Day: 2015.05.20

Dignity

Transgender pride

Thank you.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made her state the third to outlaw the use of conversion therapy on minors on Monday, eliminating the controversial practice that President Barack Obama called to ban in early April. Oregon joins California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., in prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a child.

(Steinmetz)

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Steinmetz, Katy. “Oregon Becomes Third State to Ban Conversion Therapy on Minors”. Time. 19 May 2015.

The Ted Cruz Show (Cover Songs)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the Iowa Agriculture Summit, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC)

“Is there something about the left―and I am going to put the media in this category―that is obsessed with sex? ISIS is executing homosexuals―you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals―that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

There are a number of things we might say. Sure, the state of Ohio might be trying to unmarry a dead man, Louisiana might be looking to shield discrimination by state employees, and Christians might be eyeing re-education camps for insufficiently Christian children, but, you know, hey, they’re not actually executing anyone, so … you know, get over yourselves.

And, hey, you know, we might also mention that doing better than Daa’ish is hardly a reasonable standard for American political health. We might look at Ted Cruz, then, and suggest that, hey, it’s not like we’re actually having dogs rape your ass while forcing you to say you like it, so, you know, get over yourself.

In truth, the functional problem with actually saying that would be legitimizing Mr. Cruz’s stupidity.

Bobby Blanchard tries to explain:

[Cruz] got in a light sparring round with reporters, mainly working on his attacks on Hillary Rodham Clinton and defending his views on same-sex marriage.

Ted Cruz for President 2016 logo.“Is there something about the left―and I am going to put the media in this category―that is obsessed with sex?” Cruz asked after fielding multiple questions on gay rights. “ISIS is executing homosexuals―you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals―that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.”

Cruz also said he did not think his opposition to gay marriage will hurt his chances with moderate voters.

“With respect, I would suggest not drawing your questions from MSNBC―they have very few viewers and they are a radical and extreme partisan outlet,” Cruz told a reporter. He cited the expansion of “mandatory same-sex marriage” as an assault on religious liberty in the United States.

(more…)

Falling Out of Grace and Into Fabulous … We Hope

Rev. Matthew Makela has served as the Associate Pastor at St. John's since July 2010.  He grew up in Green Bay, WI, literally in the shadows of Lambeau Field.  Pastor Makela was blessed to attend Lutheran schools from preschool through seminary.  He attended Pilgrim Lutheran School, Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Concordia University Wisconsin, and Concordia Theological Seminary.  He graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Pastoral Ministry and Theological Languages.  Pastor Makela graduated in 2010 with a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN.  Pastor and his wife Cassie are blessed with three daughters and two sons.  Outside of church duties, Psator enjoys family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.

Oh, dear God, not again.

Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the ‘Our Church Staff’ section of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”

Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men.

In addition to Dan Tracer’s scoop for Queerty, Gabrielle Bluestone follows up for Gawker, and Simon McCormack brings an overview for Huffington Post.

(more…)

The Point of the Day (Dissonance)

President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Steve Benen gets our nod for the Point of the Day:

When Republicans aren’t blaming intelligence agencies for what transpired in 2003, they’re blaming President Obama – the one who was right about Iraq from the start – for the war they apparently find tough to defend.

Reality paints a very different picture. Bush/Cheney lied the nation into a disastrous war, mismanaged it in every way possible, strengthened U.S. foes, and destabilized the entire region. All of this transpired, of course, before Obama even launched his national campaign. Indeed, the catastrophe began unfolding when Obama was still a state senator.

The crux of the bizarre talking point is that the Democratic president withdrew U.S. forces in Iraq, consistent with the Status of Forces Agreement reached between the two countries. And which bleeding-heart pacifist thought it’d be a good idea to endorse this withdrawal plan? That would be George W. Bush, who negotiated the SOFA in 2008.

But there’s no reason to accept the premise – the Status of Forces Agreement was not responsible for creating a disaster in Iraq. Invading the country in the first place created a disaster in Iraq.

