to raise money [for Presidential candidates]," Carville conceded. He said he'd approved a stack of letters bearing his signature without checking them closely enough. "I approved it by mistake. It wasn't Hillary's fault, it wasn't my office's fault. I signed off on a whole stack. When CNN found out about it, they called me, and I said, Call the Hillary people, tell them to take it down. Which they did." No future fundraising for Presidential candidates while a CNN analyst, he promised.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:29 PM
Christy Hardin Smith was a guest on the Thom Hartmann Radio show earlier this afternoon. The following is one of those "rush transcripts", but hopefully I've corrected any major typos...
one of the more comprehensive looks at all sides of the great amnesty day blogroll purge that we have found is at the republic of t.
and there's a strange kind of schizophrenia this inspires among those at the top of the list. on the one hand, they seem to be fully aware of the power of their blogrolls, when guys like aravosis, atrios, kos and bowers hold forth at length about why they aren't going to link to some blogs. on the other they seem to deny that they hold any such power, like kos' claim that he's not a gatekeeper (though skippy says kos is a gatecrasher who's closing the gate behind him), though the "blogroll purge" is kind of like closing the gate.
as readers of this space know, we have no problem speaking about it at all, perhaps to our detriment.
There's a very clever graphic on the cover of The Huffington Post this morning. A Warholesque pattern of 122 images of ex-Gonazales aide Kyle Sampson. One for every memory lapse he reported on the Senate floor yesterday. "I don't remember." Get used to that phrase. We'll be hearing it a lot in the coming weeks and months.
Reagan did it with an actor's flair, but it was Reagan who ushered in this age of executive exceptionalism. "I cannot recall," he said over and over in his Iran-Contra testimony. And with that endearing little nod, that seemed to say, "Why I am just a simple man. A man of the people, baffled by these dark political machinations."
I remember my grandfather cluck, cluck, clucking in disgust. "If he were the CEO of a company," he'd say, "You know how long he'd be tellin' that story? About as long as it took him to grab his things and walk to the front gate." But my grandfather was one of those men in "gray flannel" Paul Krugman writes about. He was the product of that bygone era, when the buck actually stopped somewhere.
This is Reagan's legacy. An era of unaccountability for those who achieve the requisite wealth and influence. A time when men of small skill, but excellent breeding, fail ever upwards and descend, when they do, on golden parachutes. An era when only the little people experience the consequences, not only of their personal failings, but of the colossal failings of their "betters." When average workers of a company like Enron lose their livelihoods, their savings, their homes. But can only stare in rapt amazement as the wheels of justice grind slowly on, bringing few prosecutions and vacating that of a dead architect of corporate failure.
There is no "pound 'em in the ass prison" for even token prosecutions like Scooter Libby. That nice white boy shouldn't see the inside of a jail cell says even his jury. He didn't mean any harm. He was just so forgetful.
Crossposted from The Blogging Curmudgeon.
This actually appeared online some time ago, and it made us laugh out loud. I hadn't even heard of Tim Hardaway before the flurry of headlines about some anti-gay remarks he had made. But I thought this response by George Takei was beautiful, and I grabbed some screen captures because I wanted to be able to share it with people who couldn't watch videos online for whatever reason. And yeah, it actually took me over a month to actually get around to posting it. But if you haven't seen this before, enjoy...
Thursday, March 29, 2007
This is another installment of my write-up of the talk by Tanya Erzen (author of Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement) I attended Sunday evening. Click here for the earlier post, which centered around the way the religious right uses the ex-gay movement to advance their political agenda. Here I will share more of what she told us about Exodus International in general, as well as New Hope Ministry, which is the residential program where she did her research.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 10:04 PM
Tanya Erzen, the author of Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement, recently spoke at my church, and I said a little about that here. While I'm sure many of you are familiar with groups like Exodus International already, I know there must be at least a few who are not. At my very progressive Episcopal church, where I heard the presentation I will share below, some members of our congregation didn't know that such a thing as an "ex-gay movement" even existed.
