Friday, August 31, 2007

Recipe for GOP sex scandals: private attitudes and public posture contradict

The Volokh Conspiracy - -: "These closeted politicians, staffers, and party functionaries will occasionally be found out one way or another and again will come the shock, the pledges to go into rehab, the investigations, the charges of hypocrisy, the schadenfreude from Democrats and libertines, the sense of betrayal from the party’s religious conservatives.

This doesn’t happen to the Democrats because the party’s public and private attitudes toward homosexuality are fully consistent: acceptance of gays. Their homosexuals feel little need to remain closeted (with the recent exception of Jim “I am a Gay American” McGreevey). Notably, past sex scandals involving gay Democrats, like Rep. Barney Frank (with a prostitute) and Rep. Gerry Studds (with a congressional page), occurred some two decades ago, when the party was less accepting and the men themselves were still closeted. The only practical way out of this for the GOP is to come to the point where its homosexuals no longer feel the need to hide. And that won’t happen until the party’s public philosophy is more closely aligned with its private one."

Your Daily Awesome » A Writer from the Weekly World News Dishes the Dirt

Your Daily Awesome » A Writer from the Weekly World News Dishes the Dirt: "I often described my job, without a hint of exaggeration, as “thinking of the stupidest shit possible.” I once pitched a story positing that the U.S. government had data confirming that the one commonality linking all mass killers, including the Columbine shooters, was that they never masturbated. Rather than issue this report, which would save lives but promote onanism, the government preferred to let occasional slaughters take place. My editor rejected it on the grounds that it was “too plausible.”"

Truth in humor

"'A lot of people are calling Senator Craig a hypocrite because he was a very vocal opponent of same-sex marriages. ... But to be fair, he has never come out publicly against anonymous gay bathroom sex.' --Jay Leno"

"The way I look at it, anyone who spends more than two minutes in an airport men's room is guilty of something." --David Letterman

"The police report says he tapped his foot, which means 'I want gay sex.' And, also means I'll never wear my iPod to the bathroom again." --Jimmy Kimmel

"Now there's more trouble for Senator Craig. First he's accused of soliciting gay sex at an airport. Now's he accused of soliciting gay sex at a train station. Craig denied the charges and said if you'll excuse me, I have to get ready for a big night at the bus terminal." --Conan O'Brien

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Speaking truth to power -- Sgt. Dave Karsnia for Senate!!

Interesting logic - Transcript: Audio Interview of Sen. Larry Craig - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum:
"CRAIG: I don't, ah, I am not gay, I don't do these kinds of things and...

OFFICER: It doesn't matter. I don't care about sexual preference or anything like that. Here's your stuff back sir. Um, I don't care about sexual preference.

CRAIG: I know you don't. You're out to enforce the law.


CRAIG: But you shouldn't be out to entrap people either.

OFFICER: This isn't entrapment.

CRAIG: All right."

The bacterial invader that rewrites genes - Times Online

The bacterial invader that rewrites genes - Times Online: "The world’s most successful bacterial parasite has effectively become a part of at least 11 different animals by writing its entire genetic code into theirs, according to research that sheds important light on evolution. Scientists have discovered copies of the genome of the Wolbachia bacterium lurking within the genetic code of fruit flies, wasps and nematode worms. So ingrained are the bacteria’s genes that they appear to have biological roles within the host animal. The findings have important implications for evolution, as they show that genes can transfer from bacteria to unrelated multicellular organisms and take on new functions much more readily than was previously supposed."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jon Swift: Why Do Conservatives Like Larry Craig Seem So Gay?

Jon Swift: Why Do Conservatives Like Larry Craig Seem So Gay?: "But I think my fellow conservatives should not be too quick to turn on Craig. If everyone who just seems gay is drummed out of the Republican party or the conservative movement anyone could be next. Every effete mama's boy with precise speech patterns, every hawk with a physical inability to perform military service, every unmarried man with an awkwardness around women, every admirer of Fred Thompson and President Bush who gushes over how manly they are, every aging adolescent fan of comic books, Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Star Wars action figures and the movie 300 will come under suspicion. If we start going after every conservative who seems kind of gay, the only conservatives left will be Fred Thompson, President Bush and Rudolph Giuliani. Well, maybe not Giuliani."

