Saturday, July 31, 2010

Latest Duckling Pics

Momma Duck decided to take the new baby out for it's first tour of the yard and pond. We still don't know the sex. We can't get close enough to pick it up. For the time being, we're calling it B.D. (baby duck).


Right now Momma is keeping B.D. in the shallows where she can keep an eye on him. We've had snapping turtles in our pond over the years and even lost an adult duck to one last summer.


Photo credit: P. Reneau. 
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Author Anne Rice Leaving Christianity

Anne RiceImage via Wikipedia
Gothic horror novelist Anne Rice, who brought you "Interview with the Vampire" (and all its tedious sequels), stunned her fans a few years ago by announcing that she had returned to her Catholic roots and was steering clear of the dark side that brought her so much fame and fortune.

Now it appears that Rice has discovered something I realized long ago: there is a difference between faith and religion.

The sixty nine year-old author, who has become obsessed with posting biblical passages to her FaceBook status, posted the following on Wednesday:
"My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn't understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become."
Rice followed up that statement by explaining,  "In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ...Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."

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90% of Recipients Ignoring DADT Survey

An article in Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the Unites States armed forces, reports that with just two weeks left, only 10% of the 400,000 recipients of the Pentagon's controversial Don't Ask, Don't Tell survey have bothered to respond. Military leaders are scrambling to communicate to the troops the importance of the survey and the need for their input. The survey deadline is August 15th.

The problem for the Pentagon is that it appears all the findings from all the previous polls on the subject are true: the majority of today's military personnel just don't care about whether or not they serve with gays and lesbians.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United have both called the survey biased, slanted and anti-gay and warned closeted gays and lesbians in the military not to answer the survey out of concerns over anonymity. Is it possible that 90% of US military personnel are queer? Not likely, but we can dream, can't we?

It's much more likely that the 100-question survey is just too long and most of the troops who got it just can't be bothered. I've read the survey. It's long and boring and would probably take at least a half an hour to answer all the questions. Who has that kind of time to devote to something they really don't care about one way or the other, especially when you're so busy fighting two wars?

Arguably  the most important factor is that it has been made abundantly clear by President Obama, the Pentagon and the House and Senate that repeal is going to happen, regardless of the survey results. I've never served in the military, but I do know that I wouldn't be likely to take part in a survey if I knew that my input was not going to have any effect.

What this story really underscores for me is the generation gap between the military's top brass, who are mostly over 60 and the grunts serving in the field, who are in their 20's and 30's. Younger people, both in and out of the military, are less homophobic than senior citizens. Maybe it's time to retire these old codgers and let some younger minds start calling the shots.


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just for laughs...

Bill O'Reilly on DADT: "We should stop this nonsense" (video)

Climate change kicked into over-drive this week as Hell froze over on word that Fox "News" blowhard Bill O'Reilly told Jay Leno that he supports the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The conservatard commentator, who is now officially farther to the left than President Obama on the LGBT rights, appeared on the "Tonight Show" on Monday night. Jay asked him his take on the news of Dan Choi's discharge from the NY Army National Guard.

The Huffington Post reports:
Bill O'Reilly made an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" Monday night, telling President Obama to stop enforcing the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy regarding gays serving in the military.
"President Obama has the power to stop this 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' business. Just sign an executive order. I don't know why it's taking so long--it's not fair. We should stop this nonsense," said O'Reilly.
Obama had promised during his campaign for presidency that he would work with lawmakers and the military to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military. And while the President has urged Congress to repeal DADT, he has yet to publicly address the option of an executive order.


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"Inception" star Tom Hardy on gay sex: "Of course I have. I'm an actor."

British actor Tom Hardy, currently co-starring in the Leo DiCaprio film "Inception" this summer, reveals that he is bisexual and has had several relationships with men in his younger days.

In an interview with the U.K.'s Now Magazine, Hardy was asked whether he'd slept with men, he replied, "As a boy? Of course I have. I'm an actor for ****'s sake.

