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Feb 2, 2008

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Carnival Cruises Bans Drag Costumes from RuPaul's Drag Ra...

Turns out that Carnival has issued a follow-up statement blaming the earlier announcement. Of course, at first, they declared that any passengers who dressed in drag would be put off the ship with no refunds... they are now trying to spin the damage control. They say that, oh, sorry the TRAVEL AGENTS must have misunderstood us! Obviously, clarity was the problem. Now they say that of course, folks can dress in drag, and Carnival would never dream of discriminating against anyone! It was just miscommunication! Well, the end result is that --imagine it!-- people will be allowed to dress in drag on the drag cruise. However Carnival isn't fooling anyone... they DID intend to discriminate against drag queens, quite offensively asserting that they might make other cruise passengers "uncomfortabl e." ...Until they got snapped at, and realized that they were going to lose not just THOUSANDS of dollars on this cruise, but millions of potential dollars from all the LGBT folks who would NEVER do business with them again. Carnival, the LGBT community has three words for you: Oceania, Celebrity, and Royal Carribean. Okay that's four words. The point being, if you think you can discriminate against LGBT people in ANY way, we can and will take our business elsewhere. ...And also sue your ass.  (Nov 27, 2012 | post #14)


Vandal Changes Utah Construction Sigh To Spread Anti-Gay ...

above, the morse code illustration was truncated. SMEMS in Morse code is: dot dot dot, dash dash, dot, dash dash, dot dot dot. Now go play in traffic :)  (Aug 10, 2012 | post #5)


Vandal Changes Utah Construction Sigh To Spread Anti-Gay ...

Interestingly, all those signs are manufactured by the same company, and come pre-programmed with the same password. If the panel over the recessed keyboard is not padlocked, anyone can change the message. The password has spread through hacker forums. Mostly, people change the signs to something humorous or outrageous. There are many cases of the signs being changed to say "Zombies Ahead." A somewht related common prank: you know those "push for signal" pedestrian buttons on traffic light systems? If you key-in "SMEMS" in morse code (... -- . -- ...) it will switch the sysem to all red lights. (used by traffic cops in an emergency when traffic must be directed by hand.) In Singapore, a computer geek hacked into the computerized office light timing system of a high rise in such a way that you could play Tetris on the side of the building at night. Kinda makes you worry about the nuclear launch codes, doesn't it?  (Aug 10, 2012 | post #4)


Group says NC violated separation of church, state

I agree. However, every last one of those sorts of churches I've ever been in (there have been a few, my mom's a southern baptist...) has had, in the entryway, a rack full of those infantile pocket-sized comic-book style tracts with fire & brimstone titles like "The Devil Wants Your Soul!" and "Billy and the Homosexual Demon!" or other insipid stuff like that. Plus, what christian church have you ever seen where there weren't prominently displayed crosses and/or crucifixes, plaques of the Ten Comandments, and portraits of Jesus as a 6'2 blond-haired blue-eyed messiah? Possibly, those sorts of imagery alone would be sufficient for the "separation " argument, though it wouldn't be specific to homophobic teachings. But that's kinda the point anyway... constitutionally, "favoring an establishment of religion" is what is prohibited. Unfortunately, there is no law against homophobic preaching.  (Jun 11, 2012 | post #2)


2 Survivors of Christian 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Tell Their Stories

I think he meant "Creeper. " A Creeper is one of the monsters in the online game called Minecraft. It's a green, phallicly shaped 4-legged meanie who sneaks up when you're not looking, then when it's right beside you, it explodes. This is the first time I've seen it used in this context.  (Jun 11, 2012 | post #21)


2 Survivors of Christian 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Tell Their Stories

Oh my, Brian. You're quite the little wingnut, aren't you? The APA is an internationally respected scientific organization. Narth is a homophobic hate group listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. You can't insist on science and then ignore what is science and what is wackadoodle religious homophobic bigoted propaganda that's never been published by ANY reputable peer reviewed journal. So, as Christopher Hitchens once said, "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." You ARE the weakest link. Goodbye.  (Jun 11, 2012 | post #15)


