Home country: USA
Current location: West Virginia
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 14,636
Home country: USA
Current location: West Virginia
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 14,636
Cantankerous by nature, aspires to a genteel misanthropy. Interests include carpentry, organic gardening and sustainable living, history, genealogy, astronomy and paleontology, visual arts, lgbt activism. Caretaker for a brace of Scotties and several ungrateful, rescued cats. Addicted to watching sports and cheers for perennial losers. Education: I suppose, though some might think an MFA doesn\'t really qualify as such. Partnered for 23 years to a saint. Just lucky, I guess.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on homophobia and anti-gay laws:
"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.
I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid," said Tutu, an Anglican archbishop who was a prominent force leading to the racist policy's eventual demise. "For me, it is at the same level."
"One thing that Ugandan legislators should know is that God does not discriminate among members of our family," writes Tutu. "God does not say black is better than white, or tall is better than short, or football players are better than basketball players, or Christians are better than Muslims… Or gay is better than straight. No. God says love one another; love your neighbor. God is for freedom, equality, and love."
"It is with supreme sorrow that I witness, to this day, the subjugation and repression of African brother and sisters whose only crime is the practice of love," writes Tutu. "Hate, in any form or shape, has no place in the house of God."
Tutu also challenges the notion that LGBTI Africans are a product of Western influence, pointing out that "LGBTI Africans have lived peacefully and productively beside us throughout history."
"We must be entirely clear about this: the history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste, and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts."
Posted by theHandpuppet | Sat Mar 1, 2014, 09:47 AM (3 replies)
Colorado "Personhood" Measure
In 2014, Colorado voters will once again vote on an anti-choice, anti-birth control "personhood" measure. It would amend the state's constitution to change the definition of person and child to include "unborn human beings" under the state's criminal code. This measure would have a far-reaching impact and insert the government, lawyers and the courts into Colorado womens' personal lives.
Previous attempts to pass "personhood” measures in Colorado and elsewhere, including Mississippi, have failed overwhelmingly.
What You Can Do
For more information on this ballot measure and to find out what you can do, please visit NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado's website.
Posted by theHandpuppet | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 07:03 PM (2 replies)
From NARAL Pro-Choice America
Do You Know Where the Candidates Stand on Choice?
on February 27, 2014 11:39 AM
Today, we launched our 2014 Voter Guide, a breakdown of choice ratings for candidates running in every federal primary elections across the country.
Imagine what we could do if politicians across the country knew voters would only support candidates who believe in a woman's right to comprehensive reproductive-health care and abortion access.
Despite the fact that seven in 10 Americans believe abortion should remain safe and legal, 53 anti-choice measures were enacted in 24 states in 2013 alone. Those restrictions included bans on abortion throughout pregnancy, legislation aimed at shutting down reproductive-health care clinics and providers, and measures to block access to birth control.
In 2014, a year with 36 senate races and 36 governors seats on the ballot, it's more important than ever that voters are aware of a candidate's position on choice and whether they would protect or restrict women's rights if elected. That's why we're holding them accountable.... MORE
Posted by theHandpuppet | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 06:36 PM (12 replies)
And here we go again....
State Marriage Defense Act introduced in U.S. Senate Receives Strong Endorsement From USCCB Subcommittee Chairman
February 28, 2014
Archbishop Cordileone says federal government acting contrary to Supreme Court decision
Federal government ought to defer to state law where couples reside
Says state laws defining marriage as between a man and woman deserve respect
WASHINGTON—Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, strongly endorsed the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 (S. 2024) introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). A companion bill (H.R. 3829) was previously introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Randy Weber (R-TX).
In a February 28 letter of support to Senator Cruz, Archbishop Cordileone noted that the Department of Justice is the most recent federal agency “to use a ‘place of celebration’ rule rather than a ‘place of domicile’ rule when determining the validity of a marriage for purposes of federal rights, benefits, and privileges.”
“By employing a ‘place of celebration’ rule, these agencies have chosen to ignore the law of the state in which people reside in determining whether they are married. The effect, if not the intent, of this choice is to circumvent state laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said Archbishop Cordileone.
He noted that these federal agencies are acting contrary to the Supreme Court decision on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. “The Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor, however, requires the federal government to defer to state marriage law, not disregard it.” He concluded the bill is necessary because it “would remedy this problem by requiring the federal government, consistent with Windsor, to defer to the marriage law of the state in which people actually reside when determining whether they are married for purposes of federal law.” MORE
Posted by theHandpuppet | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 04:37 PM (7 replies)
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Feb 27, 2014
OPINION: Use love to cast out fear
My life changed in the 1960s when students invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to sit-in at Atlanta lunch counters. I was among those arrested with Dr. King, spending three days in a jail cell next to him. Our efforts led to the eventual integration of downtown Atlanta, all because we were willing to do the right thing. Dr. King taught us that discriminatory and unjust laws were no laws at all, and that we had a moral responsibility to act as if those laws no longer existed. I experienced a greater law of love that was more powerful than any law made in fear.
