Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Letter to My Republican Friends....

Dear Friends,

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." -Thomas Jefferson

I have always tried to heed Jefferson’s advice. Especially during election years. The great hallmark of American democracy is our ability to settle our disputes, hold our civic discourse and yes, conduct our national affairs within a construct of civility and implied shared goodwill.

Or at least that is how I remember it… Now, I am not so sure If America has changed, or if my own perceptions were just somewhat rose colored. Because I will confess, since 2004, and going through to this 2012 Presidential Election, I have been struggling with Jefferson’s admonition.

And it’s time to admit I am losing the struggle.

So as I have done many times before in my life, I am sitting down to write a letter to a friend. Or more accurately, I am writing a letter to all of you, my friends. Specifically those friends who are going to vote, or who are considering voting for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their Political Party; the Republicans this November.

I am sure you have your reasons for why you honestly think Mitt Romney should be President. I would like to think that it isn’t just because you don’t want Barack Obama to continue to be President, but rather you truly believe in the ideas that Governor Romney and the Republicans have put forward. So in that spirit…

Maybe your reasons are fiscal. Perhaps, you feel that President Obama has not “put America back to work” fast enough. I can respect your frustration with the slow pace of economic recovery  Perhaps you truly feel that, because President Obama has not managed to repair eight years of damage in less than four years,  America needs to elect  a guy who says he thinks  he can  fix  it over the next  eight to ten years.  It doesn't quite support your feelings of impatience,  but I'm not you. Maybe you truly feel that taxes have been raised too high by this Administration. The numbers dispute that, but  again, I am not in your shoes so I have to  respect your perceptions.

Maybe your motivation for voting for Romney-Ryan is that you truly and honesty feel that the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed. You may truly believe that there actually is such a thing as “ObamaCare” and, you really do feel  that a law prohibiting  insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, or cancelling coverage when you get sick, is a bad thing,  and needs to go on DAY ONE.   I can’t say I understand that, but I can agree that the AFCA is in many ways an imperfect solution and could be vastly improved.

Maybe you truly are concerned about our budget deficit and the level of our national debt. Despite having voiced none of this concern during the eight years of massive debt and deficit inducing spending that occurred under the last Republican Administration. Yet maybe, you really and truly didn't feel it was as big an issue then, and have now had an honest to goodness epiphany on the subject. If so, I can respect that as well.

Maybe it is that you just don’t like President Obama. You don’t like his style, his approach to being President, his dog or perhaps you just don’t personally care for the guy I can totally understand that. There are lots of people I really don’t care for. Personally I think Michelle Bachmann is a complete nutjob. Given the opportunity to vote her out of office , I'd jump at the chance. So if you honestly just don’t like the President, and would just be happier if he was voted out, that’s your right as an American.

On all of these points, I may not agree with your opinions , but I can respect your right to hold them, and we can, as the old cliché says, even “agree to disagree”.

But it isn't that simple in 2012. The issues we will vote on go far beyond things like taxes, health insurance regulations, the right to own an automatic weapon, or whether or not you like or don’t like a particular politician. As friends of mine, we need to talk about the 2012 election , because one of the things you will be voting for or against is… Me.

When you step into the voting booth on November 6th, you will not just be voting for a collection of local, state and federal candidates. You will be making a clear long-lasting , and far reaching statement about how you feel about me. Not my politics, not my opinions or beliefs, but Me. David Paul Fabie, as a person.

As most of you know, I live in London. Many of you know the reasons why I live here, but it is possible that some of you don’t. In January 2011 I got married,  and at present the fact that I am married to someone who is not an American, means in order to do something as basic as live with person I am married to, I had to leave the United States and move here. I hear some of you asking ; why don’t I just sponsor my spouse for a visa to live in the US? Because I can’t. Current U.S Immigration law does not grant any recognition to couples like us. Because, we are both men.

So let’s be very very clear on what your vote this November really means. For me, and for you, as a friend of mine.

The GOP platform for 2012 calls for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and affirms the party's support for the Defence of Marriage Act, which forbids all federal recognition of same-sex marriages. So even though states like New York, Iowa and Governor Romney’s home state of Massachusetts have equal marriage rights for all their citizens. For me, and my spouse It doesn't make any difference, as immigration law is a federal matter.

