Marriage is love.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

SCOTUS Nominee John Roberts Tried to Limit Civil Rights

Charter Member of Reagan Vanguard - Roberts Was Part of Legal Team Eager to Shift Course of Civil Rights Law
By R. Jeffrey Smith, Amy Goldstein and Jo Becker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, August 1, 2005; Page A01

In the early 1980s, a young intellectual lawyer named John G. Roberts Jr. was part of the vanguard of a conservative political revolution in civil rights, advocating new legal theories and helping enforce the Reagan administration's effort to curtail the use of courts to remedy racial and sexual discrimination.


And he wrote a memo arguing that it was constitutionally acceptable for Congress to strip the Supreme Court of its ability to hear broad classes of civil rights cases.


A generation later, it is difficult to discern the extent to which Roberts, a federal judge for just two years, still holds these views and to determine how he might exercise them if the Senate next month confirms his nomination.


Roberts had deeply-held convictions during his tenure at the Justice Department, and "these aren't principles that evaporate or walk away."


Roberts's writings also show that he favored another pillar of the administration's new civil rights policies in education: an effort to limit the use of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which allows the government to withhold federal aid from schools that discriminate against women. Until then, Title IX had been interpreted to mean that all of a school's funding could be cut off if it discriminated at all, but Reagan officials rewrote the rules so that only the specific program found guilty of discrimination would lose money -- an interpretation that Congress later overruled.



2 Kroger Stories

There are no links in this post.

I have just done my grocery shopping at the nearest Kroger's and have a couple of comments. I pulled my full cart (I've been ill and staying in as much as possible) into a checkout lane behind a 30-ish white man who said and gestured that there was plenty of space for me to put my groceries on the belt. I noticed that his left arm had been amputated below the elbow, and also saw his entire purchase: one pack of cigarettes and a 6-pack of beer. Depressing. Somehow, a $3.50 Soap Opera Digest had fallen into my purchase - not sure what I'll do with that!

On Friday morning I sat and waited at the Kroger Pharmacy while they filled some prescriptions that my doctor had just given me. While sitting, I looked around and noticed that, near to the door of the pharmacy, there was a huge locked glass cabinet containing condoms, lubricants, pregnancy tests, smoking-cessation products and a few other oddities. I assumed that the pharmacy had the key and people needed to ask a pharmacist for these items. Friday evening, when I came back to pick up a prescription which had been omitted from my order, I asked the male pharmacist about the locked cabinet. The store office has the primary key and dispenses these products on request the entire time the store is open. The stuff is apparently locked up due to shoplifting problems rather than some bizarre store policy on moral values. I hope so. Still, it must be intimidating for many people to have to ask for condoms etc...


Great Sunday read - funny AND true.

I'm just finishing a very nice weekend in Baltimore; the doggie and I are visiting my girl, who is doing a yearlong fellowship up here at Johns Hopkins. Well, this is my second trip, and it is actually quite a cool city. And the people are for the most part - liberal, tolerant, and just plain nice to talk to.

There is a great gay area, but guess what? It seems pretty gay-friendly most places, in a healthy way -- everyone just "gets along." In fact, except for having pompous, bigoted ass Erlich as its governor, it is overall very liberal... More on this later.

For now, I have become a fan of a really cool Baltimore-based blog - just read the most recent post below:

I am using Alix's computer and Blogger won't do a link on her browser, so you'll have to cut and is worth it!


Rephrase: World Set NOT to Deal With Widespread Flu

Washington Post: World Not Set to Deal With Widespread Flu

Public health officials say a pandemic is inevitable, but the world will not have the medical weapons to fight the disease anytime soon...


The public, conditioned to believe in the power of modern medicine, has heard little of how poorly prepared the world is to confront a flu pandemic, which is an epidemic that strikes several continents simultaneously and infects a substantial portion of the population.



Saturday, July 30, 2005

First Convictions - Ohio Investment Scandal

From the Toledo Blade:

COLUMBUS — Two former aides to Gov. Bob Taft — former Chief of Staff Brian Hicks and his former executive assistant, Cherie Carroll — were convicted and fined by a judge yesterday for taking gifts from coin dealer Tom Noe — a political climber who golfed with the governor and sought audiences with President Bush...


"[Noe's] legacy may be singlehandedly dismantling the decade-long GOP grip on state politics..."



Thursday, July 28, 2005

Leonard Fein: 16 Words for John Roberts

The Forward, July 29, 2005

'At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish... Americans attend their places of worship more often than do citizens of other developed nations, and describe religion as playing an especially important role in their lives. Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?"

Those are the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in the recently decided McCreary County vs. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. It is doubtful that the contemporary case for preservation of the strict wall of separation between church and state has ever been more succinctly or more precisely stated.

While listening to NPR and CNN in the days after the nomination of Judge John Roberts as O'Connor's replacement, one might reasonably conclude that the only issues of consequence to which we ought to be paying attention are abortion and, to a much lesser degree, affirmative action. Almost entirely absent from any of the commentary has been the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom and the string of court decisions that has followed therefrom.

Yet one can fairly argue that no feature of the American constitutional and judicial landscape has had a greater impact on America's Jews, has made a more powerful contribution toward enabling Jewish safety and success in this country. Nor are Jews lonely beneficiaries: America's distinctive religiosity, just as O'Connor's words assert, flows quite directly from its distinctive constitutional mandate as embodied in the First Amendment and in two centuries of decisions by the Supreme Court.

Other issues matter, of course. But no list of issues, on which members of the Senate Judiciary Committee should be encouraged vigorously to question Roberts, can be complete if it does not include close questioning on the two key clauses of the First Amendment, the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. Here is the whole of it: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

These fateful, if somewhat cryptic, 16 words are the rock on which the separation of church and state uneasily rests; that separation is the very first of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. (The First Amendment then goes on to guarantee freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly, as well as the right of the people to petition for a redress of their grievances.)

It was Thomas Jefferson who, most notably in an 1802 letter, introduced the concept of "a wall of separation": "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

There is very considerable jurisprudence on the meaning of the First Amendment, and lately some of the Supreme Court votes have been very close. Thus it is not possible to infer whether the wall still stands firmly or has begun to crumble. That is why it is so important that Roberts be questioned, and closely, regarding his views.

And here we have a clear case regarding constitutional construction. The language of the framers was cryptic, but their intent was plain. Departures from that intent amount to "judicial activism." It is surely fair to ask the nominee how he sees the Supreme Court's tradition on church-state separation, how he sees the necessary balance between the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.

Especially these days, as President Bush's faith-based initiatives are gaining traction — because Congress has failed to enact these initiatives into law, more via administrative regulation than by congressional action — and procedures quite unthinkable just a decade ago are now accepted as routine, a nominee's views on church-state are of more than casual interest. And in the case of Roberts, they take on added importance: As deputy solicitor general — for policy, no less — he wrote the briefs that argued for prayer at public school graduations and for weakening the test the court used for resolving Establishment Clause violations.

Because close questioning on church-state separation ought to rank in the first tier of issues to be considered by the Senate, the absence of any reference thereto in the first days following the nomination is an ominous omission; it suggests that all's settled and well on the religious front, that we can take the wall of separation for granted.

But the fact is that neither the court itself nor public opinion can be viewed as settled. School prayer, charitable choice, the proselytizing activities at the U.S. Air Force Academy, even the idea of a wall of separation are matters of intense debate, spurred on by the manifest Christianization of America. And religious views then insidiously spill over into the debates about evolution, stem-cell research, gay rights and more; all these are affected, and many infected, by inappropriate religious argument and by a radical misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

What better time is there to re-educate the American people on the source of the religious freedom we here enjoy than during the confirmation hearing of a nominee to the Supreme Court?

