Tuesday, April 29, 2008


BOSTON – Tuesday, April 29, 2008 – Governor Patrick announced today the nominations of a highly respected federal prosecutor to the Superior Court, a specialist in domestic relations to the Middlesex County Division of the Probate and Family Court, and a seasoned juvenile court practitioner to the Bristol County Division of the Juvenile Court.

Timothy Q. Feeley, 58, a Marblehead resident and graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Suffolk University Law School, has served more than 17 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the criminal division. Feeley’s extensive prosecutorial background, including his service as Chief of the Major Crimes Unit, is complemented by nine years of complex civil litigation at the former Boston law firm of Gaston & Snow, where Feeley was a partner.

“Tim Feeley brings to the trial bench humility and an understanding of the human condition that will ensure fair and thoughtful administration of justice,” Governor Patrick said. Feeley will fill the vacancy created by Judge Margot Botsford’s appointment in September to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Maureen H. Monks, 49, a graduate of the University of Connecticut and Boston University School of Law, currently serves as a partner in the Women’s Law Collective in Cambridge. “Maureen Monks is a compassionate collaborator who offers important expertise in the evolving issues of family law,” Governor Patrick said.

A Jamaica Plain resident who concentrates in domestic relations and domestic violence, Monks also serves as a clinical faculty member with Suffolk University Law School's Battered Women's Advocacy Project. Monks is slated to fill the vacancy on the Middlesex County Division of the Probate & Family Court created by the retirement of Judge Beverly Weinger Boorstein.

Lawrence Moniz, 60, a dedicated Taunton practitioner, has years of experience as a trial attorney and advocate in the juvenile court. A cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School and graduate of Providence College, Moniz is a former partner of the Taunton law firm O’Boy and Moniz. Highly regarded by the Bristol Bar for his work in some of the region’s most difficult child abuse and neglect cases, Moniz began his legal career after working thirteen years as an English high school teacher in Taunton.

“Larry Moniz will offer our juvenile justice system critical insight into the needs of children at risk and those who live on the margin,” said Governor Patrick. Moniz is nominated to fill the vacancy created by Judge James M. Cronin’s retirement from the Bristol County Division of the Juvenile Court.

The Pretense of Science

Paul Jamieson brought up the pseudoscience of Warren Throckmorton, and lo and behold, not ten minutes passed and I find the incomparable Ed Brayton is right on it.

Just like creationists who cover their religious views with a thin veneer of science, the same thing goes on in fields like psychology and especially in areas like ex-gay therapy. Warren Throckmorton is Professor of Psychology and Director of the College Counseling Service at Grove City College, a Christian university in Pennsylvania. He is an advocate of ex-gay therapy, but he's got more credibility than most who advocate that. He's been quite critical of many of the ridiculous reversion theories out there. He's also been a harsh critic of the pseudoscience of Paul Cameron. He tends to approach things in a more scholarly manner than your average ex-gay advocate. But when push comes to shove he makes clear, as the creationists do, where his loyalties truly lie. A blogger at Pam's House Blend links to an article in Christianity Today where Throckmorton is quoted:

"Transgender impulses are strong, but they don't match up with the Christian sexual ethic," says Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. "Desires must be brought into alignment with biblical teachings, but it will be inconvenient and distressful."

Throckmorton, past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, says he has advised transgendered people who are in absolute agony over their state. Typically, such individuals are desperately in search of hope and acceptance, he says. It may be uncomfortable to tell transgendered individuals that their desires don't align with the Bible, Throckmorton says, but pastors must do so. "Even if science does determine differentiation in the brain at birth," Throckmorton says, "even if there are prenatal influences, we can't set aside teachings of the Bible because of research findings."

So, when push comes to shove, Mr. Throckmorton is full aware that all his pseudo-scientific language is just sophistry.

His bottom line is his bizarre interpretation of Christian ethics.

Read Mr. Brayton's and Pam Spaulding's take on it. They say it better than I could.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Anti-Gay Graffiti Mars Day of Silence

Staff Writer
Charlotte Observer

Students across the Charlotte region are participating today in the national "Day of Silence" observation to express solidarity with gay and lesbian students who have been bullied and harassed.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg school officials say the event is taking place without incident on most campuses, despite earlier talk of counter protests from students who feel they are being pressured to mute their opposition to gay rights.

By noonday, the only incident reported had been anti-gay graffiti scrawled on a campus rock at Providence High School. The graffiti was discovered on the rock before school opened, and was removed before students arrived for classes, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Sgt. David Schwob.

Asked at mid-morning about the graffiti, Providence Principal Terri Cockerham replied, "If there was, it's news to me." She said she noticed no students wearing buttons or T-shirts in support or opposition to the Day of Silence. She added that it was hard to tell which students were participating, if any, because all they were doing is keeping silent.

"It's just a regular school day here," she said.

The Day of Silence is a national event in which students remain mute at school to call attention to the bullying -- and effective silencing -- of homosexual, bisexual and transgender students.

For the rest of the article hit the link provided above.

