War Spending vs Hate Crimes: A Bitter Pill?

The defense spending bill (S 1390) up for vote, and tied to is the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, also known as the Matthew Shepard Act. Gods know we need hate crime legislation; it creates a foundation to move forward with ENDA, DOMA, DADT, as well as protecting a minority’s rights.  When any minority is denied their rights, all minorites suffer (and basically we’re all minorities in some way). But we also need to slow down war spending with its all human, national, global and economic repercussions.

Attaching hate crimes to defense spending really shows the ugly, bald face of politics. It is really sad to think that S. 909, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, couldn’t pass on it own. Hate crime legislation seems like such a basic simple "duh of course" to pass: No one likes a bully–unless you’re the bully and think some people are less than. Actually you’d think enough congresspeople would be sick of their constituents getting killed and maimed they might rethink the war funding.

Tying these together creates a poison pill for both sides–it not bipartisanship; it’s manipulation.

BUT WAIT! Maybe this is actually a way to stop defense spending? To use the rightwing conservative religious wingnuts’ frothing fear of homosexuals (the wingnuts’ preferred term, not mine) in order to stop defense appropriations dead in its tracks?

And if the goal is to end defense spending–own it! Shout it loud:

We’re taking one for the team, we’re taking one for America, and so, macho douche bag soldier boy then next time you want to bash a faggot, realize the reason you’re not being shipped out to some shit hole is because the hate crimes bill didn’t pass.

Here’s what Doug Carlson, Southern Baptist Convention, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission had to say, and it’s mind boggling in its hate (emphasis mine):

The years-long battle over hate crimes legislation is entering its most critical hour. Both the House and Senate have passed such bills, which threaten to criminalize thought against homosexuality, while granting homosexual victims of violent crimes a preferred place under the law. Now congressional liberals, armed with the homosexual lobby, are hoping to prevail with final negotiations and votes necessary to send the dangerous measure to the White House for a signing victory.

The last chance to stop hate crimes legislation-a grave threat to the religious speech of Christians-from becoming the law of the land is upon us.

This week, a House-Senate conference committee is expected to hammer out differences on a military-funding authorization bill, with liberals intent on including the hate crimes measure as part of the package.

The potential erosion of religious liberty and the special protected status conferred under a hate crimes law demands our every effort to press for the bill’s defeat. That hour is now. If you agree, please urge your representative and senators to oppose the Defense Authorization bill if it includes hate crimes legislation.

Late Night: Fox & Friends Have No Clue About School

Keeping American kids in school longer may not be the best way to improve grades; maybe smaller classes would be a good start, though that idea never crossed the brain pans of the think tank that is Fox & Friends.

No, they were too busy discussing how poor families might benefit from it because children of poor families don’t have parents who can help them to learn. Then Gretchen Carlson pulled a gem out of her blond matter and came up with the idea that if kids stayed in school longer, then there would be negative ramifications on small businesses which provide for kids after school.

Like what, the arcade? Does she mean sports programs like Little League and soccer clubs? Some schools do have after school programs, and there are Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCAs, and various learning programs, but uh…Really, Gretchen?

Keeping kids in school longer hours and for more weeks may not have much impact on how well they learn. But it’s doubtful it will spell the end of small businesses and the Y.

I don’t have kids, but to me it seems logical to have kids at school from like 8 to 5, able to do their homework at school with supervision, tutoring, athletic programs and other resources available. Whether school districts have the money for that is a good question–and where will that money come from?

Education should be a priority–and thank God for Ted Kennedy and school meal programs which helped kids be prepared to study by providing decent meals–but No Child Left Behind didn’t really work out so well, and I wonder if longer school cycles are really the answer to teaching kids to love learning and the importance of an education.

Sarah Palin’s Book Has Title, Release Date

sarahpalinjw_art_400_20080829123336.thumbnail.jpgThe long-awaited, highly anticipated comedic book of errors known as Sarah Palin’s autobiography now has a name and new, earlier, release date Going Rogue: An American Life which hits store shelves November 17–wow just in time for the holidays, reports ABC News in Anchorage. One more thing to make Thanksgiving dinner even more indigestible.

Going Rouged: An American Life would have been more fitting….

