Santorum Receives Backing Of Religious Zealots, Hate Groups

It won’t surprise you to learn that leaders from the country’s fundamentalist hate groups who gathered at Paul Pressler’s Texas ranch have thrown their worshipful weight behind Rick Santorum’s presidential bid. Although Santorum is known as a strident old-school Roman Catholic, to born-again evangelicals even the “Whore of Babylon” is preferable to a Mormon’s “Magic Underwear.” As long as a Republican candidate is willing to fixate on traditional values gay sex and let women with nonviable fetuses suffer and die, that person is acceptable to the American Taliban.

As reported by Bloomberg.com: Rick Santorum won the support of a group of national family and religious leaders who called for social conservatives to coalesce behind one Republican presidential candidate as an alternative to Mitt Romney… Santorum received 85 of 114 votes on the third ballot at a gathering of religious leaders on a ranch near Bleiblerville, Texas, defeating former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told reporters on a conference call yesterday… Organizers included Gary Bauer, president of American Values in Washington, and Donald Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association of Tupelo, Mississippi, Perkins said. Also attending was Richard Land, president of the Nashville, Tennessee-based Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention… Perkins declined to name others present at the two-day event. (Shhh. It’s a secret.)

Over at Politico, Jonathan Martin sweeps up: In a conference call this afternoon, Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins said that on the third ballot Santorum won a solid majority of votes from the movement conservatives gathered at a private ranch… (T)he decision of such conservative movers as Perkins, Gary Bauer and James Dobson to wait until the week before the South Carolina primary to make a collective endorsement appears more than a little tardy. The move to coalesce behind one social conservative alternative would have been more valuable a month ago — before Romney had already won the first two states and was in the lead in both South Carolina and Florida.

We all saw this coming. Right-wing evangelicals are already recognized as hypocrites – and embracing Newt Gingrich with his Disposabe Wives of Many Incomes would just drive home that fact. Rick Perry is a fool who thought Texas swagger would make up for his lack of intelligence. Ron Paul’s racist baggage would alienate the few remaining black voters that might consider supporting a Republican. Let’s face it, there really was no one else for Christian extremists to rally behind.

Walmart Sells “Ex-gay” Propaganda For Kids

This is what happens when a homophobic Mormon family becomes obsessed with LGBT Americans to the point of turning their hate into a cottage industry. From QSaltLake: A children’s book written by the wife of anti-gay Standard of Liberty president Stephen Graham is being carried by over 100 Walmart stores. Chased by an Elephant, the Gospel Truth about Today’s Stampeding Sexuality by Janice Barrett Graham was written to “help shed the clear light of truth on today’s dark and tangled ideas about male and female, proper gender roles, the law of chastity, and the God-given sexual appetite,” according to Janice Graham in the book’s introduction. (FYI: All of the family members’ books are self-published. They possess their own vanity press under the name of Tidal Wave Books.)

From Change.Org: (I)t’s actually serious business that Walmart would choose to sell a book that purports the wonders of ex-gay therapy. (Especially one targeting impressionable youngsters.) That’s because every major medical and scientific association around the world has condemned ex-gay therapy as harmful and dangerous, going so far as to say that those who practice it contribute to depression, anxiety, confusion and suicide. Gee, thanks, Walmart. What was Graham’s motivation for writing the book? Let’s allow her to take it away: “The number of our young people involved in sexual sins has greatly increased in recent years. Some of the most stalwart-seeming youth find themselves involved in pornography, fornication, promiscuity, homosexuality, and the like,” Graham said.

Graham’s book also includes an introduction by her son, Andrew Graham, who has become a self-professed “cured” homosexual. Andrew says he was lured into homosexuality by older men at Brigham Young University, but that he was able to turn away from what he calls the “deceitful and predatory nature of the ‘gay’ lifestyle.” (Andrew’s whiny tome is called “Captain of my Soul” and even Amazon.com doesn’t carry it. You’ll see it listed as “Out of Stock” on Tidal Wave’s website. Janice Barret Graham’s books, however, can be found for purchase on Amazon. Mrs. Graham now insists that her son is totally straight and happily married.)

I am so tired of those obviously bisexual religious fanatics and/or self-loathing closet cases (like Andrew) dabbling in the gay scene, failing to find happiness or a long-term partner (or whatever they’re searching for) and then running back to religion with their dick tucked between their legs, determined to generate hate and spread libel about the very people they had been trying to befriend. Note to those for whom the above description applies: There are millions of us happy gay fellas, lovable lesbians, secure and uncompromising bisexuals, and joyous transgendered persons who honestly don’t give a damn what you do with your life as long as you don’t bring your ugly intolerance and spite into the public sphere. You are literally killing children and young adults who take your hateful messages to heart.

