Thursday, December 27, 2012

The surprising life of a true American Hero...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For me , Charles Durning will always be best little Governor Texas ever had...

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Last Word on Christmas....

On this Christmas Eve,  the last word on the holiday goes as always....  to  Linus.

Lights please....

Merry Christmas,  Everyone....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

James Dobson - The Blasphemy of A Bigot....

According to James Dobson,  founder of  the self -proclaimed "evangelical" group "Focus on the Family";  God allows children to be shot because  he is pissed off  about  Gays getting married..

I have written a length  about  Dobson's group  and  the truly awful, bigoted anti-Christian hate they regularly vomit out onto the airwaves and the internet. So I will spare you the repost.   If you want to find out just how vile and evil these people are, you can do so  HERE.

The latest bucket of bile to spew out of Dobson's hate hole,  is to link the tragic shooting in  Newton Connecticut  to (of course...)  Gays and women's reproductive rights.
(Hat Tip to the Huffington Post)

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said Monday that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary resulted from America turning its back on God, joining other conservative Christian leaders in assigning blame for Friday's Connecticut shootings.Speaking to listeners of his "Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk" program, Dobson said God "has allowed judgment to fall upon us."  

Dobson said:"I mean millions of people have decided that God doesn't exist, or he’s irrelevant to me, and we have killed fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences too.  And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on."

So just to be clear, according to this self-proclaimed "Christian Leader",    God "allowed"  20 children to be gunned down because he is upset about Gay Marriage and Abortion.  So in James Dobson's  sick twisted theology  God registers  displeasure with  mankind by slaughtering  innocent   children and plunging  their  families and  their community  into horrific  grief.


I can't help but wonder when decent honest people of  faith are going to  stand up  and take back  Christianity  from  evil nutjob opportunists like James Dobson.  A man  who  claims to speak for God and speaks nothing hatred and lies.    When will the  "Christian Left"  finally stand up  and call  right wing lunatics  like Dobson  what they are;  The American Taliban.

Seattle based writer and activist  Dan Savage  often wonders the same thing....

Friday, December 14, 2012

I don't know what to say....

Sitting here  in  London  watching the news coverage of the  horrific  shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown,  Connecticut.  A shooting that  claimed the lives (so far) of  26 people  20 of them children.   I truly do not know what to write, or say....

But I do know what I don't want to read, or hear...

I don't want to read comments on how this tragedy would have been averted if the teachers had been carrying guns, so don't write them,  I won't post them.  I don't want to read mindless pap  that says  "guns don't kill,  people do",  because only an idiot can't  see  how having the gun in the first place helps make horrors like this possible.  So don't bother writing it,  I won't post it

I don't want to hear perverse misinterpretations of the 2nd Amendment . Spare me the  Fox News BS that stricter controls on guns wouldn't have helped prevent this.  When in 2011 the UK death toll from homicide by  handgun was 8,  and in the US  was over 10,000,  regurgitated  NRA propaganda  just makes whoever is spewing it look heartless and stupid.  So spare yourselves  the embarrassment , and  turn your computer off  and  for now,  just be quiet.   

Because on this day,  when 20 children are dead partly because of  the American FETISH with firearms, on this day, you have nothing to say. So just don't...

May the grace and peace of  almighty God, be with the people of Connecticut , and may we all be granted the wisdom to do what needs to be done to ensure horrors like this never happen again.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Marriage Equality Heads to the Final Hurdle...