Facebook: Getting to Know the Secret Service

picture-29.thumbnail.pngSo some idiot created a poll on Facebook "Should Obama Be Killed" with four answers:

Yes

Maybe

If he cuts my health care

No

Okay the stupidity of this is effing mindboggling. Not just the third answer which make no sense at all but, WTF are you thinking?  You know how joking about explosives at the airport will get you in Big Trouble and most likely make you miss your flight–imagine what this kinda crap will do to you!

Perhaps this poll writer never saw the episode of the sit-com One Day at Time (starring Mackenzie Phillips, so this post has some weird synchronistic tabloid value) where spunky divorced mom Ann gets so upset about her phone bill that she writes everyone from city council to the President and signs the letter to the President "ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls no more for thee." She was being poetic and punny–this was back when a number of phone companies were run by the Bell conglomerate–but the Secret Service took her very seriously and showed up on her doorstep, because *surprise* the President is coming to town and his route goes under Ann’s apartment window.

This episode was written little more than a year after the two attempts on President Gerald Ford’s life. It made a very clear point to me. You don’t make even vague threats about the President. You don’t joke about killing government officials. An you sure as sugar is sweet don’t post polls on Facebook, a data-minefield, about stuff like that. And for gods’ sakes, you don’t vote "yes" either.

I called my local Secret Service office about an hour after the first post about this went up on The Political Carnival, and the nice agent told me he’d gotten about five calls so far and they are aware of it. In that hour over 100 more people had taken the poll. After voting you had to "join the application" to see the results. As if.

The creator of this repulsive poll and the people who took it-most likely even those who didn’t join to see the results; Facebook has great tracking ability–have absolutely no protection under Facebook’s Terms of Service.It could be argued that no subpoena is necessary, and even if one is, I doubt the Secret Service would have too much trouble getting one (see bold, emphasis mine).

We may be required to disclose user information pursuant to lawful requests, such as subpoenas or court orders, or in compliance with applicable laws. We do not reveal information until we have a good faith belief that an information request by law enforcement or private litigants meets applicable legal standards. Additionally, we may share account or other information when we believe it is necessary to comply with law, to protect our interests or property, to prevent fraud or other illegal activity perpetrated through the Facebook service or using the Facebook name, or to prevent imminent bodily harm. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, agents or government agencies.

Okay, maybe some of 497 people who have taken this to date are kids who have no real concept of what they are voting on, to them it’s an abstract; "killing" isn’t real, it’s just words, just goofing around. But the person who made this poll is savvy enough to add in a (wrong-thinking but still there) reference to health care. And this person is full of hate towards this country–because after all Obama was elected by the majority, and a political murder would cause such an economic upheaval it would make the last year look like a boom. And then there is personal loss that would be felt by family, friends and millions around the world. WTF, you ignorant moron!

No matter how much Bush was loathed–and yes, W got the "he’s Hitler/Nazi/facist" treatment at times, which is a place we just shouldn’t go for so many reasons I could do a whole other post–I can’t recall any such personal, vitriolic outpouring of hate for any president. Is it the intertoobs? Video games? A sense of limitless freedoms coupled conversely, perversely, with a fear of all freedoms being crushed–and crushed by the very desperate acts these hatemongers and their unthinking followers commit?

And then there’s this part of me that wonders if this isn’t some elaborate sting by the now (one hopes) New Media-savvy Secret Service to lure potentially dangerous types into their field of awareness, an online-lite version of an undercover agent offering a jihadist terrorist wanna-be a truckload of explosives. 

UPDATE: The Secret Service is investigating and the poll, created by the Facebook user, hase been pulled.

Creation vs Evolution

funny-pictures-tomato-is-shaped-like-bunny.jpg

And if then there’s this:

Michael Moore on Religion and Capitalism

When Michael Moore appeared on Nightline this week, Moore’s faith came up and the director was blunt–as seen in the video above–about how in his opinion, capitalism in its current form and major religions are incompatible.

Last night on Larry King Michael Moore continued to discuss religion and capitalism and that the former plays a large part in his new movie Capitalism: A Love Story

MOORE: So, you know, I don’t believe in a system where the richest one percent should own or have as much financial wealth as the bottom 95 percent combined. I think that not only is that anti-democracy, it’s also against my own personal values and the values of most people. We say we live in a Judeo-Christian nation, but I don’t think if Jesus were around today — I just don’t think he’d be approving of this or participating in a hedge fund or playing the stock market.

KING: He’s even in your movie.