That's what I love about the British tabloids. They don't mince words and ask you straight out. Hardy, who may be more familiar to U.S. audiences for his role in 2005's "Star Trek: Nemesis", as Capt. Piccard's evil clone Shinzon, continued, "I've played with everything and everyone. I love the form and the physicality, but now that I'm in my thirties, it doesn't do it for me."

Hardy, who is now engaged to British actress Charlotte Riley, says he's all about the ladies these days, but still needs gay men in his life and explains his appeal to his gay fans. "I'm done experimenting but there's plenty of stuff in a relationship with another man, especially gay men, that I need in my life."

Hardy adds, "A lot of gay men get my thing for shoes. I have definite feminine qualities and a lot of gay men are incredibly masculine. A lot of people say I seem masculine, but I don't feel it. I feel intrinsically feminine. I'd love to be one of the boys but I always felt a bit on the outside. Maybe my masculine qualities come from overcompensating because I'm not one of the boys."
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Breaking: GetEQUAL Protesters Arrested in Capitol Rotunda

Several members of GetEQUAL, the direct action LGBT rights group that staged sit-ins at the Washington, DC and San Francisco offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March and shut down traffic on the Las Vegas Strip last week, have been arrested after staging a sit-in in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC on  Wednesday afternoon. The group called on Pelosi to move forward with a floor vote on the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee said via FaceBook, "We are pressuring Speaker Pelosi to move on ENDA because, while we know that she values the legislation, we have yet to see her show the leadership she's promised in taking ENDA out of committee and moving it through the House."




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Breaking: The Duck Wrangler is a Grandpappy!


Took a look out in the coop today and guess what? Our first grandbaby! Isn't it adorable? Mother and duckling are doing just fine. The other ducks have been popping in to visit the new arrival and they're all so excited. 


Only 6 or 7 more eggs to go.  What have we gotten ourselves into?
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Summer Reading: "Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Religious Right", by Rev. Mel White

I'm not one of those who reads a lot of books, mostly because I find most of the stuff that makes it to the best seller lists has been done to death. I've yet to see anything that looks remotely original or thought-provoking. One exception comes from Soulforce founder and author, Rev. Mel Wight, called "Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Religious Right". Every LGBT person who is as appalled as I am at the rise to power and the undue influence of the religious right in this country over the last four decades should read this book.

White, who was an evangelical preacher for many years, was in a unique position as a bible student, pastor, film maker, TV producer and writer to learn the inner workings of the religious right. He was part of the inner circle of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson and even ghostwrote their biographies.

White explains in his book how the Unholy Trio collectively decided to exploit homophobia to build their base, infiltrate and take over the Republican party and the secure the highest seats of power in Washington, including the White House. If you thought the culture wars were just a sign of the times, think again. 

The following is from the book's website:
This Fall's midterm elections will see much discussion about the enhanced power of the Christian fundamentalist Right, leaving many people to wonder: just who are these people and what exactly do they want? What are their ultimate goals? The Reverend Mel White, a deeply religious man who sees fundamentalism as "evangelical Christian orthodoxy gone cultic," believes that it is not a stretch to say that the true goal of today's fundamentalists is to break down the wall that separates church and state, superimpose their "moral values" on the U.S. Constitution, replace democracy with theocratic rule, and ultimately create a new "Christian America" in their image. White's new book, Religion Gone Bad, is a wake-up call to all of us to take heed.
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LGBT Groups Send Open Letter to Pelosi Urging Movement on ENDA