Chad Griffin expected to build bridges in gay group

Chad Griffin is a very savvy politico. If anyone can reform the HRC, it's him. But what I found shocking in the article was --and I don't know how I missed this news-- that Joe Solmonese was made co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign! Nothing against Joe personally, but did the campaign actually VET this guy? With the Prsident's "evolution " on marriage equality, why would he put front-and-center a figure who is representative of such a major political disconect with the mainstream LGBT community? I guess Neil Patrick Harris wanted too much money. So I wish Chad Griffin success with the HRC, and I hope that Joe brings his talents for strong-arm agressive fundraising to the Obama campaign. As I recall, that's perhaps his most notable key strength. If they raise enough funds... then maybe they can afford Neil.  (Jun 11, 2012 | post #3)


The Zombies of Summer

...But they weren't Zombies! Zombies are reanimated corpses of the dead. (Frankenstein's monster was technically a zombie by that definition, but was not reported to hunger for brains...) The incidents cited in the article were, in fact, drug-crazed cannibals. These were caused, alternately by synthetic meth/cocaine marketed as "bath salts" and a particularly BAD batch of LSD which has been popping in southern U.S. cities. Frankly, if you're gonna put that crap into your brain, all bets are off. Let us not forget the self-promoting Canadian gay porn star Luka Rocco Magnotta, (dubbed "Canadian Psycho") who, after posting a web video of himself smothering kittens in a plastic freezer bag, decided to top that by tying-up his lover, killing him with an icepick, dismembering the corpse, performing sex acts with various body parts, eating some of the flesh, and then mailing the hands and feet to schools and political party offices before abandoning the torso in a suitcase outside his apartment building. (Authorities are still trying to locate the head.) Oh, yeah, he videoed the whole gruesome episode and posted that on the web too. Trust me, don't look for the video; don't watch it. There are some things you'd really rather not see, despite one's natural morbid curiousity. Avoid becoming a drug crazed cannibal... remember the lessons we learned from Woodstock: Don't take the brown acid. If vodka and pot aren't enough of an escape for you, you don't need stronger drugs, you need a therapist.  (Jun 11, 2012 | post #6)


2 Survivors of Christian 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Tell Their Stories

May 2, 2012: "Last month, Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychologist who helped declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder, disavowed a study he published just a decade ago suggesting that ex-gay therapy could be effective. Acknowledging the many flaws in his research, he apologized “to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy.” He even published these remarks in a letter to the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, essentially retracting the study to the fullest extent he can." http://thinkprogre 5/30/492195/ex-gay -researcher/?mobil e=nc 2009, report from American Psychological Association Task Force: "Based on its review of the studies that met these standards, the Task Force concluded that "Enduring change to an individual's sexual orientation is uncommon. The participants in this body of research continued to experience same-sex attractions following SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts] and did not report significant change to other-sex attractions that could be empirically validated, though some showed lessened physiological arousal to all sexual stimuli. Compelling evidence of decreased same-sex sexual behavior and of engagement in sexual behavior with the other sex was rare. Few studies provided strong evidence that any changes produced in laboratory conditions translated to daily life. Thus, the results of scientifically valid research indicate that it is unlikely that individuals will be able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex sexual attractions through SOCE" (pp. 2-3). In addition, the Task Force found evidence to indicate that some individuals experienced harm or believed they had been harmed by these interventions. The Task Force report provides a detailed discussion of this topic and an extensive review of relevant research. In response to the Task Force report, the APA passed a 2009 resolution that stated, in part, "the American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation" and "the American Psychological Association concludes that the benefits reported by participants in sexual orientation change efforts can be gained through approaches that do not attempt to change sexual orientation." http://psychology. w/html/facts_chang ing.html ...So ahem, Brian, if that's what you want to be called today, we can absolutely dismiss your use of the word "every," for clearly the overwhelming body of research was sufficient for the APA to reach this conclusion. Exactly what "peer reviewed" material are you refering to? And by that, I do mean please cite a reference or shut the F*CK up.  (Jun 11, 2012 | post #10)


Perry ad in Iowa accuses Obama of 'war on religion'