Red State Update: Larry Craig

The Craig Story Takes A Seinfeld Twist - Couric & Co.

The Craig Story Takes A Seinfeld Twist - Couric & Co.: "In his written statement, Craig said this:

'I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and friends about it. I wasn’t eager to share this failure, but I should have done so anyway.'
But when Craig spoke the words, he said this (emphasis added):

'I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and should have told my family and friends about it. I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have done so anyway because I'm not gay.'"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You can't arrest me for being a bathroom pervert. I'm a U.S. Senator.

Obsidian Wings: Larry Craig: "Craig seems to have made a habit of voting against laws that would secure the rights of gay men and lesbians. In addition to supporting the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, he voted against a bill that would have banned job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, and was rated zero by the Human Rights Campaign in each of the last three Congresses (1, 2, 3; all pdf.) I truly can't imagine what it would be like -- how little self-respect a person would have to have -- to amass that sort of voting record while cruising for gay sex in airport restrooms.

And besides, if I had any sympathy for Larry Craig, the fact that he 'handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?”' would have destroyed it. The laws are meant to apply to everyone, Senators included. No one gets to violate laws he himself supports and then use the fact that he has been elected to high office to get himself off the hook. Being elected Senator means being given a position of trust and responsibility that you should work every day to be worthy of, not a Get Out Of Jail Free card."

Larry Craig: For 25 years, the Queen of Denial

Denying illicit sex with underage male pages in 1982

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Give money to Ted Haggard AND cheat on your taxes

Ted Haggard and the Man Behind "Families With a Mission" | Slog | The Stranger | Seattle's Only Newspaper: "In an open letter sent to Haggard’s gullible “supporters,” the disgraced preacher gives two addresses where money can be sent. Checks can be sent to Haggard’s mailing address in Phoenix or, if a supporter needs a tax deduction, checks can be sent to Families With a Mission, a charity based in Colorado Springs. “[Write] their check to ‘Families With A Mission’ and put a separate note on it that it is for the Haggard family,” Haggard writes in the letter posted on Colorado Confidential, “then Families With a Mission will mail us 90% of the funds for support and use 10% for administrative costs.”"

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes - New York Times

As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes - New York Times: "Each year for the past few years, China has built about 7.5 billion square feet of commercial and residential space, more than the combined floor space of all the malls and strip malls in the United States, according to data collected by the United States Energy Information Administration. Chinese buildings rarely have thermal insulation. They require, on average, twice as much energy to heat and cool as those in similar climates in the United States and Europe, according to the World Bank. A vast majority of new buildings — 95 percent, the bank says — do not meet China’s own codes for energy efficiency. All these new buildings require China to build power plants, which it has been doing prodigiously. In 2005 alone, China added 66 gigawatts of electricity to its power grid, about as much power as Britain generates in a year. Last year, it added an additional 102 gigawatts, as much as France."

Ted Nugent, social conservative

Obsidian Wings: Just Wondering ...: "For some unfathomable reason, the Wall Street Journal has run columns by Ted Nugent on several occasions. Why they would want to give the author of songs like 'Wang Dang Sweet Poontang*' a platform to complain about hippies and their 'cowardly, irresponsible lifestyle of random sex' is a mystery. But then, there's a lot about the Journal's opinion page that I don't quite understand. I'll be interested to see whether they continue to publish him after his rant at a concert a few days ago. He was walking up and down the stage holding two machine guns, and he said:
'I was in Chicago last week, I said, 'Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk!' Obama, he’s a piece of sh*t and I told him to suck on my machine gun! Let’s hear it for them. I was in New York and I said, 'Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch. And since I'm in California, how about Barbara Boxer? She might want to suck on my machine gun! Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these, you worthless whore!''"

Junior officers rebel

Iraq - Exit Strategy - Washington - Military Forces - New York Times: "Before and just after America’s entry into World War II, Gen. George Marshall, the Army’s chief of staff, purged 31 of his 42 division and corps commanders, all of them generals, and 162 colonels on the grounds that they were unsuited for battle. Over the course of the war, he rid the Army of 500 colonels. He reached deep into the lower ranks to find talented men to replace them. For example, Gen. James Gavin, the highly decorated commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was a mere major in December 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Today, President Bush maintains that the nation is in a war against terrorism — what Pentagon officials call “the long war” — in which civilization itself is at stake. Yet six years into this war, the armed forces — not just the Army, but also the Air Force, Navy and Marines — have changed almost nothing about the way their promotional systems and their entire bureaucracies operate."


