Tuesday, December 16, 2003

In Defense of Howard Dean

Here's the text of a letter I sent a few minutes ago to the Plain Dealer:

To the Editor:

Franklin Roosevelt once called upon American voters to “judge me by the enemies I’ve made.” By that yardstick, Howard Dean has some of the most deserving enemies in contemporary American politics. Check bouncing ex-Congressman Ed Feighan, a supporter of Dick Gephardt—the ultimate Washington insider—has been buying airtime in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina under the ironic name Americans for Jobs, Heathcare, and Progressive Values.

The group’s commercials have taken Dean to task for his supposed lack of military and foreign policy experience. Feighan and his lackeys should be reminded that neither Woodrow Wilson nor FDR served a day in the military (although FDR was a military administrator in World War I). As for foreign policy experience, neither Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush had any such experience on the day they took their oaths.

If Feighan’s primary concern is for jobs, healthcare and progressive values, he should support Dr. Dean. As Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, a licensed physician, fought to deliver healthcare to all of Vermont’s citizens, and his programs resulted in nearly universal coverage. Jobs? Dean’s policies created jobs—Bush’s policies have cost them. Progressive values? Howard Dean signed the historic Civil Unions bill, for Vermont’s gays and lesbians, a principled move that was unpopular at the time.

Being President, as Americans have learned the hard way, is entirely about character. Howard Dean, by his record and willingness to take unpopular stands, has proven his strength of character and his intellect. That’s a lot more than Feighan and his secret group have done.

Monday, December 8, 2003

A Dose of Common Sense

Nancy Reagan has come out as opposed to replacing FDR's image with her husband's on the dime. In a letter she referred to Franklin Roosevelt as a "great President" and said her husband would also be opposed to removing FDR from the dime.

The measure seems to be losing momentum in the House of Reprehensibles.

Friday, December 5, 2003

Keep FDR on the Dime

It seems the Republicans in Washington are up to their usual tricks. Now, some nutcase from Indiana, Mark Souder, wants to replace the Roosevelt dime with one bearing the visage of Ronald Reagan. Never mind the fact that Reagan's not even dead yet, and it's customary to wait until death to consider putting someone on the coinage or stamps.

Anyway, below is the text of the letter I wrote to this idiot. Please write your Congressman and Senators and stop this insanity.

Dear Congressman Souder,

I am writing in opposition to your bill to place Ronald Reagan on the U. S. Dime. I have the highest respect for Mr. Reagan as President and human being, but this is not the proper way to honor him.

Frankin Roosevelt was placed on the dime for several reasons, chief of which is he was the President who led America out of the Great Depression and to the brink of victory in World War II. Let us not forget that he was held in such esteem by the American people that they elected him President four times. The dime was also specifically chosen to carry FDR's image because of his close association with the March of Dimes. His memory has been defamed enough by the 22nd Amendment, an ill-advised addition launched by a partisan Republican Congress (and an amendment which Ronald Reagan opposed, by the way). Franklin Roosevelt's image deserves to remain on the dime.

Ronald Reagan is still alive. It is not customary to honor heroes on coinage or stamps until after they have died. Before we decide how best to honor President Reagan, we should allow him final rest.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

U. S. supports human rights abuses in Uzbekistan

Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist in Uzbekistan, is being imprisoned and tortured because he's gay. His government captors have threatened to rape him with a bottle and inject him with AIDS. But there is talk that the government may soon amnesty a few political prisoners. Let's make sure he is one of them by emailing the 3 key US officials below, demanding they tell the Uzbek government to free Ruslan Sharipov.

Here are the direct email addresses for these rather high-ranking US officials. Let's take advantage of our luck. And if you're not American, no matter - it's still good for them to hear that people around the world are watching America's actions on this important case:

- grossmanM2@state.gov
Marc Grossman, Undersecretary for Political Affairs, US Dept. of State

- AppletonDE@state.gov
David Appleton, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Uzbekistan

- cranerlx@state.gov
Lorne Craner, Asst. Secretary, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, US
Dept. of State

You can read more about Ruslan's case at the Human Rights Watch Web site:

The following is the text of a letter I sent to three State Department officials this morning:

It has come to my attention that Ruslan Sharipov, a journalist in Uzbekistan, is being imprisoned and tortured in that country because he’s an open homosexual and advocate for gay rights in his homeland. His government captors have threatened to rape him with a glass bottle and inject him with HIV. In addition to this torture, they have forced him to write his own suicide note.

