Friday, May 15, 2009

Steve Schmidt’s Speech on Gay Marriage & Rights

Steve Schmidt’s Speech on Gay Marriage & Rights

Former Campaign Manager for John McCain speaks on gay rights

I fixed it and put it on TrekNature

Flores de Meu Jardim




Good luck Milton (and the rest of Cohort 1 of the CSUS Independent Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership), tomorrow on your Comprehensive Exams!

The Pathetic Cheney Sideshow by Ann Davidow

FINDING A VOICE by Ann Davidow

How is it that false prophets and self-proclaimed 'authorities' receive respectful attention when they regularly distort history and claim knowledge of past and future events so irresponsibly? By what definition of patriotism do a former vice president and media pundits suggest that the country is less safe because after a few months in office, a new administration declares that torture is torture and that we shouldn't do it anymore?

Are we really supposed to believe that President Obama has doomed us to a precarious future simply by stating principles that are considered the norm by most rational people? More importantly, should we accept what Mr. Cheney tells us after his sinister, unilateral involvement in everything from energy policy to the war in Iraq? Disturbingly, a fair number of Americans willingly suspend disbelief about the previous administration's decision to invade Iraq based on constantly revised pretexts, depending on what version seemed most likely to elicit an emotional and favorable response at any given moment.

In the end, however, the net result was domestic policies that not only failed to move the economy forward but left it perilously close to collapse, along with costly foreign involvements that made us more vulnerable than anything a new president could effect so soon after taking office. The contempt Cheney shows for ordinary Americans is breathtaking. That he would choose Limbaugh over Colin Powell to represent the Republican Party is the opinion of someone who lacks a sense of decency and proportion or maybe just some cerebral lapse that prevents him from exercising sound judgment.

In an angry response on the Rachel Maddow show, Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, asked the question many of us keep asking: "Why does the media give him [Cheney] so much airtime" a man who insisted and often does to this day that there was "no question" Saddam Hussein had WMD and an active nuclear-arms program. About Powell, Wilkerson added, "Two tours in Vietnam, 35 plus years in service to his country" compared to "5 deferments for Dick Cheney who never served a day in the military; said he had other priorities..." As the old line goes "A cat may look at a king," but it's not an equal - - With respect to Cheney, Powell is way out of his league.

Yet Cheney continues to pontificate at every opportunity. He "knows" the methods he endorsed saved lives, as opposed to what agents on the ground accomplish in their dangerous information-gathering operations. Of course Cheney was only too willing to expose an intelligence operative in the furtherance of his political agenda. His current verbal gymnastics are just more of the same, unpatriotic, ego-centered jingoism that turned justice on its head and undercut our nation's commitment to the rule of law.

In a further insult to our already bruised sensibilities, Liz Cheney, no doubt brainwashed at birth, appeared with her father to accuse Obama of "siding with terrorists." One would have thought the Palin campaign refrain of "palling around with terrorists" would have run its course by now. But apparently no 'inspiration' is ever too old or worn out to be excluded from the daily propaganda diet served up by the Republican right wing, which is pretty much true about most of its standard bearers as well.

It's a funny thing, though many Republicans insist that waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" aren't torture they say in the next breath that Nancy Pelosi is at fault for going along with something that wasn't wrong in the first place according to them. In any case, whatever Pelosi knew or didn't know she wasn't free to go public at the time; the attempt to sidetrack the basic issue is farcical.

Speaking of humor, perhaps Wanda Sykes shouldn't have used 9/11 as a subtext to joke about Rush Limbaugh, but outrage from the right is a bit disingenuous. There was no similar outcry when President Bush looked for WMD under tables and behind the lectern at a press dinner. Some of those present actually laughed despite the travesty that was claiming so many lives, creating enormous debt and tarnishing our good name.

Still the shameless affront to rational discourse continues. Joe Scarborough said on Morning Joe, regarding the new administration, "I knew by the second day that America was less safe" while sidekick Mika spoke of substantial public support for using torture in the cause of national security. But to be swayed by dissemblers on the right and superficial media rants is to succumb once again to the politics of fear and intimidation that destabilize the country and betray our founding principles.