The first advertisement shows Alan Chambers, who's the president of Exodus International, which is the umbrella organization for the ex-gay movement, and it appeared in the Cincinnati Examiner as well as other media outlets throughout 2005 and 2006. Basically it was targeted to appear before the midterm election. And the ad, if you read it, includes Alan Chambers' testimony about his homosexuality. But unlike previous testimonies which are very common in the ex-gay movement, this one explicitly makes an argument about gay marriage, and this is something different that the ex-gay movement is doing. Instead of them claiming in this ad that gay marriage is wrong for biblical reasons, it says that making gay marriage legal will prevent gay men and women from realizing what he says are the root issues of their homosexual behavior--basically that they are truly heterosexual. So they're saying, if you give everyone the right to marry, no one will go to ex-gay ministry and transform themselves to what everyone *should* be, according to them, which is heterosexual.
Since the mid-1990s, groups, Christian right organizations like Focus on the Family have taken their cue from people like Alan Chambers, and have moved away from hateful anti-gay rhetoric to language that is more about compassion and hope for healing. They are also trying to make inroads with churches, so that instead of churches saying "We accept GLBT people", they will refer them to an ex-gay group or Focus on the Family.The talk (more to come in a future post) was based on the research Tanya Erzen did, spending two years in San Francisco at an ex-gay ministry, not undercover--they knew what she was doing. She interviewed people, attended their conferences, and four or five years later is still in touch with a lot of people who went through that ministry.
What the ex-gay movement does, is make the argument that being gay is not biological, not immutable, and because it is not a legitimate identity according to them, you don't have to give people any rights on the basis of that identity. So, what the marriage debate becomes about is not just opposing rights for GLBT people, but denying the very existence of such an identity. Tanya noted that this is a very important and dangerous change they have made in the framing of the issue. These Christian right organizations now rely on testimonies of people who identify as "ex-gay" in their opposition to the whole gamut of public policies that seek to extend basic civil rights protections for GLBT people in the realm of marriage, adoption, school curricula, partner benefits, etc.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
It’s funny, isn’t it?
Image from St. Martha and Mary Parish web siteSome of you may have seen me write about my "bad wolf" in the past, but I can't remember the last time I actually shared the parable or teaching tale of the two wolves.
The reason I'm thinking about this story again is that there are a number of people out there in the "tubes" who seem to view the internet a great big all-you-can-eat buffet for their bad wolf. Booman wrote about this phenomenon in Don't Let the Paparazzi Get You Down. I haven't had much to say about it, beyond the occasional "mean people suck" (in the comments of the Booman post). I haven't been sure if there was anything helpful I could say. But I've watched as Maryscott checked in during the Rant of the Day or Open Thread at My Left Wing, reporting on the latest hideous thing that was being said about her on another blog. I've wanted to scream "Stop! Please stop doing this to yourself!" But I've refrained--first of all, because there are plenty of people already offering that service, and secondly, because I know it can't be easy to let people talk trash about you in public without trying to refute what they are saying.
So my plan was that I was just going to tune out that sort of vitriol as much as possible, and try to focus my energies in a positive direction. But then I saw the twisted delight some posters took in browbeating Maryscott for not responding perfectly to a suicide note that was posted by her friend on the front page of My Left Wing. But the point is that she did respond, and, together with some mutual friends, helped to save a man's life. And at this point I feel like I have to say *something*. So, here goes...
I will reconstruct this story to the best of my ability, piecing together the information I have gleaned from several diaries. A blogger who goes by the blog name beagleandtabby posted an essay entitled which began with the words "this is a suicide note", noting that he would be dead by the time anyone read his words.
He apparently posted it directly to the front page. Maryscott and others immediately setting about trying to contact beagleandtabby as well as emergency services. I can't imagine what it would be like check my blog one morning and see something like that. My best guess is that there would be a rush of emotions, panic, fear for the worst, but also feeling compelled to do something, anything to try to avert the outcome. Even though, for all I knew, the deed had already been done.