The United States Supreme Court will review the decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down Proposition 8, a 2008 law which banned gay marriage in California.
The appeals court's ruling was issued in February and found the law unconstitutional.  The court will also hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.  According to  SCOTUS Blog, the court is expected to hear arguments in late March and make a decision in late June.
So interestingly enough, that would put the decision on Marriage Equality for all Americans sometime around....uh... Pride Weekend!?!  Well,  that should make things interesting.    So  what  does this all mean for couples like Us and the thousands of other bi-national same sex couples?   Well,  that depends on how the court rules, obviously.  There are two cases  that will be taken up by the Court.  The first  is  the case against  California's  Proposition 8  which limited marriages in the State of California  to  only between  a man and a woman.   The plaintiff in the Prop 8 case is the  American Foundation for  Equal Rights  (AFER)  
The second case is  Windsor v. United States.  The Windsor case deals with the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  In 2007, Edith "Edie" Windsor and Thea Spyer, residents of New York, married in Toronto, Ontario, after 40 years of romantic partnership.    Spyer died in 2009, at which time New York legally recognized same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.   After Spyer's death, Windsor was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance. If federal law accorded their marriage the same status as different-sex marriages recognized by their state, she would have paid no taxes.
The United States General Accounting Office determined that there are 1,049 federal laws classified in the United States Code in which marital status is a factor.  One of the many areas included in these laws in Immigration.  But not only.  Other Federal  rights and privileges of Marriage include Social Security benefits, housing, food stamps, veterans benefits, taxation, civilian benefits, military benefits, employment benefits, financial disclosure and conflict of interest, family rights, loans, guarantees and payments, and a whole bunch of other issues that most of us never encounter in our daily lives    Yet DOMA is denying the right of valid, legally married households  (like ours), to participate as full-fledged citizens of the United States.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 646,464 same-sex couples who self-identified as such, and 131,729 of them had valid legal marriages. This means there are more than 500,000 unmarried same-sex partner households in the United States that could benefit from the federal recognition of same-sex marriage that would come with overturning DOMA.    Those numbers don't even include couples like us.   Bi-National Same Sex couples legally married and living outside the United States in  "DOMA Exile".  Where in order to simply be with the person I am married to, I had to move to a different country.

So what could the court do?  Well they could  (in theory) kill Prop 8 and  save  DOMA, if that  happens then same sex marriage  will be legal (again)  in the State of California  but  still un-recognized under US Federal Law.  Which for couples like us, would mean pretty much nothing.

But if the  Court upholds the lower court rulings that say DOMA is unconstitutional  then the Prop 8 question is moot, and all marriage discrimination laws at the state level get tossed out with DOMA.   Which means Eric and I get to head  down the US Embassy and  petition for  his "green card", which would give us the option to live back in the United States.  An option we do not presently have.  

But more than all of that,   a ruling by the United States Supreme Court will finally  settle the question  of whether or not the United States will finally join the majority of the civilized world in truly live up the words in the US Constitution and treat all Americans, Gay or Straight  equally under the law.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Teaching Pigs to Juggle....

The "aftermath" of the  2012 Presidential race has been interesting to watch.   Many on the right end of the political spectrum are doing some understandable soul-searching  in the wake of Republican defeats.

The reactions  tend to be falling into one of two distinct camps.  The first is that the Republican Party needs to seriously rethink it's current course and strategy.  Rethink it's obsession with social issues and come to grips with its greatest  PR problems.  The biggest being, it is seen by a large sector of the American electorate as the party of  the 1% and only the one percent.   The next being,  it is seen as a party that is overwhelmingly male, white and old.  Consequently  the  GOP needs to break out of  the box it has crammed itself into.

My old friend and fellow University of Wisconsin alum, conservative columnist and blogger  James Wigderson ,  recently penned very thoughtful column  for a Milwaukee area newspaper,  on how the conservative movement is not doing itself any favors  when it embraces the  crackpot elements now firmly ensconced  in the GOP base.

Now politically James and I agree on very little,   but in this case I find far more to agree with than not.   Some of the commentors on his blog beg to differ,   and when I voiced my agreement with the piece, I  was quickly branded a communist follower of  "Chairman Axelrod".   ,,, Sigh.