Please respond to Ann Davidow's commentary by leaving comments at: FINDING A VOICE by Ann Davidow

The Pathetic Cheney Sideshow

FINDING A VOICE by Ann Davidow

How is it that false prophets and self-proclaimed 'authorities' receive respectful attention when they regularly distort history and claim knowledge of past and future events so irresponsibly? By what definition of patriotism do a former vice president and media pundits suggest that the country is less safe because after a few months in office, a new administration declares that torture is torture and that we shouldn't do it anymore?

Are we really supposed to believe that President Obama has doomed us to a precarious future simply by stating principles that are considered the norm by most rational people? More importantly, should we accept what Mr. Cheney tells us after his sinister, unilateral involvement in everything from energy policy to the war in Iraq? Disturbingly, a fair number of Americans willingly suspend disbelief about the previous administration's decision to invade Iraq based on constantly revised pretexts, depending on what version seemed most likely to elicit an emotional and favorable response at any given moment.

In the end, however, the net result was domestic policies that not only failed to move the economy forward but left it perilously close to collapse, along with costly foreign involvements that made us more vulnerable than anything a new president could effect so soon after taking office. The contempt Cheney shows for ordinary Americans is breathtaking. That he would choose Limbaugh over Colin Powell to represent the Republican Party is the opinion of someone who lacks a sense of decency and proportion or maybe just some cerebral lapse that prevents him from exercising sound judgment.

In an angry response on the Rachel Maddow show, Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, asked the question many of us keep asking: "Why does the media give him [Cheney] so much airtime" a man who insisted and often does to this day that there was "no question" Saddam Hussein had WMD and an active nuclear-arms program. About Powell, Wilkerson added, "Two tours in Vietnam, 35 plus years in service to his country" compared to "5 deferments for Dick Cheney who never served a day in the military; said he had other priorities..." As the old line goes "A cat may look at a king," but it's not an equal - - With respect to Cheney, Powell is way out of his league.

Yet Cheney continues to pontificate at every opportunity. He "knows" the methods he endorsed saved lives, as opposed to what agents on the ground accomplish in their dangerous information-gathering operations. Of course Cheney was only too willing to expose an intelligence operative in the furtherance of his political agenda. His current verbal gymnastics are just more of the same, unpatriotic, ego-centered jingoism that turned justice on its head and undercut our nation's commitment to the rule of law.

In a further insult to our already bruised sensibilities, Liz Cheney, no doubt brainwashed at birth, appeared with her father to accuse Obama of "siding with terrorists." One would have thought the Palin campaign refrain of "palling around with terrorists" would have run its course by now. But apparently no 'inspiration' is ever too old or worn out to be excluded from the daily propaganda diet served up by the Republican right wing, which is pretty much true about most of its standard bearers as well.

It's a funny thing, though many Republicans insist that waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" aren't torture they say in the next breath that Nancy Pelosi is at fault for going along with something that wasn't wrong in the first place according to them. In any case, whatever Pelosi knew or didn't know she wasn't free to go public at the time; the attempt to sidetrack the basic issue is farcical.

Speaking of humor, perhaps Wanda Sykes shouldn't have used 9/11 as a subtext to joke about Rush Limbaugh, but outrage from the right is a bit disingenuous. There was no similar outcry when President Bush looked for WMD under tables and behind the lectern at a press dinner. Some of those present actually laughed despite the travesty that was claiming so many lives, creating enormous debt and tarnishing our good name.

Still the shameless affront to rational discourse continues. Joe Scarborough said on Morning Joe, regarding the new administration, "I knew by the second day that America was less safe" while sidekick Mika spoke of substantial public support for using torture in the cause of national security. But to be swayed by dissemblers on the right and superficial media rants is to succumb once again to the politics of fear and intimidation that destabilize the country and betray our founding principles.

Please respond to Ann Davidow's commentary by leaving comments below and sharing them with the BuzzFlash community.

FINDING A VOICE by Ann Davidow

Incredible, In The Good Way - from Pam's

Courtesy of Pam's House Blend:

We're all the same people, it's just that we think differently or we were born differently, and these people should be treated the same way as you would treat somebody else.

--Ethan, an eight year old organizing a marriage equality rally in Denver, Colorado

Always Ask A Man: Arlene Dahl's Key To Femininity

Another gem from JMG:

Subject: Tell President Obama: Keep your promise to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."