So understand that if you vote for Mitt Romney you are voting for his party’s platform. You are voting to amend the United States Constitution to keep me from ever being able to move back the United States. You are voting to keep me out, for the rest of my life.

Even though the GOP platform decries what it sees as the Obama Administration seeking to gain "government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects," this section of the platform advocates Government regulation of who Americans can love, and states that "the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard" through "laws governing marriage." Despite what We all know; my marriage doesn’t impact your life in any way. It doesn’t “attack” or “redefine” anything.

According to its platform, the Republican Party wants to reinstate Don't Ask Don't Tell, prevent same-sex marriages from being recognized by the federal government, and stop efforts to prevent gays and lesbians from being persecuted, and even killed overseas in places like Africa.

The GOP platform loudly decries efforts by the Obama administration to oppose laws in African countries that criminalize homosexuality. Some of the legislation being proposed would include prison time and even execution as punishment for homosexuality, but the GOP platform says the Obama administration is "imposing" the "homosexual rights agenda" on "the peoples of Africa" by saying imprisoning and killing people like me is a bad thing. Support for the GOP means you endorse the GOP's "respect and dignity" agenda for Gay people. Which means, you are saying the United States should do nothing to prevent people just like me from being executed or imprisoned outside of the US.

So understand that if you vote for Mitt Romney you are voting for his party’s platform. You are voting in favor of laws that say I am less of an American, and less of a human being than you are. You are voting directly to discriminate against Me. If you vote for the Republican ticket, you are saying that you truly feel that I, am a threat to your marriage, and to your family.

At the end of the paragraph explaining the party's position, the GOP platform states, "We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity." So understand if you vote for Mitt Romney you are saying loudly and clearly that "respect and dignity," are not things I am entitled to, but rather gifts the Government might deem to bestow on me, but only with your permission.

If you support Mitt Romney and his party you are, in the truest sense of the word, attacking me. You are voting that I am less than you , voting that I don’t deserve the same treatment under the law as you , voting that my marriage is not as valid as yours. You are saying that love is only real when you feel it. Not when I feel it.

When you vote this November, you are not voting on politics, or public policy or taxes or heath care or foreign policy or even who you think Barack Obama, or Mitt Romney is or is not. You are voting on my life,  you are voting either for or against me, for or against my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So understand this. If you are supporting Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, you are saying that you honestly feel that as human beings, my life has less value than yours, and you want Government to make that the law of the land.

 Some of you have said to me "Dave, I don't agree with the GOP position on Gays, but this election is bigger than one issue." Sorry, that is pretty much the same as saying "Dave, I agree with you that second hand smoke is bad, so from now on I will only smoke at your house." You can't parse your vote. Your vote doesn't enable some of the GOP Platform. It enables all of it.

Yes, your vote for Romney may get you the things you want from a President. Things like, an end to graduate students being able to stay on their parents health insurance, and a halt to government support for renewable energy.   But it also will make sure I am treated by my own government as less of a citizen than you .   I would like to think that as a friend of mine,  you might have a problem with that.

So I need to put it to you directly. Friend to Friend. When you step into the voting booth,   you are not just  saying if you  believe in Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, you are also saying if  you believe in me.   You are not just voting to say  if you are "proud to be an American...", You are also saying whether or not,  you proud to say that we are friends.

The question on your ballot is not what you think,  or believe or don't believe about Mitt Romney' s or Barack Obama's religions. The real question on your ballot is;  Do you believe that the God that you believe  created and loves you , also loves me?

The question on your ballot is not about who "Loves Freedom" or about  who respects  the "will of the Founding Fathers", but rather the very real question of;   Do you , my friend,   love and respect me?

So before you cast that vote, I would ask one small favor. If the Platform of the Republican Party and their standard bearers is what you are truly going to vote for this November, then let’s spare the awkwardness. Do what you need to do to “un-friend”  me now. Because clearly we define the concept of being “Friends”, very differently.



Friday, August 24, 2012

The 2012 Election: So... Why Do I Care?

