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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Several interesting articles - one interesting theme

Sex topics with women center stage

There are several interesting articles out there this evening with one theme - men's fear of women's sexuality and their attempts to control this powerful force.

First on the list is "Oversexed," an article from The Nation written by Debbie Nathan in which she documents the plight of women brought to the United States and virtually enslaved by their employers. She examines the issue alongside its partner, human trafficking for sexual enslavement.

From there, I go the New York Times for a look at Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder experienced by men who witness their wives giving birth. The writer, Keith Ablow, M.D., takes us on a "A Perilous Journey From Delivery Room to Bedroom" as he takes us on a stroll down memory lane reminiscent of the time when all men were assumed to be heterosexual and avid fans of the virgin-whore dichotomy.

From there it's just a short jaunt over to the Internaitonal Herald-Tribune's Health and Science section where there is another article from the New York Times. This time, Denise Grady reports on yet another article from the Journal of the American Medical Association published today that concludes there is no capacity for feeling pain in a fetus of less than six months gestation. This blows apart one of the main talking points of the wingnuts who want women to die in childbirth even if they are seven years old and incest victims. I'm sure they will go merrily on their way, ignoring the A.M.A., but at least we'll know the truth of the matter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Robert's nomination more ominous than indicated in mainstream press

Democrats ignore warning signs of extremism

John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States is soon to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. While Democrats lay down and play dead, the opposition to Roberts' nomination within the LGBT community and women's groups is clear across the board.

From such organizations as The Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Organization for Women, National Abortion Rights Action League, and many others comes the radical notion that we should not accept a pig in a poke. (Yes, I'm an Appalachian.) That we should not go gently into the "good" night of futile acceptance that Roberts is "the best we're going to get from this administration."

The ACLU points to previous actions by Robers indicating opposition to Roe v. Wade. support for school prayer, and opposition to full expression of freedom of speech along with greater scruting of his role in the Reagan and Bush I administrations.

In her Free Press column, Molly Ivins warns of complacency regarding Roberts nomination and points to his previous defense of such illustrious clients as Operation Rescue and of his membership in the Federalist Society. If you don't understand what the big deal is about his membership in that lovely little group, click on the link and read for a bit. It won't take long to see that they are right-wing extremists guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of any self-respecting progressive.

So what if he is well-heeled, gracious, well-mannered and eye candy? So what if he isn't Robert Bork or John Bolton?

I suppose we are to be grateful that he will be well-dressed and mannerly as he twists the knife?

Well he does have one thing to his credit. He found Fred Thompson a job. Old Fred's on the team that is managing Johnny Boy according to Molly Ivins.


Friday, August 12, 2005

HRC, NBJC urge Wilson to "do the right thing"

Black DC minister invited to meet with LGBT leaders

In a press release issued today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC),a case in point of how hate speech can lead to violence rang out like the sounding of a bell whose tone is so insistent it cannot be ignored.

Referring to Reverend Willie Wilson's hate-filled sermon delivered from a DC pulpit in which he demonized all lesbians and particularly lesbians of color from his own community, the Human Rights Campaign along with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) offered an invitation to Rev. Wilson to sit down and talk with community leaders about the growing distance between them.

"We called upon Rev. Wilson to meet with us. We wanted him to sit down with those of us he once embraced as member of the black church, of his black family," said Donna Payne, HRC's Senior Diversity Organizer.

Neither HRC nor the National Black Justice Coalition received a response.

Rev. Wilson is the leader of the Million More March coming up on October 15th in our nation's capital.

Payne spoke out today about a time when she and Wilson worked side-by-side to promote community amd when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people came to hear his message of unity and fairness in a church that welcomed their presence. Her message included her memories of his prior work on the side of justice.

But she spoke out against the hate speech that he spewed forth from his pulpit recently and against the hurt and pain caused in the LGBT community because of his words. She spoke out against his explicit sexual remarks that she felt "disgraced the pulpit and his dignity."