As for Walmart… What’s gonna happen when the next LGBT child commits suicide and the police officers (or family members) find a copy of Graham’s sickening book in his or her room with a receipt from Walmart? This wouldn’t be the basis for a lawsuit, but I’d hate to be the person to tackle the ensuing public relations nightmare.

Homophobic children’s books. Good grief, what next?

One Amazon.com critic gave Mrs. Graham’s gloomy story a one star rating and wrote: “The book centers around the author’s attempts at changing her son’s sexuality to one that she is able to accept. I wouldn’t show it to my children if for no other reason than I want them to know that my love for them is unconditional.”

That just about says it all. (Pictured: Stephen and Janice Barrett Graham.)

Growing up Gay in East Texas – The Summers

From the age of seven until I was twelve years old I was shipped off to Maw Maw’s farm in the heart of Cherokee County each August. I was sent there to pick corn. That was my summer vacation. The corn gathered by my cousins and myself was referred to as “livestock corn,” that is to say, not fit for human consumption. I never figured out why this was, it looked like regular eating corn to me. In my youth I thought, rather foolishly, that it had something to do with all the ticks my cousins and I picked up in the cornfield. After Maw-Maw collected us kids in the creaky red pickup and drove us back to the farmhouse at the end of the day, we were literally covered in the tiny bloodsuckers. (When I complained about the ticks my grandmother would say with her slightly deranged laugh, “They have to eat, too.”) Once home we were placed in the bathtub, usually two at a time, with tweezers and coffee cup full of rubbing alcohol, to spend thirty minutes or so picking ticks off each other. We never got them all. This didn’t really bother my cousins, who enjoyed nothing more than a leisurely romp through the cow paddies and seemed to have a fellow feeling with all bugs. But I was a fastidious youngster (imagine David Hyde Pierce meets Tom Sawyer) and kept looking for ticks on my legs and arms until I fell asleep that night.

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The Baumgartner’s spread was smallish, as spreads in the Texas Bible Belt went in those days. Ninety acres and 42 head of cattle. There was a routine the cows followed every day. At dawn they roused themselves from the barn and its environs and headed out into the pasture toward the fish pond. It was a 3-4 hour walk, at bovine speed. When they reached the pond they’d shit and hit the salt lick and drink lots of pond water and lie in the mud and do other cow things. When afternoon came, as if by some invisible signal, they’d line up and make that long walk back across the pasture to the barn, skirting the corn field that was surrounded by a western style barbed wire fence. The livestock corn was for winter consumption, see. During spring and summer months the cows ate pasture grass and avoided the prickly pear cacti which was everywhere and punctured my tender ass sore bad. I don’t know which is worse – prickly pear stickers or ticks. Occasionally, if the winter was severe, hay was bought and hauled into the barn for the cows. But hay is expensive and Maw-Maw’s farm wasn’t really a working farm anyway. It was her hobby – and my misery. She just wanted to run a farm and so she did until, gradually, the cattle and other livestock were sold off to make ends meet; then she started selling acreage, then, when she was very old, she moved into a little house inside the Tyler city limits.

1214 My grandparents on mama’s side of the family were known to us kids as Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw. Grandparents on my dad’s side of the family were Me-Maw and Pe-Paw. Matriarchal great grandparents were called Me Maw Maw and Pe Paw Paw or Maw Maw Me and Paw Paw Pe. Patriarchal elders were by default known as Maw Me Maw and Paw Pe Paw and Me Me Maw and, unavoidably, Pe Pe Paw. This last moniker never failed to bring shrieks of laughter from my Tyler cousins who were connoisseurs of any and all bathroom humor. The word “poot” would leave them rolling on the ground, clutching at their sides and kicking their feet like circus clowns.

Maw-Maw loved her chickens. Chickens and church were her passions. These two things brought my grandmother profound pleasure: Singing hymns in her loud guttural voice at Mount Olive Baptist Church, and cosseting her dozens of hens. There was a rooster on the farm for propriety’s sake, but she never really cared much for Screech, as she called him. Many a morning I heard her threaten to take the shotgun out to the shed and put an end to his evil ways. Perversely, he was the last creature to leave the farm. I suppose he died somewhere of old age. Maw-Maw did, however, adore her hens, and it tore at her heartstrings when one of them stopped laying eggs thus sealing its fate for a neck-wringing, plucking, and the cooking pot. Sometimes, with a chicken of which she was particularly fond, she’d have to ask Paw-Paw to perform the fowl execution. I refused point blank have a hand in it and she always accused my Tyler cousins of dragging out the act for too long. They were cruel youngsters.