First, some context as preface.   If I were to  recap the events of the past few months, and how it has informed the realization on the sad, twisted state of the GOP;  that would, in itself  take months.  Fortunately Mike Papantonio, co-host of Ring of Fire Radio, gives a concise brilliant summation of how we all got to where we are today.

Friends of mine here  on this side of the Atlantic,  including my husband,  have recently  asked me  why do I care who wins the   U.S.   Presidential  Election?  After all,  the eight years of insanity  the world endured  during the  Bush-Cheney Administration were far worse for Americans  than it was for Europeans.   If the American electorate  is  stupid enough to vote  against their own best  interests,  gullible  enough  to swallow the steaming pile of bullshit  that the  GOP would serve up to protect  the interests of the top one-tenth of one percent, all  at the expense of  everyone else.  If  Americans actually do elect  Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan,  well then,  Americans  deserve everything they get.

After all,  while the United States engages in an all out  cultural civil war over the idea that the Bill of Rights, actually applies to all Americans;  Here in the United Kingdom,  same sex couples like Eric and I  will still enjoy all the  same rights as opposite sex couples,   and those rights will even grow, as Britain's  conservative government pushes ahead with the expansion of Civil Unions,  into full  and equal Same Sex Marriage.   

After all,  while the United States  mortgages  the lives of  99 percent of it's people by turning the American health care into economic Darwinism - Survival of the Richest.    All  to bankroll the  greed and privilege  of the  top one percent;   Here in the United Kingdom,  the National Health Service along with sensibly regulated private insurance providers,  (Yes  that's right Fox News dimwits.  The UK has both),  will  ensure  that  in average life expectancy  of  a child born in 2010,  whereas the UK  will continue to climb from its current rank of 13th in the world, the best the United States can hope for is not to slip too far down from its current ranking of  38th.

So this is what America, under Romney-Ryan will become.  A rabid right wing home-schooled theocracy. Where what is left of government,  serves the needs of only the wealthiest of the wealthy.  A nation of  Tea Party idiots,  who wave the Constitution like a banner, but understand none of it. American Talibangelicals, who scream hysterically about the threat of "Sharia Law", but want to impose their own fundamentalist extremist beliefs on everyone else.
Should my fellow Americans  be  so stupid as  to forget the consequences of  their choices in  2000 and 2004 and 2010,   rest assured Europe and Asia won't be following the U.S. off the cliffs of economic, social and cultural  insanity that Romney, Ryan and the GOP would go hurtling off at  full speed.

While the United Kingdom moves on to harness renewable energy and tackles the challenges of climate change, expands the boundaries of medical science and addresses the issue of Abortion by dealing with the causes of it, rather than simply attacking women. Romney and Ryan will turn back the clock for American Women to the 19th Century. In that same spirit, after handing over America's National Parks to Oil Companies, Timber Companies and Mining Corporations look for the GOP to eliminate science from public schools. As the likes of Michelle Bachman and Mike Huckabee demand that American students are only taught that the Earth is 6,000 years old, and the human race began with two fully formed people, who rode around a garden on dinosaurs, chatting it up with talking snakes.

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My friends smile warmly and assure me that the rest of the World will, for a little while, feel bad about America's demise. But soon, everyone will get over it, quite content to move on without the United States. China, Russia, India, and many others will smile and applaud, as the GOP completely destroys what is left of the American Manufacturing sector. Mexico, Japan and South Korea will quietly cheer as the talking heads on FOX News gleefully report on the end of the rights of unionised workers. While at the same time, insisting that multi million dollar bonuses (at middle class taxpayer expense) for Wall Street executives are necessary to "keep America's Job Creators strong."

So why should I care? After all, there is no point in trying to reason with American Conservatives . Reason involves facts and reality. Two things the American Conservatives have learned to be quite comfortable living without. People who rather than just come out and admit they can't accept the fact the President of the United States is Black; instead rant and rave about a coming "UN Invasion" as Barack Obama's UN Stormtroopers are going to come "for your guns".