MOORE: Yes, he has a role in my movie, because I imagined what if he were here, would he act and sound like a capitalist?

Capitalism: A Love Story opens nationwide on October 2.

Kathy Griffin Dishes on Levi, Palin Family

3356242618_176f7ecb51.thumbnail.jpgWe have it on good authority that Kathy Griffin killed last night in San Diego on her Kathy Griffin: Balls of Steel tour. High point–her Levi Johnston date and tell.

BTW Kathy Griffin was great last night and her Levi Johnston stuff was priceless. She said that Johnston told her that, when he got to the Republican convention, he was told "Don’t open your mouth for the next  three days." She also said he was sweet but stupid, compared Bristol Palin to Jamie Lynn Spears, and brought up Palin calling Baby Trig "my retarded baby."

Griffin’s San Diego shows were taped for her next Bravo special, airing November 3.

Queens NY GOP Won’t Dump Pagan Candidate

Gods Bless America!

In a stunning show of tolerance that defies theocon C-Streetism, the GOP in Queens, NY will not replace Pagan high priest Dan Halloran as their candidate for District 19 city council in the November 3 election. Considering George Bush administration officials objected to giving author J.K. Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because the Harry Potter books “encouraged witchcraft,” that’s a very open-minded stance.

Halloran is First Atheling or king in his faith, Theodism,

a cultural, religious, and martial organization; dedicated to reviving the folkways of the Norman peoples of Northern Europe…

Theodism is basically a reconstructed/revisionist form of pre-Christian Northern European polytheism, which differs doctrinally from the similarly Norse-based Astaru and the more familiar Celtic based-based Wicca; though they share some of the same holidays, based on solar and lunar cycles. In Theodism, kings are also the high priests; the gods Tyr, Odin and Freyr offer their blessings in the form of luck on the priest-king and thus down through the people.

Halloran–an attorney and partner in the firm Palmieri, Castiglione & Halloran, served as legal counsel and incorporating attorney for the New York City Pagan Pride Project, and the chairman of the state Republican Liberty Caucus–has been endorsed by the Queens County Republican Party. 

And to most folks, he seemed like your basic lower-taxes-no-Obama-care tea party attending speechifying Republican. Oh yeah, he did talk about the need for volunteerism and being greener, but he’s a GOP party animal through and through.

Phyllis Curott, a New York-based attorney, author, activist and Wiccan high priestess doesn’t know Halloran; but isn’t surprised to find a Pagan running for office, though the party affiliation was a little eye-opening. She told us exclusively:

Pagans are everywhere, I’ve been saying it for years. Doctors, soldiers, bankers, lawyers with all sorts of political views. But an official Republican Party candidate! Move over Christian right, here come the Pagans. I certainly disagree with his politics, but it’s great that he’s running. 

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa and the GOP executive committee were aware of Halloran’s religious beliefs when he announced his candidacy; and Halloran was the odds on favorite to win the city council seat in Queens against newcomer Kevin Kim until the Queens Tribune ran a story about Halloran’s faith, managing to bring up "blood sacrifice." On Halloran’s New Normandy website, since taken down, but available in internet archives, it states:

When a feast is made using the meat of an animal sacrifice, it is known as a sacrifice-feast (ON blótveizla)

which, honestly, in paganism is about as sinister throwing a steak on the barbecue and thanking God you made the mortgage this month, or butchering one’s own meat, as is done in rural communities across America. Uh "Thanksgiving" anyone? That turkey–and the money and time it takes to assemble the green bean-mushroom soup casserole and all the trimmings, then do the dishes after suppressing your desire to strangle family members over their political views–is a sacrifice, a way of giving thanks. 

Attorney Curott, who is High Priestess of the Temple of Ara, along with being an Ambassador to the Parliament of World’s Religions, says:

It’s just too bad that Dan was "outed" with such a negative media portrayal. Fighting that kind of stereotype is one of the reasons I’m public as a Wiccan priestess and have worked on so many religious discrimination cases.  

Turns out the article was far from objective, because, as reports the Village Voice:

a Kim campaign consultant also happens to be the VP of the Queens Tribune, and because Queens congressman Gary Ackerman, who founded the paper and still holds a chunk of it, used to be Kim’s boss and who urged his old employee to make the race…

After the Tribune article hit, it looked like the local GOP honchos were going to replace Halloran on the ticket with a conservative Democrat and slip Halloran into State Supreme Court post–except that Halloran, admitted into the bar in 2003, lacks the required 10 years as an attorney to take the judgeship. But on Thursday, the Republicans stood by their man.