This month, the Uzbek government, under intense scrutiny from groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, is reportedly considering the release of 7,000 to 10,000 political prisoners. The Unites States government must ensure that Sharipov is among those freed.

I have been informed that U. S. government officials are under the impression that the average American is not concerned with human rights abuses in countries, even those which receive foreign aid from American tax dollars. If the U. S. government believes that American citizens don’t care about the imprisonment and torture of Mr. Sharipov and people like him, they are sorely mistaken. Americans will not treasure the irony that, after launching a battle against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, which has cost hundreds of American lives, their government supports a brutal dictator in Iraq’s backyard to the tune of $500,000,000 per year.

Please take this matter up with your superiors and the Uzbek government and encourage the release of Ruslan Sharipov.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Bushwhacked at Thanksgiving

President Bush is getting a lot of play for his surprise two hour visit to Baghdad International Airport, and the lapdog media are playing up the extreme risk of the President's trip, as if Presidents have never taken dangerous journeys before.

Not to disparage Mr. Bush, because is was nice to see him visiting the troops, and without the usual smirk on his face. The soldiers cheered raucously for their President, but one wonders how much cheering they'll do when they realize how badly they've been screwed by Bush's cutbacks in the Veteran's Administration. And sadly, I wonder how many of our men and women in uniform will never come home.

Presidents have visited the troops in wartime before.

The one who took the most risk was also the most vulnerable, physically. In January and December 1943, Franklin Roosevelt visited troops in Africa and Europe, traveling through U-boat infested waters by warship, and hostile skies in an unpressurized plane without the fancy gadgetry Bush had access to. There was even an assassination plot against FDR in Casablanca which was, fortunately, foiled. Roosevelt didn't cocoon himself at an airport, but actually visited troops in the field, pinning medals, handing out promotions, and comforting injured troops in the hospital. On the way, he told General Eisenhower that he would be in charge of Operation Overlord and informed the Germans that the Allies would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender.

And when he got back to Washington, he pushed through legislation ensuring that those who served would be genuinely rewarded, both medically and through the GI Bill of Rights.

Not bad for a guy who couldn't walk.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

A Sad Anniversary

Today is the 40th anniversary of President John Kennedy's murder. One can speculate how different the 1960s would have been had JFK not been killed, just as one can wonder if Reconstruction would have gone differently had Lincoln not been shot (maybe) or if the Cold War would have been avoided had Franklin Roosevelt lived longer (probably not). But I cannot help the thought that Kennedy's premature death robbed this country of much of its optimism.

I had not yet been born, yet today I feel very deeply a sense of mourning. I think the country was substantively damaged by JFK's assassination, a wound which was re-opened and worsened by the murders or Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy in 1968.

For what it's worth, I firmly belive that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. None of the conspiracy theories, nearly all of which contradict each other, have been able to come up with the conclusive evidence (if you will, "the smoking gun") which would prove a conspiracy.

It's unfortunately true that JFK, like many people of note, hid a seamier side. But it's equally true that JFK possessed a rare wit, grace under pressure, and a cool headedness which got the country through perilous times. One shudders to think how George W. Bush would have handled the Cuban Missle Crisis.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The pope will see you now, unless you're gay.

"The current pope ... will send emissaries to terrorists, he will meet with a man who tried to assassinate him. But he has not and will not meet with openly gay Catholics. They are, to him, beneath dialogue. His message is unmistakable. Gay people are the last of the untouchables. We can exist in the church only by silence, by bearing false witness to who we are." -- Gay Catholic journalist Andrew Sullivan writing in The New York Times, Oct. 19.