My Paw Paw held an interesting job before he retired. He spent most of his days inside the caboose of a special train, transporting German POW’s from Galveston deep into East Texas and an internment camp that was supposed to be secret but everybody in those parts seemed to know about it. He told us exciting stories about the prisoners that only as an adult I began to doubt the veracity of. Many decades after the end of the war, Paw-Paw retired and bought Maw Maw her farm and that’s where they lived during my childhood and where he told me and my disreputable cousins those fabulous tales about German soldiers. He was a deacon at the Mount Olive Baptist Church. Very pious, everybody said.

Three years after my partner and I began our life together we made an unannounced Christmas visit to the farm. Dirt poor we were, and had to scrape pennies together for gasoline. We had started attending the University of Houston, though. I was winging it but Art’s tuition was paid for by the federal government, a way of thanking him for serving in the armed forces for four years during the Vietnam War. Such a different world then.

It was a tense weekend for everyone concerned. Very few of the adults would engage Art in conversation. Paw Paw perused the family Bible and muttered under his breath and frowned at us the entire time. Older aunts tittered and scurried about, searching for things to do. My elderly uncles wheezed and smoked cigarettes and talked about football. My sister gave us a sweet smile, but my own mother looked mortified when she met Art and I outside, in the driveway.

“Why didn’t you call and let us know you were coming?”

“I thought it would be a nice surprise.”

“It’s a surprise all right. Everybody’s inside. They all know.”

“They all know what?”

“What do you think? I mentioned it to your Aunt Judy and she must’ve said something to those terrors of hers.”

“I didn’t plan on hiding anything from anybody. This is who I am. They can take it or leave it.”

As things turned out, the Baumgartners chose to leave it.

My Baptist family was unimpressed by Art’s military service and slightly horrified that he had been raised as a Roman Catholic. As far as they were concerned he was nothing more than a hell-bound papist HOMOSEXUAL that had led their Maxie Lee astray. I was so proud of Art, though. He was so handsome and polite to my relatives, even as they studiously ignored him, even as certain of my cousins snickered behind their hands and lisped with abandon. Since neither Art nor I lisp I don’t know why this particular taunt was used. Still, I confess that throughout their sheltered lives my cousins have consistantly clung to stereotypes, like cornfield ticks to the soft flesh under my arms.

At one point Maw Maw handed Art what must have been a ten-year-old box of chocolate covered cherries. This was supposed to be his Christmas present. It was sort of a family joke. Whoever got those cherries was out of favor that holiday season. (I was the recipient of the box for too many years to mention.) Thing is, no one ever actually took it home with them. But as we were leaving, I noticed that Art had that old box of stale candy clutched to his side as if it were a rare treasure.

I remember Christmas morning watching Art sitting cross-legged under the Christmas tree playing with toys that had just been opened, entertaining a circle of delighted toddlers. He was doing this because none of the grownups wanted to talk to him. At that point I made a pledge never to return to Maw-Maw’s farm. To this day, I haven’t been back.

Darlene, My Tea Party Cousin

She blew into town like some horrible right-wing hurricane, with more warped opinions than Michele Bachmann and more hot air than an Arabian sirocco. My cousin is on her way to Galveston to look at some beach property she plans to buy. Darlene and I are polar opposites, chalk and cheese. We have been tearing at each others’ throats for almost half a century. We used to fight over toys, then boys, now we argue about politics and religion. I would like to say that she is the crazy one in the family but unfortunately they’re all like this.

Anyway, I thought it might be amusing to “interview” Darlene for the blog. She’s a Texas Republican, diehard Southern Baptist, Tea Party activist, and Sarah Palin devotee. Darlene wanted me to record the conversation so I didn’t misquote her, but for some reason video makes her nervous and I was only able to assemble a few clips when she didn’t realize the camera was running. My Canon PowerShot isn’t a camcorder but it puts out decent video – and it took my cousin awhile to figure out what the little blinking red light meant. Below is 53 seconds of Darline in action:

So I put the camera down. I was afraid Darlene was going to smash it over my head.