Dear Friends,

Lt. Dan Choi is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and an Iraq War veteran. Last March he went on Rachel Maddow's show and spoke three truthful words: "I am gay."

As a result, Lt. Choi received a letter from the Army on April 23 discharging him for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He told Rachel Maddow the letter was "a slap in the face" to himself and the soldiers he as commanded and served with over the past decade.

Lt. Choi is fighting to stay in the military and ensure that no other soldier is ever again discharged as a result of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." CREDO Action and the Courage Campaign are joining his effort to secure equality in our armed forces.

I just signed a petition asking President Obama to keep his campaign promise to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I hope you will, too. Please have a look and take action.

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/dontfiredan/?r_by=4028-1068490-5iQfoGx&rc=paste

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Credit Cards Need to be Taken to the Wood Shed

Hi,


There's a strong bill pending in the Senate right now that would make the worst ways that credit card companies abuse their customers illegal. But it's stuck because too many senators are afraid to take bold action against the banks.

I signed a petition urging Congress to pass the bill and not let Wall Street water it down. Can you join me at the link below?

http://pol.moveon.org/creditcards/?r_by=16136-538505-HgO2VOx&rc=paste

Thanks!

Tell the President to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and not to fire Lt. Dan Choi


Soldiers like Lt. Dan Choi are being fired almost every day by our armed forces. It is important that as many people as possible speak out and let President Obama know that now is the time to implement his promise to stop the discharges and repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Been wearing this boot


for 4 weeks now... my tendonitus is getting better...

Gave a talk, then took the long way home...

Gave a talk at a JCCSAC conference at S. Lake Tahoe, and took the long way home... sometimes its a real privilege to be living here.


















Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rushbo: If You Live by OxyContin and Chickenhawk Anal Cysts, Then Don't Complain When You Become the Butt of a Joke

THE BUZZFLASH EDITOR'S BLOG
by Mark Karlin

Oh, Rush, just shut your pie hole -- you and Dick Cheney and the whole Chickenhawk wing of whiners.

So Wanda Sykes nailed you with a sardonic joke at the normally servile, dowdy (except for the landmark Stephen Colbert lashing of Bush and the D.C. media a couple years back) White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

You avoided the Vietnam draft because of an anal cyst; you’ve been everything but convicted of illegal addiction to drugs; you’ve been discovered on a hedonist trip to the Dominican Republic (engaging in sex with women, girls or boys); and you make tens of millions of dollars with hate talk radio that thrives on phrases like "feminazis" and "Barack the Magic Negro."

As usual, The Daily Show brilliantly mocked the faux demand of the usual winger amen chorus accusing Sykes – and Obama by association – of being politically incorrect.

Well, if you dish it out, you better be able to take it. Otherwise, you look like the bully on the playground who just got the sh*t kicked out of him by the girl with thick bottle glasses – or in this case, even more embarrassing to the GOP joke police - by a black female lesbian comic.

Wanda Sykes, as BuzzFlash noted just after the Saturday WH Correspondents' Association dinner, made us feel like someone opened the windows on the stuffy self-aggrandizing event, which is more like a gathering of media elite insider celebrities and Hollywood celebrities. After an initial uncertainty if they should be caught being amused, even the self-protective D.C. "scribes" and executives were laughing their heads off. (The California stars loved it from the beginning. It was great stand-up, and they knew it.)

Ironically, on the morning after the dinner, the now ubiquitous Dick Cheney – his Count Dracula coffin must be lonely without him – declared that Rush Limbaugh represented the future of the Republican Party, not Colin Powell. (We could say that Dick always has had a little bit of the racist vein in him, voting against a national holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and supporting the apartheid South African government, but we won’t go there for the moment.)

If Rush Limbaugh and his posse are offended by the kind of joke that is common at a "roasting," they could always just load up on a supply of Rush’s beloved OxyContin and chill out.

God knows, we wouldn’t miss them for a moment from the airwaves.

Their absence might even lead to the return of a civilized society.

