Thursday, September 23, 2010

The HTC EVO Calendar Bug is FIXED!

UPDATE - September 23, 2010 -

Yesterday, the word went around that Sprint was delivering the calendar bug "fix" via an OTA rollout. I got mine today - it is a gradual rollout so it may take some time for everyone to get it.

I can confirm that the calendar bug I reported is fixed - it is now possible to edit an event without losing data.

Added goodies include a lifting of the 30 fps limit on video, and the ability to sync more than one g-mail account.

Having gotten used to the Jorte calendar monthly view, I'm not going to replace the widget 4 x 3 widget - I like the fact that it gives a little info about appointments rather than merely putting up a triangle to indicate something is there . . .

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gary Bauer Sows the Wind, May he Reap the Whirlwind!

Gary Bauer, former president of the notorious “Family” Research Council, appeared at that organization’s recent “Value Voters Summit” to urge Christianist Dominionists, social conservatives, misguided “tea partiers” and the other assembled wingnuts, to get out and vote in November, using verbal imagery evoking the heroic struggle of the passengers of United Flight 93, who fought back against the hijackers, resulting in that plane ending up in a field in Pennsylvania rather than the White House or another building in Washington D.C.

This clip is actually rather inspiring:

But Bauer does not tell his audience that at least one of those “American heroes” on that Flight 93 was a gay man.

Okay, so they can’t handle the truth.

If these wingnuts are going to profane the memory of the martyrs of Flight 93 to push their evil agenda and motivate their colleagues to come out and vote, I perhaps should not stoop to their level.

But I will.

So, after watching the Bauer clip, follow it with a rendition of Melissa Etheridge’s “Tuesday Morning” -

Okay, folks – this song should silence the Bauers and the other wingnuts.

LGBT Americans are Americans, too – and our people can be and have been every bit as heroic as any other Americans.

We deserve the same rights as other Americans.

People like Gary Bauer want to push us down. They are motivating their troops to get out the vote.

I urge readers to share these two clips widely – and let your friends know that people who really love liberty, who really love freedom of religion, who really love American principles, have to get motivated to come out and vote.

Gary Bauer may have sown the wind with his speech – may he reap the whirlwind!

Or else, the misguided Tea Partiers and Christianist Dominionists like Carl Palladino, Christine O’Donnell, and their evil cohorts are going to win in November – and when they come for us, who will speak for us?

New York: Legislative Successes despite Dysfunction

Despite the dysfunction, the failure to pass GENDA and Marriage Equality bills, the never-ending budget process and the bitter aftertaste of last summer’s coup, the 2010 legislative session turned out to be the most successful in a generation.

Here's a taste of all that was accomplished this year (courtesy of NYCLU and ACLU sources):

* The Dignity for All Students Act: The Dignity for All Students Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell and Senator Tom Duane, prevents bullying in schools through training, mediation and counseling. After more than a decade of stalling with Republicans in control of the Senate, in 2010, the Legislature finally acted to protect our children.

* Family Health Care Decisions Act: The Family Health Care Decisions Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and Senator Tom Duane, empowers family members, spouses, domestic partners and close friends to make major medical decisions for incapacitated loved ones in the absence of a formal proxy (think: Terri Schiavo). After more than a decade of stalling with Republicans in control of the Senate, in 2010, the Legislature finally passed this bill.

* Stop-and-Frisk Database: The stop-and-frisk bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Eric Adams, prohibits the NYPD from keeping an electronic suspect database of the hundreds of thousands of innocent individuals stopped and released by police each year. And as was noted in an excellent Bob Herbert piece, this bill “send[s] the message, loud and clear, that whatever pass the Police Department has gotten from city government on these policies, the state is being much more attentive.”

* The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, sponsored by Assemblymember Keith Wright and Senator Diane Savino, makes New York the first state to provide domestic workers basic labor protections. This is something you'd never see Republicans sponsoring!

* The Census Adjustment Act: This bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Eric Schneiderman, ends a legislative redistricting practice that counted incarcerated people, who cannot vote, as residents of their prison district rather than their home district, where they will likely return upon release. This practice gave New Yorkers who live near prisons disproportionate representation in Albany, threatening the principle of one person, one vote. (And folks, Carl Palladino, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, would want to keep the disproportionate upstate representation . . . )

* Civil Remedies for Hate Crimes: This is yet another bill that finally passed. This bill, sponsored by Assemblymember RoAnn Destito and Senator Kevin Parker, allows victims of hate crimes to sue and collect monetary damages from their assailants. This would not have been possible with Republicans in control.

* Syringe Access: Sterile syringe access, the most effective method of preventing the spread of HIV among injection drug users, was legalized in New York in the early 1990s. However, possession of syringes remained illegal, deterring drug users from state-licensed syringe exchange programs. The syringe access bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and Senator Tom Duane, decriminalizes the lawful possession of syringes. We wouldn't have seen this with Republicans in control - they'd probably try to pass a law making it a crime to possess a condom.