C. 2005 The Forward


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

RAC Launches the "Ask Judge Roberts" Campaign

Today the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) launched the "Ask Judge Roberts" campaign. This effort, the first of its kind for the Center, is a web-based question bank providing an opportunity for Reform Jews, and all those who share an active interest in the future of our Supreme Court, to suggest questions that Senate Judiciary Committee members may ask during Judge John Roberts’ confirmation hearings. The Religious Action Center will then share these questions with Senators, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive and thorough examination of Judge Roberts’ record and views.

"America is at her best when each individual is enfranchised and heard, an ideal that our ‘Ask Judge Roberts’ initiative embodies," said Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the RAC. "While it is the Senate’s responsibility to examine whether a nominee is worthy of a seat on our nation’s highest Court, it is the American people’s right and responsibility to help frame the debate. is an opportunity for the American people to give our ‘advise’ before the Senate is asked for its ‘consent.’"

The Religious Action Center’s "Ask Judge Roberts" campaign is located at


CityBeat: Pious or Against Us?

SATIRE: Estrangement in a Strange Land - Pious or Against Us

Bob Woodiwiss in CityBeat, July 27, 2005

It's time to get in the car, hit America's highways and keep turning your wheel to the religious right. Because today there are more dogmacational attractions for your family to discover than ever before. Like:

The Museum of Inferior People: Today, many white heterosexual Christians in America are confused. They know they're better than everyone else, but by exactly how much? The Museum of Inferior People seeks to put an end to this uncertainty with a wealth of sacred documents, powerful exhibits and blinding graphics. Here you'll learn exactly where every religion, race, nationality and worldview rates behind yours -- individually or in complex combination. Is a gay Hindu living in the U.S on a green card more or less inferior to you than a liberal black Muslim who's a citizen of France? Can a lesbian Asian claim moral superiority over a bisexual gypsy atheist? Now you'll know!

Want more? There's lots more!



NPR ATC Today: Evangelicals in the US Military

Evangelical Chaplains Test Bounds of Faith in Military

Web Extra: 'Soldier's Bible' Draws Fire


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wow, yet ANOTHER enlightened Hoosier...

From today's Indianapolis Star, yet another person who "gets" that Rove is a criminal:
July 26, 2005

Rove case isn't driven by Democrats, media

Brian Tomcik, in his July 23 letter to the editor, charges that Democrats and the media are responsible for the accusations against Karl Rove.

He seems to have forgotten that the accusations result from a two-year investigation by a U.S. attorney, at the request of the CIA, for the disclosure "of the identity of an employee operating under cover."

No, it's not clear yet if a law has been broken. But it is clear that President Bush, who said that leaking classified information was "unacceptable behavior," made no attempt to find out who on his staff was responsible. It's also clear that the administration lied about Rove's involvement and that he did discuss Valerie Plame's identity with reporters in an attempt to discredit her husband's report refuting the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.

Norma Abbey


Previous letters showing a glimmer of insight in a very red state (sorry, Shakes' Sis!) ;)


What title could you possibly give this post, she asks wearily....?


Yep, I really feel safer now. Glad they are prioritizing so well there on Capitol Hill. I mean it's not like we really need to protect our troops with enough body and vehicle's not like we need to rush to help the starving children in's not like we have got a quagmire of bombs nearly directly a result of our foreign policy.

Nope, instead we have to provide a "shield" to the gun makers. Where's my violin...

Here, Charleton Heston, and you senators who helped to ram the legislation through - may you forever have this image burned into your brain for all eternity once you meet your maker:


So, Why Do You Think This Is...

READ - What do you think??


Monday, July 25, 2005

Wild West Florida -- Part Two

THIS will make us all feel a LOT safer in Miami...NOT.

Yes, folks, a company is poised to sell Taser guns to Joe C. Public.

A chilling quote from the above-referenced article (Julien's List added the bold):

"For civilians, I think Tasers are a very bad idea," said Jeff Dillard, a former cop who now owns National Firearms and Accessories.

Dillard said promoting use by civilians could cause more harm than good.

"I think it would probably be more dangerous to women getting raped or somebody getting mugged at night than it would be used for defensive reasons," he said.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Can Anyone Answer This Question...?

I received an email from my dear friend and fellow activist, Judy. I tried to answer her, but I cannot. Can anyone?
Would someone please explain to me how one administration can have so many controversial issues surrounding them and nothing happens....I really need to know...what is it going to take to wake up the American people and bring down this admin?
Ms. Julien



July 22, 2005 in The Forward:

Years from now, when historians try to explain George W. Bush's influence on the American political landscape, they may well start by pointing to July 19, 2005, the day he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court. In choosing Roberts, Bush appears to have found the combination that has eluded conservatives for a quarter-century in their efforts to remake the high court: a brilliant legal mind with deeply conservative views but a slim paper trail, widely admired in the legal community and all but certain to win easy Senate confirmation.

The nomination is one more reminder that liberalism's four-decade reliance on the federal courts as a means of advancing its favorite causes has reached the end of its usefulness. Democracy is about winning elections, not lawsuits. Liberals should have figured that out years ago. Now they have no choice.


It seems pointless, given Roberts's history, to search for signs of another Souter or Blackmun waiting to burst forth as a defender of minorities and the poor. Bush campaigned on a promise to move the country and the court to the right, and he has the votes to do it. Democrats are entitled, however, to insist on a justice in the Kennedy mold who will resist the right's bomb-throwing tendencies and preserve the fraying standards of civility in public discourse.

That may be the best that Democrats can hope for in this upcoming judicial battle. As long as they continue losing elections, their political strategies will consist of ever-more hopeless holding actions.


Pam's House Blend has just added this post to the mix:

White House plans to squirrel away Roberts documents
Sunday, July 24, 2005

In yet another "hide the papers" folly, the Bush team is going to claim attorney-client privilege to keep a paper trail of SCOTUS nominee John Roberts's past work in the White House under wraps.


NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF: Where the Right Is Right

Liberals took the lead in championing human rights abroad in the 1970's, while conservatives mocked the idea. But these days liberals should be embarrassed that it's the Christian Right that is taking the lead in spotlighting repression in North Korea....


President Evan Bayh?

Senator hails chief reasons for making run
He says experience as governor would serve him well as president
By Maureen Groppe
Star Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana has been raising money, building a campaign team and wooing Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire as he prepares for a potential 2008 bid for the presidency.

Monday, Bayh steps down as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist Democratic group that was a vehicle for Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign.

Bayh sat down with The Indianapolis Star to talk about his potential run, the state of the Democratic Party and what he picked up from the movie "Zoolander."



Frank Kameny's Attic

I remember reading a book of Kameny's back in the mid-70s when I was coming out and read just about everything in the Sanger Branch Library's LC Section HQ76.

Signs of Progress
By Jose Antonio Vargas in the Washington Post

Once upon a gay time, before the Stonewall riots in New York, before gay marriage, gay adoption and gay real estate, before "Will & Grace," "The L Word" and cable channels called Logo and Here!, before everyone had a gay relative, there was a man who led a picket line in front of the White House. It was 1965, and the man was Franklin E. Kameny.

"So here we are!" says Kameny, a lifetime later, in his foghorn of a voice. "This is what you wanted to see!"

Boxes of personal papers, official documents, newspaper clippings dating back to the 1950s. Stack after stack of black-and-white posters ("First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals," "Homosexual Americans Demand Their Civil Rights") that he and others brandished at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department in the 1960s.

The man in the three-piece navy blue suit with a dark blue tie is starting to sweat, just enough that you begin to wonder if a summer afternoon might not be the best time for an 80-year-old to spend nearly three hours in his dusty Northwest Washington attic. But he doesn't mind. He's a vigorous figure -- head stern, jaw locked, shoulders slightly forward.