Let this plea for peace be the grim reminder we need in order to remember how important this day is. For more information about the Day of Silence protests happening across America in our schools visit dayofsilence.org.

"The Day of Silence is about safer schools, tolerance and positive change. Some organizations misrepresent these facts. Here are 4 Truths about a day that has brought hope to students experiencing anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment."

1) The Day of Silence’s purpose is to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses.

The goal of the Day of Silence is to make schools safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. In a Harris Interactive study on bullying, students said two of the top three reasons students are harassed in school are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. Additionally, 4 out of 5 LGBT students experience harassment at school.

Students across the country participate in the Day of Silence to bring attention to this problem, let students who experience such bullying know that they are not alone and ask schools to take action to address the problem.

2) Hundreds of thousands of students of all beliefs, backgrounds and sexual orientations participate in the Day of Silence.

Anti-LGBT bullying and harassment affects all students. Slurs such as “faggot” and “dyke” are commonplace in school. The Day of Silence is an example of students, from middle school to college, working together proactively to bring attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment experienced by LGBT and straight students alike. GLSEN, the Day of Silence’s organizational sponsor, encourages participants to be counted by registering at www.dayofsilence.org.

Students from nearly 5,000 middle and high schools registered for the 2007 Day of Silence. GLSEN protects the privacy of students and does not publish a list of students who have registered or their schools. Many students who participate also belong to Gay-Straight Alliance student clubs, of which nearly 4,000 are registered with GLSEN. The first GSA was created by a straight student nearly 20 years ago, in the fall of 1988.

3) Day of Silence participants encourage schools to implement proven solutions to address anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment.

Adopt and implement a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that enumerates categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression/identity.
Provide staff trainings to enable school staff to identify and address anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment effectively and in a timely manner.
Support student efforts to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment on campus, such as the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance.
Institute age-appropriate, factually accurate and inclusive curricula to help students understand and respect difference within the school community and society as a whole.

4) The day is a positive educational experience.

The Day of Silence is an opportunity for students to work toward improving school climate for all students. GLSEN advises students interested in participating to discuss their intentions with their administration and teachers long before the event.

The day is most successful when schools and students work together to show their commitment to ensuring safe schools for all students. Many schools allow students’ participation throughout the day. Some schools ask students to speak as they normally would during class and remain silent during breaks and at lunch. There is no single way to participate, and students are encouraged to take part in the way that is the most positive and uplifting for their school.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vermont Gay Marriage Commission Waffles

7:34 p.m.
April 21, 2008

By Dan Barlow
Vermont Press Bureau
Rutland Herald

MONTPELIER – The Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection said Monday that lawmakers should “take seriously” the difference between civil unions and same-sex marriage – but stopped short of making a specific recommendation on the issue.

The 115-page report by the commission, created by the Democratic leaders of the Vermont Legislature last summer, contains numerous reasons why lawmakers should consider expanding marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

But those reasons are the voices of Vermonters who attended public hearings over the fall and winter – and not that of the 11 members of the commission.

Commission Chair Tom Little, a former Republican state legislator who shepherded the 2000 civil union law through the Vermont House, said making a formal recommendation was not among the charges of the commission.

“The report will provide a lot of data for decision-makers,” Little said Monday at the commission’s final Statehouse meeting. “I think if it was tainted with a political recommendation, it would hurt its usefulness.”

UPDATED: Our friend MassMarrier has given us the link to the report here, and a link to his article on this issue here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Christian Values?

From the American Family Association comes this bizarre interpretation of Christian Values.

Out in California, the State Legislature ins debating a bill that would outlaw the spanking of children with anything other than a hand.

California lawmakers have moved forward on a bill that imposes severe limitations on the methods used to spank one's child. AB 2943 has passed out of the state Assembly's Public Safety Committee and it now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

The legislation is a resurrected version of Democrat Sally Lieber's bill from last year, minus the outright spanking ban. The bill prohibits using "implements" such as wooden spoons, paddles, rolled-up newspapers, switches, belts, or brushes -- essentially, allowing only the hand.

OK, there is plenty of room to argue the merits and demerits of corporal punishment of children For the record, I am opposed to all corporate punishment, but I am full aware that I am in the minority here.


Sarah Berke, a mother of five children, spoke to Public Safety Committee members during their hearing on the matter this week. She feels the bill does not take into consideration the values of Christian and other more traditional families -- who believe spanking with an implement helps teach and build good character.

No way.

You can not convince me that it is a Christian value to use an implement to teach and build character.


Monday, April 21, 2008

He is True to the Founder of the Faith

I have been following with interest the Pope's visit to the United States. I remember well his words at his coronation:

"Dear brothers and sisters, after our great pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard."
And yesterday at Yankee Stadium he re-iterated his connection with the founders of the Faith:

The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the fifty states of the Union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.
And yet, inspiring rhetoric notwithstanding, his demeanor and carriage looked very different to me.

Yes, the Pope indeed is faithful to the founder of his faith, but the founder was not the gentle rabbi who preached tolerance and love; nor the early leaders; neither Peter, nor John nor James.