* Funeral/Bereavement Leave for Same-Sex Committed Partners: This bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Senator Velmanette Montgomery, requires employers who offer employees funeral/bereavement leave do so for same-sex couples. Like the Family Health Care Decisions Act, this bill extends a right traditionally associated with marriage to a broader group of people. It's a small consolation, when full marriage equality did not quite make the cut - but if Republicans were in control, we would not have had anything like this get through.

What we need is a larger Democratic majority in the State Senate - it is critically important that Demicrats get energized about this election, all around the state (and nation!)

Yes, the New York State Senate has been dysfunctional - having a bare-minimum 32-30 majority means that all it takes is ONE rogue Democrat, like a Pedro Espada, or a Ruben Diaz, to keep good bills from apssing - and we need at least four or five more Democrats in the Senate to get GENDA and Marriage passed in 2011, and to get state government on track.

The "tea party" people are frustrated about taxes - but Republicans don't really have solutions that work, and they bring an anti-American right wing social agenda to the table.

The fact is that 2010 was the best legislative session in decades, and it is all because of the narrowest of Demiocratic majorities in the State Senate. The future depends on enlarging that majority.

In Westchester County, we have to make sure that Suzi Oppenheimer and Andrea Stewart-Cousins get re-elected, and that we make sure we elect Michael Kaplowitz (and not wingnut demagogue Republican Greg Ball) to the seat being vacated by Senator Leibell. And in White Plains, getting Tom Roach elected to the Assembly is a priority! There is a lot of work to get done before the general election in November.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bryan Fischer's revisionist history of Hitler exposed.

On May 25, 2010 (I know, this is actually relatively “old” news in September) – Bryan Fischer went off the deep end on his radio show, equating Hitler with atheism and homosexuality. The video clip was removed from youtube as a “terms of use” violation, without a specification as to the type of “terms of use” violation. I found it on another source. The use here of this video clip is a legitimate “fair use” – neither Fischer nor his organization is entitled to claim a copyright violation for the use of the video clip:

To the extent that the clip might be deemed to be “offensive” – the usage here is to prove just how offensive to reason and sanity Bryan Fischer really is – in his own words.

At least it’s clear that he loses on the basis of Godwin’s Law, alone, for being the first to bring up “Hitler” or “Nazi.”

Serendipitously, my friend Zoe Brain came up with the refutation for Fischer’s wingnuttery in a recent blog post of hers – apparently in response to an entirely different issue (involving the Pope, the Roman Catholic Church pedophilia coveruup, and Joseph Ratzinger’s membership in the Hitler Youth), but the parts that refute Bryan Fischer are reproduced below;
Zoe’s entire post is here.

Below is the results of Zoe’s research that are relevant to Bryan Fischer’s:

But I thought a former member of the Hitler Youth [JP note: i.e., Benedict XVI] would have recalled some of Der Fuehrer's speeches on the subject. Words such as:

"We have put an end to denial of God and abuse of religion."

-- Radio address October 14, 1933

National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious,
but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. The
Church's interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against
the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of to-day, in our fight against the
Bolshevist culture, against an atheistic movement, against criminality, and in
our struggle for the consciousness of a community in our national life, for the
conquest of hatred and disunion between the classes, for the conquest of civil
war and unrest, of strife and discord. These are not anti-Christian, these are
Christian principles

-- Koblenz speech, August 26, 1934

Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no
religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious
foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion
must be derived from faith."

That one's in the Vatican Archives. It's part of the Vatican-Nazi
Konkordat of April 26, 1933

As the Nazi State Labour Leader, Reichsarbeitsführer Robert Ley proclaimed:

We believe that there is a Lord - God in heaven, who created us, who leads
us, who directs us and who blesses us visibly. And we believe that this Lord—God
sent Adolf Hitler to us, so that Germany become a fundament for all eternity.

-- NS-Schulungsbriefe, Heft 4/1937.

Thanks for the research, Zoe! I don’t think I know anyone who has her level of positive credibility.

Hitler may or may not have been a “practicing” Catholic as an adult, but he was never officially excommunicated, either. Certainly Pius XII did not do a great deal to oppose Nazi policies. I am not entirely sure whether Bryan Fischer might recognize Roman Catholics as Christians (there are some ignorant Christianists who don’t understand that “Christian” is not limited to the “born again” crowd. It’s hard to tell where Fischer might fall on that issue without a smoking gun).

Is there anything Bryan Fischer is not willing to lie about?

The fact is that there were gay men in Hitler's early retinue of brownshirts. But Fischer's characterization is off the mark. Not all brownshirts were gay. Hitler brutally purged them as he gained in power. The Third Reich made a really big thing about "family values" - and like the Duggars and their "quiver full," to increase the number of Christians, "Aryan" German women were expected to make many babies to strengthen the Reich.