ProPup: Why do you dislike President Obama?
Darlene: Besides the fact that he’s a communist? Besides the fact he’s taking away our liberty and our guns and running America into the ground? I don’t like the way he speaks, for one thing. He talks like he thinks he’s better than everybody else. He uses fancy code words. Sean Hannity is on to him. Sarah Palin, too. Damn, I admire that woman. Sarah knows what’s going on in this country. The way you liberals persecute her is shame. Shame on you!
ProPup: And the President?
Darlene: Obama has shifty eyes. I’d trust him as far as I can throw him. I’d like to throw him all the way back to Kenya, or wherever the hell he was born. And it has nothing to do with him being a black man. I like black people.
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ProPup: And gays?
Darlene: Well that sure didn’t take long. I wondered how soon you’d start in with the gay stuff.
ProPup: So?
Darlene: Now you know l Iove you and Art but y’all aren’t like most homosexuals.
ProPup: And what are most homosexuals like?
Darlene: Gay pride parades, floats with naked men, TV – Lord, you can’t turn on the television set these days without being bombarded by gay this, lesbian that. It’s disturbing.
ProPup: Why is it disturbing?
Darlene: Because I’m a Christian woman and I don’t need to be watching that behavior in my living room. That girl from Mississippi? Wanted to go to the prom in a tuxedo? A tuxedo! And bring her so-called girlfriend to dance with and kiss on and God knows what else. Good Lord, she doesn’t know what she is. She’s 17-years-old! Kids should be required to date the opposite sex. They don’t need all this gender confusion. I heard about it on “Ellen,” by the way – and yes, I do watch Ellen DeGeneres and yes I know she’s a homosexual. But would it kill her to wear a skirt once in awhile? Really, if she’d put on some makeup and do something with that hair she’d have guys falling all over her.
ProPup: Is your objection to homosexuality based on the Bible?
Darlene: Mainly, yes. Males and females compliment each another. That’s why God designed them to fit together. Square pegs don’t fit inside round holes. It’s just a matter of finding the right mate and doing what comes natural.
ProPup: What about me and Art?
Darlene: It’s too late for y’all. You been together too long. I’ve been trying to talk sense into you my whole life. In one ear and out the other, that’s where my advice goes. If I were you, I wouldn’t dress warm come Judgment Day.
ProPup: Let’s move on to health care.
Darlene: Yes. Let’s.

(There’s more, if you can stand it, after the jump…)

ProPup: Health care reform?
Darlene: I never thought I’d live to see the day when America became a socialist society. But that’s what’s happened. Health care. Hmph. Health scare is more like it. I don’t want Big Brother telling me which doctor I have to go to. What if they make me go to a lesbian gynecologist? God only knows where that would lead.
ProPup: You’re joking, right?
Darlene: I never joke about my vagina. The fact is, I wouldn’t want any liberal doctor poking around down there. Look, liberals and atheists have no core values, no moral anchor. They give into temptation at the drop of a hat. That’s what my preacher says, and I believe him. Values come from the Ten Commandments. Case closed.
ProPup: Are you happy with the health care you’ve been getting under the old system?
Darlene: Well, it’s too expensive and that’s a fact. My co-pays keep going up.
ProPup: And whose fault is that?
Darlene: The Democrats. Tax and spend, tax and spend. If they’d keep their noses out of big business and let the free market system do what it’s meant to do – protect average citizens from the federal government – then everything would be fine. But no, that Pelosi woman and her gang of fascists keep interfering with the natural order of things. Good health care makes a profit, bad health care won’t. Let the free enterprise system work like it’s supposed to. Liberty and justice for all God-fearing Americans, that’s my motto.

Darlene finds a book written by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. She doesn’t approve.