Speaking for myself, I know that I don't do very well when I'm in panic mode. I get physically clumsy and I find it hard to think clearly. I believe that Maryscott handled a difficult situation competently and compassionately. She took the alarming, heartwrenching post off the front page, but left it viewable in the community essays. But she changed the title so that people who knew the poster would recognize that the essay was indeed a cry for help (rather than philosophical musings about "life" in general, which one might plan to read "later".) She also posted at Daily Kos, because some of the people beagleandtabby mentioned by name in his letter were regulars there, and she wanted to get the necessary information to anyone who might possibly be able to help. This was a true crisis situation. Thankfully, Maryscott was eventually able to report:
I called his father. His father called the police for details.That's the good news. The bad news, you can see by reading some of the updates Maryscott has added to her "He's alive" post, a number of posters from DKos have attacked her, calling her an "emotional vampire" for leaving the suicide note up, even though. But, as she goes on to explain,
IF I HAD NOT, I would not have got his last known address, which the police used to track him to where he was eventually found.I saw the hateful comments that were posted at My Left Wing after Maryscott shared that her friend was indeed alive. Someone who had never posted at MLW before apparently signed up for an account for the express purpose of browbeating Maryscott over the way in which she responded to this crisis. I was livid. I planned to go to my computer and rate every single one of those comments as "Worthless Troll Douchebaggery", but the poster had already been banned (and those comments deleted) by the time I got home. I'm glad the poster was banned, but after such an emotionally exhausting day, Maryscott should never have been subjected to that kind of abuse.
Of course, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that a life was saved, and beagleandtabby's father wrote:
Words on a screen are senseless right now, but I would like to thank Maryscott for the 911 no matter what come in the days ahead. I have no plan or ideas. I only ask that those of you who know him and love him find a way to support him.In an update to the "He is alive" essay, Maryscott has reported that she has spoken to beagleandtabby. He has asked that his original post be taken down, and she has done so. She had taken down the diary at Kos earlier, because of the awful comments some people made. I've since discovered that, while the diary is gone, those comments are not. I only saw a couple of those comments, but I saw some very well fed "bad wolves". They were feasting. Think of the caricatures of Henry VIII ripping into a turkey drumstick with gusto. It was pretty disturbing.
Sometimes it can be hard to look away from a grisly scene of destruction. But sometimes it becomes vital that we force ourselves to do just that. Because the more you get sucked in, the harder it can be to pull yourself away. Okay, only speaking for myself--*I* can have a hard time tearing myself away. And then I really enjoy seeing someone with a black belt in snark artfully taking down an obnoxious S.O.B.
Ah, Schadenfreude--the breakfast (and lunch, and dinner) of bad wolf champions. But again and again, I have to remind myself--that's not the wolf I want to feed.
And another thing--going back to that story. About that good wolf...
...one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.He or she is still a wolf. Still fights when it is right to do so, and in the right way. It's okay to be angry. We *should* be angry about the injustices in the world, and that anger should move us to positive action. "Good wolf anger" is a lot more likely to have that kind of positive outcome. I know this on some level, but occasionally it slips my mind. So from time to time, I'll have to remind myself, "Make sure you're feeding the right wolf."
A harbinger of what’s to come…
Michigan Democrat and chairman of the vaunted House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr., has drawn up a contract – at a cost of up to $225,000 over the next nine months – to aid committee staff in upcoming investigations into past and present conduct of the Bush administration.
According to an unsigned copy of the contract obtained by the Washington Times, the law firm, Arnold & Porter LLP, based in
The contract will augment the committee’s 30-paid staff positions, not including subcommittee member’s staff, for a sum of money not to exceed $25,000 per month, plus authorized traveling expenses. The contract is set to expire
The contract also specifies that attorney Michael Zeldin, a former special prosecutor in the early 1990’s, and David K. Gilles, (no link) a former Treasury Department official will act as part of the House investigation.
