Friday, April 30, 2010

Sen. Harry Reid's Immigration Proposal Includes Gay Families

Included in the “framework” are key provisions of the Uniting American Families Act. The legislation was previously offered as a standalone bill by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont in the Senate and Representative Jerrold Nadler in the House.
The measure would allow gay Americans to sponsor an immigrant partner for citizenship.
“Today's inclusive framework is an historic step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender binational families,” Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality, a group that lobbies on behalf of binational gay and lesbian couples, said in a statement.
The UAFA has already proven controversial.
When Democrats attempted to tuck the measure inside California Representative Michael Honda's reform effort last summer, social conservatives cried foul. And the action drove one major partner to withdraw its support from the House version.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a major ally in securing immigration reform, called inclusion of the gay provisions “contrary” to its position on marriage.
“[Including the gay provisions in the immigration bill] would erode the institution of marriage and family by according marriage like benefits to same-sex relationships, a position that is contrary to the very nature of marriage, which pre-dates the church and the state,” the bishops wrote in a letter to Rep. Honda withdrawing their support for his bill.
Speaking to POLITICO, the Reverend Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, another reform ally, called inclusion of the UAFA a “slap in the face to those of us who have fought for years for immigration reform.”
Openly gay Congressman Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, is already on record as disagreeing with the strategy.
“You got two very tough issues – the rights of same-sex couples and immigration,” Frank told the Washington Blade. “You put them in the same bill, and it becomes impossible. We just don't have the votes for it.”
Tiven said her group would lobby for inclusion of the UAFA's provisions.
“We will fight to ensure that the Uniting American Families Act is an indelible part of the immigration reform bill,” she said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fox News... How stupid are you ?

The first  rule of  politics..  NEVER  pick a fight with someone  funnier and  wayyyy smarter than you .

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I am Horrifed... Completely Horrified.

(Via Dan Savage's  SLOG)

Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes. Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property.

The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.

NCal's favorite Activist family (Jay & Bryan Leffew) have taken up the issue on their YouTube Channel

I hope Clay Greene wins, and it completely bankrupts Sonoma County.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why Can't the ELCA be this brave?

The  United Church of Christ (UCC) has  made  something of a name for itself with their  very  effective and  brave  television ads,   that  drive the  nutjob  religions right in this country up a tree.  Mainly because the ads honestly  call  out  these  so-called  "Evangelical Christians"  for their  very UN-Christian practices.  CBS and NBC both were  to scared of  the likes of  Pat Robertson and James "Focus on the Funding"  Dobson to air  the original UCC Ad:

My personal favorite was this one...

This past year my own Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Chuch in America took it's own babysteps into the 21rst Century when they voted on whether Gays and Lesbians were fit to serve God openly in the Church. As a result of that "radical step"",  there are a number of ELCA Churches that have made it known they plan to leave the ELCA. My response to that is -  "have a nice trip" .

The UCC's latest ad is great, the tag line "never place a period where God has placed a comma..." brilliantly sums up what is wrong with the conservative evangelical movement in the United States. James Dobson, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and their assorted ilk, are far more interested in talking about how "Christian" they are than actually living the principles of the faith they claim so loudly to follow.

The Language of God from United Church of Christ on Vimeo.

What  distresses me most though, is the  half measures of  courage   from my own Church.   Oh sure...  privately  both Clergy and  assorted  elected leaders  will say  how much they disagree  with folks like  Huckabee and Palin, but  then will lament how they  cant  say  so  "Officially" because  they don't want to  "create more  division" within the Church.   So  basically   the  largest  Lutheran Church in  North America  can vote to say  Gay and Lesbian Pastors and the churches that  hire them won't be  put on trial anymore.  But,   to  expect the Church to stand up and say  that  people  who  claim Gays and Lesbians  are  less than human,  are WRONG... well ,  that's just asking for too much right now.  

Back in 2005  I  wrote a guest column  for  that  talked about  the  misuse of religion by  some on the  political  far right.   Now we watch all the  assorted  "tea-baggery"  much if it  wrapped in a faux cloak of  religion.  Lunatics  like  Sarah Palin  calling  for  the end of  any separation between Church and State.   People like failed  GOP  presidential candidate Mike Huckabee  comparing  millions of  American families  raising  their children to  people who  want puppies  but  don't understand  the  responsibility  of  caring for them.    

These people are  insane.   They are  the American Taliban  and  deserve to be called out at such.

As a lifelong Lutheran, I can't help but be more than a little envious of the UCC's willingness to demonstrate how they possess the courage of their convictions, and not just convictions alone. The ELCA could take a lesson from that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Small Measure of Justice for Millions of American Families...

Yeasterday,  a small measure of justice was achieved  thanks  to one couple's horrific treatment by a hospital in Miami Florida.  In 2007  at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Where despite having medical power of attorney Janice Langbehm was denied the right to see her partner Lisa Pond as she lay dying from a stroke.  