But rather I saw the heir to Constantine.

I saw a man speak the flowery language of humility and poverty, while showing an audacious and ostentatious display of wealth and power lust.

I saw the Emperor of Rome.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Over $6,000 Raised for Barry Scott Legal Defense

50 people turned out for a reception on Thursday, April 17th in Boston’s South End, to benefit legal representation for Lost 45’s DJ Barry Scott as he fights criminal charges stemming from a wrongful arrest in Provincetown last July. Scott and his partner Bryan Richardson were the victims of excessive force by undertrained Provincetown summer cops who were breaking up a backyard birthday party at 10:30 on a Saturday night. Though Barry turned the music off when told to, he was beaten up by college-age cadets twice his size and strength. Richardson was detained without charges when he questioned his partner’s arrest. Barry will soon stand trial in Orleans District Court on frivolous charges of disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

The Anti-Violence Project’s Provincetown Fund netted $6000 to help defray the expenses of Barry’s legal defense. Over $10,000 has been raised for that purpose since last year. Meanwhile Barry’s legal bills have already exceeded $30,000.

Speaking at the reception were Anti-Violence Project Chair Don Gorton, Barry’s criminal defense attorney Will Korman, and Senator Dianne Wilkerson, who represents the South End. The Senator said she got involved because so many of her constituents spend time in Provincetown. She said Provincetown Police beat up the “wrong person”—the right person to fight injustice—and praised Barry’s courage in standing up for others who are similarly situated. Gorton promised vigorous legal representation and expressed confidence in the strength of Barry’s case. Korman spoke of Barry’s determination to be vindicated and his refusal of any deal to plead guilty to a noise violation. Also in attendance was attorney Marc LaCasse, who is representing street musicians in Provincetown who were targeted under the town’s unconstitutional noise ordinance last summer.

The reception was held at the South End Townhouse of Dr. Stephen Ralston. The Host Committee included Barry and his partner Bryan, Senator Wilkerson, her aide Wesley Ritchie, Gorton, Harry Collings, Gary Daffin of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus and the Multi-Cultural AIDS Coalition, Stewart Clifford, David Goldman, Joe Realmuto, and Paul Korenberg. The AVP Provincetown Fund is still accepting earmarked donations at http://mysite.verizon.net/antiviolenceproject/

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Iowa Officials: Sky Has Not Fallen in Massachusetts Over Gay Marriage

From KPTM FOX 42:

The Polk County attorney's office says the brief is based on news accounts after a decision in a Massachusetts gay marriage case. The attorney's office says it's less of a legal brief and more hearsay and anecdotal remarks.

Camilla Taylor is Lambda Legal's lead attorney on the Iowa case.

She says the brief is relevant because it shows that gay couples have been marrying in Massachusetts for four years and "the sky hasn't fallen."

The opponents of marriage equality and GLBT equality in general have the responsibility to prove what they accuse. The fourth anniversary of "gay marriage" in Massachusetts is coming up in May, yet in all that time the opposition has not been able to find one single point they can prove where equality has been a detriment. It's time we make discrimination of all forms history.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christian Grace

In the old days people held themselves to a standard of treating others as they wished to be treated. Something went wrong along the way since those days and we are left with what we have now; a world filled with contempt for our neighbors. Among my cyber-travels I've come across many blogs that appear to be Christian on the surface, but when looked at more closely are nothing more than a outlet of hatred for those who contribute to vent their anger. One such blog I've come across is that of Jay G. called Defend the Faith.

I have posted numerous times there and I'm always greeted with the utmost hostility from his readers, which was one of the reasons I had stopped visiting. I've been asked sexual questions worded in such a vile way Jay himself had removed the post. The basic idea seems that since I am a "sodomite" as they have called me, I am completely unworthy,I hate God, and disrespect everything they find important.

Since Jay found it in his heart to mention me in his prayers on his blog I felt I should come back to his site and talk there further. I challenged Jay G. on his front page endorsement of nationally listed hate group MassResistance, and our exchanges began. In the last volley of posts I challenged Jay and his readers to look past our differences and see if there are things we might work upon together for the good of all. I used a metaphor for the Good Samaritan, saying that "if I were in a car driving by you and you were broken down, would you wave me on when I stopped, or would you allow me to help you?" A reader named Richard B. responded with:

We haven't turned our back on you. We just refuse to justify you in your mortal sin. Because we haven't turned our backs on you, we are standing by the side of the road shouting at the tops of our lungs, "Watch out John Hosty, you're heading for a cliff."

Your response? You step on the gas and give us the finger as you sip from a can of beer and laugh at how "ignorant" we are.

How will this story end? For you, badly I'm afraid.

Another reader named William states:

"John Hosty hates God and neighbor."

There are many passages in the Bible that say one thing only to be contradicted by another part of the Bible. There are also ancient laws that we simply no longer follow like Leviticus 19:19 that states we should not ear any clothing that is made from two different materials. There are many other examples of archaic laws while you read some of the points used to defend DTF's stance:

Lev. 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."

Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them"

1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."