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ProPup: Do you spend much time surfing the Internet?
Darlene: Yes, and I also tune in to Fox News every day so go ahead and slam me for that. I love the Glenn Beck Show. Whenever that man starts crying it just breaks my heart. Why can’t you people leave him alone? What did he ever do to you? He should run for president.
ProPup: What are some of your favorite websites?
Darlene: Well, your Progressive Puppy sure as hell doesn’t make the list – no offense, Little Brother. (She reaches down and scratches my black lab on the noggin. Little Brother rewards her with a couple of tail thumps.) Let’s see. I like World Net Daily and Renew America and the Red State blog, all the ones you hate.
ProPup: Fair enough.
Darlene: Forewarned is forearmed. I prefer to read articles written by real patriots that treat the Bible with the respect it deserves.
ProPup: I try to treat the Bible with the respect it, uh, deserves.
Darlene: Your sarcasm underwhelms me.
ProPup: How close are your ties to the Tea Party movement?
Darlene: I am a member in good standing with the Dallas Tea Party Patriots. I’ve attended a few rallies. These are good people. Real hardworking Americans.
ProPup: They seem to yell a lot. There’s a lot of anger…
Darlene: That’s just for the TV cameras. They’re as normal as I am. Mostly we just stand around and talk. I had a sign that said “Obama, Tread on This” with a picture of a jackass underneath. (Darlene laughs and laughs.) I took old Aunt Peg to a rally once. She didn’t want to go, and when we got there she complained the entire time. She refused to use the port-a-potty, said it was unsanitary. I told her “Fine, let Freedom crumble because you have to go to the bathroom.” We didn’t stay for the whole thing and I didn’t get to hear Governor Perry’s speech. But I met lots of new friends that day. I always do. Tea Party folks are so neighborly. It’s like I’ve known them forever.
ProPup: So what do you talk about at these rallies?
Darlene: Health care. Taxes. What else?
ProPup: You don’t like paying taxes.
Darlene: Do you? I’d rather throw my hard-earned money to the four winds. At least it might land somewhere it’ll do some good. Now turn that damn recorder off. Let’s go get something to eat. I feel like a chicken-fried steak and there’s a Wrangler Rick’s down by the highway.

“Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.” – Byron

Catholic Church Values Discrimination More Than Unwanted Kids

In November I wrote about how the Catholic Church in our nation’s capital had threatened to stop dispensing charity if the D.C. City Council voted in favor of Marriage Equality. At the time it seemed far-fetched (even to me) that the Washington Archdiocese so despised LGBT people that it would punish needy children in order to preserve a dogma of intolerance. I thought these princes of the Holy Apostolic Church were bluffing or, inspired by their homo-hysteric pontiff, merely making a political statement.

I was wrong. It has happened. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has just ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District of Columbia. Rather than place homeless children with loving gay and lesbian parents, Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Catholic Charities president Ed Orzechowski have announced that the Archdiocese will turn its back on these most vulnerable members of society. (It bears mentioning that their efforts to help the needy were not being financed by the Church’s immense wealth. D.C. taxpayers were forking over a cool $20 million for all this faith-based do-gooding.)

The title of a recent article from the Catholic News Agency reads: Same-sex “marriage” law forces D.C. Catholic Charities to close adoption program. You’ll note the word “marriage” is placed in quotation marks, as is common with right-wing media outlets. You’ll also notice the word “forces,” which implies coercion. Of course no one has forced the Church to do anything – but CNA is spinning the story with a bias that would make Fox News proud. Oh, those poor beleaguered clerics with their lavish vestments, art treasures, bejeweled statues, and solid gold crucifixes, morally compelled to kick unloved kids to the curb. Bill Donohue, president of the homophobic Catholic League, sputters: “Archbishop Donald Wuerl is a man of principle and prudence: he did not want to end the foster-care program, but he was left with no realistic option… The real losers are the children who were served by the Catholic Church.” (Ya’ got that right, Bill.)

From the Washington Post: Catholic Charities, which runs more than 20 social service programs for the District, transferred its entire foster-care program – 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members – to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families. Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), the D.C. Council member who chairs the Committee on Human Services, said he didn’t know of any problems with the transfer… In addition to foster care, the center runs programs in Montgomery County and the District for homeless families and victims of domestic violence. Catholic Charities, which receives $20 million from the city, had sounded alarms in the run-up to the council vote, saying programs serving tens of thousands of people were in danger. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes same-sex marriage.

No one asked these Catholic leaders to condone gay unions, or perform weddings for same gender partners. What sane gay couple would want the blessing of an organization that calls them “inherently disordered?” But the D.C. City Council has every right to expect Church charities to stop discriminating if they’re going to dip their self-righteous snouts in the government trough. Gays and lesbians pay taxes. The Catholic Church doesn’t.

Tam Will Testify in Prop 8 Trial – and more!

Prop 8 supporter Hak-Shing William Tam originally wanted to testify in favor of California’s ban on same-sex marriage. He petitioned the court asking to be included on the defendants’ witness list. Then when he heard the trial might be televised, he begged to have his name stricken from the list. He said he feared recognition and reprisals. (The legal team representing Prop 8 also didn’t want him to testify, knowing that his anti-gay hysteria would hurt their case.) Tam claimed that his life, and that of his family, could be in danger. (Of course he wasn’t concerned about the danger he exposed LGBT folks to when he made Youtube videos warning that gay activists were recruiting kids and wanted to legalize sex between adults and youngsters. Inflammatory rhetoric like that is not only a lie, it can lead to brutal hate crimes.)