From the article:
Illinois Democrat, Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, responded to the allegations, defending Rep. Conyers decision.
Comments from both the White House and the House Judiciary Committee were not forthcoming.
All I can say is if Republicans think that a couple of tenacious bulldogs like Conyers and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca) are going to let go of these scandals, they’re in for a big letdown.
If Waxman’s contentious hearing on GSA-gate held today is any indication… (the Republicans were downright vitriolic)
… hang on to your “party” hats, people. The next 18-months are going to be verrrrrrry interesting.
Posted by Flirtin with Disaster at 3:02 PM
click to enlarge
This past week has been heavy on cancer news. It has been like the long sequence of Presidential candidacy announcements, but is sadly not. Cancer is not something you elect to get.
First there was the Couric spasm insinuating some dark political motive for John Edwards staying in the race when Elizabeth just got diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer. Then BAM, Tony Snow announces the return of his cancer just a short time later. Then yesterday, this diary titled, I Don't Care About Tony Snow appeared on the big orange machine known as Daily Kos and along with over 1500 comments yelling about it.
Folks, here in America, we have politicized damn near everything under the sun. Stem cells, equal rights, hell, food is now a partisan issue! Does cancer have to be one also?
Is it so bad for all of us to recognize cancer as being horrible and we should fight so no one ever has it? Even those who disagree with us politically?
As global warming is really a moral issue, cancer is a health issue and it effects us all equally.
Well, if you smoke, you are less equal than others.
But that is a partisan issue.
Don't know how many of my fellow bloggers are signed up as Cafe Press affiliates--I do know that AmericaBlog has TopicAds on their site, but can't think of others off the top of my head. TopicAds on the Independent Bloggers' Alliance are in the left sidebar and at the bottom of the page, but only for the next couple months, because Cafe Press recently announced that they will be making changes in that area:
Click here for more information.
(Demetrius just added the Easter design seen above to our Cafe Press shop.)
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:08 AM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Cross-posted at My Left Wing, BlueSunbelt, and Diatribune
March 27, 2007 | The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is maneuvering to fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, its strategy laid out in an internal 117-page draft proposal obtained by Salon. The proposed changes limit the number of species that can be protected and curtail the acres of wildlife habitat to be preserved. It shifts authority to enforce the act from the federal government to the states, and it dilutes legal barriers that protect habitat from sprawl, logging or mining.
In recent months, the Fish and Wildlife Service has gone to extraordinary efforts to keep drafts of regulatory changes from the public. All copies of the working document were given a number corresponding to a person, so that leaked copies could be traced to that individual. An e-mail sent in March from an assistant regional director at the Fish and Wildlife Service to agency staff, asking for comments on and corrections to the first draft, underscored the concern with secrecy: "Please Keep close hold for now. Dale [Hall, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] does not want this stuff leaking out to stir up discontent based on speculation."
"This administration will often release a 300-page-long document at a press conference for a newspaper story that will go to press in two hours, giving the media or public no opportunity to digest it and figure out what's going on," Suckling says. "[Interior Secretary Dirk] Kempthorne will give a feel-good quote about how the new regulations are good for the environment, and they can win the public relations war."
"We are not allowed to be honest and forthright, we are expected to rubber stamp everything," wrote a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist as part of the survey. "I have 20 years of federal service in this and this is the worst it has ever been."
But, in typical Bushbot fashion, Mr. Tollefson defended the new proposals by saying the agency has long seen a need to improve the act. "This is a look at what's possible. Too much of our time as an agency is spent responding to litigation rather than working on recovering the species that are most in need. The current way the act is run creates disincentives for people to get involved with recovering species."
Posted by Flirtin with Disaster at 1:26 PM
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If we examine, and we don't have to do it closely, Bush's unwillingness to listen to his Dad, Congress or the American people, we will still know that Iran is still on his target list.