Why not leave the United States to the racist, homophobic  misogynistic  theo-facist nutjobs  who believe  it should be easier to buy an automatic weapon than it is to vote?   Why not just let America go the way of the dinosaur,     After all,  the rest of the world will smile and thank the GOP for all they have done to eliminate their competition  

Why not indeed.... I guess for me, the problem is unlike Sarah Palin and the scared gullible bigots that hang on her every twitter posting, I really do believe that the greatness of the United States lies in our diversity. "E Pluribus Unum" - Out of Many , One.     At the end of the day, I may live in  Great Britain,  and may be married to  Brit,  and  yes  I may even  occasionally eat baked beans on toast  for breakfast.  But I am an American and yes I care what happens this November.

I care because  I love  my country and  believe that  even when we fail miserably  to live up to our stated ideals,  we remain far more potential  than we have ever been actualized.   

The GOP  says they "want their country back". The vision of America they hold as "their country" is one where an ultra-conservative religious social agenda is made into Civil Law. Women's Rights to control their own bodies, Affirmative Action, Gay and Lesbian Rights, Separation of (their) Church and State, the social safety nets of Medicare/ Social Security and Public Education are all abolished. I care because the Republican Party has lost its mind, and sold its soul.

 For the good of  America, for the good  the  Republican Party itself,  President Obama  needs to be re-elected, by a landslide.  The GOP has lost all sense of who they are, and what they have stood for since the days of  Abraham  Lincoln.  

The GOP is  addicted to crazy, and like many addicts,   the only way they will ever kick their destructive habit,  is to finally  hit rock bottom.

Presidential Elections are always rife with  superlatives.   Sweeping statements of how THIS  election is the most important in our lifetime.  How the choice  Americans  make at the ballot box this November will be pebble thrown in the pond of history, the ripples from which, will be felt for generations to come...etc..etc.

Oddly enough, this time. It's the truth. The United States is at a cultural and economic crossroads. Will we all move forward together, or will we sacrifice the future of the many, to subsidise the very few? Will the United States of America vote for the future,  or stumble backwards to a fearful, small minded  past where  the American Dream exists only for a select few?

I care because I want America to keep moving  forward.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Judge Ralph Maxwell (Ret.) is my new Hero!

92 year-old former North Dakota District Judge and WWII veteran, Ralph Maxwell, recites the lyrics from his song "Wherefore Art Thou, Mitt Romney-O".

by Ralph Maxwell

O, Romney-O, Romney-O,
Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
You flip-flop here, you flip-flop there,
You flip-flop almost ev'rywhere.

You ballyhoo what you're gonna do
And then you pull a switcheroo;
You now malign what you once found fine;
Seems like you've got a jellyfish spine.

Obamacare, by you begun,
Now you'd trash it on day one.
Gun control you did extol,
But now you're preaching decontrol.

O, Romney-O, Romney-O,
Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
We've got no clue what you will do
Or what new view you'll pander to.

Time was you championed women's choice,
But you no longer heed their voice;
On gay rights, too, guess you withdrew
Support they once enjoyed from you.

Global warming, EPA,
Immigration, minimum pay,
Roe V. Wade, also fair trade,
All joined your flip-flop cavalcade.

O, Romney-O, Romney-O
Wherefore art thou, Mitt Romney?
So many things that you were for
You've turned against and slammed the door.

Stimulus and cap and trade,
Education, foreign aid,
Campaign reform, tarp rescues, too,
All victims of your switcheroo.

You take your stand on shifting sand,
We never know where you will land;
You vacillate, you fabricate,
A wishy-washy candidate.

O, Romney-O, Romney-O,
Wherefore art thou Mitt Romney?
As gov'nor you let taxes rise,
Now ev'ry tax you demonize.

You say regardless of the facts
You'd take an axe to millionaire's tax;
You'd feed the greed of the richest few
The poor and middle class you'd screw.

Your tax returns you hide from view
What evil there lurks we've no clue;
If they're not bad why hesitate?
Or is it they incriminate?

O, Romney-O, Romney-O,
Wherefore art thou Mitt Romney?
At Bain you plundered with a flair
And walked away a zillionaire.

You shipped off-shore, good jobs galore
To China, India, Singapore;
A job creator you are not
And to boast you are is tommyrot.

As a total fraud, Mitt's got no peer
What we should do is crystal clear:
Let's give Obama four more years!
Yes, it's Obama -- four more years!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Family Research Council is Still a Hate Group...