Eight LGBT groups sent an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling on her to stop the delays, stop the lies and schedule a floor vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):
From San Francisco Pride at Work, One Struggle, One Fight, GetEqual, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, El / La, and National Pride at Work
An Open Letter to the House Speaker on ENDA
We are writing to express how extremely troubled we are that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has not yet been scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives. We believe a floor vote must be scheduled for ENDA immediately.
It would be devastating for LGBT workers for this Congress to not complete its work on ENDA before the end of this session. ENDA would be historic in the number of LGBT people who would benefit from its passage. During this economic crisis, it is more important than ever to prohibit the often impoverishing effects of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Most LGBT workers have no protections from workplace discrimination. ENDA would provide legal protection against discrimination nationally. Over and over we have been promised that a vote would be scheduled on ENDA, and these promises have been repeatedly broken. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. And in 38 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender. The current version of the bill would outlaw discrimination on both sexual orientation and gender identity.
A 2006 study by the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Transgender Law Center found that 60 percent of transgender people in San Francisco earn less than $15,300 per year, only 25 percent have a full-time job and nearly 9 percent have no source of income.
Only 4 percent reported making more than $61,200, which is about the median income in the Bay Area. More than half of local transgender people live in poverty, and 96 percent earn less than the median income. Forty percent of those surveyed don't even have a bank account. What this study reveals is that even in a city that is considered a haven for the LGBT community, transgender workers face profound employment challenges and discrimination.
A 2007 meta-analysis from the Williams Institute of 50 studies of workplace discrimination against LGBT people found consistent evidence of bias in the workplace. The analysis found that up to 68 percent of LGBT people reported experiencing employment discrimination, and up to 17 percent said they had been fired or denied employment.
Public opinion polling shows that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of making sure LGBT Americans get the same employment opportunities as everyone else. In fact, the latest surveys shows that nearly 90% of Americans support workplace fairness for LGBT workers.
As you know, in a few weeks, Congress will finish it's legislative business for the year so that they can return to their districts to run for re-election. Last month at a LGBT Pride event, Congresswoman Jackie Spier announced to the LGBT community that not only would we not get ENDA before the end of the legislative session, that she did not think we would get it for five years because we won't have enough votes in Congress again to ensure passage. It is ironic that Congress plans on leaving town and going home to campaign for their own jobs while leaving thousands of LGBT workers without protections for the next five years. When 90% of Americans support workplace fairness, it is challenging to believe that anyone fears a backlash from the voters. The time to pass ENDA is now. The American people support it, the politicians promised it. No more broken promises. We demand that a vote be scheduled now.
Sincerely,
SF Pride at Work, One Struggle, One Fight, GetEqual, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, Transgender Law Center, National Center for Lesbian Rights, El / La and National Pride at Work 
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Video: Women's sexuality can change later in life, but Elisabeth Hasselbeck will always be an idiot

Why is it that the people who know the least about human sexuality have the most to say on the subject?

Yesterday, the daily hen party, "The View" discussed a study that was released earlier this month that showed what anybody with a brain stem has known for a very long time: women's sexual orientation is more fluid than men's and can change over the course of their lives.

It makes perfect sense to me that witless wonders Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd once again have something stupid to say on the subject. To her credit, Shepherd had the sense to shut up and listen once she heard the how stupid she sounded when she said, "is that like as women get older it's like a 'been there done' that kinda thing?"  Seriously, Sherri? They pay you for this shit? At least she put it in the form a question, indicating that maybe there's a glimmer of hope for her.

But leave it to Hasselbeck to assert that she knows the real answer without having to ask any questions at all. The dim-witted daytime diva asserts that older women turn gay because older men are going after younger women, leaving older women with no choice but each other.

My brain hurts.

Once again it's up to Joy Behar to school these two idiots, telling them that women come out later in life because they bought the lie that they had to get married and have kids in order to be real women. By the way, a lot of men fall into the same trap.

Take a look.

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New Wave Wednesday: "Turning Japanese", by The Vapors (music video)

This weeks' featured video topped the charts in the US, UK and Australia way back in 1980. British band, The Vapors, achieved "One-hit Wonder" status with their hit "Turning Japanese". Ironically, the band knew they had a hit and made the New Wave classic their second release in order to avoid this dubious distinction.

The true meaning of the song about a guy obsessed with taking pictures of his girlfriend has been the subject of speculation for thirty years. At the time, many people thought the title referred to the face a guy makes when he climaxes during masturbation. The band says that's not true. Band member David Fenton says it's about what can happen when you become obsessed with someone you love. He said in a VH1 interview, "Turning Japanese is all the clich├ęs about angst and youth and turning into something you didn't expect to."

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ted Haggard says He's "Over-Repented" for his Gay Sexcapades (video)

This is a first for me. All the holy rollers I've ever met believe that you can never be too repentant. In fact, according to my Catholic upbringing (which I repent for every day) not only can you never repent enough for your sins here on Earth, but there is a special place in the after-life where you can repent for most of eternity, called Purgatory. It's a place somewhere between Heaven and Hell where God sends you for a time out, so you  can "sit and think about what you did, Mister!" for a few millenia.