See, for example this site for a summary of Nazi ideology. While there was an "elite" Nazi subculture that encouraged a Greek-style Platonic homosexuality (much as one used to, and still can sometimes find in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, such as with Pius XII and his protege Francis Cardinal Spellman, though the *pedophile* problem is not related to this subculture), the German people were expected to have "Strength, passion, lack of hypocrisy, utilitarianism, traditional family values, and devotion to community," and gays who were not part of the elite were persecuted (much as in Christianist circles - where closeted gay but officiallty "anti-homosexual" preachers, when caught, will seek forgiveness and just get more careful not to get caught).

The biggest problem with Fischer's attempt to make it seem that homosexuality is evil because it was associated with Nazi ideology, and that some of Hitler's gay associates were brutal. Many of his straight associates were just as brutal.

Should we condemn all Christianist Dominionists because some of the more virulent and hate-filled ones turn out to be gay? No - Christianist Dominionism is evil in and of itself, regardless of the sexual orientation of the preachers.

Should we condemn Roman Catholicism because there are gays in the hierarchy? No, the Roman Catholic Church does a fairly good job at claiming that morally evil things are good without having to look at the sexual orientation of the members of the hierarchy.

Should we condemn McCarthyism because J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn were gay?

See this site for some interesting discussion of gay McCarthyites.

McCarthyism was evil regardless of the sexual orientation of the people involved in the witch hunts and purges.

Bryan Fischer is, as usual, lying, and taking things out of context to prove something about gay being evil. All he does is prove, once again, that he has only the most tenuous connection with reality.

A Clarion Call to Democrats - we need a clear, articulate program!

At the recently-concluded “Values Voters Summit” sponsored by the "Family" Research Council, a terribly misnamed Chrstianist hate organization with spurious and at best questionable moral values, the holier than thou attendees voted overwhelmingly that “abortion” was their Number One issue for the upcoming congressional elections.

It seems that despite the Human Rights Campaign's recent bleating about how "gay marriage" might cause the Republicans to take over the House in 2010's mid-term elections, the Christianist Right Wing has made it clear that “abortion” will be one of their litmus tests this year. I am sure that some of them will be railing about “gay marriage” and “gay rights” anyway, it is noted that “gay” issues did not make the top five. At least one of them, Delaware Republican US Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, seems to think that masturbation should be outlawed, too.

Jerry Pournelle, a great science fiction writer (with and without his collaborator Larry Niven), has advised these folks to put abortion on the back burner – as we will see below, Jerry is taking the position that abortion should be a “states’ rights” issue, to try to keep social conservatives, tea partiers, neo-cons and others in the Republican tent.

Jerry makes no bones about his support and sympathy for Tea Party types at his Chaos Manor blogspace, or rather personal journal. He does want to make sure that all sorts of “conservatives” stick together and vote Republican this November.

BTW, Jerry does have a fairly legitimate claim to being a blogger before there was ever such a thing – he may be, in a way, the *original* blogger.

He says:

“I can make some claim to this being The Original Blog and Daybook. I certainly started keeping a day book well before most, and long before the term "blog" or Web Log was invented. BIX, the Byte information exchange, preceded the Web by a lot, and I also had a daily journal on GE Genie. All that was long before the World Wide Web.”

I have been following him, and Chaos Manor, on and off, in places like Byte magazine and elsewhere since the 1980’s, and I remember when he wrote about the Atari ST (I had several, years ago, including the 25 pound “portable” Stacy model – the last of which I still have stored in a closet).

I’ve seen Jerry, a mostly “hard science” SF writer, make a lot of sense on science issues, including his advocacy for solar power satellites (SPS) as a cure for the earth’s energy needs and a way out of reliance on fossil fuels.

With that as prologue, I don’t see eye to eye with Jerry on everything.

Many of the people I know, know I am a Democrat since at least 1978 when I first decided on a party affiliation after being "independent" for a number of years – and some know that when I was in college, I was in the libertarian wing of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a conservative organization for students founded by William Buckley.

One of my high school history teachers (Mr. Palmer) had an influence on my political development, providing some reading material from de Tocqueville (he said the name was supposed to be pronounced “Tuckwell”), and I cut my teeth on Barry Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative.”

Still, over the years I moderated – especially after reading the Bettman Archive’s picture book, “The Good Old Days – They Were Terrible.”

I found myself a moderate libertarian – and I have learned that the social conservatives and neo-cons who run the Republican Party have no room for moderate libertarianism. (My high school and college friend, Cliff Thies, has stayed the course, and is a leading intellectual light for the more reasonable tiny minority of Republican libertarians.)