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

2003 Election Roundup

The Cleveland Heights Domestic Partner issue passed by a 10% margin! This means that both Gay and Straight unmarried partners there can register and apply for property rights, employment benefits, and hospital visitation rights. Cleveland Heights is the first municipality in the nation to pass such a measure by referendum. Thank you, Cleveland Heights!

And to those who opposed it: if you don't like living in a progressive community, why don't you go live somewhere else, like Alabama?

The Lakewood West End development project was defeated by the narrowest of margins: 39 votes. I must confess to having very mixed feelings about this one. Lakewood is totally built up, with no land available for development unlike, say, Avon Lake. Their infrastructure is outdated and in need of repair, their tax base is inadequate. However, the way the developers and Mayor Madeline Cain shoved this proposal down the citizens' throats was inexusable, undemocratic and an affront to private property rights. The designaton of homes along the West End as "blighted" merely because they didn't have an attached garage and enough bathrooms was ridiculous--the mayor's own home fit the "blighted" description. Frankly, if there's any part of Lakewood that needs to be redeveloped, it's the area along the Eastern border of the city. But that's a discussion for another time.

Also in Lakewood, Madeline Cain was defeated in her bid for reelection, doubtless fallout from her endorsemet of the West End project. And gay city council candidates John Farina and Jeremy Elliot were also defeated.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Bush Bumper Stickers

Just for fun -

'04 Bush-Cheney Campaign Bumpersticker ideas:

Bush/Cheney '04: "You're either with us or against us!"
Bush/Cheney '04: Apocalypse Now!
Bush/Cheney '04: Because the truth just isn't good enough.
Bush/Cheney '04: Compassionate Colonialism
Bush/Cheney '04: Deja-voodoo all over again!
Bush/Cheney '04: Four More Wars!
Bush/Cheney '04: Leave no billionaire behind
Bush/Cheney '04: Lies and videotape but no sex!
Bush/Cheney '04: Or else.
Bush/Cheney '04: Over a billion Whoppers served.
Bush/Cheney '04: Putting the "con" in conservatism
Bush/Cheney '04: Thanks for not paying attention.
Bush/Cheney '04: The economy's stupid!
Bush/Cheney '04: The last vote you'll ever have to cast.
Bush/Cheney '04: This time, elect us!
Bush/Cheney '04: We're Gooder!
Bush/Cheney: 1984

George W. Bush: A brainwave away from the presidency

George W. Bush: Honest as his day is long

George W. Bush: It takes a village idiot
George W. Bush: The buck stops Over There
Let them eat yellowcake! Vote Bush!
Peace &Prosperity Suck -- Big-Time

Vote Bush in '04: "I Has Incumbentory Advantitude"

Vote Bush in '04: "Because every vote counts -- for me!"
Vote Bush in '04: "Because I'm the President, that's why!"
Vote Bush in '04: Because dictatorship is easier
Who would Jesus Bomb?

There there's

Bush and Cheney Got Rich -- Did you?

Bush lied, thousands died -- Impeach Bush Now!

Monday, September 1, 2003

Second-Hand Smoke

My letter to the Plain Dealer (Written on August 13) was finally published (in edited form) in Saturday's paper. My original text follows.

To the Editor:

Brad Hoffman's letter to the Editor (August 12, re: smoking regulations in public places) misses the point. A society which is both free and orderly runs on the principle that one person's rights end at the other person's nose. Obviously, this principle is beyond the grasp of the pro-smoking activists.

The evidence of the dangers of second-hand smoke is persuasive and growing more conclusive every day. If Mr. Hoffman chooses to ignore it, that is his choice--so long as he doesn't impose his will on those of us who prefer fresh air. His analogy comparing second-hand smoke to watching a diner pour ketchup on scrambled eggs is specious. Mr. Hoffman has the option of closing his eyes to avoid the offensive ketchup spreading. Those trying to avoid second-hand smoke must stop breathing--a far less viable alternative.

Mr. Hoffman's casual branding of anti-smoking regulations as "fascism" is both an insult to the regulations and to history. He has obviously been spending too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh.