Soon after Yingling’s article appeared, Maj. Gen. Jeff Hammond, commander of the Fourth Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Tex., reportedly called a meeting of the roughly 200 captains on his base, all of whom had served in Iraq, for the purpose of putting this brazen lieutenant colonel in his place. According to The Wall Street Journal, he told his captains that Army generals are “dedicated, selfless servants.” Yingling had no business judging generals because he has “never worn the shoes of a general.” By implication, Hammond was warning his captains that they had no business judging generals, either. Yingling was stationed at Fort Hood at the time, preparing to take command of an artillery battalion. From the steps of his building, he could see the steps of General Hammond’s building. He said he sent the general a copy of his article before publication as a courtesy, and he never heard back; nor was he notified of the general’s meeting with his captains.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Messianic politics and nukes

Religion and Churches - Separation of Church and State - Politics - God - Christianity - Islam - New York Times: "All of which served to confirm Hobbes’s iron law: Messianic theology eventually breeds messianic politics. The idea of redemption is among the most powerful forces shaping human existence in all those societies touched by the biblical tradition. It has inspired people to endure suffering, overcome suffering and inflict suffering on others. It has offered hope and inspiration in times of darkness; it has also added to the darkness by arousing unrealistic expectations and justifying those who spill blood to satisfy them. All the biblical religions cultivate the idea of redemption, and all fear its power to inflame minds and deafen them to the voice of reason. In the writings of these Weimar figures, we encounter what those orthodox traditions always dreaded: the translation of religious notions of apocalypse and redemption into a justification of political messianism, now under frightening modern conditions. It was as if nothing had changed since the 17th century, when Thomas Hobbes first sat down to write his “Leviathan.”"


A number of Muslim thinkers around the world have taken to promoting a “liberal” Islam. What they mean is an Islam more adapted to the demands of modern life, kinder in its treatment of women and children, more tolerant of other faiths, more open to dissent. These are brave people who have often suffered for their efforts, in prison or exile, as did their predecessors in the 19th century, of which there were many. But now as then, their efforts have been swept away by deeper theological currents they cannot master and perhaps do not even understand. The history of Protestant and Jewish liberal theology reveals the problem: the more a biblical faith is trimmed to fit the demands of the moment, the fewer reasons it gives believers for holding on to that faith in troubled times, when self-appointed guardians of theological purity offer more radical hope. Worse still, when such a faith is used to bestow theological sanctification on a single form of political life — even an attractive one like liberal democracy — the more it will be seen as collaborating with injustice when that political system fails. The dynamics of political theology seem to dictate that when liberalizing reformers try to conform to the present, they inspire a countervailing and far more passionate longing for redemption in the messianic future. That is what happened in Weimar Germany and is happening again in contemporary Islam.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jeopardy question: Merv Griffin's sexual orientation

Griffin never revealed man behind the curtain: "Even in the capital of entertainment -- in a business where homosexuality isn't exactly a rare phenomenon -- it's still spoken of in hushed tones or, more often, not at all. And Merv's brush with tabloid scandal no doubt only drove him further into the closet. While it would seem everything has changed today, little actually has. You can count on the fingers of one hand, or at most two, the number of high-powered stars and public figures who have come out. Those who don't can't really be faulted [yes, they can], as rarely do honesty and full disclosure prove a boon to one's showbiz livelihood. Nonetheless, the elephant that was his sexual orientation never really stopped following Griffin from room to room. He could duck it for a while, but it would always find him. It's disheartening that Merv had to die to shake it for good."

Edwards, Foreclosure Critic, Has Investing Tie to Subprime Lenders -

Edwards, Foreclosure Critic, Has Investing Tie to Subprime Lenders - "As a presidential candidate, Democrat John Edwards has regularly attacked subprime lenders, particularly those that have filed foreclosure suits against victims of Hurricane Katrina. But as an investor, Mr. Edwards has ties to lenders foreclosing on Katrina victims. The Wall Street Journal has identified 34 New Orleans homes whose owners have faced foreclosure suits from subprime-lending units of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Mr. Edwards has about $16 million invested in Fortress funds, according to a campaign aide who confirmed a more general Federal Election Commission report. Mr. Edwards worked for Fortress, a publicly held private-equity fund, from late 2005 through 2006."