This underscores what I've always believed to be the basic difference between Catholics and Protestants (non-Catholic Christians). Protestants go to church because they actually believe all the wackiness they've been taught. Catholics go to church because they're afraid not to.

Then there's Ted Haggard. As you may recall, three years ago Teddy, an evangelical mega-church leader, was caught up in a gay sex and drug scandal involving a male prostitute and the outing cost him his church, his reputation (such as it was) and nearly his marriage. At what may have been the lowest point in his life, the defrocked super-freak was reduced to the worst form of Purgatory this side of the pearly gates, selling insurance.

Over the last few years, the now fully healed No-Homo Haggard has been trying to rebuild his life and his career. Back in June, Haggard announced that he was opening an all-inclusive, gay-friendly church and that he was no longer fighting his gay side. Now, if he would just shut up about it. Countdown, with Keith Olberman reports that Haggard just can't stop repenting to anyone who will listen. Apparently, you can be ex-gay and still be a submissive bottom.

Haggard now says in a Wall Street Journal interview that he's repented enough and would like to take some of his repenting back. This appears to be "Teddy the Former Tweaker's" latest attempt at extending his 15 minutes by repenting for his over-repenting. I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of this down-low hypocrite in the coming months. He has compared himself to Tiger Woods, Michael Vick and other celebrity douchebags, but he's left out one critical difference. Those guys really are straight!

There is a an old Yiddish saying that I remember from my New Jersey childhood that springs to mind in situations like this: Genug shoyn! Translation: Enough, already!




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Iowa Divorce Rate Drops Since Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage became legal in Iowa in April 2009, after the Hawkeye State's supreme court ruled that a law defining marriage as between one man and one woman violated Iowa's constitution. So far, The Weather Channel has not forecast any fire and brimstone raining down from the heavens.

The much anticipated destruction of marriage predicted by the likes of Maggie Gallagher, Pat Robertson and their cronies has not only failed to materialize, but the divorce rate has plunged to a 30-year low and the number of marriages in the nation's corn capital has reached a 10-year high. So says an article in the Sioux City Journal:
Preliminary vital records compiled by state officials indicate 21,139 marriages occurred in Iowa last year - the most since 2000 and the first increase since 2005. The 1,573 jump in marriages over 2008 included the first-ever same-gender unions that took place statewide after the Iowa Supreme Court overturned a state law that defined marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Separate data from state health officials for the period from April 27, 2009, through last March 31 indicated that 2,020 same-sex couples - 728 male partners and 1,292 female partners -- were married during that time span while 16,869 opposite-gender marriages were recorded. Records were not available solely for the 2009 calendar year.
Justin Uebelhor of One Iowa, the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, said the landmark Iowa court ruling triggered a spike in same-sex marriages as couples with Iowa ties or partners with no previous Iowa connection took advantage of the newly created legal status to tie the knot. "There are quite a few couples that I've seen getting married this summer - your typical wedding season," he added.


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Monday, July 26, 2010

Share Your Embarrassment over McDonnell and Cuccinelli with an E-card

Ever since the current regime took office last year, Virginians have had to endure a seemingly endless barrage of humiliating, embarrassing and extremely bigoted statements, homophobic executive orders, frivolous and paranoid lawsuits against the federal government and general douche-baggery from the comedy team of Bob "Drill, Baby, Drill" McDonnell and Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli.

Now you can share your shame as a Virginian with your friends and loved ones via these clever e-cards from VirginiaEcards.com.

You can choose from a variety of quotes from McDonnell and Cooch, like, "Dear BP, We have some lovely beachfront property available.", "And you thought things couldn't get any worse." and "Ken Cuccinelli is totally ruining my presidential prospects."