In this week’s Chaos Manor meanderings,

Jerry made a pronouncement on the topic of abortion. In context, he was discussing issues he thought should not be a part of the national conversation, taking a rather non-libertarian “states’ rights” tack on the issue. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote:

“A politically pure conservative party can't get a national consensus on many important issues. Some of us don't want one on many issues. Subsidiarity is in my judgment one of the important principles of conservatism. An example is abortion. The abortion issue divides many: how can you let those people in Missouri regulate something as fundamental as the right for a woman to choose, and thus force her to have a baby against her will? How dare you allow those people in California to permit the slaughter of the innocents and murder the unborn? And those arguments are important -- but not at the Federal level, because Congress has not the power to forbid or enable abortion except in the District of Columbia and in military hospitals. However strongly you or I may feel about the issue, what they do in Missouri or Maryland or Louisiana is not our business unless we live there.”

In my opinion, Jerry misses or ignores the libertarian issue in his quest for "unity" – first, calling it “abortion” is a misnomer and an oversimplification – abortion is only one of a pregnant woman’s choices. (A Catholic ad campaign for the past several decades encourages women to “Choose Life!” The Christianist Right wing wants to make sure that the legal corollary is “Or Else!”)

The issue is women’s reproductive rights. This is a civil rights issue for women. It is an individual rights issue – neither technically federal or state in nature – but the only thing shat should be legislatively regulated at whichever level is and should be for the purpose of insuring reasonable access to safe treatment facilities.

The 10th Amendment is the one cited by “states’rights” advocates like Jerry – it states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

What “states’ rights” advocates don’t understand, is that the last clause means, quite clearly, that the people do not lay down their individual inalienable and constitutional civil rights when they find themselves off a military reservation or outside the District of Columbia.

For example, Amendment 1 guarantees individuals a right to freedom of religious expression, and prohibits Congress from establishing a religion. Some states’ rights conservatives believe that the state governments should, or do, have the right to establish a religion – ignoring the right reserved to the people to have freedom of religious expression.

Similarly, involuntary servitude was abolished by the 13th amendment.

The amendment reads:

“1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

If a law requires a pregnant woman to remain pregnant, that is imposing on her a condition of involuntary servitude, to either the state, or to the man who provided the spermatozoon responsible for the condition.

Patriarchal religious zealots whose primary aim is the subjugation of women and the subordination of the rights of a living human being, a legal person from the time of her birth and breath, to those of a potential human being that is under construction.

As I have pointed out recently, some state legislatures have taken the dangerous step of legislating the personhood of potential human beings under construction. At least one (Utah) has taken steps to criminalize pregnant women who might in some way deliberately or negligently harm the potential person under construction inside her body. Someone in Utah may have read the 13th Amendment, and has taken steps to criminalize pregnancy issues. Suspect a pregnant woman of negligence, and a kangaroo court can convict her and sentence her to live under the watchful eye of the pregnancy warden in a prison ward, under constant medical supervision, and perhps even chained to a bed for the duration.

Social Conservatives, driven by the Christianist (anti)Family organizations loke FRC, are the worst possible allies for responsible libertarians. Let’s paraphrase a little Rogers & Hammerstein here:

You’ve got to be taught
to hate the gays
and people who pray
in different ways
and fear the transgender
for all of your days
You've got to be carefully taught.

The Christianist Right
are mindless sheeple
who teach their own children
to flock to the steeple
and hate on all sorts
of different people
They've all been so carefully taught.

While such people might be considered populist in some parts of the country (it is scary how many Americans care little for individual rights other than their own), they should never be allowed to use the power of the ballot box to impose their so-called “morality” on people who live by better and higher or other moral principles. The principles on which the nation was founded take precedence over religious-based prejudice from people who don’t understand their own sacred scriptures.

Jerry likes to mention Alexis de Tocqueville – so Jerry is likely to be familiar with the idea of the “tyranny of the majority.” The majority should not be allowed to trammel on individual civil rights, particularly when the rights trammeled upon are being denied only to one class of people, which includes women and minorities.

Jerry either ignores or does not realize that the 10th Amendment reserves individual liberties to the individuals, not to the states – and that pregnancy, a condition of servitude, cannot be made an obligation by the states, or even by a popular referendum – only the congress can enact legislation relating to conditions of servitude, and only within the scope of prohibiting involuntary servitude except as part of the penalty for a crime.

(Of course, Jerry and I can point out his colleague Larry Niven’s short story that involves a recidivist traffic offender attempting to escape from an organ-recovery process that would result in his effective execution, as an example of a dystopian state-gone-wild – such an approach would be a reduction ad absurdum as ridiculous as extending legal personhood to the fertilized ovum.) We need to keep government away from regulating women's bodies.

For Jerry and Republican libertarians, the answer just might be to turn to the Democrats, who are not tied down to anti-libertarian social conservatives and Christianist fundamentalists – and I would look for their support, and those of “tea party” types who are frustrated with the status quo – but to get that support, the Democratic leadership has to articulate a clearly and simply stated legislative program that can attract the frustrated tea partiers away from the false siren call of the demagogues of the neo-con and religious right wing.

So far, the Democratic leadership has failed to work out such a program.