My point of contention has never really been to argue these points, but rather to challenge people on how they personally behave. That point of discussion has been met with much reluctance. More often than not I am simply redirected back to the Bible passages listed above and reminded that I am a son of Satan (so to speak). There seems to be a lack of accountability for personal behavior, and I am wondering why? I've always contended that Christ is the Prince of Peace. That His call for us as Christians was to go out there and be His light so that other might find the joy we see in Him. Yet when I try to bring up these points my words fall on deaf ears, so I look for passages in the Bible that might help guide their hearts in the right direction. One such passage is Romans 14 (American Standard Version):

1 But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples.

2 One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling.

14 I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

15 For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died.

16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18 For he that herein serveth Christ is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men.

19 So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.

20 Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth.

22 The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth.

23 But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Now it does seem a little hard to interpret, but the basic message is not to judge others, not to become an obstacle in some one's path to God, and to love your neighbor in spite of his differences, helping each other towards God. Here's what Jay G. had to say on the passage:

Romans 14 is about Jewish dietary laws and how or if they should apply to Christians, and about the possibility of eating with Gentiles who were pagans who may have sacrificed their animals to a false god, and whether or not eating at their banquets would cause scandal.

Since this is not the first time Jay G. and I have had this argument and not resolved it fully, let's post the interpretation of BibleGateway.com:

The Jewish converts cautioned against judging, and Gentile believers against despising one the other.

Differences of opinion prevailed even among the immediate followers of Christ and their disciples. Nor did St. Paul attempt to end them. Compelled assent to any doctrine, or conformity to outward observances without being convinced, would be hypocritical and of no avail. Attempts for producing absolute oneness of mind among Christians would be useless. Let not Christian fellowship be disturbed with strifes of words.

It will be good for us to ask ourselves, when tempted to disdain and blame our brethren; Has not God owned them? and if he has, dare I disown them? Let not the Christian who uses his liberty, despise his weak brother as ignorant and superstitious. Let not the scrupulous believer find fault with his brother, for God accepted him, without regarding the distinctions of meats. We usurp the place of God, when we take upon us thus to judge the thoughts and intentions of others, which are out of our view. The case as to the observance of days was much the same.

Those who knew that all these things were done away by Christ's coming, took no notice of the festivals of the Jews. But it is not enough that our consciences consent to what we do; it is necessary that it be certified from the word of God. Take heed of acting against a doubting conscience. We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment.

A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them.

I also found a more plainly put Romans 14, this time in the New Life Version:

Help Weak Christians
1 If there is someone whose faith is weak, be kind and receive him. Do not argue about what he thinks. 2 One man believes he may eat everything. Another man with weak faith eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything should not think he is better than the one who eats only vegetables. The man who eats only vegetables should not say the other man is wrong, because God has received him. 4 Who are you to tell another person's servant if he is right or wrong? It is to his owner that he does good or bad. The Lord is able to help him.
5 One man thinks one day is more important than another. Another man thinks every day is the same. Every man must be sure in his own mind. 6 The man who worships on a special day does it to honor the Lord. The man who eats meat does it to honor the Lord. He gives thanks to God for what he eats. The other man does not eat meat. In this way, he honors the Lord. He gives thanks to God also.

7 No one lives for himself alone. No one dies for himself alone. 8 If we live, it is for the Lord. If we die, it is for the Lord. If we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and lived again. This is why He is the Lord of the living and of the dead. 10 Why do you try to say your Christian brother is right or wrong? Why do you hate your Christian brother? We will all stand before God to be judged by Him. 11 The Holy Writings say, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me. And every tongue will say that I am God." 12 Everyone of us will give an answer to God about himself.

Your Christian Brother
13 So you should stop saying that you think other people are wrong. Instead, decide to live so that your Christian brother will not have a reason to trip or fall into sin because of you. 14 Christ has made me know that everything in itself is clean. But if a person thinks something is not clean, then to him it is not clean. 15 If your Christian brother is hurt because of some foods you eat, then you are no longer living by love. Do not destroy the man for whom Christ died by the food you eat. 16 Do not let what is good for you be talked about as bad. 17 For the holy nation of God is not food and drink. It is being right with God. It is peace and joy given by the Holy Spirit. 18 If you follow Christ in these things, God will be happy with you. Men will think well of you also.
19 Work for the things that make peace and help each other become stronger Christians. 20 Do not destroy what God has done just because of some food. All food is good to eat. But it is wrong to eat anything that will make someone fall into sin. 21 Do not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it would make your Christian brother fall into sin. 22 Keep the faith you have between yourself and God. A man is happy if he knows he is doing right. 23 But if he has doubts about the food he eats, God says he is guilty when he eats it. It is because he is eating without faith. Anything that is not done in faith is sin.

There are those who will never give you respect.
There are those who will give you respect only after you give them respect first.
There are those who give less respect than they get.
There are those who give respect before it is given.
There are those who give respect no matter how disrespectful someone is to them.

Let us all identify and own up to how we act, and challenge ourselves to achieve true Christian grace no matter how challenging our paths might be. Let no opportunity to be the change you wish to see in the world escape you, and let us all learn from the times we fail.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

States' Rights

We all know that conservatives love States' Rights.