"People have been asking me, 'What are you going do with all of this?'" says Kameny, his left hand resting on a stack of posters. The posters are written in precise, bold script, and Kameny, who speaks in precise, perfectly constructed sentences, wouldn't have had them any other way. ("Let's make it a tentative 1:30 p.m. meeting, subject to confirmation," he'd said about this interview.)

"People have been legitimately telling me, 'For heaven's sake, you're 80 years old now. Figure out what you're going to do with them.' . . . One of the things I still have to do," Kameny says, laughing, "is write a will."

The modern gay rights movement has been around long enough to worry about losing the artifacts of its history....

A hat tip to my little brother for forwarding this article!


FRANK RICH: Eight Days in July

In the New York Times:

PRESIDENT BUSH'S new Supreme Court nominee was a historic first after all: the first to be announced on TV dead center in prime time, smack in the cross hairs of "I Want to Be a Hilton." It was also one of the hastiest court announcements in memory, abruptly sprung a week ahead of the White House's original timetable. The agenda of this rushed showmanship - to change the subject in Washington - could not have been more naked. But the president would have had to nominate Bill Clinton to change this subject....


OHIO INVESTMENT SCANDAL: Double-dealing coin managers cost state money

From the Toledo Blade:

In the world of trying to make a buck, Tom Noe and the managers of the state's rare-coin investment got to play all the important parts. They were the buyers, sellers, and middlemen, the wholesalers and the retailers. They set the prices that Mr. Noe's limited partner, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, would pay for the coins that would make up the bulk of the state's investment...


Friday, July 22, 2005

Republican Scandals Proliferate

....and begin turning into octopi:

Noe involved in 'absolute theft of funds,' Ohio's attorney general says


COLUMBUS — Tom Noe converted millions of dollars in Ohio money for personal use, while using a “Ponzi” scheme to hide what was taking place within his $50 million state-funded rare-coin venture, the state’s top attorney charged today.

Attorney General Jim Petro said there is evidence that Mr. Noe may have pocketed nearly $4 million in money invested with him through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, including a $1.375 million wire transfer to Tom Noe, Inc., a company Mr. Noe owned and controlled, on the same day he received the first of two $25 million payments from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in 1998.

Mr. Petro asked a judge today to further restrict the sale of Mr. Noe’s assets, and amend the state’s lawsuit against the Toledo-area coin dealer to include charges of breach of contract, negligence, and unjust enrichment.

“Over the next several days leading into this week, we came to believe that there was an absolute theft of funds going on,” Mr. Petro said at a news conference today...


MSNBC Breaking News

British TV stations report suspected suicide bomber shot by police on London subway.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Are we done with Rove yet?

Very interesting take from Julien's List contributor Mario...well worth reading:

Rove is dispensable ...The Bush Gang no longer needs him.

Rove will resign.....and get a six figure job at Baker and Ass. defending Saudi terrorists.

Meanwhile...the Downing Street Memo has fallen off the radar.

What is more important....a document that proves the Murder Monkey lied to start a war ....or putting Pig Rove in jail?

The Dems have fallen for it again....they keep letting Bushco dictate the debate.

The DSM is the only thing we should be talking about.

I was back in Ft benning last week....the amount of hatred they have for Bush is amazing. I was traveling with a local newspaper photographer who had warned me to not bring up the war in front of the soldiers. Of course I couldn’t help myself and talked to a few of them......they all agreed with me..the war is wrong and the President is a lying sack of crap.

One interesting thing...... The soldier’s paychecks are signed by The Murder this SOP in the military? Or is this something The Chimp started?... There are a couple of ex military people on this list ( all Democrats by the way...we know Republicans only want to start wars they don’t really want to go fight in them ) Were your checks signed by the Prez?

The mainstream media in this country are dominated by liberals.

I was informed of this fact by Rush Limbaugh. And Thomas Sowell.
And Ann Coulter. And Rich Lowry. And Bill O'Reilly. And William Safire.
And Robert Novak. And William F. Buckley, Jr. And George Will.
And John Gibson. And Michelle Malkin. And David Brooks. And Tony Snow.
And Tony Blankely. And Fred Barnes. And Britt Hume. And Larry Kudlow.
And Sean Hannity. And David Horowitz. And William Kristol. And Hugh Hewitt.
And Oliver North. And Joe Scarborough. And Pat Buchanan. And John McLaughlin.
And Cal Thomas. And Joe Klein. And James Kilpatrick. And Tucker Carlson.
And Deroy Murdock. And Michael Savage. And Charles Krauthammer.
And Stephen Moore. And Alan Keyes. And Gary Bauer. And Mort Kondracke.
And Andrew Sullivan. And Nicholas von Hoffman. And Neil Cavuto.
And Matt Drudge. And Mike Rosen. And Dave Kopel. And John Caldara......................

I want to see the traitor do the frog march as much as anyone ..but. It is all a smoke screen.


Add ANOTHER hoosier to the enlightened list...

The second such letter to the editor in as many days in the Indianapolis Star...I am impressed and pleased!!! (Also shocked they are appearing in print) :)

July 21, 2005

Don't protect Karl Rove with a shield law

The claim that several senators and representatives want to protect the press with a federal shield law is another example of business as usual in Washington. Proponents claim such a law will encourage whistle-blowers who guard the public from corporate and government excess. Strangely, they downplay that the bill proposed would protect someone like Karl Rove, who is under investigation for retaliating against a whistle-blower (Ambassador Joseph Wilson). Whom are we really trying to help?

A free press is essential to protecting the citizenry of any nation. The Supreme Court ruled a reporter is not required to reveal a source so long as that source is not committing a crime. However, the Rove case is not an example of a whistle-blower protecting the public from an abuse. It is an example of absolute power being abused.

Andrew Dills



“Out of the Closet and into the Streets of Tel Aviv”

Editor's Column, The Jewish Week

The postcard depicts two young men kissing passionately and reads: “Out of the Closet and into the Streets of Tel Aviv.” The information on the back notes that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and the one country in the region where gays and lesbians are not persecuted for their sexual orientation.

Another postcard shows an Arab woman casting a ballot, and asks: “Where in the Middle East can Arab Women Vote?” The answer: “In Israel,” where all citizens, 20 percent of whom are Arabs, “share the same freedoms of speech, press, religion and assembly.”

The two postcards are part of a series of posters, billboards and other material — including a 20-minute DVD, distributed in gay and lesbian communities across the United States, focusing on Israel’s relative tolerance of homosexuality — created by a small San Francisco public relations firm called Blue Star PR ( It’s a new nonprofit group that produces pro-Israel and pro-Jewish public awareness campaigns with a decided edge. Some of the material is stirring up controversy, inside and outside of the Jewish community, underscoring the difficult effort to find the right message for the right audience in making Israel’s case....


E. J. Dionne Jr. - A Right Turn With a Smile

Washington Post

Judge John G. Roberts could turn out to be Antonin Scalia with a Washington Establishment smile. He is almost certainly a William Rehnquist for the 21st century. And he is David Souter turned on his head -- a stealth candidate whose winning personality disguises intense conservatism, not moderation.

Roberts was, in short, the shrewdest choice President Bush could have made to fill retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme Court seat. Roberts could move the court well to the right yet grin his way through the confirmation process. His advertising slogan might be: Staunchly on the Right. But With No Hard Edges.

All of which means that the next two weeks will be crucial in determining how the Roberts confirmation battle goes. The Bush administration will be desperate to frame the fight in terms of Roberts's ample qualifications, his bipartisan group of friends, his fine education and his lovely family.