If they want to have any positive impact at all on the results of the November 2010 election, they have to do this. Up until now, they have been too paralyzed by the “big tent” to offend the blue dogs in their midst, who by throwing themselves in with Republicans in many cases made it impossible for Congress to get a lot accomplished the past two years.

The problem is not that there is a Democratic majority in the House, the problem is that, between the Republicans and the 40 or so socially-conservative blue dog Democrats, the House has held the people hostage the past couple of years, in addition to the previous eight.

The solution is not to put the Republicans who caused the whole economic mess between 2000 and 2006 (and even to the present day, with their blue-dog cohorts) back into power, even with a leavening from the ultra-right wing nut cases like Christine O’Donnell.


The apparently counterintuitive solution is to elect more Democrats, and I mean real Democrats, not more useless blue dog DINO Democrats.

In 1994, Republican Newt Gingrich engineered a Republican takeover of Congress with his “Contract With America” which enunciated a legislative program that he and hs cohorts proceeded to enact over the following several years.

No one, on either side, has emulated Newt this election season - but the Republicans have found a way to tap into “Tea Party” frustrations. (for those who don't know, “TEA” stands for “Taxed Enough Already.”)

This is, of course, an issue – but we run smack up against the libertarian principle of TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”)

Tea Partiers mostly want a free lunch. No one can really provide what they want.
I recently found a place for the Democratic leadership to start – it’s here:

It is the platform of the Democratic Freedom Caucus – a group of libertarian Democrats.

People have to try to remember that Thomas Jefferson, one of the architects of our nation, was a Democrat, a libertarian, as well as a Unitarian.

Until just the other day, I did not realize that there were organized Democratic libertarians – since most of the libertarians I know are either Libertarian Party or Republicans, I did not realize there is a libertarian movement growing within the Democratic party.

If we are to save our Republic from the fascists who want to turn it into a police state, we have to hold off the social conservatives and neo-cons. Otherwise there may be little hope for the future of the nation, which is still reeling from eight years of abuse by George W. Bush and his Republican regime. Two years of Barack Obama, even with an uncooperative Congress that is mostly still in the hands of Republicans and DINO blue dog Democrats, has not been enough time to heal.

Does Jerry seriously want to see the election to the US Senate of a Christine O’Donnell who wants to make masturbation a crime, just because she got the party nomination? It’s better to make no endorsement at all, or better, maybe those of us who have a moderate libertarianism in our political philosophies ought to start supporting each other.

Side note to Rand Paul – drop the libertarian cover for the bigotry, it’s not funny, and it makes real libertarians look bad.

Monday, September 6, 2010

WND's Joseph Farah: Clueless about marriage equality

I was visiting the highly regarded Pam’s House Blend blog Sunday morning, and found an interesting article of Pam’s, commenting on a column over at WorldNutDaily (remember, they can’t seem to spell “Nut” which somehow comes out as “Net,” by the “founder, editor and CEO” there, the noted slacker Joseph Farah, entitled “Conservative Surrender on Same-Sex Marriage?"

After reading Pam’s column exposing Farah’s cluelessness, I thought it might be worthwhile and fun to join in the pile-on.

Pam concludes her column by giving us four possibilities as to why conservatives are not listening to people like Joe Farah any more – the last possibility:

“4) simply tired and offended by the political bedroom-peeping proclivities of people like Farah dressed up as moral righteousness.”

I believe that last item is the most likely reason real conservatives are starting to abandon their bigoted Christianist "social conservative" associates, as society becomes increasingly aware that the Christianists are not really Christians, they are bigots who wrap themselves in a cloak of Christian-looking doctrine.

While Pam does not directly address the “Christianist” arguments beyond pointing them out and indicating that they are irrelevant, I would like to tear that fig leaf from Joe Farah, and expose the ugly truth beneath.

But first, let’s deal with the idea that Farah’s “traitors” are somehow not *real* conservatives. It's really Joe who isn't conservative - and apparently he knows that.

I’d like to turn the “conservative” part of the explanation to Ted Olson, whose credentials as a real conservative are unsullied, and whose words are authentic. The following quotes from Ted Olson are all excerpted from a transcript of his amazing FOX News interview about the recent California federal district court marriage case decision, which is available online at:

Farah cites an unnamed “homosexual activist blog” to point out :

“"But isn't it something how the issue of marriage equality is slowly starting to tear at the GOP. What a difference a few years make. In 2004, there was nary a Republican that could get behind the issue of marriage equality without looking like a Benedict Arnold. And now? The trend is shifting big time." "

And to name names, in addition to Anne Coulter:

"Ted Olson, Margaret Hoover, Meghan McCain, Glenn Beck, Laura Bush, Steve
Schmidt, Cindy McCain, Charlie Baker, Elisabeth Hasselbeck ... it's like each
day a new high-profile conservative jumps on the marriage equality bandwagon."