Don't suffer in silence. Misery loves company, so let your out of state friends and family know that Virginia is more than just a hotbed of hypocrisy and bigotry. Send a Virginia E-card today!
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Active Duty Gay Troops Helping to Prepare Pentagon for Life After DADT

Pentagon Leaders Advised to Expect “Business as Usual” After Repeal

SANTA BARBARA, CA – July 26, 2010 -- Gay and lesbian service members are
organizing themselves in order to help the Pentagon prepare for life after
“don’t ask, don’t tell.” This week, they are publicly launching OutServe
(formerly known as Citizens for Repeal), the first-ever organization of
actively serving gay troops and they have started speaking openly with
Pentagon officials as well as public audiences. For information about the
group go to www.outserve.org.

According to the group’s Co-Director, JD Smith, “Active duty and reserve gay
and lesbian troops have been critical to the nation's defense, but almost
completely absent from the conversation. We’re fixing that.” Smith, who goes
by his initials in the interest of privacy and safety, is an officer. Smith
says that OutServe has expanded by word of mouth and Facebook since its
formation as an underground network in October 2009 and now consists of
approximately 450 gay and lesbian service members, including approximately
two dozen deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Growth has been swift, and an
average of 15 new members are joining each week. The group verifies each new
applicant against a database of U.S. troops to ensure that only active duty
individuals join.

In response to concerns that after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,”
gay troops will parade their sexual orientation or engage in other
inappropriate conduct, the group is organizing its public launch this week
around the release of a statement outlining its expectation of a smooth
transition. “Following the lifting of the ban, it will be business as
usual,” according to the group’s Overseas Director, an enlisted service
member deployed with an artillery unit in Baghdad. “We defend the nation now
and we will keep defending it after repeal. We are issuing the statement to
explain that to people.”

Several organizations representing gay and lesbian graduates and affiliates
of the Service Academies are planning to co-sign the statement along with
OutServe, which is the principal author.

Although group members remain cautious about revealing their identities
while “don’t ask, don’t tell” is still law, they are beginning to speak more
openly in anticipation of the end of the ban. They have started to deliver
public lectures on university campuses, and are engaged in ongoing dialogue
with military researchers. “We have made two points to Pentagon officials,”
says Ty Walrod, the group’s Co-Director and civilian spokesperson. “First,
we trust the Commander in Chief to deliver on his pledge to fully implement
non-discrimination. Second, while we believe that the Pentagon’s research
efforts are sincere and we are able and willing to help in any way, we have
concerns about the confidentiality of its survey and the authenticity of
some of the respondents.” Walrod, the only non- military member of the
group, is based in San Francisco.

In Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands and other foreign countries where
militaries have lifted gay bans, organizations representing gay and lesbian
troops serve as a bridge between service members and defense ministries.
OutServe plans to play a similar role after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t
tell.” Smith says that the organization already has provided information,
resources and social support to gay troops, and will continue to do so
following repeal. In addition, the group will continue to offer advice to
Pentagon officials about issues relevant to the community.

The Baghdad-based Overseas Director added that, "We are here to fight and
win wars, serve with integrity and honesty and protect the people fighting
next to us. We are proud to sacrifice for the nation we love, but we have a
lot of educational work to do.”

(CONTACT: Cathy Renna, 917-757-6123, cathy@rennacommunications.com)

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Another Sex Scandal Rocks the Vatican, No Minors Involved This Time

London's Daily Mail reported on Saturday about an undercover investigative report on the sexual activities of Catholic priests in Rome. A reporter for the Italian news magazine Panorama, which is owned by Prime Minister Berlusconi, enlisted the help of a "gay accomplice" to hook up with down-low gay priests and have sex with them on hidden camera.

I'm not sure which part of this story I'm most disturbed by: the hypocrisy of gay priests, the reporter's pimping to get the story, the hidden camera or the offensive magazine cover (see accompanying image).

The Daily Mail reports:
Panorama described its investigation as 'deeply disturbing' as it detailed how three priests - two Italians and a Frenchman - happily took part in gay events and had casual sex.
The Catholic Church forbids priests to have sex and homosexuality is also seen as a 'sin'. In 2008 the Vatican issued guidelines which said that any would be trainees should not join if they had 'deep-seated homosexual tendencies'.
In one part of the investigation Panorama said that one priest, named as Carlo, willingly put on his cassock to have sex with the reporter's gay accomplice, adding 'all of which was filmed by the hidden camera'.
The magazine also described how they had attended a Mass which was celebrated by Carlo.