Queens County GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone, who is also the spokesman for Halloran’s campaign, told local reporters:

I think it’s particularly repugnant to have a religious test. We saw people trying to do that with [President Barack] Obama and Mitt Romney. Flushing is a birthplace of religious freedom. It’s part of Queens’ heritage. It’s a community where Protestants and Catholics and Sikhs live side by side.

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) who has known the candidate since he was an Eagle Scout, said he thought Halloran’s religion was not relevant to the District 19 race:

Queens has every conceivable religion on the face of the Earth and as long as they are honorable toward their basic goals, then that’s all anyone should be concerned about. Our Constitution provides freedom of religion and as long as they don’t run counter to the law of the land, then it’s not something that should be at all political. Anybody who makes it political is suspect. I’d rather someone have a religion — even if it’s not a mainstream religion — than their being atheist.

Calling Halloran "a traditional person" who "seems like a regular guy" (Theodism has a tradition of ritualized drinking, according to their archived website, which for many guys is pretty darn regular), Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa told the Tribune:

If a person performs and does what he has to do for his district, then he will be a welcome breath of fresh air.

Curott optimistically sees this as an opportunity for greater acceptance of pagan faiths, "a welcome breath of fresh air" in Republican politics:

Attitudes have certainly changed–the Republican Party apparently already knew he was Pagan! They’re defending his religious freedom, advocating religious tolerance and condemning a religious test for office as repugnant. Marvelous. Quite a change from Jesse Helm’s introducing legislation to take away the tax-exempt status of Wiccan religious institutions. Or Bob Barr’s condemnation of religious observances by Wiccan soldiers on military bases, or President Bush’s remarks that he didn’t think Wicca was a religion so he "hoped the military take another look at it." Let’s hope it’s change we can believe in.

 And Halloran himself says:

I don’t think any of this is really relevant to the City Council race. It’s like talking about what church you pray at. That you understand the divine is the most important part…As long as we proceed in our civic lives with dignity and honor, that’s what matters.

Bill Clinton: “I Was Wrong About Gay Marriage”

Last night Anderson Cooper asked Bill Clinton

Do you now believe that gay people should have full rights to civil marriage nationwide?

And Clinton responded:

I do

Then the former president backpedaled a bit as seen above, and said it should be a state’s right to decide.

I think that well, let me get back to the last point, the last word. I believe that historically for 200 some years, marriage has been a question left to the states and religious institutions. I still think that’s where it belongs. That is, I was against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nationwide and I still think the American people should be able to play this out in debates.

And while he doesn’t go so far as to say same-sex marriage should be recognized by the federal government, he does admit he was wrong to oppose civil marriage equality and wrong to be hung up on a word:

Me, Bill Clinton, I am no longer opposed to that [gay marriage]. I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it…

So, I said — you know, I — I realized that I was, you know, over 60 years old. I grew up in a different time. And I was hung up about the word. And I had all these gay friends. I had all these gay couple friends. And I was hung up about it.

And I decided I was wrong. That if — that our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties. and if, gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees — and several have now — or a religious body will sanction it, I don’t think the state should be able to stop religious bodies from sanctioning it. I don’t think the rest of us should get in the way of that. I think it’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

Thank you, Lane Hudson, for giving marriage equality a shout out at Netroots Nation during President Clinton’s speech and causing a shift in the night’s rhetoric, and I think a shift in Clinton’s thinking—and his willingness to speak about that shift.

Blago Pimps His Truth on The Daily Show (video NSFW)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Rod Blagojevich Extended Interview Pt. 1
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Hot Rod Blagojevich let loose on the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, pimping his new book The Governor and trying to explain the truth about what was f*cking golden even though his persecutors prosecutors have forbidden him from using the actual words that followed the quote because, see They were out to get him.

Basically the  Illin’ Noise who reveals himself to be lily pure, only wanting the best for the people of his state who he love and for whom he sacrificed, in his new book The Governor (which has a super long subtitle about the biggest political scandal ever, so lengthy that Amazon doesn’t even bother with it).

He hopes the truth comes out.  I hope he goes on Dancing with the Stars.

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