Sunday, April 26, 2009

OMG! A Muckroom Rarity: A Pony!!!

Mark the day, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it’s one for the history books.  A pony has been unearthed in the Townhalldotcom Muckroom!

Steve Chapman, who writes for the Chicago Tribune, has penned a rather gentle, factual discussion of the nature of federalism as it relates to same-sex-marriage.  (You know it’s factual by the nature of the first reader’s comment: “Repent from your personal sin nature.”)

Chapman includes a list of federal rights not afforded to gay and lesbian married couples because of limitations contained in the infamous Defense of Marriage Act: 

Under federal law, there are more than 1,100 rights and privileges that go with being a husband or wife. And none of them is available to married same-sex couples.

Under federal law, a person may transfer property to a spouse tax-free. Married couples may file their income taxes jointly. Someone whose spouse dies is assured Social Security survivor's benefits. A married person has the authority to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner.

Or say you're an American citizen living in this country who marries a foreigner. Normally, you would be entitled to bring your beloved to this country to live permanently and become a citizen.

These rights, DGR(s), among others, are not permitted to every married couple in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, nor will they be for every married couple in Iowa beginning April 27.  So much for “justice for all.”

Chapman’s title is “Stacking the Deck on Gay Marriage.”  Given the general nature of Townhall’s dominant columnists, it was a surprise to discover he was, essentially, calling for the repeal of DOMA.  His column was not generating favorable “votes” in the early stages.  Obviously devotees of Townhall were expecting a screed of denunciation of the “homosexual agenda” proponents and were disappointed with a reasoned discussion of the Federal deck’s stack against gay marriage.

Trust, but verify.

(And enjoy the discomfort.)


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sullivan’s Quest and those pesky Windmills

Andrew Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), seems very much to want to see W and Dick in the dock.  Just skim any recent postings on his blog which discuss the brouhaha about the torture memos and Mr. Obama’s seeming vacillation about just who might be investigated for possible prosecution.

Today Sullivan posted a piece about the military’s resistance to the torture policy, and he included this:  “Cheney himself told us when he warned us of his walking over to the "dark side" what he was going to do, and a pliant, ignorant, overwhelmed president with a sadistic streak was powerless to resist, even if one clings to the hope he might have wanted to.”

One wonders about Sullivan’s adjectives for W—pliant, ignorant, overwhelmed, sadistic, powerless to resist.  How appropriate are these words?  Pliant, obviously; overwhelmed, quite possibly (who wouldn’t be given the man’s background and the problems heaped upon his shoulders); powerless to resist, no.  He wasn’t powerless, he just didn’t have the gumption.  How about ignorant and sadistic?  Rather than those how about unquestioning and myopic?

What Sullivan doesn’t address, and maybe can’t because he isn’t a native born Amurrican, is the Texas-ness of W’s persona.  Remember the 2000 campaign?  It was someone who was a bit stuffy vs someone you’d like to have a beer with.  (Why on earth you’d give the “atomic” football to someone who has a penchant for beer, is another story!)

Then, when the Islamic fundamentalists attacked, W went, after the scenic tour of Middle America, into his John Wayne mode, so familiar to Texas boys—those “Friday Night Lights” kids who grow up to be the people in charge, but never quite leave behind the macho guise they were pummeled into beginning in Pop Warner and Little League.

Bring ‘em on!” worked for John Wayne; “Make my day” worked for Dirty Harry.  Hell, W had the biggest gun in the world—the U.S. atomic arsenal!  The cheerleader was all of a sudden the quarterback of the Texas Cowboys!  Superbowl Time!!!

And you know, DGR(s), the rest of the story.

It wasn’t Dick which W was powerless to resist.  It was that Texas myth born at the Alamo with the deaths of those Tennessee land grabbers, nurtured on cotton, cattle, and oil which W couldn’t resist.

The lesson for us all,though, is (ahem)

Trust, but verify.

And Sullivan’s correct:  in order to verify, we have to investigate, then let the chips fall where they may.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

“Torture” memos

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Get your copy of the latest four to be released here.

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Nanny? Manny? More Muckroom Nonsense

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Perhaps somewhere in your subconsciousnesses,Dear Gentle Reader(s), a synapse will react to the political right’s occasional lamentation of how shockingly our nation has become a “nanny state.”  They complain of too much coddling of the proletariat by the various social safety nets we have constructed.