Af course, that astute blogger was in all probablility Pam Spaulding – see her blog essays at:



as examples of Pam’s astute analysis of Farah’s slackitude..

Farah whines:

“The people vote and express their will in overwhelming numbers to affirm
something as basic as traditional marriage between one man and one woman.”

But Ted Olson has already answered with the *real* conservative view about the clash between what Alexis de Tocqueville characterized as “the tyranny of the majority” and the bedrock conservative American value of individual rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment:

“If we didn't have a separation of powers, if we didn't have a Bill of Rights, then 7 million Californians could take away your rights, or my rights or the rights of these citizens in California. But we do have a Bill of Rights, and it's intended to protect us. The 14th Amendment was the result that -- the 14th Amendment that guarantees due process and equal protection to all citizens, to all persons, was the result of a civil war intended to enforce the promise of our Constitution that all men and women are created equal.”

Farah rants:

“Judges assail the process and explain that only bigotry could explain their votes. Election results are overturned.”

On this, and the issue of whether the California marriage decision involved “judicial activism” (a popular right wing mantra), here is what Olson has to say:

“. . . since 1888 the United States Supreme Court has 14 times decided and articulated that the right to marriage is a fundamental right. We're not talking about a new right here.

We're talking about whether a fundamental right, something that the Supreme Court has characterized as the most fundamental relationship we have in this country, can be deprived of certain individuals because of the color of their skin or because of their sexual orientation.

We do not permit discrimination, inequality. That's why we have a 14th Amendment that guarantees equal rights to all citizens. It's not judicial activism when judges do what the Constitution requires them to do, and they follow the precedent of previousdecisions of the Supreme Court.”

Ted Olsen pointed out:

“. . . most people use the term "judicial activism" to explain decisions that they don't like.”

“And what the court decided here -- the Supreme Court, as I said, of the United States has 14 times decided that the fundamental right to marry is an important constitutional right. The judge applied that right, that existing right, that fully determined and repeatedly determined constitutional right, to some tens of thousands of citizens in California who are being harmed by discrimination. That is not judicial activism. That is judicial responsibility. ”

Olson further notes:

“Yes, it's encouraging that many states are moving towards equality on the basis of sexual orientation, and I am very, very pleased about that, because it is extraordinarily damaging to our citizens, our family members, our brothers, our sisters, our co- workers and our neighbors when they are labeled second-class citizens.”

Farah continues with his pathetic moans:

“The conservative movement is nearing surrender on the issue – even while public opinion stands firmly committed against same-sex marriage.“

Some of Olson’s bedrock conservatism comes out in this quote that works to skewer Farah's assertion:

“When the state of California, as it did in this case, enshrined in its constitution a separate status for certain of its citizens, it did immeasurable harm. We can't wait for the voters to decide that that immeasurable harm that is unconstitutional must finally be eliminated.

I applaud the fact that things are changing, and I think this case is helping open people's eyes to the damage done by discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Farah sobs:

“If we lose the battle over marriage, I'm not sure there's much left to preserve. Marriage is literally the building block of our civilization. Destroy it and you destroy the foundation."

Olson’s answer to this one is the cincher, the bottom line – what *real* conservatives think (addressing the FOX interviewer):

“Chris, we believe that a conservative value is stable relationships and a stable community and loving individuals coming together and forming a basis that is a building block of our society, which includes marriage. We believe that that is a conservative value.

We also believe that it's an important conservative value to sustain the rights of liberty of our citizens and to eliminate discrimination on invidious bases, whether it's race, or sex or sexual orientation. It should be a liberal and a conservative value. It is a fundamental American value. All men and all women are created equal under the law. ”

I want to repeat the principle:

“It should be a liberal and a conservative value. It is a fundamental American value. All men and all women are created equal under the law.”

Now, look at pathetic Joe Farah again. Farah even quotes from another conservative blogger – one who actually “gets” the point:

“ “In time, gay people will be married, extending the valuable social institution of marriage to more people," writes blogger Jon Henke of "In time, conservatives will argue that the positive impact that marriage has on the gay community is further evidence of the importance of the institution of marriage."”

If you want to read Jon Henke’s long-standing position on marriage equality, he makes a compelling case in his June 10, 2006 (that’s right, 2006) blog at – “The Libertarian Case for Gay Marriage

Farah has had the opportunity to read what real conservatives other than Ted Olson are saying and writing, and he is still clueless!

Farah seems to have a kind of psychotic belief not based in anything but his fantasy world, that there are people out there who are looking to destroy “traditional marriage.”

This fantasy argument has been trotted out every time that there has been legal change in the understanding of marriage, beginning with the abansonment of the common law of “coverture” that reduced women to virtual chattel status under the control of their husbands.

It was raised in New York by the social conservatives of the 1830's - 1850;s, who railed against the adoption of the two “Married Women’s Property Acts” of 1848 and 1860. They even used bible passages that indicate that "wives should be obedient to their husbands" in support of continuing to oppress women.