Roberts's opponents need to lift the argument to the level of principle. It doesn't matter how nice or smart Roberts may be. What matters is that on a court where so many cases have been decided by 5-to-4 votes, Roberts's convictions and philosophy matter far more than his biography....


More Trouble on the Tube

'Incidents' spark Tube evacuation

Emergency services have been called to three Tube stations after "incidents", Scotland Yard said.

Police confirmed they had been called to Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush stations.

There have been reports of smoke coming from the stations and all three have been evacuated.

The whole of the Northern Line has been suspended, along with the Victoria Line and the Hammersmith and City. One hospital has begun its emergency plan.


Abortion: Just the Data

With High-Court Debate Brewing, New Report Shows Procedure's Numbers Down
By Naseem Sowti
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 19, 2005; Page HE01

A new analysis of the most recent abortion data shows that the number of U.S. women having the procedure is continuing its decade-long drop and stands at its lowest level since 1976...


Resources on Judge John G. Roberts Jr

Courtesy of Marla Stevens:

Dear Family and Friends,

I've put some of the early and basic information regarding the history of Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. in several posts on the blog.

Nothing really original -- just quick case summaries, biographical info, strategic basics, and some very gay-specific concerns about his Federalist Society membership -- but all from very reliable sources in a fairly easy to access format.

Hope it will be of use in these critical early hours of the process.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wild West Florida Claims a Victim

I would like to thank once again our esteemed governor, good old Jebbie, for signing with flourish the law that allows any dumba*s to shoot someone he thinks looked at him the wrong way.

(Signed in the company of the NRA lobbyists who have provided kickbacks to the corrupt Florida banana republic for a looonnnnnnngggg time).

Police: Man Shoots, Kills Driver Who Blocked Car


MIAMI - Police say the resident of a Miami apartment complex killed a man who blocked his car into a parking space. At about 10 p.m. Monday, police say Tulio Jesus Arias realized a car had blocked his black Nissan into a parking space at his apartment building, in the 2400 block of Northwest 16th Street.

The sick story:

After spending the next two hours searching for the person who had parked behind him, Arias gave up and called a tow truck.

However, the driver of the other car then showed up.

Witnesses said the driver began to shout obscenities and threats at Arias, and they got into a big argument. Then, Arias, a security guard, pulled out a gun and started shooting.

"The man came downstairs saying that that was his car, ripping his shirt open, cursing, really violent. He opened his shirt and said, 'Go ahead. Go ahead. Shoot me right here.' And he was reaching, so we don't know if he was reaching for a gun or what," Maria Hurcades, a witness, said.

Witnesses at the apartment building said that as his 12-year-old daughter watched from his car, Arias, whom people call a nice guy, just snapped and started shooting.

"Two families are suffering right now for something that just got out of control, for just being verbally abusive. It makes no sense that it happened. One person's dead and the other one's in jail over blocking a car," Hurcades said.

Police said the slain man's wife saw her husband shot down.

And the best part:

Police say Arias fired his gun eight times, and that the other man [the one shot dead] was not armed.

And gee, this is a surprise:

Police said they aren't sure if a new Florida law that allows someone to shoot an intruder if threatened sufficiently applies in this case...

Well, thanks to the guvnah Bush and his cronies, we'll never find out if the guy was shot "within the law" or not, will we?

Nope...the guy is already dead - it's TOO LATE!!!


Reprise: Question Nominee on Philosophy

On 7/05/05 I posted a link from Julien's List to the following article at:

Cool off rhetoric on court, Bush says
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON * President Bush said Monday that special-interest groups running TV ads and mobilizing supporters for a fight over his choice of a successor to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor should "tone down the heated rhetoric."


He cautioned against a partisan war. "I would hope that the groups involved in this process * the special-interest groups * will help tone down the heated rhetoric and focus on the nominee's credentials and philosophy," he said.

What's the Point?

Bush said this at the same time the Republicans were claiming that potential nominees should be evaluated on character and qualifications rather than philosophy!

Speaking of philosophy, since GW Bush said the following on 7/19/05, and since he has previously stated that Jesus is his favorite philosopher, is a religious test being applied to potential SCOTUS nominees?

“I have thought about a variety of people, people from different walks of life, some of whom I’ve known before, some of whom I had never met before,” Bush said today after meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard. “I do have an obligation to think about people from different backgrounds, but who share the same philosophy, people who will not legislate from the bench.”






Hear Cass Sunstein on SCOTUS Nominee John Roberts

NPR Fresh Air Today: Hear Law Professor Cass Sunstein on Supreme Court Nominee

Cass Sunstein, the Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Chicago Law School, comments on Tuesday night's Supreme Court nomination of John G. Roberts. Early in his career, Sunstein clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He has also been a visiting professor of law at Columbia and Harvard universities.


Words from one reasonable hoosier...

From today's Indianapolis Star (which in its main editorial claims that Roberts should be "easily confirmed") least one hoosier (besides Ms. Julien and Shakespeare's Sister :) ) has the balls to keep on topic:

Reasonable to call for Rove's resignation

Could you imagine what would be happening on the right if a high-ranking aid to a Democratic president had leaked the identity of a CIA operative to a reporter? They would have already formed a group called CIA Agents for Truth and have them on every Fox News program explaining how this act of treason has irreparably harmed the United States.

There would be a book already on the shelves from a right-wing publishing house called "Traitor in Our Midst," detailing how the mysterious death of some CIA informant is linked to the identity leak of a CIA agent, and they would be calling for his arrest on charges of treason. The Democrats are only asking for Karl Rove's resignation, or at least yanking his security clearance. This is not only reasonable but necessary.

David Dahlberg



Toledo Blade Editorial: Another attack on the courts

WHEN it comes to arrogance, few in that den of overblown egos known as the U.S. House of Representatives can match Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

C-Span watchers will recognize the Wisconsin Republican as the petty tyrant who abruptly ended a June 10 hearing on the Patriot Act by cutting off a microphone, grabbing his gavel, and bolting from the committee room.

The reason: He didn't like the fact that minority Democrats were taking legitimate advantage of House rules to ask embarrassing questions.

Now it has been revealed that Mr. Sensenbrenner privately tried to bully a federal appeals court into reversing a decision in which a drug courier got a shorter prison sentence than the congressman thought she deserved.


Members of Congress like to throw their weight around, but what separates this incident from others is that Mr. Sensenbrenner, as head of the committee charged with judicial oversight, just might retaliate by cutting the court's budget or some such tactic.

Some judicial experts believe the congressman's letter was inappropriate or may have violated House ethics rules, which prohibit members from privately communicating with judges on legal matters. There is little doubt, though, that it is of a piece with the ugly political threats against the judiciary in recent months.

For example: Rep. Tom DeLay's dark suggestion after the Terri Schiavo decision that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Or the public musing by Sen. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, that violence against judges might somehow be justified.

It's odd that these assaults on the legal system are coming from political partisans who used to preach about respect for the rule of law. But in Congress these days, the arrogance of power seems to rule above all else.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Onion: Marine Corps Shortens Slogan To 'The Few'

WASHINGTON, DC—In light of recruiting shortfalls, a near standstill in re-enlistment, and rock-bottom troop morale, U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee announced Monday that the Marines will alter their unofficial slogan, abbreviating it to the more accurate "The Few." Hagee said, "We are still the Marines, the premier combat arm of the U.S. military." The Marines will also change their motto to Semper Fidelis, Sic Non Sapienti, or "Always Faithful, But This Is Just Ridiculous."


There Is No One 'Culture of Life'

The Forward's Campaign Confidential Blog brings the following OU press release to our attention:

No One 'Culture of Life'

The Bush Administration's stem cell policy basically represents an establishment of Catholic and evangelical Protestant doctrine.