No longer.

By way of a commentary by one of the most esteemed right wingers in the nation, one George Will, the right has lost the ability to cast a disapproving sneer at the state’s willingness to take responsibility for others.  Mr. Will, it seems wants to forbid adult males, of whatever political persuasion, the ability to decide on the cloth with which to drape his body.

That’s right.  Will wants to deny denim.

Try this for an opening paragraph:

On any American street, or in any airport or mall, you see the same sad tableau: A 10-year-old boy is walking with his father, whose development was evidently arrested when he was that age, judging by his clothes. Father and son are dressed identically -- running shoes, T-shirts. And jeans, always jeans. If mother is there, she, too, is draped in denim.

The article then becomes a snob fest.

It provides an opportunity for a liberal to give a full-throated hoot, too.

Given all the problems with which the nation has to deal, is this the best to which a pre-eminent mind of the right can rise?  Our problems can be solved by panting the male population with khaki? Or 80% cotton, 20% polyester?

We’re in trouble.  There is no longer a thinking party of loyal opposition.

Trust, but verify (before you believe anything any right winger tries to tell you.)

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Silent Minority

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Here, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is a quote from today’s New York Times,

In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said…Iraq remains religious, conservative — and still violent…The killers, the police say, are not just Shiite death squads, but also tribal and family members shamed by their gay relatives. (And the recent spate of violence has seemed aimed at more openly gay men, rather than homosexuality generally.)

Here is the web site for CAIR today.  On it you will find no sense of outrage at the grotesque treatment of openly gay Iraqis egged on by religious leaders, “Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society.”

Condemn the religious who foment murder in all its manifrestations, CAIR. 

Until they do, DGR(s),

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Abashment, self-inflicted

More often than one cares to admit, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there happens a moment of uncharitable thinking which brings a twinge of…not quite…shame to oneself.

Vz., for instance, my reaction to an article in the on-line Advocate.

The story delineates, briefly, the misadventures of one J.A. Ovalle who had the misfortune to chat on-line with a faux 15-year-old girl.  You know where this is going.  No biggie, right?  Wrong!  The “girl” was really an undercover female police officer.  Still no biggie?  Try this:  J.A. works for the Spanish-speaking arm of…wait for it…Focus on the Family!

Gee, a potential statutory rapist working for a self-proclaimed Christian family organization.  Who woulda thunk it.

The cherry on the sundae, so to speak, is a quote from one Gary Schneeberger, spokesman for FotF, “We’re shocked.”

Doubtless.  (And sweeeeet!)  (Not to mention dumb, dumb, dumb.  Hasn’t every ephebophile in the world watched those sting programs like “To Catch a Predator”?)

Ol’ Gare once worked here in the Coachella Valley for The Desert Sun.  He convened a committee of locals to give some input to the paper back in 1999.  I liked him very much.  Then he left the paper, got married, and became something hardly recognizable—a spokesman for a fundie Christianist organization.

Review your life, Gary, ol’ pal.

Certainly review the harm your organization does.

And as for the other “Christians” in your group,

Trust, but verify.

As for me,

I’m so ashamed!


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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Why Doesn’t CAIR Care?

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the Council on American-Islamic Relations hasn’t done it again…still…yet.

Over the past few days we learn that the Afghani government has signed a law reverting to the subjugation of women, and that in the Sadr City area of Baghdad six men have been shot to death because of their sexual orientation.

Not a word about these atrocities in the CAIR press releases listed on their web site today.

Yet CAIR insists that Islam is misunderstood or misrepresented. 

That may well be, but until moderate Muslims take strong stands against the Islamists who would return the followers of the religion to the 7th century, that misunderstanding will continue.  And since there is no evidence the stories have been fabricated, the religion can hardly be misrepresented.

Let’s have some strong condemnations of the misuse of your religion, gentlemen and gentlewomen.

And the rest of us, Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Centcom’s Side of the Story

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The United States Central Command email today has 12 links to stories relating to Iraq and Afghanistan, ranging from the lingering troubles in Iraq to Afghani women making cultural progress.

Hie, thee, Dear Gentle Reader(s), to Centcom’s website, and earmark it, for the Army’s side of the discussion.

Trust, but verify.


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