Administrators refused to let Langbehm into the Pond's hospital room. A social worker told them they were in an "anti-gay city and state." And the hospital refused to recognize her and the children as Pond's family, even after a power of attorney was faxed to the hospital within an hour of their arrival.   Pond, 39, was pronounced dead of a brain aneurysm about 18 hours after being admitted to Jackson's Ryder Trauma Center. Langbehn said she was allowed in to see her partner only for about five minutes, as a priest gave Pond the last rites.

It's hard to not want to find out who that "hospital social worker"  was and go make their life as miserable as possible.  The first rule in health care is  always  "do no harm".  Whoever that  sad pathetic hateful failure of a human being was,  they failed to obey that basic and critical  rule in every concieveable way.

Conservative nutjobs are always saying that same sex marriage is not needed to protect the rights of Gay and Lesbian couples since they can "have medical powers of attorney". Clearly this is not the case,  when even cities like Miami, backwards knuckle dragging hate filled idiots can still have their bigotry trump the legal rights of millions of American Families..

For the record, Jackson Memorial Hospital never apoligized to  Langbehm or her family for  the  barbaric treatment they suffered at their hands.  Yet is comforting to know  that  should the bigots there at  JMH or at another hospital, ever try to harm anyone else the way they did the family of Lisa Pond,  the hospital might  lose  its ability to bill back to Medicare, and could as a result, be forced to close.   (Very few hospitals in the United States who take  Medicare Paitents  could  continue to operate if  they were excluded from the program.)

President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered his health secretary to issue new rules aimed at granting hospital visiting rights to same-sex partners, and making it easier for gay men and lesbians to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners.

The White House announced the rule changes in a memorandum released on Thursday night. In it, the president said the new rules would affect any hospital that participates in Medicare or Medicaid, the government programs to cover the elderly and the poor.

"Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindness and caring of a loved one at their sides," Obama said in the memorandum, adding that the rules could also help widows and widowers who rely on friends and members of religious orders who care for one another. But he says gay men and lesbians are "uniquely affected" because they are often barred from visiting partners with whom they have spent decades.

Several states have tried to put an end to discrimination against same-sex couples, and Obama said he intended to build on those efforts. He said the new rules will make clear that designated visitors should enjoy visiting privileges that are no more restrictive than those enjoyed by immediate family members.

The full memo can be read below...

Hospital visitation memo

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Vatican's Sacrament of Delusional Denial...

(Hat tip to
The Pope's number two man, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, whose home archdiocese has recently imprisoned priests for molesting young girls, is blaming the Catholic Church's problem with child rape on gay men.
The Vatican's second-highest authority says the sex scandals haunting the Roman Catholic Church are linked to homosexuality and not celibacy among priests. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, made the comments during a news conference Monday in Chile, where one of the church's highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls. "Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true," said Bertone. "That is the problem." His comments drew angry reactions from Chile's gay rights advocates. 
For the most part,  aside from posting  a video earlier this year of the great Stephen Fry's rebuttal to the  question   is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world.   I have  largely stayed away from this topic.   The reason being,  I am not Catholic.  I am  Protestant,  Lutheran  to be  exact.  So, as  the  horrific  and  sordid details  of  the Vatican's  institutionalized acceptance of the rape of children spilled out  over the past few years,  I  have felt,  that  as I am not  a member of the  Roman Catholic Church, it  really wasn't my place to comment.

Well,  Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's  response to  the  crimes  of his  church,  has made me  rethink that  position.   This twisted, deluded , sexually dysfunctional man in a dress, has  spewed forth his  hate fueled  internalized  homophobia in hopes  of  shifting the blame for  the horrors perpetrated against children on his watch to ANYbody other  than  those  actually  responsible.  

Lets be clear here.  This issue  deals with  the Roman Catholic Church as  an organization,  NOT as  faith  or  theology.   I have no quarrel  with anyone who professes  the Catholic faith,  seeks to practice and  honor the liturgical rites of that faith,  or  even seeks to actively  share that faith with others.  Yet  the institutional culture and organizational hierarchy of that church, were it a  secular institution, would have been raided by the police, it's operations shut down and it's leaders arrested  decades  ago. 

The problem  with the Roman Catholic Church in  2010 is  that  men like  Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, don't  see the  systematic  and institutionally sanctioned  rape  of children as the  real problem.  Rather  Cardinal  Bertone thinks efforts to  stop those crimes and  hold those who commit them responsible, for him THAT is the real sin.   

Until that  viewpoint  changes,  the  Catholic Church  should and must be viewed as  a threat  to Children and epicenter of  the largest  organized  sex crime ring in human history.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Hello from London

Hey there folks,

Taking a short break over the Easter Holiday . Spending time with Eric here in London, Back to the US on Wednesday so will get back to the news and silliness of the day on here then.

Hope everyone is well!