As someone who was deluged with second-hand smoke as a child, and whose mother died prematurely due to cigarette smoking, I take personal offense toward those who pooh-pooh the true dangers of cigarettes.

Hank Drake

Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Blackout of 2003

I was at work in North Olmsted when, at about 4:15pm, the lights dimmed for about 30 seconds. After checking the circuit breakers, which were fine, everything returned to normal for about a minute. Then the power flared and died completely. So, I stepped outside and saw that traffic signals were out as far as I could see.

I went inside to use the phone: dead. Since our phone system is tied to the electric, we couldn't make phone calls. So I tried my cell: nothing. I tried calling locally and even tried my father in California: nothing. We were pretty much cut off from the outside world. So, I went back outside and turned on my car radio - most of the stations were dead. Finally I was able to get an out of town station which reported that New York, Detroit, and Cleveland were without power. Naturally, I feared the worst.

I went back into the store and told the staff we were shutting down immediately. I slowly made my way home. Traffic was slow but there were no accidents--Cleveland drivers are generally very courteous (take THAT, Boston!). The radio had one of those "shock jocks" or whatever they call them railing about another terrorist attack. Then a news update came about the REAL cause of the power outage, and the DJ had to eat his words.

I got home about 5:30 and Mark got home around 7:00. For dinner, we cooked out on the grill, had some neighbors over, and generally had a very enjoyable evening. We did something a lot of neighbors (including us) don't usually have enough time to do: we talked for hours and had a few laughs. Since the street lights weren't on, we took advantage of the near total darkness to check out Mars and catch the tail end of the meteor shower.

Well, the power came on at 7:00 this morning. We had unplugged most appliances, so it was on for an hour & a half before we even noticed!

Sunday, August 10, 2003

A Constitutional Amendment to Define Marriage?

Here is the complete version of my response which was excerpted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Saturday:

Constitutional Amendments have historically extended human rights, not curtailed them. The last movement to restrict individual liberty--the 18th Amendment which brought on Prohibition--was a disaster. An Amendment limiting the definition of Marriage would do the same and brand the United States as a repressive society among the civilized world. The United States is not a theocracy and should not make laws based on religious principles, period.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

They'll do Anything, Won't They?

With the election of openly gay Reverend Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church has taken another step in the acceptance of gays and lesbians. Reverend Robinson's election was almost run off the rails at the last minute by unsubstantiated charges of sexual misconduct. The quick dismissal of these charges says something about the Episcopal church leadership refusing to be intimidated by their right-wing. But the fact they were raised in the first place is more proof of how the right wing will do or say anything to promote its agenda and defeat any other's. The same is true of the political right-wing in the United States, but that's a subject for another column.

While many denominations have now given themselves over to the most abject surrender to intolerance, and the Catholic church seems to be returning to medievalism (despite the heroic resistance by a few progressive congregations), the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, and Universalist-Unitarians have validated that gays and lesbians have something to contribute--aside from dollars--to world Christianity.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Is Lakewood Really a Haven for Gays?

The recent brouhaha over Mayor Madeline Cain's decision to fly a rainbow flag (on a separate pole) outside city hall calls into question Lakewood's alleged gay-friendliness.

From the protests outside city hall to Lakewood's lack of either civil-union recognition and protection from discrimination, Lakewood offers all too little in concrete terms to the LGBT community. Mayor Cain's pathetic attempt at compromise in the creation of a "separate but equal" flagpole exposes her as one of the gutless wonders of Ohio politics.

Contrast the situation in Lakewood with Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell's decision last year to proudly fly the rainbow flag high above city hall for all to see; with Cleveland's anti-discrimination policy; or with Cleveland Heights' recognition of same-sex civil unions.

Is Lakewood really gay friendly simply because a higher than average percentage of gays live there, and non-gay residents are content to "put up or shut up" until rainbow flags are flown? Is this yet another case of style over substance?