The sort of marriage that Joe Farah wants to “preserve” was changed long ago, and for the better. If marriage laws are made completely gender-neutral, this will have zero adverse impact on marriages between a man and a woman. They will still be permitted.

It is not, as Farah would have us believe, a matter of requiring heterosexual couples to divorce and each take on a same sex spouse – which is the only way “traditional marriage” would be “destroyed” by some kind of “same-sex” marriage. The fact is, that making marriage laws fully gender neutral will not destroy anything, but will strengthen marriage, just as both Ted Olson, Jon Henke, and numerous others have pointed out.

The fact is that real conservatives are finally waking up to the fact that they can’t reconcile real conservative principles favoring individual liberty over government coercion with the bigotry pandered by “social conservatives” whose beliefs are rooted in their hatred of people who are different, lightly wrapped in a veil of “Christian” religious beliefs.

For a number of years, real conservatives have felt they had to put up with Christianist social conservative allies, because they needed their help to get enough votes to get elected. Ronald Reagan gave the Christianist social conservatves lip service. Unfortunately for real conservatives, George W. Bush, who is himself a Christianist, gave the Christianists a lot of what they wanted. This has scared the real conservatives.

The real conservatives have awakened to realize that the Christianist "social" conservatives are dragging them down, rather than lifting them up – and no one wants to drown in the muck and mire of bigotry and prejudice.

So let’s look at Christian beliefs – it’s time to tear that fig leaf from Farah’s Christianist cloaking. Farah is not really a Christian, he is a Christianist, because he consistently misunderstands and misinterprets the Bible as a justification for un-American discriminatory attitudes against people who are different from the majority. Real conservatives can also be real Christians. (For that matter, real liberals can also be real Christians!)

Farah sets us up with his fantasies about the nature of marriage:

“I am ashamed of these people who should know better flirting with the destruction of a 6,000-year-old, God-created institution with no regard for the unforeseen and unimaginable consequences.”

The last time I checked, neither Joe Farah nor Joe Ratzinger was qualified to speak the mind of God to anyone – and their interpretations and understandings of God and religion are not binding on the American People or on the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the several states.

As I have pointed out with the assistance of Pam Spaulding, Ted Olson and Jon Henke, no one is destroying Farah’s version of a “6,000-year-old, God-created institution.” On the day after marriage equality became the law in Massachuusetts, churches all over that state were still celebrating traditional heterosexual marriages. Nothing was changed about those marriages! The same situation is true of the other states and jurisdictions in which marriage equality is recognized – the freedom of those Christians and Christianists and other faiths who will only sanctify, sacramentalize, or bless heterosexual marriages, to continue to do so, is still maintained. The freedom of those Christian and other faiths that will sanctify, sacramentalize, or bless marriages on a gender neutral basis is no longer suppressed in those states and jurisdictions.

Farah goes on to quote scripture:

“If there is a subject upon which the Bible is crystal clear – from beginning to end – it is homosexuality. Another subject about which no one can misinterpret what the Bible says is marriage. Let's examine the text:
• Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
• Romans 1:22-27: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." ”

Let us examine the contexts. The Leviticus quote at worst may refer to one particular kind of sexual activity that may be engaged by gay men – it does not refer to all different ways in which gay men can sexually satisfy each other. But how does Joe Farah square this with the marriage of David and Jonathan, clearly presented in 1 Samuel 18?

The fact is that the Leviticus quote is more accurately limited to forcible sodomy – the kind of inhospitable treatment of strangers envisioned by the Men of Sodom. The misogyny can also be recognized – to the Men of Sodom as well as to the patriarchal Israelites, treating another man as a sex object for forcible carnal use was to lie with him “as with a woman.”

The Romans quote is the only one that is ever used by Christianists against lesbians, who also have the example of the Book of Ruth to guide them.

Farah does not look at the context of Romans 1 – which involves heterosexual people who were engaging in sex acts against their natures under the influence of the wine administered as part of the orgiastic practices of some Greco-roman religious traditions of the times, and particularly the Dionysian (Bacchic) practices. The key language in the version quoted by Farah is “natural use.” For heterosexual people, it is as unnatural to engage in same-sex sexual activity as it is unnatural for homosexual people to engage in opposite-sex sexual activity.

So clearly, Farah’s Christianity is suspect – though it is perfectly all right for him to maintain his version of the interpretation of scripture, it is wrong for him to claim that it is the only interpretation. Indeed, his interpretation flies in the face of American constitutional principles, and while he may be protected in his own freedom of religious expression, he is on weak ground when he insists that his religious freedom should trump everyone else’s, particularly outside his church.

Joe blathers on, first speaking that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law (and apparently this must include 1 Samuel 18), and he continues:

“In Matthew 19:4-6, it says: "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? ”

But Jesus says exactly nothing about those instances in which a man may leave his parents and cleave unto another man, or where a woman may leave her parents and cleave unto another woman. This may not have happened in the culture of the time, though there is evidence that same-sex relationships were blessed in the early Church.