In the battle for marriage equality, it is common to hear conservatives say that the Federal Government need not be involved in marriage law. After all, they say, why should a State be forced against its will to honor the marriage laws of other States.

Well, State's Rights advocates, explain THIS, if you please.

WASHINGTON -- Americans with state-issued concealed weapons permits would be allowed to carry guns wherever they travel in the country under a bill introduced Monday by 3rd District Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers.

The measure would eliminate a mishmash of concealed weapons regulations that vary from state to state, Boozman contends. All states would be forced to recognize concealed handgun permits from elsewhere.

Boozman's bill would require even Illinois and Wisconsin, which do not have right-to-carry laws, to recognize licenses issued in other states.


Monday, April 14, 2008

YouTube Video of Governator's Stand for Equality

This is a short video of Governor Schwarzenegger in his own words telling the public that he is against the petition in California to forever ban gay marriage:

It is moments like this I will remember with pride the rest of my life. Equality is not just right, it's inevitable! It is the natural progression of logic to judge people on their merits rather than class, creed, or inherent qualities. As giants of society like Gov. Schwarzenegger stand up and state their opinions we can expect others to do the same.

I've Been Tagged

I have been tagged by Jane Know of Fallacy Findings.
Here are the rules of the tag game:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 (or more) pages.

A Midwife's Tale, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

2. Open the book to page 123 and find the 5th sentence.

Martha had been right: telling tales about a justice of the peace, or his family, might,"Expose and perhaps ruin" a person.

3. Post the next 3 sentences.

July 18, 1790. "At ditto, Attended etc. etc." Martha was present, though she gave no detail when the jury heard the case of Thomas Meloney, charged with cohabitating with his sister Joannah and murdering an infant born of her body. Their father deposed that the two were indeed brother and sister, that, "they had Lived in one house together Ever Since Joannah had her first Child," that she now had three children, but that "I don't know who was the father of them children." The old man signed his testimony with a mark.

It is a very good book about the experiences of a midwife between 1785 and 1812 in rural Maine:

"A marvelously nuanced, subtle and unillusioned portrayal of one woman's life in early America. It has the makings of a classic."

Stepen Innes, University of Virginia


Friday, April 11, 2008

Governator Gone Gay!

As reported in 365Gay.com, Governor Arnold Swarzenegger is preparred to fight an anti-gay marriage initiative:

(San Diego, California) California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says that if an initiative to ban gay marriage qualifies for the November ballot, he's prepared to fight it.

California's governor spoke Friday in San Diego at the convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay Republican group.

He has previously vetoed bills that would have legalized gay marriage. Both times Schwarzenegger said that the courts or the people through a plebiscite should decide the issue.

Sorry for the play on words Governor, but it was too much fun to resist! Although it took you a while to come around, thanks for doing the right thing; history will remember this as yet another of your victories!

Archbishop Tutu Speaks for Gay Civil Rights

"'How sad it is,' he said, 'That the Church should be so obsessed with this particular issue of human sexuality when God's children are facing massive problems-- poverty, disease, corruption, conflict...'

"'We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about-our very skins,' he wrote. 'It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups.'"

[For the full article, see here.]

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the sane voices in the institutional Church who not only refuses to major in the minors, but sees that civil rights for one group requires civil rights for all groups! LGBT people deserve and require the very same civil and sacramental rights enjoyed by all other citizens, and he clearly sees that fact and knows that being a Christian requires him to speak about that fact every chance he gets.

All too often we see smug, arrogant, judgmental legalists claiming to be Christians and claiming to speak for God. It's refreshing to see a Christian in action! ~Dr. Rev. Jerry Maneker

This is an amazing step for Christian leadership. Tutu's guidance adds dignity to the old world ways of actually caring to do things for the right reasons. When your job is to teach unconditional love it helps to understand it yourself.

Archbishop Tutu, Thank you with everthing I am!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

UCC sees donation gain after supporting same-sex marriage NEWS

Published 04/03/2008
by Heather Tirado Gilligan

Donations to the connectional ministries of the United Church of Christ increased by over a million dollars in 2007 following its endorsement of same-sex marriage in 2005.

UCC's controversial decision a few years ago was a move that some said would lead to financial ruin for the national church. But instead, the opposite has happened, national church leaders said. During 2007, voluntary contributions to Our Church's Wider Mission, the denomination's shared fund for connectional ministries, totaled $29,637,048, up from $28,409,202 during the previous year, according to year-end financial reports.

The UCC General Synod approved a nonbinding resolution in support of same-sex marriage by an overwhelming margin in 2005, with the support of 80 percent of elected church representatives. The resolution called on UCC churches to study and support the need for equal liturgical rites and civil marriage laws for same-sex couples.

When the resolution passed, the UCC became the first mainline Christian denomination to call for the legalization of same-sex marriage. That decision led to more than 200 of UCC's 5,900 congregations leaving the denomination, according to the national UCC. Eighty-five other congregations, however, took steps to join UCC.