Now it appears that Tam WILL be forced to take the stand – for the plaintiffs, as a hostile witness…
From Washington Post: A proponent of California’s same-sex marriage ban who warned that gay rights activists would try to legalize sex with children if Proposition 8 did not pass is expected to be called as a hostile witness Thursday for two same-sex couples suing to overturn the measure. Lawyers for the couples said they planned to call San Francisco resident Hak-Shing William Tam to testify even though he has asked to be dismissed as a defendant in the case… Last week, the lawyers used footage from Tam’s taped deposition to buttress their contention that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it was fueled by deep-seated animosity against gays. They questioned him about a letter he wrote during the ballot measure’s 2008 campaign saying that “other states would fall into Satan’s hands” if gays weren’t stopped from marrying in California.

More trial news, via Law.com: For months, internal campaign documents from Proposition 8 backers were subjected to discovery battles and magistrate time, but they remained hidden from public view. That changed Wednesday. Lawyers representing same-sex couples persuaded Chief Judge Vaughn Walker to allow a handful of those documents into the record, over repeated objections from Yes on 8 general counsel Andrew Pugno. The e-mails and other memos detail the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ involvement in Proposition 8 – for instance, that there was at least one LDS volunteer working in every California ZIP code. “This campaign is entirely under the priesthood’s direction,” said one memo written by an LDS official and turned over by official Prop 8 proponent Mark Jansson… “I can’t imagine how this is not protected from disclosure in a federal court trial,” he said, arguing that religious officials must be free to exchange their views in private. Walker, however, pointed out that the document was not sought from the LDS church, but rather from an official Prop 8 proponent. Once a religious group gets involved in a political campaign, some aspects of that campaign might come out, Walker said.

Egads! Supreme Court Rolls Back Campaign Finance Restrictions!

From This Point On, Corporations Will Decide Who Wins Elections In This Country.

That swooshing noise you hear is the sound of SCOTUS flushing our democratic process down the toilet. It’s no mystery that political candidates with the most money have a HUGE advantage at the polls. Now, thanks to the nation’s highest court, greedy corporations will be able to dump as much cash as they like into any and every campaign they think serves their interests – or harms their opponents. We The People get screwed. As if things weren’t already tilted toward the Captains of Finance and Industry. From Think Progress: (T)oday’s decision does far more than simply provide Fortune 500 companies with a massive megaphone to blast their political views to the masses; it also empowers them to drown out any voice that disagrees with them… No one, including the candidates themselves, have the ability to compete with such giant expenditures. (Least of all small donors like you and me. Our money and influence become worthless.)

1182 Arthur Delaney writes on HuffPo: By a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday rolled back restrictions on corporate spending on federal campaigns. The decision could unleash a torrent of corporate-funded attack ads in upcoming campaigns. “Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy – it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people – political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority… The court found that the Federal Elections Commission overstepped its constitutional authority when it barred a conservative group called Citizens United from running ads for a movie attacking Hillary Clinton during the 2008 election season. Corporations and labor unions are now free to advertise — and tell people to vote for individual candidates — as they please. Before today, corporations have been required to funnel money through Political Action Committees, with limits on what could be spent.

Unsurprisingly, most Republican lawmakers are heaping praise on the Supreme Court decision. They’re not complete fools. They know who butters their bread. Grease ‘em up, boys!

From Sphere: The ruling reverberated across the political system, where it looked set to unleash a wave of new corporate or union-funded ads for and against candidates in this year’s midterm elections. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, long one of Capitol Hill’s biggest opponents of campaign-finance rules, described the decision as “an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups.” President Obama, however, called it “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” …(T)he ruling casts doubt on the very premise underlying laws that restrict campaign finance, with the majority finding that spending from corporations or wealthy individuals in itself doesn’t “give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

1185a As the Health Care debacle has shown, a little clever messaging by big business interests (in this particular case, pharmaceutical giants and insurance companies) can persuade ordinary American citizens to agitate against legislation which would improve their own lives. Now that the financial floodgates are to be opened even wider, special interest groups will exert near total control over the government.

You think the Wall Street bailout was a farce? Just wait until Congress is filled entirely with corporate puppets. (Cough cough. Rep. Steve King. Cough.)

We can all kiss the environment goodbye. Consumer protection? Fuggedaboutit. Oversight and regulation? Talk to the hand.