Per a release:


In advance of an expected U.S. Senate debate this week on legislation that will allow federal funding for some embryonic stem cell research, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization representing nearly 1,000 synagogues, has written to Senators in support of the legislation. The Union letter is in support of S.471, sponsored by Senators Specter, Hatch, Harkin and Kennedy. Like legislation passed by the U.S. House in May, S.471 will allow public funds to support stem cell research on cells derived from embryos donated to IVF clinics which are in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking IVF treatment, and with the prior consultation with and consent of the donors. The Union’s letter also expresses support for S.1317 and other measures to be considered by the Senate in support of public support for stem cell research.

Signed by the Union’s executive vice president, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, and director of public policy, Nathan J. Diament, the letter states, in pertinent part:

The Jewish tradition places great value upon human life and its preservation. The Torah commands us to treat and cure the ill and to defeat disease wherever possible; to do this is to be the Creator’s partner in safeguarding the created. The traditional Jewish perspective thus emphasizes that the potential to save and heal human lives is an integral part of valuing human life. Moreover, the traditional Jewish perspective does not accord an embryo outside of the womb the full status of humanhood and its attendant protections. Thus, stem cell research may be consistent with and serve these moral and noble goals; however, such research must not be pursued indiscriminately.

S.471 strikes this careful balance. By insisting that publicly funded stem cell research be conducted on cells derived from embryos donated to IVF clinics and were in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking IVF treatment, and by requiring the prior consultation with and consent of the donors, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act serves to value and venerate the sanctity of life and our responsibilities to our fellow man and woman.

Posted by E. J. Kessler, 04:43 PM 7-18-05

Copyright 2005 © The Forward


I Bet The Masses Didn't Consider This When They Voted Against Them Queers...

...and for the so-called "sanctity" of marriage. Well, times are changing and soon our dear Bubba isn't going to be allowed to "shack up."

Seems to me the money quote is from Virginia resident Donnie Biggs: "You should be allowed to live like you want to live," he said.

I wonder how many people crying "foul" in this article voted against gay marriage in their respective states, or plan to? I wonder how Mr. Donnie Biggs voted in his state's marriage amendment vote?

Cohabitating Americans in 7 states run afoul of the law

The almost 1 million unmarried heterosexual Americans who live together in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia are violating state laws against "lewd and lascivious" cohabitation.

Such laws are remnants of an earlier era; North Carolina's is vintage 1805. And although they remain on the books, anti-cohabitation laws are rarely enforced.

But a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Carolina's statute is making its way through the courts and is drawing new attention to these old laws.

"The idea that government criminalizes people's choice to live together out of wedlock in this day and age defies logic and common sense," says Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, which filed suit on behalf of Debora Hobbs.

Hobbs is an unmarried woman who lost her job with the Pender County Sheriff's Department because she and her boyfriend live together. Representatives for both Hobbs and Sheriff Carson Smith say neither is discussing the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in March to overturn the North Carolina law; the case probably will be scheduled for a hearing this fall, Rudinger says.

Hobbs "is continuing to live with her boyfriend because she believes it's her constitutional right," Rudinger says.

Such laws haven't been scrapped largely because lawmakers have more pressing matters to consider, says Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

An attempt to repeal a similar law in North Dakota failed earlier this year.

"The public perception is that people who live together who are not married who have intimate relations are violating the cohabitation law," says Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. He says the laws usually are not prosecuted, but challenges come up when they are cited by landlords as a reason for not renting to cohabiting couples or by government agencies refusing licenses.

He also cites the case of a day care operator whose license was initially rejected because she was cohabiting; she got her license after an ACLU challenge.

Donnie Biggs, 24, a photographer, and Meghan Montgomery, 25, an accountant, moved in together in Arlington, Va., after having a long-distance relationship of almost five years. Biggs was unaware of Virginia's law and says it's "old-fashioned."

"You should be allowed to live like you want to live," he says.

Montgomery says she knew about her state's law because she read about it in relation to the case in North Carolina.

"It's one of the many ridiculous rules that no one has taken the time to change," she says. "It made me wonder if they do enforce it and how they think they actually could."

Ms. Julien in Miami


Why SHOULD This Man Be Protected?

Joe at Americablog reports the following:

Reuters: Supreme Court timing moved up to protect Rove
by Joe in DC - 7/19/2005 10:43:00 AM

Reuters reports a Supreme Court nomination could happen as early as today...probably Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Clement. And, the accelerated timing is because of Rove:

Sources said the timing of an announcement had been moved up in part to deflect attention away from a CIA leak controversy that has engulfed Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove.

A Republican strategist with close to the White House described Clement as the leading candidate. "She's pretty untouchable," he said. "Plus, it helps take Rove off the front pages for a week."

No question, Rove really does run the White House...and, they really do think the press can only cover one story at a time.

Trying to recall a time when a Presidency was so beholden to one staff person. I don't think it has ever happened.


Five From the 5th Circuit Mentioned for High Court

Southern Appeals Bench Known for Conservatism
By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 19, 2005; Page A08

It wasn't all that long ago that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit was on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement, a liberal pocket of scholars aggressively enforcing the Supreme Court's demand for speedy desegregation in the Deep South.

But things have changed mightily in 20 years. Today, the New Orleans-based appellate court is considered among the most conservative in the land -- but it is still at the center of politics and history...


Monday, July 18, 2005

A truly spot-on read..

What she said...really.

Don’t Insult Me

Something that drives me absolutely insane is when I am treated as a fool. You see, I have a brain, quite a good one as it happens, and I like to use it. When someone tells me something that is so obviously a lie, so clearly absurd and counter to everything that reason and logic would otherwise suggest, it absolutely infuriates me—more so that they demonstrably think I am an idiot, than because of the underlying lie.

This is how the Bush administration treats us all, relying on the fact that most Americans, unfortunately, are either trusting, ignorant, or crooked enough to take them at their empty word. Well, I’m neither gullible, nor uninformed, nor a fan of their Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means strategies, and I’m tired of being treated as a fool. It’s time to get real. And this is the reality…

George Bush and his neocon cabal wanted to go to war in Iraq, and they saw in the September 11th attacks a justification for that preexisting goal. So determined were they to embark on this misadventure, that they ignored the real culprit behind the attacks, al-Qaida, and went into Afghanistan to rout the al-Qaida supportive Taliban regime only as part of a bargain with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who gave his support to the Iraq War in exchange for the Americans’ support of the Afghanistan invasion. The Afghan War was quick and dirty, and before our job was even complete, the Bush administration had its sites set on Iraq.

The problem is that Iraq was not responsible or even remotely connected to the 9/11 attack on American soil, so a case for war had to be conjured out of thin air. The recently leaked Downing Street Memos document that the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy, that increased bombings, referred to as spikes of activity, were used to try to provoke Saddam Hussein into war, that the decision to go to war was made long before either government admitted it to their own people, and that the UN ultimatum was a sham, designed to generate political capital for the war and help “sell” it.

Meanwhile, the White House Iraq Group was formed, featuring many of the same players who names now come up over and over as having engaged in undoubtedly unethical and possibly criminal incidences of disseminating information to silence war critics, such as Karl Rove and “Scooter” Libby. Another member of the group, Condi Rice, then-National Security Advisor, made ominous references to the possibility of a “mushroom cloud” if America did not move to oust Saddam Hussein.