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Friday, July 23, 2010

Sometimes you just need a dose of Cher: "The Shoop Shoop Song" (music video)

Twenty years ago I shared a townhouse with my sister and her two eldest daughters after she left her first husband. I was totally out of my element in a house full of females.

By the end of the year we spent together, the movie "Mermaids", starring Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Rider and Christina Ricci came out. It resonated for me on many levels.

This music video for "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" always reminds me of my sister and my nieces and that crazy year in the townhouse. The girls are all grown up now and are currently visiting their paternal grandmother in Lebanon with my grandnephew (damn, I'm old). Here's wishing them a wonderful trip and a safe return.

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Why Did Dan Choi Sit on His Discharge News For 4 Weeks?

As I reported here on Wednesday, Lt. Dan Choi, the poster boy for DADT, was discharged from the Army National Guard on June 29th. Gay City News and DC's Metro Weekly first broke the story and verified with the Army that they attempted to contact Lt. Choi several times by phone and letter that he'd been booted out.

Now the gay blogosphere is all abuzz about this story that LezGetReal is claiming they broke.

So why is Choi pretending he didn't know? Why did he sit on the news for four weeks? Why did he continue to wear his uniform in public and represent himself as an active duty service member, when he knew it was a federal crime to do so?  Inquiring minds deserve to know.

The image here is a copy of Choi's discharge memo, courtesy of LezGetReal. (Click on it to enlarge.) In the accompanying article, LGR's Paula Brooks reveals that she interviewed Choi via text message on July 8 -- the very day the Army says they notified him by phone of his discharge. Choi told Brooks, “I am paid by the Army and the Veterans Affairs (50% service disability)”.

WTF?

Along with thousands of others, I heard Dan Choi speak at the National Equality March last year and like millions more, I've seen him on countless news programs. My feeling every time I hear him is that Choi loves the spotlight and is more committed to extending his 15 minutes than he is to fighting for DADT repeal. The hubris and false bravado are, at times, nauseating to watch.

Lt. Choi first burst on to scene early last year when he outed himself on the Rachel Maddow Show. Last night he returned to the scene of the crime, fully armed with all the false modesty he could muster. Rachel does not ask Choi why he sat on this news for a month. 



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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gay Mormons Speak Out Against Church's Anti-gay Campaign in Argentina

From The Salt Lake City Tibune:
Affirmation, a support group for gay and lesbian Mormons, is criticizing the LDS Church for its efforts to thwart the legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina. Last week, Argentina became the first Latin American nation to allow gay marriage. Mexico City also sanctions such unions.
The LDS Church has denied it played an official part in opposing the Argentine law before it was approved by the nation's legislature. But Carlos Aguero, the church's public-affairs director for Argentina, attended a meeting earlier this month with leaders from several conservative Christian churches and anti-gay-marriage groups to plan protests, according to reports in Argentina.
"This is another appalling example of the LDS trying to dominate government decisions being made by democratically elected officials," David Melson, executive director of Affirmation, said in a statement.


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Young People Fleeing the Religious Right

Young people raised in strict evangelical homes are increasingly rejecting their parents' extreme religious beliefs.

So says, Rev.Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, a group of progressive Christians. Iin an article on CNN's Belief Blog, entitled, "Has the religious right lost its children?", Wallis says that the increased focus by evangelical churches on just two issues, abortion and same-sex marriage, is a real turn off to the younger generation.

Wallis told CNN's John Blake, "The religious right has lost its children."

Wallis added, "They really object to the tone of the culture wars. I’m on the road a lot and I’ll have these young Christians say to me, 'If they force us to only care about two issues, they’re going to lose my generation.'

Wallis claims that the religious right peaked in 2004, with the re-election of George W. Bush and is currently on a downward slide in popularity. Read the full story here.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Army National Guard Confirms Dan Choi's Discharge

Just 24 hours after Lt. Dan Choi, Robin McGehee and several other GetEQUAL members were arrested on the Vegas Strip for blocking traffic in a direct action aimed at getting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take action on the passage of ENDA, Metro Weekly has confirmed that Lt. Dan Choi has been officially discharged from the New York Army National Guard.