When the Gulf of Tonkin incident was brought before Congress, it was decried that the North Vietnamese attacked our Navy.
The "Gulf of Tonkin Incident" defined the beginning of large-scale involvement of U.S. armed forces in Vietnam. Historians have shown that the second incident was, at its best interpretation, an overreaction of eager naval forces, or at its worst, a crafted pretext for making overt the American covert involvement in Vietnam.
Are we, as Americans, willing to go to war with Iran for these 15 sailors who "may or may not" have been in Iranian waters? And yes, I am sure they are getting the Abu Ghraib treatment and we really have no business even bitching about that anymore, since our atrocities rolled back the Geneva Conventions. And Americans have already suffered more than 15 casualties since these sailors were captured.
Also, the Iranians can claim the incursion as a hostile act since Bush called them out as evil and moved an impressive amount of ocean-going tonnage to the Persian Gulf.
But will Congress take the bait? Taking in the fact that this Congress BARELY got their act together for a very weak Iraqi War Supplemental, I have to wonder. If Congress takes a stand against any Iranian incursion, it will be a testament to Pelosi's leadership in the House.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Last night I attended something called "Soup and Study" at my progressive Episcopal church. How progressive? One day last summer, I was talking to two women I hadn't seen there before. This was during coffee-and-donut time after church one day while the General Convention was going on last June, so I asked if that's what they were in town for. One of them responded, no, they had just moved to the area and were looking for a church. They found us by doing a Google search for "gay Episcopal church", and there we were. That made me smile--yep, that would be us. And yet that's now how I think about my church most of the time. It just happens to be one of the bi-products of a church that practices an "open table" where we strive to welcome everyone as they are--doubts, questions, and all, "wherever they are on life's journey".
What they all seem to have experienced was rejection from the churches and communities they grew up in, which explains their mistrust of the Christian right. "Most of them can't handle the truth," one man told Erzen. "If you're in the church and you're a drug addict, murderer, whatever, guys will come up to you and slap you on the ass. But if you state that you struggle with homosexuality, you get the whole pew to yourself." Some of the men at New Hope had asked their fellow congregants for help and prayers, only to be shunned or told they were possessed by demons. Some didn't dare to speak of it at all.It really is sad. And, as I started to write up some of what Dr. Erzen shared last night, I could already imagine what some people might say--well, that's the trouble with organized religion. But it doesn't *have* to be that way. And I can't help but think of the pain that some of these people might have been spared, if only...
With that in mind, I'd like to share part of a sermon I read today. It's by Louis Crew, the founder of Integrity (which, for anyone who is not aware, is the Episcopalian GLBT organization). It ends with this story,
When Ernest Clay and I married thirty-three years ago, I wrote my parents and told them about him. They wrote back saying they were happy for us but asked me not to bring him home to visit. “We are old,” they said, “and while most of our friends would remain our friends, we don’t want to put them to the test. We have to live here, and you don’t. But we hope you will continue to come to visit us on your own.”
I know that's a long excerpt, but there really is a lot more to the sermon, and I recommend reading the whole thing. Especially if you're interested in learning more about the current issues faced by the Epicopal church. But the story above brought tears to my eyes today, and I thought, "This is exactly what it looks like when the Spirit is at work in people's lives.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned the General Convention, which took place in Columbus last June. It was during that week that I attended the Integrity Eucharist, and had the opportunity to hear Bishop Gene Robinson preach. Here's what he had to say about the Holy Spirit
It's that part of God which refuses to be contained and confined to the little boxes we create for God to live in--safely confined to the careful boundaries *we* set for the Holy Spirit.You can read the rest of Bishop Robinson's sermon here.
One thing I've heard a number of times is that the good news Jesus taught was good news for the poor, the outcast, and the disenfranchised. It didn't sound like such good news to the political and religious leaders of the day. Two thousand years later, things don't seem to have changed much in that regard.