to RalphB, I think that the "half" of Americans who pay no income taxes are either children, or people with no taxable income, including the unemployed. There is a sound historical argument that the more taxes the middle class has to pay, the less prosperous the economy is. The republicans don't want to lower taxes... they want to shield millionaires, billionaires, and multi-billion dollar corporations from paying taxes, and put the tax burden squarely on the middle class. I don't see millionaires creating jobs. The multi-millionaire who just bought the company I work for has just fired 500 employees and given himself and all his family and friends (at the top of the corporation) huge annual raises... including an additional $750,000 for himself. Damn right he can afford to pay another 5%! to Truth: Comparing the teabaggers to the Gestapo is an insult to the Gestapo, who were at least uniformed and organized, and actually got things done... albeit evil things. The teabaggers are more like the three-year-old throwing a screaming fit in the checkout line at Target because mommy won't get him a push-up pop. And to WeTheSheeple: Last time I checked, we have marriage equality in Iowa, thanks to the State Supreme Court. True, some republitards have proposed amending the state constitution with a DOMA-like piece of legislative horse 5h1t, but it would have to be passed by two different consecutive legislatures and then passed by a statewide ballot initiative... and that ain't gonna happen. The GOP squad isn't pandering and posturing to the rabid anti-gay base, making them LOOK like bigots... they REALLY ARE bigots. Their bias and bigotry (racial bigotry as well as anti-gay bigotry) are so blinding that they couldn't see the end of their own noses. For Perry to accuse Obama of a "war on religion" is, of course, preposterous. In fact, Obama's christianity is just about the only thing I have against him. Want to know why 300,000 unemployed people entirely gave up on tryin to find jobs last month? Want to know what happened to your home equity and your retirement fund? Want to know why five million Americans are on unemployment, and cities and states are declaring bankrupcy? Ask Bush and Cheney. Ask the tea baggers in the House of Representatives. Ask Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke... or any of the Ayn Rand doting Keynsian economists who drove us headlong into this mess. You know what we need? We need Alexander Hamilton to come back and knock some heads together. If you have a billion dollars, that means that --without even collecting interest on the remainder-- you could spend $30,441 a day, every day, from the day you were born till you were 90 years old. There are 1,200 billionaires on the planet. Can these people afford to pay another 5%? Warren Buffet says yes, and he should know... he has fifty billion (which comes to $1,522,070.00 every DAY for 90 years.)  (Dec 8, 2011 | post #4)


Perry attacks Obama, gays in the military, in new ad on r...

"Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again." Actually, it was slavery and indentured servitude that originally "made America strong." Is Perry advocating a return to those abominations? There is NO instance in which a child has been prevented from clebrating Christmas in School. Ever. There is NO instance in which a child has been prohibited from praying in school. Ever. Perry wants to usurp the separation of church and state, at a time when it is difficult to determine which one is more corrupt! (Perhaps a consolidation of corruption is what Perry is after.) Anyway, let him spend himself into a hole. At this point, romney has New Hampshire's primary sewn up, and it's a toss-up whether it will be him or Gingrich in Iowa. Romney doesn't excite the Teabagger fringe Fox News watching wingnuts, and Gingrich is a ticking time bomb. If Gingrich gets the GOP nomination nod, then Obama won't have to worry about WINNING the election... he just has to wait for Gingrich to actively lose it, which he does with fair regularity. It will be a more spectacular implosion than McCain picking Sarah Palin. Perry hasn't even got the brainpower to recognize that his fifteen minutes of fame are OVER.  (Dec 7, 2011 | post #15)


Thought and Action: Why the former can't be punished

I agree. hate crime protections are not legislating "thought crime" like in George Orwell's provocative futuristic novel, 1984. The author writes, "Hate crimes legislation, though often well intended, serves no other purpose than to punish what people think. Effective laws that are based on reason punish the action, not what was going through the person's head." This statement is false. Hate crimes legislation serves the purpose of deterring would-be thugs and miscreants from targeting people for violence based soley on their minority status.. i.e.: religion, race, or percieved sexual orientation or gender identity. These laws are an important signal that we, as members of sa civilized society, will not tolerate intimidation and violence as an expression of bias and bigotry. As Coy91 points out, there is substantial legal precedent for consiering what someone was thinking when they committed a crime. If someone commits murder impulsively as a crime of passion (say, a husband comes home early, and finds his wife in bed with his best friend, and kills the friend in a rage...) or as a premeditated act (John Hinkley Junior carefully planned his attack on President Ronald Reagan, and wrote a letter about it to Jodie Foster before the fact) weighs on the legal considerations of the punishment that is due, and how dangerous the person might be to society. In fact, the insanity defense which kept Hinkley out of jail (and in a mental institution) is just such a consieration of what was going on in someone's mind during the commission of a crime. Just because the column's author's sentiment is: "I honestly don't care how you feel about gay people ... what does worry me is your trying to hit people with a car-—for any reason," that does not mean that it is not in society's best interest to consider the motivation for the egregious act. Because we know that some people are biased and bigoted, and because we know that such biases and bigotry are often used as an excuse for inexcuseable actions (the "gay panic" defense, for instance) hate crime legislation is society's way of letting people know that if they can't keep their biases to themselves in public, they will not be excused for acting upon them in unacceptable ways. Hate crimes legislation does NOT punish people for what they think. It punishes people for failing to restrain their bigotry from motivating them to anti-social and often indiscriminately violent behavior which is directly deleterious and detrimental to the safety and security of our society. LGBT people are not, and never have been a threat to the nation's morals or social infrastructure. But bias-based violence certainly has always been.  (Dec 7, 2011 | post #29)