I debated posting about this. I really did. Part of me really wanted to be the "grown up" here, and just let it go. Ignore it and move on, the little voice of reason inside my head said, there is nothing to gain by engaging with these people. And that little voice of reason is probably right.

But you know what?   Screw it.  There is nothing  reasonable  about any of this.   So let's start with the facts.

Yesterday in  Washington DC, a man named  Floyd Lee Corkins,  walked into an office building.  Allegedly voiced  his opposition to the business that was head quartered there,  pulled out a gun and  fired at a security guard, wounding him in the arm.  The wounded security guard then  disarmed Corkins and held him until Police and FBI agents  arrived on the scene.

In the wake of yet another shooting incident  in a public place in the United States,  you would think the story here would be about another disturbed individual  who  was able with little or no trouble, acquire an incredibly dangerous firearm, along with ammunition and then commit an act of domestic  terrorism.    But in this case,  the who, what  and when  are  just the background for the much bigger issues of  where this happened and the possible reasons  why.

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I have blogged extensively about the Family Research Council, and specifically about its President, Tony Perkins.   Yet  before  we  take hold that  that particular  thread of this story,  it is  important to make one thing perfectly clear.    Domestic Terrorism  is a crime against  the  very  heart and soul of America.  Our right to  the "pursuit of happiness",  the  ability to  go about our lives without living in fear.

Should it be proven that  Floyd Corkins, was not just a crazy guy with a gun who wandered in a random building and opened fire;  Then it would make him  no different than the sick twisted madmen who recently  shot up a Colorado movie theatre, and a Wisconsin  Sikh Temple.  Or for that matter,  no different  than  the sick and twisted men who blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, or  assasinated  Kansas Doctor George Tiller as he sat in Church one Sunday Morning.

Terrorism is Terrorism. The idealogical motivation is irrelevant.

We all can wish for the speedy recovery of the wounded FRC employee, and hold him, his family and his co-workers in our thoughts and prayers. Also we all can agree that any act of Domestic Terrorism is a tragedy and the gunman who attacked the FRC offices should face as swift and fair a prosecution as we would do with any domestic terrorist.

Literally moments after reports of the shooting  went out over the airwaves and  internet,  various surrogates and  supporters of the  FRC  began to suggest that this attack on the offices  of  a Social Conservative Advocacy Group  was a Liberal Hate Crime, and  it was  rhetoric critical of the FRC,  by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, and  LGBT Rights organizations that  had perhaps motived Corkins to commit this act of  terrorism.

We do not yet know what  Corkin's motives for this were.   Fox News has cited un-named witnesses who claim Corkins  made statements  about his personal dislike for the mission and positions of the FRC before he opened fire.

Sources told Fox New that after guard took away his gun, the suspect said, “Don’t shoot me, it was not about you, it was what this place stands for.”   Authorities were treating the attack as a case of domestic terrorism, although James McJunkin, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said authorities do not yet know the gunman’s motive.

I have in the last few hours read blog posts and comments where friends of mine, people who I have known and respected for decades; have put forward the notion that this is an example of the "violent radical gay left". The Conservative media and blogosphere has jumped on the "left wing hate crime" narrative with gusto.    Speculating that  "Left-wing hate speech against  Christians " motivated Corkins to do what he did.

The Southern Poverty Law Center,  after careful examination of the words, policies, and actions of the FRC recently added them to their list  of groups that promote hatred and violence against minorities. (From the SPLC Website)

The Family Research Council (FRC) bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”

Now in the wake of yesterday's shooting, FRC President Tony Perkins, and numerous surrogates have fanned out across the media claiming, that it was the designation by the SPLC that is to blame for what happened. Brian Brown from the anti-civil rights group the "National Organization for Marriage" went on CNN to try to make the case that it was the FRC being criticised for its hateful speech, rather than the hateful speech itself that was to blame

It is insanity to blame a victim of a crime for the actions of the criminal who committed it. Yet, the Family Research Council  is quite happy to excuse the criminal when the victim of a hate crime or act of terrorism is Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual or Transgender. The FRC in fact, believes the victim had it coming.   So if we are going to talk about hateful rhetoric then fine. I will allow the Family Research Council speak for itself. - in their own words:

” Gays are like a gun to the head of America. That’s what we’re talking about whenever you’re talking about gay rights. You’re talking about giving somebody a gun to put at the head of anybody who disagrees with them, whether it’s the Boy Scouts, whether it’s a local dry-cleaning establishment or a giant corporation like Shell Oil.” – Robert  Knight, FRC  

Let's be very clear here.  If Gay Rights advocates ever used the same language  when talking about Conservative Christians,  Tony Perkins  and those like him would be screaming for marshal law and suspension of the First Amendment.   No LGBT rights group has EVER called for conservative Christians to be rounded up, imprisoned and killed. Yet  Perkins and the  FRC have publicly called for exactly that, for  Gay and Lesbians  through their support  for efforts to make simply being Gay a capital crime in places like Uganda.   

I don't know what motivated Floyd Corkins to attack the offices of the Family Research Council.   Latest news reports indicate Corkins has been arraigned, charged, and ordered  held without bond for a mental health evaluation.   Police and  the FBI are not  saying what motive, if any,  Corkins has revealed  for his  actions.   Yet the idea that there is some  pervasive cloud of anti-Christian hatred in America, created by the Political Left, and sustained  through  hateful and violent rhetoric against Christians by LGBT rights groups;   is a load of opportunistic, hypocritical nonsense of such proportions as to truly boggle the mind.

On this very blog,  I have often used strong language when talking about the Family Research Council, and its President, Tony Perkins. Many times I have referred to the FRC as being the "American Taliban" , and made the sarcastic suggestion that Perkins himself may be a closeted Homosexual. Is it possible that the words I have used could be taken to heart by someone like Floyd Corkins, and used as justification for acts of violence against Social Conservatives?  It's possible, but highly improbable.

But having said that, I will make Tony Perkins a deal.   I will own every thing I have ever written or said about him and his organization and its allies. I will accept that my words and writings may have contributed to a member of  the FRC  staff getting shot in the arm. I will concede Perkins'  point that rhetoric critical of  his  point of view and policy efforts may have  directly lead to the events of yesterday. I will agree to it all, but that means the same standard applies to Tony Perkins and the entire FRC as well.

If we all accept the idea that calling the Family Research Council a "hate group" has resulted in a a climate where Floyd Corkins felt it was ok to shoot a member or its staff, that means Tony Perkins and the FRC can and must be held directly accountable for the impact of more than twenty years of their own campaign of hatred and dehumanization of Gays and Lesbians.

So  I am more than willing to  personally apologize to the FRC's wounded staff member and his entire family, If in  return,  Perkins does the same to the families he and his organization have harmed.  Starting with these.

I am willing to stand up, apologize and say I own my own  words, and  the possible role they may have played in what happened at your offices yesterday, but then Perkins and the FRC own all of theirs    At the time these horrific crimes and tragedies against  LGBT people  happened,  what was The response from the Family Research Council? - Silence.

Actually,  I take that back.   Tony Perkins did go on Television to fight  against ANY efforts to address bullying of LGBT kids in schools. Going on to say that it was not the bullies who drove those kids to their deaths, or anti gay hatred that the problem, but rather, "gay activists" who in his view were “exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda."    

Ironic, when you watch Tony Perkins on Fox News yesterday, trying to  do exactly that.

I don't know of anyone who isn't condemning the attack on the FRC. We ALL wish the brave security guard who was wounded, a speedy recovery, and look to see  Floyd Corkins  justly charged and tried for his actions.    Yet the it is hard to get past the glaring hypocrisy here, Tony Perkins wants to create a false equivalency and avoid all accountability for the role of the Family Research Council in the massive litany of violence committed against LGBT Americans on regular basis. While at the same time, demanding those who disagree with him, own the events of yesterday.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Wow... Well Done NASA!

To celebrate the successful landing of  the Mars Mobile Laboratory "Curiosity", we give you a stunning photo of a Martian Sunset taken by the NASA rover  "Spirit"

Click on the Photo to enlarge.
On May 19, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover's 489th Martian day, or sol.