Which brings us to the second camp of Post Election thought.  Which is a lot more fun to watch.  There folks are convinced  the reason they lost is because America is  full of lazy welfare queens and gay  illegal aliens all who voted for Barack Obama because they "want free stuff", and anyone who doesn't  see that  is a brainwashed socialist.  Here the the prevailing thought is the GOP wasn't crazy enough.   Romney was too soft on gays,  to soft on the Brown menace to the South,  too soft on Abortion and Birth Control and wayyyyy too soft on the need to CUT TAXES and eliminate all government spending except defence.

When I was a young boy, we would often go visit my Great-Uncle's hog farm near Waterloo Iowa.  My Uncle Dale is my Grandmother's youngest brother and could best be described as the sort of person Meredith Wilson was talking about when he wrote "Iowa Stubborn" in "The Music Man"

On only one occasion did I ever try to discuss politics with him.  We were watching the PBS Newshour on television and two pundits were arguing over taxes.  He looked away from the screen and said ; "trying to argue with someone like that is like trying to teach pigs to juggle,  all you're gonna  do is frustrate yourself, and annoy the pigs!"

Now, many years later I truly understand  my Uncle Dale's point.   Trying to have any sort of reasoned debate with people who truly feel  the reason Mitt Romney lost, was because he was  too far to the political Left, truly is trying teach pigs to juggle.

The Republican Party needs to come to grips with reality, It needs to free itself from the grip of people who truly think the greatest threat to America is our own democratically elected  Government.  Only then can it legitimately make a case for its core principles   None of which Romney or Ryan was ever able to clearly articulate without phrasing the debate as how the wealthiest of the wealthy in America are somehow victims of  all the "takers" (47% of all Americans, according to Mitt Romney) who just want the Government to give them everything.

The Republican message to Americans in the 2012 campaign was nothing but a series of cheap shots that never stuck. It made the GOP look bitter and small. Until the Republican Party, and with it the broader conservative movement come to grips with the fact that this 2012 not 1912, their electoral fortunes will continue to decline. Eventually the GOP itself will lose any relevance on the Federal level, and be reduced to a party of angry, fearful conspiracy obsessives sitting in local school board meetings yelling at how the world is really only 6,000 years old and to teach otherwise will make God angry.

The only GOP 2012 candidate who had even a remote chance  at beating President Obama was John Huntsman. Yet the sad truth is, there was absolutely no way a man who stated publicly in a GOP primary debate that Science is a good thing, was ever going to get the Republican Party’s Nomination.

Accepting reality means, the GOP needs accept that basic premise that you cannot use the Old Testament as the basis for environmental policy.  Accepting reality means to accept that being Pro-life is more than just being against Birth Control, and creating barriers to Women having access to Health Care.  Being Pro-Family is not about simply hating families that are different from yours. Being Pro-Israel is not about beating a war drum to “bomb bomb bomb… bomb bomb Iran…” Promoting American Exceptional-ism is not about building a fence on the Southern border to keep Brown People out.   

I honestly  do feel for the comment posters on conservative blogs,  for these people "wanting their country back" is less about politics are more about culture.   The era where white male conservative evangelicals are the defining voice in American politics is over, and some people find that scary.  So scary, that their natural response is to scream SOCIALISM! or  COMMUNIST!  When faced  with even the most basic of facts which contradict their established talking points.

Since 1992 the Republican Party's relationship with facts has been at best, "complicated".  The only way the GOP can climb out of the hole it is so enthusiastically digging for itself, is to quit its addiction to Crazy, and quit it cold turkey.  I am not going to argue with any of these people,  I wont post their comments or even respond any more to their shrill cries of whatever  "ism"  Fox News has told them to throw around like child with a water balloon.    

I have tried  but now,  I am frustrated and the pigs are clearly annoyed.   So it's time to move forward,  and if the Pigs want to stay in the mud of their own delusions,  that's their choice.

Monday, December 03, 2012

As the Holiday Season Begins....

We kick things off with one of the greatest moments from one of the best Christmas television specials ever....

Thanks Guys....