Bachmann clinic presses gay activist for $150 fee

If you're Marcus Bachmann, how stupid do you have to be to give Becker MORE national headlines over a disputed $150 fee for sessions which did not take place? If it goes to court, then ALL of this gets raked hrough the news cycle again, over $150. In the end, even if Becker is ordered to pay the $150 fee and court costs, he'd getting millions of dollars worth of publicity for his investigative story, and the Bachmanns get to look like clowns again. Brilliant.  (Nov 18, 2011 | post #3)


CA Supremes get it wrong on representing the state

Well, I disagree that the initiative process runs directly counter to "our republican form of government." Let's be clear about the semantics of "republican " and "democratic " in this context. "Republican " means simply that we vest power in elected officials. The process by which we choose them is democratic. These terms have zero to do with the conservative vs. liberal stances of the political parties of the same name. That being said, the initiative process is not inherently a bad idea. There are important specific restrictions to the process, and the quality of legislation initiated in such a way depends entirely upon the intelligence and rational reasoning ability of the voting public. This is something which we take for granted, but which is rarely the actual case. The Prop 8 challenge deals specifically with one of the important specific restrictions to the initiative process--not the validity of the process itself. That restriction is that voters may no excercise "tyranny of the majority" to create discriminatory laws targeting a "suspect class," meaning a group of people who share common uniting characteristics which are likely subject to public bias, and are a political minority. Examples would be racial minorities, the handicapped, the elderly, and LGBT people. It was Judge Walker's considered legal opinion that LGBT people do in fact qualify as a suspect class, subject to bias discrimination, and for that reason, legislation which imposes restrictions on this class only may not be imposed through the initiative process. Such laws may only be enacted in consideration of a "compelling state interest". It is impossible to deny that LGBT people, as a group, face bias and discrimination. And the backers of Prop 8, in the original trial, were unable to present any evidence of a compelling state interest to justify overriding the suspet class status of LGBT people in regards to the initiative process as it relates to civil marriage. And I'm confident that the 9th will view the evidence the same way. But the question of standing for the defendants in this case is a murky one. The California officials whose responsibility it is to defend the laws enacted in the state have declined to defend Prop 8 for obvious reasons. It is not unlike the Obama Administration and the Justice Department declining to defend DOMA in court. Consequently, it is presumed that whoever caused the law to be enacted would then have legal standin to take up that defense. In the case of DOMA, House Republicans have taken up the legal defense (at the expense to all taxpayers.) In the Prop 8 challenge, the Prop 8 backers --at their own expense-- are representing the people of California who voted to enact the law. Frankly, I don't have a problem with that, because it means that this case, gone to full appeal, could have national impact. If it were thrown-out on a technicality of standing, then Walker's original ruling would simply stand, affecting California, but without the potentially broader national implications. I am confident that the responsible jurists of the 9th Circuit will arrive at a legal conclusion that is parallel to that of Judge Vaughn Walker.  (Nov 18, 2011 | post #6)


California Supreme Court to decide Proposition 8 issue Th...

Yeah, if the CSC determines they have no standing (and by legal precedent, they don't) then the appeal is dead in the water right here, and Judge Walker's ruling stands. But even if this decision goes the other way, it only means a little more time in court. In the original trial, the defense presented, substantially, NO CASE. They couldn't get credible witnesses on their side, and half the time, the testimony they did present supported the other side. Add that to the fact that the analysis presented by Vaughn Walker with his ruling is now material, and articulates multiple specific legal arguments as to why Prop 8 must be considered unconstitutional. I've heard a lot of moaning from the churchgoing folk, but one thing I haven't heard is any salient legal argument that comes close to contradicting what Vaughn Walker wrote in that ruling. In the words of fictional tent evangelist Jonas Nightingale, "The one thing you can never get around is the genuine article!" (Extra points if you can name the movie and the actor who played Jonas Nightingale.)  (Nov 17, 2011 | post #3)

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