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Amusing Gay Quotes

If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work: "Hello. Can't work today, still queer." ~ Robin Tyler

In response to a reader who complained to "Dear Abby" that a gay couple was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood, she replied: 'You could move.'
~ Abigail Van Buren

The one bonus of not lifting the ban on gays in the military is that the next time the government mandates a draft we can all declare homosexuality instead of running off to Canada. ~ Lorne Bloch

You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight. ~ Barry Goldwater

Why can't they have gay people in the army? Personally, I think they are just afraid of a thousand guys with M16s going, "Who'd you call a faggot?"~ Jon Stewart

Soldiers who are not afraid of guns, bombs, capture, torture or death say they are afraid of homosexuals. Clearly we should not be used as soldiers; we should be used as weapons. ~ Letter to the Editor, The Advocate

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? ~ Ernest Gaines

Drag is when a man wears everything a lesbian won't. ~ Author Unknown

When Millionaire Horace Appley found out his son was gay, he asked him, "How can you be this educated, talented, good looking, rich, healthy, speak several languages, and be gay?" Son's reply: "LUCKY I GUESS."

If male homosexuals are called "gay," then female homosexuals should be called "ecstatic." ~ Shelly Roberts

My mother took me to a psychiatrist when I was fifteen because she thought I was a latent homosexual. There was nothing latent about it. ~ Amanda Bearse

The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision. ~ Lynn Lavner

My lesbianism is an act of Christian charity. All those women out there praying for a man, and I'm giving them my share. ~ Rita Mae Brown

The only queer people are those who don't love anybody. ~ Rita Mae Brown

It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain. ~ Francis Maude

My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror. ~ W.Somerset Maugham

Monday, June 9, 2003

But what does Jerry Falwell think?

From the news ticker, with my commentary in parentheses:

During an open-air mass Sunday in the port city of Reijeka in Croatia, Pope John Paul II issued his strongest condemnation to date of same-sex unions, urging Catholics to defend "traditional family values." The pontiff's entire sermon to the 100,000 who gathered on a very hot day to hear him speak was devoted to attacking gay families. (The entire sermon? Didn't he have anything more relevant to talk about, like the neverending war in Iraq?) He told Catholics they must defend traditional family values against gay marriage (but not priests who molest children) and put a "tragically fragmented" society back on track with God's wishes.

"God's authentic plan" for the family, the pontiff said, was founded on "the stable and faithful union of a man and a woman, bound to each other with a bond that is publicly manifested and recognized." The traditional family, he said needs "special consideration and concrete policies aimed at promoting and protecting its essential nature, its development and stability." (In other words, the Pope is trying to stick his nose in the business of government, while he would take offense at the government prosecuting priests who molest children). To cheers, the pope added that the fact that society is so divided "is the reason why it is so desperately unfulfilled." He urged the crowd not to be afraid of publicly defending traditional family values in modern society.

A few thoughts:

Every day in every way, the church becomes less relevant. Attendance at Catholic churches, as a percentage of population, falls every year. And the lack of priesthood candidates means more churches will close. In Poland, the Pope's homeland and a Catholic stronghold, the population voted by an overwhelming majority this past weekend to join the European Union, even though it will mean dilution of the Church's power over social issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Even a member of my family--a youth counselor for the church--has told me some of the Pope's positions on sexuality are way off base.

Friday, June 6, 2003

Horowitz ReDiscovered

High voltage pianism...

OK, Gay Republicans, Rationalize THIS...

Like I said before, How many times do you have to hit yourself on the head with a hammer before you realize you'll feel better when you STOP?

The U.S. Justice Department has barred its employees from holding their annual gay pride celebration at the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C., The New York Times reports. Gay activists say it's the first time any federal agency has blocked a pride event. According to the employee group DOJ Pride, which includes several hundred gay and lesbian Justice Department employees, members were told by department officials that they couldn't hold their annual celebration this month because the White House does not formally recognize Gay Pride Month with a presidential proclamation.