Batshit Rudy ready to bankrupt U.S. over two ugly office buildings in Manhattan

Foreign Affairs - Toward a Realistic Peace - Rudolph Giuliani: "The idea of a post-Cold War 'peace dividend' was a serious mistake -- the product of wishful thinking and the opposite of true realism. As a result of taking this dividend, our military is too small to meet its current commitments or shoulder the burden of any additional challenges that might arise. We must rebuild a military force that can deter aggression and meet the wide variety of present and future challenges. When America appears bogged down and unready to face aggressors, it invites conflict. The U.S. Army needs a minimum of ten new combat brigades. It may need more, but this is an appropriate baseline increase while we reevaluate our strategies and resources. We must also take a hard look at other requirements, especially in terms of submarines, modern long-range bombers, and in-flight refueling tankers. Rebuilding will not be cheap, but it is necessary. And the benefits will outweigh the costs."

Our "too small" military spending:

Fascsism watch

Reason Magazine - Stop Abusing Snitchin': "This is worth repeating. The FBI has determined that in some cases, it's better to let innocent people be assaulted, murdered, or wrongly sent to prison than to halt a drug investigation involving one of its confidential informants. Could Murphy assure the U.S. Congress, Delahunt and Lundgren asked, that the FBI has since instituted policies to ensure that kind of thing never happens again? Murphy hemmed and hawed, but ultimately said that he could not make any such assurance. That in itself should have been huge news."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nagging for dollars - Aug. 16, 2007

Nagging for dollars - Aug. 16, 2007: "Here is how Marla Cilley, better known by her nom de guerre, FlyLady, runs her business. Every morning she rolls out of bed and starts nagging. She sends a first e-mail to her 400,000 subscribers at about 7 A.M., reminding them to get up and get dressed. Throughout the day she'll send about ten more e-mails from her Brevard, N.C., home, nagging them to polish their sinks or plan a healthy dinner. She'll also pen an essay or two on topics ranging from the evils of perfectionism to the importance of self-love. Her office administrator will send a few more e-mails, giving subscribers tidying tips. By the time Cilley's last e-mail - 'Please go to bed!' - goes out at 10 P.M., her flock has received about 15 messages. Last year sales hit $4 million"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Custody case stirs gay-marriage debate |

Custody case stirs gay-marriage debate | "Brett Conrad spent more than half his life as Patrick Atkins' partner. For 25 years, the men shared bank accounts, apartments and eventually a home in Fishers.

But when Atkins, 47, fell seriously ill in 2005, Conrad faced what many gay Hoosiers consider a travesty: no law guaranteeing them the same rights as married couples to participate in care decisions for their ill partners. Conrad, 47, spent much of the past two years trying to win guardianship of Atkins from Atkins' parents, Thomas and Jeanne of Carmel. Jeanne Atkins is quoted in court documents as saying she believes homosexuality is a sin and that she disapproves of the men's relationship. The parents have barred Conrad from visiting their now-disabled son in their home where he lives."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq | World | The Observer

Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq | World | The Observer: "Hanna and his men are not alone in being tired most of the time. A whole army is exhausted and worn out. You see the young soldiers washed up like driftwood at Baghdad's international airport, waiting to go on leave or returning to their units, sleeping on their body armour on floors and in the dust.

Where once the war in Iraq was defined in conversations with these men by untenable ideas - bringing democracy or defeating al-Qaeda - these days the war in Iraq is defined by different ways of expressing the idea of being weary. It is a theme that is endlessly reiterated as you travel around Iraq.

'The army is worn out. We are just keeping people in theatre who are exhausted,' says a soldier working for the US army public affairs office who is supposed to be telling me how well things have been going since the 'surge' in Baghdad began."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Clinton flip-flops on don't ask, don't tell and Defense of Marriage

Marc Ambinder: "Hillary Clinton has gone about as far as Hillary Clinton will go in disavowing her earlier positions on major gay issues. As Linda Douglass points out in this helpful National Journal article , Hillary, like the rest of the Democratic field, now supports repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and says she would repeal the federal provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (Obama would go further and repeal the whole thing). But as many people like to point out—most recently, to me, Tucker Carlson on his show yesterday (Linda and I were his “panel”)—Hillary and the other first- and second-tier candidates do not support gay marriage, so why are many gays supporting them?"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Giuliani's Authoritarianism

CSIndy: What you should know about Rudy (August 9, 2007): "'Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.'"