Looks to me like equality is good for business! Read the rest of this news at it's source, The Bay Area Reporter.


Plan balances immediate stimulus, long-term investments and fiscal discipline to create Culture of Opportunity

BOSTON – Wednesday, April 9, 2008 – Joined by the state’s leading business and government leaders, including House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, Senate President Therese Murray and MIT President Susan Hockfield at the MIT Sloan School of Business Management, Governor Deval Patrick today announced an economic plan to create a culture of opportunity focused on restrained spending and long- and short-term investments, while preparing for the impacts of a softening national economy.

“State government has its limitations, but it has its responsibilities as well. As we face uncertain times in our national economy, we must continue to take actions that will keep the Commonwealth’s economy moving forward,” said Governor Patrick. “Government alone cannot create new jobs, but we create conditions that foster a culture of opportunity that helps secure the state’s short-term fiscal health and guarantees our long-term economic prosperity.”

A cornerstone of the Governor's economic stimulus plan included a multi-billion capital plan to start repairing hundreds of structurally deficient bridges throughout the Commonwealth. The Governor also kicked off a series of announcements to identify regional growth districts throughout Massachusetts.

Government can create a culture of opportunity to help foster economic development and job creation. Governor Patrick has put forward a balanced and bold approach to create the conditions that will stimulate the Massachusetts economy amid national and regional uncertainty. By investing in infrastructure projects and the workforce, the state can create a culture of opportunity that helps to strengthen the state’s fiscal foundation and promote long-term economic security.

Restrained Spending
While the Massachusetts economy is faring better than most states, with recent job growth in the Life Sciences and Clean Energy sectors, Governor Patrick has taken prudent action by introducing stringent spending controls to ensure that the state budget would close the fiscal year in balance. Restrained spending will allow the Commonwealth to make targeted investments in education, public safety and infrastructure that will stimulate our economy. The Governor is committed to making deeper cuts, if necessary, to support those investments. The Governor’s proposal to restrain spending includes:

· In addition to the $500 million in budget reductions proposed last year and the $344 million in savings included in this year’s budget proposal, the Governor has outlined a plan to save another $200 million this year.
· Proposing a disciplined approach to limit use of rainy day funds.
· Directing the Cabinet to forego non-essential hiring and postpone programming, even though revenues are running ahead of benchmark.
· Developing a 9C plan for deeper cuts should revenues start to slip.

Investing in the Commonwealth
The Governor’s plan makes much-needed investments in areas that enable business development and job growth enabling the state to retain its competitive edge, especially in infrastructure improvements. The Governor’s aggressive plan to invest in structurally deficient bridges will create thousands of construction jobs, as well as expand or attract companies to do business here.

· Structurally Deficient Bridge Program: The Administration will partner with the Legislature and the Treasurer to restructure the state’s debt so the state can start an accelerated repair program for hundreds of structurally deficient bridges throughout the Commonwealth, stimulating the economy and generating thousands of new jobs.

· $20 million for Development-Ready Projects: The Administration will reprogram $10 million of new local infrastructure (MORE) grants to projects that will help create hundreds of permanent and construction jobs this year, and make an additional $10 million available to eligible development-ready projects to further stimulate job and economic development.

Positioning for Long-Term Growth
The Governor’s plan takes a number of steps to protect our economic future including partnering with the Legislature to invest in emerging industries like the Life Sciences and Clean Energy sectors, where businesses choose to locate and expand here. To further stimulate the regional economy, the Governor’s plan will identify 16 regional growth districts to reinforce long-term economic opportunity for all regions of the Commonwealth.

· Expanded Regional Growth Districts: The Administration will work to foster regional economies by focusing attention on gateway communities, using Devens as a model. Some examples include streamlined permitting, identifying infrastructure needs and assistance with marketing.

· International Trade and Investment: The dividends of the China Trade Mission continue, including the recent application by the Hainan Airline Aviation Group to the Civil Aviation Administration of China for approval of direct air service from Boston to Beijing. The Administration will continue to look for opportunities for investment and collaboration with foreign markets.

Securing the Safety Net
Good jobs at good wages throughout the Commonwealth continue to be a key objective of the Administrations economic development policy. In addition to stimulus programs, government must also help vulnerable people, small businesses and non-profits weather the looming national recession.

Continue to work in partnership with the Legislature to implement the state’s model health care reform program by controlling costs, provide energy assistance funding to people who need it most, and monitor auto insurance reform to bring savings for good drivers across the Commonwealth.

· $20 million for Foreclosure Protections: The Department of Housing and Community Development will create a $20 million acquisition pool to purchase foreclosed, vacant properties across the Commonwealth. These funds will be loaned to local non-profit housing developers to secure properties for rapid rehabilitation and re-occupancy, keeping them out of the hands of speculators and revitalizing our neighborhoods.

The money will be focused in areas with a high concentration of recently vacant property including: Boston, Brockton, Lawrence, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester. The Administration’s goals are to protect property values in already distressed areas, to lessen the potential of increased crime rates in these communities, and to retain the stability of the neighborhoods.