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the UN and the world to deliver a speech detailing the alleged stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq—except he didn’t suggest they were alleged; according to Powell (and the rest of the Bush administration), there was no maybe about it at all. Then-CIA Director George Tenet declared the case for war a “slam-dunk,” and the President delivered in his State of the Union address the menacing (and now-infamous) claim that “The British government has learned Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

This outrageous assertion, based on intelligence which was already known to the administration to be false, was contradicted in a NY Times column by Joe Wilson, who had been sent to Niger to investigate the possibility. The well-oiled Bush smear machine kicked into action, and the identity of Wilson’s wife, a covert CIA operative specializing in weapons proliferation, was leaked to the press, potentially endangering her life, the lives of those with whom she worked, and the lives of Americans who were that much less safe that one of the analysts dedicated to WMDs was no longer able to do her job.

Now we find that at least two senior Bush administration officials, Rove and Libby, were involved in the leak, the former of whom was fired by the campaign of the current president’s father for leaking information to—surprise!—Bob Novak. The GOP has issued their talking points on the matter, and Scott McClellan continues to dance around questions, and all the while, they continue to treat the American people like fools.

Fixing facts and intelligence doesn’t mean what you think it means, they condescend, adding that fixing has a different meaning in Britain (as if none of us have been there), and besides, they say, it was just one man’s opinion. They spin and spin away, and the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq, that their entire case for war was predicated on a nonexistent threat, is left unacknowledged (unless the president is making jokes about it), while the same people who continually invoke Clinton’s semantic contortions as illustrative of the moral relativism of the Left, bicker over the definition of fixed.

The reference to Saddam seeking uranium was left in the SOTU address by accident; an honest mistake, they condescend further, even though it had been taken out of a speech three months earlier at the behest of Tenet. It just magically made its way back in—oops! And yet it was not an immediate withdrawal of the claim by the Bush administration that alerted Americans to its falsity, but Wilson’s willingness to publicly contest the administration’s claims that made us all aware of this “honest mistake.”

Joe Wilson isn’t credible, they condescend yet further, giving us a variety of reasons why we ought to buy their story—that any leaks about his wife’s identity were just to ensure that reporters wouldn’t erroneously print errors about what the “real story” was. They were just being helpful, you see. Especially Rove—the man who orchestrated one of the nastiest smears against a political opponent in my lifetime, in which John McCain’s entire family was dragged through a mud made of lies and undue personal attacks, making way for Bush to secure the nomination of his party in the 2000 election. That same Rove was now taking time out of his busy schedule as one of the most influential men in the country to call up a reporter and make sure he didn’t report something incorrect, that’s it and that’s all, no other reason, even though there was every reason for the administration to seek retribution against Wilson, whose public refutation not only embarrassed them and undermined their case for war, but also raised the specter of a possibly criminal act on the part of the president, under the false statements statute. Do you feel insulted yet?

I certainly do.

Frank Rich recently wrote an excellent column called Follow the Uranium, in which he notes that Joe Wilson is just a MacGuffin, a red herring, a distraction from the real issue, which is Iraq. I think that’s only part of the picture. There are lots of diversionary tactics and topics out there, and lots of things from which to divert Americans’ attention—the nonexistent WMDs, the Downing Street Memos, the administration leaks and lies. They all have two things in common: war with Iraq at any cost, and a trail that leads right back to the White House.

Don’t insult me any more, President Bush. Every circus has a ringmaster, and I’m looking squarely at you, sir.
~Shakespeare's Sister


Oregon Perches on the Cusp of Enlightened Living

Carla and her gang over at Preemptive Karma, in addition to having a spectacular site, has yet another look at the hypocrisy and homophobia in government...this time in Oregon.

Rocking SB 1000

Last November the citizens of Oregon voted to pass Measure 36. Measure 36 changed the Oregon Constitution to legally recognize only those marriages between a man and a woman.

Fortunately, polling in Oregon indicates that citizens support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples:

A recent statewide poll indicated there is more support than opposition among Oregon voters for civil unions.

The survey, conducted by Portland pollster Mike Riley, found that 49 percent of voters support civil unions compared with 30 percent opposed and 21 percent undecided. The poll's margin of error was 4.5 percent.

Riley said he sees no conflict between that result and the fact that Oregon voters last November endorsed Measure 36, the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin.

I don't get the disconnect...but whatever works.

And so with citizen support for civil unions, the Oregon Senate passed SB1000, which would legalize civil unions for gay couples in Oregon. The bill would also make orientation discrimination illegal.

Even the often besmirched Nike corporation has come out publicly for the bill. Nike refuses to back down from their support despite threats of boycotts from rightwing activists outside the state.

The bill now languishes in the Republican controlled Oregon House, where House Speaker Karen Minnis refuses to schedule the bill.

Speaker Minnis knows the bill would pass. The support is there in the House. And that's exactly the reason she won't schedule the bill.

Minnis' fiat is a slap in the face to all Oregonians. This very small minority of individuals is forcing a very large group of citizens from enjoying the most basic of rights: being a legally recognized family and protect individuals from discrimination. Minnis' cowardly and shameful attempt to hide SB1000 from a House vote is a black eye on the entire Republican Party of Oregon.

Via TJ, a rally is scheduled in Salem for July 20 at 6PM, with a "hoped-for surprise guest". I may just have to make the drive.

Minnis must be held to account for her actions.

Here are some other very important links to visit:

Here's TJ from AlsoAlso:

Here's Bryan from GayRightsWatch:

And of course, Basic Rights Oregon:

You can contact Minnis to give her some of the hell she deserves:
Phone: 503-986-1200
Fax: 503-986-1201


Read, think, ACT!!


NRA Punishes Columbus OH for Assault Weapon Ban

NRA Will Move Convention
July 18, 2005, 12:30 PM

Reported by Tino Ramos

It's a question of principle over profit, but it's going to cost the city of Columbus millions of dollars.

One of Columbus' biggest upcoming conventions is pulling its business out of the city. The National Rifle Association will no longer hold its May 2007 convention here.

The decision all came down to a new law in the capital city.

Two months ago, the NRA announced it would bring its convention to Columbus and bring in what they claim is 60,000 people and pumping in some $20 million into the community. Monday morning, they had harsh words for city council blaming them for the pullout, based on the recently passed law banning assault weapons.


More on the TED Conference

Two more articles on the TED Conference by Jo Twist, BBC News science and technology reporter:

A future full of hopes and fears

Science and technology have powered huge leaps in understanding but our biggest challenges lie ahead.

The science of complexity is perhaps the greatest challenge of all, Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees believes.

The biggest conundrum is humanity and how we came to be, he told the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in Oxford.

The cosmologist said that in the 21st Century science has changed the world faster than ever before and in many new ways.

"Our century is very, very special," said Professor Rees. "It is the first where humans can change themselves."


Pushing for the next giant leap

Humans have a "moral imperative" to open up space as a "new frontier", says X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis.

He also believes that within the next decade humans will find ubiquitous life on Mars and, in our lifetime, millions of people will be going into space.

Mr Diamandis addressed last week's Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in Oxford, held in Europe for the first time.

TED Global brings together scientists, designers and big thinkers to discuss how to make a better future for all.

High ambition

"If you think about space, everything we hold of value on this planet is in infinite supply there," Mr Diamandis explains.

"Earth is a crumb in a supermarket full of resources."


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Frightening Poll on the Toledo Blade Website

How long has it been since you last read a book?

_ Within the last year
_ More than a year ago
_ Never


Frank Rich Sees More Parallels with Watergate

Follow the Uranium

"I am saying that if anyone was involved in that type of activity which I referred to, they would not be working here."
- Ron Ziegler, press secretary to Richard Nixon, defending the presidential aide Dwight Chapin on Oct. 18, 1972.

Chapin was convicted in April 1974 of perjury in connection with his relationship to the political saboteur Donald Segretti.

"Any individual who works here at the White House has the confidence of the president. They wouldn't be working here at the White House if they didn't have the president's confidence."
- Scott McClellan, press secretary to George W. Bush, defending Karl Rove on Tuesday.