Sunday, August 05, 2007

One Closeted, Married Man on Living the Double Life in New York City -- New York Magazine

One Closeted, Married Man on Living the Double Life in New York City -- New York Magazine: "“No one was gay, no one even knew anyone who was gay,” he says. “It’s not that I was scared of being judged, but of being seen differently. Like if my friends were all going out to a bar to hit on girls, maybe I wouldn’t be invited. For lack of a better analogy, it’s like with actors, when you find out someone playing a straight role is gay. You don’t look at him the same way. I guess that’s always been my greatest fear.”"


“But we were happy when she got pregnant,” he says. “And we’re happy now. I’m not always happy—I’m rarely happy, to be honest—but we’re happy.” William genuinely seems to see his misery as disconnected from his marriage, as if one life does not affect the other even when the same person is living both.William has never been to a therapist. On one level, he feels he should, that he could use it, but he also thinks he knows exactly what a therapist would say. “Be true to yourself and all that,” is how he puts it. I ask him if he has ever heard of Richard Isay, a psychiatrist who has written at length about gay men, himself included, who have been in straight marriages. Isay believes that most gay men who marry do so as a way of denying their homosexuality. “Every homosexual man who marries,” he writes in Becoming Gay: The Journey to Self-Acceptance, “does so, in my clinical experience, because of early self-esteem injury that has caused him to see homosexuality as bad, sinful or sick.”

Friday, August 03, 2007

Democrat sleaze

HEDGE OF MADNESS | By GEOFF EARLE, Post Correspondent | National News | US News | Current National News: "Republican lawmakers charged yesterday that Sen. Charles Schumer is sabotaging a new effort to raise taxes on wealthy hedge-fund managers in an effort to shake down Wall Street for millions of dollars in campaign cash.

The criticism came after Schumer slammed legislation during a Senate Finance Committee hearing that would more than double the tax rates paid by managers of equity funds, hedge funds and other partnerships to make them pay the same rates as ordinary Americans."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Beckham commentary

Mayor Takes the Subway — by Way of S.U.V. - New York Times

Mayor Takes the Subway — by Way of S.U.V. - New York Times: "On mornings that he takes the subway from home, Mr. Bloomberg is picked up at his Upper East Side town house by a pair of king-size Chevrolet Suburbans. The mayor is driven 22 blocks to the subway station at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, where he can board an express train to City Hall. His drivers zip past his neighborhood station, a local subway stop a five-minute walk away.

That means Mr. Bloomberg — whose much-discussed subway rides have become an indelible component of his public image — spends a quarter of his ostensibly subterranean commute in an S.U.V.

“I never see him,” said Namela Hossou, who sells newspapers every morning at the downtown entrance to the mayor’s nearest stop, at 77th Street, four blocks from the mayor’s house. “Never, never.”"

Robert J. Samuelson - Prius Politics -

Robert J. Samuelson - Prius Politics - "The Prius is, I think, a parable for the broader politics of global warming. Prius politics is mostly about showing off, not curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Politicians pander to 'green' constituents who want to feel good about themselves. Grandiose goals are declared. But measures to achieve them are deferred -- or don't exist."

here's what Congress should do: (a) gradually increase fuel economy standards for new vehicles by at least 15 miles per gallon; (b) raise the gasoline tax over the same period by $1 to $2 a gallon to strengthen the demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and curb driving; (c) eliminate tax subsidies (mainly the mortgage interest rate deduction) for housing, which push Americans toward ever-bigger homes. (Note: If you move to a home 25 percent larger and then increase energy efficiency 25 percent, you don't save energy.)

I support these measures, because we should implement them anyway. We should limit dependence on insecure foreign oil. Tax subsidies cause Americans to overinvest in oversized homes. But practical politicians won't enact these policies, except perhaps for higher fuel economy standards. They'd be too unpopular.