Rex Babin - SacBee.com

Swiftboaters Are Back, This Time To Block Healthcare Reform

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Christine Bowman

As the standard joke goes, we have some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that healthcare "industry leaders" told President Obama today they can find ways to slow the growth of healthcare costs by 1.5% or $2 trillion over 10 years. They're ready to embrace "voluntary" controls:

The president met with representatives of leading health industry groups, including hospitals, drug makers and doctors, who have agreed to slow the explosive growth of healthcare spending over the coming decade.

They have embraced several cost-saving strategies already being promoted by Washington policymakers, such as simplifying billing, restructuring the way hospitals are paid and improving information technology. Details on how the $2 trillion could be saved, however, are lacking in a letter they provided to the White House.

(LA Times)

The bad news is, "industry leaders" also have launched an ad campaign designed to torpedo comprehensive reform by turning public opinion against it. These ads have been paid for by healthcare industrialist Rick Scott and his misnamed group, "Conservatives for Patients' Rights." Which patient rights are they offering to protect exactly? The right to remain uninsured? The right to go bankrupt and lose their homes due to inflated, unpayable hospital bills?

The Washington Post describes Scott as "a multimillionaire investor and controversial former hospital chief executive" who was ousted as head of Columbia/HCA in the '90s -- a company that eventually had to pay $1.7 billion in fines for having overbilled the federal government and states for services it provided to sick and vulnerable Americans. Scott also was a George W. Bush partner in owning the Texas Rangers baseball team. The Post quotes Scott as uttering the conservative talking point that "free-market principles will solve our health-care problems."

Nice try. "Free-market principles ..." Is that the same as "voluntary" measures? Or does "free-market principles' refer to the bilking that Scott's company engaged in until brought to trial?

Now Scott has hired the same public relations firm that mounted the swiftboating campaign against John Kerry in 2004. More on that from The Washington Post:

The campaign is being coordinated by CRC Public Relations, the group that masterminded the "Swift boat" attacks against 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, and is inspired by the "Harry and Louise" ads that helped torpedo health-care reform during the Clinton administration.

So we have a 2009 re-run in which a clique of wealthy conservatives is paying to put their manipulative, anti-democratic, anti-citizen message out on tv. They are dressing up their self-interested ads in the guise of good-old American free markets.

"Free" just sounds so good to American ears. But the reality of unregulated "free-market" healthcare could be about as charming as "free-market" air pollution or "free-market" banking monopolies or "free-market" nuclear weapons. And about as truthful as painting John Kerry as a feckless traitor.

The National Coalition on Health Care released this statement (excerpted):

We are very cautious about the particulars of the voluntary effort that groups proposed to the White House today. Most of the measures that they cited would help to make the healthcare system more efficient over time, but, as the Congressional Budget Office has indicated, should not be counted on to produce substantial savings soon.

Moreover, voluntary efforts -- without legislated requirements and enforcement -- have not worked well in the past.

Right-wing hero Ronald Reagan got it right when he embraced the concept of "trust, but verify." As our government attempts to craft a better healthcare approach, it's just fine to trust healthcare providers -- if they also legislate and advocate for citizen-taxpayers, not just for the industry.

Meanwhile, political messaging guru Frank Luntz has crafted a handy 28-page strategy guidebook for GOP lawmakers advising them to block healthcare reform not by opposing "reform," but by raising the specter of "Washington bureaucrats" getting in between healthcare consumers and their doctors. Ah, the irony.

Is the "Party of No" really going to force true healthcare reformers to drag out the list of Washington legislators who voted to intervene in Terri Schiavo's case?

"Free." "Voluntary." "I believe that free-market principles will solve our health-care problems." All high sounding words.

Beware the messengers, Americans. These guys also believe that a sucker is born every minute. They hope you are that sucker, just soaking up their extreme right-wing infomercial propagandized message.

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

Monday, May 11, 2009

Iranian Baha'i leaders mark one year in prison

NEW YORK, 12 May (BWNS) - The seven Baha'i leaders currently imprisoned in Iran are facing the anniversary of their arrest this Thursday, along with new and extremely grave accusations, after spending a year in jail without formal charges or access to their lawyer, Shirin Ebadi.