WELL, of course, Karl Rove did it.


TMV Wonders If London Bombers Were Hoodwinked

Were London's Suicide Bombers Tricked Into Thinking They Could Escape?
by Joe Gandelman

Great Britain's Mirror has a fascinating piece raising the question: were London's suicide bombers TRICKED by their Al Qaeda bosses into thinking they could escape?

If so, it would not be beyond the realm of possibility. Remember that (in)famous tape of Osama bin Laden gleefully recounting how some of the 911 hijackers didn't know they were going to die but thought they were on board to provide the passenger-control muscle?


Pam Calls for Impeachment

Bush should be prosecuted for lying to Congress

We went to war because of a lie. Several actually, but our clown-in-chief stood up before Congress and the American people and told a whopper and could send him to prison. Which lie?


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Op Ed: Greater Cincinnati must embrace gays, eccentrics

Cincinnati Enquirer - Your voice: Bruce Schultz

Greater Cincinnati is aging. It has one of the oldest populations in America. The reason has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution.

Not everybody craves a big lawn in a "wholesome" suburban neighborhood. Some are confirmed urbanites. But Greater Cincinnati is not a friendly place for gays, singles, young professionals, artists or other creative eccentrics.

We have two social industries in Cincinnati - a small cottage industry in baby-making and a booming industry in funerals. When babies grow up here, they move away because there's nothing for them to do here but go to church, watch TV and shop (i.e., life in the suburbs). Young people return only to attend the funerals of their relatives.

A brighter future for Greater Cincinnati sits unrealized in its idle downtown core. Local yokels haven't a clue about how to realize it.

How do we "fix" downtown? First, face facts. Downtown will never be a shopping mecca again in this Automobile Age. (The Automobile Age is coming to a close with rising gas prices, but as Mark Twain is reputed to have said, "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always 20 years behind the times.") Also, downtown tax structure makes it an awful choice for corporate headquarters. Downtown cannot compete with suburban tax giveaways to corporations (such as suburban tax-abatement schemes to attract big business, which come at the expense of suburban school funding and teachers' salaries).

So what's left?

"Community" means people-in-the-streets. A city starts with a population. Create one in downtown Cincinnati. Urban renewal always begins with gays and eccentrics. They are the pioneers of inner-city comebacks. Start there. (If you don't believe this, read about every other urban turnaround in America.)

Cincinnati must reject its conservative, anti-gay political blabber. It must resist its inclination toward stiff-necked conservative stodginess. It must embrace diversity instead.

Cincinnati must promote the creation of affordable downtown housing and interesting venues for young professionals and bohemians. It needs residents. Retail follows people. Suburbanites aren't coming back downtown to visit renovated squares - they're busy mowing their lawns in suburbia.

I won't ask city fathers for a pricey consultant's fee for this information. My ideas don't require moving any fountains. I'd just like to see our area get wiser - fast.

Until then, see you at the funeral.

Bruce Schultz of Cold Spring KY is a writer and former high school teacher.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Covering the Intersection Between Politics and Religion

A new issue of Religion in the News has been posted online.

Contents include:

Getting Right with the Pope
A new, more conservative, American Catholic commentariat rises to the top.
by James T. Fisher

From the Editor: What's in a Name?
by Mark Silk

Why Moral Values Did Count
Region and religious commitment did, indeed, shape the 2004 election.
by John C. Green and Mark Silk

What Athens Has To Do With Jerusalem
Messy scandals besmirch the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece and the Holy Land.
by Andrew Walsh

Evangelicals Adopt the Culture of Life

President Bush and other evangelicals are appropriating Catholic ideas and formulas
to frame their pro-life policies.
by David W. Machacek

Sin and Redemption in Atlanta
The media gets it and Ashley Smith is elevated as a �wounded healer.�
by Rebecca Fowler

The Faith-Based Initiative Re-Ups
The Bush administration attempts to resuscitate its faith-based initiatives.
by Dennis T. Hoover

Same-Sex Toons
The Religious Right and the media struggle spar over SpongeBob Square Pants and Buster Baxter.
by Christine McCarthy McMorris


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Murder by the Numbers...

Take this:

and this:

Then add a little of this:

And you get....THIS.

(Not much else to say, is there?)

Ms. Julien in Miami


Universe 'too queer' to grasp

I have been reading articles about a fascinating conference going on in Great Britain:

Universe 'too queer' to grasp
By Jo Twist, BBC News science and technology reporter

Scientist Professor Richard Dawkins has opened a global conference of big thinkers warning that our Universe may be just "too queer" to understand. Professor Dawkins, the renowned Selfish Gene author from Oxford University, said we were living in a "middle world" reality that we have created. Experts in design, technology, and entertainment have gathered in Oxford to share their ideas about our futures. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is already a top US event. It is the first time the event, TED Global, has been held in Europe.

Species software

Professor Dawkins' opening talk, in a session called Meme Power, explored the ways in which humans invent their own realities to make sense of the infinitely complex worlds they are in; worlds made more complex by ideas such as quantum physics which is beyond most human understanding.

"Are there things about the Universe that will be forever beyond our grasp, in principle, ungraspable in any mind, however superior?" he asked.

"Successive generations have come to terms with the increasing queerness of the Universe."

Each species, in fact, has a different "reality". They work with different "software" to make them feel comfortable, he suggested.

Because different species live in different models of the world, there was a discomfiting variety of real worlds, he suggested.


More than 300 leading scientists, musicians, playwrights, as well as technology pioneers and future thinkers have gathered for the conference which runs from 12 to 15 July.


Time to switch off and slow down

At a hi-tech conference bristling with bloggers constantly checking messages on Blackberries, smartphones, laptops and handheld computers, it is odd to hear a speaker suggest an e-mail free day.

But journalist Carl Honoré told attendees of the TED conference in Oxford they should unplug and slow down in a world that was stuck in fast- forward.

And for a wired world accustomed to having nearly unlimited information and the boundless choices of online shopping, it seems almost heretical to suggest that the infinite possibilities of the modern world leave us less satisfied instead of more.

But author Barry Schwartz told the conference that it was better when we had only a few choices of salad dressing instead of the 175 at his local supermarket.

These were just some of the suggestions to the audience at TED in their search for the good life.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) brings together experts in design, technology, and entertainment to share their ideas about our futures.



IHT: Little Incentive to Nab Bin Laden

Ahmed Rashid in the International Herald Tribune:

Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss have said they know where bin Laden is and that he is not in Afghanistan - implying he is in Pakistan. Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Kabul who is now the U.S envoy in Baghdad, has been more blunt and said that bin Laden is in Pakistan. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's army has captured 500 al-Qaeda militants and handed them over to the U.S., and has lost more than 500 soldiers fighting al-Qaeda in the rugged tribal areas. But the reality is that Musharraf has little incentive to catch bin Laden - and it may even be in the military's interest to keep him alive.

Pakistan's military fears that its alliance with the U.S. is a short-term one, based on cooperating in the war on terrorism, while Washington's long-term ally in the region is India, Pakistan's rival, with which the U.S. signed a 10-year strategic defense pact on June 29. According to this logic, America cannot dump Pakistan as long as the war on terrorism continues and bin Laden remains to be captured.


A Truly Sick AND Evil Person

Note that, like many child molesters, Duncan attacked both male and female children.

Man Bragged to Girl About Idaho Killings

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - Convicted sex offender Joseph Edward Duncan bragged to his 8-year-old captive during more than six weeks on the run, telling her how he used a shotgun and hammer to kill her family after staking out their home for days, court documents show.

Shasta Groene remembered it all and has been providing authorities with details that are building a strong case against Duncan.