Now some 50 years later, my lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer brothers and sisters are faced with laws cast from the same fear that fed the Jim Crow South.
I am a bishop in the United Methodist Church, given the charge to uphold our laws – some of which discriminate against gay and lesbian persons, calling them “incompatible with Christian teaching.” However, I am also required as bishop to call the church to do the right thing.
That is why in 2012 I called on my colleagues to ignore the discriminatory laws of my church and to officiate same-sex weddings. That is why last October I traveled down to Birmingham, Ala., to preside over the wedding of Joe and Bobby. That is also why I am coming to Cincinnati to share my story. I am coming to share my vision of the ways we can be obedient to the greater law of love that Jesus lived...
Posted by theHandpuppet | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 12:07 PM (3 replies)
If anyone here is interested in an Appalachian group please post. The group would focus on issues such as economics/poverty, mining & the environment, labor, democratic activism. And of course, subjects such as Appalachian music, writing, history, etc.
Posted by theHandpuppet | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 08:14 AM (30 replies)
You just know anywhere they're hating on gays they're hating on women, too.
26 February 2014
Uganda miniskirt ban: Police stop protest march
Police in Uganda have prevented women from marching through the streets of the capital, Kampala, in protest at new laws banning the wearing of miniskirts...
...There have been several incidents over the past week of women in short skirts being publicly harassed and assaulted.
This follows the signing by the president of the anti-pornography bill, which bans "indecent" dressing.
Proposing the legislation last year, Uganda's Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo said that women who wore "anything above the knee" should be arrested.... MORE
Ah yes, good ol' Minister "Kill the Gays" Lokodo, who also stated that men raping little girls was "natural".
Posted by theHandpuppet | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 01:06 AM (32 replies)
Note: I had originally composed this post for the LGBT forum but when a poster on DU wondered what Pope Francis might say in response to all the anti-GLBT legislation, I amended it somewhat. This is a copy of the post I made to a thread on General Discussion.
It is heartening to see the support at DU in the battle against discriminatory laws being proposed in state legislatures across the country. It's almost as disheartening to read too many posts in which these bills are assumed to be the legislative flailings of a simple and single-minded bunch of "redneck" evangelicals. The peril is to underestimate the forces at work here, unlikely alliances that have been forged over decades specifically to derail any progress for the rights of women and LGBTs.
This war was declared with Roe vs Wade and when the battle was lost at the federal level, the strategy turned to one of chipping away at Roe by focusing on state legislatures. Towards that goal, political lobbying by fundamentalist evangelicals and the Catholic church found success, especially by pressing for laws that forced the closing of many clinics that provided need contraception and abortion services. (It didn't matter that many of these clinics provided needed health services for both women and men who could not otherwise afford care.) The strategy was so effective the battle front was then expanded to fight gay marriage and in that cause the Mormon church became part of the alliance. Millions were spent either fighting gay marriage initiatives on the ballot or for initiating legislation by the states that would outright ban gay marriage or civil unions. This met with mixed success, though gay marriage is recognized in but a minority of states.
Emboldened by their victories at the state level and as a backlash against new federal laws banning discrimination against LGBTs, the battle expanded and morphed again under the banner of "religious liberty" -- in effect, an effort to legalize broad discrimination against LGBTs, state by state. It would probably surprise many people to learn that the Catholic church has been actively lobbying for these discriminatory bills; in Arizona and Kansas, for example, the Arizona Catholic Conference and Kansas Catholic Conference were backers of both bills. What surprises me is that anyone should be surprised at all. At every turn the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been fighting against the rights of women and LGBTS, filing scores of lawsuits against the HHS contraception mandate, ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), shutting down adoption services rather than accept gay parents, withdrawing support and money from immigration groups in places like Illinois and Colorado because they would not divorce any pro-LGBT connections, even though organizations such as Colorado's Companeros were assisting poor immigrants with their basic needs. The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, no group was immune from being cut off if they refused to denounce pro-LGBT affiliations.
As President Obama speaks out more forcefully for LGBT rights, the coordinated bombardment of pro-discrimination and anti-choice bills in state legislatures has escalated to a fever pitch. These are the last ditch counterattacks mounted by this alliance of religious conservatives in the face of at what appears to be, at least in this country, an inevitable defeat in the war against social evolution. Their efforts are still well-funded, well organized and determined, though sensing perhaps that the battle is lost here, the alliance has turned its attention to developing nations in Africa, Asia and South America, considered to be more fertile ground for their own brand of misogyny and homophobia.