"This sends a real chilling message to Justice Department employees who are gay and lesbian," said David Smith, a spokesman for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. "This says, 'You're not welcome.... It says that employees can celebrate Asian-American Heritage Month and Hispanic Heritage Month and so on, but you cannot."

According to a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, this new policy regarding pride violates an explicit promise Attorney General John Ashcroft made at his confirmation hearing. The policy also violates the department's own antidiscrimination policy, the ACLU said. At his confirmation hearing on January 17, 2001, and five days later in writing, Ashcroft assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would not discriminate against the department's pride group and that he would not change the department's policy on how the group was treated.

"The only group apparently excluded under this new policy is the gay group," said Matt Coles, director of of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. "That looks like discrimination to me."

Monday, June 2, 2003

At Last, He's Come to His Senses...

Former Republican joins Stonewall Democrats caucus

The National Stonewall Democrats, a gay political group, on Monday welcomed New Hampshire state representative Corey Corbin of Rockingham as the newest member of the NSD Elected Officials Caucus. Corbin, who was previously a Republican, changed party affiliation last week in the wake of the well-publicized antigay comments made by U.S. senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

"Being a gay man and, up until this week, a Republican, those comments truly summed up for me the attitude of the GOP toward the millions of gay men and women who work, raise families, pay taxes, and contribute to our society," Corbin said. "We are hated, we are marginalized and are basically unwanted by a party that has forsaken the principles of Abraham Lincoln and become dominated by a right wing that falls far short of representing mainstream America."

Corbin was first elected to the New Hampshire house of representatives in 2000.

"We're excited to welcome Corey into our Elected Officials Caucus," said Dave Noble, NSD executive director. "As a former Republican, he is able to vocalize the strong differences that exist between the two major parties on issues of equality."

My Comment:

Personally, I have never been able to understand why some gay men and (fewer) lesbians insist on voting Republican and supporting Republican candidates, some of them anti-gay. It's analagous to being a Jewish Nazi, especially in light of President Bush's appointments of wackos like John Ashcroft and the Republican party's alarming concessions to their own extreme right-wing elements. I also took notice that during Bush's recent trip to a concentration camp in Poland, he mentioned the Jews persecuted but not the many other groups, including homosexuals. Bush is in Egypt as I write this, and I have no illusion that he will mention the present-day persecution of homosexuals in Egypt.

What good is a tax cut if you're not truly free?

Wednesday, May 28, 2003


On Tuesday, May 27, George W. Bush raised the nation's debt limit to 7.83 trillion dollars. That's $7,830,000,000,000.00. It bothers me that the country seems apathetic to the ever spiraling federal budget deficit, and to the fact that the Bush Recession (yes, Virginia, Bush has been in office more than two years, the Recession started two months after he took office, his party controls both houses of congress and a majority of governorships, so they can't blame this on Clinton) means less money is flowing into state coffers, so most states are under the deficit crunch as well. Meanwhile, another tax cut is being signed, which will only lead to greater deficits.

This certainly blows the notion of the Republicans being the fiscally responsible party out of the water. Since 1981, deficits have grown most rapidly when the White House was under Republican control. How many times do you have to hit yourself on the head with a hammer before you realize you'll feel better when you STOP?

Although eventually the Democrats will be elected to clean up the mess (as they usually do, Democrats have been relairing the damage Republicans have done since the 1930s) there is no doubt that the American people will be paying for Bush's fiscal policies for the rest of our lives.

Congratulations, Patriotic Republican Americans (including the skank with the "I support George W. Bush" bumper sticker who cut me off yesterday) you just screwed your children.

Friday, April 4, 2003

There He Goes Again...

Another news item with my comments in parentheses...

Vatican says homosexuality is "without any social value" (does this include homosexual priests?).

A new Vatican dictionary describing homosexuality as a condition "without any social value" was denounced by an Italian gay rights leader Monday as insulting and cruel. The Vatican published the 1,000-page Lexicon of words and phrases like reproductive rights, gender, and other terms dealing with sexuality in an effort to clarify what it says are neutral-sounding terms that can mask meanings contradictory to Roman Catholic teachings (i.e. religious propaganda).