"Despite their obvious innocence and the call by many for their immediate release, these seven men and women have been in legal limbo for a year now, against all international human rights standards," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

"Moreover, their families have recently been told of a possible new charge - 'the spreading of corruption on earth,' which goes by the term 'Mofsede fel-Arz' in Persian and carries the threat of death under the penal code of the Islamic Republic of Iran," said Ms. Dugal.

"The sequence of events surrounding their detention exposes a shameless travesty of justice. Notwithstanding their having been subjected to intensive interrogations, it took a full seven months before they were given even a single pretext for their detention. On February 10, 2009, the Iranian Student News Agency quoted Tehran deputy prosecutor Hassan Haddad as having said that the investigation of these individuals was complete and that 'the case will be sent to the revolutionary court next week' and that these Baha'is are accused of 'espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.' The international protest expressed by governments and civil society was immediate and widespread, causing the Iranian authorities to review their approach.

"Now a new wrongful accusation reportedly has been added some three months after the investigation was supposed to have concluded. The charge of being spreaders of corruption was used against the Baha'is who were executed in the years immediately following the Islamic revolution. That it may now be resorted to in this case is a further demonstration that the authorities have no basis for any allegation against these seven individuals, other than blatant religious persecution. This action against the Baha'i leadership reflects the government's sharply increased persecution of the entire Iranian Baha'i community of more than 300,000 members.

"The upcoming anniversary of their arrest offers an important milestone and we ask that the international community re-state once again in the strongest terms its demand for their immediate release, or, at least, for a fair and open trial that meets international standards of justice," said Ms. Dugal.

Ms. Dugal also noted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has frequently emphasized the importance of "justice and human dignity" and "the establishment of a just world system," such as when he addressed the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva last month.

"How can the calls of the Iranian leadership for justice in the international sphere be taken seriously if they do not grant justice to their own citizens? In Iran, by all accounts universally agreed upon human rights are routinely ignored, not only for Baha'is but also for women, journalists, and others who only seek dignity and justice," she said.

The seven are Mrs. Fariba Kamalabadi, Mr. Jamaloddin Khanjani, Mr. Afif Naeimi, Mr. Saeid Rezaie, Mrs. Mahvash Sabet, Mr. Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Mr. Vahid Tizfahm. All but one of the group were arrested on 14 May 2008 at their homes in Tehran. Mrs. Sabet was arrested on 5 March 2008 while in Mashhad.

For more information, go to http://news.bahai.org.

A Comprehensive Guide for Elementary Schools

Welcoming Schools is a new, comprehensive guide for administrators, educators, parents and guardians who want to strengthen their schools’ approach to family diversity, gender stereotyping and bullying. Welcoming Schools is specifically designed for use in K-5 learning environments and is inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender families and individuals in the broader context of diversity.

http://www.hrc.org/welcomingschools


Right-wing Christianists reading this, will you pray with me?

O Heavenly Substitute for Personal Responsibility


Why do you send the Christianists to persecute us?


Why do you unleash them in order that they upset our dinner plans?


Why are they at large? Is school not in session? Where are thy truant officers?


Out of the depths of Maria Callas's lungs we cry out to you, O Lord.


Send us your hunky appliance delivery men. Remodel our kitchens. Restore our faith in microwave ovens.


We ask this in the name of the Imaginary Creator, who washes all colors separately.


Amen.

This is all about one passage in Leviticus. They conveniently ignore the rest of the book. This one f$%^g sentence about man shall not lie with man. Well fine. let's ALL live by Leviticus:

1. Wife having her period and attending church?...stone you to death.
2. Eating pork and shrimp?...stone you to death.
3. Wearing two fabrics?...stone you death.
4. Harvesting crops from the field corners?...stone you to death.
5. Neighbor out of work?...stone him to death.
6. Married a non Jew?...yup you get stoned to death.

And on and on and on...a code written 5000 years ago by delirious nomads wandering in the desert looking for water.

for more see JMG


Not for the Faint of Heart...

But brilliant:

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness (Unless It Promotes Hating Gays)

Thanks to JMG for this:

Check out Christianist site World Net Daily's trio of headlines today about the hate crimes act currently before the U.S. Senate. These so-called Christians have absolutely zero problem with publishing outlandish outright lies in furtherance of their relentless campaign to beat down LGBT Americans.
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