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Vacation: Suggestions?

Once things get warmer this spring, I’m skipping work, totally ignoring the world around me and escaping for a week-long vacation.

Any good suggestions? Couches and guest bedrooms appreciated.

1

James Dobson leaves Focus on the Family

THANK GOD!

Perhaps now Focus on the Family will become as toothless, ballsless and as silent as Liberty U. after Falwell died.

More from the AP

Statement published by Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009
Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: 917-691-5118
E-Mail: wbesen@truthwinsout.org

TWO Comments On James Dobson Resigning As Focus on the Family Chairman
Truth Wins Out (TWO) expressed its hope today that James Dobson resigning as chairman of Focus on the Family would eventually lead the anti-gay organization in a new direction. Dobson has created an entire industry that distorts the lives of gay and lesbian people for political gain, says TWO.

“James Dobson’s legacy of lies has caused significant pain for gay and lesbian people and their families,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “We hope his departure will eventually signal a shift in tone and end Focus on the Family’s destructive attacks against gay and lesbian Americans.”

The Associated Press reports that Dobson, 72, will still be a powerful presence. He will continue to host his daily radio show, which reaches 1.5 million listeners in the United States. A Focus on the family spokesman also said he will “continue to speak out as he always has – a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded.”

“It is time for Focus on the Family to abandon the politics of polarization and choose moderate leaders who are not fixated on culture wars,” said Besen. “This would also be a good time for the organization to consider abandoning its failed ‘ex-gay’ ministry, Love Won Out.”

In Nov. 2008, Truth Wins Out protested Dobson’s selection into the Radio Hall of Fame. In the past two years, TWO has found eight researchers in three countries who say that Dobson has distorted their work. Videos and letters that these scientists sent to Dobson can be viewed at www.Respectmyresearch.org.

Dobson’s rhetoric is so divisive that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) said that, “Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies.” Focus on the Family co-founder Gil Alexander Moegerle said that, “I believe Dobson-style politics have been inept, simplistic, exclusionary, divisive and alarmingly sectarian…James Dobson’s political style has been one of relentlessly demonizing his adversaries.”

Dobson told The Daily Oklahoman on Oct. 23, 2004 that, “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.” Dobson also told the Daily Oklahoman that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is “a God’s people hater. I don’t know if he hates God, but he hates God’s people.”

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people against anti-gay misinformation campaigns. TWO also counters the “ex-gay” industry and educates America about gay life.

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D.C. House vote bill is unconstitutional?

I feel for D.C. residents. Really, I do. It is a shame that in our Republic the citizens of its capital city are not represented in its legislative bodies.

This week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would give one vote in the U.S. House to the representative of the District of Columbia. Currently, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton has the right to speak, among other actions, but has no vote.

But the Senate-passed bill is likely unconstitutional:

The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.

~U.S. Constitution, Article I, Sec. 2.

There’s no doubt in my mind, at least from what I understand from the reading above, that the Constitution is clear: The members of the House of Representatives must be elected by the people of a state. The District of Columbia is not a state.

Through the harrowing, frightening eight years of the Bush Administration, progressives and Constitution-lovers cringed at the various presidential actions that served to only shred our founding documents. It is a shame that Democrats, now in majority power, seek to do the same thing.

The best way for the citizens of D.C. to gain a vote in Congress is to petition the Congress for statehood. Either that, or seek an amendment to the Constitution allowing a voting member from the capital district. That makes the most sense and it is the most constitutional, ethical and moral means to achieving the goal of fair representation of the District of Columbia’s residents.

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Bye, bye Saturn

saturn_logoGM is going to deal a final, deathly blow to its Saturn brand, it seems:

Starved from within, Saturn’s sales peaked in 1995, dwindling despite a decade of bubble-driven auto sales. The company, raking in cash from seemingly endless SUV sales, didn’t worry about a quirky brand known for its small cars. In 2004, GM and the UAW dissolved the special Saturn contract that once promised to herald a new age in carmaking. Three years later, the Spring Hill facility was shut down for re-tooling. Today, it makes the Chevy Traverse. Saturns share space on assembly lines elsewhere. They’ll lose even that soon: As the now-destitute auto giant begs for government help, its latest restructuring plan promises to kill off that donut-loving hipster’s Saturn just as definitively as his father’s Oldsmobile.

The self-inflicted blows that felled Saturn may date back to the boom years, but there’s still something sad about watching GM cite innovation and restructuring as it dispatches a car that was meant to represent … innovation and restructuring. Two decades after first announcing Saturn as part of its plan for salvation in an age of foreign cars and pricey oil, Detroit remains flummoxed by foreign cars and pricey oil. With or without more help from Uncle Sam, the GM that comes out of the crisis will have to be smaller, more creative and more customer-friendly. That all sounds sort of familiar, doesn’t it? Perhaps one of the remaining employees will look through the archives and discover a good place to start: free jelly donuts.

How sad. When I was a kid (before I knew the slightest thing about cars) I thought Saturns looked so cool. All my older friends said they were pieces of shit. Oh well… what did I know? I was like 10 when they were most popular.

www.q-notes.com/multimedia/

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On the need for stronger HIV/AIDS prevention

A young journalist from Britain writes that the LGBT community needs a stronger and more effective HIV/AIDS prevention program:

Craig’s story brings home the reality of barebacking – a reality missed by the glossy HIV prevention adverts and messages aimed at my generation of gay men (I’m 23). Those responsible for the ads, organisations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and GMFA, the gay men’s health charity, insist that harder hitting representations of life with HIV do not work and that they stigmatise those living with the virus.