Lexicon reflects Vatican teaching that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," and Pope John Paul II has said such acts are "contrary to natural law." (One wonders what the Pope's definition of Natural Law is. Animals have homosexual sex, so homosexuality is clearly part of the natural world. What is truly UNNATURAL, however, is the practice of requiring priests to squelch their natural sexual drives, leading ultimately to the pedohilia scandal currently rocking the Catholic church.) The church, however, says homosexuals should be treated with compassion and dignity. The dictionary counsels against "stigmatizing" as homophobic those who raise questions about homosexuality. (So, in other words, the Pope doesn't want gays bashed physically, just verbally.)

But leading gay rights activist Franco Grillini said the dictionary makes plain "the pathological homophobic obsession of the Catholic Church.... In my opinion, it's almost racist, and it is at the limit of cruelty." Grillini wrote on his Web site Sunday that Lexicon moves "from homophobic invective to insult against homosexuals and homosexuality."

Earlier this year Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo said the Vatican decided to compile the work after hearing complaints from nongovernmental organizations about "ambiguous" terms used at the United Nations and other international organizations (those damned Liberals are at it again). The Vatican long has been at odds with the United Nations over policies it believes contradict church teaching. For example, the Vatican often opposes U.N. documents concerning sex education and the use of condoms as a way to prevent HIV infection (don't want to prevent people from making more babies who can grow up to fill the church's coffers].

Monday, March 17, 2003

Human rights

If the mainstream news media is so "liberal," why didn't they report this? (My commentery in parentheses.)

A criminal court in Egypt sentenced 21 men to three years in jail Saturday on charges stemming from a suspected gay sex party in a case condemned by Egyptian and international human rights groups (human rights groups, those damned liberals!) as persecution of gay people. Officials told the Associated Press that another 29 men were acquitted in the retrial, which began in July following an order by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. (And we court this guy as an ally?) The officials said the defendants were not in court to hear the verdicts, but their lawyers attended. The 21men were sentenced to three years in jail on charges of practicing debauchery, the officials said.

The defendants are among 52 men arrested in a May 2001 police raid on a Nile riverboat restaurant on suspicion they had taken part in a gay sex party. (Notice that there's no proof, just SUSPICION of being gay is enough to get you thrown into the slammer in Egypt.) The Emergency State Security Court initially sentenced 23 of them in November 2001 to jail terms ranging from one to five years. The rest were acquitted. Mubarak, in his capacity as Egypt's military ruler, last May ordered 50 of the men--including the 29 acquitted--to be retried on the debauchery counts before a lower court, annulling the original verdicts (in America, this is known as Double Jeopardy, and is unconstitutional) because the emergency courts did not have the jurisdiction to hear the charges.

Human rights groups and the international community (those damned quiche-eating Liberals) have denounced the trials and condemned Egypt, where homosexuality is met with zero tolerance. Homosexuality is not explicitly referred to in the Egyptian legal system, (Talk about the Love that Dare not speak its name!) but a wide range of laws covering obscenity, prostitution, and public morality are punishable by jail terms.

A final thought:

Not too long ago, homosexuals, along with Jews were persecuted and exterminated by the Nazis. Don't think it can't happen again. There are those, especially some of our so-called "Allies" in the Middle East, who would love nothing more than to rid the world of Jews, Homosexuals...and Christians.

In today's world, one can basically judge the human rights record of a country by the way it treats three groups: religious minorities, women, and sexual minorities--i.e. gays, lesbians and the transgendered. By that measure, Egypt measures somewhere below Cuba and above Saudi Arabia

Our government needs to reexamine its priorities and stand for something more than Oil and Commerce.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

One of my hobbies

In my spare time, I enjoy writing reviews, mostly on Classical music, but occasionally on movies or books which are published on Amazon.com and a few other sites. Here's the latest review, of pianist Vladimir Horowitz's recording of his 1968Carnegie Hall recital, which was broadcast on CBS (could you imagine a Classical piano concert on network TV these days? I didn't think so).

Click here to read