· The Governor has received a commitment from MassDevelopment, MassHousing and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to pledge resources and assistance to help implement the Governor’s plan for economic growth.

"Even before taking office, Governor Patrick understood that two of the great intellectual strengths of this region could also be great economic strengths: the life sciences and clean energy,” said MIT President Susan Hockfield. “From cancer research, to biological engineering, to the leading edge of energy technology, MIT is developing ideas that can help improve the human condition and accelerate the state's economic growth."

“When people across the world hear ‘MIT,’ they naturally think about innovation, about technology and science. And they’re right,” said MIT Sloan Dean David Schmittlein. “But they don’t always recognize how directly this affects economic development in the Commonwealth. The Institute’s entrepreneurial environment produces students and ideas that create new enterprises, and these in turn create great jobs and opportunity. Combining the MIT Sloan School of Management with MIT’s powerful technology base delivers a uniquely important engine for the Massachusetts economy.”

The Slippery Slope

The American Family Association has their panties in a bunch again.

It seems that:

A conservative military watchdog says the Pentagon has set a disturbing precedent in allowing a homosexual member of Congress to take her "domestic partner" with her on a congressional fact-finding trip to Europe.

But straight couples enjoy this privilege routinely:

Under House guidelines, members of Congress may take their spouses with them on military flights if there is room for them and when it is necessary for protocol purposes.


But while military officials were apparently unwilling to consider Azar a spouse within the meaning of the House guidelines, Pelosi was able to convince [Defense Secretary] Gates to make an exception.
So Nancy Pelosi went to bat for a colleague and constituent; Is that not what Representatives do?

Of what exactly are these people afraid?

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness calls this situation "a slippery slope." "This sets a disturbing precedent because it tends to suggest that marriage doesn't matter, [and that] marriage of people of same-sex or any such association should be treated as the equivalent of marriage," she contends.
No, Elaine, it does not suggest that "marriage doesn't matter".

It suggests that gay and lesbian people deserve to have their most cherished relationships treated with equal dignity.

I ask again. Of what are you so afraid?

Oh, and if you are so fond of the sanctity of the marriage vow, why do you not object to the numerous members of Congress bringing along spouses with whom they have committed adultery?

Just asking.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Yearning for Zion

I wanted to write about the horrible story out of of Texas. where the followers of a breakaway polygamous sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints have set up a closed society.

The story bothers me on so many levels I found it nearly impossible to collect my thoughts. But Possumomma, aka the Atheist in a Minivan, expresses my thoughts exactly.

Please read her take on this.

Her bottom line is this:

This isn't about religion or religious freedom. It's about rape. It's about child neglect and abuse. And, it's time to end it.
While I agree with that, I'll take it a step a further.

This is a society where powerful men, under the pretense of religion are using girls and women as playthings.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Ed Brayton on the FBI and MLK

It was forty years ago today, that Martin Luther King was assassinated. Much has been and more will be written about the impact of Dr. King's legacy.

And we should remember MLK's contributions to society, but we must should also reflect on the unconscionable behavior of our Federal Government during that time.

Ed Brayton reminds us if this dark period in our history, and why we should remember it.

After King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech in Washington in August 1963, the FBI began to focus enormous institutional attention on him. One FBI memo from just after that speech declared King the "most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country," while another called for a meeting of department heads to "explore how best to carry on our investigation [of King] to produce the desired results without embarrassment to the Bureau." Left unsaid is any legitimate reason why the FBI should be investigating King at all, a man clearly being surveilled solely because he advocated ideas the government didn't like.

One month after that famous speech, [Attorney General, Robert] Kennedy approved a request from Hoover to allow the FBI to break into King's home and place recording devices. There doesn't appear to be any concern at all for the legality of the operation; Kennedy's only concern was for the "delicacy of this particular matter" and he wanted to make sure that the agents didn't get caught planting the bugs. The chief law enforcement officer in the nation, sworn to uphold the constitution, had given permission to the FBI to flagrantly break the law and violate the constitution by bugging the home of a man who had broken no laws whatsoever, a man who had done nothing but engage in perfectly legal protest against laws that are universally viewed with disgust today.

Read the whole thing here.


Just Asking.

When asked about federal recognition of same sax marriage, Hillary Clinton had this to say:

What I say is that marriage is in the province of the state, which has actually turned out to be lucky for us, because we didn't have to get beaten on the Federal Marriage Amendment because we could make, among other arguments, that it was such a stretch for the federal government and it was wrong to enshrine discrimination in the Constitution. And that states are really beginning seriously to deal with the whole range of options, including marriage, both under their own state constitutions and under the legislative approach. I anticipate that there will be a very concerted amount of effort in the next couple of years that will move this important issue forward and different states will take different approaches as they did with marriage over many years and you will see an evolution over time.
"marriage is in the province of the state"

Oh Really?

Is it the STATE of Massachusetts the allows me to my file 1040 form jointly with my wife?
Is it the STATE of Massachusetts that will pay my wife my Social Security benefits?
Is it the STATE of Massachusetts that grants the 1000 or so benefits of marriage?