"He told her he was out driving around looking for children to kidnap," Kootenai County sheriff's detective Brad Maskell testified during a probable cause hearing.


During weeks of captivity at a remote campsite in western Montana, Duncan told Shasta that he cased the family's home for two to three days, using his goggles to look in the windows and study the family's habits and the layout.

"Shasta was very specific that Mr. Duncan is the only person responsible for these acts," Maskell added.


Officials have alleged that the children were repeatedly sexually molested during their ordeal, and sheriff Rocky Watson has said he believes the motive for the killings was to acquire the children for sex.


Duncan had spent more than a decade in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint in Tacoma, Wash.


The Last Best Hope For Religious Continuity: Gays

July 15, 2005

In an age when religious activists frequently lament that their faith is under constant attack by secularism, gays could prove to be religion's last best hope.

It's a lesson I've learned keenly from personal experience. As a child, I read the Bible literally and decided I wanted to become a prophet when I grew up. I imagined tasting an actual lump of coal to cleanse my tongue like Isaiah, or crying out God's truth in the marketplace like Jeremiah. Then I encountered Judaism as it was practiced, rather than as it was portrayed in my children's Bible, and I realized how quaint my concept of faith was.


I'd almost given up on Judaism when, at the age of 22, I walked into a gay synagogue for the first time, mostly out of curiosity. It was on a Friday night, and I was surrounded by gays and lesbians chanting the prayers I'd learned as a kid — but with a striking warmth and fervor, the kind I'd dreamed of finding in shul as a young prophet-in-training. Instead of lecturing from the pulpit, the beaming rabbi walked down the aisle of a small, bright room and encouraged us to wish the people around us a good Shabbat.

In the middle of the service, I began crying — at first because I still couldn't get over the idea of a gay synagogue, but mostly because I was moved by these people's mere presence.
Sure, a few congregants may have been hunting for dates, yet most seemed genuinely interested in the service itself. Why? What drew these people to spend their Friday nights praying instead of going out to the bars?

In their critique of gays, religious leaders often caricature us as selfish hedonists without families or any other serious life commitments, who live only to indulge in pleasures like drugs, alcohol and anonymous sex. What they probably don't realize is that if their stereotyping has even the tiniest grain of truth, then it logically follows that gays of faith are the most righteous people on earth.

Generally, gay people aren't pressured by parents, rabbis or mainstream religious institutions to attend services. If anything, gays are encouraged in the opposite direction by party promoters, alcohol manufacturers and queer culture — or by misguided clergy, of which there are plenty, to judge by the Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders who united recently to condemn public expressions of gay pride in Jerusalem. In spite of this adversity, gay people continue to search, with almost no support, for a spiritual outlet. That simple profession of faith is far more powerful than all the homophobic clergy or politicians in Jerusalem combined.

Instead of attacking gays, religious leaders should consider studying them, to try to figure out what motivates gay people to attend synagogues, churches and mosques, or to form their own communities of prayer without any coercion. Perhaps these makeshift religious circles can teach mainstream Jews, Muslims and Christians how to forge deeper connections to their faith of their own free will, to promote a climate of spiritual renewal based on healthy affirmation rather than fear and gloom.

Not only could welcoming gay people into the fold provide a treasure trove of spiritual riches, it would be the ethical thing to do — that is, if you define your ethics by the teachings of brotherhood advocated by Moses, Mohammed and Jesus.


WP: Abu Ghraib Tactics First Used at Guantanamo

Techniques were approved by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld as part of special interrogation plan for "20th hijacker" in 2002, new investigation finds...


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Corrected Webpage: Nancy Goldstein's New Column

In honor of Independence Day, I asked a dozen prominent public figures
who they would give an American Patriot Award to if they had one to

Respondents include:

*J. Richard Cohen (President, Southern Poverty Law Center)
*Marjorie Hill, PhD (Director of the Women's Institute at Gay Men's
Health Crisis)
*Irvin Kershner (Director, "The Empire Strikes Back")
*Jennifer Gonnerman (journalist for the Village Voice, and author of
"Life on the Outside," a finalist for this year's National Book Award)
*Hillary and Julie Goodridge (lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Dept. of
Public Health, the ground-breaking case that established the right of
same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts)
*Dr. Paul Farmer, Cofounder of Partners in Health (PIH)
*Carmen Vazquez, Deputy Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda
*Steve Gerber (creator of "Howard the Duck")
*Malika Saada Saar, JD (Executive Director of The Rebecca Project for
Human Rights)
*Michael Musto (journalist for the Village Voice)
*Todd Hanson (editor for "The Onion")


WHY Would Bush Consider This?

Is he perhaps planning to appoint Jerry Falwell or James Dobson to the Supreme Court? Or does he want to appoint Judge Roy Moore and have people say, well, at least he's a judge?

What business does a non-judge have on SCOTUS today?

Bush Says He Might Consider Newcomers for High Court
Published: July 13, 2005 in The New York Times

WASHINGTON, July 13 - President Bush said today that his nominee for the Supreme Court may be someone who has never sat on the bench before.

"Would I be willing to consider people who had never been a judge?" Mr. Bush said. "And the answer is, 'You bet.' "



Finally, the Loser Has a Long Enough Rope...

WSJ: Bush shows erosion of support


President Bush has suffered an erosion in public regard for his policies and his credibility, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed Wednesday, the registration-restricted Journal reports. Excerpts follow.


Mr. Bush's overall job approval now stands at 46%, while 49% disapprove of his performance. More problematic for the White House, the public turns thumbs down on the president's handling of the economy by 54%-39%, and on his handling of Iraq by 55%-39%.

At a time when the administration's credibility is under attack amid an investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's name, Mr. Bush receives his lowest ratings as president for "being honest and straightforward." Just 41% rate him positively on that score, while 45% rate him negatively. The telephone survey of 1,009 adults, conducted July 8-11, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Criminal Charges Tossed in NY Gay Marriage

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A prosecutor dropped all charges Tuesday against a small town mayor who could have faced up to a year in jail for marrying gay couples on the steps of the village hall...


Monday, July 11, 2005

What are the First Three Questions Asked by Police When Investigating a Crime Involving Bodily Injury or Death of a Homosexual?

1. Was he/she looking for a fight?

2. Was he/she on drugs?

3. Did he/she make a pass at someone who might not appreciate it?

(Translation: What can we dig up to pin it on the homosexual, rather than the perp?)


Brazil Court OKs Gay Adoption

This is so cool! Of course, in the state of oranges and good old bankrupt Anita Bryant, even a single gay person cannot adopt - much less as a couple. So, the original Catholic country of the New World is more enlightened than the country where people flew to avoid persecution???



Sao Paulo, Brazil) A judge in Sao Paulo has ruled that there is no valid reason for denying a same-sex couple the right to adopt children. It is believed the case is the first in Brazil where a gay couple has been allowed to jointly adopt a child.

Vasco Pereira da Gama, 33, and Dorival Pereira de Carvalho, 41, have been fighting for the right adopt for five months. The couple has been together for 13 years and owns a model agency and beauty salon according to Radio Brazil.

The men met with a psychologist, social assistants and a public prosecutor before going to court.

In his ruling, Judge Julio Cesar Spoladore Domingos cited a policy statement by the Psychology Council which declared that "homosexuality was not a disease, a disturbance or a perversion."

The couple's lawyer, Everaldo Galvao, said that although gays have been allowed to adopt in the past it is the first time a court has permitted a couple to adopt and become joint parents.

Gama and Carvalho told Brazil Radio they want to adopt a little girl between the ages of two and four.

In Brazil, civil unions between same-sex couples are allowed in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. In January, a federal prosecutor asked a judge to order courts across Brazil to perform gay marriages. The judge has not yet ruled on the petition.

© 2005