In some African countries these efforts have been rewarded, to alarming results. But again, it took an alliance of religious conservatives to achieve that success, with the hatemongering evangelical Pastor Scott Lively (currently facing charges of war crimes) carrying the banner for the movement. Yet we cannot overlook the role played by representatives of other faiths, particularly the Anglican and Catholic churches. Catholic Bishops and Archbishops in Uganda, Nigeria and Cameroon have all backed their country's anti-gay bills. The Ugandan Bishops took a rather seesaw path to their current stance, first backing the "kill the gays" bill then withdrawing it, then backing the bill again once the death penalty clause was removed from the bill to be replaced by life imprisonment. Now that the bill has actually been signed, they have stated they will reserve judgment on the new law. Ironically, Ugandan Archbishop Lwanga, who had previously expressed support for the bill, is the same man who suspended Catholic cleric Anthony Musaala for speaking out on the Ugandan church's sexual abuse of children.
There are those who might be wondering that while LGBTs are battling for basic human rights and in some cases, for their very lives, where is the voice of justice to be heard from Rome? Why, Pope Francis wouldn't dare tolerate this nonsense, this injustice! The silence must be disappointing and perhaps confusing. Considering all his forceful statements decrying the corrupting influence of unbridled capitalism, his touching concern for the poor and strong support for workers, his admonishments over environmental destruction, where is that voice as LGBTs are being arrested, beaten, tortured and murdered from Russia to Nigeria, even here? Why haven't we heard the same impassioned condemnation from Francis that we have heard from the likes of a Bishop Desmond Tutu? Because, in reality, by denouncing the war against LGBTs and women's rights he would be condemning his own bishops and the battles they are currently waging against LGBTs both here and abroad. He is, after all, a son of the Church, as he himself has said with regard to these issues.
The fact is, Francis is not and has never been a supporter of equality for LGBTs. Before being elected Pope, he practically built his career on condemning gays in the most vile terms. Likewise, he has never been nor will he be a champion for the equal rights of women and reproductive choice. If you're expecting anything different, you will be sorely disappointed.
To repeat those words of warning, it is dangerous to underestimate the current crusade for discriminatory legislation as simply the last gasp of a bunch of "evangelical rednecks". The forces behind the legislation, the lawsuits and lobbying are much more powerful than you know. The fundamentalist evangelicals may be the loud, drunk, obnoxious cousins invited to the family reunion but there are others mingling at the picnic of bigotry. Maybe some folks just never noticed they were there.
Posted by theHandpuppet | Wed Feb 26, 2014, 11:38 PM (0 replies)
There is no question that Nigeria's rich oil & gas reserves play a huge role in how western powers have interfered in the country's politics for decades and how they will continue to do so. Just one recent case in point: Look how our government publicly responded to recent anti-gay laws passed in Uganda. Well, Nigeria has instituted virtually the same policies but Uganda is oil-poor, mostly shale oil that's not economically productive. Plus, there are long-range plans for drilling off the Nigerian coast. The fact that oil money is involved here makes me question every part of our relations with this country. Sure, we can bluster and threaten resource-poor countries but when it come to our own interests the government sure takes a different tune.
Nigeria is a mess and plenty of western governments have contributed to the sorry state of affairs. How we should respond to the various crises in the country -- or whether we should at all -- is a subject for debate. I certainly don't know enough about the politics there to venture an educated opinion.
I did do a bit of research on Nigerian oil: http://www.eia.gov/countries/country-data.cfm?fips=ni
Posted by theHandpuppet | Tue Feb 25, 2014, 10:45 AM (1 replies)
... is because larger, richer, more populous states need Appalachian gas, Appalachian coal and a convenient dumping ground for their waste. And since it's only a bunch of us hillbillies who will have to deal with it, out of sight and out of mind, TPTB figure no one will care -- just as long as its not in their backyard.
The way you sustain this system is by not investing federal money in Appalachia and the incentives to provide the kind of jobs that would steer their economy away from such a dependence on fossil fuels. Don't give their kids a decent education; recruit them as fodder for your next war because for too many of their young poor, putting on a uniform is the only way to draw a paycheck, even if it costs them their lives. Poverty breeds desperation at home and from the outside, derision, because you can always make someone feel better by playing the role of their trash.
It's not like the people of West Virginia haven't put Democrats into office, because they have. Almost to a person (with one Republican exception) they have elected Democrats to all of the statewide offices. Governor, both Senators, Lt. Governor, Sec'y of State, etc., not to mention a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates and a supermajority in the State Senate. Where has it gotten them? Obama didn't even campaign in Appalachia during the primaries and since he's been in office, how many visits? I can only speak for myself right now but I am deeply resentful that for Appalachia, there's not been much "change" at all. We're the invisible people... unless, of course, when something like the recent spill happens and provides everyone an opportunity to point out how those dumb hillbillies got what they deserve. It's business as usual -- big business, and everyone profits except the people. But when I did my homework and found out how much campaign money Obama himself had accepted from the mining industry, I resigned myself to the fact that it's all bought and paid for, lock, stock & barrel.
I wish I knew where the answers could be found. I feel like someone groping around in the dark for the light switch.
Posted by theHandpuppet | Wed Feb 19, 2014, 11:53 AM (1 replies)