The initial Creation of Adam as a woman-man (in God’s image and likeness) and the subsequent split of Adam into Adam and Eve, is not a literal story, it’s an allegory, an allegory on the same level as the similar story from Plato’s Symposium, as related by the great playwright Aristophanes, in which he similarly explains the creation and splitting in such a way as to explain the variety of sexual orientations among humans – certainly a part of human nature, though one that was somewhat simplified in the patriarchal bible story. I would suggest that Aristophanes is at least as good a source of ancient mythology as the Bible.

Farah states:

“Either you believe the Bible or you don't.”

Apparently, Farah does not understand that there are different interpretations and understandings on what the Bible means – if we took the whole thing literally, there are numerous contradictions and some pretty bad aspects to it that would make it totally useless as a source for religious or moral guidance.

The United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are not bible-based.

Farah points out :

“But followers of Jesus cannot find some happy medium where they can please God and please the world. Nobody can. I choose obedience.“

In this case, that is fine – and biblical obedience clearly implies that Joe Farah should remove himself from the Modern world to some monastery where he can remain silent, pray, raise grain and make bread, and await the return of Jesus.

In the meantime, Joe should read 1 Corinthians 6:1-8:

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?

4 If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?

5 I say this to move you to shame. What, cannot there be found among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren,

6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?

7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded?

8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

Of course, this passage continues:

9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,

10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

12 All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any.

13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall bring to nought both it and them. But the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body:

14 and God both raised the Lord, and will raise up as through his power.

15 Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid.

16 Or know ye not that he that is joined to a harlot is one body? for, The twain, saith he, shall become one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;

20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.

I point the second half of the chapter out because there are those who will use verses 9, 19 and 20 to criticize transsexual people who seek the appropriate medical and surgical treatment, despite the clear message in Isaiah 56, Mathew 19:12 and Acts 8 that eunuchs (a term that includes transgender, transsexual and intersex people) are loved by God. Part of the problem has to do with relying on English translations rather than looking to the original languages - and while more modern translations might further obscure the meaning, even the more literal translations, such as the American Standard Version (ASV) used here, there are ossues in the understanding of the words.

Still, Joe Farah likes to pick and choose his bible verses, anyway.

In response to that, I will reproduce here, and commend you to the investigative commentary on it, a 2004 version of a ca. 2000 “Letter to Doctor Laura” that deals with a number of “literal” Bible teachings:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev.1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness (Lev.15: 19-24). The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan,

I would like to challenge Joe Farah to address the issues posed in the “Letter to Doctor Laura” – if his version of Christianity, in which “Either you believe the Bible or you don’t” in a literal manner, without taking anything else into consideration. Is correct, he must have some answer to these questions.

But then, if Joe wants to be a real conservative, he has to understand that American conservatism, like American liberalism, is not compatible with his version of Christianity. He has a choice – to either be “obedient to” (or rather, to agree with!) conservative American principles, or to be “obedient to” his crackpot version of what he thinks God wants. He has chosen his religious beliefs. So why hasn’t he retreated from the modern world? He doesn’t have to drink any Kool-Aid to accelerate his personal Rapture – a monastery of some kind, where he can withdraw from the secular world, would be good enough to keep him on the “straight” and narrow. It does not have to be a monastery that requires celibacy – if Joe can’t control his sexual urges, the Bible allows him to get married (see 1 Corinthians 7:8-9) – I am sure there must be some sort of religious center that would allow him to practice marital relations while contemplating and praying, and keeping out of American secular affairs that are inconsistent with his beliefs.

On the other hand, if Joe really does not want the early “Kool-Aid” Rapture, or life in a monastery, maybe he can try to understand the idea of the First Amendment as it relates to both the establishment and free exercise of religion.

He might want to carefully read that 2006 Jon Henke essay about marriage, if he sincerely wants to get a clue.

Maybe he might find a way to reconcile his religious beliefs with the principles of American liberty and justice. If he wishes to maintain his intolerance, there’s always the monastery, or the Kool-Aid, or even just leaving us alone. Unfortunately, it does not seem likely that he will ever see the light of reason and Truth.

Joe wrote:

“Someone needs to hold the celebrities accountable. Someone needs to offer correction.”

Joe Farah, celebrity slacker, consider yourself corrected. And if you show up on September 17th to debate GOProud’s board chair Chris Barron (reported later yesterday at Pam’s House Blend) , expect to be thoroughly exposed as the intolerant bigot you are. As a former moderate libertarian member of the late William Buckley’s Young Americans for Freedom (when I was in college). I will be rooting for Chris. I may be a proud progressive Democrat these days, but I still have a moderate libertarian philosophy (one that is well removed from the near-anarchy of radical libertarianism) underlying what everyone seems to see as a liberal point of view.