Unless something is done to stop this travesty, all those teabaggers who’ve been shrieking “Ah wone mah cawn-try back” will soon know what losing their country really means. But by then it will be too late.

Their GOP chickens will have come home to roost. (Hat Tip: Nick B. @ CSU)

Scott Brown Seduces the Electorate as Dems Dither

As Massachusetts goes, so goes the nation?

In “Seduced by Our New Senator,” Brian McGrory of the Boston Globe views Scott Brown’s victory over Worst-Candidate-In-History Martha Coakley as a drunken one-night stand:

1157 This much I’m starting to remember. Martha and I walked into the party and everything seemed to be going fine. She wasn’t talking much, but she never really does, and she wasn’t exactly pushing me to bare my soul, either. That’s what I’ve always liked about Martha: She’s a low-maintenance politician. And now I’m vaguely recalling that stranger across the room, the one in the barn jacket who kept smiling at me and seemed to know my name. Martha vanished for a while, and – is it bad that I’m saying this? — I didn’t really care. Suddenly, that tall, handsome man was standing at my side doing something that Martha rarely did – offering to pay for drinks, chatting me up, curious what was on my mind… We were on the dance floor, Scott and I, moving to the music, his hands all over my body politic. Everyone was watching, and I mean everyone – fellow partygoers, bartenders, passersby staring in the windows. Look at me, the Massachusetts Electorate, the bellwether of America! I think I took my shirt off. I think I didn’t care. I remember something about Scott in a pair of Calvin Klein jockey shorts, but it may have been a picture he showed me from his wallet…

And now it’s being said that Obama’s entire domestic agenda will be thwarted.

Sarah Palin and RNC chair Michael Steele are in raptures. (Never a good sign.)

Peter Daou despairs for the Democratic Party: It took more than half a decade, countless American and Iraqi deaths in a war based on lies, a sinking economy and the drowning of an American city to finally kill Bush-Cheney-Rove’s dream of a conservative realignment. Democrats, controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, have managed to kill their own dream of dominance in 12 months… (I)t’s all a matter of values and ethics. In essence: when you fail to govern based on a morally sound, well-articulated, solidly-grounded set of ideals, you look weak. All the legislative wins in the world won’t change that. People gravitate to people who exude moral authority. The vast majority of voters lack the detailed policy knowledge that would enable them to make an accurate assessment of policy differences, but they do have a visceral sense of when a candidate or an elected official believes in something and fights for it.

From the Nevada Progressive: I’m sure Rahm Emmanuel and all the other lying, cheating, corporatist hacks that have turned President Obama’s mandate into trash will try to make this teaching moment into a “let’s strengthen the Blue Dog hand to make ourselves look more like Republicans!” moment, but that’s absolutely WRONG.

I can’t imagine why the White House has so much trouble grasping the obvious. Pandering to your ideological opponents is not a way to govern effectively. Kowtowing to those who want you to fail is never a good strategy. As Daou points out, trying to be everything to everybody makes you look weak an unsubstantial. (As my grandma used to say, “You’re supposed to dance with them that brung ya.”)

Progressives have been kicked to the curb by our Commander-in-chief. Anti-war activists have been ignored. Privacy advocates given short shrift. Gays and lesbians have been thrown under the bus. And still, the President seems hell bent on accommodating conservatives who got trounced at the polls in 2008. Weak, weak.

Obama has pandered himself into a corner. By taking his voting base for granted, he is turning off his most ardent supporters. And the great blue state of Massachusetts has just elected a red, red Teabagger.

Deborah Strange, a former Ted Kennedy supporter, gushed about Scott Brown: “He’s almost like a messiah. He’s given us hope. He’s given us hope.” Hope. I seem to recall hearing that word somewhere before.

Fox News to Tiger Woods: Ditch Buddhism & Convert to Christianity

Television personalities over at the “fair and UNbalanced” network now find it perfectly acceptable to proselytize their Christian beliefs to viewers. Just last night on “Fox News Sunday,” anchor Brit Hume spoke directly to the camera and advised Tiger Woods to reject his Buddhist faith and embrace Christianity. During the cable giant’s weekly round table discussion, Hume dismissed the scandal-plagued golfer’s religion and told him that the path to recovery would “depend on his faith,” and is only possible by accepting Jesus Christ. Sayeth The Hume: “The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Is Hume is really suggesting that Buddhism is inferior to Christianity and that Tiger Woods should convert for the sake of publicity? It sure looks that way. What’s even more troubling is that Hume is probably correct. Many of America’s conservatives would forgive Tiger his transgressions in an instant if he picked up a Bible and had a “Road to Damascus” moment. Christian fundies love nothing more than a repentant fornicator – just as long as it’s a heterosexual repentant fornicator. Media Matters provides the startling video.