Just asking.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Former Bay Windows Editor Sides With Barry Scott

Jeff Epperly, former editor of Bay Windows had some opinions and information to share about the Barry Scott Attack. Here's a portion of what he had to say:

Some progress has been made. Provincetown recently decided against hiring Acting Police Chief Warren Tobias, the man in charge when so many of these questionable police actions took place, as the town’s permanent chief of police. That is a commendable start. Now the town should do what it can to see that Scott’s case is dismissed and to investigate why such a blatant over-reaction took place.

Some of Scott’s supporters have called for a boycott of Provincetown. I think that’s shortsighted and unfairly punishes this community’s friends and supporters in the town. I’m going back this year despite misgivings. But, as with many others, I’ll be watching closely to see how the town resolves the Barry Scott incident - and what it’s doing to prevent it from happening again.

Supporters of Scott will be having a fundraiser to help him defray legal expenses. The event will be held April 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the home of Steven Ralston, 158 West Concord St., in the South End. For more information call 781.838.2704 or visit this column on the web at baywindows.com to link to the Evite.

Please visit Bay Windows to read the full version of this editorial. I would say that the people of Provincetown have a responsibility to their guests to make sure they are free from harm and they are treated fairly. The lack of public outrage over how the Barry Scott Attack has been handled calls for an action that delivers the consequences their inaction brings. Someone who can stand by while a neighbor is beaten, arrested, then made to appear like a lawbreaker does not deserve my hard earned dollar. If and when the people of Provincetown come to their senses and free Barry Scott of these ridiculous charges, there will still be a real and measurable threat the safety of GLBT people while visiting. Both these issues should be addressed head on by the citizens who have a vested interest. It's not just good for business, it's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Distortions, Oponents, and Gay Marriage

From the Daily Reveille at Louisiana State University:

We've all heard the statistic that divorce rates in America are almost 50 percent, even though divorce is on the decline. But a drop in the number of divorces, coupled with a drop in the number of marriages, could disrupt the institution of marriage as we know it, says a 2005 USA Today article.

More than 80 percent of Americans are Christians, according to a 2003 Gallup poll.

A 2004 CBS News poll stated more than 60 percent of Americans oppose gay marriage.

This is one of the most disturbing and hypocritical positions around today, and I don't understand either argument. Marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual, should not be an issue when determining who is most suitable to run the country.

The state of marriage in America is disastrous, and it's not the fault of gay people. Even if there were no gay men or lesbians in existence - like the moral utopia of Iran, which is free from the phenomenon of homosexuality - this would still be the case.

I believe all children deserve stable parents, but this doesn't mean we should ban single, divorced and infertile parents from raising children.

I am opposed to the validity of gay marriage in the Church. I believe children deserve capable fathers and mothers, and I believe homosexual acts are sinful.

But I don't believe gay men and lesbians are any more sinful than anyone else - and I can't find any reasonable arguments to bar them from civil unions that aren't applicable to heterosexual couples.

In the Gospel of John, the Bible says, "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. There also I must lead..."

Read the rest of this interesting opinion at the link provided.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Documents Discovered

VATICAN CITY - A Vatican restoration project in Pope Benedict's private quarters has yielded an extraordinary discovery that will likely shake Christendom to it's very core. Vatican Spokesman Albino Stefano said that an accident in the Pontiff's home has led to the discovery of the oldest copy of St. Paul's letters to the congregation at Corinth. The documents were discovered when workmen, installing a new floor above the the Pontiff''s lavatory, fell through the ceiling below. Pope Benedict XVI was quoted as saying:

I was sitting on the toilet when suddenly a leather bound manuscript crashed through the ceiling above me, landing at my feet. It was of extraordinary quality and I immediately recognized the script as ancient Greek. It contained St. Paul's epistles to the Corinthians. Paul's penmanship indeed leaves much to be desired, but I immediately turned to my favorite scripture at 1 Corinthians 6-9. Apparently the ancient translators had difficultly reading his writing, but this version was quite clear.
"What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit god's kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men kept for unnatural purposes nor men who lie to men."

Until Vatican translators examine the documents in greater detail, it remains unclear what the Church will do with this information, but Pope Benedict seemed amendable to a change in Catholic Doctrine.

"It is truly fabulous", the Pope was quoted as saying.

Protestant theologians were less impressed:

Reverend Josef Schmidt of the Munich based Evangelical Lutheran Church notes that not since Martin Luther's day did God routinely grant revelation to Prophets sitting on a toilet.

"We must remember that Martin Luther was a special case, suffering from extreme constipation. I am not aware the the Pope is so blessed", the Reverend said.
Jewish theologians were more sanguine:

Rabbi Jacob Cohen, speaking from his office in New York City, was overjoyed.

I have always thought that Moses misconstrued a fair amount of Leviticus , and it is enlightening to learn that Paul, a learned man of the Law, had corrected Moses error. It is a testament to G-d's love that despite the differences between Christians and Jews, we all have more in common than we have in conflict. We all do some of our best work while sitting on a toilet, the Rabbi said.