We might also take a moment to note a point about sources; Mr. Benen might be an msnbc producer and blogger, but set that aside for a moment and tell me he’s wrong.

(more…)

A Whimpering Roar

NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R), speaks in April 2014. (Photo: AP)

When we last checked, the Chris Christie Show was still in development, though leaked hints coming from the New Jersey governor’s camp suggested the beleaguered Garden State boss hoped to appeal to voters over common ground by claiming his one-percenter financial status is somehow a hardship.

Sometimes it seems a good idea to stick with a bad idea; this happens when the new good idea is even worse than the old bad idea. For instance:

For months, we have wondered how Gov. Chris Christie thinks he can win the presidency when New Jersey is in such rotten shape after his six years in office.

Now we may have our answer: The man has lost touch with reality.

In a national TV interview Monday, Christie was asked to explain why 65 percent of New Jersey voters think he’d make a bad president.

His answer: We love him so much that we want him to remain our governor.

“They want me to stay,” he told Megyn Kelly of Fox News. “A lot of those people in that 65 percent want me to stay. And I’ve heard that from lots of people at town hall meetings.”

Maybe he doesn’t believe that himself. That might step on his core pitch about telling the truth, but it would at least tether him to the planet earth.

The worry is that he really believes it. Politicians like him live in a bubble, surrounded by sycophants. Hard truths have a tough time penetrating.

(Star-Ledger)

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Gohmertology

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, joins House Republicans to speak during a news conference in opposition to the Supreme Court's Defense of Marrriage Act (DOMA) decision on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The note at the outset: This is Louie Gohmert we’re talking about.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Tuesday said that former President George W. Bush (R) may have gone about the Iraq invasion differently if he had known he would be succeeded in the White House by President Obama.

“Everybody else wants to ask that question about, ‘Gee, would you have gone into Iraq, you know, knowing what you know now?’ And I think if President Bush had known that he would have a total incompetent follow him — that would not even be able to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq, that would start helping our enemies and just totally put the Middle East in chaos — then he would have to think twice about doing anything if he had known he would have such a total incompetent leader take over after him. That should be the question,” Gohmert said in an interview with radio host John Fredericks, according to an audio clip highlighted by Right Wing Watch.

(MacNeal)

Those who remember the old Doonesbury joke about “future presidents” can try out their best fourth-frame smile; this is what it comes to. Nonetheless, we should recognize that the distinguished gentleman from Texas’ First Congressional District, Mr. Gohmert, is at the very least a team player.

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The O’Reilly Spectacle

Bill O'Reilly in undated photo from NBC News.

There are so many unfortunate things about this rising scandal:

Three weeks ago, a Nassau County Supreme Court justice ended a bitter three-year custody dispute between Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy, by granting custody of the couple’s two minor children to McPhilmy. Though nearly all documents pertaining to New York family court cases are sealed, Gawker has learned that the justice in the case heard testimony accusing O’Reilly of physically assaulting his wife in the couple’s Manhasset home.

According to a source familiar with the facts of the case, a court-appointed forensic examiner testified at a closed hearing that O’Reilly’s daughter claimed to have witnessed her father dragging McPhilmy down a staircase by her neck, apparently unaware that the daughter was watching. The precise date of the alleged incident is unclear, but appears to have occurred before the couple separated in 2010. The same source indicated that the daughter, who is 16 years old, told the forensic examiner about the incident within the past year.

As J. K. Trotter explains for Gawker, this is the latest sordid chapter exposed in an ongoing ugly dispute between FOX News host Bill O’Reilly and his ex-wife.

(more…)

Your Morning Metal (All the Fools Sailed Away)

Detail of front cover art for 'Dream Evil' by Dio.