But I believe that a refusal to show the harsh reality of HIV is encouraging attitudes like that of one of the three men infected. John, 22, told me and Newsnight (video) that he wasn’t bothered he had HIV, and that being gay he always knew he’d get it. Time Out’s Paul Burston told the debate’s audience of a conversation he’d had with a 22-year-old in Liverpool, who said he was more worried about catching gonorrhea than HIV.

[..snip..]

Yet instead of giving us a picture of what our lives could be like if we bareback, they choose to “empower” us. They do that by saying: “If you are the active partner you’re less likely to get HIV” and “If you withdraw, then you and your partner are at less risk of contracting HIV.”

When was the last time you were told that if you’re going to drink drive you should opt for a bottle of wine instead of tequila slammers? Or saw the withdrawal method advocated to prevent pregnancy?

The very nature of sex, when arousal clouds your judgment, means even stronger messages on safe sex are required. You need an authoritative voice at your shoulder, not a voice as clouded as your judgment telling you that you’re at less risk if you do this or that.

Read the whole commentary at The Guardian.

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Local organizing, ex-gay protests, HRC

You might be asking, “Where the hell is Matt? He hasn’t made a post in, like, forever.”

My little gay butt has been working overtime the past two weeks as the whole of the gay world (or, at least, a good portion of it) descended on Charlotte at exactly the same time.

I worked with the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE) to plan grassroots events Feb. 14 and Feb. 19-21. CRANE organized a Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day awareness event in Uptown Charlotte and a presentation, “Pray Away the Gay,” with author and activist Wayne Besen. On Friday, Feb. 20, we held a fabulous press conference. That evening I attended Takeover Friday at the Westin Hotel. On Saturday, Feb. 21, I attended the Focus on the Family Love Won Out “ex-gay” conference as media. I helped to organize the protest outside. The very same evening I attended the HRC Carolinas Gala. It has been a busy, busy two weeks and this past weekend was perhaps the gayest ever in the history of Charlotte. I’m sure the mainstream press and police departments very quickly began to refer to it as “the Gay Weekend.”

Here are snapshots, one video I’ve been able to complete and a news story from the many days I’ve been absent from the blogosphere… More photos and videos will be posted at Q-Notes Online and I’ll make sure you see them here, too.

CRANE Feb. 14 Uptown Awareness Event

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Takeover Friday at the Westin

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Love Won Out conference & CRANE protest

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Human Rights Campaign Carolinas Gala

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Video

Take a gander at the press release below, then head over to www.truthwinsout.org and, for more details on events visit www.rainbowaction.org/events/.

TWO Joins Coalition of North Carolina Organizations to Counter Infamous ‘Ex-Gay’ Road Show
New Landmark Publication, ‘Ex-Gay & The Law’, To Be Unveiled At Friday Press Conference

Truth Wins Out (TWO) announced today that it has joined a coalition of North Carolina Charlotte at Nightgay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocates responding to Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conference, which encourages people to “pray away the gay.” Led by the Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality (CRANE), there will be a week of educational events in Charlotte designed to get correct information to the public about the danger of ex-gay programs. The coalition will also offer honest and accurate depictions of the lives of GLBT people, to counteract the distorted view offered by Focus on the Family.

“The research is very clear that you can’t pray away the gay and attempts to do so can be harmful,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Focus on the Family is offering false hope to vulnerable people and profiting from their pain. They are intentionally confusing stereotypes with legitimate science in an attempt to mislead people about homosexuality. We hope to offer a realistic view of our lives and use sound science to set the record straight.”

The week’s events include a lecture by Besen (Pictured Right) on Thursday, Feb. 19, at theWayne TuxLesbian & Gay Community Center (7:00-8:30 PM). On Friday, Feb. 20, there will be a press conference at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Charlotte (11:30 AM). On Saturday, Feb. 21, there will be a non-violent protest against Love Won Out (11:00 AM-2:00 PM) in front of Central Church of God (5301 Sardis Road).

At the Friday press conference, Truth Wins Out and Lambda Legal will release a landmark publication, “Ex-Gay & The Law”, that aims to educate victims of “ex-gay” programs of their legal options. The many people who have had their lives damaged by ex-gay programs inspired this work.

“Ex-gay programs teach that homosexuality is demonic and ‘treat’ children as young as three years old,” said Besen. “What they do is dangerous, scientifically unsound and rejected by every respected medical and mental health association in America.”

CRANE is a grassroots coalition of activists and community members working toward civil and social equality for Charlotte’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community. Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from anti-gay lies. TWO also counters the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life.

Read more at Q-Notes Online

scottjonesThe Dallas Voice blog points out that the Rev. Scott Jones (pictured right) was invited to give the opening prayer for the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. Jones originally reported the story at his blog, including the fact that at the end of the day, a Republican objected to including Jones’ remarks in the record.

Twenty representatives, including the infamously anti-gay Sally Kern, voted against including the pastor’s remarks. From the DV blog:

“It was an interesting moment, and rather chaotic,” Jones wrote on MyQuest. “One legislator commented, ‘We always enter the remarks.’ Others wanted to read what I had said, and came over to where I was and read my hard copy and kept saying, ‘What are they objecting to?’ Others came over to apologize. One legislator made a point of order to remind colleagues that if they were in the room, they had to vote, at which some of them fled … “

Sixty-four voted in favor of including the remarks. Twenty against. The total number of those scrambling out of the room? Many of them are surely included in the 17 representatives “excused” from the vote. (click here for voting records, scroll to Feb. 11).

Some where along their life paths, these 20 elected officials somehow forgot one of Christ’s most important lessons: “Love one another, as I have loved you.”