Sugar’s Rainbow – Gay News from a Catty Perspective

Lawmakers in Rhode Island are planning to override Gov. Don Carcieri’s mean-spirited veto of a bill that would allow gays and lesbians to make funeral arrangements for their domestic partners. Meanwhile, religious conservatives at the National Organization For Marriage are working hard to ensure that the veto stays in place. (And these are the folks, remember, who tell voters they are only interested in preserving the “sanctity of marriage.”) Even the simple decency of allowing LGBT Americans to bury their loved ones is considered too radical for the homobigots at NOM.

The executors of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate have threatened to withdraw rights to the Sherlock Holmes character if director Guy Ritchie pursues a romantic storyline between Holmes and Dr. Watson in the upcoming sequel.

On Top Magazine reports that the group Immigration Equality will be welcoming two gay men from the Netherlands on Monday as the United States officially ends its travel restrictions on HIV-positive people.

Iris Robinson, the Irish MP who calls gays “an abomination,” has just announced she is retiring from public office. (And not a decade too soon.) In 2008, the 60-year-old pol told the Belfast Telegraph that homosexuality was “comparable to pedophilia.” On a radio show last year, she insisted that being gay was a “mental illness” which could be “cured.” So why is Robinson giving up her seat now? She’s says she’s depressed.

The New York Times has an interesting piece about Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” law, from the viewpoint of that country’s frightened LGBT citizenry. Meanwhile, a newspaper in the backward African nation has printed a list of “Tycoons Who Bankroll Homos.” The tabloid has previously run articles outing scores of gay men in the country (which led to brutal assaults against them and their families). The man responsible for this hate-journalism is Paul Kagaba, one of Uganda’s so-called “ex-gays.” American evangelicals have praised him as a shining example of Christianity. Queerty goes after those connections like a dog on a bone. (The Progressive Puppy has also been snapping at their heels.)

CNN has an update on the ongoing custody battle between Lisa Miller and her former domestic partner Janet Jenkins. Miller disappeared with their daughter after a Vermont judge ordered her to relinquish custody. Right-wing Christian groups are backing Miller’s decision to go into hiding. The judge is expected to issue another contempt order, which means that the born-again mom could face jail time.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are taking their dog-and-pony show to New Hampshire this week. The hate group plans to protest in front of Concord High School with signs expressing their loathing for Teh Gays.

41117b Despite pressure and intimidation from the Roman Catholic Church, the mayor of Mexico City has refused to veto legislation allowing same-sex marriage there. Alejandro Rojas, the city’s tourism secretary, couldn’t be happier with the new law. Says Rojas: “We are already in talks with some travel agencies that are planning to offer package tours that include flights, hotels, guides, and everything they need for the wedding, like banquets. We are going to become a city on a par with Venice or San Francisco.”

Out lesbian Annise Parker was sworn in as mayor of Houston this weekend. Inaugural ceremonies took place on Monday morning rather than Saturday so the city wouldn’t have to pay overtime for a police security detail. Ya’ see? She’s already keeping an eye on the municipal budget!

Lady Gaga was partying with friends after an Ottowa concert when a drunken patron at Club Barrymore started screaming that she and Adam Lambert were going to burn in hell. He called Lambert a “flaming faggot” and accused the petite pop star of being a man. The rude ruffian ended up with a glass of wine tossed in his face. Go Gaga!

Reverend Keith Kron of the Unitarian Universalist Church explains why his denomination supports marriage equality in a comprehensive interview with uuworld.com.

And finally, the homo-haters at the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission have compiled a Top Ten List of the “worst attacks” on religious conservatives this year. Some of them are ludicrous, like the “overt homosexual participation” at Obama’s inaugural celebrations. Some are misleading, like the fundie mom who was ordered to stop homeschooling her daughter because the girl “reflected too strongly her mother’s Christian faith.” Some are examples of faux-persecution, like the Department of Homeland Security’s report on Rightwing Extremisgm. It’s all a bunch of bullshit, of course. Heck, you’d think we were nailing them to crosses along the highway.

UPDATE: On their first day back at work, Rhode Island lawmakers overrode Governor Carcieri’s vetoes of bills to grant funeral decision-making rights to same-sex couples.