Referring to the consequences of Wilson's sermon as the "ripple effect of hate," Payne also spoke of a DC minister who called Wilson to task in a written reponse. Afterward, Reverend Abena McCray began almost immediately to receive death threats, numerous harrassing phone calls, and a brick through her car window.

Payne also told of Noah's Arc, soon to be the nation's first black LGBT television program, whose production had to be called to a halt due to Nation of Islam protests outside their building.

Her passion for the LGBT community rings clearly throughout her remarks. Her need for a united black community runs through her plea like a strong thread meant to mend the tears of recent days.

I've never met Donna Payne, but I can feel her power emanating from the words on my monitor screen. We should all have that kind of passion for the work we do.

Read her last few words and see that I speak the truth:

Before another rock is thrown, help bring us together. Let's sit down and, as one united community. There is no need to feel threatened. We can demonstrate our willingness to accept responsibility, to change our behavior and to strive to make our communities the best they can be by talking.

We want to meet with you. Stop the hate by using your powerful voice for unity. We are waiting for you to do the right thing.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Prior pro bono work poor choice for focus on Bush's pick for high court

Roberts' prior pro-equality pro bono work does not qualify him for gay sainthood. It does not qualify him for inclusion in exclusive gay circles either. Although I am not privy at this point to the details surrounding this prior legal endeavor, I assume it was simply "his turn" to take a pro bono case at this firm. (?)

What it does tell me is the this guy is a lawyer. You know the kind...the attorney who will do whatever it takes to win a case or get ahead. I believe in many circles that is otherwise known as blind ambition - hardly a characteristic one would single out as befitting a post on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

I notice that People for the American Way (PFAW) shares some of my reservations. They point out that his prior positions on school bussing to achieve racial balance, school prayer, affirmative action, voting rights, immigrant rights, religious and civil liberties, Title IX, sex discrimination, rights of the disabled, rights of the accused, reproductive freedom, environmental protections, executive power, and excessive arrest procedures land him squarely in the lap of the right wingers that are shying...no...running away from them as fast as their little legs will carry them based solely on his one time assistance to a gay group.

I guess the wingnuts are just not prone to "big picture" thinking. I hope the LGBT community isn't guilty of just the opposite - focusing on this one thing that Roberts did under Goddess-knows-what circumstances.

He's bad news no matter how you slice it.

Lamar Says “NO” to Live Discussion with GE on Fox News

Thursday, 04 August 2005

“We were ready to hold them accountable on national television; they knew it and ran scared,” Chuck Bowen, Executive Director of Georgia Equality.

August 4, 2005, Atlanta, Georgia - Today’s planned discussion of the billboard controversy on Fox News has been cancelled because Lamar Outdoor Advertising claimed they had no one to appear in the interview. Instead, they offered a written statement.

Read Georgia Equality's press release here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lamar Advertising refuses Georgia Equality request for "neighbors" billboard

Georgia Equality Executive Director to Face-Off with Lamar Outdoor Executive LIVE on Fox News

A statement from Georgia Equality indicates they have scheduled an on-air debate with Lamar Outdoor Advertising, billboard giant. Lamar has recently refused Georgia Equality's request to purchase billboard space.

"Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Fox News Network will feature the face-off on Thursday, August 4, 2005 from 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. The program will be re-broadcast at 1:00 a.m. Friday, August 5, 2005 also on the Fox News Channel. Cavuto's program is said to have an audience of approximately 1.5 million for each airing.

Despite numerous requests from various sources, Lamar execs have not yet confirmed whether or not they will appear as this post is uploaded.

Georgia Equality summarizes the events leading up to the broadcast this way:

"The controversy arose when Georgia Equality contacted Lamar about placing advertisements on its billboards in South Georgia for the “We Are Your Neighbors” campaign. Lamar refused because it defied “community standards,” but the president of the company said that he did not agree with the local manager to decline the business. He went on to say, however, that he would not override the decision by the local manager."

I guess LGBT money shouldn't go into any of the products advertised by Lamar.

Here is the billboard they refused:

For those wishing to contact Lamar Advertising, please see the contact information provided below.