This and that. Certain things bring the song to mind:

There’s perfect harmony in the rising and the falling of the sea. And as we sail along, I never fail to be astounded by the things we’ll do for promises and a song. We are the innocent; we are the damned. We were caught in the middle of the madness, hunted by the lion and the lamb. We bring you fantasy; we bring you pain. It’s your one great chance for a miracle, or we will disappear, never to be seen again. And all the fools sailed away. We bring you beautiful; we teach you sin. We can give you a piece of the Universe, or we will disappear, never to return again. And all the fools sailed away. They sailed away. And as we drift along, I never fail to be astounded by the things we’ll do for promises and a song. We are the innocent; we cut, we bleed. We’re your one great chance for a miracle, and a miracle is something you need. They’ll take your diamonds, and then give you steel. You’ll be caught in the middle of the madness, just lost like them, part of all the pain they feel. And all the fools sailed away. Leaving nothing, nothing more to say; all the fools sailed away. They say you’re beautiful, and they’ll always let you in. But doors are never open to the child without a trace of sin. Sail away.​

Dio, “All the Fools Sailed Away” (1987)

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The Ted Cruz Show (Preposterous Pretense)

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) during the Reuters Washington Summit in Washington, October 24, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

I assume Cruz knows this, but the more he talks about ‘mandatory gay marriage,’ the more I’m inclined to remind him that he probably means ‘voluntary gay marriage.’

Steve Benen

This is what we call E for Effort, but don’t let that be a dig; it really is difficult to make heads or tails of what conservatives mean. This is sort of a confusing issue for them, and it seems that is how they like it.

There was, for instance, the amicus brief from Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their Wives, submitted for consideration in Obergefell, that fretted about a “constitutional mandate requiring same-sex marriage”, and the idea of “Constitutionally mandating same-sex marriage”. By the time we get to Pat Robertson’s bestial-anal rape fantasy―“You are going to say you like anal sex, you like oral sex, you like bestiality, you like anything you can think of, whatever it is”―it is unclear what, if anything, remains to be said.

Well, other than the obvious, which is to wonder what the hell these people are talking about.

But Mr. Benen does, between failed valiant attempts to take Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) seriously, manage to make the obvious point:

The only “mandatory” aspect of this is that the notion that the law would be required to treat all Americans equally. It would be “mandatory” that there are no second-class citizens.

This is what we must remember, though: The confusion is the point.

It is just harder to sell the fear of “mandatory gay marriage” if people take the mandate for what it really is: You got married, so now you’re married.

You don't want the ark to sink - Lebanon gives advice to Suou.  Detail of frame from Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, 'The Ark Adrift on the Lake'.It is not that this is somehow hard for conservatives to understand; rather, they need it to seem hard to understand. The only confusion is that which they pretend, or, as some circumstances might have it―Same-Sex Attracted Men and Their Wives amici, I’m looking in your direction―actually genuinely suffer for whatever deceptions they have inflicted upon themselves.

This sort of seemingly incomprehensible incomprehension is actually pretty straightforward, depending on how deeply one wishes to delve. It is ego defense, nothing more, nothing less. They don’t like what is mandatory, but it is kind of inherently mandatory. So they need the idea of what is mandatory to be kind of scary. So they pretend to be kind of confused about what is mandatory, and then they manage to confuse themselves. This is actually something people do to themselves quite regularly, regardless of political orientation.

In the question of the Republican Party and its desperate, evangelical wing, there does remain a question as to whether or not such failures of healthy psychological function should present themselves as so consuming. That is to say, sure, it’s one thing to have one’s dysfunctional moments, but shouldn’t your part in the public discourse have something more to it than just a neurotic tumbleweed?

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Image note: Top―Sen. Ted Cruz during the Reuters Washington Summit, 24 October 2013 (Photo: Jim Bourg/Reuters) Left―”You don’t want the ark to sink.” Lebanon gives some advice to Suou. Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 4, “The Ark Adrift on the Lake”.

Benen, Steve. “Cruz warns of ‘mandatory’ same-sex marriage”. msnbc. 18 May 2015.