Sunset and twilight images are occasionally acquired by the science team to determine how high into the atmosphere the Martian dust extends, and to look for dust or ice clouds. Other images have shown that the twilight glow remains visible, but increasingly fainter, for up to two hours before sunrise or after sunset. 

The long Martian twilight (compared to Earth's) is caused by sunlight scattered around to the night side of the planet by abundant high altitude dust. Similar long twilights or extra-colorful sunrises and sunsets sometimes occur on Earth when tiny dust grains that are erupted from powerful volcanoes scatter light high in the atmosphere.   Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell

You can follow NASA's latest  mission to explore Mars  here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness. Other details aren't being released. Hamlisch's career included composing, conducting and arranging music from Broadway to Hollywood. The composer won every major award in his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes. His music colored some of film and Broadway's most important works. 

Hamlisch composed more than 40 film scores, including Sophie's Choice, Ordinary People and Take the Money and Run. He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for The Sting.
On Broadway, Hamlisch received the Pulitzer Prize for long-running favorite A Chorus Line and wrote The Goodbye Girl and Sweet Smell of Success. A news release from his publicist said he was scheduled to fly to Nashville this week to see a production of his hit musical, The Nutty Professor. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A Blasphemous, Un-American Moron...

Sometimes  you sit down at the  keyboard and  rather than type your thoughts  you just want to rest your head against it, and  hope everything that  is going on in the world, will just go away....

This is one of those times.

Wade Michael Page, a deranged racist,  who would often talk of a coming "racial holy war", bought a 9mm semi automatic handgun with multiple ammunition magazines on July 28. Then two days ago went to a Sikh Temple just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and opened fire.

As a country, and as a culture, America struggles with how to react when things like this happen. Conservatives tend to circle their political wagons and claim Liberals,  and anyone else who says tragedies like these should cause America to examine its  relationship with guns, are “exploiting a tragedy for political gain.” While liberals claim the defence of completely unlimited gun rights by those on the Right, shows how “out of touch” conservatives are. While everyone else just tries to get through the day without wanting to cry, or scream or both.

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Let me get this out of the way first.  As far as the whole Gun issue goes.... I do not believe the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution allows Americans to have whatever kind of , and however many, guns as we want. The line in that often cited Amendment that many Americans like to forget is the first line of it;

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

So many Americans, are convinced, the right to have a gun, whatever kind of gun, and as many guns as they want is as critical to American Identity as our freedoms of speech, press, assembly and religion. Consequently any talk of the right to a gun, being “well regulated” sends otherwise rational people into spasms of  conspiracy riddled indignation.

Trying to have any sort of national discourse on America’s cultural firearms fetish, is pretty much like trying to teach pigs to Juggle. All you are going to accomplish is one group gets frustrated and the other group gets annoyed.   So if you disagree with me on the Gun issue, fine.  But  we both know you are wrong. So don't bother spewing  your supposed love of the 2nd Amendment  in the comment section on here.   I won't read it, and I won't post it.  Go back to forwarding your nut job chain letter emails  claiming that the President Obama is  "coming for your guns".  Because I don't care.

 I didn’t post anything about the recent, horrific movie theatre shooting in Colorado, so I wrestled with writing a post about Sunday’s shooting at a Sikh temple in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. I am quite familiar with that part of the world, being from Wisconsin, and having lived and studied in Milwaukee. Still not having lived there for nearly two decades, I really didn’t feel there was anything I could add to the discourse on this, other than my own shock, and sympathy for the victims and their community.

Funny odd thing, life... How one brief encounter on a London Subway, can change all that.

Last night I was on the London Underground heading home after work, Thanks to the Olympics I have found the trains actually less crowded than usual. So oddly enough, I was able to find a seat on the Jubilee Line, while I read the London Evening Standard. I had just finished the article reporting on the shooting in Oak Creek, when I looked up and noticed two young Sikh men sitting directly across from me, reading the very same article. Their distinctive turbans and beards standing out in the crowd of weary evening commuters.