Lamar Advertising Company
5551 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 2-A
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
General Information: Theresa Doran
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 66338Baton Rouge, LA 70896

Corporate Phone Number: (225) 926-1000

Corporate Fax Numbers:(225) 926-1005
Executive: (225) 923-0658

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tennessee politics...corrupt as usual

Bredesen's office runs true to form

It seems that in Tennessee it is tradition to ignore any complaints originating from the "wrong people."

A case in point from the pages of the Knoxville weekly Metro Pulse -

Citizen Complainer Barry Schmittou filed the original citizen complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee that led to the investigation of state Sen. John Ford’s consulting contracts. He has been complaining about legislative ethics for years, but his complaints, even to a Nashville grand jury, have been largely ignored.

The recent Tennessee Waltz sting has prompted Schmittou to try again to get complaints heard. He has filed ethics complaints against about two dozen legislators, mostly having to do with incomplete and sketchy campaign finance reports. He often cites a credit card payment for several thousand dollars with the notation “campaign expenses.” He has filed complaints against House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and Lt. Gov. John Wilder and a host of others.

Schmittou has cancer and alleges that he was fired and denied Workers Comp coverage and thus he has a beef with state government. He hobbles down to state Sen. Ron Ramsey’s office (chair of the Senate Ethics Committee) to file his complaints.

Until recently, the Senate Ethics Committee had not met for several years because evidently no able-bodied citizens had lodged a complaint about legislative ethics.

The Bredesen administration says his citizen advocacy is because he wants to draw attention to his Workman’s Comp complaints.

This after Schmittou filed an ethics complaint saying the Bredesen administration is tripling the TennCare business with First Health, a pharmaceutical management company who has as its lobbyist Dick Lodge, married to Bredesen administration cabinet member Gina Lodge.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Barney Frank leads charge protesting gay death sentence in Nigeria

22 Dems sign letter condemning Nigerian human rights abuse

A 50-year-old man was recently condemned to death in Nigeria after being accused of having sex with another man. He was arrest and tried for this "offense," then was acquitted due to lack of evidence. After he mentioned to the judge that he had had sexual relationships with men in the past, he was placed on death row where he awaits execution.

In response, Barney Frank (D-MA) organized his colleaugues in writing a response addressed to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in strong protest of the impending execution.

Nigeria has had previous problems with human rights abuses and have a poor record with especially with regard to fairness in their courts. The State Department's 2004 Country Report on Human Rights Practices gives Nigeria low marks on this issue.

A special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights met with the convicted man while visiting prisons in the African nation, and reports indicate that the punishment is described as "wholly disproportionate.

The letter below was signed by 22 House Democrats. It should have been signed by all member of both Houses of Congress and the President.

August 1, 2005

His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
The President's Office
Abuja, Nigeria

Dear President Obasanjo,

We write to express our serious concern over a recent case in the northern state of Kano of a 50-year-old Nigerian man who was sentenced to death by stoning after admitting to homosexual sex.

According to reports, the man was charged with sodomy, based on an accusation made by a neighbor, and was arrested and brought before a Shari'a court.

After the man was acquitted for lack of evidence, the judge then asked him if he had had homosexual sex on other occasions, and when the man said yes, on that basis, he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to death by stoning. There was no suggestion in the conviction that the sex was not consensual.

The specific circumstances of this conviction are highly problematic, and, in fact, we believe that the execution by stoning or by any other means of any individual for private, adult, consensual sexual activity is grossly inhumane and well below the standards that any civilized society should uphold.

We strongly urge you to intervene in this case to assure that this man's legal and human rights are respected and defended. We share the view of the special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights who recently ended a visit to Nigeria with a call for the death penalty to be dropped in cases of homosexuality and for "immediate measures to review the entire proceedings" of this man's case in particular.

We have been very supportive of your efforts to transform Nigeria from military to civilian rule, and we applaud in particular the role your country is playing to help foster stability in West Africa. We also continue to be supportive of U.S. aid to Nigeria, but we must tell you that Americans are also entitled to expect that countries that benefit from our humanitarian and economic assistance will not tolerate practices that are so clearly in violation of basic human rights.