Metro Weekly reports:
Lt. Col. Rich Goldenberg with the New York National Guard responded to an inquiry from Metro Weekly about the discharge, first reported in the Gay City News, by saying that a certified letter was sent to Choi detailing the honorable discharge and that ''Choi was informed on 29 June'' via a phone message left by his unit commander. Other calls were made to him as well, he said.
Goldenberg acknowledged, ''I do not believe he returned any of their calls,'' but added that ''[t]he New York National Guard made every attempt to make sure that Lt. Choi was fully informed of the action.''
Choi, earlier Wednesday afternoon, apparently responding to the Gay City News report, posted on Twitter, ''No, I have not seen any discharge papers. When/if they come, I'll show and tell.''
Well, Dan, we're waiting. It's a tough break, although we all knew this day was coming since Choi first came out on the Rachel Maddow Show early last year. Choi's bravery in fighting DADT for the last year and a half  has been commendable, but avoiding the phone calls and not opening your mail doesn't make all of this go away. It's time to "man up", accept what's happened, give us your reaction statement and continue the fight. I'm sure Rachel has your chair ready.

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Duck Wrangler Update: Ducklings could hatch any day

You may remember from some of my earlier posts that Paul and I have ducks. It wasn't something that we planned. Paul surprised me with eight ducklings a few years back as an Easter present. We've lost a few and gained a few new ones over the years, but it looks like these birds may be the gift that keeps on giving.

One of our females has been sitting on her nest for about four weeks, refusing to come out of the coop more than once a day to eat and splash around in the pond for a little while. We've seen four eggs, although she may have laid more in there by now.

What makes this noteworthy is that the kind of ducks we have, Pekins, aren't very good breeders. They're bred for poultry and don't have a very good nesting instinct due to the over-breeding. They usually lay one egg a day and walk away from it. If  you want to raise them, you have to collect the eggs and put them in an incubator. We haven't done that, because, well, we're sort of looking forward to the day when we can once again be a duck free zone.

Don't get me wrong, we love our feathered children and the illness, injury, or loss of one of them is always very upsetting. They are trained to put themselves to bed at sundown every day, but  one of us has to be home to close and lock the coop after they're in and to let them out and feed them each morning. It can be inconvenient and sometimes keeps us from staying late at parties. Any trips we make out of town have to be day trips and we have to be home by sundown. The alternative is to pay someone to stop by twice a day, which can get expensive.

So, when or if we see any grand-ducklings hatching, I'll post some pics. The usual gestation period is about fours weeks, so it could be any day now.
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New Wave Wednesday: "Invisible", by Alison Moyet (music video)

This week's featured New Wave Music video comes to us from across the pond. British pop star and lesbian icon, Alison Moyet had a successful career in the UK starting in 1981 as half of the duo known as Yazoo, with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke. The two parted company in '83 and Moyet has enjoyed a thriving solo career ever since.


Visit Moyet's MySpace page to see what she's been up to lately and for more of this incredible singer's music. 



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Constance McMillen wins $35k from school system over canceled prom

Lesbian teen Constance McMillen who fought for and won the right to attend her senior prom with her girlfriend, only to be duped into attending a fake prom by the bigoted rednecks in her home town, has won a settlement of $35,000 in her discrimination lawsuit against the Itawamba County School District.

The Huffington Post reports:
The district also agreed to follow a non-discrimination policy as part of the settlement, though it argues such a policy was already in place. Constance McMillen, 18, said the victory came at the price of her being shunned in her small hometown of Fulton. "I knew it was a good cause, but sometimes it really got to me. I knew it would change things for others in the future and I kept going and I kept pushing," McMillen said in an interview Tuesday.

The Mississippi teen received worldwide attention for her battle against bigotry in her small southern home town. She also became an inspiration and rallying point for a community battered by defeats in marriage equality and who have been continually thrown under the bus by Democrats in general and President Obama in particular.


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