They appeared to me to be at most, in their late twenties. They both were looking at the newspaper one of them was holding, The expressions on their faces growing increasingly solemn as they read the account of the shooting.  The older looking of the two, folded the paper and looked at the other and shook his head and said quietly “Americans think we are all Muslims. That’s why they shot them.” His companion nodded his head, and replied; “Not just Muslims, they shoot each other at the cinema too...

I wanted to say something.  I wanted to  tell them,  that  Wisconsin  is not a place full of racist gun toting nut jobs who feel  threatened to the point of deadly violence when faced with any religious faith that isn’t their own.  I wanted to tell them  how  Wisconsin   is a  place where  you would want to grow up.  Where you would want to come and study.  I wanted to explain how one  racist  lunatic  with  a gun  did not, could not, and never would  speak for me,  my family,  my friends and  that part of  the United States that  I still to this day,  call  “home”.

I wanted to say all of that. But I didn’t.   Because there is absolutely no reason on this Earth for those two young Sikh men to believe me if I had.  After all,  why should they  believe anything of the sort, when America’s self-proclaimed leaders of faith are saying crap like this.

Page, who was shot and killed by police during the attack, has not been identified as an Atheist, yet this sad, demented hate monger was first out of the gate to go on national television to say it was a lack of belief in God (his God specifically) that is partly to blame for the shooting.

I know habitual viewers of FOX News are going to have trouble understanding this, so I will type slowly.  Try to understand this;  God does not love America more than other nations. We are not God’s favourite kids. If you think that, you are a blashphemous moron. Pat Robertson is an un-American hate merchant who thinks America is better than other nations because of people like him. He could not be more wrong.

The success of the United States as a nation throughout our history has been a direct result of our DIVERSITY - E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one,) THAT is what makes America exceptional.  Not some twisted notion that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin,   fought less for the idea that all people are created equal,  and more  for the right of every American to own an Uzi.  Or the even crazier notion that, owning that Uzi is somehow  pleasing to the Almighty, thus granting America special divine favor.

The people of Oak Creek Wisconsin are in my thoughts, and yes.... my prayers.  Prayers that they will survive both this tragedy,  and the idiocy that has followed it.   It is the fact that there is a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin to begin with,   and there will continue to be, even after this senseless tragedy;   That is what makes America exceptional.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


Jon Stewart's  brilliant take on the  Chick-Fil-A  brouhaha.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Boycott? .... Yawn.

For those of you who have been paying attention to, well,  you know... real news.  You may have missed this one.  A fast food Chicken restaurant chain in the United States called Chick-Fil-A, apparently is owned by someone who doesn't like Gay people and donates money to anti-gay causes and groups.

Pro-LGBT rights activists began an boycott of Chick-Fil-A which led to outrage and cries of "denying Chick-Fil-A's first amendment rights", by social conservatives. Who then declared August 1st   as "Chick-fil-A appreciation day", and  flooded the place in droves to show their support for the company's CEO, and  their collective  hatred of  the Gays, and I guess,  love for deep fried processed chicken parts.  

To be perfectly honest, I had never even heard of Chick-Fil-whatever before all the hubub. Frankly, since I was never going to eat there anyway I really couldn't care what the owner does with his own money. But it's worth pointing out the hypocrisy on the Right is a bit more telling than usual.

When "Social Conservatives"  boycott companies like ,  gee... I don't know.  Companies like  Disney,  JC Penny,  DC Comics,  EA Games, Marvel Comics. Target,  Google,  Apple,  Toys R Us,  and pretty much any other  Fortune  500 Company that includes  sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies;  THAT is  exercising their freedom of Speech.   But  when LGBT rights activists do the exact  same thing?  That is  apparently  an ATTACK  on freedom of speech. 
You have to love  wing-nut logic.    

I really don't  care  if  people eat  at  Chick-Fil-A or not.    Personally I think  the CEO's anti-gay sentiments are  the least of the reasons  to avoid  the place.   Your health  being  a far better reason to not eat there.  But  what is good for one side is good for both.   I  make it a point to  support the companies  that  make the  Human Rights Campaign pro-equality index.    So if   homophobes  want to stuff their faces  with  greasy hormone filled pseudo-food,  to show  how icky they think  Gays and Lesbians are.  I say,  knock your selves out kids!